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The Letters of Robert Bloomfield and His Circle, Edited By Tim Fulford and Lynda Pratt
TEI

412. George Bloomfield to James Burrell Faux, October 1827* 

(Extract)

Wednesday, 3 o'clock

I was just folding the papers to take them to Stone, when the Master Fauxes came in, with great good nature in their countenances, and delivered their father's very kind invitation. [1]  I feel truly grateful for the kindness: but when I can, without offence, avoid being seen, I have, through life, consulted my sheepish feelings. I have been accused of 'making myself scarce,' and been always considered an 'unsocial' fellow: it is a task to me to go into a situation where I am likely to attract attention, and the observation of men.

In childhood I read of an invisible coat—I have sometimes worn a coat scarcely visible; but I want a coat that would render me invisible. I hope to be excused without giving offence, as I should be very ill at ease.

Mr. Faux would have been presented with the enclosed papers a fortnight back, but I waited a favourable opportunity. This week I had but little work to do.—Lo, lo! here they are.

* Published in William Hone, The Table Book, of Daily Recreation and Information: Concerning Remarkable Men, Manners, Times, Seasons, Solemnities, Merry-Makings, Antiquities and Novelties, Forming a Complete History of the Year (London, 1827–28), pp. 816–17. The date of this letter is unclear: it may have been an 1827 reply to Faux’s request for permission to send George’s papers to Hone for publication in The Every Day Book. Alternatively, it may have been written in August/September 1819 as a reply to Faux’s invitation to attend the ceremonial laying of the foundation stone of the pump room in Thetford, 13 September 1819. BACK

[1] In its published context in Hone's Table Book, pp. 816–17, George's letter is preceded by an appeal to the public to relieve George from poverty (he had been forced to apply to the overseers of the poor rates for his parish for relief). Hone also published a letter from Faux, a 'respectable resident at Thetford' (formerly Mayor of Thetford, and a bank manager and alderman by 1845) to an unnamed correspondent explaining the efforts Faux had made to bring George to the notice of local gentlemen by inviting him to attend the opening of the spa at Thetford (about which George had anonymously published the poem Thetford Chalybeate Spa): 'Two letters, written to a friend by a gentleman of Thetford, Mr. Faux, and some manuscripts accompanying them in George Bloomfield's hand-writing, are now before me. They contain a few particulars respecting George Bloomfield and his present situation, which are here made known, with the hope of interesting the public in the behalf of a greatly distressed and very worthy man. The following extract from one of Mr. Faux's letters introduces George Bloomfield's circumstances, and conveys an idea of his character: it will be seen that he, too, is a versifier.

Thetford, Oct. 15, 1827
I have found the letter you allude to, regarding his application to the overseers of St. Peter's. I was rather inclined to send you a bundle of his letters and poetry, but I hardly think it fair without first consulting poor old George, and obtaining his permission. The letter enclosed, in answer to my invitation to him to be present on the day the duke of Grafton laid the first stone of the Pump-room, will show you what a shy bird he is.
His presence on that occasion would have been highly beneficial to him; but his extreme modesty has been a drawback upon him through life, leaving him generally with a coat 'scarcely visible.' I believe he has been always poor, and yet a more temperate man never lived.
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Published @ RC

September 2009