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Title: McIlrath, Eliza Jane (Jennie) to McIlrath, Sarah, 1898
CollectionThe McIlrath Letters: A family history in letters from New Zealand to Ireland (1860-1915) [Bassett, McKee et al.]
SenderMcIlrath, Eliza Jane (Jennie)
Sender Genderfemale
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginSpringfield, New Zealand
DestinationKillinchy, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
RecipientMcIlrath, Sarah
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count557
September 17th 1898

Dear Cousin Sarah
I have been very neglectful in not answering your letter, but I
hope you will forgive me. I have not got good news to tell you this
time. My dear sister Harriet died on Aug. 16th after ten days illness,
poor girl she never complained of feeling ill &went to learn the
dressmaking. She came home as usual from the work on the Friday
night and on Saturday morning got up as usual, but was only up for
1/2 hour when she took violent pains in the sides and the back which the Dr pronounced to be pleurisy. On the Tuesday it had turned to inflammation of the lungs, with a complication of diseases. On Tuesday night
we telegraphed for Dr Ovenden from Christchurch to
come up as soon as possible and he came by Wednesday
morning train. He said that he had no hope whatever
for her, but that the only thing which would do her any
good, would be to give her as much brandy as she would
take. Dr Davenport of Sheffield and Dr Ovenden held
a consultation and said they would give her forty eight
hours to live. You may imagine the shock it gave us to hear that
news. We sat up constantly at day & night with her, although we
were not needed, as we had a nurse to look after her in the day, and
the neighbours were all so kind in sitting up at night, but for all that
we could not go to bed. On the following Tuesday poor Harriet
passed away, quietly and peacefully at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.
Dr Davenport attended her twice a day from the beginning. Dear Harriet knew from the beginning of her illness that She was going to
die. She told me often that She saw death coming. Most of the time
she was delirious, but when She was sensible She would sing Hymns
and talk about Jesus Christ. She seemed very happy when She was
talking about Him. But poor Harriet, She suffered terribly at times.
It was a terrible blow to us all but it comforts us greatly to know that
She has gone to a place where She will suffer no more pain. I am sure
you will sympathise with us all because you know from your recent
experience what a gap it leaves in the Family Circle. We realise that
they have been called Home a little earlier than the rest. Our turn
will soon come, and it makes Heaven more home-like for us all. We
feel that the Chains of Love which bind us to Our Father's Home are
much stronger than before and impresses us with the fact that our
"citizenship is in Heaven." If it causes us to think how short our time
is, and to prepare ourselves for the Resurrection Morning, then we
see that it is a blessing in disguise after all. Papa 8c Mama and all are
pretty well, and wish that Uncle & Auntie 6c Cousins are the same. I
have not recovered Dear Annie's photo yet. We are having a photo of
Dear Harriet taken of a small one, &will send you one as soon as we
get them.
With love and kind regards to all
Your Affect Cousin Jennie McIlrath