Excuse my warmth of expression. The warmth of my heart wants none. I am enraged at your relations; for, bad as what I have mentioned is, I have not told you all; nor now, perhaps, ever will. I am angry at my own mother’s narrowness of mind, and at her indiscriminate adherence to old notions. And I am exasperated against your foolish, your low-vanity’d Lovelace. But let us stoop to take the wretch as he is, and make the best of him, since you are destined to stoop, to keep grovellers and worldlings in countenance. He had not been guilty of a direct indecency to you. Nor dare he—not so much of a devil as that comes to neither. Had he such villainous intentions, so much in his power as you are, they would have shewn themselves before now to such a penetrating and vigilant eye, and to such a pure heart as yours. Let us save the wretch then, if we can, though we soil our fingers in lifting him up his dirt.
There is yet, to a person of your fortune and independence, a good deal to do, if you enter upon those terms which ought to be entered upon. I don’t find that he has once talked of settlements; nor yet of the license. A foolish wretch!—But as your evil destiny has thrown you out of all other protection and mediation, you must be father, mother, uncle, to yourself; and enter upon the requisite points for yourself. It is hard upon you; but indeed you must. Your situation requires it. What room for delicacy now?—Or would you have me write to him? yet that would be the same thing as if you were to write yourself. Yet write you should, I think, if you cannot speak. But speaking is certainly best: for words leave no traces; they pass as breath; and mingle with air; and may be explained with latitude. But the pen is a witness on record.
I know the gentleness of your spirit; I know the laudable pride of your heart; and the just notion you have of the dignity of our sex in these delicate points. But once more, all this in nothing now: your honour is concerned that the dignity I speak of should not be stood upon.
‘Mr. Lovelace,’ would I say; yet hate the foolish fellow for his low, his stupid pride, in wishing to triumph over the dignity of his own wife;— ’I am by your means deprived of every friend I have in the world. In what light am I to look upon you? I have well considered every thing. You have made some people, much against my liking, think me a wife: others know I am not married; nor do I desire any body should believe I am: Do you think your being here in the same house with me can be to my reputation? You talked to me of Mrs. Fretchville’s house.’ This will bring him to renew his last discourse on the subject, if he does not revive it of himlsef. ’If Mrs. Fretchville knows not her own mind, what is her house to me? You talked of bringing up your cousin Montague to bear me company: if my brother’s schemes be your pretence for not going yourself to fetch her, you can write to her. I insist upon bringing these two points to an issue: off or on ought to be indifferent to me, if so to them.’