William Steele, Bodenham, to Mary Steele, Yeovil, [Wednesday] 3 November 1773.
My Dear Polly’s very affectionate Letter of the 27th Ult.o came to hand Saturday, I need not say how welcome it was but it was much the more so as it inform’d me that your Cough is much better. – As you will think it long before you hear from me if I don’t write till we go hence I take a few minutes to scribble to you from Bodenham where we now are with the two little Damsels who are highly delighted with their playmates. Mrs Whitaker & her little ones being all here, so that you may judge here is a Rout indeed. We came from home yesterday morning and left your Aunt much as usual & the rest well, & hope to return tomorrow morning. – I am sorry Miss Scott has left you as you will miss her company greatly. As I think (& I believe you think so too) that ’tis time to think of your return home, shall be glad you will let me know if your uncle is gone (or does go) [on] his Journey & when you propose to go to Motcombe & how long you would willingly stay there & at Knoyle? I think it will be best for you to go in the manner we propos’d with M. Winsor.
Miss Jenny had a Letter from you Yesterday. – The lines from Miss Phillis (to be sure she is Miss now) are very extraordinary & ’tis indeed wonderful that Genius tho’ uncultivated shou’d shine amidst slavery & distress. – I am very glad Mr Way has satisfy’d your uncle about Hodges’s Estate, as I believe his Mind was uneasy about it.
Here is 6 or 7 of the noisy little folks in the room & we are just going to dinner, so must conclude with assurances of the warmest Love to my Dear Girl, whose affectionate Father I hope she will always esteem me
Bodenham Nov. 3d 1773
All join in Love &c
Miss Jenny’s Love & compts to you (her own words,) & intend to write you pr next Sundays post. A miserable Scrawl I scarce know what I have wrote – may the God of blessings attend you
Text: STE 4/5/xxix, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regent's Park College, Oxford, a photocopy of the letter; the original is no longer in the Steele Collection.. See also Whelan, Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 3, pp.