Зображення сторінки

able, she hoped, to drink a dish of tea with me, believed it?—That she was released but the day and would then thank me herself.

before; and was now so weak and so low, that I am very proud of this condescension; and she was obliged to get a widow gentlewoman in think it looks not amiss for you, as I am your the same house to account thus for her silence avowed friend. Methinks I want fully to remove to her ÇMiss Howe's] two letters of the 13th from her mind all doubts of you in this last vil- and 16th ; that she would, as soon as able, anlainous action; and who knows then what your swer them-begged of her, meantime, not to be noble relations may be able to do for you with uneasy for her, since (only that this was a caher, if you hold your mind ? For your servant lamity which came upon her when she was far acquainted me with their having actually enga- from being well, a load laid upon the shoulders ged Miss Howe in their and your favour, before of a poor wretch, ready to sink under too heavy this cursed affair happened. And I desire the a burden) it was nothing to the evil she had bee particulars of all from yourself, that I may the fore suffered ; and one felicity seemed likely to better know how to serve you.

issue from it; which was, that she would be at She has two handsome apartments, a bed rest, in an honest house, with considerate and chamber and dining-room, with light closets in kind-hearted people: having assurance given her each. She has already a nurse, (the people of that she should not be molested by the wretch, the house having but one maid,) a woman, whose whom it would be death for her to see ; so that care, diligence, and honesty, Mrs Smith highly now she [Miss Howe] needed not to send to commends. She has likewise the benefit of the her by private and expensive conveyances ; nor voluntary attendance, and love, as it seems, of a need she write by a fictitious name to her, but widow gentlewoman, Mrs Lovick her name, who by her own.” lodges over her apartment, and of whom she You see I am in a way to oblige you ; you seems very fond, having found something in see how much she depends upon my engaher, she thinks, resembling the qualities of her ging for your forbearing to intrude yourself inworthy Mrs Norton.

to her company ; let not your flaming impatience About seven o'clock this morning, it seems, destroy all; and make me look like a villain to the lady was so ill, that she yielded to their de- a lady who has reason to suspect every man she sires to have an apothecary sent for-not the sees so.—Upon this condition, you may expect fellow, thou mayest believe, she had had before all the services that can flow from true friendat Rowland's, but one Mr Goddard, a man of ship, and from skill and eminence, and of conscience too; de

Your sincere well-wisher, monstrated as well by general character, as by

J. BELFORD. his prescriptions to this lady ; for, pronouncing her case to be grief, he ordered, for the present, only innocent juleps, by way of cordial; and,

LETTER CCXLV. as soon as her stomach should be able to bear it, light kitchen-diet; telling Mrs Lovick, that MR BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. that, with air, moderate exercise, and cheerful company, would do her more good than all the

Tuesday Night, July 18. medicines in his shop.

I am just come from the lady. I was admitThis has given me, as it seems it has the lady, ted into the dining-room, where she was sitting (who also praises his modest behaviour, pater- in an elbow-chair, in a very weak and low way. nal looks, and genteel address,) a very good opi- She made an effort to stand up when I entered, nion of the man; and I design to make myself but was forced to keep her seat. You'll excuse acquainted with him, and, if he advises to call me, Mr Belford ; I ought to rise to thank you in a doctor, to wish him, for the fair patient's for all your kindness to me. I was to blame to sake, more than the physician's, (who wants not be so loath to leave that sad place ; for I am in practice,) my worthy friend Dr`H- whose heaven here, to what I was there; and good character is above all exception, as his humae people about me too! I have not had good nity, I am sure, will distinguish him to the lady. people about me for a long, long time before ; so

Mrs Lovick gratified me with an account of that [with a half-smile] I had begun to wona letter she had written from the lady's mouth der whither they were


gone. to Miss Howe, she being unable to write her- Her nurse and Mrs Smith, who were present, self with steadiness.

took occasion to retire; and, when we were It was to this effect; in answer, it seems, to alone, You seem to be a person of humanity, sir, her two letters, whatever were the contents of said she ; you hinted, as I was leaving my prithem :

son, that you were not a stranger to my sad “ That she had been involved in a dreadful story. If you know it truly, you must know that calamity, which she was sure, when known, I have been most barbarously treated ; and have would exempt her from the effects of her friend- not deserved it at the man's hands by whom I ly displeasure, for not answering her first, ha- have suffered. ving been put under an arrest --Could she have I told her I knew enough to be convinced that she had the merit of a saint, and the purity of crously the subjects that most affect thee; that an angel; and was proceeding, when she said, those letters are generally the least fit to be seen, No flighty compliments ! no undue attributes, which ought to be most to thy credit. sir !

Something like this I observed to her; and I offered to plead for my sincerity; and men- would fain have excused myself from shewing tioned the word politeness; and would have dis- it; but she was so earnest, that I undertook to tinguished between that and flattery. Nothing read some parts of it, resolving to omit the most can be polite, said she, that is not just ; what exceptionable. ever I may have had, I have now no vanity to I know thou'ltcurse me for that; but I thought gratify.

it better to oblige her than to be suspected my, I disclaimed all intentions of compliment; all self; and so not have it in my power to serve I had said, and what I should say, was, and thee with her, when so good a foundation was should be, the effect of sincere veneration. My laid for it, and when she knows as bad of thee unhappy friend's account of her had entitled her as I can tell her. to that.

Thou rememberest the contents, I suppose, of I then mentioned your grief, your penitence, thy furious letter. * Her remarks upon the difyour resolutions of making her all the amends ferent parts of it, which I read to her, were to that were possible now to be made her; and in the following effect : the most earnest manner, I asserted your inno- Upon the two first lines, All undone ! undone, cence as to the last villainous outrage.

by Jupiter ! Zounds, Jack, what shall I do now? Her answer was to this effect-It is painful a curse upon all my plots and contrivances ! thus to me to think of him. The amends you talk of she expressed herself :cannot be made. This last violence you speak “O how light, how unaffected with the sense of is nothing to what preceded it. That cannot be of its own crimes, is the heart that could dicatoned for, nor palliated; this may; and I shall tate to the pen this libertine froth !" not be sorry to be convinced that he cannot be The paragraph which mentions the vile arrest guilty of so very low a wickedness. Yet, af- affected her a good deal. ter his vile forgeries of hands-after his base- In the next I omitted thy curse upon thy reness in imposing upon me the most infamous lations, whom thou wert gallanting; and read persons as ladies of honour of his own family on the seven subsequent paragraphs, down to thy -what are the iniquities he is not capable of? execrable wish, which was too shocking to read

I would then have given her an account of to her. What I read, produced the following rethe trial you stood with your friends ; your own flections from her: previous resolutions of marriage, had she ho- “ The plots and contrivances which he curses, noured

you with the requested four words ; all and the exultings of the wicked wretches on findyour family's earnestness to have the honour of ing me out, shew me that all his guilt was preher alliance; and the application of your two meditated; nor doubt I that his dreadful percousins to Miss Howe, by general consent, for juries, and inhuman arts, as he went along, were that young lady's interest with her ; but, having to pass for fine stratagems; for witty sport; and just touched upon these topics, she cut me short, to demonstrate a superiority of inventive talents! saying, that was a cause before another tribu- -O my cruel, cruel brother! had it not been

Miss Howe's letters to her were upon that for thee, I had not been thrown upon so pernisubject; and she would write her thoughts to cious and so despicable a plotter !—But proceed, her as soon as she was able.

sir ; pray, proceed.” I then attempted more particularly to clear At that part, Canst thou, O fatal prognosticayou of having any hand in the vile Sinclair's of- tor! tell me where my punishment will end ? she ficious arrest; a point she had the generosity to sighed. And when I came to that sentence, praywish you cleared of; and, having mentioned the ing for my reformation, perhaps- Is that there? outrageous letter you had written to me on this said she, sighing again. Wretched man !_and occasion, she asked, If I had that letter about shed a tear for thee.-By my faith, Lovelace, I me?

believe she hates thee not! she has at least a conI owned I had.

cern, a generous concern for thy future happiShe wished to see it.

ness. What a noble creature hast thou injured! This puzzled me horribly; for you must needs She made a very severe reflection upon me, on think that most of the free things, which, among reading these words-On your knees, for me, us rakes, pass for wit and spirit, must be shock beg her pardon-"You had all your lessons, sir, ing stuff to the ears or eyes of persons of deli- said she, when you came to redeem me-You cacy of that sex; and then such an air of levity was so condescending as to kneel ; I thought it runs through thy most serious letters ; such a was the effect of your own humanity, and goodfalse bravery, endeavouring to carry off ludi- natured earnestness to serve me excuse me, sir,

nal ;

. See Letter CCXXXVII. of this Vol.

'I knew not that it was in consequence of a pre- punish the guilty ?-All the rough usage I could scribed lesson."

receive from them, was infinitely less"-And This concerned me not a little ; I could not there she stopt a moment or two; then proceedbear to be thought such a wretched puppet, such ing—“And who shall punish him ? what an a Joseph Leman, such a Tomlinson. I endea- assuming wretch !--Nobody but himself is envoured, therefore, with some warmth, to clear titled to injure the innocent ;-he is, I suppose, myself of this reflection; and she again asked on the earth, to act the part which the maligmy excuse: “ I was avowedly,” she said, “ the nant fiend is supposed to act below-dealing out friend of a man, whose friendship, she had rea; punishments, at his pleasure, to every inferior son to be sorry to say, was no credit to anybody.” · instrument of mischief !” -And desired me to proceed.

What, thought I, have I been doing! I shall I did; but fared not much better afterwards; have this savage fellow think I have been playfor, on that passage where you say, I had always ing him booty, in reading part of his letter to been her friend and advocate, this was her un- this sagacious lady !-Yet, if thou art angry, it answerable remark: “ I find, sir, by this ex- can only, in reason, be at thyself ; for who would pression, that he had always designs against me; think I might not communicate to her some of and that you all along knew that he had. Would the least exceptionable parts of a letter (as a to Heaven, you had had the goodness to have proof of thy sincerity in exculpating thyself contrived some way, that might not have endan- from a criminal charge) which thou wrotest to gered your own safety, to give me notice of his thy friend, to convince him of thy innocence? baseness, since you approved not of it! But you But a bad heart, and a bad cause, are confoundgentlemen, I suppose, had rather see an inno- ed things; and so let us put it to its proper accent fellow-creature ruined, than be thought ca- count. pable of an action, which, however generous, I passed over thy charge to me, to curse them might be likely to loosen the bands of a wicked by the hour, and thy names of dragon and serfriendship!"

pents, though so applicable ; since, had I read After this severe, but just, reflection, I would them, thou must have been supposed to know have avoided reading the following, although I from the first what creatures they were; vile had, unawares, begun the sentence, (but she fellow as thou wert, for bringing so much puheld me to it:) What would I now give, had rity among them! And I closed with thy own permitted you to have been a successful advocate! concluding paragraph, A line! a line ! a kingAnd this was her remark upon it—“So, sir, you dom for a line ! &c. However, telling her (since see, if you had been the happy means of prevent- she saw that I omitted some sentences) that ing the evils designed me, you would have had there were farther vehemences in it; but, as they your friend's thanks for it when he came to his were better fitted to shew to me the sincerity of consideration. This satisfaction, I am persua- the writer than for so delicate an ear as hers to ded, every one, in the long run, will enjoy, who hear, I chose to pass them over. has the virtue to withstand or prevent a wicked You have read enough, said she-he is a purpose. I was obliged, I see, to your kind wicked, wicked man !- I see he intended to have wishes—but it was a point of honour with you me in his power at any rate; and I have no to keep his secret ; the more indispensable with doubt of what his purposes were, by what his you, perhaps, the viler the secret. Yet permit actions have been. You know his vile Tomlinme to wish, Mr Belford, that you were capable son, I suppose—You know-but what signifies of relishing the pleasures that arise to a benevo- talking ?- Never was there such a premeditated lent mind from virtuous friendship !-none false heart in man, [nothing can be truer, thought other is worthy of the sacred name. Îou seem 1!] What has he not vowed ! what has he not a humane man: I hope, for your own sake, you invented ! and all for what?-Only to ruin a poor will one day experience the difference ; and, young creature, whom he ought to have protectwhen you do, think of Miss Howe and Clarissa ed ; and whom he had first deprived of all other Harlowe, (I find you know much of my sad protection! story,) who were the happiest creatures on earth She arose and turned from me, her handkerin each other's friendship till this friend of chief at her eyes; and, after a pause, came toyours” —And there she stopped, and turned wards me again—“ I hope, said she, I talk to a from me.

man who has a better heart; and I thank you, Where thou callest thyself a villainous plot- sir, for all your kind, though ineffectual pleas in ter; “To take crime to himself, said she, with- my favour formerly, whether the motives for out shame ; ( what a hardened wretch is this them were compassion, or principle, or both.

That they were ineffectual, might very probably On that passage, where thou sayest, Let me be owing to your want of earnestness; and that, know how she has been treated ; if roughly, woe as you might think, to my want of merit. I be to the guilty! this was her remark, with an might not, in your eye, deserve to be saved !air of indignation:“What a man is your friend, I might appear to you a giddy creature, who had sir !- Is such a one as he to set himself up to run away from her true and natural friends ; VOL. VII.

2 h


and who, therefore, ought to take the conse- ed mischiefs. Moreover, finding thee so much quence of the lot she had drawn.”

overawed by her virtue, that thou hadst not, at I was afraid, for thy sake, to let her know how thy first carrying her thither, the courage to atvery earrest I had been ; but assured her that I tempt her; and that she had, more than once, had been her zealous friend, and that my mo- without knowing thy base views, obliged thee to tives were founded upon a merit, that, I believed, abandon them, and to resolve to do her justice, was never equalled; that, however indefensible and thyself honour, I hardly doubted that her Mr Lovelace was, he had always done justice to merit would be triumphant at last. her virtue; that to a full conviction of her un- It is my opinion, (if thou holdest thy purtainted honour it was owing that he so earnest- poses to marry,) that thou canst not do better ly desired to call so inestimable a jewel his than to procure thy real aunts, and thy real couand was proceeding, when she again cut me sins, to pay her a visit, and to be thy advocates. short

But, if they decline personal visits, letters from Enough, and too much, of this subject, sir! them, and from my Lord M., supported by Miss -If he will never more let me behold his face, Howe's interest, may, perhaps, effect something that is all I have now to ask of him.-Indeed, in thy favour. indeed, clasping her hands, I never will, if I can, But these are only my hopes, founded on what by any means not criminally desperate, avoid it. I wish for thy sake. The lady, I really think,

What could I say for thee? - There was no would choose death rather than thee; and the room, however, at that time, to touch this string two women are of opinion, though they know again, for fear of bringing upon myself a prohi- not half of what she has suffered, that her heart bition, not only of the subject, but of ever at- is actually broken. tending her again.

At taking my leave, I tendered my best serI gave some distant intimations of money- vices to her, and besought her to permit me frematters. I should have told thee, that, when I quently to inquire after her health. read to her that passage, where thou biddest me She made me no answer, but by bowing her force what sums upon her I can get her to take head. -she repeated, No, no, no, no ! several times with great quickness; and I durst no more than just intimate it again—and that so darkly, as

LETTER CCXLVII. left her room to seem not to understand me.

Indeed I know not the person, man or woman, I should be so much afraid of disobliging, or in- MR BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, E8Q. curring a censure from, as from her. She has so much true dignity in her manner, without pride

Wednesday, July 19. or arrogance, (which, in those who have either, This morning I took chair to Smith's; and, one is tempted to mortify,) such a piercing eye, being told that the lady had a very bad night, yet softened so sweetly with rays of benignity, but was up, I sent for her worthy apothecary; that she commands all one's reverence.

who, on his coming to me, approving of my proMethinks I have a kind of holy love for this posal of calling in Dr H., I bid the woman acangel of a woman ; and it is matter of astonish- quaint her with the designed visit. ment to me, that thou couldst converse with her It seems she was at first displeased ; yet witha quarter of an hour together, and hold thy de- drew her objection : but, after a pause, asked vilish, purposes.

them, What she should do? She had effects of Guarded as she was, by piety, prudence, vir- value, some of which she intended, as soon as tue, dignity, family, fortune, and a purity of she could, to turn into money, but, till then, had heart that never woman before her boasted, what not a single guinea to give the doctor for his fee. a real devil must he be (yet I doubt I shall make Mrs Lovick said, she had five guineas by her; thee proud !) who could resolve to break through they were at her service. fences!

She would accept of three, she said, if she For my own part, I am more and more sen- would take that (pulling a diamond ring from sible that I ought not to have contented myself her finger) till she repaid her ; but on no other with representing against, and expostulating with terms. thee upon, thy base intentions; and, indeed, I Having been told I was below with Mr Godhad it in my head, more than once, to try to do dard, she desired to speak one word with me, something for her. But, wretch that I was ! I before she saw the doctor. was withheld by notions of false honour, as she She was sitting in an elbow-chair, leaning justly reproached me, because of thy own vo- her head on a pillow ; Mrs Smith and the wiluntary communications to me of thy purposes; dow on each side her chair ; her nurse, with a and then, as she was brought into such a cursed phial of hartshorn, behind her; in her own house, and was so watched by thyself, as well as hand her salts. by thy infernal agents, I thought (knowing my Raising her head at my entrance, she inquiman!) that I should only accelerate the intende red if the doctor knew Mir Lovelace.

so many

I told her, no; and that I believed you never her charming hand, said, My good young lady, saw him in your life.

you will require very little of our assistance. Was the doctor my friend ?

You must, in a great measure, be your own He was; and a very worthy and skilful man. doctress. Come, dear madam, Lforgive me the I named him for his eminence in his profession; familiar tenderness; your aspect commands love, and Mr Goddard said he knew not a better phy- as well as reverence; and a father of children, sician.

some of them older than yourself, may be exI have but one condition to make before I see cused for his familiar address,] cheer up your the gentleman; that he refuses not his fees from spirits. Resolve to do all in your power to be me. If I am poor, sir, I am proud. I will not be well ; and you'll soon grow better. under obligation, you may believe, sir, I will not. You are very kind, sir, said she. I will take I suffer this visit, because I would not appear whatever you direct. My spirits have been hurungrateful to the few friends I have left, nor ob- ried. I shall be better, 'I believe, before I am stinate to such of my relations, as may some worse. The care of my good friends here, looktime hence, for their private satisfaction, inquire ing at the women, shall not meet with an unafter my behaviour in my sick hours. So, sir, grateful return. you know the condition. And don't let me be The doctor wrote. He would fain have devexed. I am very ill! and cannot debate the clined his fee. As her malady, he said, was ramatter.

ther to be relieved by the soothings of a friend, Seeing her so determined, I told her, if it than by the prescriptions of a physician, he must be so, it should.

should think himself greatly honoured to be adThen, sir, the gentleman may come. But I mitted rather to advise her in the one character, shall not be able to answer many questions. than to prescribe to her in the other. Nurse, you can tell him at the window there She answered, That she should be always what a night I have had, and how I have been glad to see so humane a man; that his visits for two days past. And Mr Goddard, if he be would keep her in charity with his sex; but here, can let him know what I have taken. Pray that, were she to forget that he was her physilet me be as little questioned as possible. cian, she might be apt to abate of the confidence

The doctor paid his respects to her with the in his skill, which might be necessary to effect gentlemanly address for which he is noted; and the amendment that was the end of his visits. she cast up her sweet eyes to him with that be- And, when he urged her still farther, which nignity which accompanies her every graceful he did in a very polite manner, and as passing look

by the door two or three times a-day, she said I would have retired; but she forbid it. she should always have pleasure in considering

He took her hand, the lily not of so beautiful him in the kind light he offered himself to her ; a white: Indeed, madam, you are very low, said that that might be very generous in one person he; but give me leave to say, that you can do to offer, which would be as ungenerous in anmore for yourself than all the faculty can do other to accept ; that, indeed, she was not at

present high in circumstance; and he saw by He then withdrew to the window. And, af- the tender, (which he must accept of,) that she ter a short conference with the women, he turn- had greater respect to her own convenience than ed to me, and to Mr Goddard, at the other win- to his merit, or than to the pleasure she should dow: We can do nothing here, (speaking low,) take in his visits. but by cordials and nourishment. What friends We all withdrew together; and the doctor has the lady? She seems to be a person of con- and Mr Goddard having a great curiosity to dition ; and, ill as she is, a very fine woman.- know something more of her story, at the moA single lady, I presume?

tion of the latter we went into a neighbouring I whisperingly told him she was. That there coffee-house, and I gave them, in confidence, a were extraordinary circumstances in her case ; brief relation of it; making all as light for you as I would have apprized him, had I met with as I could ; and yet you'll suppose, that, in orhim yesterday; that her friends were very cruel der to do but common justice to the lady's chato her ; but that she could not hear them named racter, heavy must be that light. without reproaching herself ; though they were much more to blame than she.

Three o'clock, Afternoon. I knew I was right, said the doctor. A love- I just now called again at Smith's; and am case, Mr Goddard ! a love-case, Mr Belford ! told she is somewhat better; which she attri, there is one person in the world who can do her buted to the soothings of her doctor. She exmore service than all the faculty.

pressed herself highly pleased with both gentleMr Goddard said he had apprehended her men; and said that their behaviour to her was disorder was in her mind ; and had treated her perfectly paternalaccordingly; and then told the doctor what he Paternal, poor lady ! -never having been, had done ; which he approving of, again taking till very lately, from under her parents' wings,

for you.

« НазадПродовжити »