Emily Hobhouse to Alice Hamilton, January 5, 1921


Jan 5/21

c/o Banca Italiana di Scouto
20 Piazza di Spagna

Dear Dr. Hamilton

At last I take up your letter which has never been off my table since I received it, awaiting answer -- and to my horror I note it is dated Jan: 9/20 and that almost a year that answer has been postponed. I was always waiting for leisure to write at some length & as I really wanted to do so the delay is some measure of the pressure under which I have been living & which has landed me in a Roman hospital bed whence I now write. In fact I have been a complete invalid since early August when I retired to ↑a↓ London Hospital. I have been brought here via Leipzig without putting my foot to the ground & can testify to the equal skill in carrying invalids of English, Belgian, German, Swiss & Italian porters!

But now I am inspired to write to you because I feel you would like to hear of yr friend Dr Victor Von Borosini who has been [showing] me very great kindness. What a dear he is! and always in a dream! He visits me daily with papers, America & English & seems to keep me in touch with life. He adores Jane Addams -- & told me about her when at Zurich. He is now attaché at his Embassy here [though] in what capacity I know not -- And he hopes, after 6 years separation, soon [page 2] to see his family here again. He looks so ill & so forlorn that I trust nothing will prevent his [reunion].

Your letter -- added to other information quite makes me understand the American feeling as it was a year ago. I trust it is now some what modified. Probably it is, as certainly large sums do come from there by various avenues. For instance Bishop Nuelsen has collected a great deal [through] the Methodist Church, and Dr Schwyzer's Swiss-German Committee [through] financiers like Felix Warburg [etc.] and so on. But for my own work I have turned of late to very old South African friends & they are now my main support. I was too ill to remain in Leipzig but was there all Novbr and regulated every thing for the winter's feeding of 9000 Children. I had to cut off 2000 from want of supplies -- as we had been feeding 11000. It was my joy to find that after a steady 9 months feeding these shadowy mites were beginning to put on a little weight & a few had a faint [color] -- & their eyes were much brighter.

We can keep on till about June I hope -- but for the following winter & the future all is very dark and uncertain. The fatal error of trying to crush the [center] of Europe is reacting on all the surrounding countries and money getting so scarce, trade so slack, banks so shaky that little more can be available for voluntary work.

I just lie here & think of it all & watch the lame gradual down hill tendency in all these countries & wonder when the bottom will be reached [left margin on page 1] so that we can begin to rise again on new & better [lines]. It's like living on the edge of a precipice & one lives only from day to day.

Very warm greetings for 1921

From Yrs sincerely

Emily Hobhouse