1811 November 13 [14]

Eliza Fenwick, 5 Tavistock Square, to Mary Hays, Wandsworth Common, Wednesday, 13 November [postmark 14 November 1811].1

No 5 Tavistock Square

Wednesday 13th

I have many kindnesses to acknowledge from you dear Mary but never was in a frame of mind so little adapted to writing. I went about so much in the wet collecting Elizas things together that I caught a most violent ^cold^ which added to the exhaustion after strong emotion renders me at present a sort of breathing Automaton.

Pray my dear friend acknowledge both to Mr Lyals (I think that is the name) our sense of the zeal he express’d in Elizas behalf. Lanno will tell you that he greeted her with a warmth that seemed like an established friendship, which surprised her in the extreme from an utter stranger. Mr Brown took extraordinary pains also to shew his good will. It was through Mr Bests (secretary of the Bank) interest with Mr Daniel that letters were got from him & Mr Brown2 insisted on introducing Eliza to Mr Best, which was done on Monday. Mr Best shewed her the whole interior of the Bank & desired her at any time to command his services. Mr Brown had also invited him & some other great man to dine with him on Monday expecting me & Eliza to do the same. We were however compell’d to decline that civility it being her last day. I mention these particulars as the favors sprung from you, and I wish you when opportunity serves to say that I feel their value. She had another letter to the Honble Mr Compton from Dr Stodhart the Civillian & late Judge Advocate at Malta.3 She has ten letters with her, beside several that have been written in her favor by the packet. Surely she must be prosperous and now, to us, prosperity is comfort. If Mr & Mrs Dyke are sincere, & I have not the smallest ground for doubt, they consider Eliza as their strong hope & value her for the high character they heard from Mr Blanchard both of her talents & irreproachable manners. Their black servants, a fine old negroe, came up to me & with a tone of Natures own feeling said; You no grieve Maam. We take care of Missee – I take care of Missee always, on board ship and on shore. Pray no grieve Missee shall be happy. It is rather ^a^ singular chance that the day she embarked for Barbadoes was the very day two years of her last parting from Henry Kemble when we set off for Edinburgh. I think her quitting him was the first dawn of her prosperity deep & bitter as was the suffering it involved. Had they not been separated they had married. She must necessarily have been miserable for life with such a man & might have been a forsaken wife with children to rear in sorrow & regret for the misplaced affection that caused their birth.

I will not speak of the desolation I feel. I wonder what her father felt. He must [have] perceived that she was cold to him. She has not the power of hiding that her esteem is forfeited.

I want rest. Our house is in terrible confusion still not one room finished. New beds are making for my chamber & I am forced to sleep in another with my pupil. She is intolerably restless I was too full of aching thought, the wind blew a storm & I scarcely closed my eyes all night.

I enclose to Lanno a scrap letter I have just recd from Eliza. The sight of her hand has rendered me insensible to the discomforts which she speaks of. I trust when the ship is put to rights things will be better. Return me the letter in your next. It is of value to me little as it contains.

Adieu my dear friend. Do not be uneasy for me I shall do well, very well. Occupation shall be my consolation. I will allow my self no idle time. We are born to suffer. Life has been no boon to you & I.

I ought to tell you that Orlando behaved admirably the whole week. His regrets spoke most in the tenderness & constancy of his attention to his sister. He tried hard to suppress every emotion that might agitate her. It will gratify him to hear that I have commended him to you. Write speedily to yrs truly

E F.

Address: For | Miss Hays | Wandsworth Common

Postmark: 14 November 1811

1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 49-50; Brooks, Corrrespondence 346 (only a small portion of the letter included).

2 Hays's old friend, Samuel Brown.

3 Sir John Stoddart (1772-1856) was appointed the King's Advocate and Admiralty Advocate at Malta in 1803; in 1807 he returned to London and his law practice. He returned to Malta in 1826 as Chief Justice and Judge of the Vice-Admiralty Court, remaining in that position until 1839.