From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 54 - March 27, 1870.


From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

March 27, 1870

I was happy to receive your news. We waited so long for it. I grumbled about my brother, and I think that if he’d known how much time I’d lost watching for the postman over the last two weeks, and the disappointment I felt, he would have hurried a little more than he did!

I was worried about you. I’d like to know you’ve completely recovered. If you want to make me very happy, write me immediately that you’re no longer in bed because I don’t like you there. I believe you dislike it there just as much….

As for me, I’m not confined to my bed, but I’m not doing well at all. I often have a fever, or, more accurately, I have a fever every day. I’m not suffering very much, but I have a constant headache and a general weakness. I have no more energy. I have no stamina for work, and I don’t have the heart for it. Sometimes I imagine that I’ll go away as gently as my little Hélène. I assure you that I barely care for my own life. Ever since I lost this child, I feel a burning desire to see her again. However, those that remain need me, and, because of them, I ask God to leave me on this earth a few more years.

I deeply regretted the loss of my two little boys, but I grieve even more for the loss of her. I was beginning to enjoy her. She was so pretty, so affectionate, so advanced for her age! There isn’t one minute of the day when I don’t think of her. The Sister who taught her class told me (and it was well said) that children like her don’t live long. Well, she’s in Heaven, much happier than here below. But for me, I feel that all my happiness has flown away.

We’ve had an event in our lives that’s created a little diversion. My husband’s nephew (Adolphe Leriche) has inherited a sum of money, and he’s decided to buy our watchmaker business.

The deal should be closed in three or four days, and, if all goes as arranged, he’ll take possession of the shop this week.

We still don’t know where we’re going to live. If we don’t find anything, we’ll stay here until the house on the rue Saint-Blaise is available. However, I wouldn’t want to settle there. The garden is too small. Even if it means we retire from business, I would prefer a house with a big garden. I don’t miss the jewelry shop, we have more than enough to live on and raise our children. Besides, I’ll continue with the Alençon lace.

They brought little Céline to me two weeks ago. She’s coming along very well and is very good, but you never know. I won’t take her back before the month of July. She’ll be too difficult to take care of, and I believe she won’t walk on her own for three or four months. She always has to be in someone’s arms. I’m not strong enough and neither is my maid because I have the luck of being burdened with an invalid, she’s always sick. I’m sorry about that.

Something else, to amuse you a little: there will be a big festival in Alençon on Easter Monday, a formal procession. There was a fundraiser that brought in 10,600 francs. Madame Y is making all kinds of preparations for the grand ball that will be held at City Hall for this occasion. I know many young women who have their heads on backwards over this. There are those (would you believe it?) who are bringing in workers from Le Mans to make their dresses for fear that the workers in Alençon will reveal their secret before the celebrated day of the event. Isn’t all this laughable?

I received a letter this morning from my sister and the little girls. All is well, and they’re very much looking forward to coming home at Easter.


 © Society of St. Paul / Alba House


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