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

78. Robert Bloomfield to Catharine Bloomfield, 31 January 1802* 

Jan 31. 1802

Dear Kitty

The first thing I tell you, for fear I forget it, is that Nat lives 'at No 16 Daggets Court, Broker Row. Moorfields London'

And now where shall I begin? For I think you and I could talk as much in walking from Thetford to Honington as I could write in a week. And yet what a glorious thing is this art of writing! To talk over Hills and dales at fourscore miles distance!

I had your letter by the twopeny post, but have not been able to call in Norfolk Street yet. I like John High well enough, but if the councellor wishd to see me he has had plenty of opportunities, and I had rather it should arise from himself if there is such a desire or such a request. This, upon reflection you will see to be reasonable on my part. I am glad you like Walter and Jane ; [1]  I like it too, and have the pleasure of finding most people of the same opinion. Last night as passing through Exeter Change I stopd at a Book stall and observed the Farmer's Boy laying there for sale, and the new Book too; mark'd with very large writing, 'Bloomfield's Rural Tales,' a young man took it up, and I observed he read the whole of the preface through, and perhaps little thought that the author stood at his elbow. Noboddy can describe my feelings on such occasions. My whole stock of vanity is stir'd up, and I instantly take into view the situation in which I now stand contrasted with my former wants; the different prospect my four children have before them to what they would otherwise have had, had the publick never known that their Father had the gift of Song. I am proud Kitty, confoundedly proud, and you must excuse it; and I feel something more than pride, I feel new concerns, and new duties press upon me, both as to worldly affairs, and as to my reputation too. I feel myself capable of meeting them all; and, as few Men have been placed in so arduous a situation, I hope to answer fully the publick expectation, and to sail with a calm breeze through Life, and always feel the truth of the last 2 lines of the Volumn [2]  and rest upon them as upon a Rock. I do not wonder at my Mother's fears, they are natural, and bespeak true love, and a Mother's tenderness.—

The Book is selling rapidly. I am oblidged to your Thetford neighbours for every mark of approbation; but I must now write to George. If you get sight of 'Little Davy' I beg you to keep it no longer than you can read it, then return it to George, or my Mother; and I should like your opinion upon it, as to its language and construction, is it too silly, or only simple enough for a young reader?

Yours

Robert

P.S. If you have my last Northamton 'journal' [3]  pray send it to George directly, or as soon as you can.

Address: Catharine Bloomfield / at James Mingay Esq / Thetford / Norfolk.

* Misc. MS 371 Pforzheimer Collection, New York Public Library BACK

[1] 'Walter and Jane: or, the Poor Blacksmith. A Country Tale' was published in Rural Tales, pp. 15–34. BACK

[2] i.e., the last lines of 'Winter Song' (lines 31–32) in Rural Tales: 'Yet while I keep conscience in health,/I've a Mine that never will grow poor' (p. 119). BACK

[3] This journal is not extant; to judge by Bloomfield's many enquiries of different relatives, he never recovered it. BACK

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Published @ RC

September 2009