56th letter Bergerons
My dearest and beloved Reymond
Today, Sunday, I will not go out. I was alone most of the day with my little Georges up until now -it is 3:00. As I told you, yesterday afternoon they came to get my dad for my aunt who was very ill. He returned at nightfall and mom went there to spend the night. Towards the evening the doctor, Mr. Bouvat, came to see my dad and he gave him no hope for her recovery. He wrote a prescription for some medication which my dad then went to get in the morning in St. Péray. Right now, at the time that I am writing to you, he went to take a short rest while the cows are eating. Then after giving them something to drink and helping to milk them, he will go there again to spend the night and mother will return to sleep here. Mother came by for a moment during the day but had to go back again. At that time, there was only Mariette from Fringuet at their house but, since she is so sick, she constantly needs two people to take care of her or to get her what she needs. She cannot be left alone.
What terrible news for poor Isaac! Yesterday I sent him a card to warn him that his mother was extremely tired. Nothing has been mentioned to him yet and since the disease seems to be progressing, I thought that we should not hide the truth from him. Yesterday Mr. Bouvat said that it was very possible that she would not be alive after tomorrow. So, maybe today I would do well to send a few words again to Isaac to inform him that she is doing much worse. I will not tell him how things are the way that I am telling it to you, it would be too hard on him.
From his home, his sister wanted to write to him, but this does not prevent me in any way from sending him a few words, since I already started to prepare him yesterday. Poor Isaac… I really feel sorry for him. To know that we have already buried his father and he was not able to come and, now, it looks like it will be the same situation with his mother… by all appearances. Only misery exists on this poor earth!
It seems that this morning my uncle Simeon returned home from Alboussière but he did not stop here (they were no more friends than with us, only when they had things to do together so I wondered why he dared to go there). But this is not where I wanted to go with that, I just wanted to tell you that my aunt opened her mouth to tell him what a wonderful place she was going to and how she longed to be with her Savior. These words must have seemed very strange to Simeon because he did not respond to her.
My darling, I do not think that I will chat with you for very long today. I do not know what to say to you right now. I am thinking of all these different types of miseries and sorrows and I do not know what to write.
Would you like me to talk to you about it? My dad planted the clover but, yesterday, he was not able to finish bundling what he had sowed on the Jacques’ land. It has started to rain; today again, it rained for the greater part of the day. Now the weather has cleared, maybe it will be a beautiful day. Since I sent you the cost per days of the help, Viauja only came once. None-the-less, you can see from the details that I give you, that part of your work is getting done, at least the most important part. The land is not empty.
Thank God my dad is not ill and therefore he can work a lot. However, sometimes he says that he feels incapable of doing it when there are big jobs to do and the days are as short as they are right now. Because of this he proposed to me to keep cows at Rondez, where the grass is short. That way the animals can graze there and we would not have to worry about leaving the grass and shrubs to dry out.
If you are opposed to it then I will not let him do it, but for my part, I think that it would not be too bad.
Since the meadows are not mowed, the herdsman will not be able to keep all the cows alone, so I would help him out for a few hours each day and instead of giving them hay or other fodder they will be sufficiently satisfied in the meadow. The herdsman will also stay a few extra hours each day to help my dad. Many people have told me that they wanted to do the same thing.
What do you expect? We manage things as best as we can. If the wars do not come to an end there will not be enough people to work in the fields. Recently I saw Marie from Bellin rolling their wheat and spreading fertilizer and manure with her brother. As for me, I do not do these kinds of jobs. My health does not permit me to. Even though I am not sick, I will never be much stronger. If I don’t sleep enough or I am too tired, I get a headache again.
Last night I slept very little and today I have a heavy head. My arm hurts a lot. I have to buy another box epispastic paper because I still have pain in one ear and if I do not take care of this blister when I need too, it might be a greater inconvenience later on. I do not know if we will go to Valence tomorrow with Georges. I really hope so and from there I will send you a few more words if I go.
Goodbye, my beloved, I will write you a much longer letter when I am better prepared and when it is not so dark. I kiss you many times on both cheeks and on your beard also.
Your wife who loves you,
Have I told you before that the Fayat’s son from Fialaix is in Romans with a shoulder injury? As for the other one who was married to Sylvie, no one knows anything at all about him.
Georges bothered me as much as he could while I was writing to you. The poor little thing wanted me to play with him and I let him cry for that. Finally I took his little hand in mine and he wrote you the letter. There it is…very happy, very proud.
I told him that I would take him to Valence and he was very pleased. He asked me many questions about it, but mostly he wanted to know if I would buy him a cake.
Oh! What a little greedy boy. And now he is calling his grandpa, who is busy giving the cows something to drink, to play with him. He gets bored playing all alone with his games and that is understandable.
One day you asked me if we would have enough hay. There are several bales left. We used 2 as feed: the worst one and one of the older ones.
During the course of this week we must bring in another one (I think Uncle Eugene will help us this week because he helped out a few days in Fraisse in order to pay some debt). There are 4 outside including 2 small ones. The attic where the goats are is still half full.
We still have young clover in the attic of Jacques, more than enough for the pigs. If we kept the cows that are at Rondez, probably just one of the big bundles will be enough for us to go well into the summer.
Emma did not speak to me any more about the one belonging to the Mellys which you already know …
Letter from Georges to his dad
Am I not a good boy for writing you a short letter?
Mommy is holding my little hand in hers, and I’m glad to let her guide me.
I laugh at it and I make little comments as I watch our writing because I do not know how to read.
I send you lots of mimis and I wish that you come soon
Your little Georges
 Fodder : Feed for livestock, especially coarsely chopped hay or straw
 Bales : round bundles of hay