Letter 25: ALB to Mrs. Rickards, 11 November 1807

Letter 25: ALB to Mrs. Rickards, 11 November 1807 [1]

  • Physical form: One sheet folded into 2 leaves (18.1 x 22.2 cm)
  • Cover: Mrs Rickards / Crescent / Birmingham
  • PM: None
  • WM: None
  • SM: Misc MS 4366

My dear Mrs Rickards,

You judge rightly in concluding that Mr Barbauld & myself must feel the most lively interest in the communication we have just recieved from your friendship. We thank you very sincerely for your kindness in making it, & beg to congratulate you on having, so much to your satisfaction, concluded an affair which I am sure must have been the most anxiously trying to your feelings of any you have been engaged in since the disposal of your own hand—I never had the pleasure of personally knowing Dr Withering, [2] but your intimacy with the family I was aware of, [this comma appears to have been inserted later, for the ink is much darker] & it must be a most pleasing circumstance to you to dispose of the dear girl amongst your old & intimate connections. Still my dear Madam I enter entirely into your feelings which let the connection be as agreeable as it may, & the situation as near as it may, must suggest in some measure the idea of privation; to marry a daugh[ter] well is

[fol 1v] a joy no doubt to a fond mother but it must be a weeping joy. To the object of your solicitude, to our dear Lydia, present our sincere congratulations, & most ardent wishes for every blessing & every satisfaction that can attend the state into which she is preparing to enter; may the happy man who has won the possession of so valuable a heart estimate it properly & use it kindly— As to waiting a twelvemonth, that may or may not ^be^, my friend Mrs John Taylor, [3] with all her firmness & her resolves, found herself obliged to give up in the article of time to the importunity of the lover— Weddings seem to be the order of the day; the Kinder’s are all in high bustle preparing for Robert’s marriage, which is to be in a week. [4] Hannah has been as busy as if it were her own wedding, in buying furniture &c, Sarah painting screens, Mrs Kinder hemming table cloths, as to Mary she is just recovering from a fever, & has hardly got up her looks or spirits. Miss Finch [5] is spending this week with them, her visit to me draws towards a close, which I am sorry for, as I shall miss her much. The presence of a chearful young person in the house gives a sunshine which hardly any thing else can procure. I flatter myself the visit has been of some service to her too,

[fol 2r] in recruiting her strength & spirits. Mr Barbauld & myself both feel better than we did during the heats of the late hot Summer, but as to a journey to Birmingham next Summer, which you so kindly say is settled, we should think it presumption at this distance of time to think of settling any thing about it, one thing is certain, that a strong desire to see again our dear friends &xxx either here or there, & the most affectionate remembrance of them will always live in our breasts. Believe me dear Madam Y[our] & Miss Rickards’

ever obliged & affectionate

friend AL Barbauld

Mr & Mrs C. Aikin desire Compts, they would also I doubt not have congratulated Miss Rickards on her prospects, but as I did not know how far the affair might be a secret, I did not tell them——


[1] The year is confirmed by reference to a letter from ALB to Susan Taylor Reeve, 29 Dec. 1807, in which ALB says that Miss Finch has just left them after a 6 months’ visit. BACK

[2] "Dr. Withering": The botanist William Withering (1741–99), to whose son, William Withering Jr., LR has just become engaged to marry. BACK

[3] "Mrs. John Taylor": Susannah Taylor. See Note 6 to Letter 6. BACK

[4] "the Kinders . . . Robert": See Note 5 to Letter 7, Note 2 to Letter 10, Note 4 to Letter 23, and Note 7 to Letter 24. BACK

[5] "Miss Finch": See Note 3 to Letter 22. BACK