Augustus 5, 373: “… it was slander of the acutest kind.”

April 30th, 2017

Augustus 5, 373

The Estate dul Decapua, Capua
Addressed to Giovanni dul Decapua

Dear Father,

I hope you will forgive a daughter’s oversight in allowing your last missive to sit so long without reply. Please know that it was not from a lack of affection, but rather from a mere lack of time. I fear the capital can be terribly diverting in ways both pleasing and not.

I wish to thank you for sending Letta along with the rest of my effects. Her presence was sorely missed my first week within the city. Thank you, also, for your latest gift of my new palfrey. She is truly a lovely creature. I have named her Chastity. I hope such pleases you.

What news is there from home? Has Agnolo broken more hearts? Have Niccolo and Vittoria had their first child yet? I feel so terribly detached from it all here in the capital, though I have been doing my best to keep myself entertained.

I fear there is not as much to entertain here, though, as there would be in Capua. Please do not misunderstand me. I have… been met with much kindness here. Truly, I can think of perhaps only one person whose acquaintance I would have rather not made in the time I have already spent here in the city. There merely seems to be a distinct lack of polite female society with which I might mingle. I would truly love such a friend, but perhaps such things will come in time.

I have had the pleasure of securing the friendship of several gentlemen, though – all of whom I would consider to be very honorable and pious men. But I fear this has caused a bit of scandal amongst the rumormongers. Though such meetings always take place in public spaces and within the presence of my chaperone, I fear… well, I will not bother you with the painful details, Papa, but it was slander of the acutest kind.

But I am doing my best to ignore the whispers.

What else is there to tell you? Oh, yes. I have secured myself as the Patron of two very promising talents here within the capital. One is primarily a lutist while the other seems to be primarily a flutist. Oh, if you could only hear them, Papa… I know you would approve of them. Perhaps I might bring them along for a visit one day. Perhaps for the winter holidays? I do miss you terribly. And I think it would be heart-wrenching, indeed, to spend my birthday away from the loving arms of my family.

Rest assured that I have been keeping up with my own studies. I am sending along a little design I did for a ring. Does it please you?

I hope you are well and that I might see you before the year is out. Please, give everyone my love.

Your Ever Devoted Daughter,
Caterina dul Decapua

Augustus 20, 373

The Vavardi Trade Offices, Lithmore City
Addressed to Miss Caterina dul Decapua

My Dear Kitty,

You know you are always welcome to come home at any time, my girl. Any time. I would have rather you not have left in the first place. Your mother is redecorating her drawing room again and there is no one here to keep me sane in the midst of it all. In, out, in, out, workers coming and going and slamming doors at all hours of the day, every day.

And this talk of scandal. Scandal? Surrounding MY girl? The very idea. The very nerve. They should have their tongues slit for slander. I should send someone to do this. No, I should come and do it myself. The very idea… the NERVE of some people. Perhaps I will come over there and simply CUT THEIR VERY TONGUES OUT AND FEED THEM TO MY HUNTING HOUNDS…

[Several ink blots occur here on the page before the letter is suddenly taken up in a different style of writing – a much neater, elegant hand. A decidedly feminine hand.]

Caterina Alessandra Rose dul Decapua. Do you seek to punish me by unleashing your father’s fury upon this household? He is in such a state now, going through the house and yelling about slitting tongues. I trust you will have more of a care for his temper and – for the sake of my peace – not trouble him with such trivial affairs in the future.

Do you think yourself unique in having garnered unwanted attention? For being the subject of cruel whispers? Well, rest assured that you are not unique in this and take heart, for it means you have a rival. When I was your age, I had many.

But, then again, when I was your age, I was also married. To think that you are almost seventeen and still without a husband. And now living off in the capital away from us all. What will the neighbors think? What will they say? And after your father presented you with such spectacular fanfare at your last birthday ball.

Your father will not broach the subject with you for the sake of this silly agreement you two have struck and so it is encumbered upon me to do so. The dul Bellini boy has renewed his suit and I would entreat you to consider it, as a dutiful daughter should. Between our families, we would control some of the richest vineyards in Capua. And I hear that he is amiable enough.

Come home. Marry Cesare dul Bellini. Give him a few children and then you will be free to go… gallivanting off again on whatever fool’s errand this is of yours. One wonders why you feel the desire to seek a reputation and fortune to call your own in the first place when your father is more than willing to provide for you…

Praise the Lord. Your father has calmed himself. He wishes to know if you desire an increase in your allowance, though I think he should cut you off entirely if you insist on pursuing your own wealth. He is also sending along a selection of color swatches and fabrics for the upcoming season and wishes to know if he might order you a gown. He wishes me to write that he is “particularly fond of the apricot” and thinks it would suit you.

Your brother, Niccolo, is celebrating the birth of his first child as of three nights ago. Vittoria has given birth to a boy. We are all quite pleased that fruit has finally come of their union.

Your father is also pleased by your design for the ring, though I find it rather understated myself. He looks forward to hearing more of your accomplishments. Whereas I look forward to hearing your thoughts about the dul Bellini suit when next you write.

Your Ever Loving Mother,
Lucrezia dul Decapua