From Aunt Alice, Italy

Bess, I fear our girl has fallen into a melancholia. I blame myself, of course. I should’ve noticed the warning signs. I have no shame to say it, it’s the curse of our gender. She refuses to change from her clothes, if she were to emerge from her bed at all. I moved the bed to the ground floor solarium.

The Iris have bloomed. Ilsa has begun to sit up in her chair since the move. I read to her Songs of Solomon , she likes these best, I believe. The gardener has suggested a phonograph with the popular songs. He says his young daughter can sing to her until that purchase is decided. How I do wish I had stayed with my piano lessons!

I share with her drawings , studies of the iris and the gardener’s daughter. I am ever so hopeful she’ll take to routines that befit her station. Then we might be able to enjoy our modest corner of dear Firenza while at the peak of its seasons.

Don’t you worry. If Ilsa isn’t writing it’s because she is lingering in the land of catatonia melancholia. I may send her to Basel to a ladies’ spa that treats these ailments.  Again this will depend on the allocation of budget and an expected amount to arrive from the states. It is held in trust for her. The trustees are the most insufferable of the male species.

I may have to finance her cure in Basel and then those American trustees have hinted with reimbursement. I dare say! Capitalism is a scourge to our female character!!  Ah yes, pardon my ire. News has been troublesome with the Serbians and anarchists.

I believe it best to wait on further correspondence. There are rumors of uprising against the Empire. Many from home are advising our return to Canada.

Most Sincerely, Mrs. John Savoy Haversham

“Auntie Alice”





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