368. Robert Bloomfield to George Bloomfield, 20 February 1823*
Shefford, Beds. February 20. 1823
I received last night a letter from poor sister Bet, which my daughter will copy for you on a following page. It came to me in about 38 days from Alexandria to New York and from thence across the Atlantic to Liverpool and 200 miles into Bedfordshire.
You may wonder, if you do not take her infirmities into consideration, that she says as little, for I wrote in the latter end of September, her a very long letter, full of news of all sorts, and particularly as to family affairs relating to us all; you and your married Daughters, Brother Nat and his late troubles, and myself and children, and my progress in poetry (for I am become almost a professd author) &c &c—
But one great cause for my writing now is, that for about a fortnight past I have tried to break from my violent dreams in a morning and for myself to believe that my Elder Brother is Living! and then Isaac comes across my mind, but though I know him to be dead his image is so fresh in my memory as yours. It is a strange feeling and I don't much like it, and I wish particularly you would let me see your own hand writing, to dispel the illusion, and pull the wool out of my brain, for I am afraid I have been working too hard lately. I know very well there are a wife and bairns living in Well Street, but I cannot find you nor bring you living before my mind's eye. But the mind's eye is sometimes misty—pray write directly. My health is tolerably firm and steady. Honington I have done with, and it seems effectually to have done with me, for the Devil a farthing of money can I get in my hour of necessity for all the horrible expense and cost I have sustain'd.
Love to Susan and the Bits
Yours as ever
P.S. Writing is to me harder than digging was 40 years ago, but my mind, my power of composition, is as strong and more active than ever it was in my life.