1786 June 16

Mary Steele, Bradford, to Anne Steele, Broughton, [Friday] 16 June 1786.

I am much obliged to My Dear Nancy for her kind Letter by Cousin William – it was a great relief to me as I was very anxious about Our Dear Mother – tho’ separated from you my heart & thoughts are with you. I fly to the place where my Souls Treasure my wealth my world us’d to be tho’ Alas I now find only some there – Companions in Sorrow – but they are I can truly say doubly endear’d to me from that very Circumstance tho’ the Company of my Dear Myrtilla is the most soothing thing in the World affords me now yet I want to be with you all ^again^ I in particular miss My Nancys Conversation.

Pattys protracted Absence must seem long to you but your circle will soon be enlarged as I hear Miss Norton & Miss Goddard intend being at Broughton leaving Bristol Monday sennight & talk of coming round this Way. Mr Howe call’d on us this Day week & spent a night. He looks quite well. I was very glad to see his late indisposition remov’d. I suppose Mrs Howe has written to my Mother she was well when Mr H left Bristol Yeovil – there can be nothing done about the Ground at Clesworth as it is mark’d to be thrown into another Farm as soon as it falls into Hand.

I am much obliged to you for sending Mrs T’s Letter the Approbation of such a mind as hers gives me pleasure.

I have very little to tell you of my Dr Nancy that can amuse you – my mind indeed would dictate other things yet why should I sadden ^you^ by perpetually recurring to what is ever present with You as well as me. But this is the first Letter I have written to my Dear Sister since our mutual our irreparable Loss and I would say to myself as well as her Let us never never forget what a Father we have had! Let not our just Sorrow for a Loss so immense obliterate our Gratitude to God for having ^once^ had such a Blessing. Let his Precepts be the Rule of Our Actions, His dear Memory the incentive to every virtue. Shall the Children of such a Father may we all say act unworthy of him? Oh let us remember “If his Eye is ever upon us” the most acceptable way in which we can express our Love & our Grief is by the most dutiful Tenderness & Assiduous Attention to our Dear Mother & endeavouring in her Cup of woe to infuse one Drop of Joy & above all – to tread in those ways of pleasantness & those paths of Peace in which so many of our Dear Absent Friends “to Heaven to Rest to Happiness” – Then may we hope my Beloved Sister that our ^Fathers God^ For will be indeed our God & our Guide even till Death! – May my dear Nancy learn by this early Scene of Sorrow in what true Happiness consists even in his Favor which is Life & in that Divine Loving Kindness which is better than Life & all its sweetest Enjoyments. Excuse my fond prolixity when the Heart is full it is difficult to restrain its Effusions – Mrs Head continues much ye same but my Dr Miss A is not quite so well. Bradford does not suit & indeed the constant disagreeable Effluvia here is not enough to hurt a stronger Stomach yn hers.

Lucy went to Devizes yesterday Mrs Head was so kind as to send her on Horseback. She desir’d her Love &c as does Miss Attwater & Mrs Head. George is come home & is become a fine healthful lad – I fear you will be scarcely able to read this I have scribbled as fast as I could –

Hope I shall hear from you again soon. I continue well but quite deaf with the perpetual noise in my Head – Miss Gibbs that is married again to a most worthless ^Fellow^ her Second Choice is they say even much worse than her First. My Duty & Love to my Dr Mother & Patty & kind remembrances to all. Adieu My Dear Nancy & be assured you possess the fondest Affections & most ardent & anxious good wishes of yr Friend & Sister


Lucy is much obliged for her Shawl it is a very pretty one

Text: STE 5/11/i. Postmark: Bradford. Address: Miss Anne Steele / Broughton near Stockbridge / Hants. For an annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840, vol. 3, pp. 324-25. Steele and Jane Attwater were visiting Marianna Head.