291. Robert Bloomfield to Hannah Bloomfield, 2–3 July 1814*
Shefford. July 2d 1814
My dear Girl
You will be anxious to hear from me, but when I have told you what the whole City of Shefford has been doing, you will excuse my long silence. Your last announced the safe arival of your Mother, and that you was going to Mrs Hodge on Monday &c, At that time a feast and illumination was talkd of, to take place here on Wednesday, but I could not have imagined that this little place could have exhibited any thing worth seeing or worth your coming home for. And besides had I written for that purpose it would have spoild your own plans in Town, and perhaps been impossible to accomplish. Without further preamble let me proceed to give you a slight scetch of our late uproar and mirth.
Sunday Afternoon, ye 3.d of July
You will see by the above that I began to write to you yesterday and this morning I had your letter complaining as you well might, of my long silence. I am very glad you have seen Vauxhall, as it will serve you instead of seeing our Vauxhall, which I would go on to describe, but that Miss Weston and their party are just taken Boats mad, and want me to go with them to Chicksands, and here am I tied by the leg with three younkers—So stop a moment—There, now go on.—I have evaded all invitations, and shall walk with my companions after tea.—
—The principal inhabitants of this Town and environs form'd themselves into a Committee to conduct the proposed festivities, and accordingly arranged everything in respect to situation, numbers, and quality of those who were to partake the Dinner. The Old Bellman was at work every hour proclaiming 1st that all the Inhabitants were expected to ornament their houses by 8 in the morning with green boughs, 2d All who had tickets to partake of the feast, to bring with them, plate, knife & fork, and mug 3d, No Guns or fireworks to be allowd, (an excelent thought), 4th, All persons expected to illuminate their houses in the evening &c &c &c—The whole intermediate time was employd by every body, as it were by instinct, in all kinds of preparations. On Tuesday evening boughs of Oak became general, but on Wednesday morning, early rising had brought into the town many Waggon loads of large limbs of Oak reaching to the 2d floors, Carts Loaded with Laurel, and Garden flowers from Southill and Chicksand of the finest kinds, that it appeard a shame to pluck them, every boy and girl in the Town employd in gathering Wild broom, Roses, popies, and blue cornflowers, and working them into wreaths, till every door and window in the place was decorated, and appear'd to say 'Rejoice!' The Street from Weston's to Inskip's was a perfect grove interspersed with White flags of all sizes and shapes, and 'flowers of all hues.'—At 2 in the afternoon peace was proclaim'd in form by a large party (between thirty and forty) of the Townsmen on horseback with white favours, (for we all mounted the cockade) preceeded by a Herald on a White Horse—The forman drest in a fine Jacket, very large military hat trim'd with silver, and bearing in his hand a roll of paper by way of Trunchion. This worthy was no other than Mr Weston who read the proclamation at all corners follow'd by his troop, and a band of musick.—I was this moment, going to the Devel—but Cordell's hour is come-and I will infalably conclude this memorandon of a really pretty show by tomorrow's post.—
God Bless you, And all friends.—