These settlements of my mother made the lawyer’s work easy; nor can she have a better precedent; the great Lord S. having settled them, at the request of my mother’s relations; all the difference, my charmer’s are 100l. per annum more than my mother’s.
I offered to read to her the old deed, while she looked over the draught; for she had refused her presence at the examination with the clerk: but this she also declined.
I suppose she did not care to hear of so many children, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh sons, and as many daughters, to be begotten upon the body of the said Clarissa Harlowe.
Charming matrimonial recitativoes!—though it is always said lawfully begotten too—as if a man could beget children unlawfully upon the body of his own wife.—But thinkest thou not that these arch rogues the lawyers hereby intimate, that a man may have children by his wife before marriage?—This must be what they mean. Why will these sly fellows put an honest man in minds of such rogueries?—but hence, as in numberless other instances, we see, that law and gospel are two very different things.
Dorcas, in our absence, tried to get at the wainscot-box in the dark closet. But it cannot be done without violence. And to run a risk of consequence now, for mere curiosity-sake, would be inexcusable.
Mrs. Sinclair and the nymphs are all of opinion, that I am now so much a favourite, and have such a visible share in her confidence, and even in her affections, that I may do what I will, and plead for excuse violence of passion; which, they will have it, makes violence of action pardonable with their sex; as well as allowed extenuation with the unconcerned of both sexes; and they all offer their helping hands. Why not? they say: Has she not passed for my wife before them all?—And is she not in a fine way of being reconciled to her friends?—And was not the want of that reconciliation the pretence for postponing the consummation?
They again urge me, since it is so difficult to make night my friend, to an attempt in the day. They remind me, that the situation of their house is such, that no noises can be heard out of it; and ridicule me for making it necessary for a lady to be undressed. It was not always so with me, poor old man! Sally told me; saucily flinging her handkerchief in my face.
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Friday, June 2.
Notwithstanding my studied-for politeness and complaisance for some days past; and though I have wanted courage to throw the mask quite aside; yet I have made the dear creature more than once look about her, by the warm, though decent expression of my passion. I have brought her to own, that I am more than indifferent with her: but as to love, which I pressed her to acknowledge, what need of acknowledgments of that sort, when a woman consents to marrying?—And once repulsing me with displeasure, the proof of true love I was vowing for her, was respect, not freedom. And offering to defend myself, she told me, that all the conception she had been able to form of a faulty passion, was, that it must demonstrate itself as mine sought to do.