Lord M. proposed to enter into the proof of all this. He said, in his phraseological way, That one story was good till another was heard; and that the Harlowe family and I, ’twas true, had behaved like so many Orsons to one another; and that they had been very free with all our family besides: that nevertheless, for the lady’s sake, more than for their’s, or even for mine, (he could tell me,) he would do greater things for me than they could ask, if she could be brought to have me: and that this he wanted to declare, and would sooner have declared, if he could have brought us sooner to patience, and a good understanding.
The Colonel made excuses for his warmth, on the score of his affection to his cousin.
My regard for her made me readily admit them: and so a fresh bottle of Burgundy, and another of Champagne, being put upon the table, we sat down in good humour, after all this blustering, in order to enter closer into the particulars of the case: which I undertook, at both their desires, to do.
But these things must be the subject of another letter, which shall immediately follow this, if it do not accompany it.
Mean time you will observe that a bad cause gives a man great disadvantages: for I myself thing that the interrogatories put to me with so much spirit by the Colonel made me look cursedly mean; at the same time that it gave him a superiority which I know not how to allow to the best man in Europe. So that, literally speaking, as a good man would infer, guilt is its own punisher: in that it makes the most lofty spirit look like the miscreant he is—a good man, I say: So, Jack, proleptically I add, thou hast no right to make the observation.
Mr. Lovelace [in continuation.] Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 29.
I went back, in this part of our conversation, to the day that I was obliged to come down to attend my Lord in the dangerous illness which some feared would have been his last.
I told the Colonel, ’what earnest letters I had written to a particular friend, to engage him to prevail upon the lady not to slip a day that had been proposed for the private celebration of our nuptials; and of my letters* written to her on that subject;’ for I had stepped to my closet, and fetched down all the letters and draughts and copies of letters relating to this affair.
* See Vol. VI. Letters XXXVII. XXXVIII. XXXIX. XLIII.
I read to him, ’several passages in the copies of those letters, which, thou wilt remember, make not a little to my honour.’ And I told him, ’that I wished I had kept copies of those to my friend on the same occasion; by which he would have seen how much in earnest I was in my professions to her, although she would not answer one of them;’ and thou mayest remember, that one of those four letters accounted to herself why I was desirous she should remain where I had left her.*