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others, who have been scratching and clawing under-ground like so many moles in my absence: and whose workings I have discovered since I have been down, by the little heaps of dirt they have thrown up.

A speedy account of thy commission, dear Jack! The letter travels all night.

LETTER XVIII.

MR. BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.

London, June 27', Tuesday. You must excuse me, Lovelace, from engaging in the office you would have me undertake, till I can be better assured you really intend honourably at last by this much injured lady!

I believe you know your friend Belford too well, to think he would be easy with you, or with any man alive, who should seek to make him promise for him what he never intended to perform. And let me tell thee, that I have not much confidence in the honour of a man, who by imitation of hands {I will only call it) has shewn so little regard to the honour of his own relations.

Only that thou hast such jesuitical qualifyings, or I should think thee at last touched with remorse, and brought within view of being ashamed of thy cursed inventions by the ill success of thy last: which I heartily congratulate thee upon.

O the divine lady !—But I will not aggravate.

Nevertheless, when thou writest, that, in thy present mood, thou thinkest of marrying, and yet canst so easily change thy mood; when I know thy heart is agamst the state:—that the four words thou courtest from the lady are as much to thy purpose as if she wrote forty; since it will shew she can forgive the highest injury that can be offered to woman; and when I recollect how easily thou canst find excuses to postpone, thou must be more explicit a good deal, as to thy real intentions, and future honour, than thou art: for I cannot trust to a temporary remorse; which is brought on by disappointment too, and not by principle; and the like of which thou hast so often got over.

If thou canst convince me time enough for the day, that thou meanest to do honourably by her, in her own sense of the word; or, if not time enough, wilt fix some other day (which thou oughtest to leave to her option, and not bind her down for the Thursday; and the rather, as thy pretence for so doing is founded on an absolute fiction); I will then most cheerfully undertake thy cause; by person, if she will admit me to her presence, if she will not, by pen. But, in this case, thou must allow me to be guarantee for thy faith. And, if so, as much as I value thee, and respect thy skill in all the qualifications of a gentleman, thou mayest depend upon it, that I will act up to the character of a guarantee with more honour

than the princes of our day usually do to their

shame be it spoken.

Meantime, let me tell thee, that my heart bleeds for the wrongs this angelic lady has received: and if thou dost not marry her, if she will have thee; and, when married, make her the best and tenderest of husbands, I would rather be a dog, a monkey, a bear, a viper, or a toad, than thee.

Command me with honour, and thou shalt find none readier to oblige thee, than

Thy sincere friend,

JOHN BELFOKn.

LETTER XIX.

MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.

M. Hall, June 27. Tuesday night, near 12. Yours reached me this moment by an extraordinary push in the messengers.

What a man of honour, thou, of a sudden !—

And so, in the imaginary shape of a guarantee, thou threatenest me!

Had I not been in earnest as to the lady, I should not have offered to employ thee in the affair. But, let me say, that hadst thou undertaken the task, and. I had afterwards thought fit to change my mind, I should have contented myself to tell thee, that that was my mind when thou engagedst for me, and to have given thee the reasons for the change, and then left thee to thy own discretion: for never knew I what fear of man was—nor fear of woman neither, till I became acquainted with Miss Clarissa Harlowe: nay, what is most surprising, till I came to have her in my power.

And so thou wilt not wait upon the charmer of my heart, but upon terms and conditions!—Let it alone, and be cursed! I care not—but so much credit did I give to the value thou expressedst for her, that I thought the office would have been as acceptable to thee, as serviceable to me; for what was it, but to endeavour to persuade her to consent to the reparation of her own honour? for what have I done but disgrace myself, and been a thief to my own joys ?—And if there be an union of hearts, and an intention to solemnize, what is there wanting but the foolish ceremony ?—And that I still offer. But if she will keep back her hand; if she will make me hold out mine in vain—how can I help it?

I write her one more letter, and if, after she has received that, she keeps sullen silence, she must thank herself for what is to follow.

But, after all my heart is wholly hers. I love her beyond expression; and cannot help it. I hope therefore she will receive this last tender as I wish. I hope she intends not, like a true woman, to plague, and vex, and teaze me, now she has found her power. If she will take me to mercy now these remorses are upon me, (though I scorn to condition with thee for my sincerity) all her trials, as I have heretofore declared, shall be over; and she shall be as happy as I can make her: for, ruminating upon all that has passed between us, from the first hour of our acquaintance till the present, I must pronounce, that she is virtue itself, and once more I say, has no equal.

As to what your hint, of leaving to her choice another day, do you consider, that it will be impossible, that my contrivances and stratagems should be much longer concealed ?—This makes me press that day, though so near; and the more as I have made so much ado about her uncle's anniversary. If she send me the Jour words, I will spare no fatigue to be in time, if not for the canonical hour at church, for some other hour of the day in her own apartment, or any other: for money will do every thing: and that I have never spared in this affair.

To shew thee, that I am not at enmity with thee, I inclose the copies of two letters—one to her: it is the fourth, and must be the last on the subject.— The other to Captain Tomlinson; calculated, as thou wilt see, for him to shew hex.

And now, Jack, interfere, in this case or not, thou knowest the mind of

R. LOVELACE.

LETTER XX.

MR. LOVELACE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.

Superscribed to Mrs. Lovelace. M. Hall, Wed. morn, one o'clock, June 28. Not one line, my dearest life, not one word, in answer to three letters I have written! The time is now so short, that this must be the last letter that can reach you on this side of the important hour that might make us legally one.

My friend Mr. Belford is apprehensive, that he cannot wait upon you in time, by reason of some urgent affairs of his own.

I the less regret the disappointment, because I have procured a more acceptable person, as I hope, to attend you; Captain Tomlinson I mean: to whom I had applied for this purpose, before I had Mr. Belford's answer.

I was the more solicitous to obtain this favour from him, because of the office he is to take upon him, as I humbly presume to hope to-morrow. That office obliged him to be in town as this day; and I acquainted him with my unhappy situation with you; and desired, that he would shew me on this occasion, that 1 had as much of his favour and friendship, as your uncle had; since the whole treaty must be broken off, if he could not prevail upon you in my behalf.

He will dispatch the messenger directly; whom I propose to meet in person at Slough; either to proceed onward to London with a joyful heart, or to return back to M. Hall with a broken one.

I ought not (but cannot help it) to anticipate the pleasure Mr. Tomlinson proposes to himself, in acquainting you with the likelihood there is of your mother's seconding your uncle's views. For,

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