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Freedom from Others

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  • trop_de_simones
    With my California friend, she is the only woman I care for; she is the only one I respect (I do not respect many people)... She spent her girlhood in South
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 31 7:26 PM
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      With my California friend, she is the only woman I care for; she is
      the only one I respect (I do not respect many people)... She spent
      her girlhood in South America, in a big ranch, without mother, with a
      very stern but clever father who gave her a very manly education:
      learning Latin, German, mathematics and riding wild horses through
      the lonely pampas. She had a sister whom she loved dearly; they came
      to Paris at twenty; the little Amazones, and they found the French
      society dreadful: all their family were very well-bred people, with
      generals, admirals and wifes; no wild horses, no freedom, they hated
      it. But the sister (I do not know why) married a business-man and the
      old lady, (who was very young then) wanted to stay with her sister
      and accepted to marry a cousin of her who was a wealthy well know
      doctor. What was bad is that the sister soon died, and the other one
      was stricken nearly to death by this loss. She stayed with her
      husband she did not love, a big confortable, conceited bourgeois with
      whiskers and straw hats; I think she hated to sleep with him and she
      thinks now that sex is just a crazy hobby. She had two children and
      cared much for them. Then the husband became sick, in a crazy way as
      I told you, and she began to live by herself. And what I like in her
      is that devoting her life in a superficial way to husband and
      children, she really managed to be the best of friends for her own
      self, which so seldom people are and so seldom women. At forty, she
      became friends with young men who were her son's teachers, traveled
      with them, and had a kind of love for one of them, though there was
      never any sex affair between them. Ten years ago he married and I am
      sure she suffered much by it, though they remained close friends. Her
      life is dull, but she is never; she is always thinking things with a
      good full clever, well-balanced brain, and helping people though not
      hoping much from them - always gay in sadness, believing nothing and
      nobody; yet not cynic, with a warm heart, though never sentimental
      and even harsh; pleased with flowers, a dog, a cat, a sunshine, a
      good book, always understanding and sympathetic and warmly interested
      in everything. She is not old at all in my eyes, and yet there is
      something secret and deep and very nice in her which makes her
      different from a young girl. The only woman I know who never clung to
      a man, who did not need a man just to breathe as they all do in
      France, and in America too I guess. I like a woman who can live, not
      selfishly, but by herself . . .

      Simone de Beauvoir
      letter to Nelson Algren
      Christmas night, Mercredi, 24 December 1947
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