3 December 2003
NELSON, Horatio, Viscount (1758-1805). Autograph letter signed ('Nelson & Bronte') to Lady Hamilton ('My dearest friend'), n.p., 'Sunday noon', n.d. [1 March 1801], 3 pages, 4to, autograph address panel, seal (cracked) bearing an impression of Lady Hamilton's portrait (seal tear in blank margin, weak in centre fold, traces of guard).
A letter written in a nervous state. When Oliver (his confidential secretary) was announced, 'so much anxiety for your safety rushed into my mind that a pain immediately seized my heart, which kept increasing for half an hour that turning cold hot cold etc. I was obliged to send for the surgeon ... This morning has brought me your three dear letters by the post ... Why my dear friend do you alarm yourself your own Nelson will return safe and under the hand of Providence is as safe as if walking London streets'.
The letter continues with an abusive attack on the Marchioness of Abercorn that Lady Aber. is a damned bitch. She would pimp for her husband that she might get at her lovers for I dare say no one satisfies her but no people love but two that I know of. Would to God I had dined alone with you. what a Des[s]ert we would have had', also including guarded reference to Horatia, 'Thanks for the account of my godchild' and, at the end, a mention of Emma's picture (presumably the pastel portrait done by J.H. Schmidt in 1800, which hung in Nelson's cabin).
Nelson had just returned from leave in London where he had seen Horatia for the first time. Morrison (vol.II, pp122-3) published three letters to Emma on this day.
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