339. Robert Bloomfield and Hannah Bloomfield to James Bloomfield, 27 July 1819


339. Robert Bloomfield and Hannah Bloomfield to James Bloomfield, 27 July 1819* 

Shefford, July 27 1819

Dear James [1] 

The new spectacles enable me to write this and will do as well as glasses can do with my eyes, which, I am now convinced have some ailment beyond the power of the Opticians. If it grows much worse farewell to writing and reading. You must then look me out a good tempered Dog and a string,* and I will sing your fathers Anthems [2]  and my own songs round Grosvenor Square, and live like a prince. Charles thanks you for his watch ribond, and Hannah sends her love and says you shall have your Books by the first parcel we send without putting you to further expense, We are all well, and two or three more lazy then myself are tumbling on the new made Rug on our grass-plot. I sincerely thank you for the trouble you have taken, and am quite relieved.

Your Old Nunck, R. Bloomfield

Turn over

*And I'll hold the hat and will come amongst the 'Hyeana's' in Eastern lane and will gather a fortune in no time—

For fear this should not be full enough I'll grumble again, to induce you to pity the sorrows of the aged, I have really got a touch of the old Fiend Rheumatism, he has laid hold of my shoulder and the back of my neck, and I am now prouder and more stiffneckd than ever [illegible phrase]

Tuesday evening, July 27 1819

Dear James,

I don't know whether second thoughts are best always, but it occurs to me that you will not object to the expense of a parcel now, containing the 'Lecture on Heads' [3]  and two letters, (though in one,), any more than you would to wait, you would not know how long, nor I neither, for the chance of sending you it free,—besides I am anxious to prove that I am not quite so lazy but I can hold a pen, notwithstanding what my Father has told you, and I have a mortal objection to seeing anything in the shape of a letter with so much blank space as there would have been in this, but for the sense which I am now putting into it, and another reason, my Father has not said all he intended, he wishes you, when next you write, to say what you gave for the spectacles that he may give you the money for them (when he gets it) or pay you when he comes to Town. Charles would write to you his thoughts, but he has two lame fingers ocasioned by—not making Craft Bows—but by spining tops.

I am glad that your father prefer'd the story I sent you last to the 'sonnet' which I still think above 'middling' but the sense is exquisite and I agree with you in thinking it one of his best. I herewith return you Moores Book [4]  with thanks for the pleasure it has given me, I have marked with pencil those pieces which I have copy'd as my favourites, and those mark'd double are particular favorites, so you may condemn or applaud my taste, as in your judgement seemeth meet—if you have the other volume (for this I see is the second) will you let it me? Make haste and win your 1/16th of 30000.—You say I have said nothing about coming to town—very true, but I am far even thinking about it,—for time, even at Shefford, never hung so heavily as now. I verily think it stands right still sometimes,—and yet, so inconsistent am I, that I shall regret to leave the place, although for want of that sort of society that I could enjoy, I can never considder it as a home—but I tormented you with this stuff when you was here—My father will be in town he thinks in about a month, but he must stay till he has done his poems, which now with the assistance of the new spectacles he hopes to be able to complete soon; at all events he must be in town before Michaelmass to find some hole to put our heads in, but now I must, I fear, stay here till such hole is found. Chas' is dull from want of employment and for want of the hope of future employment,—when you write again, if Sarah is returned, let me know if Mr Austin has worried Jenny out of her nest for we have yet had no reply;—Isaac has had a short excursion has'nt he?—I am very glad to find by your letter to father that your situation is less irksome than formerly, the worst part of your information is the fluctuating state of your health, I wish I could send you a little Bedfordshire air, and two or three wheatfields for your private enjoyment, for such a treat is too good for the groveling—body's (I was going to say souls) that surround you. Our scenery will soon be embellish'd by Irish reapers for 'sure' a great number of them have been here for this fortnight.

Fortnight past in readiness begun—My father has this minute put a conclusion to his Oakly Hall, [5]  he has now to go back and polish a bit,—this lovely weather inspired him, in spite of his fears for his eyesight, which I am sorry to say are by no means groundless, for it has become rapidly worse during these last few months:—Charles and Robert are gone fishing,—You will have this medley of nonsense, and grumbles, a few houres after the arrival of my sister here. Charles and I have such duets on our flageolets sometimes, I mean had, before he was fumble-finger'd, it would make your hair stand on end to hear us. Charles does not like the tune of 'The Manly heart' [6]  nor 'To use this well'. either he or I want taste,—good night—your affectionate Cousin Hannah Bloomfield

Address: Mr Jam[e]s Bloomfield / Sowerby Co's / Forster Lane / London

* Northumberland Record Office, ZAN M12, Brook Autographs, II, 62 BACK

[1] In a later hand, probably James Bloomfield's: 'my father had been dead eight years the day this was written.' BACK

[2] Isaac Bloomfield's anthems had been published as Six Anthems for the Use of Choirs Where There Is No Organ (London, 1807). BACK

[3] A Lecture on Heads, a satirical piece mocking fashion and physionomy by George Alexander Stevens (1764). BACK

[4] The first and second volumes of Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies appeared in 1808. Hannah copied out one of Moore's songs in Letter 331. BACK

[5] i.e. May Day with the Muses. BACK

[6] 'The Manly Heart', a 'favourite duet' adapted from Mozart by T. Latour and published by Bland and Wellers, c. 1800. BACK