[Alexander had already died on 16 May.]
May 31, 1870
My dear Alex
My dear I have had a very kind letter from Walter in which he apologizes for his long silence & says it is owing to his inveterate habit of procrastination, which is also a family failing. I am very glad he has written - another letter he said would be on the way to our mother & I hope it is. He sent her also a substantial present in my letter which she has obtained thro' Baring Brothers. Perhaps you had better know nothing about this; he may not like it. It was nearly £20. She is very pleased of course & the money will be a help to her, but I think I know her when I say, she will be more pleased with a kind letter from him than with twice £20. She is not mercenary & does not set her heart on money tho' of course she does not despise it.
Walter told me about your abscess & general state of ill health. I am very, very sorry to hear it but trust the means used will be successful in restoring you to health. I know the kind of Doctor you mean "Electic" & think very highly of them. But, my dear brother, one little word I must add. All this illness shows that tho' there may be no immediate danger, your health is in a very precarious state & your life very uncertain; now I must intreat you do make sure for any earthly contingency - in like manner make sure for your soul, that immortal part, that is of so much more value than the body. Believe me, you will not enjoy life less but more - far more & the future will be surrounded by a halo of light. Get it as your life & you will say with the Queen of Sheba when she saw the Glory of Solomon - "Behold, the half was not told me". I say this from a life-long experience. 50 years have now rolled over my head in this vale of tears - for 40 years of which I have known the Lord & every year only adds to my joy. Men speak of the joys of youth. I am far happier now than I was in my youth & have no desire to go back one day because of the bright future to which I look.
I did not know I had not sent you a likeness of Elijah. It was too bad. Here then is one. He does not take well. He looks cross when grave, but in life he is never grave - the most merry light hearted boy in the world. Quite the delight of his brothers & sisters one & all. Yet he keeps well to his studies. I think I told you he was first prizeman in the medical schools last year. He has won another prize in April this year for physiology & past the first examination very successfully. He has one more to pass & he can practise but he has two years study before that. He is every inch a doctor. For some years he has been called "Doctor" by us all & when he comes home for his holidays the people come all round for his advice & help & they always call him "Our little Doctor". Do you remember when you used to hang "the Doctor" on a nail in a bag!! We often laugh about it here.
Mama has declined Miss Kraushaar's company. Fanny wrote & begged her not to have her as she would fleece her like her dear brother. Elijah is in London & he sees his Grandma continually & attends to any matter in which she needs help. She never likes him to be home as she looks to him for company, sympathy, etc.
The book containing the family secret is out of print. Papa's copy was lent, when last I heard of it, to Emily Auston. I will enquire of her about it & get it for you if I can.
My husband is quite well again now, but he must take great care next winter. If it please God to spare him to us a few years longer till little Ted is old enough to fight for himself, I shall be very thankful.
We are only 4 at home now. The step children all married & gone, Elijah in London. The four youngest at school at the seaside. Annie & Walter only at home. Arthur leaves school at Xmas and comes into the business so we shall be one more & every one is counted one in a small number. I have three grandchildren. My husband, Walter & Annie unite with me in love to you & Andrea who I hope is well.
Hoping to hear a good account of you soon I am,
Your loving Sister