An altercation on horseback

[2018: images from the “Thank You For Your Letter” project have been deleted to make space for new posts.  The images have been retained within Derbyshire County Council’s internal records system so that we may re-use them in the future.]

D3580/C156: Rowdale, 1811

[To John Longsdon]

I write to you, I scarcely know why, but – there seems to me some shyness – some inexplicable mystery at Longdon, which it is impossible for me to develop – I went to Buxton under a most serious & trying indisposition –Providencefavor’d my exertions and I return’d home considerably amended – yet not so much so, as to make me feel entirely self-dependent. Last Friday however, was the first notice of any kind I rec’d from your family and that was from your Bro – James, driving near. This day Miss Longden & myself met your Father on our return from Bakewell – he had not call’d here – therefore I conclude he had purposely avoided doing so – he rode on the off-side our Horses, but our servant knowing him instinctively stop’d the Horse I was then upon – when Mr L. said “ah! Miss Hannah is it you? How do you do?”

“not very well” was my reply – as indeed my looks ward testify –

“who is that young lady on the single horse before you?”

“Miss Longden”, I told him – on which he galloped to overtake & speak to her – during the very short minutes converse we had, I could not help saying some thing about ingratitude, for tho I daresay you are unacquainted with it – report reach’d us at Buxton that it was Mr L. of Longdon who had so suddenly left this world – I – ill as I was made a great effort to find out the real truth – and the discovery as well as the anxiety previously – I mean the effect each had upon our but most particularly on my feelings, were known to your Father by means of a letter I had written to Mrs L. one day the week before last when very severe illness kept me in bed nearly the whole day –

indeed I am so much weakened in health & spirits by some untoward events which I discover’d just before I went to Buxton – and which the unkind – unfriendly behaviour of the family in the world, which I had treasured with my all of earthly comfort in that I am – I hope I am perfectly resign’d to leave this terrestrial globe – trusting, as I firmly do, in another all mistakes will be done away – I never intentionally err’d, nor at this moment am I conscious of the smallest deviation from the path of rectitude – yet when I spoke of the word ingratitude to Mr L. he set spurs to his Horse & rode quickly away – saying “it was the first time he had ever been accused of ingratitude” – as if the not being told of our faults were a presumptive proof that we do not possess any – pardon a very hurried scrawl the post waits for it – with sincerest wishes for your health & happiness I am, Dr Sir Yours truly

[Harriet Needham]

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