This seems destined to be the summer of Augusta Smith turning up in unexpected places. A few months ago, it was a 1798 diary penned by Augusta Smith the elder, whom I usually refer to as ‘Mamma’ in this blog. And over this past weekend, an 1824 letter written by her eldest daughter, Augusta!
The letter arrived in my email box thanks to Angela in Alberta, Canada. Her grandfather had been given the letter, when he was in England, during World War II. Imagine.
Angela is lucky, as it is one of the most intriguing letters. Augusta proves herself a very astute writer, especially when she is reminiscing about the family trip to 1822-23 and remembering their time in Rome. Ah! I know only too well what it is like to pine for places you haven’t seen in some time…
There are a couple items to bring up in this blog, but I will leave them for later. Let it suffice that I greatly thank Angela for bringing this letter to my attention. Few might realize how one letter, one diary, sometimes even just one sentence or two written about these people can shed new light, revealing light, on these 200-year-old people. Hip-hip-hurrah for blogs! for without this one I would never have seen these private sides of my two Augustas.
BTW, the above is not a portrait of Augusta (I have nothing of either — so far!), but a fashion plate from c1820. As eldest daughter, young Augusta occupied a unique place in the Smith of Suttons family, she was Mrs Smith’s ‘ornamental daughter’ according to one contemporary and friend. Augusta’s life makes for riveting reading, and I do so want her story to be told. Riches – pain – love – marriage – death. She is definitely one reason I pursue these people to the ‘ends of the earth,’ from North Carolina, to Winchester and Chelmsford, Warwick and Chicago, London, New York City, Oxford, and now Alberta.