The following letter, in a woman’s hand, and signed, as you’ll see, by a woman’s name, and spelt as I spell it, will account to your ladyship for my beginning so heavily. It came by the penny-post.
“I ame unknowne to yowe; but yowe are not so altogathar to mee, becaus I haue bene edefy’d by yowre pius behafiorr att church, whir I see yowe with playsir everie Sabbaoth day. I ame welle acquaintid with the famely of the Coumptesse of—–; and yowe maie passiblie haue hard what you wished not to haue hard concerninge hir. Butt this verie morninge, I can assur yowe, hir ladishippe is gon with yowre spowse to Tonbrigge; and theire they are to take lodgings, or a hous; and Mr. B. is after to come to town, and settel matters to go downe to hir, where they are to liue as man and wiffe. Make what use yowe pleas of thiss informasion: and belieue me to haue no other motife, than to serue yowe, becavs of yowre vartues, whiche make yowe deserue a better retorne, I am, thof I shall not set my trewe name, yowre grete admirer and seruant,
Just above I called my state, a state of cruel suspense. But I recall the words: for now it is no longer suspense; since, if this letter says truth, I know the worst: and there is too much appearance that it does, let the writer be who he will, or his or her motive what it will: for, after all, I am apt to fancy this a contrivance of Mr. Turner’s, though, for fear of ill consequences, I will not say so.
And now, Madam, I am endeavouring, by the help of religion, and cool reflection, to bring my mind to bear this heavy evil, and to recollect what I was, and how much more honourable an estate I am in, than I could ever have expected to be in; that my virtue and good name are secured; and I can return innocent to my dear parents: and these were once the only pride of my heart.
In addition to what I was then (and yet I pleased myself with my prospects, poor as they were), I have honest parents, bountifully provided for, thank God and your ever-dear brother for this blessing!—and not only provided for—but made useful to him, to the amount of their provision, well-nigh! There is a pride, my lady!
Then I shall have better conditions from his generosity to support myself, than I can wish for, or make use of.
Then I have my dear Billy-O be contented, too charming, and too happy rival, with my husband; and tear not from me my dearest baby, the pledge, the beloved pledge, of our happier affections, and the dear remembrance of what I once was!—A thousand pleasing prospects, that had begun to dawn on my mind, I can bear to have dissipated! But I cannot, indeed I cannot! permit my dear Mr. B.’s son and heir to be torn from me.