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[What is my Dear Papa doing? I am so well, and so happy that I cannot but thank my ever dear Papa who brings me so much happiness and whose blessing I ask for. Your little Allegra sends her loving greetings.]
The four-year-old Allegra writes from the convent of San Giovanni Battista in Bagnacavallo near Ravenna, where Byron had placed her five months earlier. Two weeks after writing the letter she received a visit not from her father, but from Shelley, who wrote to Mary afterwards:
‘… she has a contemplative seriousness which, mixed with her excessive vivacity which has not yet deserted her, has a very peculiar effect in a child’.
Shelley later tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Byron to have Allegra removed from the convent, and in 1822 Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley's stepsister, hatched unlikely schemes to ‘rescue’ her, but in April that year Allegra became feverish and died shortly afterwards, aged five years and three months.