9 October 1799

Eliza Fenwick, London, to Mary Hays, at John Dunkin’s, Belsen Mill, near Maldon, Essex, 9 October [1799].1

London Oct 9th.

     If you are not by this time ten feet deep under water I think ^you^ will escape drowning as long as you live I wonder the churches & chapels are not all opened & filled with petitioners fro to Almighty Good God for fair weather.

     Without jesting I have several times thought your situation must be rendered almost critical by these incessant & heavy rains & I cannot but think believe that damps are particularly injurious to the constitution. Do not be so much in love with your present tranquillity as to run hazards for its sake.

    I thank you very sincerely for your kind letter & I am glad that the union of your young friends gives so many promises of established comfort, whatever painful associations may sometimes arise in your mind I am sure their happiness is a source of pleasure to you for I remember how much interest you took in your Nephews success. But do not dear Mary contemplate this picture too constantly & too long lest you return to London with a goaded susceptibility & create for yourself new tortures.

     You bid me tell you all I see & hear Alas I have little scope for observation & novelties keep aloof from me. I heard indeed yesterday you wa very kindly enquired after by the Miss Plumptres who are settled in handsome commodious lodgings in Caroline ^Street^ Bedford Square2 they did not forget to mention that you & they were come nearer each other & I hope you will have more intercourse now the distance is lessened. We had again the good fortune to meet with Mr Northcote3 there.

     Mr F. is very well although a little out of his wits with the delight of often seeing the mighty Mr Curran4 who is in England for a few weeks. I am in no small degree anxious to behold this Phenomenon of wit & eloquence & I shall, if the fates do not forbid, because he is to dine with Godwin when he recovers from an indisposition which at present confines him at home.

     Adieu dear Mary. You should not have invited me to write to you for I am a worthless correspondent poor in every thing but ^in^ the truth of my affection. Mr F. sends his love to you & may we soon see you healthy & happy is the wish of your ever faithful

                            E Fenwick

We are going to-day to dine with Mr Fell.5 I believe we shall remove into his house at Christmas with which will bring us nearer to you by one half at least.

Address: Miss Hays | at Mr Dunkin's Belsen Mill | near Malden | Essex

Postmark: none


1 Fenwick Family Correspondence; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 7-8; not in Brooks, Correspondence. Possible location for the letter is the home of the recently married John Hays Dunkin, Mary Hays's nephew, but more likely it is the country home of John Dunkin, Sr., whose primary residence at this time was a spacious mansion in Champion Hill, Camberwell.

2 The writers Anne and Annabella Plumptre; see their entry in the Biographical Index. 

3 The artist James Northcote (1746-1831). 

4 John Philpot Curran (1750-1817), Irish politician. See his entry in the Biographical Index. 

5 Most likely the writer Ralph Fell, a friend of Godwin's who appears nearly 400 times in his diary and 12 times with Eliza Fenwick between August 1798 and June 1802.