Letter

Scope and Content

From Bromley to Mary Tooth at Madeley. Bourne returned home yesterday morning and met her mother on the road. Contrary to expectation, mother embraced her and seemed ready to weep. Bourne told her that she had heard father was much worse and had come in hope of seeing him. Mother replied that she had better go to a neighbour and send word to father that she was close by, as mother was worried that considering his weak state, the sight of Bourne might cause a decline. This Bourne did and was permitted to see father in person. He seemed in a low nervous state, much the same as when Bourne left him. He did not seem disposed to say a great deal and was preparing to go out, so after they had sat together for a while, she asked him if he wished her to continue in Bridgnorth or if he would allow her to return home. Father replied that she had tried her best to send him to his grave but had been unable to accomplish her purpose. He then listed all her misdeeds and ended by saying that the death of her friend was a judgement upon Bourne. He also said that she could return home if she was prepared to abandon the [Methodist] night meetings but not otherwise. Bourne endeavoured to answer his objections, but father stated that it was forbidden in scripture for women to speak or pray publicly and for his daughter to go about among the poor people amounted therefore to pride. He also said that she had caused him a great deal of unhappiness 'by returning from the meetings with John and though he was dead[?] I may meet with another. My mind is now much perplexed, I see there is no alternative I must either return to Miss Jones's or comply with my father's commands. My soul was overwhelmed with grief, my sister shews me every mark of affection and entreats me to continue with her but I seem as if I could not live while I am absent from the children of God…'

The [unreadable place name] people were very depressed at the prayer meeting being abandoned, so Bourne has announced that it will start up again. She fears however that neither that meeting nor the one at 'Batch pools' will take place unless she is in attendance as there is no more than one at each place who is accustomed to pray publicly. Bourne would be very grateful to have Tooth's advice on the subject as soon as possible. 'If I could see my way plain in giving way to my father, I could perhaps be happy but I seem so much drawn out to exert myself in the cause of God that I know not what to do if I were required to nurse my father, to take care of him in his illness…but I do not seem at all wanted as there is my brother and sister. All that confuses me is which is most pleasing to God; to obey my father or to give up every earthly tie that I may be more at liberty to labour in his cause…'

She will now turn to a more pleasing subject. They had a very good meeting on Sunday. A great many people were at the preaching and fifteen at the class. People seemed much more united and determined to surrender themselves to God and two new members were added.

Bourne has 'settled' most of the class subscriptions. There was a great deal of money owing which she has noted down as arrears to be sorted out at the next quarterly meeting. Bourne hopes that Tooth can visit them as soon as possible as it would be a great encouragement.

The Alscott family are still afflicted [with poor health]. She saw Mr Coley as she returned from Madeley and he said that the fever had left them but that Jane [Alscott] was in a 'decline' and that some of the others are extremely weak. The old man is confined to his bed.

Bourne has not yet written her account of John but will endeavour to do so by Sunday at which time, she will also send what missionary money she can collect.

She has spoken to Mrs Rea who is apparently unable to attend the meetings any more due to her removal. Bourne fears that all her [Rea's] afflictions have not sanctified her.

Her love should be passed to all her friends at Madeley and Miss Jones[?] should be told that Bourne hopes to see her at the appointed time - Miss Jones says that she will also be very pleased to see her.

The people seemed impressed with Mr Williams on Sunday and three new members were added to the society. Miss Reece has not however attended recently and Bourne will visit her as soon as possible - she may be unwell.