A “Redisovery” from Vol. 38, #2. Originally published in 1866 by Henry G. Bohn.
I have not written to you, dear sister, these many months:—a great piece of self-denial. But I know not where to direct, or what part of the world you were in. I have received no letter from you since that short note of April last, in which you tell me, that you are on the point of leaving England, and promise me a direction for the place you stay in; but I have in vain expected it till now: and now I only learn from the gazette, that you are returned, which induces me to venture this letter to your house at London. I had rather ten of my letters should be lost, than you imagine I don’t write; and I think it is hard fortune if one in ten don’t reach you. However, I am resolved to keep the copies, as testimonies of my inclination to give you, to the utmost of my power, all the diverting part of my travels, while you are exempt from all the fatigues and inconveniences.
In the first place, I wish you joy of your niece; for I was brought to bed of a daughter five weeks ago. I don’t mention this as one of my diverting adventures; though I must own that it is not half so mortifying here as in England, there being as much difference as there is between a little cold in the head, which sometimes happens here, and the consumption coughs, so common in London. Nobody keeps their house a month for lying in; and I am not so fond of any of our customs to retain them when they are not necessary. I returned my visits at three weeks’ end; and about four days ago crossed the sea, which divides this place from Constantinople, to make a new one, where I had the good fortune to pick up many curiosities.
From NER 38.2
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689–1762) was an English aristocrat and writer who was also known for introducing and advocating for smallpox inoculation in Britain. A number of her poems and essays were printed in her lifetime, sometimes anonymously, with or without her knowledge and permission. Her letters from Turkey, for which Lady Mary remains best remembered, were published posthumously in 1763, as Letters Written During Her Travels (Becket and De Hondt), and in later years were frequently reprinted. Other edited volumes of her writing were published after her death, the most significant being Letters and Works, edited by her great-grandson Lord Wharncliffe, published in 1837 and reissued with corrections in 1866. Lady Mary defied convention throughout her life, and interest in her life story has so far outpaced the scholarship on her considerable accomplishments in writing.
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