Neither Mowbray nor I shall accept of thy verbal invitation to the funeral. We like not these dismal formalities. And as to the respect that is supposed to be shown to the memory of a deceased friend in such an attendance, why should we do any thing to reflect upon those who have made it a fashion to leave this parade to people whom they hire for that purpose?
Adieu, and be cheerful. Thou canst now do no more for poor Belton, wert thou to howl for him to the end of thy life.
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Sat. Aug. 26.
On Thursday afternoon I assisted at the opening of poor Belton’s will, in which he has left me his sole executor, and bequeathed me a legacy of an hundred guineas; which I shall present to his unfortunate sister, to whom he has not been so kind as I think he ought to have been. He has also left twenty pounds a-piece to Mowbray, Tourville, thyself, and me, for a ring to be worn in remembrance of him.
After I had given some particular orders about the preparations to be made for his funeral, I went to town; but having made it late before I got in on Thursday night, and being fatigued for want of rest several nights before, and now in my spirits, [I could not help it, Lovelace!] I contented myself to send my compliments to the innocent sufferer, to inquire after her health.
My servant saw Mrs. Smith, who told him, she was very glad I was come to town; for that lady was worse than she had yet been.
It is impossible to account for the contents of her letter to you; or to reconcile those contents to the facts I have to communicate.
I was at Smith’s by seven yesterday (Friday) morning; and found that the lady was just gone in a chair to St. Dunstan’s to prayers: she was too ill to get out by six to Covent-garden church; and was forced to be supported to her chair by Mrs. Lovick. They would have persuaded her against going; but she said she knew not but it would be her last opportunity. Mrs. Lovick, dreading that she would be taken worse at church, walked thither before her.
Mrs. Smith told me she was so ill on Wednesday night, that she had desired to receive the sacrament; and accordingly it was administered to her, by the parson of the parish: whom she besought to take all opportunities of assisting her in her solemn preparation.
This the gentleman promised: and called in the morning to inquire after her health; and was admitted at the first word. He staid with her about half an hour; and when he came down, with his face turned aside, and a faltering accent, ‘Mrs. Smith,’ said he, ’you have an angel in your house.—I will attend her again in the evening, as she desires, and as often as I think it will be agreeable to her.’
Her increased weakness she attributed to the fatigues she had undergone by your means; and to a letter she had received from her sister, which she answered the same day.