Thou knowest, that an adroitness in the art of manual imitation, was one of my earliest attainments. It has been said, on this occasion, that had I been a bad man in meum and tuum matters, I should not have been fit to live. As to the girls, we hold it no sin to cheat them. And are we not told, that in being well deceived consists the whole of human happiness?
WEDNESDAY, MAY 31.
All still happier and happier. A very high honour done me: a chariot, instead of a coach, permitted, purposely to indulge me in the subject of subjects.
Our discourse in this sweet airing turned upon our future manner of life. The day is bashfully promised me. Soon was the answer to my repeated urgency. Our equipage, our servants, our liveries, were parts of the delightful subject. A desire that the wretch who had given me intelligence out of the family (honest Joseph Leman) might not be one of our menials; and her resolution to have her faithful Hannah, whether recovered or not; were signified; and both as readily assented to.
Her wishes, from my attentive behaviour, when with her at St. Paul’s,* that I would often accompany her to the Divine Service, were greatly intimated, and as readily engaged for. I assured her, that I ever had respected the clergy in a body; and some individuals of them (her Dr. Lewen for one) highly: and that were not going to church an act of religion, I thought it [as I told thee once] a most agreeable sight to see rich and poor, all of a company, as I might say, assembled once a week in one place, and each in his or her best attire, to worship the God that made them. Nor could it be a hardship upon a man liberally educated, to make one on so solemn an occasion, and to hear the harangue of a man of letters, (though far from being the principal part of the service, as it is too generally looked upon to be,) whose studies having taken a different turn from his own, he must always have something new to say.
* See Vol. IV. Letter V. ** Ibid.
She shook her head, and repeated the word new: but looked as if willing to be satisfied for the present with this answer. To be sure, Jack, she means to do great despight to his Satanic majesty in her hopes of reforming me. No wonder, therefore, if he exerts himself to prevent her, and to be revenged. But how came this in!—I am ever of party against myself.—One day, I fancy, I shall hate myself on recollecting what I am about at this instant. But I must stay till then. We must all of us do something to repent of.
The reconciliation-prospect was enlarged upon. If her uncle Harlowe will but pave the way to it, and if it can be brought about, she shall be happy.—Happy, with a sigh, as it is now possible she can be!
She won’t forbear, Jack!
I told her, that I had heard from Pritchard, just before we set out on our airing, and expected him in town to-morrow from Lord M. to take my directions. I spoke with gratitude of my Lord’s kindness to me; and with pleasure of Lady Sarah’s, Lady Betty’s, and my two cousins Montague’s veneration for her: as also of his Lordship’s concern that his gout hindered him from writing a reply with his own hand to my last.