The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Lady Catherine Herries (née Foote) to Mary Hamilton

Herries (née Foote), Catherine

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Lady Catherine Herries to Mary Hamilton, relating to the possible attachment of Nina Herries and Edward Foote, visits to friends and relations, and Sir Robert Herries's return to England.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lady Herries writes of her joy at unexpectedly meeting her youngest brother Edward. She had left Tunbridge Wells and was visiting her 'second Brother - but without an idea of meeting the youngest' whom she believed to be in London under the 'care of Evans, the famous worm doctor'. She continues that the 'dear affectionate child' as she considers him to be, wept over her. Her own nerves were more 'rebellious'. Her brother and cousin have persuaded her to stay a day longer than she had meant to which means that she may not reach town before Sir Robert Herries returns home from Paris. Herries considers it a 'mortification' not to be home to meet him.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lady Herries continues with general news of her friends and on how she spends her time. She is to dine that evening with the Bishop of Chester. She is unsure whether or not Hamilton is personally acquainted with the Bishop but is sure that she is with his writings. As a preacher she describes him as elegant and persuasive. She also writes of a visit to her friend, Mrs Bouverie, where she meets Lady [Margaret] Middleton and her husband. Charles [1st Baron Barham, naval officer, (1726-1813)], who is 'Comptroller of the Navy - both people of the first merit & very superior accomplishments'. Herries writes on her friend Mrs [Elizabeth] Bouverie, noting that after the death of her nephew, Mr Hervey, she now has two thousand a year. Herries highly regards this 'excellent woman' and asks Hamilton not to think she paints too high a picture of her.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries ends her letter noting 'I must dress, adieu' and begins it again eleven miles from town whilst waiting for her horses to finish their dinner. She is anxious to know if her husband is already in town before her. Nina Herries is with her, reading and working quietly beside her. She cannot tell Hamilton how Nina and her brother Edward met, as she was not in the room [Nina Herries later married Edward, the brother of Lady Herries. They were later to divorce]. Herries continues that the difference in their ages is 'just now so marked', which is increased by the 'remarkable smallness & [...] childishness of her figure for her time of life', that she has observed 'nothing in his manners to her but the affectionate attentions of a grown up Brother to a young Sister'. Herries has nevertheless noticed that when he talks of her he does so with 'approbation'. She is so young that only friendship is possible. Herries believes that 'her little heart is not quite indifferent'. She notes that she had her 'accidently sing me part of a song yesterday when he was in the room' and her voice 'trembled'. She concludes that she intends to leave the matter to itself.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries continues her letter dated 17 October, St James's Street, on Sir Robert Herries, music and Hamilton. Referring to Hamilton's pregnancy she writes of her joy at the 'dear child beginning to show'. Herries has just returned from Mrs Vesey's, where she saw Miss Clarke and Mrs Handcock. She believes that Mrs Vesey is much better and her 'memory not so confused'. She was both 'sweet' and 'delightful'. Herries is glad to be back at home and away from public life. As well as having Nina Herries with her she also has Mary [her younger sister], and she enjoys looking after them. She writes on her friend, Mrs [Anne] Hunter, and of her 'genius'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries concludes her letter by informing Hamilton that Sir Robert Herries has not yet returned home but surely will have by the time she gets the letter.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Malling Abbey.</p>

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