But this subject I will suspend to a better opportunity; that is to say, to the happy one, when my nuptials with my Clarissa will oblige me to increase the number of my servants, and of consequence to enter more nicely into their qualifications.
Although I have the highest opinion that man can have of the generosity of my dear Miss Harlowe, yet I cannot for the heart of me account for this agreeable change in her temper but one way. Faith and troth, Belford, I verily believe, laying all circumstances together, that the dear creature unexpectedly finds herself in the way I have so ardently wished her to be in; and that this makes her, at last, incline to favour me, that she may set the better face upon her gestation, when at her father’s.
If this be the case, all her falling away, and her fainting fits, are charmingly accounted for. Nor is it surprising, that such a sweet novice in these matters should not, for some time, have known to what to attribute her frequent indispositions. If this should be the case, how I shall laugh at thee! and (when I am sure of her) at the dear novice herself, that all her grievous distresses shall end in a man-child; which I shall love better than all the cherubims and seraphims that may come after; though there were to be as many of them as I beheld in my dream; in which a vast expanse of firmament was stuck as full of them as it could hold!
I shall be afraid to open thy next, lest it bring me the account of poor Belton’s death. Yet, as there are no hopes of his recovery—but what should I say, unless the poor man were better fitted—but thy heavy sermon shall not affect me too much neither.
I enclose thy papers; and do thou transcribe them for me, or return them; for there are some things in them, which, at a proper season, a mortal man should not avoid attending to; and thou seemest to have entered deeply into the shocking subject.—But here I will end, lest I grow too serious.
Thy servant called here about an hour ago, to know if I had any commands; I therefore hope that thou wilt have this early in the morning. And if thou canst let me hear from thee, do. I’ll stretch an hour or two in expectation of it. Yet I must be at Lord M.’s to-morrow night, if possible, though ever so late.
Thy fellow tells me the poor man is much as he was when Mowbray left him.
Wouldst thou think that this varlet Mowbray is sorry that I am so near being happy with Miss Harlowe? And, ’egad, Jack, I know not what to say to it, now the fruit seems to be within my reach—but let what will come, I’ll stand to’t: for I find I can’t live without her.
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Wednesday, three o’clock.
I will proceed where I left off in my last.