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Letter folded and addressed:

Mr. John P. Ingledew

of Newcastle on Tyne

care of Mr. Thorn’s Post Office

Alexandria

 

Via Southampton Paid 1-6

Postmarked:

Alexandria JA 20 1854

____________________________________________________________

December 28th. 1853

My dear Brother,

You will I know be very anxious to hear how we spent our English Xmas, so I will enlighten you. On Xmas Eve, I was in town in the morning, but the beef was only an indifferent show. On Xmas Day, we had a large bag filled with many things as presents for our children and great indeed was the delight expressed by them as they pulled out boxes of toys, puzzles, oranges and sweetmeats; that being at end Sep went to church . We had Mr. Hall to help us to eat our roast beef and plum pudding. In the evening I sat alone as the guid man went to his mother. On Monday, Sep, myself and the three bairns went to Lovaine Place. The day was uncommonly fine to begin with but at the time the guests had to assemble, the state of affairs was different. Poor _____ had to leave her boy at home as she could not procure a cab, she and her husband came on shoe makers galloways . Mr. and Mrs. Daggett, Mr. and Mrs Umpelby were there, the old pair of turtle doves arrived on Friday . Before dinner there was an old gentleman called, I quite forget his name and nearly his occupation also, however I believe he was a surveyor saw you last at Gibraltar and gave us an account of you which we were sorry at. What a pity dear John we can none of us be near to you. The old gentleman himself was hearty and got a glass of grog. We then dined _____ and what not. I stayed all night with my boys whilst Sep took charge of the 2 damsels and Annie. One of Snowdon’s coaches came for them and the poor brute of a horse fell down in Gateshead and could not be induced to stir another step. So now imagine the party, Annie robed in a flannel nightgown and fortunately well, very well, wrapped up. Fortunately a cab was passing at the time with only one young woman in. She kindly allowed Hannah and Annie to ride to the end of Union Row. Sep mounted the dickey, Heaton was left to walk behind, and she picked up a cab for Daggett and brought in. Sep was also loaded with a stilton cheese and 2 rabbits for William as he had forgotten to take them with him and a hare for himself; that was one little affair. At Lovaine Place another interesting scene was performed,- one of my boys had to go to James when he went to bed but the young hero’s would neither of them budge so Margaret got in at one side and I at the other. The heat was intense. 5 blankets, a coal fire and the gas, so I jumped up and laid at the other end of the bed- heads and tails you know- but it was little sleep fell to my lot.

Next morning was fine and lovely though very frosty. We set off and went en route home to the quay to see my husband and there I learned of the arrival of a letter from you. So off we trotted to the office and my father read the interesting epistle to me. I was so grieved to learn that you are once more an invalid. Pray take care and do try to astonish us poor Britishers with long Egyptian yarns whilst you look as strong as a John Bull yourself. Whilst listening to the contents of your letter the snow had fallen fast and thickly, so we were obliged to exercise the virtue of patience and wait till between 1 and 2 when Sep and Daggett went over with us. The scene was enlivened by 5 or 6 horses falling down and many individuals also paid homage to Mother Earth in the same manner. We were all invited to dine at Benwell, the Lovaine Place trio did not go, ____ and Mr.Welford could not as he had his young men from the shop there to talk to them and to get tea , oh mercy on us , just imagine him holding forth to the victims of his eloquence . I put on a bold heart , and as it was not snowing then , set off with Sep to walk to the Central Station to get a cab , as the vision of the prostrated beast of the night before effectually prevented us from having a Gateshead machine . It was with the utmost difficulty we could get a coach , but Sep by dint of running about , got us A____ Johnson’s big hackney that so many child’s funerals go in .

We arrived at the mansion all in good time , and were speedily followed by the Catherine Terrace quartette . Mrs.Blenkinsop is staying there and J.P. Scott being an indispensable was there also . William had ordered his coach at half past 10 and it came ; we ordered ours at 11 , we waited till 12 and it came and so we set off to walk . Nothing would induce me to remain all night . The snow fell a little at the time of our departure but it was next to impossible to _____ out of Mr.Geldard’s garden . I do not know how to express to you the difficulties of the way , it seemed all hazardous for a cab to venture, but for a female it seemed monstrous . However I longed to be with my bairns . In a few moments I was as wet as possible to my waist , but we landed at home nearly frozen about 2 . My boots were taken off with difficulty, it was 11 before we breakfasted this morning , my thighs ached so much with the plunging I suppose . Poor Sep fell down coming up the hills into a deceitful hole and cut his leg very much . It bled most profusely . He is dining out again today on the quay . I wish I had him safe at home ; it is intensely cold tonight , the ground thick with snow , and it has been a frightful storm of thunder and lightening . My poor William was much alarmed so I took him up a bit till it was over .

This my dear John is the last day of the year , the weather is most piercing, the thermometer stands at this moment at 20 , 12 degrees below the freezing point . On Thursday the whole family of us assembled at Daggett’s . We had some nice supper , and some chat . Mr.Smith of the Fell was the only stranger amongst us . Last night Sep came home very poorly indeed , he was sick and purged , but I hope and trust he is much better , as it is now 8 and he has not returned home yet . We are going to have Mr. and Mrs.Umpleby , Mr. and Mrs.Daggett and John Cail to dine tomorrow, my Father, James and Margaret Lizzy and her better half to tea , so you see my dear brother we make merry , but I am sure we all wish you were with us . My dear boys , especially Harry , often bring the atlas to me to know where poor Pye is now , and we have an illustrated Testament to read to them with a map of Egypt in it and they like well to see the relative situations of Alexandria and Cairo . On Tuesday we all assemble at Lizzie’s to tea but Mr.Umblebie leaves on Monday . Your cod liver oil is on board ship and I trust even sailed . There is also a long letter from me and a cake from Peg to you . Your yule cake was made at home for you though of course not kept as I dare say Margaret has had it eat up . There have been several dreadful deaths from drunkenness this week , I think some 5 or 6 , is it not terrible , really it is . I wish you many many happy new years my dear John , and may your health through God’s blessing soon be restored . I know not what to think would be best for you to do , only be careful and God grant all may yet be well . This estrangement is deeply felt by my father , poor man he has had toothache , but got his gum lanced and is much better . With kindest love . I remain dear John

your affectionate sister

Anne. January 2nd.1854

My Dear John ,

Anne has left this piece for me to fill up , how grieved we were in the receipt of your letter from Alexandria to hear that you still had your cough but I sincerely trust that ere this you have found a material benefit from the change of climate . My dear fellow you calculate your expenses too finely , I am sure if you draw for ten times the amount it will be a gratification to your father than otherwise . The cod liver oil & a spice loaf & some letters are sent out by the brig Richard Reynolds which I think would sail yesterday for Alexandria direct . They were addressed to the care of Messrs.Pethonier & Compy., the Capt. said he would leave them at their office for you . Henry Bell whom you saw in America was married to Laura Richardson a few days ago .

 

Good bye & God bless you my canny fellow

S.A.Cail