Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
 
Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.
By Samuel Richardson (1689–1761)
 
From Clarissa

At Mrs. Sinclair’s, 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.
  1
  Robbers, with whom I would have terrified her, she feared not—I 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.  2
  But her mistrust is a little of the latest to do her service!  3
  And, O Jack, the rage of love, the rage of revenge is upon me! by turns they tear me! The progress already made—the women’s instigations—the power I shall have to try her to the utmost, and still to marry her, if she be not to be brought to cohabitation—let me perish, Belford, if she escape me now!  4
  Will is not yet come back. Near eleven.  5
  Will is this moment returned. No coach to be got either for love or money.  6
  Once more she urges—to Mrs. Leeson’s, let me go, Lovelace! Good Lovelace, let me go to Mrs. Leeson’s. What is Miss Montague’s illness to my terror? For the Almighty’s sake, Mr. Lovelace!—her hands clasped!  7
  Oh, my angel! What a wildness is this! Do you know, do you see, my dearest life, what appearances your causeless apprehensions have given you? Do you know it is past eleven o’clock?  8
  Twelve, one, two, three, four—any hour, I care not—if you mean me honourably, let me go out of this hated house!  9
  Thou’lt 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.  10
  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 ferment—And 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!  11
  She set her huge arms akimbo—Hoh! 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—  12
  Having never before seen anything but obsequiousness in this woman, little as she liked her, she was frighted at her masculine air and fierce look—God 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!  13
  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.  14
  I hope so—it may be so—I may be mistaken—but—but there is no crime, I presume, no treason to say I don’t like her house.  15
  The old dragon straddled up to her, with her arms kimboed again, her eye-brows erect, like the bristles upon a hog’s 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.  16
  With two “Hoh—Madams,” she accosted the frighted fair one; who, terrified, caught hold of my sleeve.  17
  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.  18
  I may be to blame, Jack, for suffering this wretch to give herself these airs; but her coming in was without my orders.  19
  The old beldam, throwing herself into a chair, fell a blubbering and exclaiming. And the pacifying of her, and endeavouring to reconcile the lady to her, took up till near one o’clock.  20
  And thus, between terror, and the late hour, and what followed, she was diverted from the thoughts of getting out of the house to Mrs. Leeson’s, or anywhere else.  21
 
 
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