This letter also appears on the Victorian Web
This letter was written by Euphemia Drummond of Brighton, Sussex on 22 March 1827 — and this town has a history with Royal connections. Brighthelmstone was a little fishing village in Sussex, but when sea bathing was thought to be of benefit it grew in popularity, particularly with the Prince Regent — later King George IV. He made it almost his second home, but decided that the name was too cumbersome, so suggested it be shortened to Brighton. He commissioned John Nash to build houses for him down there, and finally between 1815 and 1822 had the costly and extravagant Royal Pavilion built for his pleasure. It met with ridicule, and condemnation for the expense, but where the 'court' went, the rest of society followed. This ensured the growth and development of Brighton and as a result there was a marked increase in traffic, and the road was kept in good repair.
The letter was written to Euphemia's brother John Drummond of 26 Smith St Chelsea (which was off the Kings Road).
Chelsea was, at that time, in the Country area of the London post, and a map of 1826 shows that it was really 'out in the sticks' with only about 10 streets then developed. The delivery from the TwoPenny Post would have been the afternoon of the 24th.
As this was before the introduction of the use of the envelope, the letter was sealed with black wax impressed with a very clear seal with the letters HUSH at the bottom. The figure looks like a winged angel carrying what may be a lantern . It is very difficult to reproduce a clear image from this seal.
6 Hanover Crescent Brighton March 22nd 1827
My Dear John,
I have delayed answering your most kind and affectionate letter in hopes I might have met with an opportunity of sending it free. I assure (you?) it relieved me from great distress of mind and I shall ever feel grateful to you for your having acted towards me with so much kindness. You have had every reason I acknowledge to feel most angry and displeased with me, and indeed I quite dreaded meeting you, but your last kind letter has taken the fears from my mind — As I now know you will act with friendship and kindness towards me I will not now think of concealing any thing from you.
I have not heard from Mr Jessopp till the day before yesterday he only wrote to know if I had received an answer from William as he requested me to answer it immediately. I have done so, telling him that I have not heard from William — and as I have promised to wait for his answer I must remain as I am till then. I was sorry I could not write to you when Betsy & George were here, but I was so much occupied with them that I had not time.
Note: That sounds like a common excuse that is good enough for the 21st century, let alone the 19th and from the next part it seems as though Miss Drummond was a companion to Miss Worthington, in which case she would probably have been fully occupied.
I shall now see you very soon as Miss Worthington has had a letter about her house in Piccadilly which obliges her to go to town immediately, we propose starting on Sunday morning about twelve and I shall be with you in the evening. I shall be most happy to accept your kind invitation but you must not feel angry with me when I tell you I expect you will allow me to pay my share towards the housekeeping, your family so large and your expenses so great that I hope you will allow me to do so.
The next paragraph gives information that can be readily checked from old directories, and is another of the reasons I find these old letters so interesting.
I have just taken our places in the Coach that starts from this place at eleven oclock on Sunday morning, they tell us we are to be at the White Bear in Piccadilly at half past five, there will not be the least necessity for your coming into town to meet me, as we shall take a coach from there, and I shall first go to No 9 Queen Street with Miss W., and then come on to Smith St — we shall dine on the road.
Note: the Pigot's London Directory for 1826 lists 35 coaches daily going
to Brighton from various parts of London — so presumably they would have had
that many coming back as well. There is only one mention in the list, of the
White Bear, Piccadilly, and that is for the coach called The Rocket which
left The White Bear at half past 9 in the morning. So if it was the same coach,
it would be in Brighton about 3.30 in the afternoon, staying overnight, to return
to London the next day at 11 am. The White Bear was at No. 221 Piccadilly, and
the 'Host' at this time was Thomas Hall. As Euphemia mentioned they would dine
on the road, this was possible because the coaches stopped for refreshment at
specific hostelries on the route, but from what I have read it was mostly a
Give my kind love to Elizabeth and <Nisse?> and accept the same from your affectionate sister
A previous owner has added pencilled notes, giving information about the writer and the addressee.
Euphemia Drummond — John Drummond her brother
Euphemia Drummond was my grandfather's sister married Mr Joseph Jessopp of Waltham Abbey Essex, Solicitor. She was aunt to my aunt Effie / Mrs Robertson.....F.D.
I could not find any reference to John Drummond in the Pigot's directory, so he did not fit into the categories of tradesmen listed. On the other hand, an entry in the directory had to be paid for, and from the reference to the large family, and the great expenses, maybe he could not afford it. The Mr. Jessop referred to in the letter is presumably the man Euphemia married.
Pigot's 1825/25 Directory of London
George Brumell, The Local Posts of London 1680-1840
Alan W. Robertson, Great Britain Post Roads, Post Towns and Postal Rates 1635-1839
Letters index page