272. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Lloyd Baker, 10 January 1812


272. Robert Bloomfield to Mary Lloyd Baker, 10 January 1812* 

City Road. Jan 10. 1812


'Some time ago, in the year 1811, or thereabouts, I had a valuable corispondent, and an invalid, name'd Mary Baker. When I last heard of her she was residing at Dawlish in Devonshire, and never answering her letters in due time, and appearing to her, no doubt, as if I paid her very little attention, she at last slipd through my fingers and I stood gazing around like a Greyhound when a Hare pops through a hedge!! However I am determin'd to leap the fence and try to find what she's about.' And so

Dear Madam

How do you do? But untill I hear your reply I can only send my love, not at all worn out, not even threadbare, and proceed to talk about myself.—First then, I am well, thank Heaven! I have no rhumatism, but have stood the Autumn, and am bearing the Winter magnanimously. My family circle have no complaints, except the 2d Daughter, and that I hope, not serious. From what I think I stated to you last time concerning the Wye, you will expect a 2d Edition by this time, and so did I; but when the matter was enquired into one Bookseller has, or had, 5 hundred copies which they have shared between them untill more are wanted, if that should ever be the case. I have therefore not fully used your mutual critiques which shall be fairly and honourably treated if I have the opportunity. And if you have occasion to write to Ferney* Hill, wish you would intimate so much to the party. Whenever I come to cut and hack the Journal again I will write to you or Mr Cooper a general reply to your joint labours, where every one shall find out his own answer as a man finds his Hat, by fitting it on.

I write now to Miss Sharp, for I am realy afraid she is ofended, and if I can perswade her that she has no cause I shall be a cleverer fellow yet than even you are aware of. Miss Ansted calls sometimes to scold me, but what's that? she allways sends us mince pies at Christmas, and my younkers look out for them as naturally as they do for the new Almanack. I am now writing in a little cold parlour, and so far is my enthusiasm dampt that I would not give three farthings to be on the Summit of Penybale,** [1]  NB. It is about 8 at night, exceedingly dark, and a deep snow.

Well, now I have warm'd my toes, I want to make my respects to Mr Baker, and to send my love to the Children. The former, I doubt, finds abroad little remains of antiquity, and little to analize but snow, and the latter like all other chickens are best under their mother's wing. How does the Genius of English weather behave to you? Is it realy a milder season on your coast? I hope it is for your sake, and those in like situations, My eldest Boy after all his misfortunes, is hearty, and is growing into a companion; and the youngest (under 5 years) is a celebrated singer: no tune can escape him if he often hears it. and he sings with the utmost precision as to time, and in the glee 'Come let us all a Maying go'—winds his gay infant tones round the subject as a Kitten climbs a pole. [2]  Thus it is that parents always run wild in praise of their children, and most benignly was it contrived by providence that we should feed our craving souls at home with sensations but a few degrees lower than Heaven.

We had a true London fog yesterday of which it would have been very desirable to send a part by every night and day-Coach in England, that we might have gone 'Share and share alike.' But what is all this to you, at your distance? I hope and trust I shall see you somehow, or somewhere in the ensuing Spring or Summer, and with this hope and my congratulations on your partial recovery, and Respect to all friends

Remain Yours, ever.

Robt Bloomfield

* Mr Coopers residence [note by T. J. Lloyd Baker]

** The Sugar Loaf Mountain – See Banks of Wye – T J Ll B [note by T. J. Lloyd Baker]

* BL Add. MS 28268, ff. 316–17 BACK

[1] The correct name for this mountain is Mynydd Pen-y-fâl. BACK

[2] An eighteenth-century transcription of this song, from John Arnold, The Essex Harmony: Being a Choice Collection of the most Celebrated Songs and Catches, for Two, Three, Four, and Five Voices: from the Works of the Most Eminent Masters. Principally Published for the Use of all Musical Societies, Catch-Clubs, &c. both in Town and Country, 2nd edn. (London, 1777), II, 130:

Come let us all a Maying go,
And lightly, and lightly trip it to and fro;
The bells shall ring,
and the cuckow, the cuckow,
the cuckow, the cuckow, the cuckow sing,
The drums shall beat, the fife shall play,
And so we'll spend our time away.