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

Letter XLIV


I am extremely depressed, my dear Lucy. The agitating scenes through which I have lately passed have broken my spirits, and rendered me unfit for society. Major Sanford has visited me, and taken his leave. He is gone to the southward on a tour of two or three months. I declined any further conversation with him on the subject of love. At present I wish not to hear it mentioned by any one.

I have received a very friendly and consolatory letter from Mrs. Richman. She invites me to spend a few months with her, which, with my mamma’s consent, I shall do. I hope the change of situation and company will dissipate the gloom which hangs over my mind.

It is a common observation, that we know not the value of a blessing but by deprivation. This is strictly verified in my case. I was insensible of my regard for Mr. Boyer till this fatal separation took place. His merit and worth now appear in the brightest colors. I am convinced of that excellence which I once slighted, and the shade of departed happiness haunts me perpetually. I am sometimes tempted to write to him and confess my faults; to tell him the situation of my mind, and to offer him my hand; but he has precluded all hopes of success by the severity of his letter to me. At any rate, I shall do nothing of the kind till my return from New Haven.

I am the more willing to leave home as my affairs are made a town talk. My mamma persuades me to disregard it; but how can I rise superior to “the world’s dread laugh, which scarce the firm philosopher can scorn”?

Pray remember me to Mr. Sumner. You are happy, my friend, in the love and esteem of a worthy man, but more happy still in deserving them. Adieu.