Is not thy uncle dead yet?
What’s come to mine, that he writes not to my last?—Hunting after more wisdom of nations, I suppose!—Yaw-yaw-yawning again!—Pen, begone!
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Monday, may 29.
Now have I established myself for ever in my charmer’s heart.
The Captain came at seven, as promised, and ready equipped for his journey. My beloved chose not to give us her company till our first conversation was over—ashamed, I suppose, to be present at that part of it which was to restore her to her virgin state by my confession, after her wifehood had been reported to her uncle. But she took her cue, nevertheless, and listened to all that passed.
The modestest women, Jack, must think, and think deeply sometimes. I wonder whether they ever blush at those things by themselves, at which they have so charming a knack of blushing in company. If not; and if blushing be a sign of grace or modesty; have not the sex as great a command over their blushes as they are said to have over their tears? This reflection would lead me a great way into female minds, were I disposed to pursue it.
I told the Captain, that I would prevent his question; and accordingly (after I had enjoined the strictest secrecy, that no advantage might be given to James Harlowe, and which he had answered for as well on Mr. Harlowe’s part as his own) I acknowledged nakedly and fairly the whole truth—to wit, ’That we were not yet married. I gave him hints of the causes of procrastination. Some of them owing to unhappy misunderstandings: but chiefly to the Lady’s desire of previous reconciliation with her friends; and to a delicacy that had no example.’
Less nice ladies than this, Jack, love to have delays, wilful and studied delays, imputed to them in these cases—yet are indelicate in their affected delicacy: For do they not thereby tacitly confess, that they expect to be the greatest estgainers in wedlock; and that there is self-denial in the pride they take in delaying?
’I told him the reason of our passing to the people below as married—yet as under a vow of restriction, as to consummation, which had kept us both to the height, one of forbearing, the other of vigilant punctilio; even to the denial of those innocent freedoms, which betrothed lovers never scruple to allow and to take.
’I then communicated to him a copy of my proposal of settlement; the substance of her written answer; the contents of my letter of invitation to Lord M. to be her nuptial-father; and of my Lord’s generous reply. But said, that having apprehensions of delay from his infirmities, and my beloved choosing by all means (and that from principles of unrequited duty) a private solemnization, I had written to excuse his Lordship’s presence; and expected an answer every hour.