An "indelible esteem" may be engraven on the heart

— Smollett, Tobias (1721-1777)

Place of Publication
Printed for the author
An "indelible esteem" may be engraven on the heart
Metaphor in Context
He directed his valet de chambre, who was a thorough-paced pimp, to kindle some straw in the yard, and then pass by the door of her apartment, crying with a loud voice that the house was on fire. This alarm brought both ladies out of their chamber in a moment, and Peregrine taking the advantage of their running to the street door, entered the room and concealed himself under a large table that stood in an unobserved corner. The nymphs, as soon as they understood the cause of his Mercury's supposed affright, returned to their apartment, and having said their prayers, undressed themselves and went to bed. This scene, which fell under the observation of Pickle, did not at all contribute to the cooling of his concupiscence, but on the contrary, inflamed him to such a degree, that he could scarce restrain his impatience, until by her snoring, he concluded the fellow-lodger of his Amanda was asleep. This welcome note no sooner saluted his ears, than he crept to his charmer's bedside, and placing himself on his knees, gently laid hold on her white hand, and pressed it to his lips. She had just begun to close her eyes, and enjoy the agreeable oppression of slumber, when she was roused by this rape, at which she started, pronouncing in a tone of surprize and dismay, "My God! who's that?" The lover, with the most insinuating humility, besought her to hear him; vowing that his intention in approaching her thus, was not to violate the laws of decency, or that indelible esteem which she had engraven on his heart; but to manifest his sorrow and contrition for the umbrage he had given, to pour forth the overflowings of his soul, and tell her that he neither could nor would survive her displeasure. These and many more pathetic protestations, accompanied with sighs and tears, and other expressions of genuine grief, which our hero had at command, could not fail to melt the tender heart of the amiable Fleming, already prepossessed in favour of his qualifications. She sympathized so much with his affliction, as to weep in her turn, when she represented the impossibility of her rewarding his passion; and he seizing the favourable moment, reinforced his sollicitations with such irresistible transports, that her resolution gave way, she began to breathe quick and deep, expressed her fear of being overheard by the other lady, and with an ejaculation of "O heavens! I'm undone:" suffered herself, after a faint struggle, to be overpowered by her admirer, who made a lodgment upon the covered way of her bed, under the curtain of the counterscarp; and in all probability, would have in a few moments made himself master of the place; when her honour was secured for the present, by a strange sort of knocking upon the wainscot, at the other end of the room, hard by the bed in which the female adventurer lay. Surprised at this circumstance which interrupted our assailant's operations, the lady begged him for heaven's sake to retreat, else her reputation would be ruined for ever: but when he represented to her, that her character would run a much greater risk, if he should be detected in withdrawing, she consented with great trepidation to his stay, and they listened in silence to the sequel of the noise that alarmed them. This was no other than an expedient of the painter, to awaken his Dulcinea, with whom he had made an assignation, or at least interchanged such signals as he thought amounted to a firm appointment. His nymph being disturbed in her first fleep, immediately understood the sound, and true to the agreement, rose, and unbolting the door as softly as possible, gave him admittance, leaving it open for his more commodious retreat.
(pp. 159-161)
Searching "heart" and "engrav" in HDIS (Prose)
33 entries in ESTC (1751, 1758, 1763, 1765, 1769, 1773, 1775, 1776, 1778, 1779, 1781, 1784, 1785, 1786, 1787, 1788, 1791, 1793, 1794, 1798, 1799, 1800).

Smollett, Tobias. The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle. In which are included, Memoirs of a Lady of Quality., 4 vols. (London: Printed for the author, 1751). <Link to ESTC>
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.