Anne Steele, Broughton, to Mary Bullock Steele, Yeovil, 7 May 1750.
With pleasure I reciev’d your long expected Letter and am glad of this opportunity of thanking you for it. Your kind solicitude for seeing me at Yeovil is very obliging but no time can yet be fix’d for my journey, and I almost doubt whether it will be at all. My Sister though much better is yet very ill and will probably be too weak for my Mother to leave her yet a great while and till after her return you know I can’t be spared
I often wish for you, Broughton is now pleasant and I only want my Mother and you here and Sis.r Molly well to make it quite agreeable.—The rural scenes are in their perfection, how wou’d you be delighted with a Walk in your Garden, ’tis now in its finest dress, ’tis pity the Flowers wou’d not stay till your return, but those little emblems of Earthly pleasure will soon wither and be no more.—my Cell too has its charms the Honeysuckle at my window is in full bloom and I am sometimes entertain’d with the soft warbling of a neighbouring Nightingale¾I wish for the Muses gentle aid to describe these innocent pleasures.—
Now reigns the charming Spring in all her bloom
And spreads her verdant robes adorn’d with flow’rs
Around the Fields and Meads. They cheerful smile
In her gay livery drest.—the whisp’ring winds
Breath soft, and on their balmy wings convey
Reviving sweets¾the feather’d Choir awake
Their artless songs, and all the lovely scene
Is Harmony and Beauty!—Natures charms
Subdue the heart, and every scene is pleas’d.
But whither does the soft enchantment tend?
Are all the charms of Nature lent for this
Only to please the sence?—for nobler ends
The God of Nature gave them!—Gracious Spring
Of every good O wilt thou teach my thoughts
That rove delighted o’er the blooming scene
To trace thy Hand and terminate in Thee
Thou lovely Source of Infinite Perfection!—
This is all I can produce at present, and may serve to shew that I write to you with freedom since I communicate my thoughts in their deshabile, let this induce you to write to me without apology, pray favour me with a Letter soon and think you are writing to a Friend who is ready to excuse any thing except your silence.—
I am Dear Sister
Your sincerely affectionate and much obliged humble Servant
Broughton May 7th 1750.
I have said nothing of my Bro.r because he intends to write to you.—You will favour me in presenting my Service to M.rs Goodford and M.rs Daniel.
Text: STE 3/9/i.,Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford. No address page. After William Steele’s marriage to Mary Bullock in 1749, he and his family, often including his sister Anne, paid annual visits to Yeovil to see his brother-in-law, George Bullock (1702-75). For an annotated version of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, gen. ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), vol. 2, ed. Julia B. Griffin, pp. 274-75.