Part 3 out of 6
You may be curious to know how she passed her time, when she was obliged
to leave her lodging to avoid you.
Mrs. Smith tells me 'that she was very ill when she went out on Monday
morning, and sighed as if her heart would break as she came down stairs,
and as she went through the shop into the coach, her nurse with her, as
you had informed me before: that she ordered the coachman (whom she hired
for the day) to drive any where, so it was into the air: he accordingly
drove her to Hampstead, and thence to Highgate. There at the
Bowling-green House, she alighted, extremely ill, and having breakfasted,
ordered the coachman to drive very slowly any where. He crept along to
Muswell-hill, and put up at a public house there; where she employed
herself two hours in writing, though exceedingly weak and low, till the
dinner she had ordered was brought in: she endeavoured to eat, but could
not: her appetite was gone, quite gone, she said. And then she wrote on
for three hours more: after which, being heavy, she dozed a little in an
elbow-chair. When she awoke, she ordered the coachman to drive her very
slowly to town, to the house of a friend of Mrs. Lovick; whom, as agreed
upon, she met there: but, being extremely ill, she would venture home at
a late hour, although she heard from the widow that you had been there;
and had reason to be shocked at your behaviour. She said she found there
was no avoiding you: she was apprehensive she should not live many hours,
and it was not impossible but the shock the sight of you must give her
would determine her fate in your presence.
'She accordingly went home. She heard the relation of your astonishing
vagaries, with hands and eyes often lifted up; and with these words
intermingled, Shocking creature! incorrigible wretch! And will nothing
make him serious? And not being able to bear the thoughts of an
interview with a man so hardened, she took to her usual chair early in
the morning, and was carried to the Temple-stairs, where she had ordered
her nurse before her, to get a pair of oars in readiness (for her
fatigues the day before made her unable to bear a coach;) and then she
was rowed to Chelsea, where she breakfasted; and after rowing about, put
in at the Swan at Brentford-ait, where she dined; and would have written,
but had no conveniency either of tolerable pens, or ink, or private room;
and then proceeding to Richmond, they rowed her back to Mort-lake; where
she put in, and drank tea at a house her waterman recommended to her.
She wrote there for an hour; and returned to the Temple; and, when she
landed, made one of the watermen get her a chair, and so was carried to
the widow's friend, as the night before; where she again met the widow,
who informed her that you had been after her twice that day.
'Mrs. Lovick gave her there her sister's letter;* and she was so much
affected with the contents of it, that she was twice very nigh fainting
away; and wept bitterly, as Mrs. Lovick told Mrs. Smith; dropping some
warmer expressions than ever they had heard proceed from her lips, in
relation to her friends; calling them cruel, and complaining of ill
offices done her, and of vile reports raised against her.
* See Letter XXVI. of this volume.
'While she was thus disturbed, Mrs. Smith came to her, and told her, that
you had been there a third time, and was just gone, (at half an hour
after nine,) having left word how civil and respectful you would be; but
that you was determined to see her at all events.
'She said it was hard she could not be permitted to die in peace: that
her lot was a severe one: that she began to be afraid she should not
forbear repining, and to think her punishment greater than her fault:
but, recalling herself immediately, she comforted herself, that her life
would be short, and with the assurance of a better.'
By what I have mentioned, you will conclude with me, that the letter
brought her by Mrs. Lovick (the superscription of which you saw to be
written in her sister's hand) could not be the letter on the contents of
which she grounded that she wrote to you, on her return home. And yet
neither Mrs. Lovick, nor Mrs. Smith, nor the servant of the latter, know
of any other brought her. But as the women assured me, that she actually
did write to you, I was eased of a suspicion which I had begun to
entertain, that you (for some purpose I could not guess at) had forged
the letter from her of which you sent me a copy.
On Wednesday morning, when she received your letter, in answer to her's,
she said, Necessity may well be called the mother of invention--but
calamity is the test of integrity.--I hope I have not taken an
inexcusable step--And there she stopt a minute or two; and then said, I
shall now, perhaps, be allowed to die in peace.
I staid till she came in. She was glad to see me; but, being very weak,
said, she must sit down before she could go up stairs: and so went into
the back-shop; leaning upon Mrs. Lovick: and when she had sat down, 'I am
glad to see you, Mr. Belford, said she; I must say so--let mis-reporters
say what they will.'
I wondered at this expression;* but would not interrupt her.
* Explained in Letter XXVIII. of this volume.
O Sir, said she, I have been grievously harassed. Your friend, who would
not let me live with reputation, will not permit me to die in peace. You
see how I am. Is there not a great alteration in me within this week!
but 'tis all for the better. Yet were I to wish for life, I must say
that your friend, your barbarous friend, has hurt me greatly.
She was so weak, so short breathed, and her words and actions so very
moving, that I was forced to walk from her; the two women and her nurse
turning away their faces also, weeping.
I have had, Madam, said I, since I saw you, a most shocking scene before
my eyes for days together. My poor friend Belton is no more. He quitted
the world yesterday morning in such dreadful agonies, that the impression
they have left upon me have so weakened my mind--
I was loth to have her think that my grief was owing to the weak state I
saw her in, for fear of dispiriting her.
That is only, Mr. Belford, interrupted she, in order to strengthen it, if
a proper use be made of the impression. But I should be glad, since you
are so humanely affected with the solemn circumstance, that you could
have written an account of it to your gay friend, in the style and manner
you are master of. Who knows, as it would have come from an associate,
and of an associate, it might have affected him?
That I had done, I told her, in such a manner as had, I believed, some
effect upon you.
His behaviour in this honest family so lately, said she, and his cruel
pursuit of me, give me but little hope that any thing serious or solemn
will affect him.
We had some talk about Belton's dying behaviour, and I gave her several
particulars of the poor man's impatience and despair; to which she was
very attentive; and made fine observations upon the subject of
A letter and packet were brought her by a man on horseback from Miss
Howe, while we were talking. She retired up stairs to read it; and while
I was in discourse with Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Lovick, the doctor and
apothecary both came in together. They confirmed to me my fears, as to
the dangerous way she is in. They had both been apprized of the new
instances of implacableness in her friends, and of your persecutions: and
the doctor said he would not for the world be either the unforgiving
father of that lady, or the man who had brought her to this distress.
Her heart's broken: she'll die, said he: there is no saving her. But
how, were I either the one or the other of the people I have named, I
should support myself afterwards, I cannot tell.
When she was told we were all three together, she desired us to walk up.
She arose to receive us, and after answering two or three general
questions relating to her health, she addressed herself to us, to the
As I may not, said she, see you three gentlemen together again, let me
take this opportunity to acknowledge my obligations to you all. I am
inexpressibly obliged to you, Sir, and to you, Sir, [courtesying to the
doctor and to Mr. Goddard] for your more than friendly, your paternal
care and concern for me. Humanity in your profession, I dare say, is far
from being a rare qualification, because you are gentlemen by your
profession: but so much kindness, so much humanity, did never desolate
creature meet with, as I have met with from you both. But indeed I have
always observed, that where a person relies upon Providence, it never
fails to raise up a new friend for every old one that falls off.
This gentleman, [bowing to me,] who, some people think, should have been
one of the last I should have thought of for my executor--is,
nevertheless, (such is the strange turn that things have taken!) the only
one I can choose; and therefore I have chosen him for that charitable
office, and he has been so good as to accept of it: for, rich as I may
boast myself to be, I am rather so in right than in fact, at this
present. I repeat, therefore, my humble thanks to you all three, and beg
of God to return to you and yours [looking to each] an hundred-fold, the
kindness and favour you have shown me; and that it may be in the power of
you and of yours, to the end of time, to confer benefits, rather than to
be obliged to receive them. This is a godlike power, gentlemen: I once
rejoiced in it some little degree; and much more in the prospect I had of
its being enlarged to me; though I have had the mortification to
experience the reverse, and to be obliged almost to every body I have
seen or met with: but all, originally, through my own fault; so I ought
to bear the punishment without repining: and I hope I do. Forgive these
impertinencies: a grateful heart, that wants the power it wishes for, to
express itself suitably to its own impulses, will be at a loss what
properly to dictate to the tongue; and yet, unable to restrain its
overflowings, will force the tongue to say weak and silly things, rather
than appear ungratefully silent. Once more, then, I thank ye all three
for your kindness to me: and God Almighty make you that amends which at
present I cannot!
She retired from us to her closet with her eyes full; and left us looking
upon one another.
We had hardly recovered ourselves, when she, quite easy, cheerful, and
smiling, returned to us: Doctor, said she (seeing we had been moved) you
will excuse me for the concern I give you; and so will you, Mr. Goddard,
and you, Mr. Belford; for 'tis a concern that only generous natures can
show: and to such natures sweet is the pain, if I may say so, that
attends such a concern. But as I have some few preparations still to
make, and would not (though in ease of Mr. Belford's future cares, which
is, and ought to be, part of my study) undertake more than it is likely I
shall have time lent me to perform, I would beg of you to give me your
opinions [you see my way of living, and you may be assured that I will do
nothing wilfully to shorten my life] how long it may possibly be, before
I may hope to be released from all my troubles.
They both hesitated, and looked upon each other. Don't be afraid to
answer me, said she, each sweet hand pressing upon the arm of each
gentleman, with that mingled freedom and reserve, which virgin modesty,
mixed with conscious dignity, can only express, and with a look serenely
earnest, tell me how long you think I may hold it! and believe me,
gentlemen, the shorter you tell me my time is likely to be, the more
comfort you will give me.
With what pleasing woe, said the Doctor, do you fill the minds of those
who have the happiness to converse with you, and see the happy frame you
are in! what you have undergone within a few days past has much hurt you:
and should you have fresh troubles of those kinds, I could not be
answerable for your holding it--And there he paused.
How long, Doctor?--I believe I shall have a little more ruffling--I am
afraid I shall--but there can happen only one thing that I shall not be
tolerably easy under--How long then, Sir?--
He was silent.
A fortnight, Sir?
He was still silent.
Ten days?--A week?--How long, Sir? with smiling earnestness.
If I must speak, Madam, if you have not better treatment than you have
lately met with, I am afraid--There again he stopt.
Afraid of what, Doctor? don't be afraid--How long, Sir?
That a fortnight or three weeks may deprive the world of the finest
flower in it.
A fortnight or three weeks yet, Doctor?--But God's will be done! I
shall, however, by this means, have full time, if I have but strength
and intellect, to do all that is now upon my mind to do. And so, Sirs,
I can but once more thank you [turning to each of us] for all your
goodness to me; and, having letters to write, will take up no more of
your time--Only, Doctor, be pleased to order me some more of those drops:
they cheer me a little, when I am low; and putting a fee into his
unwilling hand--You know the terms, Sir!--Then, turning to Mr. Goddard,
you'll be so good, Sir, as to look in upon me to-night or to-morrow, as
you have opportunity: and you, Mr. Belford, I know, will be desirous to
set out to prepare for the last office for your late friend: so I wish
you a good journey, and hope to see you when that is performed.
She then retired with a cheerful and serene air. The two gentlemen
went away together. I went down to the women, and, inquiring, found,
that Mrs. Lovick was this day to bring her twenty guineas more, for some
other of her apparel.
The widow told me that she had taken the liberty to expostulate with her
upon the occasion she had for raising this money, to such great
disadvantage; and it produced the following short and affecting
conversation between them.
None of my friends will wear any thing of mine, said she. I shall leave
a great many good things behind me.--And as to what I want the money for
--don't be surprised:--But suppose I want it to purchase a house?
You are all mystery, Madam. I don't comprehend you.
Why, then, Mrs. Lovick, I will explain myself.--I have a man, not a
woman, for my executor: and think you that I will leave to his care any
thing that concerns my own person?--Now, Mrs. Lovick, smiling, do you
Mrs. Lovick wept.
O fie! proceeded the Lady, drying up her tears with her own handkerchief,
and giving her a kiss--Why this kind weakness for one with whom you have
been so little while acquainted? Dear, good Mrs. Lovick, don't be
concerned for me on a prospect with which I have occasion to be pleased;
but go to-morrow to your friends, and bring me the money they have agreed
to give you.
Thus, Lovelace, it is plain she means to bespeak her last house! Here's
presence of mind; here's tranquillity of heart, on the most affecting
occasion--This is magnanimity indeed!--Couldst thou, or could I, with all
our boisterous bravery, and offensive false courage, act thus?--Poor
Belton! how unlike was thy behaviour!
Mrs. Lovick tells me that the lady spoke of a letter she had received
from her favourite divine Dr. Lewen, in the time of my absence; and of an
letter she had returned to it. But Mrs. Lovick knows not the contents of
When thou receivest the letter I am now writing, thou wilt see what will
soon be the end of all thy injuries to this divine lady. I say when thou
receivest it; for I will delay it for some little time, lest thou
shouldest take it into thy head (under pretence of resenting the
disappointment her letter must give thee) to molest her again.
This letter having detained me by its length, I shall not now set out for
Epsom till to-morrow.
I should have mentioned that the lady explained to me what the one thing
was that she was afraid might happen to ruffle her. It was the
apprehension of what may result from a visit which Col. Morden, as she is
informed, designs to make you.
THE REV. DR. LEWEN, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
FRIDAY, AUG. 18.
Presuming, dearest and ever-respectable young lady, upon your former
favour, and upon your opinion of my judgment and sincerity, I cannot help
addressing you by a few lines on your present unhappy situation.
I will not look back upon the measures into which you have either been
led or driven. But will only say as to those, that I think you are the
least to blame of any young lady that was ever reduced from happy to
unhappy circumstances; and I have not been wanting to say as much, where
I hoped my freedom would have been better received than I have had the
mortification to find it to be.
What I principally write for now is, to put you upon doing a piece of
justice to yourself, and to your sex, in the prosecuting for his life (I
am assured his life is in your power) the most profligate and abandoned
of men, as he must be, who could act so basely, as I understand Mr.
Lovelace has acted by you.
I am very ill; and am now forced to write upon my pillow; my thoughts
confused; and incapable of method: I shall not therefore aim at method:
but to give you in general my opinion--and that is, that your religion,
your duty to your family, the duty you owe to your honour, and even
charity to your sex, oblige you to give public evidence against this very
And let me add another consideration: The prevention, by this means, of
the mischiefs that may otherwise happen between your brother and Mr.
Lovelace, or between the latter and your cousin Morden, who is now, I
hear, arrived, and resolves to have justice done you.
A consideration which ought to affect your conscience, [forgive me,
dearest young lady, I think I am now in the way of my duty;] and to be
of more concern to you, than that hard pressure upon your modesty which
I know the appearance against him in an open court must be of to such a
lady as you; and which, I conceive, will be your great difficulty. But I
know, Madam, that you have dignity enough to become the blushes of the
most naked truth, when necessity, justice, and honour, exact it from you.
Rakes and ravishers would meet with encouragement indeed, and most from
those who had the greatest abhorrence of their actions, if violated
modesty were never to complain of the injury it received from the
villanous attempters of it.
In a word, the reparation of your family dishonour now rests in your own
bosom: and which only one of these two alternatives can repair; to wit,
either to marry the offender, or to prosecute him at law. Bitter
expedients for a soul so delicate as your's!
He, and all his friends, I understand, solicit you to the first: and it
is certainly, now, all the amends within his power to make. But I am
assured that you have rejected their solicitations, and his, with the
indignation and contempt that his foul actions have deserved: but yet,
that you refuse not to extend to him the christian forgiveness he has so
little reason to expect, provided he will not disturb you farther.
But, Madam, the prosecution I advise, will not let your present and
future exemption from fresh disturbance from so vile a molester depend
upon his courtesy: I should think so noble and so rightly-guided a spirit
as your's would not permit that it should, if you could help it.
And can indignities of any kind be properly pardoned till we have it in
our power to punish them? To pretend to pardon, while we are labouring
under the pain or dishonour of them, will be thought by some to be but
the vaunted mercy of a pusillanimous heart, trembling to resent them.
The remedy I propose is a severe one: But what pain can be more severe
than the injury? Or how will injuries be believed to grieve us, that are
never honourably complained of?
I am sure Miss Clarissa Harlowe, however injured and oppressed, remains
unshaken in her sentiments of honour and virtue: and although she would
sooner die than deserve that her modesty should be drawn into question;
yet she will think no truth immodest that is to be uttered in the
vindicated cause of innocence and chastity. Little, very little
difference is there, my dear young lady, between a suppressed evidence,
and a false one.
It is a terrible circumstance, I once more own, for a young lady of your
delicacy to be under the obligation of telling so shocking a story in
public court: but it is still a worse imputation, that she should pass
over so mortal an injury unresented.
Conscience, honour, justice, are on your side: and modesty would, by
some, be thought but an empty name, should you refuse to obey their
I have been consulted, I own, on this subject. I have given it as my
opinion, that you ought to prosecute the abandoned man--but without my
reasons. These I reserved, with a resolution to lay them before you
unknown to any body, that the result, if what I wish, may be your own.
I will only add that the misfortunes which have befallen you, had they
been the lot of a child of my own, could not have affected me more than
your's have done. My own child I love: but I both love and honour you:
since to love you, is to love virtue, good sense, prudence, and every
thing that is good and noble in woman.
Wounded as I think all these are by the injuries you have received, you
will believe that the knowledge of your distresses must have afflicted,
beyond what I am able to express,
Your sincere admirer, and humble servant,
I just now understand that your sister will, by proper authority, propose
this prosecution to you. I humbly presume that the reason why you
resolved not upon this step from the first, was, that you did not
know that it would have the countenance and support of your
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO THE REV. DR. LEWEN
SAT. AUG. 19.
REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,
I thought, till I received your affectionate and welcome letter, that I
had neither father, uncle, brother left; nor hardly a friend among my
former favourers of your sex. Yet, knowing you so well, and having no
reason to upbraid myself with a faulty will, I was to blame, (even
although I had doubted the continuance of your good opinion,) to decline
the trial whether I had forfeited it or not; and if I had, whether I
could not honourably reinstate myself in it.
But, Sir, it was owing to different causes that I did not; partly to
shame, to think how high, in my happier days, I stood in your esteem, and
how much I must be sunk in it, since those so much nearer in relation to
me gave me up; partly to deep distress, which makes the humbled heart
diffident; and made mine afraid to claim the kindred mind in your's,
which would have supplied to me in some measure all the dear and lost
relations I have named.
Then, so loth, as I sometimes was, to be thought to want to make a party
against those whom both duty and inclination bid me reverence: so long
trailed on between hope and doubt: so little my own mistress at one time;
so fearful of making or causing mischief at another; and not being
encouraged to hope, by your kind notice, that my application to you would
be acceptable:--apprehending that my relations had engaged your silence
at least*--THESE--But why these unavailing retrospections now?--I was to
be unhappy--in order to be happy; that is my hope!--Resigning therefore
to that hope, I will, without any further preamble, write a few lines,
(if writing to you, I can write but a few,) in answer to the subject of
your kind letter.
* The stiff visit this good divine was prevailed upon to make her, as
mentioned in Vol. II. Letter XXXI. (of which, however, she was too
generous to remind him) might warrant the lady to think that he had
rather inclined to their party, as to the parental side, than to her's.
Permit me, then, to say, That I believe your arguments would have been
unanswerable in almost every other case of this nature, but in that of
the unhappy Clarissa Harlowe.
It is certain that creatures who cannot stand the shock of public shame,
should be doubly careful how they expose themselves to the danger of
incurring private guilt, which may possibly bring them to it. But as to
myself, suppose there were no objections from the declining way I am in
as to my health; and supposing I could have prevailed upon myself to
appear against this man; were there not room to apprehend that the end so
much wished for by my friends, (to wit, his condign punishment,) would
not have been obtained, when it came to be seen that I had consented to
give him a clandestine meeting; and, in consequence of that, had been
weakly tricked out of living under one roof with him for several weeks;
which I did, (not only without complaint, but) without cause of
Little advantage in a court, (perhaps, bandied about, and jested
profligately with,) would some of those pleas in my favour have been,
which out of court, and to a private and serious audience, would have
carried the greatest weight against him--Such, particularly, as the
infamous methods to which he had recourse--
It would, no doubt, have been a ready retort from every mouth, that I
ought not to have thrown myself into the power of such a man, and that I
ought to take for my pains what had befallen me.
But had the prosecution been carried on to effect, and had he even been
sentenced to death, can it be supposed that his family would not have had
interest enough to obtain his pardon, for a crime thought too lightly of,
though one of the greatest that can be committed against a creature
valuing her honour above her life?--While I had been censured as pursuing
with sanguinary views a man who offered me early all the reparation in
his power to make?
And had he been pardoned, would he not then have been at liberty to do as
much mischief as ever?
I dare say, Sir, such is the assurance of the man upon whom my unhappy
destiny threw me; and such his inveteracy to my family, (which would then
have appeared to be justified by their known inveteracy to him, and by
their earnest endeavours to take away his life;) that he would not have
been sorry to have had an opportunity to confront me, and my father,
uncles, and brother, at the bar of a court of justice, on such an
occasion. In which case, would not (on his acquittal, or pardon)
resentments have been reciprocally heightened? And then would my
brother, or my cousin Morden, have been more secure than now?
How do these conditions aggravate my fault! My motives, at first, were
not indeed blamable: but I had forgotten the excellent caution, which yet
I was not ignorant of, That we ought not to do evil that good may come of
In full conviction of the purity of my heart, and of the firmness of my
principles, [Why may I not, thus called upon, say what I am conscious of,
and yet without the imputation of faulty pride; since all is but a duty,
and I should be utterly inexcusable, could I not justly say what I do?--
In this full conviction,] he has offered me marriage. He has avowed his
penitence: a sincere penitence I have reason to think it, though perhaps
not a christian one. And his noble relations, (kinder to the poor
sufferer than her own,) on the same conviction, and his own not
ungenerous acknowledgements, have joined to intercede with me to forgive
and accept of him. Although I cannot comply with the latter part of
their intercession, have not you, Sir, from the best rules, and from the
divinest example, taught me to forgive injuries?
The injury I have received from him is indeed of the highest nature, and
it was attended with circumstances of unmanly baseness and premeditation;
yet, I bless God, it has not tainted my mind; it has not hurt my morals.
No thanks indeed to the wicked man that it has not. No vile courses have
followed it. My will is unviolated. The evil, (respecting myself, and
not my friends,) is merely personal. No credulity, no weakness, no want
of vigilance, have I to reproach myself with. I have, through grace,
triumphed over the deepest machinations. I have escaped from him. I
have renounced him. The man whom once I could have loved, I have been
enabled to despise: And shall not charity complete my triumph? and shall
I not enjoy it?--And where would be my triumph if he deserved my
forgiveness?--Poor man! he has had a loss in losing me! I have the pride
to think so, because I think I know my own heart. I have had none in
But I have another plea to make, which alone would have been enough (as I
presume) to answer the contents of your very kind and friendly letter.
I know, my dear and reverend friend, the spiritual guide and director of
my happier days! I know, that you will allow of my endeavour to bring
myself to this charitable disposition, when I tell you how near I think
myself to that great and awful moment, in which, and even in the ardent
preparation to which, every sense of indignity or injury that concerns
not the immortal soul, ought to be absorbed in higher and more important
Thus much for myself.
And for the satisfaction of my friends and favourers, Miss Howe is
solicitous to have all those letters and materials preserved, which will
set my whole story in a true light. The good Dr. Lewen is one of the
principal of those friends and favourers.
The warning that may be given from those papers to all such young
creatures as may have known or heard of me, may be of more efficacy to
the end wished for, as I humbly presume to think, than my appearance
could have been in a court of justice, pursuing a doubtful event, under
the disadvantages I have mentioned. And if, my dear and good Sir, you
are now, on considering every thing, of this opinion, and I could know
it, I should consider it as a particular felicity; being as solicitous
as ever to be justified in what I may in your eyes.
I am sorry, Sir, that your indisposition has reduced you to the necessity
of writing upon your pillow. But how much am I obliged to that kind and
generous concern for me, which has impelled you, as I may say, to write a
letter, containing so many paternal lines, with such inconvenience to
May the Almighty bless you, dear and reverend Sir, for all your goodness
to me of long time past, as well as for that which engaged my present
gratitude! Continue to esteem me to the last, as I do and will venerate
you! And let me bespeak your prayers, the continuance, I should say, of
your prayers; for I doubt not, that I have always had them: and to them,
perhaps, has in part been owing (as well as to your pious precepts
instilled through my earlier youth) that I have been able to make the
stand I have made; although every thing that you prayed for has not been
granted to me by that Divine Wisdom, which knows what is best for its
My prayers for you are, that it will please God to restore you to your
affectionate flock; and after as many years of life as shall be for his
service, and to your own comfort, give us a happy meeting in those
regions of blessedness, which you have taught me, as well by example, as
by precept, to aspire to!
MISS ARAB. HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S TO HER UNCLE ANTONY OF AUG. 13.*]
MONDAY, AUG. 21.
* See Letter IV. of this volume.
I find by your letters to my uncles, that they, as well as I, are in
great disgrace with you for writing our minds to you.
We can't help it, sister Clary.
You don't think it worth your while, I find, a second time to press for
the blessing you pretend to be so earnest about. You think, no doubt,
that you have done your duty in asking for it: so you'll sit down
satisfied with that, I suppose, and leave it to your wounded parents to
repent hereafter that they have not done theirs, in giving it to you, at
the first word; and in making such inquiries about you, as you think
ought to have been made. Fine encouragement to inquire after a run-away
daughter! living with her fellow as long as he would live with her! You
repent also (with your full mind, as you modestly call it) that you wrote
So we are not likely to be applied to any more, I find, in this way.
Well then, since this is the case, sister Clary, let me, with all
humility, address myself with a proposal or two to you; to which you will
be graciously pleased to give an answer.
Now you must know, that we have had hints given us, from several
quarters, that you have been used in such a manner by the villain you ran
away with, that his life would be answerable for his crime, if it were
fairly to be proved. And, by your own hints, something like it appears
If, Clary, there be any thing but jingle and affected period in what
proceeds from your full mind, and your dutiful consciousness; and if
there be truth in what Mrs. Norton and Mrs. Howe have acquainted us with;
you may yet justify your character to us, and to the world, in every
thing but your scandalous elopement; and the law may reach the villain:
and, could we but bring him to the gallows, what a meritorious revenge
would that be to our whole injured family, and to the innocents he has
deluded, as well as the saving from ruin many others!
Let me, therefore, know (if you please) whether you are willing to appear
to do yourself, and us, and your sex, this justice? If not, sister
Clary, we shall know what to think of you; for neither you nor we can
suffer more than we have done from the scandal of your fall: and, if you
will, Mr. Ackland and counselor Derham will both attend you to make
proper inquiries, and to take minutes of your story, to found a process
upon, if it will bear one with as great a probability of success as we
are told it may be prosecuted with.
But, by what Mrs. Howe intimates, this is not likely to be complied with;
for it is what she hinted to you, it seems, by her lively daughter, but
not without effect;* so prudently in some certain points, as to entitle
yourself to public justice; which, if true, the Lord have mercy upon you!
* See Vol. VI. Letter LXXII.
One word only more as to the above proposal:--Your admirer, Dr. Lewen, is
clear, in his opinion, that you should prosecute the villain.
But if you will not agree to this, I have another proposal to make to
you, and that in the name of every one in the family; which is, that you
will think of going to Pensylvania to reside there for some few years
till all is blown over: and, if it please God to spare you, and your
unhappy parents, till they can be satisfied that you behave like a true
and uniform penitent; at least till you are one-and-twenty; you may then
come back to your own estate, or have the produce of it sent you thither,
as you shall choose. A period which my father fixes, because it is the
custom; and because he thinks your grandfather should have fixed it; and
because, let me add, you have fully proved by your fine conduct, that you
were not at years of discretion at eighteen. Poor doting, though good
old man!--Your grandfather, he thought--But I would not be too severe.
Mr. Hartley has a widow-sister at Pensylvania, with whom he will
undertake you may board, and who is a sober, sensible, well-read woman.
And if you were once well there, it would rid your father and mother of
a world of cares, and fears, and scandal; and that I think is what you
should wish for of all things.
Mr. Hartley will engage for all accommodations in your passage suitable
to your rank and fortune; and he has a concern in a ship, which will sail
in a month; and you may take your secret-keeping Hannah with you, or whom
you will of your newer acquaintance. 'Tis presumed that your companions
will be of your own sex.
These are what I had to communicate to you; and if you'll oblige me with
an answer, (which the hand that conveys this will call for on Wednesday
morning,) it will be very condescending.
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO MISS ARAB. HARLOWE
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.
Write to me, my hard-hearted Sister, in what manner you please, I shall
always be thankful to you for your notice. But (think what you will of
me) I cannot see Mr. Ackland and the counselor on such a business as you
The Lord have mercy upon me indeed! for none else will.
Surely I am believed to a creature past all shame, or it could not be
thought of sending two gentlemen to me on such an errand.
Had my mother required of me (or would modesty have permitted you to
inquire into) the particulars of my sad story, or had Mrs. Norton been
directed to receive them from me, methinks it had been more fit: and I
presume to think that it would have been more in every one's character
too, had they been required of me before such heavy judgment had been
passed upon me as has been passed.
I know that this is Dr. Lewen's opinion. He has been so good as to
enforce it in a kind letter to me. I have answered his letter; and given
such reasons as I hope will satisfy him. I could wish it were thought
worth while to request of him a sight of my answer.*
* Her letter, containing the reasons she refers to, was not asked for;
and Dr. Lewen's death, which fell out soon after he had received it, was
the reason that it was not communicated to the family, till it was too
late to do the service that might have been hoped for from it.
To your other proposal, of going to Pensylvania; this is my answer--If
nothing happen within a month which may full as effectually rid my
parents and friends of that world of cares, and fears, and scandals,
which you mention, and if I am then able to be carried on board of ship,
I will cheerfully obey my father and mother, although I were sure to die
in the passage. And, if I may be forgiven for saying so (for indeed it
proceeds not from a spirit of reprisal) you shall set over me, instead of
my poor obliging, but really-unculpable, Hannah, your Betty Barnes; to
whom I will be answerable for all my conduct. And I will make it worth
her while to accompany me.
I am equally surprised and concerned at the hints which both you and my
uncle Antony give of new points of misbehaviour in me!--What can be meant
I will not tell you, Miss Harlowe, how much I am afflicted at your
severity, and how much I suffer by it, and by your hard-hearted levity of
style, because what I shall say may be construed into jingle and period,
and because I know it is intended, very possibly for kind ends, to
mortify me. All I will therefore say is, that it does not lose its end,
if that be it.
But, nevertheless, (divesting myself as much as possible of all
resentment,) I will only pray that Heaven will give you, for your own
sake, a kinder heart than at present you seem to have; since a kind
heart, I am convinced, is a greater blessing to its possessor than it can
be to any other person. Under this conviction I subscribe myself, my
Your ever-affectionate sister,
MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S OF THURSDAY, AUG. 17.*]
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.
* See Letter VI. of this volume.
MY DEAREST YOUNG LADY,
The letters you sent me I now return by the hand that brings you this.
It is impossible for me to express how much I have been affected by them,
and by your last of the 17th. Indeed, my dear Miss Clary, you are very
harshly used; indeed you are! And if you should be taken from us, what
grief and what punishment are not treasuring up against themselves in the
heavy reflections which their rash censures and unforgivingness will
But I find to what your uncle Antony's cruel letter is owing, as well as
one you will be still more afflicted by, [God help you, my poor dear
child!] when it comes to your hand, written by your sister, with
proposals to you.*
* See Letter XXVI. ibid.
It was finished to send you yesterday, I know; and I apprize you of it,
that you should fortify your heart against the contents of it.
The motives which incline them all to this severity, if well grounded,
would authorize any severity they could express, and which, while they
believe them to be so, both they and you are to be equally pitied.
They are owning to the information of that officious Mr. Brand, who has
acquainted them (from some enemy of your's in the neighbourhood about
you) that visits are made you, highly censurable, by a man of a free
character, and an intimate of Mr. Lovelace; who is often in private with
you; sometimes twice or thrice a day.
Betty gives herself great liberties of speech upon this occasion, and all
your friends are too ready to believe that things are not as they should
be; which makes me wish that, let the gentleman's views be ever so
honourable, you could entirely drop acquaintance with him.
Something of this nature was hinted at by Betty to me before, but so
darkly that I could not tell what to make of it; and this made me mention
to you so generally as I did in my last.
Your cousin Morden has been among them. He is exceedingly concerned for
your misfortunes; and as they will not believe Mr. Lovelace would marry
you, he is determined to go to Lord M.'s, in order to inform himself from
Mr. Lovelace's own mouth, whether he intends to do you that justice or
He was extremely caressed by every one at his first arrival; but I am
told there is some little coldness between them and him at present.
I was in hopes of getting a sight of this letter of Mr. Brand: (a rash
officious man!) but it seems Mr. Morden had it given him yesterday to
read, and he took it away with him.
God be your comfort, my dear Miss! But indeed I am exceedingly disturbed
at the thoughts of what may still be the issue of all these things. I
am, my beloved young lady,
Your most affectionate and faithful
MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.
After I had sealed up the enclosed, I had the honour of a private visit
from your aunt Hervey; who has been in a very low-spirited way, and kept
her chamber for several weeks past; and is but just got abroad.
She longed, she said, to see me, and to weep with me, on the hard fate
that had befallen her beloved niece.
I will give you a faithful account of what passed between us; as I expect
that it will, upon the whole, administer hope and comfort to you.
'She pitied very much your good mother, who, she assured me, is obliged
to act a part entirely contrary to her inclinations; as she herself, she
owns, had been in a great measure.
'She said, that the poor lady was with great difficulty with-held from
answering your letter to her; which had (as was your aunt's expression)
almost broken the heart of every one: that she had reason to think that
she was neither consenting to your two uncles writing, nor approving of
what they wrote.
'She is sure they all love you dearly; but have gone so far, that they
know not how to recede.
'That, but for the abominable league which your brother had got every
body into (he refusing to set out for Scotland till it was renewed, and
till they had all promised to take no step towards a reconciliation in
his absence but by his consent; and to which your sister's resentments
kept them up); all would before now have happily subsided.
'That nobody knew the pangs which their inflexible behaviour gave them,
ever since you had begun to write to them in so affecting and humble a
'That, however, they were not inclined to believe that you were either so
ill, or so penitent as you really are; and still less, that Mr. Lovelace
is in earnest in his offers of marriage.
'She is sure, however, she says, that all will soon be well: and the
sooner for Mr. Morden's arrival: who is very zealous in your behalf.
'She wished to Heaven that you would accept of Mr. Lovelace, wicked as he
has been, if he were now in earnest.
'It had always,' she said, 'been matter of astonishment to her, that so
weak a pride in her cousin James, of making himself the whole family,
should induce them all to refuse an alliance with such a family as Mr.
'She would have it, that your going off with Mr. Lovelace was the
unhappiest step for your honour and your interest that could have been
taken; for that although you would have had a severe trial the next day,
yet it would probably have been the last; and your pathetic powers must
have drawn you off some friends--hinting at your mother, at your uncle
Harlowe, at your uncle Hervey, and herself.'
But here (that the regret that you did not trust to the event of that
meeting, may not, in your present low way, too much afflict you) I must
observe, that it seems a little too evident, even from this opinion of
your aunt's, that it was not absolutely determined that all compulsion
was designed to be avoided, since your freedom from it must have been
owing to the party to be made among them by your persuasive eloquence and
'She owned, that some of them were as much afraid of meeting you as you
could be of meeting them:'--But why so, if they designed, in the last
instance, to give you your way?
Your aunt told me, 'That Mrs. Williams* had been with her, and asked her
opinion, if it would be taken amiss, if she desired leave to go up, to
attend her dearest young lady in her calamity. Your aunt referred her to
your mother: but had heard no more of it.
* The former housekeeper at Harlowe-place.
'Her daughter,' (Miss Dolly,) she said, 'had been frequently earnest with
her on the same subject; and renewed her request with the greatest
fervour when your first letter came to hand.'
Your aunt says, 'That she then being very ill, wrote to your mother upon
it, hoping it would not be taken amiss if she permitted Dolly to go; but
that your sister, as from your mother, answered her, That now you seemed
to be coming-to, and to have a due sense of your faults, you must be left
entirely to their own management.
'Miss Dolly,' she said, 'had pined ever since she had heard of Mr.
Lovelace's baseness, being doubly mortified by it: first, on account of
your sufferings; next, because she was one who rejoiced in your getting
off, and vindicated you for it; and had incurred censure and ill-will on
that account; especially from your brother and sister; so that she seldom
went to Harlowe-place.'
Make the best use of these intelligences, my dearest young lady, for your
I will only add, that I am, with the most fervent prayers for your
recovery and restoration to favour,
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO MRS. JUDITH NORTON
THURSDAY, AUG. 24.
The relation of such a conversation as passed between my aunt and you
would have given me pleasure, had it come some time ago; because it would
have met with a spirit more industrious than mine now is, to pick out
remote comfort in the hope of a favourable turn that might one day have
rewarded my patient duty.
I did not doubt my aunt't good-will to me. Her affection I did not
doubt. But shall we wonder that kings and princes meet with so little
controul in their passions, be they every so violent, when, in a private
family, an aunt, nay, even a mother in that family, shall choose to give
up a once-favoured child against their own inclinations, rather than
oppose an aspiring young man, who had armed himself with the authority of
a father, who, when once determined, never would be expostulated with?
And will you not blame me, if I say, that good sense, that kindred
indulgence, must be a little offended at the treatment I have met with;
and if I own, that I think that great rigour has been exercised towards
me! And yet I am now authorized to call it rigour by the judgment of two
excellent sisters, my mother and my aunt, who acknowledge (as you tell me
from my aunt) that they have been obliged to join against me, contrary to
their inclinations; and that even in a point which might seem to concern
my eternal welfare.
But I must not go on at this rate. For may not the inclination my mother
has given up be the effect of a too-fond indulgence, rather than that I
merit the indulgence? And yet so petulantly perverse am I, that I must
tear myself from the subject.
All then that I will say further to it, at this time, is, that were the
intended goodness to be granted to me but a week hence, it would possibly
be too late--too late I mean to be of the consolation to me that I would
wish from it: for what an inefficacious preparation must I have been
making, if it has not, by this time, carried me above--But above what?--
Poor mistaken creature! Unhappy self-deluder! that finds herself above
nothing! Nor able to subdue her own faulty impatience!
But in-deed, to have done with a subject that I dare not trust myself
with, if it come in your way, let my aunt Hervey, let my dear cousin
Dolly, let the worthy Mrs. Williams, know how exceedingly grateful to me
their kind intentions and concern for me are: and, as the best warrant
or justification of their good opinions, (since I know that their favour
for me is founded on the belief that I loved virtue,) tell them, that I
continued to love virtue to my last hour, as I presume to hope it may be
said; and assure them that I never made the least wilful deviation,
however unhappy I became for one faulty step; which nevertheless was not
owing to unworthy or perverse motives.
I am very sorry that my cousin Morden has taken a resolution to see Mr.
My apprehensions on this intelligence are a great abatement to the
pleasure I have in knowing that he still loves me.
My sister's letter to me is a most affecting one--so needlessly, so
ludicrously taunting!--But for that part of it that is so, I ought rather
to pity her, than to be so much concerned at it as I am.
I wonder what I have done to Mr. Brand--I pray God to forgive both him
and his informants, whoever they be. But if the scandal arise solely
from Mr. Belford's visits, a very little time will confute it. Mean
while, the packet I shall send you, which I sent to Miss Howe, will, I
hope, satisfy you, my dear Mrs. Norton, as to my reasons for admitting
My sister's taunting letter, and the inflexibleness of my dearer friends
--But how do remoter-begun subjects tend to the point which lies nearest
the heart!--As new-caught bodily disorders all crowd to a fractured or
I will break off, with requesting your prayers that I may be blessed with
patience and due resignation; and with assuring you, that I am, and will
be to the last hour of my life,
Your equally grateful and affectionate
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[IN REPLY TO HER'S OF FRIDAY, AUG. 11.*]
YARMOUTH, ISLE OF WIGHT, AUG. 23.
* See Letter II. of this volume.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
I have read the letters and copies of letters you favoured me with: and I
return them by a particular hand. I am extremely concerned at your
indifferent state of health: but I approve of all your proceedings and
precautions in relation to the appointment of Mr. Belford for an office,
in which, I hope, neither he nor any body else will be wanted to act, for
many, very many years.
I admire, and so we do all, that greatness of mind which can make you so
stedfastly [sic] despise (through such inducements as no other woman
could resist, and in such desolate circumstances as you have been reduced
to) the wretch that ought to be so heartily despised and detested.
What must the contents of those letters from your relations be, which you
will not communicate to me!--Fie upon them! How my heart rises!--But I
dare say no more--though you yourself now begin to think they use you
with great severity.
Every body here is so taken with Mr. Hickman (and the more from the
horror they conceive at the character of the detestable Lovelace,) that I
have been teased to death almost to name a day. This has given him airs:
and, did I not keep him to it, he would behave as carelessly and as
insolently as if he were sure of me. I have been forced to mortify him
no less than four times since we have been here.
I made him lately undergo a severe penance for some negligences that were
not to be passed over. Not designed ones, he said: but that was a poor
excuse, as I told him: for, had they been designed, he should never have
come into my presence more: that they were not, showed his want of
thought and attention; and those were inexcusable in a man only in his
He hoped he had been more than in a probatory state, he said.
And therefore, Sir, might be more careless!--So you add ingratitude to
negligence, and make what you plead as accident, that itself wants an
excuse, design, which deserves none.
I would not see him for two days, and he was so penitent, and so humble,
that I had like to have lost myself, to make him amends: for, as you have
said, resentment carried too high, often ends in amends too humble.
I long to be nearer to you: but that must not yet be, it seems. Pray, my
dear, let me hear from you as often as you can.
May Heaven increase your comforts, and restore your health, are the
Your ever faithful and affectionate
P.S. Excuse me that I did not write before: it was owing to a little
coasting voyage I was obliged to give into.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
FRIDAY, AUG. 25.
You are very obliging, my dear Miss Howe, to account to me for your
silence. I was easy in it, as I doubted not that, among such near and
dear friends as you are with, you was diverted from writing by some such
agreeable excursion as that you mention.
I was in hopes that you had given over, at this time of day, those very
sprightly airs, which I have taken the liberty to blame you for, as often
as you have given me occasion to so do; and that has been very often.
I was always very grave with you upon this subject: and while your own
and a worthy man's future happiness are in the question, I must enter
into it, whenever you forget yourself, although I had not a day to live:
and indeed I am very ill.
I am sure it was not your intention to take your future husband with you
to the little island to make him look weak and silly among those of your
relations who never before had seen him. Yet do you think it possible
for them (however prepared and resolved they may be to like him) to
forbear smiling at him, when they see him suffering under your whimsical
penances? A modest man should no more be made little in his own eyes,
than in the eyes of others. If he be, he will have a diffidence, which
will give an awkwardness to every thing he says or does; and this will be
no more to the credit of your choice than to that of the approbation he
meets with from your friends, or to his own credit.
I love an obliging, and even an humble, deportment in a man to the woman
he addresses. It is a mark of his politeness, and tends to give her that
opinion of herself, which it may be supposed bashful merit wants to be
inspired with. But if the woman exacts it with an high hand, she shows
not either her own politeness or gratitude; although I must confess she
does her courage. I gave you expectations that I would be very serious
O my dear, 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
Mr. Lovelace, it is now plain, in order to have a pretence against me,
taxed my behaviour to him with stiffness and distance. You, at one time,
thought me guilty of some degree of prudery. Difficult situations should
be allowed for: which often make seeming occasions for censure
unavoidable. I deserved not blame from him who made mine difficult. And
you, my dear, had I any other man to deal with, or had he but half the
merit which Mr. Hickman has, would have found that my doctrine on this
subject should have governed my practice.
But to put myself out of the question--I'll tell you what I should think,
were I an indifferent by-stander, of those high airs of your's, in return
for Mr. Hickman's humble demeanour. 'The lady thinks of having the
gentleman, I see plainly, would I say. But I see as plainly, that she
has a very great indifference to him. And to what may this indifference
be owing? To one or all of these considerations, no doubt: that she
receives his addresses rather from motives of convenience than choice:
that she thinks meanly of his endowments and intellects; at least more
highly of her own: or, she has not the generosity to use that power with
moderation, which his great affection for her puts into her hands.'
How would you like, my dear, to have any of these things said?
Then to give but the shadow of a reason for free-livers and free speakers
to say, or to imagine, that Miss Howe gives her hand to a man who has no
reason to expect any share in her heart, I am sure you would not wish
that such a thing should be so much as supposed. Then all the regard
from you to come afterwards; none to be shown before; must, should I
think, be capable of being construed as a compliment to the husband, made
at the expense of the wife's and even of the sex's delicacy!
There is no fear that attempts could be formed by the most audacious [two
Lovelaces there cannot be!] upon a character so revered for virtue, and
so charmingly spirited, as Miss Howe's: yet, to have any man encouraged
to despise a husband by the example of one who is most concerned to do
him honour; what, my dear, think you of that? It is but too natural for
envious men (and who that knows Miss Howe, will not envy Mr. Hickman!) to
scoff at, and to jest upon, those who are treated with or will bear
indignity from a woman.
If a man so treated have a true and ardent love for the woman he
addresses, he will be easily overawed by her displeasure: and this will
put him upon acts of submission, which will be called meanness. And what
woman of true spirit would like to have it said, that she would impose
any thing upon the man from whom she one day expects protection and
defence, that should be capable of being construed as a meanness, or
unmanly abjectness in his behaviour, even to herself?--Nay, I am not
sure, and I ask it of you, my dear, to resolve me, whether, in your own
opinion, it is not likely, that a woman of spirit will despise rather
than value more, the man who will take patiently an insult at her hands;
especially before company.
I have always observed, that prejudices in disfavour of a person at his
first appearance, fix deeper, and are much more difficult to be removed
when fixed, than that malignant principle so eminently visible in little
minds, which makes them wish to bring down the more worthy characters to
their own low level, I pretend not to determine. When once, therefore, a
woman of your good sense gives room to the world to think she has not an
high opinion of the lover, whom nevertheless she entertains, it will be
very difficult for her afterwards to make that world think so well as she
would have it of the husband she has chosen.
Give me leave to observe, that to condescend with dignity, and to command
with such kindness, and sweetness of manners, as should let the
condescension, while in a single state, be seen and acknowledged, are
points, which a wise woman, knowing her man, should aim at: and a wise
woman, I should think, would choose to live single all her life rather
than give herself to a man whom she thinks unworthy of a treatment so
But when a woman lets her lover see that she has the generosity to
approve of and reward a well-meant service; that she has a mind that
lifts her above the little captious follies, which some (too
licentiously, I hope,) attribute to the sex in general: that she resents
not (if ever she thinks she has reason to be displeased) with petulance,
or through pride: nor thinks it necessary to insist upon little points,
to come at or secure great ones, perhaps not proper to be aimed at: nor
leaves room to suppose she has so much cause to doubt her own merit, as
to put the love of the man she intends to favour upon disagreeable or
arrogant trials: but let reason be the principal guide of her actions--
she will then never fail of that true respect, of that sincere
veneration, which she wishes to meet with; and which will make her
judgment after marriage consulted, sometimes with a preference to a man's
own; at other times as a delightful confirmation of his.
And so much, my beloved Miss Howe, for this subject now, and I dare say,
I will begin another letter by-and-by, and send both together. Mean
time, I am, &c.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
[In this letter, the Lady acquaints Miss Howe with Mr. Brand's report;
with her sister's proposals either that she will go abroad, or
prosecute Mr. Lovelace. She complains of the severe letters of
her uncle Antony and her sister; but in milder terms than they
She sends her Dr. Lewen's letter, and the copy of her answer to it.
She tells her of the difficulties she had been under to avoid seeing Mr.
Lovelace. She gives her the contents of the letter she wrote to
him to divert him from his proposed visit: she is afraid, she says,
that it is a step that is not strictly right, if allegory or
metaphor be not allowable to one in her circumstances.
She informs her of her cousin Morden's arrival and readiness to take her
part with her relations; of his designed interview with Mr.
Lovelace; and tells her what her apprehensions are upon it.
She gives her the purport of the conversation between her aunt Hervey and
Mrs. Norton. And then add:]
But were they ever so favourably inclined to me now, what can they do for
me? I wish, and that for their sakes more than for my own, that they
would yet relent--but I am very ill--I must drop my pen--a sudden
faintness overspreads my heart--excuse my crooked writing!--Adieu, my
THREE O'CLOCK, FRIDAY.
Once more I resume my pen. I thought I had taken my last farewell to
you. I never was so very oddly affected: something that seemed totally
to overwhelm my faculties--I don't know how to describe it--I believe I
do amiss in writing so much, and taking too much upon me: but an active
mind, though clouded by bodily illness, cannot be idle.
I'll see if the air, and a discontinued attention, will help me. But, if
it will not, don't be concerned for me, my dear. I shall be happy. Nay,
I am more so already than of late I thought I could ever be in this life.
--Yet how this body clings!--How it encumbers!
I could not send this letter away with so melancholy an ending, as you
would have thought it. So I deferred closing it, till I saw how I should
be on my return from my airing: and now I must say I am quite another
thing: so alert! that I could proceed with as much spirit as I began, and
add more preachment to your lively subject, if I had not written more
than enough upon it already.
I wish you would let me give you and Mr. Hickman joy. Do, my dear. I
should take some to myself, if you would.
My respectful compliments to all your friends, as well to those I have
the honour to know, as to those I do not know.
I have just now been surprised with a letter from one whom I long ago
gave up all thoughts of hearing from. From Mr. Wyerley. I will enclose
it. You'll be surprised at it as much as I was. This seems to be a man
whom I might have reclaimed. But I could not love him. Yet I hope I
never treated him with arrogance. Indeed, my dear, if I am not too
partial to myself, I think I refused him with more gentleness, than you
retain somebody else. And this recollection gives me less pain than I
should have had in the other case, on receiving this instance of a
generosity that affects me. I will also enclose the rough draught of my
answer, as soon as I have transcribed it.
If I begin another sheet, I shall write to the end of it: wherefore I
will only add my prayers for your honour and prosperity, and for a long,
long, happy life; and that, when it comes to be wound up, you may be as
calm and as easy at quitting it as I hope in God I shall be. I am, and
will be, to the latest moment,
Your truly affectionate and obliged servant,
MR. WYERLEY, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 23.
You will be surprised to find renewed, at this distance of time, an
address so positively though so politely discouraged: but, however it be
received, I must renew it. Every body has heard that you have been
vilely treated by a man who, to treat you ill, must be the vilest of men.
Every body knows your just resentment of his base treatment: that you are
determined never to be reconciled to him: and that you persist in these
sentiments against all the entreaties of his noble relations, against all
the prayers and repentance of his ignoble self. And all the world that
have the honour to know you, or have heard of him, applaud your
resolution, as worthy of yourself; worthy of your virtue, and of that
strict honour which was always attributed to you by every one who spoke
But, Madam, were all the world to have been of a different opinion, it
could never have altered mine. I ever loved you; I ever must love you.
Yet have I endeavoured to resign to my hard fate. When I had so many
ways, in vain, sought to move you in my favour, I sat down seemingly
contented. I even wrote to you that I would sit down contented. And I
endeavoured to make all my friends and companions think I was. But
nobody knows what pangs this self-denial cost me! In vain did the chace,
in vain did travel, in vain did lively company, offer themselves, and
were embraced in their turn: with redoubled force did my passion for you
renew my unhappiness, when I looked into myself, into my own heart; for
there did your charming image sit enthroned; and you engrossed me all.
I truly deplore those misfortunes, and those sufferings, for your own
sake; which nevertheless encourage me to renew my old hope. I know not
particulars. I dare not inquire after them; because my sufferings would
be increased with the knowledge of what your's have been. I therefore
desire not the know more than what common report wounds my ears with; and
what is given me to know, by your absence from your cruel family, and
from the sacred place, where I, among numbers of your rejected admirers,
used to be twice a week sure to behold you doing credit to that service
of which your example gave me the highest notions. But whatever be those
misfortunes, of whatsoever nature those sufferings, I shall bless the
occasion for my own sake (though for your's curse the author of them,) if
they may give me the happiness to know that this my renewed address may
not be absolutely rejected.--Only give me hope, that it may one day meet
with encouragement, if in the interim nothing happen, either in my morals
or behaviour, to give you fresh offence. Give me but hope of this--not
absolutely to reject me is all the hope I ask for; and I will love you,
if possible, still more than I ever loved you--and that for your
sufferings; for well you deserve to be loved, even to adoration, who can,
for honour's and for virtue's sake, subdue a passion which common spirits
[I speak by cruel experience] find invincible; and this at a time when
the black offender kneels and supplicates, as I am well assured he does,
(all his friends likewise supplicating for him,) to be forgiven.
That you cannot forgive him, not forgive him so as to receive him again
to favour, is no wonder. His offence is against virtue: this is a part
of your essence. What magnanimity is this! How just to yourself, and to
your spotless character! Is it any merit to admire more than ever a lady
who can so exaltedly distinguish? It is not. I cannot plead it.
What hope have I left, may it be said, when my address was before
rejected, now, that your sufferings, so nobly borne, have, with all the
good judges, exalted your character? Yet, Madam, I have to pride myself
in this, that while your friends (not looking upon you in the just light
I do) persecute and banish you; while your estate is withheld from you,
and threatened (as I know,) to be withheld, as long as the chicaning law,
or rather the chicaneries of its practisers, can keep it from you: while
you are destitute of protection; every body standing aloof, either
through fear of the injurer of one family, or of the hard-hearted of the
other; I pride myself, I say, to stand forth, and offer my fortune, and
my life, at your devotion. With a selfish hope indeed: I should be too
great an hypocrite not to own this! and I know how much you abhor
But, whether you encourage that hope or not, accept my best services, I
beseech you, Madam: and be pleased to excuse me for a piece of honest
art, which the nature of the case (doubting the honour of your notice
otherwise) makes me choose to conclude with--it is this:
If I am to be still the most unhappy of men, let your pen by one line
tell me so. If I am permitted to indulge a hope, however distant, your
silence shall be deemed, by me, the happiest indication of it that you
can give--except that still happier--(the happiest than can befall me,)
a signification that you will accept the tender of that life and fortune,
which it would be my pride and my glory to sacrifice in your service,
leaving the reward to yourself.
Be your determination as it may, I must for ever admire and love you.
Nor will I ever change my condition, while you live, whether you change
your's or not: for, having once had the presumption to address you, I
cannot stoop to think of any other woman: and this I solemnly declare in
the presence of that God, whom I daily pray to bless and protect you, be
your determination what it will with regard to, dearest Madam,
Your most devoted and ever affectionate
and faithful servant,
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO ALEX. WYERLEY, ESQ.
SAT. AUG. 26.
The generosity of your purpose would have commanded not only my notice,
but my thanks, although you had not given me the alternative you are
pleased to call artful. And I do therefore give you my thanks for your
At the time you distinguished me by your favourable opinion, I told you,
Sir, that my choice was the single life. And most truly did I tell you
When that was not permitted me, and I looked round upon the several
gentlemen who had been proposed to me, and had reason to believe that
there was not one of them against whose morals or principles there lay
not some exception, it would not have been much to be wondered at, if
FANCY had been allowed to give a preference, where JUDGMENT was at a loss
Far be it from me to say this with a design to upbraid you, Sir, or to
reflect upon you. I always wished you well. You had reason to think I
did. You had the generosity to be pleased with the frankness of my
behaviour to you; as I had with that of your's to me; and I am sorry,
very sorry, to be now told, that the acquaintance you obliged me with
gave you so much pain.
Had the option I have mentioned been allowed me afterwards, (as I not
only wished, but proposed,) things had not happened that did happen. But
there was a kind of fatality by which our whole family was impelled, as I
may say; and which none of us were permitted to avoid. But this is a
subject that cannot be dwelt upon.
As matters are, I have only to wish, for your own sake, that you will
encourage and cultivate those good motions in your mind, to which many
passages in your kind and generous letter now before me must be owing.
Depend upon it, Sir, that such motions, wrought into habit, will yield
you pleasure at a time when nothing else can; and at present, shining out
in your actions and conversation, will commend you to the worthiest of
our sex. For, Sir, the man who is so good upon choice, as well as by
education, has that quality in himself, which ennobles the human race,
and without which the most dignified by birth or rank or ignoble.
As to the resolution you solemnly make not to marry while I live, I
should be concerned at it, were I not morally sure that you may keep it,
and yet not be detrimented by it: since a few, a very few days, will
convince you, that I am got above all human dependence; and that there is
no need of that protection and favour, which you so generously offer to,
Your obliged well-wisher, and humble servant,
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
MONDAY NOON, AUG. 28.
About the time of poor Belton's interment last night, as near as we could
guess, Lord M., Mowbray, and myself, toasted once, To the memory of
honest Tom. Belton; and, by a quick transition to the living, Health to
Miss Harlowe; which Lord M. obligingly began, and, To the happy
reconciliation; and then we stuck in a remembrance To honest Jack
Belford, who, of late, we all agreed, is become an useful and humane man;
and one who prefers his friend's service to his own.
But what is the meaning I hear nothing from thee?* And why dost thou not
let me into the grounds of the sudden reconciliation between my beloved
and her friends, and the cause of the generous invitation which she gives
me of attending her at her father's some time hence?
* Mr. Belford has not yet sent him his last-written letter. His reason
for which see Letter XXIII. of this volume.
Thou must certainly have been let into the secret by this time; and I can
tell thee, I shall be plaguy jealous if there is to be any one thing pass
between my angel and thee that is to be concealed from me. For either I
am a principal in this cause, or I am nothing.
I have dispatched Will. to know the reason of thy neglect.
But let me whisper a word or two in thy ear. I begin to be afraid, after
all, that this letter was a stratagem to get me out of town, and for
nothing else: for, in the first place, Tourville, in a letter I received
this morning, tells me, that the lady is actually very ill! [I am sorry
for it with all my soul!]. This, thou'lt say, I may think a reason why
she cannot set out as yet: but then I have heard, on the other hand, but
last night, that the family is as implacable as ever; and my Lord and I
expect this very afternoon a visit from Colonel Morden; who, undertakes,
it seems, to question me as to my intention with regard to his cousin.
This convinces me, that if she has apprized her friends of my offers to
her, they will not believe me to be in earnest, till they are assured
that I am so from my own mouth. But then I understand, that the intended
visit is an officiousness of Morden's own, without the desire of any of
Now, Jack, what can a man make of all this? My intelligence as to the
continuance of her family's implacableness is not to be doubted; and yet
when I read her letter, what can one say?--Surely, the dear little rogue
will not lie!
I never knew her dispense with her word, but once; and that was, when she
promised to forgive me after the dreadful fire that had like to have
happened at our mother's, and yet would not see me the next day, and
afterwards made her escape to Hampstead, in order to avoid forgiving me:
and as she severely smarted for this departure from her honour given,
(for it is a sad thing for good people to break their word when it is in
their power to keep it,) one would not expect that she should set about
deceiving again; more especially by the premeditation of writing. Thou,
perhaps, wilt ask, what honest man is obliged to keep his promise with a
highwayman? for well I know thy unmannerly way of making comparisons; but
I say, every honest man is--and I will give thee an illustration.
Here is a marauding varlet, who demands your money, with a pistol at your
breast. You have neither money nor valuable effects about you; and
promise solemnly, if he will spare your life, that you will send him an
agreed-upon sum, by such a day, to such a place.
The question is, if your life is not in the fellow's power?
How he came by the power is another question; for which he must answer
with his life when caught--so he runs risque for risque.
Now if he give you your life, does he not give, think you, a valuable
consideration for the money you engage your honour to send him? If not,
the sum must be exorbitant, or your life is a very paltry one, even in
your own opinion.
I need not make the application; and I am sure that even thou thyself,
who never sparest me, and thinkest thou knowest my heart by thy own,
canst not possibly put the case in a stronger light against me.
Then, why do good people take upon themselves to censure, as they do,
persons less scrupulous than themselves? Is it not because the latter
allow themselves in any liberty, in order to carry a point? And can my
not doing my duty, warrant another for not doing his?--Thou wilt not say
And how would it sound, to put the case as strongly once more, as my
greatest enemy would put it, both as to fact and in words--here has that
profligate wretch Lovelace broken his vow with and deceived Miss Clarissa
Harlowe.--A vile fellow! would an enemy say: but it is like him. But
when it comes to be said that the pious Clarissa has broken her word with
and deceived Lovelace; Good Lord! would every one say; sure it cannot be!
Upon my soul, Jack, such is the veneration I have for this admirable
woman, that I am shocked barely at putting the case--and so wilt thou, if
thou respectest her as thou oughtest: for thou knowest that men and
women, all the world over, form their opinions of one another by each
person's professions and known practices. In this lady, therefore, it
would be unpardonable to tell a wilful untruth, as it would be strange if
I kept my word.--In love cases, I mean; for, as to the rest, I am an
honest, moral man, as all who know me can testify.
And what, after all, would this lady deserve, if she has deceived me in
this case? For did she not set me prancing away, upon Lord M.'s best
nag, to Lady Sarah's, and to Lady Betty's, with an erect and triumphing
countenance, to show them her letter to me?
And let me tell thee, that I have received their congratulations upon it:
Well, and now, cousin Lovelace, cries one: Well, and now, cousin
Lovelace, cries t'other; I hope you will make the best of husbands to so
excellent and so forgiving a lady!--And now we shall soon have the
pleasure of looking upon you as a reformed man, added one! And now we
shall see you in the way we have so long wished you to be in, cried the
My cousins Montague also have been ever since rejoicing in the new
relationship. Their charming cousin, and their lovely cousin, at every
word! And how dearly they will love he! What lessons they will take
from her! And yet Charlotte, who pretends to have the eye of an eagle,
was for finding out some mystery in the style and manner, till I overbore
her, and laughed her out of it.
As for Lord M. he has been in hourly expectation of being sent to with
proposals of one sort or other from the Harlowes; and still we have it,
that such proposals will be made by Colonel Morden when he comes; and
that the Harlowes only put on a fae of irreconcileableness, till they
know the issue of Morden's visit, in order to make the better terms with
Indeed, if I had not undoubted reason, as I said, to believe the
continuance of their antipathy to me, and implacableness to her, I should
be apt to think there might be some foundation for my Lord's conjecture;
for there is a cursed deal of low cunning in all that family, except in
the angel of it; who has so much generosity of soul, that she despises
cunning, both name and thing.
What I mean by all this is, to let thee see what a stupid figure I shall
make to all my own family, if my Clarissa has been capable, as Gulliver
in his abominable Yahoo story phrases it, if it were only that I should
be outwitted by such a novice at plotting, and that it would make me look
silly to my kinswomen here, who know I value myself upon my contrivances,
it would vex me to the heart; and I would instantly clap a featherbed
into a coach and six, and fetch her away, sick or well, and marry her at
But Col. Morden is come, and I must break off.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
MONDAY NIGHT, AUG. 28.
I doubt you will be all impatience that you have not heard from me since
mine of Thursday last. You would be still more so, if you knew that I
had by me a letter ready written.
I went early yesterday morning to Epsom; and found every thing disposed
according to the directions I had left on Friday; and at night the solemn
office was performed. Tourville was there; and behaved very decently,
and with greater concern than I thought he would every have expressed for
Thomasine, they told me, in a kind of disguise, was in an obscure pew,
out of curiosity (for it seems she was far from showing any tokens of
grief) to see the last office performed for the man whose heart she had
so largely contributed to break.
I was obliged to stay till this afternoon, to settle several necessary
matters, and to direct inventories to be taken, in order for
appraisement; for every thing is to be turned into money, by his will.
I presented his sister with the hundred guineas the poor man left me as
his executor, and desired her to continue in the house, and take the
direction of every thing, till I could hear from his nephew at Antigua,
who is heir at law. He had left her but fifty pounds, although he knew
her indigence; and that it was owing to a vile husband, and not to
herself, that she was indigent.
The poor man left about two hundred pounds in money, and two hundred
pounds in two East-India bonds; and I will contrive, if I can, to make
up the poor woman's fifty pounds, and my hundred guineas, two hundred
pounds to her; and then she will have some little matter coming in
certain, which I will oblige her to keep out of the hands of a son, who
has completed that ruin which his father had very nearly effected.
I gave Tourville his twenty pounds, and will send you and Mowbray your's
by the first order.
And so much for poor Belton's affairs till I see you.
I got to town in the evening, and went directly to Smith's. I found Mrs.
Lovick and Mrs. Smith in the back shop, and I saw they had been both in
tears. They rejoiced to see me, however; and told me, that the Doctor
and Mr. Goddard were but just gone; as was also the worthy clergyman, who
often comes to pray by her; and all three were of opinion, that she would
hardly live to see the entrance of another week. I was not so much
surprised as grieved; for I had feared as much when I left her on
I sent up my compliments; and she returned, that she would take it for a
favour if I would call upon her in the morning by eight o'clock. Mrs.
Lovick told me that she had fainted away on Saturday, while she was
writing, as she had done likewise the day before; and having received
benefit then by a little turn in a chair, she was carried abroad again.
She returned somewhat better; and wrote till late; yet had a pretty good
night: and went to Covent-garden church in the morning; but came home so
ill that she was obliged to lie down.
When she arose, seeing how much grieved Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith were
for her, she made apologies for the trouble she gave them--You were
happy, said she, before I came hither. It was a cruel thing in me to
come amongst honest strangers, and to be sick, and die with you.
When they touched upon the irreconcileableness of her friends, I have had
ill offices done me to them, said she, and they do not know how ill I am;
nor will they believe any thing I should write. But yet I cannot
sometimes forbear thinking it a little hard, that out of so many near and
dear friends as I have living, not one of them will vouchsafe to look
upon me. No old servant, no old friend, proceeded she, to be permitted
to come near me, without being sure of incurring displeasure! And to
have such a great work to go through by myself, a young creature as I am,
and to have every thing to think of as to my temporal matters, and to
order, to my very interment! No dear mother, said the sweet sufferer, to
pray by me and bless me!--No kind sister to sooth and comfort me!--But
come, recollected she, how do I know but all is for the best--if I can
but make a right use of my discomforts?--Pray for me, Mrs. Lovick--pray
for me, Mrs. Smith, that I may--I have great need of your prayers.--This
cruel man has discomposed me. His persecutions have given mea pain just
here, [putting her hand to her heart.] What a step has he made me take
to avoid him!--Who can touch pitch, and not be defiled? He had made a
bad spirit take possession of me, I think--broken in upon all my duties
--and will not yet, I doubt, let me be at rest. Indeed he is very cruel
--but this is one of my trials, I believe. By God's grace, I shall be
easier to-morrow, and especially if I have no more of his tormentings,
and if I can get a tolerable night. And I will sit up till eleven, that
She said, that though this was so heavy a day with her, she was at other
times, within these few days past especially, blessed with bright hours;
and particularly that she had now and then such joyful assurances, (which
she hoped were not presumptuous ones,) that God would receive her to his
mercy, that she could hardly contain herself, and was ready to think
herself above this earth while she was in it: And what, inferred she to
Mrs. Lovick, must be the state itself, the very aspirations after which
have often cast a beamy light through the thickest darkness, and, when I
have been at the lowest ebb, have dispelled the black clouds of
despondency?--As I hope they soon will this spirit of repining.
She had a pretty good night, it seems; and this morning went in a chair
to St. Dunstan's church.
The chairmen told Mrs. Smith, that after prayers (for she did not return
till between nine and ten) they carried her to a house in Fleet-street,
whither they never waited on her before. And where dost think this was?
--Why to an undertaker's! Good Heaven! what a woman is this! She went
into the back shop, and talked with the master of it about half an hour,
and came from him with great serenity; he waiting upon her to her chair
with a respectful countenance, but full of curiosity and seriousness.
'Tis evident that she went to bespeak her house that she talked of*--As
soon as you can, Sir, were her words to him as she got into the chair.
Mrs. Smith told me this with the same surprise and grief that I heard it.
* See Letter XXIII. of this volume.
She was very ill in the afternoon, having got cold either at St.
Dunstan's, or at chapel, and sent for the clergyman to pray by her; and
the women, unknown to her, sent both for Dr. H. and Mr. Goddard: who were
just gone, as I told you, when I came to pay my respects to her this
And thus have I recounted from the good women what passed to this night
since my absence.
I long for to-morrow, that I may see her: and yet it is such a melancholy
longing as I never experienced, and know not how to describe.
TUESDAY, AUG. 29.
I was at Smith's at half an hour after seven. They told me that the lady
was gone in a chair to St. Dunstan's: but was better than she had been in
either of the two preceding days; and that she said she to Mrs. Lovick
and Mrs. Smith, as she went into the chair, I have a good deal to answer
for to you, my good friends, for my vapourish conversation of last night.
If, Mrs. Lovick, said she, smiling, I have no new matters to discompose
me, I believe my spirits will hold out purely.
She returned immediately after prayers.
Mr. Belford, said she, as she entered the back shop where I was, (and
upon my approaching her,) I am very glad to see you. You have been
performing for your poor friend a kind last office. 'Tis not long ago
since you did the same for a near relation. Is it not a little hard upon
you, that these troubles should fall so thick to your lot? But they are
charitable offices: and it is a praise to your humanity, that poor dying
people know not where to choose so well.
I told her I was sorry to hear she had been so ill since I had the honour
to attend her; but rejoiced to find that now she seemed a good deal
It will be sometimes better, and sometimes worse, replied she, with poor
creatures, when they are balancing between life and death. But no more
of these matters just now. I hope, Sir, you'll breakfast with me. I was
quite vapourish yesterday. I had a very bad spirit upon me. Had I not,
Mrs. Smith? But I hope I shall be no more so. And to-day I am perfectly
serene. This day rises upon me as if it would be a bright one.
She desired me to walk up, and invited Mr. Smith and his wife, and Mrs.
Lovick also, to breakfast with her. I was better pleased with her
liveliness than with her looks.
The good people retiring after breakfast, the following conversation
passed between us:
Pray, Sir, let me ask you, if you think I may promise myself that I shall
be no more molested by your friend?
I hesitated: For how could I answer for such a man?
What shall I do, if he comes again?--You see how I am.--I cannot fly from
him now--If he has any pity left for the poor creature whom he has thus
reduced, let him not come.--But have you heard from him lately? And will
I hope not, Madam. I have not heard from him since Thursday last, that
he went out of town, rejoicing in the hopes your letter gave him of a
reconciliation between your friends and you, and that he might in good
time see you at your father's; and he is gone down to give all his
friends joy of the news, and is in high spirits upon it.
Alas! for me: I shall then surely have him come up to persecute me again!
As soon as he discovers that that was only a stratagem to keep him away,
he will come up, and who knows but even now he is upon the road? I
thought I was so bad that I should have been out of his and every body's
way before now; for I expected not that this contrivance would serve me
above two or three days; and by this time he must have found out that I
am not so happy as to have any hope of a reconciliation with my family;
and then he will come, if it be only in revenge for what he will think a
deceit, but is not, I hope, a wicked one.
I believe I looked surprised to hear her confess that her letter was a
stratagem only; for she said, You wonder, Mr. Belford, I observe, that I
could be guilty of such an artifice. I doubt it is not right: it was
done in a hurry of spirits. How could I see a man who had so mortally
injured me; yet pretending a sorrow for his crimes, (and wanting to see
me,) could behave with so much shocking levity, as he did to the honest
people of the house? Yet, 'tis strange too, that neither you nor he
found out my meaning on perusal of my letter. You have seen what I
wrote, no doubt?
I have, Madam. And then I began to account for it, as an innocent
Thus far indeed, Sir, it is an innocent, that I meant him no hurt, and
had a right to the effect I hoped for from it; and he had none to invade
me. But have you, Sir, that letter of his in which he gives you (as I
suppose he does) the copy of mine?
I have, Madam. And pulled it out of my letter-case. But hesitating--
Nay, Sir, said she, be pleased to read my letter to yourself--I desire
not to see his--and see if you can be longer a stranger to a meaning so
I read it to myself--Indeed, Madam, I can find nothing but that you are
going down to Harlowe-place to be reconciled to your father and other
friends: and Mr. Lovelace presumed that a letter from your sister, which
he saw brought when he was at Mr. Smith's, gave you the welcome news of
She then explained all to me, and that, as I may say, in six words--A
religious meaning is couched under it, and that's the reason that neither
you nor I could find it out.
'Read but for my father's house, Heaven, said she, and for the
interposition of my dear blessed friend, suppose the mediation of my
Saviour (which I humbly rely upon); and all the rest of the letter will
be accounted for.' I hope (repeated she) that it is a pardonable
artifice. But I am afraid it is not strictly right.
I read it so, and stood astonished for a minute at her invention, her
piety, her charity, and at thine and mine own stupidity to be thus taken
And now, thou vile Lovelace, what hast thou to do (the lady all
consistent with herself, and no hopes left for thee) but to hang, drown,
or shoot thyself, for an outwitted boaster?
My surprise being a little over, she proceeded: As to the letter that
came from my sister while your friend was here, you will soon see, Sir,
that it is the cruellest letter she ever wrote me.
And then she expressed a deep concern for what might be the consequence
of Colonel Morden's intended visit to you; and besought me, that if now,
or at any time hereafter, I had opportunity to prevent any further
mischief, without detriment or danger to myself, I would do it.
I assured her of the most particular attention to this and to all her
commands; and that in a manner so agreeable to her, that she invoked a
blessing upon me for my goodness, as she called it, to a desolate
creature who suffered under the worst of orphanage; those were her words.
She then went back to her first subject, her uneasiness for fear of your
molesting her again; and said, If you have any influence over him, Mr.
Belford, prevail upon him that he will give me the assurance that the
short remainder of my time shall be all my own. I have need of it.
Indeed I have. Why will he wish to interrupt me in my duty? Has he not
punished me enough for my preference of him to all his sex? Has he not
destroyed my fame and my fortune? And will not his causeless vengeance
upon me be complete, unless he ruin my soul too?--Excuse me, Sir, for
this vehemence! But indeed it greatly imports me to know that I shall be
no more disturbed by him. And yet, with all this aversion, I would
sooner give way to his visit, though I were to expire the moment I saw
him, than to be the cause of any fatal misunderstanding between you and
I assured her that I would make such a representation of the matter to
you, and of the state of her health, that I would undertake to answer for
you, that you would not attempt to come near her.
And for this reason, Lovelace, do I lay the whole matter before you, and
desire you will authorize me, as soon as this and mine of Saturday last
come to your hands, to dissipate her fears.
This gave her a little satisfaction; and then she said that had I not
told her that I could promise for you, she was determined, ill as she is,
to remove somewhere out of my knowledge as well as out of your's. And
yet, to have been obliged to leave people I am but just got acquainted
with, said the poor lady, and to have died among perfect strangers, would
have completed my hardships.
This conversation, I found, as well from the length as the nature of it,
had fatigued her; and seeing her change colour once or twice, I made that
my excuse, and took leave of her: desiring her permission, however, to
attend her in the evening; and as often as possible; for I could not help
telling her that, every time I saw her, I more and more considered her as
a beatified spirit; and as one sent from Heaven to draw me after her out
of the miry gulf in which I had been so long immersed.
And laugh at me if thou wilt; but it is true that, every time I approach
her, I cannot but look upon her as one just entering into a companionship
with saints and angels. This thought so wholly possessed me, that I
could not help begging, as I went away, her prayers and her blessing,
with the reverence due to an angel.
In the evening, she was so low and weak, that I took my leave of her in
less than a quarter of an hour. I went directly home. Where, to the
pleasure and wonder of my cousin and her family, I now pass many honest
evenings: which they impute to your being out of town.
I shall dispatch my packet to-morrow morning early by my own servant, to
make thee amends for the suspense I must have kept thee in: thou'lt thank
me for that, I hope; but wilt not, I am sure, for sending thy servant
back without a letter.
I long for the particulars of the conversation between you and Mr.
Morden; the lady, as I have hinted, is full of apprehensions about it.
Send me back this packet when perused; for I have not had either time or
patience to take a copy of it. And I beseech you enable me to make good
my engagements to the poor lady that you will not invade her again.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 30.
I have a conversation to give you that passed between this admirable lady
and Dr. H. which will furnish a new instance of the calmness and serenity
with which she can talk of death, and prepare for it, as if it were an
occurrence as familiar to her as dressing and undressing.
As soon as I had dispatched my servant to you with my letters of the
26th, 28th, and yesterday the 29th, I went to pay my duty to her, and had
the pleasure to find her, after a tolerable night, pretty lively and
cheerful. She was but just returned from her usual devotions; and Doctor
H. alighted as she entered the door.
After inquiring how she did, and hearing her complaints of shortness of
breath, (which she attributed to inward decay, precipitated by her late
harasses, as well from her friends as from you,) he was for advising her
to go into the air.
What will that do for me? said she: tell me truly, good Sir, with a
cheerful aspect, (you know you cannot disturb me by it,) whether now you
do not put on the true physician; and despairing that any thing in
medicine will help me, advise me to the air, as the last resource?--Can
you think the air will avail in such a malady as mine?
He was silent.
I ask, said she, because my friends (who will possibly some time hence
inquire after the means I used for my recovery) may be satisfied that I
omitted nothing which so worthy and skilful a physician prescribed?
The air, Madam, may possibly help the difficulty of breathing, which has
so lately attacked you.