1 Philadelphia P.
My dear Alexander
5th October 1860
I know not how you have fallen under the circumstances of neglecting to write home, but I ever assure you that in committing the fault towards you I feel most dissatisfied with myself, particularly as I was so pleased with your last letter. At that time I was thinking of paying a visit to your sister Anne that I was induced to postpone writing thinking that after I had paid the visit I should have so much more to tell you, but ever since my return my engagements have been so numerous that obstacles to my writing have continually beset my path.
My stay with your sister was a week. I found her most comfortably situated, circumstances permitting her to do the duties of a mistress only in a home containing all the comforts of life. She has 6 children of her own including Elijah and very nice children they are. She keeps a nursemaid to attend upon them. The first family consists of 3 - two daughters and a son. He has recently been staying with us for nearly a fortnight. He is a youth about 16. He was very anxious to see all the London sights. Your papa and I together contrived to take him to most of the public places. He seems very much attached to Anne and looks to her for advice, I almost think, more than he does to his father but he is a good son. He has joined the Brethren, has become a Sunday School teacher, is very obedient and anxious to please both parents.
Mary, the eldest daughter, is coming to pay me a visit next week. She would have been here before but through the illness of a very old lady who is lodging with me. I put off her coming as I thought it would be melancholy for her to die whilst Mary was with us. She is a very different girl to her sister Sarah Ann, who is very reserved, but they are both very diligent girls at home and behave exceedingly well to the last family. Elijah figures hardly amongst them. He is by no means difficult but just maintains his position.
The situation of the house and mills are most pleasant and the country around is most delightful. The scenery is beautiful - pretty little white cottages and villas intermixed with trees situated on hill and in dale. It is such a complete contrast to the counties of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Had I sure independency I should have no objection to end my days there. We had several nice rides in order to show me the scenery. The Welsh hills we could discern at a distance and the river Severn. On the Sunday I visited the "room" where the Brethren meet. I broke bread with them and enjoyed the intercourse I had with them exceedingly. We had a Bible meeting at your sister's where I met several very nice Christian people.
Your aunt Everitt has since paid Anne a visit. Altogether Anne has reason to be very happy surrounded as she is by a happy family and a loving Christian husband. I am sure she has reason to say spiritually and temporally "lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. I have a goodly heritage." Of course they are not exempt from many of the trials of life to which mankind is heir to.
O that I could give you as nice a description of dear Fanny. She has many difficulties in her path I fear, but she keeps them all to herself. I often wish she would be more communicative and tell her so. We assist her a little occasionally but with our limited means it's by no means what we would wish to do. She is just over a confinement with her 5th child [Alfred]. I believe the youngest but one does not run alone. I should dearly like to go to Rutland and see how she is situated but the expense keeps me away.
I thank you and your dear wife for the specimen of the work done by the sewing machine. I dare say Andrea finds it very useful but as you have no family I suppose she is not overdone with needlework. Have you sold any more? A gentleman, whom I know, not succeeding in business has purchased several and gets women to work them and thus contrives to live but I presume it is a poor living.
I thank you for the picture of the Mission and of San Luis Obispo. The place looks rather gloomy but I hope when you get a greater population you will be able to make your fortune and if you desire it come home and enjoy it. How would your wife like this?
I have not seen Romuldo Pacheco since we dined with him at your Uncle Hopwood's. I assure you he was made a great deal of there, and I felt much pleased with your uncle, as he showed in it all a kindness towards Walter; when invited Pacheco played and sang very nicely and feelingly but he is so exceedingly aristoctratic that you scarcely know how to treat him. This was the only unpleasant feeling I had about his visit. I could, from his appearance, scarcely believe that his first acquaintance with Walter was in the mines. He did not tell me this but he told your papa.
I will now congratulate you on your improvement in letter writing. Your handwriting, too, is very much better. You can scarcely believe the real pleasure your letter afforded me. Do not think that your affairs have no interest for me, as I assure you it is quite the contrary and it does so rejoice my hear to find that you and your dear Andrea are living so comfortably together. May you have many years to enjoy each others society.
I thank you very much for the Christian Newspaper. How very different and how much more acceptable than some you have sent. I scarcely hoped you had such good things in your possession. Where did you get them? Did Filmer send them from Boston? They contain a great deal of Christianity and I assure you that Anne and I were very pleased with them and quite glad that even so much of religious knowledge reached you. Are you likely to have any Protestant places of worship built at St. Luis? If so do attend. My heart yearns to speak to you of the things of God, but I fear that privilege will never be permitted me. Do consider, dear Alexander, the uncertainity of life; heaven and hell are before you. To which are you hastening? There is no mistake - it is a reality - no fiction. Oh! that you and yours were decided on this all important subject. I have prayed for you and your dear brother; others have done so too and yet I fear you are still in nature's darkness; "be wise today; 'tis madness to defer," says Young, so say your mother, your father, your sister and above all your Saviour God! Oh! hasten to be wise, despise not the warning!
Have you heard any more from Charles? By this time I believe he must have heard of the death of his mother. She died about 2 months since. I am glad to find you stick to business, at the same time you give yourself and your wife a little recreation, quite right. A little change in a rational way is requisite for us all. I am glad to hear Walter is doing well and that his reputation stands high as a Lawyer. I feel great pleasure in hearing of your temporal prosperity, but how much more should I experience in hearing of your spiritual. Seek for the "the pearl of great price" that you may each have "an inheritance that is undefiled and that fadeth not away - reserved in Heaven for all them who love our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ".
I am thankful to say we are both in as good health as can be expected at our time of life - a few aches and pains occasionally. I shall be 64 tomorrow. I believe you are right respecting your age. Your papa and I both think you were born in 1832 but we have no written document to prove it.
So you have taken to eating bread and milk out of respect for old times, I suppose. Ah! my dear son, how happy should I have been to have made home more pleasant for you all but stern necessity obliged me to curtail your indulgences when my heart has ached under it, some of my dear children will, I trust, give me credit for it.
Nathan Barlow, I hear, is or is about being married. Miss Charlotte Perkins has left her brother Henry in America and is living with some of her friends here. I expect she found her brother living a gay life and very likely a reckless one from what I saw of him here. I did not come to a very favourable conclusion about him.
Present my affectionate love to your dear wife. Tell her when I next write I shall enclose a letter for her & Mercedes too. I want to write - it is a great happiness to know that my dear sons have good and kind wives. Nothing has so much reconciled me to their absence. Give my love to Walter. I shall write to him soon. I wonder we have not heard from him. It is now a long time since. Tell him to write. News from a far country is ever acceptable, particularly when it comes from beloved ones. How are our little grandchildren? I suppose long ere this there is another added to the number. [Anita had been born in May.] I wonder. Walter has not written and told us. I hope all is well. Hoping to hear from you in a few months in answer to this,
My dear Alexander
Your very affectionate Mother