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LETTER LIV.

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.

of

[In answer to his of Aug. 17. See Letter LII. this volume.]

Sunday, Aug. 20. WHAT an unmerciful fellow art thou! A man has no need of a conscience, who has such an impertinent monitor. But if Nic. Rowe wrote a play that answers not his title, am I to be reflected upon for that?—I have sinned; I repent; I would repair-she forgives my sin: she accepts my repentance: but she won't let me repairWhat wouldst have me do?

But get thee gone to Belton, as soon as thou canst. Yet whether thou goest or not, up I must go, and see what I can do with the sweet oddity myself. The moment these prescribing varlets will let me, depend upon it, I go. Nay, Lord M. thinks she ought to permit me one interview. His opinion has great authority with me-when it squares with my own: and I have assured him, and my two cousins, that I will behave with all the decency and respect that man can behave with to the person whom he most respects. And so I will. Of this, if thou choosest not to go to Belton mean time, thou shalt be witness.

"

Colonel Morden, thou hast heard me say, is a man of honour and bravery :-but Colonel Morden has had his girls, as well as you and I. And indeed, either openly or secretly, who has not? The devil always baits with a pretty wench, when he angles for a man, be his age, rank, or degree, what it will.

I have often heard my beloved speak of the Colonel with

great distinction and esteem. I wish he could make matters a little easier, for her mind's sake, between the rest of the implacables and herself.

Methinks I am sorry for honest Belton. But a man cannot be ill, or vapourish, but thou liftest up thy shriekowl note, and killest him immediately. None but a fel low, who is fit for a drummer in death's forlorn-hope, could take so much delight, as thou dost, in beating a dead-march with thy goose-quills.

Whereas, didst thou but know thine own talents, thou art formed to give mirth by thy very appearance; and wouldst make a better figure by half, leading up thy bro ther-bears at Hockley in the Hole, to the music of a Scot's bagpipe. Methinks I see thy clumsy sides shaking, (and shaking the sides of all beholders,) in these attitudes; thy fat head archly beating time on thy porterly shoulders, right and left by turns, as I once beheld thee practising to the horn-pipe at Preston. Thou remembrest the frolick, as I have done an hundred times; for I never before saw thee appear so much in character.

But I know what I shall get by this-only that notable observation repeated, That thy outside is the worst of thee, and mine the best of me. And so let it be. Nothing thou writest of this sort can I take amiss.

But I shall call thee seriously to account, when I see thee, for the extracts thou hast given the lady from my letters, notwithstanding what I said in my last; especially if she continue to refuse me. An hundred times have I myself known a woman deny, yet comply at last: but, by these extracts, thou hast, I doubt, made her bar up the door of her heart, as she used to do her chamber-door, against me. This therefore is a disloyalty that friendship cannot bear, nor honour allow me to forgive.

LETTER LV.

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.

London, Aug. 21. Monday.

I

BELIEVE I am bound to curse thee, Jack. Nevertheless I won't anticipate, but proceed to write thee a longer letter than thou hast had from me for some time past. So here goes.

That thou mightest have as little notice as possible of the time I was resolved to be in town, I set out in my Lord's chariot-and-six yesterday, as soon as I had dispatched my letter to thee, and arrived in town last night: for I knew I could have no dependence on thy friendship where Miss Harlowe's humour was concerned.

I had no other place so ready, and so was forced to go to my old lodgings, where also my wardrobe is; and there I poured out millions of curses upon the whole crew, and refused to see either Sally or Polly; and this not only for suffering the lady to escape, but for the villanous arrest, and for their detestable insolence to her at the officer's house.

I dressed myself in a never-worn suit, which I had intended for one of my wedding-suits; and liked myself so well, that I began to think, with thee, that my outside was the best of me:

I took a chair to Smith's, my heart bounding in almost audible thumps to my throat, with the assured expectation of seeing my beloved. I clasped my fingers, as I was danced along I charged my eyes to languish and sparkle by turns: I talked to my knees, telling them how they

must bend; and, in the language of a charming describer, acted my part in fancy, as well as spoke it to myself.

Tenderly kneeling, thus will I complain:

Thus court her pity; and thus plead my pain:

Thus sigh for fancy'd frowns, if frowns should rise;
And thus meet favour in her soft'ning eyes.

In this manner entertained I myself till I arrived at Smith's; and there the fellows set down their gay burden. Off went their hats; Will. ready at hand in a new livery; up went the head; out rushed my honour; the woman be hind the counter all in flutters, respect and fear giving due solemnity to her features, and her knees, I doubt not, knocking against the inside of her wainscot-fence.

Your servant, Madam-Will. let the fellows move to some distance, and wait.

You have a young lady lodges here; Miss Harlowe, Madam: Is she above?

Sir, Sir, and please your Honour : [the woman is struck with my figure, thought I:] Miss Harlowe, Sir! There is, indeed, such a young lady lodges here-But, but

But what, Madam?-I must see her.-One pair of stairs; is it not?-Don't trouble yourself-I shall find her apartment. And was making towards the stairs.

Sir, Sir, the lady, the lady is not at home-she is abroad --she is in the country

In the country! Not at home!-Impossible! You will not pass this story upon me, good woman. I must see her. I have business of life and death with her.

Indeed, Sir, the lady is not at home! Indeed, Sir, she is abroad!

She then rung a bell: John, cried she, pray step down! -Indeed, Sir, the lady is not at home.

Down came John, the good man of the house, when I expected one of his journeyman, by her saucy familiarity. My dear, said she, the gentleman will not believe Miss Harlowe is abroad.

John bowed to my fine clothes: Your servant, Sir,indeed the lady is abroad. She went out of town this morning by six o'clock-into the country-by the doctor's advice.

Still I would not believe either John or his wife. I am sure, said I, she cannot be abroad. I heard she was very ill-she is not able to go out in a coach. Do you know Mr. Belford, friend?

Yes, Sir; I have the honour to know 'Squire Belford. He is gone into the country to visit a sick friend. He went on Saturday, Sir.

This had also been told from thy lodgings to Will. whom I sent to desire to see thee on my first coming to town.

Well, and Mr. Belford wrote me word that she was exceeding ill. How then can she be gone out?

O Sir, she is very ill; very ill, indeed-she could hardly I walk to the coach.

Belford, thought I, himself knew nothing of the time of my coming; neither can he have received my letter of yesterday and so ill, 'tis impossible she would go out. Call her servant to me.

Where is her servant?

Her servant, Sir, is her nurse; she has no other. And she is gone with her.

Well, friend, I must not believe you. You'll excuse me; but I must go up stairs myself. And was stepping up.

John hereupon put on a serious, and a less respectful face-Sir, this house is mine; and

And what, friend? not doubting then but she was

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