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Br Abraham to Fr Poupinel, Samoa, 12 June 1867



With Marie-Nizier withdrawn to Sydney, Abraham was now the only brother in Apia. Still in charge of the temporal affairs of the station (rf the list of supplies he requests in [6]), he was also expected to finish off the building of the brothers’ house. It is not surprising that his health should suffer, and we find here the beginnings of a steady deterioration which will culminate in his death only three years later.

Bataillon and Elloy are distinguished in this letter by the use of ‘His Lordship’ for the former and ‘Monsignor’ for the latter. Elloy himself was not in good health, a condition the brother rightly attributes to the tensions cause by his relations with Bataillon, and his inability to do anything about the problems facing his missionaries (rf L 180). The young man Aloisio mentioned in [3] is probably the same one who ran away from Clydesdale and was later repatriated to Samoa (Hosie 179).

Text of the Letter

Very Reverend Father,
I received your letter of 9 December 1866 and it gave me great pleasure, for a word from a Superior is a real happiness for the one under him. It is even enough sometimes to keep him content.
I continue my exercises of piety and my other duties as usual. Mass is a bit like the weather; one day everything is fine, another day things are not so good.
I am still working on the house with Aloisio. We are making progress.
When Monsignor Elloy arrived in Samoa I was sick. As he brought some wine and that is the best medicine for my stomach, I recovered after several days. It was the same another time, then it was His Lordship who returned to restore me to health. Sometimes since his arrival in Samoa Monsignor has fallen ill himself of a malady very painful for him and for others, for I believe it is caused by the anxieties he suffers.
But I imagined that when he came back from Sydney he would have all his court with him, grand vizir [sic], lackeys, etc. and that his Br Abraham could rest at ease. Not a bit of it. He had to do everything and there was still the house requiring to be put up quickly. And that was what caused me to fall ill. I would have liked to ask His Lordship for a cure but he had left for Tonga. I was forced to wait for the good God to retore my health which he did. At present I am well.
You tell me, very Reverend Father, to ask you for things I need from the funds you have. Here is what would please me: 4 white candlesticks for benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, a trunk for myself, of a reasonable size but good and solid, a pound at least, a clock, 2 vases for flowers for the chapel, some coloured linen shirts I could use and also as many flannel, if there is enough money. If it has run out I rely on your generosity and kindness.
Goodbye for now, my Very Reverend Father, please do not forget me in your good prayers.
I am, with profound respect and entire submission, My very Reverend Father,
Your very humble and obedient servant,
Br Abraham.

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