86. Robert Bloomfield to the Earl of Buchan, 13 May 1802


86. Robert Bloomfield to the Earl of Buchan, 13 May 1802* 

London City Road. May 13th 1802

My Lord

Not having seen my kind friend Mr. G Dyer since receiving your Lordship's Letter, I have not heard of any arrangement for a meeting on the 12th of next month; should it take place no one shall greet the day with more sincerity than myself. Perhaps some future day may favour me with an interview with Mr Campbell though at present I have been disappointed. I have lately dined in company with Mrs Barbauld; and have an offer from a gentleman then present of a perusal of 'the Bee;' [1]  but, though I hate to be allways complaining I must in justice to myself say, that a Month's sharp conflict with the Rhumatism has lately deranged my reading, and sometimes my patience, but I have little now to complain of. Mr Park is well, and I am proud to rank him amongst my friends.

By a good natur'd but absolute compulsion, i.e. a lady's invitation, I made one among the merry faces at Ranalaugh on Monday Night; my wife was with me. Beeing new to us both, it could not fail to please in its principle features. The Moon illuminated the Trees, and was powerfully assisted by a blaze of lamps at the end of the water. The discharge of Fireworks had a greater effect than I was prepared to expect; I was delighted; and henceforward shall have a greater reverence for gunpowder (when thus used) than I have hitherto had. But when the watch came to point 2 hours after midnight, and we lumberd home in a coach, meeting the sweet light of the morning, my eyes and my conscience told me I should have been in bed. I could not help thinking of the account of the Weasel in Bewick's Quadrupeds: 'It passes the greatest part of the day in sleeping, and usually employs the night in exercise and eating' [2]  And though, my Lord, I feel myself a weasel's superior still, I do not think that the enjoyment would be improved by a repetition, I felt myself out of my element. It is a pity to put a thousand pretty faces into so small a circle, there is not room to look at them. A flock certainly looks better in a flow'ry field than in a Fold, and they differ from the ladies in this—they require driving into prison, the ladies go without.

In immediate reference to myself I must add, that a second Edition of my 'Rural Tales' is now on sale, and all seems to go well.—

Perhaps I may be wrong in sending this to Dryburg, but as Edinburgh is beyond the destination, I have ventur'd to suppose that this sheet will be soon, and favourably, received by your Lordship, from your most Obedient Servant,

Rob Bloomfield

* BL Add. MS 28268, ff. 94–95; published in Hart, p. 26 BACK

[1] The Bee, a weekly Edinburgh journal edited by James Anderson. BACK

[2] See Ralph Beilby, A General History of Quadrupeds. The Figures Engraved on Wood by T. Bewick (Newcastle, 1790), p. 205. BACK