c. March 1799
Eliza Fenwick to Mary Hays, 30 Kirby Street, Hatton Garden, Saturday morning [c. March 1799].1
Mr F—is safe in Dublin.
We had so deplorable a journey on Thursday night that I shall not for this day or two to come recover its effects. In Holborn we were attacked by a smart shower to shun which we ran into Miss Saunders lodging & as soon as it abated we once more committed ourselves to the mercy of the weather but just as we reached the end of King Street down came another torrent. We stood up at a shop door whose Mistress came out to look at the storm & having enquired how far I had to go & pitied the sweet child she humanely shut her door in our faces & left us to endure the driving wind. Having stood above ½ an hour & vainly supplicated every passing Coach I wrapped my Gown entirely over Orlando & home we trudged. Eliza was already wet through in running after a Coach she saw set down a fare. Being thus compelled to carry Orlo all the way myself what I suffered was almost intolerable the outward wet from the rain was less uncomfortable than the excessive perspiration that fatigue forced from me. The people of the house had a good fire ready for me I sent for some spirits & drank it hot as I went to bed but never closed my eyes the whole night & yesterday I was unable to hold up my head I thought I must have sent for some one to nurse me for my little maid is at home with her scalded feet, however I rubbed through & today am better. Neither Eliza nor boy caught the least cold.
I have not read your book through & therefore will not criticise till I have finished it; so far as I have gone I find it very eloquent. Eliza says it reminds her of Caleb Williams because he was so persecuted & driven about the world & though she likes it a great deal she does prefer Caleb Williams.2
When I could not rest, my thoughts were wholly bent to the perils of your situation Does not the unreserved communication of your feelings to the statue serve to render them more poignant? – This is mere supposition your case is too peculiar for me to decide upon. Sincerely do I sorrow for its peculiarity & ever & affectionately love you
Address: Miss Hays | Kirby Street | No 30 | Hatton Garden
1 Fenwick Family Correspondence; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 6; not in Brooks, Correspondence.
2 Reference is to The Victim of Prejudice, by Hays, and Caleb Williams, by Godwin.
3 Another reference to William Frend (see previous letter).