430 Hackney Rd.
16th Oct. 1863

My dear Alexander

In looking at the date of my letter, I am reminded that your birthday has but recently passed over. May you, [my] dear son, live to see many more in the midst of much happiness and with your dear Andrea sharing it with you. I reached my 70 year on the 6th of this month. How many more birthdays I shall experience I know not, but I shall continue to hope that when I have finished my course here I shall enter that "better land" where we shall meet again and to this end I pray that your eyes may be opened to see the truth as it is in Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour.

Your papa has but recently returned from paying a visit to Mr. & Mrs. Evans. He much enjoyed himself and found the family all in good health and surrounded with many comforts. I wish dear Fanny was equally well off and had as good a husband but without being a bad husband there is a remarkable difference between the two. His son John James is still with us. Goes regularly to school and promises to be a clever lad. He is a thorough book worm and at present is inclined to be inactive which I regret but I expect his living must depend upon his intellectual acquirements. He grows and does so remind me of you. I took him the other day with me to the Tower, the Crystal Palace and the Zoological Gardens. These are all the places we have visited this summer. I expect he will continue with us throughout the winter.

We feel obliged to you, dear Alexander, for the two sovereigns and thought you would not object (as we had before been indebted to you for your kind liberality) - we gave one to Elijah who purchased with it two expensive books which will be of great use to him in his profession of a Dentist. The other to Fanny and her daughter. You no doubt will hear from them upon the subject. It is very kind of you and Andrea to think of us. May you ever possess the means of gratifying your feelings.

I hope dear Walter is doing well. He seldom writes which makes me fear. No end to this terrible war. I do fear that at some period or other you may be called into action. Have you yet seen any one from Charles Manfred? Your cousins Harriet and Emma Hopwood were here yesterday. They always enquire after you and send their love. Walter Joyce is become a Bankrupt and is now, I am sorry to say, turning his attention to the stage. He has had a very extravagant wife which has helped to bring him down. How thankful I am that you have both such good wives. May they and you have many years to enjoy each other's society.

I have been interrupted this afternoon which obliges me to write in [a] rush or not at all. I hope this will find you both well, likewise Walter, his wife and little ones. How rejoiced I should be to see you all. Adieu. I shall write again soon. I hear of no letters coming but ours. With much love to all

Believe me your Affectionate Mother

Sarah Murray