CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/217
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date25 November 1917
Extent3 sheets
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, 7 Via Venti Settembre, Rome, to her relatives, regarding better weather which should please Uncle; Mrs. Fleming has given permission for her boxes to be removed from the Hotel Beau Site; Maria's brother-in-law helped move them; her son may pass through Rome soon and Amelia hopes he will at least take the valuable things with him; she is uneasy that they are surrounded now by the war office; the third floor is safest as regards thieves, but the cellar would be better as regards air raids, but for the damp; new instructions issued for air raids and new regulations for cellars - main doors must be left open, which will be handy for looters; Uncle is refusing to go and catch cold in the cellar with Miss Jazdowska, but insists that he will stay in the dining room to protect his books [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]; Aunt and Amelia have packed essentials into their handbags and have them constantly ready with a coat and warm clothing; rumours of 50,000 refugees in the city; in addition, the loss of material in the north has meant a drain on resources, so everything is in short supply; Maria and Aunt spend the mornings trying to find food; bread is on a kind of rationing, but this has never been fully applied and would probably cause riots if it were; every household is allocated to one bakery, but sometimes the guards will close a specific bakery without notice, so all its customers have to go without bread for the day; the poor, who cannot get macaroni or rice, are in a bad way; beans are terribly expensive and so is charcoal which is damped to make it weigh more; such daily shopping for little quantities is tiring; the Elliotts along with many others have packed up their valuables and left Milan; hoping to return in about a month; the enemy plan to be in Milan tomorrow; they are being held back on the line of the Piave waiting for reinforcements; she asked Uncle to let her father, Mr. Guppy , know that she was in the city; his conduct was greatly distressing to her; Mr. Guppy is living with his young second wife, the wife's sister, and an engineer; Mr. Guppy bought his second wife a villa at Rapallo and made over all his money to her, annoyed that his daughter, Mrs. Elliott, received all her late mother's money; he had given her enough capital years before to make her an allowance, but the allowance was in his name during his lifetime and when she was ill he took it back; his new wife is 'very light', but Amelia absolves her from setting out to catch Mr. Guppy: it was only his money that finally persuaded her, for he was 80 and she 24; father and daughter do not now communicate; Alan Holme is to be appointed to Basra in Arabia but his wife will not be able to bear the climate and must stay in India; women cannot travel by sea at present anyway; she has a baby girl with her and their son is at school in England; Dorothy and her boys are well; visit of two Canadian soldiers recuperating at the Blue Nuns; they talked of Yprès and Vimy Ridge; one is the last surviving of his whole company; the younger had studied Latin at school in Ontario and was keen to find out about Rome; visit of Dr. and Mrs. Brock - the latter was interested in Amelia's autograph album from Chambéry; she seems to have changed her tone and was very pleasant; Amelia has a cold, caught when moving Mrs. Fleming's boxes; death and funeral of Miss Petre, who had bronchitis and unwisely left her bed too early; she had fallen frequently recently; apparently she was a Presbyterian, though no one seemed to know until she had died; Miss Wall will miss her; Mr. Green's lessons are going well; Amelia has received letters from her Chambéry patients who do not want to be evacuated to make way for a new wave of French casualties from Italy; Mathieu particularly regrets missing his treatment; she is trying to help him with advice from a distance; he has been sent to a physiothérapie mécano; the new surgeon expects results by number of days, not by the right treatment.
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