Anne Andrews, Isleworth, to Maria Grace Andrews, Salisbury, Tuesday, 29 May, and Saturday, 3 June .
Isleworth Tuesday May 30th –
I am so deeply indebted to the industrious tenderness of my dear Grace, that I fear I shall be declared a Bankrupt, if I do not hasten a remittance, which tho’ greatly inadequate to the debt incur’d, will I hope for the present, satisfy any fears she may entertain of my credit, & I must on some future opportunity to convince her of my real and intrinsic wealth – The stability of a house indeed should not be doubted, having so illustrious a firm, where Friendship and Sisterly Affection are united; where Sympathy and Congenial Sentiment are Assistants, & swiftfooted Ideas and ready Language are its docile Clerks –
I am indeed not able to answer at this time those three copious drafts drawn by you on the grand Treasury of the Heart, which tho’ they betray’d my inability were yet chearfully received – they were indeed welcome Observation who has been since employ’d to search the Coffers, and all the repositories of this extensive Bank finds no deficiency, his keen sight could not penetrate the inexhaustless store. The blame therefore remains wholly with the Teller; whose languid efforts, alike other hirelings, ill describe the riches and liberality of their Employers – I would indeed in this case rather be a Debtor than a Creditor –
But no more of this, I do not in truth sit down to tell you all that I could wish, but merely to thank you for a Diligence in writing so unexpected, to inform you of the safe arrival of the Parcel, on the very evening after I sent my last, and of the receipt of two subsequent letters; as also to congratulate you, (with how much heartfelt satisfaction I leave you by sympathy to judge) on returning health, and (as I flatter myself from your more vivacious expression) reviving Spirits: to tell you we are well; but above all, to pour forth from my willing heart the warm effusions of no common love – no my Maria, did not the infirmities, the errors of our Nature sometimes cast an intervening Shade, it would be most surely an harmonious mixture of tender affiance, of relative affection, & reciprocal sentiment – oh then may we my Sister, when these Clouds are withdrawn, when the mortal veil shall be laid aside, ascend to those blessed regions of essential bliss, where the sacred but brittle bands of earthly friendship, shall be changed to the permanence of celestial adamant; where the pure and vivifying ether shall refine, enliven, and breathe into a human love a diviner energy; where gracious sentiment, and enlarg’d perception, shall blend in mingling raptures thro’ eternal ages, with eternal increase –
Saturday – I wrote thus far on Tuesday, but was not able to proceed – have been much engaged in putting the finishing stroke to your book, in looking over a set as I told you I purposed in my last – It is as correct as could well be expected, the second and third volumes in particular I made out a short list of Errata to the 1st & 2nd Vols there are three or four unpleasant mistakes in the first – the reason why that is the worst needs no explanation. I hope in a short time to send it to you, and with it some things which I am sure you will be in need of, as your dark Cotton, as soon as I can get it glazed, your Muslin, the silk for your Petticoat, shawl &c – I shall then I trust have leisure to write more satisfactory to you myself, am at present much hurried that you must on that account read this dull, uninteresting Epistle –
Last Sunday Afternoon while my Father was out, I was surprized by the sight of Mr & Mrs Walter, their son, and Miss Blagrave as I still call her tho’ from some circumstances I guess she is ye wife of a Man who was with them – she now resides in Brentford Butts you will easily conceive my feelings on this occasion their stay was very short – Miss B– seem’d inclined to renew acquaintance Poor John is just what he used to be, height accepted – I have not yet heard from Chapel St – We are quite at a loss to discover what it is you allude to about General Matthews. No one can < > information tho’ my Father has repeatedly enquired, and there appears to have been no official accounts from India –
I stand reproved in attempting to avert my eyes from a past, blended indeed with instruction & delight, tho’ Alas! pain has ever been the predominant ingredient – but I have no time to express the mingled pleasure and admiration which the piety, the wisdom, the justice, the gentleness of your sentiments excite in the breast of a Sister who tho’ too seldom accompanied by these amiable Inmates yet rejoices that they attend on the steps of her Maria, and oh! may ye gracious seeds of these virtues sown and spring up in the hearing of both the writer and ye beloved Reader of this – & continuing to grow, blossom in immortality –
Accept love from my Father & present respectful & affectionate remembrances to our dear Parents – Mrs Wynne & Mrs Larkin join in kind Compts – Adieu my sweet friend may ye peace of Angels ye joy of Saints & ye Blessing of ye Almighty ever assist you –
Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.3.(d.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Address: Miss Andrews | at Mr Harding’s | Exeter Street | Sarum. Postmark: illegible; 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. 29-31. The letter is misdated on the opening page; references to The Noble Enthusiast date the letter as 1792.