CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/133
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date10 June 1916
Extent6 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her relatives, regarding trimming her hat; memorial service for Lord Kitchener and others; the mourning drapery had been packed away for the summer and must now come out again; suitable clothing for the service; plans to make new funeral drapery for the church which will be arranged more quickly; Uncle is convinced that some 'clockwork infernal machine' sunk the 'Hampshire', as the ships around were undamaged; an Italian transport ship, 'Principe Umberto', has been sunk; she was supposedly carrying soldiers across the Adriatic, so the casualties are unknown but expected to be high; two officers in high position, one with an Austrian wife, brought about the recent disaster in Trentino and have been shot, along with the wife; morale is terribly low and Beatrice told Aunt that the Italian guns are now trained on the Italians to stop them deserting; Uncle's departure for Leghorn; Ernesta's departure for the country; Italians like to be early for trains; Ernesta hopes to return next season; Amelia taking Maria and her mother to the zoo for an enjoyable afternoon; the elephants are fed on bruised barley from the brewery; Fulvio was kept up by Miss Jazdowska's work party which went on late [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]; two officers calling late at night to see Aunt, insisting that one of them had met her before in the Engadine; they are heavy conversationalists; they have heard of Dr. Laws; one of them is a Dr. Mackinnon of Damascus, but it turns out that Aunt is not the sister they thought she was; his son had, as a small boy, referred to Dr. Gray's sisters as 'his two wives', Uncle saying that this was the result of bringing up a child in the East; he did meet Aunt Amy; the other officer was a Lieutenant Craig; they stayed late and made arrangements for sightseeing with Amelia next day; they are late starting; she had to make preparations as she had forgotten her way round the Vatican; the gentlemen neither hurried nor dawdled but were interested; their comments on the artwork were mostly medical; an enjoyable day; both suffered crossing from Malta and had problems with their intestines; Uncle took them sightseeing next day; they know of Mr. Serpell and do not like his relative 'a regular bounder' and 'a worm'; he is the nephew of their man and a doctor at Malta; he is ambitious and selfish, and they tell several stories of his behaviour in Malta; Mackinnon has a very intense dry humour; Craig was in charge of Turkish prisoners, and one of them made him a model mosque which is now causing them great anxiety on the journey home; he presented Amelia with a Mexican coin recovered from the 'Emden'; they were very grateful for their visit and the attention they received, but their interest and gratitude made it all worthwhile; Dr. Mackinnon had been imprisoned in a black hole in Damascus, but the Turkish officials set him free because he had their respect; the mission has probably been burned but he did bury some of the property under the floor before he left; remarks on Protestant integrity and on the reverence for Kitchener in the East; there will be a memorial service at All Saints' tomorrow, and she and Aunt have to have their passports signed and taken to the French consul where they must stay for five days; Uncle would like to wait in Rome 'until the big attack is over'; the sandflies have begun there; pleasant letter from Fraulein Albrecht who hopes perhaps to meet her in Switzerland; she is to make her debut soon as an opera singer; Frau Wedekind is to be at Silvaplana.
Access StatusOpen
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