To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [March 1820]

Our admirable friend at * wrote on his Son’s marriage desiring me to invite them both to Barley Wood, as he said he and his wife had come hither immediately after their wedding 22 years ago.* I could refuse nothing to such a petitioner So they came from Bath and staid a day and night. He is gentlemanly and agreeable in his manners, mais, voila tout. She is handsome but I thought her vapid and uninteresting. It is /all/ very well now that they are visiting about, and the days are all halcyon; but what is to become of them I cannot guess, nor can their dear father. Il faut manger dans ce pauvre Monde. And how that father is to provide a separate Establishment for one, /who/ neither can, nor probably will do nothing I cannot guess.* It goes to my heart as I know he has nothing to spare, and even the youth’s education is not finished. I shall be agreeably disappointed if he ever takes to business. When he returns to too he will meet with his old associates, Alas!!

To Lady Olivia Sparrow. 8-11 October [1815]

I began this scrawl several days ago as you will see by the dates, but indisposition and other interruptions have prevented my finishing it. Our Seraphic friend Way has left us. He seems to me not so much to be going to heaven but to be already there. I am a little alarmed for him, tho his Mind is perfectly well, yet he is so compleatly absorbed in the great Object* he has in hand that I fear it will wear him out. His Mind is so imbued, I may say so saturated with Scripture that one does not want one’s Bible whence he is. We kept him very quiet, but in no company that he might gain rest and composure as he is gone on to preach at several Churches in this district. We had talked of you in public in a general way as to your health, where you were &c – but before his departure I took him aside and asked if he had heard from you lately, and when you were coming to . He set my mind much at rest by saying he had not heard anything about you for some time; now as he was just come from Bath, Clifton &c I comforted myself that the thing is not so much discussed as you feared. I have also seen the Powis’s who dined here but not a word was said which might lead to the Subject. I trust this transient cloud will soon be dispersed and your mind restored to its firm tone, I should rather say your nerves, for your mind seems to have possessed its full vigour in this transaction I have no impertinent curiosity but shall be gratified to know hereafter, that all terminated to your satisfaction I am grateful to God that the young person herself has conducted herself so unexceptionably. Such an experience may tend to strengthen her character beyond a hundred fine theories.

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, September 1815

I return you many thanks in behalf of the poor and needy and him that is ready to perish for your kind benefaction of £25. I should not have delayd this so long, but that the day I received it arrived here Lord C. and his Sister* and Mr. Wilberforce. This has fully occupied me for the last three days. They are just gone I not only could find no time to write, but I wished to defer it till I could say something about them. Ld. C. looks well, and tho he is not, as you know naturally communicative and gay yet he seemed not to labour under the same depression of spirits, but seemed to take an interest in the conversation without much joining in it. Not a word passed on a certain subject of course. Your name was never once pronounced when we were together, nor did Mr. W. when we were alone once advert to it nor in any particular manner to the late indisposition. Miss C. when we were alone incidentally mentioned your name several times on indifferent subjects, and mentioned with much feeling, that you had been kind and useful to her unfortunate deceased brother.* In short no bystander would have suspected that any thing extraordinary had passed. Ld. C. is still slower of speech than usual but that is all. Unfortunately, Dr. Perry* in whom they seem to place extreme confidence has a bad paralytic stroke. This seems likely to shorten their stay at Bath. Tho in fact there is little /or/ nothing in what I have said yet I thought you would like to hear that little. I believe both W and I were equally afraid to broach the Subject and perhaps as things are irrevocably fixed, it was as well not. No one I have seen from or elsewhere has ever said a word on the subject; this shows that it is not generally known, otherwise it would be talked of. So I hope you will cheer up and be comfortable and happy.*

To Lady Olivia Sparrow, [20? October 1816]

Lest our excellent Bishop should have left (which I hope he has found a salutary rest from his labours) I write strait to you. My reason for writing so soon is that you would naturally conclude Mr. Wilberforce would have been here and consequently you would expect to know somewhat of the result. But mark this fresh instance of the uncertainty of all human things! He had fixed the day of his coming to which we were looking forward with that pleasure which his presence never fails to give. But the day before yesterday when we were looking out for him from Bath, arrives instead of himself a letter dated ,* to which place he had been travelling nearly all night in order to take the last farewell of his beloved Sister Mrs. Stephen!* She had been long declining but there was no reason to expect she was so near her end. Her most tender and affectionate husband implored Mr. W– to come to her, but it was too late, she expired while he was on the road. Worn out as she was with suffering and disease nothing could surpass the affection of Mr. Stephen, his grief is proportionally great. For my own part it is a new rent made in my friendships. For thirty years there has been subsisted between us the most entire and cordial friendship. /Tho/ Always sickly and very nervous, she had a great flow of wit and humour with strong reasoning powers. Her delight was to hold a religious debate with Dean Milner.* But tho fond of arguing, she was one of the humblest Christians I ever knew. Humility and self distrust were indeed distinguishing features in her character. She had for many years conquered entirely her love of the world, and spent a large portion of her time in religious exercises. She was often tormented with doubts of her own state when I should have been glad to have stood in her Shoes.