From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin CF 59 - August 23, 1870


From Mme Martin to Mme Guérin

August 23, 1870

I just received a letter from my brother announcing the happy birth of your little girl (Marie-Louise-Hélène was born August 22, 1870). I would have wanted you to have a boy; you would have been happier. But if you’re like me, you’re not distressed by it, because I never had one moment of sadness over it.

I’m upset now for not having agreed to be the baby’s godmother because my little Marie-Mélanie-Thérèse (we call her Thérèse) is with a wet nurse. I kept her with me for four days and tried to breastfeed her. Unfortunately, this wasn’t sufficient; we had to make her drink from a bottle. The third day she came down with such an upset stomach that the doctor told me we didn’t have an hour to lose, that we had to find her a wet nurse right away.

I knew one in Alençon, about whom I had very good information. I gave the baby to her Saturday night. The very next day the child was doing well, but I’m not happy to have placed her with a wet nurse. I wanted to raise her, hiring a maid to help me. I think I would have done much better if the Alençon lace was dead and buried a long time ago.

Isidore asks me what plans he has to make for the baptism. However, I already told him that my husband put him in charge of it. Let him do things as they need to be done without sparing anything. He needs to imagine that he’s the godfather and act accordingly. We’ll approve wholeheartedly all that he’s done.

He still asks me if I’ve found a godfather and a godmother. So, he doesn’t make the effort to read my letters! However, I’ve spoken to you enough of Mademoiselle X and Major de Lacauve! I don’t know how he could forget that. As for the godfather, he’s away at war (de Lacauve was wounded at the Battle of Privat and was taken as a prisoner of war). Will he return? Only God knows, not me!

I’m fully recovered now. On Saturday I got up at six o’clock to help the woman I had hired to look after me and the baby. The maid, who had slept perfectly, didn’t get up and this woman was in a quandary with little Céline and little Thérèse, both of them crying. I went back to bed at nine o’clock, got up at noon, and so on all day. Sunday, I was busy almost the whole time with the children. Monday, I made a shipment of lace and didn’t have one minute of rest. So tell me again I’m not strong! Soon, I hope, I’m going to see my little girl.

Goodbye, my dear sister, write me as soon as possible; it will give me so much joy to hear from you! Isidore could very well do it, but he’s like my husband, very lazy about writing. It’s no use asking him. It’s as if I didn’t say a thing.

Marie and Pauline were quite delighted this morning after receiving your letter that assured them they’re going to Lisieux.

I hug you, as well as your two little daughters and Isidore.

Your loving sister.

 © Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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