Wedn. night, Oct. 4.
I am just returned from attending Mr. Lovelace as far as Gad’s-Hill near Rochester. He was exceeding gay all the way. Mowbray and Tourville are gone on with him. They will see him embark, and under sail; and promise to follow him in a month or two; for they say, there is no living without him, now he is once more himself.
He and I parted with great and even solemn tokens of affection; but yet not without gay intermixtures, as I will acquaint your Lordship.
Taking me aside, and clasping his arms about me, ‘Adieu, dear Belford! said he: May you proceed in the course you have entered upon! —Whatever airs I give myself, this charming creature has fast hold of me here — (clapping his hand upon his heart); and I must either appear what you see me, or be what I so lately was. — O the divine creature!’ lifting up his eyes—
‘But if I live to come to England, and you remain fixed in your present way, and can give me encouragement, I hope rather to follow your example, than to ridicule you for it. This Will (for I had given him a copy of it) I will make the companion of my solitary
hours. You have told me part of its melancholy contents; and that, and her posthumous letter, shall be my study; and they will prepare me for being your disciple, if you hold on.
‘ You, Jack, may marry, continued he; and I have a wife in my eye for you. —Only thou’rt such an aukward mortal’ [He saw me affected, and thought to make me smile]: ‘But we don’t make ourselves, except it be worse, by our dress. Thou art in mourning now, as well as I: But if ever thy ridiculous turn lead thee again to be Beau-brocade, I will bedizen thee, as the girls say, on my return, to my own fancy, and according to thy own natural appearance—Thou shalt doctor my soul, and I will doctor thy body: Thou shalt see what a clever fellow I will make of thee.
‘As for me, I never will, I never can, marry—That I will not take a few liberties, and that I will not try to start some of my former game, I won’t promise—Habits are not easily shaken off—But they shall be by way of weaning. So return and reform shall go together.
‘And now, thou sorrowful monkey, what aileth thee?’ I do love him, my Lord.
‘Adieu!—And once more adieu!—embracing me— And when thou thinkest thou hast made thyself an interest out yonder (looking up) then put in a word for thy Lovelace.’
Joining company, he recommended to me, to write often; and promised to let me quickly hear from him; and that he would write to your Lordship, and to all his family round; for he said, that you had all been more kind to him, than he had deserved.
And so we parted.
I hope, my Lord, for all your noble family’s sake, that we shall see him soon return, and reform, as he promises.
I return your Lordship my humble thanks for the honour of your invitation to M. Hall. The first letter I receive from Mr. Lovelace shall give me the opportunity of embracing it. I am, my Lord,
Your most faithful and obedient Servant,
J. Belford .