early February 1780

Letter 115. Mary Hays to John Eccles.1


     I shall expect to see you tomorrow afternoon, as we are all in the bustle of ironing today, which renders it inconvenient, and I know in general the gentlemen have a great aversion to this sort of business; besides, is not wednesday more agreeable? I shall likewise expect to see you in the morning; but don’t make me wait, lest I should be cross again; though I believe you are not much afraid of that, as you very well know how to bring me down; ’tis really very hard, and I believe almost an unprecedented thing, that I must not give myself a few airs now and then; you are a little tyrannical, that’s certain. But I dare not say any more now: pardon your little girl, she is rather saucy  this morning, but be assured she loves you:

“More than skylark does to fly,

More than cuckoo does to cry,

More than lambkin does the lawn,

More than Chloe does the fawn,

More than bees the sweets of flowers,

More than hinds the shady bowers,

More than fawning knaves to cheat,

More than flesh a safe retreat,

More than all things I love thee,

With unfeigned sincerity.”2

    As witness my hand

                        Maria Hays



1 Brooks, Correspondence 210; Wedd, Love Letters 187-88. Wedd's title: "Mary’s Housewifely Employment."

2 Source unknown. Most likely, these lines are by Hays.