William Hone to Robert Childs, 5 October, 1825 — An Electronic Edition

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William Hone to Robert Childs, 5 October, 1825.1-TEI-

45 Ludgate Hill

5 Oct. 1825
My dear Sir,

I received the Old Lady and shall treat her if I find her of good repute as tenderly as I would a young one—distinguishing her & you at the same time.2

So! — you send me an "Account sent to the newspapers"—! You!

This won't do — I must have more. Answer me these.

Did she survive her husband? What was she? by occupation or profession? Where did he live? Did he leave her a competence? Was she remarkable for nothing but living beyond her time? Acquaint me with—her temper? & her usual diet? did she rise early? & if early how early? how long did she sleep? How was her appetitie? her eyesight? her memory? was she of any religious persuasion? and what? bigotted or tolerant? Had she any mind? & how much? distinguishing the qualities thereof?

3 Had she any bumps? I beg pardon—"organic developments" on the cranium? had she the organ of destructiveness? or of self destructiveness? & by what organ was it counteracted? — All this is in a parenthesis — she had amativeness I presume —with Philoprojenny & Jackytiveness of course — still in the parenthesis.

Seriously though I will thank you to give me as many particulars as you can collect or re-collect respecting this want — and you shall have an article if you will give me the materials—

Was she temperate in drinking? & and how temperate? drinking no, or little, & spirits or wine or beer? or water only? &c. &c. — talkative or taciturn?

But a few Anecdotes respecting her would be very acceptable—they are the material of article writing.

Now tell "Uncle Filby" that his best wishes have my heart thanks and that I don't forget him or Brother John whom that I did not see when he was in town. I lament me in vain. I cld. not. I was mal-a-tete as the French say, & rambling head or heels or both together in or about "Haybush Lane" the old North road where he might have found me if he cld. have found anybody near or on the spot that knew the aforesaid way by either of those denominations or win as a way — I keep to the "good old ways"

Remember me yourself and remember me to "brother John" and ask him if the division of Poland was justifiable? and therewith he will associate the division of Turkey, or see that I do and that I recollect "Christmas is a coming"

In woful haste I have made want [one word obscured by seal] waste of paper—as you & "brother John" do— all I have said might have been said thus

My dear Sir,
If you forward me some particulars of Mrs. Want by Tuesday next you shall see her portrait with an Account of her in the EDB—

I am, my dear Sir,
Yours most sincerely
W Hone

[addressed:] For Mr. Robert Childs
Bungay, Suffolk

British Library, Add. MS 40856, ff. 19-20. [return]
The "Old Lady" referred to here—and, indeed, throughout the letter—is "Hannah Want," a woman who lived to the remarkable age of 106. Robert Childs had supplied an account of Hannah Want for Hone to include in the Every-Day Book, where it appeared in the number for 2 October, 1825. [return]
This entire paragraph is enclosed in great marginal parentheses and refers to the Childs' interest in phrenology. [return]
William Hone. Date: 2012-07-03