But, surely, she will not, she cannot yet die! Such a matchless excellence,
Contains a world, and seems for all things fram’d,
could not be lent to be so soon demanded back again!
But may it not be, that thou, Belford, art in a plot with the dear creature, (who will not let me attend her to convince myself,) in order to work up my soul to the deepest remorse; and that, when she is convinced of the sincerity of my penitence, and when my mind is made such wax, as to be fit to take what impression she pleases to give it, she will then raise me up with the joyful tidings of her returning health and acceptance of me!
What would I give to have it so! And when the happiness of hundreds, as well as the peace and reconciliation of several eminent families, depend upon her restoration and happiness, why should it not be so?
But let me presume it will. Let me indulge my former hope, however improbable—I will; and enjoy it too. And let me tell thee how ecstatic my delight would be on the unravelling of such a plot as this!
Do, dear Belford, let it be so!—And, O, my dearest, and ever-dear Clarissa, keep me no loner in this cruel suspense; in which I suffer a thousand times more than ever I made thee suffer. Nor fear thou that I will resent, or recede, on an ecclaircissement so desirable; for I will adore thee for ever, and without reproaching thee for the pangs thou hast tortured me with, confess thee as much my superior in virtue and honour!
But once more, should the worst happen—say not what that worst is—and I am gone from this hated island—gone for ever—and may eternal—but I am crazed already—and will therefore conclude myself,
Thine more than my own, (and no great compliment neither) R.L.
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
TUES. Sept. 9 In the Morn. At Mr. Smith’s.
When I read yours of this morning, I could not help pitying you for the account you give of the dreadful anxiety and suspense you labour under. I wish from my heart all were to end as you are so willing to hope: but it will not be; and your suspense, if the worst part of your torment, as you say it is, will soon be over; but, alas! in a way you wish not.
I attended the lady just now. She is extremely ill: yet is she aiming at an answer to her Norton’s letter, which she began yesterday in her own chamber, and has written a good deal: but in a hand not like her own fine one, as Mrs. Lovick tells me, but larger, and the lines crooked.
I have accepted of the offer of a room adjoining to the widow Lovick’s, till I see how matters go; but unknown to the lady; and I shall go home every night, for a few hours. I would not lose a sentence that I could gain from lips so instructive, nor the opportunity of receiving any command from her, for an estate.