6 February 1760
Anne Steele, Broughton, to Mary Wakeford, Andover, 6 February 1760.
I am glad to send you the pleasing intelligence that Mother is thro’ mercy, much better. Saturday & Sunday nights were very bad ones, great pain in her foot, ancle & knee, attended with a fever, as usual. Father absent at Downton, I weak and low, but obliged by necessity to exert the little strength and spirit I had left, and indeed to exhaust it. Mother is now with Father’s assistance got down stairs, has eat a good dinner, and continues tollerably easy. I hope I am sensible of ye mercy but how weak is it, when thankfullness only, shou’d employ the mind, to be distress’d with apprehensions? You can sympathize with me, fears are ready to intrude (tho’ without any apparent reason) of the return of Mother’s gout, my disorder, which is a painful load on the stomach, and want of breath, sinks my spirits, but I blame my self and try to be chearful. I thank you for the pleasure you have imparted to me in Mrs Lacey’s Letter; on reading the latter part of it, did you not think of the conclusion of my verses to Lysander? When Mr Wakeford writes to her, I desire him to present my thanks for her kind, good wishes. The satisfaction which he must feel in the assurance of having given pleasure to so valuable a Friend, will better dictate his answer than I can. Reverberated pleasures fire the breast N. Thoughts
The sending for Books was occasioned by Mr Bullock’s wanting 3 setts [sic] more, which we are to send to Yeovil the first opportunity, he went away yesterday. Father talks of going to Andover Saturday, if the Books are come, then he will bring them, but if any thing shou’d prevent his being there I desire you to send 3 setts (well paper’d) by King Monday, unless you shou’d come before Wednesday. Are not you & your Portius faulty (and yet I can’t chide you for it) in your partiality for Theodosia? Why, else, must the world be blamed, and Dr Collet want taste?—I think the praise is a great deal from him. I wish you better health, and am, My dear Sister
your obliged affectionate Friend
Feb. 6. 1760
You must not be disturbed about those simple rhymes I believe the censure
was well meant, tho’ perhaps too roughly express’d. ’tis almost dark,
I believe I have wrote badly –
Text: Attwater Papers, acc. 76, II A.15. Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford. 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. 314-15. Ann Cator Steele died on 28 June 1760, aged 71. "Lysander" was the Presbyterian minister John Lavington (1715-64). He served as minister to the Presbyterian congregation at Ottery St Mary, Devon, from 1751 to his death in 1764. "Portius" is Joseph Wakeford.