My friend Charline Bourdin from the French Louisa May Alcott blog sent me these amazing pictures of May and Ernest Nieriker’s final home in Meudon, a suburb “but fifteen minutes from Parish by rail” as May recalls (pg. 265, May Alcott A Memoir by Caroline Ticknor). Charline lives in Meudon.
May wrote many letters home about her happy life with Ernest, most of which took place at this home.
May describes her life with Ernest in Meudon.
Shortly after their surprise wedding May writes, “I have never dreamed of such serene happiness as I have known since Friday, when as man and wife Ernest and I left Southampton. My future seems so full of beauty and of joy I can think of nothing else. The lonely artistic life that once satisfied me seems the most dreary in the world, Our tastes are so congenial it seems impossible that we shall ever cash, and even were it otherwise I find myself for the first time quite willing to bend to a stronger will and wiser head than my own …” (pg. 264, Ibid)
What was the apartment like on the inside?
The move to Meudon came as Ernest accepted a position in a mercantile house in Paris as Inspector General. His generous salary enabled them to live in the fine home which May describes as consisting of “a salon, dining-room, kitchen, two chambers with closets, bath-room, etc., a pretty flight of ivy-covered steps leading into the garden behind. The house is shut in by large gates from the street in front, and from our long windows at the back we have such a view as seldom delights the eye of man. Ernest and I stood on the balcony admiring the superb sight.” (pg. 265, Ibid)
For all of May’s claims of enjoying a simple life without society and a plethora of material goods, she and Ernest enjoyed decorating their new home. After settling into the first floor apartment, they were able to secure the second floor as well. She writes of Ernest bringing home a huge Louis XIV mirror for the salon which filled one end of the room. She included every detail of their exploits in her letters home to eager family members. (pgs. 269-270, Ibid)
Marmee is with her
Being May she had to indulge in society and enjoyed entertaining their friends in the apartment. After a particularly enjoyable party she wrote, “I sat down in my easy-chair to admire the effect of my pretty rooms. I had placed Marmee’s shrine on my mantel and on one side my blue jar holding a long spray of morning-glories. Two buds had opened wide and laid themselves lovingly against the dear face, dropping gracefully the delicate vines around it. It was so beautiful, and Marmee seem to have come to my party in spirit so that even amid my happiness I had to ‘wept a little weep.’” (pg. 271, Ibid)
My thanks again to Charline for this wonderful glimpse of May’s home in Meudon.
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