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Chateau de la Lande, Saulzais-Le Potier, residence of the Marquis and Marquise de la Roche, is about 12 miles south of St. Amand. Capt. S.B.Butler visited the chateau several times and describes it in the letters to his mother and fiancé. The following three letters are from the Marquise de La Roche. She has a very interesting way of writing, using hardly any commas or periods instead using the ellipses (those 3 dots) and dashes liberally. She also adds apostrophes before the "s" in almost every plural word. I think it is interesting that the letters span about 3 years, but the topics remain eerily the same. We do learn the fate of M. Gillet the sous-prefet of St. Amand. And the Marquise does invite Sylvester to visit La Lande if he is ever in France -- an invitation I was privileged to enjoy in the summer of 1998. -- David (grandson). [comments in square-brackets are by me.]
My dear captain
Excuse me for being so long before answering your very nice letter - but I've been ill - poisoned I suppose with bad fish. I'm better now and will not stay any longer without sending you all the felicitations of all the family here. Little Roger should like to know the wife of Captain Butler!
I sent your letter to Monsieur Gillet that's still in Paris and [h]as had another serious attack of his illness - he is better now but still in bed.
Everyone here feel's rather anxious about President Wilson's
health . . . it would be, I think, terrible if he died before
the end of the ratification of the Peace Treaty !!! I do hope
he will get better. In the paper's this morning it seem's a little
better . . .
I have not heard of Major June since last Easter - like I don't know his address - its impossible for me to hear of him. I suppose he is in Germany with the army of occupation, don't you think - And Freddy [Lt. Fred Leviseur] ? have you heard of him - I've had a very long and nice letter from Mrs. Gold. She must be now in New York.
I shall be very pleased my dear Captain if you can write from
time to time.
Everyone here sends you their best regards. I join them.
Mme de La Roche
Soyez indulgent pour mon mauvais anglais et mes fautes.
Monsieur S. B. Butler
My dear friend
It was very nice of you writing this long letter which I received in Paris a fortnight ago.
I am now in La Lande but quite alone - my daughter de
La Rochefoucauld, her husband and boys are at the sea-side
"en Bretagne." Monsieur de La Roche and my daughter
Germaine are gone for a trip in Belgium. I could not go with
them because I have been very ill last spring --- I'm better
now but doctor's dont allow travelling. . .
I was most interested by all you said in your letter about "Ligue des Nations." It would be marvellous if we can have it . . . but !!! . . . can we think ever to have it by all what is going on around it --
We French people where much surprised and pained -- when America refused the occupation with us -- But I think we did well - it was really necessary that we done so . . . Germany is so very near us.
I always felt sure that our American friends that saw poor France while this horrible war would feel like us - and that like us, you defere [prefer?] to prevent another war from coming.
Dont you think the "gouvernment" does not remember enough about all those who gave their live and blood for peace - and think to, about the state of our poor countries where the battles took place !!! . . . They only think of "Politique" and that in all the countries !! . . . We are all in a very critical pass . . . . I do hope it will end well.
Thank you so much for the addresses you sent me. I have had news of Pauline Gold . . do you remember the nice time we had with her.
All the family sends their best regards -
Mes meilleurs et affectueux Souvenirs
Mme de La Roche
Dont forget to send news from time to time
Excuse my bad english writing
Sir Sylvester B. Butler
My dear captain
I was very glad to receive the picture of your very sweet and pretty baby - I do hope that one day I will see him and his mother. I must tell you that by the picture I find him a splendid boy with very intelligent and pretty eyes.
My second daughter, Germaine is now married with the Marquis
de Gracy one of our neighbour's near Moulins in the departement
de l'Allier he [h]as a very large propriété and
another one called "Gracy" dans la Nièvre where
you had some of your Army while the war . . .
She is going to have a baby in March next --
My eldest daughter the Comptess de La Rochefoucauld has had another boy last August -- the two eldest you know are getting on pretty well, Young Roger is now Seven and little Georges five.
I have been very ill after the war but am quite all right just now. You know I had I suppose to[o] much work with all the "refugies" and hospital's --
I do hope Clemenceau's text to the States may have change[d] a little what your "government" thinks - After that horrid and dreadfull war one should suppose all the world would wish peace . . . but as you say all still seems so unsettled. Everyone ought to go and see the battlefield and then make up their opinion on what is "Peace"
I do hope something good will come out of "Lausanne"
You know -- you that came in France -- in what awful state is
the north of my poor country -- at my grandfather's place near
Peronne nothing is left. I could hardly know the place when I
saw it after the war !!!
German's must pay a little more than they have done it till now.
A great fault was made at my idea - it was that Peace ought
to have been signed in Berlin and not Versailles. In the war
of 1870 Bismarck and the old Kaiser came to sign peace in Versailles
and six month's after we had payed . . .
Shall we ever be payed of all the "damages" I do not think . . . but what must be prevented is another war, and I feel quite certain that all the Americans that came in the war just think the same thing . . . Let us hope that soon all will be settled and that: for the sake of the whole world.
You remember the sous prefet de St. Amand Monsieur Gillet he died 10 months ago - poor man he was so ill - he had left St. Amand being to[o] ill and had gone in a propriete of his at Covey le Chateau --
Do not forget to let me know if you ever come to France - I shall be so glad to see you again in La Lande.
All the family send's you leur meilleur Souvenirs.
Excuse my bad english I shall not read my letter before sending it because I should'nt send it feeling all the fault's
Mon tres affectueux Souvenir
Mme de La Roche