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Eight o'clock at midsummer, and these lazy varletesses (in full health) not come down yet to breakfast! - What a confounded indecency in young ladies, to let a rake know that they love their beds so dearly, and, at the same time, where to have them! But I'll punish them—they shall breakfast with their old uncle, and yawn at one another as if for a wager ; while I drive my phaeton to Colonel Ambrose's, who yesterday gave me an invitation both to breakfast and dine, on account of two Yorkshire nieces, celebrated toasts, who have been with him this fortnight past; and who, he says, want to see me. So, Jack, all women do not run away from me, thank heaven !-I wish I could have leave of my heart, since the dear fugitive is so ungrateful, to drive her out of it with another beauty. But who can supplant her? Who can be admitted to a place in it after Miss Clarissa Harlowe ?
At my return, if I can find a subject, I will scribble on, to oblige thee.
My phaeton's ready. My cousins send me word they are just coming down: so in spite I'll be gone.
Saturday afternoon. I DID stay to dine with the colonel, and his lady, and nieces : but I could not pass the afternoon with them, for the heart of me. There was enough in the persons and faces of the two young ladies to set me upon comparisons. Particular features held my attention for a few moments : but these served but to whet my impatience to find the charmer of my soul; who, for person, for air, for mind, never had any equal. My heart recoiled and sickened upon comparing minds and conversation. Pert wit, a too studied desire to please; each in high good humour with herself; an open-mouth affectation iri both, to shew white teeth, as if the principal excellence; and to invite amorous familiarity, by the promise of a sweet breath ; at the same time reflecting tacitly upon breaths arrogantly implied to be less pure.
Once I could have borne them.
They seemed to be disappointed that I was so soon able to leave them. Yet have I not at present so much vanity (my Clarissa has cured me of my vanity) as to attribute their disappointment so much to particular liking of me, as to their own self-admiration. They looked upon me as a connoisseur in beauty. They would have been proud of engaging my attention, as such : but so affected, so flimsy-witted, mere skin-deep beauties!— They had looked no further into themselves than what their glasses had enabled them to see : and their glasses were flattering glasses too! for I thought them passive-faced, and spiritless; with eyes, howe ever, upon the hunt for conquests, and bespeaking the attention of others, in order to countenance their own.-I believe I could, with a little pains, have given them life and soul, and to every feature of their faces sparkling information—but my Cla. rissa !-O Belford, my Clarissa has made me eyeless and senseless to every other beauty! Do thou find her for me, as a subject worthy of my pen, or this shall be the last from thy
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Sunday night, July 9, Now, Jack, have I a subject with a vengeance. I am in the very height of my trial for all my sins to my beloved fugitive. For here to-day, at about five o'clock, arrived Lady Sarah Sadler and Lady Betty Lawrance, each in her chariot and six. Dowagers love equipage ; and these cannot travel ten miles without a set, and half a dozen horsemen.
My time had hung heavy upon my hands ; and so I went to church after dinner. Why may not handsome fellows, thought I, like to be looked at, as well as handsome girls? I fell in, when service was over, with Major Warneton; and so came not home till after six ; and was surprised, at entering the court-yard here, to find it littered with equipages and servants. I was sure the owners of them came for no good to me.
Lady Sarah, I soon found, was raised to this visit by Lady Betty; who has health enough to allow her to look out of herself, and out of her own affairs, for business. Yet congratulation to Lord M. on his amendment (spiteful devils on both accounts !] was the avowed errand. But coming in my absence, I was their principal subject; and they had opportunity to set each other's heart against me.
Simon Parsons hinted this to me, as I passed by the steward's office ; for it seems they talked loud ; and he was making up some accounts with old Pritchard.
However, I hastened to pay my duty to them.--Other people not performing theirs, is no excuse for the neglect of our own, you know. .
And now I enter upon my Trial. With horrible grave faces was I received. The two antiques only bowed their tabby heads ; making longer faces than ordinary; and all the old lines appearing strong in their furrowed foreheads and fallen cheeks; How do you, sir ? and, How do you, Mr. Lovelace? looking all round at one another, as who should say, do you speak first : and, do you : for they seemed resolved to lose no time.
I had nothing for it, but an air as manly, as theirs was womanly. Your servant, madam, to Lady Betty; and, Your servant, madam-I am glad to see you abroad, to Lady Sarah.
I took my seat. Lord M. looked horribly glum; his fingers claspt, and turning round and round, under and over, his but just disgouted thumbs ; his sallow face, and goggling eyes, cảst upon the floor, on the fire-place, on his two sisters, on his two nieces, by turns, but not once deigning to look upon me.
Then I began to think of the laudanum, and wet cloth, I told thee of long ago; and to call myself in question for a tenderness of heart that will never do me good.
At last, Mr. Lovelace !-Cousin Lovelace ! Hem !-Hem !-I am sorry, very sorry, hesitated Lady Sarah, that there is no hope of your ever taking up· What's the matter now, madam ?
The matter now !—Why, Lady Betty has two letters from. Miss Harlowe, which have told us what's the matter-are all women alike with you ?
Yes, I could have answered ; bating the difference which pride makes.
Then they all choruss'd upon me-Such a character as Miss Harlowe's! cried one-A lady of so much generosity and good sense ! another-How charmingly she writes ! the two maiden monkies, looking at her fine hand-writing: her perfections my crimes. What can you expect will be the end of these things! cried Lady Sarah. D-n'd, da'd doings ! vociferated the peer, shaking his looseflesh'd wabbling chaps, which hung on his shoulders like an old cow's dewlap..
For my part, I hardly knew whether to sing or say, what I had to reply to these all-at-once attacks upon me!-Fair and softly, ladies-one at a time, I beseech you. I am not to be hunted down with out being heard, I hope. Pray let me see these letters. I beg you will let me see them.
There they are :--that's the first-read it out, if you can.
I open'd a letter from my charmer, dated Thursday, June 29, our wedding-day that was to be, and written to Lady Betty Lawrance. By the contents, to my great joy, I find the dear creature is alive and well, and in charming spirits. But the direction where to send an answer was so scratched out, that I could not read it; which afflicted me much.
She puts three questions in it to Lady Betty.
1st, about a letter of hers, dated June 7, con gratulating me on my nuptials, and which I was so good as to save Lady Betty the trouble.of writing -a very civil thing of me, I think !
Again—Whether she and one of her nieces Montague were to go to town, on an old chancery suit ??--And, · Whether they actually did go to town accordingly, and to Hampstead afterwards ?' and, Whether they brought to town from thence