Mothering Sunday
by Pam and Del

 

1757

From the Pellew family Bible:

Born to us on the 19th of April, a second son, EDWARD. Praise be to God.

Constance Pellew

1764

 

To Mrs Jonathan Bush, The Smithy, Chichester, Hampshire

My Dearest Sister-In-Law,

I am writing to inform you in more detail of the glad event which finally arrived last month. He is a lively, healthy baby, and I believe takes after his father in looks, although my dear Robert is kind enough to say that he believes he has my eyes. He shall be officially christened William in church two weeks from next Sunday. We know we shall see you and Jonathan there. Although Robert complains that our sweet little William does not yet sleep readily for the entire night, he is already saying how pleasant it would be to have a girl as well. Oh Lucy, we are so happy!

I must own that I hesitated for a few moments before I began this letter, remembering what you had told me about your sad loss last spring. But truly, Lucy, you must not lose hope that all will turn out for the best. Only care for yourself, and Jonathan, and I am sure that you will soon be blessed again as happily as Robert and I are.

With all my love,

Sarah Bush

 

1765

 

"Well, that's that, then." He tossed the paper, with the two "X's" carefully drawn upon it, down on the table. "Least 'e's got a name now. My name."

"'E's yers! Bin sayin' so all 'long."

"'E don't look nuffin like me."

"'E's big an' 'e's got yer lungs--don't tell me no diff'rent, Tom Styles!"

"Aah, shut it, woman."

Suckling her baby, Nan glared at her husband.

 

1766

 

From the journal of the Reverend Francis Brown, ---- Parish, ----shire:

. . . the unfortunate woman had succumbed to exposure during the night, but when we took her up we found the babe kept sheltered under her body and still alive. There was no wedding ring upon the hand of the mother, nor any means of identification save for a scrap of torn paper that appeared to be from a longer letter, but with only a single name remaining on it. A great smudge rendered illegible any sign of a Christian name: as to a surname, the letters were in a most ill-defined hand but were thought to possibly form the name "Simpson." Under that name the baby has been christened "John," and shall be raised in the orphanage as a charge upon the parish.

 

1776

To Elizabeth, Lady Rowlands

May 1st

. . . Well, my dear Sister, I cannot deny that it has been somewhat of an anxious time for us all. But after a Troubling autumn and winter, I am Delighted to announce that your Youngest Nephew is holding his own in the spring, having put on flesh and grown Plump and Rosy. He is blessed with a Sunny Nature as well, much given to laughing and cooing--and easily coaxed out of Tears or Sulks. Aylesford grumbles about having a Third Son and says that he will have to make his own way in the World, possibly in the Army or the Navy. But I think he is Secretly Pleased. He is of the opinion that the child favors Me, although I cannot conceive how he can speak with such Certainty, for nearly all the members of His family are Fair with Blue Eyes. Now that the Northern Roads must surely have improved with the Passing of winter, you Must come to us soon and make the Acquaintance of the Honorable Archibald Wallace James Kennedy--though he will always be "Archie" to his fond Mama! . . .

 

To Harriet Rawson, Deal, Kent

July 18th

--and I must thank you for kindness, cousin, but I assure you that I am in the best of health following my confinement two weeks since and the baby is thriving. He is a solemn little creature who strongly resembles his papa but dear J. tells me that he thinks he has my eyes and mouth. We mean to call him Horatio--both of us having taken a fancy to the name, though I am no longer sure whether it was Shakespeare or Mr. Walpole who first provided us with the inspiration. I do know that one of my husband's connections has given all thirteen of his children names that begin with the letter "J" and that it is something of a tradition with them, but perhaps our branch of the family might begin its own traditions? Horatio Hornblower! It sounds a comical name at first, but I think he will grow into it and certainly no one will soon forget it! I only hope he will not be teased too severely once he is at school . . .

 

 

1781

From the Private Diary of Anne Wellesley, Lady Mornington:

So the creature is born at last. I fear I must not be made as other women, for I cannot bear to be increasing. And it does seem a monstrous injustice after such effort and inconvenience to have produced only a girl. Although I cannot deny my resentment towards Garrett for leaving us in such dire financial straits upon his death, it would have been a form of remembrance to call this last child after him. Instead, she shall be named Barbara, after her godmother.

 

1785

To Mrs. Josiah Wellard, ----shire

 

My Dear Ma'am,

Thank you for your kind letter of last month. Now that the winter may be considered over at last, once we can afford the expense of travel, I shall bring your grandson to you, so that we may comfort each other in this time of affliction. As I mourn the loss of a beloved husband, so you are bereft of an adored only son. I thank God that our dearest Henry was granted the opportunity to see his infant namesake, before returning to his duty, where--as his captain wrote to me--he laid down his life so valiantly. Rest assured, I shall never let a day go by without recounting to this Henry how proud and hopeful I am that he should someday serve his country as bravely as his papa. I look forward to seeing you, ma'am.

Affectionately,
Emma Wellard

 

1804

To Commander Horatio Hornblower, H.M. S. Hotspur

 

January 12th

My Own Darling,

I take pen in hand to inform you that the Happy Event which we have Long Awaited has come to pass. As I had Confidently Predicted, our Little Cherub arrived on New Year's Day and is the Very Image of his Famous Father. Likewise, Beloved, he has been given his Sire's Noble Name, a Name that will surely resound as that of a Valiant and Intrepid Warrior! Indeed, my Heart fairly bursts with Pride to think of my Dear One risking his Life upon the Briny Deep in the Cause of English Liberty. Although I know your Duty calls you from our side, I yearn for the day in the Not So Distant Future when I may once again clasp my Angel in my arms and present to him the Blessed Fruit of Our Increase. Truly, I must count myself the Most Fortunate of Women, to be the Mother of the Child of my Ideal . . .

 

 

1825

 

To the Honorable Richard Hornblower, Eton

 

February 7th

My Dear Richard,

Many happy returns! Your father joins with me, of course, in sending his warmest birthday wishes and we hope that you will be pleased by the contents of the package accompanying this letter. Moreover, my dear, I must tell you how delighted we were by the headmaster's recent report of your progress at school.

Touching upon a more serious matter, your father and I agreed that, as you have now attained your fourteenth year, you are ready to be put in possession of certain facts. When you were last home, you expressed a desire to know more about your late mother but, at that time, there was little opportunity for me to address the subject as fully as either of us could have wished. You may have noticed that your father seldom mentions her. I believe it yet causes him some pain to do so; to spare him that, I shall take the liberty of writing to you about her.

My dear, I knew your mother but briefly towards the end of her life. She was a shipwright's daughter and, until her marriage to your father, a schoolteacher. Despite her simple origins, she was a kind and generous woman who was devoted to her children. The deaths of your elder brother and sister from smallpox caused her great grief, so she looked upon your imminent arrival as a great blessing. Although, owing to ill-health, she did not long survive the birth, her last words were of your welfare and security. Thankfully, I was able to assure her of those by taking you into my care, although neither of us could have predicted the ultimate outcome of our association.

For the last fourteen years, it has been my privilege to watch you grow into a fine young man--as dear to me as any child of my body--and a credit to the name you bear. Despite his difficulty in expressing his commendation aloud, I know that your father is exceedingly proud of you, and I feel no less certain that your mother would be as well.

 

Your Loving Stepmama,

Barbara, Lady Hornblower