4 September 1814
Penelope Pennington, Weymouth, to Mary Hays, at Mrs Hills, 5 Felix Terrace, Islington, 4 September 1814.1
Weymouth 4th Sept 1814
My dearest Madam
I am rejoiced to hear from Miss Wren that she has had it in her power to give you satisfaction of announcing the safe arrival of your Goods, and I hope the substance of my last Letter wou’d relieve2 your Mind from all anxiety respecting our movements – I can now however speak with more certainty on the Subject. –
We leave this Place on Monday the 12th, and after a Fortnight passed with some particular Friends near Dorchester fully purpose to reach Home on the 27th; or 28th at farthest. – on the last Day of the present, or the first of the next Month I shall hope to embrace, and welcome you to your future Home – I regret that our Meeting has been so long delayed – but I had laid my Plans in the expectation of receiving you at Midsummer, and the delay in your movements had an influence on mine. – We were so much pleased with this Place that were it not for the satisfaction of Visiting some old & much esteemed Friends, and the prospect of ^meeting^ a new one, long expected & much wished for, we shou’d be quite sorry to leave it. – I never saw Mr Pennington so happy & satisfied any where from Home as he is here, and thank God it has had the best Effect on his Health, which is more restored than I cou’d have expected in the time. – The Weather has changed a little, and unaccustomed to the keen Winds that set in from the Sea I have taken Cold, and been obliged to submit to discipline for the last two, or three Days as I was very seriously Indisposed for some Hours; – but am getting about again and on the whole nothing can well have been more fortunate than this Excursion – We have not had a single wet Day, & the Bay, which the whole time was as smooth as a Mill Pond, had changed its Character, and improved its appearance. – It is now fantastically rough & playful, and the Moon which for some Nights past has cast such a soft & silvery Light upon it, the Water sparkling like living Diamonds, has added much to its Beauty. – I am sure it must have been on this very Spot that Endymion3 became so enamoured of her. – The Harvest is got in, and finely, on all the surrounding Hills, and the yellow Glades look sunny & smiling in the Landscape, after having yielded up their ample Stores.
These are the objects which interest my Mind, where as the Majority of the People here have been gaping out with restless Curiosity after the Princess Charlotte,4 whose arrival has been hourly expected through the last Week, but who I think it very probable may not come during our Stay. – Nothing5 has, as yet, appeared in the report of her Character, appearance; or Manners that inspires the least Wish in my Mind to see this rising Hope of England. – Alas!6 poor Country if it has nothing better in view!
Remember that it is on the 12th we leave this Place, and that if I do not hear from you here, I shall expect to find a line in Dowry Square, fixing the Day, and time of our Meeting. – I repeat that our return will be on the 27th; or 28th – two, or three Days reserved for the purpose of settling & arranging all little matters for your reception, & then my dear Madam we meet, I trust, to part no more for a long, long time; which induced me to name the last of this, or the first of next Month for the realization of this Pleasure. – May it prove all we have dared to hope; and been led by this previous Intercourse to expect. I have always forgotten to mention that Mr & Mrs Rowe7 of Lewins Mead called on you at my House sometime previous to my leaving Home.
Mr Pennington joins me in affectionate Regards and I remain – My dearest Madam
most Sincerely Yours
The paper here is so bad it is with difficulty I can write on it – what every body may read, if they are so inclined from the miserable thinness of its texture.
Miss Wren writes me there is a Letter waiting yr arrival at the Wells – if you wish it forwarded give her a line of instruction to do so. –
Address: Mrs Hills | 5 Felix Terrace Islington | For Mrs M. Hays
Postmark: Weymouth 5 September 1814
1 Misc. Ms. 2188, Pforzheimer Collection, NYPL; Brooks, Correspondence 526-27.
2 releive] MS
3 In Greek mythology, Endymion was a shepherd who was loved by Silene, the goddess of the moon, who then bore him fifty daughters.
4 Princess Charlotte (1786-1817) was the only child of the Prince of Wales and future King George IV and Caroline of Brunswick. She married Prince Leopold if Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and after less than two years of marriage, died after delivering a still-born child in 1817, only 21 years of age at the time, setting off scenes of tremendous mourning (and some despair over the future of the royal family) across England and producing numerous encomiums on her life and character.
5 nothing] MS
6 alas!] MS
7 John Rowe (1764-1832), after studying at the Dissenting academies at Hoxton and the New College, Hackney, began his ministry among the Unitarians as assistant to Joseph Fownes at High Street Chapel, Shrewsbury, in 1787. He became sole pastor in 1789 and at one point, in 1798, invited a young Samuel Taylor Coleridge to apply as his assistant. That same year Rowe left Shrewsbury to become assistant to Joh Prior Estlin at the Unitarian chapel in Lewin’s Mead, Bristol, remaining at the church until his retirement in 1832. He helped found the Western Unitarian Society in 1792. His wife, Mary (d. 1825), was also his cousin and the daughter of the influential Unitarian layman in the West Country, Richard Hall Clarke of Bridwell, Devonshire.