|Recipient Location||Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire|
|Transcript or Index||Saturday – May 15th 1823|
Many thank, my dear Wanderer, for your very kind and pleasant letter, which though it did arrive a day later than it had been expected, was not the less eagerly welcomed. I should have answered it yesterday, but was out the whole of the morning, and indeed till past 8 o’clock, having finished my peregrinations by dining and drinking tea in Gower Street. I am glad to find your time has been so pleasantly spent and that the weather appears sufficiently settled to allow you a confirmation of enjoyment. I wish indeed I could be with you, but as I never will cry for the moon, I am determined to make the best of the Society I have, and the ruralities of the neighbourhood of London; and if you country folks chuse to sneer, and say that mine are but “Cockney Pastorals” at last, I will boldly tell you that Cockneys find more charms in one green tree, aye in one branch of it, than others do in a whole grove, and that I can trot merrily along the gravel walks of our garden here, repeating my favourite lines from Dryden’s Palamon & Arcite.
“For thee, sweet Month! the groves green liveries wear,
If not the first, the fairest of the year.
For thee the Graces lead the dancing hours
And Nature’s ready pencil paints the flowers,
When thy short reign is past, the feverish sun
The sultry tropic fears, and moves more slowly on.”
“So may thy tender blossoms fear no blight,
Nor goats with venom’d tooth thy tendrils bite
As thou shalt guide my wandering feet to find
The fragrant greens I seek, my brows to bind.”
I doubt whether all your Lincolnshire willows make you half so poetical!
But I am not contented with London trees and London grass either, though both are as green as yours. I had a ride of twenty miles on Tuesday, and made Mary Anne laugh at my transport on seeing a brood of goslings. Mrs Oviatt declares she will have one of the very cletch for dinner on the 14th of July – my birthday. Papa and Mama always made a sort of Jubilee of the day, and I being a goose myself always barbarously insisted on devouring one of my relations; so she who has often eaten it with us, is determined, like Queen Elizabeth to make an annual dish of it. I am going back to her and the <said> Goslings in about an hour’s time, but return on Saturday to proceed forthwith to Fulmer, and there I shall stay till Monday week, when my bustle begins. You see therefore that I am about to follow your injunctions, and run away from this dirty smoky disagreable town, which I nevertheless, love better than any place in the world; but the Laplanders, you know, love their own Country and you love Lincolnshire. I beg however that you will at once dismiss all care and anxiety about my health. I am not yet quite strong enough to draw a sledge, or lift a sledgehammer, but I have proved strong enough to knock up Miss Appleton, who went shopping with me on Saturday, and keeps her bed since. Puny miserable thing as you think me, I could knock up her at any time. But I have made a wonderful progress in the last ten days.
I am very glad you are better for your journey, and the ‘quiet life” you have led since you went, dining out every day and riding and driving here and there from sunrise till sunset. The truth is, you are better for more air and exercise, and for having more in external objects to engage your mind. You have been thinking a great deal too much all the winter, and I often saw its effects when I said nothing, and do not believe you were aware of it. Everyone tells me I think too much too. What a pity we cannot have just so much of our brains extracted as we should be the better for losing! By the bye, they say a Jackass has more brains than almost any animal. I wonder whether we think to a little purpose as he does, and I have often wondered whether he may not be a great deal wiser than we chuse to allow.
[Paper torn by breaking of seal] … my dear Sir, I know nothing of Cambridge. I ... you [?that I] was not more than 8 or 9 years old when I visit[ed] its Acad[emic] Groves, and if I derived any inspiration, or lo[ve] of literary lore, therefrom, I have forgotten it. My most feeling recollection is of some plum cake which Mr. Holden of Sidney College would bestow upon me. I never was a great Baby about sweet cake, whatever I may be in many things, <It was too sweet & too rich for my liking and I remember feeling my good breeding put to the test by the necessity of eating as a treat that which almost made me sick. I do remember King’s College Chapel though, & long to see its gorgeous roof again.
My sister is better, and so is Eliza, who drew off my rings & played with them yesterday, just as she used to do with her mother’s but which she has not done for some time. Indeed she seemed more awake altogether than she has been lately. I wish I could speak as satisfactorily of Mr Kay. I cannot look at him without feeling some alarm, and what is worst of all, he is getting alarmed about himself. One of the most unpleasant symptoms of his illness last year was a sort of interruption of the circulation which lasted for some time, and shook him greatly. It seems to come on most frequently in the Night, and he has had two or three attacks lately. I believe quiet and country air and to think less, are more needful for him than either you or I, but he cannot make holiday yet, unless the necessity be absolute, and then the feeling that his business is neglected would prevent his benefitting as he might. I must not forget that I am charged severally by every branch of the family with kind regards to you. Mary Anne hopes she may send her love next year, but fears it would not be decorous at present, so you may take or refuse it as you like. You have had Eliza’s over and over again before now if it ever reached you. But adieu or I shall be too late for the Stage. I have written in as great haste as you did, and will write again on Saturday, if I find a letter from you, not else! I will be saucy, and so you have fair warning. Ce n’est que le premier pas qui conte, and you’ll soon be as fond of it as I am. I see you shake your head as you read, but I do not care. I had more to say but matter must be subordinate to space & time.
ever your faithful & attached Eleanor.
Captain Franklin R. N.
[Postmark] H15 MY 1923