26 August 1814
Penelope Pennington, Weymouth, to Mary Hays, Messrs Hays & Wedd, Gainsford Street, Southwark, redirected to Mrs. Hills, No 5 Felix Terrace,1 Islington, 26 August 1814.2
Weymouth 26th Aug. 1814
My dear Friend
You shou’d have heard from me in reply to your last charming kind, and affecting Letter, but that I have waited from Day to Day since my arrival here, in the hope of hearing your Goods & Chattels had reached Dowry Square. – Miss Wren however tells me that nothing had appeared in that shape at the date of her last dispatches, but that she had made diligent enquiry on the Quay in Bristol, and ascertained that the Sally was not come in, at the same time they assured her she need be under no anxiety for its Safety, or the delivery of the goods; – I have requested she will let me know as soon as she gets sight of them. –
We have been here something more than a Fortnight. – our Journey was very pleasant, but Mr Pennington was so unwell for the first Week I feared it wou’d be altogether unavailing, and we were obliged to take our Lodgings for a Month. – He has however, by advice, taken the warm Sea Bathing & is I think essentially better. – He has no particular Complaint but a Debility of Constitution that is evidently encreasing, & at his time of Life alarming. – My own Health, about which you express yourself so kindly solicitous, depends almost wholly on the state of my Mind. – When that is tolerably at Ease I gain strength and spirits, but when irritated, not by Anger, but vexation, and Care worn – I am a poor, nervous Creature! – I have certainly slept much better since I came here than I have done for many Months, & my Appetite is greatly improved, & to a Person worried throughout the Year with House hold & domestic Cares, tho some of them have followed me, – a little recess from their daily pressure is something like happiness. – We shall certainly (baring unforeseen Accidents) be at Home the middle, or late end of next Month, and my cordial there will be to receive, and embrace you, assuredly, before its expiration. – The more precise time you shall hear from me in my next. – We are much pleased with this Place. – The Beauty of the Bay constantly interests our Vision. – Mr Pennington, to whom it was perfectly new, was particularly pleased with it – and it does not lose its attraction – while the yellow Harvest blending in the Landscape is a pleasing Novelty to me, our prospects being ^chiefly^ Pasturage at Home.
The Weather has been tolerably favorable on the whole, tho it has none of the brilliancy, or glow of Summer – nor shou’d I guess it to be August but from the Calendar, & it has much more the feeling and hazy appearance of October. – and I fear the want of Sun will be severely felt in getting in the Harvest, as many of the Crops have still a greenish appearance, and very little is as yet cut hereabouts. –
The Place is as full as it can hold, but the Company very second rate. – It is however confidently said the Princess Charlotte will be here in a few Days, and that many give more Eclat to the appearance.—
As a place of Amusement Weymouth appears to me dull & monotonous enough – but it has many conveniences & Living much cheaper than with us, and as amusement was not our Object we are perfectly well satisfied – I am sure People, (as Residents) may live here very reasonably – Fish is so abundant, so good, & so cheap – The favorite recreation seems going out on the Water which the People almost live upon – but the Sea is an Element I am not fond of trusting.
I have no Idea of combing Sickness, Danger & Pleasure – and beyond precincts3 of this calm, safe, and beauteous Bay should never think of venturing, unless “for necessity.” – Parties are however ^every^ Day made to the Islands of Guernsey & Jersey, which I am told are much luxuriantly beautiful, – to the Isle of Wight – and even to Cherbourg.
Let me hear from you – if before the 5th address to me “at Woods Library, Esplanade, Weymouth” – after that for a Fortnight “to the Revd Thos Warrens Vicarage Tolpudle4 [sic] – Piddle Town Dorset”: – A short space will now, I trust bring us together – I anticipate the time with encreasing confidence & pleasure and feel daily more disposed to subscribe myself
your affectionate Servant & Friend
Mr Pennington desires to add his kind regards
The majority of the Company promenading hourly under our Windows, are, I think Children & Nursery Maids innumerable!
Address: For Mrs M. Hays | Messrs Hays & Wedd | Gainsford Street | Southwark | London Mrs Hills | No 5 Felix Terrace | Islington
Postmark: 29 August 1814
1 This was the residence for many years of Mary Hays’s elder sister, Sarah Hays Hills. Her home was just down the street from where Hays had lived for a few years previously at 3 Park Street in Islington and a short walk to their sister, Elizabeth Hays Lanfear, living at that time in Church Street, and Sarah’s son, William Hills, and his wife, the former Emma Dunkin, living in Canonbury Square.
2 Misc. Ms. 2187, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 524-26.
3 prescincts] MS
4 Thomas Warren (c. 1779-1851) was vicar at that time of St. John the Baptist in Tolpuddle, a small village in Dorset that would soon become famous for its treatment of a group of farmworkers who sought to form a union to gain better wages and work conditions. They were denounced and summarily deported to Australia and became known as the “Tolpuddle Martyrs.” The government eventually pardoned them. Warren would play a role in this controversy. The workers were led by George Loveless, a lay Methodist preacher. Loveless arranged a contract between the workers and the landowners and asked Warren to witness it but later, when the landowners changed their minds, Warren denied he had ever witnessed the contract, a betrayal that ensured the defeat of the workers and their eventual deportation. A set of letters between Warren and his nephew, written between 1832 and 1836, was recently put up for sale in a public auction, in which one letter Warren says he tried to help the families but insists that such unions had to be stopped for the good of the peace of the country.