|Recipient Location||Harrington Hall, near Spilsby, Lincolnshire|
|Transcript or Index||Greenwich, Tuesday, July 20 1824|
My Dearest Love,
I was very glad to get your letter, as I had begun to feel very uneasy at the total absence of all intelligence from Lincolnshire and hardly knew how to write to you till I heard. I am on the whole tolerably well satisfied with your account of Isabella, and hope there is no longer anything to fear for her. I know the agony of that sort of silent stupor, and rejoice that it found its vent at last. I am most alarmed at the account you give of the numbers that are with her; at such a time I believe they would actually drive me mad; indeed I once thought they would have done so; but pray take care that all do not leave her at once, nor for some time to come. She will be best with only one friend at a time but that one <(I mean some one, it need not be always the same)> ought to stay with her till she has thoroughly returned to her usual occupations, and begun to find an interest in them. She will otherwise <suffer> severely, when you think all danger is over, for the exertions, both mental and bodily which she is now making, to recover her spirits and resume her employments. Very likely all this would occur to you and others, but I know the courses from which I have suffered, and would fain save her from similar experience. I rejoice if my poor letter afforded a moment’s comfort; I generally think myself<particularly awkward> on such occasions. Like you, it is not that I feel less than my neighbours but that I cannot find utterance. When very young, I was compelled so to subdue all outward appearance of emotion, and was so long & so incessantly called upon to exercise this species of self command, under circumstances which though they may have been exceeded in importance by those of later years, could scarcely be exceeded in pain; that it has become as difficult to me to express my feelings as it is to many to conceal them. When I consider what a mere child I was, and in what manner I was called upon to act, I cannot look back without both wonder and gratitude; but I did not take the pen to write of myself.
I am not surprized that Betsey is so well; nothing is of more use to a nervous invalid than to feel that others are dependent on them for support. It is not only the pleasure of paying off part of a debt of kindness, but that most delightful feeling of being useful once more. Pray give my best love to her, and to Mrs Booth and Mrs Wright also. You were angry with sister for smiling at the idea of Mary’s taking care of the house & the children, yet if you were to call up one of your most formidable frowns, and even bend “the pent house of your brows” till they bore the impression of a horseshoe, I could not avoid a similar piece of indecorum when I think what a brood she now has under her wing, herself but a chicken, though in truth a full grown one. My love to her also, and to all <not forgetting the gentlemen, whom I, as usual am overlooking>. If Sophia were with you I would bid you tell her, that long as my letter may be in coming, it is not because I have forgotten hers, and that I wish she would lend my back some of the insensibility which distinguishes the stones she is so curious about, that I might answer it.
I have had a letter from Mrs Richardson who wants me to go there while you are away, and offers the Doctor to fetch me from this place, but I shall decline the invitation on account of Baby’s Christening. I mean to go home tomorrow, as settled with you, and get every thing ready both for Sarah’s departure and ours. If you do not return by the time my labours are completed, and I feel very uncomfortable by myself, perhaps I may pop off again somewhere, but always within reach, so that little Miss may be named as soon as you come back, and that we may lose no more than we need of our short English summer. Indeed, when you can let me know the probable length of your absence I shall fix the day with sister and Mr Kay as they are going to Folkestone. Mr Kay must be there on account of business and wishes my sister to go with him, and as he has fo[und] a house, & [a]ll but taken it, I presume they will not be long [...] starting – a[t the s]ame time you need to be in no hurry, as [... ...] possibly [... ...] bonnets & spencers packed, in less time than you would commission a fleet!! By the bye did you not tell me that you either had written, or should write to Mr Garry to put off your Parisian trip. I think it is a great pity. I know not how far this late event may render your presence necessary in Lincolnshire, but as far as I am concerned surely every thing is much more favourable for your going than could have been calculated on when it was first proposed. Would your staying a little longer at Harrington< now,> obviate the necessity of your going again at least till later in the Autumn? I do not think that the expense, which you mentioned as one reason for declining it, need now to operate. Its amount would depend greatly on yourself, and to which of the two classes of Englishmen it might please you to belong. There certainly was a time in the winter, when knowing how much had been incurred, and how much was necessarily coming on, I did feel very anxious lest we should not have stood perfectly clear at the end of this first year, and then, if any thing had occurred to prevent your expedition, we might have felt ourselves awkwardly off for a while. But this cannot be the case now; and why you should not enjoy yourself as much as you reasonably can, while in a civilized quarter I do not know. As to your reading <or speaking> French to me I believe in it as much as I did in your purchasing an account Book!! I kissed Baby as you bade me. She grows very fast, but I half fear I shall have a quarrel with Baker for overfeeding her. She <has been all> the better for it hitherto, but I think she is now beginning to get too fat, and to be uneasy with it. My sister and her nurse are of the same opinion, but I shall take care to act under orders <and then I will be mistress>. My sister begs I will give her love, and I know not how many of the young ones have been in severally to charge me in like manner. I am sorry to say Toby keeps far from well & is not half the size you left her, ever your affectionate
I have just heard from Mrs Philip King that [?] Tamaamaah died last week – I am very sorry for it, and wish it may not cause any political evil.
Captain Franklin R.N.