Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Thursday morning, Aug. 3. Six o’clock.
I have been so much employed in my own and Belton’s affairs, that I could not come to town till last night; having contented myself with sending to Mrs. Lovick, to know, from time to time, the state of the lady’s health; of which I received but very indifferent accounts, owing, in a great measure, to letters or advices brought her from her implacable family.
I have now completed my own affairs; and, next week, shall go to Epsom, to endeavour to put Belton’s sister into possession of his own house for him: after which, I shall devote myself wholly to your service, and to that of the lady.
I was admitted to her presence last night; and found her visibly altered for the worse. When I went home, I had your letter of Tuesday last put into my hands. Let me tell thee, Lovelace, that I insist upon the performance of thy engagement to me that thou wilt not personally molest her.
[Mr. Belford dates again on Thursday morning, ten
o’clock; and gives an
account of a conversation which he had just held with the Lady upon
the subject of Miss Montague’s letter to her, preceding, and upon
Mr. Lovelace’s alternatives, as mentioned in Letter LXV., which Mr.
Belford supported with the utmost earnestness. But, as the result
of this conversation will be found in the subsequent letters, Mr.
Belford’s pleas and arguments in favour of his friend, and the
Lady’s answers, are omitted.]
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss
Thursday, Aug. 3.
I am infinitely obliged to you for your kind and condescending letter. A letter, however, which heightens my regrets, as it gives me a new instance of what a happy creature I might have been in an alliance so much approved of by such worthy ladies; and which, on their accounts, and on that of Lord M. would have been so reputable to myself, and was once so desirable.
But indeed, indeed, Madam, my heart sincerely repulses the man who, descended from such a family, could be guilty, first, of such premeditated violence as he has been guilty of; and, as he knows, farther intended me, on the night previous to the day he set out for Berkshire; and, next, pretending to spirit, could be so mean as to wish to lift into that family a person he was capable of abasing into a companionship with the most abandoned of her sex.
Allow me then, dear Madam, to declare with favour, that I think I never could be ranked with the ladies of a family so splendid and so noble, if, by vowing love and honour at the altar to such a violator, I could sanctify, as I may say, his unprecedented and elaborate wickedness.