RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FSJ/1/1/6
Former ReferenceD3311/8/1/8
TitleLetter from Eleanor Anne Porden to John Franklin, while she is staying with her relatives, the Miss Kays, in Hastings, partly to reassure him rather than making him uneasy with silence
Date8 Dec 1822
DescriptionWriting more to prevent him being made uneasy by her silence rather than having anything of importance to say; what she had intended to add to her previous letter must wait. She asks him to send through her sister if he writes again, as they are moving from the house where they are to an unknown address the next day; she tells him about the young ladies she is with, the Miss Kays, whom she esteems greatly; she did not think him changed in looks and manner until her sister noticed and asked what the matter was; she hopes to be back in London soon, although she feels that the change of scene had been necessary for her; idleness is not natural to her, so she knows she will tire of it soon and return home; there is much to see where she is and much to sketch, even though it would have shown he was no great artist, having previously practised only on Gothic architecture during travels with her father on the continent. Apology for wriiting only a short letter.
Extent1 sheet
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SenderEleanor Anne Porden
Sender Location[Hastings]
RecipientJohn Franklin
Recipient Location60, Frith Street, Soho Square, London
Archive CreatorSir John Franklin (1786-1847)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Transcript or IndexDec 8 1822
Dear Sir
I write rather lest my silence should occasion you unease, than because I have either anything of importance to communicate, or leisure to say it in. What I had intended to add to my former letter must wait at present- perhaps under any circumstances it would be better deferred, as it is not material, and certainly I can enter into no subject that requires thinking just now; for nothing can be more inimical to any occupation which it is not desirable should be publicly known, than the being on a visit where one’s kind friends will not allow one five minutes in the whole day to oneself. When my epistle is completed, I shall perhaps be sorely puzzled to get it to the post, for of course I cannot send it by a servant with your name on it, without exciting remark.
I believe that if you write again I must in this instance request you to send through my sister, as we move from this house tomorrow, and I do not know where the address will be. The situation we are now in, proved, as my sister had anticipated, much too exposed for Mrs Kay’s health. Indeed, mild as the weather has been in every other part of this place, I know not that I ever suffered so much from cold in the severest winter, as in the drawing room here, over the best fire we could make. I have informed my sister of my note- and that I had heard from you-you have probably however told her as much before me.
Great as your horror of new faces may be, I wish you knew the ladies I am with. They have been little wont to inspire horror though; and I am sure are both deserving your esteem- one for the saint like sweetness and serenity with which she has supported many years of acute suffering and confinement, and the other, for the beautiful manner in which she devotes herself to her sister and brother. I am not apt to fall into extacies or conceive violent friendships, but there are some on whom I never look without a strong feeling of reverential regard, which while I admire makes me desire to imitate, & the Miss Kays are among them. We have always met but rarely, and of late years perhaps only once in many months but the general fund of esteem and goodwill I believe remains undiminished between us.
You will say I am not answering your letter, though indeed I do not think there is much to answer in it. I should perhaps not have thought so much of the evident change in your looks & manner on Wednesday if my sister had not also noticed it and asked me what could be the matter. I cannot help smiling at your talking of the “distance” of my return. I do not mean to be quite three years and a half away, and indeed it would be nothing wonderful if you had not found your way to Berners Street in as long a period as I may possible be absent from it. But so it is with human nature- when our friends are within reach we frequently think little of them, and be [...] fancy we want them extremely, when we know they are a little further removed. I assure you I have many reasons for wishing not to be long absent from London at this moment, and should probably have declined this invitation, agreeble as it would have been at another time, had it not been for the feeling that some relief, some little change of scene was absolutely necessary for me just now. But idleness is not very natural to me and I know I shall soon be tired of it and return home to find my usual employments, and usual solitude a luxury. This place however is well worth seeing, and were the reason more favourable would furnish materials for many an interesting sketch- though as my Barberries would shew you I am no great artist. My principal practise has been in scraps of Gothic Architecture for my father on our Continental rambles.
You will see I have the female failing of writing a long letter- it is one I have been encouraged in from infancy & that I believe I shall carry with me to my grave. You must not quarrel with it however. Farewell and believe in the good wishes of your ever sincere & obliged friend, Eleanor Anne Porden
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