LETTER 108: MR LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD

What can be done with a woman who is above flattery, and despises all praise but that which flows from the approbation of her own heart?

 

But why will this admirable creature urge her destiny? Why will she defy the power she is absolutely dependent upon? —Why will she still wish to my face, that she had never left her father’s house? — Why will she deny me her company, till she makes me lose my patience, and lay myself open to her resentment? —And why, when she is offended, does she carry her indignation to the utmost length, that a scornful beauty, in the very height of her power and pride, can go?

 

Is it prudent, think’st thou, in her circumstances, to tell me, repeatedly to tell me, That she is every hour more and more dissatisfy’d with herself and me? That I am not one, who improve upon her, in my conversation and address? [Couldst thou, Jack, bear this from a captive!] That she shall not be easy while she is with me? That she was thrown upon me by a perverse fate? That she knew better than to value herself upon my volubility? That if I thought she deserv’d the compliments I made her, I might pride myself in my arts, which had made a fool of so extraordinary a person? That she should never forgive herself for meeting me, nor me for seducing her away? [Her very words!] That her regrets increase instead of diminish? That she would take care of herself; and since her friends thought it not worth while to pursue her, she would be left to that care? That I should make Mrs. Sorlings’s house more agreeable by my absence? —And, go to Berks, to town, or wherever I would [to the devil, I suppose], with all her heart?

 

The impolitic charmer! —To a temper so vindictive as she thinks mine! To a free-liver, as she believes me to be, who has her in his power! —I wasbefore, as thou knowest, balancing; now this scale, now that, the heaviest. I only waited to see how her will would work, how mine would lead me on. Thou seest what biass hers takes—And wilt thou doubt that mine will be determin’d by it? —Were not her faults before this numerous enough? —Why will she put me upon looking back?—

I will sit down to argue with myself by-and-by, and thou shalt be acquainted with the result.

 

If thou knewest, if thou but beheldest, the abject slave she made me look like! —I had given myself high airs, as she call’d them: But they were airs that shew’d my love for her: That shew’d I could not live out of her company. But she took me down with a vengeance! She made me look about me. So much advantage had she over me; such severe turns upon me; by my soul, Jack, I had hardly a word to say for myself. I am asham’d to tell thee, what a poor creature she made me look like! —But I could have told her something that would have humbled her pretty pride at the instant, had she been in a proper place, and proper company about her.

 

To such a place then—and where she cannot fly me—And then to see how my will works, and what can be done by the amorous See-saw ; now humble; now proud; now expecting, or demanding; now submitting, or acquiescing—till I have tired resistance. But these hints are at present enough—I may further explain myself as I go along; and as I confirm or recede in my future motions. —If she will revive past disobligations! —If shewill —But no more—No more, as I said, at present, of threatenings.

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