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them, or have actually lost them: and then, what would we give to have them restored to us!
What, I wonder, has again happened between you and Mr. Hickman? Although I know not, I dare say it is owing to some pretty petulance, to some half-ungenerous advantage taken of his obligingness and assiduity. Will you never, my dear, give the weight you and all our sex ought to give to the qualities of sobriety and regularity of life and manners in that sex? Must bold creatures, and forward spirits, for ever, and by the best and wisest of us, as well as by the indiscreetest, be the most kindly treated?
My dear friends know not that I have actually suffered within less than an inch of my life.
Poor Mr. Brand! he meant well, I believe. afraid all will turn heavily upon him, when he probably imagined that he was taking the best method to oblige. But were he not to have been so light of belief, and so weakly officious; and had given a more favourable, and, it would be strange if I could not say, a juster report; things would have been, nevertheless, exactly as they are.
I must lay down my pen. I am very ill. I believe I shall be better by-and-by. The bad writing would betray me, although I had a mind to keep from you what the
event must soon
Now I resume my trembling pen. steady writing. It will be so
I have wanted no money: so don't be angry about such a trifle as money. Yet am I glad of what you inclined me to hope, that my friends will give up the produce of my grandfather's estate since it has been in their hands: because, knowing it to be my right, and that they could not want it, I had already disposed of a good part of it;
Excuse the un.
and could only hope they would be willing to give it up at my last request. And now how rich shall I think myself in this my last stage!-And yet I did not want beforeindeed I did not-for who, that has many superfluities, can be said to want!
Do not, my dear friend, be concerned that I call it my last stage; For what is even the long life which in high health we wish for? What, but, as we go along, a life of apprehension, sometimes for our friends, oftener for ourselves? And at last, when arrived at the old age we covet, one heavy loss or deprivation having succeeded another, we see ourselves stript, as I may say, of every one we loved; and find ourselves exposed, as uncompanionable poor creatures, to the slights, to the contempts, of jostling youth, who want to push us off the stage, in hopes to possess what we have:-and, superadded to all, our own infirmities every day increasing of themselves enough to make the life we wished for the greatest disease of all! Don't you remember the lines of Howard, which once you read to me in my ivy-bower* ?
In the disposition of what belongs to me, I have endea.
These are the lines the lady refers to:
From death we rose to life: 'tis but the same,
We fear to lose, what a small time must waste,
Till life itself grows the disease at last.
voured to do every thing in the justest and best manner I could think of; putting myself in my relations' places, and, in the greater points, ordering my matters as if no misunderstanding had happened.
I hope they will not think much of some bequests where wanted, and where due from my gratitude; but if they should, what is done, is done; and I cannot now help it. Yet I must repeat, that I hope, I hope, I have pleased every one of them. For I would not, on any ac count, have it thought that, in my last disposition, any thing undaughterly, unsisterly, or unlike a kinswoman, should have had place in a mind that is so truly free (as I will presume to say, from all resentment, that it now over. flows with gratitude and blessings for the good I have received, although it be not all that my heart wished to receive. Were it even an hardship that I was not favoured with more, what is it but an hardship of half a year, against the most indulgent goodness of eighteen years and an half, that ever was shown to a daughter?
My cousin, you tell me, thinks I was off my guard, and that I was taken at some advantage. Indeed, my dear, I was not. Indeed I gave no room for advantage to be taken of me. I hope, one day, that will be seen, if I have the justice done me which Mr. Belford assures me of.
I should hope that my cousin has not taken the liber, ties which you (by an observation not, in general, unjust) seem to charge him with. For it is sad to think, that the generality of that sex should make so light of crimes, which they justly hold so unpardonable in their own most intimate relations of our's—yet cannot commit them without doing such injuries to other families as they think themselves obliged to resent unto death, when offered to their
But we women are too often to blame on this head;
since the most virtuous among us seldom make virtue the test of their approbation of the other sex; insomuch that a man may glory in his wickedness of this sort without being rejected on that account, even to the faces of women of unquestionable virtue. Hence it is, that a liber tine seldom thinks himself concerned so much as to save appearances: And what is it not that our sex suffers in their opinion on this very score? And what have I, more than many others, to answer for on this account in the world's eye?
May my story be a warning to all, how they prefer a libertine to a man of true honour; and how they permit themselves to be misled (where they mean the best) by the specious, yet foolish hope of subduing riveted habits, and, as I may say, of altering natures !-The more foolish, as constant experience might convince us, that there is hardly one in ten, of even tolerably happy marriages, in which the wife keeps the hold in the husband's affections, which she had in the lover's. What influence then can she hope to have over the morals of an avowed libertine, who mar. ries perhaps for conveniency, who despises the tie, and whom, it is too probable, nothing but old age, or sick. ness, or disease, (the consequence of ruinous riot,) can reclaim?
I am very glad you gave my cous→→→
Sunday Morning, Sept. 3, Six o'clock. HITHER I had written, and was forced to quit my pen. And so much weaker and worse I grew, that had I re sumed it, to have closed here, it must have been with such trembling unsteadiness, that it would have given you more concern for me, than the delay of sending it away by last night's post can do. I deferred it, therefore, to see how it would please God to deal with me. And I find myself,
after a better night than I expected, lively and clear; and hope to give a proof that I do, in the continuation of my letter, which I will pursue as currently as if I had not left off.
I am glad you so considerately gave my cousin Morden favourable impressions of Mr. Belford; since, otherwise, some misunderstanding might have happened between them for although I hope this Mr. Belford is an altered man, and in time will be a reformed one, yet is he one of those high spirits that has been accustomed to resent imaginary indignities to himself, when, I believe, he has not been studious to avoid giving real offences to others; men of this cast acting as if they thought all the world was made to bear with them, and they with nobody in it.
Mr. Lovelace, you tell me, thought fit to intrust my cousin with the copy of his letter of penitence to me, and with my answer to it, rejecting him and his suit: and Mr. Belford, moreover, acquaints me, how much concerned Mr. Lovelace is for his baseness, and how freely he accused himself to my cousin. This shows, that the true bravery of spirit is to be above doing a vile action; and that nothing subjects the human mind to so much meanness, as the consciousness of having done wilful wrong to our fel low creatures. How low, how sordid, are the submis. sions which elaborate baseness compels! that that wretch could treat me as he did, and then could so poorly creep to me for forgiveness of crimes so wilful, so black, and so premeditated! how my soul despised him for his meanness on a certain occasion, of which you will one day be informed*! and him whose actions one's heart despises, it
* Meaning his meditated second violence (See Vol. VI. Letter XIII.) and his succeeding letters to her, supplicating for her pardon.