Frank Leward: Memorials
Same to the same
Same to the same.
Dearest Frank,—I have just got your letter, written on board ship right out at sea. How kind of you to write, and on a bucket too! I was so glad to get the account of how you went away, though so very very sad that you should have gone. After all Lord Pennis meant well I am sure. I suppose by this time you are out at sea again, on your way to the antipodes, they say it takes months and months to get there. How often I lie awake at night, especially if there is the least wind, and think of my boy tossing about on the sea, and oh how fervently I pray for you. I sometimes think I have never known what it was to pray with all ray heart before. I sometimes fear that I have been very careless and wicked, and that your absence has been sent by God in His great wisdom to make me feel more than ever to fear Him and place all my confidence in Him.
I can quite understand a boy with an adventurous spirit like yours should wish to go to see the world, but I cannot reconcile myself to the way in which you have gone, almost like a common sailor I suppose. O my dear boy why didn't I see you that night when you came, just like your kind affectionate heart, to bid farewell to your poor old mother, and you little thought that all the while she was lying awake in that very room you were looking at, almost out of her mind about you ! It was quite a chance I did not go to the window while you were there, as I so often did during those dreadful page 43nights when I felt suffocated and as though I was just going to die. But it's not right of me to trouble my own boy with all this, which I know he will feel, when he has been so good and has written me such a long letter from sea.
When I was a girl, and we used to go to Brighton or Hastings my greatest pleasure was to sit and look at the sea and sometimes I almost wished, as I saw the great ships go by, looking so tall and dignified, that I had been a boy, that I might have gone off and away in one of them, but it was only a foolish girl's silly romantic notion, and I little thought then the time would ever come when I should be broken-hearted because a son of mine, and the best son that ever was, had gone away in one of those great ships.
We are staying at the Glades. Mamma was anxious to have us with her, and Papa needed a change, and he finds it too cold to travel in the winter. It is such a pleasure to be with Grandmamma again, her loving heart is as warm as ever, and I feel as though I was a child again when I sit in the little chair at her feet and talk to her about you. When Papa and Aunt Jane are out, or going over their long blue-books about the slave question, we always begin about you and when you will come back.
Poor old Kitto the pony you used to be so fond of when you were a little boy is dead. He grew very old and infirm and quite blind. Mamma used to go out every day in summer after dinner to take him a carrot if she was well enough, or if it was too wet they used to bring him round to the window for her to feed him, but page 44at last he got so ill they were obliged gently to put an end to him. They told Mamma he had died and she ordered him to be buried in the yard just at the corner by the stables and a white stone laid over his grave that you might see it when you come back. I know it was on your account she was so fond of Kitto.
When it is fine, she can still get as far as the Hermitage, and she and I sit there together looking out at the curious view I have so often sat and looked at when I was a child.
I hope you will write very often, and tell us all about the strange places you have seen, and then come sailing back again to your fond old Mother. Grandmamma, Aunt Jane, and all send their love. Grandmamma finds it difficult to write now.
I send you a little money, I am sure you must want some. Good-bye, my dearest boy.
—Your loving Mother,
M. A Leward.
P.S.—Mabel often comes over to have walks and drives with me and seems to enjoy coming. At her own house, where I went to lunch on Monday, she is very quiet, and seems rather afraid of her mother, who is very stern and strict with her. She sends her love. God bless you my own boy.