Addressed to a Certain Miss Nobody

Poland Street, London, 27 March 1768

To have some account of my thoughts, manners, acquaintance and actions, when the hour arrives in which time is more nimble than memory, is the reason which induces me to keep a Journal. A Journal in which I must confess my every thought, must open my whole heart! But I think of this kind ought to be addressed to somebody – I must imagion [sic] myself to be talking – talking to the most intimate of friends – to one in whom I should take delight in confiding, and remorse in concealment:- but who must – this friend be? to make choice of one in whom I can but half rely, would be to frustrate entirely the intention of my plan. The only one I could wholly, totally confide in, lives in the same house with me, and not only never has, but never will, leave me one secret to tell her. To whom, then, must I dedicate to my wonderful, surprising and interesting Adventures?- to whom dare I reveal my private opinion of my nearest relations? my secret thoughts of my dearest friends? my own hopes, fears, reflections, and dislikes!- Nobody!

To Nobody, then, will I write my Journal! since to nobody can I be wholly unreserved – to Nobody can I reveal every thought, every wish of my heart, with the most unlimited confidence, the most unremitting sincerity to the end of my life! For what chance, what accident can end my connections with nobody? No secret can I can conceal from Nobody, and to Nobody can I be ever unreserved. Disagreement cannot stop our affection, Time itself has no power to end our friendship. The love, the esteem I entertain for Nobody, Nobody’s self has not power to destroy. From Nobody I have nothing to fear, the secrets sacred to friendship Nobody will not reveal; when the affair is doubtful, Nobody will not look towards the side least favorable.

Sarah Gristwood, Recording Angels: The Secret World of Women’s Diaries (1988)


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