But, ‘such men as myself, are the men that women do not naturally hate.’ —True as the gospel, Jack!—The truth is out at last. Have I not always told thee so? Sweet creatures and true christians these young girls! They love their enemies. But rakes in their hearts all of them! Like turns to like; that’s the thing. Were I not well assured of the truth of this observation of the vixen, I should have thought it worth while, if not to be a good man, to be more of an hypocrite, than I found it needful to be.
But in the letter I came at to-day, while she was at church, her scheme is further opened; and a cursed one it is.
[Mr. Lovelace then transcribes, from his short-hand
notes, that part of
Miss Howe’s letter, which relates to the design of engaging Mrs.
Townsend (in case of necessity) to give her protection till Colonel
Morden come:* and repeats his vows of revenge; especially for these
words; ’That should he attempt any thing that would make him obnoxious
to the laws of society, she might have a fair riddance of him, either
by flight or the gallows, no matter which.’ He then adds]—
* See Letter XLII. of this volume.
’Tis my pride to subdue girls who know too much to doubt their knowledge; and to convince them, that they know too little, to defend themselves from the inconveniencies of knowing too much.
How passion drives a man on! (proceeds he).—I have written a prodigious quantity in a very few hours! Now my resentments are warm, I will see, and perhaps will punish, this proud, this double-armed beauty. I have sent to tell her, that I must be admitted to sup with her. We have neither of us dined. She refused to drink tea in the afternoon: and I believe neither of us will have much stomach to our supper.
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss
Sunday morning, seven o’clock.
I was at the play last night with Mr. Lovelace and Miss Horton. It is, you know, a deep and most affecting tragedy in the reading. You have my remarks upon it, in the little book you made me write upon the principal acting-plays. You will not wonder, that Miss Horton, as well as I, was greatly moved at the representation, when I tell you, and have some pleasure in telling you, that Mr. Lovelace himself was very sensibly touched with some of the most affecting scenes. I mention this in praise of the author’s performance; for I take Mr. Lovelace to be one of the most hard-hearted men in the world. Upon my word, my dear, I do.
His behaviour, however, on this occasion, and on our return, was unexceptionable; only that he would oblige me to stay to supper with the women below, when we came back, and to sit up with him and them till near one o’clock this morning. I was resolved to be even with him; and indeed I am not very sorry to have the pretence; for I love to pass the Sundays by myself.