RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FSJ/1/1/20
Former ReferenceD3311/8/3/12
TitleLetter from Eleanor Anne Porden to John Franklin, on their close relationship four years to the day after she bade farewell to him on his departure on his first Arctic land expedition, with expression of her feelings towards him after he had gone
Date21 May 1823
DescriptionStates that it was four years to the day that he bade farewell to her and her father on his departure to America and twelve months since she wrote to him. John was more in her heart than she could account for after his embarkation. Cannot believe how much has happened to them over those four years. She remembers he once asked her if she had suspected his attachment to her before she left, and she had answered no; she now thinks she had answered untruly, but felt his attachment would not last; she would have answered that she felt herself bound to her parents. Mrs John Kay is very beautiful, good and clever, but is talking her 'to death' but the place where she is is very beautiful. Preferred the company of Mrs Oviatt to Mrs Kay, as it was more relaxing. Pleased that his friends are kindly disposed to her. Writes more about her family; her uncle, deaf and dependent on her father, with five daughters, one recently a widow, and a son, architect with talent but regrettable temper; her own father having made his own way in the world, with his relations being of humble but respectable stock in Hull, whom she barely knows; she has one dear friend, Miss Brown, who lives in York, and now has Miss Appleton instead.
Extent1 sheet
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SenderEleanor Anne Porden
Sender LocationFulmer Grove, Bucks
RecipientJohn Franklin
Recipient LocationBolingbroke, Lincolnshire
Archive CreatorSir John Franklin (1786-1847)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Transcript or IndexFulmer Grove Bucks – May 21 1823
My Dear Sir
The dating my paper reminds me that it is four years today since you bade farewell to my father and myself on your departure <for America> and <also> that I wrote to you this day twelvemonth, having made a great exertion to send off the last sheet of Coeur de Lion to the printer, that I might be at liberty so to do. Do not smile at these reminiscences, I very often dare not acknowledge how accurately I remember dates, and with all my caution, my memory is constantly leading me into as many scrapes as the want of it does others. But I could not help thinking how much had happened to us both in that said four years and how little I at least could then have thought of our ever being situated as we now are with respect to each other. You once asked me if I had never suspected your attachment <before you sailed>. I said no – and I felt the next moment that I had answered untruly, but I was too much agitated at that moment to attempt an explanation. I did not suspect you till you were within a few days of embarkation, and I then blamed myself severely for my own carelessness and for not having withdrawn from your society, which I might easily have done. I flattered myself however that your feelings would not survive half your voyage to Hudson’s Bay. I believe you carried a large share of my heart with you, for you were certainly more in my head than I could very well account for, but I should have been amazingly affronted if anyone had told me so and if you had spoken to me then, I should certainly have given you the same answer that any one else would have met – namely that I considered myself bound to my parents & was determined not to think on the subject at all. I know I have borne a strange character for inaccessibility, and I used to be asked whether I expected anyone to drop from the clouds on purpose for me, but - what a blessing it is that we do not know the future. I was anxious for you in your absence, and never slept without imploring your safety – but how much more so should I have been had I thought how dear you were to become to me. And yet I am sure I am as liable to be haunted by needless fears as any one. I always consider the protection of Providence as equally necessary to our safety and our existence in situations that appear the most remote from danger as in the Earthquake or the storm, and I believe it from the habitual sense both of this protection and its necessity that I never feel terror. I do not think it is from any unfeminine sterness of spirit, for a harsh word or an unkind look will sink me to the ground, even more than it ought to do, since it depresses me long after those who have given it have forgotten perhaps even its cause.
I have gone into a long explanation which is perhaps of no use or interest now, but the consciousness of the least falsehood or want of frankness, however unintentional, always haunts me like a spectre.
Is it possible I should have two letters of yours to answer at once? You are determined to turn the tables on me however. Your last <which is just come,> must wait at present, and I then will endeavour to reply to it, but I have no power of thought or reflexion here, and indeed can hardly steal either leisure or quiet of mind to write this letter. Mrs John Kay is a very beautiful, a very good, and a very clever woman. Few either can talk better, and an hour or two of her society would be delightful but <we are now sole companions and> she talks so much that she almost talks me to death, and as I am a bit of an invalid, of course she thinks it necessary to take double care of me. I reckon this place one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The air is very good, the house comfortable, nay luxurious, and within a very small compass there is all the variety of hill and dale, of heath, garden, grove and orchard. The air loaded with perfume, and we seem in the very centre of a choir of nightingales who sing
“From night till morn, from morn till dewy eve.”
When the weather is fine we have an open carriage to ride in and a close one when it is uncertain, and I think all the rides are pretty. Nevertheless I long continually for an hour of your society or my own to enjoy them in. I believe Mrs John Kay thinks me a very stupid companion, for volubili[ty] always drives me to silence, but I feel particularly .... [paper torn by seal] after the complete ease of Mrs Oviatt’s house. I have sta[yed] with both before, and always felt the difference. Mrs Oviatt breakfasts alone and never joins her guests till she has finished her domestic arrangements, unless some plan for the day has been previously concerted. You are therefore generally your own master till about twelve o’clock, when she is ready to share in any employment or any amusement, without however expecting that you are to be tyed to her or she to you for the whole of the day, if either party wishes to separate, or has business. I am therefore always at home there, always employed and always comfortable.
Your last letter but one gave me particular pleasure. I could not but feel some anxiety respecting the manner in which your friends might receive your communication, and though at present they can only know me by your report, I am gratified by the knowledge that they are kindly disposed towards me. I believe you already think my heart pretty capacious, but it had needs be so, if I must find a nook for each. The tale of my relatives is soon told. My Uncle you have seen and know almost as much as you will do, for the deafness which has marred his way in the world and made him dependant on my father almost precludes conversation. He has five daughters, one of them lately a widow. You have seen one or two. He has also one son, an architect and who has great talent, which makes it a double source of regret that his temper and conduct are such as to render it a punishment to have any dealings with him. I am sorry that the only inheritor of our family name will as I fear do it little credit. My father as you know, made his own way in the world & what other connections he has are all in humble spheres but highly respectable in themselves. I know little of them for they are not very nearly related & I never was but two days in Hull & few of them have visited London. I have also one dear friend, <Miss Brown, whose name you have heard &> whom I always feel as a cousin though she has no claim to the title – Her father’s first wife was my mother’s sister, but she is not her daughter. We were both my sister’s Bridesmaids and mutually promised that one of us fulfil that office for whichever first required it. I little thought it would be my turn for she was then a woman & I a child – she now writes me word she cannot leave her mother and I believe what she says of its being a great disappointment to her. She lives in .....[seal over word] and I have elected Miss Appleton in h[er] stead - with which interesting information I must conclude. Having as I often do filled my paper with what I did not care to write and left much unsaid that I really wished – but my head was in a complete whirl when I sat down –
Yours affectionately Eleanor Anne Porden

Remember me to Dr & Mrs R. [inserted under My Dear Sir]

[Addressed to]
Captain Franklin, R.N.

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Name (click for further details)
Brown; Mary (fl 1790-1823)
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Place (click for further details)Type
Fulmer Grove 
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