You Don’t Call, You Don’t Write…


My most excellent sons and daughter have grown into Lords and Lady of good fortune. My eldest son is a hospitaller in the service of St. John, my second son serves the Holy Church in Rome, and my daughter has made a sound marriage to a magistrate in the neighboring city.

Because my esteemed progeny roam far and wide, I request and rely upon their diligent dispatch to know that they are thriving, or where their Lord Father and I may provide charitable assistance.

Lamentably, on occasion, I do not hear from my august offspring. Perhaps their courier has been assailed by bandits? Perhaps their carrier pigeon has suffered some dire illness? Perhaps their scribe has broken both hands in a terrible fall and is unable to bear the burden of pen on parchment?

I am unsure what course of action to take to resolve this disheartening dilemma. I have tried gentle reminders, but those kind missives seem to get lost amidst the general hurly-burly of daily life. Perhaps I could try rewarding them with a visit, bringing honeyed wine and sweet confections? Or perhaps I should ask the Sons of Spain to carry my correspondence for me?

I pray your good advice and suggestions.

Disregarded Mother

Dear Disregarded,

Do not, under any circumstances, seek to reward the disingenuous behaviours of your faithless offspring.  It is certain that you have spent much time and labor in installing them in positions of renown such as you describe–indeed, the Hospitallers are a discerning Order, and do not accept members without good recommendation; and a post in Rome is to be envied by any man who aspires to the cloth–and yet they do not seek to favor you with even a whisper of their doings?  Fie, I say!!  Fie on such faithless children!

I do not wish to cause you unnecessary angst on this matter, and if it were but one of your brood who failed to communicate, perhaps one might put the reason up to banditry.  But you describe a lack of correspondence from ALL of your children, which seems to me to be most unacceptable.  I must ask, though, what have you done to create such resentment in these striplings?  Did you not provide them with the finest tutors?  Did your sons not have horses and accoutrements fit to their station?  Did your daughter not clothe herself in silks and jewels from exotic lands?  Good Lady, I cannot believe that you would have denied your children with any of these comforts, as any good and loving parent would provide much and more in order to ensure their well being.  I can only surmise, then, that they have been infected by ill humors while away from your tender cares, and that they are no longer in their right minds.

I suggest that you bring this matter before the local magistrate at once.  It is possible that the illness which has infected your children might be rampant in our fair city, and as such we must take all cautions to protect ourselves.  And by all means refrain from bringing those dreadful Sons of Spain into the situation.  I fear that they may have contributed to the illness that has assailed your progeny; I have heard of such plots but never thought to see them borne out in my own lifetime…