Music: Violin Concerto in E minor Op.64 (1st movement – allegro) – Félix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
1901 Emile RIPERT’s first interview with Frédéric MISTRAL:
“Reading Mistral was good, but writing to him and going to see him was much better. I began by writing and by presenting myself well, I did it in verse… alas! but in French verse, in a poem in honor of Mireio on the very rhythm of Mistral, the seven-verse stanza so unwieldy in French. I probably didn’t do too badly, because Mistral answered me. We know, moreover, that he answered everything and everyone, having acquired this charitable habit in memory of the sorrow he had felt at the disdainful silence of Jasmin, to whom at the age of fifteen he had sent an “admiring coin”. But still there were nuances in Mistral’s letters; the one he addressed to me was very encouraging and it ended with an interesting suggestion:
Encouraged by this pretty letter and this mark of confidence which the great poet gave me by delivering to me, poor man, a still unpublished stanza, I decided to go to Maillane and to use the Easter holidays for this trip. What this trip was to me, the emotions it aroused in my soul, the hopes it opened up, I have said in verse in a long poem entitled “Pilgrimage to Maillane“.
These were indeed the feelings of the pilgrim with which I was animated, a fervor, a candor, the naive admiration of a soul of twenty years, it was then my exact age, I was going by train from Tarascon, to Graveson station, short trip, and there, either there is no stage coach on this train for Maillane, or that I would have left it aside, to have more merit, to see the landscape better or so as not to arrive too early, I set out on foot; At the crossroads I greeted the Auberge du Petit Saint Jean, whose beautiful servant had been sung by the ardent Aubanel, then I took the path, still white at that date, under the fresh plane trees of the first spring, which led to Maillane. It was the beginning of April, the fields were in bloom, really Easter, soft, bright and tender.
I pushed open the gate, which was still open, walked around the house, heard the bark of the dogs rushing towards me, and suddenly recalling them with voice and gesture, I saw appear on the threshold the majestic and familiar Poet, such as I had him. dream. I introduced myself; Mistral wanted to remember my poem and the letter he replied to me.
This is how Emile became a disciple of Mistral with whom he maintained friendly relations from 1901 until his death in 1914.
I have received many letters from Mistral which I keep piously; he gave me precious details of his beginnings with the firmest certainty of memory, and wrote them as neatly as in his early years.
My last visit to Maillane was to take place in the fall of 1912; I remember a setting of yellowing leaves, and the night falling in the square where Mistral accompanied me to the stage coach. She set off with a crash of hooves and bells, the cracking of a whip. The great poet waved me a safe journey, which was to be a sign of farewell.
Without a ladder, in Heaven in fact, here it was fifteen days later, on March 25, the day of the Annunciation of the Virgin. And since then I have received nothing from him, other than the sometimes feeling of his immortal presence and his fatherly protection.