Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 August 2010
Soon after Mr. De Morgan's return to the college a great affliction befell the family in the sudden death of his sister Mrs. Hensley in her confinement. Her brother had left his home in Gower Street, satisfied that she was doing well, and on his return in the afternoon inquired as he entered the house how she was going on. The servant replied that Mrs. Hensley was dead. It had been quite unexpected, and was a terrible blow to her mother, her husband, and brothers. Mrs. Hensley left three daughters and the infant son whose birth immediately preceded her own death. It was many months before her brother Augustus recovered from the shock he received in hearing so suddenly of the event. In writing to my mother of the affliction of his own, he added, ‘As for me, I am stunned, and hardly know what I write.’ And it was far longer before the grief caused by this, his first experience of the death of one whom he loved most affectionately, abated.
The religious doubts and difficulties created in his mind by the doctrinal teaching of his early years were not the only troubles arising from the same cause. It was natural that a mother, so anxious and true-hearted as his, should not see without pain anything like what she thought carelessness in religious matters, and that her anxiety to produce a belief like her own should be intensified by her recent sorrow.