The Baillie Connection

March 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm (people) (, , , , , , )

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

J Baillie

Red Lion hill
tuesday morning

colebrookeImagine 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:

Miss Colbrook
Branch Lodge

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
Edition: illustrated
Published by Sawd, 1998
ISBN 1872489206, 9781872489209
72 pages

If anyone can tell me about its contents concerning Harriet and Belinda, please contact me.


  1. Janeite Deb said,

    Hi Kelly, you might want to check with our JASNA-Vermont member Rebecca M. – her thesis is on Joanna Baillee and Scott and she might know something of what you speak..

    • Janeite Kelly said,

      Dear Deb, I only wish it were that easy!

      Yes, it has looonnnnggg been in my mind to ask RM about Scott, but one looks right past these people if they are not one’s main focus.

      However, I’ve no doubt that while Belinda Colebrooke would be an unknown, RM would at least have run across Margaret Clephane, her mother and sisters — the three sisters were Scott’s wards; Margaret, a poetess, married Lord Compton (who later became the 2nd Marquess Northampton). The Smiths meet Scott because of his relationship to their ‘new’ cousin.

      So maybe RM would like to hear the couple tales _I_ have to tell about Scott, and Baillie as well.

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