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Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FSJ/1/1/19
Former ReferenceD3311/8/3/10
TitleLetter from Eleanor Anne Porden to John Franklin, including reminiscences about her childhood, her reaction to the deaths of her parents and how her late father would have approved of their marriage
Date16 May 1823
DescriptionPresumes that there is letter for her in Portland Place. Planning to visit an afternoon church service with Mr. and Mrs. Kay before travelling to London from Millhill. Teases him that he doesn't really care about hearing from her. On Mr and Mrs. Oviatt (a union which may seem preposterous to Franklin): Mr. Oviatt has agreed to assist Eleanor in house-hunting. Reminisces about her time as a child in Millhill. Undertakes a long discourse on how the past affects her and how events, though fleeting and seemingly unimportant, are actually the most important. She touches on the death of her parents and how she did not shed a tear at the time, but remembers them fondly now. Her father would have rejoiced at their union and she wishes he were alive to see it. Hopes that she can attain the same favour with Franklin's father.
Extent1 sheet
RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
SenderEleanor Anne Porden
Sender LocationMillhill
RecipientJohn Franklin
Recipient LocationBolingbroke, Lincolnshire
Archive CreatorSir John Franklin (1786-1847)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Transcript or IndexMillhill. Friday May 16th 1823
My Dear Sir
I threatened yesterday to be very saucy, and fully purposed it, but as I cannot tell whether I have cause or not, I will presume that there is a letter for me in Portland Place <and write accordingly>. Mr Oviatt did not get down to us this Evening till seven o’clock, so thoroughly tired, that we were glad to send him to bed as soon as he had eaten, and I could not find it in my heart to bear him ill will for having omitted to enquire in Portland Place if there was anything for me. My plans have undergone a little change since yesterday. I shall spend the day here, and get to London about eight in the Evening. At ten next morning I start with Mr & Mrs John Kay for Fulmer, for he cannot go down till Sunday and <so> she prefers driving down to the afternoon service, to going to Church first, & having her ride after! He will probably return to London on Monday morning earlier than I could write, and as Fulmer is seven miles from any post town, it might be Wednesday before I could send a letter. Now having said I would write on Saturday, I have an old fashioned habit of never breaking a promise, and besides, I flatter myself you might be a little uneasy at my silence, though in sober truth I often think you do not really care one straw whether you hear from me or no. And so I wish you joy of this long explanation about nothing.
We have inspected the Goslings, and marked our victim. I have promised Mrs Oviatt that if I am in this part of the world on the 14th of July, I will help to eat him, and that you shall be a partaker too. You will not like her at first – but she is a woman of no common ability, and you will find her more sincere in her conduct than her high flown expressions would lead a stranger to expect. It happened to be in my father’s power to serve her husband materially some years ago. They have never forgotten it, and seem to think that I have inherited a claim to all the attention and gratitude which was due to him. You laughed at their union as preposterous, but when you see more of them, you will own that their attachment makes it respectable, and his ill health unhappily more than equalizes their years. I have put the business of house hunting into his hands, and he has promised in the course of next week to inform me of every thing now vacant in two or three districts which we have agreed on as desirable. To speak honestly, I have a strong confidence in Mr Kay’s goodwill and a high opinion of his judgement, but as to doing any thing, he has not time, and it would be in vain to rely upon him. Mr Oviatt I know will execute what he undertakes and do it with equal zeal.
My recollections of this place are almost too infantine to be clear or vivid, but they came over me in our walk today in the same confused half dreamy manner in which Harry Bertram partly recognizes his paternal domains of Ellangowan [in Walter Scott’s “Guy Mannering”]. I was but five years old when my father gave up his summer abode here, but I was pleased to find that I still knew the Old Cottage when we came to it, and the hedge where I had gathered a pottle of blackberries, besides other particulars equally important and interesting. I once got up and went into the fields with Papa very early, on purpose to see the sunrise, but he was sulky, and would not rise that morning, at least the clouds would not let us see him, and Mama laughed at us heartily when we gaped at breakfast. My sister’s remembrances as we rode home the other Evening, were much more numerous and circumstantial – such as the place where her horse ran away with her, and that where she had thrown herself off etc, etc, etc. Are you not now enjoying many a similar retrospect? I do love to live in the past and have had much more true enjoyment in many a scene when recalled long after, than I had felt at the time – nay I have often found that those hours which have been most delightful as they fled have not always been those which were dwelt upon with most pleasure, while some that even inflicted a pang at the time have left as it were a fragrance in the wound. But I suppose I am growing old, for I feel that my musings are growing graver than they were wont to be. The past I think is gaining too much upon me. I ought now to be looking to the future, I ought perhaps to be [?]seeking it in brighter colours than it can ev..[paper torn out by opening of seal in this section] but y[ou... ..[?for]give me if I own that I often feel as if my ....close… who have been called from me. Do not suppose th[at]… low spirited, and believe me that this feeling springs from no want of regard for you, but I have often felt that I did not behave towards you as I ought, and thought you felt it too. I am not apt to form sudden attachments, or to shew any warm expression of regard, but I believe that my feelings are deep and lasting, and though I could not shed a tear for my parents when they died, they are not the less remembered. Do not think however that I would selfishly recall them – to each Death was a mercy and a blessing, and I know that both died in full satisfaction with me, and in the full belief that I had endeavoured to discharge my duty towards them to my best ability. I know too that we shall meet again. I believe that my father had but one anxiety in death, and that was leaving me unprotected. He had often urged me on the subject of marriage and when I told him I had always steadily discouraged any advance of the kind, from a determination never to leave him, he made me promise not to do so in future, if I felt that I could like anyone who addressed me. He was very urgent with me last summer in favour of two or three, any of whom he would have been glad to see me prefer, but I know not whether it were from some vague consciousness of your regard or from what cause, but I was determined to wait your return. If there be anything for which I could have wished his life prolonged, it would have been that he might have seen it. He had a high opinion of you, & I sincerely think that he would have rejoiced in the prospect of our union - But I again repeat, you must forgive me if you often find me dwelling on the past more than you may think flattering to yourself. Neither of my parents deserved to be soon forgotten, and as I never left them, & they required from my earliest years, the most constant and anxious care, I often feel as if the occupation of my life were gone, & it was left without an object. It seems so strange to have myself to think about & care for – I really don’t think myself worth pleasing.
May I not venture to beg you will tell your father that I am anxious for his good opinion and hope one day to deserve it – Do not scold me for all the long rigmarole I have written. It is well I am at the end of my paper for I am sure Mrs Oviatt thinks me very pretty company –
ever yours affectionately
Eleanor Anne Porden.

[Addressed to]
Captain Franklin R.N.

[Postmarked] 17/...Y/1823

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