I am reading Clarissa by Samuel Richardson and I am not sure that I have understood a sentence correctly. Thank you very much in advance for your help. Lovelace tells Clarissa that in the midst of his mild vagaries he has ever preserved a reverence for religion, and for religious men and that the good men of the clergy call him a decent rake and he goes on by saying:
"This madam, I am the readier to confess, as it may give you hope that the generous task of my reformation, which I flatter myself you will have the goodness to undertake, will not be so difficult a one as you may have imagined; for it has afforded me some pleasure in my retired hours, when a temporary remorse has struck me for anything I have done amiss, that I should one day take delight in another course of life: for without one can, I dare say no durable good is to be expected from the endeavour.
The word "can" seems to me to be used as a noun. I have looked all its accepted meanings up but to be honest none convinced me. From what Clarissa says afterwards I understand that it can mean "delight". She says:
"I told him that his observation that no durable good was to be expected from any new course where there was not a delight taken in it, was just: but that the delight would follow by use.