And then she wept again. Mrs. Smith wept also. My seat grew uneasy to me. I shifted to another several times; and what Mrs. Lovick farther said, and showed me, made me still more uneasy.
Bad as the poor lady was last night, said she, she transcribed into her book a meditation on your persecuting her thus. I have a copy of it. If I thought it would have any effect, I would read it to you.
Let me read it myself, Mrs. Lovick.
She gave it to me. It has an Harlowe-spirited title: and, from a forgiving spirit, intolerable. I desired to take it with me. She consented, on condition that I showed it to ’Squire Belford. So here, Mr. ’Squire Belford, thou mayest read it, if thou wilt.
Monday, Aug. 21.
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man.
Preserve me from the violent man.
Who imagines mischief in his heart.
He hath sharpened his tongue like a serpent. Adders’ poison is under his lips.
Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked. Preserve me from the violent man, who hath purposed to overthrow my goings.
He hath hid a snare for me. He hath spread a net by the way-side. He hath set gins for me in the way wherein I walked.
Keep me from the snares which he hath laid for me, and the gins of this worker of iniquity.
The enemy hath persecuted my soul. He hath smitten my life down to the ground. He hath made me dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead.
Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me. My heart within me is desolate.
Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble.
For my days are consumed like smoke: and my bones are burnt as the hearth.
My heart is smitten and withered like grass: so that I forget to eat my bread.
By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my skin.
I am like a pelican of the wilderness. I am like an owl of the desart.
I watch; and am as a sparrow alone upon the house-top.
I have eaten ashes like bread; and mingled my drink with weeping:
Because of thine indignation, and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up, and cast me down.
My days are like a shadow that declineth, and I am withered like grass.
Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his devices, lest he exalt himself.
Why now, Mrs. Lovick, said I, when I had read this meditation, as she called it, I think I am very severely treated by the lady, if she mean me in all this. For how is it that I am the enemy of her soul, when I love her both soul and body?
She says, that I am a violent man, and a wicked man.—That I have been so, I own: but I repent, and only wish to have it in my power to repair the injuries I have done her.