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about London !—the place where we had been together more than once !
But thou wilt be impatient to know how I came by my lights. Read the inclosed here, and remember the instructions which from time to time, as I have told thee, I have given my fellow, in apprehension of such an elopement; and that will tell thee all, and what I may reasonably expect from the rascal's diligence and management, if he wishes ever to see my face again.
HONNORED SUR,—This is to sertifie your Honner, as how I am heer at Hamestet, wher I have found out my Lady to be in logins at one Mrs. Moore's, near upon Hamestet-Hethe. And I have so ordered matters, that her Ladiship cannot stur but I must have notice of her goins and comins.
My Lady knows nothing of my being hereaway, but I thoute it best not to leve the plase, because she has tacken the logins but for a fue nites. I am, may it plese your Honner, Your Honner's most dutiful, and, wonce more, happy Sarvant,
And now (all around me so still, and so silent) the rattling of the chariot-wheels at a street's distance do I hear And to this angel of a woman I fly!
And now, dressed like a bridegroom, my heart elated beyond that of the most desiring one (attended by a footman whom my beloved never saw) I am already at Hampstead!
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Upper Flask, Hampstead, Friday, June 9. AM now here, and here have been this hour and a half. What an industrious spirit have I !
Nobody can say, that I eat the bread of idleness. I take true pains for all the pleasure I enjoy. I cannot but admire myself strangely; for, certainly, with this active soul, I should have made a very great figure in whatever station I had filled. But had I been a Prince ! To be sure I should have made a most noble Prince! I should have led up a military dance equal to that of the great Macedonian. I should have added kingdom to kingdom, and despoiled all my neighbour-sovereigns, in order to have obtained the name of Robert the Great. And I would have gone to war with the Great Turk, and the Persian, and Mogul, for their seraglios; for not one of those eastern monarchs should have had a pretty woman to bless himself with, till I had done with her.
Will told them, before I came, That his lady was but Jately married to one of the finest gentlemen in the world. But that, he being very gay and lively, she was mortal jealous of him. And that, on his refusing to satisfy her about a lady he had been seen with in St. James's Park, she had served his master thus : whom he had left halfdistracted on that account.
When I came, my person and dress having answered Will's description, the people were ready to worship me. I now and then sighed, now and then put on a lighter air; which, however, I designed should show more of vexation ill-disguised, than of real cheerfulness : and they told Will, it was a thousand pities so fine a lady should have such skittish tricks; adding, that she might expose herself to great dangers by them; for that there were rakes every
than designed and
where (Lovelaces in every corner, Jack !) and many about that town, who would leave nothing unattempted to get into her company : and although they might not prevail upon her, yet might they nevertheless hurt her reputation, and, in time, estrange the affections of so fine a gentleman from her.
Good sensible people, these !—ey, Jack !
Here, landlord; one word with you.—My servant, I find, has acquainted you with the reason of my coming this way. An unhappy affair, landlord! A very unhappy affair! But never was there a more virtuous woman.
So, sir, she seems to be. A thousand pities her ladyship has such ways—and to so good-humoured a gentleman as you seem to be, sir.
Mother-spoilt, landlord Mother-spoilt ! that's the thing !-But, sighing, I must make the best of it. What I want you to do for me, is to lend me a great coat. I care not what it is. If my spouse should see me at a distance, she would make it very difficult for me to get at her speech. A great coat with a cape, if you have one. I must come upon her before she is aware.
I am afraid, sir, I have none fit for such a gentleman as you. 0, anything will do !—The worse the better.
Exit Landlord. Re-enter with two great coats. Ay, landlord, this will be best: for I can button the cape over the lower part of my face. Don't I look devilishly down and concerned, landlord ?
I never saw a gentleman with a better-natured look, 'tis pity you should have such trials, sir.
Can't you, landlord, lend or sell me a pair of stockings, that will draw over these ? I can cut off the feet, if they won't go into my shoes.
He could let me have a pair of coarse, but clean, stirrupstockings, if I pleased.
The best in the world for the purpose.
He fetched them. Will drew them on; and my legs then made a good gouty appearance.
The good woman, smiling, wished me success; and so did the landlord : and as thou knowest that I am not a bad mimic, I took a cane, which I borrowed of the landlord, and stooped in the shoulders to a quarter of a foot of less height, and stumped away cross to the bowling-green, to practise a little the hobbling gait of a gouty man. The landlady whispered her husband, as Will tells me, he's a good one, I warrant him—I dare say the fault lies not all of one side. While mine host replied, that I was so lively and so good-natured, a gentleman, that he did not know who could be angry with me, do what I would. A sensible fellow !—I wish my charmer were of the same opinion.
And now I am going to try, if I can't agree with goody Moore for lodgings and other conveniences for my sick wife.
Wife, Lovelace ! methinks thou interrogatest.
Yes, wife ; for who knows what cautions the dear fugitive may have given in apprehension of me?
Although grievously afflicted with the gout, I alighted out of my chariot (leaning very hard on my cane with one hand, and on my new servant's shoulder with the other) the same instant almost that he had knocked at the door, that I might be sure of admission into the house.
The maid came to the door. I asked for her mistress. She showed me into one of the parlours; and I sat down, with a gouty Oh !
Enter Goody Moore. Your servant, Madam—but you must excuse me; I cannot well stand.—I find by the bill at the door, that you have lodgings to let (mumbling my words as if, like my man Will, I had lost some of my fore-teeth) : be pleased to inform me what they are; for I like your situation—and I will tell you my family-I have a wife, a good
old woman-older than myself, by the way, a pretty deal. She is in a bad state of health, and is advised into the Hampstead air. She will have two maidservants and a footman. The coach or chariot (I shall not have them up both together) we can put up anywhere, and the coachman will be with his horses.
You shall see what accommodations I have, if you please, sir. But I doubt you are too lame to walk up-stairs.
I can make shift to hobble up now I have rested a little. I'll just look upon the apartment my wife is to have. Anything may do for the servants: and as you seem to be a good sort of gentlewoman, I shan't stand for a price, and will pay well besides for the trouble I shall give.
She led the way; and I, helping myself by the banisters, made shift to get up with less fatigue than I expected from ancles so weak. Never was there a more joyous heart and lighter heels than mine, joined together; yet both denied their functions; the one fluttering in secret, ready to burst its bars for relief-ful expression, the others obliged to an hobbling motion; when, unrestrained, they would, in their master's imagination, have mounted him to the lunar world without the help of a ladder.
There were three rooms on a floor; two of them handsome; and the third, she said, still handsomer; but a lady was in it.
But, madam, cannot a body just peep into the other apartment, that I may be more particular to my wife in the furniture of it ?
The lady desires to be private, sir—but—and was going to ask her leave.
I caught hold of her hand—however, stay, stay, madam : it mayn't be proper, if the lady loves to be private. Don't let me intrude upon the lady
O Belford ! to be so near my angel, think what a painful constraint I was under!