Belgrave Hotel, Torquay
My dear May
You will be very sad to hear that Mother has been quite ill but she seems a little better this afternoon. She felt very down all day yesterday, and the coughing seemed to shake her up and make her rather breathless, but her temperature kept down well and that would account for the lack of energy and strength. I had a game with her after dinner and about 9.15 got her on my bed as usual, while I made hers. When getting her back she complained of faintness and it was all I could do to get her there, and her breathing was very bad. I gave her some brandy and water and rang the bell, and asked Ellen to send the housekeeper up, she came at once. We fanned her, used smelling-salts and so on, and she felt better, she did not quite faint away. I rang up Dr Paul and asked him to come round, she really felt so ill after it. He gave her some tablets dissolved in brandy which made her better, he stayed until 11 o’clock, and was most kind. It was a heart attack, brought on by exhaustion from coughing and weakness. It has quite unnerved her, and she was so afraid of it coming on again that she seems very sleepless, and today she could not bear to be left alone more than a minute. It is now after tea, and I have come for an airing into the garden to write this while Mrs Crook is kindly sitting with her. It is most strange how the cough has returned in quite a different form, really rather like whooping-cough turns, most exhaustive, but with little phlegm now. I think it must be influenza, she aches rather today. We neither went to sleep until after 2 then we had a little sleep, woke again about 4, and then had two hours or more before 7.30. I had to give her some medicine 3 times, and she had some bovril once and a little milk and water, the spirit stove is invaluable. Dr Paul told me not to hesitate to ring him up if I thought at all necessary in the night and the housekeeper showed me her room and told me to raise her if I wanted anything, however we were all right. As you may imagine I slept with one eye open rather. Dr Paul came about 10.30 this morning and thoroughly examined her. There is a little fluid about I fear, and her heart is not right, it has been aggravated by the various troubles. It was stronger this morning and pulse better, she is not to get out of bed today, fortunately they have a bed-pan in the house. I am to telephone to Dr Paul this evening and let him know how she is. She fancied some champagne, it has often picked her up before, so the doctor said she might have a little and I think it did her good for lunch. I had breakfast upstairs with her and while I was at lunch Ellen went in twice, and I always take her pudding up. I lay down this afternoon and had some sleep as well as she, then we had tea together. I did feel anxious last night and wished someone close were here! Dr Paul thinks it would be as well for Father to come down as it is rather a responsibility for me, so I have telegraphed to him at Sydenham this afternoon (after 5) and asked if he could and suggested perhaps he could come straight from London, so I shall see. I found it a little difficult to word a message, and not alarm him. We had such a cheerful letter from him this morning, and he wrote so nicely about Mother not worrying herself about having to stay longer etc. I am afraid it will be a great disappointment to him. Dr Paul quite hopes she may soon get on and that she will get no more faint attacks. I wish her cough would get less trying. When you send the handkerchiefs back would you send another of Mother’s nightdresses, she only has two here. The Tom Butlers have just rung me up asking us to lunch on Wednesday. They are so sorry to hear about Mother and coming over to enquire on Tuesday. I shall go in now and see Mother again and finish upstairs. Mother is dozing again, and Mrs Crook sitting in the room, so I am down again for half hour. Some delightful Americans came yesterday for the weekend, they asked me last night to go to Cockington Church with them this evening, finding I was about, but of course I shall not leave now. The lady dresses beautifully, her husband has a fine face, I find he is a doctor.
Mother sends much love to both. I must post same to Sydenham now.