6 Dec 1856 - 1
Mrs Richard Bevan
40 Everfield Place
St Leonards on Sea
6 Dec 1856
My dearest Sarah
Thank you for your kind letter, & its enclosure, which I return with that to ourselves conveying the same melancholy tidings, which we shall like to have back. The post did not bring us the painful tidings until after Sibella had set off for the sale, & as she could have done nothing here & was wanted there, it was no cause for regret, for she heard of our loss, time enough, as it was the next day gave me quiet solitude which I was glad of. I wrote by the early post to our dear brother, & to him, and MA again in the evening for we scarcely thought she & the party could come with all they would have to arrange. Just before nine we had a message by to say that dear Raymond had passed, & that they would be here this afternoon. Poor boy he returned home in such high spirits, & was paralysed at what appeared so strange a reception; he was two hours later than James anticipated, no message from had arrived by , James’ anxiety was excited to the highest point (of course he feared if he had not passed he wd not return home) This exclamation, in an agony of tears “my only boy, my only boy”, literally frightened Raymond, nor can he ever in any degree realise the affecting fact. James was calm and quiet, but very silent all Thursday evening, whilst Raymond and Mary Elis. were in the highest spirits, after they had gone to bed, he told MA of their dreadful loss & when Raymond had gone off to , he mentioned it to our sweet girl. The earnest desire of both parents is to have the remains of our darling brought home & deposited where they may rest, too, it is the one uppermost feeling with both, & Mrs Campbell has written to her husband to ascertain if it can be undertaken. He hopes to have further intelligence in a few days, & waits, as far as we can make out, before he puts the death in the papers, or writes to friends. Poor love! he is calmer Mary Elis says, than she expected, & Mary Anne too. The two dear children have been up to me, but M.A must wait till to morrow. Both Dr Tait & his wife have been with them, & none can feel for their sorrow better than they who have gone thru’ the same. M.A is glad to be here, & can get about, which she could not in London & must order what is necessary, as well as she can; she was not so clamorous in grief as we have seen her, S. says, but feeling dreadfully, & so fearful of the other two leaving her sight for a moment. It is most touching to look at, & hear the other two; Dear Raymond tries hard to keep back his tears, but had one outburst of sorrow, “my only brother, whom I loved so well”.
For ourselves, it cuts us to the very in most heart. Our high minded, noble boy, the one who reminded us more & more, in ways & looks & character of our dear loved father; & it is indeed most hard to bear ^this whole remembrance is so sweet and precious to us. “would God I had died for him”, seems no longer an exaggerated wish. The children tell us, what we have not seen, in letters, that our darling’s head was shaved, when illness first became serious, so they fear his hair may have gone: Mrs Godman’s kindness is beyond all comment. Mrs Campbell & her mother say it is a cloud over their home. We earnestly yearn for some comfort in his dying hours; dear Mary Elis. said to me, but Aunt, if no one told him he was dying, if he did not know he was going - & dear Raymond’s reply was I am certain he is with his Saviour, I can not rightly convey the assurance with which he spoke. & our darlings they clung to us as if their hearts would break, & my dear child said, ”O it is indeed, indeed it is too dreadful to bear”. Raymond is sure he has been happy at sea, & has not regretted going. & if we had only had one last look, one whispered word of love & comfort in Jesus being all to him, how consoling would it be. Everyone here is most tender to us. Anne B the gentlest most sympathising friend, Mr Halford feeling so deeply for James, & for us all ”for he was no common boy”; Miss Alexander so deeply touched; she comes almost every day, the maid told her, when she called late yesterday, she was sure I was very ill, & she came again this morning, & will not come, when poor M.A is here, as she hopes to do to’morrow. The children’s greatest comfort is to be with us. M.A says hers is to talk to us of him, for we knew & loved him, as themselves.
it was very kind of Mr Bevan to write & I am sure his prayer will be what ours is, that this also may be for our salvation & sometimes I think of our father & mother being drawn to God by the loss of this first born
Our kind love my dearest is the [-] [barely legible text]
Yr very affect
The did not arrive last night in time to send to you, & we cannot manage to send by the morning mail.
[Continues on separate page:]
As far as I can ascertain, I believe it is at , that our darling was buried. The first a is pronounced ar. There Lord Stratford de Radcliffe has his country house, & there, there is a burying ground. If he died on the 24th it must have been at sea, we think, because the would not have been so long coming. In my letter where I have made an erasure I meant the [-] [barely legible text] to our darling Malcolm, the memory of whose short life was so sweet & precious.
A few lines dearest Sarah to tell you of our bereavement. Our darling’s illness closed on the 24th of November and he is buried at - about 7 miles from .
This is all I know by . It is easy to write but oh! how hard to feel “God’s Holy will be done” for oh how I did love him -
The interesting details of his last hours are doubtfully on there way with this.
Whatever they may be - I must believe that the darling has [-] [barely legible text] into a better world. My grief is perhaps the greater that I cannot yet publish this to the world - and as Raymond goes up tomorrow for his examination I must conceal it at at [sic] home if I can. They were to go to Hastings on Saturday and I hope will still do so
Much love dear Sarah from your ever affectionate mother