06: Wallet and Letters

06: Wallet and Letters

This wallet belonged to the 5th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, Piers Alexander. The wallet itself is unremarkable but it contains letters from his mother which Piers Alexander obviously cherished throughout his life.

This wallet belonged to the 5th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe, Piers Alexander. The wallet itself is unremarkable but it contains letters from his mother which Piers Alexander obviously cherished throughout his life.

Piers Alexander was the 4th child and only son of the 4th Earl, William Henry and Countess Katherine. He was known in the family is Aleck. His mother had poor health. Family photographs show her in a bath chair (invalid carriage) at Mount Edgcumbe. She died in September 1874 age 34 when Aleck was 9 years of age.

All the letters include the date and month but few include the year. Some are written from Mount Edgcumbe when Aleck was away but others are written from coastal towns such as Bournemouth where Lady Katherine spent time for her health.

In one letter Lady Katherine gives her son news of his pet dog.

“Your little brown pet is very well. He has been in my room several times when I have been having my dinner and I think he is under the impression that I am always eating while I am in bed.”

Perhaps the most poignant letter is the one written on 1 July 1874 from Mount Edgcumbe.

“Many happy returns of your birthday my darling boy. I wish you were here so that I could give you a good kiss but you must ask Papa to give you one from me.

I have sent you by post a book called ‘The Young Forester’ which I think you will like. You must try to get Papa to read it to you. I shall still have something to put on the table when you come back. I am beginning already to look forward to the time when you will come back here with your throat quite well. Won’t that be nice? When we shall not always have to be thinking that the poor old throat is catching cold.

I don’t want you to write to say thank you for the book but you can tell Papa to give me a message. I am longing for a letter from him tomorrow morning to hear how you are.

Goodbye my darling Aleck from your very loving mother.”

Lady Katherine died 2 months later. Having experienced tragedy early in life Piers Alexander also experienced tragedy late in life when Mount Edgcumbe House was almost destroyed by fire.

Your little brown pet is very well. He has been in my room several times when I have been having my dinner and I think he is under the impression that I am always eating while I am in bed.”

More objects: