Thursday, May 6, 2021

A Letter from Hetty Thorne


Dear Mother,

Thank you ever so much for your letter and for including the receipt for your special cake. I have baked it twice now and it was very well received when the ladies came to our at home. Alice and I do well and are looking forward to warmer days; it has been a particularly cold winter. Spring is coming to us slowly with frosty mornings but the trees are in blossom and the spring flowers do cheer us.

There is a young man in the village who has been paying his attentions to Alice. Alice does not see it but thinks he is just being cordial to her. At the last assembly he danced twice with Alice. His name is Mr. Heath Canfield, he is the son of the family who own and run the Amberleigh Candle Works and has just returned from his grand tour. I have made his acquaintance, he is well educated, having attended Eton, has pretty manners and is handsome, being tall with light brown hair, dark eyes and a small cleft in his chin. His cousin, Miss Pringle and I, believe his has fixed his gaze on Alice. I do hope it shall blossom into a romance for Alice. She is only one and twenty but despairs she will never marry and have the family she so desires. She misses William dearly, writing to him at least once a week even though she has had not a word from him in many months now. There is war in Corsica as you must know and William is most assuredly there in the midst of it. We have said many prayers for William and his shipmates, praying they all return home safely.

Our dear friend Old Mary is still quite ill. The doctors ask us not to call upon her so she may rest and recover better. Alice and I have been tending her garden while she ails. It would be a shame to let it go to weeds while she is abed with illness. Alice and I have enjoyed our days working in Old Mary’s garden and know she will be pleased when she returns and sees it has been cared for in her absence.

Mrs. Medlyn, Susan, whom I have mentioned previously is hosting a quilting bee for the ladies of the parish to make quilts for those in need. Susan is a kind woman, we like her very well. Young Mary grows and is a pretty baby. Tis sad she shall never know her mother, but Susan dotes upon her and she could not ask for a kinder, more loving person to look after her in her late mother’s stead. Susan tells us we are to have another curate in the parish in a month or two. Mr. Thomas has received the living of Rushton as well as Amberliegh and Constance and will appreciate the help.

My netted goods are still in demand, adding to our living fund. Between Alice’s lace and my netted gloves and bags we have been able to put extra coins in our fund for next winter so we may have enough wood. William has paid our rent for the entire year out of his prize money which gives us the opportunity to supplement the house fund with our own money. We live comfortably and amiably. Alice and I get on very well.

Alice and I continue to dust the church each Monday as part of our tithe. We enjoy the work and are happy to do this service for the church. Alice had been doing it on her own when I arrived, but tis a job more suited for two. At times we sing hymns while we work, tis a lovely sound in the church when all is quiet save us two.

I’ve planted seedlings in our garden and have them under cloches while there is still chance of frost. Our garden was very productive last year and I hope to make it more efficient this year. We’ve talked about adding a wider variety of vegetables and have considered having a pear tree also. You know I like working in the garden, it is a joy to me to bring our vegetables forth. I would be happy if you would send a cutting from the pear tree in your garden that we may plant. I know it would flourish here.

I send my best wishes to you and father and hope you will remember me to my sister and brother and their families.

I remain your devoted daughter,


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