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I shall want no servant there. Will you take Dorcas? If I should want Dorcas, I can send for her. Dorcas could not but say, she should be very proud—

Well, well, that may be at my return, if your lady permit'—Shall I, my dear, call up Mrs. Sinclair, and give her orders, to the same effect, in your hearing?

I desire not to see Mrs. Sinclair; nor any that belong to her.

As you please, madam.

And then (the servants being withdrawn) I urged her again for the assurance, that she would meet me at the altar on Thursday next. But to no purpose—May she not thank herself for all that may follow?

One favour, however, I would not be denied; to be admitted to pass the evening with her.

All sweetness and obsequiousness will I be on this occasion. My whole soul shall be poured out to move her to forgive me. If she will not, and if the promissory note should fall in my way, my revenge will doubtless take total possession of me.

All the house in my interest, and every one in it not only engaging to intimidate and assist, as occasion shall offer, but staking all their experience upon my success, if it be not my own fault, what must be the consequence?

This, Jack, however, shall be her last trial; and if she behave as nobly in and after this second attempt {all her senses about her~] as she has done after the first, she will come out an angel upon full proof, in spite of man, woman, and devil: then shall there be an end of all her sufferings. I will then renounce that vanquished devil, and reform. And if any vile machination start up, presuming to mis

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lead me, I will sooner stab it in my heart as it rises, than give way to it.

A few hours will now decide all. But whatever be the event, I shall be too busy to write again, till I get to M. Hall.

Meantime I am in strange agitations. I must suppress them if possible, before I venture into her presence—my heart bounces my bosom from the table. I will lay down my pen, and wholly resign to its impulses.

LETTER XIII.

MB. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.

Friday night, or rather Sat. morn. 1 o'clock. I Thought I should not have had either time or inclination to write another line before I got to M. Hall. But have the first; must find the last; since I can neither sleep, nor do any thing but write, if I can do that. I am most confoundedly out of humour. The reason let it follow; h° it will follow—no preparation for it from me.

I tried by gentleness and love to soften—what? —marble. A heart incapable either of love or gentleness. Her past injuries for ever in her head. Ready to receive a favour; the permission to go to Hampstead: but neither to deserve it, nor return any. So my scheme of the gentle kind was soon given over.

I then wanted to provoke her: like a coward boy, who waits for the first blow before he can persuade himself to fight, I half challenged her to challenge or defy me: she seemed aware of her danger: and would not directly brave my resentment; but kept such a middle course, that I neither

could find a pretence to offend, nor reason to hope: yet she believed my tale, that her uncle would come to Kentish Town, and seemed not to apprehend that Tomlinson was an impostor.

She was very uneasy, upon the whole, in my company: wanted often to break from me: yet so held me to my promise of permitting her to go to Hampstead, that I knew not how to get oft' it; although it was impossible, in my precarious situation with her, to think of performing it.

In this situation; the women ready to assist; and, if I proceeded not, as ready to ridicule me; what had I left me, but to pursue the concerted scheme, and to seek a pretence to quarrel with her, in order to revoke my promised permission, and to convince her that I would not be upbraided as the most brutal of ravishers for nothing?

I had agreed with the women, that if I could not find a pretence in her presence to begin my operations, the note should lie in my way, and I was to pick it up, soon after her retiring from me. But I began to doubt at near ten o'clock (so earnest was she to leave me, suspecting my over-warm behaviour to her, and eager grasping of her hand two or three times, with eye-strings, as I felt, on the strain, while her eyes shewed uneasiness and apprehension J that if she actually retired for the night, it might be a chance whether it would be easy to come at her again. Loth, therefore, to run such a risk, I stept out a little after ten, with intent to alter the preconcerted disposition a little; saying I would attend her again instantly. But as I returned I met her at the door, intending to withdraw for the night. I could not persuade her to go back: nor had I presence of mind (so full of complaisance as I was to her just before) to stay her by force: so she slid through my hands into her own apartment. I had nothing to do, therefore, but to let my former concert take place.

I should have premised (but care not for order of time, connection, or any thing else) that, between eight and nine in the evening, another servant of Lord M. on horseback came, to desire me to carry down with me Dr. S. the old peer having been once fin extremis, as they judge he is now) relieved and reprieved by him. I sent and engaged the doctor to accompany me down: and am to call upon him by four this morning: or the devil should have both my lord and the doctor, if I'd stir till I got all made up.

Poke thy d—n'd nose forward into the event, if thou wilt—curse me if thou shalt have it till its proper time and place. And too soon then.

She had hardly got into her chamber but I found a little paper, as I was going into mine, which I took up; and opening it (for it was carefully pinned in another paper) what should it be but a promissory note, given as a bribe, with a further promise of a diamond ring, to induce Dorcas to favour her mistress's escape!

How my temper changed in a moment!—Ring, ring, ring, ring, I my bell, with violence enough to break the string, and as if the house were on fire.

Every devil frighted into active life: the whole house in an uproar: up runs Will.—Sir—Sir—Sir! —Eyes goggling, mouth distended—Bid the d—n'd toad Dorcas come hither, (as I stood at the stair head) in a horrible rage, and out of breath, cried I.

In sight came the trembling devil—but standing aloof from the report made her by Will of the passion I was in, as well as from what she had heard.

Flash came out my sword immediately; for I bad it ready on—Cursed, confounded, villanous, bribery and corruption—

Up runs she to her lady's door, screaming out for safety and protection.

Good your honour, interposed Will, for God's sake !—O lord, O lord!—receiving a good cuff.—

Take that, varlet, for saving the ungrateful wretch from my vengeance.—

Up ran two or three of the sisterhood, What's the matter! What's the matter!

The matter! (for still my beloved opened not the door; on the contrary, drew another bolt) This abominable Dorcas !—(Call her aunt up !—Let her see what a traitress she has placed about me.—And let her bring the toad to answer for herself)—has taken a bribe, a provision for life, to betray her trust; by that means to perpetuate a quarrel between a man and his wife, and frustrate for ever all hopes of reconciliation between us!

Let me perish, Belford, if I have patience to proceed with the farce!

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If I must resume, I must

Up came the aunt puffing and blowing—As she hoped for mercy, she was not privy to it! She never knew such a plotting perverse lady in her life!—Well might servants be at the pass they were, when such ladies as Mrs. Lovelace made no conscience of corrupting them. For her part she desired no mercy for the wretch; no niece of hers, if she were not faithful to her trust!—But what was the proof!

She was shewn the paper

But too evident!—Cursed, cursed toad, devil, jade, passed from each mouth:—and the vileness of the corrupted, and the unworthiness of the corruptress, were inveighed against.

Up we all went, passing the lady's door into the

dining-room, to proceed to trial.

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