20th December 1880
My dear Eugénie,
I have received your letter and we know well how you feel for us in our fresh loss.
It has been a dreadful illness to witness. It was what is called by the doctors “meningitis basilaris”; there does not seem to be any cure for it. & I saw from the first that our doctor thought it very bad. In fact, he said almost at once that he could not undertake the responsibility of such a case alone, so we called in another & they came every afternoon & consulted our doctor too coming in the morning, but they could do nothing & our darling little Harold got worse & worse. I stayed at home the last week or so. I knew our dear boy would soon be gone & we watched him night & day. Some of our lady friends helped us with the nursing at night, so that we could get a little sleep on a sofa, but we never went to bed. He asked to go into our bed when he was getting worse, so I took him in & the dear child died there. He suffered from frightful restlessness, then all of a sudden, his voice went, then his sight & the doctors said his hearing too & convulsions came on over Monday the 6th. He died on Wednesday afternoon the 8th at 4 o’clock. It was a relief to see him go, dear child, but heart-breaking to lose him for his sufferings were so great tho’ I think he did not feel it so much as we thought. The doctors said he was quite unconscious, but I can hardly believe it, till the last day perhaps. I could hear him trying to say “Nurse, come here”. On Friday afternoon the 10th we laid his worn-out body by the side of dear Arthur’s. The German clergyman reading the service – a great many people followed to the grave. We intend putting up a similar stone next to that we put upon Arthur’s grave, & then to enclose the two in one railing. The cemetery here is a wild place & it is very difficult to get anything kept decent. I don’t think that Hubert feels more than an occasional regret that Harold is gone, he is still too young to enter into things. He was away staying with some friend & did not come back till after the funeral. So now we have two dear children so far in Heaven, but we are very sad, the loss is so great & the circumstances of their departure so vividly fixed on our minds. Their present happiness is much more difficult to realize. Of our three boys only one left but we would leave them to Our Father who knows but does not willingly afflict. Someday we shall know better & rejoice at what is now such grief.
Harold was very pretty thought not so big made [?] as Hubert was very strong & so very active, as light as a feather, full of fun & by far the cleverer. He grew so like dear Arthur before he died and seemed so tall for a child of only 3 years 7 months. We are so glad we had those good photographs of him, they are perfect likenesses only his face was so lit up & his eyes so bright & full of intelligence when he spoke. I suspect his illness in England was a threatening of what came on afterwards - but he was quite well & was so happy on the journey here & so glad to be at Galatz again. Dear child he is safe now & happy. May God send them both for us when our time comes to go. I do so hope our Mother is with them now.
It will be Christmas day when you get this & we send you our best wishes for the season & we hope you are all well. Should you see Grandmother this Christmas give her [our] love. The last time I heard about her she seemed very well.
With our love to you both & kisses to the children
Your affectionate Brother