LETTER 210: MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.

Friday Evening

Just returned from an airing with my charmer; comply’d with after great importunity. She was attended by the two nymphs. They both topp’d their parts; kept their eyes within bounds; made moral reflections now-and-then. O Jack! what devils are women, when all tests are got over, and we have completely ruin’d them!

The coach carried us to Hamstead, to Highgate, to Muzzle-hill; back to Hamstead to the Upper-Flask: There, in compliment to the nymphs, my beloved consented to alight, and take a little refection. Then home early by Kentish Town.

Delightfully easy she: And so respectful and obliging I, all the way, and as we walk’d out upon the Heath, to view the variegated prospects, which that agreeable elevation affords, that she promised to take now-and-then a little excursion with me. I think, Miss Howe—I think, said I to myself, every now-and-then as we walked, that thy wicked devices are superseded,

We have both been writing ever since we came home. I am to be favoured with her company for an hour, before she retires to rest.

All that obsequious love can suggest, in order to engage her tenderest sentiments for me against to-morrow’s sickness, will I aim at when we meet. But at parting will complain of a disorder in my stomach.

We have met. All was love and unexceptionable respect on my part. Ease and complaisance on hers. She was concerned for my disorder. So sudden! — Just as we parted. But it was nothing. I should be quite well by morning.

Faith, Jack, I think I am sick already! —Is it possible for such a giddy fellow as me to persuade myself to be ill? I am a better mimic at this rate than I wish to be. But every nerve and fibre of me is always ready to contribute its aid, whether by health or by ailment, to carry a resolved on roguery into execution.

Dorcas has transcribed for me the whole letter of Miss How, dated Sunday May 14. ( a ) , of which before I had only extracts. But she found no other letter added to that parcel. But this, and that which I copy’d myself in character last Sunday while she was at church, relating to the smuggling scheme ( b ), are enough for me.

Dorcas tells me, that her lady has been removing her papers from the mahogany-chest into a wainscotbox, which held her linen, and which she put into her dark closet. We have no key of that at present. No doubt but all her letters, previous to those I have come at, are in that box. Dorcas is uneasy upon it: Yet hopes that her lady does not suspect her; for she is sure that she laid in every thing as she found it.

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