Part 5 out of 7
the task, and I hadst afterwards thought fit to change my mind, I should
have contented myself to tell thee, that that was my mind when thou
engagedst for me, and to have given thee the reasons for the change, and
then left thee to thy own discretion: for never knew I what fear of man
was--nor fear of woman neither, till I became acquainted with Miss
Clarissa Harlowe, nay, what is most surprising, till I came to have her
in my power.
And so thou wilt not wait upon the charmer of my heart, but upon terms
and conditions!--Let it alone and be curs'd; I care not.--But so much
credit did I give to the value thou expressedst for her, that I thought
the office would have been acceptable to thee, as serviceable to me;
for what was it, but to endeavour to persuade her to consent to the
reparation of her own honour? For what have I done but disgraced myself,
and been a thief to my own joys?--And if there be a union of hearts, and
an intention to solemnize, what is there wanting but the foolish
ceremony?--and that I still offer. But, if she will keep back her hand,
if she will make me hold out mine in vain, how can I help it?
I write her one more letter; and if, after she has received that, she
keeps sullen silence, she must thank herself for what is to follow.
But, after all,, my heart is not wholly her's. I love her beyond
expression; and cannot help it. I hope therefore she will receive this
last tender as I wish. I hope she intends not, like a true woman, to
plague, and vex, and tease me, now she has found her power. If she will
take me to mercy now these remorses are upon me, (though I scorn to
condition with thee for my sincerity,) all her trials, as I have
heretofore declared, shall be over, and she shall be as happy as I can
make her: for, ruminating upon all that has passed between us, from the
first hour of our acquaintance till the present, I must pronounce, That
she is virtue itself and once more I say, has no equal.
As to what you hint, of leaving to her choice another day, do you
consider, that it will be impossible that my contrivances and stratagems
should be much longer concealed?--This makes me press that day, though so
near; and the more, as I have made so much ado about her uncle's
anniversary. If she send me the four words, I will spare no fatigue to
be in time, if not for the canonical hour at church, for some other hour
of the day in her own apartment, or any other: for money will do every
thing: and that I have never spared in this affair.
To show thee, that I am not at enmity with thee, I enclose the copies of
two letters--one to her: it is the fourth, and must be the last on the
subject----The other to Captain Tomlinson; calculated, as thou wilt see,
for him to show her.
And now, Jack, interfere; in this case or not, thou knowest the mind of
MR. LOVELACE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[SUPERSCRIBED TO MRS. LOVELACE.]
M. HALL, WED. MORNING, ONE O'CLOCK, JUNE 28.
Not one line, my dearest life, not one word, in answer to three letters
I have written! The time is now so short, that this must be the last
letter that can reach you on this side the important hour that might make
us legally one.
My friend, Mr. Belford, is apprehensive, that he cannot wait upon you in
time, by reason of some urgent affairs of his own.
I the less regret the disappointment, because I have procured a more
acceptable person, as I hope, to attend you; Captain Tomlinson I mean:
to whom I had applied for this purpose, before I had Mr. Belford's
I was the more solicitous to obtain his favour form him, because of the
office he is to take upon him, as I humbly presume to hope, to-morrow.
That office obliged him to be in town as this day: and I acquainted him
with my unhappy situation with you; and desired that he would show me,
on this occasion, that I had as much of his favour and friendship as your
uncle had; since the whole treaty must be broken off, if he could not
prevail upon you in my behalf.
He will dispatch the messenger directly; whom I propose to meet in person
at Slough; either to proceed onward to London with a joyful heart, or to
return back to M. Hall with a broken one.
I ought not (but cannot help it) to anticipate the pleasure Mr. Tomlinson
proposes to himself, in acquainting you with the likelihood there is of
your mother's seconding your uncle's views. For, it seems, he has
privately communicated to her his laudable intentions: and her resolution
depends, as well as his, upon what to-morrow will produce.
Disappoint not then, I beseech you, for an hundred persons' sakes, as
well as for mine, that uncle and that mother, whose displeasure I have
heard you so often deplore.
You may think it impossible for me to reach London by the canonical hour.
If it should, the ceremony may be performed in your own apartments, at
any time in the day, or at night: so that Captain Tomlinson may have it
to aver to your uncle, that it was performed on his anniversary.
Tell but the Captain, that you forbid me not to attend you: and that
shall be sufficient for bringing to you, on the wings of love,
Your ever-grateful and affectionate
TO MR. PATRICK M'DONALD,
AT HIS LODGINGS, AT MR. BROWN'S, PERUKE-MAKER, IN ST. MARTIN'S LANE,
M. HALL, WEDN. MORNING, TWO O'CLOCK.
The bearer of this has a letter to carry to the lady.* I have been at
the trouble of writing a copy of it: which I enclose, that you may not
mistake your cue.
* See the preceding Letter.
You will judge of my reasons for ante-dating the enclosed sealed one,*
directed to you by the name of Tomlinson; which you are to show to the
lady, as in confidence. You will open it of course.
* See the next Letter.
I doubt not your dexterity and management, dear M'Donald; nor your zeal;
especially as the hope of cohabitation must now be given up. Impossible
to be carried is that scheme. I might break her heart, but not incline
her will--am in earnest therefore to marry her, if she let not the day
Improve upon the hint of her mother. That may touch her. But John
Harlowe, remember, has privately engaged that lady--privately, I say;
else, (not to mention the reason for her uncle Harlowe's former
expedient,) you know, she might find means to get a letter away to the
one or to the other, to know the truth; or to Miss Howe, to engage her
to inquire into it: and, if she should, the word privately will account
for the uncle's and mother's denying it.
However, fail not, as from me, to charge our mother and her nymphs to
redouble their vigilance both as to her person and letters. All's upon a
crisis now. But she must not be treated ill neither.
Thursday over, I shall know what to resolve upon.
If necessary, you must assume authority. The devil's in't, if such a
girl as this shall awe a man of your years and experience. You are not
in love with her as I am. Fly out, if she doubt your honour. Spirits
naturally soft may be beat out of their play and borne down (though ever
so much raised) by higher anger. All women are cowards at bottom; only
violent where they may. I have often stormed a girl out of her mistrust,
and made her yield (before she knew where she was) to the point
indignantly mistrusted; and that to make up with me, though I was the
If this matter succeed as I'd have it, (or if not, and do not fail by
your fault,) I will take you off the necessity of pursuing your cursed
smuggling; which otherwise may one day end fatally for you.
We are none of us perfect, M'Donald. This sweet lady makes me serious
sometimes in spite of my heart. But as private vices are less blamable
than public; an as I think smuggling (as it is called) a national evil;
I have no doubt to pronounce you a much worse man than myself, and as
such shall take pleasure in reforming you.
I send you enclosed ten guineas, as a small earnest of further favours.
Hitherto you have been a very clever fellow.
As to clothes for Thursday, Monmouth-street will afford a ready supply.
Clothes quite new would make your condition suspected. But you may
defer that care, till you see if she can be prevailed upon. Your
riding-dress will do for the first visit. Nor let your boots be over
clean. I have always told you the consequence of attending to the
minutiae, where art (or imposture, as the ill-mannered would call it) is
designed--your linen rumpled and soily, when you wait upon her--easy terms
these--just come to town--remember (as formerly) to loll, to throw out
your legs, to stroke and grasp down your ruffles, as if of significance
enough to be careless. What though the presence of a fine lady would
require a different behaviour, are you not of years to dispense with
politeness? You can have no design upon her, you know. You are a father
yourself of daughters as old as she. Evermore is parade and
obsequiousness suspectable: it must show either a foolish head, or a
knavish heart. Assume airs of consequence therefore; and you will be
treated as a man of consequence. I have often more than half ruined
myself by my complaisance; and, being afraid of controul, have brought
controul upon myself.
I think I have no more to say at present. I intend to be at Slough, or
on the way to it, as by mine to the lady. Adieu, honest M'Donald.
TO CAPTAIN TOMLINSON
[ENCLOSED IN THE PRECEDING; TO BE SHOWN TO THE LADY AS IN CONFIDENCE.]
M. HALL, TUESDAY MORN., JUNE 27.
DEAR CAPTAIN TOMLINSON,
An unhappy misunderstanding has arisen between the dearest lady in the
world and me (the particulars of which she perhaps may give you, but I
will not, because I might be thought partial to myself;) and she refusing
to answer my most pressing and respectful letters; I am at a most
perplexing uncertainty whether she will meet us or not next Thursday to
My Lord is so extremely ill, that if I thought she would not oblige me,
I would defer going up to town for two or three days. He cares not to
have me out of his sight: yet is impatient to salute my beloved as his
neice [sic] before he dies. This I have promised to give him an
opportunity to do: intending, if the dear creature will make me happy,
to set out with her for this place directly from church.
With regret I speak it of the charmer of my soul, that irreconcilableness
is her family-fault--the less excusable indeed for her, as she herself
suffers by it in so high a degree from her own relations.
Now, Sir, as you intended to be in town some time before Thursday, if
it be not too great an inconvenience to you, I could be glad you would
go up as soon as possible, for my sake: and this I the more boldly
request, as I presume that a man who has so many great affairs of his
own in hand as you have, would be glad to be at a certainty as to the
You, Sir, can so pathetically and justly set before her the unhappy
consequences that will follow if the day be postponed, as well with
regard to her uncle's disappointment, as to the part you have assured
me her mother is willing to take in the wished-for reconciliation, that
I have great hopes she will suffer herself to be prevailed upon. And a
man and horse shall be in waiting to take your dispatches and bring them
But if you cannot prevail in my favour, you will be pleased to satisfy
your friend, Mr. John Harlowe, that it is not my fault that he is not
obliged. I am, dear Sir,
Your extremely obliged
and faithful servant,
TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDN. JUNE 28, NEAR TWELVE O'CLOCK.
I received your's, as your servant desired me to acquaint you, by ten
this morning. Horse and man were in a foam.
I instantly equipped myself, as if come off from a journey, and posted
away to the lady, intending to plead great affairs that I came not
before, in order to favour your antedate; and likewise to be in a hurry,
to have a pretence to hurry her ladyship, and to take no denial for her
giving a satisfactory return to your messenger. But, upon my entering
Mrs. Sinclair's house, I found all in the greatest consternation.
You must not, Sir, be surprised. It is a trouble to me to be the
relater of the bad news; but so it is--The lady is gone off! She was
missed but half an hour before I came.
Her waiting-maid is run away, or hitherto is not to be found: so that
they conclude it was by her connivance.
They had sent, before I came, to my honoured masters Mr. Belton, Mr.
Mowbray, and Mr. Belford. Mr. Tourville is out of town.
High words are passing between Madam Sinclair, and Madam Horton, and
Madam Martin; as also with Dorcas. And your servant William threatens
to hang or drown himself.
They have sent to know if they can hear of Mabell, the waiting-maid, at
her mother's, who it seems lives in Chick-lane, West-Smithfield; and to
an uncle of her's also, who keeps an alehouse at Cow-cross, had by, and
with whom she lived last.
Your messenger having just changed his horse, is come back: so I will
not detain him longer than to add, that I am, with great concern for this
misfortune, and thanks for your seasonable favour and kind intentions
towards me--I am sure this was not my fault--
Your most obliged, humble servant,
MR. MOWBRAY, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, TWELVE O'CLOCK.
I have plaguy news to acquaint thee with. Miss Harlowe is gone off!--
Quite gone, by soul!--I have no time for particulars, your servant being
gone off. But if I had, we are not yet come to the bottom of the matter.
The ladies here are all blubbering like devills, accusing one another
most confoundedly: whilst Belton and I damn them all together in thy
If thou shouldst hear that thy fellow Will. is taken dead out of some
horse-pond, and Dorcas cut down from her bed's teaster, from dangling
in her own garters, be not surprised. Here's the devil to pay. Nobody
serene but Jack Belford, who is taking minutes of examinations,
accusations, and confessions, with the significant air of a Middlesex
Justice; and intends to write at large all particulars, I suppose.
I heartily condole with thee: so does Belton. But it may turn out for
the best: for she is gone away with thy marks, I understand. A foolish
little devill! Where will she mend herself? for nobody will look upon
her. And they tell me that thou wouldst certainly have married her, had
she staid. But I know thee better.
Dear Bobby, adieu. If Lord M. will die now, to comfort thee for this
loss, what a seasonable exit would he make! Let's have a letter from
thee. Pr'ythee do. Thou can'st write devill-like to Belford, who shews
us nothing at all. Thine heartily,
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
THURSDAY, JUNE 29.
Thou hast heard from M'Donald and Mowbray the news. Bad or good, I know
not which thou'lt deem it. I only wish I could have given thee joy upon
the same account, before the unhappy lady was seduced from Hampstead; for
then of what an ungrateful villany hadst thou been spared the
perpetration, which now thou hast to answer for!
I came to town purely to serve thee with her, expecting that thy next
would satisfy me that I might endeavour it without dishonour. And at
first when I found her gone, I half pitied thee; for now wilt thou be
inevitably blown up: and in what an execrable light wilt thou appear to
all the world!--Poor Lovelace! caught in thy own snares! thy punishment
is but beginning.
But to my narrative: for I suppose thou expectest all particulars from
me, since Mowbray has informed thee that I have been collecting them.
'The noble exertion of spirit she has made on Friday night, had, it
seems, greatly disordered her; insomuch that she was not visible till
Saturday evening; when Mabell saw her; and she seemed to be very ill:
but on Sunday morning, having dressed herself, as if designing to go to
church, she ordered Mabell to get her a coach to the door.
'The wench told her, She was to obey her in every thing but the calling
of a coach or chair, or in relation to letters.
'She sent for Will. and gave him the same command.
'He pleaded his master's orders to the contrary, and desired to be
'Upon this, down she went, herself, and would have gone out without
observation; but finding the street-door double-locked, and the key not
in the lock, she stept into the street-parlour, and would have thrown up
the sash to call out to the people passing by, as they doubted not: but
that, since her last attempt of the same nature, had been fastened down.
'Hereupon she resolutely stept into Mrs. Sinclair's parlour in the
back-house; where were the old devil and her two partners; and demanded
the key of the street-door, or to have it opened for her.
'They were all surprised; but desired to be excused, and pleaded your
'She asserted, that you had no authority over her; and never should have
any: that their present refusal was their own act and deed: she saw the
intent of their back house, and the reason of putting her there: she
pleaded her condition and fortune; and said, they had no way to avoid
utter ruin, but by opening their doors to her, or by murdering her, and
burying her in their garden or cellar, too deep for detection: that
already what had been done to her was punishable by death: and bid them
at their peril detain her.'
What a noble, what a right spirit has this charming creature, in cases
that will justify an exertion of spirit!--
'They answered that Mr. Lovelace could prove his marriage, and would
indemnify them. And they all would have vindicated their behaviour on
Friday night, and the reputation of their house. But refusing to hear
them on that topic, she flung from them threatening.
'She then went up half a dozen stairs in her way to her own apartment:
but, as if she had bethought herself, down she stept again, and proceeded
towards the street-parlour; saying, as she passed by the infamous Dorcas,
I'll make myself protectors, though the windows suffer. But that wench,
of her own head, on the lady's going out of that parlour to Mrs.
Sinclair's, had locked the door, and taken out the key: so that finding
herself disappointed, she burst into tears, and went sobbing and menacing
up stairs again.
'She made no other attempt till the effectual one. Your letters and
messages, they suppose, coming so fast upon one another (though she would
not answer one of them) gave her some amusement, and an assurance to
them, that she would at last forgive you; and that then all would end as
'The women, in pursuance of your orders, offered not to obtrude
themselves upon her; and Dorcas also kept out of her sight all the rest
of Sunday; also on Monday and Tuesday. But by the lady's condescension,
(even to familiarity) to Mabell, they imagined, that she must be working
in her mind all that time to get away. They therefore redoubled their
cautions to the wench; who told them so faithfully all that passed
between her lady and her, that they had no doubt of her fidelity to her
''Tis probable she might have been contriving something all this time;
but saw no room for perfecting any scheme. The contrivance by which she
effected her escape seems to me not to have been fallen upon till the
very day; since it depended partly upon the weather, as it proved. But
it is evident she hoped something from Mabell's simplicity, or gratitude,
or compassion, by cultivating all the time her civility to her.
'Polly waited on her early on Wednesday morning; and met with a better
reception than she had reason to expect. She complained however, with
warmth, of her confinement. Polly said there would be an happy end to it
(if it were a confinement,) next day, she presumed. She absolutely
declared to the contrary, in the way Polly meant it; and said, That Mr.
Lovelace, on his return [which looked as if she intended to wait for it]
should have reason to repent the orders he had given, as they all should
their observance of them: let him send twenty letters, she would not
answer one, be the consequence what it would; nor give him hope of the
least favour, while she was in that house. She had given Mrs. Sinclair
and themselves fair warning, she said: no orders of another ought to make
them detain a free person: but having made an open attempt to go, and
been detained by them, she was the calmer, she told Polly; let them look
to the consequence.
'But yet she spoke this with temper; and Polly gave it as her opinion,
(with apprehension for their own safety,) that having so good a handle to
punish them all, she would not go away if she might. And what, inferred
Polly, is the indemnity of a man who has committed the vilest of rapes on
a person of condition; and must himself, if prosecuted for it, either
fly, or be hanged?
'Sinclair, [so I will still call her,] upon this representation of Polly,
foresaw, she said, the ruin of her poor house in the issue of this
strange business; and the infamous Sally and Dorcas bore their parts in
the apprehension: and this put them upon thinking it advisable for the
future, that the street-door should generally in the day-time be only
left upon a bolt-latch, as they called it, which any body might open on
the inside; and that the key should be kept in the door; that their
numerous comers and goers, as they called their guests, should be able to
give evidence, that she might have gone out if she would: not forgetting,
however, to renew their orders to Will. to Dorcas, to Mabell, and the
rest, to redouble their vigilance on this occasion, to prevent her
escape: none of them doubting, at the same time, that her love of a man
so considerable in their eyes, and the prospect of what was to happen, as
she had reason to believe, on Thursday, her uncle's birth-day, would
(though perhaps not till the last hour, for her pride sake, was their
word) engage her to change her temper.
'They believe, that she discovered the key to be left in the door; for
she was down more than once to walk in the little garden, and seemed to
cast her eye each time to the street-door.
'About eight yesterday morning, an hour after Polly had left her, she
told Mabell, she was sure she should not live long; and having a good
many suits of apparel, which after her death would be of no use to any
body she valued, she would give her a brown lustring gown, which, with
some alterations to make it more suitable to her degree, would a great
while serve her for a Sunday wear; for that she (Mabell) was the only
person in that house of whom she could think without terror or antipathy.
'Mabell expressing her gratitude upon the occasion, the lady said, she
had nothing to employ herself about, and if she could get a workwoman
directly, she would look over her things then, and give her what she
intended for her.
'Her mistress's mantua-maker, the maid replied, lived but a little way
off: and she doubted not that she could procure her, or one of the
journey-women to alter the gown out of hand.
'I will give you also, said she, a quilted coat, which will require but
little alteration, if any; for you are much about my stature: but the
gown I will give directions about, because the sleeves and the robings
and facings must be altered for your wear, being, I believe, above your
station: and try, said she, if you can get the workwoman, and we'll
advise about it. If she cannot come now, let her come in the afternoon;
but I had rather now, because it will amuse me to give you a lift.
'Then stepping to the window, it rains, said she, [and so it had done all
the morning:] slip on the hood and short cloak I have seen you wear, and
come to me when you are ready to go out, because you shall bring me in
something that I want.
'Mabell equipped herself accordingly, and received her commands to buy
her some trifles, and then left her; but in her way out, stept into the
back parlour, where Dorcas was with Mrs. Sinclair, telling her where she
was going, and on what account, bidding Dorcas look out till she came
back. So faithful as the wench to the trust reposed in her, and so
little had the lady's generosity wrought upon her.
'Mrs. Sinclair commended her; Dorcas envied her, and took her cue: and
Mabell soon returned with the mantua-maker's journey-woman; (she
resolved, she said, but she would not come without her); and then Dorcas
went off guard.
'The lady looked out the gown and petticoat, and before the workwoman
caused Mabell to try it on; and, that it might fit the better, made the
willing wench pull off her upper-petticoat, and put on that she gave her.
Then she bid them go into Mr. Lovelace's apartment, and contrive about it
before the pier-glass there, and stay till she came to them, to give them
'Mabell would have taken her own clothes, and hood, and short cloak with
her: but her lady said, No matter; you may put them on again here, when
we have considered about the alterations: there's no occasion to litter
the other room.
'They went; and instantly, as it is supposed, she slipt on Mabell's gown
and petticoat over her own, which was white damask, and put on the
wench's hood, short cloak, and ordinary apron, and down she went.
'Hearing somebody tripping along the passage, both Will. and Dorcas whipt
to the inner-hall door, and saw her; but, taking her for Mabell, Are you
going far, Mabell? cried Will.
'Without turning her face, or answering, she held out her hand, pointing
to the stairs; which they construed as a caution for them to look out in
her absence; and supposing she would not be long gone, as she had not in
form, repeated her caution to them, up went Will, tarrying at the
stairs-head in expectation of the supposed Mabell's return.
'Mabell and the workwoman waited a good while, amusing themselves not
disagreeably, the one with contriving in the way of her business, the
other delighting herself with her fine gown and coat. But at last,
wondering the lady did not come in to them, Mabell tiptoed it to her
door, and tapping, and not being answered, stept into the chamber.
'Will. at that instant, from his station at the stairs-head, seeing
Mabell in her lady's clothes; for he had been told of the present, [gifts
to servants fly from servant to servant in a minute,] was very much
surprised, having, as he thought, just seen her go out in her own; and
stepping up, met her at the door. How the devil can this be? said he:
just now you went out in your own dress! How came you here in this? and
how could you pass me unseen? but nevertheless, kissing her, said, he
would now brag he had kissed his lady, or one in her clothes.
'I am glad, Mr. William, cried Mabell, to see you here so diligently.
But know you where my lady is?
'In my master's apartment, answered Will. Is she not? Was she not
talking with you this moment?
'No, that's Mrs. Dolins's journey-woman.
'They both stood aghast, as they said; Will, again recollecting he had
seen Mabell, as he thought, go out in her own clothes. And while they
were debating and wondering, up comes Dorcas with your fourth letter,
just then brought for the lady, and seeing Mabell dressed out, (whom she
had likewise beheld a little before), as she supposed, in her common
clothes; she joined in the wonder; till Mabell, re-entering the lady's
apartment, missed her own clothes; and then suspecting what had happened,
and letting the others into the ground of the suspicion, they all agreed
that she had certainly escaped. And then followed such an uproar of
mutual accusation, and you should have done this, and you have done that,
as alarmed the whole house; every apartment in both houses giving up its
devil, to the number of fourteen or fifteen, including the mother and her
'Will. told them his story; and then ran out, as on the like occasion
formerly, to make inquiry whether the lady was seen by any of the
coachmen, chairmen, or porters, plying in that neighbourhood: while
Dorcas cleared herself immediately, and that at the poor Mabell's
expense, who made a figure as guilty as awkward, having on the suspected
price of her treachery; which Dorcas, out of envy, was ready to tear from
'Hereupon all the pack opened at the poor wench, while the mother foamed
at the mouth, bellowed out her orders for seizing the suspected offender;
who could neither be heard in her own defence, nor had she been heard,
would have been believed.
'That such a perfidious wretch should ever disgrace her house, was the
mother's cry; good people might be corrupted; but it was a fine thing if
such a house as her's could not be faithfully served by cursed creatures
who were hired knowing the business they were to be employed in, and who
had no pretence to principle!--D--n her, the wretch proceeded!--She had
no patience with her! call the cook, and call the scullion!
'They were at hand.
'See, that guilty pyeball devil, was her word--(her lady's gown upon her
back)--but I'll punish her for a warning to all betrayers of their trust.
Put on the great gridiron this moment, [an oath or a curse at every
word:] make up a roaring fire--the cleaver bring me this instant--I'll
cut her into quarters with my own hands; and carbonade and broil the
traitress for a feast to all the dogs and cats in the neighbourhood, and
eat the first slice of the toad myself, without salt or pepper.
'The poor Mabell, frighted out of her wits, expected every moment to be
torn in pieces, having half a score open-clawed paws upon her all at
once. She promised to confess all. But that all, when she had obtained
a hearing, was nothing: for nothing had she to confess.
'Sally, hereupon with a curse of mercy, ordered her to retire;
undertaking that she and Polly would examine her themselves, that they
might be able to write all particulars to his honour; and then, if she
could not clear herself, or, if guilty, give some account of the lady,
(who had been so wicked as to give them all this trouble,) so as they
might get her again, then the cleaver and gridiron might go to work with
all their heart.
'The wench, glad of this reprieve, went up stairs; and while Sally was
laying out the law, and prating away in her usual dictorial manner, whipt
on another gown, and sliding down the stairs, escaped to her relations.
And this flight, which was certainly more owing to terror than guilt,
was, in the true Old Bailey construction, made a confirmation of the
These are the particulars of Miss Harlowe's flight. Thou'lt hardly think
me too minute.--How I long to triumph over thy impatience and fury on the
Let me beseech thee, my dear Lovelace, in thy next letter, to rave most
gloriously!--I shall be grievously disappointed if thou dost not.
Where, Lovelace, can the poor lady be gone? And who can describe the
distress she must be in?
By thy former letters, it may be supposed, that she can have very little
money: nor, by the suddenness of her flight, more clothes than those she
has on. And thou knowest who once said,* 'Her parents will not receive
her. Her uncles will not entertain her. Her Norton is in their
direction, and cannot. Miss Howe dare not. She has not one friend or
intimate in town--entirely a stranger to it.' And, let me add, has been
despoiled of her honour by the man for whom she had made all these
sacrifices; and who stood bound to her by a thousand oaths and vows, to
be her husband, her protector, and friend!
* See Vol. IV. Letter XXI.
How strong must be her resentment of the barbarous treatment she has
received! how worthy of herself, that it has made her hate the man she
once loved! and, rather than marry him, choose to expose her disgrace to
the whole world: to forego the reconciliation with her friends which her
heart was so set upon: and to hazard a thousand evils to which her youth
and her sex may too probably expose an indigent and friendly beauty!
Rememberest thou not that home push upon thee, in one of the papers
written in her delirium; of which, however it savours not?----
I will assure thee, that I have very often since most seriously reflected
upon it: and as thy intended second outrage convinces me that it made no
impression upon thee then, and perhaps thou hast never thought of it
since, I will transcribe the sentence.
'If, as religion teaches us, God will judge us, in a great measure! by
our benevolent or evil actions to one another--O wretch! bethink thee, in
time bethink thee, how great must be thy condemnation.'*
* See Vol. VI. Letter XVI.
And is this amiable doctrine the sum of religion? Upon my faith,
believe it is. For, to indulge a serious thought, since we are not
atheists, except in practice, does God, the BEING of Beings, want any
thing of us for HIMSELF! And does he not enjoin us works of mercy to one
another, as the means to obtain his mercy? A sublime principle, and
worthy of the SUPREME SUPERINTENDENT and FATHER of all things!--But if we
are to be judged by this noble principle, what, indeed, must be thy
condemnation on the score of this lady only? and what mine, and what all
our confraternity's, on the score of other women: though we are none of
us half so bad as thou art, as well for want of inclination, I hope, as
I must add, that, as well for thy own sake, as for the lady's, I wish ye
were yet to be married to each other. It is the only medium that can be
hit upon to salve the honour of both. All that's past may yet be
concealed from the world, and from all her sufferings, if thou resolvest
to be a tender and kind husband to her.
And if this really be thy intention, I will accept with pleasure of a
commission from thee that shall tend to promote so good an end, whenever
she can be found; that is to say, if she will admit to her presence a man
who professes friendship to thee. Nor can I give a greater
demonstration, that I am
Thy sincere friend,
P.S. Mabell's clothes were thrown into the passage this morning: nobody
knows by whom.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
FRIDAY, JUNE 30.
I am ruined, undone, blown up, destroyed, and worse than annihilated,
that's certain!--But was not the news shocking enough, dost thou think,
without thy throwing into the too-weighty scale reproaches, which thou
couldst have had no opportunity to make but for my own voluntary
communications? at a time too, when, as it falls out, I have another very
sensible disappointment to struggle with?
I imagine, if there be such a thing as future punishment, it must be none
of the smallest mortifications, that a new devil shall be punished by a
worse old one. And, take that! And, take that! to have the old satyr
cry to the screaming sufferer, laying on with a cat-o'-nine-tails, with a
star of burning brass at the end of each: and, for what! for what!---Why,
if the truth may be fairly told, for not being so bad a devil as myself.
Thou art, surely, casuist good enough to know, (what I have insisted
upon* heretofore,) that the sin of seducing a credulous and easy girl, is
as great as that of bringing to your lure an incredulous and watchful
* See Vol. IV. Letter XVII.
However ungenerous an appearance what I am going to say may have from my
pen, let me tell thee, that if such a woman as Miss Harlowe chose to
enter into the matrimonial state, [I am resolved to disappoint thee in
thy meditated triumph over my rage and despair!] and, according to the
old patriarchal system, to go on contributing to get sons and daughters,
with no other view than to bring them up piously, and to be good and
useful members of the commonwealth, what a devil had she to do, to let
her fancy run a gadding after a rake? one whom she knew to be a rake?
Oh! but truly she hoped to have the merit of reclaiming him. She had
formed pretty notions how charming it would look to have a penitent of
her own making dangling at her side at church, through an applauding
neighbourhood: and, as their family increased, marching with her thither,
at the head of their boys and girls, processionally, as it were, boasting
of the fruits of their honest desires, as my good lord bishop has it in
his license. And then, what a comely sight, all kneeling down together
in one pew, according to eldership as we have seen in effigy, a whole
family upon some old monument, where the honest chevalier in armour is
presented kneeling, with up-lifted hands, and half a dozen jolter-headed
crop-eared boys behind him, ranged gradatim, or step-fashion according to
age and size, all in the same posture--facing his pious dame, with a ruff
about her neck, and as many whey-faced girls all kneeling behind her: an
altar between them, and an open book upon it: over their heads
semiluminary rays darting from gilded clouds, surrounding an achievement-
motto, IN COELO SALUS--or QUIES--perhaps, if they have happened to live
the usual married life of brawl and contradiction.
It is certainly as much my misfortune to have fallen in with Miss
Clarissa Harlowe, were I to have valued my reputation or ease, as it is
that of Miss Harlowe to have been acquainted with me. And, after all,
what have I done more than prosecute the maxim, by which thou and I and
every rake are governed, and which, before I knew this lady, we have
pursued from pretty girl to pretty girl, as fast as we have set one down,
taking another up;--just as the fellows do with their flying coaches and
flying horses at a country fair----with a Who rides next! Who rides
But here in the present case, to carry on the volant metaphor, (for I
must either be merry, or mad,) is a pretty little miss just come out of
her hanging-sleeve-coat, brought to buy a pretty little fairing; for the
world, Jack, is but a great fair, thou knowest; and, to give thee serious
reflection for serious, all its joys but tinselled hobby-horses, gilt
gingerbread, squeaking trumpets, painted drums, and so forth.
Now behold this pretty little miss skimming from booth to booth, in a
very pretty manner. One pretty little fellow called Wyerley, perhaps;
another jiggeting rascal called Biron, a third simpering varlet of the
name of Symmes, and a more hideous villain than any of the reset, with a
long bag under his arm, and parchment settlements tagged to his heels,
yelped Solmes: pursue her from raree-show to raree-show, shouldering upon
one another at every turn, stopping when she stops, and set a spinning
again when she moves. And thus dangled after, but still in the eye of
her watchful guardians, traverses the pretty little miss through the
whole fair, equally delighted and delighting: till at last, taken with
the invitation of the laced-hat orator, and seeing several pretty little
bib-wearers stuck together in the flying-coaches, cutting safely the
yielding air, in the one-go-up the other go-down picture-of-the-world
vehicle, and all with as little fear as wit, is tempted to ride next.
In then suppose she slily pops, when none of her friends are near her:
And if, after two or three ups and downs, her pretty head turns giddy,
and she throws herself out of the coach when at its elevation, and so
dashes out her pretty little brains, who can help it?--And would you hang
the poor fellow, whose professed trade it was to set the pretty little
creature a flying?
'Tis true, this pretty little miss, being a very pretty little miss,
being a very much-admired little miss, being a very good little miss, who
always minded her book, and had passed through her sampler-doctrine with
high applause; had even stitched out, in gaudy propriety of colors, an
Abraham offering up Isaac, a Sampson and the Philistines; and flowers,
and knots, and trees, and the sun and the moon, and the seven stars, all
hung up in frames with glasses before them, for the admiration of her
future grand children: who likewise was entitled to a very pretty little
estate: who was descended from a pretty little family upwards of one
hundred years gentility; which lived in a very pretty little manner,
respected a very little on their own accounts, a great deal on her's:----
For such a pretty little miss as this to come to so great a misfortune,
must be a very sad thing: But, tell me, would not the losing of any
ordinary child, of any other less considerable family, or less shining or
amiable qualities, have been as great and heavy a loss to that family, as
the losing this pretty little miss could be to her's?
To descend to a very low instance, and that only as to personality; hast
thou any doubt, that thy strong-muscled bony-faced was as much admired by
thy mother, as if it had been the face of a Lovelace, or any other
handsome fellow? And had thy picture been drawn, would she have forgiven
the painter, had he not expressed so exactly thy lineaments, as that
every one should have discerned the likeness? The handsome likeness is
all that is wished for. Ugliness made familiar to us, with the
partiality natural to fond parents, will be beauty all the world over.--
Do thou apply.
But, alas! Jack, all this is but a copy of my countenance, drawn to evade
thy malice!--Though it answer thy unfriendly purpose to own it, I cannot
forbear to own it, that I am stung to the very soul with this unhappy--
accident, must I call it!--Have I nobody, whose throat, either for
carelessness or treachery, I ought to cut, in order to pacify my
When I reflect upon my last iniquitous intention, the first outrage so
nobly resented, as well as, so far as she was able, so nobly resisted, I
cannot but conclude, that I was under the power of fascination from these
accursed Circes; who, pretending to know their own sex, would have it,
that there is in every woman a yielding, or a weak-resisting moment to be
met with: and that yet, and yet, and yet, I had not tried enough; but
that, if neither love nor terror should enable me to hit that lucky
moment, when, by help of their cursed arts, she was once overcome, she
would be for ever overcome:--appealing to all my experience, to all my
knowledge of the sex, for justification of their assertion.
My appeal to experience, I own, was but too favourable to their argument:
For dost thou think I could have held my purpose against such an angel as
this, had I ever before met with a woman so much in earnest to defend her
honour against the unwearied artifices and perseverance of the man she
loved? Why then were there not more examples of a virtue so immovable?
Or, why was this singular one to fall to my lot? except indeed to double
my guilt; and at the same time to convince all that should hear her
story, that there are angels as well as devils in the flesh?
So much for confession; and for the sake of humouring my conscience; with
a view likewise to disarm thy malice by acknowledgement: since no one shall
say worse of me, than I will of myself on this occasion.
One thing I will nevertheless add, to show the sincerity of my contrition
--'Tis this, that if thou canst by any means find her out within these
three days, or any time before she has discovered the stories relating to
Captain Tomlinson and her uncle to be what they are; and if thou canst
prevail upon her to consent, I will actually, in thy presence and his,
(he to represent her uncle,) marry her.
I am still in hopes it may be so--she cannot be long concealed--I have
already set all engines at work to find her out! and if I do, what
indifferent persons, [and no one of her friends, as thou observest, will
look upon her,] will care to embroil themselves with a man of my figure,
fortune, and resolution? Show her this part, then, or any other part of
this letter, as thy own discretion, if thou canst find her: for, after
all, methinks, I would be glad that this affair, which is bad enough in
itself, should go off without worse personal consequences to any body
else: and yet it runs in my mind, I know not why, that, sooner or later
it will draw a few drops of blood after it; except she and I can make it
up between ourselves. And this may be another reason why she should not
carry her resentment too far--not that such an affair would give me much
concern neither, were I to choose any man of men, for I heartily hate all
her family, but herself; and ever shall.
Let me add, that the lady's plot to escape appears to me no extraordinary
one. There was much more luck than probability that it should do: since,
to make it succeed, it was necessary that Dorcas and Will., and Sinclair
and her nymphs, should be all deceived, or off their guard. It belongs
to me, when I see them, to give them my hearty thanks that they were; and
that their selfish care to provide for their own future security, should
induce them to leave their outward door upon their bolt-latch, and be
curs'd to them.
Mabell deserves a pitch suit and a bonfire, rather than the lustring; and
as her clothes are returned, le the lady's be put to her others, to be
sent to her when it can be told whither--but not till I give the word
neither; for we must get the dear fugitive back again if possible.
I suppose that my stupid villain, who knew not such a goddess-shaped lady
with a mien so noble, from the awkward and bent-shouldered Mabell, has
been at Hampstead to see after her. And yet I hardly think she would go
thither. He ought to go through every street where bills for lodgings
are up, to inquire after a new-comer. The houses of such as deal in
women's matters, and tea, coffee, and such-like, are those to be inquired
at for her. If some tidings be not quickly heard of her, I would not
have either Dorcas, Will., or Mabell, appear in my sight, whatever their
superiors think fit to do.
This, though written in character, is a very long letter, considering it
is not a narrative one, or a journal of proceedings, like most of my
former; for such will unavoidably and naturally, as I may say, run into
length. But I have so used myself to write a great deal of late, that I
know not how to help it. Yet I must add to its length, in order to
explain myself on a hint I gave at the beginning of it; which was, that I
have another disappointment, besides this of Miss Harlowe's escape, to
And what dost thou think it is? Why, the old Peer, pox of his tough
constitution, (for that malady would have helped him on,) has made shift
by fire and brimstone, and the devil knows what, to force the gout to
quit the counterscarp of his stomach, just as it had collected all its
strength, in order to storm the citadel of his heart. In short, they
have, by the mere force of stink-pots, hand-granades, and pop-guns,
driven the slow-working pioneer quite out of the trunk into the
extremities; and there it lies nibbling and gnawing upon his great toe;
when I had a fair end of the distemper and the distempered.
But I, who could write to thee of laudanum, and the wet cloth, formerly,
yet let 8000L. a year slip through my fingers, when I had entered upon it
more than in imagination, [for I had begun to ask the stewards questions,
and to hear them talk of fines and renewals, and such sort of stuff,]
deserve to be mortified.
Thou canst not imagine how differently the servants, and even my cousins,
look upon me, since yesterday, to what they did before. Neither the one
nor the other bow or courtesy half so low--nor am I a quarter so often
his honour and your honour, as I was within these few hours, with the
former: and as to the latter--it is cousin Bobby again, with the usual
familiarity, instead of Sir, and Sir, and If you please, Mr. Lovelace.
And now they have the insolence to congratulate me on the recovery of the
best of uncles; while I am forced to seem as much delighted as they,
when, would it do me good, I could sit down and cry my eyes out.
I had bespoke my mourning in imagination, after the example of a certain
foreign minister, who, before the death, or even last illness of Charles
II., as honest White Kennet tells us, had half exhausted Blackwell-hall
of its sables--an indication, as the historian would insinuate, that the
monarch was to be poisoned, and the ambassador in the secret.--And yet,
fool that I was, I could not take the hint--What the devil does a man
read history for, if he cannot profit by the examples he find in it?
But thus, Jack, is an observation of the old Peer's verified, that one
misfortune seldom comes alone: and so concludes
Thy doubly mortified
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
WEDNESDAY NIGHT, JUNE 28.
O MY DEAREST MISS HOWE!
Once more have I escaped--But, alas! I, my best self, have not escaped!
--Oh! your poor Clarissa Harlowe! you also will hate me, I fear!----
Yet you won't, when you know all!
But no more of my self! my lost self. You that can rise in a morning to
be blest, and to bless; and go to rest delighted with your own
reflections, and in your unbroken, unstarting slumbers, conversing with
saints and angels, the former only more pure than yourself, as they have
shaken off the incumbrance of body; you shall be my subject, as you have
long, long, been my only pleasure. And let me, at awful distance, revere
my beloved Anna Howe, and in her reflect upon what her Clarissa Harlowe
Forgive, O forgive my rambling. My peace is destroyed. My intellects
are touched. And what flighty nonsense must you read, if you now will
vouchsafe to correspond with me, as formerly!
O my best, my dearest, my only friend! what a tale have I to unfold!--
But still upon self, this vile, this hated self!--I will shake it off, if
possible; and why should I not, since I think, except one wretch, I hate
nothing so much? Self, then, be banished from self one moment (for I
doubt it will be for no longer) to inquire after a dearer object, my
beloved Anna Howe!--whose mind, all robed in spotless white, charms and
irradiates--But what would I say?----
And how, my dearest friend, after this rhapsody, which on re-perusal, I
would not let go, but to show you what a distracted mind dictates to my
trembling pen! How do you? You have been very ill, it seems. That you
are recovered, my dear, let me hear. That your mother is well, pray let
me hear, and hear quickly. This comfort surely is owing to me; for if
life is no worse than chequer-work, I must now have a little white to
come, having seen nothing but black, all unchequered dismal black, for a
great, great while.
And what is all this wild incoherence for? It is only to beg to know how
you have been, and how you do now, by a line directed for Mrs. Rachel
Clark, at Mr. Smith's, a glove-shop, in King-street, Covent-garden; which
(although my abode is secret to every body else) will reach the hands of
--your unhappy--but that's not enough----
MRS. HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[SUPERSCRIBED AS DIRECTED IN THE PRECEDING.]
FRIDAY, JUNE 30.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE,
You will wonder to receive a letter from me. I am sorry for the great
distress you seem to be in. Such a hopeful young lady as you were! But
see what comes of disobedience to parents!
For my part; although I pity you, yet I much more pity your poor father
and mother. Such education as they gave you! such improvement as you
made! and such delight as they took in you!--And all come to this!--
But pray, Miss, don't make my Nancy guilt of your fault; which is that of
disobedience. I have charged her over and over not to correspond with
one who had made such a giddy step. It is not to her reputation, I am
sure. You know that I so charged her; yet you go on corresponding
together, to my very great vexation; for she has been very perverse upon
it more than once. Evil communication, Miss--you know the rest.
Here, people cannot be unhappy by themselves, but they must invoke their
friends and acquaintance whose discretion has kept them clear of their
errors, into near as much unhappiness as if they had run into the like
of their own heads! Thus my poor daughter is always in tears and grief.
And she has postponed her own felicity, truly, because you are unhappy.
If people, who seek their own ruin, could be the only sufferers by their
headstrong doings, it were something: But, O Miss, Miss! what have you to
answer for, who have made as many grieved hearts as have known you! The
whole sex is indeed wounded by you: For, who but Miss Clarissa Harlowe
was proposed by every father and mother for a pattern for their
I write a long letter, where I proposed to say but a few words; and those
to forbid your writing to my Nancy: and this as well because of the false
step you have made, as because it will grieve her poor heart, and do you
no good. If you love her, therefore, write not to her. Your sad letter
came into my hands, Nancy being abroad: and I shall not show it her: for
there would be no comfort for her, if she saw it, nor for me, whose
delight she is--as you once was to your parents.--
But you seem to be sensible enough of your errors now.--So are all giddy
girls, when it is too late: and what a crest-fallen figure then do the
consequences of their self-willed obstinacy and headstrongness compel
them to make!
I may say too much: only as I think it proper to bear that testimony
against your rashness which it behoves every careful parent to bear: and
none more than
Your compassionating, well-wishing
I send this by a special messenger, who has business only so far as
Barnet, because you shall have no need to write again; knowing how
you love writing: and knowing, likewise, that misfortune makes people
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. HOWE.
SATURDAY, JULY 1.
Permit me, Madam, to trouble you with a few lines, were it only to thank
you for your reproofs; which have nevertheless drawn fresh streams of
blood from a bleeding heart.
My story is a dismal story. It has circumstances in it that would engage
pity, and possibly a judgment not altogether unfavourable, were those
circumstances known. But it is my business, and shall be all my
business, to repent of my failings, and not endeavour to extenuate them.
Nor will I seek to distress your worthy mind. If I cannot suffer alone,
I will make as few parties as I can in my sufferings. And, indeed, I
took up my pen with this resolution when I wrote the letter which has
fallen into your hands. It was only to know, and that for a very
particular reason, as well as for affection unbounded, if my dear Miss
Howe, from whom I had not heard of a long time, were ill; as I had been
told she was; and if so, how she now does. But my injuries being recent,
and my distresses having been exceeding great, self would crowd into my
letter. When distressed, the human mind is apt to turn itself to every
one, in whom it imagined or wished an interest, for pity and consolation.
--Or, to express myself better, and more concisely, in your own words,
misfortune makes people plaintive: And to whom, if not to a friend, can
the afflicted complain?
Miss Howe being abroad when my letter came, I flatter myself that she is
recovered. But it would be some satisfaction to me to be informed if she
has been ill. Another line from your hand would be too great a favour:
but if you will be pleased to direct any servant to answer yes, or no, to
that question, I will not be farther troublesome.
Nevertheless, I must declare, that my Miss Howe's friendship was all the
comfort I had, or expected to have in this world; and a line from her
would have been a cordial to my fainting heart. Judge then, dearest
Madam, how reluctantly I must obey your prohibition--but yet I will
endeavour to obey it; although I should have hoped, as well from the
tenor of all that has passed between Miss Howe and me, as from her
established virtue, that she could not be tainted by evil communication,
had one or two letters been permitted. This, however, I ask not for,
since I think I have nothing to do but to beg of God (who, I hope, has
not yet withdrawn his grace from me, although he has pleaded to let loose
his justice upon my faults) to give me a truly broken spirit, if it be
not already broken enough, and then to take to his mercy
Two favours, good Madam, I have to beg of you.--The first,--that you will
not let any of my relations know that you have heard from me. The
other,--that no living creature be apprized where I am to be heard of,
or directed to. This is a point that concerns me more than I can
express.--In short, my preservation from further evils may depend upon
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO HANNAH BURTON
THURSDAY, JUNE 29.
MY GOOD HANNAH,
Strange things have happened to me, since you were dismissed my service
(so sorely against my will) and your pert fellow servant set over me.
But that must all be forgotten now--
How do you, my Hannah? Are you recovered of your illness? If you are,
do you choose to come and be with me? Or can you conveniently?
I am a very unhappy creature, and, being among all strangers, should be
very glad to have you with me, of whose fidelity and love I have had so
many acceptable instances.
Living or dying, I will endeavour to make it worth your while, my Hannah.
If you are recovered, as I hope, and if you have a good place, it may be
they would bear with your absence, and suffer somebody in your room for a
month or so: and, by that time, I hope to be provided for, and you may
then return to your place.
Don't let any of my friends know of this my desire: whether you can come
I am at Mr. Smith's, a hosier's and glove shop, in King-street,
You must direct to me by the name of Rachel Clark.
Do, my good Hannah, come if you can to your poor young mistress, who
always valued you, and always will whether you come or not.
I send this to your mother at St. Alban's, not knowing where to direct
to you. Return me a line, that I may know what to depend upon: and I
shall see you have not forgotten the pretty hand you were taught, in
happy days, by
Your true friend,
MONDAY, JULY 3.
I have not forgot to write, and never will forget any thing you, my dear
young lady, was so good as to larn me. I am very sorrowful for your
misfortens, my dearest young lady; so sorrowfull, I do not know what to
do. Gladd at harte would I be to be able to come to you. But indeed I
have not been able to stir out of my rome here at my mother's ever since
I was forsed to leave my plase with a roomatise, which has made me quite
and clene helpless. I will pray for you night and day, my dearest, my
kindest, my goodest young lady, who have been so badly used; and I am
very sorry I cannot come to do you love and sarvice; which will ever be
in the harte of mee to do, if it was in my power: who am
Your most dutiful servant to command,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. JUDITH NORTON
THURSDAY, JUNE 29.
MY DEAR MRS. NORTON,
I address myself to you, after a very long silence, (which, however, was
not owing either to want of love or duty,) principally to desire you to
satisfy me in two or three points, which it behoves me to know.
My father, and all the family, I am informed, are to be at my uncle
Harlowe's this day, as usual. Pray acquaint me, if they have been there?
And if they were cheerful on the anniversary occasion? And also, if you
have heard of any journey, or intended journey, of my brother, in company
with Captain Singleton and Mr. Solmes?
Strange things have happened to me, my dear, worthy and maternal friend--
very strange things!--Mr. Lovelace has proved a very barbarous and
ungrateful man to me. But, God be praised, I have escaped from him.
Being among absolute strangers (though I think worthy folks) I have
written to Hannah Burton to come and be with me. If the good creature
fall in your way, pray encourage her to come to me. I always intended
to have her, she knows: but hoped to be in happier circumstances.
Say nothing to any of my friends that you have heard from me.
Pray, do you think my father would be prevailed upon, if I were to
supplicate him by letter, to take off the heavy curse he laid upon me at
my going from Harlowe-place? I can expect no other favour from him. But
that being literally fulfilled as to my prospects in this life, I hope it
will be thought to have operated far enough; and my heart is so weak!--it
is very weak!--But for my father's own sake--what should I say!--Indeed I
hardly know how I ought to express myself on this sad subject!--but it
will give ease to my mind to be released from it.
I am afraid my Poor, as I used to call the good creatures to whose
necessities I was wont to administer by your faithful hands, have missed
me of late. But now, alas! I am poor myself. It is not the least
aggravation of my fault, nor of my regrets, that with such inclinations
as God has given me, I have put it our of my power to do the good I once
pleased myself to think I was born to do. It is a sad thing, my dearest
Mrs. Nortin, to render useless to ourselves and the world, by our own
rashness, the talents which Providence has intrusted to us, for the
service of both.
But these reflections are now too late; and perhaps I ought to have kept
them to myself. Let me, however, hope that you love me still. Pray let
me hope that you do. And then, notwithstanding my misfortunes, which
have made me seem ungrateful to the kind and truly maternal pains you
have taken with me from my cradle, I shall have the happiness to think
that there is one worthy person, who hates not
Pray remember me to my foster-brother. I hope he continues dutiful and
good to you.
Be pleased to direct for Rachel Clark, at Mr. Smith's, in King-street,
Covent-garden. But keep the direction an absolute secret.
SATURDAY, JULY 1.
Your letter, my dearest young lady, cuts me to the heart! Why will you
not let me know all your distresses?--Yet you have said enough!
My son is very good to me. A few hours ago he was taken with a feverish
disorder. But I hope it will go off happily, if his ardour for business
will give him the recess from it which his good master is willing to
allow him. He presents his duty to you, and shed tears at hearing your
sad letter read.
You have been misinformed as to your family's being at your uncle
Harlowe's. They did not intend to be there. Nor was the day kept at
all. Indeed, they have not stirred out, but to church (and that but
three times) ever since the day you went away.--Unhappy day for them, and
for all who know you!--To me, I am sure, most particularly so!--My heart
now bleeds more and more for you.
I have not heard a syllable of such a journey as you mentioned of your
brother, Captain Singleton, and Mr. Solmes. There has been some talk
indeed of your brother's setting out for his northern estates: but I have
not heard of it lately.
I am afraid no letter will be received from you. It grieves me to tell
you so, my dearest young lady. No evil can have happened to you, which
they do not expect to hear of; so great is their antipathy to the wicked
man, and so bad is his character.
I cannot but think hardly of their unforgiveness: but there is no judging
for others by one's self. Nevertheless I will add, that, if you had had
as gentle spirits as mine, these evils had never happened either to them
or to you. I knew your virtue, and your love of virtue, from your very
cradle; and I doubted not but that, with God's grace, would always be
your guard. But you could never be driven; nor was there occasion to
drive you--so generous, so noble, so discreet.--But how does my love of
your amiable qualities increase my affliction; as these recollections
must do your's!
You are escaped, my dearest Miss--happily, I hope--that is to say, with
your honour--else, how great must be your distress!--Yet, from your
letter, I dread the worst.
I am very seldom at Harlowe-place. The house is not the house it used to
be, since you went from it. Then they are so relentless! And, as I
cannot say harsh things of the beloved child of my heart, as well as
bosom, they do not take it amiss that I stay away.
Your Hannah left her place ill some time ago! and, as she is still at her
mother's at St. Alban's, I am afraid she continues ill. If so, as you
are among strangers, and I cannot encourage you at present to come into
these parts, I shall think it my duty to attend you (let it be taken as
it will) as soon as my Tommy's indisposition will permit; which I hope
will be soon.
I have a little money by me. You say you are poor yourself.--How
grievous are those words from one entitled and accustomed to affluence!--
Will you be so good to command it, my beloved young lady?--It is most of
it your own bounty to me. And I should take a pride to restore it to its
Your Poor bless you, and pray for you continually. I have so managed
your last benevolence, and they have been so healthy, and have had such
constant employ, that it has held out; and will hold out till the happier
times return, which I continually pray for.
Let me beg of you, my dearest young lady, to take to yourself all those
aids which good persons, like you, draw from RELIGION, in support of
their calamities. Let your sufferings be what they will, I am sure you
have been innocent in your intention. So do not despond. None are made
to suffer above what they can, and therefore ought to bear.
We know not the methods of Providence, nor what wise ends it may have to
serve in its seemingly-severe dispensations to its poor creatures.
Few persons have greater reason to say this than myself. And since we
are apt in calamities to draw more comfort from example than precept, you
will permit me to remind you of my own lot: For who has had a greater
share of afflictions than myself?
To say nothing of the loss of an excellent mother, at a time of life when
motherly care is most wanted; the death of a dear father, who was an
ornament to his cloth, (and who had qualified me to be his scribe and
amanuensis,) just as he came within view of a preferment which would have
made his family easy, threw me friendless into the wide world; threw me
upon a very careless, and, which was much worse, a very unkind husband.
Poor man!--but he was spared long enough, thank God, in a tedious
illness, to repent of his neglected opportunities, and his light
principles; which I have always thought of with pleasure, although I was
left the more destitute for his chargeable illness, and ready to be
brought to bed, when he died, of my Tommy.
But this very circumstance, which I thought the unhappiest that I could
have been left in, (so short-sighted is human prudence!) became the happy
means of recommending me to your mother, who, in regard to my character,
and in compassion to my very destitute circumstances, permitted me, as I
made a conscience of not parting with my poor boy, to nurse both you and
him, born within a few days of each other. And I have never since wanted
any of the humble blessings which God has made me contented with.
Nor have I known what a very great grief was, from the day of my poor
husband's death till the day that your parents told me how much they were
determined that you should have Mr. Solmes; when I was apprized not only
of your aversion to him, but how unworthy he was of you: for then I began
to dread the consequences of forcing so generous a spirit; and, till
then, I never feared Mr. Lovelace, attracting as was his person, and
specious his manners and address. For I was sure you would never have
him, if he gave you not good reason to be convinced of his reformation:
nor till your friends were as well satisfied in it as yourself. But that
unhappy misunderstanding between your brother and Mr. Lovelace, and their
joining so violently to force you upon Mr. Solmes, did all that mischief,
which has cost you and them so dear, and poor me all my peace! Oh! what
has not this ungrateful, this double-guilty man to answer for!
Nevertheless, you know not what God has in store for you yet!--But if you
are to be punished all your days here, for example sake, in a case of
such importance, for your one false step, be pleased to consider, that
this life is but a state of probation; and if you have your purification
in it, you will be the more happy. Nor doubt I, that you will have the
higher reward hereafter for submitting to the will of Providence here
with patience and resignation.
You see, my dearest Miss Clary, that I make no scruple to call the step
you took a false one. In you it was less excusable than it would have
been in any other young lady; not only because of your superior talents,
but because of the opposition between your character and his: so that, if
you had been provoked to quit your father's house, it need not to have
been with him. Nor needed I, indeed, but as an instance of my impartial
love, to have written this to you.*
* Mrs. Norton, having only the family representation and invectives to
form her judgment upon, knew not that Clarissa had determined against
going off with Mr. Lovelace; nor how solicitous she had been to procure
for herself any other protection than his, when she apprehended that, if
she staid, she had no way to avoid being married to Mr. Solmes.
After this, it will have an unkind, and perhaps at this time an
unseasonable appearance, to express my concern that you have not before
favoured me with a line. Yet if you can account to yourself for your
silence, I dare say I ought to be satisfied; for I am sure you love me:
as I both love and honour you, and ever will, and the more for your
One consolation, methinks, I have, even when I am sorrowing for your
calamities; and that is, that I know not any young person so qualified to
shine the brighter for the trials she may be exercised with: and yet it
is a consolation that ends in adding to my regrets for your afflictions,
because you are blessed with a mind so well able to bear prosperity, and
to make every body round you the better for it!--But I will forbear till
I know more.
Ruminating on every thing your melancholy letter suggests, and
apprehending, from the gentleness of your mind, the amiableness of your
person, and your youth, the farther misfortunes and inconveniencies to
which you may possibly be subjected, I cannot conclude without asking for
your leave to attend you, and that in a very earnest manner--and I beg of
you not to deny me, on any consideration relating to myself, or even to
the indisposition of my other beloved child, if I can be either of use or
of comfort to you. Were it, my dearest young lady, but for two or three
days, permit me to attend you, although my son's illness should increase,
and compel me to come down again at the end of those two or three days.--
I repeat my request, likewise, that you will command from me the little
sum remaining in the hands of your bounty to your Poor, as well as that
Your ever-affectionate and faithful servant,
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO LADY BETTY LAWRANCE
THURSDAY, JUNE 29.
I hope you'll excuse the freedom of this address, from one who has not
the honour to be personally known to you, although you must have heard
much of Clarissa Harlowe. It is only to beg the favour of a line from
your Ladyship's hand, (by the next post, if convenient,) in answer to the
1. Whether you wrote a letter, dated, as I have a memorandum, Wedn. June
7, congratulating your nephew Lovelace on his supposed nuptials, as
reported to you by Mr. Spurrier, your Ladyship's steward, as from one
Captain Tomlinson:--and in it reproaching Mr. Lovelace, as guilty of
slight, &c. in not having acquainted your Ladyship and the family
with his marriage?
2. Whether your ladyship wrote to Miss Montague to meet you at Reading,
in order to attend you to your cousin Leeson's, in Albemarle-street;
on your being obliged to be in town on your old chancery affair, I
remember are the words? and whether you bespoke your nephew's
attendance there on Sunday night the 11th?
3. Whether your Ladyship and Miss Montague did come to town at that
time; and whether you went to Hampstead, on Monday, in a hired coach
and four, your own being repairing, and took from thence to town with
the young creature whom you visited there?
Your Ladyship will probably guess, that the questions are not asked for
reasons favourable to your nephew Lovelace. But be the answer what it
will, it can do him no hurt, nor me any good; only that I think I owe it
to my former hopes, (however deceived in them,) and even to charity, that
a person, of whom I was once willing to think better, should not prove so
egregiously abandoned, as to be wanting, in every instance, to that
veracity which is indispensable in the character of a gentleman.
Be pleased, Madam, to direct to me, (keeping the direction a secret for
the present,) to be left at the Belle-Savage, on Ludgate hill, till
called for. I am
Your Ladyship's most humble servant,
LADY BETTY LAWRANCE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
SATURDAY, JULY 1.
I find that all is not as it should be between you and my nephew
Lovelace. It will very much afflict me, and all his friends, if he has
been guilty of any designed baseness to a lady of your character and
We have been long in expectation of an opportunity to congratulate you
and ourselves upon an event most earnestly wished for by us all; since
our hopes of him are built upon the power you have over him: for if ever
man adored a woman, he is that man, and you, Madam, are that woman.
Miss Montague, in her last letter to me, in answer to one of mine,
inquiring if she knew from him whether he could call you his, or was
likely soon to have that honour, has these words: 'I know not what to
make of my cousin Lovelace, as to the point your Ladyship is so earnest
about. He sometimes says he is actually married to Miss Cl. Harlowe: at
other times, that it is her own fault if he be not.--He speaks of her not
only with love but with reverence: yet owns, that there is a
misunderstanding between them; but confesses that she is wholly
faultless. An angel, and not a woman, he says she is: and that no man
living can be worthy of her.'--
This is what my niece Montague writes.
God grant, my dearest young lady, that he may not have so heinously
offended you that you cannot forgive him! If you are not already
married, and refuse to be his, I shall lose all hopes that he ever will
marry, or be the man I wish him to be. So will Lord M. So will Lady
I will now answer your questions: but indeed I hardly know what to write,
for fear of widening still more the unhappy difference between you. But
yet such a young lady must command every thing from me. This then is my
I wrote not any letter to him on or about the 7th of June.
Neither I nor my steward know any such man as Captain Tomlinson.
I wrote not to my niece to meet me at Reading, nor to accompany me to my
cousin Leeson's in town.
My chancery affair, though, like most chancery affairs, it be of long
standing, is, nevertheless, now in so good a way, that it cannot
give me occasion to go to town.
Nor have I been in town these six months: nor at Hampstead for
Neither shall I have any temptation to go to town, except to pay my
congratulatory compliments to Mrs. Lovelace. On which occasion I
should go with the greatest pleasure; and should hope for the
favour of your accompanying me to Glenham-hall, for a month at
Be what will the reason of your inquiry, let me entreat you, my dear
young lady, for Lord M.'s sake; for my sake; for this giddy man's sake,
soul as well as body; and for all our family's sakes; not to suffer this
answer to widen differences so far as to make you refuse him, if he
already has not the honour of calling you his; as I am apprehensive he
has not, by your signing by your family-name.
And here let me offer to you my mediation to compose the difference
between you, be it what it will. Your cause, my dear young lady, cannot
be put into the hands of any body living more devoted to your service,
than into those of
Your sincere admirer, and humble servant,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. HODGES
ENFIELD, JUNE 22.
I am under a kind of necessity to write to you, having no one among my
relations to whom I dare write, or hope a line from if I did. It is but
to answer a question. It is this:
Whether you know any such man as Captain Tomlinson? and, if you do,
whether he be very intimate with my uncle Harlowe?
I will describe his person lest, possibly, he should go by another name
among you; although I know not why he should.
'He is a thin, tallish man, a little pock-fretten, of a sallowish
complexion. Fifty years of age, or more. Of good aspect when he looks
up. He seems to be a serious man, and one who knows the world. He
stoops a little in the shoulders. Is of Berkshire. His wife of
Oxfordshire; and has several children. He removed lately into your parts
I must desire you, Mrs. Hodges, that you will not let my uncle, nor any
of my relations, know that I write to you.
You used to say, that you would be glad to have it in your power to serve
me. That, indeed, was in my prosperity. But, I dare say, you will not
refuse me in a particular that will oblige me, without hurting yourself.
I understand that my father, mother, and sister, and I presume, my
brother, and my uncle Antony, are to be at my uncle Harlowe's this day.
God preserve them all, and may they rejoice in many happy birth-days!
You will write six words to me concerning their healths.
Direct, for a particular reason, to Mrs. Dorothy Salcombe, to be left
till called for, at the Four Swans Inn, Bishopsgate-street.
You know my hand-writing well enough, were not the contents of the letter
sufficient to excuse my name, or any other subscription, than that of
SAT. JULY 2.
I return you an anser, as you wish me to doe. Master is acquented with
no sitch man. I am shure no sitch ever came to our house. And master
sturs very little out. He has no harte to stur out. For why? Your
obstinacy makes um not care to see one another. Master's birth-day never
was kept soe before: for not a sole heere: and nothing but sikeing and
sorrowin from master to think how it yused to bee.
I axed master, if soe bee he knowed sitch a man as one Captain Tomlinson?
but said not whirfor I axed. He sed, No, not he.
Shure this is no trix nor forgery bruing against master by one Tomlinson
--Won knows not what company you may have been forsed to keep, sen you
went away, you knoe, Maddam; but Lundon is a pestilent plase; and that
'Squire Luvless is a devil (for all he is sitch a like gentleman to look
to) as I hev herd every boddy say; and think as how you have found by
I truste, Maddam, you wulde not let master cum to harme, if you knoed it,
by any body who may pretend to be acquented with him: but for fere, I
querid with myself if I shulde not tell him. But I was willin to show
you, that I wulde plessure you in advarsity, if advarsity be your lott,
as well as prosperity; for I am none of those that woulde doe otherwiss.
Soe no more from
Your humble sarvent, to wish you well,
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO LADY BETTY LAWRANCE.
MONDAY, JULY 3.
I cannot excuse myself from giving your Ladyship this one trouble more;
to thank you, as I most heartily do, for your kind letter.
I must own to you, Madam, that the honour of being related to ladies as
eminent for their virtue as for their descent, was at first no small
inducement with me to lend an ear to Mr. Lovelace's address. And the
rather, as I was determined, had it come to effect, to do every thing in
my power to deserve your favourable opinion.
I had another motive, which I knew would of itself give me merit with
your whole family; a presumptuous one, (a punishably presumptuous one, as
it has proved,) in the hope that I might be an humble mean in the hand of
Providence to reclaim a man, who had, as I thought, good sense enough to
acknowledge the intended obligation, whether the generous hope were to
succeed or not.
But I have been most egregiously mistaken in Mr. Lovelace; the only man,
I persuade myself, pretending to be a gentleman, in whom I could have
been so much mistaken: for while I was endeavouring to save a drowning
wretch, I have been, not accidentally, but premeditatedly, and of set
purpose, drawn in after him. And he has had the glory to add to the list
of those he has ruined, a name, that, I will be bold to say, would not
have disparaged his own. And this, Madam, by means that would shock
humanity to be made acquainted with.
My whole end is served by your Ladyship's answer to the questions I took
the liberty to put to you in writing. Nor have I a wish to make the
unhappy man more odious to you than is necessary to excuse myself for
absolutely declining your offered mediation.
When your Ladyship shall be informed of the following particulars:
That after he had compulsorily, as I may say, tricked me into the act of
going off with him, he could carry me to one of the vilest houses, as it
proved, in London:
That he could be guilty of a wicked attempt, in resentment of which, I
found means to escape from him to Hampstead:
That, after he had found me out there (I know not how) he could procure
two women, dressed out richly, to personate your Ladyship and Miss
Montague; who, under pretence of engaging me to make a visit in town to
your cousin Leeson, (promising to return with me that evening to
Hampstead,) betrayed me back again to the vile house: where, again made a
prisoner, I was first robbed of my senses; and then of my honour. Why
should I seek to conceal that disgrace from others which I cannot hide
When your Ladyship shall know, that, in the shocking progress to this
ruin, wilful falsehoods, repeated forgeries, (particularly of one letter
from your Ladyship, another from Miss Montague, and a third from Lord M.)
and numberless perjuries, were not the least of his crimes: you will
judge, that I can have no principles that will make me worthy of an
alliance with ladies of your's and your noble sister's character, if I
could not from my soul declare, that such an alliance can never now take
I will not offer to clear myself entirely of blame: but, as to him, I
have no fault to accuse myself of: my crime was, the corresponding with
him at first, when prohibited so to do by those who had a right to my
obedience; made still more inexcusable, by giving him a clandestine
meeting, which put me into the power of his arts. And for this I am
content to be punished: thankful, that at last I have escaped from him;
and have it in my power to reject so wicked a man for my husband: and
glad, if I may be a warning, since I cannot be an example: which once
(very vain, and very conceited, as I was) I proposed to myself to be.
All the ill I wish him is, that he may reform; and that I may be the last
victim to his baseness. Perhaps this desirable wish may be obtained,
when he shall see how his wickedness, his unmerited wickedness! to a poor
creature, made friendless by his cruel arts, will end.
I conclude with my humble thanks to your Ladyship for your favourable
opinion of me; and with the assurance that I will be, while life is lent
Your Ladyship's grateful and obliged servant,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. NORTON
SUNDAY EVENING, JULY 2.
How kindly, my beloved Mrs. Norton, do you soothe the anguish of a
bleeding heart! Surely you are mine own mother; and, by some
unaccountable mistake, I must have been laid to a family that, having
newly found out, or at least suspected, the imposture, cast me from their
hearts, with the indignation that such a discovery will warrant.
Oh! that I had been indeed your own child, born to partake of your humble
fortunes, an heiress only to that content in which you are so happy! then
should I have had a truly gentle spirit to have guided my ductile heart,
which force and ungenerous usage sit so ill upon: and nothing of what has
happened would have been.
But let me take heed that I enlarge not, by impatience, the breach
already made in my duty by my rashness! since, had I not erred, my
mother, at least, could never have been thought hard-hearted and
unforgiving. Am I not then answerable, not only for my own faults, but
for the consequences of them; which tend to depreciate and bring disgrace
upon a maternal character never before called in question?
It is kind, however, in you to endeavour to extenuate the faults of one
so greatly sensible of it: and could it be wiped off entirely, it would
render me more worthy of the pains you have taken in my education: for it
must add to your grief, as it does to my confusion, that, after such
promising beginnings, I should have so behaved as to be a disgrace
instead of a credit to you and my other friends.
But that I may not make you think me more guilty than I am, give me leave
briefly to assure you, that, when my story is known, I shall be
to more compassion than blame, even on the score of going away with Mr.
As to all that happened afterwards, let me only say, that although I must
call myself a lost creature as to this world, yet have I this consolation
left me, that I have not suffered either for want of circumspection, or
through careful credulity or weakness. Not one moment was I off my
guard, or unmindful of your early precepts. But (having been enabled to
baffle many base contrivances) I was at last ruined by arts the most
inhuman. But had I not been rejected by every friend, this low-hearted
man had not dared, nor would have had opportunity, to treat me as he has
More I cannot, at this time, nor need I say: and this I desire you to
keep to yourself, lest resentments should be taken up when I am gone,
that may spread the evil which I hope will end with me.
I have been misinformed, you say, as to my principal relations being at
my uncle Harlowe's. The day, you say, was not kept. Nor have my brother
and Mr. Solmes--Astonishing!--What complicated wickedness has this
wretched man to answer for!--Were I to tell you, you would hardly believe
that there could have been such a heart in man.--
But one day you may know the whole story!--At present I have neither
inclination nor words--O my bursting heart!--Yet a happy, a wished
relief!--Were you present my tears would supply the rest!
I resume my pen!
And so you fear no letter will be received from me. But DON'T grieve to
tell me so! I expect every thing bad--and such is my distress, that had
you not bid me hope for mercy from the throne of mercy, I should have
been afraid that my father's dreadful curse would be completed with
regard to both worlds.
For here, an additional misfortune!--In a fit of phrensical heedlessness,
I sent a letter to my beloved Miss Howe, without recollecting her private
address; and it has fallen into her angry mother's hands: and so that
dear friend perhaps has anew incurred displeasure on my account. And
here too your worthy son is ill; and my poor Hannah, you think, cannot
come to me--O my dear Mrs. Norton, will you, can you censure those whose
resentments against me Heaven seems to approve of? and will you acquit
her whom that condemns?
Yet you bid me not despond.--I will not, if I can help it. And, indeed,
most seasonable consolation has your kind letter afforded me.--Yet to God
Almighty do I appeal, to avenge my wrongs, and vindicate my inno----
But hushed be my stormy passions!--Have I not but this moment said that
your letter gave me consolation?--May those be forgiven who hinder my
father from forgiving me!--and this, as to them, shall be the harshest
thing that shall drop from my pen.
But although your son should recover, I charge you, my dear Mrs. Norton,
that you do not think of coming to me. I don't know still but your
mediation with my mother (although at present your interposition would be
so little attended to) may be of use to procure me the revocation of that
most dreadful part of my father's curse, which only remains to be
fulfilled. The voice of Nature must at last be heard in my favour,
surely. It will only plead at first to my friends in the still conscious
plaintiveness of a young and unhardened beggar. But it will grow more
clamorous when I have the courage to be so, and shall demand, perhaps,
the paternal protection from farther ruin; and that forgiveness, which
those will be little entitled to expect, for their own faults, who shall
interpose to have it refused to me, for an accidental, not a premeditated
error: and which, but for them, I had never fallen into.
But again, impatiency, founded perhaps on self-partiality, that strange
Let me briefly say, that it is necessary to my present and future hopes
that you keep well with my family. And moreover, should you come, I may
be traced out by that means by the most abandoned of men. Say not then
that you think you ought to come up to me, let it be taken as it will:--
For my sake, let me repeat, (were my foster-brother recovered, as I hope
he is,) you must not come. Nor can I want your advice, while I can
write, and you can answer me. And write I will as often as I stand in
need of your counsel.
Then the people I am now with seem to be both honest and humane: and
there is in the same house a widow-lodger, of low fortunes, but of great
merit:--almost such another serious and good woman as the dear one to
whom I am now writing; who has, as she says, given over all other
thoughts of the world but such as should assist her to leave it happily.
--How suitable to my own views!--There seems to be a comfortable
providence in this at least--so that at present there is nothing of
exigence; nothing that can require, or even excuse, your coming, when so
many better ends may be answered by your staying where you are. A time
may come, when I shall want your last and best assistance: and then, my
dear Mrs. Norton--and then, I will speak it, and embrace it with all my
whole heart--and then, will it not be denied me by any body.
You are very obliging in your offer of money. But although I was forced
to leave my clothes behind me, yet I took several things of value with
me, which will keep me from present want. You'll say, I have made a
miserable hand of it--so indeed I have--and, to look backwards, in a very
little while too.
But what shall I do, if my father cannot be prevailed upon to recall his
malediction? O my dear Mrs. Norton, what a weight must a father's curse
have upon a heart so appreciative as mine!--Did I think I should ever
have a father's curse to deprecate? And yet, only that the temporary
part of it is so terribly fulfilled, or I should be as earnest for its
recall, for my father's sake, as for my own!
You must not be angry with me that I wrote not to you before. You are
very right and very kind to say you are sure I love you. Indeed I do.
And what a generosity, [so like yourself!] is there in your praise, to
attribute to me more than I merit, in order to raise an emulation to me
to deserve your praises!--you tell me what you expect from me in the
calamities I am called upon to bear. May I behave answerably!
I can a little account to myself for my silence to you, my kind, my dear
maternal friend! How equally sweetly and politely do you express
yourself on this occasion! I was very desirous, for your sake, as well
as for my own, that you should have it to say that we did not correspond:
had they thought we did, every word you could have dropt in my favour
would have been rejected; and my mother would have been forbid to see
you, or pay any regard to what you should say.
Then I had sometimes better and sometimes worse prospects before me. My
worst would only have troubled you to know: my better made me frequently
hope, that, by the next post, or the next, and so on for weeks, I should
have the best news to impart to you that then could happen: cold as the
wretch had made my heart to that best.--For how could I think to write to
you, with a confession that I was not married, yet lived in the house
(for I could not help it) with such a man?--Who likewise had given it out
to several, that we were actually married, although with restrictions
that depended on the reconciliation with my friends? And to disguise the
truth, or be guilty of a falsehood, either direct or equivocal, that was
what you had never taught me.
But I might have written to you for advice, in my precarious situation,
perhaps you will think. But, indeed, my dear Mrs. Norton, I was not lost
for want of advice. And this will appear clear to you from what I have
already hinted, were I to explain myself no further:--For what need had
the cruel spoiler to have recourse to unprecedented arts--I will speak
out plainer still, (but you must not at present report it,) to stupifying
potions, and to the most brutal and outrageous force, had I been wanting
in my duty?
A few words more upon this grievous subject--
When I reflect upon all that has happened to me, it is apparent, that
this generally-supposed thoughtless seducer has acted by me upon a
regular and preconcerted plan of villany.
In order to set all his vile plots in motion, nothing was wanting, from
the first, but to prevail upon me, either by force or fraud, to throw
myself into his power: and when this was effected, nothing less than the
intervention of the paternal authority, (which I had not deserved to be
exerted in my behalf,) could have saved me from the effect of his deep
machinations. Opposition from any other quarter would but too probably
have precipitated his barbarous and ungrateful violence: and had you
yourself been with me, I have reason now to think, that somehow or other
you would have suffered in endeavouring to save me: for never was there,
as now I see, a plan of wickedness more steadily and uniformly pursued
than his has been, against an unhappy creature who merited better of him:
but the Almighty has thought fit, according to the general course of His
providence, to make the fault bring on its own punishment: but surely not
in consequence of my father's dreadful imprecation, 'That I might be
punished here,' [O my mamma Norton, pray with me, if so, that here it
stop!] 'by the very wretch in whom I had placed my wicked confidence!'
I am sorry, for your sake, to leave off so heavily. Yet the rest must be
Let me desire you to be secret in what I have communicated to you; at
least till you have my consent to divulge it.
God preserve to you your more faultless child!
I will hope for His mercy, although I should not obtain that of any
And I repeat my prohibition:--You must not think of coming up to
Your ever dutiful
The obliging person, who left your's for me this day, promised to call