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that the lady was recovered, beseeching her to quit that devilish place; and the woman assured her, that she was at full liberty to do so; for that the action was dismissed.
But she cared not to answer her: and was so weak and low, that it was almost as much out of her power as inclination, the woman told me, to speak.
I would have hastened away for my friend Doctor H. but the house is such a den, and the room she was in such a hole, that I was ashamed to be seen in it by a man of his reputation, especially with a woman of such an appearance, and in such uncommon distress; and I found there was no prevailing on her to quit it for the people's bed-room, which was neat and lightsome.
The strong room she was in, the wretches told me, should have been in better order, but that it was but the very morning that she was brought in, that an unhappy man had quitted it; for a more eligible prison, no doubt; since there could hardly be a worse.
Being told, that she desired not to be disturbed, and seemed inclined to doze, I took this opportunity to go to her lodgings in Covent Garden: to which Dorcas (who first discovered her there, as Will was the setter from church) had before given me a direction.
The man's name is Smith, a dealer in gloves, snuff, and such petty merchandise: his wife the shopkeeper: he a maker of the gloves they sell. Honest people, it seems.
I thought to have got the woman with me to the lady; but she was not within. .
I talked with the man, and told him what had befallen the lady; owing, as I said, to a mistake of orders; and gave her the character she deserved; and desired him to send his wife the moment she came in, to the lady; directing him whither; not doubting, that her attendance would be very welcome to her; which he promised.
He told me, that a letter was left for her there on Saturday; and, about half an hour before I came, another, superscribed by the same hand; the first, by the post; the other, by a countryman; who having been informed of her absence, and of all the circumstances they could tell him of it, posted away, full of concern, saying, that the lady he was sent from would be ready to break her heart at the tidings.
I thought it right to take the two letters back with me; and dismissing my coach, took a chair, as a more proper vehicle for the lady, if I (the friend of her destroyerJ could prevail upon her to leave Rowland's.
And here, being obliged to give way to an indispensable avocation, I will make thee taste a little, in thy turn, of the plague of suspense; and break off, without giving thee the least hint of the issue of my further proceedings. I know, that those least bear disappointment, who love most to give it. In twenty instances, hast thou afforded me proof of the truth of this observation. And I matter not thy raving.
Another letter, however, shall be ready; send for it as soon as thou wilt. But, were it not, have I not written enough to convince thee, that I am
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFOHD, ESQ,
Monday, July 17, eleven at night. Curse upon thy hard heart, thou vile caitiff! How, hast thou tortured me, by thy designed abruption! 'Tis impossible that Miss Harlowe should have ever suffered as thou hast made me suffer, and as I now suffer!
That sex is made to bear pain. It is a curse, that the first of it entailed upon all her daughters, when she brought the curse upon us all. And they love those best, whether man or child, who give them most—but to streteh upon thy d—'d tenter-books such a spirit as mine—no rack, no torture, can equal my torture f
And must I still wait the return of another messenger? Confound thee for a malicious devil! I wish thou wert a post-horse, and I upon the back of thee! How would I whip and spur, and harrow. up thy clumsy sides, till I made thee a ready-roasted, ready-flayed, mess of dog's meat; all the hounds in the country howling after thee, as I drove thee, to wait my dismounting, in order to devour thee piecemeal; life still throbbing in each churned mouthful!
Give this fellow the sequel of thy tormenting scribble.
Dispatch him away with it. Thou hast promised it shall be ready. Every cushion or chair I shall sit upon, the bed I shall lie down upon, (if I go to bed) till he return, will be stuffed with bolt-upright awls, bodkins, corking-pins, and packingneedles: already I can fancy, that to pink my body like my mind, I need only to be put into a hogshead stuck full of steel, pointed spikes, and rolled down a hill three times as high as the Monument.
But I lose time; yet know not how to employ it till this fellow returns with the sequel of thy soulharrowing intelligence.
MR. BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Monday night, July 17. On my return to Rowland's, I found that the apothecary was just gone up. Mrs. Rowland being above with him, I made the less scruple to go up too, as it was probable, that to ask for leave would be to ask to be denied; hoping also, that the letters I had with me would be a good excuse.
She was sitting on the side of the broken couch, extremely weak and low; and, I observed, cared not to speak to the man: and no wonder; for I never saw a more shocking fellow, of a profession tolerably genteel, nor heard a more illiterate one prate—physician in ordinary to this house, and others like it, I suppose! He put me in mind of Otway's apothecary in his Caius Marius; as borrowed from the immortal Shakspeare:
Meagre and very rueful were his looks:
famine in his cheeks:
As I am in black, he took me, at my entrance, I believe, to be a doctor: and slunk behind me with his hat upon his two thumbs, and looked as if he expected the oracle to open, and give him orders.
The lady looked displeased, as well at me as at Rowland, who followed me, and at the apothecary. It was not, she said, the least of her present misfortunes, that she could not be left to her own sex; and to her option to see whom she pleased.
I besought her excuse: and winking for the apothecary to withdraw, [which he did] told her, that I had been at her new lodgings, to order every thing to be got ready for her reception, presuming she would choose to go thither: that I had a chair at the door: that Mr. Smith and his wife [I named their names, that she should not have room for the least fear of Sinclair's] had been full of apprehensions for her safety: that I had brought two letters, which were left there for her; the one by the post, the other that very morning.
This took her attention, she held out her charming hand for them; took them, and, pressing them to her lips—From the only friend I have in the world! said she, kissing them again; and looking at the seals, as if to see whether they had been opened. I can't read them, said she, my eyes are too dim; and put them into her bosom.
I besought her to think of quitting that wretched hole.
Whither could she go, she asked, to be safe and uninterrupted for the short remainder of her life; and to avoid being again visited by the creatures who had insulted her before?
I gave her the most solemn assurances, that she should not be invaded in her new lodgings by any body: and said, that I would particularly engage my honour, that the person who had most offended her, should not come near her, without her own content.