8 September 1779

Letter 39. Mary Hays to John Eccles, Wednesday, 8 September 1779.1

[f. 150]

I could not help laughing a little at your disappointment on sunday – yet I own it was not acting with politeness, am sorry for it and all that, and now I think I have made apologies sufficient. – I have a great mind not to go with you to morrow because – but you know the reason why – indeed if you do not learn to behave with more propriety I2 shall be seriously angry3 – I really shall – you need not put on that smile of incredulity. – I cannot imagine where you want to take me – consider, four miles is a great way; and quite out of my road too – what time shall we get back, in no time for dinner I am sure – I really cannot think of going, it will tire me to death – besides what will the Lepards say; the invitation was to come in the morning early, and you know they love to make discoveries, and know all how and about it – positively your scheme will not do, nor will the weather be favorable I dare say, for I am very unlucky. – I will not believe that writing to me gives you any pleasure, while you send me so much waste paper as you did in your last, it was quite shabby – the next time you serve me so, I shall send it back again to you to be filled up. – I’ll tell you a scheme of Miss Roberts’s, (’tis just now come into my head) – ’tis a political one, and I [f. 151] think would be of service to the nation in this critical time, well now for it – “That no lady should encourage the addresses of her lover, till he has presented her with the head of a Frenchman” – what do you think of it; should we not frequently have all the youths armed cap a pee prancing away on their Rosinantes over the plains4 – it would really be delightful. – I should expect to see you one of the foremost – Vanity! – don’t you think I have quantum sufficit – I shall be a latin scholar in time, I verily believe – will you undertake to teach me; I am sure I should improve with such a master – are not you very much obliged to me for the compliment – you are I know, so I need not ask. – What a rambling girl I am this morning, I have quite rattled myself out of breath – If I don’t see you in the evening, I shall condemn this epistle to the flames – ’tis a pity to be sure to consume my wit, ’tis so seldom I have any to spare – but mind – I won’t allow you to say so, though I take that liberty myself. – What a fine morning it has turned out after the rain – who could have thought it – if it is but as fine to morrow – what then – why I will not go with you, unless you see me to night, and have eloquence enough to persuade me to alter my mind. – But I am called to breakfast – duce take it, mind how I spell it, that is not wicked you know; but I must go so adieu! –

I stood a few minutes after you left me this morning [f. 152] considering whether I should take up my pen or a book, at last the idea, that I could write to you but twice a week in Mrs Collier’s absence, determined me to sit down to scribble,5 beside, I felt a sort of lightness, or sauciness if you please, which I wanted to run off, but now the humor is over – the trifling fit is gone, and I am seriously with unfeigned

Sincerity all your own

Maria Hays.

Wednesday Sepr 8th 1779.

I have let such a space as you did, which I would advise you to fill up with a flourish – if I had known how I would have done it for you. –

1 Brooks, Correspondence 98-99; Wedd, Love Letters 76-77.

2 I I] MS

3 angery] MS

4 Rosinante was Don Quixote's horse in Cervantes' famous novel.

5 scrible] MS