Hannah Webster Foster (1759–1840). The Coquette, or The History of Eliza Wharton. 1855.

Letter LIX


Dear Lucy: I intended this week to have journeyed to Boston with Julia Granby; but my resolution fails me. I find it painful even to think of mixing again with the gay multitude. I believe the melancholy reflections by which I am oppressed will be more effectually, if not more easily, surmounted by tarrying where they are rendered familiar, than by going from them awhile and then returning.

Julia will therefore go without me. I envy her no enjoyment there, except your company.

The substitution of friendship, in the place of love, for Major Sanford, I find productive of agreeable sensations. With him, he assures me, it is a far more calm and rational pleasure. He treats me with the affection and tenderness of a brother, and his wife, who exceeds him in professions of regard, with all the consoling softness and attention of a sister. Indeed, their politeness has greatly contributed to revive the cheerfulness of my natural disposition. I believe the major’s former partiality to me as a lover is entirely obliterated; and for my part, I feel as little restraint in his company and his lady’s as in that of any other in the neighborhood.

I very much regret the departure of Julia, and hope you will permit her to return to me again as soon as possible. She is a valuable friend. Her mind is well cultivated, and she has treasured up a fund of knowledge and information which renders her company both agreeable and useful in every situation of life. We lately spent the afternoon and evening at Mr. Smith’s. They had a considerable number of visitants, and among the rest Major Sanford. His wife was expected, but did not come, being indisposed.

I believe, my friend, you must excuse me if my letters are shorter than formerly. Writing is not so agreeable to me as it used to be. I love my friends as well as ever, but I think they must be weary of the gloom and dulness which pervade my present correspondence. When my pen shall have regained its original fluency and alertness, I will resume and prolong the pleasing task.

I am, my dear Lucy, yours most affectionately,