2254 - Elizabeth Cumberland and Richard Cumberland to George Cumberland, 29 December 1777

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Driffield 29 Dec 1779
My Dear Child
You cannot think how unhappy I am at
not writing to you in so long a time I think I am grown
stupide I am always accusin myself of neglect yet have
I no resolution to set pen to paper the truth is I can nither indete
nor opeth which is the reson I have never wrote to any of my
friends I thank you for your kind presant it is exceeding good
and very acceptable this cold weather I intend to send a cake
as soon as I get eggs to make it I am sorry I have nothing
better: I hope this will meet you return from Richmond
in health and spirits let me know how you spent your Chxxx
Christmas and all the chitchat you can it I am very sorry to
hear your Cosins are so ill pray let me know how they are as
soon as you can I thank God I am very well in health but have
not been in spirits since the affaire with Mr Smith but I hope
it will be cleard up to him as your Brother is going to write
shall say no more only must {^desire} if you have any Regard for me you
will be careful of your health I sumtimes please my self
with the thoughts of your having a good prime I sincerely wish
it my compliments to all friends wishes for your health and
happyness am your afect mother Eliz Cumberland (turn over)

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Mother has at last satisfied her conscience in writing to
poor George, as she often calls you, in pity to your lonely
situation - and now tho tis late I am determined to fill
up what paper she has spared - after dispatching
my pacquet to you on Monday morning, and a letter
to Mr Crop I took a ride to [illeg], and had the pleasure
of receiving a note from Miss Townsend to reaquaint
me with her intention of dining with us next day &
taking a Bed, and asking me to meet her at Fairford
I invited Miss Timbrell to meet her, and next morning
about eleven set out for Fairford. It was a thick [illeg]
attended with frost so that the roads were extremely dangerous
and I depended on finding her in a carriage if she came
at all - you may judge my surprize when about 3 miles
from our house I met her mounted on a spirited little
palfrey with only a servant and her habit powdered with
the hoar frost - She held out her hand to me with
her natural ease and chearfulness, and instead of
complaining of the severity of the Weather, and the
danger of the Road, entertained me the rest of the way
with a variety of chit chat, as if entirely at her ease, and
we rode gently on, and now and then set off in a Gallop
over such roads, as had like to have unseat both [illeg]
and his rider In short she is a wonderful girl & has
the most extraordinary flow of spirits I ever met with
[illeg] Timbrel came over and we passed one of the
most chearful Days I have known at Driffield. Next
morning I rode with them to Aceter - twas one before we
set out and we just got to Aceter in time to dine at Timbrels
and then Townsend being determined to return home that
afternoon, I determined to accompany her in having some
business to transact with her Lawyer, we stopt at his door

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in the high Street and without dismounting, or being
in the least disconcerted, she signed to name to writing
and made an affidavit notwithstanding a Gentleman she
knew came up at the time and stared at her during
the Transaction. I mention these trifles to you because
I think they are characteristic - It was between
3 & 4 e'er we got out of town, and then she had 15 miles
to ride thro that dirtiest road you can conceive she
did all she coud to persuade me not to go home with
her, but on my insisting on it, permitted me, and tho dark
soon after se set out, never expressed the least alarm or
apprehension of danger or uneasiness, but enterd into
conversation in a manner that beguiled the way - I
just took some refreshment at Buscoth, and tho much
pressed to stay, the next day, being Xtmas Day, I refused
and got home not without peril by 10 o clock - By
that I can find her situation at Buscoth is far from being
pleasing. Mrs Loveden being her opposite in character &
her Brother a mere sportsman - She is in better health
than [damaged] and looks as well and for want of better amus
talks of hunting this winter - and going to town in the
Spring. Mr Smith only stopt there an hour on the road, tho
they have expected him the whole Summer, as well as myself
This subject has left me no room to acknowledge the
pleasure your last epistle gave me. Tis full of sentiments
and observations that do credit to the goodness of your hearts
and cheer the heart of your friend. You did right in acquainting
Mr Elkins, we cannot be too open there. I leave it to your judgment
to speak of it to Mr Tapp or not, but first see Mr Smith, and
hint how unhappy it has made my mother &c. Don't forgt to tell
him Dyer has the receipt. I wrote to thank Mr Elkins & likewise
Mr Tapp, who has sent me 3 dozen of wine. Depend on it, he is still our
friend & will be so, if some people will let him. This morning I drew upon
you to Mr John Roberts or order for 20 ls payable 14 days after
date. If Mr Crop has put the money in your hands pray remit me
20 ls by return of post in Bank post Bills, or by draft on some

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other tradesman, as they do not like Bills or London here and
do not forget to settle all my accounts with yourself -
on Xmas Day we partook with our poor neighbours out of a
Copper of boiled mutton and Turnips with some excellent Broth
the Expense was trifling when compared with the numbers fed and
the satisfaction received from it. Three or four friends with their
servants & horses would have cost as much. I have laid on a plan of
framing the little I can do in charity, into one line, which I will communi
cate to you in my next & shall be glad of your advice & assistance
Adieu yours R O Cumberland

[change of orientation]

Mr Geo: Cumberland
Mr Shawtons no 37
Friday Street


Elizabeth Cumberland and Richard Cumberland to George Cumberland, 29 December 1777

Elizabeth writes a page to her son, describing her experience of old age, with an emphasis on the cold weather. She ends with the hope he will look after his health. Richard then writes on the remaining three sides, describing a meeting he has with a Miss Townsend, ‘a wonderful Girl’. He is surprised to find her riding horseback in poor weather. They continue together, occasionally breaking into a gallop. He ends with updates on acquaintances and instructions to his brother.

Cumberland Papers

Add MS 36491_407-408v

British Library




Driffield [Gloucestershire, England]

Mr Shawton’s no. 37, Friday Street, London [England]