My eye is very bad. I have had the physician of the fleet to examine it.
He has directed me not to write, (and yet I am forced, this day, to write Lord Spencer, St. Vincent, Davison about my law-suit, Troubridge, Mr. Locker, &c. but you are the only female I write to;) not to eat any thing but the most simple food; not to touch wine or porter; to sit in a dark room; to have green shades for my eyes—(will you, my dear friend, make me one or two? Nobody else shall;)—and to bathe them in cold water every hour. I fear, it is the writing has brought on this complaint. My eye is like blood; and the film so extended, that I only see from the corner farthest from my nose. What a fuss about my complaints! But, being so far from my sincere friends, I have leisure to brood over them.
I have this moment seen Mrs. Thomson’s friend. Poor fellow! he seems very uneasy and melancholy. He begs you to be kind to her; and I have assured him of your readiness to relieve the dear good woman: and believe me, for ever, my dear Lady, your faithful, attached, and affectionate,
NELSON & BRONTE.
I will try and write the Duke a line. My brother intended to have gone off to-morrow afternoon; but this half order may stop him.
San Josef, February 8th, 1801.
MY DEAR LADY,
Mr. Davison demands the privilege of carrying back an answer to your kind letter; and, I am sure, he will be very punctual in the delivery.
I am not in very good spirits; and, except that our country demands all our services and abilities, to bring about an honourable peace, nothing should prevent my being the bearer of my own letter. But, my dear friend, I know you are so true and loyal an Englishwoman, that you would hate those who would not stand forth in defence of our King, laws, religion, and all that is dear to us.
It is your sex that make us go forth; and seem to tell us—“None but the brave deserve the fair!” and, if we fall, we still live in the hearts of those females. You are dear to us. It is your sex that rewards us; it is your sex who cherish our memories; and you, my dear, honoured friend, are, believe me, the first, the best, of your sex.
I have been the world around, and in every corner of it, and never yet saw your equal, or even one which could be put in comparison with you. You know how to reward virtue, honour, and courage; and never to ask if it is placed in a Prince, Duke, Lord, or Peasant: and I hope, one day, to see you, in peace, before I set out for Bronte, which I am resolved to do.
Darby’s is one of the ships sent out after the French squadron; I shall, therefore, give the print to Hardy. I think, they might come by the mail-coach, as a parcel, wrapped up round a stick; any print shop will give you one: and direct it as my letters. The coach stops, for parcels, at the White Bear, I believe, Piccadilly.