He told me that a letter was left for her there on Saturday; and, about half an hour before I came, another, superscribed by the same hand; the first, by the post; the other, by a countryman; who having been informed of her absence, and of all the circumstances they could tell him of it, posted away, full of concern, saying, that the lady he was sent from would be ready to break her heart at the tidings.
I thought it right to take the two letters back with me; and, dismissing my coach, took a chair, as a more proper vehicle for the lady, if I (the friend of her destroyer) could prevail upon her to leave Rowland’s.
And here, being obliged to give way to an indispensable avocation, I will make thee taste a little, in thy turn, of the plague of suspense; and break off, without giving thee the least hint of the issue of my further proceedings. I know, that those least bear disappointment, who love most to give it. In twenty instances, hast thou afforded me proof of the truth of this observation. And I matter not thy raving.
Another letter, however, shall be ready, send for it a soon as thou wilt. But, were it not, have I not written enough to convince thee, that I am
Thy ready and obliging friend,
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Monday, July 17, eleven at night.
Curse upon thy hard heart, thou vile caitiff! How hast thou tortured me, by thy designed abruption! ’tis impossible that Miss Harlowe should have ever suffered as thou hast made me suffer, and as I now suffer!
That sex is made to bear pain. It is a curse that the first of it entailed upon all her daughters, when she brought the curse upon us all. And they love those best, whether man or child, who give them most—But to stretch upon thy d——d tenter-hooks such a spirit as mine—No rack, no torture, can equal my torture!
And must I still wait the return of another messenger?
Confound thee for a malicious devil! I wish thou wert a post-horse, and I upon the back of thee! how would I whip and spur, and harrow up thy clumsy sides, till I make thee a ready-roasted, ready-flayed, mess of dog’s meat; all the hounds in the country howling after thee, as I drove thee, to wait my dismounting, in order to devour thee piece-meal; life still throbbing in each churned mouthful!
Give this fellow the sequel of thy tormenting scribble.
Dispatch him away with it. Thou hast promised it shall be ready. Every cushion or chair I shall sit upon, the bed I shall lie down upon (if I go to bed) till he return, will be stuffed with bolt-upright awls, bodkins, corking-pins, and packing needles: already I can fancy that, to pink my body like my mind, I need only to be put into a hogshead stuck full of steel-pointed spikes, and rolled down a hill three times as high as the Monument.