Now, Belford, I thought it would be but kind in me to save Miss Howe’s concern on these alarming hints; since the curiosity of such a spirit must have been prodigiously excited by them. Having therefore so good a copy to imitate, I wrote; and, taking out that of my beloved, put under the same cover the following short billet; inscriptive and conclusive parts of it in her own words.
HAMPSTEAD, TUES. EVEN.
My ever-dear miss howe,
A few lines only, till calmer spirits and quieter fingers be granted me, and till I can get over the shock which your intelligence has given me— to acquaint you—that your kind long letter of Wednesday, and, as I may say, of Thursday morning, is come safe to my hands. On receipt of your’s by my messenger to you, I sent for it from Wilson’s. There, thank Heaven! it lay. May that Heaven reward you for all your past, and for all your intended goodness to
Your for-ever obliged,
I took great pains in writing this. It cannot, I hope, be suspected. Her hand is so very delicate. Yet her’s is written less beautifully than she usually writes: and I hope Miss Howe will allow somewhat for hurry of spirits, and unsteady fingers.
My consideration for Miss Howe’s ease of mind extended still farther than to the instance I have mentioned.
That this billet might be with her as soon as possible, (and before it could have reached Hickman by the post,) I dispatched it away by a servant of Mowbray’s. Miss Howe, had there been any failure or delay, might, as thou wilt think, have communicated her anxieties to her fugitive friend; and she to me perhaps in a way I should not have been pleased with.
Once more wilt thou wonderingly question—All this pains for a single girl?
Yes, Jack—But is not this girl a Clarissa?—And who knows, but kind fortune, as a reward for my perseverance, may toss me in her charming friend? Less likely things have come to pass, Belford. And to be sure I shall have her, if I resolve upon it.
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Eight o’clock, sat. Morn. June 10.
I am come back from Mrs. Moore’s, whither I went in order to attend my charmer’s commands. But no admittance—a very bad night.
Doubtless she must be as much concerned that she has carried her resentments so very far, as I have reason to be that I made such poor use of the opportunity I had on Wednesday night.
But now, Jack, for a brief review of my present situation; and a slight hint or two of my precautions.
I have seen the women this morning, and find them half-right, half-doubting.