The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Mrs Maria Eliza Rundell (née Ketelby) to Mary Hamilton

Rundell (née Ketelby), Maria Eliza

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Maria Eliza Rundell to Mary Hamilton. She writes that since Hamilton has given her daughter permission to write her a long letter, she will do so too.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Rundell has been busy since she has returned from town. She returned to Bath with two nieces who visited there for the waters. Both girls had taken up much of Rundell’s time. One was so ill that for a number of days it was thought she would die. The other girl who is ‘a good girl & elegant enough was not quite the person that I could have chosen for my daughters companion’. All the time she could spend with them she did so ‘to prevent what I always dread, young people being alone together’. The two girls left Bath last week.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Rundell notes that she mentioned some time before that she was considering sending her daughter Margaret to school if she were able to find a suitable person. She has now found such a person in a school about five miles away from Westminster. As soon as Rundell had prepared her clothes and as soon as her niece was out of danger, her husband took Margaret to the school. Margaret was upset at leaving her family but did not resent going as she knew Rundell ‘thought it proper’ that she did go.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Rundell asks about Hamilton’s health as she had been suffering with an inflammation in her eyes. She notes that if she remembers correctly ‘inflamed eyes are a part of Mr Dickenson’s study’ so she dare not send Hamilton her remedy, although she understands that Mrs Barrow found her prescription beneficial. She asks how her daughter Louisa is progressing and to her mind she must be doing very well. She believes that children who have much attention and are often talked to show better perception and progress. She continues on the subject of bringing up children and writes that ‘it appears to me that by being a mother my very soul is enlarged’.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Rundell asks about Hamilton’s father-in-law and hopes that he is fully recovered and is more cautious in the future. Rundell wants to know how they all do and asks Hamilton not to judge her regard for her by the number of letters she writes. She dislikes being idle and sees it as her duty to do anything in her power for those who need it and therefore she is always busy. Since writing this letter alone she has had to find two servants for herself and two more for a friend; find a house for a friend and let another. Her house is currently filled with workmen that she needs to constantly supervise else they stop work. When next Hamilton writes, Rundell asks to let her know if Louisa is to have a ‘play fellow’. Her own daughter Harriet will have to make do with older siblings ‘for I trust I shall bring no more; tho[ugh] if I had health equal to my wishes I should not murmur at the largest family’. The letter continues to describe her daughter, Maria and her relationship with Hamilton.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Bath.</p>

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