From Mme Martin to Marie and Pauline CF 112 - November 30, 1873.


From Mme Martin to Marie and Pauline

November 30, 1873

My dear little girls,

Mademoiselle Pauline [Romet] isn’t going to Le Mans, so I had to trust Monsieur Vital [Romet] with the little package. I wouldn’t have done so if it weren’t the ball of cotton for the hat to be crocheted. This famous ball of cotton has given me enough trouble! It would have been much better for you to have bought it in Le Mans the day you went out with Mademoiselle Pauline. You would have found some just as easily as in Alençon, and it would have been no more expensive and perhaps less. I hope this time it will be fine enough; it’s the best there is.

I don’t know if Léonie will be able to enter the Visitation the first of the year. She has eczema and it’s still spreading. Your aunt has to tell me if I have to wait until she’s recovered.

I saw Thérèse Thursday despite the bad weather, and she behaved better than the last time. However Louise wasn’t very happy. The little one neither wanted to look at her nor go to her, and I was very embarrassed. Workers were coming to see me the entire time, and I gave her to them one after the other. She wanted to go to them, even more willingly than to me, and she kissed them several times. Country women dressed like her wet nurse, this is the world she needs.

Madame T arrived while one of the workers was holding her. As soon as I saw her, I said to her, “Let’s see if the baby wants to go to you.” Very surprised, she replied, “Why not? Oh well, let’s try! ...” She held out her arms to the little one, but Thérèse hid herself while letting out a cry as if she’d been burned. She didn’t even want Madame T looking at her.269 We had a good laugh over this. In short, she’s afraid of people who are fashionably dressed!

I’m hoping she’ll be walking on her own in five or six weeks. All we have to do is place her standing near a chair, and she holds onto it very well and never falls. She takes her little precautions against falling and seems very intelligent. I believe she’ll be good-natured; she smiles continually and has a predestined expression.

And now I must tell you something else, although the end of the story isn’t very nice and testifies to a very bad attitude among the people. Very recently something peculiar happened to a woman whose carriage was parked across from our house in front of the Prefecture. The coachman was dressed in magnificent livery, completely trimmed with fur. A badly dressed man carrying a cloth bag in his hand happened to be passing by. He stopped a moment to look at the coachman, then the woman in the coach. He headed for the open door of the coach, untied his bag and emptied the contents onto the woman’s lap.

Immediately, she began to let out terrible screams. The coachman quickly came to help her, and passersby came running. They saw this woman doubled over in a panic and, on top of her, about twenty frogs. She even had them on her head. In other words, she was covered with them!

The malicious man watched her struggle. When the police commissioner came and asked him why he would do such a thing, he said calmly, “I just caught these frogs to sell, but seeing this ‘aristocrat’ with her coachman all covered in fur, I preferred to give her a good fright rather than sell my frogs.” They took him to jail, and he certainly deserved it! I’m sure you’re going to say, “If anyone did such a thing to Mama, she would die!” That could very well be because you know my irrational fear of frogs!

I’m expecting a letter from you this week. I hope it will be a good one, that is to say it will bring me good news. I’m counting on you both to receive Communion on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Don’t forget to pray for Léonie.

Soon we’ll only have four weeks until the January vacation, so be happy and try to make the best of the little time you have left. On Thursday your father said he’s looking forward to bringing you home from school. But he cares less about bringing you back to school because he doesn’t like to see you cry.

Little Thérèse won’t come back until New Year’s Day [she is still with Rose Taillé), but she’ll definitely come that day because of you.

© Society of St. Paul / Alba House



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