17 December 1812

Eliza Fenwick, [Lee Mount], to Mrs. M. Hays, at T. Hays, Esqr., Wandsworth Common, 17 December 1812.1


         Your letter my dearest friend came from a sick chamber to a sick chamber. It was brought me in bed where I was suffering under the operation of two blisters. Its content did not end to renovate me though its genuine tenderness mingled pleasure with the pain. This is my first day of sitting up and now I think I am rapidly amending. As I have been confined but ten days my strength cannot be reduced like yours but what I feel acquaints me with the exhausted state of yr condition. Mine has been a new species of attack and chiefly in my head where the agony was so great as utterly to preclude sleep and to produce wildness and partial delirium. Every thing that could be done for me I had. Mrs Honner ^has^ scarcely left me for a moment. If I were her Mother she could not shew me more attention or in a kinder manner.

   Thurs Wednesday Decr 23d  I wrote so far last Thursday when I was compelled to lay aside a pen I was unable to guide though I fancied myself recovering. A relapse came on that night and I had not the slightest intermission till Sunday night after a tedious application of leeches & another Blister. I am persuaded my disease was a determination of Blood to the brain for such agonizing pulsations though I have heard Eliza describe I never had an idea of – The Doctor thinks it more nervous. I was attacked in an instant with the pain after being poorly & oppress’d for two days. I have suffered dreadfully and my thoughts have constantly turned towards you fearing you might think me negligent of your suffering condition. I write now with difficulty & some risque perhaps – at least Mrs ^H^ is appal’d at my employment. It soothes my mind and therefore the little I shall say will not hurt me as the apprehension of your thinking unkindly of my silence would inevitably do.

       How surprised I am that you make no mention of hearing from Eliza. How can her letter have miss’d you. In two letters I received on the 20th Inst dated ^Ocr^ at St Croix and sent away at the same time ^though written at different periods of the month^ she mentions having written to you by that same packet – In one she says “Last Packet only brought me yr wee wee letter dated July 5th enclosing Miss Hays long and kind letter. I have answer’d hers for the fleet which sails next week.” In the second she says I have written to my father my Uncle Miss Lamb & Miss Hays. I wonder whether Mr Robinson will open the cover addressed to him or send it on to you, if so you will see what I have said in those letters.” – Mr Robinson [paper torn] one letter & Mr Lamb another and no enclosures. A ^previous^ letter she refers to several times, as explaining events & circumstances which induced her to decide on marrying before she left Barbadoes has never come to hand. She was married there in the midst of her friends & given away by Capn Soper, and left the Island for St Croix, and perhaps Jamaica, four days afterwards. This is nearly all I know. Her letters are perhaps the best she ever wrote and the terms in which she implores for my approbation of the step she has taken render it impossible for me to say I disapprove when I write again. I will transcribe her account of an extraordinary peril they encountered at sea going to St Croix – at present I am incapable. I hope her letter has by this time come to yr hands.

       Orlando has been ill. His Master sent for a Medical man who pronounced him to have a chill on the liver. – probably the cause was too much bathing or too much violent exercise I did not know it at the time. He wd not allow me to be informed and intense rains served as an excuse for not coming on his usual day. He had recovered all but [paper torn] when we met. He was [paper torn] he comes home tomorrow [paper torn] [The] public examinations ^at his school^ take place on the three days before Xmas day which he wd not miss, and I have promised to extend his holidays as a reward for his industry & exertions. Mr H-- ^Humphries^ gives but a week. I shall keep him at least two. He knows not of my illness & will be shocked to find me in my chamber and not much less to hear that you are in yours.

             Write to me as soon as you can. I shall watch with great anxiety. Do try the Cheltenham Salts, a course of them, when you are able to go about again. Let me hear from you or of you – from you by all means. – It is now evening 8 oClock I have set up since noon & am going to bed without any return of my disorder. This is going into town by a Gentleman dining here so I close it to-night. Be assured I am recovering and send me consoling tidings of yourself. Remember me to Mr & Mrs Hays.

                                     Yrs truly  

                                                 E Fenwick

Address: Mrs M. Hays | T. Hays Esqr | Wandsworth Common near | London

Postmark: none

1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 125-27; not in Brooks, Correspondence.