Thoughts on travel, family, and life...

West Yorkshire Archive Service, Calderdale SH:7/ML/1113

It is the weight of letters that is

considered not bulk. So you may

envelope if you please.

Lawton Hall July 6th 1840

Your letter, my dearest Fred, commenced on the 4th of May, &

ended on the 11th reached me on Friday the 12th of June, or rather I

should say reached this place, for I did not receive it until many days

after, as we were absent from home in search of health & strength, & our

movements being uncertain towards the close of our absence letters were not

forwarded. I have been, for the first time in my life, on the very brink of

another, and I trust it would have been a better world. An attack of

Typhus with a congestive bilious fever kept all those around me for many

days in uncertainty as to what might be the result; good medical advice,

good nursing, a good constitution, and god's blessing, has restored me to those

by whom I am most wanted, and thankful I felt, for any thing so miserable

or depressed as Mr Lawton was you cannot well imagine. I had no idea

that he would have felt it in the way he did, but he neither eat nor

slept, and his anxiety on my account had much to do with bringing on

a severe attack which threatened him of water on the chest, so that I was

hardly convalescent when he became seriously unwell, and change of air was

ordered for us both, it had the desired effect, and at the end of three weeks


we returned greatly improved, but I have been kept in much anxiety

for it is a disease which very often lurks in the system tho the patient

may appear perfectly well, and tho’ it is one of God's providence that we

cannot be always dwelling upon evils, yet I am not sufficiently sure of

his safety to allow me to leave him for more hours than I can help. Mrs

Milne has been of the family since last November, and a great comfort in my illness you will imagine it must have been to have her here. I suppose you receive English papers and are thereby made acquainted with all the stirring matters which have been going on, from the Queen, & Lord William Russell, to Robert Taylor the would be Lord Kennedy, I am rather interested in the latter, having made his acquaintance in a shop at N. B. where he shewed me all his “docky ments” - you would see the account of York Minster having again suffered from fire, the roof of the knave quite destroyed with all it’s beautiful bells, it was curious that our Rector, Mr Tipping, went on an excursion to the North with his Father was the first person to discover the flames & smoke pouring out of the Belfry Tower. At one time my mother’s house was considered in danger from the wind during the flakes of fire upon her roof, the furniture was removed from the drawing and dining rooms, but the wind happily went down & no damage was done except from the sudden and hurried way in which the things were moved. There is no doubt but the circumstance was purely accidental but at the same time great blame attaches to those who had the superintendence of the repairs, in not going after the work men had left to see that all was


safe. A subscription has been commenced for its restoration and government, as on a former occasion has given the timber. You have not, I dare say any personal recollection of any of my brother’s boys, unless it is that there was one with dark eyes much nicer looking than the rest, he died on Saturday last after a very short illness. His prospects in this world were bright, his uncle Mr Meek, now Mr Taylor, who has come into immense wealth by the death of two distant relations had adopted him, and already given him so much of his heart that I hear he is inconsolable at his death. Percy has suffered much in mind under the affliction, & her Father is anxious to get her to the Hot wells, but her state of weakness is such that I fear it would be to great a risque, she has not left her bed for seven months - Mr Fairfax of Newton died one day last week. Mrs Duffin is well, but lives much to herself, she often asks in the Minster Court whether I hear from you & Mrs Milne is still domesticated here, and a great comfort to me, when last she heard from Charlotte N. they were at Rome and going to Naples to remain some time. Both she and Isabella had been more or less unwell. My mother is well as to general health, but the death of George B has affected her a good deal, how wonderful are the dispensations of Providence, a fine healthy Boy in 4 or 5 short days is cut off, whilst she an old woman, at nearly the age of 80 recovered from a severe & exhausting illness, but a day is coming when we shall see and know that mercy to both parties was the cause. As to myself, having told you of my illness there is not much of interest to tell. I live here very quietly, we hardly ever go from home or company visit, & we see very few people here. My sole gift is to be useful, and do all the good I can. To my school house, which you remember I have added an infant school room, where 95 little urchins daily assemble. My school mistress, a nice young person from Leamington, who lives in the house is an interesting person.


I find plenty to do, & am very cheerful and contented tho’ I sometimes think I should like to see the Crimea - I have been very much interested in your letter & thank you much for the amusement it has afforded me. I have traced on you on the map and cannot but wonder as well as admire the spirit of enterprise which has earned you over such a tract of ground. I should like to visit the country of Abraham, Israel, & Jacob but, I must visit it in my armchair. Did you not feel sorrowful amongst all the Pagans to think of their lost condition, for scripture gives no encouragement to the warmest charity to hope for deliverance for them. How got you acquainted with your Prince of Tumen, & in what language did you address his Calmuc sister? How I should like to hear you tell me of all you have seen, perhaps you will write & tell me more some day, tho’ my letters cannot repay you, for they must seem a blank in the midst of all your exciting interests which surround you. But I have nothing new to tell you but hum drum home details - Eliza & Michael are gone abroad, they talked of Rome & Venice. Louisa & my uncle are off soon, the former has been very ill, & still continues very weak. You do not name your friend except as we. So I am led to believe she must be well if she can do all you have done.

My love to her, as well as to yourself & believe me always your very affectionate


Cover image: Rock and Sea in Crimea" by paukrus is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0