Continuing the narrative that began here.
Letter the Fortieth:
Sir George Purvis to Miss Amelia Purvis.
My dearest Amelia,—
I am a lost Soul; but in my Heart I do yet sense the Prickings of Conscience, upon which, were my Will to act, I might yet be saved. O Amelia! I believe I have lost Honoria; yet tho’ Conscience prick me, I find that my Heart answers not the Prickings, and I face my own Dishonor, to say nothing of hers, not as an Husband wrong’d, nor yet as a Lover spurned, but as a christian Gentleman bemoaning the Damnation of the Heathen, without bestirring himself to preach to ’em. Such Lassitude springs up in my Soul, that I have neither the Will, nor even the Inclination, to avenge my Wrongs, nor yet to make such Inquiries as would determine positively that I have been wrong’d.
I beg you to forgive me, dearest Sister, for imposing upon you my indelicate Suspicions, which, were I not aware that your wide Reading has exposed you to the Ways of the World, without diminishing that modest Virtue which is ever your chief Ornament, I should not have ventured to confide in you; yet, with the single Exception of Miss Smith, there is no one else in whom I may confide. In a Word, I believe my Honoria to be engaged in a scandalous Relation with the eminent Doctor Albertus; and, having writ those Words, I find that I have no more to say. O cruel Love! O monstrous Fate!—Such is the Stile of Utterance I believe to be customary upon such Occasions: Yet my own Heart will not Utter what Custom and common Usage demand from it. Like a Stone I am battered, and broken, and feel nothing. Is it not my Duty to be overcome with Wrath? If she has aroused Suspicion, must I not demand an Explanation, as one having no little Interest in the Matter of her Virtue? Why am I not red with Choler, or bedew’d with Tears, or, at the least, earnestly inquisitive? Why do I not demand Satisfaction from the Doctor, either under the Form of an Explanation, or, if he cannot render one, upon the Field of Honor? Am I less than a Man, or more than a Saint? The cold Lethargy which overcomes me whenever I think on Honoria and her Betrayal,—if indeed she has betrayed me,—is something more or less than natural. I consider the Matter, and am unmoved; I have been pierced, but cannot feel the Wound. Shall I die of it? I had rather almost that I were wounded unto Death, for then I should know by undeniable Inference that I had been alive.
My Suspicions did not arise gradually, but all at once, and prompted by the suggestion of Miss Smith, who more and more has become my Companion: For I am idle, and she is idle as well, when she is not required to paint her Flesh, and drape herself in Gauze, and impersonate the Automaton. Indeed, Doctor Albertus gives her no other Duties, lest her Hands be marred by Laboring.
—No, I shall not recount that painfull Conversation, in which my fondest Hopes were dashed, and my Soul exposed for the blank and empty Thing it is;—I had thought to record it, but I have not the Will;—I should end the Letter here. Yet this much more I will say: That, as I am now in London, where the Post is more certain, I have some Reason to suppose that my Letter will reach you; and O! Amelia! One Word from you, whether of Advice, or Censure, would make my Sorrows lighter, and brighten the Shades of my Existence; wherefore I pray you to write, if no more than a Line, to
Your constant Brother,