298. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 30 November 1815


298. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 30 November 1815* 

Shefford. Nov 30. 1815

My Dear Girl

This is the last and the dullest day of this abominable month. I have stood it well, and am in sound heart and hope, though how I shall pay £60 of debt I know not, but I am determined not to sink under it. The reversion of the Rural Tales takes place in Jany. and I have no body pressing; but what the Booksellers will give me, or whither they will buy it at all is uncertain. There is no money. Every class of the community are suffering and crying out, and not without reason. This is what we get by thumping the French! I have a letter from Binley, full of regrets and finishing with a dream! Our House is undergoing an extensive repair or brush up, such as scarping the Brickwork, and painting, so that by the time we are forced to turn out we shall begin to be very smart. Our jay has caught the sound of wallscraping, and is at work from morning till night. Charlotte is poorly with cold and toothache attended with a general kind of irruption on the skin. She decidedly chooses rather to be a mantuamaker and milliner, than go to service. With this project at present only in our heads I think you cannot do better than to collect information on the subject before you leave Bury. Queries. Are there any respectable persons in the above trades who get good livings? Do they take pupils by indenture or by articles for about three years? What is their premium? Consult Mrs Lockwood, who would not place a young girl with improper persons. The Boys are still at home. Sir George sent us another hare, with an invitation to dine at the White Hart last Thursday. I remembered the mischief I got by going last year, and declined the treat on account of unfitness, and moderate health, the consequence was, that he sent the Butler to know if I would accept of a Dozen of port! I jumpd at the offer, and shall drink to you on Sunday, and shall hope to live through another year, which will make half a Hundred. Thus far tolerable news, but the rest will make your heart heave and render Shefford still more detestable. You know that Weston was formerly in the same state with Cowper, and you likewise know that he is subject to that calamity when opprest with care and business. [1]  His sister is most unfortunately absent when he most wants her assistance. She is at Oxford for a month to acquire at a first rate pelicce and Dressmaker the art of cutting and fitting, and is making a rapid progress as that trade is one of their objects when they go to Hastings. In this case you see all the great concerns of his transfer of trade and property, writing his Bills, collecting his debts, and in a thousand other things fall solely on himself, the consequence is that he is but a few shades from madness, and if it increases another week he will be unable to attend to business! He insists upon Sally's staying out her month, and though I have obtained her address he will not suffer any one to tell her his situation. Mr Layman attends him closely, and I have given him six hours in a day. He is perfectly sane and recollected at intervals, and then comes on an impenetrable gloom, when you might just as well reason with a milestone. His sister, (god help her feelings) must soon know it, and must be here whither he likes it or no. Uncommon events, the executorship to his father's Will, the arrangements for his sisters, together with hard travelling has brought him to this. He traveld eight hundred and fifty miles in less than three weeks! I will write you again in the middle of next week, for this is a heavy subject. I walkd eight miles yesterday. N.B. he begs that if I feel it afflict my spirits, I would keep away from him. Give my love to all friends, and be a good Girl.

Address: Miss Bloomfield. / Ed. Lockwood's Esq. / near Angel Hill, / Bury, / Sfk.

* BL Add. MS 28268, ff. 356–57 BACK

[1] Weston was subject, like the poet William Cowper, to periods of depression—as indeed was Bloomfield himself. BACK