Letters of Thanks banner

“Look at this, Leopold!” his wife Potentiana called.

Leopold Cavriani took the letter and read it with growing delight and excitement:

 

Coudenberg Palace

Brussels, Netherlands

November 22, 1634

 

Cavriani Frères

Geneva

 

Dear Sirs:

 

Please be so kind as to deliver Our letter of thanks (enclosed) to Mr. Marc Cavriani, for his gallant protection and assistance to Our seamstress, Susanna Allegretti. He may well have saved her life (and she his). Thank you.

Her narration of their adventure has aroused my curiosity: I wonder what services Cavriani Frères could offer to Our House and to Our people, were you to establish an office here in Brussels. Should one of you visit Brussels, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with him and to discuss whether such an office might be mutually beneficial. If so, please send this letter with him to facilitate him gaining an audience with us.

 

Sincerely,

 

Berendt van Hoopfen, secretary

On behalf of HM Maria Anna, Queen in the Netherlands, etc.

 

“I think it would be best if we bring this to Alis’ attention immediately, since she is already established in Rotterdam. Please take care of it, my dear, while I write a quick note to Marc to send along in the packet to Naples.”

 

Mme. Alis t’ser Haag

Cavriani Frères

Rotterdam

 

My dearest sister-in-law,

 

Please see the enclosed copy of a communication from the royal court in Brussels addressed to Leopold, with my annotations. Given the strong connections that the Rotterdam branch has long established with the court of the Stadhouder, this avenue of expansion appears promising. Let me know your thoughts as quickly as possible. All our best to our delightful little nieces. They must be growing so fast.

 

Affectionately,

 

Potentiana in Geneva, on behalf of Leopold

 

 

Maria Anna, Queen in the Netherlands

c/o Berendt van Hoopfen, secretary

 

Your Majesty,

 

LoT-rttrdmIn response to your flattering invitation of last month, I beg leave to draw to your attention that Cavriani Frères has an established branch in Rotterdam, founded by my late brother Lorenzo and now capably conducted by his widow, Mme. Alis t’ser Haag on behalf of their minor heirs. May I be so bold as to suggest that the established ties of this branch of our enterprise with the court of Stadhouder Fredrik Hendrik, now the “first gentleman” of the united Netherlands, may be of assistance in combining the financial operations of the new government, particularly since Mme. t’ser Haag was herself born in Brussels and her family has connections to several firms in the city. I have urged her to contact your representatives promptly.

 

With humble gratitude,

 

Leopold Cavriani

Cavriani Frères

Geneva

 

****

“Letters for you, Marc. One looks important.”

 

“Thank you, Mr. Penelli.” Marc took the letters eagerly, but his eagerness all but evaporated when he saw that neither was from Susanna. She wouldn’t have such an impressive-looking seal or such fine paper. He set the letter from his father aside and opened the ‘important’ one carefully. His eagerness returned in full force at the sight of the first line:

 

Coudenberg Palace

Brussels, Netherlands

November 22, 1634

 

 

Mr. Marc Cavriani:

 

Thank you. Susanna Allegretti has arrived safely in Brussels. Our heartfelt thanks to you for your gallant protection and assistance.

Should you ever be in Brussels, please come visit us here at the palace, where we can thank you personally. Bring this letter to get you past the gatekeepers.

 

Sincerely,

 

Berendt van Hoopfen, secretary

LoT-qnmrnnOn behalf of HM Maria Anna, Queen in the Netherlands etc.

 

Susanna’s name wasn’t really written in bold, but Marc’s heart supplied the emphasis.

“It must be very good news,” Leonardo Penelli remarked as he saw the transformation of Marc’s face from eagerness to brief disappointment to joy.

“Susanna got there safely and the queen herself—well, her secretary, at least–has written to thank me!” Marc replied, as he opened the letter from his father.

 

Cavriani Frères

Geneva

 

Dear Marc,

 

Please note the enclosed correspondence. Your Uncle Lorenzo was a competent enough manager during his sadly abbreviated life, but your Aunt Alis is far more than merely competent. In addition, it is possible that the Queen in the Netherlands will be intrigued to encounter a financial firm managed by a woman, although, of course, Cavriani Frères is a minor and modest “blip,” as the up-timers say, compared to a truly influential enterprise such as Thurn et Taxis. We shall wait and see if anything comes of it.

 

Affectionately,

 

Papa