She kept not her word. An hour I waited before I sent to claim her promise. She could not possibly see me yet, was her answer. As soon as she could, she would.
Dorcas says, she still excessively trembled; and ordered her to give her hartshorn and water.
A strange apprehensive creature! Her terror is too great for the occasion. Evils are often greater in apprehension than in reality. Hast thou never observed, that the terrors of a bird caught, and actually in the hand, bear no comparison to what we might have supposed those terrors would be, were we to have formed a judgment of the same bird by its shyness before it was taken?
Dear creature!—Did she never romp? Did she never, from girlhood to now, hoyden? The innocent kinds of freedom taken and allowed on these occasions, would have familiarized her to greater. Sacrilege but to touch the hem of her garment!—Excess of delicacy!—O the consecrated beauty! How can she think to be a wife?
But how do I know till I try, whether she may not by a less alarming treatment be prevailed upon, or whether [day, I have done with thee!] she may not yield to nightly surprises? This is still the burden of my song, I can marry her when I will. And if I do, after prevailing (whether by surprise, or by reluctant consent) whom but myself shall I have injured?
It is now eleven o’clock. She will see me as soon as she can, she tells Polly Horton, who made her a tender visit, and to whom she is less reserved than to any body else. Her emotion, she assures her, was not owing to perverseness, to nicety, to ill humour; but to weakness of heart. She has not strength of mind sufficient, she says, to enable her to support her condition.
Yet what a contradiction!—Weakness of heart, says she, with such a strength of will!—O Belford! she is a lion-hearted lady, in every case where her honour, her punctilio rather, calls for spirit. But I have had reason more than once in her case, to conclude, that the passions of the gentle, slower to be moved than those of the quick, are the most flaming, the most irresistible, when raised.—Yet her charming body is not equally organized. The unequal partners pull two ways; and the divinity within her tears her silken frame. But had the same soul informed a masculine body, never would there have been a truer hero.
Not yet visible!—My beloved is not well. What expectations had she from my ardent admiration of her!—More rudeness than revenge apprehended. Yet, how my soul thirsts for revenge upon both these ladies? I must have recourse to my master-strokes. This cursed project of Miss Howe and her Mrs. Townsend (if I cannot contrive t render it abortive) will be always a sword hanging over my head. Upon every little disobligations my beloved will be for taking wing; and the pains I have taken to deprive her of every other refuge or protection, in order to make her absolutely dependent upon me, will be all thrown away. But perhaps I shall find out a smuggler to counterplot Miss Howe.