As matters are, I have only to wish, for your own sake, that you will encourage and cultivate those good motions in your mind, to which many passages in your kind and generous letter now before me must be owing. Depend upon it, Sir, that such motions, wrought into habit, will yield you pleasure at a time when nothing else can; and at present, shining out in your actions and conversation, will commend you to the worthiest of our sex. For, Sir, the man who is so good upon choice, as well as by education, has that quality in himself, which ennobles the human race, and without which the most dignified by birth or rank or ignoble.
As to the resolution you solemnly make not to marry while I live, I should be concerned at it, were I not morally sure that you may keep it, and yet not be detrimented by it: since a few, a very few days, will convince you, that I am got above all human dependence; and that there is no need of that protection and favour, which you so generously offer to, Sir,
Your obliged well-wisher, and humble servant,
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Monday noon, Aug. 28.
About the time of poor Belton’s interment last night, as near as we could guess, Lord M., Mowbray, and myself, toasted once, To the memory of honest Tom. Belton; and, by a quick transition to the living, Health to Miss Harlowe; which Lord M. obligingly began, and, To the happy reconciliation; and then we stuck in a remembrance To honest Jack Belford, who, of late, we all agreed, is become an useful and humane man; and one who prefers his friend’s service to his own.
But what is the meaning I hear nothing from thee?* And why dost thou not let me into the grounds of the sudden reconciliation between my beloved and her friends, and the cause of the generous invitation which she gives me of attending her at her father’s some time hence?
* Mr. Belford has not yet sent him his last-written letter. His reason for which see Letter XXIII. of this volume.
Thou must certainly have been let into the secret by this time; and I can tell thee, I shall be plaguy jealous if there is to be any one thing pass between my angel and thee that is to be concealed from me. For either I am a principal in this cause, or I am nothing.
I have dispatched Will. to know the reason of thy neglect.
But let me whisper a word or two in thy ear. I begin to be afraid, after all, that this letter was a stratagem to get me out of town, and for nothing else: for, in the first place, Tourville, in a letter I received this morning, tells me, that the lady is actually very ill! [I am sorry for it with all my soul!]. This, thou’lt say, I may think a reason why she cannot set out as yet: but then I have heard, on the other hand, but last night, that the family is as implacable as ever; and my Lord and I expect this very afternoon a visit from Colonel Morden; who, undertakes, it seems, to question me as to my intention with regard to his cousin.