27 September 1780

Letter 129. Mary Eccles to Mary Hays, 27 September 1780.1

September 27, 1780

     ’Tis impossible (my dear Madam) to deny a request, when intreated by one who is so very dear to me, and who was so very dear to my brother; for his sake I must always love and esteem you as a sister; I shall always think it the greatest happiness I can now enjoy, to correspond with you.

     Your last letter gave me great satisfaction – I was glad to find you was a little more composed, and resigned, to this severe stroke of Providence, than when I before heard from you. I dont think (my dear Madam) that either you or my brother, have been a moment from my thoughts since I first heard of his being brought so ill to Salisbury – and at that time it was impressed on my mind, that he would not recover. How often have I wished (but all in vain) that I had been with him, and seen him sensible, if it had only been for an hour – for such an interview, I would have parted with anything in the world; but the all-wise disposer of all things, took to himself what I wished to have kept a little longer upon earth. I have often thought that I have experienced very great trials of one kind and another, but nothing I ever met with in life has gone so near my heart, as the loss of my dearest brother – I cannot express the distress my mind suffers, and sometimes think I shall never overcome it – none of the pleasures of life now amuse me; everything around me seems to wear the most gloomy aspect. To give way to immoderate grief (I am convinced) is displeasing to the Almighty, yet still I am overcome by it.

     If nothing happens to prevent him, my father will be in London next saturday fortnight, and hopes to have the satisfaction of seeing you. And now (my dear Madam) allow me to intreat a favor of you; – will you gratify me so far, as to return with my father into the country? You would be a most welcome guest to our family if you would do so, and it shall be our study to do everything in our power to alleviate your distress as much as possible. A change of scene may (perhaps) help to divert your mind a little from the extreme melancholy to which at present it is a prey; shall I please myself with the hope that you will favor us with a visit? and will you also oblige me with the favor of a line before my father leaves town, to confirm what I so much desire? I will once more intreat you, if it is agreeable to your Mamma, that you will favor us with your company at Fordingbridge for some time. Adieu! my dear Madam. I remain your very sincere friend, etc.

                                             Mary Eccles


1 Brooks, Correspondence 225-26; Wedd, Love Letters 211-12. Wedd's title: "Miss Eccles to Miss Hays."