vendredi 28 décembre 2012
I simply couldn`t help it................
At a dinner party a few nights ago I was sat next to very charming lady who I had met only briefly before. During dinner she told me that she had heard I was an antiques dealer and also that I had a passion for visiting Venice. I simply couldn`t help myself and much to the amusement of the host seated opposite, this is what I told her.
I told her that I was in fact an orphan and that in the 1950s (when it was still a scandal for a child to be born out of wedlock) I was left in a simple basket at midnight at the gates of the Ospedale della Pieta in Venice. The ospedale has cared for foundlings since the 13th century, the children raised by the nuns who live there.
As she sat open mouthed I told her that babies were left at a small opening in the wall where the mother would then ring the bell before disappearing into the night. Many babies were left with a token so that they could possibly be claimed at a later date should the mother`s fortunes change. Half a locket, half a letter, half of a picture or similar would be carefully stored and recorded by the nuns. Should the mother return with her half of the token then the child could be claimed.
Still managing to keep a straight face I told her that on the night I was left outside a Sister Bernadetti, the greediest and laziest nun of all I discovered much later, was on evening duty. When the bell sounded she found me at the gates and took me in, finding inside the basket where I lay a half bar of hand-made Belgian chocolate. Sister Bernadetti quickly ate it and threw away the wrapper to hide the evidence. Tragically that meant that I would never be re-claimed!
By this time the host of the party was hiding his laughter behind his table napkin as my victim sat silent and open mouthed.
I went on to say that this would explain my addiction for " chocolat" and my passion for Venice - and my lack of family history gave me the passion to truffle out other people's heirlooms.
I went on to describe how, as a three year old, I had stunned the chapel with a rendition of 'Ave Maria' and that I hoped I had been the result of a romantic tryst between a noble woman and a gondolier. But then I even couldn`t hold up any longer and had to confess!!
So........... where did my ridiculous tale come from? I have recently finished reading a divine book - "Vivaldi's Virgins" by Barbara Quick - and it was a captivating read. If you look at her website it describes the tiny museum hidden at the Calle del Pieta in Venice that houses some of the tokens mothers left with their babies and some of the children`s histories. Here is the link
And now of course, I am desperate to go back to Venice and find that tiny museum.
I do not apologise for my addiction to Venice but I do apologise to that poor lady who had to suffer me over dinner!!!!
My listings will start again on the 2nd January when I shall be listing not only a delicieux linen dowry sheet with a baron's crown but also its matching pair of crowned pillowcases. Just sublime!
A bientot, mes belles