|Description||Scolds Captain Franklin for not writing, with news only coming from his sister on his movements; she does not know whether he is on the road to London; Dr Thomson wished to vaccinate their daughter, which would be a two week process, but the baby was innoculated yesterday, as had been arranged; she is afraid her husband may be displeased at her deciding to go ahead with the vaccination; she expected his reply about the christening; she assumes Sarah got married on Saturday, with her having left from there at 8 o'clock for that purpose; she had a drive with Mr Kay before he took her sister back to Greenwich yesterday; she went to church and paid visits in the evening, taking John with her incase she foundered, calling on Mrs Vardill, found Mr and Mrs Niven arrived back from Scotland and went to Mrs Babbage's. She refers to Miss Appleton and the ordering of her books, but continues to elucidate on Miss Appleton's unfavourable attitude towards her at a difficult time; still friends, the incident is remembered with pain; the sender advises on Miss Appleton's stature as a school teacher for Captain Franklin's sister, but also advises on securing a governess for home education where more than one girl needs schooling.|
|Recipient Location||Harrington Hall, near Spilsby, Lincolnshire|
|Transcript or Index||Devonshire Street. July 26 1824.|
My Dearest Love.
I am puzzled and perplexed, and disappointed to boot, at not receiving a letter from you today; and my uncertainty is increased by an epistle from your sister, which keeps alluding to your movements throughout, without giving me one atom of real intelligence, or enabling me to guess, whether you may not even now be on your road to London. It happens that I was particularly anxious to know your arrangements because Dr Thomson rather wished Baby to be Vaccinated before we left London, an operation which will consume a fortnight. You have lately accused me of indecision, a proof how much illness must have changed me, but I am almost afraid you may be displeased at my determining on such a point without consulting you, when I confess that I had settled with the Doctor to inoculate her this morning, provided he could procure matter which was satisfactory. He has not however come, & as I do not now expect him till Wednesday, it is probable this delay may decide us to wait till our return to London. I also expected your reply about the Christening.
On Saturday, Sarah I believe was married, at least she went from here at 8 o’clock in the morning for that purpose. In the afternoon Mr Kay gave me a little drive before he took sister back to Greenwich. Yesterday I was quite alone, but I think you <will say> I was very courageous, for I not only went to Church and staid [sic] the Sacraments, by myself but paid two visits in the Evening! In fact being tired of eating, sleeping and reading, and having no inclination to sit down & <write, and > being loth to waste a fine Evening in studying my own shadow when the air would do me good, I summoned resolution to attempt walking alone, taking John with me however, lest I should founder. Having nothing else to do, I thought I might as well make a charitable visit – or if you prefer another version, I felt that Mrs Vardill would feel it kind if I called on her before I left town, and that most likely I should have no other opportunity. Her house I thought I could just crawl to. They say an act of kindness always meets its reward, and mine came immediately, for I found Mr & Mrs Niven arrived about two hours before from Scotland. The Old Lady seems exactly in the same state she has been in for so many years. Of Mrs Niven’s looks I could not judge, for her face was red as a Damask rose or a poppy, with the sun to which she had been exposed in travelling South for four days. I am afraid there is another Baby on the road. Alack! Alack! What a pity! I sate [sic] with them till past 8, and then crawled home again; when finding that Mrs Babbage, who had been out all day was just returned, I went to see her. Mr Babbage had set off for Devonshire early in the morning, so she, like me, was all alone, and perchance not sorry for company. I know not what the servants here will think of me, but as none of them ever saw me stir hand or foot almost without its being lifted, I must take care they do not think me crazy now that I at least travel about the house a little.
I ordered Miss Appleton’s Books at Colburn’s <on Saturday> but they do not come. I suppose however that they must in the course of today, though if he has them not ready stitched they may be longer. With regard to her conduct last year, I retain precisely the same feeling which I had then. She used me ill, very differently from I had a right to expect, and without even that consideration which a woman might naturally be supposed to have for one circumstanced as I was. But I knew that she had been worretted by many events of a very painful nature, into a state of bilious excitement, which made her scarcely herself. What disordered bile will do, we have painful evidence in poor Oviatt, and even your Brother last winter, afforded some illustration. I knew moreover that in her heart she was affectionately attached to me, and I may say that both for my father’s sake and my own I had a claim to such attachment; I believed therefore that when she had leisure to reflect she would find all her kind feelings return towards me, and be most heartily ashamed of her condu[ct ...]ly then it was better not to lose a friend for a cl[... …]t would b[low] over; but I felt her waywardness most deeply at [the t]ime and can never remember it without pain.
As a preceptress I believe her to be as watchful over her charge as a mother could be, and in her very worst moments her capriciousness or ill humour never got into the school room. If your sister’s circumstances render such a school adviseable for her children, I know no one with whom I would so readily place a child. But I fear she would not only find the expense considerable in itself, but that a girl would not learn there any of those habits of usefulness which are so necessary to every one who has not a large fortune to look to, and the neglect of which is the crying evil of our present system of education, and the cause of half the ruined families which run off to France not to cure the disorder but to hide it. If your sister contemplates Miss Appleton’s only as a finishing school, for a year or two, I should think it might answer, but if her health permits <she> can give her children a much better education than they ever receive at school – and if she finds the task too much, I should say that with so many girls a governess at home would be not only the best economy, but by far the best for them. A school girl may always be known all her life from one educated at home, by the common place ideas, and the habits of petty deception and chicanery, which they always get more or less. I should say that the total expense of a good governess need not be more than 100 a year and if a like sum be allowed for masters, it would only equal the placing one girl at any tolerable school in London. I am however running into a greater length than I meant and above all advising, like the rest of the world, without knowing the data - & so I had best have done, only sending my love, and expressing my happiness at Betsey’s good report of health in herself & others.
Your most affectionate
Captain Franklin R.N.
P. JY 26 1824