Isabelle RIMBAUD (1860-1917). L.A.S. "Isabelle",... - Lot 200 - Ader

Lot 200
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Isabelle RIMBAUD (1860-1917). L.A.S. "Isabelle",... - Lot 200 - Ader
Isabelle RIMBAUD (1860-1917). L.A.S. "Isabelle", Marseille October 28, 1891, to her mother Vitalie Rimbaud; 3 pages and a half in-4 (28 x 21,5 cm) of a bifeuillet, in a volume of slate paper with ivory parchment edges, title in gilded letters on the upper cover (P.-L Martin). Extraordinary testimony on Rimbaud's last moments by his sister Isabelle. [Rimbaud will die on November 10 at the Conception hospital in Marseille, after a long agony, watched by his sister Isabelle, who evokes here the conversion of her brother. The authenticity of this testimony, marked by an exalted mysticism, has been questioned, and we know of two copies (one of which is incomplete) made later by Isabelle with variations, and a version reworked for publication; Paul Claudel and André Suarès also made copies. This letter is the original sent to her mother, as evidenced by the fold marks: the letter was folded three times to the size of 7.3 x 10.5 cm so that it could fit into an envelope (unfortunately no longer in existence); it is written in fine, regular handwriting in black ink, on a double sheet of squared paper. This letter has never until now been properly published; we transcribe it here in accordance with the original]. "My dear mother, God be a thousand times blessed! On Sunday I experienced the greatest happiness I can have in this world. It is no longer a poor, reprobate wretch who is going to die beside me: it is a just man, a saint, a martyr, a chosen one! During the past week the chaplains had come to see him twice, he had received them well but with so much weariness and discouragement that they had not dared to speak to him about death; on Saturday evening all the nuns prayed together for him to have a good death; on Sunday morning after the high mass he seemed calmer and in full knowledge; one of the chaplains came back and proposed to him to go to confession: and he was willing! - When the priest came out, he said to me, looking at me with a troubled air, a strange air: "Your brother has faith, my child, what were you telling us? He has faith, and I have never even seen faith of this quality!" I kissed the ground, weeping and laughing. O God! what joy! even in death, even through death! what can death do to me, life and all the universe and all the happiness of the world, now that his soul is saved! Lord, soften his agony, help him to carry his cross, have mercy on him again, have mercy on him again, you who are so good! oh yes, so good. Thank you, my God! Thank you, God! When I returned to him he was very moved but he did not cry, he was serenely sad, as I have never seen him. He looked me in the eyes as he never looked at me before. He wanted me to come close, he said: "You are of the same blood as me: do you believe? - I answered: "I believe; others much more learned than me have believed, believe; and then, I am sure now, I have the proof, that is!" And, it is true, I have the proof, today! - He said to me again with bitterness: "Yes, they say they believe, they pretend to be converted, but it is so that one reads what they write, it is a speculation!" I hesitated and then said, "Oh no! They would make more money by blaspheming." He was still looking at me with heaven in his eyes; so was I. He wanted to kiss me, then, "We can well have the same soul since we are of the same blood. Do you believe then?" and I repeated: "Yes I believe, we must believe." - Then he said to me: "We must prepare everything in the room, tidy everything up; he will come back with the sacraments. You will see, we will bring the candles and the lace: we must put white cloths everywhere. So I am in sickness!" He was anxious but not desperate as on other days, and I could see very well that he longed for the sacraments, especially communion. Since then, he never blasphemed again; he called Christ on the cross, and he prayed, yes, he prayed! But the chaplain could not give him communion: first he was afraid of impressing him too much; then he spits a lot at the moment and cannot suffer anything in his mouth: they feared an involuntary profanation. And he, believing that he has been forgotten, became sad but did not complain. Death is coming fast; I told you in my last letter, my dear mom, that his stump was very swollen, now it's a huge cancer between the hip and the belly just above the bone: but this stump which was so sensitive, so painful, almost doesn't make him suffer anymore. Arthur has not seen this deadly tumor, he is surprised that everyone comes to see this poor stump to which he feels almost nothing, and all the doctors (there have already been 10 since I reported this terrible disease) remain silent and terrified
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