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Frank Leward: Memorials

Mrs. Leward to Mrs. Herbert

page 59

Mrs. Leward to Mrs. Herbert.

The Shrubbery, Feb. 15, 1840.

Dearest Mother, My beautiful boy has come back, full of stories of that strange dark underworld where he has been, and so affectionate and true. Of course he is much changed and grown, but as noble and good as ever. I hardly know how to begin to tell you about it all. We hardly knew whether to laugh or cry when he walked in on Saturday evening, it seemed it could scarcely be true that he was back and that all I have suffered was over at last and I had my boy in my arms once more, never to go away again. He was very shy at first. You would hardly know him again, he is so changed, but when you are with him a little time you see the old look come back and it's the same dear boy again.

Francis is still away in London, and enjoyed seeing page 60the marriage of our beloved young Queen to the good Prince, who seems from all the reports we hear from those who know him best, to be a perfect model of what a prince should be, in spite of all the small jealousy and meanness shown by some members of Parliament and even by some in the House of Lords. I was rather glad that I was alone when our dear Frank came back. I sometimes dread the meeting between him and Francis. Francis is so strict and has been brought up in a school with notions so different to those of the present day. Frank has become a thorough sailor. Of course his ways are different, and as so many young men do now, he smokes a good deal, which I am afraid Francis will object to. Still if other young men do it why should not Frank?

I was afraid he would have lost all his good manners, and look shabby, but not at all. He made enough coming home to get proper things in London, and when we went to church on Sunday, I felt so proud to take the arm of my fine sailor son, and oh dear mother the inexpressible joy when I knelt by his side and offered up the most heart-felt thanks that I think a woman ever poured out before the throne of God. I was very much affected who could help it at such a time. How often kneeling there had I almost repined against the divine will and now all is cleared up, and I sometimes think I can see it was ordered for the best. Yet still in our short-sightedness it seems strange to me that one who might have done so much and been amongst the cleverest and most useful should now fill so comparatively small page 61a sphere as a sailor's must be. Still I think to be good and brave is better even than to be great and clever and my trials might have been much worse.

He has brought me a present of a rug made out of the skin of some strange animal. It is very warm and comfortable, and would be very handsome only Frank was obliged to use it coming round Cape Horn where it was so dreadfully cold to keep himself warm at night, and it got a good deal stained with salt-water and other things, but I shall treasure it as one of my greatest treasures because it was so thoughtful of him to bring it and because it protected him so often from the intense cold.

Good-bye, dear Mamma. I must bring Frank to see you soon, but he must not come without me I want you so much to see my boy. I hardly know how I have written this it all seems so strange and as though I was living in a world of happy dreams.

Your happy and loving