1752 (Spring)

Anne Steele, Broughton, to Mary Bullock Steele, Yeovil, undated [spring 1752].

Dear Sister

I blame my own negligence for depriving me of the pleasure of a Letter from you. I acknowledge my fault and hope your excuse as I doubt not you believe me always mindful of your welfare and glad of every intimation of it, ’tis now a long time that we have heard nothing from you I fear you are not well and don’t write because you wou‘d not make your friends uneasy but hope my Brother will have a Letter soon which if it brings news of your health will remove my anxiety – This retir’d situation affords no intelligence agreeable to communicate besides the account of our Family’s health which blessing by the favour of indulgent Providence we all enjoy in a good measure except Sister Wakeford who left us this morning and is but very indifferent, Mr Wakeford talks of going to Exeter soon, Sister is to be here in his absence and I hope it will not be long before you return – Your garden is my scene of amusement but it has of late been a perfect Solitude, my Brothers return enlivens it, but still you are absent, what a pitty [sic] ’tis you shou’d lose this delightful Season when every thing round us is so pleasant – how much more agreeable wou’d these Fields and Gardens be with my Brother and you both here then the crouded walks at Bath – here the Flowers are drest as fine as Belles and Beaus, but without their noise and flutter, how formal is the studdy’d negligence of dress, how mean its brightest ornaments compar’d with the unaffected ease and sweetly varied colours of these little amiable visitors There I can admire the charms of Nature and listen to the artless music of warbling Birds nor envy the politer pleasures of the gay world.—Sometimes I enjoy a calm evening on the Terrass walk and wish though in vain for numbers sweet as the lovely prospect and gentle as the vernal breeze to describe the beauties of the charming spring, but the reflection how soon these blooming pleasures will vanish spreads a melancholy gloom till the mind rises by a delightful transition to the Celestial Eden, the scenes of undecaying pleasure and immutable Perfection – this thought I have pursu’d in a few lines which I send you as the produce of your Garden.—

Our comp.ts attend Mr Bullock and your Self I am with sincere wishes for your health and safe return Dear Sister

Your obliged affectionate humble Servant

A. Steele

I beg my Compts to Mrs Goodford & Mrs Daniel

Service to Mrs Hoskins I hope we shall see her at Broughton again e’er long –

Text: STE 3/9/iii, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford. No address page. George Bullock (1702-75) was Mary Bullock Steele’s brother. 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, p. 281.