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2-304 (Original)

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addressee,male author,female,Brown, Eliza,35
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Private Written
Private Correspondence
Hasluck, 1977
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Grass Dale
January 8th 1845
My dearest Papa
This letter will be of a different tenor to others that I have written since we left England for I have never before had to record any domestic grief, all had fared happily and prosperously with our sweet children, but now dear Vernon is no more. He was drowned in the river Avon on the 15th of December. On the evening before this calamity which was Saturday Mr. Brown had returned from a journey below bringing with him the letters per Halifax. We were perusing these on the following morning when the accident occurred, having staid at home instead of going to Church as the horses wanted rest. The children would therefore appear to be safer than usual, though had we gone to Church poor Vernon would in all probability have accompanied us, for we frequently took him there, indeed whenever we could conveniently. Kenneth went on his pony, being the only one absent on that fatal morning. Vernon left his Papa and me with one of his sweetest smiles hand in hand with Aubrey and in a playful mood. Not much more than half an hour before the latter returned sobbing and said that Vernon had fallen into the pool and was drowned. We think Aubrey staid some time after he fell in and only came home alarmed when his brother did not appear again. You know Aubrey is only about three years old and would not be supposed to know the necessity of coming home immediately for help, but he had the good sense to guide us to the spot where poor Vernon fell in, but a fatal time elapsed before his anxious Papa succeeded in getting him out of the water. Even had Aubrey given the alarm in time, nothing but heavy pieces of wood caught to the crook for full half an hour with which his distressed parent tried to catch hold of poor Vernon's clothes. [56] At length the dear child was extricated but there was not a spark of life remaining, though his natural and composed appearance gave us hope that life was not extinct. We therefore pursued the means for reanimating him while Kenneth who returned from Church just before his poor brother was got out of the water went to York again with all speed for Dr. Landor. But no human aid was of any avail, the dear lamented Vernon was quite dead. The poor venturous little fellow had climbed along the branch of a tree that overhung the pool in search of a bird's nest, a piece of it gave way and let him into the water.
If any consolation is to be derived from human comfort we have been offered it from all the neighbourhood and distant parts of the Colony, even strangers interesting themselves in our trial for the loss of a beloved child suddenly taken from us when the delicacy of constitution that he had betrayed in early childhood and little ills that he then suffered had wholly disappeared and we were rejoicing in his vigour, activity, and pleasantness.
Though the sympathy of friends is very pleasing it is religious consolation that is most available in the present instance and from which all our comfort is derived. "The tender mercy of God" no doubt wills that our treasure should no longer be on Earth the more to fix our hopes on Heaven where only we can be reunited, and whither through His gracious assistance we may the more vividly raise the regards of our remaining little ones to be fixed by mention of him who is gone before, for may we not indulge the Christian's hope that the youthful member of Christ's Church upon Earth rendered so by baptism dying before the time of committing actual sin is a blessed dweller with God and Angels.
Since this affliction I have been at Grass Dale Cottage keeping watch with Mrs. Fruin over her dying little one, (I had mentioned its birth in a letter to Emma) it was an only child and great distress to the mother to lose it. Mr. Brown, Mr. Viveash and I were by when it breathed its last on Sunday the 5th of this month.
When I wrote you last I remember one topic to have been the gracious rain that had fallen to refresh the Earth and give hope to the cultivator of the soil. Since then a second despondancy has occurred and so late as the 26th October there was no hope of a crop entertained. Since then another favorable change has taken place, rain has again fallen. Harvest is reaped and we have a fair average.
It is very satisfactory to me that Mr. Brown has been made a Justice of the Peace, which I told Matilda to communicate to you. The Governor called upon us, was evidently pleased with all that he saw, expressed his anxiety for our prosperity and his satisfaction at seeing us established on our own property, and introducing and proving by experience that fruit of nearly all kinds could be raised in the York district in the greatest luxuriance and abundance. [57] About ten days afterwards the appointment came, no doubt to the disappointment of some older settlers who thought themselves entitled to the compliment, but I am happy to say there appears no alteration in the good will of all parties towards us. Mr. Brown intends writing, he is very busy carrying corn but intends saying a few words about Summertown etc.
I remain, My dearest Papa
Your affectionate daughter
Eliza Brown