28 January 1799
Eliza Fenwick to Mary Hays, 30 Kirby Street, Monday, [postmark 28 January 1799].1
I cannot understand why you have not written to me & I have sometimes thought of it with excessive pain. My occupations have been various but unceasing & I am not quite well My head in particular is sadly teized with giddiness partly in consequence of the distraction of the day but more possibly, for want of Air & good rest. I have not crossed the Threshhold since I was with you & when Orlando2 would let me sleep soundly & happily Fanny Gerald keeps me waking – If she is not removed from my bed it will almost kill me.
I have 6 scholars dear Mary the eldest 5 years old & one I was fool enough to admit at 2 years old who all last week roared without ceasing – I have 8s pr Quarter & yesterday devoting my time to Mr F— Writing while he dictated I assisted him to ho earn £2..10s – without my help he could not have translated ½ the quantity if we had worked but eight hours so I have discovered how false my calculations have been – I will confess to you dear Mary, for you will endure & pity my weaknesses, that in the 6 hours of school keeping I have several days following endured sensations amounting to despair Every suffering of the past seemed to return to awaken a consciousness of my imbecility & the perpetual sacrifices we have both made of our time & ability to do better. I am nearly recovered from my ^this^ heart sickness of the heart & indeed I ought rather to be telling you of the exertions that Mr F— is making to retrieve the state of our affairs. He has either been working too hard or been at other times too much depressed to be able to visit you for he too has had his sickness. The daily increasing shabbiness of his dress has (though he has generally borne it with a patience astonishing to me who knew his excessive fondness for neat apparell) helped to depress & confine him, his labour will now enable him to be in better plight which I am persuaded will give him an increase of good spirits.
Orlando stands without support on the ground even with both hands full as firmly almost as I can but he has not yet walked off <–> Last Thursday he to my great surprise climbed upstairs Buonoparte could not express more triumph in the greatest of his victories than the little elf did at this effort of his power till at length his ascending foot was caught by his petticoat & he fell with his chin on the edge of the step & so ended the glories of the day. He only now wants to be weaned & to be clean to be the nicest boy in the world – I may say so to you because you, you know have a share in him.
But why have you not written to me I cannot come ^to K. Street^ till the Ducks have eaten up the dirt Adieu Adieu I love you too well to account satisfactorily for your silence.
Address: Miss Hays | Kirby Street | No 30 | Hatton Garden.
1 Fenwick Family Correspondence; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 3-5; not in Brooks, Correspondence.
2 Fenwick's son, Orlando, born in 1798.