“All this tends to demonstrate the strength of my passion: I could not conquer my love; so I conquered a pride, which every one thought unconquerable; and since I could not make an innocent heart vicious, I had the happiness to follow so good an example; and by this means, a vicious heart is become virtuous. I have the pleasure of rejoicing in the change, and hope I shall do so still more and more; for I really view with contempt my past follies; and it is now a greater wonder to me how I could act as I did, than that I should detest those actions, which made me a curse, instead of a benefit to society. I am not yet so pious as my Pamela; but that is to come; and it is one good sign, that I can truly say, I delight in every instance of her piety and virtue: and now I will conclude my tedious narration.”
Thus he ended his affecting relation: which in the course of it gave me a thousand different emotions; and made me often pray for him, that God will entirely convert a heart so generous and worthy, as his is on most occasions. And if I can but find him not deviate, when we go to London, I shall greatly hope that nothing will affect his morals again.
I have just read over again the foregoing account of himself. As near as I remember (and my memory is the best faculty I have), it is pretty exact; only he was fuller of beautiful similitudes, and spoke in a more flowery style, as I may say. Yet don’t you think, Miss (if I have not done injustice to his spirit), that the beginning of it, especially, is in the saucy air of a man too much alive to such notions? For so the ladies observed in his narration.—Is it very like the style of a true penitent?—But indeed he went on better, and concluded best of all.
But don’t you observe what a dear good lady I had? A thousand blessings on her beloved memory! Were I to live to see my children’s children, they should be all taught to lisp her praises before they could speak. My gratitude should always be renewed in their mouths; and God, and my dear father and mother, my lady, and my master that was, my best friend that is, but principally, as most due, the FIRST, who inspired all the rest, should have their morning, their noontide, and their evening praises, as long as I lived!
I will only observe farther, as to this my third conversation-piece, that my Lord Davers offered to extenuate some parts of his dear brother-in-law’s conduct, which he did not himself vindicate; and Mr. B. was pleased to say, that my lord was always very candid to him, and kind in his allowances for the sallies of ungovernable youth. Upon which my lady said, a little tartly, “Yes, and for a very good reason, I doubt not; for who cares to condemn himself?”
“Nay,” said my lord pleasantly, “don’t put us upon a foot, neither: for what sallies I made before I knew your ladyship, were but like those of a fox, which now and then runs away with a straggling pullet, when nobody sees him, whereas those of my brother were like the invasions of a lion, breaking into every man’s fold, and driving the shepherds, as well as the sheep, before him.”—“Ay,” said my lady, “but I can look round me, and have reason, perhaps, to think the invading lion has come off, little as he deserved it, better than the creeping fox, who, with all his cunning, sometimes suffers for his pilfering theft.”