My very dear sons
Victoria Park Road
3rd April 1868
This must be a letter addressed to you both as I shall not have time to address you separately. I have already written several letters today and have more to write. One of them was to Horace Browne respecting his Life Insurance in the Eagle Life Insurance Company Pall Mall. I have had much anxiety about it, but I am thankful to say it is now all right. The remittance came to hand on Monday but in consequence of my removal and he not being aware of your dear father's death it might fall into wrong hands.
You have no idea how much business transactions have terrified me, left here as I am without any friend to advise who possesses the necessary business knowledge. However I am thankful to say the clouds are passing over and I hope to be completely peaceful in my mind after a few weeks. It is probable you may wonder at your dear Father's leaving me sole Executrix [does she mean 'beneficiary'?], but I presume it arose from the circumstance of his having so little to leave and thinking that at my time of life I could not work for my living, at the same time having perfect confidence in me that I should endeavour to act faithfully to the trust he has reposed in me.
Anne is very anxious that I should go and live with her - by doing so perhaps I should leave more money behind me but I am not inclined to pauperise myself for that, neither do I think your dear father would wish it could he know it. I hear of so many who have lived with their relatives and repented, that unless there is a necessity for it, I do not wish to try it. Still there are reasons for it as well as against it. The Hopwoods are all advocates for my going to Brimscombe and so is your Uncle Alexander. He, I think, feels it would be a better position for me but I care not about position. I want to be happy and dependence to me was always a burden too heavy for me to bear with composure.
You are aware your dear father left 3 cottages. They cannot be given up at present without sacrifice and surely who can so well look after them as myself whilst in the goodness of God I am kept in health. They are in the Hackney Building society and I have to pay £6 per month until they are redeemed. He had, too, some shares in the Society for which I have to pay £2 monthly, but I can go on with these payments as at the end of about 2 years the time for the houses will have expired. The shares have to run 4 years longer. It seems if these things are withdrawn before the time, it is a sacrifice. I think that as the time for the houses is but 2 years, I feel inclined, unless I had made up my mind to sell the property, to keep on the shares as long as I have the means to pay the £2 monthly, as to sell them would create a greater sacrifice. [Transcription unclear: sentence slightly reworded.] I wish you both to know exactly what your dear father has left behind and to this end I will copy an extract in my next letter of the Society accounts, of the property he had in the Building Society at the time of his death.
I am now living in apartments, of course doing for myself, but this, although at first was not pleasant to me, I am getting used to it and feel it almost a relief to be without a servant for at best they are necessary evils.
I enclose an advertisement of the death of poor Charles Manfred. His disease was the same as our poor Josephine's. He left some money which his sisters and I expect his brother Henry [will] come in for.
I shall send you with this a Newspaper "Public Opinion". I have received two from you lately. I am very glad that you, dear Walter, have gained your appointment as Attorney and Counsellor at Law and Notary Public. I am glad to receive the papers. You, dear Alexander, are I hope doing well. Dear Walter has a large family to provide for, that he needs a good income and I hope this appointment will greatly assist him. Why have you not written? I have not received a letter from you for a very long time.
I think you had better not direct your letters here as it is uncertain how long I may remain. It is probable I may be persuaded to go to Brimscombe but look at 3 families - Mr. Evans in ill health, the son partly master in the business and a very bounceable young man, a daughter [of] 26. I am writing of the first family. They have made themselves disagreeable to Anne. They might be so to me. I should then be completely at their mercy. Then again what would my position be were Mr. Evans to die. He has been very ill all the winter. Anne makes out that he is well off and so he may be, but with such men as Peto and Gurney failing, who are we to trust to. [Sir Samuel Peto's building company failed on "Black Friday", 11 May 1866, along with the London Joint Stock Bank, causing panic in the markets.] Of course, my dear sons, all this is in confidence. I should not like Anne to know exactly my thoughts upon this subject. That if you write, enclose ½ a sheet upon this subject only.
Fanny's son John has got a situation in London. He was first with a friend and boarded with him but he now wants me to get him a lodging near me. He is promoted [promised?] 10/- per week with a Lawyer. I hope he will do well. He is a great religious boy but something of a bigot and as a controversionalist his people's religious notions are all right with him. However I am thankful he is a Christian and I believe as he gets older he will perhaps be more tolerant [of] others.
I went to the Cemetery yesterday to see to the lettering of your dear father's tomb. Dear old man, how little did he think he should go first. His brain, in my opinion, was burdened too much for a man of his years. Blessed be God, I believe he is safely landed and in this hope is my greatest consolation.
Adieu my dear boys. Write to me soon and address the letter to Mr. Hopwood, Sloane St.
Love to your dear wives and children and accept the same from
Your affectionate mother