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Drake Letters Index 89. Louisa to Maria Drake 18 January 1856 ◄ ● ► 91. The London Gazette 5 February 1856
The Drake Letters
 
Louisa Drake (Balaklava) - Maria Drake (London), 1 February 1856
  Balaklava
February 1st [1856] 1
 
My dear Mrs. Drake,
 
        We received your letters of the 18th last night, I sincerely join you in singing “Oh, be joyful,” at even the thoughts of Peace, and we begin at last to hope it is true, you cannot imagine what a fuss it has put us all in, “what is to be done, who goes first, and who last” &c. &c. at present everything goes on as if the Campaign was still to be undertaken; but I am thankful that a very short time now, must decide the matter, Henry was at Head Quarters this morning, saw the Commander in Chief 2 and some other great people, but they are very close with their news, “if they have any”, after our late lovely weather, we have winter again it has been Snowing all day, and the ground being damp thawed it at once (though the roofs are all covered) so now it is as muddy as ever, Henry had a nice dirty ride; Mr. Campbell 3 who came in from the Highland Camp got the man in the Stable to wash his long boots with buckets of water, before he entered into my Drawing room, Henry’s are one good cake of it, but he took them off in the Hall, you are right in thinking we have plenty of draughts in the Russian Palace, enough to give one face ache or any other ache, but I am so thankful at having the Cottage at all; that I never allow myself to think of any of its discomforts, and that is the best way to look at it, but it would be thought a miserable residence by any Lady who had never lived out of England, I hope to be able to tell you all about it personally soon, oh, how delightful it will be to get home again, it seems such a very long time since we left, 4 we have led such an extraordinary life ever since, and seen so much, that it makes months appear like years, Henry expects he will be left here to the last, but at present all is delightful uncertainty, we have had more firing than usual lately, the night before last the Russians came over in boats from the North to attack the South side of Sevastopol, of course they were obliged to return, but we have not heard any particulars, and shall not, I suppose till we see it in the Times; they blew up the last of the Docks yesterday, so that business is finished at last, the Barracks were to be blown up today and I believe some of the Forts are to share the same fate, what a wretched place it will be when the Russians see it again. I am glad your party went off so pleasantly, and happily, how we should have liked to have had a peep at you all, it must have been a great fatigue for you, having so completely to turn your house inside out, I have no doubt the young people enjoyed the fun, but how glad you must be that the Holidays are over; Laura 5 has been fortunate in finding so many kind friends, and having so much change during hers, we were much pleased with the poor child’s Drawings, I hope she will continue to be fond of it, it is very fortunate she is so happy at School, I am sorry to hear Mr. White 6 is still complaining; I hoped his trip to Brighton would have made [written across the page] him all right again, I suppose he could not Exercise long enough to derive benefit from his visit. I suppose Louisa and I are prisoners again for many days, we fortunately had a fine night for our visit to the Leander, 7 which we enjoyed very much: a party of eight, the Admiral, 8 his Flag Lieut., Private Secretary, Doctor, and the Hon’ble Colonel Fielding [sic] 9 of the Coldstream Guards, we had a very nice dinner and a round Game in the evening, he sent his gig to fetch us, and bring us home again, an extra Cloak put in the boat at night to wrap round our Shoulders, everything so truly kind and thoughtful, I am sure Lou and I ought to feel much flattered for the Admiral said we were the first ladies, who had been on board his ship, since he had hoisted his Flag, he often calls, and chats with us, – we like him very much. Henry has frequent business with him and goes on board nearly every day, but has never been asked to dinner before. Sir George 10 is not at all well, and in bad spirits, he worried himself ill I think, and stays too much at home, we never see anything of him, and never ask him to, as I know he would think it a bore, I am sure he will be very glad when all affairs here are settled, and we are all out of the Crimea; I want to see a little more of it, before we go, I have shortened my Habit many inches in preparation for a ride, when the roads are at all in order, but the snow has upset my plans for the present. We have not heard one word about the Clifton, 11 do not know where she is, so Charles Pennell’s letters are still in our Post Office. I dare say, he will walk in unexpectedly some day to fetch them. Mr. Hamilton is still staying with Mr. Carpenter, 12 but the hut is nearly finished and then several of the new comers will live together, it will be within a very short distance of us. I shall not forget your receipt and will use it, if troubled with my face again, at present it is quite well and I hope will remain so. It is getting very late and I must close this, Henry is tired with his ride through the mud with the snow pelting in his face & is fast asleep, Louisa is writing away as usual, plenty of nonsense no doubt. Give my love to all, and
 
Believe me ever, Your Affect. Daughter
Louisa Drake

 
 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Footnotes
 
1. Private family manuscript (Judith Hall and Sally Mac, Auckland, New Zealand).
 
2. General Sir William John Codrington.
 
3. Mr. Campbell had visited at least twice before, having been mentioned by Louisa in her letters, Louisa Drake (Balaklava) – Maria Drake (London) (7 December 1855), and, Louisa Drake (Balaklava) – Maria Drake (London) (17 Decemer 1855).
 
4. According to Henry’s Journal, Louisa and her daughter, Louisa Maria, left Southampton on 20 April 1855, and arrived at Balaklava on 18 May 1855.
 
5. Louisa’s daughter, Laura Mary Drake.
 
6. Henry’s sister, Maria Harriet Drake, married Edward Marshall White. He died in Brighton on 7 March 1887.
 
7. Henry’s Journal entry for 29 January reads: “Fine morning. About noon, Foggy & light showers. Aftrernoon it cleared up. We dined on board H.M.S. Leander with Admiral Freemantle. Russians attacked Sevastopol.”
 
8. Admiral Charles Howe Fremantle.
 
9. Colonel the Hon. Percy Robert Basil Feilding, Coldstream Guards.
 
10. CG Sir George Maclean.
 
11. Clifton (British transport ship). TROOPS, TRANSPORTS, &c. MALTA, FEB. 5. The Clifton, sailing transport (No. 106), arrived from Constantinople on the 28th, with unserviceable stores, and left for Spithead on the 29th. [“Multiple News Items.” Standard [London, England] 12 February 1856: n.p. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 26 July 2013.] PORTSMOUTH – WEDNESDAY. Clifton, sailing transport (106, and Eagle, steam transport (171), have arrived at Spithead with condemned ordnance stores. [“Multiple News Items.” Standard [London, England] 20 March 1856: n.p. 19th Century British Newspapers. Web. 26 July 2013.]
 
12. DCG Frederick Stanley Carpenter.
 
 
 

 
© COPYRIGHT MEGAN STEVENS 2015 —
Drake Letters Index 89. Louisa to Maria Drake 18 January 1856 ◄ ● ► 91. The London Gazette 5 February 1856