Oh Bess we
ought to be, we must be, surely, shall be happy with each other again. Write to
me a long, very long letter, open thy soul, pour upon the paper rough as it
arises, thy hopes thy fears, thy joys, place thyself before me let me see my
George Bass to Elizabeth Bass, 18 March 1801
my George I want longer Letters what success you meet with, a discription of
the places you go too, what sort of Ladies you meet with … inshort everything
that happens to you till our happy meeting.
Elizabeth Bass to George Bass, 9 November 1801
George Bass left England in January 1801, having married Elizabeth Waterhouse only three months earlier. They would never meet again. Bass sailed out of Sydney Harbour on 5 February 1803 and was most probably lost at sea. No information has ever been found about him or any of his crew of twenty-five.
The twenty-two letters exchanged between George and Elizabeth Bass across the
oceans are a rare example of the genre. George wrote short, witty, sometimes
rather cruel, though, in his way, loving letters, giving little information on
his daily doings. Elizabeth wrote very long letters filled with laments and
anxieties, but always loving and hopeful of the future.
Display item Love letters