Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
This Captain Tomlinson is one of the
happiest as well as one of the best men in the world.
What would I give to stand as high in my beloved’s
opinion as he does! but yet I am as good a man as he,
were I to tell my own story, and have equal credit
given to it. But the devil should have had him
before I had seen him on the account he came upon,
had I thought I should not have answered my principal
end in it. I hinted to thee in my last what
But to the particulars of the conference
between my fair-one and me, on her hasty messages;
which I was loth to come to, because she has had an
half triumph over me in it.
After I had attended the Captain down
to the very passage, I returned to the dining-room,
and put on a joyful air, on my beloved’s entrance
into it O my dearest creature, said I,
let me congratulate you on a prospect so agreeable
to your wishes! And I snatched her hand, and
smothered it with kisses.
I was going on; when interrupting
me, You see, Mr. Lovelace, said she, how you have
embarrassed yourself by your obliquities! You
see, that you have not been able to return a direct
answer to a plain and honest question, though upon
it depends all the happiness, on the prospect of which
you congratulate me!
You know, my best love, what my prudent,
and I will say, my kind motives were, for giving out
that we were married. You see that I have taken
no advantage of it; and that no inconvenience has
followed it. You see that your uncle wants only
to be assured from ourselves that it is so
Not another word on this subject,
Mr. Lovelace. I will not only risk, but I will
forfeit, the reconciliation so near my heart, rather
than I will go on to countenance a story so untrue!
My dearest soul Would you have me appear
I would have you appear, Sir, as you
are! I am resolved that I will appear to my
uncle’s friend, and to my uncle, as I am.
For one week, my dearest life! cannot
you for one week only till the settlements
Not for one hour, with my own consent.
You don’t know, Sir, how much I have been afflicted,
that I have appeared to the people below what I am
not. But my uncle, Sir, shall never have it to
upbraid me, nor will I to upbraid myself, that I have
wilfully passed upon him in false lights.
What, my dear, would you have me say
to the Captain to-morrow morning? I have given
him room to think
Then put him right, Mr. Lovelace.
Tell the truth. Tell him what you please of
the favour of your relations to me: tell him what
you will about the settlements: and if, when
drawn, you will submit them to his perusal and approbation,
it will show him how much you are in earnest.
My dearest life! Do you
think that he would disapprove of the terms I have
Then may I be accursed, if I willingly
submit to be trampled under foot by my enemies!
And may I, Mr. Lovelace, never be
unhappy in this life, if I submit to the passing upon
my uncle Harlowe a wilful and premeditated falshood
for truth! I have too long laboured under the
affliction which the rejection of all my friends has
given me, to purchase my reconciliation with them
now at so dear a price as this of my veracity.
The women below, my dear
What are the women below to me? I
want not to establish myself with them. Need
they know all that passes between my relations and
you and me?
Neither are they any thing to me,
Madam. Only, that when, for the sake of preventing
the fatal mischiefs which might have attended your
brother’s projects, I have made them think us
married, I would not appear to them in a light which
you yourself think so shocking. By my soul,
Madam, I had rather die, than contradict myself so
flagrantly, after I have related to them so many circumstances
of our marriage.
Well, Sir, the women may believe what
they please. That I have given countenance to
what you told them is my error. The many circumstances
which you own one untruth has drawn you in to relate,
is a justification of my refusal in the present case.
Don’t you see, Madam, that your
uncle wishes to find that we are married? May
not the ceremony be privately over, before his mediation
can take place?
Urge this point no further, Mr. Lovelace.
If you will not tell the truth, I will to-morrow
morning (if I see Captain Tomlinson) tell it myself.
Indeed I will.
Will you, Madam, consent that things
pass as before with the people below? This mediation
of Tomlinson may come to nothing. Your brother’s
schemes may be pursued; the rather, that now he will
know (perhaps from your uncle) that you are not under
a legal protection. You will, at least,
consent that things pass here as before?
To permit this, is to go on in an
error, Mr. Lovelace. But as the occasion for
so doing (if there can be in your opinion an occasion
that will warrant an untruth) will, as I presume,
soon be over, I shall the less dispute that point
with you. But a new error I will not be guilty
of, if I can avoid it.
Can I, do you think, Madam, have any
dishonourable view in the step I supposed you would
not scruple to take towards a reconciliation with your
own family? Not for my own sake, you know, did
I wish you to take it; for what is it to me, if I
am never reconciled to your family? I want no
favours from them.
I hope, Mr. Lovelace, there is no
occasion, in our present not disagreeable situation,
to answer such a question. And let me say, that
I shall think my prospects still more agreeable, if,
to-morrow morning you will not only own the very truth,
but give my uncle’s friend such an account of
the steps you have taken, and are taking, as may keep
up my uncle’s favourable intentions towards
me. This you may do under what restrictions
of secrecy you please. Captain Tomlinson is a
prudent man; a promoter of family-peace, you find;
and, I dare say, may be made a friend.
I saw there was no help. I saw
that the inflexible Harlowe spirit was all up in her. A
little witch! A little Forgive
me, Love, for calling her names! And so I said,
with an air, We have had too many misunderstandings,
Madam, for me to wish for new ones: I will obey
you without reserve. Had I not thought I should
have obliged you by the other method, (especially
as the ceremony might have been over before any thing
could have operated from your uncle’s intentions,
and of consequence no untruth persisted in,) I would
not have proposed it. But think not, my beloved
creature, that you shall enjoy, without condition,
this triumph over my judgment.
And then, clasping my arms about her,
I gave her averted cheek (her charming lip designed)
a fervent kiss. And your forgiveness of
this sweet freedom [bowing] is that condition.
She was not mortally offended.
And now must I make out the rest as well as I can.
But this I will tell thee, that although her triumph
has not diminished my love for her, yet it has stimulated
me more than ever to revenge, as thou wilt be apt
to call it. But victory, or conquest, is the
more proper word.
There is a pleasure, ’tis true,
in subduing one of these watchful beauties.
But by my soul, Belford, men of our cast take twenty
times the pains to be rogues than it would cost them
to be honest; and dearly, with the sweat of our brows,
and to the puzzlement of our brains, (to say nothing
of the hazards he run,) do we earn our purchase; and
ought not therefore to be grudged our success when
we meet with it especially as, when we
have obtained our end, satiety soon follows; and leaves
us little or nothing to show for it. But this,
indeed, may be said of all worldly delights. And
is not that a grave reflection from me?
I was willing to write up to the time.
Although I have not carried my principal point, I
shall make something turn out if my favour from Captain
Tomlinson’s errand. But let me give thee
this caution; that thou do not pretend to judge of
my devices by parts; but have patience till thou seest
the whole. But once more I swear, that I will
not be out-Norris’d by a pair of novices.
And yet I am very apprehensive, at times, of the
consequences of Miss Howe’s smuggling scheme.
My conscience, I should think, ought
not to reproach me for a contrivance, which is justified
by the contrivances of two such girls as these:
one of whom (the more excellent of the two) I have
always, with her own approbation, as I imagine, proposed
for my imitation.
But here, Jack, is the thing that
concludes me, and cases my heart with adamant:
I find, by Miss Howe’s letters, that it is owing
to her, that I have made no greater progress with
my blooming fair-one. She loves me. The
ipecacuanha contrivance convinces me that she loves
me. Where there is love there must be confidence,
or a desire of having reason to confide. Generosity,
founded on my supposed generosity, has taken hold
of her heart. Shall I not now see (since I must
forever be unhappy, if I marry her, and leave any
trial unessayed) what I can make of her love, and
her newly-raised confidence? Will it not
be to my glory to succeed? And to her’s
and to the honour of her sex, if I cannot? Where
then will be the hurt to either, to make the trial?
And cannot I, as I have often said, reward her when
I will by marriage?
’Tis late, or rather early;
for the day begins to dawn upon me. I am plaguy
heavy. Perhaps I need not to have told thee that.
But will only indulge a doze in my chair for an hour;
then shake myself, wash and refresh. At my time
of life, with such a constitution as I am blessed
with, that’s all that’s wanted.
Good night to me! It cannot
be broad day till I am awake. Aw-w-w-whaugh pox
of this yawning!
Is not thy uncle dead yet?
What’s come to mine, that he
writes not to my last? Hunting after more
wisdom of nations, I suppose! Yaw-yaw-yawning
again! Pen, begone!