Jan 22nd 1901
My Dear May,
I have just received a telegram (8 P.M.) from Evesham saying that our dear good Queen passed away at 6.30 this evening, we have been hoping, practically against hope, for the last day or two that her life might yet be spared but it was not to be and the whole British race is moved with a sorrow such as surely never people so widely felt before for a departed monarch. I at once sent word to the vicarage and as I write our Church bell tolls out the mournful intelligence to our little community. I feel sure you will regret your absence from England at such a time but it is pleasing to note an almost universal expression of sympathy from every country, France included, which will no doubt find a deeper echo now that the worst has happened. I shall keep you supplied with press references such as will be likely to interest you, it has all come so suddenly, only last Wednesday morning, I believe, she took her last drive – never to appear again – Requiescat in pace.
We received your letter this morning and are glad to hear you are well again, you must take care to avoid fresh cold. I am forwarding a letter from Kathleen and Arthur is writing so I will leave him to tell you about his doings, he has got an extension of holiday till Friday.
George went off yesterday in good spirits taking a birthday cake as well as his usual tuck.
I have not heard if Marion has yet got an appointment but I know she declined to be a bridesmaid at Beatrice Coleman’s wedding on 29th inst. hoping she might have an engagement by then.
We hope to see Mary Robinson on 28th but of course it will depend upon how her father is. Our Literary must be put off from next Tuesday, I had “Puff” assigned to me in the 2nd act of the Critic, Mother 1st Niece and Ethel 2nd Niece and under prompter.
I understand the reading went very well at Mrs Knipe's and some people even laughed!
To-day I drove to Alcester and Arthur went with me, it was mild and fine, to-night it is inclined to rain.
They have just started a muffled peal on our bells.
I do not know if there will be any official proclamation of the new sovereign at Evesham to-morrow, if so Mother and the others must go up.
I do not seem to be able to settle down to writing this evening so will say good night.
With much love from us all
your affectionate Father