My next, I hope, will confirm my present, and open still more agreeable prospects. Mean time be assured, that there cannot possibly any good fortune befal me, which I shall look upon with equal delight to that I have in your friendship.
My thankful compliments to your good Mr. Hickman, to whose kind invention I am so much obliged on this occasion, conclude me, my dearest Miss Howe,
Your ever affectionate and grateful
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Tuesday, may 30.
I have a letter from Lord M. Such a one as I would wish for, if I intended matrimony. But as matters are circumstanced, I cannot think of showing it to my beloved.
My Lord regrets, ’that he is not to be the Lady’s nuptial father. He seems apprehensive that I have still, specious as my reasons are, some mischief in my head.’
He graciously consents, ’that I may marry when I please; and offers one or both of my cousins to assist my bride, and to support her spirits on the occasion; since, as he understands, she is so much afraid to venture with me.
’Pritchard, he tells me, has his final orders to draw up deeds for assigning over to me, in perpetuity, 1000L. per annum: which he will execute the same hour that the lady in person owns her marriage.’
He consents, ‘that the jointure be made from my own estate.’
He wishes, ’that the Lady would have accepted of his draught; and commends me for tendering it to her. But reproaches me for my pride in not keeping it myself. What the right side gives up, the left, he says, may be the better for.’
The girls, the left-sided girls, he means.
With all my heart. If I can have my Clarissa, the devil take every thing else.
A good deal of other stuff writes the stupid peer; scribbling in several places half a dozen lines, apparently for no other reason but to bring in as many musty words in an old saw.
If thou sawest, ’How I can manage, since my beloved will wonder that I have not an answer from my Lord to such a letter as I wrote to him; and if I own I have one, will expect that I should shew it to her, as I did my letter?—This I answer—’That I can be informed by Pritchard, that my Lord has the gout in his right-hand; and has ordered him to attend me in form, for my particular orders about the transfer:’ And I can see Pritchard, thou knowest, at the King’s Arms, or wherever I please, at an hour’s warning; though he be at M. Hall, I in town; and he, by word of mouth, can acquaint me with every thing in my Lord’s letter that is necessary for my charmer to know.
Whenever it suits me, I can resolve the old peer to his right hand, and then can make him write a much more sensible letter than this that he has now sent me.