Bridget Hawkins (Roper-Curzon) to Martha Jefferson (Randolph)

Abscence my Dr Jef certainly enhances the value of those we love & makes us more anxious for their welfare—since I left Paris I do not remember anything to have afforded me so much real satisfaction as your last letter—I began to be very uneasy at your long silence fearing it might be occasioned by some tragical event concerning your abjuration1 (which by the bye you never mention), or that you had taken some new friend into favor, who had entirely put poor Joquin’s nose out of joint, as I am now perfectly satisfied as to those points I shall resume a subject not perhaps more interesting but some-what more amusing & calculated2 for Epistolary matter, tho’ on further recollection as I wish to be looked upon in the light of a Punctual young woman, I shall begin by answering & making my observations on your letter (the criticisms are not to be communicated) & as your lady ship stands much on Punctilio & has a great deal of the “old maid” in her composition, I doubt not but that this resolution will meet your approbation, for if par hasard I should omit answering one syl’able, I should lose in one instant every right to assume that character & perhaps (I shudder at the idea), win your displeasure, my! how shocking—observation the first—my opinion is that after having caused much uneasiness to a friend one would not exactly begin by plaisanterie & as to the very great affairs, opinions, necessity & etc, it’s all nonsense, mere nonsense—the next sermon Mr E gives you, I hope will be on flattery, you seem much addicted to that dreadful vice, if he were to know you called your friend a fool, (whether directly or indirectly is immaterial), the Lord have mercy on you—do you know that speech was enough to turn the brain of almost every young woman at least for a month, luckily it was addressed to one who has too much good sense to receive any bad impression from it, however the intentions I fear were bad, very bad, therefore penance my child is your only resource, so have resource to penance—I have at last received Mde Croftons letter, it was a very kind one & made me extremely happy—I regret much having quitted Panthemont before your revolt—I think I should make a tolerable good rebel—my fidelity & respect [at?] least you might have depended upon—I like [Larry’s?] spirit vastly, I wonder he could imagine a young girl would like to become in one day mother of half-dozen squalling brats—the man must be crazy, & if the truth was known, I dare say got a blow in the cradle—

Mlle Palett is a wonderful melancholy story, evokes tears on perusing it—you know I have received from nature that dubious gift, a heart of exquisite tenderness & sensibility—I was shock’d beyond measure at your reception of Mr Giffard, my amiable relation—tho’ he is such an idiot that it does not much signify, poor fool. he was in such an extasy [. . .] that I would honor him with my commissions that I thought his head was turned & was really alarmed, you know my Dr I have weak nerves—I am glad the prints meet your approbation, I will send you some more when I go to town, & some story books for Polly, kiss the Dr girl for me & assure her I will answer her charming letter the first opportunity—for your books, I return you my most sincere thanks, I shall not offer to pay you as you will I hope permit me to send you likewise such like trifles—faites mes excusa ma cher petit for le Diable emporte l’âmour, I can get it in London with some little difficulty—Je ne sais pas si elle est mort ou en vie—You must have a very unfeeling heart Jef to be insensible to the merits of so many amiable young people—however I dont blame your conduct—from a very selfish motive which you will easily divine unless you are a little thick-headed or so—I will send you many verses & paragraphs from the Morn’g Post with the stories in question—I thank you for the Italian verses, which by the bye you never sent me—let me add en passant that absences generally proceed from les affaires du coeur cela ne fait ciel—I ask no questions as one is shy I have heard of making those kinds of confidences—Now Jefferson if your next letter is on drawing paper 6 pages, I will tell you a secret of the utmost importance, if I break my word never depend on anything I say, if you have the least friendship for me Je ne sais se ji dois, never flatter it will likewise interest my dear Patsy, & pray write to me always in French—I should take it as a particular favor—We have been for sometime past at Weymouth for the recovery of my Mothers health which is nearly re-established—we pass our time delightfully—this winter we shall have plays, balls, concerts & routs without end—nothing very ridiculous il ne semble dans ces projects—I have had many elegant presents—& am to have Papa’s & Mama’s picture this winter—you may direct your next [. . .] to Wilbury near Amesburg Wiltshire

make abjuration? & how is it to be made known to your Father?—is there any thing I can send from England with the prints but beads & books, I do not remember your having asked for any other things—but as my memory is bad you will remind me or you st will stand a great chance of not getting them—tis an odd thing but really I do not despair seeing a fool more considered than a belle esprit (how we should shine then Jeff)—Tis now the ton to be per blind—short-sighted & I suppose by the end of this winter Deafness will be introduced—the faculties will soon be of no use, that of smelling excepted as perfumes are commoner & more made use of this year than was ever known—apropos did you not wish for a smelling bottle?—What are the fashionable hats at present chez vous? I am glad you are getting rid of your bashfullness & difidence—I find assurance very necessary in the world, where every man judges you from the appearance opinion you seem yourself to have of your ability abilities—who is your friend amongst the great Pens, & in the classes who do you associate most with? has Dashwood any more of her Vertigen? does Toby scold her as usual? I wish you would send me some neat little envelopes by your famous american great Heart, I suppose Joquin is wild, you’ll no doubt exclaim, but we are ever apt to judge of foreign people by their countrymen—tis lucky for me we are at a distance—Does [Heard?] ever ask after me? Adieu Jefferson, I fear my Dr girl I have tried your patience with my enormous & stupid letter epistle t’was your own request, therefore my child the fault lays with you—I shall only add thathas renewed he[r?] correspondance with me & that I am

Yours affectionately & Everlastingly

My love to all the girls—compt to all the Nuns—& every thing most affectionate for Mde Crofton, I wish she could read my heart—You Jef—who I believe is capable of a sincere attachment, even you know that, how much I love her—I dare not write to Mde Duthériè, woe is me, what can I do? she knows I have written to the other, I love her still dearly but nothing like the other, I did not dare openly declare my change, as poor Vink was so blamed—but love knows no laws—never mention a word of this or I should never forgive thee—again Adieu, Adieu pray write soon as you value the friendship of your B—. If you are discreet all the riddle this letter contains shall be explained in my next & provided you write immediately on receiving this &—long letter long very long—Tell me [. . .] what is the name of the story so much admired by [Bruny?] & in the same work’s as Mde de Cleves? dont you buy it, as I can I fancy, procure them in England—likewise tell me the name of ces ouvres—dans les quels est Uphemie une Religiuse, if you are not too deade I will send you The new Peerage—play written by the author of thetis perfectly ton, the rage at present is Acting, the fashionable amusement boring—we have had many divorces & elopements lately—I have heard nothing of Annesly & Mama wont let me visit [Duayne?] she sees such vulgar company—Thank you my Dr Jef for your hair, it is believe me inexpressibly valuable to me, you shall have some of mine when I can get it well cut—I am very angry with Dashwood for her stubborness, I dont know if I shall write to her I am quite affronted they tire me particularily the gentleman like her cousin Mlle Elizth D—a great compliment, she is a lovely young woman therefore like me in that respect if in no other—I have read lately Julie de Rabigeri. Lord how I cried at mon Dieu, mama imagine, I was in Hystericks especially as they are the famous disorder most in vogue at present So Me for sooth has taken upon herself to be called Charlotte, I have no idea of people giving themselves such unnecessary airs—especially when they have naturally so elegant an one bt Patsy I am really astonished, quite surprised—am not I a good girl to write you such immense letters & dans le monde on via pas l’esprit aussi libre que dans la solitude si vous etiez honnête vous me feriez derie que cela ne [. . .] pas aumoins au convent dans cet vocation—mais on est si grossiere au convent—foi mon mon cher couer a plaisir de me, dire quelle mine tu as fait a en lisant cela un peu drolle je parurais bien—dont forget to send me [. . .] memoire—I shall want many things from Paris soon & wish to discharge my debts before I contract others—Now Jef if you want any thing from England I shall be much hurt if I have not your commissions, I have a right to expect them as I have nevermyself with you—I wish you would write to Mde de la [Fonce?] for me just a line or two, dont be frightened, she is not satyrical & give her my direction as enclosed & tell her I am most hurt, she has not answered my letter, I suppose she has quitted her lodgings—(hotel I mean (I beg her pardon) & perhaps has not received it therefore pray send a commissionaire, tell her too that I have left school some time past, you would oblige me much Dr Jef & dont tell the girls they might think it odd—her directions are Mde La Duchesse de la Fonce chez Mr C. marquis dessein rué des St Peres f. B. St Germain—she does not understand English. What sort of an animal is l’abbé Mathias? have you seen the child lately? how does E do tell me where are you to

Tell Mde Crofton I beg she will answer my letter soon Bellecour & Botidoux are likewise letters in my debt—I dont know that I ever told you that I saw Lady Murray almost every day during my sejour at Bologne—she beg’d me to explain the history of the 6th which I did tell Dashwood as she could have dictated her she been with

—I came to England in the same

with Sir Archibald & the brother

of the foreman a great beau the latter a remarkably fine lad very shy but of that he will soon mend—

Ever since I have been there, (at Weymouth), have I waited with the greatest impatience for a line from My Dear Jefferson, each Post has brought me but a disappointment—I am sorry to find you verify so soon that old saying, out of sight out of mind—I must own I had little reason to expect otherwise, but you know my dear girl we are ever but too happy to deceive ourselves in the belief of our wishes—indulge me however with two or three lines, just to let me know the occasion of your silence, that satisfaction you cannot well refuse me. Direct at Thos Bradshaw’s Esq, Wilbury, near Amesbury, Wiltshire, where I am at present & where I hope to receive once more, a letter from a person I most sincerely love; I have many things I wish to tell you, but as I fear my letter will prove troublesome should it be too long, I will bid you Adieu & will only add that what ever answer you may return me, I shall unalterably

remain your faithful & Affectionate friend
B. H.

My love to all my friends, particularily Bellecour & Mdes Crofton & Du Cherÿ

Tr (ViU: ER); undated; in an unidentified hand; with possible transcription errors.
1Tr: “abjucation.”
2Tr: “caculated.”
Date Range
January 1, 1788 to December 31, 1788