|Mary Cumming, London to Margaret Craig, Lisburn.
|Irish Emigration Database
|Cumming (n. Craig), Mary
|middle class housewife
|Lisburn, Co. Antrim, N.Ireland
|T 1475/2 pp19-22: Copied by Permission of Miss A. McKisack, 9 Mount Pleasant, Belfast.
|The Public Record Office, Northern Ireland.
|Document added by LT, 25:04:1994.
|Camden Town. September 7th. 1811.
My dearest Margaret,
I cannot express how much I am disappointed
at not hearing from you before this. I am beginning to feel very
uneasy, but I hope most sincerely I will have a letter from you
to-day. We left Liverpool for London on Tuesday last, and
arrived on Wednesday evening. I was very much fatigued being
out all night. We did not stop at Mr Brown's as they live two
miles out of London, we went to an inn where we stayed till
yesterday evening. On Thursday I saw St. Paul's, the Tower,
and all the things worth seeing in it, and in the evening we went
to the Lyceum, a very nice little theatre which is open at
present. Mr Brown called to see me on Thursday, he is uncle
to Mr Brown of Liverpool. I like him very much indeed. He told
me Mrs Brown would call the next day and go with me to any
place I wished. She did so, and is very attentive to me, I like
them both very much. I have got some very handsome silk and
cotton stockings, some lace and cotton for morning gowns.
Yesterday I bought some very pretty muslin for a gown, it is
rather thin with a satin sprig. I also got some striped muslin
for morning gowns. Mr Cumming wished me to get a velvet pelisse
to take out to America with me. I got it and a hat of the same.
It is the most beautiful colour I ever saw, it is a bright green
and yellow shot. I think I might venture to send a little bit
in my letter, it is quite a new kind. Yesterday I saw Westminster
Abbey, which I think better worth seeing than any place
in London. You cannot conceive, my dear Margaret, anything so
grand and magnificent. St. Paul's is larger and a superb building
it is true, but there is something so elegant and noble
in Westminster Abbey that surpasses anything I could have
I have this moment got my dear dear Father's letter,
which has put London and all other things out of my head. How
delighted I am to hear he is well and that you all got safe
home. I am so happy that I hardly know what I am doing and
saying, I believe I was talking about the Abbey, which I cannot
get out of my head. Oh, my dearest Margaret, how I wish you had
been with us! I also saw Westminster Hall, and the House of
Lords, and crowns and kings and sceptres, and long pikes that
belonged to the Spaniards, and as many guns I think as would
arm all the men in Europe, and a great hatchet that Queen Mary
was beheaded with, I could hardly lift it, and a hundred other
things that I do not remember: for believe me seeing so many
different objects makes my poor head quite confused. We all
dined in London yesterday, and in the evening came to Camden
Town where I am now. Mrs Brown has two children, a son and
a daughter. Her son is married and lives in Liverpool, Miss
Brown is in Ireland at present. But I have got a delightful
piece of news to tell you, which is that Mr and Mrs Brown
of Liverpool intend to go out to America with us, to spend a
few months with their friends in Baltimore. You cannot think
how rejoiced I am, as I like them both very much. Mrs Brown
is an Irishwoman, they have a lovely little daughter about
ten months old. They intend taking a servant with them, she
can do anything for me that is necessary. Our passage is taken,
we intend going with the "Mentor", a very fine new ship that
is now in Liverpool. Mr Brown has taken one of the staterooms
and Mr Cumming the other, so that we shall be as comfortable.
She will sail on the fifteenth of this month, however
I will write to you the day before we leave Liverpool. We
think of leaving London on Wednesday next. Mr Cumming went
into town to-day on business. The weather here is most delightful,
to-day is as warm as any day I ever felt in Ireland.
I suppose my Father is busy with his harvest. The country
between Liverpool and London is most charming, there is hardly
a cottage without a flower garden before the door, and they
are all so neat and clean. You will laugh at me when I tell
you that I was quite provoked to find that England was so
superior to my darling Ireland; but it is not so in every
respect, the country is too flat, and when you look around it
appears like a great wood. I was quite tired of fine houses
and planting, and I felt very pleased when we came within sight
of a mountain, which is very seldom met with in England.
I think very little of Liverpool, it is a great uninteresting
town as ever I saw, and as for London, it is very fine to be sure
but I would tire of it in a month. Some of the shops are very
superb, but then it is like going through a fair from morning
to night. Covent Garden will open on Monday next, we intend
going. I was at the Liverpool theatre, it is much the same as
the Belfast one, only a little larger.
We have not, nor shall we see Mr Crawford, we did not come
up through Coventry, so that we could not meet with him, I am
very sorry for it. I suppose you have got the last elegant
epistle that came from me, I think this is little better, but when
I go to America I will take more pains. I hope I will hear from
you soon again. You did not mentioned my dear Rachel's name in
your letter. Tell her to write a postscript. This is a very
pleasant place and I feel quite at home. I wish I was at the
buttermilk in the pantry, I think I would take a drink of it.
I spoke to Mr Cumming of the sarsnets [sarsenets?], he says he does not
know how they would be sent to Ireland, as he does not know anyone
going, and it would be uncertain to send them by a stranger.
He thinks I could send anything much safer from America with
some friend going to Ireland. I feel disappointed as I would
very much like to send Miss McCully and my dear Meg some
little remembrance, but I will when I go to America. Be sure
to write so that I will get your letter before I leave England.
I never was better than I am at present, I believe the
sea-sickness was of great use to me.
I think the ladies dress much the same here as they do in
Ireland; the hair is worn very thick in front, and shaded quite
to the one side. I expect to be very much entertained on
The King is not going to die yet, I hope most sincerely
he will live till I get away. Has Rachel got her frock made
yet, does she go to school this winter? I saw St. James's
Palace, it is a great big ugly black building as ever I saw.
Give my most affectionate love to all my friends at Strawberry
Hill, and to Miss McCully and Margaret. I fear they
would charge double postage if I sent a pattern of the velvet,
but I will send it at the first opportunity.
Farewell! my darling Margaret! Write soon, and believe me
Your most sincerely attached