It may have been the final
resolution of the Birtwhistle vs Vardill case which prompted Anna and Agnes
to move to Reading,
and to travel extensively. The address on Anna’s letters was never more
specific than Reading,
but the mention of a nervous Mary Russell Mitford visiting at night time in
1841 suggests their residence was close to the author’s cottage at Three Mile
Cross. Our friend at 3 mile X [ Mary
Russell Mitford] is in better spirits and has some thoughts of visiting her
relative Bertram Osbalditon Mitford at his Northumbrian Castle.
Ben [her servant] and the old pong [her horse] often bring her to our evening fire but she
still fears to prolong her visits beyond the twilight unless the moon shines.
Even the pong shows a painful memory, and starts aside when he reaches the
place where she was attacked. However, she will probably remain at her
cottage bower till spring.
A letter of 1842 reported that
Miss Mitford had sent the first violets of the year to Anna, and another, of
1843, that she had sent her
servant with the news that Mary’s
father had died.
Anna and Agnes travelled
extensively between 1843 and 1848. A letter from the Wicklow Hills with a
sketch by Agnes show them in Ireland in Feb 1843, and this was followed by a
10 month tour of France and Italy, which included visits to Milan, Parma,
Florence, Rome, Naples and Turin. They were again in France in 1845 and 1847, and in
Dunkeld on New Years Eve 1848. The last item from Anna in the Flaxman
collection was a Valentine to Maria Denman dated 14th Feb 1849. Anna had mentioned in 1832
having of “treasury of Valentines of
1812” and, since the Valentine of 1849
was signed with an insignia based on
her maiden initials, AV, which she
frequently used for her contributions
to the Attic Chest, it would seem that the Valentine of 1849 was a re-dated Valentine from her “treasury”.