Part 6 out of 6
I attended the lady just now. She is extremely ill: yet is she aiming
at an answer to her Norton's letter, which she began yesterday in her own
chamber, and has written a good deal: but in a hand not like her own fine
one, as Mrs. Lovick tells me, but larger, and the lines crooked.
I have accepted of the offer of a room adjoining to the widow Lovick's,
till I see how matters go; but unknown to the lady; and I shall go home
every night, for a few hours. I would not lose a sentence that I could
gain from lips so instructive, nor the opportunity of receiving any
command from her, for an estate.
In this my new apartment I now write, and shall continue to write, as
occasions offer, that I may be the more circumstantial: but I depend upon
the return of my letters, or copies of them, on demand, that I may have
together all that relates to this affecting story; which I shall
re-peruse with melancholy pleasure to the end of my life.
I think I will send thee Brand's letter to Mr. John Harlowe, recanting
his base surmises. It is a matchless piece of pedantry; and may perhaps
a little divert thy deep chagrin: some time hence at least it may, if not
What wretched creatures are there in the world! What strangely mixed
creatures!--So sensible and so silly at the same time! What a various,
what a foolish creature is man!--
The lady has just finished her letter, and has entertained Mrs. Lovick,
Mrs. Smith, and me, with a noble discourse on the vanity and brevity of
life, to which I cannot do justice in the repetition: and indeed I am so
grieved for her, that, ill as she is, my intellects are not half so clear
A few things which made the strongest impression upon me, as well from
the sentiments themselves as from her manner of uttering them, I
remember. She introduced them thus:
I am thinking, said she, what a gradual and happy death God Almighty
(blessed be his name) affords me! Who would have thought, that, suffering
what I have suffered, and abandoned as I have been, with such a
tender education as I have had, I should be so long a dying!--But see now
by little and little it had come to this. I was first take off from the
power of walking; then I took a coach--a coach grew too violent an
exercise: then I took up a chair--the prison was a large DEATH-STRIDE
upon me--I should have suffered longer else!--Next, I was unable to go to
church; then to go up or down stairs; now hardly can move from one room
to another: and a less room will soon hold me.--My eyes begin to fail me,
so that at times I cannot see to read distinctly; and now I can hardly
write, or hold a pen.--Next, I presume, I shall know nobody, nor be able
to thank any of you; I therefore now once more thank you, Mrs. Lovick,
and you, Mrs. Smith, and you, Mr. Belford, while I can thank you, for all
your kindness to me. And thus by little and little, in such a gradual
sensible death as I am blessed with, God dies away in us, as I may say,
all human satisfaction, in order to subdue his poor creatures to himself.
Thou mayest guess how affected we all were at this moving account of her
progressive weakness. We heard it with wet eyes; for what with the
women's example, and what with her moving eloquence, I could no more help
it than they. But we were silent nevertheless; and she went on applying
herself to me.
O Mr. Belford! This is a poor transitory life in the best enjoyments.
We flutter about here and there, with all our vanities about us, like
painted butterflies, for a gay, but a very short season, till at last we
lay ourselves down in a quiescent state, and turn into vile worms: And
who knows in what form, or to what condition we shall rise again?
I wish you would permit me, a young creature, just turned of nineteen
years of age, blooming and healthy as I was a few months ago, now nipt by
the cold hand of death, to influence you, in these my last hours, to a
life of regularity and repentance for any past evils you may have been
guilty of. For, believe me, Sir, that now, in this last stage, very few
things will bear the test, or be passed as laudable, if pardonable, at
our own bar, much less at a more tremendous one, in all we have done, or
delighted in, even in a life not very offensive neither, as we may think!
--Ought we not then to study in our full day, before the dark hours
approach, so to live, as may afford reflections that will soften the
agony of the last moments when they come, and let in upon the departing
soul a ray of Divine mercy to illuminate its passage into an awful
She was ready to faint, and choosing to lie down, I withdrew; I need not
say with a melancholy heart: and when I got to my new-taken apartment, my
heart was still more affected by the sight of the solemn letter the
admirable lady had so lately finished. It was communicated to me by Mrs.
Lovick; who had it to copy for me; but it was not to be delivered to me
till after her departure. However, I trespassed so far, as to prevail
upon the widow to let me take a copy of it; which I did directly in
I send it enclosed. If thou canst read it, and thy heart not bleed at
thy eyes, thy remorse can hardly be so deep as thou hast inclined me to
think it is.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. NORTON
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER LVI.*]
* Begun on Monday Sept. 4, and by piecemeal finished on Tuesday; but not
sent till the Thursday following.
MY DEAREST MRS. NORTON,
I am afraid I shall not be able to write all that is upon my mind to say
to you upon the subject of your last. Yet I will try.
As to my friends, and as to the sad breakfasting, I cannot help being
afflicted for them. What, alas! has not my mother, in particular,
suffered by my rashness!--Yet to allow so much for a son!--so little for
a daughter!--But all now will soon be over, as to me. I hope they will
bury all their resentments in my grave.
As to your advice, in relation to Mr. Belford, let me only say, that the
unhappy reprobation I have met with, and my short time, must be my
apology now.--I wish I could have written to my mother and my uncles as
you advise. And yet, favours come so slowly from them.
The granting of one request only now remains as a desirable one from
them. Which nevertheless, when granted, I shall not be sensible of. It
is that they will be pleased to permit my remains to be laid with those
of my ancestors--placed at the feet of my dear grandfather, as I have
mentioned in my will. This, however, as they please. For, after all,
this vile body ought not so much to engage my cares. It is a weakness--
but let it be called a natural weakness, and I shall be excused;
especially when a reverential gratitude shall be known to be the
foundation of it. You know, my dear woman, how my grandfather loved me.
And you know how much I honoured him, and that from my very infancy to
the hour of his death. How often since have I wished, that he had not
loved me so well!
I wish not now, at the writing of this, to see even my cousin Morden.
O, my blessed woman! My dear maternal friend! I am entering upon a
better tour than to France or Italy either!--or even than to settle at my
once-beloved Dairy-house!--All these prospects and pleasures, which used
to be so agreeable to me in health, how poor seem they to me now!--
Indeed, indeed, my dear Mamma Norton, I shall be happy! I know I shall!
--I have charming forebodings of happiness already!--Tell all my dear
friends, for their comfort, that I shall!--Who would not bear the
punishments I have borne, to have the prospects and assurances I rejoice
in!--Assurances I might not have had, were my own wishes to have been
granted to me!
Neither do I want to see even you, my dear Mrs. Norton. Nevertheless I
must, in justice to my own gratitude, declare, that there was a time,
could you have been permitted to come, without incurring displeasure from
those whose esteem it is necessary for you to cultivate and preserve,
that your presence and comfortings would have been balm to my wounded
mind. But were you now, even by consent, and with reconciliatory
tidings, to come, it would but add to your grief; and the sight of one I
so dearly love, so happily fraught with good news, might but draw me back
to wishes I have had great struggles to get above. And let me tell you
for your comfort, that I have not left undone any thing that ought to be
done, either respecting mind or person; no, not to the minutest
preparation: so that nothing is left for you to do for me. Every one has
her direction as to the last offices.--And my desk, that I now write upon
--O my dearest Mrs. Norton, all is provided!--All is ready! And all will
be as decent as it should be!
And pray let my Miss Howe know, that by the time you will receive this,
and she your signification of the contents of it, will, in all
probability, be too late for her to do me the inestimable favour, as I
should once have thought it, to see me. God will have no rivals in the
hearts of those he sanctifies. By various methods he deadens all other
sensations, or rather absorbs them all in the love of him.
I shall nevertheless love you, my Mamma Norton, and my Miss Howe, whose
love to me has passed the love of woman, to my latest hour!--But yet, I
am now above the quick sense of those pleasures which once delighted me,
and once more I say, that I do not wish to see objects so dear to me,
which might bring me back again into sense, and rival my supreme love.
Twice have I been forced to leave off. I wished, that my last writing
might be to you, or to Miss Howe, if it might not be to my dearest Ma----
Mamma, I would have wrote--is the word distinct?--My eyes are so misty!--
If, when I apply to you, I break off in half-words, do you supply them--
the kindest are your due.--Be sure take the kindest, to fill up chasms
with, if any chasms there be--
Another breaking off!--But the new day seems to rise upon me with healing
in its wings. I have gotten, I think, a recruit of strength: spirits, I
bless God, I have not of late wanted.
Let my dearest Miss Howe purchase her wedding-garments--and may all
temporal blessings attend the charming preparation!--Blessings will, I
make no question, notwithstanding the little cloudiness that Mr. Hickman
encounters with now and then, which are but prognostications of a future
golden day to him: for her heart is good, and her head not wrong.--But
great merit is coy, and that coyness had not always its foundation in
pride: but if it should seem to be pride, take off the skin-deep
covering, and, in her, it is noble diffidence, and a love that wants but
to be assured!
Tell Mr. Hickman I write this, and write it, as I believe, with my last
pen; and bid him bear a little at first, and forbear; and all the future
will be crowning gratitude, and rewarding love: for Miss Howe had great
sense, fine judgment, and exalted generosity; and can such a one be
ungrateful or easy under those obligations which his assiduity and
obligingness (when he shall be so happy as to call her his) will lay her
under to him?
As for me, never bride was so ready as I am. My wedding garments are
bought---and though not fine or gawdy to the sight, though not adorned
with jewels, and set off with gold and silver, (for I have no beholders'
eyes to wish to glitter in,) yet will they be the easiest, the happiest
suit, that ever bridal maiden wore--for they are such as carry with them
a security against all those anxieties, pains, and perturbations, which
sometimes succeed to the most promising outsettings.
And now, my dear Mrs. Norton, do I wish for no other.
O hasten, good God, if it be thy blessed will, the happy moment that I am
to be decked out in his all-quieting garb! And sustain, comfort, bless,
and protect with the all-shadowing wing of thy mercy, my dear parents, my
uncles, my brother, my sister, my cousin Morden, my ever-dear and
ever-kind Miss Howe, my good Mrs. Norton, and every deserving person to
whom they wish well! is the ardent prayer, first and last, of every
beginning hour, as the clock tells it me, (hours now are days, nay,
Your now not sorrowing or afflicted, but happy,
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
WED. MORN. SEPT. 6, HALF AN HOUR AFTER THREE.
I am not the savage which you and my worst enemies think me. My soul is
too much penetrated by the contents of the letter which you enclosed in
your last, to say one word more to it, than that my heart has bled over
it from every vein!--I will fly from the subject--but what other can I
choose, that will not be as grievous, and lead into the same?
I could quarrel with all the world; with thee, as well as the rest;
obliging as thou supposest thyself for writing to me hourly. How darest
thou, (though unknown to her,) to presume to take an apartment under the
sane roof with her?--I cannot bear to think that thou shouldest be seen,
at all hours passing to and repassing from her apartments, while I, who
have so much reason to call her mine, and one was preferred by her to all
the world, am forced to keep aloof, and hardly dare to enter the city
where she is!
If there be any thing in Brand's letter that will divert me, hasten it to
me. But nothing now will ever divert me, will ever again give me joy or
pleasure! I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep. I am sick of all the
Surely it will be better when all is over--when I know the worst the
Fates can do against me--yet how shall I bear that worst?--O Belford,
Belford! write it not to me!--But if it must happen, get somebody else to
write; for I shall curse the pen, the hand, the head, and the heart,
employed in communicating to me the fatal tidings. But what is this
saying, when already I curse the whole world except her--myself most?
In fine, I am a most miserable being. Life is a burden to me. I would
not bear it upon these terms for one week more, let what would be my lot;
for already is there a hell begun in my own mind. Never more mention it
to me, let her, or who will say it, the prison--I cannot bear it--May
d----n----n seize quick the cursed woman, who could set death upon taking
that large stride, as the dear creature calls it!--I had no hand in it!--
But her relations, her implacable relations, have done the business. All
else would have been got over. Never persuade me but it would. The fire
of youth, and the violence of passion, would have pleaded for me to good
purpose, with an individual of a sex, which loves to be addressed with
passionate ardour, even to tumult, had it not been for that cruelty and
unforgivingness, which, (the object and the penitence considered,) have
no example, and have aggravated the heinousness of my faults.
Unable to rest, though I went not to bed till two, I dispatch this ere
the day dawn--who knows what this night, this dismal night, may have
I must after my messenger. I have told the varlet I will meet him,
perhaps at Knightsbridge, perhaps in Piccadilly; and I trust not myself
with pistols, not only on his account, but my own--for pistols are too
ready a mischief.
I hope thou hast a letter ready for him. He goes to thy lodgings first--
for surely thou wilt not presume to take thy rest in an apartment near
her's. If he miss thee there, he flies to Smith's, and brings me word
whether in being, or not.
I shall look for him through the air as I ride, as well as on horseback;
for if the prince of it serve me, as well as I have served him, he will
bring the dog by his ears, like another Habakkuk, to my saddle-bow, with
the tidings that my heart pants after.
Nothing but the excruciating pangs the condemned soul fells, at its
entrance into the eternity of the torments we are taught to fear, can
exceed what I now feel, and have felt for almost this week past; and
mayest thou have a spice of those, if thou hast not a letter ready
written for thy
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUEDAY, SEPT. 5, SIX O'CLOCK.
The lady remains exceedingly weak and ill. Her intellects, nevertheless,
continue clear and strong, and her piety and patience are without
example. Every one thinks this night will be her last. What a shocking
thing is that to say of such an excellence! She will not, however, send
away her letter to her Norton, as yet. She endeavoured in vain to
superscribe it: so desired me to do it. Her fingers will not hold the
pen with the requisite steadiness.--She has, I fear, written and read her
She is somewhat better than she was. The doctor had been here, and
thinks she will hold out yet a day or two. He has ordered her, as for
some time past, only some little cordials to take when ready to faint.
She seemed disappointed, when he told her she might yet live two or three
days; and said, she longed for dismission!--Life was not so easily
extinguished, she saw, as some imagined.--Death from grief, was, she
believed, the slowest of deaths. But God's will must be done!--Her only
prayer was now for submission to it: for she doubted not but by the
Divine goodness she should be an happy creature, as soon as she could be
divested of these rags of mortality.
Of her own accord she mentioned you; which, till then, she had avoided to
do. She asked, with great serenity, where you were?
I told her where, and your motives for being so near; and read to her a
few lines of your's of this morning, in which you mention your wishes to
see her, your sincere affliction, and your resolution not to approach her
without her consent.
I would have read more; but she said, Enough, Mr. Belford, enough!--Poor
man, does his conscience begin to find him!--Then need not any body to
wish him a greater punishment!--May it work upon him to an happy purpose!
I took the liberty to say, that as she was in such a frame that nothing
now seemed capable of discomposing her, I could wish that you might have
the benefit of her exhortations, which, I dared to say, while you were so
seriously affected, would have a greater force upon you than a thousand
sermons; and how happy you would think yourself, if you could but receive
her forgiveness on your knees.
How can you think of such a thing, Mr. Belford? said she, with some
emotion; my composure is owing, next to the Divine goodness blessing my
earnest supplications for it, to the not seeing him. Yet let him know
that I now again repeat, that I forgive him.--And may God Almighty,
clasping her fingers, and lifting up her eyes, forgive him too; and
perfect repentance, and sanctify it to him!--Tell him I say so! And tell
him, that if I could not say so with my whole heart, I should be very
uneasy, and think that my hopes of mercy were but weakly founded; and
that I had still, in my harboured resentment, some hankerings after a
life which he has been the cause of shortening.
The divine creature then turning aside her head--Poor man, said she! I
once could have loved him. This is saying more than ever I could say of
any other man out of my own family! Would he have permitted me to have
been an humble instrument to have made him good, I think I could have
made him happy! But tell him not this if he be really penitent--it may
too much affect him!--There she paused.--
Admirable creature!--Heavenly forgiver!--Then resuming--but pray tell
him, that if I could know that my death might be a mean to reclaim and
save him, it would be an inexpressible satisfaction to me!
But let me not, however, be made uneasy with the apprehension of seeing
him. I cannot bear to see him!
Just as she had done speaking, the minister, who had so often attended
her, sent up his name; and was admitted.
Being apprehensive that it would be with difficulty that you could
prevail upon that impetuous spirit of your's not to invade her in her
dying hours, and of the agonies into which a surprise of this nature
would throw her, I thought this gentleman's visit afforded a proper
opportunity to renew the subject; and, (having asked her leave,)
acquainted him with the topic we had been upon.
The good man urged that some condescensions were usually expected, on
these solemn occasions, from pious souls like her's, however satisfied
with themselves, for the sake of showing the world, and for example-sake,
that all resentments against those who had most injured them were
subdued; and if she would vouchsafe to a heart so truly penitent, as I
had represented Mr. Lovelace's to be, that personal pardon, which I had
been pleading for there would be no room to suppose the least lurking
resentment remained; and it might have very happy effects upon the
I have no lurking resentment, Sir, said she--this is not a time for
resentment: and you will be the readier to believe me, when I can assure
you, (looking at me,) that even what I have most rejoiced in, the truly
friendly love that has so long subsisted between my Miss Howe and her
Clarissa, although to my last gasp it will be the dearest to me of all
that is dear in this life, has already abated of its fervour; has already
given place to supremer fervours; and shall the remembrance of Mr.
Lovelace's personal insults, which I bless God never corrupted that mind
which her friendship so much delighted, be stronger in these hours with
me, then the remembrance of a love as pure as the human heart ever
boasted? Tell, therefore, the world, if you please, and (if, Mr.
Belford, you think what I said to you before not strong enough,) tell the
poor man, that I not only forgive him, but have such earnest wishes for
the good of his soul, and that from consideration of its immortality,
that could my penitence avail for more sins than my own, my last tear
should fall for him by whom I die!
Our eyes and hands expressed to us both what our lips could not utter.
Say not, then, proceeded she, nor let it be said, that my resentments are
unsubdued!--And yet these eyes, lifted up to Heaven as witness to the
truth of what I have said, shall never, if I can help it, behold him
more!--For do you not consider, Sirs, how short my time is; what much
more important subjects I have to employ it upon; and how unable I should
be, (so weak as I am,) to contend even with the avowed penitence of a
person in strong health, governed by passions unabated, and always
violent?--And now I hope you will never urge me more on this subject?
The minister said, it were pity ever to urge this plea again.
You see, Lovelace, that I did not forget the office of a friend, in
endeavouring to prevail upon her to give you her last forgiveness
personally. And I hope, as she is so near her end, you will not invade
her in her last hours; since she must be extremely discomposed at such an
interview; and it might make her leave the world the sooner for it.
This reminds me of an expression which she used on your barbarous hunting
of her at Smith's, on her return to her lodgings; and that with a
serenity unexampled, (as Mrs. Lovick told me, considering the occasion,
and the trouble given her by it, and her indisposition at the time;) he
will not let me die decently, said the angelic sufferer!--He will not let
me enter into my Maker's presence with the composure that is required in
entering into the drawing-room of an earthly prince!
I cannot, however, forbear to wish, that the heavenly creature could have
prevailed upon herself, in these her last hours, to see you; and that for
my sake, as well as yours; for although I am determined never to be
guilty of the crimes, which, till within these few past weeks have
blackened my former life; and for which, at present, I most heartily hate
myself; yet should I be less apprehensive of such a relapse, if wrought
upon by the solemnity which such an interview must have been attended
with, you had become a reformed man: for no devil do I fear, but one in
It is now eleven o'clock at night. The lady who retired to rest an hour
ago, is, as Mrs. Lovick tells me, in a sweet slumber.
I will close here. I hope I shall find her the better for it in the
morning. Yet, alas! how frail is hope--How frail is life; when we are
apt to build so much on every shadowy relief; although in such a
desperate case as this, sitting down to reflect, we must know, that it is
I will enclose Brand's horrid pedantry. And for once am aforehand with
thy ravenous impatience.
MR. BRAND, TO MR. JOHN WALTON
SAT. NIGHT, SEPT. 2.
DEAR MR. WALTON,
I am obliged to you for the very 'handsomely penned', (and 'elegantly
written,') letter which you have sent me on purpose to do 'justice' to
the 'character' of the 'younger' Miss Harlowe; and yet I must tell you
that I had reason, 'before that came,' to 'think,' (and to 'know'
indeed,) that we were 'all wrong.' And so I had employed the 'greatest
part' of this 'week,' in drawing up an 'apologetical letter' to my worthy
'patron,' Mr. John Harlowe, in order to set all 'matters right' between
'me and them,' and, ('as far as I could,') between 'them' and 'Miss.'
So it required little more than 'connection' and 'transcribing,' when I
received 'your's'; and it will be with Mr. Harlowe aforesaid, 'to-morrow
morning'; and this, and the copy of that, will be with you on 'Monday
You cannot imagine how sorry I am that 'you' and Mrs. Walton, and Mrs.
Barker, and 'I myself,' should have taken matters up so lightly,
(judging, alas-a-day! by appearance and conjecture,) where 'character'
and 'reputation' are concerned. Horace says truly,
'Et semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum.'
That is, 'Words one spoken cannot be recalled.' But, Mr. Walton, they
may be 'contradicted' by 'other' words; and we may confess ourselves
guilty of a 'mistake,' and express our 'concern' for being 'mistaken';
and resolve to make our 'mistake' a 'warning' to us for the 'future': and
this is all that 'can be done,' and what every 'worthy mind will do'; and
what nobody can be 'readier to do' than 'we four undesigning offenders,'
(as I see by 'your letter,' on 'your part,' and as you will see by the
'enclosed copy,' on 'mine';) which, if it be received as I 'think it
ought,' (and as I 'believe it will,') must give me a 'speedy' opportunity
to see you when I 'visit the lady'; to whom, (as you will see in it,) I
expect to be sent up with the 'olive-branch.'
The matter in which we all 'erred,' must be owned to be 'very nice'; and
(Mr. Belford's 'character considered') 'appearances' ran very strong
'against the lady.' But all that this serveth to show is, 'that in
doubtful matters, the wisest people may be mistaken'; for so saith the
'Fallitur in dubiis hominum solertia rebus.'
If you have an 'opportunity,' you may (as if 'from yourself,' and
'unknown to me') show the enclosed to Mr. Belford, who (you tell me)
'resenteth' the matter very heinously; but not to let him 'see' or 'hear
read,' those words 'that relate to him,' in the paragraph at the 'bottom
of the second page,' beginning, ['But yet I do insist upon it,] to the
'end' of that paragraph; for one would not make one's self 'enemies,' you
know; and I have 'reason to think,' that this Mr. 'Belford' is as
'passionate' and 'fierce' a man as Mr. Lovelace. What pity it is the
lady could find no 'worthier a protector!' You may paste those lines
over with 'blue' or 'black paper,' before he seeth it: and if he
insisteth upon taking a copy of my letter, (for he, or any body that
'seeth it,' or 'heareth it read,' will, no doubt, be glad to have by them
the copy of a letter so full of the 'sentiments' of the 'noblest writers'
of 'antiquity,' and 'so well adapted,' as I will be bold to say they are,
to the 'point in hand'; I say, if he insisteth upon taking a copy,) let
him give you the 'strongest assurances' not to suffer it to be 'printed'
on 'any account'; and I make the same request to you, that 'you' will
not; for if any thing be to be made of a 'man's works,' who, but the
'author,' should have the 'advantage'? And if the 'Spectators,' the
'Tatlers,' the 'Examiners,' the 'Guardians,' and other of our polite
papers, make such a 'strutting' with a 'single verse,' or so by way of
'motto,' in the 'front' of 'each day's' paper; and if other 'authors'
pride themselves in 'finding out' and 'embellishing' the 'title-pages'
of their 'books' with a 'verse' or 'adage' from the 'classical writers';
what a figure would 'such a letter as the enclosed make,' so full fraught
with 'admirable precepts,' and 'a-propos quotations,' from the 'best
I have been told that a 'certain noble Lord,' who once sat himself down
to write a 'pamphlet' in behalf of a 'great minister,' after taking
'infinite pains' to 'no purpose' to find a 'Latin motto,' gave commission
to a friend of 'his' to offer to 'any one,' who could help him to a
'suitable one,' but of one or two lines, a 'hamper of claret.'
Accordingly, his lordship had a 'motto found him' from 'Juvenal,' which
he 'unhappily mistaking,' (not knowing 'Juvenal' was a 'poet,') printed
as a prose 'sentence' in his 'title-page.'
If, then, 'one' or 'two' lines were of so much worth, (A 'hamper of
claret'! No 'less'!) of what 'inestimable value' would 'such a letter as
mine' be deemed?--And who knoweth but that this noble P--r, (who is now*
living,) if he should happen to see 'this letter' shining with such a
'glorious string of jewels,' might give the 'writer a scarf,' in order to
have him 'always at hand,' or be a 'mean' (some way or other) to bring
him into 'notice'? And I would be bold to say ('bad' as the 'world' is)
a man of 'sound learning' wanteth nothing but an 'initiation' to make his
* i.e. At the time this Letter was written.
I hope, my good friend, that the lady will not 'die': I shall be much
'grieved,' if she doth; and the more because of mine 'unhappy
misrepresentation': so will 'you' for the 'same cause'; so will her
'parents' and 'friends.' They are very 'rich' and 'very worthy'
But let me tell you, 'by-the-by,' that they had carried the matter
against her 'so far,' that I believe in my heart they were glad to
'justify themselves' by 'my report'; and would have been 'less pleased,'
had I made a 'more favourable one.' And yet in 'their hearts' they
'dote' upon her. But now they are all (as I hear) inclined to be
'friends with her,' and 'forgive her'; her 'brother,' as well as 'the
But their 'cousin,' Col. Morden, 'a very fine gentleman,' had had such
'high words' with them, and they with him, that they know not how to
'stoop,' lest it should look like being frighted into an 'accommodation.'
Hence it is, that 'I' have taken the greater liberty to 'press the
reconciliation'; and I hope in 'such good season,' that they will all be
'pleased' with it: for can they have a 'better handle' to save their
'pride' all round, than by my 'mediation'? And let me tell you, (inter
nos, 'betwixt ourselves,') 'very proud they all are.'
By this 'honest means,' (for by 'dishonest ones' I would not be
'Archbishop of Canterbury,') I hope to please every body; to be
'forgiven,' in the 'first place,' by 'the lady,' (whom, being a 'lover of
learning' and 'learned men,' I shall have great 'opportunities' of
'obliging'; for, when she departed from her father's house, I had but
just the honour of her 'notice,' and she seemed 'highly pleased' with my
'conversation';) and, 'next' to be 'thanked' and 'respected' by her
'parents,' and 'all her family'; as I am (I bless God for it) by my 'dear
friend' Mr. John Harlowe: who indeed is a man that professeth a 'great
esteem' for 'men of erudition'; and who (with 'singular delight,' I know)
will run over with me the 'authorities' I have 'quoted,' and 'wonder' at
my 'memory,' and the 'happy knack' I have of recommending 'mine own sense
of things' in the words of the 'greatest sages of antiquity.'
Excuse me, my good friend, for this 'seeming vanity.' The great Cicero
(you must have heard, I suppose) had a 'much greater' spice of it, and
wrote a 'long letter begging' and 'praying' to be 'flattered.' But if I
say 'less of myself' than other people (who know me) 'say of me,' I think
I keep a 'medium' between 'vanity' and 'false modesty'; the latter of
which oftentimes gives itself the 'lie,' when it is 'declaring of' the
'compliments,' that 'every body' gives it as its due: an hypocrisy, as
well as folly, that, (I hope,) I shall for ever scorn to be guilty of.
I have 'another reason' (as I may tell to you, my 'old school-fellow') to
make me wish for this 'fine lady's recovery' and 'health'; and that is,
(by some distant intimations,) I have heard from Mr. John Harlowe, that
it is 'very likely' (because of the 'slur' she hath received) that she
will choose to 'live privately' and 'penitently'--and will probably (when
she cometh into her 'estate') keep a 'chaplain' to direct her in her
'devotions' and 'penitence'--If she doth, who can stand a 'better chance'
than 'myself'?--And as I find (by 'your' account, as well as by 'every
body's') that she is innocent as to 'intention,' and is resolved never to
think of Mr. 'Lovelace more,' who knoweth 'what' (in time) 'may happen'?
--And yet it must be after Mr. 'Lovelace's death,' (which may possibly
sooner happen than he 'thinketh' of, by means of his 'detestable
courses':) for, after all, a man who is of 'public utility,' ought not
(for the 'finest woman' in the world) to lay his 'throat' at the 'mercy'
of a man who boggleth at nothing.
I beseech you, let not this hint 'go farther' than to 'yourself,' your
'spouse,' and Mrs. 'Barker.' I know I may trust my 'life' in 'your
hands' and 'theirs.' There have been (let me tell ye) 'unlikelier'
things come to pass, and that with 'rich widows,' (some of 'quality'
truly!) whose choice, in their 'first marriages' hath (perhaps) been
guided by 'motives of convenience,' or 'mere corporalities,' as I may
say; but who by their 'second' have had for their view the 'corporal' and
'spiritual' mingled; which is the most eligible (no doubt) to 'substance'
composed 'of both,' as 'men' and 'women' are.
Nor think (Sir) that, should such a thing come to pass, 'either' would be
'disgraced,' since 'the lady' in 'me' would marry a 'gentleman' and a
'scholar': and as to 'mine own honour,' as the 'slur' would bring her
'high fortunes' down to an 'equivalence' with my 'mean ones,' (if
'fortune' only, and not 'merit,' be considered,) so hath not the 'life'
of 'this lady' been 'so tainted,' (either by 'length of time,' or
'naughtiness of practice,') as to put her on a 'foot' with the 'cast
Abigails,' that too, too often, (God knoweth,) are thought good enough
for a 'young clergyman,' who, perhaps, is drawn in by a 'poor benefice';
and (if the 'wicked one' be not 'quite worn out') groweth poorer and
poorer upon it, by an 'increase of family' he knoweth not whether 'is
most his,' or his 'noble,' ('ignoble,' I should say,) 'patrons.'
But, all this 'apart,' and 'in confidence.'
I know you made at school but a small progress in 'languages.' So I have
restrained myself from 'many illustrations' from the 'classics,' that I
could have filled this letter with, (as I have done the enclosed one:)
and, being at a 'distance,' I cannot 'explain' them to you, as I 'do to
my friend,' Mr. John Harlowe; and who, (after all,) is obliged to 'me'
for pointing out to 'him' many 'beauties' of the 'authors I quote,' which
otherwise would lie concealed from 'him,' as they must from every 'common
observer.'--But this (too) 'inter nos'--for he would not take it well to
'have it known'--'Jays' (you know, old school-fellow, 'jays,' you know)
'will strut in peacocks' feathers.'
But whither am I running? I never know where to end, when I get upon
'learned topics.' And albeit I cannot compliment 'you' with the 'name of
a learned man,' yet are you 'a sensible man'; and ('as such') must have
'pleasure' in 'learned men,' and in 'their writings.'
In this confidence, (Mr. Walton,) with my 'kind respects' to the good
ladies, (your 'spouse' and 'sister,') and in hopes, for the 'young lady's
sake,' soon to follow this long, long epistle, in 'person,' I conclude
Your loving and faithful friend,
You will perhaps, Mr. Walton, wonder at the meaning of the 'lines drawn
under many of the words and sentences,' (UNDERSCORING we call it;)
and were my letters to be printed, those would be put in a
'different character.' Now, you must know, Sir, that 'we learned
men' do this to point out to the readers, who are not 'so learned,'
where the 'jet of our arguments lieth,' and the 'emphasis' they are
to lay upon 'those words'; whereby they will take in readily our
'sense' and 'cogency.' Some 'pragmatical' people have said, that
an author who doth a 'great deal of this,' either calleth his
readers 'fools,' or tacitly condemneth 'his own style,' as
supposing his meaning would be 'dark' without it, or that all of
his 'force' lay in 'words.' But all of those with whom I have
conversed in a learned way, 'think as I think.' And to give a very
'pretty,' though 'familiar illustration,' I have considered a page
distinguished by 'different characters,' as a 'verdant field'
overspread with 'butter-flowers' and 'daisies,' and other
summer-flowers. These the poets liken to 'enamelling'--have you
not read in the poets of 'enamelled meads,' and so forth?
MR. BRAND, TO JOHN HARLOWE, ESQ.
SAT. NIGHT, SEPT. 2.
I am under no 'small concern,' that I should (unhappily) be the
'occasion' (I am sure I 'intended' nothing like it) of 'widening
differences' by 'light misreport,' when it is the 'duty' of one of 'my
function' (and no less consisting with my 'inclination') to 'heal' and
I have received two letter to set me 'right': one from a 'particular
acquaintance,' (whom I set to inquire of Mr. Belford's character); and
that came on Tuesday last, informing me, that your 'unhappy niece' was
greatly injured in the account I had had of her; (for I had told 'him'
of it, and that with very 'great concern,' I am sure, apprehending it to
be 'true.') So I 'then' set about writing to you, to 'acknowledge' the
'error.' And had gone a good way in it, when the second letter came (a
very 'handsome one' it is, both in 'style' and 'penmanship') from my
friend Mr. Walton, (though I am sure it cannot be 'his inditing,')
expressing his sorrow, and his wife's, and his sister-in-law's likewise,
for having been the cause of 'misleading me,' in the account I gave of
the said 'young lady'; whom they 'now' say (upon 'further inquiry') they
find to be the 'most unblameable,' and 'most prudent,' and (it seems) the
most 'pious' young lady, that ever (once) committed a 'great error'; as
(to be sure) 'her's was,' in leaving such 'worthy parents' and
'relations' for so 'vile a man' as Mr. Lovelace; but what shall we say?--
Why, the divine Virgil tells us,
'Improbe amor, quid non mortalia pectora cogis?'
For 'my part,' I was but too much afraid (for we have 'great
opportunities,' you are sensible, Sir, at the 'University,' of knowing
'human nature' from 'books,' the 'calm result' of the 'wise man's
wisdom,' as I may say,
'(Haurit aquam cribro, qui discere vult sine libro)'
'uninterrupted' by the 'noise' and 'vanities' that will mingle with
'personal conversation,' which (in the 'turbulent world') is not to be
enjoyed but over a 'bottle,' where you have an 'hundred foolish things'
pass to 'one that deserveth to be remembered'; I was but too much afraid
'I say') that so 'great a slip' might be attended with 'still greater'
and 'worse': for 'your' Horace, and 'my' Horace, the most charming writer
that ever lived among the 'Pagans' (for the 'lyric kind of poetry,' I
mean; for, the be sure, 'Homer' and 'Virgil' would 'otherwise' be 'first'
named 'in their way') well observeth (and who understood 'human nature'
better than he?)
'Nec vera virtus, cum semel excidit,
Curat reponi deterioribus.'
And 'Ovid' no less wisely observeth:
'Et mala sunt vicina bonis. Errore sub illo
Pro vitio virtus crimina saepe tulit.'
Who, that can draw 'knowledge' from its 'fountain-head,' the works of the
'sages of antiquity,' (improved by the 'comments' of the 'moderns,') but
would 'prefer' to all others the 'silent quiet life,' which
'contemplative men' lead in the 'seats of learning,' were they not called
out (according to their 'dedication') to the 'service' and 'instruction'
of the world?
Now, Sir, 'another' favourite poet of mine (and not the 'less a
favourite' for being a 'Christian') telleth us, that ill is the custom of
'some,' when in a 'fault,' to throw the blame upon the backs of 'others,'
'----Hominum quoque mos est,
Quae nos cunque premunt, alieno imponere tergo.'
But I, though (in this case) 'misled,' ('well intendedly,' nevertheless,
both in the 'misleaders' and 'misled,' and therefore entitled to lay hold
of that plea, if 'any body' is so entitled,) will not however, be classed
among such 'extenuators'; but (contrarily) will always keep in mind that
verse, which 'comforteth in mistake,' as well as 'instructeth'; and which
I quoted in my last letter;
'Errare est hominis, sed non persistere----'
And will own, that I was very 'rash' to take up with 'conjectures' and
'consequences' drawn from 'probabilites,' where (especially) the
'character' of so 'fine a lady' was concerned.
'Credere fallacy gravis est dementia famae.' MANT.
Notwithstanding, Miss Clarissa Harlowe (I must be bold to say) is the
'only young lady,' that ever I heard of (or indeed read of) that, 'having
made such a false step,' so 'soon' (of 'her own accord,' as I may say)
'recovered' herself, and conquered her 'love of the deceiver'; (a great
conquest indeed!) and who flieth him, and resolveth to 'die,' rather than
to be his; which now, to her never-dying 'honour' (I am well assured) is
the case--and, in 'justice' to her, I am now ready to take to myself
(with no small vexation) that of Ovid,
'Heu! patior telis vulnera facta meis.'
But yet I do insist upon it, that all 'that part' of my 'information,'
which I took upon mine own 'personal inquiry,' which is what relates to
Mr. 'Belford' and 'his character,' is 'literally true'; for there is not
any where to be met with a man of a more 'libertine character' as to
'women,' Mr. 'Lovelace' excepted, than he beareth.
And so, Sir, I must desire of you, that you will not let 'any blame' lie
upon my 'intention'; since you see how ready I am to 'accuse myself' of
too lightly giving ear to a 'rash information' (not knowing it to be so,
however): for I depended the more upon it, as the 'people I had it from'
are very 'sober,' and live in the 'fear of God': and indeed when I wait
upon you, you will see by their letter, that they must be 'conscientious'
good people: wherefore, Sir, let me be entitled, from 'all your good
family,' to that of my last-named poet,
'Aspera confesso verba remitte reo.'
And now, Sir, (what is much more becoming of my 'function,') let me,
instead of appearing with the 'face of an accuser,' and a 'rash
censurer,' (which in my 'heart' I have not 'deserved' to be thought,)
assume the character of a 'reconciler'; and propose (by way of 'penance'
to myself for my 'fault') to be sent up as a 'messenger of peace' to the
'pious young lady'; for they write me word 'absolutely' (and, I believe
in my heart, 'truly') that the 'doctors' have 'given her over,' and that
she 'cannot live.' Alas! alas! what a sad thing would that be, if the
'poor bough,' that was only designed (as I 'very well know,' and am
'fully assured') 'to be bent, should be broken!'
Let it not, dear Sir, seem to the 'world' that there was any thing in
your 'resentments' (which, while meant for 'reclaiming,' were just and
fit) that hath the 'appearance' of 'violence,' and 'fierce wrath,' and
'inexorability'; (as it would look to some, if carried to extremity,
after 'repentance' and 'contrition,' and 'humiliation,' on the 'fair
offender's' side:) for all this while (it seemeth) she hat been a 'second
Magdalen' in her 'penitence,' and yet not so bad as a 'Magdalen' in her
'faults'; (faulty, nevertheless, as she hath been once, the Lord knoweth!
'Nam vitiis nemo sine nascitur: optimus ille est,
Qui minimis urgentur'----saith Horace).
Now, Sir, if I may be named for this 'blessed' employment, (for, 'Blessed
is the peace-maker!') I will hasten to London; and (as I know Miss had
always a 'great regard' to the 'function' I have the honour to be of) I
have no doubt of making myself acceptable to her, and to bring her, by
'sound arguments,' and 'good advice,' into a 'liking of life,' which must
be the 'first step' to her 'recovery': for, when the 'mind' is 'made
easy,' the 'body' will not 'long suffer'; and the 'love of life' is a
'natural passion,' that is soon 'revived,' when fortune turneth about,
'Vivere quisque diu, quamvis & egenus & ager,
Optat.---- ---- ----' OVID.
And the sweet Lucan truly observeth,
'---- ---- Fatis debentibus annos
Mors invita subit.---- ----'
And now, Sir, let me tell you what shall be the 'tenor' of my 'pleadings'
with her, and 'comfortings' of her, as she is, as I may say, a 'learned
lady'; and as I can 'explain' to her 'those sentences,' which she cannot
so readily 'construe herself': and this in order to convince 'you' (did
you not already 'know' my 'qualifications') how well qualified I 'am' for
the 'christian office' to which I commend myself.
I will, IN THE FIRST PLACE, put her in mind of the 'common course of
things' in this 'sublunary world,' in which 'joy' and 'sorrow, sorrow'
and joy,' succeed one another by turns'; in order to convince her, that
her griefs have been but according to 'that' common course of things:
'Gaudia post luctus veniunt, post gaudia luctus.'
SECONDLY, I will remind her of her own notable description of 'sorrow,'
whence she was once called upon to distinguish wherein 'sorrow, grief,'
and 'melancholy,' differed from each other; which she did 'impromptu,' by
their 'effects,' in a truly admirable manner, to the high satisfaction of
every one: I myself could not, by 'study,' have distinguished 'better,'
nor more 'concisely'--SORROW, said she, 'wears'; GRIEF 'tears'; but
My inference to her shall be, that since a happy reconciliation will take
place, 'grief' will be banished; 'sorrow' dismissed; and only sweet
'melancholy' remain to 'sooth' and 'indulge' her contrite 'heart,' and
show to all the world the penitent sense she hath of her great error.
THIRDLY, That her 'joys,'* when restored to health and favour, will be
the greater, the deeper her griefs were.
* 'Joy,' let me here observe, my dear Sir, by way of note, is not
absolutely inconsistent with 'melancholy'; a 'soft gentle joy,' not a
'rapid,' not a 'rampant joy,' however; but such a 'joy,' as shall lift
her 'temporarily' out of her 'soothing melancholy,' and then 'let her
down gently' into it again; for 'melancholy,' to be sure, her
'reflection' will generally make to be her state.
'Gaudia, quae multo parta labore, placent.'
FOURTHLY, That having 'really' been guilty of a 'great error,' she should
not take 'impatiently' the 'correction' and 'anger' with which she hath
'Leniter, ex merito quicquid patiare ferundum est.'
FIFTHLY, That 'virtue' must be established by 'patience'; as saith
'Haec virtus vidua est, quam non patientia firmat.'
SIXTHLY, That in the words of Horace, she may 'expect better times,' than
(of late) she had 'reason' to look for.
'Grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur, hora.'
SEVENTHLY, That she is really now in 'a way' to be 'happy,' since,
according to 'Ovid,' she 'can count up all her woe':
'Felix, qui patitur quae numerare potest.'
And those comforting lines,
'Estque serena dies post longos gratior imbres,
Et post triste malum gratior ipsa salus.'
EIGHTHLY, That, in the words of Mantuan, her 'parents' and 'uncles' could
not 'help loving her' all the time they were 'angry at her':
'AEqua tamen mens est, & amica voluntas,
Sit licet in natos austere parentum.'
NINTHLY, That the 'ills she hath met with' may be turned (by the 'good
use' to be made of them) to her 'everlasting benefit'; for that,
'Cum furit atque ferit, Deus olim parcere quaerit.'
TENTHLY, That she will be able to give a 'fine lesson' (a 'very' fine
lesson) to all the 'young ladies' of her 'acquaintance,' of the 'vanity'
of being 'lifted up' in 'prosperity,' and the 'weakness' of being 'cast
down' in 'adversity'; since no one is so 'high,' as to be above being
'humbled'; so 'low,' as to 'need to despair': for which purpose the
advice of 'Ausonius,'
'Dum fortuna juvat, caveto tolli:
Dum fortuna tonat, caveto mergi.'
I shall tell her, that Lucan saith well, when he calleth 'adversity the
element of patience';
'----Gaudet patientia duris:'
'Fortunam superat virtus, prudential famam.'
That while weak souls are 'crushed by fortune,' the 'brave mind' maketh
the fickle deity afraid of it:
'Fortuna fortes metuit, ignavos permit.'
ELEVENTHLY, That if she take the advice of 'Horace,'
'Fortiaque adversis opponite pectora rebus,'
it will delight her 'hereafter' (as 'Virgil' saith) to 'revoke her past
'----Forsan & haec olim meminisse juvabit.'
And, to the same purpose, 'Juvenal' speaking of the 'prating joy' of
mariners, after all their 'dangers are over':
'Gaudent securi narrare pericula nautae.'
Which suiting the case so well, you'll forgive me, Sir, for 'popping
down' in 'English metre,' as the 'translative impulse' (pardon a new
word, and yet we 'scholars' are not fond of 'authenticating new' words)
came upon me 'uncalled for':
The seaman, safe on shore, with joy doth tell
What cruel dangers him at sea befell.
With 'these,' Sir, and an 'hundred more' wise 'adages,' which I have
always at my 'fingers' end,' will I (when reduced to 'form' and 'method')
entertain Miss; and as she is a 'well-read,' and (I might say, but for
this 'one' great error) a 'wise' young lady, I make no doubt but I shall
'prevail' upon her, if not by 'mine own arguments,' by those of 'wits'
and 'capacities' that have a 'congeniality' (as I may say) to 'her own,'
to take to heart,
----Nor of the laws of fate complain,
Since, though it has been cloudy, now't clears up again.----
Oh! what 'wisdom' is there in these 'noble classical authors!' A 'wise
man' will (upon searching into them,) always find that they speak 'his'
sense of 'men' and 'things.' Hence it is, that they so readily occur to
my 'memory' on every occasion--though this may look like 'vanity,' it is
too true to be omitted; and I see not why a man may not 'know these
things of himself,' which 'every body' seeth and 'saith of him'; who,
nevertheless, perhaps know not 'half so much as he,' in other matters.
I know but of 'one objection,' Sir, that can lie against my going; and
that will arise from your kind 'care' and 'concern' for the 'safety of my
person,' in case that 'fierce' and 'terrible man,' the wicked Mr.
Lovelace, (of whom every one standeth in fear,) should come cross me, as
he may be resolved to try once more to 'gain a footing in Miss's
affections': but I will trust in 'Providence' for 'my safety,' while I
shall be engaged in a 'cause so worthy of my function'; and the 'more'
trust in it, as he is a 'learned man' as I am told.
Strange too, that so 'vile a rake' (I hope he will never see this!)
should be a 'learned man'; that is to say, that a 'learned man' may be a
'sly sinner,' and take opportunities, 'as they come in his way'--which,
however, I do assure you, 'I never did,'
I repeat, that as he is a 'learned man,' I shall 'vest myself,' as I may
say, in 'classical armour'; beginning 'meekly' with him (for, Sir,
'bravery' and 'meekness' are qualities 'very consistent with each other,'
and in no persons so shiningly 'exert' themselves, as in the 'Christian
priesthood'; beginning 'meekly' with him, I say) from Ovid,
'Corpora magnanimo satis est protrasse leoni:'
So that, if I should not be safe behind the 'shield of mine own
prudence,' I certainly should be behind the 'shields' of the
'ever-admirable classics': of 'Horace' particularly; who, being a 'rake'
(and a 'jovial rake' too,) himself, must have great weight with all
And who knoweth but I may be able to bring even this 'Goliath in
wickedness,' although in 'person' but a 'little David' myself, (armed
with the 'slings' and 'stones' of the 'ancient sages,') to a due sense of
his errors? And what a victory would that be!
I could here, Sir, pursuing the allegory of David and Goliath, give you
some of the 'stones' ('hard arguments' may be called 'stones,' since they
'knock down a pertinacious opponent') which I could 'pelt him with,' were
he to be wroth with me; and this in order to take from you, Sir, all
apprehensions for my 'life,' or my 'bones'; but I forbear them till you
demand them of me, when I have the honour to attend you in person.
And now, (my dear Sir,) what remaineth, but that having shown you (what
yet, I believe, you did not doubt) how 'well qualified' I am to attend
the lady with the 'olive-branch,' I beg of you to dispatch me with it
'out of hand'? For if she be so 'very ill,' and if she should not live
to receive the grace, which (to my knowledge) all the 'worthy family'
design her, how much will that grieve you all! And then, Sir, of what
avail will be the 'eulogies' you shall all, peradventure, join to give to
her memory? For, as Martial wisely observeth,
'---- Post cineres gloria sera venit.'
Then, as 'Ausonius' layeth it down with 'equal propriety,' that 'those
favours which are speedily conferred are the most grateful and obliging'
And to the same purpose Ovid:
'Gratia ab officio, quod mora tar dat, abest.'
And, Sir, whatever you do, let the 'lady's pardon' be as 'ample,' and as
'cheerfully given,' as she can 'wish for it': that I may be able to tell
her, that it hath your 'hands,' your 'countenances,' and your 'whole
hearts,' with it--for, as the Latin verse hath it, (and I presume to
think I have not weakened its sense by my humble advice),
'Dat bene, dat multum, qui dat cum munere vultum.'
And now, Sir, when I survey this long letter,* (albeit I see it
enamelled, as a 'beautiful meadow' is enamelled by the 'spring' or
'summer' flowers, very glorious to behold!) I begin to be afraid that I
may have tired you; and the more likely, as I have written without that
'method' or 'order,' which I think constituteth the 'beauty' of 'good
writing': which 'method' or 'order,' nevertheless, may be the 'better
excused' in a 'familiar epistle,' (as this may be called,) you pardoning,
Sir, the 'familiarity' of the 'word'; but yet not altogether 'here,' I
must needs own; because this is 'a letter' and 'not a letter,' as I may
say; but a kind of 'short' and 'pithy discourse,' touching upon 'various'
and 'sundry topics,' every one of which might be a 'fit theme' to enlarge
upon of volumes; if this 'epistolary discourse' (then let me call it)
should be pleasing to you, (as I am inclined to think it will, because of
the 'sentiments' and 'aphorisms' of the 'wisest of the antients,' which
'glitter through it' like so many dazzling 'sunbeams,') I will (at my
leisure) work it up into a 'methodical discourse'; and perhaps may one
day print it, with a 'dedication' to my 'honoured patron,' (if, Sir, I
have 'your' leave,) 'singly' at first, (but not till I have thrown out
'anonymously,' two or three 'smaller things,' by the success of which I
shall have made myself of 'some account' in the 'commonwealth of
letters,') and afterwards in my 'works'--not for the 'vanity' of the
thing (however) I will say, but for the 'use' it may be of to the
'public'; for, (as one well observeth,) 'though glory always followeth
virtue, yet it should be considered only as its shadow.'
* And here, by way of note, permit me to say, that no 'sermon' I ever
composed cost me half the 'pains' that this letter hath done--but I knew
your great 'appetite' after, as well as 'admiration' of, the 'antient
wisdom,' which you so justly prefer to the 'modern'--and indeed I join
with you to think, that the 'modern' is only 'borrowed,' (as the 'moon'
doth its light from the 'sun,') at least, that we 'excel' them in
nothing; and that our 'best cogitations' may be found, generally
speaking, more 'elegantly' dressed and expressed by them.
'Contemnit laudem virtus, licet usque sequatur
Gloria virtutem, corpus ut umbra suum.'
A very pretty saying, and worthy of all men's admiration.
And now, ('most worthy Sir,' my very good friend and patron,) referring
the whole to 'your's,' and to your 'two brothers,' and to 'young Mr.
Harlowe's' consideration, and to the wise consideration of good 'Madam
Harlowe,' and her excellent daughter, 'Miss Arabella Harlowe'; I take the
liberty to subscribe myself, what I 'truly am,' and 'every shall delight
to be,' in 'all cases,' and at 'all times,'
Your and their most ready and obedient
as well as faithful servant,
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER LXIV. OF THIS VOLUME.]
WEDN. MORN. SEPT. 6.
And is she somewhat better?--Blessings upon thee without number or
measure! Let her still be better and better! Tell me so at least, if
she be not so: for thou knowest not what a joy that poor temporary
reprieve, that she will hold out yet a day or two, gave me.
But who told this hard-hearted and death-pronouncing doctor that she will
hold it no longer? By what warrant says he this? What presumption in
these parading solemn fellows of a college, which will be my contempt to
the latest hour of my life, if this brother of it (eminent as he is
deemed to be) cannot work an ordinary miracle in her favour, or rather in
Let me tell thee, Belford, that already he deserves the utmost contempt,
for suffering this charming clock to run down so low. What must be his
art, if it could not wind it up in a quarter of the time he has attended
her, when, at his first visits, the springs and wheels of life and motion
were so god, that they seemed only to want common care and oiling!
I am obliged to you for endeavouring to engage her to see me. 'Twas
acting like a friend. If she had vouchsafed me that favour, she should
have seen at her feet the most abject adorer that ever kneeled to
What she bid you, and what she forbid you, to tell me, (the latter for
tender considerations:) that she forgives me; and that, could she have
made me a good man, she would have made me a happy one! That she even
loved me! At such a moment to own that she once loved me! Never before
loved any man! That she prays for me! That her last tear should be shed
for me, could she by it save a soul, doomed, without her, to perdition!--
O Belford! Belford! I cannot bear it!--What a dog, what a devil have I
been to a goodness so superlative!--Why does she not inveigh against me?
--Why does she not execrate me?--O the triumphant subduer! Ever above
me!--And now to leave me so infinitely below her!
Marry and repair, at any time; this, wretch that I was, was my plea to
myself. To give her a lowering sensibility; to bring her down from among
the stars which her beamy head was surrounded by, that my wife, so
greatly above me, might not despise me; this was one of my reptile
motives, owing to my more reptile envy, and to my consciousness of
inferiority to her!--Yet she, from step to step, from distress to
distress, to maintain her superiority; and, like the sun, to break out
upon me with the greater refulgence for the clouds that I had contrived
to cast about her!--And now to escape me thus!--No power left me to
repair her wrongs!--No alleviation to my self-reproach!--No dividing of
blame with her!--
Tell her, O tell her, Belford, that her prayers and wishes, her
superlatively-generous prayers and wishes, shall not be vain: that I can,
and do repent--and long have repented.--Tell her of my frequent deep
remorses--it was impossible that such remorses should not at last produce
effectual remorse--yet she must not leave me--she must live, if she would
wish to have my contrition perfect--For what can despair produce?
I will do every thing you would have me do, in the return of your
letters. You have infinitely obliged me by this last, and by pressing
for an admission for me, though it succeeded not.
Once more, how could I be such a villain to so divine a creature! Yet
love her all the time, as never man loved woman!--Curse upon my
contriving genius!--Curse upon my intriguing head, and upon my seconding
heart!--To sport with the fame, with the honour, with the life, of such
an angel of a woman!--O my d----d incredulity! That, believing her to be
a woman, I must hope to find her a woman! On my incredulity, that there
could be such virtue (virtue for virtue's sake) in the sex, founded I my
hope of succeeding with her.
But say not, Jack, that she must leave us yet. If she recover, and if I
can but re-obtain her favour, then, indeed, will life be life to me. The
world never saw such an husband as I will make. I will have no will but
her's. She shall conduct me in all my steps. She shall open and direct
my prospects, and turn every motion of my heart as she pleases.
You tell me, in your letter, that at eleven o'clock she had sweet rest;
and my servant acquaints me, from Mrs. Smith, that she has had a good
night. What hopes does this fill me with! I have given the fellow five
guineas for his good news, to be divided between him and his
Dear, dear Jack! confirm this to me in thy next--for Heaven's sake, do!--
Tell the doctor I'll make a present of a thousand guineas if he recover
her. Ask if a consultation then be necessary.
Adieu, dear Belford! Confirm, I beseech thee, the hopes that now, with
sovereign gladness, have taken possession of a heart, that, next to
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDN. MORN. EIGHT O'CLOCK, (6 SEPT.)
Your servant arrived here before I was stirring. I sent him to Smith's
to inquire how the lady was; and ordered him to call upon me when he came
back. I was pleased to hear she had tolerable rest. As soon as I had
dispatched him with the letter I had written over night, I went to attend
I found hr up, and dressed; in a white sattin night-gown. Ever elegant;
but now more so than I had seen her for a week past: her aspect serenely
She mentioned the increased dimness of her eyes, and the tremor which had
invaded her limbs. If this be dying, said she, there is nothing at all
shocking in it. My body hardly sensible of pain, my mind at ease, my
intellects clear and perfect as ever. What a good and gracious God have
I!--For this is what I always prayed for.
I told her it was not so serene with you.
There is not the same reason for it, replied she. 'Tis a choice comfort,
Mr. Belford, at the winding up of our short story, to be able to say, I
have rather suffered injuries myself, than offered them to others. I
bless God, though I have bee unhappy, as the world deems it, and once I
thought more so than at present I think I ought to have done, since my
calamities were to work out for me my everlasting happiness; yet have I
not wilfully made any one creature so. I have no reason to grieve for
any thing but for the sorrow I have given my friends.
But pray, Mr. Belford, remember me in the best manner to my cousin
Morden; and desire him to comfort them, and to tell them, that all would
have been the same, had they accepted of my true penitence, as I wish and
as I trust the Almighty has done.
I was called down: it was to Harry, who was just returned from Miss
Howe's, to whom he carried the lady's letter. The stupid fellow being
bid to make haste with it, and return as soon as possible, staid not
until Miss Howe had it, she being at the distance of five minutes,
although Mrs. Howe would have had him stay, and sent a man and horse
purposely with it to her daughter.
WEDNESDAY MORNING, TEN O'CLOCK.
The poor lady is just recovered from a fainting fit, which has left her
at death's door. Her late tranquillity and freedom from pain seemed but
a lightening, as Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith call it.
By my faith, Lovelace, I had rather part with all the friends I have in
the world, than with this lady. I never knew what a virtuous, a holy
friendship, as I may call mine to her, was before. But to be so new to
it, and to be obliged to forego it so soon, what an affliction! Yet,
thank Heaven, I lose her not by my own fault!--But 'twould be barbarous
not to spare thee now.
She has sent for the divine who visited her before, to pray with her.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
KENSINGTON, WEDNESDAY NOON.
Like AEsop's traveller, thou blowest hot and cold, life and death, in the
same breath, with a view, no doubt, to distract me. How familiarly dost
thou use the words, dying, dimness, tremor? Never did any mortal ring so
many changes on so few bells. Thy true father, I dare swear, was a
butcher, or an undertaker, by the delight thou seemest to take in scenes
of death and horror. Thy barbarous reflection, that thou losest her not
by thy own fault, is never to be forgiven. Thou hast but one way to
atone for the torments thou hast given me, and that is, by sending me
word that she is better, and will recover. Whether it be true or not,
let me be told so, and I will go abroad rejoicing and believing it, and
my wishes and imaginations shall make out all the rest.
If she live but one year, that I may acquit myself to myself (no matter
for the world!) that her death is not owing to me, I will compound for
Will neither vows nor prayers save her? I never prayed in my life, put
all the years of it together, as I have done for this fortnight past: and
I have most sincerely repented of all my baseness to her--And will
But after all, if she recovers not, this reflection must be my comfort;
and it is truth; that her departure will be owing rather to wilfulness,
to downright female wilfulness, than to any other cause.
It is difficult for people, who pursue the dictates of a violent
resentment, to stop where first they designed to stop.
I have the charity to believe, that even James and Arabella Harlowe, at
first, intended no more by the confederacy they formed against this their
angel sister, than to disgrace and keep her down, lest (sordid wretches!)
their uncles should follow the example their grandfather had set, to
So this lady, as I suppose, intended only at first to vex and plague me;
and, finding she could do it to purpose, her desire of revenge insensibly
became stronger in her than the desire of life; and now she is willing to
die, as an event which she thinks will cut my heart-strings asunder. And
still, the more to be revenged, puts on the Christian, and forgives me.
But I'll have none of her forgiveness! My own heart tells me I do not
deserve it; and I cannot bear it!--And what is it but a mere verbal
forgiveness, as ostentatiously as cruelly given with a view to magnify
herself, and wound me deeper! A little, dear, specious--but let me stop
--lest I blaspheme!
Reading over the above, I am ashamed of my ramblings; but what wouldest
have me do?--Seest thou not that I am but seeking to run out of myself,
in hope to lose myself; yet, that I am unable to do either?
If ever thou lovedst but half so fervently as I love--but of that thy
heavy soul is not capable.
Send me word by the next, I conjure thee, in the names of all her kindred
saints and angels, that she is living, and likely to live!--If thou
sendest ill news, thou wilt be answerable for the consequences, whether
it be fatal to the messenger, or to
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, ELEVEN O'CLOCK.
Dr. H. has just been here. He tarried with me till the minister had done
praying by the lady; and then we were both admitted. Mr. Goddard, who
came while the doctor and the clergyman were with her, went away with
them when they went. They took a solemn and everlasting leave of her, as
I have no scruple to say; blessing her, and being blessed by her; and
wishing (when it came to be their lot) for an exit as happy as her's is
likely to be.
She had again earnestly requested of the doctor his opinion how long it
was now probable that she could continue; and he told her, that he
apprehended she would hardly see to-morrow night. She said, she should
number the hours with greater pleasure than ever she numbered any in her
life on the most joyful occasion.
How unlike poor Belton's last hours her's! See the infinite differences
in the effects, on the same awful and affecting occasion, between a good
and a bad conscience!
This moment a man is come from Miss Howe with a letter. Perhaps I shall
be able to send you the contents.
She endeavoured several times with earnestness, but in vain, to read the
letter of her dear friend. The writing, she said, was too fine for her
grosser sight, and the lines staggered under her eye. And indeed she
trembled so, she could not hold the paper; and at last desired Mrs.
Lovick to read it to her, the messenger waiting for an answer.
Thou wilt see in Miss Howe's letter, how different the expression of the
same impatience, and passionate love, is, when dictated by the gentler
mind of a woman, from that which results from a mind so boisterous and
knotty as thine. For Mrs. Lovick will transcribe it, and I shall send
it--to be read in this place, if thou wilt.
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
TUESDAY, SEPT. 5.
O MY DEAREST FRIEND!
What will become of your poor Anna Howe! I see by your writing, as well
as read by your own account, (which, were you not very, very ill, you
would have touched more tenderly,) how it is with you! Why have I thus
long delayed to attend you! Could I think, that the comfortings of a
faithful friend were as nothing to a gentle mind in distress, that I
could be prevailed upon to forbear visiting you so much as once in all
this time! I, as well as every body else, to desert and abandon my dear
creature to strangers! What will become of you, if you be as bad as my
apprehensions make you!
I will set out this moment, little as the encouragement is that you give
me to do so! My mother is willing I should! Why, O why was she not
Yet she persuades me too, (lest I should be fatally affected were I to
find my fears too well justified,) to wait the return of this messenger,
who rides our swiftest horse.--God speed him with good news to me--One
line from your hand by him!--Send me but one line to bid me attend you!
I will set out the moment, the very moment I receive it. I am now
actually ready to do so! And if you love me, as I love you, the sight
of me will revive you to my hopes.--But why, why, when I can think this,
did I not go up sooner!
Blessed Heaven! deny not to my prayers, my friend, my admonisher, my
adviser, at a time so critical to myself.
But methinks, your style and sentiments are too well connected, too
full of life and vigour, to give cause for so much despair as thy
staggering pen seems to forbode.
I am sorry I was not at home, [I must add thus much, though the servant
is ready mounted at the door,] when Mr. Belford's servant came with your
affecting letter. I was at Miss Lloyd's. My mamma sent it to me--and I
came home that instant. But he was gone: he would not stay, it seems.
Yet I wanted to ask him an hundred thousand questions. But why delay I
thus my messenger? I have a multitude of things to say to you--to advise
with you about!--You shall direct me in every thing. I will obey the
holding up of your finger. But, if you leave me--what is the world, or
any thing in it, to your
The effect this letter had on the lady, who is so near the end which the
fair writer so much apprehends and deplores, obliged Mrs. Lovick to make
many breaks in reading it, and many changes of voice.
This is a friend, said the divine lady, (taking the letter in her hand,
and kissing it,) worth wishing to live for.--O my dear Anna Howe! how
uninterruptedly sweet and noble has been our friendship!--But we shall
one day meet, (and this hope must comfort us both,) never to part again!
Then, divested of the shades of body, shall be all light and all mind!--
Then how unalloyed, how perfect, will be our friendship! Our love then
will have one and the same adorable object, and we shall enjoy it and
each other to all eternity!
She said, her dear friend was so earnest for a line or two, that she fain
would write, if she could: and she tried--but to no purpose. She could
dictate, however, she believed; and desired Mrs. Lovick would take pen
and paper. Which she did, and then she dictated to her. I would have
withdrawn; but at her desire staid.
She wandered a good deal at first. She took notice that she did. And
when she got into a little train, not pleasing herself, she apologized to
Mrs. Lovick for making her begin again and again; and said, that the
third time should go, let it be as it would.
She dictated the farewell part without hesitation; and when she came to
blessing and subscription, she took the pen, and dropping on her knees,
supported by Mrs. Lovick, wrote the conclusion; but Mrs. Lovick was
forced to guide her hand.
You will find the sense surprisingly entire, her weakness considered.
I made the messenger wait while I transcribed it. I have endeavoured to
imitate the subscriptive part; and in the letter made pauses where, to
the best of my remembrance, she paused. In nothing that relates to this
admirable lady can I be too minute.
WEDN. NEAR THREE O'CLOCK.
MY DEAREST MISS HOWE,
You must not be surprised--nor grieved--that Mrs. Lovick writes for me.
Although I cannot obey you, and write with my pen, yet my heart writes
by her's--accept it so--it is the nearest to obedience I can!
And now, what ought I to say? What can I say?--But why should not you
know the truth? since soon you must--very soon.
Know then, and let your tears be those, if of pity, of joyful pity! for
I permit you to shed a few, to embalm, as I may say, a fallen blossom--
know then, that the good doctor, and the pious clergyman, and the worthy
apothecary, have just now--with joint benedictions--taken their last
leave of me; and the former bids me hope--do, my dearest, let me say hope
--hope for my enlargement before to-morrow sun-set.
Adieu, therefore, my dearest friend!--Be this your consolation, as it is
mine, that in God's good time we shall meet in a blessed eternity, never
more to part!--Once more, then, adieu!--and be happy!--Which a generous
nature cannot be, unless--to its power--it makes others so too.
God for ever bless you!--prays, dropt on my bended knees, although
supported upon them,
Your obliged, grateful, affectionate,
When I had transcribed and sealed this letter, by her direction, I gave
it to the messenger myself, who told me that Miss Howe waited for nothing
but his return to set out for London.
Thy servant is just come; so I will close here. Thou art a merciless
master. These two fellows are battered to death by thee, to use a female
word; and all female words, though we are not sure of their derivation,
have very significant meanings. I believe, in their hearts, they wish
the angel in the Heaven that is ready to receive her, and thee at the
proper place, that there might be an end of their flurries--another word
of the same gender.
What a letter hast thou sent me!--Poor Lovelace!--is all the answer I
FIVE O'CLOCK.] Col. Morden is this moment arrived.
EIGHT IN THE EVENING.
I had but just time, in my former, to tell you that Col. Morden was
arrived. He was on horseback, attended by two servants, and alighted
at the door just as the clock struck five. Mrs. Smith was then below in
her back-shop, weeping, her husband with her, who was as much affected as
she; Mrs. Lovick having left them a little before, in tears likewise; for
they had been bemoaning one another; joining in opinion that the
admirable lady would not live the night over. She had told them, it was
her opinion too, from some numbnesses, which she called the forerunners
of death, and from an increased inclination to doze.
The Colonel, as Mrs. Smith told me afterwards, asked with great
impatience, the moment he alighted, how Miss Harlowe was? She answered--
Alive!--but, she feared, drawing on apace.--Good God! said he, with his
hands and eyes lifted up, can I see her? My name is Morden. I have the
honour to be nearly related to her.--Step up, pray, and let her know,
(she is sensible, I hope,) that I am here--Who is with her?
Nobody but her nurse, and Mrs. Lovick, a widow gentlewoman, who is as
careful of her as if she were her mother.
And more careful too, interrupted he, or she is not careful at all----
Except a gentleman be with her, one Mr. Belford, continued Mrs. Smith,
who has been the best friend she has had.
If Mr. Belford be with her, surely I may--but pray step up, and let Mr.
Belford know that I shall take it for a favour to speak with him first.
Mrs. Smith came up to me in my new apartment. I had but just dispatched
your servant, and was asking her nurse if I might be again admitted? Who
answered, that she was dozing in the elbow chair, having refused to lie
down, saying, she should soon, she hoped, lie down for good.
The Colonel, who is really a fine gentleman, received me with great
politeness. After the first compliments--My kinswoman, Sir, said he, is
more obliged to you than to any of her own family. For my part, I have
been endeavouring to move so many rocks in her favour; and, little
thinking the dear creature so very bad, have neglected to attend her, as
I ought to have done the moment I arrived; and would, had I known how ill
she was, and what a task I should have had with the family. But, Sir,
your friend has been excessively to blame; and you being so intimately
his friend, has made her fare the worse for your civilities to her. But
are there no hopes of her recovery?
The doctors have left her, with the melancholy declaration that there are
Has she had good attendance, Sir? A skilful physician? I hear these
good folks have been very civil and obliging to her.
Who could be otherwise? said Mrs. Smith, weeping.--She is the sweetest
lady in the world!
The character, said the Colonel, lifting up his eyes and one hand, that
she has from every living creature!--Good God! How could your accursed
And how could her cruel parents? interrupted I.--We may as easily account
for him, as for them.
Too true! returned me, the vileness of the profligates of our sex
considered, whenever they can get any of the other into their power.
I satisfied him about the care that had been taken of her, and told him
of the friendly and even paternal attendance she had had from Dr. H. and
He was impatient to attend her, having not seen her, as he said, since
she was twelve years old; and that then she gave promises of being one of
the finest women in England.
She was so, replied I, a very few months ago: and, though emaciated, she
will appear to you to have confirmed those promises; for her features are
so regular and exact, her proportions so fine, and her manner so
inimitably graceful, that, were she only skin and bone, she must be a
Mrs. Smith, at his request, stept up, and brought us down word that Mrs.
Lovick and her nurse were with her; and that she was in so sound a sleep,
leaning upon the former in her elbow-chair, that she had neither heard
her enter the room, nor go out. The Colonel begged, if not improper,
that he might see her, though sleeping. He said, that his impatience
would not let him stay till he awaked. Yet he would not have her
disturbed; and should be glad to contemplate her sweet features, when she
saw not him; and asked, if she thought he could not go in, and come out,
without disturbing her?
She believed he might, she answered; for her chair's back was towards the
He said he would take care to withdraw, if she awoke, that his sudden
appearance might not surprise her.
Mrs. Smith, stepping up before us, bid Mrs. Lovick and nurse not stir,
when we entered; and then we went up softly together.
We beheld the lady in a charming attitude. Dressed, as I told you
before, in her virgin white. She was sitting in her elbow-chair, Mrs.
Lovick close by her, in another chair, with her left arm round her neck,
supporting it, as it were; for, it seems, the lady had bid her do so,
saying, she had been a mother to her, and she would delight herself in
thinking she was in her mamma's arms; for she found herself drowsy;
perhaps, she said, for the last time she should be so.
One faded cheek rested upon the good woman's bosom, the kindly warmth of
which had overspread it with a faint, but charming flush; the other paler
and hollow, as if already iced over by death. Her hands white as the
lily, with her meandering veins more transparently blue than ever I had
seen even her's, (veins so soon, alas! to be choked up by the congealment
of that purple stream, which already so languidly creeps, rather than
flows, through them!) her hands hanging lifelessly, one before her, the
other grasped by the right-hand of the kind widow, whose tears bedewed
the sweet face which her motherly boson supported, though unfelt by the
fair sleeper; and either insensibly to the good woman, or what she would
not disturb her to wipe off, or to change her posture: her aspect was
sweetly calm and serene: and though she started now and then, yet her
sleep seemed easy; her breath, indeed short and quick; but tolerably
free, and not like that of a dying person.
In this heart-moving attitude she appeared to us when we approached her,
and came to have her lovely face before us.
The Colonel, sighing often, gazed upon her with his arms folded, and with
the most profound and affectionate attention; till at last, on her
starting, and fetching her breath with greater difficulty than before, he
retired to a screen, that was drawn before her house, as she calls it,
which, as I have heretofore observed, stands under one of the windows.
This screen was placed there at the time she found herself obliged to
take to her chamber; and in the depth of our concern, and the fulness of
other discourse at our first interview, I had forgotten to apprize the
Colonel of what he would probably see.
Retiring thither, he drew out his handkerchief, and, overwhelmed with
grief, seemed unable to speak; but, on casting his eye behind the screen,
he soon broke silence; for, struck with the shape of the coffin, he
lifted up a purplish-coloured cloth that was spread over it, and,
starting back, Good God! said he, what's here?
Mrs. Smith standing next him, Why, said he, with great emotion, is my
cousin suffered to indulge her sad reflections with such an object before
Alas! Sir, replied the good woman, who should controul her? We are all
strangers about her, in a manner: and yet we have expostulated with her
upon this sad occasion.
I ought, said I, (stepping softly up to him, the lady again falling into
a doze,) to have apprized you of this. I was here when it was brought
in, and never was so shocked in my life. But she had none of her friends
about her, and no reason to hope for any of them to come near her; and,
assured she should not recover, she was resolved to leave as little as
possible, especially as to what related to her person, to her executor.
But it is not a shocking object to her, though it be to every body else.
Curse upon the hard-heartedness of those, said he, who occasioned her to
make so sad a provision for herself!--What must her reflections have been
all the time she was thinking of it, and giving orders about it? And
what must they be every time she turns her head towards it? These
uncommon genius's--but indeed she should have been controuled in it, had
I been here.
The lady fetched a profound sigh, and, starting, it broke off our talk;
and the Colonel then withdrew farther behind the screen, that his sudden
appearance might not surprise her.
Where am I?--said she. How drowsy I am! How long have I dozed? Don't
go, Sir, (for I was retiring,) I am very stupid, and shall be more and
more so, I suppose.
She then offered to raise herself; but being ready to faint through
weakness, was forced to sit down again, reclining her head on her chair
back; and, after a few moments, I believe now, my good friends, said she,
all your kind trouble will soon be over. I have slept, but am not
refreshed, and my fingers' ends seem numbed--have no feeling! (holding
them up,)--'tis time to send the letter to my good Norton.
Shall I, Madam, send my servant post with it?
O no, Sir, I thank you. It will reach the dear woman too soon, (as she
will think,) by the post.
I told her this was not post-day.
Is it Wednesday still, said she; bless me! I know not how the time goes
--but very tediously, 'tis plain. And now I think I must soon take to my
bed. All will be most conveniently, and with least trouble, over there--
will it not, Mrs. Lovick?--I think, Sir, turning to me, I have left
nothing to these last incapacitating hours. Nothing either to say, or to
do--I bless God, I have not. If I had, how unhappy should I be! Can
you, Sir, remind me of any thing necessary to be done or said to make
your office easy?
If, Madam, your cousin Morden should come, you would be glad to see him,
I am too weak to wish to see my cousin now. It would but discompose me,
and him too. Yet, if he come while I can see him, I will see him, were
it but to thank him for former favours, and for his present kind
intentions to me. Has any body been here from him?
He has called, and will be here, Madam, in half an hour; but he feared to
Nothing can surprise me now, except my mamma were to favour me with her
last blessing in person. That would be a welcome surprise to me, even
yet. But did my cousin come purposely to town to see me?
Yes, Madam, I took the liberty to let him know, by a line last Monday,
how ill you were.
You are very kind, Sir. I am, and have been greatly obliged to you. But
I think I shall be pained to see him now, because he will be concerned to
see me. And yet, as I am not so ill as I shall presently be--the sooner
he comes the better. But if he come, what shall I do about the screen?
He will chide me, very probably, and I cannot bear chiding now. Perhaps,
[leaning upon Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith,] I can walk into the next
apartment to receive him.
She motioned to rise, but was ready to faint again, and forced to sit
The Colonel was in a perfect agitation behind the screen to hear this
discourse; and twice, unseen by his cousin, was coming from it towards
her; but retreated for fear of surprising her too much.
I stept to him, and favoured his retreat; she only saying, Are you going,
Mr. Belford? Are you sent for down? Is my cousin come? For she heard
somebody step softly across the room, and thought it to be me; her
hearing being more perfect than her sight.
I told her, I believed he was; and she said, We must make the best of it,
Mrs. Lovick, and Mrs. Smith. I shall otherwise most grievously shock my
poor cousin: for he loved me dearly once.--Pray give me a few of the
doctor's last drops in water, to keep up my spirits for this one
interview; and that is all, I believe, that can concern me now.
The Colonel, (who heard all this,) sent in his name; and I, pretending to
go down to him, introduced the afflicted gentleman; she having first
ordered the screen to be put as close to the window as possible, that he
might not see what was behind it; while he, having heard what she had
said about it, was determined to take no notice of it.
He folded the angel in his arms as she sat, dropping down on one knee;
for, supporting herself upon the two elbows of the chair, she attempted
to rise, but could not. Excuse, my dear Cousin, said she, excuse me,
that I cannot stand up--I did not expect this favour now. But I am glad
of this opportunity to thank you for all your generous goodness to me.
I never, my best-beloved and dearest Cousin, said he, (with eyes running
over,) shall forgive myself, that I did not attend you sooner. Little
did I think you were so ill; nor do any of your friends believe it. If
If they did, repeated she, interrupting him, I should have had more
compassion from them. I am sure I should--But pray, Sir, how did you
leave them? Are you reconciled to them? If you are not, I beg, if you
love your poor Clarissa, that you will; for every widened difference
augments but my fault; since that is the foundation of all.
I had been expecting to hear from them in your favour, my dear Cousin,
said he, for some hours, when this gentleman's letter arrived, which
hastened me up; but I have the account of your grandfather's estate to
make up with you, and have bills and drafts upon their banker for the
sums due to you; which they desire you may receive, lest you should have
occasion for money. And this is such an earnest of an approaching
reconciliation, that I dare to answer for all the rest being according to
your wishes, if----
Ah! Sir, interrupted she, with frequent breaks and pauses--I wish--I wish
this does not rather show that, were I to live, they would have nothing
more to say to me. I never had any pride in being independent of them;
all my actions, when I might have made myself more independent, show this
--But what avail these reflections now?--I only beg, Sir, that you, and
this gentleman--to whom I am exceedingly obliged--will adjust those
matters--according to the will I have written. Mr. Belford will excuse
me; but it was in truth more necessity than choice that made me think of
giving him the trouble he so kindly accepts. Had I the happiness to see
you, my Cousin, sooner--or to know that you still honoured me with your
regard--I should not have had the assurance to ask this favour of him.--
But, though the friend of Mr. Lovelace, he is a man of honour, and he
will make peace rather than break it. And, my dear Cousin, let me beg
of you while I have nearer relations than my Cousin Morden, dear as you
are, and always were to me, you have no title to avenge my wrongs upon
him who has been the occasion of them. But I wrote to you my mind on
this subject, and my reasons--and I hope I need not further urge them.
I must do Mr. Lovelace so much justice, answered he, wiping his eyes, as
to witness how sincerely he repents him of his ungrateful baseness to
you, and how ready he is to make you all the amends in his power. He
owns his wickedness, and your merit. If he did not, I could not pass it
over, though you have nearer relations; for, my dear Cousin, did not your
grandfather leave me in trust for you? And should I think myself
concerned for your fortune, and not for your honour? But since he is so
desirous to do you justice, I have the less to say; and you may make
yourself entirely easy on that account.
I thank you, thank you, Sir, said she;--all is now as I wished.--But I am
very faint, very weak. I am sorry I cannot hold up; that I cannot better
deserve the honour of this visit--but it will not be--and saying this, she
sunk down in her chair, and was silent.
Hereupon we both withdrew, leaving word that we would be at the Bedford
Head, if any thing extraordinary happened.
We bespoke a little repast, having neither of us dined; and, while it was
getting ready, you may guess at the subject of our discourse. Both
joined in lamentation for the lady's desperate state; admired her
manifold excellencies; severely condemned you and her friends. Yet, to
bring him into better opinion of you, I read to him some passages from
your last letters, which showed your concern for the wrongs you had done
her, and your deep remorse: and he said it was a dreadful thing to labour
under the sense of a guilt so irredeemable.
We procured Mr. Goddard, (Dr. H. not being at home,) once more to visit
her, and to call upon us in his return. He was so good as to do so; but
he tarried with her not five minutes; and told us, that she was drawing
on apace; that he feared she would not live till morning; and that she
wished to see Colonel Morden directly.
The Colonel made excuses where none were needed; and though our little
refection was just brought in, he went away immediately.
I could not touch a morsel; and took pen and ink to amuse myself, and
oblige you; knowing how impatient you would be for a few lines: for, from
what I have recited, you see it was impossible I could withdraw to write
when your servant came at half an hour after five, or have an opportunity
for it till now; and this is accidental; and yet your poor fellow was
afraid to go away with the verbal message I sent; importing, as no doubt
he told you, that the Colonel was with us, the lady excessively ill, and
that I could not stir to write a line.
The Colonel sent to me afterwards, to tell me that the lady having been
in convulsions, he was so much disordered that he could not possibly
I have sent every half hour to know how she does--and just now I have the
pleasure to hear that her convulsions have left her; and that she is gone
to rest in a much quieter way than could be expected.
Her poor cousin is very much indisposed; yet will not stir out of the
house while she is in such a way; but intends to lie down on a couch,
having refused any other accommodation.
END OF VOL. 8.