I will not trouble thee in the way thou art in, with what passes here with Miss Harlowe. I wish thy repentance as swift as thy illness; and as efficacious, if thou diest; for it is else to be feared, that she and you will never meet in one place.
I told her how ill you are. Poor man! said she. Dangerously ill, say you?
Dangerously indeed, Madam!—So Lord M. sends me word!
God be merciful to him, if he die!—said the admirable creature.—Then, after a pause, Poor wretch!—may he meet with the mercy he has not shown!
I send this by a special messenger: for I am impatient to hear how it goes with thee.—If I have received thy last letter, what melancholy reflections will that last, so full of shocking levity, give to
Thy true friend,
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Tuesday, Aug. 15.*
* Text error: should be Aug. 16.
Thank thee, Jack; most heartily I thank thee, for the sober conclusion of thy last!—I have a good mind, for the sake of it, to forgive thy till now absolutely unpardonable extracts.
But dost think I will lose such an angel, such a forgiving angel, as this?—By my soul, I will not!—To pray for mercy for such an ungrateful miscreant!—how she wounds me, how she cuts me to the soul, by her exalted generosity!—But she must have mercy upon me first!—then will she teach me a reliance for the sake of which her prayer for me will be answered.
But hasten, hasten to me particulars of her health, of her employments, of her conversation.
I am sick only of love! Oh! that I could have called her mine!—it would then have been worth while to be sick!—to have sent for her down to me from town; and to have had her, with healing in her dove-like wings, flying to my comfort; her duty and her choice to pray for me, and to bid me live for her sake!—O Jack! what an angel have I—
But I have not lost her!—I will not lose her! I am almost well; should be quite well but for these prescribing rascals, who, to do credit to their skill, will make the disease of importance.—And I will make her mine!—and be sick again, to entitle myself to her dutiful tenderness, and pious as well as personal concern!
God for ever bless her!—Hasten, hasten particulars of her!—I am sick of love!—such generous goodness!—By all that’s great and good, I will not lose her!—so tell her!—She says, that she could not pity me, if she thought of being mine! This, according to Miss Howe’s transcriptions to Charlotte.—But bid her hate me, and have me: and my behaviour to her shall soon turn that hate to love! for, body and mind, I will be wholly her’s.
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Thursday, Aug. 17.