By David Painting
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Additional resources for Amy Dillwyn
Making the best of it Amy and her parents wrote to tell everyone the sad news, looking forward to happier times in the New Year of 1864 when the marriage details could again be put in hand. Philosophically (and almost prophetically) Amy said farewell to the year that had ended in disappointment and dismay. ‘Goodbye to 1863 with all its cares and sorrows and pleasures and goodbye also to the most miserable Christmas time I ever spent. Where will the end of next year find us all? ’ The new year began with bitter east winds and hard frosts warmed only by the news on 10 January that the Princess of Wales had given birth to her first son, Prince Albert Victor.
For a while the old Amy, bold and full of what she called ‘the animal enjoyment of life’, was submerged into a dull nothingness. One of her favourite comments when temporarily depressed was never more appropriate than it was now: ‘Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle’ – the game was not worth the candle. indd 26 12/08/2013 16:17:03 Picking up the Threads After a few weeks of virtual seclusion at Penllergaer with the Llewelyns, who were invariably kind and supportive in every crisis, and at Merthyr Mawr with Minnie and Johnny, Amy was persuaded by her parents to spend Easter in London.
Her close family circle was further depleted with the death in the autumn of 1858 of Bessie’s half-sister Rosie who had lived with the Dillwyns as a kind of honorary aunt for many years. Harry was away at boarding school when Minnie wrote to tell him that Rosie had died of a heart attack and was to be buried with her father Sir Henry De la Beche at Kensal Green. Harry’s response was remarkably sensitive for a boy of fifteen and also extremely revealing about his slightly deferential attitude towards his younger sister.
Amy Dillwyn by David Painting