To sum all up—I am sufficiently apprized, that men of worthy and honest hearts, who never allowed themselves in premeditated evil, and who take into the account the excellencies of this fine creature, will and must not only condemn, but abhor me, were they to know as much of me as thou dost. But, methinks, I would be glad to escape the censure of those men, and of those women too, who have never known what capital trials and temptations are; of those who have no genius for enterprise; of those who want rather courage than will; and most particularly of those who have only kept their secret better than I have kept, or wish to keep, mine. Were those exceptions to take place, perhaps, Jack, I should have ten to acquit to one that should condemn me. Have I not often said, that human nature is a rogue?
I threatened above to refrain writing to thee. But take it not to heart, Jack—I must write on, and cannot help it.
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Wednesday night, eleven o’clock.
Faith, Jack, thou hadst half undone me with thy nonsense, though I would not own it on my yesterday’s letter: my conscience of thy party before.— But I think I am my own man again.
So near to execution my plot; so near springing my mine; all agreed upon between the women and me; or I believe thou hadst overthrown me.
I have time for a few lines preparative to what is to happen in an hour or two; and I love to write to the moment.
We have been extremely happy. How many agreeable days have we known together!—What may the next two hours produce.
When I parted with my charmer, (which I did, with infinite reluctance, half an hour ago,) it was upon her promise that she would not sit up to write or read. For so engaging was the conversation to me, (and indeed my behaviour throughout the whole of it was confessedly agreeable to her,) that I insisted, if she did not directly retire to rest, that she should add another happy hour to the former.
To have sat up writing or reading half the night, as she sometimes does, would have frustrated my view, as thou wilt observe, when my little plot unravels.
What—What—What now!—Bounding villain! wouldst thou choke me?—
I was speaking to my heart, Jack!—It was then at my throat.—And what is all this for?—These shy women, how, when a man thinks himself near the mark, do they tempest him!
Is all ready, Dorcas? Has my beloved kept her word with me?—Whether are these billowy heavings owing more to love or to fear? I cannot tell, for the soul of me, of which I have most. If I can but take her before her apprehension, before her eloquence, is awake—
Limbs, why thus convulsed?—Knees, till now so firmly knit, why thus relaxed? why beat you thus together? Will not these trembling fingers, which twice have refused to direct the pen, fail me in the arduous moment?