Letter

Scope and Content

From Alscott to Mary Tooth. It is with great sorrow that she writes this letter. Her dear father is dangerously ill. He had been getting stronger but worrying himself about his cousin’s affairs was too much for his weak head and has sent him quite mad. Tooth knows how he was on Thursday, how preoccupied he was. He sent again for cousin John., although she does not know what passed between them. Father then went to bed but not to sleep – he has not known what it is to sleep for some time. Jenkins also went to bed feeling quite refreshed by Tooth’s company. She found it hard to go to sleep and in the morning between four and five was awakened by a dreadful noise from her father’s chamber. She rushed there and found him roaring in a most horrid manner. The room was soon crowded with screaming children. The doctors came and father seemed a little better. He remained in bed for the rest of that day and seemed much like himself again. He told mother and Jenkins that ‘depend upon it, something worse than this would happen to himself, grandfather J. White or old William and someone must talk to them about it. Mother said about what, he said, why about Miss Tooth and them as preach though I have said nothing to Miss T. I have joined them when they have been been on [criticising the Methodists] , but he says I am punished for it. I hope it will be a warning to them. He then desired that someone should tell them…I am very well satisfied that this religion is going straight’ [ie is the right religion].

Jenkins prayed with her father at his request. At night they got him up and he said how sorry he was, which was so unlike him, that he was causing them so much trouble. Shortly after however, he became wild again and stated that he was not fit to enjoy divine mercy. Jenkins’s oldest sister was particularly upset.

Father also asked that Tooth be sent for, but he did not seem to be in his right mind

[Partly transcribed in Memoirs of Miss Sarah Jenkins by Mary Tooth (London: Methodist Book Room, 1829), 68-70]