Adieu, my ever-indulgent friend. You say all will be at last happy—and I know it will—I confide that it will, with as much security, as you may, that I will be, to my last hour,
Your ever grateful and affectionate
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Tuesday, Aug. 1.
I am most confoundedly chagrined and disappointed: for here, on Saturday, arrived a messenger from Miss Howe, with a letter to my cousins;* which I knew nothing of till yesterday; when Lady Sarah and Lady Betty were procured to be here, to sit in judgment upon it with the old Peer, and my two kinswomen. And never was bear so miserably baited as thy poor friend!—And for what?—why for the cruelty of Miss Harlowe: For have I committed any new offence? and would I not have re-instated myself in her favour upon her own terms, if I could? And is it fair to punish me for what is my misfortune, and not my fault? Such event-judging fools as I have for my relations! I am ashamed of them all.
* See Letter LV. of this volume.
In that of Miss Howe was enclosed one to her from Miss Harlowe,* to be transmitted to my cousins, containing a final rejection of me; and that in very vehement and positive terms; yet she pretends that, in this rejection, she is governed more by principle than passion—[D——d lie, as ever was told!] and, as a proof that she is, says, that she can forgive me, and does, on this one condition, that I will never molest her more—the whole letter so written as to make herself more admired, me more detested.
* See Letter XLI. of this volume.
What we have been told of the agitations and workings, and sighings and sobbings, of the French prophets among us formerly, was nothing at all to the scene exhibited by these maudlin souls, at the reading of these letters; and of some affecting passages extracted from another of my fair implacable’s to Miss Howe—such lamentations for the loss of so charming a relation! such applaudings of her virtue, of her exaltedness of soul and sentiment! such menaces of disinherisons! I, not needing their reproaches to be stung to the heart with my own reflections, and with the rage of disappointment; and as sincerely as any of them admiring her— ‘What the devil,’ cried I, ’is all this for? Is it not enough to be despised and rejected? Can I help her implacable spirit? Would I not repair the evils I have made her suffer?’—Then was I ready to curse them all, herself and Miss Howe for company: and heartily swore that she should yet be mine.
I now swear it over again to thee—’Were her death to follow in a week after the knot is tied, by the Lord of Heaven, it shall be tied, and she shall die a Lovelace!’—Tell her so, if thou wilt: but, at the same time, tell her that I have no view to her fortune; and that I will solemnly resign that, and all pretensions to it, in whose favour she pleases, if she resign life issueless.—I am not so low-minded a wretch, as to be guilty of any sordid views to her fortune.—Let her judge for herself, then, whether it be not for her honour rather to leave this world a Lovelace than a Harlowe.