Munich, Nov. 11-22.
I received yours this moment, just as I was setting out for Vienna.
As to going to Madrid, or one single step out of the way, to avoid Colonel Morden, let me perish, if I do! You cannot think me so mean a wretch.
And so you own, that he has threatened me; but not in gross and ungentlemanly terms, you say. If he has threatened me like a gentleman, I will resent his threats like a gentleman. But he has not done as a man of honour, if he has threatened me at all behind my back. I would scorn to threaten any man to whom I knew how to address myself either personally, or by pen and ink.
As to what you mention of my guilt; of the handwriting on the wall; of a legal prosecution, if he meet his fate from my hand; of his skill, coolness, courage, and such-like poltroon stuff; what can you mean by it? Surely you cannot believe, that such insinuations as those will weaken either my hands or my heart. —No more of this sort of nonsense, I beseech you, in any of your future Letters.
He had not taken any resolutions, you say, when you saw him. He must and will take resolutions, one way or other, very quickly; for I wrote to him yesterday, without waiting for this your answer to my last. I could not avoid it. I could not (as I told you in that) live in suspense. I have directed my Letter to Florence. Nor could I suffer my friends to live in suspense as to my safety. But I have couched it in such moderate terms, that he has fairly his option. He will be the challenger, if he take it in the sense in which he may so handsomely avoid taking it. And if he does, it will demonstrate that malice and revenge were the predominant passions with him; and that he was determined but to settle his affairs, and then take his resolutions, as you phrase it. — Yet, if we are to meet [for I know what my option would be, in his case, on such a Letter,complaisant as it is] I wish he had a worse, I a better cause. It would be sweet revenge to him, were I to fall by his hand. But what should I be the better for killing him?
I will inclose the copy of the Letter I sent him.
On reperusing yours in a cooler moment, I cannot but thank you for your friendly love, and good intentions. My value for you, from the first hour of our acquaintance till now, I have never found misplaced; regarding at least your intention : Thou must, however, own a good deal of blunder of the over-do and under-do kind, with respect to the part thou actedst between me and the Beloved of my heart. But thou art really an honest fellow, and a sincere and warm friend. I could almost wish I had not written to Florence till I had received thy Letter now before me. But it is gone. Let it go. If he wish peace, and to avoid violence, he will have a fair opportunity to embrace the one, and shun the other. —If not—he must take his fate.
But be this as it may, you may contrive to let young Harlowe know [He is a menacer too!] that I shall be in England in March next, at farthest.
This of Bavaria is a gallant and polite Court. Nevertheless, being uncertain whether my Letter may meet with the Colonel at Florence, I shall quit it, and set out, as I intended, for Vienna; taking care to have any Letter or Message from him conveyed to me there: Which will soon bring me back hither, or to any other place to which I shall be invited.
As I write to Charlotte, I have nothing more to add, after compliments to all friends, than that I am