Your letter my dear friend has deeply
affected me. I knew nothing of your loss  – if I had, I would
immediately have written – not to have intruded on you with
idle consolations – but at least to say that we think of you
in your affliction. I know not how to address you, to say
much were impertinence – & yet the silence of a friend
is unkind. these things make one tremble.
God bless you. God comfort you. there is at
least this mercy in affliction that it compels us to the
only source of consolation.
We have often thought of you with
thankfulness & regard & pleasure. we shall think of
you more frequently now in sorrow. your little girl – I hope
she will be spared – but the life of an infant is even more
uncertain than our own. it is dangerous to fix our
affections on earth – & yet unless we do what is
God bless you. I will write again soon –
& often – any thing that but for a moment engages your
attention now must be relief. – I write on the immediate
receipt of your letter – Edith knows not
yet your loss but she will feel with you.
Once more God bless you.
yrs most affectionately
April 6. 99.
* Address: To/ Charles Biddlecombe Esqr/ Burton/ near Ringwood/
Endorsement: 6. Ap.
MS: Berg Collection, New York Public
 Biddlecombe’s wife,
Catherine (née Lacy), had died on 24 March 1799 (see
The Oracle, 2 April 1799) from
complications in childbirth. The Biddlecombes had
married on 4 June 1798. BACK