2 May 1780

Letter 120. John Eccles at Fordingbridge to Mary Hays, 2 May 1780.1

My Dearest Maria, –

     You ask my opinion on a subject, on which you are infinitely more acquainted than I am. I do not recollect an instance, in which I can accuse you with the want of delicacy; can you say as much for me? My dear Maria, you are delicacy herself; unaffected, unspotted, and pure as the new-fallen snow. … You say: “my heart has lately been in continual struggles between its affection for you, and the decorum I owe to my sex.” – Do not repeat it; how often have you distressed me with these sounds! … Be satisfied, my dear Maria; every part of your conduct is endearing, you are all amiable; your tenderness to me, even in my foibles, will ever render you adorable in my eyes. I cannot express what I sometimes feel from consciousness of your indulgence; but I feel the same animated, lively affections which first warmed the heart of

             Your sincerely affectionate

                            J. Eccles

May 2, 1780.

1 Brooks, Correspondence 214; Wedd, Love Letters 193. Wedd's title: "Eccles Repeats His Reassurances."