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Full Online Book HomeEssaysOld Friends - Essays In Epistolary Parody - LETTER: From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.
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Old Friends - Essays In Epistolary Parody - LETTER: From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq. Post by :jason19 Category :Essays Author :Andrew Lang Date :August 2011 Read :2933

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Old Friends - Essays In Epistolary Parody - LETTER: From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.

LETTER: From Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.

The following letter must have been omitted from the papers to which Mr. Samuel Richardson, the editor of "Clarissa," had access. It was written, apparently, after the disgraceful success of Lovelace's disgraceful adventure, and shows us that scoundrel in company not choice, indeed, but better than he deserved, the society of Mr. Thomas Jones, a Foundling. Mr. Jones's admirable wife (nee Western), having heard of Lovelace's conduct, sent her husband to execute that revenge which should have been competed for by every man of heart. It will be seen that Mr. Jones was no match for the perfidies of Mr. Lovelace. The cynical reflections of that bad man on Lord Fellamar, and his relations with Mrs. Jones, will only cause indignation and contempt among her innumerable and honourable admirers. They will remember the critical and painful circumstances as recorded in Mr. Henry Fielding's biography of Mr. Jones.

Parcius junctas quatiunt fenestras
Ictibus crebris juvenes protervi.


Curse upon thy stars, Jack! How long wilt thou beat me about the head with thy musty citations from Nat Lee and thy troop of poetical divines? Thou hast driven me to motto-hunting for the comeliness of mine epistle, like the weekly scribblers. See, Jack, I have an adventure to tell thee! It is not the avenging Morden that hath flashed through the window, sword in hand, as in my frightful dream; nor hath the statue of the Commandant visited me, like Don Juan, that Rake of Spain; but a challenger came hither that is not akin to my beloved Miss. Dost remember a tall, fresh- coloured, cudgel-playing oaf that my Lady Bellaston led about with her--as maids lead apes in hell, though he more of an ape than she of a maid--'tis a year gone? This brawny-beefed chairman hath married a fortune and a delicious girl, you dog, Miss Sophia Western, of Somerset, and is now in train, I doubt not, to beget as goodly a tribe of chuckle-headed boys and whey-faced wenches as you shall see round an old squire's tomb in a parish church. Wherefore does he not abide at this his appointed lawful husbandry, I marvel; but not a whit!

Our cursed adventure hath spread from the flippanti of both sexes down to the heathenish parts of Somerset; where it hath reached Madam Jones's ears, and inflamed this pretty vixen with a desire to avenge Miss Harlowe on me, and by the cudgel of Mr. Jones, his Sophia having sent him up to town for no other purpose. De la Tour, my man, came to me yesterday morning with the tidings that the New Giant, as he supposes, waits on me to solicit the favour of my patronage. I am in the powdering closet, being bound for a rout, and cry, "Let the Giant in!" Then a heavy tread: and, looking up, what do I see but a shoulder-of-mutton fist at my nose, and lo! a Somerset tongue cries, "Lovelace, thou villain, thou shalt taste of this!" A man in a powdering closet cannot fight, even if he be a boxing glutton like your Figs and other gladiators of the Artillery Ground. Needs must I parley. "What," says I, "what, the happy Mr. Jones from the West! What brings him here among the wicked, and how can the possessor of the beauteous Sophia be a moment from her charms?"

"Take not her name," cries my clod-hopper, "into thy perjured mouth. 'Tis herself sends me here to avenge the best, the most injured . . . " Here he fell a-blubbering! Oh, Belford, the virtue of this world is a great discourager of repentance.

"If Mr. Jones insists on the arbitrament of the sword . . . " I was beginning--"Nay, none of thy Frenchified blades," cries he, "come out of thy earth, thou stinking fox, and try conclusions with an English cudgel!"

Belford, I am no cudgel-player, and I knew not well how to rid myself of this swasher.

"Mr. Jones!" I said, "I will fight you how you will, where you will, with what weapon you will; but first inform me of the nature of our quarrel. Would you blazon abroad yet further the malignant tales that have injured both me and a lady for whom I have none but the most hallowed esteem? I pray you sit down, Sir; be calm, the light is ill for any play with cudgel or sword. De la Tour, a bottle of right Burgundy; Mr. Jones and I have business, and he hath travelled far."

In a trice there was a chicken, a bottle, a set of knives and forks, a white cloth, and a hungry oaf that did eat and swear! One bottle followed another. By the third Mr. Jones embraced me, saying that never had a man been more belied than I; that it was Lord Fellamar, not I, was the villain. To this effect I own that I did myself drop a hint; conceiving that the divine Sophia must often have regretted our friend Fellamar when once she was bound to the oaf, and that Jones was capable of a resentful jealousy. By midnight I had to call a chair for my besotted challenger, and when the Avenger was there safely bestowed, I asked him where the men should carry him? His tongue being now thick, and his brains bemused, he could not find the sign of his inn in his noddle. So, the merry devil prompting me, I gave the men the address of his ancient flame, my Lady Bellaston, and off they jogged with Jones.

Was there ever, Belford, a stranger amoris redintegratio than this must have been, when our Lydia heard the old love at the rarely shaken doors:


Me tuo longas pereunte noctes,
Lydia, dormis?


Ah, how little hath Madam Sophia taken by despatching her lord to town, and all to break my head. My fellow, who carries this to thee, has just met Fellamar's man, and tells me that FELLAMAR YESTERDAY WENT DOWN INTO SOMERSET. What bodes this rare conjunction and disjunction of man and wife and of old affections? and hath "Thomas, a Foundling," too, gone the way of all flesh?

Thy LOVELACE.

No news of the dear fugitive! Ah, Belford, my conscience and my cousins call me a villain! Minxes all.

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