Important unpublished correspondence to his father-in-law, about his legal and financial troubles during his exile.
The letters are written from Copenhagen and Korsør in 1950 and 1951, where Céline lives in a rudimentary lodging provided by his Danish lawyer Thorvald MIKKELSEN, then from Menton and Nice in 1952 after obtaining his amnesty. These exchanges testify to the total confidence that
Céline had in his father-in-law, who had sent him the money from his clandestine editions, and to whom he discreetly entrusted many financial transactions on his behalf;
Jules ALMANSOR (1882-1952) was a chartered accountant; Céline writes "Almanzor". Most of the letters are requests for help, or thanks for the great material, administrative and logistical support that he gave to his daughter Lucette and to him during their years of exile. We also find his worries about the approach of his trial, his revolt against the general incomprehension, a lot of mistrust and imprecations towards the "plunderers" of his works.
1947. Copenhagen March 15. "Sincerely and affectionately thank you for all that you do for us. This is the first time in my life (and I assure you the last time) that I have sent an SOS. I am used to coming to the rescue of others.
I don't like my own distress. [...] The new conditions that are being made for me are much better, (finally! after 16 months of torture). The authorities here could not really find anything serious in the French charges that would have allowed them to hand me over. So they had to keep me
- Oh, it's not with a very good heart! [...]
They had no reason to have me absolutely killed. I can now observe Lucette closely. She suffered a lot but her condition is improving well since I am much more often and for long hours with her"... Their living conditions will improve if he gets political refuge, "free - I hope so"... He suggests that Lucette's Belgian relatives take care of publishing his books in their country: "The case is thorny [...] but the business is very profitable - and I have to manage somehow [...] since in
France I am boycotted!"...... Korsør on the 23rd [November]. Urgent order for a "ribbon for a military medal buttonhole", to be able to go to the
Consulate in Copenhagen, and detailed order for household linen; Daragnès will reimburse; instructions for sending... "My legal affairs are getting a bit agitated. I wouldn't be surprised to be put on the spot one of these days! Hence my visit to the Consulate!"... 1950. The 8th [May]. Lucette has to go to the hospital in Copenhagen "to be operated on for a cyst in her ovary. [...] Of course I will not leave her. So I will stay with Mikkelsen".
Several worried and then reassuring letters follow on this subject... 23rd [May]. "Lucette was operated on the 21st - in the morning. It was an extra uterine fibroid attached to the uterus by a thin pedicle. The best we could have feared. [...] But the poor darling suffered a lot and still suffers", in particular by "the post-operative lifting [...] this practice is infinitely painful, monstrous but it is now classic [...] you know how brave Lucette is and how little she whines but she is in pain [...] I do not leave her from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Fortunately, thanks to Mikkelsen, we were able to get a single room [...] Lucette will come out of this abominable incident very well, I believe. He lives "in a kind of closet with Bébert the cat, in the corridor of Mikkelsen's office"... Other news follow... The 1st [June]. The discharge from the hospital is delayed by an abscess in the suture.
"Lucette was admirable, poor darling, for her courage and resolution. After so many atrocious trials! A thousand gratitudes for your offer of help. You have already done a lot for us. I am trying to manage, it is not in my nature, even in the worst conditions, not to take on all the consequences of my adventures! I pay - the price - it is horrible I admit it - but for Lucette if we manage to get out of here, it could be that I ask you to help me a little to dress her - to return in the normal life - if she must give lessons"... The 9th: "Lucette has just been operated on, this is the 5th time in 3 weeks!"... The 15th : "I will tell you when I am absolutely out of resources.
We sold everything. It will be fine for a while. I'll tell you by whom and how to address me this amount. Oh, not at all through MIKKELSEN, who would choke it all away! [...] He's a great raptor [...].