LETTER 96: JOSEPH LEMAN TO MR ROBERT LOVELACE

April 9

HONNERED SIR,

I must confesse I am infinitely obliged to your Honner’s bounty. But this last command!—It seems so intricket! Lord be merciful to me, how have I been led from littel stepps to grate stepps!—And if I should be found out!—But your Honner says you will take me into your Honner’s sarvise, and protect me, if as I should at any time be found out; and raise my wages besides; or set me upp in a good inne; which is my ambishion. And you will be honnerable and kind to my dearest young lady, God love her.—But who can be unkind to she?

I wil do my best I am able, since your Honner will be apt to lose her, as your Honner says, if I do not; and a man so stingie will be apt to gain her. But mayhap my deareste young lady will not make all this trubble needful. If she has promissed, she will stand to it, I dare to say.

I love your Honner for contriveing to save mischiff so well. I thought till I know’d your Honner, that you was verry mischevous, and plese your Honner: but find it to be clene contrary. Your Honner, it is plane, means mighty well by every body, as far as I see. As I am sure I do myself; for I am, althoff a very plane man, and all that, a very honnest one, I thank my God. And have good principels, and have kept my young lady’s pressepts always in mind: for she goes no where, but saves a soul or two, more or less.

So, commending myself to your Honner’s further favour, not forgetting the inne, when your Honner shall so please, and good one offers; for plases are no inherritanses now-a-days. And, I hope, your Honner will not think me a dishonest man for sarving your Honner agenst my duty, as it may look; but only as my conshence clears me.

Be pleased, howsomever, if it like your Honner, not to call me honest Joseph, so often. For, althoff I think myself verry honnest, and all that, yet I am touched a littel, for fear I should not do the quite right thing: and too besides, your Honner has such a fesseshious way with you, as that I hardly know whether you are in jest or earnest, when your Honner calls me honnest so often.

I am a very plane man, and seldom have writ to such honourable gentlemen; so you will be good enuff to pass by every thing, as I have often said, and need not now say over again.

As to Mrs. Betty; I tho’te, indeed, she looked above me. But she comes on vere well, natheless. I could like her better, iff she was better to my young lady. But she has too much wit for so plane a man. Natheless, if she was to angre me, althoff it is a shame to bete a woman, yet I colde make shift to throe my hat at her, or so, your Honner.

But that same reseit, iff your Honner so please, to cure a shrewish wife. It would more encurrege to wed, iff so be one know’d it before-hand, as one may say. So likewise, if one knoed one could honnestly, as your Honner says, and as of the handy-work of God, in one twelvemonth—

But, I shall grow impertinent to such a grate man.—And hereafter may do for that, as she turnes out: for one mought be loth to part with her, mayhap, so verry soon too; espessially if she was to make the notable landlady your Honner put into my head.

Butt wonce moer, begging your Honner’s parden, and promissing all dilligence and exsackness, I reste,

Your Honner’s dewtiful sarvant to command, JOSEPH LEMAN.

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