From what I have said, thou wilt see, that I approve of my beloved’s exception to public loves. That, I hope, is all the charming icicle means by marriage-purity, but to return.
From the whole of what I have mentioned to have passed between my beloved and me, thou wilt gather, that I have not been a mere dangler, a Hickman, in the passed days, though not absolutely active, and a Lovelace.
The dear creature now considers herself as my wife-elect. The unsaddened heart, no longer prudish, will not now, I hope, give the sable turn to every address of the man she dislikes not. And yet she must keep up so much reserve, as will justify past inflexibilities. ’Many and many a pretty soul would yield, were she not afraid that the man she favoured would think the worse of her for it.’ That is also a part of the rake’s creed. But should she resent ever so strongly, she cannot now break with me; since, if she does, there will be an end of the family reconciliation; and that in a way highly discreditable to herself.
Just returned from Doctors Commons. I have been endeavouring to get a license. Very true, Jack. I have the mortification to find a difficulty, as the lady is of rank and fortune, and as there is no consent of father or next friend, in obtaining this all-fettering instrument.
I made report of this difficulty. ‘It is very right,’ she says, ’that such difficulties should be made.’—But not to a man of my known fortune, surely, Jack, though the woman were the daughter of a duke.
I asked, if she approved of the settlements? She said, she had compared them with my mother’s, and had no objection to them. She had written to Miss Howe upon the subject, she owned; and to inform her of our present situation.*
* As this letter of the Lady to Miss Howe contains no new matter, but what may be collected from one of those of Mr. Lovelace, it is omitted.
Just now, in high good humour, my beloved returned me the draughts of the settlements: a copy of which I have sent to Captain Tomlinson. She complimented me, ’that she never had any doubt of my honour in cases of this nature.’
In matters between man and man nobody ever had, thou knowest.
I had need, thou wilt say, to have some good qualities.
Great faults and great virtues are often found in the same person. In nothing very bad, but as to women: and did not one of them begin with me.*
* See Vol. I. Letter XXXI.
We have held, that women have no souls. I am a very Turk in this point, and willing to believe they have not. And if so, to whom shall I be accountable for what I do to them? Nay, if souls they have, as there is no sex in ethereals, nor need of any, what plea can a lady hold of injuries done her in her lady-state, when there is an end of her lady-ship?