|Fulmer Grove [Buckinghamshire]
|Transcript or Index
|Fulmer Grove – May 23d 1823
My Dear Sir,
I have stolen away from my kind hostess to write to sister, and so I will steal a few moments to scribble to you. My last letter I am sorry to find will be a long time on its journey, for though we drove over to Gerrard’s Cross to put that and some others into the Post, I believe it will only leave London today, when it might have been in your hands. I cannot understand how I get your letters, as I do when in town, the day after they are written, while mine seem to be at least three days in reaching you. I suppose the Posts are Cross, there as well as here.
I am amused with the contrast of your two last epistles. In the first the Lincolnshire Willows <Mops as they are!> are promoted into Poplars, the Country a terrestrial Paradise, and Dr & Mrs Richardson in an extasy. In the next you are reminded of the barren grounds of North America, and have neither stock nor stone to vary the prospect. The resemblance indeed by your own account seems particularly striking – since the one is mountainous and the other a dead flat – the one barren in the extreme, and the other particularly fruitful – the one, as you know too well, almost without any inhabitant, human, animal, or vegetable, and the other abounding in friends and hospitality, to say nothing of the likeness between green pasture & deep snow – Did you read Captain Fluellen’s comparison of Macedon & Monmouth. To my mind the only point of resemblance seems to be, not that both begin with an M but that there are no trees in either, which might also remind Dr Richardson of Scotland – that is if Dr Johnson’s account be true. I should dread a box on the ears from you both for my pertness if I were within ten miles of you, but to speak soberly, I think your arms are not quite long enough to reach me here.
I return to town on Monday, when I shall both have more business and more leisure. Here I am most laboriously idle, being in the open air walking and riding almost the whole day; but I suppose it has been of service to me, for I think I am now as strong as any Englishwoman needs to be, unless indeed you insist on my climbing the topmost <Peak of Snowdon> which I believe is acknowledged to be more difficult than even the Cone of Etna. As you seem to be so afraid of the fair widow’s over watchfulness, pray do not imitate her. I have had enough of nursing to last me some years at least and am glad to feel I need it no longer. I promise you however not to be imprudent.
I do believe you think the London air poison. I can only say it has always agreed with me, though I do not mean to deny the superiority of the Country, in spring especially – but take it for all in all, I never was so well elsewhere. My bustle in Berners Street begins on Wednesday and if I do not knock myself up with that I shall think myself stout enough for a walking match. You need not put yourself in a fidget respecting it, for it will be over long before you are likely to be back, and in the meantime I have done all I can to meet your wishes about the House. When I have finished what arrangements depend on me, I think I shall leave the Sale to manage itself, as I can be of no use, and go back to Mrs Oviatt’s till I hear you are on your road. As she is within ten miles of London, I can be backwards and forwards whenever business calls me.
Yesterday we drove to Windsor – but the weather was so showery that I got but an imperfect view of the Castle, which I think the only Palace we have ... [paper torn by seal] worthy of a King of England. We did not go up to it, .... [paper torn] therefore I am writing from the impressions of form[er] visits. I do love Gothic Architecture. Indeed Margaret Kay and I agreed at Hastings on the Castle Cliff that to be on a high hill, among the ruins of feudal times was perfect happiness, especially if there were a fine expanse of ocean beneath. I suppose you will laugh at us both; but in a Palace, I like that it should speak to me of the vicissitudes and the duration of the monarchy, that it should read me the history of my country and of the forefathers of the Kings that tenant it, and in a Church I like to feel that it was built by Christian hands and for Christian worship. I hate the emblems of Pagan sacrifice in a Christian Temple, nay I hate the affectation of Grecian Architecture where it must be spoiled to make it suit the climate and the purpose. Roman is not quite so bad, though we know that we have few relics of the Julian Conquest, and none that have been converted to sacred purposes. On the continent <in Italy and France> at least, there is a difference for one scarcely meets with a Cathedral which does not bear witness that it borrowed its form from the Roman Courts of Justice which I believe were the first Christian Churches. But I do not mean to write you an Architecture Lecture and feel I shall get over head and ears if I go one step further. You are laughing in your sleeve, & thinking my letter not worth the postage it will gather on its head before it reaches you, but I must write today or not till Tuesday. Pray make me civil to all who will accept either compliments regards or remembrances, and believe me at all times
your sincere & affectionate
Eleanor Anne Porden.
(Why can’t you call me by my name – half my correspondents address me as you do, and from you it seems out of place – with my friends I am always Eleanor – Gower Street is better, & thank you for your enquiries which I have duly transmitted.
Captain Franklin R.N.
G 24MY24 1823