This Moment my beloved Peter I had the Happiness of your Letter enclosing your dear Picture, which I am charmed beyond Expression to possess, & which, till I again behold the Original shall be the constant Companion of my Bosom — it was drawn for you my Love & by yourself & that is sufficient to make it an inestimable Treasure to me: but I must tell you that it cannot be like you, that's positive, except a little resemblance about the nose & the upper Lip — long, long as you have been absent my dearest Brother your Features are indellibly impressed on my Mind; & tho' I may be suspected of Partiality, I must say you then promised to be very handsome: — However shou'd his Hardships and Misfortunes have lessened my Peter's personal Perfections, still he possesses those of the Mind in an eminent Degree & those will amply repay the Want of Beauty in a Face. not that I believe you do want it, but you certainly have not flattered yourself in the Picture & I have a great Notion you intend to surprize us by looking well at your return. You know we Females are apt to be but too fond of personal Charmes: & if I wish you to be handsome as you are good it is only because I wou'd have you if possible to please & charm every body into a Wish to make you happy — in short, I wou'd have you in the Opinion of all the rest of the World, what you already are in my own — Perfect — In writing this, I just cast my Eyes on the Picture, which is before me on the Table; & tho' not a bit like what you were, yet I cannot express the delightful Sensation it conveyed to my Mind — I cou'd absolutely almost fancy myself conversing with you at this Moment — Oh! my dear, dear Peter 'tis Happiness indescribable! — In return I will attempt to amuse you by one of my poetical Flights the other Day, when in a solitary Hour I was as usual musing on the Merits & Misfortunes of my ever dearest Peter, and rejoicing at his return [to] England (— see Page 19 [below]) — did you know I was a Postess my dear Peter? — I believe if you have received the Parcel, you did; for Eliza after it was sent away told me she had put into it some Lines I made upon you some Time before, which I was glad of, tho' they were not worth the Attention of any body but yourself — but they wou'd serve to convince you of the good Opinion we invariably entertained of you, even when we had no Hopes of ever seeing you more — for alas! it was then next to an Impossibility that we shou'd enjoy the Happiness we now so ardently expect! — do not however criticize my Works too severely my dear Peter — they boast no Merit but from the superior Worth & Dignity of the Subject, which can alone stamp a Value on the Productions of my Pen & I send them to you only, because I know it will give you Pleasure to find that absent or present, you, & you only can delight your faithful & admiring Nessy. —
My Mama is perfectly well; & tho' still she is & must be anxious & of course uneasy about you my Love, yet compared to the situation of Mind she was in six Months ago, she is contented & happy, & only waits the joyful Day when we shall again meet to be completely so — it is not that she suffers a sentiment of Fear to enter her Bosom — your high Merit & perfect Innocence must totally preclude every Idea of that Nature but who that knows & loves you my Brother can know you absent, & be happy! — be assured I do & will exert my utmost Efforts to keep up her Spirits, & I have every reason to think you will find her when you are once more restored to us, as chearful as you can wish — in the mean Time, let not your own Spirits feel any Diminution; remember the Mind affects the Body & nothing contributes so much to Health as Chearfulness. — do you know I am almost ashamed of the Trouble I give the Officer who peruses my long Letters, I dare say he often says to himself — "what an eternal Scribler is this Girl! — if she talks as much mercy on those who are unfortunately within hearing" — Yet I hope he will pardon me my beloved Peter when he considers that I have been five long Years deprived of your dear society, & that it will not I hope be long e'er we shall spare him the Trouble.
All the Family send their best Love, & all other Friends the kindest remembrances — God send the Fleet soon back & inspire every Officer who shall sit upon the Court-Martial with pity, Compassion, & Benevolence! — in the mean Time my most dear Brother think not of any thing but such subjects as will contribute to your Happiness — of our Affection, & the Joy we shall feel on your return — look not back to past Misfortunes, but forward to future Prospects of Comfort & satisfaction — & believe assuredly that you my best Life are the sole Gratification & Felicity of your most
& affectionate Sister
Come gentle Muse — I woo thee once again, Nor woo thee now in melancholy strain. — Assist my Verse in chearful Mood to flow, Nor let this tender Bosom Anguish know: Fill all my soul with Notes of Love & Joy, No more let Grief each anxious Thought employ. With rapture now alone this Heart shall burn And Joy my Lycidas for thy return! Return'd with ev'ry Charm accomplish'd Youth Adorn'd with Virtue, Innocence & Truth, Wrapp'd in thy conscious Merit still remain Till I behold thy lovely Form again. — Protect him Heav'n from Dangers & Alarms And Oh! restore him to a Sister's Arms; Support his Fortitude in that dread Hour, When he must brave suspicion's cruel Pow'r; Grant him to plead with Eloquence divine, In ev'ry Word let Truth & Honor shine, Thro' each sweet Accent let Persuasion flow, With manly Firmness let his Bosom glow, Till strong Conviction in each Face expres't, Grants a reward by Honor's self congest: — Let thy Omnipotence preserve him still And all his future Days with Pleasure fill And Oh! kind Heav'n tho' now in Chains he be Restore him soon to Friendship, Love, & Me Isle of Man Aug'st. 5th. 1792 Nessy Heywood