28 March [1798]

Anne Plumptre1 to Mary Hays, Kirby Street, Hatton Garden, 28 March [1798].2

My dear Madam

We all regretted very much that we could not have the pleasure of your company yesterday, and are sorry it is not in our power to name any day till next Tuesday when we can hope to see you. Indeed as Miss Alderson3 leaves London in the course of next week I am sorry to say that this is the only afternoon disengaged till her departure. We shall therefore be much disappointed if that should not suit you.

I am with great

esteem yours

A. Plumptre


28th of March [1798]

Address: Miss Hays | Kirby Street | Hatton Garden

Postmark: 28 March [98], 7 o’clock

1 Anne Plumptre (1760-1818) (mentioned previously in Dyer's February 1797 letter to Hays) was a writer and, at times, a translator, originally from Norwich, the same city that her friend, Amelia Alderson Opie, was from. Anne Plumptre and her sister, Annabella (1769-1838), were the talented daughters of Robert Plumptre, prebendary of Norwich and president of Queens' College, Cambridge. They received excellent educations and began contributing to a variety of forms of writing in the early 1790s, beginning in Norwich. They both acted in Amelia Alderson's play, Adelaide, with the prologue written by James Plumptre, their brother. They moved into translating through the influence of another Norwich literary figure, William Taylor. The two sisters also moved, as did Alderson, among the radical Dissenters in London who sympathized with the French Revolution and political reform in England. By the mid-1790s, they were moving among many in the Godwin circle, including Dyer, Holcroft, and Thelwall. Anne's novel, Antoinette (1796) appeared anonymously the same year as Hays's Emma Courtney. Her second novel was The Rector's Son (1798), which appeared the same year as her sister's novel, The Mountain Cottage, published by William Lane's Minerva Press (the latter was a translation of a German novel). Translations of works by Kotzebue and Iffland followed. Annabella turned more toward teaching and didactic writing thereafter, but Anne continued to move in literary circles. She traveled to France in 1802 with Amelia Opie and visited with Helen Maria Williams while in Paris. Anne continued to find works to translate, both in French and German, including several travel narratives, some concerning her own travels. In 1818 the two sisters collaborated on a translation of Tales of Wonder, a collection from various sources. Neither sister married.

2 MS Misc. 2193, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 317.

3 Amelia Alderson will marry John Opie, the painter, in May 1798.