Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.
By Samuel Richardson (16891761)
At Mrs. Sinclairs, Monday afternoon.
DREADING what might happen as to her intellects, and being very apprehensive that she might go through a great deal before morning (though more violent she could not well be with the worst she dreaded), I humoured her, and ordered Will to endeavour to get a coach directly, to carry us to Hampstead; I cared not at what price.
Robbers, with whom I would have terrified her, she feared notI was all her fear, I found; and this house her terror: for I saw plainly that she now believed that Lady Betty and Miss Montague were both impostors.
And, O Jack, the rage of love, the rage of revenge is upon me! by turns they tear me! The progress already madethe womens instigationsthe power I shall have to try her to the utmost, and still to marry her, if she be not to be brought to cohabitationlet me perish, Belford, if she escape me now!
Once more she urgesto Mrs. Leesons, let me go, Lovelace! Good Lovelace, let me go to Mrs. Leesons. What is Miss Montagues illness to my terror? For the Almightys sake, Mr. Lovelace!her hands clasped!
Thoult observe, Belford, that though this was written afterwards, yet (as in other places) I write it as it was spoken and happened, as if I had retired to put down every sentence as spoken. I know thou likest this lively present-tense manner, as it is one of my peculiars.
Just as she had repeated the last words, If you mean me honourably, let me go out of this hated house, in came Mrs. Sinclair, in a great fermentAnd what, pray, Madam has this house done to you? Mr. Lovelace, you have known me some time; and if I have not the niceness of this lady, I hope I do not deserve to be treated thus!
She set her huge arms akimboHoh! Madam, let me tell you that I am amazed at your freedoms with my character! And, Mr. Lovelace (holding up and violently shaking her head), if you are a gentleman and a man of honour
Having never before seen anything but obsequiousness in this woman, little as she liked her, she was frighted at her masculine air and fierce lookGod help me! she cried, what will become of me now! then, turning her head hither and thither, in a wild kind of amaze, Whom have I found protector! What will become of me now!
I will be your protector, my dearest love!But indeed you are uncharitably severe upon poor Mrs. Sinclair! Indeed you are!She is a gentlewoman born, and the relict of a man of honour; and though left in such circumstances as to oblige her to let lodgings, yet would she scorn to be guilty of a wilful baseness.
The old dragon straddled up to her, with her arms kimboed again, her eye-brows erect, like the bristles upon a hogs back, and scowling over her shortened nose, more than half hid her ferret eyes. Her mouth was distorted. She pouted out her blubber-lips, as if to bellows up wind and sputter into her horse-nostrils; and her chin was curdled, and more than usually prominent with passion.
I feared she would fall into fits; and with a look of indignation, told Mrs. Sinclair that these apartments were mine; and I could not imagine what she meant, either by listening to what passed between me and my spouse, or to come in uninvited; and still more I wondered at her giving herself these strange liberties.