XV

FROM THE SAME TO THE SAME.

A Fellowe and his Wife

    Palazzo Malaspina,
             December 14.

DEAR FRIEND:

Iam so happy today. It seems, as I sit here at my open window, and with my doves (I call them mine, for three of them have grown quite tame, and come often to my win-dow to be fed and stroked) flying backward and forward against the beautiful intense blue of the sky, that into this warm Roman air, wherein, alas, garlic, and what my trim Lisa calls--- " pitiable odors," mingle with delicious fragrances from a small roof-garden that would be below me if my house were to make "a reverence " towards His Holiness over the way ---say for ten yards. "Oh, Ilse, that full stop ! " you will exclaim ; but, caro mio, the sentence was so long, and, moreover, I wanted to tell you that I can hear the splash-splash of the great  fountain in the Piazza di Spagna---another faint echo-splash, I do believe, from either the Fontana di Accademia or the Tritone (for I don't know which way the wind is), and a delicious gurgling from our dear, ridiculous, puffy, impossible bronze river-god in the court below me. This gladness of falling water everywhere in Rome makes me so happy. It is like children's joyous laughter floating across one of our old north-country graveyards. But, there, what a hopeless person I am ; I shall never get on with my sentence. And no wonder, you would say, if you could see me and my surroundings for a moment. Such a delightful fancy seized me this morning ---to model a little Spirit of Fruit. To this end ("O deceitful Ilse! ' I know too well your insatiable love of fruit for you to deceive me by so palpable a ruse," you will cry --- but unjustly !) I have expended --- no, I won't tell you how many lire, upon a beautiful heap --- it is not only the best word, but the only word --- of blood-red, dark purple, dusky yellow, and pale green grapes, large, violet-hued plums, some long, thin jargonelles, a pile of delicious country-bumpkin-looking apples, some trying to be all sunny-yellow or gold, and others literally swelling with ruddy pride, and, lastly, about a dozen large divided pomegranates, so full of wine-dark juice as to look like cocoanut-cups filled with claret and bruised rasps. I bought the pomegranates yesterday from an old woman who has a broken-down rickety fruit-stall close to the Trevi fountain, near the Trajan Forum. She was amazed at a Signorina da cielo buying so many of these bulky pomegranates, and insisted upon sending them by her (invisible) grandson, till I explained that I had my little carriage close by. She called me " her daughter," a heavenly. angel" (which, by the way, was a neat compliment to herself too !) a "blessed Signorina, whom all Saints would, or should (I forget which) protect forever," her "generous and noble benefactor," and I don't know what else.


This line represents a blank of three hours.

I  have been lunching with some friends, people I met when I was at the Hotel d'Italia. What a noble work, that head of Juno, at the Ludovisi! Oh, dear me, what a child I feel when I am beside some of these superb creations of the old Greek sculptors. I grow so despondent that -- that --- well, that I feel fit only for the company of Charlotte Bodenfels. I am glad you snubbed her as you did. What an intolerable woman she is, how intolerable her kind!

But, my dear Odo, this brings me to something I wanted to say to you. She wrote me the other day, very unwarrantably, of course, of Maroot. If for no other reason than that the world, and at present I mean by this liberal phrase only our own little world betwixt the heights of Ilsenstein and the forest reaches of Jaromar, always listens to the gossip of the Charlottes whom you and I dislike so much, even when it pretends to condemn and discredit, ---if for no other reason than this, I do think it would be advisable, from every point of view, that your protégée should now leave the Schloss. It would be easy for you to find accommodation for her. I am sure that Parson Hiller and his good wife would take her in and be kind to her, till news from her home came, which, for the girl's own sake, I trust will be soon.

Then, again, I put it to you frankly : is it ---is it  0 Dio mio, what word is it I want ? ---well, is it quite seemly for Mlle. Borike to settle down at Jaromar as if it were to be her home forever ? Even dear, stupid old Walpurga must see that it is now time her beloved Margot took flight again --- like all other wind-blown things.

Seriously, Odo, I ask you to consider and, indeed, to meet my wishes in this matter. You will do me the justice to believe that I urge my plea in all good faith.

In haste, or I shall miss the post,
                                            ILSE.

P. S. If Malzahn and Freolin are with you, and, you are expecting other men at the Schloss, all the more reason for doing at once what I now urgently beg of you.

.

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