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From Céline to Mme La Néele - April 29, 1891.

From Céline to Mme La Néele - April 29, 1891.

29th April 1891 Dear little Jeanne, I was very touched by your letter this morning. I wasn’t expecting it at all so I was doubly surprised, I didn’t know you would remember my insignificant date of birth. I thought that 28th April, a poor little remnant of the year, would shed its petals unnoticed. Yet I will not surprise you, I am sure, by saying that not one petal of this unbeautiful flower was trampled underfoot, but was preciously gathered by an incomparable Mama and by little sisters the likes of which [1v°] are rarely seen. Celebrations went on from morning till night; it was baffling, and truly mystifying! I didn’t know what to think and I went from surprise to surprise. I wasn’t mistaken when I said that not a moment of the day was lost; nothing is more true. My aunt offered me a lovely white azalea, the smallness of which charmed me. I didn’t know such dwarfed forms existed. My uncle wanted to join in with everyone and offered me, do you know what? A radish!... But he made up for this mischievousness by giving me a great big hug. Then we toasted my birthday, ate biscuits, etc. I thought the celebration was over, ah! I was far wrong. All day I heard people whisper, go up and down the stairs (you know how [2 r°] noisy Marie is). But I saw nothing coming and I wondered what all the mystery was about. In the evening, Céline (Maudelonde and, further on, her sister Hélène) stayed for dinner, then Hélène came to join her, and still nothing appeared. Finally we were invited to take a walk in the garden, I accepted, and what did I see?... The whole wood lit up! A profusion of Chinese lanterns and magnificent Bengal lights: I was thrilled with the sight. Afterwards, we took a torchlight walk, and the servants joined in, which made a fairy-like procession. You can see, darling little Jeanne, how spoiled I am! I couldn’t thank everyone enough; never have I had such a lovely celebration. It must also be noted that these beautiful shows were due to Francis’ intervention. It was he who gave us the idea of doing them by inaugurating them in our [2 v°] family. So to repay him, for the next celebration, we intend to give you two the pleasure of seeing the wood illuminated. I have noticed, little Jeanne, that I am coming to the end of my letter and that I haven’t passed on my Aunt’s messages to you. Quick, let’s talk about Mrs. Fouchet. For your everyday hat, we have chosen buttercups and cornflowers in separate little bouquets. This decoration goes with everything except purple but since you don’t own a dress in that colour there’s no need to worry about that. For Sundays, it’s more tricky, and my Aunt hasn’t yet decided. Mrs. Fouchet strongly recommends a certain little flowery cap in a pink colour, but my Aunt will talk to you about it first. Dear little sister, I am forced to say goodbye, but as I do so I send you my love and thank you for your kind wishes; you know which ones… May God make them come true! [1 r° rv] Give Francis my love, I am very grateful for his kind wishes. I see that no one has forgotten me. Marie and Léonie join me in sending you lots of kisses. Your little sister Céline.

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