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And thus am I blamed for every one's faults !-When her brutal father curses her, it is I. I upbraid her with her severe mother. The implacableness of her stupid uncles is all mine. The virulence of her brother, and the spite and envy of her sister, are entirely owing to me. The letter of this rascal Brand is of my writing-O Jack, what a wretch is thy Lovelace!
RETURNED without a letter !-This d-d fellow Will. is returned without a letter !-Yet the rascal tells me that he hears you have been writing to me these two days!
Plague confound thee, who must know my impatience, and the reason for it!
To send a man and horse on purpose; as I did! My imagination chained to the belly of the beast, in order to keep pace with him !—Now he is got to this place; now to that; now to London; now to thee !
Now [a letter given him] whip and spur upon the return. This town just entered, not staying to bait : that village passed by: leaves the wind behind him: in a foaming sweat man and horse.
And in this way did he actually enter Lord M.'s court. yard.
The reverberating pavement brought me down-The letter, Will.! The letter, dog!-The letter, Sirrah!
No letter, Sir!-Then wildly staring round me, fists clenched, and grinning like a maniac, Confound thee for a dog, and him that sent thee without one!-This moment out of my sight, or I'll scatter thy stupid brains through the air. I snatched from his holsters a pistol, while the rascal threw himself from the foaming beast, and ran to avoid the fate which I wished with all my soul thou hadst been within the reach of me to have met with.
But, to be as meek as a lamb to one who has me at his mercy, and can wring and torture my soul as he pleases, What canst thou mean to send back my varlet without a letter? I will send away by day-dawn another fellow upon another beast for what thou hast written; and I charge thee on thy allegiance, that thou dispatch him not back empty-handed.
Charlotte, in a whim of delicacy, is displeased that I send the enclosed letter to you-that her hand-writing, forsooth! should go into the hands of a single man !
There's encouragement for thee, Belford! This is a certain sign that thou may'st have her if thou wilt. And yet, till she had given me this unerring demonstration of her glancing towards thee, I could not have thought it. Indeed I have often in pleasantry told her that I would bring such an affair to bear. But I never intended it ; because she really is a dainty girl; and thou art such a clumsy fellow in thy person, that I should as soon have wished her a rhinoceros for a husband as thee. But, poor little dears! they must stay till their time's come! They won't have this man, and they won't have that man, from seventeen to twenty-five but then, afraid, as the saying is, that God has forgot them, and finding their bloom departing, they are glad of whom they can get, and verify the fable of the parson and the pears.
MR. BRAND, TO JOHN HARLOWE, ESQ.
[Enclosed in the preceding.]
WORTHY SIR, MY VERY GOOD FRIEND AND PATRON,
I ARRIVED in town yesterday, after a tolerably pleasant journey (considering the hot weather and dusty roads). I put up at the Bull and Gate in Holborn, and hastened to Covent-garden. I soon found the house where the unhappy lady lodgeth. And, in the back shop, had a good deal of discourse* with Mrs. Smith, (her landlady,) whom I found to be so highly prepossessed in her favour, that I saw it would not answer your desires to take my in. formations altogether from her: and being obliged to attend my patron, (who, to my sorrow,
Miserum est aliena vivere quadra,)
I find wanteth much waiting upon, and is another sort of a man than he was at college : for, Sir, inter nos, honours change manners. For the aforesaid causes, I thought it would best answer all the ends of the commission with which you honoured me, to engage, in the desired scru tiny, the wife of a particular friend, who liveth almost over-against the house where she lodgeth, and who is a gentlewoman of character and sobriety, a mother of children, and one who knoweth the world well.
To her I applied myself, therefore, and gave her a short history of the case, and desired she would very particu.
* See Letter XXXVIII. of this volume.
larly inquire into the conduct of the unhappy young lady; her present way of life and subsistence; her visiters, her employments, and such-like: for these, Sir, you know, are the things whereof you wished to be informed.
Accordingly, Sir, I waited upon the gentlewoman aforesaid, this day; and, to my very great trouble, (because I know it will be to your's, and likewise to all your worthy family's,) I must say, that I do find things look a little more darkly than I hoped they would. For, alas! Sir, the gentlewoman's report turneth not out so favourable for Miss's reputation, as I wished, as you wished, and as every one of her friends wished. But so it is throughout the world, that one false step generally brings on another ; and peradventure a worse, and a still worse; till the poor limed soul (a very fit epithet of the divine Quarles's!) is quite entangled, and (without infinite mercy) lost for
It seemeth, Sir, she is, notwithstanding, in a very ill 'state of health. In this, both gentlewomen (that is to say, Mrs. Smith, her landlady, and my friend's wife) agree. Yet she goeth often out in a chair, to prayers (as it is said). But my friend's wife told me, that nothing is more common in London, than that the frequenting of the church at morning prayers is made the pretence and cover for private assignations. What a sad thing is this! that what was designed for wholesome nourishment to the poor soul, should be turned into rauk poison! But as Mr. Daniel de Foe (an ingenious man, though a dissenter) observeth (but indeed it is an old proverb; only I think he was the first that put it into verse)
God never had a house of pray’r,
Yet to do the lady justice, nobody cometh home with her: nor indeed can they, because she goeth forward and backward in a sedan, or chair, (as they call it). But then there is a gentleman of no good character (an intimado of Mr. Lovelace) who is a constant visiter of her, and of the people of the house, whom he regaleth and treateth, and hath (of consequence) their high good words.
I have thereupon taken the trouble (for I love to be exact in any commission I undertake) to inquire particularly about this gentleman, as he is called (albeit I hold no man so but by his actions: for, as Juvenal saith,
-Nobilitas sola est, atque unica virtus)
And this I did before I would sit down to write to you. His name is Belford. He hath a paternal estate of upwards of one thousand pounds by the year; and is now in mourning for an uncle who left him very considerably besides. He beareth a very profligate character as to women, (for I inquired particularly about that,) and is Mr. Lovelace's more especial privado, with whom he holdeth a regular correspondence; and hath been often seen with Miss (tête à tête) at the window-in no bad way, indeed but my friend's wife is of opinion that all is not as it should be. And, indeed, it is mighty strange to me, if Miss be so notable a penitent (as is represented) and if she have such an aversion to Mr. Lovelace, that she will admit his privado into her retirements, and see no other company.
I understand, from Mrs. Smith, that Mr. Hickman was to see her some time ago, from Miss Howe; and I am told, by another hand, (you see, Sir, how diligent I have been to execute the commissions you gave me,) that he had no extraordinary opinion of this Belford at first; though