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

Letter XX


From the conversation of the polite, the sedate, the engaging, and the gay,—from corresponding with the learned, the sentimental, and the refined,—my heart and my pen turn with ardor and alacrity to a tender and affectionate parent, the faithful guardian and guide of my youth, the unchanging friend of my riper years. The different dispositions of various associates sometimes perplex the mind which seeks direction; but in the disinterested affection of the maternal breast we fear no dissonance of passion, no jarring interests, no disunion of love. In this seat of felicity is every enjoyment which fancy can form, or friendship, with affluence, bestow; but still my mind frequently returns to the happy shades of my nativity. I wish there to impart my pleasures, and share the counsels of my best, my long-tried, and experienced friend. At this time, my dear mamma, I am peculiarly solicitous for your advice. I am again importuned to listen to the voice of love; again called upon to accept the addresses of a gentleman of merit and respectability. You will know the character of the man when I tell you it is Mr. Boyer. But his situation in life! I dare not enter it. My disposition is not calculated for that sphere. There are duties arising from the station which I fear I should not be able to fulfil, cares and restraints to which I could not submit. This man is not disagreeable to me; but if I must enter the connubial state, are there not others who may be equally pleasing in their persons, and whose profession may be more conformable to my taste? You, madam, have passed through this scene of trial with honor and applause. But, alas! can your volatile daughter ever acquire your wisdom—ever possess your resolution, dignity, and prudence?

I hope soon to converse with you personally upon the subject, and to profit by your precepts and example. I anticipate the hour of my return to your bosom with impatience. My daily thoughts and nightly dreams restore me to the society of my beloved mamma; and, till I enjoy in reality, I subscribe myself your dutiful daughter,