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Ms A 08v

[8v°] the thought of “kissing the ground”; so standing up straight, I said to Mama: “Oh! no, little Mother, I would prefer not to have the sou!”

Another time we had to go to Grogny to Mme. Monnier’s home. Mama told Marie to dress me in my Sky-blue frock with the lace trimmings but not to [5] leave my arms bare lest the Sun burn them. I allowed myself to be dressed with the indifference a child of my age should really have, but I thought within myself that I would look much more pretty with my arms bare.

With a nature such as my own, had I been reared by Parents without virtue or even if I had been spoiled by the maid, Louise,18 as Céline was, I would have become [10] very bad and perhaps have even been lost. But Jesus was watching over His little fiancée; He had willed that all turn out for her good, even her faults that, corrected very early, stood her in good stead to make her grow in perfection. As I had an excessive self-love and also a love of the good, as soon as I began to think seriously (which I did when still very little), it was enough for one to tell me a [15] thing wasn’t good and I had no desire to repeat it twice.

I see with pleasure that in Mama’s letters I gave her great consolation when growing up. Having nothing but good example around me, I naturally wanted to follow it. This is what she wrote in 1876: “Even Thérèse wants to do little acts of penance at times.19 [20] She’s a charming child, very alert, very lively, but she is very sensitive. Céline and she are very fond of each other, and are sufficient unto themselves for passing the time. Every day as soon as they’ve eaten dinner Céline takes her little rooster; she catches Thérèse’s little hen with one swoop of her hand, something I can never do, but she’s so lively she gets it in one bound. Then they come with their little pets and sit before the

 

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