430 Hackney Road
July 14th 1865
My dear Alexander

Many thanks for your letter and its contents[, 1]. I should have acknowledged the receipt of it in the last week's mail but I was so situated that I could not. You are very thoughtful about us "old folks at home" but I hope your kindheartedness will not induce you to inconvenience yourself.

I wished to have sent you in this our carte de visite but unfortunately your father has had a fall which has for a time quite disfigured him. You must know he is a little too hasty at times and on seeing some boys annoying a couple of women he ran after them and fell. This is not the first time by a great many that he has run after the boys when they have annoyed him by plucking his flowers, climbing upon the wall so I have often expected an accident and warned him but experience is worth all the warnings when it is not purchased at too great a price and thank God it is not in this instance as a week or fortnight will I hope set all right again but what a mercy that a leg was not broken or perhaps loss of life. Mr Forde the butcher lost his life in a similar way. The old gentleman fancies himself as young as ever, which at times is very lowering. He possesses good health and an even flow of spirits that he may live many years yet. I on the contrary have great debility, keep still capable of attending to my domestic affairs and I am as nimble as some of the young ones at times but I feel I cannot exert myself as I have done, a sleep of an afternoon seems almost indispensable. I walk to our chapel twice on a Sunday but I begin to find I shall not be able to do so long. We have, without thinking about age fixed on a chapel too far off, close by Shoreditch Church which necessarily involves a deal of walking which I am not always equal to. No doubt in less than a year I, at least, shall have to go nearer home. The home park is quite far enough for me now. I find if I go to the second, it is too far and this walk does me harm. I am very thin and pale looking with but one tooth left. I do indeed very often wish I had some of my family near me. It would be a great comfort to me in my old age but "God's will be done".

I read with much interest your account of your proceedings. I am glad you did not decide on leaving St. Luis Obispo. You are saving money and if you are to make a change perhaps you might lose your all. Let well enough alone. I do not like speculation. Fortunes are more frequently talked of than made. Godliness with contentment is great gain. You have the advantage of not having a family. It might be pleasant to have one or two but as the having children might imperil the life of dear Andrea you are better without them. Dear Walter seems to feel his expenses very heavy in consequence of his 5 children and really it is a very serious matter to provide food, clothing and education for so many. Poor fellow, he took upon himself the cares of life at a very early age. Indeed you both did. How thankful I often feel in your having met with so good a wife. If one thing in life has made me happier than another it is that my two sons were so much blessed in marriage as to have two good wives. This was scarcely to be expected in such a country. When I first saw your likenesses and your niece's, I thought at first it must be Eliza's but upon reflection I understood. She is a nice looking, intelligent girl. I expect she visits you occasionally.

I hope your house is getting on and that you will soon be able to tell me that you are much enjoying it. I am glad you have had an excursion and that you enjoyed yourselves. How did you manage about your business?

We do indeed rejoice that the war is over; the Union has triumphed. I have ever been on the side of the North and have read the newspapers upon the subject most anxiously. How could I be indifferent about the country my sons have adopted? Poor Lincoln but he had finished his work. Another is now raised up more fitted for its present duties. What is to be done with Davis? The feeling of executing him seems to be dwindling away but I do hope he will so far be put out of the way as never again to be able to disturb the unity of the Union. There is plenty of work to be done. I hope President Johnson will be equal to it.

The poor blacks - I read this morning that they were dying like rotten [?] sheep. I have no doubt there is great difficulty in the way of providing for them. I expect they are in a worse condition than before their liberation but the nature of the changes obliged it to be so. After a time I hope all will be well. I read they are getting arrogant and do not know how to behave. This is a pity. They seem to think that freedom means "no work". I read a very nice address to them from a governor of one of the States, I think, advising them to be industrious, etc. etc. I thought it excellent and wished they would follow his advice.

Elijah Davies has paid us a visit lately. He is so like what his poor father was. He is quite an aristocratic youth, very polite and well bred. He has two years more to continue with Mr Fox at Gloucester. At the end of that time he ought to study and walk the hospitals but the expense will be so great that I fear he will have to earn the money first. He left us very suddenly. A letter came saying a friend of the family who was to be married had visited and had decided that about 24 of the young persons should be invited to a pic nic in a Park in the neighbourhood of Stroud. He had so wish[ed] to be with them that he left the next morning. He seems fond of the profession of a dentist and I hope will succeed very well but he has two years more to remain with his master - a very good thing that he has, as he will even then be young to begin life for himself.

Uncle and Aunt Hopwood are quite well and so are your cousins. They always enquire about you and Walter and hope you are doing well. We but seldom meet. I know not why unless it be that I do not like, nor do they, Sunday visiting and in the week they are such business people that I am afraid of its being inconvenient. Your papa and Elijah went whilst he was here.

Your cousin Adely Kraushaar is coming to spend a few weeks with me. I have not seen her since she was quite a little girl. She is about the age of Elijah and I may judge from her likeness she is a very nice looking girl. The carte de visite you sent, I am obliged to you for. I sent off Fanny's and Anne's with which they are much pleased and thank you. You neither of you look older.

Present my kindest love to your dear wife. I hope she will very much enjoy her new house and live many years in it experiencing much real happiness. I shall write again soon as I want to answer a letter written to me by dear Eliza. Walter has sent me a nice account of his children. With love and best wishes believe me

Your affectionate mother

S Murray