How grateful I am for your precious letter of 1st July! How well you satisfy my desires by speaking tome of yourself and of all the Carpegna family, whom I love more than myself! Yes, O venerable Countess; each time you write to me and also when my dear Guido writes, I confess that it is an event that consoles me for everything and disperses all my troubles and anxieties. I thank you with all my heart and I cannot find words to express properly all the affection I have for you and for all the members of the Carpegna family. I assure you that all the causes of affliction presently oppressing your spirit and which you kindly tell me about, directly answer my most intimate feelings; and not only would I like to share all these afflictions (for all the adversities of the Carpegna family are also my own), but I would be happy to shoulder them all, to be alone in feeling them.
Imagine the affection with which each day I rejoice in praying for you and for all of you, especially during Holy Mass. To tell the truth, from the little I know of things in Rome I am convinced that you have done very well to put my dear Pippo in the College in Bruxelles, and that you have acted as a true Christian mother in accepting the sacrifice of separation from the dear boy for love of his future good. Well done, My Lady Countess. How pleased I am to see those generous traits in you which increase in me the esteem and affection I have for you. I therefore want to congratulate the Count, to whom I shall write tomorrow. I am convinced of this, so you must be of good cheer, for you have done a great thing and a very great thing in view of the obstacles you had to overcome. And in time you will be blessed by seeing the fruit of this magnanimous sacrifice.
I beg you to send me the address so that I may establish a correspondence with Pippo because I long to send him such norms and reminders as to enable him to grow in virtue, respect for his family and honour in society. By the way I tell you (and I beg you not to say anything, because it is useful for the time being, and you will see the effects in due course) that I am in correspondence with Count Luigi, and we have exchanged a few letters. I must tell you that I am very pleased so far. Let us therefore fervently pray to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. (I repeat that you must be silent on this. I should not be telling you. But I have so much esteem and respect for you that I am not afraid you will give away my secret.) I am very sorry about the dangerous illness of your sister who lives in Poland.
I celebrated Mass for her in the Sacred Heart this morning, and I shall ask my Superior and some pious souls to pray for the poor ailing soul. But whatever the outcome may be, my dear Countess, let us remain faithful to the Cross of Christ. Let us first ask that God bless her soul and then her body, and always be prepared to accept sacrifice from God’s hands. I am glad that you speak to me of your sister Annetta, of Pélagie, of your brother, and of all those who have close ties of family and friendship with you and with the beloved Carpegna family; for I love them all due to their connection with the august name of Carpegna. Please be kind enough to send my greetings to your brother, Pélagie and all four of their good children. Pélagie wrote to me once after my return from Rome and I wrote to her once during the last Easter festivities. Since then I have had no news from the good Polish ladies. I beg you to give them all my greetings. In a letter I have rebuked my two fellow Missionaries whom I had asked to visit your family as soon as they reached Rome and to write to me. Those rascals waited twenty days and then did not write a thing except that they had briefly seen the family, without naming anyone. I was also very grieved by this. But I must be grateful to you, dear Countess, for you have brought me great consolation by giving me news of yourself and the others. That little rascal Guido has not written to me for three months. He really is a bit hard with a friend who loves him; but after all the bustle over Pippo’s departure is over, I do intend to send him my complaints. But let us talk a bit intimately.
Although I have only known 10 per 100 of the troubles afflicting the beloved Carpegna family, nevertheless love, which is ever restless and which reaches to wherever a ray of the goodness of loved ones attracts it; my affection, I say, has revealed 90 per 100 of them to me. I take everything into account. I could repeat to you ad litteram everything that flashed to my eyes and to my mind about you, about the Count, about Guido, about Pippo and about Fr Luigi. I see considerable gloom in the family. God gives gall to drink even to those who could be completely happy.
Let us adore God’s dispositions: but for our part we must shun everything which can disturb our peace. Ah yes, the venerable Countess Ludmilla was the one who drank the bitterest cup! I imagine it; I can also imagine the heroism of your virtue, the sacrifices you have had to put up with. But take heart, my dear Countess. You did not suffer that anguish, those worries, those sorrows in vain. Those anxieties are now being considered by the one who must consider them. It is impossible that all the sacrifices and sorrows you have been through should not be crowned by a period of peace, by a flood of consolations that await you. Be brave therefore, at this point; be calm; always be happy. Those two dear sons of yours, whom you love with the love of a mother beyond compare, must indeed be a comfort to you, and with good reason, in every grim event.
The Count, I must say with certainty, knows your virtue and knows that you have suffered. But enough, because I would not like to go too far. Be calm, happy, and also think sometimes of Verona, where in some places there is talk of you, Guido and all of you, as in Rome. Some friends of mine frequently ask me about the Carpegnas. Remember me, dear Countess, for I always remember you, and I bear your venerable name and image engraved on my heart. Pray for me, and may God be the centre of communication between me and you, and your dear family. I beg you to write tome during your stay in Pesaro, and let me know how much longer you will be at La Carpegna with the Count and Guido, so that I can make my plans. Oh, if you only knew how great my desire is to see you all! And if you stay there in the autumn, it is very probable that I shall come and visit you for a few days. Write to me Countess, for your letters are like a true refreshing balm for my spirit. And please remind Guido, to whom I shall write after I have written to the Count, not to be so stingy with letters, for his letters are too dear to me. If you write to Pippo and the excellent Fr Luigi, give them my greetings. I imagine Fr Luigi will be going to the London Exhibition; on his return, you might whisper in his ear and suggest to him, as to yourself, that he could pass through Verona, because I would gladly see him and a long conversation with him could be very useful as regards that which roule dans mon esprit.
In the meantime, I send you my respects, O Countess. Take the baths regularly and make sure they are effective in preserving and restoring your precious health. Enjoy yourself, be happy and in good spirits, give my greetings to Pippo and write telling me about yourself and your concerns, which are like my own, about Guido and the Count whom I love and whom I contemplate every day in my great album, which I never open except three or four times a day, to see spread out the picture of the venerable Carpegna family. Accept the expression of my esteem and respectful love, with which I sign
with all my heart
Your most affectionate servant
Fr Daniel Comboni, Apostolic Missionary
My Superior has just now asked me to send you his regards.