And what is the space of time to look backward upon, between an early departure and the longest survivance!—and what the consolation attending the sweet hope of meeting again, never more to be separated, never more to be pained, grieved, or aspersed;—but mutually blessing, and being blessed, to all eternity!
In the contemplation of this happy state, in which I hope, in God’s good time, to rejoice with you, my beloved Mrs. Norton, and also with my dear relations, all reconciled to, and blessing the child against whom they are now so much incensed, I conclude myself
Your ever dutiful and affectionate
Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford,
Sunday, Aug. 13.
I don’t know what a devil ails me; but I never was so much indisposed in my life. At first, I thought some of my blessed relations here had got a dose administered to me, in order to get the whole house to themselves. But, as I am the hopes of the family, I believe they would not be so wicked.
I must lay down my pen. I cannot write with any spirit at all. What a plague can be the matter with me!
Lord M. paid me just now a cursed gloomy visit, to ask how I do after bleeding. His sisters both drove away yesterday, God be thanked. But they asked not my leave; and hardly bid me good-bye. My Lord was more tender, and more dutiful, than I expected. Men are less unforgiving than women. I have reason to say so, I am sure. For, besides implacable Miss Harlowe, and the old Ladies, the two Montague apes han’t been near me yet.
Neither eat, drink, nor sleep!—a piteous case, Jack! If I should die like a fool now, people would say Miss Harlowe had broken my heart.—That she vexes me to the heart, is certain.
Confounded squeamish! I would fain write it off. But must lay down my pen again. It won’t do. Poor Lovelace!——What a devil ails thee?
Well, but now let’s try for’t—Hoy—Hoy—Hoy! Confound me for a gaping puppy, how I yawn!—Where shall I begin? at thy executorship—thou shalt have a double office of it: for I really think thou mayest send me a coffin and a shroud. I shall be ready for them by the time they can come down.
What a little fool is this Miss Harlowe! I warrant she’ll now repent that she refused me. Such a lovely young widow—What a charming widow would she have made! how would she have adorned the weeds! to be a widow in the first twelve months is one of the greatest felicities that can befal a fine woman. Such pretty employment in new dismals, when she had hardly worn round her blazing joyfuls! Such lights, and such shades! how would they set off one another, and be adorned by the wearer!—
Go to the devil!—I will write!—Can I do anything else?