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From Marie Guérin to Léonie - July 27, 1892.

From Marie Guérin to Léonie - July 27, 1892. 

La Musse, 27th July 1892.

Dear Léonie,

Do you have a poetic spirit? I hope that the answer is positive, for in that case you are going to be able to savour, taste, and appreciate a letter written by the blue bird on her tree perch. Here on a branch, there is no need for blotting paper; the sun takes care of that. It even exceeds its rights; my pen often dries out, and as a result, I am often obliged to take my inkwell out of my pocket and, into it, dip the instrument which conveys all my feelings. My hand is a little unsteady, because [lv°] you see, I’ve just had the fright of my life: a little squirrel just crossed the alley next to me and, sitting opposite me in the neighbouring tree, he really seems to me mocking me. He no doubt recognises me as a breed of climber and not a rodent.

I can tell you that here in La Musse, everyone is upside-down. The birds come to tweet tweet in my ears, asking: “So where is Léonie then?” From my tree I can just see the Iton, whose clear water is taciturnly rolling along because of the sorrow it feels at not being able to reflect your face; and the out-buildings! Oh the out-buildings! Stables, sheds etc. Sitting comfortably on their foundations, they look out of their skylights to see whether you will appear; they miss your little daily visits. And Bichette [2r°]and Martin, not your fellow family member but your homonym, are clamouring a horsewoman; they neigh and eeyore endlessly. As for the henhouse, the rabbits, hens and cockerels are tearing at their crests, tails and ears. And the wild rabbits from the woods, twenty of which came to have their meal the first evening after our arrival, are now reduced to only five or six; why? Because they don’t spot your silhouette in the distance. As for the inhabitants, they cry with one eye for each of you, so much so that both eyes form two fountains that never run dry. We fear a flood…

Oh misery!... just now as I was writing, a fairly strong gust of wind almost blew away my letter. Who wouldn’t run after such a masterpiece?

[2v°] Now that I’ve well and truly bored you, I can tell you that as a reward for all my mischief, a certain little cousin with a biting wit came to sit very delicately on my foot and deposited her bad mood there. So now I am keeping you company, am reduced to having to rest, as my foot is as big as an egg.

My dear little Léonie, I will finish by sending you the portrait of Queen Victoria (with which Marie’s writing paper was watermarked): at this very moment I’m writing on the end of her nose which is decidedly not pointed. Please look at the reverse of this paper in the light, and you will see I’m telling the truth.

Farewell, my dear little Léonie, do give my love to my uncle and to my little Céline. How is Uncle?...

Give kisses to the Carmelites (the three Martin cousins; they would be symbolic kisses because at the time, grilles and veils prevented them from touching) on my behalf when you see them.

Excuse the scribble, but in the critical position I am in, I can’t do any better.

Your little sister Marie.

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