Letter XXXV


I have found out by my watchful spy almost as many of my charmer's

motions, as those of the rest of her relations. It delights me to

think how the rascal is caressed by the uncles and nephew; and let

into their secrets; yet it proceeds all the time by my line of

direction. I have charged him, however, on forfeiture of his present

weekly stipend, and my future favour, to take care, that neither my

beloved, nor any of the family suspect him: I have told him that he

may indeed watch her egresses and regresses; but that only keep off

other servants from her paths; yet not to be seen by her himself.

The dear creature has tempted him, he told them, with a bribe [which

she never offered] to convey a letter [which she never wrote] to Miss

Howe; he believes, with one enclosed (perhaps to me): but he declined

it: and he begged they would take notice of it to her. This brought

him a stingy shilling; great applause; and an injunction followed it

to all the servants, for the strictest look-out, lest she should

contrive some way to send it--and, above an hour after, an order was

given him to throw himself in her way; and (expressing his concern for

denying her request) to tender his service to her, and to bring them

her letter: which it will be proper for him to report that she has

refused to give him.

Now seest thou not, how many good ends this contrivance answers?

In the first place, the lady is secured by it, against her own

knowledge, in the liberty allowed her of taking her private walks in

the garden: for this attempt has confirmed them in their belief, that

now they have turned off her maid, she has no way to send a letter out

of the house: if she had, she would not have run the risque of

tempting a fellow who had not been in her secret--so that she can

prosecute unsuspectedly her correspondence with me and Miss Howe.

In the next place, it will perhaps afford me an opportunity of a

private interview with her, which I am meditating, let her take it as

she will; having found out by my spy (who can keep off every body

else) that she goes every morning and evening to a wood-house remote

from the dwelling-house, under pretence of visiting and feeding a set

of bantam-poultry, which were produced from a breed that was her

grandfather's, and of which for that reason she is very fond; as also

of some other curious fowls brought from the same place. I have an

account of all her motions here. And as she has owned to me in one of

her letters that she corresponds privately with Miss Howe, I presume

it is by this way.

The interview I am meditating, will produce her consent, I hope, to

other favours of the like kind: for, should she not choose the place

in which I am expecting to see her, I can attend her any where in the

rambling Dutch-taste garden, whenever she will permit me that honour:

for my implement, high Joseph Leman, has procured me the opportunity

of getting two keys made to the garden-door (one of which I have given

him for reasons good); which door opens to the haunted coppice, as

tradition has made the servants think it; a man having been found

hanging in it about twenty years ago: and Joseph, upon proper notice,

will leave it unbolted.

But I was obliged previously to give him my honour, that no mischief

should happen to any of my adversaries, from this liberty: for the

fellow tells me, that he loves all his masters: and, only that he

knows I am a man of honour; and that my alliance will do credit to the

family; and after prejudices are overcome, every body will think so;

or he would not for the world act the part he does.

There never was a rogue, who had not a salvo to himself for being so. --What a praise to honesty, that every man pretends to it, even at the

instant that he knows he is pursuing the methods that will perhaps

prove him a knave to the whole world, as well as to his own


But what this stupid family can mean, to make all this necessary, I

cannot imagine. My REVENGE and my LOVE are uppermost by turns. If

the latter succeed not, the gratifying of the former will be my only

consolation: and, by all that's good, they shall feel it; although for

it I become an exile from my native country for ever.

I will throw myself into my charmer's presence. I have twice already

attempted it in vain. I shall then see what I may depend upon from

her favour. If I thought I had no prospect of that, I should be

tempted to carry her off. That would be a rape worthy of Jupiter!

But all gentle shall be my movements: all respectful, even to

reverence, my address to her--her hand shall be the only witness to

the pressure of my lip--my trembling lip: I know it will tremble, if I

do not bid it tremble. As soft my sighs, as the sighs of my gentle

Rose-bud. By my humility will I invite her confidence: the loneliness

of the place shall give me no advantage: to dissipate her fears, and

engage her reliance upon my honour for the future, shall be my whole

endeavour: but little will I complain of, not at all will I threaten,

those who are continually threatening me: but yet with a view to act

the part of Dryden's lion; to secure my love, or to let loose my

vengeance upon my hunters.

What tho' his mighty soul his grief contains?

He meditates revenge who least complains:

And like a lion slumb'ring in his way,

Or sleep dissembling, while he waits his prey,

His fearless foes within his distance draws,

Constrains his roaring, and contracts his paws:

Till at the last, his time for fury found,

He shoots with sudden vengeance from the ground:

The prostrate vulgar passes o'er, and spares,

But, with a lordly rage, his hunter tears.