CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/123
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her parents, Robert and Maggie Laws
Date13 April 1916
Extent6 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her parents, regretting the warmer weather; referring to the visit of Mr. Patterson of the A.P. Mission, Cameroons; approval of his sincerity; deadness of religion in Rome; Uncle's sincerest and most regular attenders are the Russian Baroness von Hahn and the Swedish Countess Wettel Jarlsberg; Mr. Gibson is doing mischief amongst the people in Rome; Uncle is still threatened by Blake's ambition and Gibson's schemes to force him into retirement; Uncle has told Gibson that he is going home in the autumn in order to circumvent Blake's plans; Amelia has stated her opinion that wherever they go for the summer she wants to be able to work; he is in much more of a hurry to prepare for the summer this year and does not try to delay Aunt and Amelia; his enthusiastic recommendation of Chamonix might have made several undesirable people go there, so they should go elsewhere; La Grave, a large village on the north side of the Meije, is currently of interest: it is the highest peak in the Pelvoux group of the Dauphiné Alps; the route would be to leave the train short of the Mont Cenis tunnel and drive to Briançon, and take a bus to La Grave; it is convenient for Uncle if he wants to see anyone in the Waldensian valleys, or if he wants to go to England he can go via Grenoble and Chambéry to join the main Rome-Paris line; she does not wish to work for the Red Cross in the north as the volunteers under whom she would be working are 'unskilled and bumptious'; she would really like to do massage in order to rehabilitate those who are in despair over their wounds; visit of Baroness de Hahn; she has offered to pass on some information she has from a course on massage; Amelia also wants to take some lessons with a Swedish masseuse who attends their church, now that her music lessons are ended; she wants to learn the anatomical side of massage; the idea pleases Uncle; visit of the Brocks; Dr. Brock is thin and his wife was ill at ease; she perhaps wanted Amelia to bake a cake for her but Uncle and Aunt would not allow it as Mrs. Brock wants to get Amelia under her thumb; Mrs. Brock has been enquiring as to Amelia's war work; Uncle has announced that she is doing massage, which pleases Dr. Brock; she and Aunt have never called on Mrs. Brock while she has been living downstairs with Miss Jazdowska [There were Jazdowskis associated with teaching and art in Aberdeen: James Bronislas Jazdowski, son of John, teacher in Aberdeen, graduated from Marischal College in 1856 and according to an annotation of the Search Room student list died in Rome in 1902]; reference to enclosed cutting regarding Sir Alexander Simpson, killed in a motor accident; Dr. Brock mentions his connexion with George Barbour, his nephew by marriage; Mrs. Brock is very rude about George Barbour and his temper and manners; he is quartermaster and they have evidently clashed; Amelia brings up theories to defend him; she has carefully worded her replies to George Barbour's letters in case they are intercepted; Mrs. Brock wanted Amelia to fall in with her scheme and become engaged to Selby Brock; she aims to hurt Amelia as much as possible; she criticises George Barbour for not fighting; mention of Quakers and their pacifist scruples; Uncle defends George Barbour by mentioning that he was not very strong when he volunteered; Amelia remarked that his cousin was killed a few months before; Uncle's attempt to distract her by mentioning an Italian volunteer from Peru who was at church on Sunday; Amelia wishes that George Barbour would visit them, even though she disapproves of his corresponding with her, though it was originally arranged through Uncle; Maria's tricks to hide his letters; quotation from his latest letter about leave; Mrs. Geddes, and Mr. Somerville's daughter from Mentone, have indicated that he is considered a dilettante; reflections on his background and his studies at Edinburgh and Cambridge; wishing to study his character for herself now that he has been through France, etc.; weighing the correspondence; reference to death of Nancy Prentice; missionaries continue their work in spite of the war, but would not if they had to pay their own way; no one is going home from the Continent for the General Assembly; reference to Mrs. John Moir's list of war prices, all lower than those in Rome; the Sunday fowl is a luxury now and may have to be given up; reference to odd photograph of Miss Ashcroft and current taste in hairstyles. Attached to the front page is a newscutting, probably from an Aberdeen paper, regarding the death in action of Captain George Mitchell Johnston, Royal Irish Rifles.
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