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lation, to be very particular in what passed between Captain Tomlinson and me.
Enter Captain Tomlinson in a riding-dress, whip in hand.
Your servant, sir—Mr. Lovelace, I presume?
Excuse the day, sir—be pleased to excuse my garb. I am obliged to go out of town directly, that I may return at night.
The day is a good day. Your garb needs no apology.
My charmer owned afterwards her concern on my being so short. Whatever I shall mingle of her emotions, thou wilt easily guess I had afterwards.
Sir, I hope'no offence. I intend none.
None—none at all, sir.
May I ask you, sir, without offence, whether you wish to be reconciled, and to co-operate upon honourable terms, with one gentleman of the name of Harlowe; preparative, as it may be hoped, to a general reconciliation?
O how my^heart fluttered! cried my charmer.
1 can't tell, sir—(and then it fluttered still more, no doubt); the whole family have used me extremely ill. They have taken greater liberties with my character than are justifiable; and with my family too; which I can less forgive.
Sir, sir, I have done. I beg pardon for this intrusion. My beloved was then ready to sink, and thought very hardly of me.
But pray, sir, to the immediate purpose of your present commission; since a commission it seems to be 1
Sir, I will tell you, as briefly as I can, the whole of what I have to say; but you'll excuse me also a previous question, for which curiosity is not my motive; but it is necessary to be'; answered before I can proceed ; as you will judge when you hear it.
Lovel. What, pray, sir, is your question?
Capt. Briefly, whether you are actually, and bond fide, married to Miss Clarissa Harlowe 1
I started, and, in a haughty tone, Is this, sir, a question that must be answered before you can proceed in the business you have undertaken?
I mean no offence, Mr. Lovelace. Mr. Harlowe sought to me to undertake this office. I have daughters and nieces of my own. I thought it a good office, or I, who have many considerable affairs upon my hands, had not accepted of it. I know the world; and will take the liberty to say, that if that young lady—
Captain Tomlinson, I think you are called 1
My name is Tomlinson.
Why then, Captain Tomlinson, no liberty, as you call it, will be taken well, that is not extremely delicate, when that lady is mentioned.
When you had heard me out, Mr. Lovelace, and had found, I had so behaved, as to make the caution necessary, it would have been just to have given it. Allow me to say, I know what is due to the character of a woman of virtue, as well as any man alive.
Captain Tomlinson, said I, you answer well, I love a man of spirit. Have you not. been in the army?
I have, sir; but have turned my sword into a ploughshare, as the Scripture hath it (there was a clever fellow, Jack !—He was a good man with somebody, I warrant!
O what a fine coat and cloak for an hypocrite will a text of Scripture, properly applied, make at any time in the eye of the pious!) And all my delight, added he, for some years past, has been in cultivating my paternal estate. I love a brave man, Mr. Lovelace, as well as ever
1 did in my life. But let me tell you, sir, that when you come to my time of life, you will be of opinion, that there is not so much true bravery in youthful eholer, as you may now think there is. 1.
Well, Captain, that is reproof for reproof. So we are
VOL. II. 1
upon a foot. And now give me the pleasure of hearing the import of your commission.
Sir, you must first allow me to repeat my question: are you really, and bond fide, married to Miss Clarissa Harlowe? Or are you not yet married?
Bluntly put, Captain. But if I answer that I am, what then?
Why then, sir, I shall say, that you are a man of honour. That I hope I am, whether you say it or not, Captain Tomlinson.
Sir, I will be very frank in all I have to say on this subject—Mr. John Harlowe has lately found out, that you and his niece are both in the same lodgings; that you have been long so; and he hopes, that you are actually married. He has indeed heard that you are; but as he knows your enterprising temper, and that you have declared, that you disdain a relation to their family, he is willing by me to have your marriage confirmed from your own mouth, before he take the steps he is inclined to take in his niece's favour.
Enter Dorcas, in a hurry.
A gentleman, this minute, sir, desires to speak with your honour—[My lady, sir!—Aside.]
Could the dear creature put Dorcas upon telling this fib, yet want to save me one ?—
Desire the gentleman to walk into one of the parlours. I will wait on him presently.
The dear creature, I doubted not, wanted to instruct me how to answer the Captain's home put. I knew how I intended to answer it—plumb, thou may'st be sure— but Dorcas's message staggered me. And yet I was upon one of my master strokes—which was, to take advantage of the Captain's inquiries, and to make her own her marriage before him, as she had done to the people below; and if she had been brought to that, to induce her, for her uncle's satisfaction, to write him a letter of gratitude; which of course must have been signed Clarissa Lovelace. I was loth, therefore, thou may'st believe, to attend her sudden commands.
Enter Dorcas again, out of breath.
Sir, the gentleman will step up to you—[My lady is impatient. She wonders at your honour's delay.—Aside.']
Excuse me, Captain, for one moment.
I have stayed my full time, Mr. Lovelace. What may result from my question and your answer, whatever it shall be, may take us up time. And you are engaged. Will you permit me to attend you in the morning, before I set out on my return?
You will then breakfast with me, Captain?
And so, with the highest civilities on both sides, we parted. But for the private satisfaction of so good a man, I left him out of doubt, that we were man and wife, though I did not directly aver it.
After I had attended the Captain down to the very passage, I returned to the dining-room, and put on a joyful air, on my beloved's entrance into it—O my dearest creature, said I, let me congratulate you on a prospect so agreeable to your wishes! And I snatched her hand, and smothered it with kisses.
I was going on; when, interrupting me, You see, Mr. Lovelace, said she, how you have embarrassed yourself, by your obliquities! You see, that you have not been able to return a direct answer to a plain and honest question, though upon it depends all the happiness on the prospect of which you congratulate me.
You know, my best love, what my prudent, and I will say, my kind motives were, for giving out, that we were married. You see, that I have taken no advantage of it; and that no inconvenience has followed it. You see that
your uncle wants only to be assured from ourselves, that it is so—
Not another word on this subject, Mr. Lovelace. I will not only risk, but I will forfeit, the reconciliation so near my heart, rather than I will go on to countenance a story so untrue!
Don't you see, madam, that your uncle wishes to find that we are married? May not the ceremony be privately over, before his mediation can take place?
Urge this point no farther, Mr. Lovelace. If you will not tell the truth, I will to-morrow morning (if I see Captain Tomlinson) tell it myself. Indeed I will.
I saw there was no help. I saw that the inflexible Harlowe spirit was all up in her.—A little witch !—A little —Forgive me, Love, for calUng her names! And so I said, with an air, we have had too many misunderstandings, madam, for me to wish for new ones: I will obey you without reserve. Had I not thought I should have obliged you by the other method (especially as the ceremony might have been over, before anything could have operated from your uncle's intentions, and of consequence no untruth persisted in) I would not have proposed it. But think not, my beloved creature, that you shall enjoy, without condition, this triumph over my judgment.
And then, clasping my arms about her, I gave her averted cheek (her charming lip designed) a fervent kiss: —And your forgiveness of this sweet freedom (bowing) is that condition.
She was not mortally offended. And now must I make out the rest as well as I can. But this I will tell thee, that although her triumph has not diminished my love for her; yet has it stimulated me more than ever to revenge, as thou wilt be apt to call it. But victory or conquest is the more proper word.
'Tis late, or rather early; for the day begins to dawn upon me. I am plaguy heavy. Perhaps I need not to