My dear Pauline,
Today is the beautiful Feast of the Ascension and I’m taking the opportunity to write to you. This will be the last time I write before you leave since Mademoiselle Pauline will bring you home May 31. We only have to go eight more days without seeing each other. Marie talks about it nonstop, but she’s ready to cry when she thinks of you going back to school. However, we must resign ourselves to it. Happiness can’t last forever.
Your vacation comes just at the right time. At the moment, they’re getting ready for some big celebrations in Alençon for the occasion of an Exposition. They’ll begin on Pentecost Sunday, that is, the day after your arrival. There will be fireworks, balloons, a torchlight procession every night for a week, and a thousand other things that I don’t have time to tell you. You’ve never seen anything like it in Alençon. As for me, all this doesn’t amuse me, but for you, it will be different.
Marie went to the eight o’clock Mass this morning. She was a little tired when she returned. I just made her lie down. Now we don’t prevent her from eating any more. However, we mustn’t move too quickly yet. She stays up almost all day.
The whole family is celebrating your arrival. We make Céline do everything we want her to do by saying to her, “If you do this, Pauline will come.”
A week from Monday we’ll go by carriage to see little Thérèse. She’s very strong now. I saw her last Thursday. Her wet nurse brought her, but she no longer wants to stay with us. She let out piercing screams when she didn’t see the wet nurse anymore. So Louise had to take her to the market where “little Rose” was selling her butter. There was no other way of handling it.
As soon as she saw her wet nurse, she looked at her and started laughing. Then she didn’t breathe another word. She stayed like that, selling butter with all the good women, until noon! As for me, I can’t hold her for a long time without getting very tired; she weighs fourteen pounds. She’ll be very good and even very pretty later on.
Your father leaves Tuesday on a pilgrimage to Chartres (this pilgrimage took place May 27-28). He won’t be back until Wednesday during the night.
Goodbye, my dear Pauline, I hug you with all my heart.
Saint Zélie Martin
CF102 from St. Zélie to her daughter Pauline
22 May 1873