From Mrs. Wrightson (formerly Miss Sally Godfrey) to Mrs. B.
“HAPPY, DESERVEDLY HAPPY, DEAR LADY,
“Permit these lines to kiss your hands from one, who, though she is a stranger to your person, is not so to your character: that has reached us here, in this remote part of the world, where you have as many admirers as have heard of you. But I more particularly am bound to be so, by an obligation which I can never discharge, but by my daily prayers for you, and the blessings I continually implore upon you and yours.
“I can write my whole mind to you, though I cannot, from the most deplorable infelicity, receive from you the wished-for favour of a few lines in return, written with the same unreservedness: so unhappy am I, from the effects of an inconsideration and weakness on one hand, and temptation on the other, which you, at a tender age, most nobly, for your own honour, and that of your sex, have escaped: whilst I—but let my tears in these blots speak the rest—as my heart bleeds, and has constantly bled ever since, at the grievous remembrance—but believe, however, dear Madam, that ’tis shame and sorrow, and not pride and impenitence, that make me both to speak out, to so much purity of life and manners, my own odious weakness.
“Nevertheless, I ought, and I will accuse myself by name. Imagine then, illustrious lady, truly illustrious for virtues, infinitely superior to all the advantages of birth and fortune!—Imagine, I say, that in this letter, you see before you the once guilty, and therefore, I doubt, always guilty, but ever penitent, Sarah Godfrey; the unhappy, though fond and tender mother of the poor infant, to whom your generous goodness has, I hear, extended itself, so as to make you desirous of taking her under your worthy protection: God for ever bless you for it! prays an indulgent mother, who admires at an awful distance, that virtue in you, which she could not practise herself.
“And will you, dearest lady, take under your own immediate protection, the poor unguilty infant? will you love her, for the sake of her suffering mamma, whom you know not; for the sake of the gentleman, now so dear to you, and so worthy of you, as I hear, with pleasure, he is? And will you, by the best example in the world, give me a moral assurance, that she will never sink into the fault, the weakness, the crime (I ought not to scruple to call it so) of her poor inconsiderate-But you are her mamma now: I will not think of a guilty one therefore. What a joy is it to me, in the midst of my heavy reflections on my past misconduct, that my beloved Sally can boast a virtuous and innocent mamma, who has withstood the snares and temptations, that have been so fatal—elsewhere!—and whose example, and instructions, next to God’s grace, will be the strongest fences to her honour!—Once more I say, and on my knees I write it, God for ever bless you here, and augment your joys hereafter, for your generous goodness to my poor, and, till now, motherless infant.