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mised to endeavour to make yourself easy till you see the event of next Thursday—next Thursday, remember, your uncle comes up to see us married— that's the event.—You think ill of your Lovelace—■ do not, madam, suffer your own morals to be degraded by the infection, as you call it, of his example.
Away flew the charmer with this half permission—and no doubt thought that she had an escape —nor without reason.
I knew not for half an hour what to do with myself. Vexed at the heart, nevertheless, (now she was from me, and when I reflected upon her hatred of me, and her defiances) that I suffered myself to be so over-awed, checked, restrained
And now I have written thus far (have of course recollected the whole of our conversation) I am more and more incensed against myself.
But I will go down to these women—and perhaps suffer myself to be laughed at by them.
Devil fetch them, they pretend to know their own sex. Sally was a woman well educated—Polly also —both have read—both have sense—of parentage not mean—once modest both—still they say had been modest, but for me—not entirely indelicate now; though too little nice for my personal intimacy loth as they both are to have me think so—the old one, too, a woman of family, though thus (from bad inclination as well as at first from low circumstances) miserably sunk :—and hence they all pretend to remember what once they were; and vouch for the inclinations and hypocrisy of the whole sex, and wish for nothing so ardently, as that I will leave the perverse lady to their management, while I am gone to Berkshire; undertaking absolutely for her humility and passiveness on my return; and con
tinually boasting of the many perverse creatures whom they have obliged to draw in their traces. * # *
I Am just come from these sorceresses.
I was forced to to take the mother down; for she began with her Hoh, sir! with me; and to catechise and upbraid me, with as much insolence as if I owed her money.
I made her fly the pit, at last. Strange wishes wished we against each other, at her quitting it— What were they?—I'll tell thee—she wished me married, and to be jealous of my wife; and my heir-apparent the child of another man. I was even with her with a vengeance. And yet thou wilt think that could not well be—As how?—As how, Jack!—Why, I wished her conscience come to life! And I know by the gripes mine gives me every half hour, that she would then have a cursed time of it.
Sally and Polly gave themselves high airs too. Their first favours were thrown at me, [women to boast of those favours which they were as willing to impart, first forms all the difficulty with them! as I to receive!] I was upbraided with ingratitude, dastardize, and all my difficulties with my angel charged upon myself, for want of following my blows; and for leaving the proud lady mistress of her own will, and nothing to reproach herself with. And all agreed, that the arts used against her on a certain occasion, had too high an operation for them or me to judge what her will would have been in the arduous trial. And then they blamed one another; as I cursed them all.
They concluded, that I should certainly marry, and be a lost man. And Sally, on this occasion, with an affected and malicious laugh, snapt her fingers at me, and pointing two of each hand forkedly at me, bid me remember the lines I once showed her, of my favourite Jack Dryden, as she always familiarly calls that celebrated poet:
We women to new joys unseen may move:
This infernal implement had the confidence further to hint, that when a wife, some other man would not find half the difficulty with my angel that I had found. Confidence indeed! But yet, I must say, that this dear creature is the only woman in the world of whom I should not be fjealous. And yet, if a man gives himself up to the company of these devils, they never let him rest, till he either suspect or hate his wife.
But a word or two of other matters if possible.
Methinks I long to know how causes go at M. Hall. I have another private intimation, that the old peer is in the greatest danger.
I must go down. Yet what to do with this lady the meanwhile! These cursed women are full of cruelty and enterprise. She will never be easy with them in my absence. They will have provocation and pretence therefore. But woe be to them if—
Yet what will vengeance do, after an insult committed? The two nymphs will have jealous rage to goad them on. And what will withhold a jealous and already ruined woman?
To let her go elsewhere; that cannot be done. I am still resolved to be honest, if she will give me hope: if yet she will let me be honest. But I'll see how she'll be after the contention she will certainly have between her resentment, and the terror she had reason for from our last conversation. So let this subject rest till the morning. And to the old peer once more.
I shall have a good deal of trouble, I reckon, though no sordid man, to be decent on the expected occasion. Then how to act (I who am no hypocrite) in the days of condolement! What farces have I to go through; and to be a principal actor in them! I'll try to think of my own latter end; a grey beard, and a graceless heir; in order to make me serious.
Thou, Belford, knowest a good deal of this sort of grimace; and canst help a gay heart to a little of the dismal. But then every feature of thy face is cut out for it. My heart may be touched perhaps, sooner than thine; for, believe me or not, I have a very tender one. But then, no man looking in my face, be the occasion for grief ever so great, will believe that heart to be deeply distressed.
All is placid, easy, serene in my countenance. Sorrow cannot sit half an hour together upon it. Nay, I believe, that Lord M.'s recovery, should it happen, would not affect me above a quarter of an hour. Only the new scenery, (and the pleasure of aping an Heraclitus to the family, while I am a Democritus among my private friends) or I want nothing that the old peer can leave me. Wherefore then should grief sadden and distort suchblithe, such jocund, features as mine?
But as for thine, were there murder committed in the street, and thou wert but passing by, the murderer even in sight, the pursuers would quit him, and lay hold of thee: and thy very looks would hang, as well as apprehend thee.
But one word to business, Jack. Whom dealest thou with for thy blacks ?—Wert thou well used? I shall want a plaguy parcel of them. For I intend' to make every soul of the family mourn—outside, if not in.
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
June 23, Friday morning. I Went out early this morning, on a design that I know not yet whether I shall or shall not pursue; and on my return found Simon Parsons, my lord's Berkshire Bailiff, (just before arrived) waiting for me with a message in form, sent by all the family, to press me to go down, and that at my lord's particular desire; who wants to see me before he dies.
Simon has brought my lord's chariot and six [perhaps my otm by this time] to carry me down. I have ordered it to be in readiness by four tomorrow, morning. The cattle shall smoke for the delay; and by the rest they'll have in the interim, will be better able to bear it.
I am still resolved upon matrimony, if my fair perverse will accept of me. But, if she will not— why then I must give an uninterrupted hearing, not to my conscience, but to these women below.
Dorcas had acquainted her lady with Simon's arrival and errand. My beloved had desired to see him. But my coming in prevented his attendance on her, just as Dorcas was instructing him what questions he should not answer to, that might he asked of him.
I am to be admitted to her presence immediately, at my repeated request. Surely the acquisition in view will help me to make up all with her.
She is just gone up to the dining-room.
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