There are a few mentions of Alice Louisa in Leaves from the Diary of A.S.B., written by her mother. On p.47 her mother wrote:
I became very delicate before my first baby was born in July, 1861, and the following Xmas, which we spent at Outwood, it was decided Archie should take me abroad, and nurse and baby were to be left at Outwood. Harry and Kate (Henry Currer Briggs and Catherine Shepherd) were living there, and she would look after baby, with Aye Aye's supervision.
Thus Archie and Alice left England, and baby Alice Louisa, on 12 Jan 1862, sailing by P & O to Gibraltar, then on to Malta where they arrived on 21 Jan. Finding that they could not get to Algiers from there, they sailed to Marseilles instead, arriving there on 26 Jan, and thence sailed to Algiers where they stayed about three months. On p.56 Alice Sophia writes:
Here we spent about three months, and should have been very happy but for constant anxiety about baby Louie.Then on the next page:
At the end of April (1862) we had to end our happy life and start for Marseilles, so as to get telegrammes quicked and at less cost, and also be two days nearer home; but, as the doctor said I ought not to go to England so early in the Spring, we stayed a week or so in Marseilles, but the news of Louie becoming worse, we started for home, and arrived at Outwood end of April, 1862. We found poor Baby a mere skeleton, and with constant convulsions, and from that time she was a continual sufferer, though it was not till the spring of '66 that we feared her mind was affected, and that we placed her under a doctor's roof. We went to our house at Liverpool, Mosley Hill, and got Mrs. Clarke, from the Cottage, to come there three times a day and nurse her, and by very slow degrees she gained flesh.
In October of 1862 they again headed off to Algiers, this time taking baby Alice Louisa with them and a nurse called Ann Birks, and a maid called Mary for Alice Sophia who was still “very delicate”. On an earlier visit to Edinburgh they had consulted a Dr. Begbie regarding the baby and he had assured them there was no cause for anxiety “and we were to take her to Algiers with us, and let her have all variety, and we should soon have her strong and well”. This time they stayed until the following April, and the diary for the period contains no mention of the baby. Towards the end of this second visit, finding the climate suited Alice Sophia, they decided to buy a house in Algiers and “Archie thought he might get together some little business to occupy him, leaving a Clerk to manage the Brazilian business from Liverpool”. With the approach of winter, in about October 1863, they packed up their house and left again for Algiers. Alice Louisa had a new nurse, Lois, who seems to have been a rather more robust character than Ann Birks.
Nevertheless, in the spring of 1864;
we decided (no grounds are given) that Baby would be better in England, and Lois was ready to take her. Baby fell out of her crib, pitching on her head on the stone floor, and we feared some injury to the brain. Lois had come out by sea, and knew no French, but we had great confidence in her, and she herself had no fears.
The next mention of Alice Louisa does not occur until p.154, the autumn of 1876, where Alice Sophia writes “I went to Lancaster to see Louie, and found her very well and happy, then on to Harrogate ….” Then the next mention, on p.169:
Early in July (1883) we heard poor Louie was ill with bronchitis, and very soon after I was urged to go, but I was not fit for so long a journey. We sent May, and she found Louie very ill, but was perfectly satisfied that she was well cared for, and Mdlle. Buchet was most kind. Louie did not know May, so it was useless for her to stay, and she might be needed any day by me (!). Louis's death from rapid consumption took place on 25th July, and Olga was born on the 27th.
And so ended Alice Louisa's sad life. She was just 22. I have no information on when she was sent to Switzerland, which was presumably because she had TB on top of all her other problems.
© John Stowell 2009 This file last edited on 06 Sep 2009.
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