Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Tuesday, may 9.
I am a very unhappy man. This lady is said to be one of the sweetest-tempered creatures in the world: and so I thought her. But to me she is one of the most perverse. I never was supposed to be an ill-natured mortal neither. How can it be? I imagined, for a long while, that we were born to make each other happy: but quite the contrary; we really seem to be sent to plague each other.
I will write a comedy, I think: I have a title already; and that’s half the work. The Quarrelsome Lovers. ’Twill do. There’s something new and striking in it. Yet, more or less, all lovers quarrel. Old Terence has taken notice of that; and observes upon it, That lovers falling out occasions lovers falling in; and a better understanding of course. ’Tis natural that it should be so. But with us, we fall out so often, without falling in once; and a second quarrel so generally happens before a first is made up; that it is hard to guess what event our loves will be attended with. But perseverance is my glory, and patience my handmaid, when I have in view an object worthy of my attempts. What is there in an easy conquest? Hudibras questions well,
------What mad lover ever dy’d To gain a soft and easy bride? Or, for a lady tender-hearted, In purling streams, or hemp, departed?
But I will lead to the occasion of this preamble.
I had been out. On my return, meeting Dorcas on the stairs—Your lady in her chamber, Dorcas? In the dining-room, sir: and if ever you hope for an opportunity to come at a letter, it must be now. For at her feet I saw one lie, which, as may be seen by its open fold, she had been reading, with a little parcel of others she is now busied with—all pulled out of her pocket, as I believe: so, Sir, you’ll know where to find them another time.
I was ready to leap for joy, and instantly resolved to bring forward an expedient which I had held in petto; and entering the dining-room with an air of transport, I boldly clasped my arms about her, as she sat; she huddling up her papers in her handkerchief all the time; the dropped paper unseen. O my dearest life, a lucky expedient have Mr. Mennell and I hit upon just now. In order to hasten Mrs. Fretchville to quit the house, I have agreed, if you approve of it, to entertain her cook, her housemaid, and two men-servants, (about whom she was very solicitous,) till you are provided to your mind. And, that no accommodations may be wanted, I have consented to take the household linen at an appraisement.