The fruits of my inquiry after your abominable wretch’s behaviour and baseness at the paltry alehouse, which he calls an inn, prepare to hear.
Wrens and sparrows are not too ignoble a quarry for this villainous gos-hawk!—His assiduities; his watchings; his nightly risques; the inclement weather he journeys in; must not be all placed to your account. He has opportunities of making every thing light to him of that sort. A sweet pretty girl, I am told—innocent till he went thither—Now! (Ah! poor girl!) who knows what?
But just turned of seventeen!—His friend and brother-rake (a man of humour and intrigue) as I am told, to share the social bottle with. And sometimes another disguised rake or two. No sorrow comes near their hearts. Be not disturbed, my dear, at his hoarsenesses! his pretty, Betsey, his Rosebud, as the vile wretch calls her, can hear all he says.
He is very fond of her. They say she is innocent even yet—her father, her grandmother, believe her to be so. He is to fortune her out to a young lover!—Ah! the poor young lover!—Ah! the poor simple girl!
Mr. Hickman tells me, that he heard in town, that he used to be often at plays, and at the opera, with women; and every time with a different one—Ah! my sweet friend!—But I hope he is nothing to you, if all this were truth.—But this intelligence, in relation to this poor girl, will do his business, if you had been ever so good friends before.
A vile wretch! Cannot such purity in pursuit, in view, restrain him? but I leave him to you!—There can be no hope of him. More of a fool, than of such a man. Yet I wish I may be able to snatch the poor young creature out of his villainous paws. I have laid a scheme to do so; if indeed she be hitherto innocent and heart-free.
He appears to the people as a military man, in disguise, secreting himself on account of a duel fought in town; the adversary’s life in suspense. They believe he is a great man. His friend passes for an inferior officer; upon a footing of freedom with him. He, accompanied by a third man, who is a sort of subordinate companion to the second. The wretch himself with but one servant.
O my dear! how pleasantly can these devils, as I must call them, pass their time, while our gentle bosoms heave with pity for their supposed sufferings for us!
I have sent for this girl and her father; and am just now informed, that I shall see them. I will sift them thoroughly. I shall soon find out such a simple thing as this, if he has not corrupted her already—and if he has, I shall soon find out that too.—If more art than nature appears either in her or her father, I shall give them both up—but depend upon it, the girl’s undone.
He is said to be fond of her. He places her at the upper end of his table. He sets her a-prattling. He keeps his friends at a distance from her. She prates away. He admires for nature all she says. Once was heard to call her charming little creature! An hundred has he called so no doubt. He puts her upon singing. He praises her wild note—O my dear, the girl’s undone!—must be undone!—The man, you know, is LOVELACE.
Let ’em bring Wyerley to you, if they will have you married—any body but Solmes and Lovelace be yours!—So advises
Your ANNA HOWE.
My dearest friend, consider this alehouse as his garrison: him as an enemy: his brother-rakes as his assistants and abettors. Would not your brother, would not your uncles, tremble, if they knew how near them he is, as they pass to and fro?—I am told, he is resolved you shall not be carried to your uncle Antony’s.—What can you do, with or without such an enterprising—
Fill up the blank I leave.—I cannot find a word bad enough