The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Lady Frances Harpur (née Greville) to Mary Hamilton

Harpur (née Greville), Frances Elizabeth

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Lady Frances Harpur to Mary Hamilton, relating to Sir William Hamilton and Lady Hamilton. Harpur's brother will deliver Hamilton's letter to Sir William on her behalf but refuses to make enquiries on the subject that Hamilton asks in her letter to Harpur. He will also not make enquiries as to the reasons of Sir William's silence and suggests that it would be better for her to write to him herself [presumably because of his relationship with Emma Hamilton]. Harpur writes that she has seen Sir William when her brothers and Lord Cathcart were aiding him settle into his accommodation and that it was impossible for her to avoid 'Noticing L[ady] H[amilton] without offence to Sir W[illia]m or at least affecting his feelings'. As Sir William is in poor health it was decided that on his account that Lady Hamilton was to be visited. She notes that she 'complied with this decision' and visited them the day after their arrival in town and that her brother had invited them to Cumberland Street where she was 'desired to meet them'. Harpur found Sir William very thin and much aged but that he was also cheerful. She was disappointed with Lady Hamilton. She had expected 'much elegance of figure & manner. She has neither, Is tall & very large; has good Eyes & teeth; & much cheerfulness & Expression of Countenance;. She continues to note hat she has an open disposition and that she was not in the least embarrassed, 'yet Behaved with propriety'. She had 'too much Dress' and seemed to be a 'figure for the stage, than the Elegance of good taste; but very decent'. Her neck and arms were covered and she was dressed in a 'kind of Turkish Dress'. Harpur notes that she seemed attached to Sir William and that she believes that she makes him happy. Harpur nevertheless made clear to Sir William that she could not be part of their society but hoped that he was assured of her affection to him. She notes that he was very kind and said that he knew I was a Nun'. Lady Hamilton had told her that she was sensible of the privilege of being part of such a family and of the obligations she felt and hopes that Harpur would give her permission to call on her occasionally. She appeared to say such things with much feeling but that she knows so little of her that she cannot answer for her sincerity. Harpur continues noting that she paid a visit to Sir William but was not admitted or they were out and this has now 'relieved [her] from all difficulties. She continues on the Hamiltons and on the fact that they have continual company but that few ladies visit.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The letter continues on the Hamilton and with news of other family members including Mrs Holman (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/4/3</a>).</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Park Street.</p>

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