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From Mme Guérin to Céline - August 3, 1892.

From Mme Guérin to Céline - August 3, 1892. 

La Musse 3rd August 92

Dear little Céline,

It is to you that I owe my little letter today. If only you knew how touched I was by the wholly spontaneous way you offered to go and see Jeanne for your uncle. You have a good heart and you practice gratitude so well every day, that I believe you will understand me! O my little Céline, I recognised your good heart in this matter, and it gave me further proof of your affection for us. I am so glad to see all my little girls united in heart. I know how happy Jeanne was to see you, and yesterday I was reassured thinking that my Céline was near her, and that I would have fresh news this morning. You see I was very upset when I found out my Jeannette was sick and so far away from us. Thanks to God, she is better, and I hope that dear Saint Anne [1 v°] will continue to protect her and grant her recovery. I am even of the firm belief that this illness will be for her good, firstly because all that God sends us is always to our advantage, but moreover because this illness came at the time of St. Anne’s feast day. – Don’t believe however that these sorts of thoughts, which I often think inwardly, always prevent me from worrying. Sometimes my poor nature has the upper hand, and I am obliged to tell my heart often: “Trust God, trust God.” Today the good news that Mr. Maudelonde brought me did me much good, I feel calmer. You see, my dear Céline, that I’m talking to you as I would my darling little daughter, I’m showing you the depths of my heart. I would very much like to tell you this in person, because I’m longing to see you. If you miss us, my darling, we miss you a lot too. After three years of not leaving one another, it seems hard to be separated. We are now used to living together, and no matter how many attractions La Musse has, they will never make me forget my dear little goddaughter, and her frank little laugh and [2 r°] cheek pinches. So if my dear little goddaughter was very kind, she would join us as soon as possible. Since there is no way we can expect Jeanne on Monday, you could bring your trip forward.

I will tell you that, on the subject of our stay here, we are very put out, and we will only take a decision in three or four days' time. If Jeanne recovers quicker than we think, and can join us around Assumption Day, we will perhaps wait for her. If on the contrary we can’t envisage her being able to come, we will go back to Lisieux before Assumption Day, and we will come back a fortnight earlier in September. We must make a decision on Monday, but I believe the latter solution to be the more practical, because I fear that Jeanne will not be in a condition to travel so soon. Therefore I would advise you to come as early as you can. If Léonie was back, I would have said: Take the 4 o’clock train on Thursday with Mrs. Renier, but I think that Léonie will not be back. If you can come on Friday, let us know through Amandine so that arrangements can be made to meet you at the train at the time you indicate, on Friday morning or on Saturday. I advise you to come; the earlier the better, because if we leave before Assumption Day, you wouldn’t have your week. Whatever you do, should you be coming on Friday morning, let us know through Mrs. Renier because your letter won’t arrive in time for us to come and fetch you. We have invited my Uncle Petit and Charles on Monday, we are waiting for their reply.

I am very happy to see that all the family in Lisieux are vying for my dear Céline’s affection and endeavouring to make her forget our absence. But, should I say this? Despite all the happiness I feel knowing you are happy, I secretly feel joy thinking that you miss us. What can I say? It’s not my fault, no doubt it is not perfection, but is there a mother on earth who wouldn’t be glad to know that her child misses her? That’s the way the human heart is made, and I can do no better than acknowledge the fact. You will forgive me, my dear Céline.

As I’m writing to you, Marie is writing to her sister. Today at lunch she served us the famous vol-au-vents and her own recipe for apricot tart. It was very nice, but our poor little pastry-maker’s nose was so close to the grindstone she got a head-ache. The fresh air will dispel that. She busies herself as best she can, entertains herself and us, but she misses her little sisters a lot and I am sure that she will bless the train that brings her little Céline back to her.

I am very pleased to know that your papa is fairly well. Your uncle arrived on Monday to bring you comfort in your sorrow.

See you soon I hope, my Céline, we are expecting you. Tell Miss Clémence that Joséphine is still well. She wanted to come back on Saturday; we were able to persuade her to wait until Tuesday. I don’t know whether we can win any more time.

Farewell, my darling, I send you all my love. Do give my love to your dear father. [2 v° tv] Your uncle, little sister and Miss Joséphine send you all their love. Best wishes to all the family,

Your wholly devoted aunt

C. G.

[1r°tv] I am in good health. I came down this morning for lunch. Don’t forget some card for sticking the photographs. Thank you for the gouache.