Part 7 out of 7
* Dr. Lewen, in Letter XXIV. of Vol. VIII. presses her to this public
prosecution, by arguments worthy of his character; which she answers in a
manner worthy of her's. See Letter XXV. of that volume.
O my dear! what would I give to obtain a revocation of my father's
malediction! a reconciliation is not to be hoped for. You, who never
loved my father, may think my solicitude on this head a weakness: but the
motive for it, sunk as my spirits at times are, is not always weak.
I approve of the method you prescribe for the conveyance of our letters;
and have already caused the porter of the inn to be engaged to bring to
me your's, the moment that Collins arrives with them. And the servant of
the house where I am will be permitted to carry mine to Collins for you.
I have written a letter to Miss Rawlins, of Hampstead; the answer to
which, just now received, has helped me to the knowledge of the vile
contrivance, by which the wicked man got your letter of June the 10th. I
will give you the contents of both.
In mine to her, I briefly acquainted her 'with what had befallen me,
through the vileness of the women who had passed upon me as the aunt and
cousin of the wickedest of men; and own, that I never was married to him.
I desire her to make particular inquiry, and to let me know, who it was
at Mrs. Moore's that, on Sunday afternoon, June 11, while I was at
church, received a letter from Miss Howe, pretending to be me, and lying
on a couch:--which letter, had it come to my hands, would have saved me
from ruin. I excuse myself (on the score of the delirium, which the
horrid usage I had received threw me into, and from a confinement as
barbarous as illegal) that I had not before applied to Mrs. Moore for an
account of what I was indebted to her: which account I now desired. And,
for fear of being traced by Mr. Lovelace, I directed her to superscribe
her answer, To Mrs. Mary Atkins; to be left till called for, at the Belle
Savage Inn, on Ludgate-hill.'
In her answer, she tells me, 'that the vile wretch prevailed upon Mrs.
Bevis to personate me, [a sudden motion of his, it seems, on the
appearance of your messenger,] and persuaded her to lie along a couch:
a handkerchief over her neck and face; pretending to be ill; the
credulous woman drawn in by false notions of your ill offices to keep up
a variance between a man and his wife--and so taking the letter from your
messenger as me.
'Miss Rawlins takes pains to excuse Mrs. Bevis's intention. She
expresses their astonishment, and concern at what I communicate: but is
glad, however, and so they are all, that they know in time the vileness
of the base man; the two widows and herself having, at his earnest
invitation, designed me a visit at Mrs. Sinclair's: supposing all to be
happy between him and me; as he assured them was the case. Mr. Lovelace,
she informs me, had handsomely satisfied Mrs. Moore. And Miss Rawlins
concludes with wishing to be favoured with the particulars of so
extraordinary a story, as these particulars may be of use, to let her see
what wicked creatures (women as well as men) there are in the world.'
I thank you, my dear, for the draughts of your two letters which were
intercepted by this horrid man. I see the great advantage they were of
to him, in the prosecution of his villanous designs against the poor
wretch whom he had so long made the sport of his abhorred inventions.
Let me repeat, that I am quite sick of life; and of an earth, in which
innocent and benevolent spirits are sure to be considered as aliens, and
to be made sufferers by the genuine sons and daughters of that earth.
How unhappy, that those letters only which could have acquainted me with
his horrid views, and armed me against them, and against the vileness of
the base women, should fall into his hands!--Unhappier still, in that my
very escape to Hampstead gave him the opportunity of receiving them.
Nevertheless, I cannot but still wonder, how it was possible for that
Tomlinson to know what passed between Mr. Hickman and my uncle Harlowe:*
a circumstance which gave the vile impostor most of his credit with me.
* See the note in Letter LXX. of this volume.
How the wicked wretch himself could find me out at Hampstead, must also
remain wholly a mystery to me. He may glory in his contrivances--he, who
has more wickedness than wit, may glory in his contrivances!--But, after
all, I shall, I humbly presume to hope, be happy, when he, poor wretch,
will be--alas!--who can say what!----
Adieu, my dearest friend!--May you be happy!--And then your Clarissa
cannot be wholly miserable!
END OF VOL. 6.