Letter from Arthur to his sister Margaret, 18 September 1906
[No original available]
Egerton House, Berkhamsted.
Sept. 18, 1906.
I am sorry to say that there is fresh anxiety about me. There is a possibility of recurrence of the trouble elsewhere in the face. Roughton, whom I saw this morning, cannot speak definitely at present, but is not at all hopeless. If it is as he fears, no further operation will be possible. I asked how far off the end would be, but he could not say – perhaps six months or a year, and there might be little or no suffering, only increasing weakness. I have thought it best to tell poor Sylvia. I would not have told you while everything is uncertain, if you had not been coming here on Thursday. As it is I am telling you fully without concealment. Roughton’s last word was that there is a “quite good chance” that all may be well. In my own mind I am not very hopeful, though I do not despair.
I have, of course, foreseen and discounted this possibility from the start. My trouble is for Sylvia. She hardly realises what a support the boys will be to her as time goes on. It is all very terrible for her. My own thoughts go back continually to the past and all the blessings and happiness of my life.
However, as I say, I do not despair at present, and I quite hope that next Tuesday there will be a more cheerful account. I am sorry to think of Harry being greeted by bad news, and of the trouble which this anxiety will be to my dear Father. We shall be very glad to see you on Thursday. Don’t give up your trip to Belgium.
Yours always affectly,
The date of Margaret’s visit was deferred by an exchange of telegrams to Saturday, but meanwhile, on the morning of 19th Sept., Arthur sent her the following very characteristic extract from Bradshaw by postcard, giving instructions for the journey:
“If, as I assume, you are coming by the train which reaches Euston at 4.20 you can gain a little by getting out of Bletchley (3.11), coming on from there at 4.20 and reaching Berkhamsted 5.1. If you don’t do this, it might be worthwhile to have the train stopped at Watford (3.50). You would hardly catch the 3.51 down from Watford, but would make sure of the next. I am not at present telling anyone about the subject of my letter of yesterday. We are well and cheerful.”
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