Mlle Souvestre to Mrs Strachey

Scope and Content

Has been very tired and depressed for the last month. At the same time that she knew about Dorothy hovering between life and death, their dear little Lizzie Fraser left them already stricken by the mystery illness which ended in the terrible denouement which they refused to believe possible. Then cam the blow, again unexpected, about Nancy. It was all impossible to talk about in letters. She preferred living on memory and feeling her friend present in the silences. They had however some pleasant interludes, especially in England. The children were charming and Oliver a poppet. While in England she had the pleasure of hearing Mr Morley say that her friend was 'la femme la plus distinguee de votre temps'. After a fortnight she went, from a sense of duty to her poor sister, to visit the widower. The only reflection she can make is that for her poor sister 'la mort etait un bien' The next day she is returning with Lina to 'Les Ruches' and then on to Belgium to spend the last fortnight of their holidays. With regard to the exhibition of pictures she would specially like to have taken her to a small exhibition of rejects from the big one. Amongst the artist shown were Corot, Millet, Delacroix, Rousseau... She is sending her friend a small book 'Contes d'Alphonse Daudet' and hopes she will like it no less than the sender does. Everybody tells her that Mrs Strachey [now in India with her husband, who went back to India in 1877 to help solve railway problems and remained there till 1879] spends her time going to balls and organising society functions. Asks her to tell her when she writes of other things she does. Wants news of the General who in the absence of his brother possibly faces a hard task ['While in India this time he filled his brother John's place on the Council as financial member and 'presided with great ability over a commission to inquire into the causes of the terrible famine and to suggest possible remedies']. Sends affectionate messages to the General and to Eleanor and Dorothy who are out there.