I shall long to see the promised letter too when she is got to her father’s, which I hope will give an account of the reception she will meet with.
There is a solemnity, however, I think, in the style of her letter, which pleases and affects me at the same time. But as it is evident she loves me still, and hopes soon to see me at her father’s, she could not help being a little solemn, and half-ashamed, [dear blushing pretty rogue!] to own her love, after my usage of her.
And then her subscription: Till when, I am, Clarissa Harlowe: as much as to say, after that, I shall be, if not to your own fault, Clarissa Lovelace!
O my best love! My ever-generous and adorable creature! How much does this thy forgiving goodness exalt us both!—Me, for the occasion given thee! Thee, for turning it so gloriously to thy advantage, and to the honour of both!
And if, my beloved creature, you will but connive at the imperfections of your adorer, and not play the wife with me: if, while the charms of novelty have their force with me, I should happen to be drawn aside by the love of intrigue, and of plots that my soul delights to form and pursue; and if thou wilt not be open-eyed to the follies of my youth, [a transitory state;] every excursion shall serve but the more to endear thee to me, till in time, and in a very little time too, I shall get above sense; and then, charmed by thy soul-attracting converse; and brought to despise my former courses; what I now, at distance, consider as a painful duty, will be my joyful choice, and all my delight will centre in thee!
Mowbray is just arrived with thy letters. I therefore close my agreeable subject, to attend to one which I doubt will be very shocking.
I have engaged the rough varlet to bear me company in the morning to Berks; where I shall file off the rust he has contracted in his attendance upon the poor fellow.
He tells me that, between the dying Belton and the preaching Belford, he shan’t be his own man these three days: and says that thou addest to the unhappy fellow’s weakness, instead of giving him courage to help him to bear his destiny.
I am sorry he takes the unavoidable lot so heavily. But he has been long ill; and sickness enervates the mind as well as the body; as he himself very significantly observed to thee.
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
I have been reading thy shocking letter—Poor Belton! what a multitude of lively hours have we passed together! He was a fearless, cheerful fellow: who’d have thought all that should end in such dejected whimpering and terror?
But why didst thou not comfort the poor man about the rencounter between him and that poltroon Metcalfe? He acted in that affair like a man of true honour, and as I should have acted in the same circumstances. Tell him I say so; and that what happened he could neither help nor foresee.