Could she have prevailed upon herself, I know that the sight of her would have been as affecting to you, as your visit could have been to her; when you had seen to what a lovely skeleton (for she is really lovely still, nor can she, with such a form and features, be otherwise) you have, in a few weeks, reduced one of the most charming women in the world; and that in the full bloom of her youth and beauty.
Mowbray undertakes to carry this, that he may be more welcome to you, he says. Were it to be sent unsealed, the characters we write in would be Hebrew to the dunce. I desire you to return it; and I’ll give you a copy of it upon demand; for I intend to keep it by me, as a guard against the infection of your company, which might otherwise, perhaps, some time hence, be apt to weaken the impressions I always desire to have of the awful scene before me. God convert us both!
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Wednesday Morn. 11 O’clock.
I believe no man has two such servants as I have. Because I treat them with kindness, and do not lord it over my inferiors, and d—n and curse them by looks and words like Mowbray; or beat their teeth out like Lovelace; but cry, Pr’ythee, Harry, do this, and, Pr’ythee, Jonathan, do that; the fellows pursue their own devices, and regard nothing I say, but what falls in with these.
Here, this vile Harry, who might have brought your letter of yesterday in good time, came not in with it till past eleven at night (drunk, I suppose); and concluding that I was in bed, as he pretends (because he was told I sat up the preceding night) brought it not to me; and having overslept himself, just as I had sealed up my letter, in comes the villain with the forgotten one, shaking his ears, and looking as if he himself did not believe the excuses he was going to make. I questioned him about it, and heard his pitiful pleas; and though I never think it becomes a gentleman to treat people insolently who by their stations are humbled beneath his feet, yet could I not forbear to Lovelace and Mowbray him most cordially.
And this detaining Mowbray (who was ready to set out to you before) while I write a few lines upon it, the fierce fellow, who is impatient to exchange the company of a dying Belton for that of a too-lively Lovelace, affixed a supplement of curses upon the staring fellow, that was larger than my book—nor did I offer to take off the bear from such a mongrel, since, on this occasion, he deserved not of me the protection which every master owes to a good servant.