As I have told you, it has not been in the power of General de Boisdeffre any more than it has been in your power to throw light upon this mystery; it will shine in a future that no one can foresee.
Therefore I have simply asked General de Boisdeffre for my rehabilitation; to put an end to our appalling martyrdom, for it is inadmissible that you should undergo such torture, that our children should grow up dishonored by a crime that I could never have committed.
I await the answer to my letters with all the strength that is left to me. I count the hours, I almost count the minutes.
I do not know if his answer will reach me soon; I know still less how I keep alive, so extreme is my cerebral and nervous exhaustion; but if I should succumb before that time comes, if I should faint under the atrocious burden that I have borne so long, I leave it to you, as your absolute duty, to go yourself to General de Boisdeffre, and, after the letters which I wrote to him, the desire which, I am sure of it, is in the bottom of his heart to grant us rehabilitation, when you (sic) will have realized that the discovery of the truth is a task that will take a long time, that it is impossible to foresee when it will be accomplished, I have no doubt that he will grant you, immediately, a new trial; that he will at once put an end to a situation as atrocious for you as it is for our children. I hope, too, that over my grave he will bear witness not only to the loyalty of my past conduct, but to the absolute loyalty of my conduct for the last three years, when, under all my sufferings, under all my tortures, I have never forgotten what I have been—a soldier, loyal and devoted to his country. I