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10 January 1846. - Letter from Guillaume Douarre to Marie-Louise Boutarel

Translated by Natalie Keen, May 2010

From source APM Douarre documents (to Mlle Boutarel).

One sheet, “Fine Bath” paper, comprising four pages of which two are handwritten, the third blank, the fourth bearing only the address and a few words in the writer’s hand.


Mademoiselle * Mademoiselle Boutarel * at Pontgibaud *Puy de Dôme

[Post marks]
LYON 24 NOV. 46 (68) ---- CLERMONT FERRAND 62 25 NOV. 46 --- PONTGIBAUD 25 NOV. 1845

[P.1, at the top of the page]

[in Poupinel’s hand]
N(ew) Caledonia * 10 January 1846 * M(onsei)g(neu)r Douarre


My long silence must surprise and shock you. Attribute this only to the fact that I am too busy. I know only too well how kind you have been to me and to the good priest Roudaire who is so dear to me. Everything you do for the Mission of Saint Austremoine is indeed further cause for my gratitude. You will have heard the rumours that have been circulating at Clermont about a letter I had written to Monseigneur the Archbishop of Paris and Monseigneur himself will have mentioned it to you; it won’t be long before you learn that it is a nasty squabble aimed at making difficulties for me and robbing me of one of the things I hold most dear, the respect and affection of Monseigneur. Hardships as you know. Mademoiselle, must be the lot of the missionary. I shall always accept them resignedly, in the strong belief that sooner or later they will result in the greatest good for the mission. I would give you details; but you know them already through the Annales de la Propagation.
I shall ask you to send us only a few overalls but lots of girdles eighteen inches wide to fit both men and women. The dark colours are not at all popular; red is all the rage and I believe that this colour alone will be able to encourage the men to cover up. Blue necklaces would suit us very well but they have to be glass, of the size of rosary beads. Moreover the bigger the beads the better, provided they are not dull; the natives love bright things. The small white pearls for offertory bags or chalice covers constitute the main valuables of the natives who make them with small fish or bird bones and store them with the greatest care as we would for precious stones.
I hope that when I next write to you I shall have Father Roudaire with me. Then I shall get him to write you huge long letters, to give you all the details on the country you could wish. For the moment however, I must content myself with what I have written. Since Mademoiselle Gargheon and you are so to speak like one person, this letter will be a joint one for you. Please don’t forget to remember me to the parish priest at Pontgibaud, to your dear parents, to Monsieur Loupret, and to anyone who has an interest in me. I commend myself especially to the prayers of those who support you so enthusiastically in your charitable undertakings. For my part, Mademoiselle, I never forget you before the Lord and am relying on you to do the same. I leave you in the hearts of Jesus and Mary where we all find happiness.
Please accept sincere continuing gratitude with which I have the honour to be, Mademoiselle, your most humble servant,
+G(uillaume) Bishop of Amata
Pouhivoué (New Caledonia) 10 January 1846