I am, may it please your Honner,
Your Honner’s must dutiful,
And, wonce more, happy servant,
The two inner letters, as Will. calls them, ’tis plain, were written for no other purpose, but to send him out of the way with them, and one of them to amuse me. That directed to Miss Howe is only this:—
I write this, my dear Miss Howe, only for a feint, and to see if it will go current. I shall write at large very soon, if not miserably prevented!!!
Now, Jack, will not her feints justify mine! Does she not invade my province, thinkest thou? And is it not now fairly come to—Who shall most deceive and cheat the other? So, I thank my stars, we are upon a par at last, as to this point, which is a great ease to my conscience, thou must believe. And if what Hudibras tells us is true, the dear fugitive has also abundance of pleasure to come.
pleasure is as great
In being cheated, as to cheat.
As lookers-on find most delight,
Who least perceive the juggler’s sleight;
And still the less they understand,
The more admire the slight of hand.
This my dear juggler’s letter to me; the other inner letter sent by Will.
Do not give me cause to dread your return. If you would not that I should hate you for ever, send me half a line by the bearer, to assure me that you will not attempt to see me for a week to come. I cannot look you in the face without equal confusion and indignation. The obliging me in this, is but a poor atonement for your last night’s vile behaviour.
You may pass this time in a journey to Lord M.’s; and I cannot doubt, if the ladies of your family are as favourable to me, as you have assured me they are, but that you will have interest enough to prevail with one of them to oblige me with their company. After your baseness of last night, you will not wonder, that I insist upon this proof of your future honour.
If Captain Tomlinson comes mean time, I can hear what he has to say, and send you an account of it.
But in less than a week if you see me, it must be owing to a fresh act of violence, of which you know not the consequence.
Send me the requested line, if ever you expect to have the forgiveness confirmed, the promise of which you extorted from
Now, Belford, what canst thou say in behalf of this sweet rogue of a lady? What canst thou say for her? ’Tis apparent, that she was fully determined upon an elopement when she wrote it. And thus would she make me of party against myself, by drawing me in to give her a week’s time to complete it. And, more wicked still, send me upon a fool’s errand to bring up one of my cousins.—When we came to have the satisfaction of finding her gone off, and me exposed for ever!—What punishment can be bad enough for such a little villain of a lady?