Rebecca’s Letter Home

Readers;  Sorry I’ve been away from the keys for so long, but here is another little slice from my forthcoming novel.  The letter that follows is written by Rebecca Martin to her Aunt Bertha Von Suttner.  Ms Von Suttner was a real person.
Image result for bertha von suttner
She is famous as the author of one of the first European anti-war books, Lay Down Your Arms.  She was a Baroness and held other titles in Austrian society in the late 19th and very early 20th century.  She was responsible for convincing Alfred Nobel to establish and endow the Noble prizes.  In fact, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1905, the first woman to be so honored.
Rebecca Martin is a fictional character.  In my book she is the niece of Bertha Von Suttner.  Rebecca is an Austrian princess whose mother has died.  Von Suttner steps in to help raise the girl and is instrumental in convincing Rebecca that she should accept Isaac Martin’s proposal and marry him and move to America.  Part of Von Suttner’s motive is to save Rebecca from the catastrophe of World War I that she sees on horizon.
Thanks for reading.  Comments are welcome.  Ed.




May 12th, 1913

My Dearest Aunt Bertha;


I write to tell you that we have received the trunks you sent and found them intact and containing all that you represented in your letter.  I must say that I find the portraits of you and Arthur extremely satisfying. This artist – Mr. Van Gogh – has something of genius about him.  The paintings are simplistic and overdone, but somehow capture something of the subject’s essence – of your and Arthur’s essence – that other artists could not catch or even perhaps see.  I think you are quite right that this painter may gain in stature and someday be quite famous. There is an almost indescribable, even impossible, combination of depth and brilliance in these portraits.  We shall guard them well for the day when life there is more settled.


I do miss you, Aunt, you and Poppa and Arthur, but you were right to encourage me to come to America.  I am not lonely here and the life that lays before me is bright with promise and opportunity for growth and charity.  This country looks forward, not backward as our own. Here all of life is about work and progress and producing and inventing.  Everything moves. There is little in the way of social structure and that is good. Here men – and women, too – make their way in the world upon their own merit and effort.  No one is dependent on rank or birth. Such notions are unknown to the people here. All is about Möglichkeit.


My dear Isaac’s heart is a true heart.  He does not tire of me like the men of our country tire of their wives and lust for the battlefield or the brothel.  I am convinced that his love for me grows as the months and years go by. (Sometimes I don’t know why. I am not always the wife that I should be, although I am learning as I go.)   He trusts me with the affairs of this wonderful house and our resources are quite sufficient, even abundant, as we add to this estate and as we lead our community and engage with leaders from other cities in the transacting of Isaac’s business in timber and coal.  The wealth that surrounds us now is inexhaustible and virtually untapped. Isaac, by vision, vigor, and investment, has put hundreds of men to work here, and now they build their own houses and start their own families and live and create.


You must come here.  You and Arthur. There is more than enough opportunity for you to begin again and to succeed to a measure you have not imagined. Your book is well known here.  Indeed, the people of America are much more like you – they do not want war. Our house here – Maple Top – is waiting to be filled with your laughter and wisdom.  My gardens could use your touch. Come soon, and escape the coming wrath.


copyright 2018

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2 Responses to Rebecca’s Letter Home

  1. beyond the words, beyond the writing, there are great thoughts to consider.

  2. labeak52 says:

    Thanks, Joe. You’re right, of course. I hope that the book as a whole will at least approach these. . .

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