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From Marie Guérin to Mme La Néele - January 17, 1894.

From Marie Guérin to Mme La Néele - January 17, 1894. 

17th January 1894

Dear little Jeanne,

Before I began writing to you, I had a great moment of hesitation, it wasn’t: “will it be Hortense?... will it be Alice?...” but it was: “will it be the pink paper?... will it be the grey?...” The colour grey might have been more fitting, because poor Lisieux has been flooded by nothing but bad news, but I myself prefer pink because despite the sadness, I want to give a [lv°] touch of jollity to my letter.

So I will tell you that most unfortunately Mrs. Aubrée has just lost her little girl (Madeleine-Louise-Marie Aubrée, 3 months and 26 days old, died on 11th January. Her first child had died at the age of two on 26th September 1891), apparently the poor family is in despair. She had whooping cough complicated with bronchitis, so she died like her first little girl. When this was announced to me earlier, I was left speechless before poor Mr. Bidet who was telling me the news. I let out such a loud cry that he was left speechless himself.

I’m beginning with the bad news so that I can talk about more cheerful things afterwards. The youngest Passerel child has died, too. She was fourteen years old; she must have had a heart disease.

Now that I’ve finished the bad news, I can tell you that yesterday we had a visit from the “the little beloved” and her mama (unknown visitors). Marthe was here and she said to her: “Hello sweetheart”, which the little girl retained well, and then she spoke a great deal about her grandson. He’s such an extraordinary child that even if I related all his doings, I still don’t think you would perceive how intelligent he is. At five and a half months [2v°] he gets very angry about lamb ragout, and can say papa and mama (I don’t know whether he can say “Hello sweetheart” properly yet, but I don’t think he’s far from it) and kisses his hobby horse as soon as he’s asked to (his ears are very perceptive). While his grandmother was saying this to us, an extremely funny misunderstanding took place. She told us that this extraordinary child’s father was unable to say a word all day long on the day he was born (he very much wanted a girl). Mama thought she was talking about the baby and replied: “Oh! How frightened you must have been, he didn’t cry all day.” You can imagine this had me in fits of giggles, and since then I haven’t been able to think about it without bursting out laughing.

Would you, dear little Jeanne, tell Céline that Uncle is still the same. He doesn’t say anything but [lr°tv] he’s quite calm. We go to see him very, very often. Yesterday, as he didn’t had a very good lunch we gave him veal escallops for dinner. This morning he had rillettes and cake. Everything is fine at the house; Marie works with Uncle all the time. Since Céline left, the roofers have been on the house. I’m watching over things; there’s been no damage. They’ve mostly been working on the workshop roof; there’ll be no more damp.

While we’re on the subject of the workshop, the Miss Maudelondes find mine and Jean’s photographs very good. Papa says Jean’s photo will be perfect. As for the Miss Primois’, I haven’t seen them. I think they’ll be a gathering on Saturday at 5 o’clock. Céline mustn’t miss the train, whatever she does… We’ll come to meet her at 4:20.

I send you all lots of love.

Marie

Papa and Mama do the same

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