Mary Egerton, London, to Mrs. Andrews, Isleworth, [Monday], 19 July 1790.
Mond. Morn: July 19. 90
As my dear Friends are so very suspicious & doubtful of my affections to them, neither the languor or stupidity I feel this Morning shall prevent me from acquainting them with my safe return, but my Silence of a Day or two longer should confirm the curious Supposition.
I need not observe to you my dr Madam that the Weather has smiled on my return – no doubt you have marked it with regret and so certainly should I had not my Spirit been made to gratify the Heart, instead of the Eye; tho’ after all it is very True that our most refined & intellectual enjoyments are capable of being enhanced by the concurrence of external Objects.
The Country was delightfully refreshed by the Rains of the preceeding Day – & wore a very lovely appearance – but it was some time before I could look around me with Pleasure – the parting from you left a gloom I could not easily shake off – Your reproaches occurred to me – I began to consider if I had in appearance given you cause for them – I remember my Stupidity & was pained not a little at the recollection – but alas you have no cause to complain – that Almighty Being whose ineffable Love, & incomprehensible excellence, demand the most lively Gratitude & Affection often sees me come before Him with a Heart almost unimpressed with Reverence – cold – indifferent – unmoved!
Tho my Judgment is fully convinced of the tastefulness of such formal services & my Heart earnestly desires to feel otherwise, how strange is it, that I have thus frequently to upbraid myself, with the most unaccountable Ingratitude & Insensibility! Can you wonder at any thing in the conduct of so inconsistent a Being? – No! – you must pity me, & consider the satisfaction I feel in those hours that tender & affectionate Emotions prevail to reflect on the Time lost in dullness & Stupidity which might have been delightfully employed –
While you perhaps were yesterday tracing the Sentiments of Mr Newton in Omicron I beheld him in propria personae. The fineness of the day induced Mrs S. & myself to attend Mr S. to Bread St. where meeting with the former’s niece we went thence to drink at Mr N’s & afterward to hear him preach – his Wife is still very ill & tho’ he (poor Man) dreading no doubt to part with what constitutes his chief earthly felicity, tries to persuade himself she will recover – the strange manifest, to those who know him, seems to threaten a speedy dissolution.
Miss Hadfield has just been here to invite me to spend the day with her – her Sister absent & Mr Cotway often out she is now much alone – & with the Wet Nurse is left quite in Care of the whole Charge, for whom I very much suspect she feels more solicitude than its’ travelling Mama!
I would have sent you some Books my dr Mrs Andrews, but think it better you should come & fetch them which I request you speedily to do – not indeed that your coming need prevent me because perhaps my dr little Anne in your absence wou’d not dislike to be sometimes employed in reading them – but I have left behind me a pair of Shift Sleeves which I believe I shall want by the Time you will have finished Omicron & then you may let me have both together.
I have had my Nerves shaken a little this morn: by the disagreeable idea of a Mad Dog which was attempted to be killed by a neighbors Servt after which it recovered & sprang into the area where it was [at] length destroyed, but it is feared previously it bit several others –
Pray remember me affectly to my dr Sisters – tell Anne I beg she will write soon, & say every thing she can think – and Grace that as she determines not to indulge me with Prose I expect she will speedily get ready the 3 Poems I selected & convey them the first Opportunity –
I have now my dr Mdm only to intreat you will let me know what you think of me and in order to it assure you that I remain with tender sollicitude for your happiness
Yr sincere & affecte
Text: Reeves Collection, Box 14.8.(f.), Bodleian. Address: Mrs Andrews | Isleworth | Middlesex. Postmark: 21 July 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. 12-13. Egerton was still living in the home of the Rev. Thomas Scott, her future husband, in Chapel Street. Egerton's comments at the end concerning "3 Poems" from Maria Grace Andrews suggests that she continued to compose poetry after Cheyt Sing (written in 1787 and published in 1790) and the advent of her religious poetry in December 1794 at Salisbury.