Lovel. Why this is talking somewhat like. I would have you all disclaim my actions. I own I have done very vilely by this lady. One step led to another. I am curst with an enterprizing spirit. I hate to be foiled—
Foiled! interrupted Lady Sarah. What a shame to talk at this rate!—Did the lady set up a contention with you? All nobly sincere, and plain-hearted, have I heard Miss Clarissa Harlowe is: above art, above disguise; neither the coquette, nor the prude!—Poor lady! she deserved a better fare from the man for whom she took the step which she so freely blames!
This above half affected me.—Had this dispute been so handled by every one, I had been ashamed to look up. I began to be bashful.
Charlotte asked if I did not still seem inclinable to do the lady justice, if she would accept of me? It would be, she dared to say, the greatest felicity the family could know (she would answer for one) that this fine lady were of it.
They all declared to the same effect; and Lady Sarah put the matter home to me.
But my Lord Marplot would have it that I could not be serious for six minutes together.
I told his Lordship that he was mistaken; light as he thought I made of his subject, I never knew any that went so near my heart.
Miss Patty said she was glad to hear that: and her soft eyes glistened with pleasure.
Lord M. called her sweet soul, and was ready to cry.
Not from humanity neither, Jack. This Peer has no bowels; as thou mayest observe by this treatment of me. But when people’s minds are weakened by a sense of their own infirmities, and when they are drawing on to their latter ends, they will be moved on the slightest occasions, whether those offer from within or without them. And this, frequently, the unpenetrating world, calls humanity; when all the time, in compassionating the miseries of human nature, they are but pitying themselves; and were they in strong health and spirits, would care as little for any body else as thou or I do.
Here broke they off my trial for this sitting. Lady Sarah was much fatigued. It was agreed to pursue the subject in the morning. They all, however, retired together, and went into private conference.
The Ladies, instead of taking up the subject where we had laid it down, must needs touch upon passage in my fair accuser’s letter, which I was in hopes they would have let rest, as we were in a tolerable way. But, truly, they must hear all they could hear of our story, and what I had to say to those passages, that they might be better enabled to mediate between us, if I were really and indeed inclined to do her the hoped-for justice.
These passages were, 1st, ’That, after I had compulsorily tricked her into the act of going off with me, I carried her to one of the worst houses in London.’