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3 April 1846 — Brother Blaise Marmoiton to Fr Jean-Claude Colin, New Caledonia

Translated by Peter McConnell, June 2010

[ Address]
To Reverend Father Colin ¤ Superior General of the Society of Mary at Lyon ¤ rue S(ain)t Barthélemy nº 4

New Caledonia, 3 April 1846
Reverend Father, I am making use of a moment or two on the holy day of Sunday to write a few words to you and to perform a duty which you recommended to me when I left France. Father, please have some regard for my lack of ability in the letter I am writing to you. Father, in the little lapse of time since we departed, I have already felt in my heart a great deal of suffering, but thanks to our good mother, who has always protected me in a quite special way, and who will really want to continue to do so, in the first days of our landing in New Caledonia I had a fall on a rock when crossing a river. Accordingly I suffered a deep injury to my leg and the wound did not heal for fifteen months. This caused me to suffer and stopped me from carrying out duties that I would have been able to do for the mission station. My activities have been of various sorts but the most frequent has been attending the garden. Morning and night, most of the time, I attend to preparing the meals. The infinite number of jobs I have carried out in a climate so different to that in France has already well sapped my energy. In the beginning my lack of supplies has been quite considerable. Father, in some moments of boredom, the mere thought that you have raised your arms for us in prayer to our good mother has been for me a great source of help. Concerning the results of what I have sown, a large amount of the seeds which we brought were spoilt in the passage.
The wheat failed. The barley crop gave us a few grains but did not ripen easily and the grains are of no worth. The beans grow well here. The peas, cabbages, lettuce, squash, tobacco, carrots, turnips, radishes are still growing here. However among these different types of vegetables there are some which do not produce seeds or at least with difficulty. The potatoes have been a failure. The grape vine grows admirably and gives us hope. It has already produced some grapes.
Father, I would like to give you some details a little better expressed but I hope you will have some regard for my inability to do that. Father, remember me to all the priests and brothers.
Father, if this short message brings you pleasure, I would be satisfied with the little trouble I have taken. I have the honour of being your very obedient Marmoiton