[Alexander had already died on 16 May.]
My dear Uncle Alexander
40 London Street
June 3rd 1870
Doubtless you will be very surprised at receiving this letter from me, but as Mamma told me of your kind enquiries about me, your message to me, I thought I could not do better than answer them myself. Mamma tells me she has sent you my carte-de-visite. I regret it is not a better one, it having been taken two years ago. Had I known you had sent for one, I could have had some taken up here for you. However, you shall see the next I have taken.
I am very sorry to hear of your illness. I hope that you will soon be better. I hope the change of air I hear you have taken will set you up again.
As you may imagine I have very little, if any, remembrance of you, except from reputation; but I am almost certain I remember, on one occasion hanging up in your dirty clothes bag behind your door & Mamma coming into the room at the time. Mamma however says that it is a stretch of my somewhat lively imagination. I, on the other hand beg to differ & believe it is quite genuine.
No doubt you have heard that I am studying medicine at the Middlesex Hospital. I have given up Dentistry & have been at the Hospital for two years. I like it much.
On Sundays I often see Grandmamma. She is living in one of her houses & on the whole seems contented & happy. Before she resided in her own house, the tenants used to vex & annoy her, by always complaining & at last running off, & leaving a month's rent unpaid. Now however circumstances are altered, & they complain much less, & pay more regularly, so that she has much less trouble. Indeed now it is a little amusement to her looking after her tenants, etc, and helps to break the monotony, which she must necessarily feel in living by herself. Nevertheless as she gets older, she naturally feels things a trouble, which were she younger, could be pleasure to her. We all think it is a pity she does not sell the houses & come and live with us; but having been a housekeeper all her life she does not like giving up & naturally too. She is very pleased to see visitors, although she does not see many. She always looks forward to my coming (which is every second or third Sunday) as quite an event, & is always pleased to see me.
With regard to my own mother, I am happy to say that on the whole she is pretty well now. Although she is subject to spasms, which are anything but pleasant companions, between attacks she enjoys good average health.
Of course you have heard that since the marriage of my second sister, she has only her own family at home, which is of course very pleasant for her & I trust that like old Job, "the latter days will be better than the former". I had hoped that this was a quotation, but I find I am mistaken; however it will do.
I visit the Hopwoods alternately with Grandma; they are pretty well, Uncle H. being the greatest invalid in that establishment. They often talk of you, & always ask for the latest news concerning you & Uncle Walter.
With regard to myself, I enjoy very good health [I] am happy to say, & trust I am getting on moderately well in my profession. Have succeeded in obtaining four prizes at the Hospital for different subjects & last April passed my first examination at the College of Surgeons. However, I don't intend to try for any more prizes, as it creates jealousy & ill feeling amongst the other students. Amongst the Physicians & Surgeons at the Hospital I am in good favour, & after all that is the great thing. I am afraid you will think I am a great egotist when you see all these capital I's, but it could not be avoided inserting them, if I told you how I was getting on.
I am afraid I must bring this letter to a conclusion now, as I shall have to send it to Mamma to send on to you, as I have not your address.
Hoping to hear that you are much better, I remain
Your affectionate Nephew,
Elijah Knox Davies