Part 5 out of 6
Nor were the little slights she would now-and-then (following, as I must
own, my lead) put upon such mere scholars [and her stupid and pedantic
brother was one of those who deserved those slights] as despised not only
our sex, but all such as had not had their opportunities of being
acquainted with the parts of speech, [I cannot speak low enough of such,]
and with the dead languages, owing to that contempt which some affect for
what they have not been able to master; for she had an admirable facility
for learning languages, and read with great ease both in Italian and
French. She had begun to apply herself to Latin; and having such a
critical knowledge of her own tongue, and such a foundation from the two
others, would soon have made herself an adept in it.
But, notwithstanding all her acquirements, she was an excellent ECONOMIST
and HOUSEWIFE. And those qualifications, you must take notice, she was
particularly fond of inculcating upon all her reading and writing
companions of the sex: for it was a maxim with her, 'That a woman who
neglects the useful and the elegant, which distinguish her own sex, for
the sake of obtaining the learning which is supposed more peculiar to the
other, incurs more contempt by what she foregoes, than she gains credit
by what she acquires.'
'All that a woman can learn,' she used to say, [expatiating on this
maxim,] 'above the useful knowledge proper to her sex, let her learn.
This will show that she is a good housewife of her time, and that she has
not a narrow or confined genius. But then let her not give up for these
those more necessary, and, therefore, not meaner, employments, which will
qualify her to be a good mistress of a family, a good wife, and a good
mother; for what can be more disgraceful to a woman than either, through
negligence of dress, to be found a learned slattern; or, through
ignorance of household-management, to be known to be a stranger to
She would have it indeed, sometimes, from the frequent ill use learned
women make of that respectable acquirement, that it was no great matter
whether the sex aimed at any thing but excelling in the knowledge of the
beauties and graces of their mother-tongue; and once she said, that this
was field enough for a woman; and an ampler was but endangering her
family usefulness. But I, who think our sex inferior in nothing to the
other, but in want of opportunities, of which the narrow-minded mortals
industriously seek to deprive us, lest we should surpass them as much in
what they chiefly value themselves upon, as we do in all the graces of a
fine imagination, could never agree with her in that. And yet I was
entirely of her opinion, that those women, who were solicitous to obtain
that knowledge of learning which they supposed would add to their
significance in sensible company, and in their attainment of it imagined
themselves above all domestic usefulness, deservedly incurred the
contempt which they hardly ever failed to meet with.
Perhaps you will not think it amiss further to observe on this head, as
it will now show that precept and example always went hand and hand with
her, that her dairy at her grandfather's was the delight of every one who
saw it; and she of all who saw her in it.
Her grandfather, in honour of her dexterity and of her skill in all the
parts of the dairy management, as well as of the elegance of the offices
allotted for that use, would have his seat, before known by the name of
The Grove, to be called The Dairy-house.* She had an easy, convenient,
and graceful habit made on purpose, which she put on when she employed
herself in these works; and it was noted of her, that in the same hour
that she appeared to be a most elegant dairy-maid, she was, when called
to a change of dress, the finest lady that ever graced a circle.
* See Vol. I. Letter II.
Her grandfather, father, mother, uncles, aunt, and even her brother and
sister, made her frequent visits there, and were delighted with her
silent ease and unaffected behaviour in her works; for she always, out of
modesty, chose rather the operative than the directive part, that she
might not discourage the servant whose proper business it was.
Each was fond of a regale from her hands in her Dairy-house. Her mother
and aunt Hervey generally admired her in silence, that they might not
give uneasiness to her sister; a spiteful, perverse, unimitating thing,
who usually looked upon her all the time with speechless envy.
Now-and-then, however, the pouting creature would suffer extorted and
sparing praise to burst open her lips; though looking at the same time
like Saul meditating the pointed javelin at the heart of David, the glory
of his kingdom. And now, methinks, I see my angel-friend, (too superior
to take notice of her gloom,) courting her acceptance of the milk-white
curd, from hands more pure than that.
Her skill and dexterity in every branch of family management seem to be
the only excellence of her innumerable ones which she owed to her family;
whose narrowness, immensely rich, and immensely carking, put them upon
indulging her in the turn she took to this part of knowledge; while her
elder sister affected dress without being graceful in it; and the fine
lady, which she could never be; and which her sister was without studying
for it, or seeming to know she was so.
It was usual with the one sister, when company was expected, to be half
the morning dressing; while the other would give directions for the whole
business and entertainment of the day; and then go up to her
dressing-room, and, before she could well be missed, [having all her
things in admirable order,] come down fit to receive company, and with
all that graceful ease and tranquillity as if she had nothing else to
Long after her, [hours, perhaps, of previous preparation having passed,]
down would come rustling and bustling the tawdry and awkward Bella,
disordering more her native disorderliness at the sight of her serene
sister, by her sullen envy, to see herself so much surpassed with such
little pains, and in a sixth part of the time.
Yet was this admirable creature mistress of all these domestic
qualifications, without the least intermixture of narrowness. She knew
how to distinguish between frugality, a necessary virtue, and
niggardliness, an odious vice; and used to say, 'That to define
generosity, it must be called the happy medium betwixt parsimony and
She was the most graceful reader I ever knew. She added, by her
melodious voice, graces to those she found in the parts of books she read
out to her friends; and gave grace and significance to others where they
were not. She had no tone, no whine. Her accent was always admirably
placed. The emphasis she always forcibly laid as the subject required.
No buskin elevation, no tragedy pomp, could mislead her; and yet poetry
was poetry indeed, when she read it.
But if her voice was melodious when she read, it was all harmony when she
sung. And the delight she gave by that, and by her skill and great
compass, was heightened by the ease and gracefulness of her air and
manner, and by the alacrity with which she obliged.
Nevertheless she generally chose rather to hear others sing or play, than
either to play or sing herself.
She delighted to give praise where deserved; yet she always bestowed it
in such a manner as gave not the least suspicion that she laid out for a
return of it to herself, though so universally allowed to be her due.
She had a talent of saying uncommon things in such an easy manner that
every body thought they could have said the same; and which yet required
both genius and observation to say them.
Even severe things appeared gentle, though they lost not their force,
from the sweetness of her air and utterance, and the apparent benevolence
of her purpose.
We form the truest judgment of persons by their behaviour on the most
familiar occasions. I will give an instance or two of the correction she
favoured me with on such a one.
When very young, I was guilty of the fault of those who want to be
courted to sing. She cured me of it, at the first of our happy intimacy,
by her own example; and by the following correctives, occasionally, yet
'Well, my dear, shall we take you at your word? Shall we suppose, that
you sing but indifferently? Is not, however, the act of obliging, (the
company so worthy!) preferable to the talent of singing? And shall not
young ladies endeavour to make up for their defects in one part of
education, by their excellence in another?'
Again, 'You must convince us, by attempting to sing, that you cannot
sing; and then we will rid you, not only of present, but of future
importunity.'--An indulgence, however, let me add, that but tolerable
singers do not always wish to meet with.
Again, 'I know you will favour us by and by; and what do you by your
excuses but raise our expectations, and enhance your own difficulties?'
At another time, 'Has not this accomplishment been a part of your
education, my Nancy? How, then, for your own honour, can we allow of
And I once pleading a cold, the usual pretence of those who love to be
entreated--'Sing, however, my dear, as well as you can. The greater the
difficulty to you, the higher the compliment to the company. Do you
think you are among those who know not how to make allowances? you should
sing, my love, lest there should be any body present who may think your
excuses owing to affectation.'
At another time, when I had truly observed that a young lady present sung
better than I; and that, therefore, I chose not to sing before that lady
--'Fie, said she, (drawing me on one side,) is not this pride, my Nancy?
Does it not look as if your principal motive to oblige was to obtain
applause? A generous mind will not scruple to give advantage to a person
of merit, though not always to her own advantage. And yet she will have
a high merit in doing that. Supposing this excellent person absent, who,
my dear, if your example spread, shall sing after you? You know every
one else must be but as a foil to you. Indeed I must have you as much
superior to other ladies in these smaller points, as you are in greater.'
So she was pleased to say to shame me. She was so much above reserve as
disguise. So communicative that no young lady could be in her company
half an hour, and not carry away instruction with her, whatever was the
topic. Yet all sweetly insinuated; nothing given with the air of
prescription; so that while she seemed to ask a question for
information-sake, she dropt in the needful instruction, and left the
instructed unable to decide whether the thought (which being started,
she, the instructed, could improve) came primarily from herself, or from
the sweet instructress.
She had a pretty hand at drawing, which she obtained with very little
instruction. Her time was too much taken up to allow, though to so fine
an art, the attention which was necessary to make her greatly excel in
it: and she used to say, 'That she was afraid of aiming at too many
things, for fear she should not be tolerable at any thing.'
For her years, and her opportunities, she was an extraordinary judge of
painting. In this, as in every thing else, nature was her art, her art
was nature. She even prettily performed in it. Her grandfather, for
this reason, bequeathed to her all the family pictures. Charming was her
fancy: alike sweet and easy was every touch of her pencil and her pen.
Yet her judgment exceeded her performance. She did not practise enough
to excel in the executive part. She could not in every thing excel.
But, upon the whole, she knew what every subject required according to
the nature of it; in other words, was an absolute mistress of the
To give a familiar instance for the sake of young ladies; she (untaught)
observed when but a child, that the sun, moon, and stars, never appeared
at once; and were therefore never to be in one piece; that bears, tigers,
lions, were not natives of an English climate, and should not therefore
have place in an English landscape; that these ravagers of the forest
consorted not with lambs, kids, or fawns; nor kites, hawks, and vultures,
with doves, partridges, or pheasants.
And, alas! she knew, before she was nineteen years of age, by fatal
experience she knew! that all these beasts and birds of prey were
outdone, in treacherous cruelty, by MAN! Vile, barbarous, plotting,
destructive man! who, infinitely less excusable than those, destroys,
through wantonness and sport, what those only destroy through hunger and
The mere pretenders to those branches of science which she aimed at
acquiring she knew how to detect; and from all nature. Propriety,
another word for nature, was (as I have hinted) her law, as it is the
foundation of all true judgment. But, nevertheless, she was always
uneasy, if what she said exposed those pretenders to knowledge, even in
their absence, to the ridicule of lively spirits.
Let the modern ladies, who have not any one of her excellent qualities;
whose whole time, in the short days they generally make, and in the
inverted night and day, where they make them longer, is wholly spent in
dress, visits, cards, plays, operas, and musical entertainments, wonder
at what I have written, and shall further write; and let them look upon
it as an incredible thing, that when, at a mature age, they cannot boast
one of her perfections, there should have been a lady so young, who had
These must be such as know not how she employed her time; and cannot form
the least idea of what may be done in those hours in which they lie
enveloped with the shades of death, as she used to call sleep.
But before I come to mention the distribution she usually made of her
time, let me say a few words upon another subject, in which she excelled
all the young ladies I ever knew.
This was her skill in almost all sorts of fine needleworks; of which,
however, I shall say the less, since possibly you will find it mentioned
in some of the letters.
That piece which she bequeaths to her cousin Morden is indeed a capital
piece; a performance so admirable, that that gentleman's father, who
resided chiefly abroad, (was, as is mentioned in her will,) very desirous
to obtain it, in order to carry it to Italy with him, to show the curious
of other countries, (as he used to say,) for the honour of his own, that
the cloistered confinement was not necessary to make English women excel
in any of those fine arts upon which nuns and recluses value themselves.
Her quickness at these sort of works was astonishing; and a great
encouragement to herself to prosecute them.
Mr. Morden's father would have been continually making her presents,
would she have permitted him to do so; and he used to call them, and so
did her grandfather, tributes due to a merit so sovereign, and not
As to her diversions, the accomplishments and acquirements she was
mistress of will show what they must have been. She was far from being
fond of cards, the fashionable foible of modern ladies; nor, as will be
easily perceived from what I have said, and more from what I shall
further say, had she much time for play. She never therefore promoted
their being called for; and often insensibly diverted the company from
them, by starting some entertaining subject, when she could do it without
incurring the imputation of particularity.
Indeed very few of her intimates would propose cards, if they could
engage her to read, to talk, to touch the keys, or to sing, when any new
book, or new piece of music, came down. But when company was so
numerous, that conversation could not take that agreeable turn which it
oftenest does among four or five friends of like years and inclinations,
and it became in a manner necessary to detach off some of it, to make the
rest better company, she would not refuse to play, if, upon casting in,
it fell to her lot. And then she showed that her disrelish to cards was
the effect of choice only; and that she was an easy mistress of every
genteel game played with them. But then she always declared against
playing high. 'Except for trifles,' she used to say, 'she would not
submit to chance what she was already sure of.'
At other times, 'she should make her friends a very ill compliment,' she
said, 'if she supposed they would wish to be possessed of what of right
belonged to her; and she should be very unworthy, if she desired to make
herself a title to what was theirs.'
'High gaming, in short,' she used to say, 'was a sordid vice; an
immorality; the child of avarice; and a direct breach of that
commandment, which forbids us to covet what is our neighbour's.'
She was exceedingly charitable; the only one of her family that knew the
meaning of the word; and this with regard both to the souls and the
bodies of those who were the well-chosen objects of her benevolence. She
kept a list of these, whom she used to call her Poor, entering one upon
it as another was provided for, by death, or any other way; but always
made a reserve, nevertheless, for unforeseen cases, and for accidental
distresses. And it must be owned, that in the prudent distribution of
them, she had neither example nor equal.
The aged, the blind, the lame, the widow, the orphan, the unsuccessful
industrious, were particularly the objects of it; and the contributing
to the schooling of some, to the putting out to trades and husbandry the
children of others of the labouring or needy poor, and setting them
forward at the expiration of their servitude, were her great delights; as
was the giving good books to others; and, when she had opportunity, the
instructing the poorer sort of her honest neighbours, and father's
tenants, in the use of them. 'That charity,' she used to say, 'which
provides for the morals, as well as for the bodily wants of the poor,
gives a double benefit to the public, as it adds to the number of the
hopeful what it takes from that of the profligate. And can there be, in
the eyes of that God, she was wont to say, who requires nothing so much
from us as acts of beneficence to one another, a charity more worthy?'
Her uncle Antony, when he came to settle in England with his vast fortune
obtained in the Indies, used to say, 'This girl by her charities will
bring down a blessing upon us all.' And it must be owned they trusted
pretty much to this presumption.
But I need not say more on this head: nor perhaps was it necessary to say
so much; since the charitable bequests in her will sufficiently set forth
her excellence in this branch of duty.
She was extremely moderate in her diet. 'Quantity in food,' she used to
say, 'was more to be regarded than quality; that a full meal was the
great enemy both to study and industry: that a well-built house required
but little repairs.'
But this moderation in her diet, she enjoyed, with a delicate frame of
body, a fine state of health; was always serene, lively; cheerful, of
course. And I never knew but of one illness she had; and that was by a
violent cold caught in an open chaise, by a sudden storm of hail and
rain, in a place where was no shelter; and which threw her into a fever,
attended with dangerous symptoms, that no doubt were lightened by her
temperance; but which gave her friends, who then knew her value, infinite
apprehensions for her.*
* In her common-place book she has the following note upon the
recollection of this illness in the time of her distress:
'In a dangerous illness, with which I was visited a few years before I
had the unhappiness to know this ungrateful man! [would to Heaven I had
died in it!] my bed was surrounded by my dear relations--father, mother,
brother, sister, my two uncles, weeping, kneeling, round me, then put up
their vows to Heaven for my recovery; and I, fearing that I should drag
down with me to my grave one or other of my sorrowing friends, wished and
prayed to recover for their sakes.--Alas! how shall parents in such cases
know what to wish for! How happy for them, and for me, had I then been
denied to their prayers! But now I am eased of that care. All those
dear relations are living still--but not one of them (such as they think,
has been the heinousness of my error!) but, far from being grieved, would
rejoice to hear of my death.'
In all her readings, and her conversations upon them, she was fonder of
finding beauties than blemishes, and chose to applaud but authors and
books, where she could find the least room for it. Yet she used to
lament that certain writers of the first class, who were capable of
exalting virtue, and of putting vice out of countenance, too generally
employed themselves in works of imagination only, upon subjects merely
speculative, disinteresting and unedifying, from which no useful moral or
example could be drawn.
But she was a severe censurer of pieces of a light or indecent turn,
which had a tendency to corrupt the morals of youth, to convey polluted
images, or to wound religion, whether in itself, or through the sides of
its professors, and this, whoever were the authors, and how admirable
soever the execution. She often pitied the celebrated Dr. Swift for so
employing his admirable pen, that a pure eye was afraid of looking into
his works, and a pure ear of hearing any thing quoted from them. 'Such
authors,' she used to say, 'were not honest to their own talents, nor
grateful to the God who gave them.' Nor would she, on these occasions,
admit their beauties as a palliation; on the contrary, she held it as an
aggravation of their crime, that they who are so capable of mending the
heart, should in any places show a corrupt one in themselves; which must
weaken the influences of their good works; and pull down with one hand
what they build up with the other.
All she said and all she did was accompanied with a natural ease and
dignity, which set her above affectation, or the suspicion of it;
insomuch that that degrading fault, so generally imputed to a learned
woman, was never laid to her charge. For, with all her excellencies, she
was forwarder to hear than speak; and hence, no doubt, derived no small
part of her improvement.
Although she was well read in the English, French, and Italian poets, and
had read the best translations of the Latin classics; yet seldom did she
quote or repeat from them, either in her letters or conversation, though
exceedingly happy in a tenacious memory; principally through modesty, and
to avoid the imputation of that affectation which I have just mentioned.
Mr. Wyerley once said of her, she had such a fund of knowledge of her
own, and made naturally such fine observations upon persons and things,
being capable, by the EGG, [that was his familiar expression,] of judging
of the bird, that she had seldom either room or necessity for foreign
But it was plain, from her whole conduct and behaviour, that she had not
so good an opinion of herself, however deserved; since, whenever she was
urged to give her sentiments on any subject, although all she thought fit
to say was clear an intelligible, yet she seemed in haste to have done
speaking. Her reason for it, I know, was twofold; that she might not
lose the benefit of other people's sentiments, by engrossing the
conversation; and lest, as were her words, she should be praised into
loquaciousness, and so forfeit the good opinion which a person always
maintains with her friends, who knows when she has said enough.--It was,
finally, a rule with her, 'to leave her hearers wishing her to say more,
rather than to give them cause to show, by their inattention, an
uneasiness that she had said so much.'--
You are curious to know the particular distribution of her time; which
you suppose will help you to account for what you own yourself surprised
at; to wit, how so young a lady could make herself mistress of so many
I will premise, that she was from infancy inured to rise early in a
morning, by an excellent, and, as I may say, a learned woman, Mrs.
Norton, to whose care, wisdom, and example, she was beholden for the
ground-work of her taste and acquirements, which meeting with such
assistances from the divines I have named, and with such a genius, made
it the less wonder that she surpassed most of her age and sex.
Her sex, did I say? What honour to the other does this imply! When one
might challenge the proudest pedant of them all, to say he has been
disciplined into greater improvement, than she had made from the mere
force of genius and application. But it is demonstrable to all who know
how to make observations on their acquaintance of both sexes, arrogant as
some are of their superficialities, that a lady at eighteen, take the
world through, is more prudent and conversable than a man at twenty-five.
I can prove this by nineteen instances out of twenty in my own knowledge.
Yet how do these poor boasters value themselves upon the advantages their
education gives them! Who has not seen some one of them, just come from
the university, disdainfully smile at a mistaken or ill-pronounced word
from a lady, when her sense has been clear, and her sentiments just; and
when he could not himself utter a single sentence fit to be repeated, but
what he had borrowed from the authors he had been obliged to study, as a
painful exercise to slow and creeping parts? But how I digress:
This excellent young lady used to say, 'it was incredible to think what
might be done by early rising, and by long days well filled up.'
It may be added, that she had calculated according to the practice of too
many, she had actually lived more years at sixteen, than they had at
She was of opinion, 'that no one could spend their time properly, who did
not live by some rule: who did not appropriate the hours, as nearly as
might be, to particular purposes and employments.'
In conformity to this self-set lesson, the usual distribution of the
twenty-four hours, when left to her own choice, were as follows:
For REST she allotted SIX hours only.
She thought herself not so well, and so clear in her intellects, [so much
alive, she used to say,] if she exceeded this proportion. If she slept
not, she chose to rise sooner. And in winter had her fire laid, and a
taper ready burning to light it; not loving to give trouble to the
servants, 'whose harder work, and later hours of going to bed,' she used
to say, 'required consideration.'
I have blamed her for her greater regard to them than to herself. But
this was her answer; 'I have my choice, who can wish for more? Why
should I oppress others, to gratify myself? You see what free-will
enables one to do; while imposition would make a light burden heavy.'
Her first THREE morning hours
were generally passed in her study, and in her closet duties: and were
occasionally augmented by those she saved from rest: and in these passed
her epistolary amusements.
Two hours she generally allotted to domestic management.
These, at different times of the day, as occasions required; all the
housekeeper's bills, in ease of her mother, passing through her hands.
For she was a perfect mistress of the four principal rules of arithmetic.
FIVE hours to her needle, drawings, music, &c.
In these she included the assistance and inspection she gave to her own
servants, and to her sister's servants, in the needle-works required for
the family: for her sister, as I have above hinted, is a MODERN. In
these she also included Dr. Lewen's conversation-visits; with whom
likewise she held a correspondence by letters. That reverend gentleman
delighted himself and her twice or thrice a week, if his health
permitted, with these visits: and she always preferred his company to any
Two hours she allotted to her two first meals.
But if conversation, or the desire of friends, or the falling in of
company or guests, required it to be otherwise, she never scrupled to
oblige; and would on such occasions borrow, as she called it, from other
distributions. And as she found it very hard not to exceed in this
appropriation, she put down
ONE hour more to dinner-time conversation,
to be added or subtracted, as occasions offered, or the desire of her
friends required: and yet found it difficult, as she often said, to keep
this account even; especially if Dr. Lewen obliged them with his company
at their table; which, however he seldom did; for, being a
valetudinarian, and in a regimen, he generally made his visits in the
ONE hour to visits to the neighbouring poor;
to a select number of whom, and to their children, she used to give brief
instructions, and good books; and as this happened not every day, and
seldom above twice a-week, she had two or three hours at a time to bestow
in this benevolent employment.
The remaining FOUR hours
were occasionally allotted to supper, to conversation, or to reading
after supper to the family. This allotment she called her fund, upon
which she used to draw, to satisfy her other debits; and in this she
included visits received and returned, shows, spectacles, &c. which, in a
country life, not occurring every day, she used to think a great
allowance, no less than two days in six, for amusements only; and she was
wont to say, that it was hard if she could not steal time out of this
fund, for an excursion of even two or three days in a month.
If it be said, that her relations, or the young neighbouring ladies, had
but little of her time, it will be considered, that besides these four
hours in the twenty-four, great part of the time she was employed in her
needle-works she used to converse as she worked; and it was a custom she
had introduced among her acquaintance, that the young ladies in their
visits used frequently, in a neighbourly way, (in the winter evenings
especially,) to bring their work with them; and one of half a dozen of her
select acquaintance used by turns to read to the rest as they were at
This was her usual method, when at her own command, for six days in the
THE SEVENTH DAY
she kept as it ought to be kept; and as some part of it was frequently
employed in works of mercy, the hour she allotted to visiting the
neighbouring poor was occasionally supplied from this day, and added to
But I must observe, that when in her grandfather's lifetime she was three
or four weeks at a time his housekeeper or guest, as also at either of
her uncles, her usual distribution of time was varied; but still she had
an eye to it as nearly as circumstances would admit.
When I had the happiness of having her for my guest, for a fortnight or
so, she likewise dispensed with her rules in mere indulgence to my
foibles, and idler habits; for I also, (though I had the benefit of an
example I so much admired) am too much of a modern. Yet, as to morning
risings, I had corrected myself by such a precedent, in the summer-time;
and can witness to the benefit I found by it in my health: as also to the
many useful things I was enabled, by that means, with ease and pleasure,
to perform. And in her account-book I have found this memorandum, since
her ever-to-be-lamented death:--'From such a day, to such a day, all
holidays, at my dear Miss Howe's.'--At her return--'Account resumed, such
a day,' naming it; and then she proceeded regularly, as before.
Once-a-week she used to reckon with herself; when, if within the 144
hours, contained in the six days, she had made her account even, she
noted it accordingly; if otherwise, she carried the debit to the next
week's account; as thus:--Debtor to the article of the benevolent visits,
so many hours. And so of the rest.
But it was always an especial part of her care that, whether visiting or
visited, she showed in all companies an entire ease, satisfaction, and
cheerfulness, as if she had kept no such particular account, and as if
she did not make herself answerable to herself for her occasional
This method, which to others will appear perplexing and unnecessary, her
early hours, and custom, had made easy and pleasant to her.
And indeed, as I used to tell her, greatly as I admired her in all
methods, I could not bring myself to this, might I have had the world for
I had indeed too much impatience in my temper, to observe such a
regularity in accounting between me and myself. I satisfied myself in a
lump-account, as I may call it, if I had nothing greatly wrong to
reproach myself, when I looked back on a past week, as she had taught me
For she used indulgently to say, 'I do not think ALL I do necessary for
another to do; nor even for myself; but when it is more pleasant for me
to keep such an account, than to let it alone, why may I not proceed in
my supererogatories?--There can be no harm in it. It keeps up my
attention to accounts; which one day may be of use to me in more material
instances. Those who will not keep a strict account, seldom long keep
any. I neglect not more useful employments for it. And it teaches me to
be covetous of time; the only thing of which we can be allowably
covetous; since we live but once in this world; and, when gone, are gone
from it for ever.'
She always reconciled the necessity under which these interventions, as
she called them, laid her, of now-and-then breaking into some of her
appropriations; saying, 'That was good sense, and good manners too, in
the common lesson, When at Rome, do as they do at Rome. And that to be
easy of persuasion, in matters where one could oblige without endangering
virtue, or worthy habits, was an apostolical excellency; since, if a
person conformed with a view of making herself an interest in her
friend's affections, in order to be heeded in greater points, it was
imitating His example, who became all things to all men, that He might
gain some.' Nor is it to be doubted, had life been spared her, that the
sweetness of her temper, and her cheerful piety, would have made virtue
and religion appear so lovely, that her example would have had no small
influence upon the minds and manners of those who would have had the
honour of conversing with her.
O Mr. Belford! I can write no further on this subject. For, looking
into the account-book for other particulars, I met with a most affecting
memorandum; which being written on the extreme edge of the paper, with a
fine pen, and in the dear creature's smallest hand, I saw not before.--
This it is; written, I suppose, at some calamitous period after the day
named in it--help me to curse, to blast the monster who gave occasion for
APRIL 10. The account concluded!
And with it all my worldly hopes and prospects!
I take up my pen; but not to apologize for my execration.--Once more I
pray to God to avenge me of him!--Me, I say--for mine is the loss--her's
O Sir! you did not--you could not know her, as I knew her! Never was
such an excellence!--So warm, yet so cool a friend!--So much what I wish
to be, but never shall be!--For, alas! my stay, my adviser, my monitress,
my directress, is gone!--for ever gone!--She honoured me with the title
of The Sister of her Heart; but I was only so in the love I bore her, (a
love beyond a sister's--infinitely beyond her sister's!) in the hatred I
have to every mean and sordid action; and in my love of virtue; for,
otherwise, I am of a high and haughty temper, as I have acknowledged
heretofore, and very violent in my passions.
In short, she was the nearest perfection of any creature I ever knew.
She never preached to me lessons which she practised not herself. She
lived the life she taught. All humility, meekness, self-accusing, others
acquitting, though the shadow of the fault was hardly hers, the substance
their's, whose only honour was their relation to her.
To lose such a friend--such a guide.--If ever my violence was
justifiable, it is upon this recollection! For she lived only to make me
sensible of my failings, but not long enough to enable me to conquer
them; as I was resolved to endeavour to do.
Once more then let me execrate--but now violence and passion again
predominate!--And how can it be otherwise?
But I force myself from the subject, having lost the purpose for which I
resumed my pen.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
PARIS, OCT. 14.
---- ---- Timor & minae
Scandunt eodum quo dominus; neque
Decedit aerata triremi; &
Post equitem sedet atra cura.
In a language so expressive as the English, I hate the pedantry of
tagging or prefacing what I write with Latin scraps; and ever was a
censurer of the motto-mongers among our weekly and daily scribblers.
But these verses of Horace are so applicable to my case, that, whether
on ship-board, whether in my post-chaise, or in my inn at night, I am
not able to put them out of my head. Dryden once I thought said very
well in these bouncing lines:
Man makes his fate according to his mind.
The weak, low spirit, Fortune makes her slave:
But she's a drudge, when hector'd by the brave.
If Fate weave common thread, I'll change the doom,
And with new purple weave a nobler loom.
And in these:
Let Fortune empty her whole quiver on me,
I have a soul, that, like an ample shield,
Can take in all, and verge enough for more.
Fate was not mine: nor am I Fate's----
Souls know no conquerors.----
But in the first quoted lines, considering them closely, there is nothing
but blustering absurdity; in the other, the poet says not truth; for
CONSCIENCE is the conqueror of souls; at least it is the conqueror of
mine; and who ever thought it a narrow one?----But this is occasioned
partly by poring over the affecting will, and posthumous letter. What an
army of texts has she drawn up in array against me in the letter!--But
yet, Jack, do they not show me, that, two or three thousand years ago,
there were as wicked fellows as myself?--They do--and that's some
But the generosity of her mind displayed in both, is what stings me most.
And the more still, as it is now out of my power any way in the world to
be even with her.
I ought to have written to you sooner; but I loitered two days at Calais,
for an answer to a letter I wrote to engage my former travelling valet,
De la Tour; an ingenious, ready fellow, as you have heard me say. I have
engaged him, and he is now with me.
I shall make no stay here; but intend for some of the Electoral Courts.
That of Bavaria, I think, will engage me longest. Perhaps I may step out
of my way (if I can be out of my way any where) to those of Dresden and
Berlin; and it is not impossible that you may have one letter from me at
Vienna. And then, perhaps, I may fall down into Italy by the Tyrol; and
so, taking Turin in my way, return to Paris; where I hope to see Mowbray
and Tourville; nor do I despair of you.
This a good deal differs from the plan I gave you. But you may expect to
hear from me as I move; and whether I shall pursue this route or the
I have my former lodgings in the Rue St. Antoine, which I shall hold,
notwithstanding my tour; so they will be ready to accommodate any two of
you, if you come hither before my return; and for this I have
I write to Charlotte; and that is writing to all my relations at once.
Do thou, Jack, inform me duly of every thing that passes.--Particularly,
how thou proceededst in thy reformation-scheme; how Mowbray and Tourville
go on in my absence; whether thou hast any chance for a wife; [I am the
more solicitous on this head, because thou seemest to think that thy
mortification will not be complete, nor thy reformation secure, till thou
art shackled;] how the Harlowes proceed in their penitentials; if Miss
Howe be married, or near being so; how honest Doleman goes on with his
empiric, now he has dismissed his regulars, or they him; and if any
likelihood of his perfect recovery. Be sure be very minute; for every
trifling occurrence relating to those we value, becomes interesting, when
we are at a distance from them. Finally, prepare thou to piece thy
broken thread, if thou wouldst oblige
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
LONDON, OCT. 25.
I write to show you that I am incapable of slighting even the minutest
requests of an absent and distant friend. Yet you may believe that there
cannot be any great alterations in the little time that you have been out
of England, with respect to the subjects of your inquiry. Nevertheless I
will answer to each, for the reason above given; and for the reason you
mention, that even trifles, and chit-chat, are agreeable from friend to
friend, and of friends, and even of those to whom we give the importance
of deeming them our foes, when we are abroad.
First, then, as to my reformation-scheme, as you call it, I hope I go on
very well. I wish you had entered upon the like, and could say so too.
You would then find infinitely more peace of mind, than you are likely
ever otherwise to be acquainted with. When I look back upon the sweep
that has been made among us in the two or three past years, and forward
upon what may still happen, I hardly think myself secure; though of late
I have been guided by other lights than those of sense and appetite,
which have hurried so many of our confraternity into worldly ruin, if not
into eternal perdition.
I am very earnest in my wishes to be admitted into the nuptial state.
But I think I ought to pass some time as a probationary, till, by
steadiness in my good resolutions, I can convince some woman, whom I
could love and honour, and whose worthy example might confirm my morals,
that there is one libertine who had the grace to reform, before age or
disease put it out of his power to sin on.
The Harlowes continue inconsolable; and I dare say will to the end of
Miss Howe is not yet married; but I have reason to think will soon. I
have the honour of corresponding with her; and the more I know of her,
the more I admire the nobleness of her mind. She must be conscious, that
she is superior to half our sex, and to most of her own; which may make
her give way to a temper naturally hasty and impatient; but, if she meet
with condescension in her man, [and who would not veil to a superiority
so visible, if it be not exacted with arrogance?] I dare say she will
make an excellent wife.
As to Doleman, the poor man goes on trying and hoping with his empiric.
I cannot but say that as the latter is a sensible and judicious man, and
not rash, opinionative, or over-sanguine, I have great hopes (little as I
think of quacks and nostrum-mongers in general) that he will do him good,
if his case will admit of it. My reasons are--That the man pays a
regular and constant attendance upon him; watches, with his own eye,
every change and new symptom of his patient's malady; varies his
applications as the indications vary; fetters not himself to rules laid
down by the fathers of the art, who lived many hundred years ago, when
diseases, and the causes of them, were different, as the modes of living
were different from what they are now, as well as climates and accidents;
that he is to have his reward, not in daily fees; but (after the first
five guineas for medicines) in proportion as the patient himself shall
As to Mowbray and Tourville; what novelties can be expected, in so short
a time, from men, who have not sense enough to strike out or pursue new
lights, either good or bad; now, especially, that you are gone, who were
the soul of all enterprise, and in particular their soul. Besides, I see
them but seldom. I suppose they'll be at Paris before you can return
from Germany; for they cannot live without you; and you gave them such a
specimen of your recovered volatility, in the last evening's
conversation, as delighted them, and concerned me.
I wish, with all my heart, that thou wouldst bend thy course toward the
Pyraneans. I should then (if thou writest to thy cousin Montague an
account of what is most observable in thy tour) put in for a copy of thy
letters. I wonder thou wilt not; since then thy subjects would be as new
to thyself, as to
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
PARIS, OCT. 16--27.
I follow my last of the 14/25th, on occasion of a letter just now come to
hand from Joseph Leman. The fellow is conscience ridden, Jack; and tells
me, 'That he cannot rest either day or night for the mischiefs which he
fears he has been, or may still further be the means of doing.' He
wishes, 'if it please God, and if it please me, that he had never seen my
And what is the cause of his present concern, as to his own particular?
What, but 'the slights and contempts which he receives from every one of
the Harlowes; from those particularly, he says, whom he has endeavoured
to serve as faithfully as his engagements to me would let him serve them?
And I always made him believe, he tells me, (poor weak soul as he was
from his cradle!) that serving me, was serving both, in the long run.--
But this, and the death of his dear young lady, is a grief, he declares,
that he shall never claw off, were he to love to the age of Matthew
Salem; althoff, and howsomever, he is sure, that he shall not live a
month to an end: being strangely pined, and his stomach nothing like what
it was; and Mrs. Betty being also (now she has got his love) very cross
and slighting. But, thank his God for punishing her!--She is in a poor
'But the chief occasion of troubling my Honour now, is not his own griefs
only, althoff they are very great; but to prevent further mischiefs to
me; for he can assure me, that Colonel Morden has set out from them all,
with a full resolution to have his will of me; and he is well assured,
that he said, and swore to it, as how he was resolved that he would
either have my Honour's heart's-blood, or I should have his; or some
such-like sad threatenings: and that all the family rejoice in it, and
hope I shall come short home.
This is the substance of Joseph's letter; and I have one from Mowbray,
which has a hint to the same effect. And I recollect now that you were
very importunate with me to go to Madrid, rather than to France and
Italy, the last evening we passed together.
What I desire of you, is, by the first dispatch, to let me faithfully
know all that you know on this head.
I can't bear to be threatened, Jack. Nor shall any man, unquestioned,
give himself airs in my absence, if I know it, that shall make me look
mean in any body's eyes; that shall give friends pain for me; that shall
put them upon wishing me to change my intentions, or my plan, to avoid
him. Upon such despicable terms as these, think you that I could bear to
But why, if such were his purpose, did he not let me know it before I
left England? Was he unable to work himself up to a resolution, till he
knew me to be out of the kingdom?
As soon as I can inform myself where to direct to him, I will write to
know his purpose; for I cannot bear suspense in such a case as this; that
solemn act, were it even to be marriage or hanging, which must be done
to-morrow, I had rather should be done to-day. My mind tires and sickens
with impatience on ruminating upon scenes that can afford neither variety
nor certainty. To dwell twenty days in expectation of an even that may
be decided in a quarter of an hour is grievous.
If he come to Paris, although I should be on my tour, he will very easily
find out my lodgings. For I every day see some one or other of my
countrymen, and divers of them have I entertained here. I go frequently
to the opera and to the play, and appear at court, and at all public
places. And, on my quitting this city, will leave a direction whither my
letters from England, or elsewhere, shall from time to time be forwarded.
Were I sure that his intention is what Joseph Leman tells me it is, I
would stay here, or shorten his course to me, let him be where he would.
I cannot get off my regrets on account of this dear lady for the blood of
me. If the Colonel and I are to meet, as he has done me no injury, and
loves the memory of his cousin, we shall engage with the same sentiments,
as to the object of our dispute; and that, you know, is no very common
In short, I am as much convinced that I have done wrong, as he can be;
and regret it as much. But I will not bear to be threatened by any man
in the world, however conscious I may be of having deserved blame.
Adieu, Belford! Be sincere with me. No palliation, as thou valuest
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
LONDON, OCT. 26.
I cannot think, my dear Lovelace, that Colonel Morden has either
threatened you in those gross terms mentioned by the vile Joseph Leman,
or intends to follow you. They are the words of people of that fellow's
class, and not of a gentleman--not of Colonel Morden, I am sure. You'll
observe that Joseph pretends not to say that he heard him speak them.
I have been very solicitous to sound the Colonel, for your sake, and for
his own, and for the sake of the injunctions of the excellent lady to me,
as well as to him, on that subject. He is (and you will not wonder that
he should be) extremely affected; and owns that he has expressed himself
in terms of resentment on the occasion. Once he said to me, that had his
beloved cousin's case been that of a common seduction, her own credulity
or weakness contributing to her fall, he could have forgiven you. But,
in so many words, he assured me, that he had not taken any resolutions;
nor had he declared himself to the family in such a way as should bind
him to resent: on the contrary, he has owned, that his cousin's
injunctions have hitherto had the force upon him which I could wish they
He went abroad in a week after you. When he took his leave of me, he
told me, that his design was to go to Florence; and that he would settle
his affairs there; and then return to England, and here pass the
remainder of his days.
I was indeed apprehensive that, if you and he were to meet, something
unhappy might fall out; and as I knew that you proposed to take Italy,
and very likely Florence, in your return to France, I was very solicitous
to prevail upon you to take the court of Spain into your plan. I am
still so. And if you are not to be prevailed upon to do that, let me
entreat you to avoid Florence or Leghorn in your return, since you have
visited both heretofore. At least, let not the proposal of a meeting
come from you.
It would be matter of serious reflection to me, if the very fellow, this
Joseph Leman, who gave you such an opportunity to turn all the artillery
of his masters against themselves, and to play them upon one another to
favour your plotting purposes, should be the instrument, in the devil's
hand, (unwittingly too,) to avenge them all upon you; for should you even
get the better of the Colonel, would the mischief end there?--It would
but add remorse to your present remorse; since the interview must end in
death; for he would not, I am confident, take his life at your hand. The
Harlowes would, moreover, prosecute you in a legal way. You hate them;
and they would be gainers by his death; rejoicers in your's--And have you
not done mischief enough already?
Let me, therefore, (and through me all your friends,) have the
satisfaction to hear that you are resolved to avoid this gentleman. Time
will subdue all things. Nobody doubts your bravery; nor will it be known
that your plan is changed through persuasion.
Young Harlowe talks of calling you to account. This is a plain evidence,
that Mr. Morden has not taken the quarrel upon himself for their family.
I am in no apprehension of any body but Colonel Morden. I know it will
not be a mean to prevail upon you to oblige me, if I say that I am well
assured that this gentleman is a skillful swordsman; and that he is as
cool and sedate as skillful. But yet I will add, that, if I had a value
for my life, he should be the last man, except yourself, with whom I
would choose to have a contention.
I have, as you required, been very candid and sincere with you. I have
not aimed at palliation. If you seek not Colonel Morden, it is my
opinion he will not seek you: for he is a man of principle. But if you
seek him, I believe he will not shun you.
Let me re-urge, [it is the effect of my love for you!] that you know your
own guilt in this affair, and should not be again an aggressor. It would
be pity that so brave a man as the Colonel should drop, were you and he
to meet: and, on the other hand, it would be dreadful that you should be
sent to your account unprepared for it, and pursuing a fresh violence.
Moreover, seest thou not, in the deaths of two of thy principal agents,
the hand-writing upon the wall against thee.
My zeal on this occasion may make me guilty of repetition. Indeed I know
not how to quit the subject. But if what I have written, added to your
own remorse and consciousness, cannot prevail, all that I might further
urge would be ineffectual.
Adieu, therefore! Mayst thou repent of the past! and may no new
violences add to thy heavy reflections, and overwhelm thy future hopes!
are the wishes of
Thy true friend,
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
MUNICH, NOV. 11--22.
I received your's this moment, just as I was setting out for Vienna.
As to going to Madrid, or one single step out of the way to avoid Colonel
Morden, let me perish if I do!--You cannot think me so mean a wretch.
And so you own that he has threatened me; but not in gross and
ungentlemanly terms, you say. If he has threatened me like a gentleman,
I will resent his threats like a gentleman. But he has not done as a man
of honour, if he has threatened at all behind my back. I would scorn to
threaten any man to whom I knew how to address myself either personally
or by pen and ink.
As to what you mention of my guilt; of the hand-writing on the wall; of a
legal prosecution, if he meet his fate from my hand; of his skill,
coolness, courage, and such-like poltroon stuff; what can you mean by it?
Surely you cannot believe that such insinuations as those will weaken
either my hands or my heart.--No more of this sort of nonsense, I beseech
you, in any of your future letters.
He had not taken any resolutions, you say, when you saw him. He must and
will take resolutions, one way or other, very quickly; for I wrote to him
yesterday, without waiting for this or your answer to my last. I could
not avoid it. I could not (as I told you in that) live in suspense. I
have directed my letter to Florence. Nor could I suffer my friends to
live in suspense as to my safety. But I have couched it in such moderate
terms, that he has fairly his option. He will be the challenger, if he
take it in the sense in which he may so handsomely avoid taking it. And
if he does, it will demonstrate that malice and revenge were the
predominant passions with him; and that he was determined but to settle
his affairs, and then take his resolutions, as you phrase it.--Yet, if we
are to meet [for I know what my option would be, in his case, on such a
letter, complaisant as it is] I wish he had a worse, I a better cause.
It would be a sweet revenge to him, were I to fall by his hand. But what
should I be the better for killing him?
I will enclose a copy of the letter I sent him.
On re-perusing your's in a cooler moment, I cannot but thank you for your
friendly love, and good intentions. My value for you, from the first
hour of our acquaintance till now, I have never found misplaced;
regarding at least your intention: thou must, however, own a good deal of
blunder of the over-do and under-do kind, with respect to the part thou
actest between me and the beloved of my heart. But thou art really an
honest fellow, and a sincere and warm friend. I could almost wish I had
not written to Florence till I had received thy letter now before me.
But it is gone. Let it go. If he wish peace, and to avoid violence, he
will have a fair opportunity to embrace the one, and shun the other.--If
not--he must take his fate.
But be this as it may, you may contrive to let young Harlowe know [he is
a menacer, too!] that I shall be in England in March next, at farthest.
This of Bavaria is a gallant and polite court. Nevertheless, being
uncertain whether my letter may meet with the Colonel at Florence, I
shall quit it, and set out, as I intended, for Vienna; taking care to
have any letter or message from him conveyed to me there: which will soon
bring me back hither, or to any other place to which I shall be invited.
As I write to Charlotte I have nothing more to add, after compliments to
all friends, than that I am
MR. LOVELACE, TO WILLIAM MORDEN, ESQ.
[ENCLOSED IN THE ABOVE.]
MUNICH, NOV. 10--21.
I have heard, with a great deal of surprise, that you have thought fit to
throw out some menacing expressions against me.
I should have been very glad that you had thought I had punishment enough
in my own mind for the wrongs I have done to the most excellent of women;
and that it had been possible for two persons, so ardently joining in one
love, (especially as I was desirous to the utmost of my power, to repair
those wrongs,) to have lived, if not on amicable terms, in such a way as
not to put either to the pain of hearing of threatenings thrown out in
absence, which either ought to be despised for, if he had not spirit to
take notice of them.
Now, Sir, if what I have heard be owing only to warmth of temper, or to
sudden passion, while the loss of all other losses the most deplorable to
me was recent, I not only excuse, but commend you for it. But if you are
really determined to meet me on any other account, [which, I own to you,
is not however what I wish,] it would be very blamable, and very unworthy
of the character I desire to maintain, as well with you as with every
other gentleman, to give you a difficulty in doing it.
Being uncertain when this letter may meet you, I shall set out to-morrow
for Vienna; where any letter directed to the post-house in the city, or
to Baron Windisgrat's (at the Favorita) to whom I have commendations,
will come to hand.
Mean time, believing you to be a man too generous to make a wrong
construction of what I am going to declare, and knowing the value which
the dearest of all creatures had for you, and your relation to her, I
will not scruple to assure you, that the most acceptable return will be,
that Colonel Morden chooses to be upon an amicable, rather than upon any
other footing, with
His sincere admirer, and humble servant,
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
LINTZ, | NOV. 28.
| DEC. 9.
I am now on my way to Trent, in order to meet Colonel Morden, in
pursuance of his answer to my letter enclosed in my last. I had been
at Presburgh, and had intended to visit some other cities of Hungary:
but having obliged myself to return first to Vienna, I there met with
his letter, which follows:
MUNICH, | NOV. 21.
| DEC. 2.
Your letter was at Florence four days before I arrived there.
That I might not appear unworthy of your favour, I set out for this city
the very next morning. I knew not but that the politeness of this court
might have engaged, beyond his intention, a gentleman who has only his
pleasure to pursue.
But being disappointed in my hope of finding you here, it becomes me to
acquaint you, that I have such a desire to stand well in the opinion of a
man of your spirit, that I cannot hesitate a moment upon the option,
which I am sure Mr. Lovelace in my situation (thus called upon) would
I own, Sir, that I have on all occasions, spoken of your treatment of my
ever-dear cousin as it deserved. It would have been very surprising if I
had not And it behoves me (now you have given me so noble an opportunity
of explaining myself) to convince you, that no words fell from my lips,
of you, merely because you were absent. I acquaint you, therefore, that
I will attend your appointment; and would, were it to the farthest part
of the globe.
I shall stay some days at this court; and if you please to direct for me
at M. Klienfurt's in this city, whether I remain here or not, your
commands will come safely and speedily to the hands of, Sir,
Your most humble servant,
So you see, Belford, that the Colonel by his ready, his even
eagerly-expressed acceptance of the offered interview, was determined.
And is it not much better to bring such a point as this to an issue,
than to give pain to friends for my safety, or continue in suspense
myself; as I must do, if I imagined that another had aught against me?
This was my reply:
VIENNA, | NOV. 25.
| DEC. 6.
I have this moment the favour of your's. I will suspend a tour I was
going to take into Hungary, and instantly set out for Munich; and, if I
can find you not there, will proceed on to Trent. This city, being on
the confines of Italy, will be most convenient, as I presume, to you, in
your return to Tuscany; and I shall hope to meet you in it on the 3/14th
I shall bring with me only a French valet and an English footman. Other
particulars may be adjusted when I have the honour to see you. Till
when, I am, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
Now, Jack, I have no manner of apprehension of the event of this meeting.
And I think I must say he seeks me out; not I him. And so let him take
What is infinitely nearer to my heart, is, my ingratitude to the most
excellent of women--My premeditated ingratitude!--Yet all the while
enabled to distinguish and to adore her excellencies, in spite of the
mean opinion of the sex which I had imbibed from early manhood.
But this lady has asserted the worthiness of her sex, and most gloriously
has she exalted it with me now. Yet, surely, as I have said and written
an hundred times, there cannot be such another woman.
But as my loss in her departure is the greatest of any man's, and as she
was dearer to me than to any other person in the world, and once she
herself wished to be so, what an insolence in any man breathing to
pretend to avenge her on me!--Happy! happy! thrice happy! had I known how
to value, as I ought to have valued, the glory of such a preference!
I will not aggravate to myself this aggravation of the Colonel's
pretending to call me to account for my treatment of a lady so much my
own, lest, in the approaching interview, my heart should relent for one
so nearly related to her, and who means honour and justice to her memory;
and I should thereby give him advantages which otherwise he cannot have.
For I know that I shall be inclined to trust to my skill, to save a man
who was so much and so justly valued by her; and shall be loath to give
way to my resentment, as a threatened man. And in this respect only I am
sorry for his skill, and his courage, lest I should be obliged, in my own
defence, to add a chalk to a score that is already too long.
Indeed, indeed, Belford, I am, and shall be, to my latest hour, the most
miserable of beings. Such exalted generosity!--Why didst thou put into
my craving hands the copy of her will? Why sentest thou to me the
posthumous letter?--What thou I was earnest to see the will? thou knewest
what they both were [I did not]; and that it would be cruel to oblige me.
The meeting of twenty Colonel Mordens, were there twenty to meet in turn,
would be nothing to me, would not give me a moment's concern, as to my
own safety: but my reflections upon my vile ingratitude to so superior an
excellence will ever be my curse.
Had she been a Miss Howe to me, and treated me as if I were a Hickman, I
had had a call for revenge; and policy (when I had intended to be an
husband) might have justified my attempts to humble her. But a meek and
gentle temper was her's, though a true heroine, whenever honour or virtue
called for an exertion of spirit.
Nothing but my cursed devices stood in the way of my happiness.
Remembrest thou not how repeatedly, from the first, I poured cold water
upon her rising flame, by meanly and ungratefully turning upon her the
injunctions, which virgin delicacy, and filial duty, induced her to lay
me under before I got her into my power?*
* See Vol. III. Letter XV. See also Letters XVII. XLV. XLVI. of that
volume, and many other places.
Did she not tell me, and did I not know it, if she had not told me, that
she could not be guilty of affectation or tyranny to the man whom she
intended to marry?* I knew, as she once upbraided me, that from the time
I had got her from her father's house, I had a plain path before me.**
True did she say, and I triumphed in the discovery, that from that time
I held her soul in suspense an hundred times.*** My ipecacuanha trial
alone was enough to convince an infidel that she had a mind in which love
and tenderness would have presided, had I permitted the charming buds to
put forth and blow.****
* See Vol. V. Letter XXXIV.--It may be observed further, that all
Clarissa's occasional lectures to Miss Howe, on that young lady's
treatment of Mr. Hickman, prove that she was herself above affectation
and tyranny.--See, more particularly, the advice she gives to that
friend of her heart, Letter XXXII. of Vol. VIII.--'O my dear,' says she,
in that Letter, 'that it had been my lot (as I was not permitted to live
single) to have met with a man by whom I could have acted generously and
unreservedly!' &c. &c.
** See Vol. V. Letters XXVI. and XXXIV.
*** Ibid. Letter XXXIV.
**** See Vol. V. Letters II. III.
She would have had no reserve, as once she told me, had I given her cause
of doubt.* And did she not own to thee, that once she could have loved
me; and, could she have made me good, would have made me happy?** O,
Belford! here was love; a love of the noblest kind! A love, as she hints
in her posthumous letter,*** that extended to the soul; and which she not
only avowed in her dying hours, but contrived to let me know it after
death, in that letter filled with warnings and exhortations, which had
for their sole end my eternal welfare!
* Ibid. Letter XXXVI.
** See Vol. VIII. Letter LXIV.
*** See Letter XXXVI. of this volume.
The cursed women, indeed, endeavoured to excite my vengeance, and my
pride, by preaching to me of me. And my pride was, at times, too much
excited by their vile insinuations. But had it even been as they said;
well might she, who had been used to be courted and admired by every
desiring eye, and worshipped by every respectful heart--well might such
a woman be allowed to draw back, when she found herself kept in suspense,
as to the great question of all, by a designing and intriguing spirit;
pretending awe and distance, as reasons for reining-in a fervour, which,
if real, cannot be reined-in--Divine creature! Her very doubts, her
reserves, (so justly doubting,) would have been my assurance, and my
glory!--And what other trial needed her virtue! What other needed a
purity so angelic, (blessed with such a command in her passions in the
bloom of youth,) had I not been a villain--and a wanton, a conceited, a
proud fool, as well as a villain?
These reflections sharpened, rather than their edge by time abated,
accompany me in whatever I do, and wherever I go; and mingle with all
my diversions and amusements. And yet I go into gay and splendid
company. I have made new acquaintance in the different courts I have
visited. I am both esteemed and sought after, by persons of rank and
merit. I visit the colleges, the churches, the palaces. I frequent
the theatre: am present at every public exhibition; and see all that is
worth seeing, that I had not see before, in the cabinets of the curious:
am sometimes admitted to the toilette of an eminent toast, and make one
with distinction at the assemblies of others--yet can think of nothing,
nor of any body, with delight, but of my CLARISSA. Nor have I seen one
woman with advantage to herself, but as she resembles, in stature, air,
complexion, voice, or in some feature, that charmer, that only charmer
of my soul.
What greater punishment, than to have these astonishing perfections,
which she was mistress of, strike my remembrance with such force, when I
have nothing left me but the remorse of having deprived myself and the
world of such a blessing? Now and then, indeed, am I capable of a gleam
of comfort, arising (not ungenerously) from the moral certainty which I
have of her everlasting happiness, in spite of all the machinations and
devices which I set on foot to ensnare her virtue, and to bring down so
pure a mind to my own level.
For can I be, at worst, [avert that worst,
O thou SUPREME, who only canst avert it!]
So much a wretch, so very far abandon'd,
But that I must, even in the horrid's gloom,
Reap intervenient joy, at least some respite,
From pain and anguish, in her bliss.--
If I find myself thus miserable abroad, I will soon return to England,
and follow your example, I think--turn hermit, or some plaguy thing or
other, and see what a constant course of penitence and mortification will
do for me. There is no living at this rate--d--n me if there be!
If any mishap should befal me, you'll have the particulars of it from De
la Tour. He indeed knows but little English; but every modern tongue is
your's. He is a trusty and ingenious fellow; and, if any thing happen,
will have some other papers, which I have already sealed up, for you to
transmit to Lord M. And since thou art so expert and so ready at
executorships, pr'ythee, Belford, accept of the office for me, as well as
for my Clarissa--CLARISSA LOVELACE let me call her.
By all that's good, I am bewitched to her memory. Her very name, with
mine joined to it, ravishes my soul, and is more delightful to me than
the sweetest music.
Had I carried her [I must still recriminate] to any other place than that
accursed woman's--for the potion was her invention and mixture; and all
the persisted-in violence was at her instigation, and at that of her
wretched daughters, who have now amply revenged upon me their own ruin,
which they lay at my door--
But this looks so like the confession of a thief at the gallows, that
possibly thou wilt be apt to think I am intimidated in prospect of the
approaching interview. But far otherwise. On the contrary, most
cheerfully do I go to meet the Colonel; and I would tear my heart out
of my breast with my own hands, were it capable of fear or concern on
Thus much only I know, that if I should kill him, [which I will not do,
if I can help it,] I shall be far from being easy in my mind; that shall
I never more be. But as the meeting is evidently of his own seeking,
against an option fairly given to the contrary, and I cannot avoid it,
I'll think of that hereafter. It is but repenting and mortifying for all
at once; for I am sure of victory, as I am that I now live, let him be
ever so skillful a swordsman; since, besides that I am no unfleshed
novice, this is a sport that, when provoked to it, I love as well as my
food. And, moreover, I shall be as calm and undisturbed as the bishop at
his prayers; while he, as is evident by his letter, must be actuated by
revenge and passion.
Doubt not, therefore, Jack, that I shall give a good account of this
affair. Mean time, I remain,
Your's most affectionately, &c.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
TRENT, DEC. 3--14.
To-morrow is to be the day, that will, in all probability, send either
one or two ghosts to attend the manes of my CLARISSA.
I arrived here yesterday; and inquiring for an English gentleman of the
name of Morden, soon found out the Colonel's lodgings. He had been in
town two days; and left his name at every probable place.
He was gone to ride out; and I left my name, and where to be found; and
in the evening he made me a visit.
He was plaguy gloomy. That was not I. But yet he told me that I had
acted like a man of true spirit in my first letter; and with honour, in
giving him so readily this meeting. He wished I had in other respects;
and then we might have seen each other upon better terms than now we did.
I said there was no recalling what was passed; and that I wished some
things had not been done, as well as he.
To recriminate now, he said, would be as exasperating as unavailable.
And as I had so cheerfully given him this opportunity, words should give
place to business.--Your choice, Mr. Lovelace, of time, of place, of
weapon, shall be my choice.
The two latter be your's, Mr. Morden. The time to-morrow, or next day,
as you please.
Next day, then, Mr. Lovelace; and we'll ride out to-morrow, to fix the
Well: now, Mr. Lovelace, do you choose the weapon.
I said I believed we might be upon an equal footing with the single
rapier; but, if he thought otherwise, I had no objection to a pistol.
I will only say, replied he, that the chances may be more equal by the
sword, because we can neither of us be to seek in that; and you would
stand, says he, a worse chance, as I apprehend, with a pistol; and yet
I have brought two, that you may take your choice of either; for, added
he, I have never missed a mark at pistol-distance, since I knew how to
hold a pistol.
I told him, that he spoke like himself; that I was expert enough that
way, to embrace it, if he chose it; though not so sure of my mark as
he pretended to be. Yet the devil's in it, Colonel, if I, who have slit
a bullet in two upon a knife's edge, hit not my man. So I have no
objection to a pistol, if it be your choice. No man, I'll venture to
say, has a steadier hand or eye than I have.
They may both be of use to you, Sir, at the sword, as well as at the
pistol: the sword, therefore, be the thing, if you please.
With all my heart.
We parted with a solemn sort of ceremonious civility: and this day I
called upon him; and we rode out together to fix upon the place: and
both being of one mind, and hating to put off for the morrow what could
be done to-day, would have decided it then: but De la Tour, and the
Colonel's valet, who attended us, being unavoidably let into the secret,
joined to beg we would have with us a surgeon from Brixen, whom La Tour
had fallen in with there, and who had told him he was to ride next
morning to bleed a person in a fever, at a lone cottage, which, by the
surgeon's description, was not far from the place where we then were, if
it were not that very cottage within sight of us.
They overtook so to manage it, that the surgeon should know nothing of
the matter till his assistance was called in. And La Tour, being, as I
assured the Colonel, a ready contriving fellow, [whom I ordered to obey
him as myself, were the chance to be in his favour,] we both agreed to
defer the decision till to-morrow, and to leave the whole about the
surgeon to the management of our two valets; enjoining them absolute
secrecy: and so rode back again by different ways.
We fixed upon a little lone valley for the spot--ten to-morrow morning
the time--and single rapier the word. Yet I repeatedly told him, that I
valued myself so much upon my skill in that weapon, that I would wish him
to choose any other.
He said it was a gentleman's weapon; and he who understood it not, wanted
a qualification that he ought to suffer for not having: but that, as to
him, one weapon was as good as another, throughout all the instruments of
So, Jack, you see I take no advantage of him: but my devil must deceive
me, if he take not his life or his death at my hands before eleven
His valet and mine are to be present; but both strictly enjoined to be
impartial and inactive: and, in return for my civility of the like
nature, he commanded his to be assisting me, if he fell.
We are to ride thither, and to dismount when at the place; and his
footman and mine are to wait at an appointed distance, with a chaise to
carry off to the borders of the Venetian territories the survivor, if one
drop; or to assist either or both, as occasion may demand.
And thus, Belford, is the matter settled.
A shower of rain has left me nothing else to do; and therefore I write
this letter; though I might as well have deferred it till to-morrow
twelve o'clock, when I doubt not to be able to write again, to assure you
much I am
TRANSLATION OF A LETTER FROM F.J. DE LA TOUR.
TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
NEAR SOHO-SQUARE, LONDON.
TRENT, DEC. 18, N.S.
I have melancholy news to inform you of, by order of the Chevalier
Lovelace. He showed me his letter to you before he sealed it;
signifying, that he was to meet the Chevalier Morden on the 15th.
Wherefore, as the occasion of the meeting is so well known to you, I
shall say nothing of it here.
I had taken care to have ready, within a little distance, a surgeon and
his assistant, to whom, under an oath of secrecy, I had revealed the
matter, (though I did not own it to the two gentlemen;) so that they were
prepared with bandages, and all things proper. For well was I acquainted
with the bravery and skill of my chevalier; and had heard the character
of the other; and knew the animosity of both. A post-chaise was ready,
with each of their footmen, at a little distance.
The two chevaliers came exactly at their time: they were attended by
Monsieur Margate, (the Colonel's gentleman,) and myself. They had given
orders over night, and now repeated them in each other's presence, that
we should observe a strict impartiality between them: and that, if one
fell, each of us should look upon himself, as to any needful help or
retreat, as the servant of the survivor, and take his commands
After a few compliments, both the gentlemen, with the greatest presence
of mind that I ever beheld in men, stript to their shirts, and drew.
They parried with equal judgment several passes. My chevalier drew the
first blood, making a desperate push, which, by a sudden turn of his
antagonist, missed going clear through him, and wounded him on the fleshy
part of the ribs of his right side; which part the sword tore out, being
on the extremity of the body; but, before my chevalier could recover
himself, the Colonel, in return, pushed him into the inside of the left
arm, near the shoulder; and the sword (raking his breast as it passed,)
being followed by a great effusion of blood, the Colonel said, Sir, I
believe you have enough.
My chevalier swore by G--d he was not hurt; 'twas a pin's point; and so
made another pass at his antagonist; which he, with a surprising
dexterity, received under his arm, and run my dear chevalier into the
body; who immediately fell; saying, The luck is your's, Sir--O my beloved
Clarissa!--Now art thou--inwardly he spoke three or four words more. His
sword dropt from his hand. Mr. Morden threw his down, and ran to him,
saying in French--Ah, Monsieur! you are a dead man!----Call to God for
We gave the signal agreed upon to the footmen; and they to the surgeons;
who instantly came up.
Colonel Morden, I found, was too well used to the bloody work; for he was
as cool as if nothing extraordinary had happened, assisting the surgeons,
though his own wound bled much. But my dear chevalier fainted away two
or three times running, and vomited blood besides.
However, they stopped the bleeding for the present; and we helped him
into the voiture; and then the Colonel suffered his own wound to be
dressed; and appeared concerned that my chevalier was between whiles
(when he could speak, and struggle,) extremely outrageous.--Poor
gentleman! he had made quite sure of victory!
The Colonel, against the surgeons' advice, would mount on horseback to
pass into the Venetian territories; and generously gave me a purse of
gold to pay the surgeons; desiring me to make a present to the footman;
and to accept of the remainder, as a mark of his satisfaction in my
conduct, and in my care and tenderness of my master.
The surgeons told him that my chevalier could not live over the day.
When the Colonel took leave of him, Mr. Lovelace said, You have well
revenged the dear creature.
I have, Sir, said Mr. Morden; and perhaps shall be sorry that you called
upon me to this work, while I was balancing whether to obey, or disobey,
the dear angel.
There is a fate in it! replied my chevalier--a cursed fate!--or this
could not have been!--But be ye all witnesses, that I have provoked my
destiny, and acknowledge that I fall by a man of honour.
Sir, said the Colonel, with the piety of a confessor, (wringing Mr.
Lovelace's hand,) snatch these few fleeting moments, and commend yourself
And so he rode off.
The voiture proceeded slowly with my chevalier; yet the motion set both
his wounds bleeding afresh; and it was with difficulty they again stopped
We brought him alive to the nearest cottage; and he gave orders to me to
dispatch to you the packet I herewith send sealed up; and bid me write to
you the particulars of this most unhappy affair: and give you thanks, in
his name, for all your favours and friendship to him.
Contrary to all expectation, he lived over the night: but suffered much,
as well from his impatience and disappointment, as from his wounds; for
he seemed very unwilling to die.
He was delirious, at times, in the two last hours: and then several times
cried out, as if he had seen some frightful spectre, Take her away! Take
her away! but named nobody. And sometimes praised some lady, (that
Clarissa, I suppose, whom he had invoked when he received his death's
wound,) calling her Sweet Excellence! Divine Creature! Fair Sufferer!--
And once he said, Look down, Blessed Spirit, look down!--And there stopt;
--his lips, however, moving.
At nine in the morning he was seized with convulsions, and fainted away;
and it was a quarter of an hour before he came out of them.
His few last words I must not omit, as they show an ultimate composure;
which may administer some consolation to his honourable friends.
Blessed--said he, addressing himself no doubt to Heaven; for his dying
eyes were lifted up--a strong convulsion prevented him for a few moments
saying more--but recovering, he again, with great fervour, (lifting up
his eyes, and his spread hands,) pronounced the word blessed: Then, in a
seeming ejaculation, he spoke inwardly, so as not to be understood: at
last, he distinctly pronounced these three words,
LET THIS EXPIATE!
And then, his head sinking on his pillow, he expired, at about half an
hour after ten.
He little thought, poor gentleman! his end so near: so had given no
direction about his body. I have caused it to be embowelled, and
deposited in a vault, till I have orders from England.
This is a favour that was procured with difficulty; and would have been
refused, had he not been an Englishman of rank: a nation with reason
respected in every Austrian government--for he had refused ghostly
attendance, and the sacraments in the Catholic way.--May his soul be
happy, I pray God!
I have had some trouble also, on account of the manner of his death, from
the magistracy here: who have taken the requisite informations in the
affair. And it has cost some money. Of which, and of the dear
chevalier's effects, I will give you a faithful account in my next. And
so, waiting at this place your commands, I am, Sir,
Your most faithful and obedient servant,
F.J. DE LA TOUR.
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY MR. BELFORD
What remains to be mentioned for the satisfaction of such of the readers
as may be presumed to have interested themselves in the fortunes of those
other principals in the story, who survived Mr. Lovelace, will be found
summarily related as follows:
The news of Mr. LOVELACE's unhappy end was received with as much grief by
his own relations, as it was with exultation by the Harlowe family, and
by Miss Howe. His own family were most to be pitied, because, being
sincere admirers of the inimitable lady, they were greatly grieved for
the injustice done her; and now had the additional mortification of
losing the only male of it, by a violent death.
That his fate was deserved, was still a heightening of their calamity, as
they had, for that very reason, and his unpreparedness for it, but too
much ground for apprehension with regard to his future happiness. While
the other family, from their unforgiving spirit, and even the noble young
lady above mentioned, from her lively resentments, found his death some
little, some temporary, alleviation of the heavy loss they had sustained,
principally through his means.
Temporary alleviation, we repeat, as to the Harlowe family; for THEY were
far from being happy or easy in their reflections upon their own conduct.
--And still the less, as the inconsolable mother rested not till she had
procured, by means of Colonel Morden, large extracts from some of the
letters that compose this history, which convinced them all that the very
correspondence which Clarissa, while with them, renewed with Mr.
Lovelace, was renewed for their sakes, more than for her own: that she
had given him no encouragement contrary to her duty and to that prudence
for which she was so early noted: that had they trusted to a discretion
which they owned she had never brought into question, she would have
extricated them and herself (as she once proposed* to her mother) from
all difficulties as to Lovelace: that she, if any woman ever could, would
have given a glorious instance of a passion conquered, or at least kept
under by reason and by piety; the man being too immoral to be implicitly
* See Vol. I. Letter XVII.
The unhappy parents and uncles, from the perusal of these extracts, too
evidently for their peace, saw that it was entirely owing to the avarice,
the ambition, the envy, of her implacable brother and sister, and to the
senseless confederacy entered into by the whole family, to compel her to
give her hand to a man she must despise, or she had not been a CLARISSA,
and to their consequent persecution of her, that she ever thought of
quitting her father's house: and that even when she first entertained
such a thought, it was with intent, if possible, to procure for herself a
private asylum with Mrs. Howe, or at some other place of safety, (but not
with Mr. Lovelace, nor with any of the ladies of his family, though
invited by the latter,) from whence she might propose terms which ought
to have been complied with, and which were entirely consistent with her
duty--that though she found herself disappointed of the hoped-for refuge
and protection, she intended not, by meeting Mr. Lovelace, to put herself
into his power; all that she aimed at by taking that step being to
endeavour to pacify so fierce a spirit, lest he should (as he indeed was
determined to do) pay a visit to her friends, which might have been
attended with fatal consequences; but was spirited away by him in such a
manner, as made her an object of pity rather than of blame.
These extracts further convinced them all that it was to her unaffected
regret that she found that marriage was not in her power afterwards for a
long time; and at last, but on one occasion, when their unnatural cruelty
to her (on a new application she had made to her aunt Hervey, to procure
mercy and pardon) rendered her incapable of receiving his proffered hand;
and so obliged her to suspend the day: intending only to suspend it till
They saw with equal abhorrence of Lovelace, and of their own cruelty, and
with the highest admiration of her, that the majesty of her virtue had
awed the most daring spirit in the world, so that he durst not attempt to
carry his base designs into execution, till, by wicked potions, he had
made her senses the previous sacrifice.
But how did they in a manner adore her memory! How did they recriminate
upon each other! when they found, that she had not only preserved herself
from repeated outrage, by the most glorious and intrepid behaviour, in
defiance, and to the utter confusion of all his libertine notions, but
had the fortitude, constantly, and with a noble disdain, to reject him.--
Whom?--Why, the man she once could have loved, kneeling for pardon, and
begging to be permitted to make her the best reparation then in his power
to make her; that is to say, by marriage. His fortunes high and
unbroken. She his prisoner at the time in a vile house: rejected by all
her friends; upon repeated application to them, for mercy and
forgiveness, rejected--mercy and forgiveness, and a last blessing,
afterwards imploring; and that as much to lighten their future remorses,
as for the comfort of her own pious heart--yet, though savagely refused,
on a supposition that she was not so near her end as she was represented
departed, forgiving and blessing them all!
Then they recollected that her posthumous letters, instead of reproaches,
were filled with comfortings: that she had in her last will, in their own
way, laid obligations upon them all; obligations which they neither
deserved nor expected; as if she thought to repair the injustice which
self-partiality made some of them conclude done to them by her
grandfather in his will.
These intelligences and recollections were perpetual subjects of
recrimination to them: heightened their anguish for the loss of a child
who was the glory of their family; and not seldom made them shun each
other, (at the times they were accustomed to meet together,) that they
might avoid the mutual reproaches of eyes that spoke, when tongues were
silent--their stings also sharpened by time! What an unhappy family was
this! Well might Colonel Morden, in the words of Juvenal, challenge all
other miserable families to produce such a growing distress as that of
the Harlowes (a few months before so happy!) was able to produce.
Humani generis mores tibi nosse volenti
Sufficit una domus: paucos consume dies, &
Dicere te miserum, postquam illinc veneris, aude.
Mrs. HARLOWE lived about two years and an half after the lamented death
of her CLARISSA.
Mr. HARLOWE had the additional affliction to survive his lady about half
a year; her death, by new pointing his former anguish and remorse,
hastening his own.
Both, in their last hours, however, comforted themselves, that they
should be restored to their BLESSED daughter, as they always (from the
time they were acquainted with the above particulars of her story, and
with her happy exit) called her.
They both lived, however, to see their son James, and their daughter
Arabella, married: but not to take joy in either of their nuptials.
Mr. JAMES HARLOWE married a woman of family, an orphan; and is obliged,
at a very great expense, to support his claim to estates, which were his
principal inducement to make his addresses to her; but which, to this
day, he has not recovered; nor is likely to recover; having powerful
adversaries to contend with, and a title to assert, which admits of
litigation; and he not blessed with so much patience as is necessary to
persons embarrassed in law.
What is further observable, with regard to him, is, that the match was
entirely of his own head, against the advice of his father, mother, and
uncles, who warned him of marrying in this lady a law-suit for life. His
ungenerous behaviour to his wife, for what she cannot help, and for what
is as much her misfortune as his, has occasioned such estrangements
between them (she being a woman of spirit) as, were the law-suits
determined, even more favourably than probably they will be, must make
him unhappy to the end of his life. He attributes all his misfortunes,
when he opens himself to the few friends he has, to his vile and cruel
treatment of his angelic sister. He confesses these misfortunes to be
just, without having temper to acquiesce in the acknowledged justice.
One month in every year he puts on mourning, and that month commences
with him on the 7th of September, during which he shuts himself up from
all company. Finally, he is looked upon, and often calls himself,
THE MOST MISERABLE OF BEINGS.
ARABELLA'S fortune became a temptation to a man of quality to make his
addresses to her: his title an inducement with her to approve of him.
Brothers and sisters, when they are not friends, are generally the
sharpest enemies to each other. He thought too much was done for in the
settlements. She thought not enough. And for some years past, they have
so heartily hated each other, that if either know a joy, it is in being
told of some new misfortune or displeasure that happens to the other.
Indeed, before they came to an open rupture, they were continually
loading each other, by way of exonerating themselves (to the additional
disquiet of the whole family) with the principal guilt of their
implacable behaviour and sordid cruelty to their admirable sister.--May
the reports that are spread of this lady's farther unhappiness from her
lord's free life; a fault she justly thought so odious in Mr. Lovelace
(though that would not have been an insuperable objection with her to his
addresses); and of his public slights and contempt of her, and even
sometimes of his personal abuses, which are said to be owing to her
impatient spirit, and violent passions; be utterly groundless--For, what
a heart must that be, which would wish she might be as great a torment
to herself, as she had aimed to be to her sister? Especially as she
regrets to this hour, and declares that she shall to the last of her
life, her cruel treatment of that sister; and (as well as her brother) is
but too ready to attribute to that her own unhappiness.
Mr. ANTONY and Mr. JOHN HARLOWE are still (at the writing of this)
living: but often declare, that, with their beloved niece, they lost all
the joy of their lives: and lament, without reserve, in all companies,
the unnatural part they were induced to take against her.
Mr. SOLMES is also still living, if a man of his cast may be said to
live; for his general behaviour and sordid manners are such as justify
the aversion the excellent lady had to him. He has moreover found his
addresses rejected by several women of far inferior fortunes (great as
his own are) to those of the lady to whom he was encouraged to aspire.
Mr. MOWBRAY and Mr. TOURVILLE having lost the man in whose conversation
they so much delighted; shocked and awakened by the several unhappy
catastrophes before their eyes; and having always rather ductile and
dictating hearts; took their friend Belford's advice: converted the
remainder of their fortunes into annuities for life; and retired, the one
into Yorkshire, the other into Nottinghamshire, of which counties they
are natives: their friend Belford managing their concerns for them, and
corresponding with them, and having more and more hopes, every time he
sees them, (which is once or twice a year, when they come to town,) that
they will become more and more worthy of their names and families.
As those sisters in iniquity, SALLY MARTIN and POLLY HORTON, had
abilities and education superior to what creatures of their cast
generally can boast of; and as their histories are no where given in the
preceding papers, in which they are frequently mentioned; it cannot fail
of gratifying the reader's curiosity, as well as answering the good ends
designed by the publication of this work, to give a brief account of
their parentage, and manner of training-up, preparative to the vile
courses they fell into, and of what became of them, after the dreadful
exit of the infamous Sinclair.
SALLY MARTIN was the daughter of a substantial mercer at the court-end
of the town; to whom her mother, a grocer's daughter in the city, brought
a handsome fortune; and both having a gay turn, and being fond of the
fashions which it was their business to promote; and which the wives and
daughters of the uppermost tradesmen (especially in that quarter of the
town) generally affect to follow; it was no wonder that they brought up
their daughter accordingly: nor that she, who was a very sprightly and
ready-witted girl, and reckoned very pretty and very genteel, should
every year improve upon such examples.
She early found herself mistress of herself. All she did was right: all
she said was admired. Early, very early, did she dismiss blushes from
her cheek. She could not blush, because she could not doubt: and
silence, whatever was the subject, was as much a stranger to her as
She never was left out of any party of pleasure after she had passed her
ninth year; and, in honour of her prattling vein, was considered as a
principal person in the frequent treats and entertainments which her
parents, fond of luxurious living, gave with a view to increase their
acquaintance for the sake of their business; not duly reflecting, that
the part they suffered her to take in what made for their interest, would
probably be a mean to quicken their appetites, and ruin the morals of
their daughter, for whose sake, as an only child, they were solicitous to
The CHILD so much a woman, what must the WOMAN be?
At fifteen or sixteen, she affected, both in dress and manners, to ape
such of the quality as were most apish. The richest silks in her
father's shop were not too rich for her. At all public diversions, she
was the leader, instead of the led, of all her female kindred and
acquaintances, though they were a third older than herself. She would
bustle herself into a place, and make room for her more bashful
companions, through the frowns of the first possessors, at a crowded
theatre, leaving every one near her amazed at her self-consequence,
wondering she had no servant to keep place for her; whisperingly
inquiring who she was; and then sitting down admiring her fortitude.
She officiously made herself of consequence to the most noted players;
who, as one of their patronesses, applied to her for her interest on
their benefit-nights. She knew the christian, as well as sur name of
every pretty fellow who frequented public places; and affected to speak
of them by the former.
Those who had not obeyed the call her eyes always made upon all of them
for notice at her entrance, or before she took her seat, were spoken of
with haughtiness, as, Jacks, or Toms; wile her favourites, with an
affectedly-endearing familiarity, and a prettiness of accent, were
Jackeys and Tommys; and if they stood very high in her graces, dear
devils, and agreeable toads.
She sat in judgment, and an inexorable judge she was upon the actions
and conduct of every man and woman of quality and fashion, as they became
the subjects of conversation. She was deeply learned in the scandalous
chronicle: she made every character, every praise, and every censure,
serve to exalt herself. She should scorn to do so or so!--or, That was
ever her way; and Just what she did, or liked to do; and judging herself
by the vileness of the most vile of her sex, she wiped her mouth, and sat
down satisfied with her own virtue.
She had her chair to attend her wherever she went, and found people among
her betters, as her pride stooped to call some of the most insignificant
people in the world, to encourage her visits.
She was practised in all the arts of the card-table: a true Spartan girl;
and had even courage, occasionally, to wrangle off a detection. Late
hours (turning night into day, and day into night) were the almost
unavoidable consequences of her frequent play. Her parents pleased
themselves that their Sally had a charming constitution: and, as long as
she suffered not in her health, they were regardless of her morals.
The needle she hated: and made the constant subjects of her ridicule the
fine works that used to employ, and keep out of idleness, luxury, and
extravagance, and at home (were they to have been of no other service)
the women of the last age, when there were no Vauxhalls, Ranelaghs,
Marybones, and such-like places of diversion, to dress out for, and gad
And as to family-management, her parents had not required any knowledge
of that sort from her; and she considered it as a qualification only
necessary for hirelings, and the low-born, and as utterly unworthy of the
attention of a modern fine lady.
Although her father had great business, yet, living in so high and
expensive a way, he pretended not to give her a fortune answerable to it.