Your most humble servant,
Tuesday, July 18.
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Sunday night, July 16.
What a cursed piece of work hast thou made of it, with the most excellent of women! Thou mayest be in earnest, or in jest, as thou wilt; but the poor lady will not be long either thy sport, or the sport of fortune!
I will give thee an account of a scene that wants but her affecting pen to represent it justly; and it would wring all the black blood out of thy callous heart.
Thou only, who art the author of her calamities, shouldst have attended her in her prison. I am unequal to such a task: nor know I any other man but would.
This last act, however unintended by thee, yet a consequence of thy general orders, and too likely to be thought agreeable to thee, by those who know thy other villanies by her, has finished thy barbarous work. And I advise thee to trumpet forth every where, how much in earnest thou art to marry her, whether true or not.
Thou mayest safely do it. She will not live to put thee to the trial; and it will a little palliate for thy enormous usage of her, and be a mean to make mankind, who know not what I know of the matter, herd a little longer with thee, and forbear to hunt thee to thy fellow-savages in the Lybian wilds and desarts.
Your messenger found me at Edgware expecting to dinner with me several friends, whom I had invited three days before. I sent apologies to them, as in a case of life and death; and speeded to town to the woman’s: for how knew I but shocking attempts might be made upon her by the cursed wretches: perhaps by your connivance, in order to mortify her into your measures?
Little knows the public what villanies are committed by vile wretches, in these abominable houses upon innocent creatures drawn into their snares.
Finding the lady not there, I posted away to the officer’s, although Sally told me that she had but just come from thence; and that she had refused to see her, or (as she sent down word) any body else; being resolved to have the remainder of that Sunday to herself, as it might, perhaps, be the last she should ever see.
I had the same thing told me, when I got thither.
I sent up to let her know, that I came with a commission to set her at liberty. I was afraid of sending up the name of a man known to be your friend. She absolutely refused to see any man, however, for that day, or to answer further to any thing said from me.
Having therefore informed myself of all that the officer, and his wife, and servant, could acquaint me with, as well in relation to the horrid arrest, as to her behaviour, and the women’s to her; and her ill state of health; I went back to Sinclair’s, as I will still call her, and heard the three women’s story. From all which I am enabled to give you the following shocking particulars: which may serve till I can see the unhappy lady herself to-morrow, if then I gain admittance to her. You will find that I have been very minute in my inquiries.