Letters to the Caetani Family (3)

[This is part of a series of previously-unpublished letters to Margaret Knight, who was married to Michelangelo Caetani, Duke of Sermoneta, and to Ada Bootle-Wilbraham, married to Onorato Caetani, Michelangelo’s son, Prince of Teano and then Duke of Sermoneta.
The letters are in the Caetani Archive, Palazzo Caetani, via delle Botteghe Oscure 32, Roma.
An Italian version will appear as an Appendix to my essay “Prima di Gregorovius: Edward Lear, i Caetani, e Ninfa” in a forthcoming volume: Michael Matheus (ed.) Ninfa: Percezioni nella scienza, letteratura e belle arti nel XIX e all’inizio del XX secolo. Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner.]

Ada Constance Bootle-Wilbraham, Princess of Teano and later Duchess of Sermoneta.

Villa Emily. San Remo.
                        March 1. 1872

Dear Princess Teano,
Mr. & Mrs. Miles, who are going from here to Rome in a few days, have kindly offered to take my little drawing of Sermoneta Castle to you. It is rather late in the day for a wedding present to you & Prince Teano, but the proverb says, better late than never. The sketch is merely a rough & shabby one, but as it may recall the situation of Sermoneta, & of Ninfa & Norba, I trust you may think it worth accepting & perhaps of putting it into a plain gilt frame with a glass, so as to hang it up somewhere.
I hope Prince Teano & yourself are well: your little ones also: & that the Duke & Duchess with Count & Countess Lovatelli are also in good health: ― I should like to see you all in Rome, but do not think I shall this year.
I think you have met Mr. & Mrs. Miles in England somewhere: ― perhaps at Colonel Northey’s? ― whom I know Mr. Miles is acquainted with. Mrs. Miles is a daughter of Sir William Napier, & sister of Mrs. Henry Bruce, & Lady Arran. She is certainly additional testimony to the probality [sic] of Prince Teano’s theory ― i.e. ― that English women are the handsomest in the world.
Please give my kind remembrances to the Prince ― & believe me

Your’s sincerely,
     Edward Lear.

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