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and well educated—yet past pity.—True Spartan dames; ashamed of nothing but detection—always, therefore, upon their guard against that. And in their own conceit, when assuming top parts, the very quality they ape.
And how dost think I dress them out 1—I'll tell thee. Lady Betty in a rich gold tissue, adorned with jewels of high price.
My cousin Montague in a pale pink, standing an end with silver flowers of her own working. Charlotte, as well as my beloved, is admirable at her needle. Not quite so richly jewelled out as Lady Betty; but earrings and solitaire very valuable, and infinitely becoming.
Johanetta, thou knowest, has a good complexion, a fine neck, and ears remarkably fine—so has Charlotte. She is nearly of Charlotte's stature too.
Laces both, the richest that could be procured. Thou canst not imagine what a sum the loan of the jewels cost me; though but for three days.
This sweet girl will half ruin me. But seest thou not by this time, that her reign is short—It must be so. And Mrs. Sinclair has already prepared everything for her reception once more.
Here come the ladies—attended by Susan Morrison, a tenant-farmer's daughter, as Lady Betty's woman; with her hands before her and thoroughly instructed.
How dress advantages women!—especially those, who have naturally a genteel air and turn, and have had education!
Hadst thou seen how they paraded it—cousin, and cousin, and nephew, at every word; Lady Betty bridling, and looking haughtily-condescending: Charlotte galanting her fan, and swimming over the floor without touching it. How I long to see my niece-elect! cries one—for they are told, that we are not married; and are pleased, that I have not put the slight upon them, that they had apprehended from me
How I long to see my dear cousin that is to be, the other!
Easy and unaffected !—Your very dresses will give you pride enough.
A little graver, Lady Betty. More significance, less bridling in your dignity.
That's the air! Charmingly hit Again You
Devil take you !—Less arrogance. You are got into airs of young quality. Be less sensible of your new condition. People born to dignity command respect without needing to require it.
Now for your part, cousin Charlotte !—
Pretty well. But a little too frolicky that air—yet have I prepared my beloved to expect in you both, great vivacity and quality-freedom.
Curse those eyes!—Those glancings will never do. A down-cast bashful turn, if you can command it—look upon me. Suppose me now to be my beloved.
Devil take that leer. Too significantly arch !—Once I knew you the girl I would now have you to be.
Once more, suppose me to be my charmer.—Now you are to encounter my examining eye, and my doubting heart—
That's my dear!
Study that air in the pier-glass!—
Charming !—Perfectly right!
Your honours, now, devils !—
Pretty well, cousin Charlotte, for a young country lady! —Till form yields to familiarity, you may courtesy low. You must not be supposed to have forgot your boardingschool airs.
But too low, too low, Lady Betty, for your years and your quality. The common fault of your sex will be your danger: aiming to be young too long !—The devil's in you all, when you judge of yourselves by your wishes, and by your vanity! Fifty, in that case, is never more than fifteen.
Graceful ease, conscious dignity, like that of my charmer, O how hard to hit!
Both together now—
Charming !—That's the air, Lady Betty !—That's the cue, cousin Charlotte, suited to the character of each!— But, once more, be sure to have a guard upon your eyes.
Never fear, nephew!—
Never fear, cousin.
A dram of Barbados each—
And now we are gone—
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
At Mrs. Sinclair's, Monday Afternoon. JILL'S right, as heart can wish !—in spite of all objection—in spite of a reluctance next to fainting—in spite of all foresight, vigilance suspicion —once more is the charmer of my soul in her old lodgings! Now throbs away every pulse! Now thump, thump, thumps my bounding heart for something!
But I have not time for the particulars of our management.
My beloved is now directing some of her clothes to be packed up—never more to enter this house! Nor ever more will she, I dare say, when once again out of it!
Yet not so much as a condition of forgiveness!—The Harlowe-spirited fair one will not deserve my mercy !— She will wait for Miss Howe's next letter; and then, if she find a difficulty in her new schemes (thank her for nothing)—will—will what?—Why even then will take time to consider, whether I am to be forgiven, or for ever rejected. An indifference that revives in my heart the remembrance of a thousand of the like nature.—And yet Lady Betty and Miss Montague (a man would be tempted to think, Jack, that they wish her to provoke my vengeance) declare, that I ought to be satisfied with such a proud suspension!
They are entirely attached to her. Whatever she says, is, must be, gospel! They are guarantees for her return to Hampstead this night. They are to go back with her. A supper bespoken by Lady Betty at Mrs. Moore's. All the vacant apartments there, by my permission (for I had engaged them for a month certain) to be filled with them and their attendants, for a week at least, or till they can prevail upon the dear perverse, as they hope they shall, to restore me to her favour, and to accompany Lady Betty to Oxfordshire.
The dear creature has thus far condescended—that she will write to Miss Howe, and acquaint her with the present situation of things.
If she write, I shall see what she writes. But I believe she will have other employment soon.
Lady Betty is sure, she tells her, that she shall prevail upon her to forgive me; though she dares say, that I deserve not forgiveness. Lady Betty is too delicate to inquire strictly into the nature of my offence. But it must be an offence against herself, against Miss Montague, against the virtuous of the whole sex, or it could nofrbe so highly resented. Yet she will not leave her till she forgive me, and till she see our nuptials privately celebrated. Meantime, as she approves of her uncle's expedient, she will address her as already my wife, before strangers.
What shall we do now! We are immersed in the depth of grief and apprehension! How ill do women bear disappointment!—Set upon going to Hampstead, and upon quitting for ever a house she re-entered with infinite reluctance; what things she intended to take with her, ready packed up; herself on tiptoe to be gone; and I prepared to attend her thither; she begins to be afraid, that she shall not go this night; and in grief and
despair has flung herself into her old apartment; locked herself in; and through the key-hole Dorcas sees her on her knees—praying I suppose for a safe deliverance.
And from what ?—And wherefore these agonising apprehensions?
Why, here, this unkind Lady Betty, with the dear creature's knowledge, though to her concern, and this mad-headed cousin Montague without it, while she was employed in directing her package, have hurried away in the coach to their own lodgings (only, indeed, to put up some night-clothes, and so forth, in order to attend their sweet cousin to Hampstead); and, no less to my surprise than hers, are not yet returned.
I have sent to know the meaning of it.
In a great hurry of spirits, she would have had me to go myself. Hardly any pacifying her !—The girl, God bless her! is wild with her own idle apprehensions!— What is she afraid of?
I curse them both for their delay—my tardy villain, how he stays !—Devil fetch them! let them send their coach, and we'll go without them. In her hearing I bid the fellow tell them so.—Perhaps he stays to bring the coach, if anything happens to hinder the ladies from attending my beloved this night.
Devil take them, again say I!—They promised too they would not stay, because it was but two nights ago, that a chariot was robbed at the foot of Hampstead hill; which alarmed my fair one when told of it!
Oh! here's lady Betty's servant, with a billet.
TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Monday Night. Excuse us, dear nephew, I beseech you, to my dearest kinswoman. One night cannot break squares; for here Miss Montague has been taken violently ill.
If she be better, we will certainly go with you to-morrow