From Mrs. Pendarves [4]

July, 2, 1734.

I never began a letter with so much confusion to anybody as I do this to Cyrus. I can't recollect that I ever used any one so ill {if my being silent may be called ill-usage), and at the same time must confess no one deserves it so little. What to do to extenuate my fault I do not know, which has truly been disadvantageous only to myself; did I not find it absolutely necessary to my conduct (in that part of my life which ought to be my greatest concern) to renew this correspondence, I own I am so overcome with shame for what is past that I should not dare to put you in mind of my un­worthiness.

I give you now an opportunity of showing your for­giveness and generosity; not that you want extraordinary occasions to set those qualities in a proper light. Is it not some degree of grace to own one's faults frankly? But do I not destroy all merit by supposing I have any? When I sate down to write I thought I could have acquitted myself better, but I find it impossible to say anything in my justification. What will avail my saying I have constantly had an esteem for you? You have no reason to suppose that I have so much as barely remembered you.

The more I con­sider the obligations I had to continue my correspondence with one who hath showed so many marks of an unfeigned desire to assist and promote my eternal happiness, the deeper is my concern for having forfeited so great an advantage.

I am so sincerely sorry for the ill impression I have given you of myself, that I shall shun you as a criminal would a judge; and whatever indulgence your good­ness may incline you to show me, I never shall imagine you can have any regard for one that has so ungratefully neglected your friendship. To tell you my engagements with the world have engrossed me, and occasioned my not writing to you, will be enlarging my condemnation. I must say one thing more: that my going to Longleat (where for some time I was much indisposed, and not very well able to write), and then removing to London to a new un­furnished house, put me into a great hurry. I waited for a leisure hour that I might write to you at large; till shame seized me so violently that I had not courage to write, but at last have broke through it, and choose to suffer any reproach rather than lose the advantage of your friendship, without at least regretting that I have brought this mortification on myself. I would desire my compli­ments to Araspes, but I fear they can't be acceptable from one that has behaved herself so ill to Cyrus. Adieu. Your happiness will ever be sincerely desired by


In four instances Wesley the friend became a lover before he made the fatal mistake of marrying one who proved unworthy of his affection. Miss Betty Kirkham, the sister of one of the earliest Oxford Methodists, was his first love. With her he corresponded in the curious stilted manner of the day--a style he afterward utterly forsook. In those first love letters he transformed prosaic Betty into the romantic "Varanese," just as in his later correspondence with Mrs. Pendarve (Delany) he named that lady "Aspasia," his brother Charles "Cyrus," and himself "Araspes." (from Chapter XX of "John Wesley the Methodist: a Plain Account of his Life and Work", By a Methodist Preacher, Published by The Methodist Book Concern, New York, 1903.

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