My dear Miss Colebrooke
I write to you in place of my Sister who is not well to day. She received your note on Sunday forenoon, and sent a person to Grosvenor St: early on monday morning to catch Dr Baillie before he should be gone out, and received an immediate answer.—- In this he desires her to inform you, that he will make an early arrangement to see Mrs Lee, after he is informed of her return from Brighton, in order to give his opinion of her case….
My sister & I were very sorry on reading your note to find Mrs Lee has been & continues so much an Invalid. I hope it will please God to restore her again to perfect health after all her suffering. I called this morning at Branch Lodge & learnt that you are expected home today….
With All kind wishes to your Invalid & to you & your Sister & the Miss Lees, in which my Sister joins me heartily,
I remain, my dear Miss Colebrooke
most truly yours
Red Lion hill
Imagine my surprise finding this undated letter among those in the 2-volume set of The Collected Letters of Joanna Baillie! That it was sent to Miss Belinda Colebrooke I have no doubt. According to Emma Smith, the Colebrookes were residing in Hampstead at a place Emma calls Branch Hill Lodge; Miss Baillie addresses her letter, thusly:
Mrs Lee, with whom the Colebrooke girls lived after their grandmother Lady Colebrooke died, and herein referred to as the ‘Invalid,’ is the topic of Emma’s February 4th 1820 diary entry:
Belinda & Rosina Lee came to see us for a minute in their way to Hampstead where they were going from Brighton in order to prepare the house for Mrs Lee whose sad state of health made them very unhappy
Rosina, along with Eleanor and Jemima, was the daughter of Mrs Lee. I’m still tracking down information on the Lees, who seem to have hailed from Scotland (probably Edinburgh).
I have long known the Smiths knew Joanna Baillie (Emma and Belinda visit her and her sister Agnes the following March); this is the first indication of a letter to Belinda.
A book, on the Colebrookes, that may be of use is
Sola bona quae honesta: The Colebrooke Family, 1650-1950
By Malcolm Sutherland
Published by Sawd, 1998
ISBN 1872489206, 9781872489209
If anyone can tell me about its contents concerning Harriet and Belinda, please contact me.