Amelia Opie to Henry Perronet Briggs: 28 October 1840


10th Mo. 28th 1840

My Dear Henry[b]

I write to trouble thee to trouble Thomas[1] ­– This parcel contains roll of very handsome brocade, 60 years old as I suspect, & thou mayest open it & look at it if so please thee, as thou understandest such things being a great painter

When looked at & done up again, please to direct it or rather put the number where lives in Portman Street Mrs. Murray, the great mantua maker[2], whom Meggie[b] & the great employ. She is as good & pious woman & to be trusted everyone says & I want her to do a kind action, & I know her personally I prefer writing direct to her to employing anyone else to apply to her

The owner of this silk is a barrister under who, with 3 grown up daughters is like the grasshopper in the fable to whom the ant said “you sang during the summer & you must dance during the winter”

The vile husband allowed them poor things, to live on the fat of the land

at home to wear expensive clothes, & go to balls & plays (they kept no company and could make no friends) & then he died at 80 odd waiting as he said “for annihilation!” & on his death one creditor, for a debt of 1500‎£ laid his paw on all he left (justly, too) & at this time these three women are destitute — Alms, if they could get them always, they ought not to live upon, & they hope to get out as governesses or companions — but, at present, they are doing nothing & can hear of nothing to do — I have promised to try to get this silk sold if I can It could make a beautiful Court train There are 12 yd & a half of it at she says, 1 guinea pr yd but she could gladly take ten — It could make a sofa  & fancy chairs, or stools – & would be cheap at 10£ – but Mrs. M: if she has no scruple against raffles, might soon, charge ten, or 12£, in that way, for the thing is really handsome

There master Henry[b]! There is my case & I beg though wilt kindly forward the roll by Thomas à l’adresse de Madame Murray! I think there is only on Portman Street Callus on Callus! & her number is 20, or 22, but, no doubt, her name is in the book

No leisure, the moment I am unable and my dinner is spoiling! So farewell! Wound better but not healed yet — forbidden to go out — but I am in my drawing room again Love to Sir William![3] I am glad he is with thee


Thy affecte cousin


A Opie


My poor aunt[b] has had two falls in getting in & out of bed this day & owns she wants someone to dress her now, as she feels shattered — but no maid will she have yet she could afford it we are sure —

It makes me very sad sometimes

I sometimes wish she may go on falling till she is frightened out of her trying obstinacy What is to be done I know not!

And I am sorry that I must not go to her yet for fear of putting my own recovery back so I must be patient going down stairs

is what would injure me my surgeon says


Source: Huntington

 Address: none

Postmark: none

[1] Thomas was a servant of the Briggs family

[2] Mantua were an article of woman’s clothing, like a gown, that was typically worn over the undergarments.

[3] Sir William George Milman (1781-1857) was the son of Sir Francis Milman (1746-1821). The latter was physician-extraordinaire to King George III, and was created a baronet in 1800. His son, Sir William Milman married Elizabeth Hurry, daughter of Robert Alderson recorder of Ipswich, who was Amelia Opie’s first cousin. They had five sons and four daughters: Francis Milman (1811-?), William Milman (1813-1885) who become the 3rd Baronet of Levaton-in-Woodland, Robert Milman (1816-1876) who became the Bishop of Calcutta, Edward Augustus Milman (1817-1850), George Alderson Milman (1830-1898), Emily Matilda Milman, and three unnamed daughters. Charles Mosley et al ed. “Milman.” Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage. 106th ed. 1999. 1936-1938. Print.