At his earnest request, I permitted him to take some brief notes of such of the contents of your letter to me as I thought I could read to him; and, particularly, of your melancholy conclusion.*
* See Letter XXXII. of this volume.
He says that none of your friends think you are so ill as you are; nor will believe it. He is sure they all love you; and that dearly too.
If they do, their present hardness of heart will be the subject of everlasting remorse to them should you be taken from us—but now it seems [barbarous wretches!] you are to suffer within an inch of your life.
He asked me questions about Mr. Belford: and, when he had heard what I had to say of that gentleman, and his disinterested services to you, he raved at some villanous surmises thrown out against you by that officious pedant, Brand: who, but for his gown, I find, would come off poorly enough between your cousin and Lovelace.
He was so uneasy about you himself, that on Thursday, the 24th, he sent up an honest serious man,* one Alston, a gentleman farmer, to inquire of your condition, your visiters, and the like; who brought him word that you was very ill, and was put to great straits to support yourself: but as this was told him by the gentlewoman of the house where you lodge, who, it seems, mingled it with some tart, though deserved, reflections upon your relations’ cruelty, it was not credited by them: and I myself hope it cannot be true; for surely you could not be so unjust, I will say, to my friendship, as to suffer any inconveniencies for want of money. I think I could not forgive you, if it were so.
* See Letter XXIII. ibid.
The Colonel (as one of your trustees) is resolved to see you put into possession of your estate: and, in the mean time, he has actually engaged them to remit to him for you the produce of it accrued since your grandfather’s death, (a very considerable sum;) and proposes himself to attend you with it. But, by a hint he dropt, I find you had disappointed some people’s littleness, by not writing to them for money and supplies; since they were determined to distress you, and to put you at defiance.
Like all the rest!—I hope I may say that without offence.
Your cousin imagines that, before a reconciliation takes place, they will insist that you make such a will, as to that estate, as they shall approve of: but he declares that he will not go out of England till he has seen justice done you by every body; and that you shall not be imposed on either by friend or foe—
By relation or foe, should he not have said?—for a friend will not impose upon a friend.
So, my dear, you are to buy your peace, if some people are to have their wills!
Your cousin [not I, my dear, though it was always my opinion*] says, that the whole family is too rich to be either humble, considerate, or contented. And as for himself, he has an ample fortune, he says, and thinks of leaving it wholly to you.