23 November 1779

Letter 103. Mary Hays to John Eccles, Tuesday morning, 23 November 1779.1 

     And does my Eccles really love me? – Have I no cause for these perplexing doubts which had begun to take possession of my mind? – Ah! how cruelly does your indifference wound me! Ten thousand painful ideas agitated my bosom! What did I not apprehend? Everything that was mortifying and distressing! Don’t treat your little girl any more with that seeming carelessness; indeed she cannot bear it; yet let not your attentions be constrained; I would owe them only to your tenderness! … I cannot treat you with reserve, my dear Eccles, – indeed it would now be too late to attempt it; you know the feelings of my heart, and surely you do not esteem me the less for that knowledge. I never can disguise my sentiments; my countenance is too faithful an index to my soul to permit even a necessary dissimulation; this frankness of disposition has (I believe) sometimes led me into errors; for instance, was you not pretty certain of my partiality, you would be a little more attentive (don’t be angry); strange influence a certain passion has over us – it has spoilt all my flirtation; by nature I fancy  I am a little of the coquette; but alas! since I have known you, that disposition is entirely eradicated; what methods have you made use of to produce such a change? This same love is certainly a narrower of the heart; for now, instead of wishing to please all the world, all that I do, all that I say, even all that I think, is centered in one point, – that of giving you satisfaction, or gaining the approbation of my Eccles; his good opinion is of the utmost consequence to his tenderly affectionate

                                                     Maria Hays


Tuesday morn; Nov. 23, 1779.

1 Brooks, Correspondence 202; Wedd, Love Letters 177. Wedd's title: "A Renewal of Doubt.'