But, alas! Madam, he was not so well pleased with my virtue for virtue’s sake, as Lady Betty thinks he was.—He would have been glad, even then, to have found me less resolved on that score. He did not so much as pretend to any disposition to virtue. No, not he!
He had entertained, as it proved, a strong passion for me, which had been heightened by my resisting it. His pride, and his advantages both of person and fortune, would not let him brook control; and when he could not have me upon his own terms, God turned his evil purposes to good ones; and he resolved to submit to mine, or rather to such as he found I would not yield to him without.
But Lady Betty thinks, I was to blame to put Mrs. Jewkes upon a foot, in the present I made on my nuptials, with Mrs. Jervis. But I rather put Mrs. Jervis on a foot with Mrs. Jewkes; for the dear gentleman had named the sum for me to give Mrs. Jewkes, and I would not give Mrs. Jervis less, because I loved her better; nor more could I give her, on that occasion, without making such a difference between two persons equal in station, on a solemnity too where one was present and assisting, the other not, as would have shewn such a partiality, as might have induced their master to conclude, I was not so sincere in my forgiveness, as he hoped from me, and as I really was.
But a stronger reason still was behind; that I could, much more agreeably, both to Mrs. Jervis and myself, shew my love and gratitude to the dear good woman: and this I have taken care to do, in the manner I will submit to your ladyship; at the tribunal of whose judgment I am willing all my actions, respecting your dear brother, shall be tried. And I hope you will not have reason to think me a too profuse or lavish creature; yet, if you have, pray, my dear lady, don’t spare me; for if you shall judge me profuse in one article, I will endeavour to save it in another.
But I will make what I have to say on this head the subject of a letter by itself: and am, mean time, your ladyship’s most obliged and obedient servant,
MY DEAR LADY,
It is needful, in order to let you more intelligibly into the subject where I left off in my last, for your ladyship to know that your generous brother has made me his almoner, as I was my late dear lady’s; and ordered Mr. Longman to pay me fifty pounds quarterly, for purposes of which he requires no account, though I have one always ready to produce.
Now, Madam, as I knew Mrs. Jervis was far from being easy in her circumstances, thinking herself obliged to pay old debts for two extravagant children, who are both dead, and maintaining in schooling and clothes three of their children, which always keeps her bare, I said to her one day, as she and I sat together, at our needles (for we are always running over old stories, when alone)—“My good Mrs. Jervis, will you allow me to ask you after your own private affairs, and if you are tolerably, easy in them?”