George Crabbe

Thomas C. Faulkner and Rhonda L. Blair (eds), Selected Letters and Journals of George Crabbe

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88. To Elizabeth Charter

Trowbridge, 23 December 1818

AL (Brotherton, MS Romance, ii. 144), 23 Dec. 1818

Double sheet 4 to 4 pp., 23.1 x 18.8 cm.

Address: Miss Eliz. Charter | Wilbury House | 'Amsbury' | Wilts


Trowbridge 23 Decr 1818

My dear Miss Charter

I have just read your Letter—I mean for the first Time —and am desirous of returning my Thanks as soon as they pg 250can be written. You are very good and mild in your gentle Censures of my Wanderings and Disobedience, but I can give some Account of myself for at least three months past that if it will not be a complete Apology for me, will at least incline your placable Mind to Forgiveness.

I not only wished to join your Party on the Coast, but I indulged the Thought for a considerable Time, till I found myself, in Suffolk, beset by insurmountable Hindrances. I have in Beccles a Sister—Sister to Mrs Crabbe—with whom I have been in Habits of Friendliness, but not Intimacy, till on a Visit to that Place, where also reside the Family of my Son's Wife,—We became more associated & she having to go to Town on Business, accompanied me and we dwelt together in Maddox Street a longer Time than either of us expected; so that a Month was thus added to the one spent in Visits to my Friends & no Business of any Importance none indeed but the usual kind of filing & polishing rough and harsh Lines: With this Lady, Politeness would have demanded my Return to Beccles *again* if Affection had not and there, by that kind of gentle Compulsion which your Sex knows so well how to apply I was induced to stay one other Week: At Length I came to Town unconnected with Company and [verso] then prepared in earnest for that kind of Negotiation for which I am so much unfitted by Nature & Habit.

Mr Hatchard who appeared to claim (I know not why) a first offer of my Tales &c—whatever Appellation they may yet bear—and I in part complied, but we were at some loss how to act, for I would not put it in his power to say 'I refused the Work on the Terms offered' neither would I any more publish in the former Way: but as Mr Hatchard himself as we were talking on the Subject mentioned a thousand Pounds as the Sum up to which he did not think it possible that I should [X] aspire or he advance, I put an End to our Conference by assuring him that I should expect considerably more or would take my Marketings back again. We had some Difficulty respecting the Copies yet in Hand, but I hope Mr Murray & he will have no Disputation; for to that Gentleman I have disposed of my Manuscript & Copyright of the former Articles under certain pg 251Stipulations. He has been liberal enough I think in his proposal & whenever the promisory Notes now in my Hands are realized I will tell you what I have done,1 but these Things are so visionary in this trading Kingdom, where no one's Wealth is to be ascertained, that till a Bargain is concluded by actual Delivery on one Side & Payment on the other, it can scarsely be called good or bad, but so far I may give it a Name, I call it good at least I am satisfied—

My Work is before me & I [conj. leaf] have now the first printed Sheet. I almost tremble at my Task, but as I got over the Reading three of ye Tales to some Gentlemen assembled at Mr Murray's on Purpose to judge &c you may allow that I have a portion of Courage or Fortitude & I hope it will be as [much as] I have Occasion for.

I admire Lady Malet & ever did since I heard of her & especially since I saw her in her own Family: does she never come to Bath? I should feel much Pleasure in the thought of meeting you in her Society & such Weather as now presents itself would do admirably for walking from Street to Street, & from Friend to Friend: Mr Hoare & his Family I may look for in the latter End of next Month, but at present Bath though full of Company has no Call upon me that I can obey with Satisfaction. I found my Son, his Wife & my few Fri[ends] & Neighbours in their usual State of Health and after a fe[w] Calls & Visits, I hope to sit down quietly and attend closely to Mr Murray's Business, unless when called Away by Duties of more Importance. Will you remember me to your Sister & give my respectful good Wishes to Lady Malet & will you accept them for yourself. They are of little Value & no Use, but very sincere & may be relied upon. I cannot refer to many Things in your Letter but I heartily thank you for all you communicate & do I pray my Dear Lady recollect that tho` the Date of your Letter is so early in the Month & this of mine is so late, yet was yours replied pg 252to as soon as it was read, for I am not yet settled at Home where as my Son expected me earlier, he did not send my Letters to Town & in Consequence of this I had many to answer, fortunately being almost all Letters of Business, they were answered by a few Words, and [verso] now my dear Miss Charter I must for the present say Farewell! & will trust to your native Kindness & Patience for a favourable Construction of all my Failings & Omissions. I am glad to hear of your Health & Comforts & should be yet more pleased to witness them. If you have a prospect of seeing Bath you will give me the Pleasure of knowing it. once more with kind Regards to your Sister

  • I remain Dear Miss Charter
  •     [Signature cut out]

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Editor’s Note
88 1 GC was back in Trowbridge by Sunday, 20 December when he preached on Luke 10: 29, 'But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour' (Sermons, p. 209). Under his Diary entry for 28 January 1819, Moore writes of 'Grabbers delight of having three thousand pounds in his pocket. R[ogers] offered to take care of the bills for him, but no, he must take them down to show them to his son John. "Would not copies do?" "No, must show son John the actual notes" ' (Moore Memoirs, ii. 259).
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