I am pleased with the sober reflection with which thou concludest thy last; and I thank thee for it. Poor Belton!—I did not think his Thomasine would have proved so very a devil. But this must everlastingly be the risk of a keeper, who takes up with a low-bred girl. This I never did. Nor had I occasion to do it. Such a one as I, Jack, needed only, till now, to shake the stateliest tree, and the mellowed fruit dropt into my mouth:—always of Montaigne’s taste thou knowest:—thought it a glory to subdue a girl of family.—More truly delightful to me the seduction-progress than the crowned act: for that’s a vapour, a bubble! and most cordially do I thank thee for thy indirect hint, that I am right in my pursuit.
From such a woman as Miss Harlowe, a man is secured from all the inconveniencies thou expatiatest upon.
Once more, therefore, do I thank thee, Belford, for thy approbation!—A man need not, as thou sayest, sneak into holes and corners, and shun the day, in the company of such a woman as this. How friendly in thee, thus to abet the favourite purpose of my heart!—nor can it be a disgrace to me, to permit such a lady to be called by my name!—nor shall I be at all concerned about the world’s censure, if I live to the years of discretion, which thou mentionest, should I be taken in, and prevailed upon to tread with her the good old path of my ancestors.
A blessing on thy heart, thou honest fellow! I thought thou wert in jest, and but acquitting thyself of an engagement to Lord M. when thou wert pleading for matrimony in behalf of this lady!—It could not be principle, I knew, in thee: it could not be compassion—a little envy indeed I suspected!—But now I see thee once more thyself: and once more, say I, a blessing on thy heart, thou true friend, and very honest fellow!
Now will I proceed with courage in all my schemes, and oblige thee with the continued narrative of my progressions towards bringing them to effect!—but I could not forbear to interrupt my story, to show my gratitude.
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford, Esq.
And now will I favour thee with a brief account of our present situation.
From the highest to the lowest we are all extremely happy.—Dorcas stands well in her lady’s graces. Polly has asked her advice in relation to a courtship-affair of her own. No oracle ever gave better. Sally has had a quarrel with her woollen-draper; and made my charmer lady-chancellor in it. She blamed Sally for behaving tyrannically to a man who loves her. Dear creature! to stand against a glass, and to shut her eyes because she will not see her face in it!—Mrs. Sinclair has paid her court to so unerring a judge, by requesting her advice with regard to both nieces.
This the way we have been in for several days with the people below. Yet sola generally at her meals, and seldom at other times in their company. They now, used to her ways, [perseverance must conquer,] never press her; so when they meet, all is civility on both sides. Even married people, I believe, Jack, prevent abundance of quarrels, by seeing one another but seldom.