BARBARA WALL BARBARA WALL
IAnna-Maria SHALL go on recalling +he first timid I was in Rome. I had another girl friend called Anna-Marir. She was +he only one of my friends who made any claim to he interested in The things
of the mind.
Anna-Maria was sixteen and was still at school. On two afternoons a weak, however, she didn't go to school, and on those days we went out together, she and I. We saw the sights of Rome. She was interested in her borne town. We went to the Forum and on to the Palatine and into museums and churches. She was an only child and very spoilt. She had marvellous clothes. She had no father: her mother was a marchesa, and they lived in a small apartment on the via Veneto. Anna.Maria spoke English very well (as most educated Italians do). Her chief mixtake was to make passive verbs active (e.g., "When a baby borne" instead of " When a baby is born"). After our walks and talks I used to go back to her apartment for tea. There, with her Mother, we used sometimes to talk about politics. It was there that I first had the " vital space " theory explained to ale—only that actual phrase wasn't used : it was before it had come in. I said one day how the thought of another war appalled me. Anna-Maria became extremely indignant. There has got to be another war, she said: Italy was cheated at the last peace. She has got to fight another war. War was glorious: it brought out all the virtues.
. . I began to cry.
The marchesa was very distressed, and explained to me that I belonged to a satisfied country. " For that you feel thus about war." This was ten years ago, in 1930. Since that time, however (i.e., after the Abyssinian war), Mussolini has said: "Italy is now a satisfied Power." . .
Anna-Maria and I sometimes went to Ostia to bathe when the weather got hot. I have been to Ostia again recently. It has very Much changed. It is full of the most modern and startling build. ings—detached villas of the very latest designs, as startling as anything In Switzerland. And there is a large, circular. polished, slippery post office with a clear, cool pond in the middle of it, and the different guichets all around. Italy can compete with any country from the point of view of architecture. The new blocks of workers' flats outside Rome and Milan—all windows and balconies, vast and with flat roofs—are as modernissimo as anything I nave seen anywhere.
Chasing the Claims WHILE I was in Rome that tins el Ciatio married Edda Mussolini. I was living with someone who was fascistissima, and every public movement of the ruling family was followed with passion. Thus we went to Edda's wedding. There was such a crowd.oute side the church, however, that we couldn't see anything, so we got some chairs out of another neighbouring church and stood on them on the outskirts of the crowd. However, it was still impossible to see the pathway down which the bridal pair would walk. So we went into a house opposite the church and were given permission to go on to the roof, from which we had a rather distant, bird's eye view—not very satisfying.
My friend then had the bright idea of dashing to St. Peter's, whither, according to Roman tradition, Edda and Ciente would certainly go immediately after their marriage. Here we were amply rewarded. We, the Ciano family and the Mussolini family had St. Peter's almost to ourselves.
My friend then insisted that we should follow the Cianos to Capri, where they were to spend their honeymoon. We anyway intended to go away from Rome for that week-end, I remember—. it was beginning to get hot—but we didn't mean to go very far afield. However, I found myself rising at five o'clock on the Friday morning, rushing to the station, leaping into the train for Naples, where we arrived at about nine, and thence taking the boat across the bay to Caint It was fantastically beautiful. We drove up in the funicular among the orange and lemon trees, up from the harbour and into the central square of Capri. We d aria see mural of Edda and Ciano. We saw them once, in fact, at a public function in the grounds of a ruined monastery, when Edda gave away prizes to some members of the ballila.
I remember I didn't think much of Ciano. I thought him callow and not exactly sparkling with intelligence. I was probably wrong. They say he is very able. However that may be, the fact is that he was anything but popular here when he became Foreign Minister. Now the boot is on the other footindereed!
all clinging to Ciano—ray Italian friends and I—hoping that he may remain Foreign Minister in face of the persistent rumours that he is to be removed in favour of Another. He now stands for a moderate policy as against the violent pro-Germans. He is rumoured to have a French mistress, and the Italians are delighted!