From Marist Studies
Yvert to Poupinel, Caen, 20 September 1840
Translation, Jessie Munro, 15 March 2005; checked Madeleine le Jeune.
- Dear Father
- Before I become completely absorbed by all the numerous details I’m going to give you about the new places I’m being destined to go to, I’ll start this letter by thanking you from the bottom of my heart for the every-increasing acts of kindness and goodness you are overwhelmingly showering on me. Oh, there is no doubt but that the heartfelt prayers you do not cease to offer for me to our divine Redeemer and his Holy Mother, protector of our labours, are renewing in me all the vigour and energy of youth and are causing me to spend the happiest holiday of my life! Your reward will be great, for it will be in proportion to the usefulness of the knowledge we are acquiring for the speedy conversion of our dear New Zealanders. Mr Montargis was telling me recently: Give thanks to the Holy Virgin for all she is inspiring you to do for the Mission of Western Oceania. Instruct your new Superiors in the extraordinary skill you have for everything to do with printing. You are almost indispensable to the Mission, since you alone will be able to get the printery working. Books are teachers. But give all credit to Mary, keeping nothing back for you, yourself.
- You will learn with fresh delight, Father, that I have finished my apprenticeship as binder and gilder etc. I am going to spend four more days with Mr Poisson, who is proving himself to be more and more a benefactor of our community, since in addition to several small items he will donate to the Society, he is making a gift to us of a good wooden press which admittedly will serve only in the training of our young printers and as a back-up for our iron press, which will be indispensable. But I will transport with me only the iron pieces out of the wooden press, taking upon myself responsibility for constructing out there the large wooden parts required to support the main body of the press, which is also in iron.
- Guided by Mr Poisson’s wise advice, I have had made all the large tools used in binding and these will be sent when required to the place you’ll notify me of later on. When I am in Paris I will buy a small selection of gilding tools.
- I was already thinking about everything you tell me on the question of paper etc. I only want to purchase in Paris those items that can be conveniently dispatched without further checking, such as paper, cardboard, skins, parchments, string, thread, ink, organs etc. Being trade objects, they can be readily purchased by any reliable person.
- Therefore I will only have to concern myself with the characters, the press, the chases etc, items requiring meticulous selection. Mr Poisson was telling me the other day that he has never received a well-made font of characters and he almost ordered me to have any piece of work typeset as a sample with the characters which will serve for French, Latin and English, and to take with me printed pages of these same characters. All the items bought in Caen will be paid for before my departure, and the value will not amount to much; I will take with me my modest means to use in Paris, and for the remainder of my purchases I will draw on the Lyon House. Moreover, I will do nothing without first submitting it to Mr Tesson. You can rely on me for these details, as I shall act in the strictest economical way, without neglecting anything indispensable.
- I must confess I haven’t spoken at all to Mr Leherpeur [?], although he may know something which has spread around quite a bit in spite of me. My apprenticeship in every department is the main cause for this. But in order to avoid any explanation on my part, I won’t say any farewells, which is quite a common thing to happen in the case of those people consecrating themselves to the Missions. Mr Montargis will deal with replying to the people of my acquaintanceship who might be offended by this.
- Printing together with binding consists of six different stages: composition, imposition, printing, drying and layout of the printed sheets, binding and gilding. Let us thank the good Virgin who has been my first master in this, because everything is classified in my head, everything has been done and written in my notebook. So, with the care I am putting into my purchases, nothing will be missing.
- Your obedient son
- Your obedient son
[Written in margins]:
- My respectful regards to our worthy Superior, to venerable Mr Forest, to Mr Roulleaux whom I embrace with all my heart.
- If Mr Roulleaux is going, we will still need to have a good skilled and intelligent brother, because three Europeans will be indispensable to set it all in train, although by the end of six months everything will be gradually up and going.
- The multiple dealings I am responsible for are preventing me from going to Le Havre. However, as you say, this year will go by without buying the ship. Everything will stay in Caen at the premises of Mr Poisson and in Paris at the Foreign Missions, until you nominate a city.
- Don’t write to me any longer at Caen, but to the Foreign Missions.
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