Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Regency letters Five

05. April 1816
From Lady Horatia Melton to her husband

Dear Melton
I hope that this letter finds you in good health. I fear that I cannot yet tell you when I may return to London. My sister is still in low spirits and my mother has had a chill. I believe I must stay with them for at least another month.

You may have seen Robert while he was in London. He has just visited with us and was in good health and spirits. I am happy to tell you that he met a young lady he admired. Miss Susanne Smith is just sixteen and not really out but he was able to be of service to her when her hat blew off in a sudden gust of wind. It turns out he knows her older brother well and has been invited to spend his next leave with them. Of course Susanne is much too young to think of an engagement yet but Robert has some years yet to serve and I daresay in another three or four years – if they continue to like one another – we may have some interesting news.

I ask you to forgive any neglect on my part but I do not think you will miss me. You have so many friends and amusements that it cannot be of concern to you where I choose to reside.

Your wife Horatia.

05 April From Lady Horatia Melton to her brother Robert Jenson

My own dear one.

Words cannot express how happy I was to see you. Our walks together were a joy and I was gratified that you gave your approval of my friendship with a certain person. He is the most delightful man, do you not agree? His kindness, concern for Antoine, Mama and myself are I am sure perfectly honest and deeply felt. I know you feel I must be very careful not to arouse suspicion or gossip. I have tried to conceal my feelings even from my sister, but when the three of us were together there was no need and I am certain you saw my happiness.

I know you will understand when I tell you that I long to be free of a marriage, which has ceased to mean anything to me, but for your sake, Mama’s and my sister’s, I shall do nothing in haste. Mama would be terribly upset and shocked, and Bathurst might forbid my sister to see me. I should not like to be estranged from my family. However, my main concern would be for you, Robert. I know that it is your intention to take up politics once you leave the army and a scandal could only harm your chances.

Yet my heart tells me that I cannot face an empty future. My dearest friend tells me that we should live abroad. He believes my mother, sister and Bathurst would eventually forgive me and I might be allowed to visit when the scandal has blown over. I have asked him to be patient. If Melton would agree to an amicable separation there need be no scandal. I could just go abroad for the sake of my health and a divorce could follow in a year or two.

Take care of yourself, my dear one. Please write when you have the time and I shall do the same.

Your loving sister as always.