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, concerning the absence of letters from Hamilton and the marriage of Frances Burney.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries wonders to what she can attribute Hamilton's long silence. She again (see HAM/1/17/203) believes that the silence is not caused by any change in Hamilton's feelings towards her. Such an 'idea would be unworthy of a heart like yours' or indeed of her own. Herries nevertheless asks why she never hears from her and that, although she knows that Hamilton does not like to write as much as Herries, she still longs to hear from her and of her family. 'Perhaps', she suggests, she is ' complaining of an imaginary Silence and it may be the post in fault'. The letter continues in this vein, with Herries concerned that Hamilton may be too ill to write. She wonders that if this was the case surely Mr Dickenson would write in her place, as he has done so in the past. She continues her letter by listing, as she has done in previous letters, details of the letters that she has sent Hamilton since leaving her home. She writes of accounts she has received of Hamilton from Miss E. Dickenson, Nina Foote [née Herries] and Mr Sackville. This is that Hamilton is in good health, that the Dickensons' Taxal property has been sold and that Hamilton will be moving to London.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries hopes that Hamilton has heard that she has arrived safely on Italy and she knows that she will be anxious for her, especially if she has been at Toulon. Herries had only left Toulon eight days before the 'sad Scene began, which has had such a disastrous close & which must fill every English Heart with sadness' [the siege of Toulon]. The letter continues on the war, her travels and her intentions of staying in Pisa for at least two months. Her friend Miss Bowdler is with her, and Sir Robert has left on business but hopes to be back in a day or so.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Herries is unsure as to how long she will stay in the country, it depends on a number of circumstances, but Sir Robert would like her to stay long enough to benefit from the climate. She refers to the marriage of Frances Burney [1752-1840, married Alexandre D'Arblay], noting 'Miss Burney's match has surprised' both Miss Bowdler and Lady Herries, '& must I think have done to you also'. She continues that by 'all accounts it is in every respect a very bad one'. If Hamilton knows 'anything that may give one reason [to] hope she may find any happiness in this extraordinary union we [will] rejoice to hear it'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The letter continues with general news. If Sir Robert decides to travel to Naples, he will enquire after Hamilton's relations.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Pisa.</p>

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