There is something owing to constitution, I own; and that this is the laughing-time of my life. For what a woe must that be, which for an hour together can mortify a man six or seven and twenty, in high blood and spirits, of a naturally gay disposition, who can sing, dance, and scribble, and take and give delight in them all?—But then my grief, as my joy, is sharper-pointed than most other men’s; and, like what Dolly Welby once told me, describing the parturient throes, if there were not lucid intervals, if they did not come and go, there would be no bearing them.
After all, as I am so little distant from the dear creature, and as she is so very ill, I think I cannot excuse myself from making her one visit. Nevertheless, if I thought her so near—[what word shall I use, that my soul is not shocked at!] and that she would be too much discomposed by a visit, I would not think of it.—Yet how can I bear the recollection, that, when she last went from me (her innocence so triumphant over my premeditated guilt, as was enough to reconcile her to life, and to set her above the sense of injuries so nobly sustained, that) she should then depart with an incurable fracture in her heart; and that that should be the last time I should ever see her!—How, how, can I bear this reflection!
O Jack! how my conscience, that gives edge even to thy blunt reflections, tears me!—Even this moment would I give the world to push the cruel reproacher from me by one ray of my usual gayety!—Sick of myself!—sick of the remembrance of my vile plots; and of my light, my momentary ecstacy [villanous burglar, felon, thief, that I was!] which has brought on me such durable and such heavy remorse! what would I give that I had not been guilty of such barbarous and ungrateful perfidy to the most excellent of God’s creatures!
I would end, methinks, with one sprightlier line!—but it will not be.— Let me tell thee then, and rejoice at it if thou wilt, that I am
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Sat. Morning, Sept. 2.
I have some little pleasure given me by thine, just now brought me. I see now that thou hast a little humanity left. Would to Heaven, for the dear lady’s sake, as well as for thy own, that thou hadst rummaged it up from all the dark forgotten corners of thy soul a little sooner!
The lady is alive, and serene, and calm, and has all her noble intellects clear and strong: but nineteen will not however save her. She says she will now content herself with her closet duties, and the visits of the parish-minister; and will not attempt to go out. Nor, indeed, will she, I am afraid, ever walk up or down a pair of stairs again.
I am sorry at my soul to have this to say: but it would be a folly to flatter thee.