Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Sat. Aug. 23.
I am so disturbed at the contents of Miss Harlowe’s answer to my cousin Charlotte’s letter of Tuesday last, (which was given her by the same fellow that gave me your’s,) that I have hardly patience or consideration enough to weigh what you write.
She had need indeed to cry out for mercy for herself from her friends, who knows not how to show any! She is a true daughter of the Harlowes!— By my soul, Jack, she is a true daughter of the Harlowes! Yet has she so many excellencies, that I must love her; and, fool that I am, love her the more for despising me.
Thou runnest on with thy cursed nonsensical reformado rote, of dying, dying, dying! and, having once got the word by the end, canst not help foisting it in at every period! The devil take me, if I don’t think thou wouldst rather give her poison with thy own hands, rather than she should recover, and rob thee of the merit of being a conjurer!
But no more of thy cursed knell; thy changes upon death’s candlestick turned bottom-upwards: she’ll live to bury me; I see that: for, by my soul, I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep, nor, what is still worse, love any woman in the world but her. Nor care I to look upon a woman now: on the contrary, I turn my head from every one I meet: except by chance an eye, an air, a feature, strikes me, resembling her’s in some glancing-by face; and then I cannot forbear looking again: though the second look recovers me; for there can be nobody like her.
But surely, Belford, the devil’s in this woman! The more I think of her nonsense and obstinacy, the less patience I have with her. Is it possible she can do herself, her family, her friends, so much justice any other way, as by marrying me? Were she sure she should live but a day, she ought to die a wife. If her christian revenge will not let her wish to do so for her own sake, ought she not for the sake of her family, and of her sex, which she pretends sometimes to have so much concern for? And if no sake is dear enough to move her Harlowe-spirit in my favour, has she any title to the pity thou so pitifully art always bespeaking for her?
As to the difference which her letter has made between me and the stupid family here, [and I must tell thee we are all broke in pieces,] I value not that of a button. They are fools to anathematize and curse me, who can give them ten curses for one, were they to hold it for a day together.