Letter dated June 29th, 1933 following the Death of Edward Price
This letter was written by Dolly (Dolores) Baxter -nee Price his daughter, to Mary Emma May – nee Price, one of his other daughters explaining the last few hours prior to his death.
I know how anxious you will be to hear a few details. Mother is bearing up absolutely marvellously, and with such resignation. Everyone’s kindness and sympathy has been overwhelming. It has all happened so quickly and really so mercifully. On Tuesday the 27th, I was upstairs, finishing dressing about 9:30 AM and Caruana came and said father would like to see me. I went down and found him in bed. He had not been feeling well and had rather bad diarrhoea etc. and had had to change his mattress and everything. He told me this and looked rather white and feeling the vertigo he gets, I thought it might have been all the upset etc. He said he felt he did not want to be left alone, so I fetched mother to sit in his room, as that morning all the carpets were been taken up and I was rather busy. I have not left the room for quarter of an hour, when mother screamed and Teresa and I rushed and found father fallen out of bed. We got him back and he then lost consciousness, and started gasping for breath. I knew something was happening. Caruana went at once for Ferro who came at 10:30. He was quite unconscious and remained like that till about 5 PM when he began to recognize me and Caruana. From 2 PM till 3 he appeared to be in pain and clinched his hand and he was very restless, and then calmed down. From 5 PM onwards till 1 AM he had Ureanic convulsions, which put a great strain on his heart, and he gasped terribly for breath. The last hour was almost peaceful, and I was holding his hand, and feeling his pulse, which quietly faded.
At 6 PM he had the last sacrament, and Ferro was the giving him a vapour bath to help sweat out the poison. He actually died of Ureamia and we thought he was going at 6 PM but rallied again. Mother had not realized he was so bad until I told her at 6 PM that I had wired for Teddy, and then began to dawn on her. I was able to keep her out of his room thank goodness. She sat in the armchair of her bedroom and seemed stunned by it all. When all was over Don Franscesco remained in the room, and Caruana and I had to go and find someone to lay him out. We found a man at Mesida and eventually all was fixed and by 4 AM. Poor dear father was laid out, he looked very peaceful and at rest. All day people pulled in and the all the arrangements to see to, formalities, papers etc. And the chapel grave to be opened. This morning we had mass again in the chapel and at about 9:15 AM we started for the cemetery. Laura remained with mother in the sitting room, and she did not see the coffin pass. I kept her from seeing the wreaths or anything. Masses of wreaths were sent by everyone. Admiral Best came and said Admiral Fisher had wired to do all we wanted, did we want a naval funeral? But I just could not bear it, mother said NO, he would have hated all the fuss. We went quietly and were met at the cemetery by everyone, Luke, the Governor’s A.D.C., as he was ill in bed, sturdy,Clarke, all heads of Departments etc. We had the burial service in the cemetery chapel and then the coffin was moved to the mortuary, and tomorrow, when Teddy arrives Charlie and I will take him straight to the chapel as Charlie feels he would wish to see father once more. I said no at first, as after the journey I fear it will be so sad for him, but perhaps Charlie is right, I could never forgive myself if he had wished it. It has all been ghastly and thank God every minute I was here, as I’m sure I saved mother more sadness than is necessary, she is marvellous.
Everyone has written the most ripping letters, every loved him. Baby has wired she is ready to come July 8th. I must leave about the 16th or possibly wait 10 days later if necessary, then if she could come out it would be marvellous, as mother ought to have one of us, as Teddy is not quite the same at any rate to start with. If she came in August and you in September, anyway how old plans will form in due course.
Notes by Peter:-
**Edward Price was buried at the Messina Mausoleum in the Addolorata Cemetery, Paola. Malta.
I was told when visiting the Cemetery in 2000 that fresh flowers are placed in the mausoleum every week based on an agreement with a law firm in Zurich who assumed handled certain finances of the Messinas
***Not sure who Caruana, Ferro and Charlie are but assume they may have been servants.
****Ureamia – Is kidney failure