“you have nothing to fear from any rivals”

The correspondence between Esther De Berdt in England and Joseph Reed in America continued. Esther remained constant in her love as did Joseph, although circumstances kept them apart, not least the deteriorating relations between the colonies and the mother country and the failure of plans to secure a position for Reed in England. She wrote Reed from Enfield 22 October 1767.

I [am] happy to find that you were relieved from the anxiety and fears arising from my seemingly long silence. These are pains we must be subject to, while absent from each other. However, I hope that one day all [will] be forgot in the pleasure of meeting; and, though long delayed, nothing shall tempt me to give up the pleasing expectation. Three years are now past, since I was made happy by your company here, and though I am surrounded by my friends, yet I own to you, there is a heaviness about my heart that I cannot get rid of, when I recollect how much happier I have spent this day of the year [her birthday]; and now I receive no small pleasure in thinking that perhaps while I am writing, your thoughts are with me, and paying a visit, though but in imagination. However, any way, I . . . please myself with the fond hope that before another year passes, I shall have it in my power to realize the happiness of bidding you welcome, and in a greater degree add to your comfort and ease than I ever had it in my power to do, and this shall be the delightful employment of my future life. . . . Indeed, it has long been my study to improve and cultivate those qualities your partiality imagines I possess. But in whatever you are disappointed, this you will ever find true, that my heart is fixed in its choice of the object of its affection and esteem, and never had a latent wish to change.
I really believe it is unnecessary for me to say you have nothing to fear from any rivals, who, though in some circumstances suitable, are very far from having the least share of my love, nor is there any foundation for you being apprehensive that I shall ever give encouragement to hopes which I never intend to gratify. . . . I find our connexion is no longer a secret among our friends in America. . . . I am at a loss to know how they came by their intelligence. . . . Oh! my dear friend, how long will it be before I can let them know whom I have distinguished as the companion of my future life, and give you the last and dearest proof of the sincerity and constancy of my affection? But this is hid in the dark womb of futurity, and it is for us to wait in patience. This liberty of communicating our thoughts is yet left us. . . .
I am persuaded you do not forget me . . . for I should not be happy if I did not think your judgment and reason were in my favor. . . .
Adieu, my very dear friend, and never doubt the sincerity or affection of
Yours,
E. De Berdt

William B. Reed, Esther De Berdt, afterwards Esther Reed, of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: C. Sherman Printer, 1853), 123-26.

posted September 24th, 2015 by Janet, CATEGORIES: Britain, Courtship, Reed, Esther De Berdt, Reed, Joseph


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