Written from l'Abbaye prison 1793.....
I do not like spending a lot on myself and I get some pleasure from voluntary privation. I thought I would find out how far I could reduce my needs by willpower. I took it step by step. After four days I cut down my breakfast and substituted bread and water for coffee and chocolate. I arranged that for the midday meal I should be given one plate of ordinary meat with some greens, and in the evening a few vegetables. No dessert. I drank beer at first, to break myself of wine, and then I gave that up too. In the meantime, as this dieting had a moral purpose and since I have no use for pointless economy, I began to set aside a sum of money for the unfortunate down and outs, so that when I ate my dry bread in the morning I should have the pleasure of knowing that thanks to me they could add something to theirs at night. Even if I stay here six months I hope to emerge plump and healthy, needing nothing but soup and bread and having earned some blessings incognito.