Signed autograph letter "Jean" to Blanche Meyer [Manosque] Friday evening [autumn 1949], 3 p. Tender letter from the writer to his secret love Blanche Meyer, who inspired the heroines of his most famous novels, including Pauline de Théus in The Horseman on the Roof. "Dear Blanche, I hope you have a safe journey back.I say "you have" because as I write to you, you are still on your way, and if I'm not mistaken, you are struggling with the entrance to Marseille that you are dreading. The entrance to Marseille, of which I also speak as I would speak of the Entrance to Hell. Speranza, which in good French means "Abandon all hope!" So, I imagine you entering the circles of hell amidst trucks and trams.
It is happening in those bluish and malevolent distances that I see from the window of my office as I write to you. At least I can hope that it is not raining where you are.It is not raining here either, but what a difference from Grenoble. The wooded scent that smells of mushrooms and dead leaves. Here, the countryside also smells of trucks. Manosque is just an extension of Marseille and its scent is heavy oil and burnt gasoline. I remember the sound of rain on the leaves and those grand gestures, both desperate and loving, that the large trees unfold in the autumn rain. Those branches that extend like a companion's arm reaching out to a friend's shoulder. Those branches that slowly open with all their leaves, like hands giving. Where is that shadowy shoulder towards which the beautiful rain-soaked branches extend so affectionately? To whom does this foliage hand give, and what does it give? I would love to receive from it, so wide and fresh, a large cargo of happiness and peace. Here in the mail, I first received the program for Moby-Dick, which is playing in Paris [at the Hébertot Theater] with great success! It contains an excerpt from To Greet [To Greet Melville, an essay published in 1941 as a tribute to the author of Moby Dick], which includes an authentic excerpt from a letter you wrote to me from Nyons - in 1940!!! So, you are on the program.
I will send it to you. I also enclose a piece of the cover of the German edition of Triumph of Life. [essay published in 1941] but as you can see, it announces the adventures of the Hussar Angelo [hero of The Horseman on the Roof, which was to be published in 1951] and Faust in the Village [collection of stories published in part between 1949 and 1951, and posthumously in 1977]. So, don't delay in typing them.The rescue for me is to turn my gaze and heart towards a work that is increasingly beautiful, if possible. To give myself to the work. But, nothing will be possible without your help and affection. My regards to Louis and Solaine." Blanche Meyer, Giono's secret love from 1939 until his death in 1970, had a considerable influence on the writer's work. She is the one hiding behind the character of Adelina White in To Greet Melville, or the young Pauline de Théus in The Horseman on the Roof. Giono admitted that it was "she," or "pieces of her." Barely has Blanche left when Jean imagines her in his letter in the heavy traffic.
Then, between banter and magnificent metaphors through nature about his feelings of love, he expresses all his tenderness. One of the very few letters from Giono to Blanche Meyer still in private hands.Almost all of their love correspondence was donated in 1975 to the Edwin J Beinecke Book Fund (Yale University). Complete scan of the letter available upon request.