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Well, but Dorcas was nevertheless a woman, and she can whisper to her lady the secret she is enjoined to keep!
Be in a plaguy hurry running up-stairs and down, to fetch from the dining-room what you cany up on purpose to fetch, till motion extraordinary put you out of breath, and give you the sigh-natural.
"What's the matter, Dorcas?
My beloved wonders she has not seen me this morning, no doubt; but is too shy to say she wonders. Repeated what's the matter, however, as Dorcas runs up and down stairs by her door, bring on, oh! madam, my master! my poor master?
What! how! when !—And all the monosyllables of surprise.
I must not tell you, madam—my master ordered me not to tell you—but he is in a worse way than he thinks for !—but he would not have you frighted.
High concern took possession of every sweet feature. She pitied me !—by my soul, she pitied me!
Where is he?
At last, O Lord! let Mrs. Lovelace know !—There is danger, to be sure ! whispered from one nymph to another; but at the door, and so loud, that my listening fair-one might hear.
Out she darts—As how! as how, Dorcas!
O madam—a vomiting of blood! A vessel broke, to be sure!
Down she hastens; finds every one as busy over my blood in the entry, as if it were that of the Neapolitan saint.
In steps my charmer, with a face of sweet concern.
How do you, Mr. Lovelace?
O my best love! very well!—very well!—Nothing at all! nothing of consequence !—I shall be well in an in
stant!—Straining again! for I was indeed plaguy sick, though no more blood came.
In short, Belford, I have gained my end. I see the dear soul loves me. I see she forgives me all that's past. I see I have credit for a new score.
Miss Howe, I defy thee, my dear—Mrs. Townsend!— Who the devil are you ?—Troop away with your contrabands. No smuggling! nor smuggler, but myself! nor will the choicest of my fair-one's favours be long prohibited goods to me!
On her requiring me to take the air, I asked, if I might have the honour of her company in a coach; and this, that I might observe if she had an intention of going out in my absence.
If she thought a chair were not a more proper vehicle for my case, she would with all her heart!
There's a precious!
I kissed her hand again! She was all goodness! Would to heaven I better deserved it, I said !—But all were golden days before us !—Her presence and generous concern had done everything. I was well! Nothing ailed me. But since my beloved will have it so, I'll take a little airing !—Let a chair be called !—O my charmer! were I to have owed this indisposition to my late harasses, and to the uneasiness I have had for disobliging you; all is infinitely compensated by your goodness—all the art of healing is in your smiles !—Your late displeasure was the only malady!
While Mrs. Sinclair, and Dorcas, and Polly, and even poor silly Mabell (for Sally went out, as my angel came in) with uplifted hands and eyes, stood thanking Heaven that I was better, in audible whispers: See the power of love, cried one! what a charming husband! another— happy couple, all!
O how the dear creature's cheek mantled! how her eyes sparkled !—how sweetly acceptable is praise to conscious merit, while it but reproaches when applied to the undeserving!—What a new, what a gay creation it makes at once in a diffident or dispirited heart!
And now, Belford, was it not worth while to be sick? And yet I must tell thee, that too many pleasanter expedients offer themselves, to make trial any more of this confounded ipecacuanha.
MISS CLARISSA HAELOWE TO MISS HOWK.
Saturday, May 27.
R. LOVELACE, my dear, has been very ill. Suddenly taken. With a vomiting of blood in great quantities. Some vessel broken. He complained of a disorder in his stomach over-night. I was the more affected with it, as I am afraid it was occasioned by the violent contentions between us.—But was I in fault?
How lately did I think I hated him !—But hatred and anger, I see, are but temporary passions with me. One cannot, my dear, hate people in danger of death, or who are in distress or affliction. My heart, I find, is not proof against kindness, and acknowledgment of errors committed.
He took great care to have his illness concealed from me as long as it could. So tender in the violence of his disorder !—So desirous to make the best of it!—I wish he had not been ill in my sight. I was too much affected— everybody alarming me with his danger—the poor man, from such high health, so suddenly taken !—And so unprepared !—
He is gone out in a chair. I advised him to do so. I fear that my advice was wrong; since quiet in such a disorder must needs be best. We are apt to be so ready, in cases of emergency, to give our advice, without judgment, or waiting for it!—I proposed a physician indeed; but he would not hear of one. I have great honour for the faculty; and the greater, as I have always observed, that those who treat the professors of the art of healing contemptuously, too generally treat higher institutions in the same manner.
I am really very uneasy. For I have, I doubt, exposed myself to him, and to the women below. They indeed will excuse me, as they think us married. But if he be not generous, I shall have cause to regret this surprise; which (as I had reason to think myself unaccountably treated by him) has taught me more than I knew of myself.
You will not wonder that I am grave on this detection —detection, must I call it? What can I call it ?—
Dissatisfied with myself, I am afraid to look back upon what I have written.
But I will not add another word, after I have assured you, that I will look still more narrowly into myself: and that I am
Your equally sincere and affectionate
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Saturday Evening. HAD a charming airing. No return of my
malady. My heart perfectly easy, how could my
stomach be otherwise?
But when I came home, I found that my sweet soul had been alarmed by a new incident—the enquiry after us both, in a very suspicious manner, and that by description of our persons, and not by names, by a servant in a blue livery turned up and trimmed with yellow.
Dorcas hurried up to her lady, and alarmed her not only with the fact, but with her own conjectures; adding, that he was an ill-looking fellow, and she was sure could come for no good.
The livery and the features of the servant were particularly enquired after, and as particularly described— Lord bless her! no end of her alarms, she thought! And then did her apprehensions anticipate every evil that could happen.
She wished Mr. Lovelace would come in. Mr. Lovelace came in soon after; all lively, grateful, full of hopes, of duty, of love, to thank his charmer, and to congratulate with her upon the cure she had performed. And then she told the story, with all its circumstances; and Dorcas, to point her lady's fears, told us, that the servant was a sun-burnt fellow, and looked as if he had been at sea.
I see your causeless terror, my dearest life, said I, and your impatience—Will you be pleased to walk down— and without being observed (for he shall come no farther than the parlour-door) you may hear all that passes?
She consented. We went down. Dorcas bid the man come forward. Well, friend, what is your business with Mr. or Mrs. Lovelace?
Bowing, scraping, I am sure you are the gentleman, sir. Why, sir, my business is only to know if your honour be here, and to be spoken with; or if you shall be here for any time?
Whom came you from?
From a gentleman who ordered me to say, if T was made to tell, but not else, it was from a friend of Mr. John Harlowe, Mrs. Lovelace's eldest uncle. What is his name? I don't know if I should tell.
There can be no harm in telling the gentleman's name, if you come upon a good account.
That I do; for my master told me so; and there is not an honester gentleman on the face of God's earth.—His name is Captain Tomlinson, sir. I don't know such a one. I believe not, sir. He was pleased to say, he don't