Amelia Alderson [Opie] to Susannah Taylor

August 12, 17971

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Englefield Green — Friday —

My very dear friend,

I cannot meet even the kindest glance of your eye, without having written a few lines, before our reunion — I must tell you, that of all the letters I have received from my friends, your’s gave me the most pleasure tho’ I had not the grace to say so till now — when we meet, I will tell you why — indeed I must put off a great many communications till that time — suffice, that whatever you hear about me, you must disbelieve

I hope to see you this day week if not before — I saw Richard for a few minutes the other evening — I think him improved in manner and in person he is really killing — Have you not heard of any conquests of his making? For my part, I am going to write him a billet doux this very day — The Plumptres are well, and comfortable I hope — Anne is grown handsome, and young, and is thought much the younger of the two — I shall miss them most when I return, as I trust you do now —

Here I am, on a high hill wishing most fervently, tho’ not warmly, for a fire and in the middle of August too! —

Shall we, (I fear not) have some hot evening walks? — I shall want them by way of relaxation from my studies — (Do not laugh.) Positively, I must set hard to work, as the theatre opens in September —

Farewell! I must conclude, Mrs H: is sitting by me, and I have been writing a long time —


1. For permission to publish the text of manuscript in their possession, the editor would like to thank The New York Public Library's Berg Collection. Written to Susannah Taylor from Englefield Green, this letter is postmarked August 12, 1797 and addressed to “Mrs. John Taylor, St. George’s, Norwich.” Englefield Green is a large village in northern Surrey approximately thirty miles outside of central London. The manuscript letter is held by the Berg Collection and Brightwell includes it in her Memorials (66-67), but entirely deletes the second paragraph as well as the subsequent reference to a “Mrs. H:” in the final paragraph. Currently unidentified, Mrs. H. was almost certainly Alderson’s hostess in Surrey. Brightwell suggests that Alderson stopped in Englefield Green on the way home to Norwich but this is highly unlikely since the village is to the southwest of London while Norwich is to the far northeast. Topics in this letter: Friendship, Travel in Britain, and Writing (65).