Shefford, March 3, 1824.
My Dear Miss Weston,
Your most welcome, friendly letter, I received on the 26th ult.,
but have not been able to reply till now. I had severely censured myself for
having foolishly lost the council of your brother, and perhaps offended both him and you by my conduct; which
(though far from being felt by me) might, I feared, be misconstrued into
indifference to his advice, and I much doubted whether I should hear any more
from you, at least, for many months. This painful state of feeling was instantly
relieved on seeing a Westonian hand-writing... But now for perplexing concerns.
I have had an intention of going to London shortly, to consult what friends I
might find, on what is best to be done. I now think of being there in a
fortnight—to stay a fortnight—and I regard as a smile which fortune has been
rather sparing of, the chance I shall have of seeing Mr. Weston there; when, from what I
shall have to say, and from what I shall now endeavour to say, he may perhaps be
able to judge whether he can render us any service by coming to Shefford, as he again kindly offers to
do. I am afraid he is not prepared to find matters so cloudy as they are with
us. The booksellers' calculations are, I fear, incorrect—that is, they are too
favourable respecting our future income. From an examination of their accounts
delivered to my father for nine years past, our average income from their sales
has not reached £60 a year.
There is now not the slightest ground for hoping we ever shall
obtain a farthing from the cottage at Honington. The utmost value, I fear, of our household property and
books, is not above £70; and the gross amount of debts to nearly the present
time, is rather more than £200. Our booksellers, Messrs. Baldwin and Co. have been so kind
as to advance £50 which anticipates nearly a year's income. Out of this sum we
have made some payments (in which it seems we have done wrong) but we have been, and still are unavoidably
increasing our own debts. This being the case, it is a question whether we can
pay the debts, and start to get a living without selling the half copyright. I
have not room, or I would send a statement of the whole puzzle.