Hannah Webster Foster (17591840). The Coquette, or The History of Eliza Wharton. 1855.
TO MISS ELIZA WHARTON.
Your truly romantic letter came safe to hand. Indeed, my dear, it would make a very pretty figure in a novel. A bleeding heart, slighted love, and all the et ceteras of romance enter into the composition.
Excuse this raillery, and I will now write more seriously. You refer yourself to my friendship for consolation. It shall be exerted for the purpose. But I must act the part of a skilful surgeon, and probe the wound which I undertake to heal.
Where, O Eliza Wharton, where is that fund of sense and sentiment which once animated your engaging form? Where that strength of mind, that independence of soul, that alacrity and sprightliness of deportment, which formerly raised you superior to every adverse occurrence? Why have you resigned these valuable endowments, and suffered yourself to become the sport of contending passions?
True, you have erred; misled by the gayety of your disposition, and that volatility and inconsideration which were incident to your years; but you have seen and nobly confessed your errors. Why do you talk of slighted love? True, Mr. Boyer, supposing you disregarded him, transferred his affections to another object; but have you not your admirers still among men of real merit? Are you not esteemed and caressed by numbers who know you capable of shining in a distinguished sphere of life? Turn then, my friend, from the gloomy prospect which your disturbed imagination has brought into view. Let reason and religion erect their throne in your breast; obey their dictates, and be happy. Past experience will point out the quicksands which you are to avoid in your future course.