Letter from Arthur to his sister Margaret, 26 November 1906
[No original available]
Nov. 26, 1906.
We were very sorry to hear of Father being unwell. He seemed so particularly well and vigorous when he was with us that we hoped he was making a very good start to the winter. I hope it is now passing away, but it must be vexatious to be so dependent on minute and unintermittent precautions if he is to keep well.
I am in various ways rather uncomfortable. It is quite hopeless at present to attempt to use the plate since my jaw continues stiff and provides only a very small opening. Rendel has been down twice lately, coming of his own accord, and has prescribed me a sleeping draught containing a very small quantity of morphia. I rather kick against the use of such a drug, but Rendel declares that it is quite harmless and at all events much better than lying awake. The local doctor also comes in to minister to small troubles. Sylvia’s devotion is unwearying. This trouble has certainly given her a fine opportunity for showing her great qualities.
I remember Penmaenmawr rather well though it is 31 years since we spent a summer there and used to watch the trains coming out of the tunnel. Moel Llys in the background must have looked fine, though you would be too late for the bilberries.
We have been full of birthdays lately – Nicholas (aged 3) on Saturday, and Sylvia and also Smee, on Sunday. The boys get up a little acting of a humble sort. Michael much the best, though Jack also has some idea. Michael reads to me regularly now, reversing our previous parts, and his reading is very clear and full of spirit.
Did you see the sad death of Thoby Stephen – only 26?
I imagine Margaret must have realised the hopelessness of everything by the time she got this letter, in which there is no pretence of optimism left.
Smee: the Airedale, who followed Togo, the spaniel (died of distemper I think) and survived well into the Camden Hill Square days.
Thoby Stephen: son of Leslie and Julia Stephen, brother of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell.
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