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me so; and that the letter he will bring from her will assure it to me.
I have ordered him to go directly (without stopping at the Saracen's Head inn) to you at your lodgings. Matters are now in so good a way, that he safely may.
Your expected letter is ready written I hope: if it be not, he will call for it at your hour.
You can't be so happy as you deserve to be: but I doubt not that you will be as happy as you can; that is, that you will choose to put yourself instantly into Lady Betty's protection. If you would not have the wretch for your own sake; have him you must, for mine, for your family's, for your honour's sake!—Dear honest Collins, make haste! make haste! and relieve the impatient heart of my beloved's
Ever faithful, ever affectionate,
MISS HOWE TO MISS CHARLOTTE MONTAGUE.
Madam, Tuesday morn. July 18.
I Take the liberty to write to you, by this special messenger. In the frenzy of my soul I write to you, to demand of you, and of any of your family who can tell news of my beloved friend; who, I doubt, has been spirited away by the base arts of one of the blackest—O help me to a name bad enough to call him by! Her piety is proof against self attempts. It must, it must be he, the only wretch, who could injure such an innocent; and now who knows what he has done with her!
If I have patience, I will give you the occasion of this distracted vehemence.
I wrote to her the very moment you and your sister left me. But being unable to procure a special messenger, as I intended, was forced to send by the post. I urged her [you know I promised that I would: 1 urged her] with earnestness, to comply with the desires of all your family. Having no answer, I wrote again on Sunday night; and sent it by a particular hand, who travelled all night; chiding her for keeping a heart so impatient as mine in such cruel suspense, upon a matter of so much importance to her; and therefore to me. And very angry I was with her in my mind.
But, judge my astonishment, my distraction, when last night, the messenger, returning posthaste, brought me word, that she had not been heard of since Friday morning! And that a letter lay for her at her lodgings, which came by the post; and must be mine!
She went out about six that morning; only intending, as they believe, to go to morning prayers at Covent Garden church, just by her lodgings, as she had done divers times before—went on footleft word she should be back in an hour—very poorly in health!
Lord, have mercy upon me! What shall I do !— I was a distracted creature all last night!
O madam! you know not how I love her!—My own soul is not dearer to me, than my Clarissa Harlowe!—Nay, she is my soul—for I now have none—only a miserable one, however—for she was the joy, the stay, the prop of my life. Never woman loved woman as we love one another. It is impossible to tell you half her excellencies. It was my glory and my pride, that I was capable of so fervent a love of so pure and matchless a creature—but now—who knows, whether the dear injured has not all her woes, her undeserved woes, completed in death; or is not reserved for a worse fate!—This I leave to your inquiry—for—your— [shall I call the man—your ?] relation I understand is still with you.
Surely, my good ladies, you were well authorized in the proposals you made in presence of my mother? Surely he dare not abuse your confidence, and the confidence of your noble relations! I make no apology for giving you this trouble, nor for desiring you to favour with a line, by this messenger,
Your almost distracted
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
M. Hall, Sat. night, July 15. All undone, undone by Jupiter!—Zounds, Jack, what shall I do now! A curse upon all my plots and contrivances!—But I have it!—In the very heart and soul of me, I have it!
Thou toldest me, that my punishments were but beginning—canst thou, O fatal prognosticator! canst thou tell me where they will end?
Thy assistance I bespeak. The moment thou receivest this, I bespeak thy assistance. This messenger rides for life and death—and I hope he'll find you at your town lodgings; if he meet not with you at Edgware; where, being Sunday, he will call first.
This cursed, cursed woman, on Friday dispatched man and horse with the joyful news (as she thought it would be to me) in an exulting letter from Sally Martin, that she had found out my angel as on Wednesday last; and on Friday morning, after she had been at prayers at Covent Garden church —praying for my reformation perhaps—got her arrested by two sheriff's officers, as she was returning to her lodgings, who (villains!) put her into a chair they had in readiness, and carried her to one of the cursed fellow's houses.
She has arrested her for I50l. pretendedly due for board and lodging: a sum, (besides the low villany of the proceeding) which the dear soul could not possibly raise: all her clothes and effects, except what she had on and with her when she went away, being at the old devil's.
And here, for an aggravation, has the dear creature lain already two days; for I must be gallanting my two aunts and my two cousins, and giving Lord M. an airing after his lying-in—pox upon the whole family of us! And returned not till within this hour; and now returned to my distraction, on receiving the cursed tidings, and the exulting letter.
Hasten, hasten, dear Jack; for the love of God, hasten to the injured charmer! My heart bleeds for her—she deserved not this !—I dare not stir. It will be thought done by my contrivance—and if I am absent from this place, that will confirm the suspicion.
D n s"eize quick this accursed woman !—
Yet she thinks she has made no small merit with me. Unhappy, thrice unhapy circumstance!— At a time too, when better prospects were opening for the sweet creature!
Hasten to her!—Clear me of this cursed job. Most sincerely by all that's sacred, I swear you may !—Yet have I been such a villanous plotter, that the charming sufferer will hardly believe it: although the proceeding be so dirtily low.
Set her free the moment you see her: without conditioning, free!—On your knees, for me, beg her pardon: and assure her, that, wherever she goes, I will not molest her: no, nor come near her without her leave: and be sure allow not any of the damned crew to go near her—only let her permit you to receive her commands from time to time —'You have always been her friend and advocate. What would I now give, had I permitted you to' have been a successful one!
Let her have all her clothes and effects sent her instantly, as a small proof of my sincerity. And force upon the dear creature, who must be moneyless, what sums you can get her to take. Let me know how she has been treated. If roughly, woe be to the guilty!
Take thy watch in thy hand, after thou hast freed her, and damn the whole brood, dragon and serpents, by the hour, till thou'rt tired; and tell them, I bid thee do so for their cursed officiousness.
They had nothing to do when they had found her, but to wait my orders how to proceed.
The great devil fly away with them all, one by one, through the roof of their own cursed house, and dash them to pieces against the tops of chimnies as he flies; and let the lesser devils collect their scattered scraps, and bag them up, in order to put them together again in their allotted place, in the element of fire, with cements of molten lead.
A line! a line! a kingdom for a line! with tolerable news, the first moment thou canst write!— This fellow waits to bring it.
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