1 Alexandra Cottages
4 March 1870
My dear Alexander
Your letter arrived in due time. I have now to thank you and dear Andrea for its contents, viz £4. It was very thoughtful and affectionate of you both, for although I cannot be said to be without money, yet I am often in a strait which I could best explain if you were present. I shall retain my houses, living in one. I have just redeemed them of the Building Society; whether I shall realize the money given for them remains to be proved. Your dear father (who was ever sanguine) had frequently said when redeemed they would be worth £500 but unless taken by the railroad company, I fear they would not clear £400. They stand next to the railroad. The noise at times, as we are near the station, particularly the screaming is really terrific. I wish indeed you could well dispose of your property and come over and dispose of them for me, that is if on hearing all particulars you thought it advisable to sell. At any rate, if I get a few years older, it cannot be supposed I should be capable of looking after them and to employ an agent would be to give up all the profit, and perhaps more, so that in that case there would be no alternative.
Much as I should like to see dear Andrea, I think she is right not to come without you. I still cherish the hope that I shall one day see you both. As to Walter, it looks like an improbability, but "sufficient for the day is the evil thereof". None can tell what is in the future. It is probable he may have no desire, if I may draw a conclusion from his recent conduct. There may be circumstances which may justify his remaining silent, but none that I know of - that is worse than cold- it is frigid, to treat a widowed mother thus. I am quite sure if I judge Mercedes right, she does not second him; I believe her to be of a too affectionate disposition to do so, but I will forbear. Who sent the newspaper containing an account of his travels? I think it was directed in your handwriting, but if sent by him, I should hail it as a turning point - an omen of better things. I am glad to hear he is doing well, as he needs a profitable profession to bring up and educate so large a family. I am longing to hear more of them, as the children must be approaching a very interesting period in their history. Cannot you give me a few particulars or are you hindered?
I am very glad that your health is better. You got rid of your partner very suddenly at last. I was very much afraid you would have a relapse. You never give me an account of your home. I expect as you are doing well, you have furnished your house very comfortably if not genteelly. Your garden, too, does it improve? and your Chinese servant that you gave me a nice account of - is he still with you? How does the Gospel progress in St. Luis Obispo? It is making rapid strides in many countries.
I think you do not quite understand poor Fanny's position but I expect in helping her, John, and not she, would be the better for it; should she ever be left a widow, I hope dear Alexander you will not over look her; her disposition is most amicable and I am quite sure she would do her utmost to provide for herself and children. I would give anything to have her situated near me. John James has left his situation. He is in too delicate health. Frank, the second boy, is a regular sturdy fellow that will get his living anywhere, I have not seen him since he was a baby but I hear most encouraging accounts of him. Addy is just recovering from the scarlet fever.
Anne's family are, I believe, all well and doing well. Sarah Ann is to be married in May next, that she will be left with none but her own family. I often see Elijah. He is succeeding in his profession rapidly.
I was pleased with your remarks about Uncle Hopwood. I sent him your letter to read as I thought it would please him. He took great care that it would reach me safely. He is ever ready to give a helping hand. He has been very ill lately. It is wonderful with his delicate state of health that he has lived so many years.
The book you mentioned in your letter - I have not got - where it went to I know not. I have written to Anne to know if she has it; at all event should it not be out of print, I will get it for you through some of the shops in the city if possible. I wish you were nearer. I have a great many books treasured up. Some I wish to return to Walter but the distance is so great that a trunk of books would I fear cost more than they are worth and I fear might be lost at the custom houses.
I am thankful to say my health has been very fair through the winter excepting at times. I have, though, been obliged to contrive many ways to keep myself warm.
What a pity there is such a scarcity of rain in your neighbourhood. The poor emigrants! How disappointed they must be and to lose all in a foreign country must be sad indeed.
I have written this in a regular scramble, as I was afraid of being too late for [the] post. I hope you have got rid of your cold and that dear Andrea is quite well, to whom present my affectionate love and with many thanks to you both for the very bountiful presents, believe me,
Your affectionate mother