Anne Cator Steele, Trowle, to unknown male recipient, 16 February 1718/19.
I thought my self in some measure obliged to return a few lines in answer to your letter, lest silence shou’d be taken for consent; but ye sum of what I have to say is, that you already know my mind & real Intensions with respect to that affair: & as to those qualifications you describe in me I’m well assur’d you may find them in a more abundant measure in others for I know not of any thing in my self so attractive as to draw out ye affections of any person: But I am not ignorant of that general faculty belonging to your sex of expressing your selves very extensive on that subject, therefore I pass it by as a thing of corse; ’Tis an easie thing to talk of doing, but not so easie to do, therefore I’d have those who can so rashly, & on such small occasions say, they wish for Death, consider, what awfull things Death & Judgment are. I’m sure ’tis that which ought not to be trifl’d with: I don’t know that I have bin addicted to cruelty nor know I that I’ve bin injurious to you in word or deed. Therefor I see my self under no obligation to make restitution; nor should I suffer my free affections to be captivated; permit me therefore once more to desire you to divert your tho’ts by placing them on a more agreeable person for I cannot comply with your desires. I remain your well-wisher
Trowle Feb: 18 1718/19
If you success in love affairs do prize
Address to her that knows to sympathize
For in Earths love I have but little skill
I’m ignorant, O! may I be so still.
Text: STE 2/2/1 (b); for an annotated edition of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, ed., Nonconformist Women Writers 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 8, pp. 37. This is Anne Cator's response to the previous letter from the unknown suitor.