I shall have sinkings sometimes. I must expect such. And my father’s maledict——But you will chide me for introducing that, now I am enumerating my comforts.
But I charge you, my dear, that you do not suffer my calamities to sit too heavily upon your own mind. If you do, that will be to new-point some of those arrows that have been blunted and lost their sharpness.
If you would contribute to my happiness, give way, my dear, to your own; and to the cheerful prospects before you!
You will think very meanly of your Clarissa, if you do not believe, that the greatest pleasure she can receive in this life is in your prosperity and welfare. Think not of me, my only friend, but as we were in times past: and suppose me gone a great, great way off!—A long journey!——How often are the dearest of friends, at their country’s call, thus parted— with a certainty for years—with a probability for ever.
Love me still, however. But let it be with a weaning love. I am not what I was, when we were inseparable lovers, as I may say.—Our views must now be different—Resolve, my dear, to make a worthy man happy, because a worthy man make you so.—And so, my dearest love, for the present adieu! —adieu, my dearest love!—but I shall soon write again, I hope!
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace, ESQ. [In answer to letter XXIII. Of this volume.] THURDAY, July 20.
I read that part of your conclusion to poor Belton, where you inquire after him, and mention how merrily you and the reset pass your time at M. Hall. He fetched a deep sigh: You are all very happy! were his words. —I am sorry they were his words; for, poor fellow, he is going very fast. Change of air, he hopes, will mend him, joined to the cheerful company I have left him in. But nothing, I dare say, will.
A consuming malady, and a consuming mistress, to an indulgent keeper, are dreadful things to struggle with both together: violence must be used to get rid of the latter; and yet he has not spirit enough left him to exert himself. His house is Thomasine’s house; not his. He has not been within his doors for a fortnight past. Vagabonding about from inn to inn; entering each for a bait only; and staying two or three days without power to remove; and hardly knowing which to go to next. His malady is within him; and he cannot run away from it.
Her boys (once he thought them his) are sturdy enough to shoulder him in his own house as they pass by him. Siding with the mother, they in a manner expel him; and, in his absence, riot away on the remnant of his broken fortunes. As to their mother, (who was once so tender, so submissive, so studious to oblige, that we all pronounced him happy, and his course of life the eligible,) she is now so termagant, so insolent, that he cannot contend with her, without doing infinite prejudice to his health. A broken-spirited defensive, hardly a defensive, therefore, reduced to: and this to a heart, for so many years waging offensive war, (not valuing whom the opponent,) what a reduction! now comparing himself to the superannuated lion in the fable, kicked in the jaws, and laid sprawling, by the spurning heel of an ignoble ass!