Mary Wakeford, [Andover], to Anne Steele, [Broughton], 23 July 1757.
as my wou’d if I cou’ds & can’ts continue in full force, I can only write a line to thank you as I do sincerely for your truly good letters & verses these to day I have not yet had time to read attentively being calld away in the middle to go see the camp that is pitching just without the town (to continue till Monday only) I can plead employment enough for not writing much to day, but why had I not wrote before you will say? why indeed I have every day try’d to study up something for a letter but in vain. I cannot think any thing into words, & might as well atempt to fetch music out of a post. I often ask myself what my tho’ts has been about in the past hour or minnute but unless some flagrent folly has employ’d them cannot recolect that I have tho’t at all. I often repeat some of Wattses most interesting & awfull Hymns without thinking of them or knowing what I saay, I frequently remember that there is a God, that I have offended him & am in danger of his wrath, that he has reveald a way whereby offending creatures may come unto him & find mercy. and that it is of infinite importance to me to know & be found in that way, but such thots only pass thro my mind as something that I remember to have heard off, they make no deep impression. I cannot meditate on any subject, however important much less write. if I ever shou’d find a possiblity of it I will endeavour to write to you, but tho’ I know I am quite unworthy your favours, yet let not my incapacity, prevent your writeing. let not your candle be put under a bushell because my twinkler is gone out, as more then triffles glide easily from your fingers ends, let them glide, if you only lock them up in your desk, tis at least posible that somebody may be the better for them one time or other if I cannot. but dinner is coming my work all neglected tho’ it wants to be done against wasting. O but Mr Furneaux is to be here next Thursday sennit [sennight] to go to Exeter with Mr Waked ^the^ Monday after he talks of going to see Urania as he calls you Friday but that is meeting day here & it must be settled when he comes if my Mor & you shou’d be well enough perhaps you could come hither & stay with me in Mr Wakefords absence but your health’s at the time must determine, I am glad to hear Mor is a little better O that she were well, & you, and my Mind
I am your obliged affectionate
July 23 1757
Text: STE 3/10/xii; for an annotated text of this letter, see Timothy Whelan, ed., Nonconformist Women Writers, 1720-1840, vol. 2, ed. Julia B. Griffin, pp. 302-03. Philip Furneaux would meet with Anne Steele at this time, and, along with Joseph Wakeford, begin the process of compiling and revising her poetry and prose. The manuscript containing the poems that would comprise the first volume of her Poems would be taken by Joseph Wakeford to London in November 1757, with Furneaux seeing them through the publication process.