I see, I see, my dear, that you are very bad—and I cannot bear it. Do, my beloved Miss Harlowe, if you can be better, do, for my sake, be better; and send me word of it. Let the bearer bring me a line. Be sure you send me a line. If I lose you, my more than sister, and lose my mother, I shall distrust my own conduct, and will not marry. And why should I?—Creeping, cringing in courtship!—O my dear, these men are a vile race of reptiles in our day, and mere bears in their own. See in Lovelace all that is desirable in figure, in birth, and in fortune: but in his heart a devil!—See in Hickman—Indeed, my dear, I cannot tell what any body can see in Hickman, to be always preaching in his favour. And is it to be expected that I, who could hardly bear control from a mother, should take it from a husband?—from one too, who has neither more wit, nor more understanding, than myself? yet he to be my instructor!—So he will, I suppose; but more by the insolence of his will than by the merit of his counsel. It is in vain to think of it. I cannot be a wife to any man breathing whom I at present know. This I the rather mention now, because, on my mother’s danger, I know you will be for pressing me the sooner to throw myself into another sort of protection, should I be deprived of her. But no more of this subject, or indeed of any other; for I am obliged to attend my mamma, who cannot bear me out of her sight.
My mother, Heaven be praised! has had a fine night, and is much better. Her fever has yielded to medicine! and now I can write once more with freedom and ease to you, in hopes that you also are better. If this be granted to my prayers, I shall again be happy, I writhe with still the more alacrity as I have an opportunity given me to touch upon a subject in which you are nearly concerned.
You must know then, my dear, that your cousin Morden has been here with me. He told me of an interview he had on Monday at Lord M.’s with Lovelace; and asked me abundance of questions about you, and about that villanous man.
I could have raised a fine flame between them if I would: but, observing that he is a man of very lively passions, and believing you would be miserable if any thing should happen to him from a quarrel with a man who is known to have so many advantages at his sword, I made not the worst of the subjects we talked of. But, as I could not tell untruths in his favour, you must think I said enough to make him curse the wretch.
I don’t find, well as they all used to respect Colonel Morden, that he has influence enough upon them to bring them to any terms of reconciliation.
What can they mean by it!—But your brother is come home, it seems: so, the honour of the house, the reputation of the family, is all the cry!
The Colonel is exceedingly out of humour with them all. Yet has he not hitherto, it seems, seen your brutal brother.—I told him how ill you were, and communicated to him some of the contents of your letter. He admired you, cursed Lovelace, and raved against all your family.—He declared that they were all unworthy of you.