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very ill. She has almost broken my heart by her cruelty. You know my story, I doubt not. Tell her, I must go out of town to-morrow morning. But I will send my servant, to know if she will favour me with one half hour's conversation; for, as soon as I get down, I shall set out for Dover, in my way to France, if I have not a countermand from her, who has the sole disposal of my fate.
And so flinging down a Portugal six-and-thirty, I took Mr. Smith by the hand, telling him, I was sorry we had not more time to be better acquainted; and bidding farewell to honest Joseph, (who pursed up his mouth as I passed by him, as if he thought his teeth still in jeopardy,) and Mrs. Smith adieu, and to recommend me to her fair lodger, hummed an air, and, the chair being come, whipt into it; the people about the door seeming to be in good humour with me; one crying, a pleasant gentleman, I warrant him! and away I was carried to White's, according to direction.
As soon as I came thither, I ordered Will. to go and change his clothes, and to disguise himself by putting on his black wig, and keeping his mouth shut; and then to dodge about Smith's, to inform himself of the lady's motions.
I GIVE thee this impudent account of myself, that thou mayst rave at me, and call me hardened, and what thou wilt. For, in the first place, I, who had been so lately ill, was glad I was alive; and then I was so balked by my charmer's unexpected absence, and so ruffled by that, and by the bluff treatment of father John, that I had no other way to avoid being out of humour with all I met with. Moreover I was rejoiced to find, by the lady's absence, and by her going out at six in the morning, that it was im
possible she should be so ill as thou representest her to be; and this gave me still higher spirits. Then I know the sex always love cheerful and humourous fellows. The dear creature herself used to be pleased with my gay temper and lively manner; and had she been told that I was blubbering for her in the back-shop, she would have de spised me still more than she does.
Furthermore, I was sensible that the people of the house must needs have a terrible notion of me, as a savage, bloody-minded, obdurate fellow; a perfect woman-eater ; and, no doubt, expected to see me with the claws of a lion, and the fangs of a tiger; and it was but policy to show them what a harmless pleasant fellow I am, in order to familiarize the Johns and the Josephs to me. For it was evident to me, by the good woman's calling them down, that she thought me a dangerous man. Whereas now, John and I have shaken hands together, and dame Smith having seen that I have the face, and hands, and looks of a man, and walk upright, and prate, and laugh, and joke, like other people; and Joseph, that I can talk of taking his teeth out of his head, without doing him the least hurt; they will all, at my next visit, be much more easy and pleasant to me than Andrew's gloves were to him; and we shall be as thoroughly acquainted, as if we had known one another a twelvemonth.
When I returned to our mother's, I again cursed her and all her nymphs together; and still refused to see either Sally or Polly! I raved at the horrid arrest; and told the old dragon that it was owing to her and her's that the fairest virtue in the world was ruined; my reputation for ever blasted; and that I was not married and happy in the love of the most excellent of her sex.
She, to pacify me, said she would show me a new face
that would please me; since I would not see my Sally, who was dying for grief.
Where is this new face? cried I: let me see her, though I shall never see any face with pleasure but Miss Harlowe's.
She won't come down, the word of command yet. and must be waited upon, much besides.
replied she. She will not be at She is but just in the trammels; I'll assure you; and courted
Ay! said I, that looks well. Lead me to her this instant.
I followed her up: and who should she be, but that little toad Sally!
O curse you, said I, for a devil! Is it you? is your's the new face?
O my dear, dear Mr. Lovelace! cried she, I am glad any thing will bring you to me!--and so the little beast threw herself about my neck, and there clung like a cat. Come, said she, what will you give me, and I'll be virtuous for a quarter of an hour, and mimic your Clarissa to the life?
I was Belforded all over. I could not bear such an insult upon the dear creature, (for I have a soft and generous nature in the main, whatever thou thinkest;) and cursed her most devoutly, for taking my beloved's name in her mouth in such a way. But the little devil was not to be balked; but fell a crying, sobbing, praying, begging, exclaiming, fainting, that I never saw my lovely girl so well aped. Indeed I was almost taken in; for I could have fancied I had her before me once more.
O this sex! this artful sex! there's no minding them. At first, indeed, their grief and their concern may be real: but, give way to the hurricane, and it will soon die away
in soft murmurs, thrilling upon your ears like the notes of a well-tuned viol. And, by Sally, one sees that art will generally so well supply the place of nature, that you shall not easily know the difference. Miss Clarissa Harlowe, indeed, is the only woman in the world I believe that can say, in the words of her favourite Job, (for I can quote a text as well as she,) But it is not so with me.
They were very inquisitive about my fair-one. They told me that you seldom came near them; that, when you did, you put on plaguy grave airs; would hardly stay five minutes; and did nothing but praise Miss Harlowe, and lament her hard fate. In short, that you despised them; was full of sentences; and they doubted not, in a little while, would be a lost man, and marry.
A pretty character for thee, is it not? thou art in a blessed way; yet hast nothing to do but to go on in it; and then what a work hast thou to go through! If thou turnest back, these sorceresses will be like the czar's cossacks, [at Pultowa, I think it was,] who were planted with ready primed and cocked pieces behind the regulars, in order to shoot them dead, if they did not push on and conquer; and then wilt thou be most lamentably despised by every harlot thou hast made-and, O Jack, how for midable, in that case, will be the number of thy enemies!
I intend to regulate my motions by Will.'s intelligence; for see this dear creature I must and will. Yet I have promised Lord M. to be down in two or three days at farthest; for he is grown plaguy fond of me since I was ill.
I am in hopes that the word I left, that I am to go out of town to-morrow morning, will soon bring the lady back again.
Mean time, I thought I would write [to divert thee, while thou art of such importance about the dying; and
as thy servant, it seems, comes backward and forward every day, perhaps I may send thee another letter to-morrow, with the particulars of the interview between the dear creature and me; after which my soul thirsteth.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Tuesday, Aug. 22.
MUST write on, to divert myself: for I can get no rest; no refreshing rest. I awaked just now in a cursed fright. How a man may be affected by dreams!
Methought I had an interview with my beloved. I found her all goodness, condescension, and forgiveness. She suffered herself to be overcome in my favour by the joint intercessions of Lord M., Lady Sarah, Lady Betty, and my two cousins Montague, who waited upon her in 'deep mourning; the ladies in long trains sweeping after them; Lord M. in a long black mantle trailing after him. They told her they came in these robes to express 'their sorrow for my sins against her, and to implore her
to forgive me.
• I myself, I thought, was upon my knees, with a sword in my hand, offering either to put it up in the scabbard, 6 or to thrust it into my heart, as she should command the 6 one or the other.
At that moment her cousin Morden, I thought, all of a sudden, flashed in through a window, with his drawn sword-Die, Lovelace! said he; this instant die, and