From Marie Guérin to Léonie - March 28, 1889.

From Marie Guérin to Léonie. 28th March 1889.

Dear little Léonie,

If only you knew how comfortable I am set up to come and talk to you (the Guérins were temporarily living in “Maison Sauvage”, 16, rue Condorcet, from 25th March to 7th June, until they moved definitively to 19, rue de la Chaussée (today rue Paul Banaston).

I am in an enormous bedroom that reminds me of the one you have in Caen, it is very cold but what a view it has. At present, I am at my little desk and spread out before my eyes is the public garden. There is one thing that wrenches my heart when I look out of the window: it’s not seeing you walk across the public garden as you used to.

There is finally beginning to be a bit less hustle and bustle. You should have seen the destitution we were in on Tuesday evening; there was nothing but our beds, and no curtains in the windows, so we were obliged to stay in darkness. The first thing I did when I arrived in this house was to ask Mrs. Sauvage for the key to the letter box. I assure you this little box is dear to my heart and in the mornings I come down in my nightshirt to see whether I can recognize my dear little sisters’ handwriting.

The move doesn’t stop me from thinking of you, on the contrary, while going up the stairs [1v°] (for we go up them more than once a day, I am kept busy doing so) my thoughts always turn to Caen. I’m counting the days until your coming to Lisieux for I’m hoping you will come on Thursday. (Thursday 4th April; in fact Céline was not able to come until Saturday 6th) I beg you, my dear little sister, persuade Céline to come next week, you simply must see our manor house, and also just to please me; it makes me so happy to have you for a while.

I believe we will be obliged to have a caretaker, the doorbell doesn’t stop ringing all day long. We, who are not used to a continual dingaling, are surprised and are starting to believe it’s out of curiosity that people come to our house. At least if it was you coming to ring the bell my Léonie I would be happy and it wouldn’t take me long to go down the stairs to have the honour of opening the door of my abode to you. But don’t worry it would be surprising if it wasn’t me coming to open the door to you on Thursday. You would need to nail me to the floor to stop me from going myself, I won’t let Marcelline have the honour (Marcelline Husé, servant of the Guérins).

[2 r°] For you see my dear little sister, it’s a pleasure writing to you, at least during that time it seems I am near to you.

I see time is marching on: it is a quarter to 11 and I must go and have lunch at Grandma’s (Mrs. Fournet, Mrs. Guérin’s mother). I am forced to leave you, I’m not dressed yet, so I’m pushing my pen to a gallop to send you kisses with all my heart and say SEE YOU ON THURSDAY.

Your little sister


Do thank Céline for her letter for me, I was very pleased to receive it, give her a big kiss for me. Whatever you do don’t forget to give her my message.

Mr. Guéret (gardener at Les Buissonnets) didn’t find a screen. Going by what he said he looked hard.

Give my uncle my love for me when you see him.

Lisieux, 28th March 1889

Back to the list