From Mme Martin to Pauline CF 98- May 5, 1873.


From Mme Martin to Pauline

May 5, 1873

My dear Pauline,

I don’t have good news to tell you. Marie is not at all better. We’re all sorry to see that this illness continues to go on like this.

Our patient cried a lot on Friday. She was upset while saying, “I want to see my ‘Little Paulin.’ I love her so much!” I found it very difficult to console her, as did your father. He’s often at her side to distract her, and she’s so happy when he’s there. Little by little, she’s getting better! She’s lost a lot of weight, and it will take a long time for her to gain it back.

Her father leaves this morning for Butte de Chaumont on a pilgrimage for Marie. He’ll leave fasting and wants to return the same way. He insists on doing penance so that God will grant his prayer. He has to walk six leagues [23 km] on foot. I’ll write you on Thursday to tell you if he obtained the grace. Mademoiselle Pauline [Romet] will bring you my letter. She’s going to the Second Communion of her niece, and her intention is to take you with her for this celebration, if they let you go.

Marie wants me to tell you that little Thérèse came to see us yesterday. We weren’t expecting her. The wet nurse arrived with her four children at eleven thirty, just as we were sitting down at the table. She put the baby in our arms and left immediately for Mass.

Yes, but the little one didn’t want this. She cried almost to the point of passing out! Her father left almost without eating. The entire house was in disarray. I had to send Louise [Marais] to tell the wet nurse to come immediately after the Mass because she was supposed to go buy shoes for her children. The wet nurse left halfway through the Mass and came running. I was annoyed over this. The little one wouldn’t have died from crying. Oh well, she was instantly consoled. She’s very strong, and everybody’s surprised. I walked her and shook her so much to make her stop crying that I got a backache from it that lasted the entire day. We don’t find her as beautiful as little Céline. She is, however, very pretty. In other words, it’s Céline who, for the moment, has the first prize for beauty, but we can’t judge Thérèse yet. She’s too little; a tiny baby of four months hasn’t blossomed.

Every day Marie talks about the party we’ll have when you’re here, when we go see little Thérèse. It’s agreed that I’ll bring a lot of bread because she says she’ll be very hungry.

As she’s deprived of all food at the moment, for a sick person she has incredible cravings. She wants a three-pound loaf of bread all for herself when we go on our outing, without counting the cake with jam. She seriously believes that she’ll eat her three-pound loaf and says to the maid, “Louise, Mama is going to bring a loaf of bread just for me.” Louise responds, “It’s a penny loaf of bread, no doubt?” But Marie gets angry when she hears her speak of a penny loaf of bread. She says to me, “Yes, I’ll carry one in my pocket to eat along the way, but that won’t keep me from eating my three-pound loaf of bread and again black bread at the wet nurse’s house.”

Goodbye, my Pauline. Don’t worry. I’d very much like Marie to be able to eat her three-pound loaf of bread, but unfortunately she’s not there yet. Oh well, we hope that she’ll be cured soon. Pray a lot to the Blessed Mother for this.

Your father sends you a thousand kisses, and as for me, I hug you with all my heart.


© Society of St. Paul / Alba House


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