From Céline to Mme La Néele - January 5, 1892.

From Céline to Mme La Néele. 

January 5, 1892

Dear little Jeanne,

Since you left us on Sunday, I have not much cheerful news to tell you. On the contrary, there is plenty of sad news.

The poor Carmel is right now a prey to the influenza epidemic, the plague is raging there in full force. This morning we were at the burial of the religious who died on Saturday, and on Friday we shall return for another burial, that of the Mother Subprioress, who died last night. (Sister Fébronie of the Holy Childhood, 1819-1892). There are still two of the three sick ones whom they despair of saving, among them Sister Madeleine, (Sister Madeleine of the Holy Sacrament (1817-1892), who would die on 7th January), aunt of Madame St. Benoît at the Abbey, and another religious whom I do not know. Up until now, it is the older ones who are leaving, but the young are also very sick. Pauline has been in bed for a few days now; she was seized with a violent headache and is bleeding profusely from the nose. We are very much upset because Pauline, who was already very weak, will have trouble getting the upper hand. It will be, I think, only a question of time and once on her feet the tonics will restore her. No one is worried about her. But we pity the Carmel very much. It is upsetting to see the desolation that reigns there; the religious are dying not in the infirmary but on their beds, not surrounded by their Sisters but assisted only by one or two religious who are there by chance. We must hope that God will finally put an end to their trial and bring the plague to an end.

Is it the same at Caen as at Lisieux? We talk only about the in­fluenza epidemic. .Mrs. Farcy is very ill; it is thought she will die. I don’t know of any other mortalities apart from Mrs. Caresme’s father who, on his way home after his grand-child’s funeral, died suddenly. That family is very tried.

Darling little Jeanne, I won’t have it said that I bring nothing but [2v°] bad news! I want to cheer up the little sister I love so much! Yesterday Mrs. de La Fournerie came to visit, and greatly entertained us with little Guilmin’s repartie. Today it was Mr. and Mrs. Desportes’ turn. Mr. Desportes was exuberantly cheerful and had a smile on his lips and crimson cheeks, and his wife was as beautiful as a shining star, and as pleasant as ever. We also saw Mrs. Maudelonde, who announced that her dinner was postponed until Sunday because Miss Marie is poorly. And did yesterday’s supper take place? I forgot to ask you to pass on my compliments, or my kind regards, well anyway something pleasant in case someone mentioned me to you. But these instructions are pointless; you always manage so well that I have no fear.

Darling little sister, I will leave you now by sending you and Francis lots and lots of love, as does everyone.

Your Céline

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