Part 3 out of 6
because of your short and accidental knowledge of the dear testatrix, and
long and intimate acquaintance with the man to whom she owed her ruin,
and we the greatest loss and disappointment (her manifold excellencies
considered) that ever befell a family.
You will allow due weight, I dare say, to this plea, if you make our case
your own; and so much the readier, when I assure you, that your
interfering in this matter, so much against our inclinations, (excuse,
Sir, my plain dealing,) will very probably occasion an opposition in some
points, where otherwise there might be none.
What, therefore, I propose is, not that my father should assume this
trust; he is too much afflicted to undertake it--nor yet myself--I might
be thought too much concerned in interest; but that it might be allowed
to devolve upon my two uncles; whose known honour, and whose affection to
the dear deceased, nobody every doubted; and they will treat with you,
Sir, through my cousin Morden, as to the points they will undertake to
The trouble you have already had will well entitle you to the legacy she
bequeaths you, together with the re-imbursement of all the charges you
have been at, and allowance of the legacies you have discharged, although
you should not have qualified yourself to act as an executor, as I
presume you have not yet done, nor will now do.
Your compliance, Sir, will oblige a family, (who have already distress
enough upon them,) in the circumstance that occasions this application to
you, and more particularly, Sir,
Your most humble servant,
JAMES HARLOWE, JUN.
I send this by one of my servants, who will attend your dispatch.
MR. BELFORD, TO MR. JAMES HARLOWE, JUN. ESQ.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 16.
You will excuse my plain-dealing in turn: for I must observe, that if I
had not the just opinion I have of the sacred nature of this office I
have undertaken, some passages in the letter you have favoured me with
would convince me that I ought not to excuse myself from acting in it.
I need only name one of them. You are pleased to say, that your uncles,
if the trust be relinquished to them, will treat with me, through Colonel
Morden, as to the points they will undertake to perform.
Permit me, Sir, to say, that it is the duty of an executor to see every
point performed, that can be performed.--Nor will I leave the performance
of mine to any other persons, especially where a qualifying is so
directly intimated, and where all the branches of your family have shown
themselves, with respect to the incomparable lady, to have but one mind.
You are pleased to urge, that she recommends to me the leaving to the
honour of any of your family such of the articles as are of a domestic
nature. But, admitting this to be so, does it not imply that the other
articles are still to obtain my care?--But even these, you will find by
the will, she gives not up; and to that I refer you.
I am sorry for the hints you give of an opposition, where, as you say,
there might be none, if I did not interfere. I see not, Sir, why your
animosity against a man who cannot be defended, should be carried to such
a height against one who never gave you offence; and this only, because
he is acquainted with that man. I will not say all I might say on this
As to the legacy to myself, I assure you, Sir, that neither my
circumstances nor my temper will put me upon being a gainer by the
executorship. I shall take pleasure to tread in the steps of the
admirable testatrix in all I may; and rather will increase than diminish
her poor's fund.
With regard to the trouble that may attend the execution of the trust, I
shall not, in honour to her memory, value ten times more than this can
give me. I have, indeed two other executorships on my hands; but they
sit light upon me. And survivors cannot better or more charitably bestow
I conceive that every article, but that relating to the poor's fund,
(such is the excellence of the disposition of the most excellent of
women,) may be performed in two months' time, at farthest.
Occasions of litigation or offence shall not proceed from me. You need
only apply to Colonel Morden who shall command me in every thing that the
will allows me to oblige your family in. I do assure you, that I am as
unwilling to obtrude myself upon it, as any of it can wish.
I own that I have not yet proved the will; nor shall I do it till next
week at soonest, that you may have time for amicable objections, if such
you think fit to make through the Colonel's mediation. But let me
observe to you, Sir, 'That an executor's power, in such instances as I
have exercised it, is the same before the probate as after it. He can
even, without taking that out, commence an action, although he cannot
declare upon it: and these acts of administration make him liable to
actions himself.' I am therefore very proper in the steps I shall have
taken in part of the execution of this sacred trust; and want not
allowance on the occasion.
Permit me to add, that when you have perused the will, and coolly
considered every thing, it is my hope, that you will yourself be of
opinion that there can be no room for dispute or opposition; and that if
your family will join to expedite the execution, it will be the most
natural and easy way of shutting up the whole affair, and to have done
with a man so causelessly, as to his own particular, the object of your
dislike, as is, Sir,
Your very humble servant, (notwithstanding,)
To which the following preamble, written on a separate paper, was
Stitched in black silk.
TO MY EXECUTOR
'I hope I may be excused for expatiating, in divers parts of this solemn
last act, upon subjects of importance. For I have heard of so many
instances of confusion and disagreement in families, and so much doubt
and difficulty, for want of absolute clearness in the testaments of
departed persons, that I have often concluded, (were there to be no other
reasons but those which respect the peace of surviving friends,) that
this last act, as to its designation and operation, ought not to be the
last in its composition or making; but should be the result of cool
deliberation, and (as is more frequently than justly said) of a sound
mind and memory; which too seldom are to be met with but in sound health.
All pretences of insanity of mind are likewise prevented, when a testator
gives reasons for what he wills; all cavils about words are obviated; the
obliged are assured; and they enjoy the benefit for whom the benefit was
intended. Hence have I, for some time past, employed myself in penning
down heads of such a disposition; which, as reasons offered, I have
altered and added to, so that I was never absolutely destitute of a will,
had I been taken off ever so suddenly. These minutes and imperfect
sketches enabled me, as God has graciously given me time and sedateness,
to digest them into the form in which they appear.'
I, CLARISSA HARLOWE, now, by strange melancholy accidents, lodging in the
parish of St. Paul, Covent-garden, being of sound and perfect mind and
memory, as I hope these presents, drawn up by myself, and written with my
own hand, will testify, do, [this second day of September,*] in the year
of our Lord ----,** make and publish this my last will and testament, in
manner and form following:
* A blank, at the writing, was left for this date, and filled up on this
day. See Vol. VIII. Letter LI.
** The date of the year is left blank for particular reasons.
In the first place, I desire that my body may lie unburied three days
after my decease, or till the pleasure of my father be known concerning
it. But the occasion of my death not admitting of doubt, I will not, on
any account that it be opened; and it is my desire, that it shall not be
touched but by those of my own sex.
I have always earnestly requested, that my body might be deposited in the
family vault with those of my ancestors. If it might be granted, I could
now wish, that it might be placed at the feet of my dear and honoured
grandfather. But as I have, by one very unhappy step, been thought to
disgrace my whole lineage, and therefore this last honour may be refused
to my corpse; in this case my desire is, that it may be interred in the
churchyard belonging to the parish in which I shall die; and that in the
most private manner, between the hours of eleven and twelve at night;
attended only by Mrs. Lovick, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and their maid
But it is my desire, that the same fees and dues may be paid which are
usually paid for those who are laid in the best ground, as it is called,
or even in the chancel.--And I bequeath five pounds to be given, at the
discretion of the church-wardens, to twenty poor people, the Sunday after
my interment; and this whether I shall be buried here or elsewhere.
I have already given verbal directions, that, after I am dead, (and laid
out in the manner I have ordered,) I may be put into my coffin as soon as
possible: it is my desire, that I may not be unnecessarily exposed to the
view of any body; except any of my relations should vouchsafe, for the
last time, to look upon me.
And I could wish, if it might be avoided without making ill will between
Mr. Lovelace and my executor, that the former might not be permitted to
see my corpse. But if, as he is a man very uncontroulable, and as I am
nobody's, he insist upon viewing her dead, whom he ONCE before saw in a
manner dead, let his gay curiosity be gratified. Let him behold, and
triumph over the wretched remains of one who has been made a victim to
his barbarous perfidy: but let some good person, as by my desire, give
him a paper, whist he is viewing the ghastly spectacle, containing these
few words only,--'Gay, cruel heart! behold here the remains of the once
ruined, yet now happy, Clarissa Harlowe!--See what thou thyself must
quickly be;--and REPENT!--'
Yet, to show that I die in perfect charity with all the world, I do most
sincerely forgive Mr. Lovelace the wrongs he has done me.
If my father can pardon the errors of his unworthy child, so far as to
suffer her corpse to be deposited at the feet of her grandfather, as
above requested, I could wish (my misfortunes being so notorious) that a
short discourse be pronounced over my remains, before they be interred.
The subject of the discourse I shall determine before I conclude this
So much written about what deserves not the least consideration, and
about what will be nothing when this writing comes to be opened
and read, will be excused, when my present unhappy circumstances
and absence from all my natural friends are considered.
And now, with regard to the worldly matters which I shall die possessed
of, as well as to those which of right appertain to me, either by the
will of my said grandfather, or otherwise; thus do I dispose of them.
In the first place, I give and bequeath all the real estates in or to
which I have any claim or title by the said will, to my ever-honoured
father, James Harlowe, Esq. and that rather than to my brother and
sister, to whom I had once thoughts of devising them, because, if they
survive my father, those estates will assuredly vest in them, or one of
them, by virtue of his favour and indulgence, as the circumstances of
things with regard to marriage-settlements, or otherwise, may require;
or, as they may respectively merit by the continuance of their duty.
The house, late my grandfather's, called The Grove, and by him, in honour
of me, and of some of my voluntary employments, my Dairy-house, and the
furniture thereof as it now stands (the pictures and large iron chest of
old plate excepted,) I also bequeath to my said father; only begging it
as a favour that he will be pleased to permit my dear Mrs. Norton to pass
the remainder of her days in that house; and to have and enjoy the
apartments in it known by the name of The Housekeeper's Apartments, with
the furniture in them; and which, (plain and neat) was bought for me by
my grandfather, who delighted to call me his house-keeper; and which,
therefore, in his life-time, I used as such: the office to go with the
apartments. And as I am the more earnest in this recommendation, as I
had once thought to have been very happy there with the good woman; and
because I think her prudent management will be as beneficial to my
father, as his favour can be convenient to her.
But with regard to what has accrued from that estate, since my
grandfather's death, and to the sum of nine hundred and seventy pounds,
which proved to be the moiety of the money that my said grandfather had
by him at his death, and which moiety he bequeathed to me for my sole
and separate use, [as he did the other moiety in like manner to my
sister;*] and which sum (that I might convince my brother and sister that
I wished not for an independence upon my father's pleasure) I gave into
my father's hands, together with the management and produce of the whole
estate devised to me--these sums, however considerable when put together,
I hope I may be allowed to dispose of absolutely, as my love and
gratitude (not confined only to my own family, which is very wealthy in
all its branches) may warrant: and which therefore I shall dispose of in
the manner hereafter mentioned. But it is my will and express direction,
that my father's account of the above-mentioned produce may be taken and
established absolutely (and without contravention or question,) as he
shall be pleased to give it to my cousin Morden, or to whom else he shall
choose to give it; so as that the said account be not subject to
litigation, or to the controul of my executor, or of any other person.
* See Vol. I. Letter XIII.
My father, of his love and bounty, was pleased to allow me the same
quarterly sums that he allowed my sister for apparel and other
requisites; and (pleased with me then) used to say, that those sums
should not be deducted from the estate and effects bequeathed to me by my
grandfather: but having mortally offended him (as I fear it may be said)
by one unhappy step, it may be expected that he will reimburse himself
those sums--it is therefore my will and direction, that he shall be
allowed to pay and satisfy himself for all such quarterly or other sums,
which he was so good as to advance me from the time of my grandfather's
death; and that his account of such sums shall likewise be taken without
questioning the money, however, which I left behind me in my escritoire,
being to be taken in part of those disbursements.
My grandfather, who, in his goodness and favour to me, knew no bounds,
was pleased to bequeath to me all the family pictures at his late house,
some of which are very masterly performances; with command, that if I
died unmarried, or if married and had no descendants, they should then go
to that son of his (if more than one should be then living) whom I should
think would set most value by them. Now, as I know that my honoured
uncle, Mr. John Harlowe, Esq. was pleased to express some concern that
they were not left to him, as eldest son; and as he has a gallery where
they may be placed to advantage; and as I have reason to believe that he
will bequeath them to my father, if he survive him, who, no doubt, will
leave them to my brother, I therefore bequeath all the said family
pictures to my said uncle, John Harlowe. In these pictures, however, I
include not one of my own, drawn when I was about fourteen years of age;
which I shall hereafter in another article bequeath.
My said honoured grandfather having a great fondness for the old family
plate, which he would never permit to be changed, having lived, as he
used to day, to see a great deal of it come into request again in the
revolution of fashions; and having left the same to me, with a command
to keep it entire; and with power at my death to bequeath it to
whomsoever I pleased that I thought would forward his desire; which was,
as he expresses it, that it should be kept to the end of time; this
family plate, which is deposited in a large iron chest, in the strong
room at his late dwelling-house, I bequeath entire to my honoured uncle
Antony Harlowe, Esq. with the same injunctions which were laid on me; not
doubting but he will confirm and strengthen them by his own last will.
I bequeath to my ever-valued friend, Mrs. Judith Norton, to whose piety
and care, seconding the piety and care of my ever-honoured and excellent
mother, I owe, morally speaking, the qualifications which, for eighteen
years of my life, made me beloved and respected, the full sum of six
hundred pounds, to be paid her within three months after my death.
I bequeath also to the same good woman thirty guineas, for mourning for
her and for her son, my foster-brother.
To Mrs. Dorothy Hervey, the only sister of my honoured mother, I bequeath
the sum of fifty guineas for a ring; and I beg of her to accept of my
thankful acknowledgements for all her goodness to me from my infancy; and
particularly for her patience with me, in the several altercations that
happened between my brother and sister and me, before my unhappy
departure from Harlowe-place.
To my kind and much valued cousin, Miss Dolly Hervey, daughter of my aunt
Hervey, I bequeath my watch and equipage, and my best Mechlin and
Brussels head-dresses and ruffles; also my gown and petticoat of flowered
silver of my own work; which having been made up but a few days before I
was confined to my chamber, I never wore.
To the same young lady I bequeath likewise my harpsichord, my
chamber-organ, and all my music-books.
As my sister has a very pretty library; and as my beloved Miss Howe has
also her late father's as well as her own; I bequeath all my books in
general, with the cases they are in, to my said cousin Dolly Hervey. As
they are not ill-chosen for a woman's library, I know that she will take
the greater pleasure in them, (when her friendly grief is mellowed by
time into a remembrance more sweet than painful,) because they were mine;
and because there are observations in many of them of my own writing; and
some very judicious ones, written by the truly reverend Dr. Lewen.
I also bequeath to the same young lady twenty-five guineas for a ring, to
be worn in remembrance of her true friend.
If I live not to see my worthy cousin, William Morden, Esq. I desire my
humble and grateful thanks may be given to him for his favours and
goodness to me; and particularly for his endeavours to reconcile my other
friends to me, at a time when I was doubtful whether he would forgive me
himself. As he is in great circumstances, I will only beg of him to
accept of two or three trifles, in remembrance of a kinswoman who always
honoured him as much as he loved her. Particularly, of that piece of
flowers which my uncle Robert, his father, was very earnest to obtain, in
order to carry it abroad with him.
I desire him likewise to accept of the little miniature picture set in
gold, which his worthy father made me sit for to the famous Italian
master whom he brought over with him; and which he presented to me, that
I might bestow it, as he was pleased to say, upon the man whom I should
be one day most inclined to favour.
To the same gentleman I also bequeath my rose diamond ring, which was a
present from his good father to me; and will be the more valuable to him
on that account.
I humbly request Mrs. Annabella Howe, the mother of my dear Miss Howe, to
accept of my respectful thanks for all her favours and goodness to me,
when I was so frequently a visiter to her beloved daughter; and of a ring
of twenty-five guineas price.
My picture at full length, which is in my late grandfather's closet,
(excepted in an article above from the family pictures,) drawn when I was
near fourteen years of age; about which time my dear Miss Howe and I
began to know, to distinguish, and to love one another so dearly--I
cannot express how dearly--I bequeath to that sister of my heart: of
whose friendship, as well in adversity as prosperity, when I was deprived
of all other comfort and comforters, I have had such instances, as that
our love can only be exceeded in that state of perfection, in which I
hope to rejoice with her hereafter, to all eternity.
I bequeath also to the same dear friend my best diamond ring, which, with
other jewels, is in the private drawer of my escritoire: as also all my
finished and framed pieces of needle-work; the flower-piece excepted,
which I have already bequeathed to my cousin Morden.
These pieces have all been taken down, as I have heard;* and my relations
will have no heart to put them up again: but if my good mother chooses to
keep back any one piece, (the above capital piece, as it is called,
excepted,) not knowing but some time hence she may bear the sight of it;
I except that also from this general bequest; and direct it to be
presented to her.
* See Vol. III. Letter LV.
My whole-length picture in the Vandyke taste,* that used to hang in my
own parlour, as I was permitted to call it, I bequeath to my aunt Hervey,
except my mother should think fit to keep it herself.
I bequeath to the worthy Charles Hickman, Esq. the locket, with the
miniature picture of the lady he best loves, which I have constantly
worn, and shall continue to wear next my heart till the approach of my
last hour.* It must be the most acceptable present that can be made him,
next to the hand of the dear original. 'And, O my dear Miss Howe, let it
not be long before you permit his claim to the latter--for indeed you
know not the value of a virtuous mind in that sex; and how preferable
such a mind is to one distinguished by the more dazzling flights of
unruly wit; although the latter were to be joined by that specious
outward appearance which too--too often attracts the hasty eye, and
* See Letter II. of this volume.
Permit me, my dear friends, this solemn apostrophe, in this last solemn
act, to a young lady so deservedly dear to me!
I make it my earnest request to my dear Miss Howe, that she will not put
herself into mourning for me. But I desire her acceptance of a ring with
my hair; and that Mr. Hickman will also accept of the like; each of the
value of twenty-five guineas.
I bequeath to Lady Betty Lawrance, and to her sister, Lady Sarah Sadleir,
and to the right honourable Lord M. and to their worthy nieces, Miss
Charlotte and Miss Martha Montague, each an enamelled ring, with a cipher
Cl. H. with my hair in crystal, and round the inside of each, the day,
month, and year of my death: each ring, with brilliants, to cost twenty
guineas. And this as a small token of the grateful sense I have of the
honour of their good opinions and kind wishes in my favour; and of their
truly noble offer t me of a very considerable annual provision, when they
apprehended me to be entirely destitute of any.
To the reverend and learned Dr. Arthur Lewen, by whose instructions I
have been equally delighted and benefited, I bequeath twenty guineas for
a ring. If it should please God to call him to Himself before he can
receive this small bequest, it is my will that his worthy daughter may
have the benefit of it.
In token of the grateful sense I have of the civilities paid me by Mrs.
and Miss Howe's domestics, from time to time, in my visits there, I
bequeath thirty guineas, to be divided among them, as their dear young
mistress shall think proper.
To each of my worthy companions and friends, Miss Biddy Lloyd, Miss Fanny
Alston, Miss Rachel Biddulph, and Miss Cartright Campbell, I bequeath
five guineas for a ring.
To my late maid servant, Hannah Burton, an honest, faithful creature, who
loved me, reverenced my mother, and respected my sister, and never sought
to do any thing unbecoming of her character, I bequeath the sum of fifty
pounds, to be paid within one month after my decease, she labouring under
ill health: and if that ill-health continue, I commend her for farther
assistance to my good Mrs. Norton, to be put upon my poor's fund,
hereafter to be mentioned.
To the coachman, groom, and two footmen, and five maids, at
Harlowe-place, I bequeath ten pounds each; to the helper five pounds.
To my sister's maid, Betty Barnes, I bequeath ten pounds, to show that I
resent no former disobligations; which I believe were owing more to the
insolence of office, and to natural pertness, than to personal ill will.
All my wearing-apparel, of whatever sort, that I have not been obliged to
part with, or which is not already bequeathed, (my linen excepted,) I
desire Mrs. Norton to accept of.
The trunks and boxes in which my clothes are sealed up, I desire may not
be opened, but in presence of Mrs. Norton (or of someone deputed by her)
and of Mrs. Lovick.
To the worthy Mrs. Lovick, above-mentioned, from whom I have received
great civilities, and even maternal kindnesses; and to Mrs. Smith (with
whom I lodge) from whom also I have received great kindnesses; I bequeath
all my linen, and all my unsold laces; to be divided equally between
them, as they shall agree; or, in case of disagreement, the same to be
sold, and the money arising to be equally shared by them.
And I bequeath to the same good gentlewomen, as a further token of my
thankful acknowledgements of their kind love and compassionate concern
for me, the sum of twenty guineas each.
To Mr. Smith, the husband of Mrs. Smith above-named, I bequeath the sum
of ten guineas, in acknowledgement of his civilities to me.
To Katharine, the honest maid servant of Mrs. Smith, to whom (having no
servant of my own) I have been troublesome, I bequeath five guineas; and
ten guineas more, in lieu of a suit of my wearing-apparel, which once,
with some linen, I thought of leaving to her. With this she may purchase
what may be more suitable to her liking and degree.
To the honest and careful widow, Anne Shelburne, my nurse, over and above
her wages, and the customary perquisites that may belong to her, I
bequeath the sum of ten guineas. Here is a careful, and (to persons of
such humanity and tenderness) a melancholy employment, attended in the
latter part of life with great watching and fatigue, which is hardly ever
The few books I have at my present lodgings, I desire Mrs. Lovick to
accept of; and that she be permitted, if she please, to take a copy of my
book of meditations, as I used to call it; being extracts from the best
of books; which she seemed to approve of, although suited particularly to
my own case. As for the book itself, perhaps my good Mrs. Norton will be
glad to have it, as it is written with my own hand.
In the middle drawer of my escritoire, at Harlowe-place, are many
letters, and copies of letters, put up according to their dates, which I
have written or received in a course of years (ever since I learned to
write) from and to my grandfather, my father and mother, my uncles, my
brother and sister, on occasional little absences; my late uncle Morden,
my cousin Morden; Mrs. Norton, and Miss Howe, and other of my companions
and friends, before my confinement at my father's: as also from the three
reverent gentlemen, Dr. Blome, Mr. Arnold, and Mr. Tomkins, now with God,
and the very reverend Dr. Lewen, on serious subjects. As these letters
exhibit a correspondence that no person of my sex need to be ashamed of,
allowing for the time of life when mine were written; and as many
excellent things are contained in those written to me; and as Miss Howe,
to whom most of them have been communicated, wished formerly to have
them, if she survived me: for these reasons, I bequeath them to my said
dear friend, Miss Anna Howe; and the rather, as she had for some years
past a very considerable share in the correspondence.
I do hereby make, constitute, and ordain John Belford, of Edgware, in
the county of Middlesex, Esq. the sole executor of this my last will and
testament; having previously obtained his leave so to do. I have given
the reasons which induced me to ask this gentleman to take upon him this
trouble to Miss Howe. I therefore refer to her on this subject.
But I do most earnestly beg of him the said Mr. Belford, that, in the
execution of his trust, he will (as he has repeatedly promised)
studiously endeavour to promote peace with, and suppress resentments in,
every one; so that all farther mischiefs may be prevented, as well from,
as to, his friend. And, in order to this, I beseech him to cultivate the
friendship of my worthy cousin Morden; who, as I presume to hope, (when
he understands it to be my dying request,) will give him his advice and
assistance in every article where it may be necessary: and who will
perhaps be so good as to interpose with my relations, if any difficulty
should arise about carrying out some of the articles of this my last will
into execution, and to soften them into the wished-for condescension:--
for it is my earnest request to Mr. Belford, that he will not seek by
law, or by any sort of violence, either by word or deed, to extort the
performance from them. If there be any articles of a merely domestic
nature, that my relations shall think unfit to be carried into execution;
such articles I leave entirely to my said cousin Morden and Mr. Belford
to vary, or totally dispense with, as they shall agree upon the matter;
or, if they two differ in opinion, they will be pleased to be determined
by a third person, to be chosen by them both.
Having been pressed by Miss Howe and her mother to collect the
particulars of my sad story, and given expectation that I would, in order
to do my character justice with all my friends and companions; but not
having time before me for the painful task; it has been a pleasure for me
to find, by extracts kindly communicated to me by my said executor, that
I may safely trust my fame to the justice done me by Mr. Lovelace, in his
letters to him my said executor. And as Mr. Belford has engaged to
contribute what is in his power towards a compliment to be made of all
that relates to my story, and knows my whole mind in this respect; it is
my desire, that he will cause two copies to be made of this collection;
one to remain with Miss Howe, the other with himself; and that he will
show or lend his copy, if required, to my aunt Hervey, for the
satisfaction of any of my family; but under such restrictions as the said
Mr. Belford shall think fit to impose; that neither any other person's
safety may be endangered, nor his own honour suffer, by the
I bequeath to my said executor the sum of one hundred guineas, as a
grateful, though insufficient acknowledgment of the trouble he will be at
in the execution of the trust he has so kindly undertaken. I desire him
likewise to accept of twenty guineas for a ring: and that he will
reimburse himself for all the charges and expenses which he shall be at
in the execution of this trust.
In the worthy Dr. H. I have found a physician, a father, and a friend. I
beg of him, as a testimony of my gratitude, to accept of twenty guineas
for a ring.
I have the same obligations to the kind and skilful Mr. Goddard, who
attended me as my apothecary. His very moderate bill I have discharged
down to yesterday. I have always thought it incumbent upon testators to
shorten all they can the trouble of their executors. I know I under-rate
the value of Mr. Goddard's attendances, when over and above what may
accrue from yesterday, to the hour that will finish all, I desire fifteen
guineas for a ring may be presented to him.
To the Reverend Mr. ----, who frequently attended me, and prayed by me in
my last stages, I also bequeath fifteen guineas for a ring.
There are a set of honest, indigent people, whom I used to call My Poor,
and to whom Mrs. Norton conveys relief each month, (or at shorter
periods,) in proportion to their necessities, from a sum I deposited in
her hands, and from time to time recruited, as means accrued to me; but
now nearly, if not wholly, expended: now, that my fault may be as little
aggravated as possible, by the sufferings of the worthy people whom
Heaven gave me a heart to relieve; and as the produce of my grandfather's
estate, (including the moiety of the sums he had by him, and was pleased
to give me, at his death, as above mentioned,) together with what I shall
further appropriate to the same use in the subsequent articles, will, as
I hope, more than answer all my legacies and bequests; it is my will and
desire, that the remainder, be it little or much, shall become a fund to
be appropriated, and I hereby direct that it be appropriated, to the like
purposes with the sums which I put into Mrs. Norton's hands, as aforesaid
--and this under the direction and management of the said Mrs. Norton,
who knows my whole mind in this particular. And in case of her death, or
of her desire to be acquitted of the management thereof, it is my earnest
request to my dear Miss Howe, that she will take it upon herself, and
that at her own death she will transfer what shall remain undisposed of
at the time, to such persons, and with such limitations, restrictions,
and provisoes, as she shall think will best answer my intention. For, as
to the management and distribution of all or any part of it, while in
Mrs. Norton's hands, or her own, I will that it be entirely discretional,
and without account, either to my executor or any other person.
Although Mrs. Norton, as I have hinted, knows my whole mind in this
respect; yet it may be proper to mention, in this solemn last act, that
my intention is, that this fund be entirely set apart and appropriated to
relieve temporarily, from the interest thereof, (as I dare say it will be
put out to the best advantage,) or even from the principal, if need be,
the honest, industrious, labouring poor only; when sickness, lameness,
unforeseen losses, or other accidents, disable them from following their
lawful callings; or to assist such honest people of large families as
shall have a child of good inclinations to put out to service, trade, or
It has always been a rule with me, in my little donations, to endeavour
to aid and set forward the sober and industrious poor. Small helps, if
seasonably afforded, will do for such; and so the fund may be of more
extensive benefit; an ocean of wealth will not be sufficient for the idle
and dissolute: whom, therefore, since they will always be in want, it
will be no charity to relieve, if worthier creatures would, by relieving
the others, be deprived of such assistance as may set the wheels of their
industry going, and put them in a sphere of useful action.
But it is my express will and direction, that let this fund come out to
be ever so considerable, it shall be applied only in support of the
temporary exigencies of the persons I have described; and that no one
family or person receive from it, at one time, or in one year, more than
the sum of twenty pounds.
It is my will and desire, that the set of jewels which was my
grandmother's, and presented to me, soon after her death, be valued; and
the worth of them paid to my executor, if any of my family choose to have
them; or otherwise, that they should be sold, and go to the augmentation
of my poor's fund.--But if they may be deemed an equivalent for the sums
my father was pleased to advance to me since the death of my grandfather,
I desire that they may be given to him.
I presume, that the diamond necklace, solitaire, and buckles, which were
properly my own, presented by my mother's uncle, Sir Josias, Brookland,
will not be purchased by any one of my family, for a too obvious reason:
in this case I desire that they may be sent to the best advantage, and
apply the money to the uses of my will.
In the beginning of this tedious writing, I referred to the latter part
of it, the naming of the subject of the discourse which I wished might be
delivered at my funeral, if permitted to be interred with my ancestors.
I think the following will be suitable to my case. I hope the alteration
of the words her and she, for him and he, may be allowable.
'Let not her that is deceived trust in vanity; for vanity
shall be her recompense. She shall be accomplished before
her time; and her branch shall not be green. She shall
shake off her unripe grape as the vine, and shall cut off her
flower as the olive.'*
* Job xv. 31, 32, 33.
But if I am to be interred in town, let only the usual burial-service be
read over my corpse.
If my body be permitted to be carried down, I bequeath ten pounds to be
given to the poor of the parish, at the discretion of the church-wardens,
within a fortnight after my interment.
If any necessary matter be omitted in this my will, or if any thing
appear doubtful or contradictory, as possibly may be the case; since
besides my inexperience in these matters, I am now, at this time, very
weak and ill, having put off the finishing hand a little too long, in
hopes of obtaining the last forgiveness of my honoured friend; in which
case I should have acknowledged the favour with a suitable warmth of
duty, and filled up some blanks which I left to the very last,* in a more
agreeable manner to myself than now I have been enabled to do--in case of
such omissions and imperfections, I desire that my cousin Morden will be
so good as to join with Mr. Belford in considering them, and in comparing
them with what I have more explicitly written; and if, after that, any
doubt remain, that they will be pleased to apply to Miss Howe, who knows
my whole heart: and I desire that the construction of these three may be
established: and I hereby establish it, provided it be unanimous, and
direct it to be put in force, as if I had so written and determined
And now, O my blessed REDEEMER, do I, with a lively faith, humbly lay
hold of thy meritorious death and sufferings; hoping to be washed
clean in thy precious blood from all my sins: in the bare hope of
the happy consequences of which, how light do those sufferings seem
(grievous as they were at the time) which, I confidently trust,
will be a mean, by the grace, to work out for me a more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory!
Signed, sealed, published, and declared, the day and year above-written,
by the said Clarissa Harlowe, as her last will and testament;
contained in seven sheets of paper, all written with her own hand,
and every sheet signed and sealed by herself, in the presence of
COLONEL MORDEN, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
SAT. SEPT. 16.
I have been employed in a most melancholy task: in reading the will of
the dear deceased.
The unhappy mother and Mrs. Norton chose to be absent on the affecting
occasion. But Mrs. Harlowe made it her earnest request that every
article of it should be fulfilled.
They were all extremely touched with the preamble.
The first words of the will--'I, Clarissa Harlowe, now by strange
melancholy accidents, lodging,' &c. drew tears from some, sighs from
The directions for her funeral, in case she were or were not permitted
to be carried down; the mention of her orders having been given for the
manner of her being laid out, and the presence of mind so visible
throughout the whole, obtained their admiration, expressed by hands and
eyes lifted up, and by falling tears.
When I read the direction, 'That her body was not to be viewed, except
any of her relations should vouchsafe, for the last time, to look upon
her;' they turned away, and turned to me, three or four times
alternately. Mrs. Hervey and Miss Arabella sobbed; the uncles wiped
their eyes; the brother looked down; the father wrung his hands.
I was obliged to stop at the words, 'That she was nobody's.'
But when I came to the address to be made to the accursed man, 'if he
were not to be diverted from seeing her dead, whom ONCE before he had
seen in a manner dead'----execration, and either vows or wishes of
revenge, filled every mouth.
These were still more fervently renewed, when they came to hear read her
forgiveness of even this man.
You remember, Sir, on our first reading of the will in town, the
observations I made on the foul play which it is evident the excellent
creature met with from this abandoned man, and what I said upon the
occasion. I am not used to repeat things of that nature.
The dear creature's noble contempt of the nothing, as she nobly calls it,
about which she had been giving such particular directions, to wit, her
body; and her apologizing for the particularity of those directions from
the circumstances she was in--had the same, and as strong an effect upon
me, as when I first read the animated paragraph; and, pointed by my eye,
(by turns cast upon them all,) affected them all.
When the article was read which bequeathed to the father the
grandfather's estate, and the reason assigned for it, (so generous and so
dutiful,) the father could sit no longer; but withdrew, wiping his eyes,
and lifting up his spread hands at Mr. James Harlowe; who rose to attend
him to the door, as Arabella likewise did----All he could say--O Son!
Son!--O Girl! Girl!--as if he reproached them for the parts they had
acted, and put him upon acting.
But yet, on some occasions, this brother and sister showed themselves to
be true will disputants.
Let tongue and eyes express what they will, Mr. Belford, the first
reading of a will, where a person dies worth anything considerable,
generally affords a true test of the relations' love to the deceased.
The clothes, the thirty guineas for mourning to Mrs. Norton, with the
recommendation of the good woman for housekeeper at The Grove, were
thought sufficient, had the article of 600L. which was called monstrous,
been omitted. Some other passages in the will were called flights, and
such whimsies as distinguish people of imagination from those of
My cousin Dolly Hervey was grudged the library. Miss Harlowe said, That
as she and her sister never bought the same books, she would take that
to herself, and would make it up to her cousin Dolly one way or other.
I intend, Mr. Belford, to save you the trouble of interposing--the
library shall be my cousin Dolly's.
Mrs. Hervey could hardly keep her seat. On this occasion, however, she
only said, That her late dear and ever dear niece, was too glad to her
and hers. But, at another time, she declared, with tears, that she could
not forgive herself for a letter she wrote,* looking at Miss Arabella,
whom, it seems, unknown to any body, she had consulted before she wrote
it and which, she said, must have wounded a spirit, that now she saw had
been too deeply wounded before.
* See Vol. III. Letter LII.
O my Aunt, said Arabella, no more of that!--Who would have thought that
the dear creature had been such a penitent?
Mr. John and Mr. Antony Harlowe were so much affected with the articles
in their favour, (bequeathed to them without a word or hint of reproach
or recrimination,) that they broke out into self-accusations; and
lamented that their sweet niece, as they called her, was not got above
all grateful acknowledgement and returns. Indeed, the mutual upbraidings
and grief of all present, upon those articles in which every one was
remembered for good, so often interrupted me, that the reading took up
above six hours. But curses upon the accursed man were a refuge to which
they often resorted to exonerate themselves.
How wounding a thing, Mr. Belford, is a generous and well-distinguished
forgiveness! What revenge can be more effectual, and more noble, were
revenge intended, and were it wished to strike remorse into a guilty or
ungrateful heart! But my dear cousin's motives were all duty and love.
She seems indeed to have been, as much as a mortal could be, LOVE itself.
Love sublimed by a purity, by a true delicacy, that hardly any woman
before her could boast of. O Mr. Belford, what an example would she have
given in every station of life, (as wife, mother, mistress, friend,) had
her lot fallen upon a man blessed with a mind like her own!
The 600L. bequeathed to Mrs. Norton, the library to Miss Hervey, and the
remembrances to Miss Howe, were not the only articles grudged. Yet to
what purpose did they regret the pecuniary bequests, when the poor's
fund, and not themselves, would have had the benefit, had not those
legacies been bequeathed?
But enough passed to convince me that my cousin was absolutely right in
her choice of an executor out of the family. Had she chosen one in it,
I dare say that her will would have been no more regarded than if it had
been the will of a dead king; than that of Lousi XIV. in particular; so
flagrantly broken through by his nephew the Duke of Orleans before he was
cold. The only will of that monarch, perhaps, which was ever disputed.
But little does Mr. James Harlowe think that, while he is grasping at
hundreds, he will, most probably, lose thousands, if he be my survivor.
A man of a spirit so selfish and narrow shall not be my heir.
You will better conceive, Mr. Belford, than I can express, how much they
were touched at the hint that the dear creature had been obliged to part
with some of her clothes.
Silent reproach seized every one of them when I came to the passage where
she mentions that she deferred filling up some blanks, in hopes of
receiving their last blessing and forgiveness.
I will only add, that they could not bear to hear read the concluding
part, so solemnly addressed to her Redeemer. They all arose from their
seats, and crowded out of the apartment we were in; and then, as I
afterwards found, separated, in order to seek that consolation in
solitary retirement, which, though they could not hope for from their own
reflections, yet, at the time, they had less reason to expect in each
other's company. I am, Sir,
Your faithful and obedient servant,
MR. BELFORD, TO THE RIGHT HON. LORD M.
LONDON, SEPT. 14.
I am very apprehensive that the affair between Mr. Lovelace and the late
excellent Miss Clarissa Harlowe will be attended with farther bad
consequences, notwithstanding her dying injunctions to the contrary. I
would, therefore, humbly propose that your Lordship, and his other
relations, will forward the purpose your kinsman lately had to go abroad;
where I hope he will stay till all is blown over. But as he will not
stir, if he knew the true motives of your wishes, the avowed inducement,
as I hinted once to Mr. Mowbray, may be such as respects his own health
both of person and mind. To Mr. Mowbray and Mr. Tourville all countries
are alike; and they perhaps will accompany him.
I am glad to hear that he is in a way of recovery; but this the rather
induces me to press the matter. I think no time should be lost.
Your Lordship had head that I have the honour to be the executor of this
admirable lady's last will. I transcribe from it the following
[He then transcribes the article which so gratefully mentions this
nobleman, and the ladies of his family, in relation to the rings
she bequeaths them, about which he desires their commands.]
MISS MONTAGUE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
M. HALL, FRIDAY, SEPT. 15.
My Lord having the gout in his right hand, his Lordship, and Lady Sarah,
and Lady Betty, have commanded me to inform you, that, before your letter
came, Mr. Lovelace was preparing for a foreign tour. We shall endeavour
to hasten him away on the motives you suggest.
We are all extremely affected with the dear lady's death. Lady Betty and
Lady Sarah have been indisposed ever since they heard of it. They had
pleased themselves, as had my sister and self, with the hopes of
cultivating her acquaintance and friendship after he was gone abroad,
upon her own terms. Her kind remembrance of each of us has renewed,
though it could not heighten, our regrets for so irreparable a loss. We
shall order Mr. Finch, our goldsmith, to wait on you. He has our
directions about the rings. They will be long, long worn in memory of
the dear testatrix.
Every body is assured that you will do all in your power to prevent
farther ill consequences from this melancholy affair. My Lord desires
his compliments to you. I am, Sir,
Your humble servant,
This collection having run into a much greater length than was wished, it
is proper to omit several letters that passed between Colonel Morden,
Miss Howe, Mr. Belford, and Mr. Hickman, in relation to the execution of
the lady's will, &c.
It is, however, necessary to observe, on this subject, that the unhappy
mother, being supported by the two uncles, influenced the afflicted
father to over-rule all his son's objections, and to direct a literal
observation of the will; and at the same time to give up all the sums
which he was empowered by it to reimburse himself; as also to take upon
himself to defray the funeral expenses.
Mr. Belford so much obliges Miss Howe by his steadiness, equity, and
dispatch, and by his readiness to contribute to the directed collection,
that she voluntarily entered into a correspondence with him, as the
representative of her beloved friend. In the course of which, he
communicated to her (in confidence) the letters which passed between him
and Mr. Lovelace, and, by Colonel Morden's consent, those which passed
between that gentleman and himself.
He sent, with the first parcel of letters which he had transcribed out of
short-hand for Miss Howe, a letter to Mr. Hickman, dated the 16th of
September, in which he expresses himself as follows:
'But I ought, Sir, in this parcel to have kept out one letter. It is
that which relates to the interview between yourself and Mr. Lovelace, at
Mr. Dormer's,* in which Mr. Lovelace treats you with an air of levity,
which neither your person, your character, nor your commission, deserved;
but which was his usual way of treating every one whose business he was
not pleased with. I hope, Sir, you have too much greatness of mind to be
disturbed at the contents of this letter, should Miss Howe communicate
them to you; and the rather, as it is impossible that you should suffer
with her on that account.'
* See Vol. VII. Letter XXVIII.
Mr. Belford then excuses Mr. Lovelace as a good-natured man with all his
faults; and gives instances of his still greater freedoms with himself.
To this Mr. Hickman answers, in his letter of the 18th:
'As to Mr. Lovelace's treatment of me in the letter you are pleased to
mention, I shall not be concerned at it, whatever it be. I went to him
prepared to expect odd behaviour from him; and was not disappointed. I
argue to myself, in all such cases as this, as Miss Howe, from her
ever-dear friend, argues, That if the reflections thrown upon me are
just, I ought not only to forgive them, but endeavour to profit by them;
if unjust, that I ought to despise them, and the reflector too, since it
would be inexcusable to strengthen by anger an enemy whose malice might
be disarmed by contempt. And, moreover, I should be almost sorry to find
myself spoken well of by a man who could treat, as he treated, a lady who
was an ornament to her sex and to human nature.
'I thank you, however, Sir, for your consideration for me in this
particular, and for your whole letter, which gives me so desirable an
instance of the friendship which you assured me of when I was last in
town; and which I as cordially embrace as wish to cultivate.'
Miss Howe, in her's of the 20th, acknowledging the receipt of the
letters, and papers, and legacies, sent with Mr. Belford's letter to Mr.
Hickman, assures him, 'That no use shall be made of his communications,
but what he shall approve of.'
He had mentioned, with compassion, the distresses of the Harlowe family--
'Persons of a pitiful nature, says she, may pity them. I am not one of
those. You, I think, pity the infernal man likewise; while I, from my
heart, grudge him his phrensy, because it deprives him of that remorse,
which, I hope, in his recovery, will never leave him. At times, Sir, let
me tell you, that I hate your whole sex for his sake; even men of
unblamable characters, whom, at those times, I cannot but look upon as
persons I have not yet found out.
'If my dear creature's personal jewels be sent up to you for sale, I
desire that I may be the purchaser of them, at the highest price--of the
necklace and solitaire particularly.
'Oh! what tears did the perusal of my beloved's will cost me!--But I must
not touch upon the heart-piercing subject. I can neither take it up, nor
quit it, but with execration of the man whom all the world must
Mr. Belford, in his answer, promises that she shall be the purchaser of
the jewels, if they come into his hands.
He acquaints her that the family had given Colonel Morden the keys of all
that belonged to the dear departed; that the unhappy mother had (as the
will allows) ordered a piece of needlework to be set aside for her, and
had desired Mrs. Norton to get the little book of meditations
transcribed, and to let her have the original, as it was all of her dear
daughter's hand-writing; and as it might, when she could bear to look
into it, administer consolation to herself. And that she had likewise
reserved for herself her picture in the Vandyke taste.
Mr. Belford sends with this letter to Miss Howe the lady's memorandum
book, and promises to send her copies of the several posthumous letters.
He tells her that Mr. Lovelace being upon the recovery, he had enclosed
the posthumous letter directed for him to Lord M. that his Lordship might
give it to him, or not, as he should find he could bear it. The
following is a copy of that letter:
TO MR. LOVELACE
THURSDAY, AUG. 24.
I told you, in the letter I wrote to you on Tuesday last,* that you
should have another sent you when I had got into my father's house.
* See her letter, enclosed in Mr. Lovelace's, No. LIV. of Vol. VII.
The reader may observe, by the date of this letter, that it was written
within two days of the allegorical one, to which it refers, and while the
lady was labouring under the increased illness occasioned by the hurries
and terrors into which Mr. Lovelace had thrown her, in order to avoid the
visit he was so earnest to make her at Mr. Smith's; so early written,
perhaps, that she might not be surprised by death into a seeming breach
of her word.
High as her christian spirit soars in this letter, the reader has seen,
in Vol. VIII. Letter LXIV. and in other places, that that exalted spirit
carried her to still more divine elevations, as she drew nearer to her
I presume to say, that I am now, at your receiving of this, arrived
there; and I invite you to follow me, as soon as you are prepared for so
great a journey.
Not to allegorize farther--my fate is now, at your perusal of this,
accomplished. My doom is unalterably fixed; and I am either a miserable
or happy being to all eternity. If happy, I owe it solely to the Divine
mercy; if miserable, to your undeserved cruelty.--And consider not, for
your own sake, gay, cruel, fluttering, unhappy man! consider, whether the
barbarous and perfidious treatment I have met with from you was worthy
the hazard of your immortal soul; since your wicked views were not to be
effected but by the wilful breach of the most solemn vows that ever were
made by man; and those aided by a violence and baseness unworthy of a
In time then, once more, I wish you to consider your ways. Your golden
dream cannot long last. Your present course can yield you pleasure no
longer than you can keep off thought or reflection. A hardened
insensibility is the only foundation on which your inward tranquillity
is built. When once a dangerous sickness seizes you; when once effectual
remorse breaks in upon you; how dreadful will be your condition! How
poor a triumph will you then find it, to have been able, by a series of
black perjuries, and studied baseness, under the name of gallantry or
intrigue, to betray poor unexperienced young creatures, who perhaps knew
nothing but their duty till they knew you!--Not one good action in the
hour of languishing to recollect, not one worthy intention to revolve, it
will be all reproach and horror; and you will wish to have it in your
power to compound for annihilation.
Reflect, Sir, that I can have no other motive, in what I write, than your
good, and the safety of other innocent creatures, who may be drawn in by
your wicked arts and perjuries. You have not, in my wishes for future
welfare, the wishes of a suppliant wife, endeavouring for her own sake,
as well as for your's, to induce you to reform those ways. They are
wholly as disinterested as undeserved. But I should mistrust my own
penitence, were I capable of wishing to recompense evil for evil--if,
black as your offences have been against me, I could not forgive, as I
wish to be forgiven.
I repeat, therefore, that I do forgive you. And may the Almighty forgive
you too! Nor have I, at the writing of this, any other essential regrets
than what are occasioned by the grief I have given to parents, who, till
I knew you, were the most indulgent of parents; by the scandal given to
the other branches of my family; by the disreputation brought upon my
sex; and by the offence given to virtue in my fall.
As to myself, you have only robbed me of what once were my favourite
expectations in the transient life I shall have quitted when you receive
this. You have only been the cause that I have been cut off in the bloom
of youth, and of curtailing a life that might have been agreeable to
myself, or otherwise, as had reason to be thankful for being taken away
from the evil of supporting my part of a yoke with a man so unhappy; I
will only say, that, in all probability, every hour I had lived with him
might have brought with it some new trouble. And I am (indeed through
sharp afflictions and distresses) indebted to you, secondarily, as I
humbly presume to hope, for so many years of glory, as might have proved
years of danger, temptation, and anguish, had they been added to my
So, Sir, though no thanks to your intention, you have done me real
service; and, in return, I wish you happy. But such has been your life
hitherto, that you can have no time to lose in setting about your
repentance. Repentance to such as have lived only carelessly, and in the
omission of their regular duties, and who never aimed to draw any poor
creatures into evil, is not so easy a task, nor so much in our own power,
as some imagine. How difficult a grace then to be obtained, where the
guilt is premeditated, wilful, and complicated!
To say I once respected you with a preference, is what I ought to blush
to own, since, at the very time, I was far from thinking you even a
mortal man; though I little thought that you, or indeed any man
breathing, could be--what you have proved yourself to be. But, indeed,
Sir, I have long been greatly above you; for from my heart I have
despised you, and all your ways, ever since I saw what manner of man you
Nor is it to be wondered that I should be able so to do, when that
preference was not grounded on ignoble motives. For I was weak enough,
and presumptuous enough, to hope to be a mean, in the hand of Providence,
to reclaim a man whom I thought worthy of the attempt.
Nor have I yet, as you will see by the pains I take, on this solemn
occasion, to awaken you out of your sensual dream, given over all hopes
of this nature.
Hear me, therefore, O Lovelace! as one speaking from the dead.--Lose no
time--set about your repentance instantly--be no longer the instrument of
Satan, to draw poor souls into those subtile snares, which at last shall
entangle your own feet. Seek not to multiply your offences till they
become beyond the power, as I may say, of the Divine mercy to forgive;
since justice, no less than mercy, is an attribute of the Almighty.
Tremble and reform, when you read what is the portion of the wicked man
from God. Thus it is written:
'The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but
for a moment. He is cast into a net by his own feet--he walketh upon a
snare. Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him
to his feet. His strength shall be hunger-bitten, and destruction shall
be ready at his side. The first born of death shall devour his strength.
His remembrance shall perish from the earth; and he shall have no name in
the streets. He shall be chaced [sic] out of the world. He shall have
neither son nor nephew among his people. They that have seen him shall
say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream: He shall be chased away
as a vision of the night. His meat is the gall of asps within him. He
shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him
through. A fire not blown shall consume him. The heaven shall reveal
his iniquity, and the earth shall rise up against him. The worm shall
feed sweetly on him. He shall be no more remembered.--This is the fate
of him that knoweth not God.'
Whenever you shall be inclined to consult the sacred oracles from whence
the above threatenings are extracted, you will find doctrines and texts
which a truly penitent and contrite heart may lay hold of for its
May your's, Mr. Lovelace, become such! and may you be enabled to escape
the fate denounced against the abandoned man, and be entitled to the
mercies of a long suffering and gracious God, is the sincere prayer of
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
M. HALL, THURSDAY, SEPT. 14.
Ever since the fatal seventh of this month, I have been lost to myself,
and to all the joys of life. I might have gone farther back than that
fatal seventh; which, for the future, I will never see anniversarily
revolve but in sables; only till that cursed day I had some gleams of
hope now-and-then darting in upon me.
They tell me of an odd letter I wrote to you.* I remember I did write.
But very little of the contents of what I wrote do I remember.
* See his delirious Letter, No. XXIII.
I have been in a cursed way. Methinks something has been working
strangely retributive. I never was such a fool as to disbelieve a
Providence; yet am I not for resolving into judgments every thing that
seems to wear an avenging face. Yet if we must be punished either here
or hereafter for our misdeeds, better here, say I, than hereafter. Have
I not then an interest to think my punishment already not only begun but
completed since what I have suffered, and do suffer, passes all
To give but one instance of the retributive--here I, who was the
barbarous cause of the loss of senses for a week together to the most
inimitable of women, have been punished with the loss of my own--
preparative to--who knows what?--When, Oh! when, shall I know a joyful
I am kept excessively low; and excessively low I am. This sweet
creature's posthumous letter sticks close to me. All her excellencies
rise up hourly to my remembrance.
Yet dare I not indulge in these melancholy reflections. I find my head
strangely working again--Pen, begone!
FRIDAY, SEPT. 15.
I resume, in a sprightly vein, I hope--Mowbray and Tourville have just
But what of Mowbray and Tourville?--What's the world?--What's any body
Yet they are highly exasperated against thee, for the last letter thou
wrotest to them*--such an unfriendly, such a merciless--
* This Letter appears not.
But it won't do!--I must again lay down my pen.--O Belford! Belford!
I am still, I am still most miserably absent from myself!--Shall never,
never more be what I was!
Saturday--Sunday--Nothing done. Incapable of any thing.
MONDAY, SEPT. 18.
Heavy, d--n--y heavy and sick at soul, by Jupiter! I must come into
their expedient. I must see what change of climate will do.
You tell these fellows, and you tell me, of repenting and reforming; but
I can do neither. He who can, must not have the extinction of a Clarissa
Harlowe to answer for.--Harlowe!--Curse upon the name!--and curse upon
myself for not changing it, as I might have done!--Yet I have no need of
urging a curse upon myself--I have it effectually.
'To say I once respected you with a preference!'*--In what stiff language
does maidenly modesty on these nice occasion express itself!--To say I
once loved you, is the English; and there is truth and ease in the
expression.--'To say I once loved you,' then let it be, 'is what I ought
to blush to own.'
* See Letter XXXVI. of this volume.
And dost thou own it, excellent creature?--and dost thou then own it?--
What music in these words from such an angel!--What would I give that my
Clarissa were in being, and could and would own that she loved me?
'But, indeed, Sir, I have been long greatly above you.' Long, my blessed
charmer!--Long, indeed, for you have been ever greatly above me, and
above your sex, and above all the world.
'That preference was not grounded on ignoble motives.'
What a wretch was I, to be so distinguished by her, and yet to be so
unworthy of her hope to reclaim me!
Then, how generous her motives! Not for her own sake merely, not
altogether for mine, did she hope to reclaim me; but equally for the sake
of innocents who might otherwise be ruined by me.
And now, why did she write this letter, and why direct it to be given me
when an event the most deplorable had taken place, but for my good, and
with a view to the safety of innocents she knew not?--And when was this
letter written? Was it not at the time, at the very time, that I had
been pursuing her, as I may say, from place to place; when her soul was
bowed down by calamity and persecution; and herself was denied all
forgiveness from relations the most implacable?
Exalted creature!--And couldst thou, at such a time, and so early, and in
such circumstances, have so far subdued thy own just resentments, as to
wish happiness to the principal author of all thy distresses?--Wish
happiness to him who had robbed thee 'of all thy favourite expectations
in this life?' To him who had been the cause that thou wert cut off in
the bloom of youth?'
Heavenly aspirer!--What a frame must thou be in, to be able to use the
word ONLY, in mentioning these important deprivations!--And as this was
before thou puttest off immortalily, may I not presume that thou now,
---- with pitying eye,
Not derogating from thy perfect bliss,
Survey'st all Heav'n around, and wishest for me?
'Consider my ways.'--Dear life of my life! Of what avail is
consideration now, when I have lost the dear creature, for whose sake
alone it was worth while to have consideration?--Lost her beyond
retrieving--swallowed up by the greedy grave--for ever lost her--that,
that's the thing--matchless woman, how does this reflection wound me!
'Your golden dream cannot long last.'--Divine prophetess! my golden dream
is already over. 'Thought and reflection are no longer to be kept off.'
--No longer continues that 'hardened insensibility' thou chargest upon
me. 'Remorse has broken in upon me. Dreadful is my condition;--it is
all reproach and horror with me!'--A thousand vultures in turn are
preying upon my heart!
But no more of these fruitless reflections--since I am incapable of
writing any thing else; since my pen will slide into this gloomy subject,
whether I will or not; I will once more quit it; nor will I again resume
it, till I can be more its master, and my own.
All I took pen to write for is however unwritten. It was, in few words,
to wish you to proceed with your communications, as usual. And why
should you not;--since, in her ever-to-be-lamented death, I know every
thing shocking and grievous--acquaint me, then, with all thou knowest,
which I do not know; how her relations, her cruel relations, take it; and
whether now the barbed dart of after-reflection sticks not in their
hearts, as in mine, up to the very feathers.
I will soon quit this kingdom. For now my Clarissa is no more, what is
there in it (in the world indeed) worth living for?--But shall I not
first, by some masterly mischief, avenge her and myself upon her cursed
The accursed woman, they tell me, has broken her leg. Why was it not her
neck?--All, all, but what is owing to her relations, is the fault of that
woman, and of her hell-born nymphs. The greater the virtue, the nobler
the triumph, was a sentence for ever in their mouths.--I have had it
several times in my head to set fire to the execrable house; and to watch
at the doors and windows, that not a devil in it escape the consuming
flames. Had the house stood by itself, I had certainly done it.
But, it seems, the old wretch is in the way to be rewarded, without my
help. A shocking letter is received of somebody's in relation to her--
your's, I suppose--too shocking for me, they say, to see at present.*
* See Letter XXV. of this volume.
They govern me as a child in strings; yet did I suffer so much in my
fever, that I am willing to bear with them, till I can get tolerably
At present I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep. Yet are my disorders
nothing to what they were; for, Jack, my brain was on fire day and night;
and had it not been of the asbestos kind, it had all been consumed.
I had no distinct ideas, but of dark and confused misery; it was all
remorse and horror indeed!--Thoughts of hanging, drowning, shooting--then
rage, violence, mischief, and despair, took their turns with me. My
lucid intervals still worse, giving me to reflect upon what I was the
hour before, and what I was likely to be the next, and perhaps for life--
the sport of enemies!--the laughter of fools!--and the hanging-sleeved,
go-carted property of hired slaves; who were, perhaps, to find their
account in manacling, and (abhorred thought!) in personally abusing me by
blows and stripes!
Who can bear such reflections as these? TO be made to fear only, to such
a one as me, and to fear such wretches too?--What a thing was this, but
remotely to apprehend! And yet for a man to be in such a state as to
render it necessary for his dearest friends to suffer this to be done for
his own sake, and in order to prevent further mischief!--There is no
thinking of these things!
I will not think of them, therefore; but will either get a train of
cheerful ideas, or hang myself by to-morrow morning.
---- To be a dog, and dead,
Were paradise, to such a life as mine.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 20.
I write to demand back again my last letter. I own it was my mind at
the different times I wrote it; and, whatever ailed me, I could not help
writing it. Such a gloomy impulse came upon me, and increased as I
wrote, that, for my soul, I could not forbear running into the miserable.
'Tis strange, very strange, that a man's conscience should be able to
force his fingers to write whether he will or not; and to run him into a
subject he more than once, at the very time, resolved not to think of.
Nor is it less strange, that (no new reason occurring) he should, in a
day or two more, so totally change his mind; have his mind, I should
rather say, so wholly illuminated by gay hopes and rising prospects, as
to be ashamed of what he had written.
For, on reperusal of a copy of my letter, which fell into my hands by
accident, in the hand-writing of my cousin Charlotte, who, unknown to me,
had transcribed it, I find it to be such a letter as an enemy would
rejoice to see.
This I know, that were I to have continued but one week more in the way
I was in when I wrote the latter part of it, I should have been confined,
and in straw, the next; for I now recollect, that all my distemper was
returning upon me with irresistible violence--and that in spite of
water-gruel and soup-meagre.
I own I am still excessively grieved at the disappointment this admirable
woman made it so much her whimsical choice to give me.
But, since it has thus fallen out; since she was determined to leave the
world; and since she actually ceases to be; ought I, who have such a
share of life and health in hand, to indulge gloomy reflections upon an
event that is passed; and being passed, cannot be recalled?--Have I not
had a specimen of what will be my case, if I do.
For, Belford, ('tis a folly to deny it,) I have been, to use an old word,
Why, why did my mother bring me up to bear no controul? Why was I so
enabled, as that to my very tutors it was a request that I should not
know what contradiction or disappointment was?--Ought she not to have
known what cruelty there was in her kindness?
What a punishment, to have my first very great disappointment touch my
intellect!--And intellects, once touched--but that I cannot bear to think
of--only thus far; the very repentance and amendment, wished me so
heartily by my kind and cross dear, have been invalidated and postponed,
and who knows for how long?--the amendment at least; can a madman be
capable of either?
Once touched, therefore, I must endeavour to banish those gloomy
reflections, which might otherwise have brought on the right turn of
mind: and this, to express myself in Lord M.'s style, that my wits may
not be sent a wool-gathering.
For, let me moreover own to thee, that Dr. Hale, who was my good Astolfo,
[you read Ariosto, Jack,] and has brought me back my wit-jar, had much
ado, by starving, diet, by profuse phlebotomy, by flaying-blisters,
eyelet-hole-cupping, a dark room, a midnight solitude in a midday sun, to
effect my recovery. And now, for my comfort, he tells me, that I may
still have returns upon full moons--horrible! most horrible!--and must be
as careful of myself at both equinoctials, as Caesar was warned to be of
the Ides of March.
How my heart sickens at looking back upon what I was! Denied the sun,
and all comfort: all my visiters low-born, tip-toe attendants: even those
tip-toe slaves never approaching me but periodically, armed with
gallipots, boluses, and cephalic draughts; delivering their orders to me
in hated whispers; and answering other curtain-holding impertinents,
inquiring how I was, and how I took their execrable potions, whisperingly
too! What a cursed still life was this!--Nothing active in me, or about
me, but the worm that never dies.
Again I hasten from the recollection of scenes, which will, at times,
obtrude themselves upon me.
But return me my last letter--and build nothing upon its contents. I
must, I will, I have already, overcome these fruitless gloominess. Every
hour my constitution rises stronger and stronger to befriend me; and,
except a tributary sigh now-and-then to the memory of my heart's beloved,
it gives me hope that I shall quickly be what I was--life, spirit,
gaiety, and once more the plague of a sex that has been my plague, and
will be every man's plague at one time or other of his life. I repeat my
desire, however, that you will write to me as usual. I hope you have
good store of particulars by you to communicate, when I can better bear
to hear of the dispositions that were made for all that was mortal of my
But it will be the joy of my heart to be told that her implacable friends
are plagued with remorse. Such things as those you may now send me: for
company in misery is some relief; especially when a man can think those
he hates as miserable as himself.
One more adieu, Jack!
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
I am preparing to leave this kingdom. Mowbray and Tourville promise to
give me their company in a month or two.
I'll give thee my route.
I shall first to Paris; and, for some amusement and diversion sake, try
to renew some of my old friendships: thence to some of the German courts:
thence, perhaps, to Vienna: thence descend through Bavaria and the Tyrol
to Venice, where I shall keep the carnival: thence to Florence and Turin:
thence again over Mount Cenis to France: and, when I return again to
Paris, shall expect to see my friend Belford, who, by that time, I doubt
not, will be all crusted and bearded over with penitence, self-denial,
and mortification; a very anchoret, only an itinerant one, journeying
over in hope to cover a multitude of his own sins, by proselyting his old
But let me tell thee, Jack, if stock rises on, as it has done since I
wrote my last letter, I am afraid thou wilt find a difficult task in
succeeding, should such be thy purpose.
Nor, I verily think, can thy own penitence and reformation hold. Strong
habits are not so easily rooted out. Old Satan has had too much benefit
from thy faithful services, for a series of years, to let thee so easily
get out of his clutches. He knows what will do with thee. A fine
strapping Bona Roba, in the Charters-taste, but well-limbed,
clear-complexioned, and Turkish-eyed; thou the first man with her, or
made to believe so, which is the same thing; how will thy frosty face be
illuminated by it! A composition will be made between thee and the grand
tempter: thou wilt promise to do him suit and service till old age and
inability come. And then will he, in all probability, be sure of thee
for ever. For, wert thou to outlive thy present reigning appetites, he
will trump up some other darling sin, or make a now secondary one
darling, in order to keep thee firmly attached to his infernal interests.
Thou wilt continue resolving to amend, but never amending, till, grown
old before thou art aware, (a dozen years after thou art old with every
body else,) thy for-time-built tenement having lasted its allotted
period, he claps down upon thy grizzled head the universal trap-door: and
then all will be over with thee in his own way.
Thou wilt think these hints uncharacteristic from me. But yet I cannot
help warning thee of the danger thou art actually in; which is the
greater, as thou seemst not to know it. A few words more, therefore,
on this subject.
Thou hast made good resolutions. If thou keepest them not, thou wilt
never be able to keep any. But, nevertheless, the devil and thy time of
life are against thee: and six to one thou failest. Were it only that
thou hast resolved, six to one thou failest. And if thou dost, thou wilt
become the scoff of men, and the triumph of devils.--Then how will I
laugh at thee! For this warning is not from principle. Perhaps I wish
it were: but I never lied to man, and hardly ever said truth to woman.
The firs is what all free-livers cannot say: the second what every one
I am mad again, by Jupiter!--But, thank my stars, not gloomily so!--
Farewell, farewell, farewell, for the third or fourth time, concludes
I believe Charlotte and you are in private league together. Letters, I
find, have passed between her and you, and Lord M. I have been
kept strangely in the dark of late; but will soon break upon you
all, as the sun upon a midnight thief.
Remember that you never sent me the copy of my beloved's will.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 22.
Just as I was sitting down to answer your's of the 14th to the 18th, in
order to give you all the consolation in my power, came your revoking
letter of Wednesday.
I am really concerned and disappointed that your first was so soon
followed by one so contrary to it.
The shocking letter you mention, which your friends withhold from you, is
indeed from me. They may now, I see, show you any thing. Ask them,
then, for that letter, if you think it worth while to read aught about
the true mother of your mind.
I will suppose that thou hast just read the letter thou callest shocking,
and which I intended to be so. And let me ask what thou thinkest of it?
Dost thou not tremble at the horrors the vilest of women labours with, on
the apprehensions of death, and future judgment?--How sit the reflections
that must have been raised by the perusal of this letter upon thy yet
unclosed eyelet-holes? Will not some serious thoughts mingle with thy
melilot, and tear off the callus of thy mind, as that may flay the
leather from thy back, and as thy epispastics may strip the parchment
from thy plotting head? If not, then indeed is thy conscience seared,
and no hopes will lie for thee.
[Mr. Belford then gives an account of the wretched Sinclair's terrible
exit, which he had just then received.]
If this move thee not, I have news to acquaint thee with, of another
dismal catastrophe that is but within this hour come to my ear, of
another of thy blessed agents. Thy TOMLINSON!--Dying, and, in all
probability, before this can reach thee, dead, in Maidstone gaol. As
thou sayest in thy first letter, something strangely retributive seems
to be working.
This is his case. He was at the head of a gang of smugglers,
endeavouring to carry off run goods, landed last Tuesday, when a party of
dragoons came up with them in the evening. Some of his comrades fled.
M'Donald, being surrounded, attempted to fight his way through, and
wounded his man; but having received a shot in his neck, and being cut
deeply in the head by a broad-sword, he fell from his horse, was taken,
and carried to Maidstone gaol: and there my informant left him, just
dying, and assured of hanging if he recover.
Absolutely destitute, he got a kinsman of his to apply to me, and, if in
town, to the rest of the confraternity, for something, not to support him
was the word, (for he expected not to live till the fellow returned,) but
to bury him.
I never employed him but once, and then he ruined my project. I now
thank Heaven that he did. But I sent him five guineas, and promised him
more, as from you, and Mowbray, and Tourville, if he live a few days, or
to take his trial. And I put it upon you to make further inquiry of him,
and to give him what you think fit.
His messenger tells me that he is very penitent; that he weeps
continually. He cries out, that he has been the vilest of men: yet
palliates, that his necessities made him worse than he should otherwise
have been; [an excuse which none of us can plead:] but that which touches
him most of all, is a vile imposture he was put upon, to serve a certain
gentleman of fortune to the ruin of the most excellent woman that ever
lived; and who, he had heard, was dead of grief.
Let me consider, Lovelace--Whose turn can be next?
I wish it may not be thine. But since thou givest me one piece of
advice, (which I should indeed have thought out of character, hadst thou
not taken pains to convince me that it proceeds not from principle,) I
will give thee another: and that is, prosecute, as fast as thou canst,
thy intended tour. Change of scene, and of climate, may establish thy
health: while this gross air and the approach of winter, may thicken thy
blood; and with the help of a conscience that is upon the struggle with
thee, and like a cunning wrestler watches its opportunity to give thee
another fall, may make thee miserable for thy life.
I return your revoked letter. Don't destroy it, however. The same
dialect may one day come in fashion with you again.
As to the family at Harlowe-place, I have most affecting letters from
Colonel Morden relating to their grief and compunction. But are you, to
whom the occasion is owing, entitled to rejoice in their distress?
I should be sorry, if I could not say, that what you have warned me of in
sport, makes me tremble in earnest. I hope, for this is a serious
subject with me, (though nothing can be so with you,) that I never shall
deserve, by my apostasy, to be the scoff of men, and the triumph of
All that you say, of the difficulty of conquering rooted habits, is but
too true. Those, and time of life, are indeed too much against me: but,
when I reflect upon the ends (some untimely) of those of our companions
whom we have formerly lost; upon Belton's miserable exit; upon the howls
and screams of Sinclair, which are still in my ears; and now upon your
miserable Tomlinson, and compare their ends with the happy and desirable
end of the inimitable Miss Harlowe, I hope I have reason to think my
footing morally secure. Your caution, nevertheless, will be of use,
however you might design it: and since I know my weak side, I will
endeavour to fortify myself in that quarter by marriage, as soon as I can
make myself worthy of the confidence and esteem of some virtuous woman;
and, by this means, become the subject of your envy, rather than of your
I have already begun my retributory purposes, as I may call them. I have
settled an annual sum for life upon poor John Loftus, whom I disabled
while he was endeavouring to protect his young mistress from my lawless
attempts. I rejoice that I succeeded not in that; as I do in
recollecting many others of the like sort, in which I miscarried.
Poor Farley, who had become a bankrupt, I have set up again; but have
declared, that the annual allowance I make her shall cease, if I hear she
returns to her former courses: and I have made her accountable for her
conduct to the good widow Lovick; whom I have taken, at a handsome
salary, for my housekeeper at Edgware, (for I have let the house at
Watford;) and she is to dispense the quarterly allotment to her, as she
This good woman shall have other matters of the like nature under her
care, as we grow better acquainted; and I make no doubt that she will
answer my expectations, and that I shall be both confirmed and improved
by her conversation: for she shall generally sit at my own table.
The undeserved sufferings of Miss Clarissa Harlowe, her exalted merit,
her exemplary preparation, and her happy end, will be standing subjects
She shall read to me, when I have no company; write for me, out of books,
passages she shall recommend. Her years (turned of fifty,) and her good
character, will secure me from scandal; and I have great pleasure in
reflecting that I shall be better myself for making her happy.
Then, whenever I am in danger, I will read some of the admirable lady's
papers: whenever I would abhor my former ways, I will read some of thine,
and copies of my own.
The consequence of all this will be, that I shall be the delight of my
own relations of both sexes, who were wont to look upon me as a lost man.
I shall have good order in my own family, because I shall give a good
example myself. I shall be visited and respected, not perhaps by
Lovelace, by Mowbray, and by Tourville, because they cannot see me upon
the old terms, and will not, perhaps, see me upon the new, but by the
best and worthiest gentlemen, clergy as well as laity, all around me. I
shall look upon my past follies with contempt: upon my old companions
with pity. Oaths and curses shall be for ever banished my mouth: in
their place shall succeed conversation becoming a rational being, and a
gentleman. And instead of acts of offence, subjecting me perpetually to
acts of defence, will I endeavour to atone for my past evils, by doing
all the good in my power, and by becoming an universal benefactor to the
extent of that power.
Now tell me, Lovelace, upon this faint sketch of what I hope to do, and
to be, if this be not a scheme infinitely preferable to the wild, the
pernicious, the dangerous ones, both to body and soul, which we have
I wish I could make my sketch as amiable to you as it appears to me. I
wish it with all my soul: for I always loved you. It has been my
misfortune that I did: for this led me into infinite riots and follies,
of which, otherwise, I verily think I should not have been guilty.
You have a great deal more to answer for than I have, were it only in the
temporal ruin of this admirable woman. Let me now, while you yet have
youth, and health, and intellect, prevail upon you: for I am afraid, very
much afraid, that such is the enormity of this single wickedness, in
depriving the world of such a shining light, that if you do not quickly
reform, it will be out of your power to reform at all; and that
Providence, which has already given you the fates of your agents Sinclair
and Tomlinson to take warning by, will not let the principal offender
escape, if he slight the warning.
You will, perhaps, laugh at me for these serious reflections. Do, if you
will. I had rather you should laugh at me, for continuing in this way of
thinking and acting, than triumph over me, as you threaten, on my
swerving from purposes I have determined upon with such good reason, and
induced and warned by such examples.
And so much for this subject at present.
I should be glad to know when you intend to set out. I have too much
concern for your welfare, not to wish you in a thinner air and more
What have Tourville and Mowbray to do, that they cannot set out with you?
They will not covet my company, I dare say; and I shall not be able to
endure theirs, when you are gone: take them, therefore, with you.
I will not, however, forswear making you a visit at Paris, at your return
from Germany and Italy: but hardly with the hope of reclaiming you, if
due reflection upon what I have set before you, and upon what you have
written in your two last, will not by that time have done it.
I suppose I shall see you before you go. Once more I wish you were gone.
This heavy island-air cannot do for you what that of the Continent will.
I do not think I ought to communicate with you, as I used to do, on this
side the Channel: let me, then, hear from you on the opposite shore, and
you shall command the pen, as you please; and, honestly, the power of
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 26.
Fate, I believe, in my conscience, spins threads for tragedies, on
purpose for thee to weave with.--Thy Watford uncle, poor Belton, the
fair inimitable, [exalted creature! and is she to be found in such a
list!] the accursed woman, and Tomlinson, seemed to have been all doomed
to give thee a theme for the dismal and the horrible;--and, by my soul,
that thou dost work it going, as Lord M. would phrase it.
That's the horrid thing, a man cannot begin to think, but causes for
thought crowd in upon him; the gloomy takes place, and mirth and gaiety
abandon his heard for ever!
Poor M'Donald!--I am really sorry for the fellow.--He was an useful,
faithful, solemn varlet, who could act incomparably any part given him,
and knew not what a blush was.--He really took honest pains for me in the
last affair; which has cost him and me so dearly in reflection. Often
gravelled, as we both were, yet was he never daunted.--Poor M'Donald! I
must once more say:--for carrying on a solemn piece of roguery, he had no
I was so solicitous to know if he were really as bad as thou hast a knack
of painting every body whom thou singlest out to exercise thy murdering
pen upon, that I dispatched a man and horse to Maidstone, as soon as I
had thine; and had word brought me, that he died in two hours after he
had received thy five guineas. And all thou wrotest of his concern, in
relation to the ever-dear Miss Harlowe, it seems was true.
I can't help it, Belford!--I have only to add, that it is happy that the
poor fellow lived not to be hanged; as it seems he would have been; for
who knows, as he had got into such a penitential strain, what might have
been in his dying speech?
When a man has not great good to comfort himself with, it is right to
make the best of the little that may offer. There never was any
discomfort happened to mortal man, but some little ray of consolation
would dart in, if the wretch was not so much a wretch, as to draw,
instead of undraw, the curtain, to keep it out.
And so much, at this time, and for ever, for poor Capt. Tomlinson, as I
Your solicitude to get me out of this heavy changeable climate exactly
tallies with every body's here. They all believe that travelling will
establish me. Yet I think I am quite well. Only these plaguy news and
fulls, and the equinoctals, fright me a little when I think of them; and
that is always: for the whole family are continually ringing these
changes in my ears, and are more sedulously intent, than I can well
account for, to get me out of the kingdom.
But wilt thou write often, when I am gone? Wilt thou then piece the
thread where thou brokest it off? Wilt thou give me the particulars of
their distress, who were my auxiliaries in bringing on the event that
affects me?--Nay, principals rather: Since, say what thou wilt, what did
I do worth a woman's breaking her heart for?
Faith and troth, Jack, I have had very hard usage, as I have often said:
--to have such a plaguy ill name given me, screamed out upon, run away
from, as a mad dog would be; all my own friends ready to renounce me!--
Yet I think I deserve it all; for have I not been as ready to give up
myself, as others are to condemn me?
What madness, what folly, this!--Who will take the part of a man that
condemns himself?--Who can?--He that pleads guilty to an indictment,
leaves no room for aught but the sentence. Out upon me, for an
impolitical wretch! I have not the art of the least artful of any of our
Christian princes; who every day are guilty of ten times worse breaches
of faith; and yet, issuing out a manifesto, they wipe their mouths, and
go on from infraction to infraction, from robbery to robbery; commit
devastation upon devastation; and destroy--for their glory! And are
rewarded with the names of conquerors, and are dubbed Le Grand; praised,
and even deified, by orators and poets, for their butcheries and
While I, a poor, single, harmless prowler; at least comparatively
harmless; in order to satisfy my hunger, steal but one poor lamb; and
every mouth is opened, every hand is lifted up, against me.
Nay, as I have just now heard, I am to be manifestoed against, though
no prince: for Miss Howe threatens to have the case published to the whole
I have a good mind not to oppose it; and to write an answer to it, as
soon as it comes forth, and exculpate myself, by throwing all the fault
upon the old ones. And this I have to plead, supposing all that my worst
enemies can allege against me were true,--That I am not answerable for
all the extravagant consequences that this affair has been attended with;
and which could not possibly be foreseen.
And this I will prove demonstrably by a case, which, but a few hours ago,
I put to Lord M. and the two Misses Montague. This it is:
Suppose A, a miser, had hid a parcel of gold in a secret place, in order
to keep it there, till he could lend it out at extravagant
Suppose B, in such a great want of this treasure, as to be unable to live
And suppose A, the miser, has such an opinion of B, the wanter, that he
would rather lend it to him, than to any mortal living; but yet,
though he has no other use in the world for it, insists upon very
B would gladly pay common interest for it; but would be undone, (in his
own opinion at least, and that is every thing to him,) if he
complied with the miser's terms; since he would be sure to be soon
thrown into gaol for the debt, and made a prisoner for life.
Wherefore guessing (being an arch, penetrating fellow) where the
sweet hoard lies, he searches for it, when the miser is in a
profound sleep, finds it, and runs away with it.
[B, in this case, can only be a thief, that's plain, Jack.]
Here Miss Montague put in very smartly.--A thief, Sir, said she, that
steals what is and ought to be dearer to me than my life, deserves less
to be forgiven than he who murders me.
But what is this, cousin Charlotte, said I, that is dearer to you than
your life? Your honour, you'll say--I will not talk to a lady (I never
did) in a way she cannot answer me--But in the instance for which I put
my case, (allowing all you attribute to the phantom) what honour is lost,
where the will is not violated, and the person cannot help it? But, with
respect to the case put, how knew we, till the theft was committed, that
the miser did actually set so romantic a value upon the treasure?
Both my cousins were silent; and my Lord, because he could not answer me,
cursed me; and I proceeded.
Well then, the result is, that B can only be a thief; that's plain.--To
pursue, therefore, my case--
Suppose this same miserly A, on awaking and searching for, and finding
his treasure gone, takes it so much to heart that he starves
Who but himself is to blame for that?--Would either equity, law, or
conscience, hang B for a murder?
And now to apply, said I----
None of your applications, cried my cousins, both in a breath.
None of your applications, and be d----d to you, the passionate Peer.
Well then, returned I, I am to conclude it to be a case so plain that it
needs none; looking at the two girls, who tried for a blush a-piece. And
I hold myself, of consequence, acquitted of the death.
Not so, cried my Lord, [Peers are judges, thou knowest, Jack, in the last
resort:] for if, by committing an unlawful act, a capital crime is the
consequence, you are answerable for both.
Say you so, my good Lord?--But will you take upon you to say, supposing
(as in the present case) a rape (saving your presence, cousin Charlotte,
saving your presence, cousin Patty)--Is death the natural consequence of
a rape?--Did you ever hear, my Lord, or did you, Ladies, that it was?--
And if not the natural consequence, and a lady will destroy herself,
whether by a lingering death, as of grief; or by the dagger, as Lucretia
did; is there more than one fault the man's?--Is not the other her's?--
Were it not so, let me tell you, my dears, chucking each of my blushing
cousins under the chin, we either would have had no men so wicked as
young Tarquin was, or no women so virtuous as Lucretia, in the space of--
How many thousand years, my Lord?--And so Lucretia is recorded as a
You may believe I was cried out upon. People who cannot answer, will
rave: and this they all did. But I insisted upon it to them, and so I do
to you, Jack, that I ought to be acquitted of every thing but a common
theft, a private larceny, as the lawyers call it, in this point. And
were my life to be a forfeit of the law, it would not be for murder.
Besides, as I told them, there was a circumstance strongly in my favour
in this case: for I would have been glad, with all my soul, to have
purchased my forgiveness by a compliance with the terms I first boggled
at. And this, you all know, I offered; and my Lord, and Lady Betty, and
Lady Sarah, and my two cousins, and all my cousins' cousins, to the
fourteenth generation, would have been bound for me--But it would not do:
the sweet miser would break her heart, and die: And how could I help it?
Upon the whole, Jack, had not the lady died, would there have been half
so much said of it, as there is? Was I the cause of her death? or could
I help it? And have there not been, in a million of cases like this,
nine hundred and ninty-nine thousand that have not ended as this has
ended?--How hard, then, is my fate!--Upon my soul, I won't bear it as I
have done; but, instead of taking guilt to myself, claim pity. And this
(since yesterday cannot be recalled) is the only course I can pursue to
make myself easy. Proceed anon.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
But what a pretty scheme of life hast thou drawn out for thyself and thy
old widow! By my soul, Jack, I was mightily taken with it. There is but