Friday, Sept. 1.
How astonishing, in the midst of such affecting scenes, is thy mirth on what thou callest my own aspirations ! Never, surely, was there such another man in this world, thy talents and thy levity taken together! —Surely, what I shall send thee with this will affect thee. If not, nothing can, till thy own hour come: —And heavy will then thy reflections be!
I am glad, however, that thou enablest me to assure the lady, that thou wilt no more molest her; that is to say, in other words, That, after having ruined her fortunes, and all her worldly prospects, thou wilt be so gracious, as to let her lie down and die in peace.
Thy giving up to poor Belton’s sister the little legacy, and thy undertaking to make Mowbray and Tourville follow thy example, is, I must say to thy honour, of a piece with thy generosity to thy Rose-bud and her Johnny; and to a number of other good actions, in pecuniary matters; altho’ thy Rose-bud’s is, I believe, the only instance where a pretty woman was concerned, of such a disinterested bounty.
Upon my faith, Lovelace, I love to praise thee; and often and often, as thou knowest, have I studied for occasions to do it: Insomuch that when for the life of me I could not think of any-thing done by thee that deserved it, I have taken pains to applaud the not ungraceful manner in which thou hast performed actions that merited the gallows.
Now thou art so near, I will dispatch my servant to thee, if occasion requires. But, I fear, I shall soon give thee the news thou apprehendest. For I am just now sent for by Mrs. Smith; who has ordered the messenger to tell me, that she knew not if the lady will be alive when I come.
Friday, Sept. 1. two o’clock, at Smith’s .
I could not close my letter in such an uncertainty as must have added to your impatience. For you have, on several occasions, convinced me, that the suspense you love to give would be the greatest torment to you that you could receive . A common case with all aggressive and violent spirits, I believe. I will just mention then (your servant waiting here till I have written), that the lady has had two very severe fits: In the last of which, whilst she lay, they sent to the doctor, and Mr. Goddard, who both advised, that a messenger should be dispatched for me, as her executor; being doubtful, whether, if she had a third, it would not carry her off.
She was tolerably recovered by the time I came; and the doctor made her promise before me, that she would not attempt any more, while so weak, to go abroad; for, by Mrs. Lovick’s description, who attended her, the shortness of her breath, her extreme weakness, and the fervor of her devotions when at church, were contraries, which, pulling different ways (the soul aspiring, the body sinking) tore her tender frame in pieces.
So much for the present. I shall detain Will no longer, than just to beg, that you will send me back this pacquet, and the last. Your memory is so good, that once reading is all you ever give, or need to give, to any-thing. And who but ourselves can make out our characters, were you inclined to let any-body see what passes between us? If I cannot be obliged, I shall be tempted to with-hold what I write, till I have time to take a copy of it ( a ) .
- A letter from Miss Howe is just now brought by a particular messenger, who says he must carry back a few lines in return. But, as the lady is just retired to lie down, the man is to call again by-and-by.