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Frank Leward: Memorials

Mrs. Leward to Frank

Mrs. Leward to Frank.

July 1838.

My dearest bad Frank,—What a naughty boy you have been! I write this just on the chance of your getting it at the horrible place you have gone to. I found out from Lord Pennis where the ship you have gone in was going to. I should like to scold you, but if you only knew the trouble I have gone through, it would be scolding enough, I expect.

It was such a long time before we could hear anything about you. Papa was away in London when the news came. I opened Dr. Pott's letter, and you can imagine the result. For days I scarcely knew if I was alive or dead, I seemed living in a trance, with no one to help me or give me any comfort. Poor Papa had gone to London to be present at the Coronation, and to see page 40some of his old friends about the slave trade. The dreadful news spoilt his visit. He saw Lord Brougham, whom he had known a long time ago at Edinburgh, and who has got on so splendidly by his own efforts as my boy might have done if he had only tried hard enough. Then he saw some of his old friends at Clapham, who spoke to him of Tom Macaulay, the son of his old friend, who is doing so well in India, and of all the good he was doing there. He says it made him so grieved to think how differently one of his sons was doing.

The Coronation must have been a grand affair, and the young Queen, he says, looked so pretty and interesting amongst all the grand people. Papa and every one seem quite to have lost their hearts to her. Well, I was going to tell you, while Papa was in London, he heard quite accidentally that Lord Pennis, of whom he always had a peculiar horror on account of his immoral character, had boasted somewhere that two boys, one a son of Mr. Leward, of whom he did not speak very respectfully, had run away from school, and that he had brought them up to London in his yacht, as though it was a fine thing to do.

Papa wrote instantly to him, and Lord Pennis sent back a very rude letter. All this—the unusual excitement of London, the sad news about you, and Lord Pennis' letter—made Papa very ill. He arrived here in a high state of fever, and so in addition to my other troubles I had to nurse poor Papa. I also wrote to Lord Pennis hoping he might give me some tidings of you, and he sent me a much nicer letter, telling me all about the part page 41he had taken in helping you to go away. I think he is sorry for what he did, and as you bad boy would go to sea, it is fortunate he knew the captain of your ship.

Don't think, my dearest boy, naughty as you have been, that your poor old mother ever had any thought or suspicion that you had taken any money that was not yours, she never believed that, or even that Jones could have done so either, because you liked him so much, and it was hardly necessary for Mr. Saunders or Bampton to write to tell me that it was all cleared up. Still it was very kind of them to write, and I was so glad to get their letters, you can scarcely tell what a comfort they were to me.

I hope I shall see Bampton soon. I hear from Arthur he is going up to Oxford soon. If my dear boy would have stayed and worked and gone to the University too, he would have done so well I know. However a sailor's life is a fine one only you will be away so long, and as Lord Pennis said in his letter to me you ought to have gone into the navy if you would go to sea. When you do come back we shall be so happy and do all we can to make you happy and mind you must never go away again but stay and work hard and be a great man some day.

Good-bye my own darling boy. I only send a very little money, because I am not sure if you will ever get this letter from your poor old mother who loves you still and more than ever.

M. A. Leward.