From Céline to Jeanne Guérin - November 25, 1887.

From Céline to Jeanne Guérin. 25th November 1887

25th November 87 Firenze

Genoa / Isotta

Nice / Beaurivage

Dear little Jeanne,

I was very pleased to receive you letter, I am very glad that you are all in good health, we are the same. However I’ve a little sore under my nose that hurts quite a lot, you know, it’s one of those cold sores. God didn’t want me to take pride in my face and what’s more I’ve been bitten on my forehead by mosquitoes, the little beasts from Italy (mosquitoes), I’m all spotty, imagine the picture!

[1v°] It’s annoying! for I’m in brilliant company, among nobility and coats of arms! Here are some now… take care that I don’t come back worldly. I’m dining with Mr. de Cussy, Mr. de la Tuilerie (Mr. de la Thuillerie), Mr. d'Orval, Mademoiselle de la Rocque, Madame de Courson, Mesdemoiselles de Grainvilles, Mademoiselle de Rubersy, Madame and Mademoiselle de St. Thomas and who knows who else? I’ve been thrown into high society!!!!!!!

Above all, there’s a young girl, Mademoiselle de Larminat, who is charming. She resembles Marguerite M. (Maudelonde) a little, being very pale and tall; her appearance is like that of the Fleuriot ladies when they have dangling old black dresses, she is [2 r°] very thin and isn’t attractively dressed, but that’s a detail and a very minor one at that.

It’s an abominable day, rain is falling, luckily we went out in a carriage! Florence would have been so pretty in fine sunshine and blue sky, but what do you expect, there has to be some little nuisances, if only they were all like that in life!

I’m very glad to be coming back to you all and to my France.

I was very glad to go on this unforgettable and splendid journey but I shall be just as glad to see my dear country again!

[2v°] While on the subject of my country! I had a very funny dream about it. There was a war and I really wanted to take part in it, so that I could defend the Count of Chambord. On entering the camp I narrowly missed being pierced by a lance. Luckily I escaped it but I had nothing to fight with, no bayonet, no gun, the merchants didn’t have any, I was disappointed!...

When I finally woke up (to my great regret) I was armed from head to toe, a big officer’s cape in the Italian style, that is to say royal blue (about the same colour as your dresses) draped onto [3 r°] the hindquarters of my steed. It was a magnificent animal and a bit frisky. His first prances made my heart leap and frightened me a bit but I quickly recovered and I was galloping off to fight when I woke up, what bad luck all that wasn’t true!

But here I am, not an officer on a palfrey but a poor girl in exile asking to see her family again. This afternoon in the carriage I inwardly sung:

“Greeting each homeland,


I told myself that no stay


Is finer than my Normandy,


It's the country where I was born.


I’ve seen the sky of Italy, etc., etc., etc. [3 v°]


I’ll go see again my Normandy,


It's the country where I was born.” (Well-known French song entitled “Ma Normandie” “My Normandy”)

This charming ballad isn’t new to you and you know the tune. How stupid I am! I’ve taken an old sheet of paper on which there was the beginning of a very old letter written in a train wagon. Forgive your poor cousin……. I was obliged to write the beginning of my letter with the back of my pen, I’m badly equipped.

Farewell, my darling, I’m seeing some very beautiful things and I’ll share them with you when I come back, I’ll have such a lot of things to tell you!

Your little Céline.

Say hello to everyone, thank you to my dear Godmother for her kind letter. Papa sends his best wishes.