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. The letter discusses general news, a drawing of Nina Herries that has gone missing and which may have been taken by Robert Hamilton, and details of a poultice used to aid in pregnancy and in the safe delivery of the baby.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries writes that Hamilton will be surprised to receive a letter from her so soon and the reason concerns a drawing of Nina Herries [the artist was Barbiers]. Herries notes that she brought the drawing home with her in her chaise packed up in paper. The day before she left Hamilton on the Sunday, Herries writes that Nina came for it, specifically to show Hamilton's sister-in-law, Miss Dickenson, after which she repacked the drawing in paper and placed it on Miss Dickenson's bed and never saw it again. It seems she forgot to ask for it to be returned and believes she has therefore left it in Taxal. Before Herries left on Monday, Nina and a servant searched everywhere to make sure nothing was left. Herries knows that Hamilton would have written if she had found it and suspects – possibly referring to Robert Hamilton who had been visiting Hamilton - that a 'certain gentleman' has taken it. If wrong she begs his 'pardon' and hopes indeed that she is wrong. Herries believes that Nina is 'innocent' and has not passed him the drawing as she asked her servant for the drawing the previous night so that she could show Herries's sister-in-law. Herries has not yet said a word to Sir Robert Herries about the incident as he will be very 'vexed' at the 'casualness' of how they left it and angry if her suspicions are correct. Herries asks if anything further had passed since the 'conversation' she had with the gentleman'. He had talked of writing to Nina though she had assured Herries that she had told him not to, that she would 'not answer any letter he might write'. Herries writes in confidence to Hamilton and Dickenson, noting that if he does not have the picture then all is well and she has no doubt that Hamilton will come across it somewhere in her house. If this is not the case then she will leave it to Hamilton's own judgement on how to get it from him though she suggests that it may be best if she recovered it without speaking to him about it, but if she is unable to find it by this method then he should be asked for it. Herries writes that she had no quarrel with such a close relative to Hamilton and to be able to let the incident 'pass quietly'. There is no possibility that it has been mislaid anywhere else.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries also writes on the subject of the 'precious manuscript book' that Hamilton had passed her (see HAM/1/17/165; possibly referring to Hamilton's letter books <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/3</a>) noting that she is not yet ready to give it up. She assures Hamilton of its safety, noting that she will not let it out of her hands. Herries's time has been taken up with numerous occupations since her return to London, making it impossible for her to finish it. She is saving it for her next 'leisure hours' which she hopes will be soon.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Possibly referring to a recipe for a poultice, Herries writes of a receipt a Mrs Lambast mentioned and which Hamilton may want and if Hamilton's 'suspicion' is verified then it may be to her benefit. Lady Hume, she writes, is the first named Lady on the receipt and Herries is sure that Hamilton will not let anyone see the names listed.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries also briefly writes on Mrs Carter, on her friend Miss Bowdler and asks if Hamilton had heard from Sir William and Lady Hamilton and the Palombis. She asks for news and tells her not to worry over the drawing as she wishes to hear from her that she is well. The letter ends on the subject of a receipt to be passed on for a poultice to aid in childbirth. Herries notes that one woman who had used the receipt of the poultice had given birth to a 'live chid after four & twenty miscarriages'. She continues to detail the recipe for the poultice writing that Lady Hopetoun had given the receipt to the Duchess of Devonshire who had 'never' had a live child without it & with her it once stopped a miscarriage after the flooding & pain were come on'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at St James's Street, [London].</p>

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