Yet ’tis poor too, to think myself a machine in the hands of such wretches.—I am no machine.—Lovelace, thou art base to thyself, but to suppose thyself a machine.
But having gone thus far, I should be unhappy, if after marriage, in the petulance of ill humour, I had it to reproach myself, that I did not try her to the utmost. And yet I don’t know how it is, but this lady, the moment I come into her presence, half-assimilates me to her own virtue.— Once or twice (to say nothing of her triumph over me on Sunday night) I was prevailed upon to fluster myself, with an intention to make some advances, which, if obliged to recede, I might lay upon raised spirits: but the instant I beheld her, I was soberized into awe and reverence: and the majesty of her even visible purity first damped, and then extinguished, my double flame.
What a surprisingly powerful effect, so much and so long in my power she! so instigated by some of her own sex, and so stimulated by passion I!— How can this be accounted for in a Lovelace!
But what a heap of stuff have I written!—How have I been run away with! —By what?—Canst thou say by what?—O thou lurking varletess conscience! —Is it thou that hast thus made me of party against myself?—How camest thou in?—In what disguise, thou egregious haunter of my more agreeable hours?—Stand thou, with fate, but neuter in this controversy; and, if I cannot do credit to human nature, and to the female sex, by bringing down such an angel as this to class with and adorn it, (for adorn it she does in her very foibles,) then I am all your’s, and never will resist you more.
Here I arose. I shook myself. The window was open. Always the troublesome bosom-visiter, the intruder, is flown.—I see it yet!—And now it lessens to my aching eye!—And now the cleft air is closed after it, and it is out of sight!—and once more I am
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Tuesday, may 23.
Well did I, and but just in time to conclude to have done with Mrs. Fretchville and the house: for here Mennell has declared, that he cannot in conscience and honour go any farther.—He would not for the world be accessory to the deceiving of such a lady!—I was a fool to let either you or him see her; for ever since ye have both had scruples, which neither would have had, were a woman to have been in the question.
Well, I can’t help it!
Mennell has, however, though with some reluctance, consented to write me a letter, provided I will allow it to be the last step he shall take in this affair.
I presumed, I told him, that if I could cause Mrs. Fretchville’s woman to supply his place, he would have no objection to that.
None, he says—But is it not pity—