29 July 1779

Letter 5.  Mary Hays to John Eccles, Thursday, 29 July 1779.1

[f. 16]

      We have company to spend the day with us, which renders it impossible I should see you this evening; I am likewise prevented from going to Mrs. K-----’s2 as I had intended; but in consideration of these disappointments, I will if possible meet you tomorrow evening at a little after eight o’clock – it is rather too late an hour, but I cannot come sooner – besides a walk by moon-light has ten thousand charms – it inspires a pleasing melancholy, a delightful sensation – I mean to

Those souls of more delicate kind,

Who feast not on pleasure alone;

Who wear the soft sense of the mind,

To the song of the world still unknown.3

You smile! I own I am a little romantic Girl! – My Mamma often tells me, “I am in a fairy dream.” – May the keen hand of adversity never awake me from the pleasing delusion. –

      I have been thinking rather seriously on Prudence since I last saw you – I fear I have too often [f. 17] swerved from the rules which it dictates. – I should like to know your real sentiments upon the subject. – Why should we sacrifice sincerity to politeness. – Your admonitions might confuse, but they would amend me – reproofs ^are^ as much the duty of friendship as commendations; and as a friend I would ever wish to consider you. – But how I run on, I shall certainly tire you with my scribbillation – that last word is not English I believe but the Ladies have a right to coin you know, ’tis a privilege they have had ever since the creation. –

      But one thing I had almost forgot, you must not keep me more than half an hour to morrow evening, and must promise to behave with the strictest decorum, as I intend to follow Miss J----’s4 example. – I am call’d to tea – Adieu! believe me ever y---- what was I a going to say – pardon me, it was only a little mistake – I am not used to write to Gentlemen. – Well then, you must be contented with the initials of my name, as I cannot at present think of any other conclusion. – 

                                                                                    M. H----


Thursday  July 29th 1779. 

1  Brooks, Correspondence 37-38; Wedd, Love Letters 18-19.

2 Mrs Knight is an attendant at the Baptist chapel along with the Hays and probably a neighbor as well. She also appears in letter 78. 

3 Lines taken from a poem, "Lavinia. A Pastoral," at the end of Henry Mackenzie's The Man of Feeling (1771), p. 236.

4 Miss James, her friend and a family who also attended at the Gainsford Street chapel. Eccles works for Mr James during his time in London.