Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, [Sunday], 5 February .
Isleworth Febry 5th
My dr Sister
Tho’ I am not yet prepared to send you those things which I fear indeed you are greatly in want of, I cannot consent to forego this opportunity of communicating to my beloved Friend, some small part of those feelings and sentiments which long used to find a sympathetic reception in her Bosom can hardly brook the painful restraint they are now subjected to – but I must first say something on your last letter, which had it not been for the distress I may add, the horror from which it relieved me, might have been consider’d in itself a sufficient cause of grief & anxiety – at my dr Grace! the ambiguous stile you adopted in that epistle, is ill suited to one who participated so tenderly in every care, every perplexity, every emotion which agitates your mind –
I have thus long delay’d my answer hoping that you would remove my doubts and uncertainty by private intelligence – what am I to think – you assign no sufficient reason for your silence & even treat it with a degree of Indifference which fills me with astonishment: but let me leave this useless and painful retrospect and request that you will speedily send me a minute explanation of those perplexities you speak of – my concern for your bodily indisposition tho not small gives way to the solicitude I feel about the more important malady of the mind, I cannot conjecture the nature of it, for tho’ I know you have many embarassments I do not suppose that they could draw from you such expressions, and in such a place: as you would have been alike desirous of concealing the disquietude, as the source of it – I have notwithstanding consider’d & reconsider’d all the circumstances whh have come to my knowledge: I have thought of our poor friend Mrs Houghton – but I hoped you could leave her with Him who maketh a way for his People in the Wilderness. You know my love the power is all of Him and if He withold it by any means, we must submit, & shall we not do it unrepining knowing they are trials of our faith & patience – connected with this I have reflected (need I say with how much concern) on the straightness of your finances; but I trust shortly to send you a remittance, & for the present if there is a necessity my Grandfather would supply you – your other wants have not escaped my notice – besides these, the absence of Mrs Saffery – my inability to comply with yr wish in seeing her – still knowing your fortitude nothing has seem’d to answer the intimation in your letter: but perhaps my fears have magnified them – I feel for your various inconveniences which are so frequently the subject of my thoughts – but remember my dr Girl that for the most part they are unavoidable, and that they are also of a passive nature, far different from those tumultuous cares, which leave no room for the services of fortitude & patience – for myself I seem almost steel’d against common attacks by a series of fruitless expectations & disappointments. Let us then join my dear in praying that they may be sanctified & that our afflictions may be of those which are but for a moment & whh shall work out a far more exceeding & eternal weight of glory – I shall expect a long letter at Mrs Ford’s & another by the Post about the same time –
I must hasten to conclude – I am more busy than I think you ever knew me – I have much to say to you but I must defer it til I send the parcel which I hope to do shortly. I feel for my dr Grandmama remember me affectly to her & Mr H. also to all our friends – My Father is in Town but I know would not be forgot – Mary desires love & duty Val who is with me at present begs similar regards he is a pleasing Boy – adieu & believe me, your affecte friend & Sister
Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.1.(a.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Address: Miss Andrews | Mr Harding’s | Exeter Street | Sarum; for a complete annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 6, pp. 17-18.