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To Mrs. SCURLOCK.
Aug. 16*, 1707 . EFORE the light this morning dawned
upon the earth, I awaked, and lay in expectation of its return; not that it could give any new sense of joy to me, but as I hoped it would bless you with its chearful facę, after a quiet which I wished you last night. If my prayers are heard, the day appeared with all the influence of a merciful Creator upon your person and actions. Let others, my lovely charmer, talk of a blind being that disposes their hearts; I contemn their low images of love. I have not a thought which relates to you, that I cannot with confidence beseech the All-seeing Power to bless me in. May he direct you in all your, steps, and reward your innocence, your fanctity of manners, your prudent youth, and becoming piety, with the continuance of His grace and protection. This is an unusual language to ladies; but you have a mind elevated above the giddy notions of a sex insnared by flattery, and
* The date in the original is here twice altered ; in the first place, Aug. 16” is changed to “ Aug. 23;" and Mrs. S. (not thinking the disguise sufficient), has written under iç
Sept. 3; 1671;" and added this remark : “ Though I made “ him no declarations in his favour, you see he had hopes of me “ when he writ ihis in the month following ..... obedient 6 servant !"
mifled by a false and short adoration, into a solid and long contempt. Beauty, my fairest creature, palls in the poffeffion ; but I love also your mind : your soul is as dear to me as my own; and, if the advantage of a ļiberal education, some knowledge, and as much contempt of the world, joined with endeavours towards a life of strict virtue and religion, can qualify me to raise new ideas in a breast so well disposed as yours is, our days will pass away with joy, and, instead of introducing melancholy prospects of decay, give us hope of eternal youth in a better life. I have but few minutes from the duty of my employment to write in, and without tine to read over what I have writ; therefore beseech you to pardon the first hints of my mind, which I have expressed in so little order. I am, dearest creature, your most obedient, most devoted seryant,
LETTER VI. To Mrs. SCURLOCK.
[Aug. 17,] 1707. COULD not omit writing to you, though
on Sunday morning, when I know I interrupt your meditation on higher subjects * ; there is nothing but Heaven itself which I prefer to your love, which shall be the pursuit of
* The sacrament; see p. 5.
my life; and I hope there will not a day appear to our lives end, wherein there will not appear some instance of an affection, not to be excelled but in the manfions of eternity, to which we may recommend ourselves by our behaviour to each other here. I am, my lovely charmer, your obedient..
LETTER VII. To Mrs. SCURLOCK,
Lord Sunderland's Office, 1707.
lovely fair, to acquaint her with the sen. tinents of an heart the delights to torture? I have not a minute's quiet out of your sight; and, when I am with you, you use me with so much distance, that I am still in a state of ab. sence heightened with a view of the charms which I am denied to approach. In a word, you must give me either a fan, a mask, or a glove, you have wore, or I cannot live ; otherwise you must expect I'll kiss your hand, or, when I next fit by you, steal your handkerchief. You yourself are too great a bounty to be received at once; therefore I must be prepared by degrees, left the mighty gift distract me with joy. Dear Mrs. Scurlock, I am tired with calling you by that name; therefore say the day in * The name is here cut out,
will take that of, Madam, your most obedient, inost devoted humble servant,
LETTER VIII. To Mrs. SCURLOCK
MADAM, Smith-street, Westminster, 1707. I TAKE uppen and ink to indulge the fenfis
bility of mind I am under, in reflecting upon the agreeable company in which I paffed yesterday evening. The day hangs heavily upon me, and the whole business of it is an impertinent guilty dream in comparison of the happiness of a few moments of real life at your house, which go off in privacy and innocence. Were it poffible the concern I have for you were mutual, how tedious would be the moments of each other's absence, how fleeting the hours we should be together! how would my mirth be heightened ! how my sorrow banished by the appearance of a smile in that countenance, where are so charmingly painted complacency, good. sense, innocence, honour, and truth? Since this is the figure you bear in my imagination, you cannot blame my desire of having those good qualities my conftant companions, and for ever engaged in my interests. My heart overflows with the pleafing prospects which throng into my mind when I think of you. What shall I say? Pr'y
thee, Mrs. Scurlock, have pity on, Madam, your most obedient, most faithful servant,
LETTER IX. To Mrs. SCURLOCK.
MADAM, Smith-ftreet, Westminster, 1707, LAY down last night with your image in
my thoughts, and have awaked this morning in the same contemplation. The pleasing transport with which I am delighted, has a sweetness in it, attended with a train of ten thousand foft desires, anxieties, and cares. The day arises on my hopes with new brightness; youth, beauty, and innocence, are the charming objects that ftcal' me from myself, and give me joys above the reach of ambition, pride, or glory. Believe me, fair one, to throw myself at your feet is giving myself the highest bliss I know on earth. Oh, hasten ye minutes! bring on the happy morning wherein to be ever her's will make me look down on thrones! Dear Molly, I am parfonately, faithfully thine, Rich. STEELE,