1792 March 18 (Anne)

Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, [Sunday], 18 March [1792].

I am sat down my dr Grace with an intention of writing a short letter not indeed from any want of inclination to write a long one but from a very great scarcity of time perhaps you will think this an unreasonable brevity after a silence of several weeks but I know you will ascribe both the length of my absence and shortness of my epistle which you shall be inform’d of the various causes I have to assign for both –

For the first then I have been waiting the success of Mr Andrews’s repeated attempts to recover the Money from Mr Lane due on the sale of the Noble Enthusiast which will form one of the principal ingredients of the long expected Parcel which I have so much wish’d to send that I could not reconcile myself to writing without it – this I hope you will accept as an Apology for my delay & for any proposed conciseness I am going to Town on Thursday if nothing prevents & therefore you will readily conceive I have not a Minute for which I could not find ample employment particularly as Bella leaveg me at the same period & my stay must of necessity be something longer than usual as I have another visit to pay after I part from our dr friends in Chapel Street the occasion of which you will probably be somewhat surprized to hear it being no less an event than the arrival of Miss Clareson in Town to whom I am compell’d by the most pressing solicitations to pay my respects I received a letter from Mrs C– who desires particular remembrances to yourself Mr & Mrs Harding –

I have also two or three other engagements in Town which are comparatively indispensable – with regard to my employments at home this is the first day in which I have had the appearance of leisure owing to the absence of my little Family – this I suppose will make you smile – Mary I have sent home and Val I have this Morng committed to the care of Mr Fielder his Mama came on Friday last for him & stay’d with us till Sunday Eveng but did not take him with her for some reasons too trifling to mention He seems to have engross’d a larger share of my affections than considering the ingratitude so soon manifested in our debased Nature may prove conducive to my future ease & comfort for I think Shakespear advances an incontrovertible truth when he declares –

“Quickly die their Joys,--

Who place them on the love of Girls & Boys.”

but you know love is free & cannot be portion’d out by the hand of prudence or circumscribed by the Laws of Reason let us however hope that he who has implanted this tenderness in our nature will if we have respect unto him direct & overrule these sensations to wise & good purposes – at present with regard to my little Cousin he seems to claim my affection as a just debt – but no more of him –

For the contents of the Parcel I shall leave them to speak for themselves & hasten my letters to a conclusion – I am charged with various remembrances from friends &c: Mrs Cameron especially never omits kind enquiries when she writes beg you will give me an opportunity of returning what Compt to herself and the family at large –

My Father was very well Yesterday Morng since which time I have not seen him I shall have plenty of room for anything he may wish to say to you – Adieu my love and believe me to be your affecte Sister & sincere but unworthy Friend –

Anne Andrews

Tuesday Afn Mar. 18

Do not forget tender & dutiful regards to Mrs & Mrs H– You may expect to hear from me again in the course of next week – Mrs Sansom begs to be remembered –

I propose sendg the remainder of the sash with the Essays &c

Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.2.(h.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Address: Miss Andrews; 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. 20-21. Maria Grace Andrews's The Noble Enthusiast, A Modern Romance, was published in 1792 by William Lane (1744/5-1815) at the Minerva Press, a London establishment that published more women novelists than any other publishing firm in the 1790s. The novel appeared as a three volume novel encased in one volume, totaling 626 pages and selling for three shillings. Only three copies are extant, one in the collections of the Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University; one at the University of Pennsylvania, and one in the New York Society Library. Apparently, Maria Grace, at that time living in Salisbury, had left the work of revising the proofs of her novel with Anne, as well as the composition of most of the Preface, which Anne promptly sent to Lane along with the proof sheets of the novel. For the complete text of The Noble Enthusiast, see Volume 7.