29 August 1780

Letter 126. Mary Hays, London, to Miss Eccles, 29 August 1780.1

     I write not, my dear Madam, to console you on the late melancholy event, but to mingle my tears with yours; you are deprived of an affectionate and amiable brother; but alas! your loss is not to be compared with mine; mine is irreparable, unspeakable! he was the friend of my heart; the best beloved of my soul! all my happiness – all my pleasures – and every opening prospect are buried with him! He was all I saw in creation; I had not a hope but what was centered in him; buried with him – and at a time so interesting! Just when I was anticipating the satisfaction I should enjoy in endeavoring to promote his felicity by every tender attention, and in making him amends for the many anxieties he had suffered on my account. – My God! what a reverse is my fate! Instead of those scenes of social and domestic bliss which my imagination had pictured to itself, I am involved in misery – left desolate in a world which cannot afford me one satisfying idea! Thus wretched, and forlorn, will you, my dear Madam, refuse a request, the only one I have now to make? It is, that you would write me a particular account of the death of my beloved; tell me whether he seemed sensible and composed in his last moments? And if he mentioned his poor girl, whom he has left to bitterness and distress? Let me know also the day, and hour when he expired – the last words he spoke, and the place, and manner in which all that was mortal of him was deposited? I shall feel a melancholy pleasure in hearing these particulars, though at the same time they will break my heart! His soul is now beyond the reach of earthly, and transitory things; yet in eternity my Eccles, you promised not to forget me! Look down thou blessed spirit, and compassionate the sufferings of your own afflicted Maria – who now, before God, and his angels, vows ever to be yours! May this heart cease to beat, should it ever be capable of feeling emotions of tenderness for any other than its first, and only love! Oh! that the Almighty would shorten the thread of my destiny – and hasten that happy hour, when we shall be united, in scenes where bliss and love immortal reign!

     I wrote to you the day before I received the fatal intelligence of your brother’s death, but know not whether you got it. Let me (my dear Madam) intreat an answer to this – for my Eccles’s sake I will entreat it! You cannot, you will not refuse to comply when conjured by a name so loved! In that hope I subscribe myself

     Your sincere friend, though unknown

                                                         Maria Hays


London, August 29, 1780.

1 Brooks, Correspondence 220-21; Wedd, Love Letters 203-04. Wedd's title: "Mary to Miss Eccles."