Letters of Robert Cook, nephew of Rev. John Watson DD

[written to John Watson, shortly before the death of John's wife Eleanor (nee Cook).]

62 Wandsworth Road

March 21/01

My dear Uncle John

I was very pleased to hear from you yesterday but quite distressed to learn of Aunt Ellie's illness. She told me in her last letter that she had been very ill since Fathers death but that a change had set in & was progressing favourably. Your news now comes with a great shock & your letter has been my companion since it arrived. I have told Mother & the rest of them & I need scarcely tell you that it has quite upset them. Only a few days ago I was talking about writing to Aunt Ellie in reply to her most sympathetic letter which has been deferred until I could give more definite & satisfactory information of our little boys condition. I am deeply thankful to say that we are assured he is completely out of danger now & the last 2 or 3 weeks has made rapid & miraculous development. There does not, so far, seem any ill effect left behind & the doctors tell us it is wonderful how he has come out of an illness, which not one in a hundred survive. It has been a long dark night of 7 or 8 months, but all that seems lost in the satisfaction derived from his recovery. My Auntie & you all, will, I know, be pleased to know this.

I went to John's last night & we sat talking about Auntie until very late. Both of us would like to come thro' & see her if we could at all manage, but unfortunately I am severely tied just now. We will write again however if there is any chance of either of us getting off. I do hope to hear however that there is an improvement in Auntie's condition & that the next news will be better. In my thought of you I cannot bear to think that she will leave you yet & hope & pray that she may be spared for many years still to come, to comfort & sustain you in your work.

Will you kindly, yourself or anyone that can spare a few minutes drop me a line very soon again.

We all of us join in warmest affection to you all & our hearts go out to you in your sore distress & anxiety. Please tell Aunt Ellie that she is ever in my thoughts & prayers & for the present

I remain
your affec nephew

[written to his cousin Annie Watson]

James Coxon & Co. Limited, General Warehousemen. all business communications to be addressed to the firm. Telegrams: "COXON, NEWCASTLE ON TYNE" telephone no. 3562 central (4 lines) private branch exchange;

19, 21 & 23 Market Street,
and 77, 79, 81, 83, 85, Grey Street,
Newcastle upon Tyne.

Oct 21 /22

My dear Nance.

Your letter arrived on my holidays & since my return have been somewhat absorbed in accumulations & have not been "settled" to answer.

We were all so glad to see you at Whitley & to think you had such a nice time in spite of the weather. To me it was a great delight after so many years of intervening separation to meet again & I am most grateful for that Saturday morning you appeared & gave me the opportunity of arranging a very happy interlude. It was full of enjoyment & once more revived reminiscences of many felicitous days. Not that they ever leave me, for who could forget the charm of the College & Lorne Street Chester. I am glad you were going to have Kate for a few days, you would be able to connect her up with us all. I should love to see her again. You might send me her address when you have time.

We had a good holiday at Bournemouth, Torquay & St Ives - only 2 wet days in 3 weeks & most gorgeous sun prevailing. I have never been in any of these districts so it was most refreshing and congenial. I am glad you are getting somewhat reconciled to Leeds. Of course it is a great change but you wisely appreciate the advantages that the City gives you. I only hope you get nice people around you & particularly Dick in his work. It helps so much to leaven things up.

I have not had time to see Lizzie & Nellie yet but I went to Florries to tea a fortnight ago as Bobby & his mother left St Ives for London & remained a further 10 days away after I returned. I shall be glad to hear whenever you are in writing mood.

United love to you all
Your affect[ionat]e Cousin

[written to his cousin Annie Watson]

[letterhead -- same as 21 October 1922]

January 13 /23

My dear Nance.

I was so pleased to receive your letter in December & altho' late reciprocate most sincerely all your good wishes for 1923. I hope you had a nice time during the holidays. We were, as usual, very quiet - only ourselves & the old lady. Still it was a nice rest & change. the weather was good & I had some good exercise.

I like Christmas very much & all the better feelings it awakens & I appreciate the value of all the God given breaks in the monotony of the common life; but I can never escape the reflection of how much richer the world would be if the unselfishness so marked at this period was to become more prevalent in the ordinary life of the year. I was most struck with this & commented upon it in the business connection of my own this year, hence the reflection.

The feeling on the eve of Christmas & the whole atmosphere of this large concern was lovely but the week following the holiday I had an uncommon lot of unkind actions, wicked displays of temper & uncharitable incidents to deal with. I could not help but express my astonishment that the Christmas spirit had been so short lived. I suppose all this is due to a lack of discernment of the ethical significance by which the great beauty of the season is lost in the process of habit, custom & fashion. I am not a pessimist and never was, being too early immersed in the Larger Hope of Tennyson & Whittier, but one cannot help philosophising a bit.

But why do I write thus. It is an old, old subject & probably more familiar to you than me, yet in thinking of my dear cousins & the memories of glorious days & gracious incidents towards my own family, thoughts will arise & I write as I think.

No - I have not met Jennie yet. George was here & I saw him for an hour or two. I understand Jennie is fat. That's a novelty. I hope John & Kathleen are well. Dick, I expect, is enjoying a strenuous time. I hope he is happy. We are all fit & well & join in best love to you all

Your affect[ionat]e cousin