If thou art capable of taking in all my providences, in this letter, thou wilt admire my sagacity and contrivance almost as much as I do myself. Thou seest, that Miss Lardner, Mrs. Sinclair, Tomlinson, Mrs. Fretchville, Mennell, are all mentioned in it. My first liberties with her person also. [Modesty, modesty, Belford, I doubt, is more confined to time, place, and occasion, even by the most delicate minds, than these minds would have it believed to be.] And why all these taken notice of by me from the genuine letter, but for fear some future letter from the vixen should escape my hands, in which she might refer to these names? And, if none of them were to have been found in this that is to pass for her’s, I might be routed horse and foot, as Lord M. would phrase it in a like case.
Devilish hard (and yet I may thank myself) to be put to all this plague and trouble:—And for what dost thou ask?—O Jack, for a triumph of more value to me beforehand than an imperial crown!—Don’t ask me the value of it a month hence. But what indeed is an imperial crown itself when a man is used to it?
Miss Howe might well be anxious about the letter she wrote. Her sweet friend, from what I have let pass of her’s, has reason to rejoice in the thought that it fell not into my hands.
And now must all my contrivances be set at work, to intercept the expected letter from Miss Howe: which is, as I suppose, to direct her to a place of safety, and out of my knowledge. Mrs. Townsend is, no doubt, in this case, to smuggle her off: I hope the villain, as I am so frequently called between these two girls, will be able to manage this point.
But what, perhaps, thou askest, if the lady should take it into her head, by the connivance of Miss Rawlins, to quit this house privately in the night?
I have thought of this, Jack. Does not Will. lie in the house? And is not the widow Bevis my fast friend?
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Saturday, six o’clock, June 10.
The lady gave Will.’s sweetheart a letter last night to be carried to the post-house, as this morning, directed for Miss Howe, under cover to Hickman. I dare say neither cover nor letter will be seen to have been opened. The contents but eight lines—To own—’The receipt of her double-dated letter in safety; and referring to a longer letter, which she intends to write, when she shall have a quieter heart, and less trembling fingers. But mentions something to have happened [My detecting her she means] which has given her very great flutters, confusions, and apprehensions: but which she will wait the issue of [Some hopes for me hence, Jack!] before she gives her fresh perturbation or concern on her account.—She tells her how impatient she shall be for her next,’ &c.