But this I might have spared. Of this, devil as thou art, thou canst not be capable. Thou couldst not enjoy a triumph so disgraceful to thy wicked pride, as well as to humanity.
Shouldest thou think, that the melancholy spectacle hourly before me has made me more serious than usual, perhaps thou wilt not be mistaken. But nothing more is to be inferred from hence (were I even to return to my former courses) but that whenever the time of cool reflection comes, whether brought on by our own disasters, or by those of others, we shall undoubtedly, if capable of thought, and if we have time for it, think in the same manner.
We neither of us are such fools as to disbelieve a futurity, or to think, whatever be our practice, that we came hither by chance, and for no end but to do all the mischief we have it in our power to do. Nor am I ashamed to own, that in the prayers which my poor uncle makes me read to him, in the absence of a very good clergyman who regularly attends him, I do not forget to put in a word or two for myself.
If, Lovelace, thou laughest at me, thy ridicule will be more conformable to thy actions than to thy belief.—Devils believe and tremble. Canst thou be more abandoned than they?
And here let me add, with regard to my poor old man, that I often wish thee present but for one half hour in a day, to see the dregs of a gay life running off in the most excruciating tortures that the cholic, the stone, and the surgeon’s knife can unitedly inflict, and to hear him bewail the dissoluteness of his past life, in the bitterest anguish of a spirit every hour expecting to be called to its last account.—Yet, by all his confessions, he has not to accuse himself, in sixty-seven years of life, of half the very vile enormities which you and I have committed in the last seven only.
I conclude with recommending to your serious consideration all I have written, as proceeding from the heart and soul of
Your assured friend,
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Tuesday afternoon, June 6.
Difficulties still to be got over in procuring this plaguy license. I ever hated, and ever shall hate, these spiritual lawyers, and their court.
And now, Jack, if I have not secured victory, I have a retreat.
But hold—thy servant with a letter—
A confounded long one, though not a narrative one—Once more in behalf of this lady?—Lie thee down, oddity! What canst thou write that can have force upon me at this crisis?—And have I not, as I went along, made thee to say all that was necessary for thee to say?
Yet once more I will take thee up.
Trite, stale, poor, (sayest thou,) are some of my contrivances; that of the widow particularly!—I have no patience with thee. Had not that contrivance its effect at that time, for a procrastination? and had I not then reason to fear, that the lady would find enough to make her dislike this house? and was it not right (intending what I intended) to lead her on from time to time with a notion that a house of her own would be ready for her soon, in order to induce her to continue here till it was?