26 November 1779

Letter 104. John Eccles to Mary Hays, Friday, 26 November 1779.1


    It is a maxim of our own, that to talk much against a person, bespeaks love to him; and I think that to speak in a person’s favor, though with seeming irony, indicates the same; of consequence, I have a right to suppose you are deeply in love with Mr C—l; I shall have a little serious chat with Miss D—on the subject when I see her next, and if she can resign her enamorato, as easily as my nymph can me, why then we shall adjust matters without any great difficulty; but if she is at all obstinate, and refuses to part with him, of course I shall persist in my claim to you, and be obstinate too. – You have teazed me so this week past, you deserve a little retaliation, yet I am inclined to be merciful, and so quit the subject. Have I not an astonishing tender conscience? Am I not all kindness? How few ladies there are who would not delight in a little revenge of this kind!  You catch at shadows, at mere nothings, and conceiving you are slighted, you are perpetually perplexing us and giving yourselves pain. Seriously I think you must have a very low opinion of me, else why are you so suspicious? – I cannot look or speak without being in love; but coolly  examine who is to blame; are you of a jealous disposition, or am I really capricious? This is a question of some consequence. …

    I cannot bear you should suppose me capable of inconstancy; ’tis a disposition I from my heart abhor; never are my affections wandering after other objects: they are and ever will be yours alone. Our situation requires us to be peculiarly attentive to each other; we ought ever to study each other’s happiness; and, my Maria, how dear is yours to me! What of my own would I not resign to promote it! Be then for ever at ease, and assure yourself that however I see it necessary to change in other things, yet ever shall I unvariably be the same to you, and ever will you be the same to you, and ever will you be beloved by your affectionate

                            J. Eccles


Fryday, Nov. 26, 1779.

1 Brooks, Correspondence 203; Wedd, Love Letters 178. Wedd's title: "Eccles Shows Signs of Jealousy."
2 Mr. Chissel and Miss Dunkin.