Peter Bayley

Mary Bayley to Mary Russell Mitford, 13 January 1823; L'Estrange, Friendships of Mary Russell Mitford (1882) 97.

You have doubtless heard of the dreadful event of last Saturday night — one that has forever bereft me of a most tenderly beloved husband, whose loss I must incessantly deplore, and whose memory will be cherished by me with fondest remembrance. I venture to communicate with you; it relieves my overcharged heart, ready to burst with the violence of its emotion. But the hope of a reunion in another world gives me consolation, and, for the sake of my poor orphans, I will endeavor to bear up under this excessive weight of misery. Knowing the delight Mr. Bayley always experienced in the perusal of your letters, I had a melancholy pleasure in reading the one you last addressed to him. Your predictions, alas! how are they verified! When you wrote them, the dear friend (you so kindly called him) was stretched on the bed of death. He often said, "Mary, Miss Mitford and you must meet; you would love and admire her; I should wish you to cultivate her acquaintance and friendship. I see her letters, her kind sympathy, and her affectionate wishes are as gratifying to you as to myself."