Part 1 out of 6
Produced by Julie C. Sparks
HISTORY OF A YOUNG LADY
CONTENTS OF VOLUME IV
LETTER I. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Likes her lodgings; but not greatly the widow. Chides Miss Howe for her
rash, though friendly vow. Catalogue of good books she finds in her
closet. Utterly dissatisfied with him for giving out to the women below
that they were privately married. Has a strong debate with him on this
subject. He offers matrimony to her, but in such a manner that she could
not close with his offer. Her caution as to doors, windows, and seals of
LETTER II. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Her expedient to correspond with each other every day. Is glad she had
thoughts of marrying him had he repeated his offer. Wonders he did not.
LETTER III. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Breakfasts with him and the widow, and her two nieces. Observations upon
their behaviour and looks. He makes a merit of leaving her, and hopes,
ON HIS RETURN, that she will name his happy day. She is willing to make
the best constructions in his favour.
In his next letter (extracts from which are only given) he triumphs on
the points he has carried. Stimulated by the women, he resumes his
resolution to try her to the utmost.
LETTER IV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Lovelace returns the next day. She thinks herself meanly treated, and is
angry. He again urges marriage; but before she can return his answer
makes another proposal; yet she suspects not that he means a studied
delay. He is in treaty for Mrs. Fretchville's house. Description of it.
An inviting opportunity offers for him to propose matrimony to her. She
wonders he let it slip. He is very urgent for her company at a collation
he is to give to four of his select friends, and Miss Partington. He
gives an account who Miss Partington is.
In Mr. Lovelace's next letter he invites Belford, Mowbray, Belton, and
Tourville, to his collation. His humourous instructions for their
behaviour before the lady. Has two views in getting her into their
LETTER V. Lovelace to Belford.--
Has been at church with Clarissa. The sabbath a charming institution.
The text startles him. Nathan the prophet he calls a good ingenious
fellow. She likes the women better than she did at first. She
reluctantly consents to honour his collation with her presence. Longs
to have their opinions of his fair prize. Describes her to great
LETTER VI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
She praises his good behaviour at St. Paul's. Is prevailed on to dine
with Mrs. Sinclair and her nieces. Is better pleased with them than she
thought she should be. Blames herself for her readiness to censure,
where reputation is concerned. Her charitable allowances on this head.
This day an agreeable day. Interprets ever thing she can fairly
interpret in Mr. Lovelace's favour. She could prefer him to all the men
she ever knew, if he would always be what he had been that day. Is
determined, as much as possible, by true merit, and by deeds. Dates
again, and is offended at Miss Partington's being introduced to her, and
at his making her yield to be present at his intended collation.
LETTER VII. From the same.--
Disgusted wit her evening. Characterizes his four companions. Likes not
Miss Partington's behaviour.
LETTER VIII. From the same.--
An attempt to induce her to admit Miss Partington to a share in her bed
for that night. She refuses. Her reasons. Is highly dissatisfied.
LETTER IX. From the same.--
Has received an angry letter from Mrs. Howe, forbidding her to correspond
with her daughter. She advises compliance, though against herself; and,
to induce her to it, makes the best of her present prospects.
LETTER X. Miss Howe. In answer.--
Flames out upon this step of her mother. Insists upon continuing the
correspondence. Her menaces if Clarissa write not. Raves against
Lovelace. But blames her for not obliging Miss Partington: and why.
Advises her to think of settlements. Likes Lovelace's proposal of Mrs.
LETTER XI. Clarissa. In reply.--
Terrified at her menaces, she promises to continue writing. Beseeches
her to learn to subdue her passions. Has just received her clothes.
LETTER XII. Mr. Hickman to Clarissa.--
Miss Howe, he tells her, is uneasy for the vexation she has given her.
If she will write on as before, Miss Howe will not think of doing what
she is so apprehensive of. He offers her his most faithful services.
LETTER XIII. XIV. Lovelace to Belford.--
Tells him how much the lady dislikes the confraternity; Belford as well
as the rest. Has a warm debate with her in her behalf. Looks upon her
refusing a share in her bed to Miss Partington as suspecting and defying
him. Threatens her.--Savagely glories in her grief, on receiving Miss
Howe's prohibitory letter: which appears to be instigated by himself.
LETTER XV. Belford to Lovelace.--
His and his compeer's high admiration of Clarissa. They all join to
entreat him to do her justice.
LETTER XVI. XVII. Lovelace. In answer.--
He endeavours to palliate his purposes by familiar instances of cruelty
to birds, &c.--Farther characteristic reasonings in support of his wicked
designs. The passive condition to which he wants to bring the lady.
LETTER XVIII. Belford. In reply.--
Still warmly argues in behalf of the lady. Is obliged to attend a dying
uncle: and entreats him to write from time to time an account of all his
LETTER XIX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Lovelace, she says, complains of the reserves he gives occasion for. His
pride a dirty low pride, which has eaten up his prudence. He is sunk in
her opinion. An afflicting letter sent her from her cousin Morden.
Encloses the letter. In which her cousin (swayed by the representations
of her brother) pleads in behalf of Solmes, and the family-views; and
sets before her, in strong and just lights, the character of a libertine.
Her heavy reflections upon the contents. Her generous prayer.
LETTER XX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
He presses her to go abroad with him; yet mentions not the ceremony that
should give propriety to his urgency. Cannot bear the life she lives.
Wishes her uncle Harlowe to be sounded by Mr. Hickman, as to a
reconciliation. Mennell introduced to her. Will not take another step
with Lovelace till she know the success of the proposed application to
Substance of two letters from Lovelace to Belford; in which he tells him
who Mennell is, and gives an account of many new contrivances and
precautions. Women's pockets ballast-bags. Mrs. Sinclair's wardrobe.
Good order observed in her house. The lady's caution, he says, warrants
LETTER XXI. Lovelace to Belford.--
Will write a play. The title of it, The Quarrelsome Lovers.
Perseverance his glory; patience his hand-maid. Attempts to get a letter
the lady had dropt as she sat. Her high indignation upon it. Farther
plots. Paul Wheatly, who; and for what employed. Sally Martin's
reproaches. Has overplotted himself. Human nature a well-known rogue.
LETTER XXII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Acquaints her with their present quarrel. Finds it imprudent to stay
with him. Re-urges the application to her uncle. Cautions her sex with
regard to the danger of being misled by the eye.
LETTER XXIII. Miss Howe. In answer.--
Approves of her leaving Lovelace. New stories of his wickedness. Will
have her uncle sounded. Comforts her. How much her case differs from
that of any other female fugitive. She will be an example, as well as a
warning. A picture of Clarissa's happiness before she knew Lovelace.
Brief sketches of her exalted character. Adversity her shining time.
LETTER XXIV. Clarissa. In reply.--
Has a contest with Lovelace about going to church. He obliges her again
to accept of his company to St. Paul's.
LETTER XXV. Miss Howe to Mrs. Norton.--
Desiring her to try to dispose Mrs. Harlowe to forward a reconciliation.
LETTER XXVI. Mrs. Norton. In answer.
LETTER XXVII. Miss Howe. In reply.
LETTER XXVIII. Mrs. Harlowe's pathetic letter to Mrs. Norton.
LETTER XXIX. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Fruitless issue of Mr. Hickman's application to her uncle. Advises her
how to proceed with, and what to say to, Lovelace. Endeavours to account
for his teasing ways. Who knows, she says, but her dear friend was
permitted to swerve, in order to bring about his reformation? Informs
her of her uncle Antony's intended address to her mother.
LETTER XXX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Hard fate to be thrown upon an ungenerous and cruel man. Reasons why she
cannot proceed with Mr. Lovelace as she advises. Affecting apostrophe to
LETTER XXXI. From the same.--
Interesting conversation with Lovelace. He frightens her. He mentions
settlements. Her modest encouragements of him. He evades. True
generosity what. She requires his proposals of settlements in writing.
Examines herself on her whole conduct to Lovelace. Maidenly niceness not
her motive for the distance she has kept him at. What is. Invites her
correction if she deceive herself.
LETTER XXXII. From the same.--
With Mr. Lovelace's written proposals. Her observations on the cold
conclusion of them. He knows not what every wise man knows, of the
prudence and delicacy required in a wife.
LETTER XXXIII. From the same.--
Mr. Lovelace presses for the day; yet makes a proposal which must
necessarily occasion a delay. Her unreserved and pathetic answer to it.
He is affected by it. She rejoices that he is penetrable. He presses
for her instant resolution; but at the same time insinuates delay.
Seeing her displeased, he urges for the morrow: but, before she can
answer, gives her the alternative of other days. Yet, wanting to reward
himself, as if he had obliged her, she repulses him on a liberty he would
have taken. He is enraged. Her melancholy reflections on her future
prospects with such a man. The moral she deduces from her story. [A
note, defending her conduct from the censure which passed upon her as
Extracts from four of his letters: in which he glories in his cruelty.
Hardheartedness he owns to be an essential of the libertine character.
Enjoys the confusion of a fine woman. His apostrophe to virtue. Ashamed
of being visibly affected. Enraged against her for repulsing him. Will
steel his own heart, that he may cut through a rock of ice to her's. The
women afresh instigate him to attempt her virtue.
LETTER XXXIV. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Is enraged at his delays. Will think of some scheme to get her out of
his hands. Has no notion that he can or dare to mean her dishonour.
Women do not naturally hate such men as Lovelace.
LETTER XXXV. Belford to Lovelace.--
Warmly espouses the lady's cause. Nothing but vanity and nonsense in the
wild pursuits of libertines. For his own sake, for his family's sake,
and for the sake of their common humanity, he beseeches him to do this
LETTER XXXVI. Lord M. to Mr. Belford.--
A proverbial letter in the lady's favour.
LETTER XXXVII. Lovelace to Belford.--
He ludicrously turns Belford's arguments against him. Resistance
inflames him. Why the gallant is preferred to the husband. Gives a piece
of advice to married women. Substance of his letter to Lord M. desiring
him to give the lady to him in person. His view in this letter.
Ridicules Lord M. for his proverbs. Ludicrous advice to Belford in
relation to his dying uncle. What physicians should do when a patient is
LETTER XXXVIII. Belford to Lovelace.--
Sets forth the folly, the inconvenience, the impolicy of KEEPING, and the
preference of MARRIAGE, upon the foot of their own principles, as
LETTER XXXIX. Lovelace to Belford.--
Affects to mistake the intention of Belford's letter, and thanks him for
approving his present scheme. The seduction progress is more delightful
to him, he says, than the crowning act.
LETTER XL. From the same.--
All extremely happy at present. Contrives a conversation for the lady to
overhear. Platonic love, how it generally ends. Will get her to a play;
likes not tragedies. Has too much feeling. Why men of his cast prefer
comedy to tragedy. The nymphs, and Mrs. Sinclair, and all their
acquaintances, of the same mind. Other artifices of his. Could he have
been admitted in her hours of dishabille and heedlessness, he had been
long ago master of his wishes. His view in getting her to a play: a
play, and a collation afterwards, greatly befriend a lover's designs; and
why. She consents to go with him to see the tragedy of Venice Preserved.
LETTER XLI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Gives the particulars of the overheard conversation. Thinks her
prospects a little mended. Is willing to compound for tolerable
appearances, and to hope, when reason for hope offers.
LETTER XLII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Her scheme of Mrs. Townsend. Is not for encouraging dealers in
prohibited goods; and why. Her humourous treatment of Hickman on
consulting him upon Lovelace's proposals of settlements.
LETTER XLIII. From the same.--
Her account of Antony Harlowe's address to her mother, and of what passed
on her mother's communicating it to her. Copy of Mrs. Howe's answer to
LETTER XLIV. XLV. Lovelace to Belford.--
Comes at several letters of Miss Howe. He is now more assured of
Clarissa than ever; and why. Sparkling eyes, what they indicate. She
keeps him at distance. Repeated instigations from the women. Account of
the letters he has come at. All rage and revenge upon the contents of
them. Menaces Hickman. Wishes Miss Howe had come up to town, as she
LETTER XLVI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Is terrified by him. Disclaims
prudery. Begs of Miss Howe to perfect her scheme, that she may leave
him. She thinks her temper changed for the worse. Trembles to look back
upon his encroachments. Is afraid, on the close self-examination which
her calamities have caused her to make, that even in the best actions of
her past life she has not been quite free from secret pride, &c. Tears
almost in two the answer she had written to his proposals. Intends to go
out next day, and not to return. Her farther intentions.
LETTER XLVII. Lovelace to Belford.--
Meets the lady at breakfast. Flings the tea-cup and saucer over his
head. The occasion. Alarms and terrifies her by his free address.
Romping, the use of it by a lover. Will try if she will not yield to
nightly surprises. A lion-hearted lady where her honour is concerned.
Must have recourse to his master-strokes. Fable of the sun and north
wind. Mrs. Fretchville's house an embarrass. He gives that pretended
lady the small-pox. Other contrivances in his head to bring Clarissa
back, if she should get away. Miss Howe's scheme of Mrs. Townsend is, he
says, a sword hanging over his head. He must change his measures to
render it abortive. He is of the true lady-make. What that is. Another
conversation between them. Her apostrophe to her father. He is
temporarily moved. Dorcas gives him notice of a paper she has come at,
and is transcribing. In order to detain the lady, he presses for the
day. Miss Howe he fancies in love with him; and why. He sees Clarissa
does not hate him.
LETTER XLVIII. From the same.--
Copy of the transcribed paper. It proves to be her torn answer to his
proposals. Meekness the glory of a woman. Ludicrous image of a
termagant wife. He had better never to have seen this paper. Has very
strong remorses. Paints them in lively colours. Sets forth the lady's
transcendent virtue, and greatness of mind. Surprised into these
arguments in her favour by his conscience. Puts it to flight.
LETTER XLIX. From the same.--
Mennell scruples to aid him farther in his designs. Vapourish people
the physical tribe's milch-cows. Advice to the faculty. Has done with
the project about Mrs. Fretchville's house. The lady suspects him. A
seasonable letter for him from his cousin Charlotte. Sends up the letter
to the lady. She writes to Miss Howe, upon perusing it, to suspend for
the present her application to Mrs. Townsend.
LETTER L. From the same.--
An interview all placid and agreeable. Now is he in a train. All he now
waits for is a letter from Lord M. Inquires after their marriage by a
stranger of good appearance. The lady alarmed at them.
LETTER LI. Lovelace to Belford.--
Curses his uncle for another proverbial letter he has sent him. Permits
the lady to see it. Nine women in ten that fall, fall, he says, through
their own fault.
LETTER LII. Lord M.'s characteristic letter.
LETTER LIII. Lovelace to Belford.--
The lady now comes to him at the first word. Triumphs in her sweetness
of temper, and on her patience with him. Puts his writings into
counsellor Williams's hands, to prepare settlements. Shall now be doubly
armed. Boasts of his contrivances in petto. Brings patterns to her.
Proposes jewels. Admires her for her prudence with regard to what he
puts her upon doing for her Norton. What his wife must do and be. She
declines a public wedding. Her dutiful reasons. She is willing to
dispense with Lord M.'s presence. He writes to Lord M. accordingly.
Extract from a letter from Clarissa.--
After giving Miss Howe an account of the present favourable appearances,
she desires her to keep herself all such of the particulars which she has
communicated to her as may discredit Mr. Lovelace.
LETTER LIV. Lovelace to Belford.--
His projected plot to revenge himself upon Miss Howe.
LETTER LV. From the same.--
Fresh contrivances crowd in upon him. He shall be very sick on the
morrow; and why. Women below impertinently reproachful. He will be no
man's successor. Will not take up with harlots.--History of the French
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, APRIL 26.
At length, my dearest Miss Howe, I am in London, and in my new lodgings.
They are neatly furnished, and the situation, for the town, is pleasant.
But I think you must not ask me how I like the old gentlewoman. Yet she
seems courteous and obliging.--Her kinswomen just appeared to welcome me
at my alighting. They seemed to be genteel young women. But more of
their aunt and them, as I shall see more.
Miss Sorlings has an uncle at Barnet, whom she found so very ill, that
her uneasiness, on that account, (having large expectations from him,)
made me comply with her desire to stay with him. Yet I wished, as her
uncle did not expect her, that she would see me settled in London; and
Mr. Lovelace was still more earnest that she would, offering to send her
back again in a day or two, and urging that her uncle's malady threatened
not a sudden change. But leaving the matter to her choice, after she
knew what would have been mine, she made me not the expected compliment.
Mr. Lovelace, however, made her a handsome present at parting.
His genteel spirit, on all occasions, makes he often wish him more
As soon as he arrived, I took possession of my apartment. I shall make
good use of the light closet in it, if I stay here any time.
One of his attendants returns in the morning to The Lawn; and I made
writing to you by him an excuse for my retiring.
And now give me leave to chide you, my dearest friend, for your rash,
and I hope revocable resolution not to make Mr. Hickman the happiest man
in the world, while my happiness is in suspense. Suppose I were to be
unhappy, what, my dear, would this resolution of yours avail me?
Marriage is the highest state of friendship: if happy, it lessens our
cares, by dividing them, at the same time that it doubles our pleasures
by a mutual participation. Why, my dear, if you love me, will you not
rather give another friend to one who has not two she is sure of? Had
you married on your mother's last birth-day, as she would have had you,
I should not, I dare say, have wanted a refuge; that would have saved me
many mortifications, and much disgrace.
Here I was broke in upon by Mr. Lovelace; introducing the widow leading
in a kinswoman of her's to attend me, if I approved of her, till my
Hannah should come, or till I had provided myself with some other
servant. The widow gave her many good qualities; but said, that she had
one great defect; which was, that she could not write, nor read writing;
that part of her education having been neglected when she was young; but
for discretion, fidelity, obligingness, she was not to be out-done by any
body. So commented her likewise for her skill at the needle.
As for her defect, I can easily forgive that. She is very likely and
genteel--too genteel indeed, I think, for a servant. But what I like
least of all in her, she has a strange sly eye. I never saw such an eye;
half-confident, I think. But indeed Mrs. Sinclair herself, (for that is
the widow's name,) has an odd winking eye; and her respectfulness seems
too much studied, methinks, for the London ease and freedom. But people
can't help their looks, you know; and after all she is extremely civil
and obliging,--and as for the young woman, (Dorcas is her name,) she will
not be long with me.
I accepted her: How could I do otherwise, (if I had had a mind to make
objections, which, in my present situation, I had not,) her aunt present,
and the young woman also present; and Mr. Lovelace officious in his
introducing them, to oblige me? But, upon their leaving me, I told him,
(who seemed inclinable to begin a conversation with me,) that I desired
that this apartment might be considered as my retirement: that when I saw
him it might be in the dining-room, (which is up a few stairs; for this
back-house, being once two, the rooms do not all of them very
conveniently communicate with each other,) and that I might be as little
broken in upon as possible, when I am here. He withdrew very
respectfully to the door, but there stopt; and asked for my company then
in the dining-room. If he were about setting out for other lodgings, I
would go with him now, I told him; but, if he did not just then go, I
would first finish my letter to Miss Howe.
I see he has no mind to leave me if he can help it. My brother's scheme
may give him a pretence to try to engage me to dispense with his promise.
But if I now do I must acquit him of it entirely.
My approbation of his tender behaviour in the midst of my grief, has
given him a right, as he seems to think, of addressing me with all the
freedom of an approved lover. I see by this man, that when once a woman
embarks with this sex, there is no receding. One concession is but the
prelude to another with them. He has been ever since Sunday last
continually complaining of the distance I keep him at; and thinks himself
entitled now to call in question my value for him; strengthening his
doubts by my former declared readiness to give him up to a reconciliation
with my friends; and yet has himself fallen off from that obsequious
tenderness, if I may couple the words, which drew from me the concessions
he builds upon.
While we were talking at the door, my new servant came up with an
invitation to us both to tea. I said he might accept of it, if he
pleased: but I must pursue my writing; and not choosing either tea or
supper, I desired him to make my excuses below, as to both; and inform
them of my choice to be retired as much as possible; yet to promise for
me my attendance on the widow and her nieces at breakfast in the morning.
He objected particularly in the eye of strangers as to avoiding supper.
You know, said I, and you can tell them, that I seldom eat suppers. My
spirits are low. You must never urge me against a declared choice.
Pray, Mr. Lovelace, inform them of all my particularities. If they are
obliging, they will allow for them--I come not hither to make new
I have turned over the books I found in my closet; and am not a little
pleased with them; and think the better of the people of the house for
Stanhope's Gospels; Sharp's, Tillotson's, and South's Sermons; Nelson's
Feasts and Fasts; a Sacramental Piece of the Bishop of Man, and another
of Dr. Gauden, Bishop of Exeter; and Inett's Devotions, are among the
devout books:--and among those of a lighter turn, the following not ill-
chosen ones: A Telemachus, in French; another in English; Steel's,
Rowe's, and Shakespeare's Plays; that genteel Comedy of Mr. Cibber, The
Careless Husband, and others of the same author; Dryden's Miscellanies;
the Tatlers, Spectators, and Guardians; Pope's, and Swift's, and
In the blank leaves of the Nelson and Bishop Gauden, is Mrs. Sinclair's
name; and in those of most of the others, either Sarah Martin, or Mary
Horton, the names of the two nieces.
I am exceedingly out of humour with Mr. Lovelace: and have great reason
to be so, as you will allow, when you have read the conversation I am
going to give you an account of; for he would not let me rest till I gave
him my company in the dining-room.
He began with letting me know, that he had been out to inquire after the
character of the widow, which was the more necessary, he said, as he
supposed that I would expect his frequent absence.
I did, I said; and that he would not think of taking up his lodging in
the same house with me. But what, said I, is the result of your inquiry?
Why, indeed, the widow's character was, in the main, what he liked well
enough. But as it was Miss Howe's opinion, as I had told him, that my
brother had not given over his scheme; as the widow lived by letting
lodgings, and had others to let in the same part of the house, which
might be taken by an enemy; he knew no better way than for him to take
them all, as it could not be for a long time, unless I would think of
removing to others.
So far was well enough. But as it was easy for me to see, that he spoke
the slighter of the widow, in order to have a pretence to lodge here
himself, I asked him his intention in that respect. And he frankly
owned, that if I chose to stay here, he could not, as matters stood,
think of leaving me for six hours together; and he had prepared the widow
to expect, that we should be here but for a few days; only till we could
fix ourselves in a house suitable to our condition; and this, that I
might be under the less embarrassment, if I pleased to remove.
Fix our-selves in a house, and we, and our, Mr. Lovelace--Pray, in what
He interrupted me--Why, my dearest life, if you will hear me with
patience--yet, I am half afraid that I have been too forward, as I have
not consulted you upon it--but as my friends in town, according to what
Mr. Doleman has written, in the letter you have seen, conclude us to be
Surely, Sir, you have not presumed--
Hear me out, my dearest creature--you have received with favour, my
addresses: you have made me hope for the honour of your consenting hand:
yet, by declining my most fervent tender of myself to you at Mrs.
Sorlings's, have given me apprehensions of delay: I would not for the
world be thought so ungenerous a wretch, now you have honoured me with
your confidence, as to wish to precipitate you. Yet your brother's
schemes are not given up. Singleton, I am afraid, is actually in town;
his vessel lies at Rotherhithe--your brother is absent from Harlowe-
place; indeed not with Singleton yet, as I can hear. If you are known
to be mine, or if you are but thought to be so, there will probably be an
end of your brother's contrivances. The widow's character may be as
worthy as it is said to be. But the worthier she is, the more danger,
if your brother's agent should find us out; since she may be persuaded,
that she ought in conscience to take a parent's part against a child who
stands in opposition to them. But if she believes us married, her good
character will stand us instead, and give her a reason why two apartments
are requisite for us at the hour of retirement.
I perfectly raved at him. I would have flung from him in resentment; but
he would not let me: and what could I do? Whither go, the evening
I am astonished at you! said I.--If you are a man of honour, what need of
all this strange obliquity? You delight in crooked ways--let me know,
since I must stay in your company (for he held my hand), let me know all
you have said to the people below.--Indeed, indeed, Mr. Lovelace, you are
a very unaccountable man.
My dearest creature, need I to have mentioned any thing of this? and
could I not have taken up my lodgings in this house unknown to you, if I
had not intended to make you the judge of all my proceedings?--But this
is what I have told the widow before her kinswomen, and before your new
servant--'That indeed we were privately married at Hertford; but that you
had preliminarily bound me under a solemn vow, which I am most
religiously resolved to keep, to be contented with separate apartments,
and even not to lodge under the same roof, till a certain reconciliation
shall take place, which is of high consequence to both.' And further
that I might convince you of the purity of my intentions, and that my
whole view in this was to prevent mischief, I have acquainted them, 'that
I have solemnly promised to behave to you before every body, as if we
were only betrothed, and not married; not even offering to take any of
those innocent freedoms which are not refused in the most punctilious
And then he solemnly vowed to me the strictest observance of the same
respectful behaviour to me.
I said, that I was not by any means satisfied with the tale he had told,
nor with the necessity he wanted to lay me under of appearing what I was
not: that every step he took was a wry one, a needless wry one: and since
he thought it necessary to tell the people below any thing about me, I
insisted that he should unsay all he had said, and tell them the truth.
What he had told them, he said, was with so many circumstances, that he
could sooner die than contradict it. And still he insisted upon the
propriety of appearing to be married, for the reasons he had given
before--And, dearest creature, said he, why this high displeasure with
me upon so well-intended an expedient? You know, that I cannot wish to
shun your brother, or his Singleton, but upon your account. The first
step I would take, if left to myself, would be to find them out. I have
always acted in this manner, when any body has presumed to give out
threatenings against it.
'Tis true I would have consulted you first, and had your leave. But
since you dislike what I have said, let me implore you, dearest Madam,
to give the only proper sanction to it, by naming an early day. Would to
Heaven that were to be to-morrow!--For God's sake, let it be to-morrow!
But, if not, [was it his business, my dear, before I spoke (yet he seemed
to be afraid of me) to say, if not?] let me beseech you, Madam, if my
behaviour shall not be to your dislike, that you will not to-morrow, at
breakfast-time, discredit what I have told them. The moment I give you
cause to think that I take any advantage of your concession, that moment
revoke it, and expose me, as I shall deserve.--And once more, let me
remind you, that I have no view either to serve or save myself by this
expedient. It is only to prevent a probable mischief, for your own
mind's sake; and for the sake of those who deserve not the least
consideration from me.
What could I say? What could I do?--I verily think, that had he urged me
again, in a proper manner, I should have consented (little satisfied as I
am with him) to give him a meeting to-morrow morning at a more solemn
place than in the parlour below.
But this I resolve, that he shall not have my consent to stay a night
under this roof. He has now given me a stronger reason for this
determination than I had before.
Alas! my dear, how vain a thing to say, what we will, or what we will not
do, when we have put ourselves into the power of this sex!--He went down
to the people below, on my desiring to be left to myself; and staid till
their supper was just ready; and then, desiring a moment's audience, as
he called it, he besought my leave to stay that one night, promising to
set out either for Lord M.'s, or for Edgeware, to his friend Belford's,
in the morning, after breakfast. But if I were against it, he said, he
would not stay supper; and would attend me about eight next day--yet he
added, that my denial would have a very particular appearance to the
people below, from what he had told them; and the more, as he had
actually agreed for all the vacant apartments, (indeed only for a month,)
for the reasons he before hinted at: but I need not stay here two days,
if, upon conversing with the widow and her nieces in the morning, I
should have any dislike to them.
I thought, notwithstanding my resolution above-mentioned, that it would
seem too punctilious to deny him, under the circumstances he had
mentioned: having, besides, no reason to think he would obey me; for he
looked as if he were determined to debate the matter with me. And now,
as I see no likelihood of a reconciliation with my friends, and as I have
actually received his addresses, I thought I would not quarrel with him,
if I could help it, especially as he asked to stay but for one night, and
could have done so without my knowing it; and you being of opinion, that
the proud wretch, distrusting his own merits with me, or at least my
regard for him, will probably bring me to some concessions in his favour
--for all these reasons, I thought proper to yield this point: yet I was
so vexed with him on the other, that it was impossible for me to comply
with that grace which a concession should be made with, or not made at
This was what I said--What you will do, you must do, I think. You are
very ready to promise; very ready to depart from your promise. You say,
however, that you will set out to-morrow for the country. You know how
ill I have been. I am not well enough now to debate with you upon your
encroaching ways. I am utterly dissatisfied with the tale you have told
below. Nor will I promise to appear to the people of the house to-morrow
what I am not.
He withdrew in the most respectful manner, beseeching me only to favour
him with such a meeting in the morning as might not make the widow and
her nieces think he had given me reason to be offended with him.
I retired to my own apartment, and Dorcas came to me soon after to take
my commands. I told her, that I required very little attendance, and
always dressed and undressed myself.
She seemed concerned, as if she thought I had repulsed her; and said, it
should be her whole study to oblige me.
I told her, that I was not difficult to be pleased: and should let her
know from time to time what assistance I should expect from her. But for
that night I had no occasion for her further attendance.
She is not only genteel, but is well bred, and well spoken--she must have
had what is generally thought to be the polite part of education: but it
is strange, that fathers and mothers should make so light, as they
generally do, of that preferable part, in girls, which would improve
their minds, and give a grace to all the rest.
As soon as she was gone, I inspected the doors, the windows, the
wainscot, the dark closet as well as the light one; and finding very good
fastenings to the door, and to all the windows, I again had recourse to
Mrs. Sinclair is just now gone from me. Dorcas, she told me, had
acquainted her, that I had dismissed her for the night. She came to ask
me how I liked my apartment, and to wish me good rest. She expressed her
concern, that they could not have my company at supper. Mr. Lovelace,
she said, had informed them of my love of retirement. She assured me,
that I should not be broken in upon. She highly extolled him, and gave
me a share in the praise as to person. But was sorry, she said, that she
was likely to lose us so soon as Mr. Lovelace talked of.
I answered her with suitable civility; and she withdrew with great tokens
of respect. With greater, I think, than should be from distance of
years, as she was the wife of a gentleman; and as the appearance of every
thing about her, as well house as dress, carries the marks of such good
circumstances, as require not abasement.
If, my dear, you will write, against prohibition, be pleased to direct,
To Miss Laetitia Beaumont; to be left till called for, at Mr. Wilson's,
in Pall Mall.
Mr. Lovelace proposed this direction to me, not knowing of your desire
that your letters should pass by a third hand. As his motive for it was,
that my brother might not trace out where we are, I am glad, as well from
this instance as from others, that he seems to think he has done mischief
Do you know how my poor Hannah does?
Mr. Lovelace is so full of his contrivances and expedients, that I think
it may not be amiss to desire you to look carefully to the seals of my
letters, as I shall to those of yours. If I find him base in this
particular, I shall think him capable of any evil; and will fly him as my
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[WITH HER TWO LAST LETTERS, NO. LVIII. LIX. OF VOL. III., ENCLOSED.]
THURSDAY NIGHT, APRIL 27.
I have your's; just brought me. Mr. Hickman has helped me to a lucky
expedient, which, with the assistance of the post, will enable me to
correspond with you every day. An honest higler, [Simon Collins his
name,] by whom I shall send this, and the two enclosed, (now I have your
direction whither,) goes to town constantly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and
Fridays; and can bring back to me from Mr. Wilson's what you shall have
caused to be left for me.
I congratulate you on your arrival in town, so much amended in spirits.
I must be brief. I hope you'll have no cause to repent returning my
Norris. It is forthcoming on demand.
I am sorry your Hannah can't be with you. She is very ill still; but not
I long for your account of the women you are with. If they are not right
people, you will find them out in one breakfasting.
I know not what to write upon his reporting to them that you are actually
married. His reasons for it are plausible. But he delights in odd
expedients and inventions.
Whether you like the people or not, do not, by your noble sincerity and
plain dealing, make yourself enemies. You are in the real world now you
I am glad you had thoughts of taking him at his offer, if he had re-urged
it. I wonder he did not. But if he do not soon, and in such a way as
you can accept of it, don't think of staying with him.
Depend upon it, my dear, he will not leave you, either night or day, if
he can help it, now he has got footing.
I should have abhorred him for his report of your marriage, had he not
made it with such circumstances as leave it still in your power to keep
him at distance. If once he offer at the least familiarity--but this is
needless to say to you. He can have, I think, no other design but what
he professes; because he must needs think, that his report of being
married to you must increase your vigilance.
You may depend upon my looking narrowly into the sealings of your
letters. If, as you say, he be base in that point, he will be so in
every thing. But to a person of your merit, of your fortune, of your
virtue, he cannot be base. The man is no fool. It is his interest, as
well with regard to his expectations from his own friends, as from you,
to be honest. Would to Heaven, however, you were really married! This
is now the predominant wish of
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
THURSDAY MORNING, EIGHT O'CLOCK.
I am more and more displeased with Mr. Lovelace, on reflection, for his
boldness in hoping to make me, though but passively, as I may say,
testify to his great untruth. And I shall like him still less for it, if
his view in it does not come out to be the hope of accelerating my
resolution in his favour, by the difficulty it will lay me under as to my
behaviour to him. He has sent me his compliments by Dorcas, with a
request that I will permit him to attend me in the dining-room,--meet him
in good humour, or not: but I have answered, that as I shall see him at
breakfast-time I desired to be excused.
I tried to adjust my countenance, before I went down, to an easier air
than I had a heart, and was received with the highest tokens of respect
by the widow and her two nieces: agreeable young women enough in their
persons; but they seemed to put on an air of reserve; while Mr. Lovelace
was easy and free to all, as if he were of long acquaintance with them:
gracefully enough, I cannot but say; an advantage which travelled
gentlemen have over other people.
The widow, in the conversation we had after breakfast, gave us an account
of the military merit of the Colonel her husband, and, upon this
occasion, put her handkerchief to her eyes twice or thrice. I hope for
the sake of her sincerity, she wetted it, because she would be thought to
have done so; but I saw not that she did. She wished that I might never
know the loss of a husband so dear to me, as her beloved Colonel was to
her: and she again put the handkerchief to her eyes.
It must, no doubt, be a most affecting thing to be separated from a good
husband, and to be left in difficult circumstances besides, and that not
by his fault, and exposed to the insults of the base and ungrateful, as
she represented her case to be at his death. This moved me a good deal
in her favour.
You know, my dear, that I have an open and free heart; and naturally have
as open and free a countenance; at least my complimenters have told me
so. At once, where I like, I mingle minds without reserve, encouraging
reciprocal freedoms, and am forward to dissipate diffidences. But with
these two nieces of the widow I never can be intimate--I don't know why.
Only that circumstances, and what passed in conversation, encouraged not
the notion, or I should have been apt to think, that the young ladies and
Mr. Lovelace were of longer acquaintance than of yesterday. For he, by
stealth as it were, cast glances sometimes at them, when they returned;
and, on my ocular notice, their eyes fell, as I may say, under my eye, as
if they could not stand its examination.
The widow directed all her talk to me, as to Mrs. Lovelace; and I, with a
very ill grace bore it. And once she expressed more forwardly than I
thanked her for, her wonder that any vow, any consideration, however
weighty, could have force enough with so charming a couple, as she called
him and me, to make us keep separate beds.
Their eyes, upon this hint, had the advantage of mine. Yet was I not
conscious of guilt. How know I then, upon recollection, that my censures
upon there are not too rash? There are, no doubt, many truly modest
persons (putting myself out of the question) who, by blushes at an
injurious charge, have been suspected, by those who cannot distinguish
between the confusion which guilt will be attended with, and the noble
consciousness that overspreads the face of a fine spirit, to be thought
but capable of an imputed evil.
The great Roman, as we read, who took his surname from one part in three
(the fourth not then discovered) of the world he had triumphed over,
being charged with a great crime to his soldiery, chose rather to suffer
exile (the punishment due to it, had he been found guilty) than to have
it said, that Scipio was questioned in public, on so scandalous a charge.
And think you, my dear, that Scipio did not blush with indignation, when
the charge was first communicated to him?
Mr. Lovelace, when the widow expressed her forward wonder, looked sly and
leering, as if to observe how I took it: and said, they might take notice
that his regard for my will and pleasure (calling me his dear creature)
had greater force upon him than the oath by which he had bound himself.
Rebuking both him and the widow, I said, it was strange to me to hear an
oath or vow so lightly treated, as to have it thought but of second
consideration, whatever were the first.
The observation was just, Miss Martin said; for that nothing could excuse
the breaking of a solemn vow, be the occasion of making it what it would.
I asked her after the nearest church; for I have been too long a stranger
to the sacred worship. They named St. James's, St. Anne's, and another
in Bloomsbury; and the two nieces said they oftenest went to St. James's
church, because of the good company, as well as for the excellent
Mr. Lovelace said, the Royal Chapel was the place he oftenest went to,
when he was in town. Poor man! little did I expect to hear he went to
any place of devotion. I asked, if the presence of the visible king of,
comparatively, but a small territory, did not take off, too generally,
the requisite attention to the service of the invisible King and Maker
of a thousand worlds?
He believed this might be so with such as came for curiosity, when the
royal family were present. But otherwise, he had seen as many contrite
faces at the Royal Chapel, as any where else: and why not? Since the
people about court have as deep scores to wipe off, as any people
He spoke this with so much levity, that I could not help saying, that
nobody questioned but he knew how to choose his company.
Your servant, my dear, bowing, were his words; and turning to them, you
will observe upon numberless occasions, ladies, as we are further
acquainted, that my beloved never spares me upon these topics. But I
admire her as much in her reproofs, as I am fond of her approbation.
Miss Horton said, there was a time for every thing. She could not but
say, that she thought innocent mirth was mighty becoming in young people.
Very true, joined in Miss Martin. And Shakespeare says well, that youth
is the spring of life, the bloom of gaudy years [with a theatrical air,
she spoke it:] and for her part, she could not but admire in my spouse
that charming vivacity which so well suited his time of life.
Mr. Lovelace bowed. The man is fond of praise. More fond of it, I
doubt, than of deserving it. Yet this sort of praise he does deserve.
He has, you know, an easy free manner, and no bad voice: and this praise
so expanded his gay heart, that he sung the following lines from
Congreve, as he told us they were:
Youth does a thousand pleasures bring,
Which from decrepid age will fly;
Sweets that wanton in the bosom of the spring,
In winter's cold embraces die.
And this for a compliment, as he said, to the two nieces. Nor was it
thrown away upon them. They encored it; and his compliance fixed them
in my memory.
We had some talk about meals, and the widow very civilly offered to
conform to any rules I would set her. I told her how easily I was
pleased, and how much I chose to dine by myself, and that from a plate
sent me from any single dish. But I will not trouble you, my dear, with
They thought me very singular; and with reason: but as I liked them not
so very well as to forego my own choice in compliment to them, I was the
less concerned for what they thought.--And still the less, as Mr. Lovelace
had put me very much out of humour with him.
They, however, cautioned me against melancholy. I said, I should be a
very unhappy creature if I could not bear my own company.
Mr. Lovelace said, that he must let the ladies into my story, and then
they would know how to allow for my ways. But, my dear, as you love me,
said the confident wretch, give as little way to melancholy as possible.
Nothing but the sweetness of your temper, and your high notions of a duty
that never can be deserved where you place it, can make you so uneasy as
you are.--Be not angry, my dear love, for saying so, [seeing me frown, I
suppose:] and snatched my hand and kissed it.--I left him with them; and
retired to my closet and my pen.
Just as I have written thus far, I am interrupted by a message from him,
that he is setting out on a journey, and desires to take my commands.--So
here I will leave off, to give him a meeting in the dining-room.
I was not displeased to see him in his riding-dress.
He seemed desirous to know how I liked the gentlewomen below. I told
him, that although I did not think them very exceptionable; yet as I
wanted not, in my present situation, new acquaintance, I should not be
fond of cultivating theirs.
He urged me still farther on this head.
I could not say, I told him, that I greatly liked either of the young
gentlewomen, any more than their aunt: and that, were my situation ever
so happy, they had much too gay a turn for me.
He did not wonder, he said, to hear me say so. He knew not any of the
sex, who had been accustomed to show themselves at the town diversions
and amusements, that would appear tolerable to me. Silences and blushes,
Madam, are now no graces with our fine ladies in town. Hardened by
frequent public appearances, they would be as much ashamed to be found
guilty of these weaknesses, as men.
Do you defend these two gentlewomen, Sir, by reflections upon half the
sex? But you must second me, Mr. Lovelace, (and yet I am not fond of
being thought particular,) in my desire of breakfasting and supping (when
I do sup) by myself.
If I would have it so, to be sure it should be so. The people of the
house were not of consequence enough to be apologized to, in any point
where my pleasure was concerned. And if I should dislike them still more
on further knowledge of them, he hoped I would think of some other
He expressed a good deal of regret at leaving me, declaring, that it was
absolutely in obedience to my commands: but that he could not have
consented to go, while my brother's schemes were on foot, if I had not
done him the credit of my countenance in the report he had made that we
were married; which, he said, had bound all the family to his interest,
so that he could leave me with the greater security and satisfaction.
He hoped, he said, that on his return I would name his happy day; and the
rather, as I might be convinced, by my brother's projects, that no
reconciliation was to be expected.
I told him, that perhaps I might write one letter to my uncle Harlowe.
He once loved me. I should be easier when I had made one direct
application. I might possibly propose such terms, in relation to my
grandfather's estate, as might procure me their attention; and I hoped he
would be long enough absent to give me time to write to him, and receive
an answer from him.
That, he must beg my pardon, he could not promise. He would inform
himself of Singleton's and my brother's motions; and if on his return he
found no reason for apprehension, he would go directly for Berks, and
endeavour to bring up with him his cousin Charlotte, who, he hoped, would
induce me to give him an earlier day than at present I seemed to think
of.--I seemed to think of, my dear, very acquiescent, as I should
I told him, that I should take that young lady's company for a great
I was the more pleased with this motion, as it came from himself, and
with no ill grace.
He earnestly pressed me to accept of a bank note: but I declined it. And
then he offered me his servant William for my attendant in his absence;
who, he said, might be dispatched to him, if any thing extraordinary fell
out. I consented to that.
He took his leave of me in the most respectful manner, only kissing my
hand. He left the bank note, unobserved by me, upon the table. You may
be sure, I shall give it him back at his return.
I am in a much better humour with him than I was.
Where doubts of any person are removed, a mind not ungenerous is willing,
by way of amends for having conceived those doubts, to construe every
thing that happens, capable of a good instruction, in that person's
favour. Particularly, I cannot but be pleased to observe, that although
he speaks of the ladies of his family with the freedom of relationship,
yet it is always of tenderness. And from a man's kindness to his
relations of the sex, a woman has some reason to expect his good
behaviour to herself, when married, if she be willing to deserve it from
And thus, my dear, am I brought to sit down satisfied with this man,
where I find room to infer that he is not by nature a savage. But how
could a creature who (treating herself unpolitely) gave a man an
opportunity to run away with her, expect to be treated by that man with a
very high degree of politeness?
But why, now, when fairer prospects seem to open, why these melancholy
reflections? will my beloved friend ask of her Clarissa?
Why? Can you ask why, my dearest Miss Howe, of a creature, who, in the
world's eye, had enrolled her name among the giddy and inconsiderate; who
labours under a parent's curse, and the cruel uncertainties, which must
arise from reflecting, that, equally against duty and principle, she has
thrown herself into the power of a man, and that man an immoral one?--
Must not the sense she has of her inconsideration darken her most hopeful
prospects? Must it not even rise strongest upon a thoughtful mind, when
her hopes are the fairest? Even her pleasures, were the man to prove
better than she expects, coming to her with an abatement, like that which
persons who are in possession of ill-gotten wealth must then most
poignantly experience (if they have reflecting and unseared minds) when,
all their wishes answered, (if answered,) they sit down in hopes to enjoy
what they have unjustly obtained, and find their own reflections their
May you, my dear friend, be always happy in your reflections, prays
Your ever affectionate
[Mr. Lovelace, in his next letter, triumphs on his having carried his two
great points of making the Lady yield to pass for his wife to the
people of the house, and to his taking up his lodging in it, though
but for one night. He is now, he says, in a fair way, and doubts not
but that he shall soon prevail, if not by persuasion, by surprise.
Yet he pretends to have some little remorse, and censures himself as
to acting the part of the grand tempter. But having succeeded thus
far, he cannot, he says, forbear trying, according to the resolution
he had before made, whether he cannot go farther.
He gives the particulars of their debates on the above-mentioned
subjects, to the same effect as in the Lady's last letters.
It will by this time be seen that his whole merit, with regard to the
Lady, lies in doing justice to her excellencies both of mind and
person, though to his own condemnation. Thus he begins his succeeding
And now, Belford, will I give thee an account of our first breakfast-
All sweetly serene and easy was the lovely brow and charming aspect of my
goddess, on her descending among us; commanding reverence from every eye,
a courtesy from every knee, and silence, awful silence, from every
quivering lip: while she, armed with conscious worthiness and
superiority, looked and behaved as an empress would look and behave among
her vassals; yet with a freedom from pride and haughtiness, as if born to
dignity, and to a behaviour habitually gracious.
[He takes notice of the jealousy, pride, and vanity of Sally Martin and
Polly Horton, on his respectful behaviour to the Lady: creatures who,
brought up too high for their fortunes, and to a taste of pleasure,
and the public diversions, had fallen an easy prey to his seducing
arts (as will be seen in the conclusion of this work:) and who, as he
observed, 'had not yet got over that distinction in their love, which
makes a woman prefer one man to another.']
How difficult is it, says he, to make a woman subscribe to a preference
against herself, though ever so visible; especially where love is
concerned! This violent, this partial little devil, Sally, has the
insolence to compare herself with my angel--yet owns her to be an angel.
I charge you, Mr. Lovelace, say she, show none of your extravagant acts
of kindness before me to this sullen, this gloomy beauty--I cannot bear
it. Then was I reminded of her first sacrifice.
What a rout do these women make about nothing at all! Were it not for
what the learned Bishop, in his Letter from Italy, calls the
entanglements of amour, and I the delicacies of intrigue, what is there,
Belford, in all they can do for us?
How do these creatures endeavour to stimulate me! A fallen woman is a
worse devil than ever a profligate man. The former is incapable of
remorse: that am not I--nor ever shall they prevail upon me, though aided
by all the powers of darkness, to treat this admirable creature with
indignity--so far, I mean, as indignity can be separated from the trials
which will prove her to be either woman or angel.
Yet with them I am a craven. I might have had her before now, if I
would. If I would treat her as flesh and blood, I should find her such.
They thought I knew, if any man living did, that if a man made a goddess
of a woman, she would assume the goddess; that if power were given to
her, she would exert that power to the giver, if to nobody else. And
D----r's wife is thrown into my dish, who, thou knowest, kept her
ceremonious husband at haughty distance, and whined in private to her
insulting footman. O how I cursed the blasphemous wretches! They will
make me, as I tell them, hate their house, and remove from it. And by my
soul, Jack, I am ready at times to think that I should not have brought
her hither, were it but on Sally's account. And yet, without knowing
either Sally's heart, or Polly's, the dear creature resolves against
having any conversation with them but such as she can avoid. I am not
sorry for this, thou mayest think; since jealousy in a woman is not to be
concealed from woman. And Sally has no command of herself.
What dost think!--Here this little devil Sally, not being able, as she
told me, to support life under my displeasure, was going into a fit: but
when I saw her preparing for it, I went out of the room; and so she
thought it would not be worth her while to show away.
[In this manner he mentions what his meaning was in making the Lady the
compliment of his absence:]
As to leaving her: if I go but for one night, I have fulfilled my
promise: and if she think not, I can mutter and grumble, and yield again,
and make a merit of it; and then, unable to live out of her presence,
soon return. Nor are women ever angry at bottom for being disobeyed
through excess of love. They like an uncontroulable passion. They like
to have every favour ravished from them, and to be eaten and drunk quite
up by a voracious lover. Don't I know the sex?--Not so, indeed, as yet,
my Clarissa: but, however, with her my frequent egresses will make me
look new to her, and create little busy scenes between us. At the least,
I may surely, without exception, salute her at parting, and at return;
and will not those occasional freedoms (which civility will warrant) by
degrees familiarize my charmer to them?
But here, Jack, what shall I do with my uncle and aunts, and all my
loving cousins? For I understand that they are more in haste to have me
married than I am myself.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
FRIDAY, APRIL 28.
Mr. Lovelace is returned already. My brother's projects were his
pretence. I could not but look upon this short absence as an evasion of
his promise; especially as he had taken such precautions with the people
below; and as he knew that I proposed to keep close within-doors. I
cannot bear to be dealt meanly with; and angrily insisted that he should
directly set out for Berkshire, in order to engage his cousin, as he had
O my dearest life, said he, why will you banish me from your presence? I
cannot leave you for so long a time as you seem to expect I should. I
have been hovering about town ever since I left you. Edgware was the
farthest place I went to, and there I was not able to stay two hours, for
fear, at this crisis, any thing should happen. Who can account for the
workings of an apprehensive mind, when all that is dear and valuable to
it is at stake? You may spare yourself the trouble of writing to any of
your friends, till the solemnity has passed that shall entitle me to give
weight to your application. When they know we are married, your
brother's plots will be at an end; and your father and mother, and
uncles, must be reconciled to you. Why then should you hesitate a moment
to confirm my happiness? Why, once more, would you banish me from you?
Why will you not give the man who has brought you into difficulties, and
who so honourably wishes to extricate you from them, the happiness of
He was silent. My voice failed to second the inclination I had to say
something not wholly discouraging to a point so warmly pressed.
I'll tell you, my angel, resumed he, what I propose to do, if you approve
of it. I will instantly go out to view some of the handsome new squares
or fine streets round them, and make a report to you of any suitable
house I find to be let. I will take such a one as you shall choose, and
set up an equipage befitting our condition. You shall direct the whole.
And on some early day, either before, or after we fix, [it must be at
your own choice], be pleased to make me the happiest of men. And then
will every thing be in a desirable train. You shall receive in your own
house (if it can be so soon furnished as I wish) the compliments of all
my relations. Charlotte shall visit you in the interim: and if it take
up time, you shall choose whom you will honour with your company, first,
second, or third, in the summer months; and on your return you shall find
all that was wanting in your new habitation supplied, and pleasures in a
constant round shall attend us. O my angel, take me to you, instead of
banishing me from you, and make me your's for ever.
You see, my dear, that here was no day pressed for. I was not uneasy
about that, and the sooner recovered myself, as there was not. But,
however, I gave him no reason to upbraid me for refusing his offer of
going in search of a house.
He is accordingly gone out for this purpose. But I find that he intends
to take up his lodging here tonight; and if to-night, no doubt on other
nights, while he is in town. As the doors and windows of my apartment
have good fastenings; as he has not, in all this time, given me cause for
apprehension; as he has the pretence of my brother's schemes to plead; as
the people below are very courteous and obliging, Miss Horton especially,
who seems to have taken a great liking to me, and to be of a gentler
temper and manners than Miss Martin; and as we are now in a tolerable
way; I imagine it would look particular to them all, and bring me into a
debate with a man, who (let him be set upon what he will) has always a
great deal to say for himself, if I were to insist upon his promise: on
all these accounts, I think, I will take no notice of his lodging here,
if he don't.--Let me know, my dear, your thoughts of every thing.
You may believe I gave him back his bank note the moment I saw him.
Mr. Lovelace has seen two or three houses, but none to his mind. But he
has heard of one which looks promising, he says, and which he is to
inquire about in the morning.
He has made his inquiries, and actually seen the house he was told of
last night. The owner of it is a young widow lady, who is inconsolable
for the death of her husband; Fretchville her name. It is furnished
quite in taste, every thing being new within these six months. He
believes, if I like not the furniture, the use of it may be agreed for,
with the house, for a time certain: but, if I like it, he will endeavour
to take the one, and purchase the other, directly.
The lady sees nobody; nor are the best apartments above-stairs to be
viewed, till she is either absent, or gone into the country; which she
talks of doing in a fortnight, or three weeks, at farthest, and to live
What Mr. Lovelace saw of the house (which were the saloon and two
parlours) was perfectly elegant; and he was assured all is of a piece.
The offices are also very convenient; coach-house and stables at hand.
He shall be very impatient, he says, till I see the whole; nor will he,
if he finds he can have it, look farther till I have seen it, except any
thing else offer to my liking. The price he values not.
He now does nothing but talk of the ceremony, but not indeed of the day.
I don't want him to urge that--but I wonder he does not.
He has just now received a letter from Lady Betty Lawrance, by a
particular hand; the contents principally relating to an affair she has
in chancery. But in the postscript she is pleased to say very respectful
things of me.
They are all impatient, she says, for the happy day being over; which
they flatter themselves will ensure his reformation.
He hoped, he told me, that I would soon enable him to answer their wishes
and his own.
But, my dear, although the opportunity was so inviting, he urged not for
the day. Which is the more extraordinary, as he was so pressing for
marriage before we came to town.
He was very earnest with me to give him, and four of his friends, my
company on Monday evening, at a little collation. Miss Martin and Miss
Horton cannot, he says, be there, being engaged in a party of their own,
with two daughters of Colonel Solcombe, and two nieces of Sir Anthony
Holmes, upon an annual occasion. But Mrs. Sinclair will be present, and
she gave him hope of the company of a young lady of very great fortune
and merit (Miss Partington), an heiress to whom Colonel Sinclair, it
seems, in his lifetime was guardian, and who therefore calls Mrs.
I desired to be excused. He had laid me, I said, under a most
disagreeable necessity of appearing as a married person, and I would see
as few people as possible who were to think me so.
He would not urge it, he said, if I were much averse: but they were his
select friends; men of birth and fortune, who longed to see me. It was
true, he added, that they, as well as his friend Doleman, believed we
were married: but they thought him under the restrictions that he had
mentioned to the people below. I might be assured, he told me, that his
politeness before them should be carried into the highest degree of
When he is set upon any thing, there is no knowing, as I have said
heretofore, what one can do.* But I will not, if I can help it, be made
a show of; especially to men of whose character and principles I have no
good opinion. I am, my dearest friend,
Your ever affectionate
* See Letter I. of this volume. See also Vol. II. Letter XX.
[Mr. Lovelace, in his next letter, gives an account of his quick return:
of his reasons to the Lady for it: of her displeasure upon it: and of
her urging his absence from the safety she was in from the situation
of the house, except she were to be traced out by his visits.]
I was confoundedly puzzled, says he, on this occasion, and on her
insisting upon the execution of a too-ready offer which I made her go
down to Berks, to bring up my cousin Charlotte to visit and attend her.
I made miserable excuses; and fearing that they would be mortally
resented, as her passion began to rise upon my saying Charlotte was
delicate, which she took strangely wrong, I was obliged to screen myself
behind the most solemn and explicit declarations.
[He then repeats those declarations, to the same effect with the account
she gives of them.]
I began, says he, with an intention to keep my life of honour in view, in
the declaration I made her; but, as it has been said of a certain orator
in the House of Commons, who more than once, in a long speech, convinced
himself as he went along, and concluded against the side he set out
intending to favour, so I in earnest pressed without reserve for
matrimony in the progress of my harangue, which state I little thought of
urging upon her with so much strength and explicitness.
[He then values himself upon the delay that his proposal of taking and
furnishing a house must occasion.
He wavers in his resolutions whether to act honourable or not by a merit
He values himself upon his own delicacy, in expressing his indignation
against her friends, for supposing what he pretends his heart rises
against them for presuming to suppose.]
But have I not reason, says he, to be angry with her for not praising me
for this my delicacy, when she is so ready to call me to account for the
least failure in punctilio?--However, I believe I can excuse her too,
upon this generous consideration, [for generous I am sure it is, because
it is against myself,] that her mind being the essence of delicacy, the
least want of it shocks her; while the meeting with what is so very
extraordinary to me, is too familiar to her to obtain her notice, as an
[He glories in the story of the house, and of the young widow possessor
of it, Mrs. Fretchville he calls her; and leaves it doubtful to Mr.
Belford, whether it be a real or a fictitious story.
He mentions his different proposals in relation to the ceremony, which he
so earnestly pressed for; and owns his artful intention in avoiding to
name the day.]
And now, says he, I hope soon to have an opportunity to begin my
operations; since all is halcyon and security.
It is impossible to describe the dear creature's sweet and silent
confusion, when I touched upon the matrimonial topics.
She may doubt. She may fear. The wise in all important cases will
doubt, and will fear, till they are sure. But her apparent willingness
to think well of a spirit so inventive, and so machinating, is a happy
prognostic for me. O these reasoning ladies!--How I love these reasoning
ladies!--'Tis all over with them, when once love has crept into their
hearts: for then will they employ all their reasoning powers to excuse
rather than to blame the conduct of the doubted lover, let appearances
against him be ever so strong.
Mowbray, Belton, and Tourville, long to see my angel, and will be there.
She has refused me; but must be present notwithstanding. So generous a
spirit as mine is cannot enjoy its happiness without communication. If I
raise not your envy and admiration both at once, but half-joy will be the
joy of having such a charming fly entangled in my web. She therefore
must comply. And thou must come. And then will show thee the pride and
glory of the Harlowe family, my implacable enemies; and thou shalt join
with me in my triumph over them all.
I know not what may still be the perverse beauty's fate: I want thee,
therefore, to see and admire her, while she is serene and full of hope:
before her apprehensions are realized, if realized they are to be; and if
evil apprehensions of me she really has; before her beamy eyes have lost
their lustre; while yet her charming face is surrounded with all its
virgin glories; and before the plough of disappointment has thrown up
furrows of distress upon every lovely feature.
If I can procure you this honour you will be ready to laugh out, as I
have often much ado to forbear, at the puritanical behaviour of the
mother before this lady. Not an oath, not a curse, nor the least free
word, escapes her lips. She minces in her gait. She prims up her
horse-mouth. Her voice, which, when she pleases, is the voice of
thunder, is sunk into an humble whine. Her stiff hams, that have not
been bent to a civility for ten years past, are now limbered into
courtesies three deep at ever word. Her fat arms are crossed before
her; and she can hardly be prevailed upon to sit in the presence of my
I am drawing up instructions for ye all to observe on Monday night.
Most confoundedly alarmed!--Lord, Sir, what do you think? cried Dorcas
--My lady is resolved to go to church to-morrow! I was at quadrille with
the women below.--To church! said I, and down I laid my cards. To
church! repeated they, each looking upon the other. We had done playing
for that night.
Who could have dreamt of such a whim as this?--Without notice, without
questions! Her clothes not come! No leave asked!--Impossible she should
think of being my wife!--Besides, she don't consider, if she go to
church, I must go too!--Yet not to ask for my company! Her brother and
Singleton ready to snap her up, as far as she knows!--Known by her
clothes--her person, her features, so distinguished!--Not such another
woman in England!--To church of all places! Is the devil in the girl?
said I, as soon as I could speak.
Well, but to leave this subject till to-morrow morning, I will now give
you the instructions I have drawn up for your's and your companions'
behaviour on Monday night.
Instructions to be observed by John Belford, Richard Mowbray, Thomas
Belton, and James Tourville, Esquires of the Body to General Robert
Lovelace, on their admission to the presence of his Goddess.
Ye must be sure to let it sink deep into your heavy heads, that there is
no such lady in the world as Miss Clarissa Harlowe; and that she is
neither more nor less than Mrs. Lovelace, though at present, to my shame
be it spoken, a virgin.
Be mindful also, that your old mother's name, after that of her mother
when a maid, is Sinclair: that her husband was a lieutenant-colonel, and
all that you, Belford, know from honest Doleman's letter of her,* that
let your brethren know.
* See Letter XXXVIII. Vol. III.
Mowbray and Tourville, the two greatest blunderers of the four, I allow
to be acquainted with the widow and nieces, from the knowledge they had
of the colonel. They will not forbear familiarities of speech to the
mother, as of longer acquaintance than a day. So I have suited their
parts to their capacities.
They may praise the widow and the colonel for people of great honour--but
not too grossly; nor to labour the point so as to render themselves
The mother will lead ye into her own and the colonel's praises! and
Tourville and Mowbray may be both her vouchers--I, and you, and Belton,
must be only hearsay confirmers.
As poverty is generally suspectible, the widow must be got handsomely
aforehand; and no doubt but she is. The elegance of her house and
furniture, and her readiness to discharge all demands upon her, which
she does with ostentation enough, and which makes her neighbours, I
suppose, like her the better, demonstrate this. She will propose to do
handsome things by her two nieces. Sally is near marriage--with an
eminent woollen-draper in the Strand, if ye have a mind to it; for there
are five or six of them there.
The nieces may be inquired after, since they will be absent, as persons
respected by Mowbray and Tourville, for their late worthy uncle's sake.
Watch ye diligently every turn of my countenance, every motion of my eye;
for in my eye, and in my countenance will ye find a sovereign regulator.
I need not bid you respect me mightily: your allegiance obliges you to
that: And who that sees me, respects me not?
Priscilla Partington (for her looks so innocent, and discretion so deep,
yet seeming so softly) may be greatly relied upon. She will accompany
the mother, gorgeously dressed, with all her Jew's extravagance flaming
out upon her; and first induce, then countenance, the lady. She has her
cue, and I hope will make her acquaintance coveted by my charmer.
Miss Partington's history is this: the daughter of Colonel Sinclair's
brother-in-law: that brother-in-law may have been a Turkey-merchant, or
any merchant, who died confoundedly rich: the colonel one of her
guardians [collateral credit in that to the old one:] whence she always
calls Mrs. Sinclair Mamma, though not succeeding to the trust.
She is just come to pass a day or two, and then to return to her
surviving guardian's at Barnet.
Miss Partington has suitors a little hundred (her grandmother, an
alderman's dowager, having left her a great additional fortune,) and is
not trusted out of her guardian's house without an old governante, noted
for discretion, except to her Mamma Sinclair, with whom now-and-then she
is permitted to be for a week together.
Pris. will Mamma-up Mrs. Sinclair, and will undertake to court her
guardian to let her pass a delightful week with her--Sir Edward Holden he
may as well be, if your shallow pates will not be clogged with too many
circumstantials. Lady Holden, perhaps, will come with her; for she
always delighted in her Mamma Sinclair's company, and talks of her, and
her good management, twenty times a day.
Be it principally thy part, Jack, who art a parading fellow, and aimest
at wisdom, to keep thy brother-varlets from blundering; for, as thou must
have observed from what I have written, we have the most watchful and
most penetrating lady in the world to deal with; a lady worth deceiving!
but whose eyes will piece to the bottom of your shallow souls the moment
she hears you open. Do you therefore place thyself between Mowbray and
Tourville: their toes to be played upon and commanded by thine, if they
go wrong: thy elbows to be the ministers of approbation.
As to your general behaviour; no hypocrisy!--I hate it: so does my
charmer. If I had studied for it, I believe I could have been an
hypocrite: but my general character is so well known, that I should have
been suspected at once, had I aimed at making myself too white. But what
necessity can there be for hypocrisy, unless the generality of the sex
were to refuse us for our immoralities? The best of them love to have
the credit for reforming us. Let the sweet souls try for it: if they
fail, their intent was good. That will be a consolation to them. And as
to us, our work will be the easier; our sins the fewer: since they will
draw themselves in with a very little of our help; and we shall save a
parcel of cursed falsehoods, and appear to be what we are both to angels
and men.--Mean time their very grandmothers will acquit us, and reproach
them with their self-do, self-have, and as having erred against
knowledge, and ventured against manifest appearances. What folly,
therefore, for men of our character to be hypocrites!
Be sure to instruct the rest, and do thou thyself remember, not to talk
obscenely. You know I never permitted any of you to talk obscenely.
Time enough for that, when ye grow old, and can ONLY talk. Besides, ye
must consider Prisc.'s affected character, my goddess's real one. Far
from obscenity, therefore, do not so much as touch upon the double
entendre. What! as I have often said, cannot you touch a lady's heart
without wounding her ear?
It is necessary that ye should appear worse men than myself. You cannot
help appearing so, you'll say. Well, then, there will be the less
restraint upon you--the less restraint, the less affectation.--And if
Belton begins his favourite subject in behalf of keeping, it may make me
take upon myself to oppose him: but fear not; I shall not give the
argument all my force.
She must have some curiosity, I think, to see what sort of men my
companions are: she will not expect any of you to be saints. Are you
not men born to considerable fortunes, although ye are not all of you
men of parts? Who is it in this mortal life that wealth does not
mislead? And as it gives people the power of being mischievous, does it
not require great virtue to forbear the use of that power? Is not the
devil said to be the god of this world? Are we not children of this
world? Well, then! let me tell thee my opinion--It is this, that were it
not for the poor and the middling, the world would probably, long ago,
have been destroyed by fire from Heaven. Ungrateful wretches the rest,
thou wilt be apt to say, to make such sorry returns, as they generally do
make, to the poor and the middling!
This dear lady is prodigiously learned in theories. But as to practices,
as to experimentals, must be, as you know from her tender years, a mere
novice. Till she knew me, I dare say, she did not believe, whatever she
had read, that there were such fellows in the world, as she will see in
you four. I shall have much pleasure in observing how she'll stare at
her company, when she finds me the politest man of the five.
And so much for instructions general and particular for your behaviour on
And let me add, that you must attend to every minute circumstance, whether
you think there be reason for it, or not. Deep, like golden ore,
frequently lies my meaning, and richly worth digging for. The hint of
least moment, as you may imagine it, is often pregnant with events of the
greatest. Be implicit. Am I not your general? Did I ever lead you on
that I brought you not off with safety and success?--Sometimes to your own
And now, methinks, thou art curious to know, what can be my view in
risquing the displeasure of my fair-one, and alarming her fears, after
four or five halcyon days have gone over our heads? I'll satisfy thee.
The visiters of the two nieces will crowd the house.--Beds will be
scarce:--Miss Partington, a sweet, modest, genteel girl, will be
prodigiously taken with my charmer;--will want to begin a friendship with
her--a share in her bed, for one night only, will be requested. Who
knows, but on that very Monday night I may be so unhappy as to give
mortal offence to my beloved? The shyest birds may be caught napping.
Should she attempt to fly me upon it, cannot I detain her? Should she
actually fly, cannot I bring her back, by authority civil or uncivil, if
I have evidence upon evidence that she acknowledged, though but tacitly,
her marriage? And should I, or should I not succeed, and she forgive me,
or if she but descend to expostulate, or if she bear me in her sight,
then will she be all my own. All delicacy is my charmer. I long to see
how such a delicacy, on any of these occasions, will behave, and in my
situation it behoves me to provide against every accident.
I must take care, knowing what an eel I have to do with, that the little
riggling rogue does not slip through my fingers. How silly should I
look, staring after her, when she had shot from me into the muddy river,
her family, from which with so much difficulty I have taken her!
Well then, here are--let me see--How many persons are there who, after
Monday night, will be able to swear that she has gone by my name,
answered to my name, had no other view in leaving her friends but to go
by my name? her own relations neither able nor willing to deny it.--
First, here are my servants, her servant, Dorcas, Mrs. Sinclair, Mrs.
Sinclair's two nieces, and Miss Partington.
But for fear these evidences should be suspected, here comes the jet of
the business--'No less than four worthy gentlemen of fortune and family,
who were all in company such a night particularly, at a collation to
which they were invited by Robert Lovelace, of Sandoun-hall, in the
county of Lancaster, esquire, in company with Magdalen Sinclair, widow,
and Priscilla Partington, spinster, and the lady complainant, when the
said Robert Lovelace addressed himself to the said lady, on a multitude
of occasions, as his wife; as they and others did, as Mrs. Lovelace;
every one complimenting and congratulating her upon her nuptials; and
that she received such their compliments and congratulations with no
other visible displeasure or repugnance, than such as a young bride, full
of blushes and pretty confusion, might be supposed to express upon such
contemplative revolvings as those compliments would naturally inspire.'
Nor do thou rave at me, Jack, nor rebel. Dost think I brought the dear
creature hither for nothing?
And here's a faint sketch of my plot.--Stand by, varlets--tanta-ra-ra-ra!
--Veil your bonnets, and confess your master!
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Have been at church, Jack--behaved admirably well too! My charmer is
pleased with me now: for I was exceedingly attentive to the discourse,
and very ready in the auditor's part of the service.--Eyes did not much
wander. How could they, when the loveliest object, infinitely the
loveliest in the whole church, was in my view!
Dear creature! how fervent, how amiable, in her devotions! I have got
her to own that she prayed for me. I hope a prayer from so excellent a
mind will not be made in vain.
There is, after all, something beautifully solemn in devotion. The
Sabbath is a charming institution to keep the heart right, when it is
right. One day in seven, how reasonable!--I think I'll go to church once
a day often. I fancy it will go a great way towards making me a reformed
man. To see multitudes of well-appearing people all joining in one
reverend act. An exercise how worthy of a rational being! Yet it adds a
sting or two to my former stings, when I think of my projects with regard
to this charming creature. In my conscience, I believe, if I were to go
constantly to church, I could not pursue them.
I had a scheme come into my head while there; but I will renounce it,
because it obtruded itself upon me in so good a place. Excellent
creature! How many ruins has she prevented by attaching me to herself
--by engrossing my whole attention.
But let me tell thee what passed between us in my first visit of this
morning; and then I will acquaint thee more largely with my good
behaviour at church.
I could not be admitted till after eight. I found her ready prepared to
go out. I pretended to be ignorant of her intention, having charged
Dorcas not to own that she had told me of it.
Going abroad, Madam?--with an air of indifference.
Yes, Sir: I intend to go to church.
I hope, Madam, I shall have the honour to attend you.
No: she designed to take a chair, and go to the next church.
This startled me:--A chair to carry her to the next church from Mrs.
Sinclair's, her right name not Sinclair, and to bring her back hither
in the face of people who might not think well of the house!--There was
no permitting that. Yet I was to appear indifferent. But said, I should
take it for a favour, if she would permit me to attend her in a coach, as
there was time for it, to St. Paul's.
She made objections to the gaiety of my dress; and told me, that if she
went to St. Paul's, she could go in a coach without me.
I objected Singleton and her brother, and offered to dress in the
plainest suit I had.
I beg the favour of attending you, dear Madam, said I. I have not been
at church a great while; we shall sit in different stalls, and the next
time I go, I hope it will be to give myself a title to the greatest
blessing I can receive.
She made some further objections: but at last permitted me the honour of
I got myself placed in her eye, that the time might not seem tedious to
me, for we were there early. And I gained her good opinion, as I
mentioned above, by my behaviour.
The subject of the discourse was particular enough: It was about a
prophet's story or parable of an ewe-lamb taken by a rich man from a poor
one, who dearly loved it, and whose only comfort it was: designed to
strike remorse into David, on his adultery with Uriah's wife Bathsheba,
and his murder of the husband. These women, Jack, have been the occasion
of all manner of mischief from the beginning! Now, when David, full of
indignation, swore [King David would swear, Jack: But how shouldst thou
know who King David was?--The story is in the Bible,] that the rich man
should surely die; Nathan, which was the prophet's name, and a good
ingenious fellow, cried out, (which were the words of the text,) Thou art
the man! By my soul I thought the parson looked directly at me; and at
that moment I cast my eye full on my ewe-lamb.--But I must tell thee too,
that, that I thought a good deal of my Rosebud.--A better man than King
David, in that point, however, thought I!
When we came home we talked upon the subject; and I showed my charmer my
attention to the discourse, by letting her know where the Doctor made the
most of his subject, and where it might have been touched to greater
advantage: for it is really a very affecting story, and has as pretty a
contrivance in it as ever I read. And this I did in such a grave way,
that she seemed more and more pleased with me; and I have no doubt, that
I shall get her to favour me to-morrow night with her company at my
We all dined together in Mrs. Sinclair's parlour:--All excessively right!
The two nieces have topped their parts--Mrs. Sinclair her's. Never was
so easy as now!--'She really thought a little oddly of these people at
first, she said! Mrs. Sinclair seemed very forbidding! Her nieces were
persons with whom she could not wish to be acquainted. But really we
should not be too hasty in our censures. Some people improve upon us.
The widow seems tolerable.' She went no farther than tolerable.--'Miss
Martin and Miss Horton are young people of good sense, and have read a
great deal. What Miss Martin particularly said of marriage, and of her
humble servant, was very solid. She believes with such notions she
cannot make a bad wife.' I have said Sally's humble servant is a woolen-
draper of great reputation; and she is soon to be married.
I have been letting her into thy character, and into the characters of my
other three esquires, in hopes to excite her curiosity to see you
to-morrow night. I have told her some of the worst, as well as best
parts of your characters, in order to exalt myself, and to obviate any
sudden surprizes, as well as to teach her what sort of men she may expect
to see, if she will oblige me with her company.
By her after-observation upon each of you, I shall judge what I may or
may not do to obtain or keep her good opinion; what she will like, or
what not; and so pursue the one or avoid the other, as I see proper. So,
while she is penetrating into your shallow heads, I shall enter her
heart, and know what to bid my own to hope for.
The house is to be taken in three weeks.--All will be over in three
weeks, or bad will be my luck!--Who knows but in three days?--Have I not
carried that great point of making her pass for my wife to the people
below? And that other great one, of fixing myself here night and day?
--What woman ever escaped me, who lodged under one roof with me?--The
house too, THE house; the people--people after my own heart; her
servants, Will. and Dorcas, both my servants.--Three days, did I say!
Pho! Pho! Pho!--three hours!
I have carried my third point: but so extremely to the dislike of my
charmer, that I have been threatened, for suffering Miss Partington to be
introduced to her without her leave. Which laid her under a necessity to
deny or comply with the urgent request of so fine a young lady; who had
engaged to honour me at my collation, on condition that my beloved would
be present at it.
To be obliged to appear before my friends as what she was not! She was
for insisting, that I should acquaint the women here with the truth of
the matter; and not go on propagating stories for her to countenance,
making her a sharer in my guilt.
But what points will not perseverance carry? especially when it is
covered over with the face of yielding now, and, Parthian-like, returning
to the charge anon. Do not the sex carry all their points with their men
by the same methods? Have I conversed with them so freely as I have
done, and learnt nothing of them? Didst thou ever know that a woman's
denial of any favour, whether the least or the greatest, that my heart
was set upon, stood her in any stead? The more perverse she, the more
steady I--that is my rule.
But the point thus so much against her will carried, I doubt thou will
see in her more of a sullen than of an obliging charmer: for, when Miss
Partington was withdrawn, 'What was Miss Partington to her? In her
situation she wanted no new acquaintances. And what were my four friends
to her in her present circumstances? She would assure me, if ever again'
--And there she stopped, with a twirl of her hand.
When we meet, I will, in her presence, tipping thee a wink, show thee the
motion, for it was a very pretty one. Quite new. Yet have I seen an
hundred pretty passionate twirls too, in my time, from other fair-ones.
How universally engaging is it to put a woman of sense, to whom a man is
not married, in a passion, let the reception given to every ranting
scene in our plays testify. Take care, my charmer, now thou art come to
delight me with thy angry twirls, that thou temptest me not to provoke a
variety of them from one, whose every motion, whose every air, carries in
it so much sense and soul.
But, angry or pleased, this charming creature must be all loveliness.
Her features are all harmony, and made for one another. No other feature
could be substituted in the place of any one of her's but most abate of
her perfection: And think you that I do not long to have your opinion of
my fair prize?
If you love to see features that glow, though the heart is frozen, and
never yet was thawed; if you love fines sense, and adages flowing through
teeth of ivory and lips of coral; an eye that penetrates all things; a
voice that is harmony itself; an air of grandeur, mingled with a
sweetness that cannot be described; a politeness that, if ever equaled,
was never excelled--you'll see all these excellencies, and ten times
more, in this my GLORIANA.
Mark her majestic fabric!--She's a temple,
Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine;
Her soul the deity that lodges there:
Nor is the pile unworthy of the god.
Or, to describe her in a softer style with Rowe,
The bloom of op'ning flow'rs, unsully'd beauty,
Softness, and sweetest innocence she wears,
And looks like nature in the world's first spring.
Adieu, varlets four!--At six, on Monday evening, I expect ye all.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
SUNDAY, APRIL 30.
[Mr. Lovelace, in his last letters, having taken notice of the most
material passages contained in this letter, the following extracts
from it are only inserted.
She gives pretty near the same account that he does of what passed
between them on her resolution to go to church; and of his proposal
of St. Paul's, and desire of attending her.--She praises his good
behaviour there; as also the discourse, and the preacher.--Is pleased
with its seasonableness.--Gives particulars of the conversation
between them afterwards, and commends the good observations he makes
upon the sermon.]
I am willing, says she, to have hopes of him: but am so unable to know
how to depend upon his seriousness for an hour together, that all my
favourable accounts of him in this respect must be taken with allowance.
Being very much pressed, I could not tell how to refuse dining with the
widow and her nieces this day. I am better pleased with them than I ever
thought I should be. I cannot help blaming myself for my readiness to
give severe censures where reputation is concerned. People's ways,
humours, constitutions, education, and opportunities allowed for, my
dear, many persons, as far as I know, may appear blameless, whom others,
of different humours and educations, are too apt to blame; and who, from
the same fault, may be as ready to blame them. I will therefore make it
a rule to myself for the future--Never to judge peremptorily on first
appearances: but yet I must observe that these are not people I should
choose to be intimate with, or whose ways I can like: although, for the
stations they are in, they may go through the world with tolerable
Mr. Lovelace's behaviour has been such as makes me call this, so far as
it is passed, an agreeable day. Yet, when easiest as to him, my
situation with my friends takes place in my thoughts, and causes me many
I am the more pleased with the people of the house, because of the
persons of rank they are acquainted with, and who visits them.
I am still well pleased with Mr. Lovelace's behaviour. We have had a
good deal of serious discourse together. The man has really just and
good notions. He confesses how much he is pleased with this day, and
hopes for many such. Nevertheless, he ingenuously warned me, that his
unlucky vivacity might return: but, he doubted not, that he should be
fixed at last by my example and conversation.
He has given me an entertaining account of the four gentlemen he is to
meet to-morrow night.--Entertaining, I mean for his humourous description
of their persons, manners, &c. but such a description as is far from
being to their praise. Yet he seemed rather to design to divert my
melancholy by it than to degrade them. I think at bottom, my dear, that
he must be a good-natured man; but that he was spoiled young, for want
of check or controul.
I cannot but call this, my circumstances considered, an happy day to the
end of it. Indeed, my dear, I think I could prefer him to all the men I
ever knew, were he but to be always what he has been this day. You see
how ready I am to own all you have charged me with, when I find myself
out. It is a difficult thing, I believe, sometimes, for a young creature
that is able to deliberate with herself, to know when she loves, or when
she hates: but I am resolved, as much as possible, to be determined both
in my hatred and love by actions, as they make the man worthy or unworthy.
[She dates again Monday, and declares herself highly displeased at Miss
Partington's being introduced to her: and still more for being obliged
to promise to be present at Mr. Lovelace's collation. She foresees,
she says, a murder'd evening.]
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
MONDAY NIGHT, MAY 1.
I have just escaped from a very disagreeable company I was obliged, so
much against my will, to be in. As a very particular relation of this
evening's conversation would be painful to me, you must content yourself
with what you shall be able to collect from the outlines, as I may call
them, of the characters of the persons; assisted by the little histories
Mr. Lovelace gave me of each yesterday.
The names of the gentlemen are Belton, Mowbray, Tourville, and Belford.
These four, with Mrs. Sinclair, Miss Partington, the great heiress
mentioned in my last, Mr. Lovelace, and myself, made up the company.
I gave you before the favourable side of Miss Partington's character,
such as it was given to me by Mrs. Sinclair, and her nieces. I will now
add a few words from my own observation upon her behaviour in this
In better company perhaps she would have appeared to less disadvantage:
but, notwithstanding her innocent looks, which Mr. Lovelace also highly
praised, he is the last person whose judgment I would take upon real
modesty. For I observed, that, upon some talk from the gentlemen, not
free enough to be easily censured, yet too indecent in its implication to
come from well-bred persons, in the company of virtuous prople [sic],
this young lady was very ready to apprehend; and yet, by smiles and