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Frank Leward: Memorials

Mrs. Leward to Mrs. Herbert

page 23

Mrs. Leward to Mrs. Herbert.

My dearest Mother, I am utterly confounded, ever since I heard of it I have sat surrounded by a thick black horror through which I cannot find my way. My mind is distracted I hardly know what I do or say. For days I have tried to write to you but I had no strength or energy. I cannot even cry. I start up at night from heavy painful sleep and feel I must rush to the window and cry out, Frank is not guilty. I tremble at every knock that comes lest it should be some officer of justice. At night if I do sleep I dream of officers of justice and prisoners and horrid-looking men in gaol and I see my boy's beautiful face among them, and then it changes and becomes so pale and sad I scarcely know him, and then it turns into a skeleton and I wake with a scream. O God I do not pray that I may die but that I and Frank had never been born. He is innocent, I know, but why has he run away? Why did he ever grow up? Why could he not always have remained the sweet companion of my happy days?

Now where can he be? If I only knew I would go through fire and water to find him and if he would not come back at least he would let me stay with him to take care of him. But here I sit in helpless blank despair.

Francis has written from London to say his name must never be mentioned in this house. Francis is so wise and good, I know he does this for Arthur's sake but yet it seems so cruel.

page 24

I dare not look at the hair I have of his since he was a baby nor the curls I cut off when he went to school. I only gaze at the drawer where they are.

Do write to me soon, dear Mother. If I could only come and lay my head on your lap as I used to do I might be able to weep, if I cannot get that relief I shall not I think last long.

Write soon to your poor

Mary.