From Céline to Jeanne Guérin - March 1, 1889.

From Céline to Jeanne Guérin. 1st March 1889.

Dear little Jeanne,

If only you knew how much pleasure your letter brought me! It’s the first I’ve received in our solitude, that’s why it’s doubly precious to me. You have given me news of everything that has happened in Lisieux, which interests me greatly. How unfortunate we didn’t let Albert go (a servant at Les Buissonnets who threatened Céline) when he wanted to, it would have spared us a lot of hassle and my uncle many problems. Believing that Uncle wasn’t going to the Hearing, I was worried sick this morning I would receive another summons in the mail. I was so apprehensive that it gave me a slight head-ache but this little inconvenience passed as soon as the post [1v°] delivery time was over. That Albert makes my blood curdle but now I don’t worry about him anymore, since Uncle is dealing with him. I hardly know of anything that’s new here, it is extremely monotonous but a duty fulfilled is like a balm for my heart and fills it completely. My days don’t seem emptier but filled to the brim and yet I don’t do very much! My one and only happiness is the chapel, I always wanted to have one right near me, I can even say I live in the house of God because all the buildings are joined together, even at night the doors aren’t closed, I mean those that lead inside the orphanage.

It is in the deep sorrows, trials, and abandonments that we feel alone. It is a great consolation to think we are in the company of the One “who is served by the angels, whose beauty is admired by the sun and moon”. I’m using [2 r°] St. Agnes’ words here (Céline was quoting a passage from the play by Sister Agnès of Jesus, played by Thérèse on 21st June 1888). O my darling little Jeanne, Jesus is near to those who suffer, filling their hearts to such an extent that the poverty of their rooms, the inconvenience entailed, and the bareness of exterior things don’t touch their souls or deprive them at all. Our hearts find contentment in themselves, feeding off their affections and not worrying about that which surrounds them. That’s why I’m thinking of all of you, of Uncle and dear Aunt and you my little sisters; memories of you fill my days, yes I often think about my dear family in Lisieux…

Every day we go and ask for news of Papa, he’s still well and is no longer talking nonsense; his attack is over or rather there hasn’t been one. Sr. Costard (Nun from the hospital Le Bon Sauveur (CG II, p. 1199), who was then directing the men’s health service) says that he was headed for another and worse attack but that his reactions deferred it. Indeed, when he went there, it must have been a certain shock to him, which changed his ideas momentarily, he saw himself in reality and forgot [2 v°] his fanciful ideas. The condition he is in at the moment seems to be “an improvement” to me, that is to say the rest time he has (…) between the attacks but this time the improvement is not as good as the other times, the numbness has progressed. The Sr. says she has noticed he has slight difficulty in speaking, which is an effect of the paralysis. He has asked to leave these past days but has done so calmly; he has resigned himself to the delay the doctor imposes. Today he went walking in the grounds of the establishment. I don’t think they’ll allow us to see him until the beginning of next week, besides we’re not asking to. Oh, yes let us pray with all our hearts so that Les Buissonnets doesn’t remain deserted any longer!

I haven’t corrected my bad habit, but this time it wasn’t on purpose, I go with the intention of praying to God and then I fall asleep, it’s appalling, fortunately God knows… say to him.

Over the last few days I’ve been nothing but clumsy, I broke a candlestick, out of absentmindedness I crushed my carmine varnish that cost 3 F 50. It was all over the floor, I collected what I could of it, and I laughed heartily.

Thank you again for your letter, when you write to me, give me news about everything: about Albert, the house, the gentlemen, tell me how everything goes.

[2 v° tv] I love you my darling little Jeanne, I cherish my little Marie just as much and I send my kisses with all my heart to my dear Aunt and my dear uncle.

Your little sister


What bliss it would be if you came next week!

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