Mary Russell Mitford

Felicia Hemans to Mary Russell Mitford, 6 June 1827; Memorials of Mrs. Hemans, ed. Chorley (1836) 1:151-52.

I can hardly feel that I am addressing an entire stranger in the author of Our Village, and yet I know not it is right and proper, that I should apologize for the liberty I am taking. But, really, after having accompanied you again, and again, as I have done, in "violetting" and seeking for wood-sorrel: after having been with you to call upon Mrs. Allen in "the dell," and becoming thoroughly acquainted with "May and Lizzy," I cannot but hope, that you will kindly pardon my intrusion, and that my name may be sufficiently known to you to plead my cause. There are some writers whose works we cannot read without feeling as if we really had looked with them upon the scenes they bring before us, and as if such communion had almost given us a claim to something more than the mere intercourse between author and "gentle reader." Will you allow me to say that your writings have this effect upon me, and that you have taught me in making me know and love your "Village" so well, to wish for further knowledge, also, of her who has so vividly impressed its dingles and copses upon my imagination, and peopled them so cheerily with healthful and happy beings? I believe, if I could be personally introduced to you, that I should in less than five minutes begin to inquire about Lucy, and the lilies of the valley, and whether you had succeeded in peopling that "shady border" in your own territories with those shy flowers.