All youth my dearest Dorothy Violet, is divided into three parts,—that earliest blindfold age of infancy, that more wonderful mud-pie age of divers savageries and many imaginings, that still more golden and wonderful age of adolescence. Then, alas, the prison-house of actualities seems to close about us, and we awaken some fine morning to the sad fact that we are, thereafter, to be regarded as only one of the grown-ups. Of this dolorous condition you still know nothing; but when it does come, you will find your three ages of youth each merging into the other, and all grown misty. Of the first, of course, we can recall nothing. The second, alackaday, we all too quickly forget. The third, with its dreams and illusions, we carry along with us only in echoes and broken memories. So, this milestone or two on the long and devious wayside of a small boy's career may, I hope, keep alive in your heart and mine, and perhaps in a few others', some remembrances of those earlier days of life that too soon slip away—of those days when I thought you the nicest little girl in all the world, and you (dare I say it?) openly avowed that lemon meringue was the summum bonum of all existence!
12 Plazza Barbirini, Rome, April, 1905