From Mme Martin to M. and Mme Guérin CF 131 - April 29, 1875.


From Mme Martin to her brother and his wife

April 29, 1875

I’m writing to ask you to come to Léonie’s First Communion, which will take place on May 23. It would make me happy to have you, but I don’t dare hope for such happiness. Oh well, if both of you can’t come, at least one of you could. Besides, you would be doing me a great favor.

Not only would I have the joy of seeing you, but I would also be very happy because of Madame X, whom I must absolutely invite. This puts me in an awkward position, knowing that it would be very unpleasant for her to find herself with Monsieur A, whom I’m also forced to invite. They are not on good terms with each other. Monsieur A detests Madame X, and I think it’s mutual…. If you were there, that would settle everything. Then I know that she, as well as her husband, would be delighted to come.

I’m also going to ask Monsieur Vital and Mademoiselle Pauline Romet to come. If everything is organized the way I wish, I’ll be very happy, but if I see myself only in the company of the A. family and Madame X, that wouldn’t be suitable. However, for the reason you know, the latter cannot refuse me without insulting me, and she’s too well acquainted with the proprieties to decline my invitation. However, I don’t want to insist that you come because you’re not obligated to become involved in all this.

I have my two oldest girls with me, who are on vacation. It’s a true pleasure for me, but also a real increase in work because I must take care of everything they’ll need for the summer holidays. I’m having all their dresses repaired, so I’m up to my neck in dressmakers. And in addition to this, I have urgent orders due this week; none are completed, and that worries me.

I forgot to give you news about my sister [Sr Marie-Dosithée], whom I just saw. My sister is doing well at the moment. I brought little Thérèse with me, who was very happy to go by train. When we arrived in Le Mans, she was tired and she cried. She stayed in the parlor the entire time, well-behaved like a big girl. Her aunt didn’t come back, but she usually doesn’t. I don’t know what was bothering her, but her little heart was heavy. Finally, silent tears came, and she was choking. I don’t know if it was the grill that had frightened her, but afterwards, all was well. She answered all the questions as if she were taking an exam!

The Superior came to see her and gave her some little gifts. I said to her, “Ask the good Mother to give you her blessing.” She answered, “Mother, do you want to come to our house?” This made everyone laugh (read here the letter of Marie-Dosithée on this meeting).

At the moment I’m alone with her because the maid and the other children went to take Léonie to catechism. I gave her my box of pennies so she would leave me in peace because she was crying very hard when she saw the others leaving without her. But, hearing her father, she said to me, “Mama, Papa’s coming. Quick, pick up the pennies!”

I have the feeling we’re going to spend this year as peacefully as the previous ones. I continue to remain quite skeptical! I know that at a given time, that only God knows, big disasters will certainly happen that our poor country well deserves, but this may not be for several years.

We had a non-religious burial last week at ten o’clock in the morning. The funeral cortege, which left from the rue des Tisons, went through town to go to Notre-Dame Cemetery. It was Monsieur G, a former pharmacist, who had bought himself a beautiful house he was to have moved into on the Feast of St. John the Baptist. He had every possible honor. The mayor held one of the cords of the hearse, all the city councilmen were there, and the representative l’Herminier made a speech at his grave. So, my dear Isidore, this can give you an idea of what has become of our town of Alençon, if you didn’t know it well already.


© Society of St. Paul / Alba House

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