12 January 1806

Benjamin Flower at Harlow to Eliza Flower at the Creaks, 69 Cornhill, London, Sunday, 12 January 1806.

Harlow, Jan. 12. 1806

My Dear Love

The afternoon yesterday proved fine, and our ride was pleasant, but I by no means like Cowell’s chaise, setting so backward & so low bent me almost double.

Our two dear girls were both enjoyed to see me. Sarah cried to come to me, and it was a long while before she would consent for Bet to take her to bed. As I had had so poor a dinner, only the mouthful of bread & cheese at Mr Creak’s, I had my Tea and supper at once, the latter consisting of 3 Eggs, of which Eliza shared a part. She sat up about an hour, enjoying her new pictures & books, but she was surprised Mamma and Uncle John were not come home: she however with her father fully expects them on Tuesday. I went to bed heartily tired by ten o’clock, and slept soundly till my little bed fellow waked me about an hour before day light, when she was full of chat; we had ever our usual dialogues, catechism, hymns, singing &c. We did not I assure you forget Dear Mamma as soon as it was light the gate Plumbs were claimed. When I came down Stairs, Sarah the moment I entered the kitchen, would not be easy till I took her, half the morning she was with me, and the dear girl has been the whole day very partial to my arms & knee. Bet says Eliza has behaved very well indeed all the time of our absence. Both the girls still have slight colds, but look very well, and are in charming spirits. Eliza went with me to meeting this afternoon, and was quite orderly the whole service.

Severn preached as usual.

I have not yet recovered [from] the fatigue of London, and have done little else to day, but amuse myself with the girls; not forgetting to hear Eliza read and reading to her.

I shall attend to your paper of instructions to morrow morning, but why do you oblige me to drink green tea, which I have been forced to do twice to day, last night there was a little black tea in the Cannister which I finished. I supposed I should find some in the Caddy to day: not a bit of moist fryar have we been able to come at to day.

Dobson’s lazy fellow has let the cellar fill with water, I went about it to day, he pumped for about half an hour, but we are still in a bad state: to morrow morning, I shall talk to Mr Dobson seriously about it: it is entirely owing to the indolence of his man.

Mr Barnard instead of going to London, to morrow, is confined at home with a bad cold attended with fever; suppose he will not go to Stortford on Tuesday, in which case I shall not think it worth while hiring a whiskey merely for the sake of joining a dinner party.

I suppose you settled every thing with Mr Saville relative to the conveyance of the things. Did the 12 Pint bottles of liquors come to Mr Creak’s yesterday?

I shall depend on your returning on Tuesday; pray do not let your Walworth friends persuade you to stay any longer. I suppose it is in vain to say come home to Dinner; but pray do not wait to go by the late and extravagant Norwich Expedition.

Your servants, so far as I can judge, appear to have gone on very well, and have lived economically; the cold beef with a butter pudding served for our dinner to day.

Farewell—I am heartily tired. I long to see you, and to hear what are become of Hawke’s & John.

Respects to all friends.

Ever Your

Benj Flower

Mrs Dobson invited me to dine to day on roast beef—but I much preferred my cold boiled beef with the company of my two girls, so I declined accepting her invitation.

Note: For the complete annotated text, see Timothy Whelan, ed., Politics, Religion, and Romance: The Letters of Benjamin Flower and Eliza Gould Flower, 1794-1808 (Aberystwyth: National Library of Wales, 2008), pp. 314-16.