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time and place, fills thy mouth!—Why dctainest thou me! My heart rises against thee, O thou cruel implement of my brother's causeless vengeance—all I beg of thee is, that thou wilt remit me thefuture part of my father's dreadful curse! The temporary part, base and ungrateful as thou art! thou hast completed!
I was speechless!—Well I might!—Her brothers implement!—James Harlowe's implement! Zounds, Jack, what words were these!
I let go her struggling hand. She took two or three turns across the room, her whole haughty soul in her air. Then approaching me, but in silence, turning from me, and again to me, in a milder voice —I see thy confusion, Lovelace. Or is it thy remorse?—1 have but one request to make thee—the request so often repeated—that thou wilt this moment permit me to quit this house. Adieu, then, let me say, for ever adieu! And mayst thou enjoy that happiness, in this world, which thou hast robbed me of; as thou hast of every friend I have in it.
And saying this, away she flung, leaving me in a confusion so great, that I knew not what to think, say, or do.
But Dorcas soon roused me—Do you know, sir, running in hastily, that my lady is gone down stairs!
No sure!—And down I flew, and found her once more at the street door, contending with Polly Horton to get out.
She rushed by me into the fore-parlour, and flew to the window, and attempted once more to throw up the sash—Good people! good people! cried she.
I caught her in my arms, and lifted her from the window. But being afraid of hurting the charming creature (charming in her very rage) she slid through my arms on the floor. Let me die here! Let me die here ! were her words; remaining jointless and immovable, till Sally and Mrs. Sinclair hurried in.
She was visibly terrified at the sight of the old wretch; while I (sincerely affected) appealed, Bear witness, Mrs. Sinclair!—Bear witness, Miss Martin !—Miss Horton! Every one bear witness, that I offer not violence to this beloved creature!
She then found her feet—O house, [looking towards the windows, and all round her, O house] contrived on purpose for my ruin! said she—but let not that woman come into my presence—nor that Miss Horton neither, who would not have dared to control me, had she not been a base one!
Hoh, sir, hoh, madam ! vociferated the old dragon, her arms kemboed, and flourishing with one foot to the extent of her petticoats—what ado's here about nothing !'—I never knew such work in my life, between a chicken of a gentleman, and a tiger of a lady!—
She was visibly affrighted: and up stairs she hastened. A bad woman is certainly, Jack, more terrible to her own sex, than even a bad man.
I followed her up. She rushed by her own apartment into the dining-room: no terror can make her forget her punctilio.
To recite what passed there of invective, exclamations, threatenings, even of her own life, on one side; of expostulations, supplications, and sometimes menaces, on the other; would be too affecting; and, after my particularity in like scenes, these things may as well be imagined as expressed.
I will therefore only mention, that, at length, I extorted a concession from her. She had reason*
* The lady mentions, in her memorandum-book, that she had no other way, as she apprehended, to save herself from instant dishonour, but by making this concession. Her only to think it would have been worse for her on the spot, if she had not made it. It was, That she would endeavour to make herself easy, till she saw what next Thursday, her uncle's birth-day, would produce. But O that it were not a sin, she passionately exclaimed on making this poor concession, to put an end to her own life, rather than yield to give me but that assurance!
This however shews me, that she is aware that the reluctantly-given assurance may be fairly construed into a matrimonial expectation on my side. And if she will now, even now, look forward, I think, from my heart, that I will put on her livery, and wear it for life.
What a situation am I in, with all my cursed inventions! I am puzzled, confounded, and ashamed of myself upon the whole. To take such pains to be a villain!—but (for the fiftieth time) let me ask thee, who would have thought, that there had been such a woman in the world?—Nevertheless, she had best take care, that she carries not her obstinacy much further. She knows not what revenge for slighted love will make me do.
The busy scenes I have just passed through, have given emotions to my heart, which will not be quieted one while. My heart, I see, (on re-perusing what I have written) has communicated its tremors to my fingers; and in some places the characters are so indistinct and unformed, that thou'lt hardly be able to make them out. But if one half of them
hope, now, she says, if she cannot escape by Dorcas's connivance (whom, nevertheless, she suspects) is, to find a way to engage the protection of her uncle, and even of the civil magistrate, on Thursday next, if necessary. 'He shall see, says she, tame and timid as he has thought me, what I dare to do, to avoid so hated a compulsion, and a man capable of a baseness so premeditatedly vile and inhuman.' only are intelligible, that will be enough to expose me to thy contempt, for the wretched hand I have made of my plots and contrivances—but surely, Jack, I have gained some ground by this promise.
And now, one word to the assurances thou sendest me, that thou hast not betrayed my secrets in relation to this charming creature. Thou mightest have spared them, Belford. My suspicions held no longer than while I wrote about them*. For well I knew, when I allowed myself time to think, that thou hadst no principles, no virtue, to be misled by. A great deal of strong envy, and a little of weak pity, I knew to be thy motives. Thou couldest not provoke my anger, and my compassion thou ever hadst; and art now more especially entitled to it; because thou art a pitiful fellow.
All thy new expostulations in my beloved's behalf, I will answer when I see thee.
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Confoundedly out of humour with this perverse woman!—Nor wilt thou blame me, if thou art my friend. She regards the concession she made, as a concession extorted from her. And we are but just where we were before she made it.
With great difficulty I prevailed upon her to favour me with her company for one half hour this evening. The necessity I was under to go down to M. Hall, was the subject I wanted to talk upon.
; See Vol. v. p. 35r.
I told her, that as she had been so good as to promise, that she would endeavour to make herself easy till she saw the Thursday in next week over, I hoped that she would not scruple to oblige me with her word, that I should find her here at my return from M. Hall.
Indeed she would make me no such promise. Nothing of this house was mentioned to me, said she: you know it was not. And do you think that I would have given my consent to my imprisonment in it?
I was plaguily nettled, and disappointed too. If I go not down to M. Hall, madam, you'll have no scruple to stay here, I suppose, till Thursday is over?
If I cannot help myself I must—but I insist upon being permitted to go out of this house, whether you leave it or not.
Well, madam, then I will comply with your commands, and I will go out this very evening in quest of lodgings that you shall have no objection to.
I will have no lodgings of your providing, sir,— I will go to Mrs. Moore's, at Hampstead.
Mrs. Moore's, madam!—I have no objection to Mrs. Moore's—But will you give me your promise, to admit me there to your presence?
As I do here—when I cannot help it.
Very well, madam—will you be so good, as to let me? know, what you intended by your promise to make yourself easy—
To endeavour, sir, to make myself easy—were the words—
—Till you saw what next Thursday would produce?
Ask me no questions that may ensnare me. I am too sincere for the company I am in.