O MY DEAREST FRIEND!
What will become of your poor Anna Howe! I see by your writing, as well as read by your own account, (which, were you not very, very ill, you would have touched more tenderly,) how it is with you! Why have I thus long delayed to attend you! Could I think, that the comfortings of a faithful friend were as nothing to a gentle mind in distress, that I could be prevailed upon to forbear visiting you so much as once in all this time! I, as well as every body else, to desert and abandon my dear creature to strangers! What will become of you, if you be as bad as my apprehensions make you!
I will set out this moment, little as the encouragement is that you give me to do so! My mother is willing I should! Why, O why was she not before willing?
Yet she persuades me too, (lest I should be fatally affected were I to find my fears too well justified,) to wait the return of this messenger, who rides our swiftest horse.—God speed him with good news to me—One line from your hand by him!—Send me but one line to bid me attend you! I will set out the moment, the very moment I receive it. I am now actually ready to do so! And if you love me, as I love you, the sight of me will revive you to my hopes.—But why, why, when I can think this, did I not go up sooner!
Blessed Heaven! deny not to my prayers, my friend, my admonisher, my adviser, at a time so critical to myself.
But methinks, your style and sentiments are too well connected, too full of life and vigour, to give cause for so much despair as thy staggering pen seems to forbode.
I am sorry I was not at home, [I must add thus much, though the servant is ready mounted at the door,] when Mr. Belford’s servant came with your affecting letter. I was at Miss Lloyd’s. My mamma sent it to me—and I came home that instant. But he was gone: he would not stay, it seems. Yet I wanted to ask him an hundred thousand questions. But why delay I thus my messenger? I have a multitude of things to say to you—to advise with you about!—You shall direct me in every thing. I will obey the holding up of your finger. But, if you leave me—what is the world, or any thing in it, to your
The effect this letter had on the lady, who is so near the end which the fair writer so much apprehends and deplores, obliged Mrs. Lovick to make many breaks in reading it, and many changes of voice.
This is a friend, said the divine lady, (taking the letter in her hand, and kissing it,) worth wishing to live for.—O my dear Anna Howe! how uninterruptedly sweet and noble has been our friendship!—But we shall one day meet, (and this hope must comfort us both,) never to part again! Then, divested of the shades of body, shall be all light and all mind!— Then how unalloyed, how perfect, will be our friendship! Our love then will have one and the same adorable object, and we shall enjoy it and each other to all eternity!