From Otley to [Mary] Fletcher. On her return from Harewood last Tuesday evening she found Fletcher’s letter enclosing half a ten pound note. Ritchie is very grateful to Fletcher and to God for this latest act of kindness. Had Ritchie known all the demands on Fletcher’s finances, she would not have asked for this loan. Ritchie’s mother knows about this loan and if Fletcher were to die within the coming year, she can rest assured that Sally [Lawrance] will get the money back. Similarly if Ritchie and her mother die, a written record of the loan exists and this will allow the money to be claimed.
‘I rejoice in the enlargement of your borders. May all your blessed designs be fully accomplished. The flock seems to need your longer stay and while you live thus working the works of God, your own spirit is preparing daily for a greater fullness of that joy which is at God’s right hand…lately my soul has felt a sweet nearness to the invisible world. Present things recede, they disappear, they lessen in my view. All I want is to be transformed more fully into the Gospel mold, ever ready for all my Saviour’s will.’
The arrival of Fletcher’s letter has illuminated Ritchie’s path. A day or two earlier she had been asking the Lord as to the time of her going to London. Mr [John] Wesley wishes her to go before Conference. It seems that Fletcher’s letter has determined Ritchie’s time ‘as I did not like to write to him what I could freely speak and when he was here I knew not but the half year’s interest might have been paid near the right time. If it had, I hoped to have done without borrowing.’
Unless something unforeseen happens, Ritchie will leave for London in the middle of next month. Fletcher can write to her at [Peard] Dickinson’s house, 8 City Road. When Fletcher writes, she should give her opinion as to whether or not Ritchie should call on Lady [Mary] Fitzgerald. ‘When I consider her as a suffering member of our exalted head, who has deeply drank into her Saviour’s cup, I could love to learn of her the lessons our Lord hath graciously taught her, but when I consider her rank in life and the vast disparity infinite wisdom has placed between our situation, I know not that I can take a step toward seeing her except you encourage me to do it.’
Sister [Sarah] Crosby spent a few days at Harewood while Ritchie was there. ‘They have got better suited with a servant than heretofore and she has some thoughts of leaving Sister J-p for a month or two and going to Whitby etc this summer.’
Fletcher has probably heard that poor Sister Westerman has lost her reason. She had been subject to some trials that made her ill and [William] Hey said that would either lose her life or her reason.
Miss Marshall is not at home but will send the letters ‘in single sheets’ directed to Fletcher as she can get them copied. Her health at the moment is not bad for someone with asthma and the warm weather does her good.
Ritchie’s mother and Mrs Horner join in sending love. Mr Horner returned from North America near twelve months ago and as he has had no success in temporal matters, is now in London looking for a position. He is content for Mrs Horner to remain in Otley.
Does the ‘affair’ between Fletcher’s nephew [the young man referred to was in fact a Swiss nephew of Mary’s deceased husband John Fletcher] and Miss B- go on? Ritchie feels much love for them both and hopes that they will be holy and happy.