MY DEAR BROTHER,
I do most heartily congratulate you on the recovery of Master Billy, and the good way my sister is in. I am the more rejoiced, as her sweet face is not like to suffer by the malady; for, be the beauties of the mind what they will, those of the person are no small recommendation, with some folks, I am sure; and I began to be afraid, that when it was hardly possible for both conjoined to keep a roving mind constant, that one only would not be sufficient.
This news gives me more pleasure, because I am well informed, that a certain gay lady was pleased to give herself airs upon learning of my sister’s illness, as, That she would not be sorry for it; for now she should look upon herself as the prettiest woman in England.—She meant only, I suppose, as to outward prettiness, brother!
You give me the name of a ready censurer. I own, I think myself to be not a little interested in all that regards my brother, and his honour. But when some people are not readier to censure, than others to trespass, I know not whether they can with justice be styled censorious.
But however that be, the rod seems to have been held up, as a warning—and that the blow, in the irreparable deprivation, is not given, is a mercy, which I hope will be deserved; though you never can those very signal ones you receive at the Divine hands, beyond any man I know. For even (if I shall not be deemed censorious again) your very vices have been turned to your felicity, as if God would try the nobleness of the heart he has given you, by overcoming you (in answer to my sister’s constant prayers, as well as mine) by mercies rather than by judgments.
I might give instances of the truth of this observation, in almost all the actions and attempts of your past life; and take care (if you are displeased, I will speak it), take care, thou bold wretch, that if this method be ungratefully slighted, the uplifted arm fall not down with double weight on thy devoted head!
I must always love and honour my brother, but cannot help speaking my mind: which, after all, is the natural result of that very love and honour, and which obliges me to style myself your truly affectionate sister,
From Mrs. B. to Lady Davers.
MY DEAREST LADY,
My first letter, and my first devoirs, after those of thankfulness to that gracious God, who has so happily conducted me through two such heavy trials, as my child’s and my own illness, must be directed to you, with all due acknowledgment of your generous and affectionate concern for me.
We are now preparing for our journey to Bedfordshire; and there, to my great satisfaction, I am to be favoured with the care of Miss Goodwin.