From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 32 - May 1868.


From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

May 1868

I was so happy to hear the good news about your little Jeanne. You must be happy to have such a good little girl. I was very happy also when I was taking care of my first child; she was so healthy. I was too proud. God didn’t want that to last. All the other children I had afterwards were difficult to raise and have given me a lot of problems.

The youngest, little Joseph, is still among them; he’s always sick. Three months ago he came down with bronchitis, which put him in a sad state. Last week we thought he was going to die. The doctor put a vesicant (a pharmaceutical or plant substance applied to the skin with steam that caused blistering from which blood, presumably bad blood, could be released) between his shoulders, and he left it there for several days. Imagine how our little boy had to suffer! And with all of that, a continuous cough and pressure that was suffocating him. I went to see him twice a day. In the morning I left at five o’clock and in the evening at eight o’clock, and I always returned with a heart filled with anguish.

He’s been doing better since Saturday. He’s beginning to take a little nourishment, and he coughs less, but he’s far from being cured. I’m sure your little one is much more resilient than he is because there’s nothing left of him, and he has no strength. I would, though, have been quite happy to have had a very vigorous little boy. Without doubt, it’s not meant for me to be happy now; maybe that’s in store for later, I console myself with this hope.

I’m happy you’ve decided to come to Alençon this year; it’s about time after not seeing you here for two years! Since I’ll have the pleasure of having you here, I won’t go to Lisieux as I’d been thinking. I need to be reasonable. If you knew how much I was needed at home and how difficult it is when I’m away. I can’t rely on my father’s servant. I can only compare her to the one I sent you. One is no more serious than the other. They’re only maids who spend their time looking at the people passing by, and they set a bad example for the children.

I’m delighted that your business is going well, that reassures me. Mine is going badly, completely badly, it couldn’t go any worse. I positively believe that I’m at the end of my reign. It is, however, against my will because I would have wanted to work until my last child. We already have five, without counting those who may come, because I haven’t lost hope of having three or four more!

My father’s been sick for several days. He was suffering yesterday, and he was complaining a lot about all of his limbs. He believes he’s going to die. It saddens me very much to see him like this. He doesn’t want to consult a doctor, but if this continues, I’m going to ask the doctor to come.


© Society of St. Paul / Alba House


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