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Death of Sir Thomas Biddulph at Abergeldie Mains 28 Sept 1878

Wednesday, September 25, 1878

At twenty minutes to five drove in the waggonette with the Duchess of Roxburghe and Harriet Phipps to the Glen GelJer Shiel, and had tea there; and then drove to Abergeldie Mains, where Sir Thomas Biddulph had been very ill for a week. We got out, and I went upstairs and saw Mary (Lady) Biddulph. Sir William Jenner came into the drawing-room, and said Sir Thomas would like to see me. I went to his room with Sir William, and found Sir Thomas in bed, much the same as when I saw him on Saturday, looking very ill, but able to speak quite loud. He said “I am very bad!” I stood looking at him, and took his hand, and he said, “You are very kind to me,” and I answered, pressing his hand, “You have always been very kind to me." I said I would come again, and left the room.

Saturday, September 28, 1878

At eleven o’clock started off with Beatrice for Abergeldie Mains to inquire after Sir Thomas. I went upstairs, and Blake, the former nurse, came in much distressed, saying how ill he was. Then she asked if I would like to look at him, which I did from the door. We (Beatrice and I) were both much upset. We left, intending to return in the afternoon, and got back to Balmoral by a quarter to twelve. Sat writing in the garden-cottage. While I was writing, at a quarter to one Brown came round with a note in his hand, crying, and said “It’s all over!” It was from Sir William, saying that dear “Sir Thomas passed away at twenty minutes past twelve. Lady Biddulph as well as the children were with him to the last.” We were so distressed that we had not remained at the house, and Brown so vexed and so kind and feeling. Dreadful! Such a loss! Dear Sir Thomas was such an excellent, honest, upright, wonderfully unselfish and disinterested man — so devoted to me and mine. Under a somewhat undemonstrative exterior, he was the kindest and most tender-hearted of men. How terrible is this loss for his poor, poor wife and the children who adored him.

Thursday, October 3, 1878

A most lovely, almost summer day, and very warm. At a quarter-past ten drove with Beatrice, the Duchess of Roxburghe, and Indy Ely Harriet Phipps, Fraulein Bauer, and the gentlemen having gone on before, to Abergeldie Mains. We got out and went into the diningroom, where the coffin was placed. Poor Mary Biddulph and her two children received us there. Her brother, Captain Conway Seymour, and the female servants, ourselves, and the ladies were present. No men came into the room; they remained in the hall, the door being left open. Mr. Campbell came in a few minutes afterwards, and performed a short but very impressive service, just reading a few verses from Scripture, and offering up a beautiful prayer. The coffin left the house directly after, followed by Captain Conway Seymour. Bertie and his three gentlemen, Lord Bridport, General Ponsonby, Sir William Jenner, and Dr. Profeit followed in carriages to Ballater, as also did Lord Macduff and Colonel Far-quharson.

We sat a little with poor Mary, and then left. Lady Biddulph and her children went in the same train with the honoured remains of her dear husband to Windsor.

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