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From Marie Guérin to Jeanne La Néele - February 23, 1893.

From Marie Guérin to Jeanne La Néele - February 23, 1893.

23rd February 1893

Dear little Jeanne,

I am happy on this solemn day to join your whole honourable family, of which I rejoice to be one of the principal members, in wishing you a happy birthday.

Twenty-five years old, my old sister!!!! is it possible?... You’re very fortunate that your big and kind Francis came two years [1 v°] and three months ago to take you from St. Catherine’s arms. What absolute misery it would have been otherwise!! Today, 24th February 1893, I would have been forced to crown my Jeannette with St. Catherine’s headdress, placing her under the guardianship of that saint and I wouldn’t have Francis to call to for help!! (In France, girls were traditionally under the protection of St. Catherine. According to a custom, when a woman reached 25 years old and was still unmarried, they would be dressed in a hat made especially for the occasion.)

My dear little Jeanne, it is time to talk seriously, so now what can I tell you?... I will first begin by assuring you that tomorrow I won’t forget you in my prayers to God, I will ask Him to help you and settle the question concerning the pharmacy. Then I will ask Him to send me nephews, but not straight away, when it pleases Him, in ten years time if he wants. And even if he doesn’t want to send me any, well, I thank him for it in advance, because it means it will be to our advantage. God and I always agree so I am always happy and only desire one thing, which is that everyone might resemble me.

I will leave you, my dear little Jeanne, by giving you a big kiss on both cheeks, and the same goes for Francis, only the kisses will be bigger. Can you guess why? Eat lots of meat to fatten up your cheeks and I will give you smacking great kisses, too.

Your little sister

Marie

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