I am so sensible of the honour done me in your’s of this day, that I would not delay for one moment the answering of it. I hope you will live to see many happy years; and to be your own executrix in those points which your heart is most set upon. But, in the case of survivorship, I most cheerfully accept of the sacred office you are pleased to offer me; and you may absolutely rely upon my fidelity, and, if possible, upon the literal performance of every article you shall enjoin me.
The effect of the kind wish you conclude with, had been my concern ever since I have been admitted to the honour of your conversation. It shall be my whole endeavour that it be not vain. The happiness of approaching you, which this trust, as I presume, will give me frequent opportunities of doing, must necessarily promote the desired end: since it will be impossible to be a witness of your piety, equanimity, and other virtues, and not aspire to emulate you. All I beg is, that you will not suffer any future candidate, or event, to displace me; unless some new instances of unworthiness appear either in the morals or behaviour of,
Your most obliged and faithful servant,
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Friday night, Aug. 4.
I have actually delivered to the lady the extracts she requested me to give her from your letters. I do assure you that I have made the very best of the matter for you, not that conscience, but that friendship, could oblige me to make. I have changed or omitted some free words. The warm description of her person in the fire-scene, as I may call it, I have omitted. I have told her, that I have done justice to you, in the justice you have done to her by her unexampled virtue. But take the very words which I wrote to her immediately following the extracts:
’And now, Madam,’—See the paragraph marked with an inverted comma [thus ’], Letter LXX. of this volume.
The lady is extremely uneasy at the thoughts of your attempting to visit her. For Heaven’s sake, (your word being given,) and for pity’s sake, (for she is really in a very weak and languishing way,) let me beg of you not to think of it.
Yesterday afternoon she received a cruel letter (as Mrs. Lovick supposes it to be, by the effect it had upon her) from her sister, in answer to one written last Saturday, entreating a blessing and forgiveness from her parents.
She acknowledges, that if the same decency and justice are observed in all of your letters, as in the extracts I have obliged her with, (as I have assured her they are,) she shall think herself freed from the necessity of writing her own story: and this is an advantage to thee which thou oughtest to thank me for.