RepositoryDerbyshire Record Office
Archive Reference / Library Class No.D8760/F/FSJ/1/1/7
Former ReferenceD3311/8/1/10
TitleLetter from Eleanor Anne Porden to John Franklin, on her wish for him to write more often and on the state of her own health
Date18 Dec 1822
DescriptionDisappointment at his not writing many letters to her: her belief that people get to know more about other people's feelings in "unrestrained" letters than in visits; the regular correspondence of her family, particularly from her father, including on a precious letter written by him before she was five, is very precious to her [see D8760/F/FEP/1/2/1]; she jokes the familyy are great friends to the Revenue [for stamp duty on paper]. Her cough is rather troublesome, partly constitutional but increased by over-reading aloud to two invalids she has been nursing for almost twelve years; higher medical authorities have said it is nervous, but she is sorry to find it annoys others; she hopes it will not become the same source of uneasiness to him as it did her father. Her plans being unsettled by him, as it had been her intention to go to Brighton or somewhere high up to get keen bracing air; she feels she has regained some health and strength and still has more than most women; she apologises for having written so much on her health. Her return to London on Saturday.
Extent1 sheet
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SenderEleanor Anne Porden
Sender LocationHastings
RecipientJohn Franklin
Recipient Location60, Frith Street, Soho Square, London
Archive CreatorSir John Franklin (1786-1847)
Gell family of Hopton Hall, Wirksworth
Transcript or IndexHastings - Decr 18 1822
My Dear Sir
I hope you have by this time received a fine saucy message of mine which I sent you through my sister, and that you have been duly angry in consequence. I had half a mind to have threatened you with endeavouring to pick up a second hand copy of “the complete letter writer” for your especial use- but to speak seriously. I am aware that you have so much compelled writing on hand that when you have done your daily task you are glad to fling the pens in the fire, and seek amusement in any other form - nevertheless I must confess you have a little disappointed me for I am apt to think that persons frequently arrive at more intimate knowledge of each other's feelings and sentiments from unrestrained epistolary intercourse, than even from the interchange of an equal number of visits. But perhaps you have not this feeling. To me the use of my pen was coeval with the power to hold it <else perhaps I might not have written such a strange cramped & unlady-like hand>. My father wrote many a long, and now most precious letter to me before I was five years old, and none of our family have ever been three days from home without the communication of all that occurred on either side. I have often been laughingly told that we are admirable friends to the Revenue, and I dare to say that you are laughing now at the world of nothings which the Mail must often have carried to and fro in our service.
I thank you for your enquiries respecting my cough. It has been rather troublesome since I was here, and indeed I did not expect it to be otherwise. I believe it is partly constitutional, and would have been mine under any circumstances, but it has been much augmented by overreading aloud, which it was difficut to avoid when two invalids were almost entirely dependant on me for amusement, and by more than twelve years of nursing and anxiety, of which I believe no one that has not lived with a paralytic person can have an idea - for one’s fears or one’s cares can never know a moment’s respite. The highest medical authorities have continually told me, that it is nervous, & of no great consequence to my general health; indeed that I know by experience; but I am sorry to find that it is a greater annoyance to others than to myself, and that whenever I am, as now, on a visit to those who are not accustomed to the sound of it, it excites an attention which is sure to encrease it. It has lately caused me some serious thoughts, and some in connexion with you, for I cannot bear the idea that it should ever become to another a source of the same uneasiness which it caused my poor father. You have unsettled all my plans, and put my head in the most amiable confusion; otherwise it was my intention to have planted myself in the Spring either at Brighton or on the top of any high hill with a keen bracing air, to have turned all care resolutely out of doors, and to have tried whether I could not by a few months of amusement and relaxation have recovered the “vulgar health and strength” with which I was once reproached. <I ought however to own that I have in a great degree regained it, and> I believe I have at bottom still a treble stock of both, to what most women can boast, and I would fain not, by lack of a little present attention condemn myself to ailing for perhaps a greater number of years than I have yet seen <and so be an annoyance to all who are kind enough to care for me . But it was little my intention to have entered into this dissertation <about myself,> and I am almost sorry it is written. Pray excuse it.
Indeed I did not misunderstand you about society - but I wanted good naturedly to plague you a little, and think besides that you have been a little bit out of humour on the subject since you came home. I am vain enough to fancy that my recent publication places me, certainly w[ith] a far less claim upon public attention or interest, yet in a situation somewhat resembling your own - and it would be my wish to profit by the circumstance so far as to select from those with whom it may bring me in contact, such friends as I should desire to retain for the rest of my life. There are many distinguished characters which I have long desired to meet, and I trust from a very different feeling than mere curiosity. After all I believe that in reality we entirely agree uopn the subject.
I return to London on Saturday, and if the weather be fine shall endeavour to get to my sister’s in the Evening, where I hope to hear good news of you. I am sorry to find you are not likely to be there on Christmas day, as I had almost relied on meeting you. In the meantime, as I said before, good speed to your labour, & pray get in better temper with your book and yourself. You write well enough if you would but fancy so, and would write ten times better if you did but like it. You want nothing but what you don’t like – practise, and now to conclude I think I ought to beseech you not to box my ears for my impertinence, which I almost confess I deserve, but believe me, sincerely and faithfully yours,
Eleanor Anne Porden
I would not have answered your letter but that it happens to be convenient, besides I’ll set you a good example!!

Captain Franklin R. N.
60 Frith Street
Soho Square

Stamped: Hastings 65
Postmarked: E 2 DE 0 1822
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