I must after my messenger. I have told the varlet I will meet him, perhaps at Knightsbridge, perhaps in Piccadilly; and I trust not myself with pistols, not only on his account, but my own—for pistols are too ready a mischief.
I hope thou hast a letter ready for him. He goes to thy lodgings first— for surely thou wilt not presume to take thy rest in an apartment near her’s. If he miss thee there, he flies to Smith’s, and brings me word whether in being, or not.
I shall look for him through the air as I ride, as well as on horseback; for if the prince of it serve me, as well as I have served him, he will bring the dog by his ears, like another Habakkuk, to my saddle-bow, with the tidings that my heart pants after.
Nothing but the excruciating pangs the condemned soul fells, at its entrance into the eternity of the torments we are taught to fear, can exceed what I now feel, and have felt for almost this week past; and mayest thou have a spice of those, if thou hast not a letter ready written for thy
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
TUEDAY, Sept. 5, Six o’clock.
The lady remains exceedingly weak and ill. Her intellects, nevertheless, continue clear and strong, and her piety and patience are without example. Every one thinks this night will be her last. What a shocking thing is that to say of such an excellence! She will not, however, send away her letter to her Norton, as yet. She endeavoured in vain to superscribe it: so desired me to do it. Her fingers will not hold the pen with the requisite steadiness.—She has, I fear, written and read her last!
She is somewhat better than she was. The doctor had been here, and thinks she will hold out yet a day or two. He has ordered her, as for some time past, only some little cordials to take when ready to faint. She seemed disappointed, when he told her she might yet live two or three days; and said, she longed for dismission!—Life was not so easily extinguished, she saw, as some imagined.—Death from grief, was, she believed, the slowest of deaths. But God’s will must be done!—Her only prayer was now for submission to it: for she doubted not but by the Divine goodness she should be an happy creature, as soon as she could be divested of these rags of mortality.
Of her own accord she mentioned you; which, till then, she had avoided to do. She asked, with great serenity, where you were?
I told her where, and your motives for being so near; and read to her a few lines of your’s of this morning, in which you mention your wishes to see her, your sincere affliction, and your resolution not to approach her without her consent.
I would have read more; but she said, Enough, Mr. Belford, enough!—Poor man, does his conscience begin to find him!—Then need not any body to wish him a greater punishment!—May it work upon him to an happy purpose!