Taking the Curtain Call: The Life and Letters of Henry Arthur Jones

By Doris Arthur Jones | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER IV

MY aunt told me that my parents' marriage was "a real love match," and, though H. A. J.'s work took him constantly away, the young couple settled down very happily at The Hermitage, my mother's sister Amy staying with her frequently to keep her company.

My father had a deep desire to have children, and when he was travelling, the letters he exchanged with his wife referred continually to his hopes, but it was not until October 1877 that their first child, a lovely boy, was still- born. Chloroform was not used in those days. and I believe the tragic disappointment of their hopes left a deeper mark on my mother than on my father.

But a greater sorrow came when in 1879 their second child, a boy, Philip Arthur Exwick, was born, an invalid from birth. To his mother, until he died in 1896, he was by far the dearest of all her children. The unremitting care and tenderness she lavished on him called forth the deepest wells of love and devotion in her nature; but to my father, perhaps almost unconsciously, he was not only a disappointment, but almost a source of reproach. He was kind to Philip always, but he did not bear easily the frustration of being unable to take any pride in his eldest son.

Their third child, a daughter, Winifred Amy, was also born at The Hermitage in 1880; Ethelwyn Sylvia and Gertrude Mary were born in 1883 and 1884 at Lothian Lodge, *New Hampton; the writer of this book, Jenny Doris, in 1888 at Townshend House, where Lucien David Silvanus was born in 1893, and Oliver Stacy Arthur in 1899.

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