July 28, 1866
I haven’t had a moment to explain the enigma of my last letter, and I certainly don’t want to be an enigma to such good friends as you, even though I sometimes use that way of making other people think about me….
I meant simply that I had just finished planning my entire Work: that I had found the key to myself, the crown, or the center (if you prefer to call it that, so we won’t get our metaphors mixed)–the center of myself where, like a spider, I hang on the main threads which I have already spun from my mind. With these–and at their intersections–I make the miraculous laces which I foresee and which already exist in Beauty’s bosom.
I meant that I shall need twenty years for the five volumes of this Work; that I shall be patient and read part of it to friends like you, and I shall scorn fame as I would any other stupid, worn-out idea. For what is relative immortality–especially since we are often immortal in the minds of idiots–compared to the joy of looking on Eternity and enjoying It within ourselves while we are still alive?