July 1720

Dearest C—
You must be dreadfully cross with me for not writing to you upon my arrival at London with Mr. A—. Still, you must be lenient as the first few months of married life in the city were extremely difficult and there were house matters to attend to. From now on I shall endeavor to be a faithful correspondent and send you a letter at the end of each month!
I shall not bore with the affairs of settling into the new house and into married life, for that is hardly exciting so instead I shall tell of what I have seen and learned so far (married women are privy to all sorts of scandalous gossip!). Initially I was quite out of my depth and without the help of my dear Husband and new acquaintances I would have been completely lost in the ways of this city. Lately, I have taken to reading Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal in order to instruct myself on the affairs of the world so that I may contribute to the conversation with the ladies ( a completely horrid, but sophisticated bunch I assure you) and not embarrass myself with my ignorance. It is actually quite droll really! One of the issues this month was about a lady pickpocket who sought advice from Mr. Applebee about the matter of the fortune she gained through nefarious means. It was most scandalous and I find that she was completely vague about how she escaped her deportment and ended up back in England? In any case it was quite diverting, the next two issues featured a quite comical banter between two unnamed gentlemen who disagreed with each other about the nature of the journal should take, that is to say if it should be more serious or humorous. I find myself agreeing with the latter for I do quite like to laugh and some of these correspondents are very amusing.
You will not believe the advertisements that go on in London sister! Just last week there was an Advertisement in Applebee’s about one Mr. Grant apparent Occultist to his majesty who is reputed to have strange powers! Would you like me to go see him in your stead? Mayhap he might do something about the size of your ears?
Indeed without Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal I would be at a loss with the foreign affairs of the world, a matter of grave importance in respectable circles. In France, for example, there is currently a dreadful issue with the scarcity of money. There seems to be some disagreement with the issuing of Bank Bills instead of coin and it has since thrown all the business and merchants into a great disarray and confusion. Not to mention the paying of Public Debts and discharging the state from Interest that is going on in Holland at the moment. Everyone has been talking about these matters lately, and though I still do not know enough to venture into conversation I am diligently reading and learning all I can so that I might participate and give my own opinions on the matter. You know how much I love to argue and talk.
I hope all is well with mama and papa! Do tell me all about what is happening back home as I do miss you all so very much!

I remain your dearest sister


August 1720


It seems that tilady-with-parrot.jpgme has been going by so fast lately! August has brought entirely awful weather and it seems that it is always raining in London. I was very happy to receive your letter and I assure you, the quip about your ears was only a jest. They are only slightly large. I am glad to hear that mama and papa are doing well and I can’t believe that little Johnny will be 16 next month!
I was part of humorous situation the other day. One man, a self-named Tory wrote to Mr. Applebee about his desire to marry a Whig so that they might be in perpetual disagreement and know the cause. Can you believe such nonsense? I just had to mention it to Mr. A— and he mentioned it to a mutual acquaintance who is indeed a Tory married to a Whig and he was so outraged he decided to write to Applebee’s himself about the real state of a marriage. Indeed, I have never seen such an agreeable couple as this acquaintance. Speaking of marriage, do you remember Florentina? That Conceited little thing? Well, it so happens that I ran into her the other day on my way to the theater with Mr.A— we saw a marvelous production of The Tempest by William Shakespeare, I will entreat Mr. A— that we take you to the theater when you visit, there is really nothing quite like it. I thought I would positively faint from fright when Caliban proclaimed “Oh ho! Oh ho! Would it had been done! Thou didst prevent me, I had peopled else this isle with Caliban!” it set all my body aquiver. But I digress, at the time I thought nothing of my encounter with Florentina until a few days later when Mr. A— happens to come in to the drawing room shaking with laughter! ‘Why Mr. A— do not be so mean as to not share the cause of your mirth with me!” Says I and still shaking with laughter he simply hands me the latest issue of Applebee’s and who should be the correspondent but none other than Floretina! It seems the lass has been having difficulty attaining a husband on account of her lack of fortune and had recently come into some fortune with the help of some Friends and the South-Sea Company. Now with sufficient fortune she had applied to Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal for help in attaining a match, a South-Sea Match but the printers had misprinted her fortune of 20,000 pounds to simply 2000! You can imagine the outrage this caused her! Mr. A— and I were quite merry.There seems to be quite a few people coming up in the world through the South-Sea Stocks, indeed many people’s fortunes have changed almost instantly. One of Mr. A— acquaintances, Right Honorable Mr. Secretary Craggs even donated a sum of 4000 pounds in South-Sea subscriptions to necessitated gentlemen. I do adore the generosity of such gentlemen and was saddened to hear that Mynheer Heinhus the Prime minister of Holland has passed away but I am not at all surprised that he spent most of his fortune on the Public good and kept so little for himself. My Mr. A— always says that gentlemen should help those who are in need. They say that Grieffer Fagel is likely to be named as Prime Minister of Holland but Mr. A— does not think this is likely. London has been abuzz with news of the peace between Denmark and Sweden. Everyone hopes this will bring some stability. Foreign affairs is all that anyone talks about anymore, but the ladies in my circle always seem to have some great gossip to liven up the conversation. I do not know if I should be saying this but Mr. Wood’s wife Johanna has recently eloped with one William M. Morgan, it is said that Mr. Woods is in quite a state and is offering a guinea to anyone who has approached the pair. It is quite the scandal!

September 1720

Dear Cindy,

I am writing to you in quite a state. There has been some dreadful news from France. Apparently a plague has broken in out in Marseille and surrounding locations and it is not clear how it came to into the country. Some say that is came in a ship that had stopped at the island of Trenedos and the sickness got into the crewmen and the goods. There is a dreadful rumor going around that when the goods were opened 4 people dropped dead on the spot! So far there has been no news from Marseille as all communications have been cut off to stop the spread of the disease into other parts of the country. It is said that The City of Aix has been completely deserted and both the Rich and the poor have taken to the upper mountains of Provence in hopes that the fresh air will prevent them from catching the sickness. Oh, sister you should see the reports that are coming out of France. Some say that innocent people are being killed as they try to cross into Providence! One of my dear friends has been recently gone to France and I am just dreadfully worried about how he might be doing, he is just a young boy! I do hope he is far away from all the calamity and nothing occurs to him!
The news out of Europe have been disconcerting as of late to the extent that Mr. A— is of a mind to prevent me from reading Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal all together but I told him that even if he threw out all the copies in the house I would just get them from someone else. Everyone should be aware of what is going in the world. If I had not been consistently reading about all the affairs of the world then what would have become of that poor boy’s mother! She would not have known that her son was in danger and could not have attempted to send a letter to him telling him to come back home immediately before he catches his death.
The calamity in the world notwithstanding, life in London goes on as usual. I hope that you are not getting into trouble and sighing over those men of ill-repute anymore. Just this week the guard apprehended Thomas Butler, the notorious highwayman! I saw him as they carted him away and I assure you he was no romantic figure! You should be reading the books I sent you not sighing over these types of men who will onl
I am very frightened with this news of the plague, but it seems that not many people in London seem to be concerned. Indeed, currently everyone is more preoccupied with the visit from the Duke of Leria, son of the Duke of Berwick, who is expected to visit his ogre of a grandmother Madam Godfrey at Whitehall sometime this month. It’s said that he is bringing a retinue of 50 persons! Can you imagine! I confess, I cannot be so entinced with such mindless gossips especially when innocent people are in danger and suffering from want and disease. It seems the situation in France has only gotten worse with the catastrophe of the Bank Bills and many families have lost their credit and payment. Spain is currently also preparing for war and though they say it is preparation against the Moors, I am not so certain.y lead you to ruin. If marriage is what you want I’m sure that Mr. A— can introduce you to some suitable young gentlemen that will be more advantageous to you.

Yours in preoccupation

October 1720

Beloved Sister,

There is much confusion and activity in London as of late. The South-Sea Stocks have gone down an incredible amount and many people have lost everything and become destitute instantly. There was even a worrisome report in the papers about a gentleman who had stopped a man on a horse and asked for knife and subsequently proceeded to gruesomely cut his own throat in an attempt to take his life. Thankfully, the man was able to run to the nearest house and call for a doctor but as of yet nobody knows whether he will survive or what caused him to take such drastic measures. There are rumors however that many cases such as these are happening around the city due to the South Sea crisis. Even the Dutch seem to have been affected by this terrible calamity as they supposedly own a large quantity of stocks in the South-Sea Company. At least that is what Mr. A— has told me, and his account can be trusted as he does business with the Dutch and counts quite a few of them as close acquaintances.
I am glad to hear that you have become more and more interested in the affairs of the world, as I much enjoy our discussions. It seems that you were correct and since my last letter Spain has indeed continued preparations for war and it seems likely that they will launch an expedition against the Moors. According to Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal The Marquis de Lede was praised highly by the King of Spain and made Generalissimo of his army. He also received a new commission against the Moors. Everyone expects that he will be made Viceroy and be given principality but nothing is confirmed as of yet.
The reports coming out of Marceille are still grim, though there has recently been much controversy over the fact that because of the ban of communications there seems to be contradicting reports on the manner with some sources claiming that the situation is not as dire as it seems. Still I do not believe for a moment that the reports of heaps of bodies lying unburied in the streets and the lack of provisions are untrue. I am so afeared that the plague will spread to these parts that I have acquired a pamphlet which I shall send to you as well. It is called: The cause and prevention of the plague is outlined in this pamphlet so make sure you follow these instructions to the letter. I have already started preparing the concoction outlined in the Pamphlet but lest you do not heed me and ignore this warning here is the recipe as outlined in the pamphlet. Take 2 quarts of Canary (or any other wine), add a handful of rue and sage and bring to a boil until about a pint is boiled away, drain it and place it over the fire and add a dram of saffron, a dram of long pepper, half an ounce of ginger and two large nutmegs all beaten together. Let it boil a quarter of an hour and then dissolve it in Mitbridate and Venice Treacle of each a full ounce and keep it closed for use. Now you do no have any excuse not to make this concoction and take it daily with mama and papa. Make sure you heed my words Cynthia lest I lose you to this dreadful calamity. You might think me silly but these things have a tendency to spread quickly and we shall all perish lest we take preventive measures now. I have already started giving some to Mr. A— unbeknownst to him. It is especially necessary since he is in frequent contact with people who have traveled to France recently.
Yours as always

November 1720

lincoln-theatre.jpgDearest Cynthia

Things have begun to quiet down again despite the continued reports of Calamity from France. It appears that with the coming of colder weather the plague has abated but not completely disappeared. There is no way to know if this information is accurate of course, due to the nature of the block of communication currently in France. Still it does me well to be hopeful that those poor people have some hope. There has also been reports that money has started to flow once more in France and that the rich have been the most affected of this business with the Bank Bills and East India Stock. With all this calamity and turmoil even the once humorous Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal have become much more serious and sober. I think I like it all the more for this fact as without it I would have no details to share with you in our discussions of these manners and I do very much enjoy your opinions on these matters. I find that many of the people of London area not of the same mind as me on these matters and it is a great joy that I can share them with someone else.
Mr. A— has been very suspicious as of late, it is quite comical really. I know he is preparing something special for my upcoming birthday but I am pretending that I do not know. He has not taken me to the theater the last few weeks, and as you know this is quite strange as we usually go at least once a month as he knows it is one of my favorite diversions. I do hope he will take me to see She Wou’d if She Cou’d as I so wanted to see it last month but was kept extremely busy caring for Mr. A— and attending to the business of the house. Mr. A—was very busy too what with carrying on with this person of note and that business or what have you. Most days I do not know what this man gets up to as he is often busy as of late.
I do have some interesting news this month however it seems that Butler and one of his accomplices Carrick have impeached two great persons of note as accomplices in their nefarious trade. It is all quite scandalous and everyone is suspicious of each other and trying to figure out who it is. I suppose we shall know soon. I also have it on good authority that M. Frederick of Red Lyon street, otherwise known as the richest commoner in London has recently purchased a house in Gerard Street, and not just any house my dear—the house of the Late Countess of Suffolk nonetheless! He even purchased all the furniture. I am sure his family is not much pleased at this turn of events but there is little they can do now.
It also seems that the alleged murderers of Mr. White, the box-keeper at the new playhouse on Lincoln-Inn-Fields will be tried on an appeal. I do hope the poor man gets some justice done as all of us friends of the Theater felt his death deeply. I have written to mama and papa to send for you to come to me soon as I can no longer bear to be separated from you. I hope to see you soon so that we may embark on adventures and Theatrical exploits.

Your Constant Friend

December 1720


I am glad my letter finds you well and I cannot wait for you to come to stay with me next month. Mr. A— is already preparing for your arrival and acquiring all kinds of invitations that we might take you out into society and you will hopefully make a match that will settle you closer to me that we might be in each other’s company instead of writing these dreadful letters which never seem to come fast enough. Who else will discuss the political happenings of the world with me? It seems that all my acquaintances are interested in is the gossip of the town and though it is always diverting I am passed the time that those types of stories amused me.
I am sad to say that Mr. A— did not take me to see She Wou’d If She Cou’d despite my frequent hints as to my desire to go see it as I have heard the most wonderful reviews of it from the Ladies of my acquaintance. That obtuse man! I must be kind to him however as the poor fool did take me to the Theater after all to see Macbeth. With all the seriousness of the paper and the affairs of the world I had wanted to see a comedie but Macbeth proved to be an interesting experience. I was positively beside myself. Since I know you are not interested in these types of plays I shall recount it briefly. Macbeth is a woeful tale of a man who meets three witches who prophecy that he will be named Thane and later king of Scotland while his friend Banquo will not be King but will beget a line of Kings. Both men do not believe this to be so and but upon Return to Iverness, the King Duncan names Macbeth Thane. Lady Macbeth, a dreadful ambitious woman, hears about the prophecy and convinces Macbeth to kill the King so that he will be crowned. Macbeth then embarks on a string of attempted Murder to solidify his hold on the throne. When he visits the witches again they tell him to beware of a man named Macduff and that he cannot be harmed by “any man born of woman” but in the end it is the same Macduff who beheads Macbeth since he was not of woman born ( I confess I did not understand this part aren’t all men born of women?). I fear I am doing this play a great injustice as it is really astonishing and exciting and when you come if you are feeling adventurous I might take you to see it. It will do you some good to enjoy more somber works rather than just romances and comedies.
Speaking of serious matters, did you hear that the Keeper of a Brandy Shop in Fleet Street has been accused of keeping a bawdy house in his shop? It was quite the scandal in London when the news came out. Disgusting man, I cannot believe that any one can willfully engage in such disreputable behaviors.
On a much lighter note however I caught wind of a recent case where a young lady took to trial at Guild-Hall, her gentleman suitor who had falsely promised to marry her. I hear she got quite a bit of damages off of him too! So do tell Johnny not to go around making promises to young girls that he cannot keep lest he be tried and robbed of all his money ! Ah, sister I do miss you so terribly. I have been married near a year and though Mr. A— is a great companion I do find myself lonely quite often. I confess, I am becoming quite preoccupied as I have yet to conceive with Mr. A—. For this matter, I have recently purchased a bottle King’s Life Restorative Drops which are supposed to help with Conception. I hope these drops will aid me in my endeavors to start a family.

Yours in Earnest

  1. Applebee’s Original Weekly Journal[London] Jul 16. 1720-Dec 31. 1720. 17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers. 12 apr. 2015.
  2. A collection of the best English plays. Vol. I. Containing, Julius Cæsar; Macbeth; Hamlet; Othello: by Mr. Wm. Shakespeare. Vol. Volume 1. The Hague, 1711-22. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University of Maryland College Park. 12 Apr. 2015
  3. Author of The practical scheme. The great bill of mortality: or, the late dreadful plague at Marseilles, (of which, 'tis computed, above eighty thousand persons have died,) compared with that in London in 1665, of which above One Hundred Thousand Persons died; sometimes Eight or Nine Thousand a Week; the Carts continually plying to fetch away the Dead Bodies; and the Carr-Men with a Bell in their Hands, crying, Bring out your Dead! Bring out your Dead! in which You have a Particular Account of both those Dreadful Visitations; And, Likewise, a Description of the Disease it-self, in its first Symptoms, and Fatal Consequences. Together with plain and easy directions, how, both rich and poor, may prepare remedies t prevent it's infection, And Effectually to Cure any Person when Afflicted with it. Note, this tract is collected from the practice and writings of those physicians, who (by the Method herein Prescribed) had the good fortune to preserve the lives of many thousands, in the Time of that Dreadful Pestilence in London, in 1665. And now made Publick for the Benefit of all Persons, of what Rank socver. To which is added, a poem, exhorting the people of England to a timely repentance. Bristol, [1721]. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University of Maryland College Park. 12 Apr. 2015
  4. Shadwell, Thomas. The tempest: or, the enchanted island. A comedy, as it is performed at the Theatre-Royal, Smock-Alley. Dublin, 1775. Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University of Maryland College Park. 12 Apr. 2015
  5. Avery, Emmett L., ed. "Part 2: 1700-1729." The London Stage 1660-1800. Southern Illinois UP, Web.