The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Lady Catherine Herries (née Foote) and Miss Sarah Nicolls to Mary Hamilton

Herries (née Foote), Catherine, Nicolls, Sarah

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Lady Catherine Herries and Miss S[arah] Nicolls to Mary Hamilton, written in two parts: the first one is from Lady Herries, who writes on making the acquaintance of two of John Dickenson's distant relations, the second one is written by Miss S[arah] Nicolls, one of John Dickenson's relations.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Lady Herries refers to a previous letter written to Hamilton in which she informed her of intending to visit Malvern Wells. Amongst the acquaintances she has made at Malvern are 'two Ladies, the Miss Nichollses of Cheshire' (see HAM/1/9/91), who have informed her that they are distant relations of Hamilton's husband, John Dickenson. She need not inform Hamilton that they have talked of her and her family. The younger of the two ladies has told her that she has long regretted not having answered a letter from Hamilton, 'but for not doing it when she should has every month felt unequal to repairing her fault'. She also did not know where to address her letter. Herries continues that Miss Nicolls will write to her, but has asked Herries to write first to explain the delay.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The Herrieses plan to return to Cheltenham on Wednesday. The letter continues with her thoughts on Malvern Hill, which she likes, although her health has not benefited by being here.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Miss Nicolls continues the next part of the letter. Miss Nicolls is grateful for having Lady Herries to 'plead [her] cause' and for the long silence and 'not thanking Mr Dickenson for his kind and affectionate letter'. Referring to the death of someone close [possibly Miss Nicolls' brother-in-law], she writes that she had received his letter whilst 'just alive after so long an attendance upon a Death bed and to fortify [her sister] Fanny's mind to submit to it almost proved too great an exertion that for months after I was not equal to any thing nor do I think yet to recover'd it no more than her Sister who at times, is still very low and I am obliged to help her amongst strangers and always amuse as much as I can to prevent her from looking back'. Mr Dickenson is aware of the affection which Fanny and the person who has died had [possibly Fanny's husband, as the letter later notes that Fanny has left her house three years since because she could 'not be comfortable in it yet'], and Miss Nicolls hopes that the Dickensons will write to her and confirm that they have 'not lost all their affection and regard' for her, as she loves them and Louisa dearly. She continues that Lady Herries has told her that Louisa has grown into a 'very fine Girl [...] quite lovely and as good as she is pleasing'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>She continues her letter with general news. The Nicollses have not seen the Dickenson family for some time. Malvern Hill 'agrees' with them. They have found the air and the water beneficial and it has 'a little society without being too gay'. The Nicollses had spent a fortnight in Matlock, which was 'charming', but it had brought back too many names from the past from which Fanny 'was glad to get away'. Miss Nicolls ends her letter asking that the Dickensons to write a line to let her know that she is forgiven, and writes of her love for the Dickensons.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Malvern Wells.</p>

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