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LETTER CCCLXIV. Mr. MEYRICKE to Miss
MADAM, Prush, Thursday, Jan. 6, 1730*
conform to your commands, I might have been extremely sensible of it last Monday night, when I met about a thousand coal-pits, with open mouths ready to devour me, just covered over with snow, and, under that disguise of their complection, might have ensnared a man much more in his senses than myself. In all these threatening dangers, my charming Stella diverted my thoughts; and every the greatest fright and fear was removed from before my eyes by the pleafing idea I had of that lovely creature. Thus, Madam, am I thankful for the noble inspiration you give my soul of courage and constancy, which will enable me to brave the fury of every storm I can possibly meet with in life. It may, indeed, be very inconsistent with a modern fine gentleman, or a lover, before his mistress, to offer any thanksgiving to the Divine Providence for his protection; but sure it cannot offend the good, the pious Miss Steele. No; it is to that Infinite, All-wise Being, who trieth the very heart, that I pray to Thew me mercy; to Him let me be instant in prayer, who sees all things
intuitively : and may his influence direct and
govern you when it is possible for your own human prudence to fail you! I am, my lovely creature, every way engaged to you; and surely it concerns you not a little, in the excellency of your mind as a good Christian, to lupport ine a little better under my present inquietude, and great suspence of happiness. Oh! would you but take one view of my soul, and see the rejoicings it has at the pleasure you could give it! Do, my charmer, lay one obligation upon me, which every part of my life would be industriously employed to return. I wish you would see with what a disinterested passion I am yours. But why should I be thus importunate to a generous mind, which has the gift of charity ? I pray
the Almighty to govern and direct you in the right use of it; and believe me, dear Miss Steele, to be for ever yours,
Essex MCK MEYRICKE. If you cannot send me something to live upon here, I must see Carmarthen foon; Noall I?
LETTER CCCLXV. To Miss STEELE *.
[undated). T seems it is in love, as it is in the worship of
the Gods: we are stiil to supplicate, still to pray, though the Deity we adore gives us no pofi.
* The name is cut from this Letter; but it is Mr. Meyricke's hand writing
tive assurance of mercy, by a gracious appearance or promise to us. We are bid, indeed, in one case, to “ hear Moses and the prophets ;” but such are my unhappy circumstances, that I have no certain known rules to go by; however, I shall keep close to the letter of the law, and “ love without ceafing.” Under this uncertain state and perplexity I may, with more justice than the child-bed lady, ask, “What have I “ done, ye Gods, to deserve thus?” Be still, O my soul! and please thyself with those imaginations, that thy great distractions will, some time or other, have a happy end. "The Spectator has observed, that “to be enamoured " with a lady of sense and virtue, is an im
provement of the understanding and morals.” I own I have an exceeding good opinion of my Governess; only I think her discipline a little too rigid and severe at present for my tender nature; but I hope there will be nothing wanting in her indulgent care, as I am sure there shall not in my honeft endeavours * i wish you would suffer it to be argued by myself or counsel. I will make my regard known for your person by every thing that can be done. I esteem you too precious to be bought or sold, or I would offer all I have with a frank and
* Here a few words are purposely cut out.
honest heart, which you shall be acquainted with as soon as you please. My rivals may probably be better able to purchase the pleasant fields of Llanguner, which have so many beauties and delights, that I would with you, as a friend, never to part with them : but I fain would be the purchaser of your person, and I freely bid my life and fortune, which I shall never have occafion to murmur or repine at, till you declare them below your notice. Teach me, oh! instruct me, dear Miss Steele, how to value both, and let me live in love and truth eternally yours.
Your horse has promised me the honour of a visit to-morrow.
LETTER CCCLXVI. Mr. MEYRICKE to Miss
STEELE, at Mrs. Scurlock's. This. MADAM, Prufh, Sunday Morn, Eight o'Clock*.
CCORDING to the best calculation I can
make, it is now a hundred and fixteen hours, thirteen minutes, and three seconds, &c. fince I left Carmarthen; a very tedious and melancholy time, under which I have been chiefly supported by the parson of the parish, who is indeed a good sensible brown man, only a little unhappy in his too great relish for the very thirsty weed of tobacco, and the liquid manufacture of our country, ale. The near approach
* There is no other date to this Letter.
of the very solemn season just at hand, led us into converfation suitable to the occasion; and, in the progress of our discourse, he so well infinuated himself into a familiarity with me, that he gained the inmost recesses of my soul, where he found such gloomy sorrow and sadness as drew his compassion, and, I hope, may in time deserve yours, or I must have recourse to him, or some more able and discreet minister, for ghoftly counsel, &c. The poor man, in the honesty of his heart, for the good of religion, and to the best of his capacity, directed the most religious use of my affections, and urged very strong and sacred reasons against "setting my 6 heart too much upon the things of this " world.” But such is the depravity of nature, dear Doctor, I cannot help it. Heaven forgive me, if it can be my offence to love Miss Steele too much, and punish me for that crime towards any other lady! Being at present in a good dif. position of mind to prepare myself for the next world, I intend, by the affistance of God, this day to answer the most positive command of
Heaven ; and I am persuaded, in the purity of 1. my conscience, that I can give no offence in
this very solemn assurance under my hand, that I love you above the world, abstracted from any views of fortune, but merely on account of your agreeable person, pretty sense, most excellent temper, and very sweet endowments of