Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

is a stronger bond than the ties of virtue ; as if it were the nature of the human mind to be villanous ? For here, had Dorcas been good, and heen tempted as she was tempted to any thing evil, I make do doubt but she would have yielded to the temptation.

And cannot our fra'ernity in an hundred instances give proof of the like predominance of vice over virtue ? And that we have risked more to serve and promote the inte. rests of the former, than ever a good man did to serve a good man or a good cause ? For have we not been pro. digal of life and fortune ? have we not defied the civil ma. gistrate upon occasion ? and have we not attempted res. cues, and dared all things, only to extricate a pounded profligate ?

Whence, Jack, can this be?

0! I have it, I believe. The vicious are as bad as they can be ; and do the Devil's work without looking after ; while he is continually spreading snares for the others ; and, like a skilful angler, suiting his baits to the fish he angles for.

Nor let even honest people, so called, blame poor Dorcas for her fidelity in a bad cause. For does not the ge. neral, who implicitly serves an ambitious prince in his un. just designs upon his neighbours, or upon his own oppressed subjects; and even the lawyer, who, for the sake of a paltry fee, undertakes to whiten a black cause, and to de. fend it against one he knows to be good, do the very same thing as Dorcas? And are they not both every whit as culpable? Yet the one shall be dubbed a hero, the other called an admirable fellow, and be contended for by every client, and his double-tongued abilities shall carry him through all the high prefernients of the law with reputation nd appla use.

Well, but what shall be done, since the lady is so much determined on removing !- Is there no way to oblige her, and yet to make the very act subservient to my own views ? Í fancy such a way may be found out.

I will study for it

Suppose I suffer her to make an escape ? Her heart is in it. If she effect it, the triumph she will have over me upon it will be a counterbalance for all she has suffered.

I will oblige her if I can.

LETTER III.

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.

TIRED

IRED with a succession of fatiguing days and sleepless nights, and with contemplating the precarious situation I stand in with my beloved, I fell into a profound reverie; which brought on sleep; and that produced a dream; a fortunate dream ; which, as I imagine, will afford my working mind the means to effect the obliging double pur. pose my heart is now once more set upon.

What, as I have often contemplated, is the enjoyment of the finest woman in the world, to the contrivance, the bustle, the surprises, and at last the happy conclusion of a well-laid plot !-The charming roundabouts, to come the nearest way home ;-the doubts; the apprehensions; the heart-achings; the meditated triumphs—these are the joys that make the blessing dear.-For all the rest, what is it? -What but to find an angel in imagination dwindled down to a woman in fact ?- But to my dream

Methought it was about nine on Wednesday morning,

that a chariot, with a dowager's arms upon the doors, and in it a grave matronly lady (not unlike mother H. in the face ; but, in her heart, Oh! how unlike!] stopped at a gro. cer's shop, about ten doors on the other side of the way, in order to buy some groceries : and methought Dorcas, having been out to see if the coast were clear for her lady's flight, and if a coach were to be got near the place, espied this chariot with the dowager's arms, and this matronly lady: and what, methought, did Dorcas, that subtle traitress, do, but whip up to the old matronly lady, and lifting up her voice, say, Good my Lady, permit me one word with your Ladyship !

What thou hast to say to me, say on, quoth the old lady.; the grocer retiring, and standing aloof, to give Dorcas leave to speak ; who, methought, in words like these accosted the lady:

" You seem, Madam, to be a very good lady ; and here, in this neighbourhood, at a house of no high repute, is

innocent lady of rank and fortune, beautiful as a "May morning, and youthful as a rose-bud, and full as o sweet and lovely, who has been tricked thither by a

wicked gentleman, practised in the ways of the town, 6 and this very night will she be ruined if she get not out

of his hands. Now, O Lady! if you will extend your compassionate goodness to this fair young lady, in whom,

the moment you behold her, you will see cause to be. 6 lieve all I say, and let her but have a place in your

chariot, and remain in your protection for one day only, 6 till she can send a man and horse to her rich and power. 6 fúl friends, you may save from ruin a lady who has no equal for virtue as well as beauty.'

Methought the old lady, moved with Dorcas's story, answered and said, 'Hasten, O damsel, who in a happy

an

moment art come to put it in my power to serve the in. 6 nocent and the virtuous, which it has always been my

delight to do: hasten to this young lady, and bid her hie hither to me with all speed ; and tell her, that my

chariot shall be her asylum: and if I find all that thou sayest true, my house shall be her sanctuary, and I will protect her from all her oppressors.'

Hereupon, methought, this traitress Dorcas hied back to the lady, and made report of what she had done. And, methought, the lady highly approved of Dorcas's proceeding and blessed her for her good thought.

And I lifted up mine eyes, and behold the lady issued out of the house, and without looking back, ran to the chariot with the dowager's coat upon it; and was received by the matronly lady with open arms, and - Welcome,

welcome, welcome, fair young lady, who so well answer ( the description of the faithful damsel : and I will carry

you instantly to my house, where you shall meet with all • the good usage your heart can wish for, till you can ap. • prize your rich and powerful friends of your past dan. gers, and present escape.'

Thank thank you, thank you, thank you, worthy, thrice worthy lady, who afford so kindly your protection 5 to a most unhappy young creature, who has been basely

seduced and betrayed, and brought to the very brink of 6 destruction.'

Methought, then, the matronly lady, who had, by the time the young lady came to her, bought and paid for the goods she wanted, ordered her coachman to drive home with all speed; who stopped not till he bad arrived in a certain street not far from Lincoln's-inn-fields, where the matronly lady lived in a sumptuous dwelling, replete with daunsels who wrought curiously in muslins, cambrics, and

you,

the

fine linen, and in every good work that industrious damsels love to be employed about, except the loom and the spinning-wheel.

And, methought, all the way the young lady and the old lady rode, and after they came in, till dinner was ready,

young lady filled up the time with the dismal account of her wrongs and her sufferings, the like of which was never heard by mortal ear; and this in so moving a man. ner, that the good old lady did nothing but weep, and sigh, and sob, and inveigh against the arts of wicked men, and against that abominable 'Squire Lovelace, who was a plot. ting villain, methcught she said; and more than that, an unchained Beelzebub.

Methought I was in a dreadful agony, when I found the lady had escaped ; and in my wrath had like to have slain Dorcas, and our mother, and every one I met. But, by some quick transition, and strange metamorphosis, which dreams do not usually account for, methought, all of a sudden, this matronly lady was turned into the famous mother H. herself; and, being an old acquaintance of mother Sinclair, was prevailed upon to assist in my plot upon the young lady.

Then, methought, followed a strange scene; for mother H. longing to hear more of the young lady's story, and night being come, besought her to accept of a place in her own bed, in order to have all the talk to themselves. For, methought, two young nieces of her's had broken in upon them, in the middle of the dismal tale.

Accordingly, going early to bed, and the sad story being resumed, with as great earnestness on one side as attention on the other, before the young lady had gone far in it, mother 11. methought was taken with a fit of the colic;

« ForrigeFortsett »