My dearest Alexander
1 Philadelphia Place
1 Nov. 1861
After receiving so many tokens of your affection I cannot permit a single mail to depart until I have acknowledged the receipt of your last containing the sovereign, the likeness of yourself and your dear wife and view of your little house of business for all of which I feel I cannot express in terms sufficiently appropriate my true feelings as I consider them as an earnest of your affection for the "old folks at home". The sovereign I intend shall be spent in the purchase of a cloak, shawl or dress, I know not which just now. I do not exactly want a dress therefore if I purchase either of the others you will be really satisfied. I intend when I get it to have my likeness taken with it on that you may have an opportunity of seeing it. Accept, both yourself, and your dear wife, my best thanks.
The little house of business looks somewhat quiet but I see you have plenty of gossips. Oh! would not your father love to push in amongst them and tell his tale of politics, but I expect it would not do for him to launch out so unhesitatingly as he does here, and in parochial matters as well. The steps in front add much to the improvement of your domicile. I hope you and yours have experienced many happy hours, days and months in it and will continue to do so.
Your being elected as Superintendent of Public Instruction seems another step in the right direction as to your temporal affairs. It rejoices my heart to know that your exertions are prospered and for your kind sympathy for us. I hope, my dear son, we shall be able to maintain our position through the goodness of God, but it is cheering as old age advances to know that we are cared for, and if necessary would be assisted. The desire expressed from our own dear sons is beyond expression delightful, but in days gone by you and your brother have nobly assisted us and I cannot ever forget it.
We have had several parcels of newspapers all containing coin of some kind. The Southern ones give us new lights upon the war but we have intelligence much earlier than is contained in yours. I am not without fears for the Union but I hope the latter will prove victorious. It is sad, very sad, that so much blood should be shed. I am so glad that neither you nor your brother are likely to be engaged in it and that the war is not likely to reach California. Charles and Henry Manfred must be thoroughly upset. We had the New York Time sent us by Henry through his sisters but we know nothing about them or whether Henry is positively coming to London. I do not think they are doing much beyond keeping themselves respectable - that is the appearance of gentlemen. I have a desire for Charles to visit you.
The Methodist Newspaper - I was much pleased with. Did you read the account of the low state of the Prayer Meeting? The old Shoemaker was right. I know not what information you get upon religious subjects but this I do know - that the light of the blessed Gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, is making rapid strides in almost every part of the world - thus fulfilling the prophecy that "the knowledge of the Glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the seas". Now my dear Alexander, are you and your "better half" yet brought into the fold of Christ? Jesus says give me thine hearts. Will you longer delay? Oh what glorious news it would be to us to be informed from your own pen that you had; then should I die in the hope of meeting you again. To have the love of God in our hearts is beyond all price. Perhaps you will say how am I to get it? by prayer and supplication at a [=the?] throne of Grace. It would be a great help if you had a proper place of worship to go to or religious people to converse with but in the absence of these seek the Lord in prayer and ask for the help of His Holy Spirit - ask in faith.
Mrs. Joyce is now a widow, Mr. Joyce having been dead about 2 months. Her son is still carrying on a shop in Oxford St. [This refers to Helen Joyce, daughter of James Thurtell of Loddon - the family where Sarah was governess before her marriage. Helen Joyce's
husband had been a clerk at a house of correction and they lived in Holborn. The son, Walter, subsequently went broke and undertook a stage career - letter of 16 Oct 1863 - and the daughter, Caroline, married a nice drunkard - see letters of 10 Dec 1865 and 9 Feb 1866. Helen Joyce died in 1869 - see letter of 9 Jul 1869.]
You may expect another letter soon after you receive this. Present my best love and good wishes to your dear wife and accept the same from your ever affectionate mother.
I understand from Fanny that she has written to you. The stage affair you say is inconvenient but I am thinking is it safe to have your house open at such a late hour?
In your likeness you are represented as looking as young as ever. Andrea always looks particularly neat. She dresses her hair very nicely and I observe the dress to be made in our English style. Your dress, too, is modern and you are both looking well. Anne and Fanny shall have theirs sent off tomorrow. Adieu.
You are improving wonderfully in your writing and composition - indeed the very spirit of the letter was very gratifying to us both.