1792? May 14 (Anne)

Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, [14 May 1792?].

Isleworth Monday Morng

My ever dear Grace

How shall I be thankful for, yet deprecate your tender solicitude who know full well the agitation, the anxious pain, which is necessarily connected with the embarassments ever so unfortunately attach’d to our family, particularly that which you mention [You] should not be surprised at the hasty discomposed stile of my letter, yet I would not have you suppose that any thing has occur’d singularly to affect either party, but as the time draws near when some points must be decided, suspense becomes more painful and some evils may arise, which tho’ not indeed speculatively real or substantial, yet in their present tendency, distressing – this you know is frequently the case in such affairs, but they may not take place, or they may be obviated – so much for what this paper would scarcely serve to explain; but I do not know that this had any influence on my spirits when I last wrote – I believe hurry had a great hand in it for that indeed has been almost a constant attendant on me during your absence; be not afraid of my keeping you in ignorance, and loving precept better than example, no, rest assured that in any occurrence where Reason or Affection may dictate a disclosure I will not dissemble. I do not doubt your fortitude when call’d to a proper test, but how can I consent to convey to your bosom, all those vexations and domestic cares, which it is my constant aim to banish from my own; at least the remembrance of them, and indeed it is one of my greatest consolations that you escape them –

Let me however hasten to tell you, that if I unintentionally inflict pain on you, yet you are doubly revenged, in that your letter excited in my tortured heart, feelings more exquisite than mine could convey; to hear that you have been, that you are still unwell, was a dart which could not fail to wound, but that mental indisposition, that lassitude, that depression so apparent in your last, was such an one, as even the renowned Egis of the sapient Goddess could not have repulsed, it indeed pierced deep, and “Alas! utter’d my throbbing heart, while it vibrated to the shaft, “why was my beloved Maria form’d thus too exquisitely tender and susceptible” – but I hush’d its repinings, and forbade its fears – let me my dear make you better acquainted with my feelings, and the motives which have hitherto actuated me with regard to you – you know I have not solicited your return – I concur’d with your sentiments of the duty and propriety of a longer stay, I also thought your life at Sarum more peaceful, and consequently more suitable to your mind and health than that at home – and the heroic ardor you express’d, the zealous spirit which seem’d to dictate your former < > forbade my doubts of your sincerity, and < > your comfort, I tried to animate myself to the same pitch, no selfish, no interested pleas were heard I admired my Sister, and was busied in emulation What a reverse did yesterday present, how was I cast down from the aspiring heights of sentiment; then, then I felt its vanity, and found that our sensations were Rebels who would oppose our sublimer principles – Time perhaps will point out some alleviation at present we must wait patiently; but I must not proceed on this subject –

I am greatly concern’d about my Grandfathers commission, the neglect rests entirely with me, as my father made an almost immediate enquiry but I forgot to tell you the result my father did not see any of Mr Sykes’s family but learn’d that they still reside in Crutched Friars and are pretty well they were then in the Country [I] pray intreat forgiveness for me and present affectionate and dutiful remembrances to him and my dear Grandmama –

I have a hundred things to tell you but must defer them all till the return of my Grandfather Miss C desires best love – my father returns your tenderness – The Ladies send kind compts farewell best beloved of my Soul have confidence in God and be happy – be blest & in so being you will impart felicity to your sympathising friend & Sister

My grandfather will be so kind as to accommodate you with a trifle which my father will repay

Your Hero [The Noble Enthusiast] is in good health hope soon to get you a sight of and inform you of his exploits –

Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.1.(m.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Address: Miss Andrews | Mr Harding’s | Exeter Street | Sarum. Postmark: location illegible, 1792; 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. 23-24.