The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Elizabeth Palombi (née Dickenson) to Mary Hamilton

Palombi (née Dickenson), Elizabeth

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Elizabeth Palombi to Mary Hamilton. The letter begins by stating that, if paper were capable of blushing, Palombi would so appear to Hamilton after so neglectful a correspondence. Her excuse for such a delay was that her daughter Louisa was ill with smallpox and required constant attention. Palombi writes of her worries for her other three children 'who all broke out at the same time'. She continues noting that 'as servants are of no use here at such occasion', Hamilton may have some idea of the type of life she was living. Luckily the disease was mild. She writes that she had begun a letter to her sister in February when her children became sick and could not finish it until June. The letter continues that the War followed the illness and prevented any safe correspondence. She notes that she has now the opportunity of sending this letter by a private hand to Manchester and states that she is making the most of this before another impediment is put in her way, which, she adds, is very likely, as her eldest boy seems to have broken out with measles that very morning. Two of her children have already had measles, but she writes of the risk to her two other children. After noting this she apologises that she had not informed Hamilton of the birth of her fifth child, which she describes as an 'unexpected &, almost, unwelcome increase to my cares'. Palombi has not yet been outside since the birth, but has now recovered her strength. The baby is described as 'strong' and 'merry' and has been named Henrietta, and is known to the family as 'Queen'. Palombi describes her daughter as being well proportioned but looking 'like a good farmers wife who lives on milk & butter'. She writes of her interest in her children and notes that Sarah, her sister, is very 'saucy and 'boasts' of her enjoyment 'in being free from matronly cares as I should have done the same in her case', but as it has 'pleased almighty God to bestow so many of what are generally called blessings on me, so I must in gratitude be thankful for what estimable qualities, either of body or mind, which I flatter myself they possess'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Palombi writes of Hamilton's own daughter and how her affection for Louisa had been cultivated before she had her own children. One of her own daughters was named after Louisa and Palombi notes that she hopes she will take on her temperament as well as her name, as she has such a 'difficult temper to manage'. The letter continues in some length to describe Louisa Palombi and her other children, their characters and their abilities.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The letter ends with Palombi noting the death of Mrs M., who had left her a 'handsome legacy'.</p>

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