From Marie Guérin to Mme La Néele - September 15, 1893.

From Marie Guérin to Mme La Néele - September 15, 1893.

Dear little Jeanne,

If I’m not writing to you on my pretty pink paper it is because, you see, I haven’t any to hand, and as I am in a hurry, I haven’t taken the time to go and look for it. Moreover, I’ve lots of things to tell you. When I write to you, Mama always has loads of messages for me to give you, to the extent that I think the small piece of paper won’t be sufficient.

So I will begin by saying, on Mama’s behalf, that you are a very kind and very amiable little lady to give us an account of all your actions and movements like you did in your last letter. By doing so, you comforted your parents who are overflowing with happiness. There has been such a hullaballoo in the house today: Céline had an excellent idea yesterday evening, since people are always criticising her, or rather telling her that what is lacking in all her paintings is the fact that she has never taken lessons from a great master. She thought of Krug who is painting the dome of the Abbey and who does very good portraits. He is a pupil of Flandrin… So Papa went to find Fr. Domin, he saw Krug and he has agreed to at least come and give Céline a few tips. He will perhaps even give her some lessons, but he is in such a hurry to finish his dome that he [2r°] didn’t make any promises.

Céline is delighted; she will show him her Nativity (Céline would therefore ask the Carmel to have her painting back for a few days) and my portrait. If Krug can give her a few lessons, she will do Mama’s portrait under his direction.

Everyone is thrilled with this idea, and we don’t understand why we didn’t think of it sooner, especially you, for you have seen the painter and always have such excellent ideas.

Yesterday we went to the ceremony at the Refuge… It was very pretty, there were four rows of raised seats in the open air, and then the altar was also dressed in the open. The famous Herman performed some violin pieces for us that were indescribably beautiful. The notes seemed to die out in the far distance; it was of exquisite delicateness and finesse. The parish priest of Saint Pierre in Caen gave a very fine sermon; it lasted three quarters [2v°] of an hour and he held people’s attention throughout, which is very rare. Everyone was delighted and there were lots of people there!... All the château owners from the surrounding area and even from very far away came to attend the ceremony, and there was a very large gathering of priests. As for the collection takers, they were very graceful and wore beige robes.

As for our walk in Saint-Ouen (Saint-Ouen-le-Pin, property owned by Mrs. Fournet), am I going to find the room to tell you about it? We had magnificent weather, we were supposed to collect lots of fish and hazelnuts before returning to Lisieux, but we came back empty-handed… They are hardly any more trout, they weren’t biting… as for the hazelnuts, we brought back very few. It appears that there aren’t many of them this year. Papa, on the other hand, caught two thrushes.

Poor Father is beginning to suffer from his rheumatism again (in his arm, which inhibited his work as a journalist); he will apply another vesicant this [lr°tv] very evening. And you, my dear little Jeanne, what are you up to? With all my tales, I haven’t had the time to talk about you. You are going on many walks according to your letter. Continue, that way you will deserve all the compliments and ever-growing affection of your parents.

Your little sister, who joins all the family in sending you and Francis lots of love.


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