222. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Lloyd Baker, n.d.


222. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Lloyd Baker, n.d.* 

The following is a copy of a Letter sent to two young Ladies, the Daughters of Thos Park Esq of High St Mary-le-bone, where I had left my walking stick


'Whereas, on Monday afternoon an elderly gentleman remarkable for taciturnity and an unaltered countenance, accompanied his friend from the City to the West end of the town, and have not since been heard of.

The said gentleman is a citizen of respectable appearance wearing a large full-bottom'd peruke, which though it has never been comb'd is as smooth as on the first day it was form'd. It is presumed the said gentleman is not detain'd from any legal process, nor for any riotous behaviour in the streets, he being never known to be guilty of such misdemeanours, except (as is allways the case when kings do wrong) except he may have been used as an instrument in the hands of wicked and designing men. And in thus likening the said gentleman to his present most gracious Majesty and other kings, no harm whatever is meant, as in some other particulars he might be liken'd most truly, particularly this—He speaks not himself, but others speak for him.

The said gentleman has never declared his opinion on politicks; but still it is known that he is neither a Jacobin, nor a Ministerialist; but it is thought that in the cause of Reform he would in certain cases be of great service.

The said gentleman was never instructed in Grammar or Logic any more than his friend; yet it is shrewdly suspected; that, should his friend be attack'd he would be able to lay down some strong arguments on the side of justice. The said gentleman has somtimes been seen in a Cook-shop and somtimes in better company; but, (what is very important in these times) was never yet known to eat or to drink!! which considering him as a Citizen, is perhaps the most extraordinary trait in his character. His backwardness in speaking his own praise will not hinder us from supposing that he has served his country; a large scar on his left cheek seems to confirm that opinion. His complexion like his friend's is remarkably dark, and he stoops considerably, which is supposed to proceed from intense study; for, as the said gentleman never wastes his time in idle conversation, it is universally believed that he must know a great deal. Whither he does or not his friend would be glad to know where he is.—

In plain English—I left my favourite walking-stick at your house; take care of it for me; and command the services of

Your Obedient Sert

Rob Bloomfield

R. B.

Seven years ago I wrote the above to a friend's daughter at Marylebone, and I think I once promised you a copy, but did not then imagine that I should have so fair and decided an apology for so doing. But the fact is, that I walked with the same stick to Fulham, and it remains (I hope) in your hall. It is a specimen of my carving at the time I began 'The Farmer's Boy;' it was my companion at Shooter's Hill—

I took my staff and wander'd here—  [1] 

and is one of my valuables. I am certain that you will enquire for it of the servants. I am not in want of it, only to have it secured. Remind Mr. Baker that if he comes this way on horseback, he cannot put Coxe's two quartos* under his arm. Another delightful day! Health be with you all.

Robert Bloomfield

* Coxes Hist: (of Monmouthshire I believe) [2] 

It was some book which he promised to lend me to read – T J Ll B

Address: To Mrs. Baker

* BL Add. MS 28265, ff. 335–36; also Add. MS 28268 ff. 256–57 with slight differences; published in Hart, p. 46; includes fair copy of missing letter addressed 'To Misses Catherine and Frances Park. / and co. c. 1800–1801' BACK

[1] Bloomfield quotes his own 'Shooter's Hill', line 20, from Wild Flowers (p. 76). BACK

[2] Probably William Coxe, An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire: Illustrated with views by Sir R. C. Hoare, Bart. A New Map of the County, and other Engravings (London, 1801). BACK