LETTER 497: MR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ

Uxbridge, Sat. Sept. 9.

Jack,
I think is absolutely right that my ever-dear and beloved lady should be opened and embalmed. It must be done out of hand—this very afternoon. Your acquaintance Tomkins and old Anderson of this place, whom I will bring with me, shall be the surgeons. I have talked to the latter about it.

 

I will see every thing done with that decorum which the case, and the sacred person of my beloved require.

 

Every thing that can be done to preserve the charmer from decay, shall also be done. And when she will descend to her original dust, or cannot be kept longer, I will then have her laid in my family-vault between my own father and mother. Myself, as I am in my soul, so in person, chief mourner. But her heart, to which I have such unquestionable pretensions, in which once I had so large a share, and which I will prize above my own, I willhave. I will keep it in spirits. I shall never be out of my sight. And all the charges of sepulture too shall be mine.

 

Surely no-body will dispute my right to her. Whose was she living? Whose is she dead, but mine? —Her cursed parents, whose barbarity to her, no doubt, was the true cause of her death, have long since renounced her. She left them for me . She chose me therefore: And I was her husband. What tho’ I treated her like a villain? Do I not pay for it now? Would she not have been mine had I not? No-body will dispute but she would. And has she not forgiven me? —I am then in statu quo priùs with her—Am I not!—as if I had never offended? Whose then can she be but mine?

 

I will free you from your Executorship and all your cares.

 

Take notice, Belford, that I do hereby actually discharge you, and every body, from all cares and troubles relating to her. And as to her last testament I will execute it myself.

 

There were no articles between us, no settlements; and she is mine, as you see I have proved to a demonstration: Nor could she dispose of herself but as I pleased. D—nation seize me then if I make not good my right against all opposers!

 

Her bowels, if her friends are very solicitous about them, and very humble and sorrowful (and none have they of their own) shall be sent down to them—To be laid with her ancestors—unless she has ordered otherwise. For, except that she shall not be committed to the unworthy earth so long as she can be kept out of it, her Will shall be performed in every thing.

 

I send in the mean time for a lock of her hair.

 

I charge you stir not in any part of her Will, but by my express direction. I will order every thing myself. For am I not her husband? And being forgiven by her, am I not the chosen of her heart? What else signifies her forgiveness?

 

The two insufferable wretches you have sent me, plague me to death, and would treat me like a babe in strings. Damn the fellows, what can they mean by it? —Yet that crippled monkey Doleman joins with them. And, as I hear them whisper, they have sent for Lord M. —To controul me, I suppose.

 

 

What can they mean by this usage of me? Sure all the world is run mad but myself. They treat me as they ought every one of themselves to be treated. The whole world is but one great Bedlam. G-d confound it, and every thing in it, since now my beloved Clarissa Lovelace—no more Harlowe—Curse upon that name and every one called by it.

 

What I write to you for is,

 

1. To forbid you intermeddling with any thing relating to her. To forbid Morden intermeddling also. If I remember right, he has threatened me, and cursed me, and used me ill. And let him be gone from her if he would avoid my resentments.

 

2. To send me a lock of her hair instantly by the bearer.

 

3. To engage Tomkins to have every thing ready for the opening and embalming. I shall bring Anderson with me.

 

4. To get her Will and every thing ready for my perusal and consideration.

 

I will have possession of her dear heart this very night; and let Tomkins provide a proper receptacle and spirits, till I can get a golden one made for it.

 

I will take her papers. And as no one can do her memory justice equal to myself, and I will not spare myself, Who can better shew the world what she was, and what a villain he, that could use her ill? And the world shall also see, what implacable and unworthy parents she had.

 

All shall be set forth in words at length. No mincing of the matter. Names undisguised as well as facts. For as I shall make the worst figure in it myself, and have a right to treat myself as no-body else shall; Who will controul me? Who dare call me to account?

 

Let me know if the damned mother be yet the subject of the devil’s own vengeance—if the old wretch be dead or alive? Some exemplary mischief I must yet do. My revenge shall sweep away that devil and all my opposers of the cruel Harlowe family, from the face of the earth. Whole hecatombs ought to be offered up to the Manes of my Clarissa Lovelace.

 

Altho’ her Will may in some respects cross mine, yet I expect to be observed. I will be the interpreter of hers.

 

Next to mine, hers shall be observed, for she is my wife; and shall be to all eternity. I will never have another.

 

Adieu, Jack. I am preparing to be with you. I charge you, as you value my life or your own, do not oppose me in any thing relating to my ClarissaLovelace.

 

My temper is intirely altered. I know not what it is to laugh, or smile, or be pleasant. I am grown choleric and impatient, and will not be controuled.

 

I write this in characters as I used to do, that no-body but you should know what I write. For never was any man plagued with impertinents, as I am.

R. Lovelace,

In a separate paper inclosed in the above.Let me tell thee, in characters still, that I am in a dreadful way just now. My brain is all boiling like a caldron over a fiery furnace. What a devil is the matter with me, I wonder! I never was so strange in my life.

 

In truth, Jack, I have been a most execrable villain. And when I consider all my actions by this angel of a woman, and in her the piety, the charity, the wit, the beauty I have helped to destroy, and the good to the world I have thereby been a means of frustrating, I can pronounce damnation upon myself. How then can I expect mercy any where else!

 

I believe I shall have no patience with you when I see you. Your damned stings and reflections have almost turned my brain.

 

But here Lord M. they tell me, is come! D—n him, and those who sent for him!

 

I know not what I have written! But her dear heart and a lock of her hair I will have, let who will be the gain-sayers! For is she not mine? Whose else can she be? She has no Father nor Mother, no Sister, no Brother; no Relations but me. And my beloved is mine; and I am hers: And that’s enough—But Oh!

 

She’s out! The damp of death has quench’d her quite!
Those spicy doors, her lips, are shut, close lock’d,
Which never gale of life shall open more!

 

And is it so! Is it indeed so? —Good God! Good God!—But they will not let me write on. I must go down to this officious peer—Who the devil sent for him?

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