Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

was no habit ; and repulsively, as I may say, were to be the consequence."-If I forgive thee, quitting my assisting hand, hurried into the charmer, for these hints, for these reflections, house.

for these wishes, for these contempts, I am not Ovid was not a greater master of metamor- the Lovelace I have been reputed to be; and phoses than thy friend. To the mistress of the that thy treatment of me shews that thou thinkhouse I instantly changed her into a sister, est I am. brought off by surprise from a near relation's, In short, her whole air throughout this debate (where she had wintered,) to prevent her mar- expressed a majestic kind of indignation, which rying a confounded rake, ( I love always to go implied a believed superiority of talents over

the as near the truth as I can,] whom her father person to whom she spoke. and mother, her elder sister, and all her loving Thou hast heard me often expatiate upon the uncles, aunts, and cousins abhorred. This ac- pitiful figure a man must make, whose wife has, counted for my charmer's expected sullens; or believes she has, more sense than himself. for her displeasure when she was to join me A thousand reasons could I give why I ought again, were it to hold; for her unsuitable dress not to think of marrying Miss Clarissa Harlowe; upon the road ; and, at the same time, gave her at least till I can be sure, that she loves me with a proper and seasonable assurance of my honour- the preference I must expect from a wife. able views.

I begin to stagger in my resolutions. Ever

averse as I was to the hymeneal shackles, how Upon the debate between the lady and him, and easily will old prejudices recur! Heaven give me particularly upon that part where she upbraids the heart to be honest to my Clarissa !—There's him with putting a young creature upon ma- a prayer, Jack ! If I should not be heard, what king a sacrifice of her duty and conscience, he a sad thing would that be, for the most admirawrites :

ble of women !-Yet, as I do not often trouble All these, and still more mortifying things, Heaven with my prayers, who knows but this she said.

may be granted? I heard her in silence. But when it came to But there lie before me such charming diffimy turn, I pleaded, I argued, I answered her, culties, such scenery for intrigue, for stratagem, as well as I could. And when humility would for enterprize. What a horrible thing, that my not do, I raised my voice, and suffered my eyes talents point all that way!-When I know what to sparkle with anger ; hoping to take advan- is honourable and just ; and would almost wish tage of that sweet cowardice which is so ami- to be honest !--Almost, I say; for such a varlet able in the sex, and to which my victory over am I, that I cannot altogether wish it, for the this proud beauty is principally owing. soul of me!-Such a triumph over the whole

She was not intimidated, however, and was sex, if I can subdue this lady! My maiden vow, going to rise upon me in her temper; and would as I may call it !-For did not the sex begin have broken in upon my defence. But when a with me? And does this lady spare me? Thinkman talks to a woman upon such subjects, let est thou, Jack, that I should have spared my her be ever so much in alt, 'tis strange, if he Rosebud, had I been set at defiance thus ?cannot throw out a tub to the whale ;-that is Her grandmother besought me, at first, to spare to say, if he cannot divert her from resenting her Rosebud : and when a girl is put, or puts one bold thing, by uttering two or three full as herself, into a man's power, what can he wish for bold; but for which more favourable interpre- farther ? while I always considered opposition tations will lie.

and resistance as a challenge to do my worst.*

Why, why, will the dear creature take such To that part, where she tells him of the difficul- pains to appear all ice to me?-Why will she,

ty she made to correspond with him at first, by her pride, awaken mine ?-Hast thou not thus he writes :

seen, in the above, how contemptibly she treats Very true, my precious !-And innumerable me ?-What have I not suffered for her, and have been the difficulties thou hast made me even from her ?-Ought I to bear being told, struggle with. But one day thou mayest wish, that she will despise me, if I value myself above that thou hadst spared this boast ; as well as that odious Solmes ? those other pretty haughtinesses, “ That thou Then she cuts me short in all my ardours. didst not reject Solmes for my sake: that my To row fidelity, is, by a cursed turn upon me, to glory, if I valued myself upon carrying thee off, shew, that there is reason, in my own opinion, was thy shame: that I have more merit with my- for doubt of it. The very same reflection upon self than with thee, or any body else : [what a me once before.f In my power, or out of my corcomb she makes me, Jack !]'that thou wish- power, all one to this lady.--So, Belford, my est thyself in thy father's house again, whatever poor vows are crammed down my throat, before

See Letter XXXIV. Vol. VI.

+ See Letter LVII. Vol. VI.

they can well rise to my lips. And what can a This is a confounded sly sex. Would she but lover say to his mistress, if she will neither let speak out, as I do—but I must learn reserves of him lie nor swear?

her. One little piece of artifice I had recourse to : She must needs be unprovided of money ; but When she pushed so hard for me to leave her, I has too much pride to accept of any from me. I made a request to her, upon a condition she would have had her go to town [to town, if poscould not refuse ; and pretended as much grati- sible, must I get her to consent to go ] in order to tude upon her granting it, as if it were a favour provide herself with the richest of silks which of the last consequence.

that can afford. But neither is this to be assentAnd what was this ? but to promise what she ed to. And yet, as my intelligencer acquaints had before promised, “ Never to marry any me, her implacable relations are resolved to disother man, while I am living, and single, unless tress her all they can. I should give her cause for high disgust against These wretches have been most gloriously rame.” This, you know, was promising nothing, ving, ever since her flight; and still, thank Heabecause she could be offended at any time, and ven, continue to rave; and will, I hope, for a was to be the sole judge of the offence. But twelvemonth to come. Now, at last, it is my it shewed her how reasonable and just my ex- day! pectations were ; and that I was no encroacher. Bitterly do they regret, that they permitted

She consented ; and asked what security I ex- her poultry-visits, and garden-walks, which gave pected ? Her word only.

her the opportunity to effect an escape which She gave me her word; but I besought her they suppose preconcerted. For, as to her dining excuse for sealing it; and in the same moment in the ivy-bower, they had a cunning design to (since to have waited for consent would have answer upon her in that permission, as Betty been asking for a denial) saluted her. And, be- told Joseph her lover.* lieve me, or not, but, as I hope to live, it was They lost, they say, an excellent pretence for the first time I had the courage to touch her confining her more closely on my threatening to charming lips with mine. And this I tell thee, rescue her, if they offered to carry her against Belford, that that single pressure (as modestly her will to old Antony's moated house.fi For put too, as if I were as much a virgin as herself, this, as I told Jhee at the Hart, and as I once that she might not be afraid of me another time) hinted to the dear creature herself, they had it delighted me more than ever I was delighted by in deliberation to do; apprehending, that I might the ultimatum with any other woman.-So pre- attempt to carry her off, either with or without cious do awe, reverence, and apprehended pro- her consent, on some one of those connived-at hibition, make a favour!

excursions. And now, Belford, I am only afraid that I But here my honest Joseph, who gave me the shall be too cunning; for she does not at present information, was of admirable service to me. I talk enough for me. I hardly know what to had taught him to make the Harlowes believe, make of the dear creature yet.

that I was as communicative to my servants, as I topt the brother's part on Monday night be their stupid James was to Joseph : Joseph, as fore the landlady at St Alban's ; asking my sis- they supposed, by tampering with Will,|| got all ter's pardon for carrying her off so unprepared my secrets, and was acquainted with all my mofor a journey ; prated of the joy my father and tions; and having also undertaken to watch all mother, and all our friends, would have in re- those of his young lady, I the wise family were ceiving her ; and this with so many circum- secure; and so was my beloved ; and so was I. stances, that I perceived, by a look she gave me, I once had it in my head (and I hinted it to that went through my very reins, that I had thee** in a former) in case such a step should be gone too far. I apologized for it indeed when necessary, to attempt to carry her off by surprise alone; but could not penetrate, for the soul of from the wood-house ; as it is remote from the me, whether I made the matter better or worse dwelling-house. This had I attempted, I should

certainly have effected, by the help of the conBut I am of too frank a nature : my success, fraternity; and it would have been an action and the joy I have because of the jewel I am worthy of us all.-- But Joseph's conscience, as half in possession of, has not only unlocked my he called it, stood in my way; for he thought it bosom, but left the door quite open.

must have been known to be done by his conni

by it.

* See Vol. VI. Letter XCI. paragr. 37, 38.
+ See Vol. VI. Letter LXXX., and Letter LXXXIII. par. 1.
I See Vol. VI. Letter LXXX. par. 4. See also Letter LIX. par. 3.
Ś See Vol. VI. Letter XCI. par. 6, and 39.
|| This will be farther explained in Letter XX. of this volume.

See Vol. VI. Letters XXXI. and XXXIV.
"* Ibid. Letter XXXV.

vance. I could, I dare say, have overcome this so; since all duties are reciprocal. But for Mrs scruple, as easily as I did many of the others, Greme, poor woman! when my lord has the had I not depended at one time upon her meet- gout, and is at The Lawn, and the chaplain not ing me at a midnight or late hour [and, if she to be found, she prays by him, or reads a chaphad, she never would have gone back]; at other ter to him in the Bible, or some other good times, upon the cunning family's doing my work book. for me, equally against their knowledge or their Was it not therefore right to introduce such a wills.

good sort of woman to the dear creature ; and to For well I knew, that James and Arabella leave them, without reserve, to their own talk? were determined never to leave off their foolish - And very busy in talk I saw they were, as trials and provocations, till, by tiring her out, they rode ; and felt it too ; for most charmingly they had either made her Solmes's wife, or guilty glowed my cheeks. of some such rashness as should throw her for I hope I shall be honest, I once more say; ever out of the favour of both her uncles; though but as we frail mortals are not our own masters they had too much malice in their heads to in- at all times, I must endeavour to keep the dear tend service to me by their persecutions of her. creature unapprehensive, until I can get her to

our acquaintance's in London, or to some other

safe place there. Should I, in the interim, give LETTER XI.

her the least room for suspicion ; or offer to re

strain her; she can make her appeals to stranMR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. gers, and call the country in upon me; and, per

haps, throw herself upon her relations on their [In continuation.]

own terms. And were I now to lose her, how

unworthy should I be to be the prince and leader I OBLIGED the dear creature highly, I could of such a confraternity as ours !-How unable perceive, by bringing Mrs Greme to attend her, to look up among men! or to shew my face and to suffer that good woman's recommenda- among women! tion of lodgings to take place, on her refusal to As things at present stand, she dare not own go to The Laun.

that she went off against her own consent ; and She must believe all my views to be honour. I have taken care to make all the implacables beable, when I had provided for her no particular lieve, that she escaped with it. lodgings, leaving it to her choice, whether she She has received an answer from Miss Howe, would go to M. Hall, to The Lawn, to London, to the letter written to her from St Albans. * or to either of the dowagers of my family: Whatever are the contents, I know not; but

She was visibly pleased with my motion of she was drowned in-tears on the perusal of it. putting Mrs Greme into the chaise with her, and And I am the sufferer. riding on horseback myself.

Miss Howe is a charming creature too; but Some people would have been apprehensive of confoundedly smart and spiritful. I am a good what might pass between her and Mrs Greme. deal afraid of her. Her mother can hardly keep But as all my relations either know or believe her in. I must continue to play off old Antony, the justice of my intentions by her, I was in no by my honest Joseph, upon that mother, in orpain on that account; and the less, as I have der to manage that daughter, and oblige my bebæn always above hypocrisy, or wishing to be loved to an absolute dependence upon myself. thought better than I am. “And indeed, what Mrs Howe is impatient of contradiction. So occasion has a man to be an hypocrite, who has is Miss. A young lady who is sensible that she hitherto found his views upon the sex better an- has all the maternal requisites herself, to be unswered for his being known to be a rake? Why, der maternal control ;-fine ground for a man even my beloved here denied not to correspond of intrigue to build upon !-A mother over-nowith me, though her friends had taught her to table ; a daughter over-sensible; and their Hickthink me a libertine-Who then would be try- man, who is over-neither : but merely a pasing a new and worse character ?

siveAnd then Mrs Greme is a pious matron, and Only that I have an object still more desirawould not have been biassed against truth on ble! any consideration. She used formerly, while Yet how unhappy, that these two young ladies there were any hopes of my reformation, to pray lived so near each other, and are so well acfor me. She hardly continues the good custom, quainted ! Else how charmingly might I have I doubt ; for her worthy lord makes no scruple managed them both ! occasionally to rave against me to man, woman, But one man cannot have every woman worth and child, as they come in his way. He is very having-Pity though—when the man is such a undutiful, as thou knowest. Surely, I may say VERY clever fellow !

• See Vol. VI. Letter XCII.

+ See Vol. VI. Letter XXXI.

vance or two to prevent it, and to avoid mischief. For that (as I have told honest Joseph Leman)

is a great point with me. LETTER XII.

Thou wilt think me a sad fellow, I doubt.

But are not all rakes sad fellows? And art not MR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. thou, to thy little power, as bad as ány? If thou

dost all that's in thy head and in thy heart to [In continuation.]

do, thou art worse than I ; for I do not, I assure

you. NEVER was there such a pair of scribbling I proposed, and she consented, that her clothes, lovers as we ;-yet perhaps whom it so much or whatever else her relations should think fit to concerns to keep from each other what each send her, should be directed to thy cousin 0swrites. She won't have any thing else to do. I good’s. Let a special messenger, at my charge, would, if she'd let me. I am not reformed bring me any letter, or portable parcel, that shall enough for a husband.-Patience is a virtue, come. If not portable, give me notice of it. But Lord M. says. Slow and sure, is another of his thou'lt have no trouble of this sort from her resentences. If I had not a great deal of that vir- lations, I dare be sworn. And in this assurance, tue, I should not have waited the Harlowes' own I will leave them, I think, to act upon their own time of ripening into execution my plots upon heads. A man would have no more to answer themselves and upon their goddess daughter. for than needs must.

My beloved has been writing to her saucy But one thing, while I think of it; which is friend, I believe, all that has befallen her, and of great importance to be attended to-You must what has passed between us hitherto. She will hereafter write. to me in character, as I shall do possibly have fine subjects for her pen, if she be to you. It would be a confounded thing to be as minute as I am.

blown up by a train of my own laying. And who I would not be so barbarous as to permit old knows what opportunities a man in love may Antony to set Mrs Howe against her, did I not have against himself? In changing a coat or dread the consequences of the correspondence waistcoat, something might be forgotten. I once between the two young ladies. So lively the suffered that way. Then for the sex's curiosity, one; so vigilant, so prudent both, who would not it is but remembering, in order to guard against wish to outwit such girls, and to be able to twirl it, that the name of their common mother was them round his finger?

Eve. My charmer has written to her sister for her Another thing remember ; I have changed my clothes, for some gold, and for some of her name ; changed it without an act of Parliament. books. What books can tell her more than she “ Robert Huntingford,” it is now. Continue Esknows? But I can. So she had better study quire. It is a respectable addition, although

every sorry fellow assumes it, almost to the bawrite. She must be obliged to me nishment of the usual travelling one of Captain. at last, with all her pride. Miss Howe indeed “ To be left till called for, at the post-house at will be ready enough to supply her ; but I ques- Hertford.” tion, whether she can do it without her mother, Upon naming thee, she asked thy character. who is as covetous as the grave. And my agent's I gave thee a better than thou deservest, in oragent, old Antony, has already given the mother der to do credit to myself. Yet I told her, that a hint which will make her jealous of pecunia- thou wert an awkward fellow; and this to do ries.

credit to thee, that she may not, if ever she be to Besides, if Miss Howe has money by her, I see thee, expect a cleverer man than she'll find. can put her mother upon borrowing it of her ; Yet thy apparent awkwardness befriends thee nor blame me, Jack, for contrivances that have not a little ; for wert thou a sightly mortal, their foundation in generosity. Thou knowest people would discover nothing extraordinary in my spirit ; and that I should be proud to lay an thee, when they conversed with thee ; whereas, obligation upon my charmer to the amount of seeing a bear, they are surprised to find in thee half, nay, to the whole of my estate. Lord M. any thing that is like a man. Felicitate thyself, has more for me than I can ever wish for. My then, upon thy defects; which are evidently thy predominant passion is girl, not gold ; nor va- principal perfections; and which occasion thee lue I this, but as it helps me to that, and gives a distinction which otherwise thou wouldst neme independence.

ver have. I was forced to put it into the sweet novice's The lodgings we are in at present are not conhead, as well for my sake as for hers (lest we venient. I was so delicate as to find fault with should be traceable by her direction), whither to them, as communicating with each other, because direct the sending of her clothes, if they incline I knew she would; and told her, that were I to do her that small piece of justice.

sure she was safe from pursuit, I would leave If they do, I shall begin to dread a reconcili- her in them, (since such was her earnest desire ation ; and must be forced to muse for a contri- and expectation,) and go to London.

me.

She may

[ocr errors]

She must be an infidel against all reason and lowed upon my attending her in ; or (if she had appearances, if I do not banish even the shadow not met me) upon my projected visit, followed of mistrust from her heart.

by my myrmidons ? Here are two young likely girls, daughters of But had I even gone in with her unaccompathe widow Sorlings; that's the name of our land- nied, I think I had but little reason for apprelady.

hension ; for well thou knowest, that the tame I have only, at present, admired them in their spirits which value themselves upon reputation, dairy-works. How greedily do the sex swallow and are held within the skirts of the law by popraise ! —Did I not once, in the streets of Lon- litical considerations only, may be compared to don, see a well-dressed, handsome girl laugh, an infectious spider; which will run into his bridle, and visibly enjoy the praises of a sooty hole the moment one of his threads is touched dog, a chimney-sweeper ; who, with his empty by a finger that can crush him, leaving all his sack across his shoulder, after giving her the toils defenceless, and to be brushed down at the way, stopt, and held up his brush and shovel in will of the potent invader. While a silly fly, that admiration of her?—Ègad, girl, thought I, I has neither courage nor strength to resist, no despise thee as Lovelace; but were I the chim- sooner gives notice, by its buzz and its struggles, ney-sweeper, and could only contrive to get in- of its being entangled, but out steps the self-cirto thy presence, my life to thy virtue, I would cumscribed tyrant, winds round and round the have thee.

poor insect, till he covers it with his bowel-spun So pleased was I with the young Sorlings, for toils ; and when so fully secured, that it can neithe elegance of her works, that I kissed her, and ther move leg nor wing, suspends it, as if for a she made me a courtesy for my condescension; spectacle to be exulted over ; then stalking to and blushed, and seemed sensible all over : en

the door of his cell, turns about, gloats over it couraging, yet innocently, she adjusted her hand- at a distance ; and, sometimes advancing, somekerchief, and looked towards the door, as much times retiring, preys at leisure upon its vitals. as to say, she would not tell, were I to kiss her But now, I think of it, will not this compariagain.

son do as well for the entangled girls, as for the Her eldest sister popt upon her. The conscious tame spirits ?-Better o' my conscience !—'Tis girl blushed again, and looked so confounded, but comparing the spider to us brave fellows, that I made an excuse for her, which gratified and it quadrates. both. Mrs Betty, said I, I have been so much Whatever our hearts are in, our heads will pleased with the neatness of your dairy-works, follow. Begin with spiders, with

flies, with what that I could not help saluting your sister : you we will, girl is the centre of gravity, and we all have your share of merit in them, I am sure naturally tend to it. Give me leave

Nevertheless, to recur ; I cannot but observe, Good souls!—I like them both—she courtesied that these tamé spirits stand a poor chance in a too!-How I love a grateful temper! O that my fairly offensive war with such of us mad fellows Clarissa were but half so acknowledging ! as are above all law, and scorn to skulk behind

I think I must get one of them to attend my the hypocritical screen of reputation. charmer when she removes—the mother seems Thou knowest that I never scruple to throw to be a notable woman. She had not best, how- myself amongst numbers of adversaries; the ever, be too notable; since, were she by suspi- more the safer; one or two, no fear, will take cion to give a face of difficulty to the matter, it the part of a single adventurer, if not intentionwould prepare me for a trial with one or both ally, in fact ; holding him in, while others hold of the daughters.

in the principal antagonist, to the augmentation Allow me a little rodomontade, Jack-but of their mutual prowess, till both are prevailed really and truly my heart is fixed. I can think upon to compromise, or one to be absent; so that, of nó creature breathing of the sex, but my Glo- upon the whole, the law-breakers have the adriana

vantage of the law-keepers, all the world over ; at least for a time, and till they have run to the

end of their race. Add to this, in the question LETTER XIII.

between me and the Harlowes, that the whole

family of them must know that they have inXR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. jured me-must, therefore, be afraid of me. Did

they not, at their own church, cluster together [In continuation. )

like bees, when they saw me enter it? Nor knew

they which should venture out first, when the This is Wednesday; the day that I was to service was over. have lost my charmer for ever" to the hideous James, indeed, was not there. If he had, he Solmes! With what high satisfaction and heart's would perhaps have endeavoured to look valiant. Ease can I now sit down, and triumph over my But there is a sort of valour in the face, which men in straw at Harlowe-Place ! Yet 'tis per- shews fear in the heart : just such a face would haps best for them, that she got off as she did. James Harlowe's have been, had I made them a who knows what consequences might have fol- visit.

VOL. VII.

с

« НазадПродовжити »