c. February 1799

Eliza Fenwick to Mary Hays, 30 Kirby Street, Hatton Garden [c. February 1799].1


    I am sadly jaded I have had a cold & slight sore throat & what was worse my boy has been & indeed is, quite ill since Monday his Cough has been violent & attended with considerable fever, the latter I believe to be wholly owing to teeth which are very discernable with the Gum. Sunday night I was too ill to rest & since that [time] his uneasiness has not allowed me to take a comfortable nap & though Eliza would & could relieve me in the day time I am obliged to ^go^ without the indulgence that would I desire on account of the little Fry trusted to my care.  On Monday I was sadly disposed to compare the present with the past & make discomfort more uncomfortable but I soon found crying <–> ^increased^ my headach & I got as fast as possible into a better mood – My little great strong boy made his first walking alone effort last Friday & mightily pleased he is to find himself so much improved.

    I gladly <–> accede to your proposition of being with you every Wednesday when the sky & streets will permit the hours I spend with you are dear to me even when they are past it is one of my prime consolations to reflect on the kindness of your heart.

    I wish much to see your wayward friend2 – bring him if possible but I should like to know when, that I may have a fire in the other room for the Children & for fear you should find me washing, or scouring my room for these are occupations to which I am very subject Mr F— wrote me a short scrap from Chester merely to say they had escaped a snow <–> burial so far. I do not suppose I shall hear again till a letter can reach me from Dublin

    I long to see your Novel3 & should today have come for it but the villainous weather is unfit for a poor sick child to travel in.

    Charles Lloyd4 is then at the end of his grand career.

            Adieu dearest of friends

                        Ever yours

                                Eliza F—


Wednesday morning


Address: Miss Hays | Kirby Street | N30 | Hatton Garden 

Postmark: Illegible


1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, NY Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 5; Brooks, Correspondence 319-20.

2 Hays was once again engaged in a friendship (with hopes of renewed courtship) with William Frend (he is called "the statue" by Fenwick in the following letter), something that would happen several times between 1794 and 1808.  

3 Hays's second novel, The Victim of Prejudice (1799).

4 Loyd] MS. Charles Lloyd had made quite a public stir about Hays and her alleged actions in his presence, actions which caused Hays considerable pain and outcry among many of her acquaintances and the general public. a