You will be pleased to know that I arrived safely back in Babbage. Of course, part of my heart stayed with you in Verona! The return journey was not so arduous as the arrival. Each of my trains was quite on time, there were no intoxicated gentlemen confusing me with their wives and no attempts to steal my luggage by resourceful urchins. Sometimes I had to step back and remember that I was not in Babbage and that these children do not know me from any other tourist. Speaking of the children, I returned to find the school quite in tact. I was extremely relieved and, truth be told, rather surprised. Miss Bergamasco, a very talented local builder and designer, has created the most wonderful uniforms for the children! Some of them have even taken to wearing them outside of school! They are quite...unique. There are two versions, one for slightly more formal occassions where clean clothes are required, and another knock-around version quite suitable for digging in the dirt and climbing trees. Miss Bergamasco painstakingly hand-knitted the school name on the back of each and every sweater, a feat in and of itself! They also feature the school logo on the chest; a skull and crossbones. Yes, Papà, you read that correctly. I told you this was going to be the most unique learning institution in all of Britain! I am very excited to start classes, though with the holidays already here I'm not sure just how successful any organisation would be at this point. But, for learning, we still have our monthly salons, which are always so informative! I missed the last one on weaponry, but apparently it went very well, up until Bob decided to detonate some explosive device of his. Do not worry, no one was injured. I did, however, return to quite the mess in my house, as I live right next door. Most of the damage was to the wall beside the salon. All of the pictures were off the walls and the glass shattered and several other trinkets and knick-knacks ended up on the floor as well. Gus, yes Papà I used his first name, suggested that I get Bob to clean it up, since it was really his mess and not mine. However, he must have gotten wind of this idea, for I have not seen him since I returned. The Dagger's monthly ball that evening gave me something to look forward to at least. Miss Dagger really outdid herself this month! She orchestrated a kidnapping mystery into the event. She must have gone to great lengths to plan, for the kidnapping "victim" a lovely local merchant and builder by the name of Miss Canolli Capalini, went missing nearly a week prior to the ball. Eveidently, her purpose was to create a giant working music box for a nobleman from a neighbouring city. It really was quite lovely! It certainly added a spark of excitement to the ball, not that her soirees ever need such a spark! I could not stay the entire evening, I was so weary from travel and cleaning up my house. But what I was there for I quite enjoyed, even if it was rather chilly. Oh yes, I almost forgot, we got our first snow! It really is little more than a dusting, but it does so wonderfully set the mood for Christmas! While I am waiting for many of my pictures to be re-framed, I am taking this opportunity to start decorating, as it is likely to be several weeks before I can have my pictures back anyway. At least this way I can have something up on the walls. I will admit that I often greet this time of year with mixed emotions. I tell you this because I know that you understand. I love Christmastime; I always have! The cold evenings, the warm fire, the smell of roasting chestnuts, cutting down a tree, decorating, enjoying special times with friends...all of these things mean so much to me! These were also the things, however, that meant so much to Mother. I remember how excited she used to get this time of year! Indeed, it seemed she always decorated earlier and earlier every year, as if willing Christmas to come sooner! Sometimes, when I'm alone in my thoughts, I can still smell gingerbread and plum pudding wafting through the house, and hear her gaily singing Christmas songs as she cooked. It's been so many years since she passed, but somehow, around Christmas, the timeframe always feels so much shorter. I know this time of year is hard on you, as well; especially now with Nonna gone. I am begining to feel that perhaps I should have stayed longer. It would have been nice to spend Christmas with you! But, yes, I do have affairs to attend to in Babbage. I suppose I cannot entirely shirk my responsibilities. I shall write to you as often as I can! Give my love to Zia Sophia and Zia Diana and make sure that if Zio Antonio makes his Christmas punch this year that he exercises some moderation with the wine! If Nonna's wake was any indication, you are likely to have a rather, eventful, Christmas!
Tutto l''Mia Amore,