The Countess de Rola, a small cameo photograph, c. 1880’s (?)
The above photograph was one of the few found among the effects of Captain Braxton Fitzroy upon the re-opening of his file for further research. The Countess continues to remain an enigma to the few scholars who have undertaken to research Fitzroy. What little we know comes from the correspondence the two of them kept throughout their lives. One such letter follows…
To my Soldier,
I am in Vienna now, and everything is a whirl of beautiful music, beautiful architecture, beautiful dresses, and above all dancing, dancing, dancing. It seems I am forever dancing here. There is always another waltz to be had, another gala to attend, another café one must go to. My nights often stretch out until the first rays of the sun touch the Ringstrasse, and then I sleep and wake only to do the same all over again.
The people here are lovely. There is a courtesy one does not find in Paris, a warmth one does not find in London. I must be careful not to grow too comfortable here, or I might be tempted to stay…but neither you nor I would ever truly be able to do such a thing and remain happy.
But all of these things are little things.
Your last letter worried me. All of your letters worry me. There is always something you cannot say or will not say and part of me has come to accept this but I do not think I ever truly shall. I sometimes think I see you standing among the military men here at the balls, but then they turn and the fancy passes.
The nights are so full of laughter and of dancing and talk, but always I think of our time in Constantinople. We shall soon meet there again.
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