Mary Egerton, London, to Mrs. Andrews, Isleworth, [Monday], 25 January 1790.
Mond. Jany 25 1790
It gives me sincere pleasure to find the disagreeable conjectures that had arisen in my dr friend’s mind, entirely dispelled by the eclairiessement contained in my last – & am not a little indebted to that kind particularity which predisposed her to receive my excuses within such unmerited indulgence –
Tho’ you are willing to make allowances for every thing but inconstancy My Fidelity perhaps least deserves commendation because it flows so much from a principle of Self Love – I love myself – can I therefore help loving her, whose underserved tenderness & sollicitude, has for some time taught me to consider within a kind of filial reverence & affection & whose congeniality of Heart, has engaged my most unlimited Confidence?–
There are some Writers would fain persuade us that every wish We form has ultimately reference to our own benefit – but that I can agree with them in many instances I cannot quite admit of all – Surely my Heart is fraught with anxieties & ardent desires concerning You and Yours in which my own interest has very little, if any, participation – solicitous for the welfare & happiness of all mankind – I consider the Errors & distresses with which the World abounds with deep concern – & am sometimes even depressed with melancholy to view the deplorable states of mankind in general, but in proportion as we love People our anxiousness for them is augmented – & it is possible I may have felt this most at a time, when I have appeared least amiable in your Eyes – Not a Day however passes, I believe, in which my dear Mama & my two sisters, do not occupy my thoughts – Scarce a prayer I breathe, in which they are forgot – Nor an occasion presents itself – that I think might afford them benefit & Satisfaction, but what I say to myself – would they were with me! – I indeed exceedingly deplore that you are so far removed from partaking [of] the Comforts I enjoy – there are others from whom I should equally deplore it but, that alas! what is far more deplorable, their Hearts are utterly averse to such a participation –
My Brother is to join at Woolwich next Thursdy – You remember the anxieties I felt for him on his arrival from Jamaica – My hopes & fears I entertained – alas! the former are not yet realized – he remains unestablished in Health – unchanged in Sentiment – & tho’ of late he has been guilty of no particular irregularity – has by disagreements &c entirely lost the favor of Mr T. Egerton! –
Tho’ I am sorry you are precluded from attendance at Church, I am happy to find some portion of my dr Friend’s time to serious reading – I would I were your Caterer, tho’ perhaps you would not think my Dishes savory!–As I am often thinking of you, the subject of your controversy of course sometimes arises – & when I meet with any thing likely to serve the Subject, I commit it to paper – I don’t know if you have considered the following Texts, but as I was reading the Bible they struck me with some force – as tending to prove the unity & equality of Godhead & the eternal existence of Jesus Christ – therefore tho’ I fear you are not pleased with my writing on religious Subjects I cannot forbear sending them.
Micah v. 2 – but thou, Bethlehem, tho’ thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall HE come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings out, have been of Old, from Everlasting.
Acts 20. 28 – Take heed therefore to yourselves, & to the Flock over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseer, to feed the Church of God which HE hath purchased with his own Blood.
Romans 9.v. 5 – Christ came, which is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
It is to be remarked also, that in the 1 v. 1 @ 2nd Epistle of Peter, that the Word, in the original Greek Manuscript, our God & Savior Jesus C. instead of God & our Savior J. C. as put in our translation.
I have as usual the same Complaint to make, that I am lazy and do not sufficiently employ my time – I have written however a good deal more of the Narrative – tho’ not near so much as I could wish – the living in perfect Solitude allows more time for Study – but, the discomforts of it are such, that I would by no means compound for its’ advantages, especially as the most absolute peace & harmony prevail in our little Society – I wish my dear Mdm you could be among us, at least for a little while – & I must flatter myself, that when the Season improves you will not refuse to gratify my request. I believe I may safely pronounce you will not like Mr S. the less for taking a nearer view of him – In the meantime I must introduce you to the manner in which I mostly spend my time –
We breakfast about 7 – afterwards, the Servts are called in & Mr S. reads a chapter in his Bible (which I am happy to tell you meets with great Success & < > approbation) & then makes an extempore [speech] after this, he commences his studies, he reads & prays < > the poor Girls at the [Lock’s Hospital] – Mrs S. attends her Family concerns < > my < > continue till 2 when we dine – the < > – The Evening I work in the parlor < > After Supper the Family reassembles to close the Day, with readings & Prayer. We are decreased one in number, since I came, Mr Scott’s Niece being gone to reside with a friend at Camberwell – In addition to all this Intelligence, I must not forget to tell you that Mr S. preaches now every Sund: afternoon at 3 at St Mildred’s Church Bread St Cheapside – of which he will probably be soon appointed aft:noon Lecturer.
Pray how are my dear Sisters? remember me most kindly to them. Would I could embrace them both! I begin to fear that my correspondence has already disgusted Anne – or surely she would have answered me before now – I suppose the unrelenting determination of Mr A. to disoblige me, renders it of no avail to intreat her Company in Chapel St!
Adieu! Dr Mdm Let me intreat you to write soon – for you know the heart felt pleasure it gives to yr affecte
Did I tell you in my last, that poor Mr Vanderstoss, Brother to the young Lady who called of me in Brook St died some time ago – a wretched Victim to intemperance? – The Woodhouses are well – I saw them last Week – & I am sure they mean to be remembered to you.
Poor Mrs Mansel has not yet I fear met with an establishment – The last time I saw her she informed me that a certain Person was engaged as Colonel for the Patriot & shortly going to Germany – what an effect would this intelligence once have produced on me!!
Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.8.(e.), Bodleian Library, Oxford. Address: Mrs Andrews | Opposite the Mill | Isleworth | Middlesex. Postmark: 26 January 1790; for a fully annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 6, pp. 7-9. Egerton, formerly a teacher and governess for Mrs. Andrews, is now living and working in the household of Thomas Scott in Chapel Street, London, adjacent to Grovesnor Square. Scott became afternoon peacher at St Mildred’s, Bread Street, in February 1790; he later added occasional preaching duties at St Margaret, Lothbury. The "Narrative" mentioned by Egerton is untraced.