2 - Letter dated 28th July 1853 from George Baxter to his father John Baxter concerning the death of Robert Harrild
A three page letter dated 28th July 1853 from George Baxter to his father John Baxter concerning the death of Robert Harrild
12 Northampton Square
Thursday July 28/53 (or possible the 20th)
Since I forwarded a letter to you announcing the dangerous illness of Mr Harrild he has been gradually getting worse.
On Monday night the sons seemed completely exhausted by attending and watching their Father as well as Nurse and Doctor. I therefore offered to take a turn to relieve them so that they might have a little more rest. I perceived his pains were getting a little weaker although very bad and on Tuesday I also was up the whole of the night with the sons in turn (each for 2 or 3 hours), it has been a distressing time. The Nurse has not been to bed for several days and nights. The Sons and Daughters have paid every assistance that has been laid in their power to Mr Harrild.
For the last 50 or 60 hours he seems to have been in a stupor by appearance.
Asleep with violent convulsions about every 20 minutes until his Death. Indeed he has completely puzzled the Doctors, they supposing he would not have lived from hour to hour, all agree that he has died a very happy man believing in the Saviour. This morning he went off very easy, but several times they said he was gone but he breathed again strongly. He had not a movement – all considered for the second time he was Dead, but after a short time he breathed again for the last time with a strong Breath or Sigh. All the family was present except my Wife, Miss Carliss and Horton – they could not enter the sick chamber of their Father to see his last moments, who I must say they affectionately loved. He ordered on his Death Bed that the persons in his employ should have something handsome with a message that he hoped that every one of them would be as successful as he had. He certainly has been a kind Friend to the Poor at Sydenham and was always forward in giving his labours and help to Charities. He has been very thankful to all who assisted him in his illness, thanking them over and over again although he paid them handsomely for their services. The Doctors state they never saw a man experience more pain than Mr Harrild although such was the case he never made a complaint. The Family are much pleased with his last Religious moments. He died this morning at half past 6 o’clock (after a very heavy thunderstorm). Mary has been and is now very ill but they have had a cutting time through the extreme sufferings. Mr H. had three Ruptures in addition to a Tumour and the Stone and was to the last considered a strong powerful man and if he had not the complaints above, the Doctors said he would have lived for many years. He was in his 75th year.
Mary is still at Sydenham and I suppose she will be there to keep her Mother company for some time.
Give our love to Mother & accept the same yourself
From Your Affectionate Son
Hoping you are in enjoyment of Health.
(Written down the centre of the pages is)
When Mr Harrild was guardian of the poor in one of the parishes in London he was presented by the parishioner with a handsome piece of plate