Single Letter

HAM/1/15/1/12

Letter from Charlotte Margaret Gunning to Mary Hamilton

Diplomatic Text


11

St James's March the 25th 1786


      Why do you not write to me my dear Friend? Why
have you never answered my last letter? are you not
well? I will not beleive that you are enough so to prevent
you writing -- I should have said all this before, for I
have constantly intended it, but I have been in a continual
hurry, and very much tormented wth a cough -- I should
be quite in despair at your silence had not I seen Mr
Dickenson who aʃsured me both of your health & of the
multitude of your epistolary engagements, which I will
know by experience what allowances to make for -- I aʃsure
you that except at breakfast, & at night when I return home
& am not too much fatigued to attend to anything, I never
have time to open a Book, the little time I can spare from
visiting I give to musick, and to exercise, when the weather
permits me to do so much for my Health -- as for Evenings
the few that remain at my own disposal, my Friends
seize upon, often when I had rather stay quietly at home.
but how can I shew my gratitude for their attachment
& friendships & my sense of it, but by complying with requests
so flattering & so warmly urged -- some indeed are affronted
if I paʃs 4 days without coming to them -- to those indeed
I go with leʃs pleasure tho' their motive, cannot but



flatter me. inshort perfect liberty is the summum bonum
& where there is the least restraint, the least obligation of
doing the thing even that we like, the charm is fled --
you indeed my dear Friend are happy, if happineʃs
exists for us -- & may you long continue so! may
bleʃsings be poured down upon you, with every circumstance
that can enhance their value, or add to them a charm.
I have been much better within these ten Days -- some
very warm, delightful weather had almost cured my
cough, it is now snowing violently and has done so
for two Days, so I expect that tomorrows ancient musick
will give me fresh cold -- poor dear Mrs Delany has been
very indifferent herself, and exceʃsively distreʃsed about
Mrs Port who has been dangerously ill in her house &
is still ill, tho' better -- Mrs D. is but very indifferent -- I
am sure you will be vexed at this most cruel circumstance
we have often agreed that at all times Mrs Port's visit is rather
a bad & hurrying thing for poor Mrs D. but to be ill, there,
is too provoking, especially at a moment when I am sure
she wanted no additional circumstance of distreʃs to
overcome her spirits & resolution --
My F. &c are at length arrived at Bruʃsels -- I heard from
my Brother from thence on Friday, who gives me a very
comfortable account of them, tho' without saying a syllable
-- on the subject of their return. I do not expect it till the



end of May -- The sensation of being but 4 Days distance
from them after having been at that of 19 -- is quite delightful
& prepares me in some degree for the joy of that moment
when I shall find myself in their arms --
I was the other night at a Ball at Ly Gideon's which is the
only gay thing I have been guilty of since I wrote to you
I danced a good deal, after the crowd went away & that
it became cool & pleasant -- I beleive it did me good & I
rather think with pleasure of a Ball next Thursday at the french
Embaʃsadors where I am to be, if a long Drawingroom
in the morning does not quite fatigue me for the day
I am to day going to dine & spend the Evening wh M[rs]
Wilmot -- Mrs Bates is to be there at night & of cour[se]
the entertainment will be delightful -- this is & ------
will be preferable in my opinion to all other amusem[ents]
there is nothing like musick, no, not even Mrs
Siddons[1] -- adieu my dear, I must conclude
this uninteresting stupid scrawl, which has no merit
but that of aʃsuring you of my sincere & tender attachme[nt]
I will not paʃs another day without sending my letter
which I was interrupted in three days ago, as you will
perceive by the date -- this is Tuesday 28th --
adieu, ever your affec:
CMG.

Remember me kindly to
Mr D. & Ly. Wake -- you now owe me two letters --




To[2]
Mrs Dickenson
Courteen Hall
Northamton

Decbr 17-2 Ld - Hamilton
died at Paris
[3]


I hear two, that
I hear to that
[4]

(hover over blue text or annotations for clarification;
red text is normalised and/or unformatted in other panel)


Notes


 1. Sarah Siddons (née Kemble) (1755-1831), famous actress, friend of Mary Hamilton.
 2. Postmark '28 MR' above address when unfolded.
 3. Moved annotation here from top of p.3, above the address when unfolded.
 4. These two crossed-out lines are written below the address on page 3.

Normalised Text



St James's March the 25th 1786


      Why do you not write to me my dear Friend? Why
have you never answered my last letter? are you not
well? I will not believe that you are enough so to prevent
you writing -- I should have said all this before, for I
have constantly intended it, but I have been in a continual
hurry, and very much tormented with a cough -- I should
be quite in despair at your silence had not I seen Mr
Dickenson who assured me both of your health & of the
multitude of your epistolary engagements, which I will
know by experience what allowances to make for -- I assure
you that except at breakfast, & at night when I return home
& am not too much fatigued to attend to anything, I never
have time to open a Book, the little time I can spare from
visiting I give to music, and to exercise, when the weather
permits me to do so much for my Health -- as for Evenings
the few that remain at my own disposal, my Friends
seize upon, often when I had rather stay quietly at home.
but how can I shew my gratitude for their attachment
& friendships & my sense of it, but by complying with requests
so flattering & so warmly urged -- some indeed are affronted
if I pass 4 days without coming to them -- to those
I go with less pleasure though their motive, cannot but



flatter me. in short perfect liberty is the summum bonum
& where there is the least restraint, the least obligation of
doing the thing even that we like, the charm is fled --
you indeed my dear Friend are happy, if happiness
exists for us -- & may you long continue so! may
blessings be poured down upon you, with every circumstance
that can enhance their value, or add to them a charm.
I have been much better within these ten Days -- some
very warm, delightful weather had almost cured my
cough, it is now snowing violently and has done so
for two Days, so I expect that tomorrows ancient music
will give me fresh cold -- poor dear Mrs Delany has been
very indifferent herself, and excessively distressed about
Mrs Port who has been dangerously ill in her house &
is still ill, though better -- Mrs Delany is but very indifferent -- I
am sure you will be vexed at this most cruel circumstance
we have often agreed that at all times Mrs Port's visit is rather
a bad & hurrying thing for poor Mrs Delany but to be ill, there,
is too provoking, especially at a moment when I am sure
she wanted no additional circumstance of distress to
overcome her spirits & resolution --
My Father &c are at length arrived at Brussels -- I heard from
my Brother from thence on Friday, who gives me a very
comfortable account of them, though without saying a syllable
-- on the subject of their return. I do not expect it till the



end of May -- The sensation of being but 4 Days distance
from them after having been at that of 19 -- is quite delightful
& prepares me in some degree for the joy of that moment
when I shall find myself in their arms --
I was the other night at a Ball at Lady Gideon's which is the
only gay thing I have been guilty of since I wrote to you
I danced a good deal, after the crowd went away & that
it became cool & pleasant -- I believe it did me good & I
rather think with pleasure of a Ball next Thursday at the french
Ambassadors where I am to be, if a long Drawingroom
in the morning does not quite fatigue me for the day
I am to day going to dine & spend the Evening with Mrs
Wilmot -- Mrs Bates is to be there at night & of course
the entertainment will be delightful -- this is & ------
will be preferable in my opinion to all other amusements
there is nothing like music, no, not even Mrs
Siddons -- adieu my dear, I must conclude
this uninteresting stupid scrawl, which has no merit
but that of assuring you of my sincere & tender attachment
I will not pass another day without sending my letter
which I was interrupted in three days ago, as you will
perceive by the date -- this is Tuesday 28th --
adieu, ever your affectionate
Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Remember me kindly to
Mr Dickenson & Lady Wake -- you now owe me two letters --




To
Mrs Dickenson
Courteen Hall
Northampton



(consult diplomatic text or XML for annotations, deletions, clarifications,
quotations,
spellings, uncorrected forms, split words, abbreviations, formatting)



 1. Sarah Siddons (née Kemble) (1755-1831), famous actress, friend of Mary Hamilton.
 2. Postmark '28 MR' above address when unfolded.
 3. Moved annotation here from top of p.3, above the address when unfolded.
 4. These two crossed-out lines are written below the address on page 3.

Metadata

Library References

Repository: The John Rylands Library, University of Manchester

Archive: Mary Hamilton Papers

Item title: Letter from Charlotte Margaret Gunning to Mary Hamilton

Shelfmark: HAM/1/15/1/12

Correspondence Details

Author: Charlotte Margaret Gunning

Place sent: London

Addressee: Mary Hamilton

Place received: Courteenhall, near Northampton

Date sent: 25 March 1786

Letter Description

Summary: Letter from Charlotte Gunning to Mary Hamilton. She writes of how busy she is and that she does not get time to open a book. She reports on Mrs Delany's health and on her family. Gunning attended a ball at Lady Gideon's, 'the only gay thing I have been guilty of since I last wrote to you'. She 'danced a good deal, after the crowd went away'. The ball did her good and she looks forward to her next. She continues on her social commitments and writes that there is nothing better than music, 'no, not even Mrs Siddons'.
    Dated at St James's, [London].
    Original reference No. 11.
   

Length: 1 sheet, 766 words

Transliteration Information

Editorial declaration: First edited in the project 'Image to Text' (David Denison & Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, 2013-2019), now incorporated in the project 'Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers' (Hannah Barker, Sophie Coulombeau, David Denison, Tino Oudesluijs, Cassandra Ulph, Christine Wallis & Nuria Yáñez-Bouza, 2019-2022).

All quotation marks are retained in the text and are represented by appropriate Unicode characters. Words split across two lines may have a hyphen on the first, the second or both fragments (reco-|ver, imperfect|-ly, satisfacti-|-on); or a double hyphen (pur=|port, dan|=ger, qua=|=litys); or none (respect|ing). Any point in abbreviations with superscripted letter(s) is placed last, regardless of relative left-right orientation in the original. Thus, Mrs. or Mrs may occur, but M.rs or Mr.s do not.

Acknowledgements: XML version: Research Assistant funding in 2014/15 and 2015/16 provided by the Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester.

Research assistant: Isabella Formisano, former MA student, University of Manchester

Research assistant: Carla Seabra-Dacosta, MA student, University of Vigo

Transliterator: Katie Ashworth, undergraduate student, University of Manchester (submitted May 2016)

Cataloguer: Lisa Crawley, Archivist, The John Rylands Library

Cataloguer: John Hodgson, Head of Special Collections, The John Rylands Library

Copyright: Transcriptions, notes and TEI/XML © the editors

Revision date: 13 April 2020

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