William Carey Davies met GM while a student at King's College in 1865 When GM was a lecturer there for eventing classes. WCD was the son of a minister, a bank clerk, and became a secretary of sorts and devoted friend to GM, keeping his accounts and bank books in order "for love's sake". He also corrected proofs and "saved him much petty worry for many long years" according to Greville's Biography of his father.
And now is the time for recording one of those quiet gifts from above, of which the world, running as it reads, would take small note, and yet which in ministering to George MacDonald's needs was of first importance. I refer to the devoted friendship of William Carey Davies, than whom no knight had ever more loving squire, or rich man ever such a secretary. His son, George MacDonald Davies, the geologist, tells me how as a very young man his father had been nigh wrecked in prospects and faith, when he, one of a handful of earnest students, met my father at King's College.Thereafter until his death in 1898 he was one of our closest friends.1 For love's sake alone, he kept my father's accounts straight and relieved him of much drudgery in proof-reading, especially of such books as were set up in final form from their initial serial appearance. He was widely read in English literature and a good German scholar.
Mrs. G.M.D. to W. C. Davies. Porto Fino, April 10th, 1879. My dear Mr. Davies, Alas, that we should be such complaining, difficult children to bear the gifts and the discipline of the Father! He has, as it were, given stronger and better life back into the hands of my husband, and yet he has taken to himself that strong young life that seemed to be preparing so vigorously, so manfully for the soldiership to which he was called when in Frederick Maurice's arms on his baptismal day. Ah! dear friend, it is so wrenching: and yet why strive with the Giver because He cares more for his lovely gift than we did or can? We love to think the sweet daughter and son are together— she helping him with her always wise and tender motherliness in his new surroundings. Surely some day, even here, I shall be able to thank the Father for taking him to himself: at present I cannot get further than asking, as I heard Maurice himself in a whisper doing, for "all to be taken away that now makes it hard to say Thy xvill be done." The fervency and sweet submission of the tones in which those last words were uttered are still as heavenly music in memory's ears. But I did not intend to write so, though I know I am not speaking into an unsympathetic heart. I wish you had heard us talking about you the other evening. Lily looked up and said—" I do love Mr. Davies. What a faithful dear he is!" I only tell you this to show you your love and beautiful kindness to my husband, your devoted service to him, have not been lost even on his children.
G.M.D. to Mrs. W. C. Dairies. Casa Coraggio, Bordighera, Italy, Good Friday, 1898. Dear Mrs. Davtes, ... I have been indeed unable to think, and still more to know what I was thinking. Indeed I feel sometimes as if I were about to lose all power of thought. But when I find Carey again, he will help to set me right. Ah, you will be glad when you go to him, and find him all right and well and happy! Surely our Lord meant no less for us! He is in joy and peace with Him. I am drawing nearer to the time I shall have to go. I do not think it will be just yet, and it is a good thing we should not know when the call will come, but may He give me what readiness he pleases. I should like to be as ready as your husband. I do not think I can ever be more ready than he. Write to me again although I do not deserve it. . . . This, I think, is the last letter actually written by my father. It strikes the deeper note of sadness that rang through the remaining years. Yet he kept his last vigil in a serenity of hope untouched by his great sufferings.