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Jack, Jack, five or six times repeated he as quick as thought, now, now, now, save me, save me, save me-I am going-going indeed!
I threw my arms about him, and raised him upon his pillow, as he was sinking (as if to hide himself) in the bed-clothes-And staring wildly, Where am I? said he, a little recovering. Did you not see him? turning his head this way and that; horror in his countenance; Did you not see him?
See whom, see what, my dear Belton !
O lay me upon the bed again, cried he!-Let me not die upon the floor!-Lay me down gently; and stand by me!-Leave me not!-All, all will soon be over!
You are already, my dear Belton, upon the bed. You have not been upon the floor. This is a strong delirium ; you are faint for want of refreshment [for he had refused several times to take any thing]: let me persuade you to take some of this cordial julap. I will leave you, if you will not oblige me.
He then readily took it; but said he could have sworn that Tom. Metcalfe had been in the room, and had drawn him out of bed by the throat, upbraiding him with the injuries he had first done his sister, and then him, in the duel to which he owed that fever which cost him his life.
Thou knowest the story, Lovelace, too well, to need my repeating it: but, mercy on us, if in these terrible moments all the evils we do rise to our frighted imaginations!If so, what shocking scenes have I, but still what more shocking ones hast thou, to go through, if, as the noble poet says,
If any sense at that sad time remains!
The doctor ordered him an opiate this morning early, which operated so well, that he dosed and slept several hours more quietly than he had done for the two past days and nights, though he had sleeping-draughts given him before. But it is more and more evident every hour that nature is almost worn out in him.
MOWBRAY, quite tired with this house of mourning, intends to set out in the morning to find you. He was not a little rejoiced to hear you were in town; I believe to have a pretence to leave us.
He has just taken leave of his poor friend, intending to go away early an everlasting leave, I may venture to say; for I think he will hardly live till to-morrow night.
I believe the poor man would not have been sorry had he left him when I arrived; for 'tis a shocking creature, and enjoys too strong health to know how to pity the sick. Then (to borrow an observation from thee) he has, by nature, strong bodily organs, which those of his soul are not likely to whet out; and he, as well as the wicked friend he is going to, may last a great while from the strength of their constitutions, though so greatly different in their talents, if neither the sword nor the halter in. terpose.
I must repeat, That I cannot but be very uneasy for the poor lady whom you so cruelly persecute; and that I do not think that you have kept your honour with me. I was apprehensive, indeed, that you would attempt to see her, as soon as you got well enough to come up; and I told her as much, making use of it as an argument to prepare her for your visit, and to induce her to stand it.
But she could not, it is plain, bear the shock of it: and indeed she told me that she would not see you, though but for one half-hour, for the world.
Could she have prevailed upon herself, I know that the sight of her would have been as affecting to you, as your visit could have been to her; when you had seen to what a lovely skeleton (for she is really lovely still, nor can she, with such a form and features, be otherwise) you have, in a few weeks, reduced one of the most charming women in the world; and that in the full bloom of her youth and beauty.
Mowbray undertakes to carry this, that he may be nore welcome to you, he says. Were it to be sent unsealed, the characters we write in would be Hebrew to the dunce. I desire you to return it; and I'll give you a copy of it upon demand; for I intend to keep it by me, as a guard against the infection of your company, which might otherwise, perhaps, some time hence, be apt to weaken the impressions I always desire to have of the awful scene before me. God convert us both!
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Wednesday Morn. 11 o'clock. I BELIEVE no man has two such servants as I have. cause I treat them with kindness, and do not lord it over my inferiors, and d-n and curse them by looks and words like Mowbray; or beat their teeth out like Love.
lace; but cry, Pr'ythee, Harry, do this, and, Pr'ythee, Jonathan, do that; the fellows pursue their own devices, and regard nothing I say, but what falls in with these.
Here, this vile Harry, who might have brought your letter of yesterday in good time, came not in with it till past eleven at night (drunk, I suppose); and concluding that I was in bed, as he pretends (because he was told I sat up the preceding night) brought it not to me; and having overslept himself, just as I had sealed up my letter, in comes the villain with the forgotten one, shaking his ears, and looking as if he himself did not believe the excuses he was going to make. I questioned him about it, and heard his pitiful pleas; and though I never think it becomes a gentleman to treat people insolently who by their stations are humbled beneath his feet, yet could I not forbear to Lovelace and Mowbray him most cordially.
And this detaining Mowbray (who was ready to set -out to you before) while I write a few lines upon it, the fierce fellow, who is impatient to exchange the company of a dying Belton for that of a too-lively Lovelace, affixed a supplement of curses upon the staring fellow, that was larger than my book-nor did I offer to take off the bear from such a mongrel, since,` on this occasion, he deserved not of me the protection which every master owes to a good servant.
He has not done cursing him yet; for stalking about the court-yard with his boots on, (the poor fellow dressing his horse, and unable to get from him,) he is at him without mercy; and I will heighten his impatience, (since being just under the window where I am writing, he will not let me attend to my pen,) by telling you how he fills my ears as well as the fellow's, with his-Hay, Sir! And G-d d-n ye, Sir! And were ye my servant, ye dog
ye! And must I stay here till the mid-day sun scorches me to a parchment, for such a mangy dog's drunken neglect?Ye lie, Sirrah!-Ye lie, I tell you-[I hear the fellow's voice in an humble excusatory tone, though not articulately] Ye lie, ye dog!-I'd a good mind to thrust my whip down your drunken throat: d-n me, if I would not flay the skin from the back of such a rascal, if thou wert mine, and have dog's-skin gloves made of it, for thy brother scoundrels to wear in remembrance of thy abuses of such a master.
The poor horse suffers for this, I doubt not; for, What now! and, Stand still, and be d-d to ye, cries the fellow, with a kick, I suppose, which he better deserves himself; for these varlets, where they can, are Mowbrays and Lovelaces to man or beast; and not daring to answer him, is flaying the poor horse.
I hear the fellow is just escaped, the horse, (better curried than ordinary, I suppose, in half the usual time,) by his clanking shoes, and Mowbray's silence, letting me know, that I may now write on and so, I will tell thee that, in the first place, (little as I, as well as you, regard dreams,) I would have thee lay thine to heart; for I could give thee such an interpretation of it, as would shock thee, perhaps; and if thou askest me for it, I will.
Mowbray calls to me from the court-yard, that 'tis a cursed hot day, and he shall be fried by riding in the noon of it and that poor Belton longs to see me. So I will only add my earnest desire, that you will give over all thoughts of seeing the lady, if, when this comes to your hand, you have not seen her and, that it would be kind, if you'd come, and, for the last time you will ever see your poor friend, share my concern for him; and, in him, see what, in a little time, will be your fate and mine, and