LETTER 97: MR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD ESQ.

St. Albans, Monday night

I snatch a few moments while my beloved is retired, [as I hope, to rest,] to perform my promise. No pursuit—nor have I apprehensions of any; though I must make my charmer dread that there will be one.

And now, let me tell thee, that never was joy so complete as mine!—But let me inquire, is not the angel flown away?

O no! She is in the next apartment!—Securely mine!—Mine for ever!

      O ecstasy!—My heart will burst my breast,
      To leap into her bosom!

I knew that the whole stupid family were in a combination to do my business for me. I told thee that they were all working for me, like so many ground moles; and still more blind than the moles are said to be, unknowing that they did so. I myself, the director of their principal motions; which falling in with the malice of their little hearts, they took to be all their own.

But did I say my joy was perfect?—O no!—It receives some abatement from my disgusted bride. For how can I endure to think that I owe more to her relations’ precautions than to her favour for me?—Or even, as far as I know, to her preference of me to another man?

But let me not indulge this thought. Were I to do so, it might cost my charmer dear. Let me rejoice, that she has passed the rubicon: that she cannot return: that, as I have ordered it, the flight will appear to the implacables to be altogether with her own consent: and that if I doubt her love, I can put her to trials as mortifying to her niceness, as glorious to my pride.—For, let me tell thee, dearly as I love her, if I thought there was but the shadow of a doubt in her mind whether she preferred me to any man living, I would shew her no mercy.

TUESDAY, DAY-DAWN.

But, on the wings of love, I fly to my charmer, who perhaps by this time is rising to encourage the tardy dawn. I have not slept a wink of the hour and half I lay down to invite sleep. It seems to me, that I am not so much body, as to require such a vulgar renovation.

But why, as in the chariot, as in the inn, at alighting, all heart-bursting grief, my dearest creature? SO persecuted as thou wert persecuted!—So much in danger of the most abhorred compulsion!—Yet grief so unsuspectedly sincere for an escape so critical!—Take care, take care, O beloved of my soul! for jealous is the heart in which love has erected a temple to thee.

Yet, it must be allowed, that such a sudden transition must affect her; must ice her over. When a little more used to her new situation; when her hurries are at an end; when she sees how religiously I shall observe all her INJUNCTIONS; she will undoubtedly have the gratitude to distinguish between the confinement she has escaped from, and the liberty she has reason to rejoice in.

She comes! She comes! And the sun is just rising to attend her! Adieu! Be half as happy as I am (for all diffidencies, like night-fogs before the sun, disperse at her approach) and, next myself, thou wilt be the happiest man in the world.

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