From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Letter from Picasso to Gertrude Stein
the man had a messy hand to say the least, but i think i’ve finally managed to decipher this:
“mais non gertrude
il n’y a pas des mouches et je n’ai vu encore qu’un moustique, que j’ai tué d’ailleurs. ecrives si ce couer vous dit. milles bonnes choses de nous deux a vous [et mlle toklas]*.
and, in my terrible translation:
“actually, gertrude, no, there are not many flies, and i haven’t seen more than one mosquito, which i killed by the way. write if you feel like it (literally “if your heart tells you to”). the best of wishes (literally “a thousand good things”) to you and miss toklas.
*when you first read the card, it looks like it says ‘mille bonnes choses et mille fokey de nous…”, but if you look harder “Fokey” becomes an especially messy “Toklas”, and you can see after “deux” where he realised he should mention her, and the bracket he added to insert her name into that line. or, at least, that’s the only way i could get that bit to make sense. maybe (by which i mean really very possibly) there’s another french word that makes sense there? anyone?