Letter from Maria ? to Betsy Baldwin
Address: Miss Betsey Baldwin, To be left at Mr. Parkman's, Boston. Fav'd by Mr. Low.
Glouster October 3rd 1786
How oft, since my Eliza's departure, have I in vain endeavor'd to check the rising sigh, and bid the tear of grief not flow. -- at last, I can find no method so likely to restore me to that tranquility which but a few short hours pass'd I possess'd -- as making Eliza a partaker in my thoughts -- I hope this will be some apology for so soon making use of the liberty she gave me of writing. -- alas! how swiftly did the moments pass this morning till the time of separation came.
On downy pinions the white moments flew,
And I, no fear but their departure knew.
but when I bade you a reluctant Adieu -- gracious Heaven! what were
then your poor Maria's feelings! -- but why do I dwell upon this distressing
subject? Pardon me dear Girl -- not for the world would I give you a moment's
pain. -- the Vessel that contains my Cousins is now floating on the water
-- my ardent wish is that they may have a short, and an agreeable passage.
-- with anxious impatience shall I wait till Capt. Allen returns -- then
shall I not have letters from Eliza? -- yes -- I will not admit a doubt
of it -- this pleasing expectation shall calm every rising passion and
teach me fortitude and resignation. -- how lonesome, how solitary is Maria
now -- no kind friend enters to pass an hour in friendly converse with
her -- to clear her spirits -- and restore her to happiness
happiness! the wish, and pursuit of all -- alas! how hard is it to be attain'd.
I expect it not and am content with the portion allotted me. -- yet I will
look forward to the happy period, when I shall again see my Eliza -- with
pleasure will I indulge myself with thinking of the many happy hours I
hope to pass in her society at some future time. how the tho't
elates me. -- this hope shall silence every repining thought and teach
me [??] -- but how I scribble! how I incroach upon your goodness -- yet
when I tell you I cannot feel anything happy without I am writing my friend
-- I trust you will forgive me -- and do love as well as ever you can your
My heart expands with hope at the prospect of receiving a letter from my belov'd Eliza very soon -- Mr. Low goes to Boston to morrow -- I suppose he returns soon -- write me a very long letter -- you will not, you cannot, you must not disappoint me -- my heart is set upon hearing from you by him. This P.M. I tho't I wold go see Mrs. Coffin as I felt so disagreeably alone -- I went. I told her I was come to see if they look'd as dull as I felt -- need I say Eliza and her friends were the subject of our conversation. We all concluded you arriv'd at Boston by two o'clock. This eve I took a walk down as far as Capt. Pearsons. -- Mr. William was much disappointed that Cousin Luke did not call upon him before he left C.A.[Cape Ann]. -- a few moments past Mr. Allen, Mr. Warner, and Mr. Whittemore call'd here -- but Maria was not to be found so they did not stop. You may think I did not wish to see some of these Gent. from the knowledge you have of my heart, especially now, when I should feel unfit to converse with tolerable chearfulness -- and then I should be pester'd with "why are you so dull" that from a person that is disagreeable would be irksome to me. Much happier do I feel in writing to Eliza than I should to be in company without almost any Gentleman now. -- and you know I cannot conquer my aversion to a certain Somebody -- tho' perhaps 'tis wrong to indulge it -- I wish I could like every body -- and I do -- almost.
Doctor Coffin sent for me to come dine there today -- but I was too
serious to wish to partake in the
conversation of the gay -- therefore chose to spend my time alone. Polly I-- and Sukey S-- are sitting by me -- they desire their love to Eliza -- but who can love her so well as her Maria? My Compliments, or something, to Cousin Luke, tell him I don't forget I--. How I fly from one subject to another! -- well, excuse me -- I am in haste -- yet I feel the greatest reluctance at quitting my pen -- but I must. Your [??] is just gone from here -- he came to tell me he was going to Newbury to morrow or next day -- very polite, considering. I have had the honour of Mr. Sammy's company part of this afternoon -- and all he could say was -- "why [P?] dont look so dull. I should think if I might judge by your countenance you had lost every friend you had in the world." I could not help smiling at his conversation -- tho' my heart was sad I could not help feeling a sensation of pity when I reflected how ridiculous he made himself appear sometimes. He was very lively but why do I spend my time talking of him -- I hardly know what I do myself. I believe the Girl's crazy do pardon her and consider if she knew more she would write better. My pen -- I wish Cousin L was here to mend it for me. [?Who that] signifys wishing -- well, I wont wish again. I should be glad if I felt a little gayer -- oh that Eliza was here! now -- there's a sigh from the bottom of my heart what nonesense! shall you ever have patience to read it? -- did I not tell you Ms. Baldwin I never wrote anything but noncense? Now you are sensible of [?] I hope. Who am I a-talking to? -- oh well I dont [know?] what I was going to say now. I was thinking -- oh Betsy when I come to Brookfield! I have been trying to persuade Mr. Coffin to carry me but the conditions upon which he concents are too hard to be complied with. Well, I will comfort myself with thinking that certainly some time or never I shall have the happiness of seeing the place of Eliza's nativity. but I must unwillingly give up writing as I fear Polly and Sukey will think I am a strange Girl. The latter says she should have been very happy to have seen Miss Baldwin, her Brother, and my Ladiship at their house. Polly says well I long to see Eliza -- oh but say I how do you like her Brother? "Oh he is the sweetest creature" she says. Sukey affirms he's the handsomest -- the former says you and he have half her heart! -- oh Betsy what Girls to talk [?smile] I told 'em I would tell you -- I should be frightened out of my wits to say such things of a Gent. -- Sukey tells me he has stole a quarter of her heart! why they have lost their sences Eliza, don't you think so? You see I keep on writing tho' I was going to finish half an hour ago. Now I will tell every Lady that you love I love 'em too. May every happiness this world can afford be the portion of my dear Eliza -- most ardently wishes -- her sincerely
affectionate Friend. --
Maria ? to Betsy Baldwin
Address: Miss Betsy Baldwin, Boston, Fav'd by Mr. Pearson
October 8th 1786
Eliza my dear Eliza, teach me patience! say, how much longer
I must expect to hear from you and
expect in vain! in pity, in compassion write but perhaps you have and it is not improbable that I shall
have the much wish'd for favour before I again close my eyes to sleep. oh, that I could! Say, how do you, how does Cousin L how does every body you honour with your friendship & for my Eliza's friends, shall be mine! and as such can I help feeling impatient to hear of their welfare? sometimes I torment myself with thinking that perhaps you are so much engag'd with your agreeable acquaintance that the time slips by imperceptably and you forget to write to your Maria but then I answer myself "the generous, humane Eliza could not neglect to inform me of her happiness when she knows how much it would conduce to my peace and tranquility. oh dear dear, I will quit the fuss till I can write without distressing you and I can talk on no other subject now. Adieu.
Monday Eve [?]
Mr. Pearson has just called to inform me he sets out for Boston tonight. I should not forgive myself if I neglected writing you by so direct a conveyance. alas! my long expected, much wish'd for letters are not yet arriv'd! and I do not know whether you are still at Boston or Brookfield. Why, why my dear Eliza do you not write? what can be the reason? I would find some excuse for you if I could. did you but know the happiness it would give me to hear from you certainly the generous Eliza would not let me thus linger out, day after day, in painful expectation. but I will check my pen, and go to another subject. to Morrow I expect Papa, Mama, and a Cousin of mine from Newbury, Sally, is coming in about a fortnight. oh Eliza I wrote to Nancy, told her, if she would let me go to Brookfield this winter with Mr. Doffin, I would be the best Girl that I could and she could make her Visit too in the Spring, as I should return before then. she wrote me in answer that when she return'd home she should talk about it and perhaps she should be willing as she did not care much about going till Spring or she thought it must be much pleasanter then. and so perhaps, my ardent wish will be gratified and I shall before a great while once more behold my Eliza. oh me! if I should meet with a disappointment but I will not think of it shall you be glad to see me? I must haste, and finish this unconnected letter, as Mr. Pearson is waiting, with all imaginable patience for it. Oh Polly I sends her best love to you, and Natty W the latter says if you had have stay'd till Spring he intended to have been Married to you! "oh but supposing she would not have you, Mr. W ?" "why then I would ask Sombody else." pretty! is it not Betsy? Mr. P says "if you please give my most respectful Compliments to Miss B" "yes sir." where is Eliza now? what would I not give to know? but I will be silent. I must unwillingly conclude oh! I know not [how] to give up my pen. my love to yr Brother if you are in Boston. and let me once more repeat "write" my much lov'd Eliza write I beseech you and remember with affection