25 October 1803
1. Elizabeth Hamilton, 11 Russell Street Bath, to Mrs. Thomas Smith, Bownham House, near Hampton, Gloucestershire, 25 October 1803.1
My dear Madam
Your very obliging letter was forwarded to me from Tewkesbury where we only spent a single night. On arriving there we had the mortification to learn that our good friend Mrs Doddridge [Mercy Doddridge, the daughter] was detained in Bath by illness and that Mr Knight [son-in-law to Mary Doddridge Humphreys and Mercy's nephew] was laid up with a severe fit of gout. This information made us drive directly to the Inn, where dear Mrs Knight came to us the moment she heard of our arrival. She is indeed a very charming creature, amiable and interesting, and deservedly dear to all who know her. – We set out early next morning, and only stopped to change horses until we arrived at Bath; nor had we the mortification of passing the road to Bownham, as we yielded to the wish of ^the^ people at the Bell in Gloucester, who offered us a carriage to go on two stages provided we went the Dorcester road.
In speaking to me of Mrs Fletcher you have indeed given me ^a^ theme that is inexhaustible; but it is one on which the heart feels much more than the tongue can utter. On seeing I admired her, but admiration was a cold sentiment in comparison of what I felt when an encreasing intimacy had given me an opportunity of becoming more thoroughly acquainted with the virtues of her heart. Her friendship I shall ever consider as one of the first acquisitions of my life, nor will you be displeased at my saying that the warmth with which she spoke of her friends at Bownham was an additional motive with me to wish to cultivate their acquaintance.
It is endearing to have such an object of mutual regard, and I still flatter myself that we may have the pleasure at Bath of some conversation on this interesting subject. My sister and I will greatly rejoice in hearing that there is any probability of our having this happiness during the approaching winter. She desires me to tell you so, and to present her best respects. Pray present Miss Smith with my affection and regards, and with Compts to Mr Smith believe me
Dear madam, with unfeigned esteem
your obedt Servt
11 Russel Street Bath
Octr 25th 1803
Address: Mrs Smith | Bownham House | near Hampton | Glocestershire
1 Simon Gratz Collection, British Authors, Case 10, Box 30, Folder 13, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. Thomas Smith was a Justice of the Peace living in Bownham House near Stroud.