Your last so sensibly affects me, that I must postpone every other

consideration, however weighty, to reply to it: and this I will do

very distinctly, and with all the openness of heart which our mutual

friendship demands.

But let me observe, in the first place, gratefully observe, that if I

have in fifty passages of my letters given you such undoubted proofs

of my value for Mr. Lovelace, that you have spared me for the sake of

my explicitness, it is acting by me with a generosity worthy of


But lives the man, think you, who is so very bad, that he does not

give even a doubting mind reason at one time to be better pleased with

him than at another? And when that reason offers, is it not just to

express one's self accordingly? I would do the man who addresses me

as much justice, as if he did not address me: it has such a look of

tyranny, it appears so ungenerous, methinks, in our sex, to use a man

worse for his respect to us, (no other cause for disrespect

occurring,) that I would not by any means be that person who should do


But, although I may intend no more than justice, it will perhaps be

difficult to hinder those who know the man's views, from construing it

as a partial favour: and especially if the eager-eyed observer has

been formerly touched herself, and would triumph that her friend had

been no more able to escape than she. Noble minds, emulative of

perfection, (and yet the passion properly directed, I do not take to

be an imperfection neither,) may be allowed a little generous envy, I


If I meant by this a reflection, by way of revenge, it is but a

revenge, my dear, in the soft sense of the word. I love, as I have

told you, your pleasantry. Although at the time your reproof may pain

me a little; yet, on recollection, when I find it more of the

cautioning friend than of the satirizing observer, I shall be all

gratitude upon it. All the business will be this; I shall be sensible

of the pain in the present letter perhaps; but I shall thank you in

the next, and ever after.

In this way, I hope, my dear, you will account for a little of that

sensibility which you find above, and perhaps still more, as I

proceed.--You frequently remind me, by an excellent example, your own

to me, that I must not spare you!

I am not conscious, that I have written any thing of this man, that

has not been more in his dispraise than in his favour. Such is the

man, that I think I must have been faulty, and ought to take myself to

account, if I had not. But you think otherwise, I will not put you

upon labouring the proof, as you call it. My conduct must then have a

faulty appearance at least, and I will endeavour to rectify it. But

of this I assure you, that whatever interpretation my words were

capable of, I intended not any reserve to you. I wrote my heart at

the time: if I had had thought of disguising it, or been conscious

that there was reason for doing so, perhaps I had not given you the

opportunity of remarking upon my curiosity after his relations' esteem

for me; nor upon my conditional liking, and such-like. All I intended

by the first, I believe, I honestly told you at the time. To that

letter I therefore refer, whether it make for me, or against me: and

by the other, that I might bear in mind, what it became a person of my

sex and character to be and to do, in such an unhappy situation, where

the imputed love is thought an undutiful, and therefore a criminal

passion; and where the supported object of it is a man of faulty

morals too. And I am sure you will excuse my desire of appearing at

those times the person I ought to be; had I no other view in it but to

merit the continuance of your good opinion.

But that I may acquit myself of having reserves--O, my dear, I must

here break off!--