c. summer 1810

Eliza Fenwick to Mary Hays, undated letter, Saturday evening [c. summer 1810].1


     Affection & its wish of beguiling you of some moments sorrow, would indeed bring me to you were I my own mistress but such is the waywardness of my situation that I am continually attempting that which it seems at last impossible for me to perform. Since I return’d to town, the change of place, a sort of dissipation of mind & thought, from seeing some friends & expecting others, together with the knowledge & circumstances which on the behalf of my friends interest my feelings – and add to those an uneasy suspense about Eliza’s plans, you will not wonder when I tell you that making daily efforts to write; I have scarcely been able to <–> ^attain^ the least progress since I came to London. With this extreme reluctance to my task & inability, I am tied to time & must for my own sake finish that ^my little Job^ within ten days. Before the Lambs left town on Friday, I was compel’d to borrow for my current expense & Wednesday week my rent is due which I engag’d to pay monthly. Both these are to be provided for by the labour of the interval. An hours relaxation even is what I dare not attempt. Imagine the bitterness of such a toil. How much more independent & happy is your servant than such a being as I am!

    I must come after your brother. I am glad to find he is so much better as to be able to remove to you. I wish him perfect recovery.2

    Bereaved of yr only hope,3 no wonder dear Mary you seem a burthen to yourself. I who have had many sources of hope & expectation, am no longer alive to the happiness of futurity. Constant struggles unceasing disappointments, & the canker worm of poverty have destroyed that the sanguine temper of my mind that often found solace for present [misery] in visions of the happy future. Like you I am now a burthen to myself – like you I live only for my relatives.

    This is not language perhaps to write to you but I cannot help it – I would I had your happiness, to take joy in, but those of most deserving, are of least obtaining.

            Let me hear from you

                    Adieu yrs most sincerely

                                E Fenwick

Saturday evening


Address: none

Postmark: none



Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, Unpublished Letters, New York Historical Library; does not appear in Wedd, Fate, or Brooks, Correspondence.

2 A reference to John Hays, her younger brother, who appears to have had some kind of illness, forcing him to remove for a time to Wandsworth and his brother's house. 

3 Hays was still smarting from William Frend's marriage in 1808.