Then ’tis another misfortune of people in love; they always think highly of the beloved object, and lowly of themselves, such a dismal mortifier is love!
I say not this, Madam, to excuse the poor lady’s fall; nothing can do that; because virtue is, and ought to be, preferable to all considerations, and to life itself. But, methinks, I love this dear lady so well for the sake of her edifying penitence, that I would fain extenuate her crime, if I could; and the rather, as in all probability, it was a first love on both sides; and so he could not appear to her as a practised deceiver.
Your ladyship will see, by what I have transcribed, how I behaved myself to the dear Miss Goodwin; and I am so fond of the little charmer, as well for the sake of her unhappy mother, though personally unknown to me, as for the relation she bears to the dear gentleman whom I am bound to love and honour, that I must beg your ladyship’s interest to procure her to be given up to my care, when it shall be thought proper. I am sure I shall act by her as tenderly as if I was her own mother. And glad I am, that the poor unfaulty baby is so justly beloved by Mr. B.
But I will here conclude this letter, with assuring your ladyship, and I am your obliged and humble servant,
MY GOOD LADY,
I now come to your ladyship’s remarks on my conduct to Mrs. Jewkes: which you are pleased to think too kind and forgiving considering the poor woman’s baseness.
Your ladyship says, that I ought not to have borne her in my sight, after the impudent assistance she gave to his lewd attempts; much less to have left her in her place, and rewarded her. Alas! my dear lady, what could I do? a poor prisoner as I was made, for weeks together, in breach of all the laws of civil society; without a soul who durst be my friend; and every day expecting to be ruined and undone, by one of the haughtiest and most determined spirits in the world!—and when it pleased God to turn his heart, and incline him to abandon his wicked attempts, and to profess honourable love to me, his poor servant, can it be thought I was to insist upon conditions with such a gentleman, who had me in his power; and who, if I had provoked him, might have resumed all his wicked purposes against me?
Indeed, I was too much overjoyed, after all my dangers past (which were so great, that I could not go to rest, nor rise, but with such apprehensions, that I wished for death rather than life), to think of refusing any terms that I could yield to, and keep my honour.