CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/216
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date18 November 1917
Extent3 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her relatives, regarding time flying now they are back in Rome ('home'); busy week; Miss Jazdowska has accused Uncle of neglecting one of the soldiers when he had gone across to the canteen on an errand to do with the post (there are special arrangements for soldiers' post) [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]; Uncle was very much annoyed and walked away from her; the story seems to involve a case of illness while he was away in Leghorn, attended to by Dr. Johnstone Lavis; the man, Jackson, had either tonsillitis or diphtheria, and Dr. Lavis had to wait to see which would develop as the Blue Nuns cannot take cases of diphtheria; Miss Jazdowska decided the man was neglected and summoned Dr. Brock; Dr. Brock secured Jackson a room at the Blue Nuns; Dr. Lavis was angry with Dr. Brock, but only until he found out the reason; another soldier had told Uncle that Jackson was at the Military Hospital on the Coelian, next to the Blue Nuns, by mistake, and Uncle, who would have needed a permit, decided not to visit him; he did, however, see him the day before he went into hospital, and he has been well cared for at the Blue Nuns; Uncle spent a long time clearing the matter up; he then had to write to Miss Jazdowska and then write the letter again when he had calmed down; she has not apologised, but seems somewhat subdued; Miss Morgan has apologised for her overuse of the Sala; Signor V. [Vita?] has dismissed the tenant and holds the administration responsible for 'such an illegal act'; this is with regard to a Swiss tenant, who has frequent visitors amongst the British officers; there does not seem to be sufficient evidence, only innuendo; Signor V. is thinking of 'undue intimacy with a neutral or evil purposes in such a building'; Uncle says the police should have been called, and does not wish himself or the Y.W.C.A. to be held responsible for dismissing a tenant a year before the lease was due; the situation is far from clear, but Uncle has demanded that Signor V. takes full responsibility; some Swiss have been ordered out of the country and others may have to follow; this would relieve the situation; 'ten thousand [Italians] have been shot all over the country by martial law'; accounts of other punishments for treason or for desertion; Monte Mario, Tor di Quinto and the Castel di San Angelo are being used for this purpose in Rome; it is necessary but disturbing; they have decided to wire Mrs. Fleming for permission to remove her trunks from the Hotel Beau Site as the situation is so uncertain [the proprietrix is Swiss and also owned the Palace Hotel, now closed], but they can only keep them temporarily at the manse; the proprietrix' husband was present at a dinner [in the Palace Hotel] 'when Germans in the uniform of Italian officers rose to drink the health of the Kaiser, of all people'; the smaller Hotel Beau Site may also be closed; Signor Vita wanted to take part of Mrs. Fleming's luggage as a present for his mother-in-law; an officer has called with them to enquire as to the manse, having taken the 'palaces' on each side, as the war office wants the whole block; Uncle has stalled them, as he did last year; the block on the left is having a good deal of work done and further pressure may be applied; it is being guarded by carabiniers night and day; Maria's brother is amongst them; the tenants on the right will have to leave; it is natural that the site is desirable, but it would be strange to have to leave; Uncle is unexpectedly phlegmatic and diplomatic about it all; the house is near the public offices anyway, so it is a good site for the war office, and a bad one for Mrs. Fleming's boxes; there is a stronger resistance to the enemy now, but if there are further advances there will probably be air offensives; the enemy have vowed to destroy cities in the north; Venice may need to be evacuated; the populations are being sent south to Calabria as labourers are needed there, and as the cities are already full; the manse is already home to Mr. Lorrimer's six boxes, which means that a move will require further weeding of their own belongings; Uncle is a hoarder; repeated requests from the Red Cross for paper are always passed by him to Aunt and Amelia with advice to do what they can, but he never clears out his own paper; Aunt and Amelia have nothing left to give; 'We had a very pleasant visit from "the bachelors" yesterday, who learned much here that interested them, for they move and work in another circle'; visit from Mrs. Gibson and Mrs. Rowat Smith; account of a Scottish woman's attempt to dissuade a boy from becoming an actor; further remarks by Irving on Blake; delivery of a couple of newspapers from Britain after delay and censorship.
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