It is as suitable to my case, as to the lady’s, as thou’lt observe, if thou readest it again.* At the passage where it is said, That when a man is chastened for sin, his beauty consumes away, I stept to the glass: A poor figure, by Jupiter, cried I!—And they all praised and admired me; lifted up their hands and their eyes; and the doctor said, he always thought it impossible, that a man of my sense could be so wild as the world said I was. My Lord chuckled for joy; congratulated me; and, thank my dear Miss Harlowe, I got high reputation among good, bad, and indifferent. In short, I have established myself for ever with all here. —But, O Belford, even this will not do—I must leave off again.
* See Vol. VII. Letter LXXXI.
A visit from the Montague sisters, led in by the hobbling Peer, to congratulate my amendment and reformation both in one. What a lucky event this illness with this meditation in my pocket; for we were all to pieces before! Thus, when a boy, have I joined with a crowd coming out of church, and have been thought to have been there myself.
I am incensed at the insolence of the young Levite. Thou wilt highly oblige me, if thou’lt find him out, and send me his ears in the next letter.
My beloved mistakes me, if she thinks I proposed her writing to me as an alternative that should dispense with my attendance upon her. That it shall not do, nor did I intend it should, unless she pleased me better in the contents of her letter than she has done. Bid her read again. I gave no such hopes. I would have been with her in spite of you both, by to-morrow, at farthest, had I not been laid by the heels thus, like a helpless miscreant.
But I grow better and better every hour, I say: the doctor says not: but I am sure I know best: and I will soon be in London, depend on’t. But say nothing of this to my dear, cruel, and implacable Miss Harlowe.
A—dieu—u, Ja—aack—What a gaping puppy (yaw—n! yaw—n! yaw—n!)
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Monday, Aug. 15.
I am extremely concerned for thy illness. I should be very sorry to lose thee. Yet, if thou diest so soon, I could wish, from my soul, it had been before the beginning of last April: and this as well for thy sake, as for the sake of the most excellent woman in the world: for then thou wouldst not have had the most crying sin of thy life to answer for.
I was told on Saturday that thou wert very much out of order; and this made me forbear writing till I heard farther. Harry, on his return from thee, confirmed the bad way thou art in. But I hope Lord M. in his unmerited tenderness for thee, thinks the worst of thee. What can it be, Bob.? A violent fever, they say; but attended with odd and severe symptoms.