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off, took her hand, and drew her into the shop, begging that she would be my customer; for that I had but just begun trade.
What do you sell, sir ? said she, smiling; but a little surprised
Tapes, ribbands, silk laces, pins, and needles; for I am a pedlar : powder, patches, wash-balls, stockings, garters, snuffs, and pin-cushions-don't we, goody Smith ?
So in I gently drew her to the counter, running behind it myself, with an air of great diligence and obligingness. I have excellent gloves and wash-balls, madam; rappee, Scotch, Portugal, and all sorts of snuff.
Well, said she, in a very good humour, I'll encourage a young beginner for once. Give me six pennyworth of Portugal snuff.
They showed me where it was, and I served her; and said, when she would have paid me, I took nothing at my opening.
She told me, I should not treat her.
Well, with all my heart, said I: 'tis not for us tradesmen to be saucy—is it, Mrs. Smith ?
I put her sixpence in my pocket; and, seizing her hand, took notice to her of the crowd that had gathered about the door, and besought her to walk into the back-shop with me.
She struggled her hand out of mine, and would stay no longer.
So I bowed, and bid her kindly welcome, and thanked her, and hoped I should have her custom another time.
She went away smiling.
I began to be out of countenance at the crowd, which thickened apace; and bid Will order the chair to the door.
Well, Mrs. Smith, with a grave air, I am heartily sorry Miss Harlowe is abroad. You don't tell me where she is ?
Indeed, sir, I cannot.
my coming. I came to town but last night. I have been very ill. She has almost broken my heart by her cruelty. You know my story, I doubt not. Tell her, I must go out of town to-morrow morning. But I will send my servant, to know if she will favour me with one half-hour's conversation ; for, as soon as I get down, I shall set out for Dover, in my way to France, if I have not a countermand from her who has the sole disposal of my fate.
And so, flinging down a Portugal six-and-thirty, I took Mr. Smith by the hand, telling him, I was sorry we had not more time to be better acquainted; and bidding farewell to honest Joseph (who pursed up his mouth as I passed by him, as if he thought his teeth still in jeopardy) and Mrs. Smith adieu, and to recommend me to her fair lodger, hummed an air, and, the chair being come, whipped into it; the people about the door seeming to be in good humour with me; one crying, A pleasant gentleman, I warrant him! And away I was carried to White's, according to direction.
As soon as I came thither, I ordered Will to go and change his clothes, and to disguise himself by putting on his black wig, and keeping his mouth shut; and then to dodge about Smith's, to inform himself of the lady's motions.
I give thee this impudent account of myself, that thou mayst rave at me, and call me hardened, and what thou wilt. For, in the first place, I, who had been so lately ill, was glad I was alive; and then I was so balked by my charmer's unexpected absence, and so ruffled by that, and by the bluff treatment of father John, that I had no other way to avoid being out of humour with all I met with. Moreover I was rejoiced to find, by the lady's absence, and by her going out at six in the morning, that it was impossible she should be so ill as thou representest her to be; and this gave me still higher spirits. Then I know the sex always love cheerful and humorous fellows. The
dear creature herself used to be pleased with my gay temper and lively manner; and had she been told, that I was blubbering for her in the back shop, she would have despised me still more than she does.
When I returned to our mother's, I again cursed her and all her nymphs together; and still refused to see either Sally or Polly. I raved at the horrid arrest; and told the old dragon, that it was owing to her and hers, that the fairest virtue in the world was ruined; my reputation for ever blasted; and that I was not married, and happy in the love of the most excellent of her sex.
She, to pacify me, said, she would show me a new face that would please me; since I would not see my Sally, who was dying for grief.
Where is this new face ? cried I: let me see her, though I shall never see any face with pleasure but Miss Harlowe's.
She won't come down, replied she. She will not be at the word of command yet. She is but just in the trammels ; and must be waited upon, I'll assure you ; and courted much besides.
Ay! said I, that looks well. Lead me to her this instant.
I followed her up: and who should she be, but that little toad Sally.
O curse you, said I, for a devil! Is it you? Is yours the new face?
O my dear, dear Mr. Lovelace ! cried she, I am glad anything will bring you to me !—And so the little beast threw herself about my neck, and there clung like a cat. Come, said she, what will you give me, and I'll be virtuous for a quarter of an hour, and mimic your Clarissa to the life?
I was Belforded all over. I could not bear such an insult upon the dear creature (for I have a soft and generous nature in the main, whatever thou thinkest); and cursed
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I iltai to regulate my motions by Will's intelligence : for hit this dear creature I must and will Yet I have promised Lord M. to be down in two or three days, at fantbet; for be is grown plaguy fond of me since I was ill.
I am in hopes, that the word I left, that I am to go out of wwn to-morrow morning, will soon bring the lady back again
Meantime, I thought I would write to divert thee, while thou art of such importance about the dying; and as thy servant, it seems, comes backward and forward every day, perhaps I may send thee another letter to-morrow, with the particulars of the interview between the dear creature and ide; after which my soul thirsteth.
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Tuesday, August 22. MUST write on, to divert myself: for I can get no rest; no refreshing rest. I awaked just now
in a cursed fright. How a man may be affected by dreams!
Methought I had an interview with my beloved. I found her all goodness, condescension, and forgiveness. She suffered herself to be overcome in my favour by the joint intercessions of Lord M., Lady Sarah, Lady Betty, and my two cousins Montague, who waited upon her in deep mourning ; the ladies in long trains sweeping after them ; Lord M. in a long black mantle trailing after him. They told her, they came in these robes to express their sorrow for my sins against her, and to implore her to forgive me.
I myself, I thought, was upon my knees, with a sword in my band, offering either to put it up in the scabbard, or to thrust it into my heart, as she should command the one or the other.
At that moment her cousin Morden, I thought, all of a sudden, flashed in through a window, with his drawn sword -die, Lovelace, said he! this instant die, and be damned, if in earnest thou repairest not by marriage my cousin's wrongs !
I was rising to resent this insult, I thought, when Lord M. ran between us with his great black mantle, and threw it over my face : and instantly, my charmer, with that sweet voice which has so often played upon my ravished ears, wrapped her arms round me, muffled as I was in my lord's mantle : 0 spare, spare my Lovelace! And spare, O Lovelace, my beloved cousin Morden! Let me not have my distresses augmented by the fall of either or both of those who are so dear to me! VOL. III.