All that makes for me in it I will transcribe for her—yet, hang it, she shall have the letter, and my soul with it, for one consenting kiss.
She has got the letter from me without the reward. Deuce take me, if I had the courage to propose the condition. A new character this of bashfulness in thy friend. I see, that a truly modest woman may make even a confident man keep his distance. By my soul, Belford, I believe, that nine women in ten, who fall, fall either from their own vanity or levity, or for want of circumspection and proper reserves.
I did intend to take my reward on her returning a letter so favourable to us both. But she sent it to me, sealed up, by Dorcas. I might have thought that there were two or three hints in it, that she would be too nice immediately to appear to. I send it to thee; and here will stop, to give thee time to read it. Return it as soon as thou hast perused it.
Lord M. To Robert Lovelace, Esq.
Tuesday, may 23.
It is a long lane that has no turning.—Do not despise me for my proverbs —you know I was always fond of them; and if you had been so too, it would have been the better for you, let me tell you. I dare swear, the fine lady you are so likely to be soon happy with, will be far from despising them; for I am told, that she writes well, and that all her letters are full of sentences. God convert you! for nobody but he and this lady can.
I have no manner of doubt but that you will marry, as your father, and all your ancestors, did before you: else you would have had no title to be my heir; nor can your descendants have any title to be your’s, unless they are legitimate; that’s worth your remembrance, Sir!—No man is always a fool, every man is sometimes.—But your follies, I hope, are now at an end.
I know, you have vowed revenge against this fine lady’s family: but no more of that, now. You must look upon them all as your relations; and forgive and forget. And when they see you make a good husband and a good father, [which God send, for all our sakes!] they will wonder at their nonsensical antipathy, and beg your pardon: But while they think you a vile fellow, and a rake, how can they either love you, or excuse their daughter?
And methinks I could wish to give a word of comfort to the lady, who, doubtless, must be under great fears, how she shall be able to hold in such a wild creature as you have hitherto been. I would hint to her, that by strong arguments, and gentle words, she may do any thing with you; for though you are apt to be hot, gentle words will cool you, and bring you into the temper that is necessary for your cure.
Would to God, my poor lady, your aunt, who is dead and gone, had been a proper patient for the same remedy! God rest her soul! No reflections upon her memory! Worth is best known by want! I know her’s now; and if I had went first, she would by this time have known mine.