5 May 1812
Eliza Fenwick, [5 Tavistock Square], to ‘Mrs M. Hays, Wandsworth Common,’ Saturday Evening, 5 May 1812 [postmark not readable].1
My dear friend
I enclose Elizas letter – beginning to copy where the critique began to speak of her, for I thought it wd not interest you to hear of the merits & demerits of the rest of the company. Dear Girl she has a heart full of affection. I enclose also Mrs Hewitts letter which I took the liberty to open. It pleases me and will you I think. Nobody in the same situation could well please me more than Mr Honner. The downright honest affection he expressed for his wife and children, the little parade about him – his truely irish description of the delight they felt in quitting a life of bustle for & constant change for a quiet home & the hope of spending the rest of their lives at one fire side & finding all their recreations in the society of their children – all these were recommendations at once to my feelings & principles[.] He seemed to try much more to make me understand them than to learn my qualifications & had none of the little disgusting questioning hiring kind of manner that I remember offended my pride when I first saw Mr Mocatta. Miss Honner seemed an unassuming pleasing girl at once delighted with the thought of going home, & awe struck at me.
Mr Honner & I, I am persuaded had the same reluctant feeling about the bartering part of the business, for we left every thing in a sort of indefinite way, but he had the good sense to write me a letter (which I enclose, & which I answered much at length). His answer agreeing to all I ask I received to day & will enclose it next time I write, for ^as^ I dine tomorrow with Mr Whitaker I shd like to shew it him. I am to have one hundred guineas, my expences, a Chamber to myself and to be allowed to make what selections of books &c I think fit. The die is cast I believe. I hope I am doing right. The leaving England will cost me a pang. Do not tell Orlando yet that ^it^ is fixed. The love of change is natural to young minds & it will quite unsettle him. Beside I have to see Mr Honner one day this week & some casualty may arise. I have got strangely the habit of feeling nothing certain till it arrives. Eliza’s remittance is £37..10. It is due the third of June. I have forgot what she owes you. It is either three or four pound I know – she does not mention th which. It will pay ^for^ the Piano – carriage – packing & the £10 I borrowed <–> of Mrs M. & leave a little overplus. She has done well to pay her debts in three months after her arrival there. I will send yours either when I receive the money at the bankers or keep it till I come which you like.
Lanno’s letters are very sweet ones till still you & he have had some point at issue I suppose, for he says “for the first time I think Miss Hays wrong” but it is a detached sentence & no explanation of your error either precedes or follows after. He will have a great loss in you Mary! A great one indeed.
One thing that Mr Honner said struck me. “You will find one advantage Mrs Fenwick in placing yr son in an Irish School. Your English boys in schools are too knowing. We have the luck to keep our boys out of that while they are boys. I suppose I must ^not^ say we manage better but I know my Robert returned home at Christmas as pure and as simple hearted as when he was but four years old. I assure you whatever we are as men as boys we are more moral.” He recommended Cork for Lanno after he heard how far his education had gone. Mr Stuarts where his boy goes (30 miles from Lee Mount) would not supply a french or Mathematical Teacher. I like better to have him three miles than 30 from me. I did not see till I got home that you [paper torn] Pardon my awkwardness. Thank you [paper torn] to my boy for this said but. He will [paper torn] neighbours again that is certain.
I was indeed most infinitely shocked [paper torn] assassination. How unaccountable [paper torn] never be brought to conceive his [paper torn].
Mrs M. has fixed on sending the Children to school, nor wd she, did she not, take any Lady younger than 40! She had great plague with one before I came. Age is necessary where there are great boys to look after; for with mine, and a commanding tone which I always keep up they are barely managed. They look up to me, and on their behalf I shd pity a successor were one coming for they wd instantly assume the reins[.]
If Mrs M. ever takes another – she will need a new one a month I suspect. Mr M— objects to making any Governess but me his companion & as they cannot now spare another room they sent Hetty to Madame Du Ponts as day boarder.
I have forgot the list of books again I will make them out ready for my next
Let me hear from you. Our letters alway cross. I receive them all
1 Fenwick Family Papers, Correspondence, 1798-1855, New York Historical Library; Wedd, Fate of the Fenwicks 102-04; not in Brooks, Correspondence.