1812 January 6

Eliza Fenwick, [5 Tavistock Square], to Mary Hays, Wandsworth Common, [postmark 6 January 1812].1

I am very sorry that my silence gave you uneasiness my dear friend and yet I have now delayed longer than I ought or thatn I should had I not waited in hopes I might receive a line from your Brother confirming either my hopes or my fears. No news is good news they say & I am inclined to think it so in a degree for had Mr Hays determined to negative my request I conclude he would have given me his reasons without hesitation.

I fear your indisposition resulted more from the shock you received on your Journey than ^from^ cold. I do not wonder at it. I think of all the injuries that can be inflicted by one human being on another that species of aggression is the greatest which you have sustained. Its remembrance can never wholly die away but in a mind capable of perpetrating an equal injury, and if I shudder at meeting that aggressor no wonder dear Mary you suffered so severely. Happily this hazard cannot often fall in your way for I think its recurrence would tend to any thing rather than forgetfulness. You are very considerate for me but it would not be from for saving the expence or deferring my visit till my boy was with you that I should stay away, but I must make up my mind I perceive to remaining at home. A new residence induces new modes of life. We have undergone great changes here. Mrs M. begins to taste the sweets of going out & my privileges one after another die away. I was a little piqued on new years day that I could not dine at Lambs which I had some time promised to do but I gave it up because I was obliged. I don’t know how it happened but I felt more bitter discontent about Elizas absence ^that day^ than I had felt before. I seemed more particularly to fea comprehend the length of these revolving years – It is a terrible period. I am infinitely indebted to your brother for the trouble he has taken to ascertain her safety and now I have done with thinking of her capture & believe she must be safe at Barbadoes. As this day makes the 8th week of her departure from London I hope the career of her prosperity has begun and that early in next month I shall hear of her having escaped the perils of the sea. Her success with the public & her reception from her introductions I suppose we shall wait another month for because if opportunity served she would write the instant she got to shore. I have now written to her four times running all chances rather than she should have the sickness of heart arising from hope defer’d. I shall write again on Wedny 29th (for the packets of the first & the last Wednesday of the month both touch at Barbadoes) and will not you my friend contribute by a letter to her comfort? Do write. I know it will be an infinite gratification to the poor exile. Orlando smiled proudly at the receipt of your letter but he is really so much a man of constant occupation that you must I fear wait for an answer. These young folks have got up Miss Edgeworths Old Poz & Lanno has been chosen for Justice Headstrong,2 to which I assure you he does surprising credit. His variety, action & conception of the nature of the old gent amazed me. They perform it this evening before drawing for King & Queen & it has brought him here oftener than otherwise I shd have enjoyed his company though it takes up rather more time than I approve of. I am very anxious that he shd usefully spend every moment. His father gives an excellent account of him. When does the Vacation end & will you ask Mr W— what drawing is charged pr Quarter?

God bless you dear dearest friend. With kind remembrance to Mr & Mrs H. & the Children, all which Lanno desired me to name for him I am yrs truly

E F.

pray write to me

Address: Miss Hays | Wandsworth Common

Postmark: 6 January

1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 55-56; not in Brooks, Correspondence.

2 Reference is to a play for children, Old Poz, with its character Justice Headstrong, by the popular writer Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849). The play appeared in the fourth volume of Edgeworth's The Parent's Assistantm, or Stories for Children (1804).