Part 1 out of 7
Produced by Julie C. Sparks.
HISTORY OF A YOUNG LADY
CONTENTS OF VOLUME VII
LETTER I. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Beseeches her to take comfort, and not despair. Is dreadfully
apprehensive of her own safety from Mr. Lovelace. An instruction to
LETTER II. Clarissa To Miss Howe.--
Averse as she is to appear in a court of justice against Lovelace, she
will consent to prosecute him, rather than Miss Howe shall live in
terror. Hopes she shall not despair: but doubts not, from so many
concurrent circumstances, that the blow is given.
LETTER III. IV. Lovelace to Belford.--
Has no subject worth writing upon now he has lost his Clarissa. Half in
jest, half in earnest, [as usual with him when vexed or disappointed,] he
deplores the loss of her.--Humourous account of Lord M., of himself, and
of his two cousins Montague. His Clarissa has made him eyeless and
senseless to every other beauty.
LETTER V. VI. VII. VIII. From the same.--
Lady Sarah Sadleir and Lady Betty Lawrance arrive, and engage Lord M. and
his two cousins Montague against him, on account of his treatment of the
lady. His trial, as he calls it. After many altercations, they obtain
his consent that his two cousins should endeavour to engage Miss Howe to
prevail upon Clarissa to accept of him, on his unfeigned repentance. It
is some pleasure to him, he however rakishly reflects, to observe how
placable the ladies of his family would have been, had they met with a
Lovelace. MARRIAGE, says he, with these women, is an atonement for the
worst we can do to them; a true dramatic recompense. He makes several
other whimsical, but characteristic observations, some of which may serve
as cautions and warnings to the sex.
LETTER IX. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Has had a visit from the two Miss Montague's. Their errand. Advises her
to marry Lovelace. Reasons for her advice.
LETTER X. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Chides her with friendly impatience for not answering her letter.
Re-urges her to marry Lovelace, and instantly to put herself under Lady
LETTER XI. Miss Howe to Miss Montague.--
In a phrensy of her soul, writes to her to demand news of her beloved
friend, spirited away, as she apprehends, by the base arts of the
blackest of men.
LETTER XII. Lovelace to Belford.--
The suffering innocent arrested and confined, by the execrable woman, in
a sham action. He curses himself, and all his plots and contrivances.
Conjures him to fly to her, and clear him of this low, this dirty
villany; to set her free without conditions; and assure her, that he will
never molest her more. Horribly execrates the diabolical women, who
thought to make themselves a merit with him by this abominable insult.
LETTER XIII. XIV. Miss Montague to Miss Howe,
with the particulars of all that has happened to the lady.--Mr. Lovelace
the most miserable of men. Reflections on libertines. She, her sister,
Lady Betty, Lady Sarah, Lord M., and Lovelace himself, all sign letters
to Miss Howe, asserting his innocence of this horrid insult, and
imploring her continued interest in his and their favour with Clarissa.
LETTER XV. Belford to Lovelace.--
Particulars of the vile arrest. Insolent visits of the wicked women to
her. Her unexampled meekness and patience. Her fortitude. He admires
it, and prefers it to the false courage of men of their class.
LETTER XVI. From the same.--
Goes to the officer's house. A description of the horrid prison-room,
and of the suffering lady on her knees in one corner of it. Her great
and moving behaviour. Breaks off, and sends away his letter, on purpose
to harass him by suspense.
LETTER XVII. Lovelace to Belford.--
Curses him for his tormenting abruption. Clarissa never suffered half
what he suffers. That sex made to bear pain. Conjures him to hasten to
him the rest of his soul-harrowing intelligence.
LETTER XVIII. Belford to Lovelace.--
His farther proceedings. The lady returns to her lodgings at Smith's.
Distinction between revenge and resentment in her character. Sends her,
from the vile women, all her apparel, as Lovelace had desired.
LETTER XIX. Belford to Lovelace.--
Rejoices to find he can feel. Will endeavour from time to time to add to
his remorse. Insists upon his promise not to molest the lady.
LETTER XX. From the same.--
Describes her lodgings, and gives a character of the people, and of the
good widow Lovick. She is so ill, that they provide her an honest nurse,
and send for Mr. Goddard, a worthy apothecary. Substance of a letter to
Miss Howe, dictated by the lady.
LETTER XXI. From the same.--
Admitted to the lady's presence. What passed on the occasion. Really
believes that she still loves him. Has a reverence, and even a holy love
for her. Astonished that Lovelace could hold his purposes against such
an angel of a woman. Condemns him for not timely exerting himself to
LETTER XXII. From the same.--
Dr. H. called in. Not having a single guinea to give him, she accepts of
three from Mrs. Lovick on a diamond ring. Her dutiful reasons for
admitting the doctor's visit. His engaging and gentlemanly behaviour.
She resolves to part with some of her richest apparel. Her reasons.
LETTER XXIII. Lovelace to Belford.--
Raves at him. For what. Rallies him, with his usual gayety, on several
passages in his letters. Reasons why Clarissa's heart cannot be broken
by what she has suffered. Passionate girls easily subdued. Sedate ones
hardly ever pardon. He has some retrograde motions: yet is in earnest to
marry Clarissa. Gravely concludes, that a person intending to marry
should never be a rake. His gay resolutions. Renews, however, his
promises not to molest her. A charming encouragement for a man of
intrigue, when a woman is known not to love her husband. Advantages
which men have over women, when disappointed in love. He knows she will
permit him to make her amends, after she has plagued him heartily.
LETTER XXIV. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Is shocked at receiving a letter from her written by another hand.
Tenderly consoles her, and inveighs against Lovelace. Re-urges her,
however, to marry him. Her mother absolutely of her opinion. Praises
Mr. Hickman's sister, who, with her Lord, had paid her a visit.
LETTER XXV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Her condition greatly mended. In what particulars. Her mind begins to
strengthen; and she finds herself at times superior to her calamities.
In what light she wishes her to think of her. Desires her to love her
still, but with a weaning love. She is not now what she was when they
were inseparable lovers. Their views must now be different.
LETTER XXVI. Belford to Lovelace.--
A consuming malady, and a consuming mistress, as in Belton's case,
dreadful things to struggle with. Farther reflections on the life of
keeping. The poor man afraid to enter into his own house. Belford
undertakes his cause. Instinct in brutes equivalent to natural affection
in men. Story of the ancient Sarmatians, and their slaves. Reflects on
the lives of rakes, and free-livers; and how ready they are in sickness
to run away from one another. Picture of a rake on a sick bed. Will
marry and desert them all.
LETTER XXVII. From the same.--
The lady parts with some of her laces. Instances of the worthiness of
Dr. H. and Mr. Goddard. He severely reflects upon Lovelace.
LETTER XXVIII. Lovelace to Belford.--
Has an interview with Mr. Hickman. On what occasion. He endeavours to
disconcert him, by assurance and ridicule; but finds him to behave with
LETTER XXIX. From the same.--
Rallies him on his intentional reformation. Ascribes the lady's ill
health entirely to the arrest, (in which, he says, he had no hand,) and
to her relations' cruelty. Makes light of her selling her clothes and
laces. Touches upon Belton's case. Distinguishes between companionship
and friendship. How he purposes to rid Belton of his Thomasine and her
LETTER XXX. Belford to Lovelace.--
The lady has written to her sister, to obtain a revocation of her
father's malediction. Defends her parents. He pleads with the utmost
earnestness to her for his friend.
LETTER XXXI. From the same.--
Can hardly forbear prostration to her. Tenders himself as her banker.
Conversation on this subject. Admires her magnanimity. No wonder that a
virtue so solidly based could baffle all his arts. Other instances of
her greatness of mind. Mr. Smith and his wife invite him, and beg of her
to dine with them, it being their wedding day. Her affecting behaviour
on the occasion. She briefly, and with her usual noble simplicity,
relates to them the particulars of her life and misfortunes.
LETTER XXXII. Lovelace to Belford.--
Ridicules him on his address to the lady as her banker, and on his
aspirations and prostrations. Wants to come at letters she has written.
Puts him upon engaging Mrs. Lovick to bring this about. Weight that
proselytes have with the good people that convert them. Reasons for it.
He has hopes still of the lady's favour; and why. Never adored her so
much as now. Is about to go to a ball at Colonel Ambrose's. Who to be
there. Censures affectation and finery in the dress of men; and
particularly with a view to exalt himself, ridicules Belford on this
LETTER XXXIII. XXXIV. XXXV. XXXVI. XXXVII.
Sharp letters that pass between Miss Howe and Arabella Harlowe.
LETTER XXXVIII. Mrs. Harlowe to Mrs. Howe.--
Sent with copies of the five foregoing letters.
LETTER XXXIX. Mrs. Howe to Mrs. Harlowe. In answer.
LETTER XL. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Desires an answer to her former letters for her to communicate to Miss
Montague. Farther enforces her own and her mother's opinion, that she
should marry Lovelace. Is obliged by her mother to go to a ball at
Colonel Ambrose's. Fervent professions of her friendly love.
LETTER XLI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Her noble reasons for refusing Lovelace. Desires her to communicate
extracts from this letter to the Ladies of his family.
LETTER XLII. From the same.--
Begs, for her sake, that she will forbear treating her relations with
freedom and asperity. Endeavours, in her usual dutiful manner, to defend
their conduct towards her. Presses her to make Mr. Hickman happy.
LETTER XLIII. Mrs. Norton to Clarissa.--
Excuses her long silence. Her family, who were intending to favour her,
incensed against her by means of Miss Howe's warm letters to her sister.
LETTER XLIV. Clarissa to Mrs. Norton.--
Is concerned that Miss Howe should write about her to her friends. Gives
her a narrative of all that has befallen her since her last. Her truly
christian frame of mind. Makes reflections worthy of herself, upon her
present situation, and upon her hopes, with regard to a happy futurity.
Copy of Clarissa's humble letter to her sister, imploring the revocation
of her father's heavy malediction.
LETTER XLVI. Belford to Lovelace.--
Defends the lady from the perverseness he (Lovelace) imputes to her on
parting with some of her apparel. Poor Belton's miserable state both of
body and mind. Observations on the friendship of libertines. Admires
the noble simplicity, and natural ease and dignity of style, of the
sacred books. Expatiates upon the pragmatical folly of man. Those who
know least, the greatest scoffers.
LETTER XLVII. From the same.--
The lady parts with one of her best suits of clothes. Reflections upon
such purchasers as take advantage of the necessities of their
fellow-creatures. Self an odious devil. A visible alteration in the
lady for the worse. She gives him all Mr. Lovelace's letters. He
(Belford) takes this opportunity to plead for him. Mr. Hickman comes to
LETTER XLVIII. From the same.--
Breakfasts next morning with the lady and Mr. Hickman. His advantageous
opinion of that gentleman. Censures the conceited pride and
narrow-mindedness of rakes and libertines. Tender and affecting parting
between Mr. Hickman and the lady. Observations in praise of intellectual
LETTER XLIX. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Has no notion of coldness in friendship. Is not a daughter of those whom
she so freely treats. Delays giving the desired negative to the
solicitation of the ladies of Lovelace's family; and why. Has been
exceedingly fluttered by the appearance of Lovelace at the ball given by
Colonel Ambrose. What passed on that occasion. Her mother and all the
ladies of their select acquaintance of opinion that she should accept of
LETTER L. Clarissa. In answer.--
Chides her for suspending the decisive negative. Were she sure she
should live many years, she would not have Mr. Lovelace. Censures of the
world to be but of second regard with any body. Method as to devotion
and exercise she was in when so cruelly arrested.
LETTER LI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Designed to be communicated to Mr. Lovelace's relations.
LETTER LII. LIII. Lovelace to Belford.--
Two letters entirely characteristic yet intermingled with lessons and
observations not unworthy of a better character. He has great hopes from
Miss Howe's mediation in his favour. Picture of two rakes turned
Hermits, in their penitentials.
LETTER LIV. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
She now greatly approves of her rejection of Lovelace. Admires the noble
example she has given her sex of a passion conquered. Is sorry she wrote
to Arabella: but cannot imitate her in her self-accusations, and
acquittals of others who are all in fault. Her notions of a husband's
prerogative. Hopes she is employing herself in penning down the
particulars of her tragical story. Use to be made of it to the advantage
of her sex. Her mother earnest about it.
LETTER LV. Miss Howe to Miss Montague.--
With Clarissa's Letter, No. XLI. of this volume. Her own sentiments of
the villanous treatment her beloved friend had met with from their
kinsman. Prays for vengeance upon him, if she do not recover.
LETTER LVI. Mrs. Norton to Clarissa.--
Acquaints her with some of their movements at Harlowe-place. Almost
wishes she would marry the wicked man; and why. Useful reflections on
what has befallen a young lady so universally beloved. Must try to move
her mother in her favour. But by what means, will not tell her, unless
LETTER LVII. Mrs. Norton to Mrs. Harlowe.
LETTER LVIII. Mrs. Harlowe's affecting answer.
LETTER LIX. Clarissa to Mrs. Norton.--
Earnestly begs, for reasons equally generous and dutiful, that she may be
left to her own way of working with her relations. Has received her
sister's answer to her letter, No. XLV. of this volume. She tries to
find an excuse for the severity of it, though greatly affected by it.
Other affecting and dutiful reflections.
LETTER LX. Her sister's cruel letter, mentioned in the preceding.
LETTER LXI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Is pleased that she now at last approved of her rejecting Lovelace.
Desires her to be comforted as to her. Promises that she will not run
away from life. Hopes she has already got above the shock given her by
the ill treatment she has met with from Lovelace. Has had an escape,
rather than a loss. Impossible, were it not for the outrage, that she
could have been happy with him; and why. Sets in the most affecting, the
most dutiful and generous lights, the grief of her father, mother, and
other relations, on her account. Had begun the particulars of her
tragical story; but would fain avoid proceeding with it; and why. Opens
her design to make Mr. Belford her executor, and gives her reasons for
it. Her father having withdrawn his malediction, she now has only a last
blessing to supplicate for.
LETTER LXII. Clarissa to her sister.--
Beseeching her, in the most humble and earnest manner, to procure her a
LETTER LXIII. Mrs. Norton to Clarissa.--
Mr. Brand to be sent up to inquire after her way of life and health. His
pedantic character. Believes they will withhold any favour till they
hear his report. Doubts not that matters will soon take a happy turn.
LETTER LXIV. Clarissa. In answer.--
The grace she asks for is only a blessing to die with, not to live with.
Their favour, if they design her any, may come too late. Doubts her
mother can do nothing for her of herself. A strong confederacy against a
poor girl, their daughter, sister, niece. Her brother perhaps got it
renewed before he went to Edinburgh. He needed not, says she: his work
is done, and more than done.
LETTER LXV. Lovelace to Belford.--
Is mortified at receiving letters of rejection. Charlotte writes to the
lady in his favour, in the name of all the family. Every body approves
of what she has written; and he has great hopes from it.
LETTER LXVI. Copy of Miss Montague's letter to Clarissa.--
Beseeching her, in the names of all their noble family, to receive
Lovelace to favour.
LETTER LXVII. Belford to Lovelace.--
Proposes to put Belton's sister into possession of Belton's house for
him. The lady visibly altered for the worse. Again insists upon his
promise not to molest her.
LETTER LXVIII. Clarissa to Miss Montague.--
In answer to her's, No. LXVI.
LETTER LXIX. Belford to Lovelace.--
Has just now received a letter from the lady, which he encloses,
requesting extracts form the letters written to him by Mr. Lovelace
within a particular period. The reasons which determine him to oblige
LETTER LXX. Belford to Clarissa.--
With the requested extracts; and a plea in his friend's favour.
LETTER LXXI. Clarissa to Belford.--
Thanks him for his communications. Requests that he will be her
executor; and gives her reasons for her choice of him for that solemn
LETTER LXXII. Belford to Clarissa.--
His cheerful acceptance of the trust.
LETTER LXXIII. Belford to Lovelace.--
Brief account of the extracts delivered to the lady. Tells him of her
appointing him her executor. The melancholy pleasure he shall have in
the perusal of her papers. Much more lively and affecting, says he, must
be the style of those who write in the height of a present distress than
the dry, narrative, unanimated style of a person relating difficulties
surmounted, can be.
LETTER LXXIV. Arabella to Clarissa.--
In answer to her letter, No. LXII., requesting a last blessing.
LETTER LXXV. Clarissa to her mother.--
Written in the fervour of her spirit, yet with the deepest humility, and
on her knees, imploring her blessing, and her father's, as what will
sprinkle comfort through her last hours.
LETTER LXXVI. Miss Montague to Clarissa.--
In reply to her's, No. LXVIII.--All their family love and admire her.
Their kinsman has not one friend among them. Beseech her to oblige them
with the acceptance of an annuity, and the first payment now sent her, at
least till she can be put in possession of her own estate. This letter
signed by Lord M., Lady Sarah, Lady Betty, and her sister and self.
LETTER LXXVII. Lovelace to Belford.--
Raves against the lady for rejecting him; yet adores her the more for it.
Has one half of the house to himself, and that the best; having forbid
Lord M. and the ladies to see him, in return for their forbidding him to
see them. Incensed against Belford for the extracts he has promised from
his letters. Is piqued to death at her proud refusal of him. Curses the
vile women, and their potions. But for these latter, the majesty of her
virtue, he says, would have saved her, as it did once before.
LETTER LXXVIII. Lovelace to Belford.--
He shall not, he tells him, be her executor. Nobody shall be any thing
to her but himself. What a reprobation of a man, who was once so dear to
her! Farther instances of his raving impatience.
LETTER LXXIX. Lovelace to Clarissa.--
A letter full of penitence, promises, praises, and admiration of her
virtue. Has no hopes of escaping from perdition but by her precepts and
example. All he begs for the present is a few lines to encourage him to
hope for forgiveness, if he can justify his vows by his future conduct.
LETTER LXXX. Clarissa to Lord M. and the ladies of the house.--
Thankfully declines accepting of their offered bounty. Pleads for their
being reconciled to their kinsman, for reasons respecting her own peace.
Hopes that they may be enabled to rejoice in the effects of his
reformation many years after she is laid low and forgotten.
LETTER LXXXI. Belford to Lovelace.--
Brief account of his expelling Thomasine, her sons, and her gallant.
Farther reflections on keeping. A state not calculated for a sick bed.
Gives a short journal of what had passed relating to the lady since his
last. Mr. Brand inquires after her character and behaviour of Mrs.
Smith. His starchedness, conceit, and pedantry.
LETTER LXXXII. From the same.--
Farther particulars relating to the lady. Power left her by her
LETTER LXXXIII. Clarissa to Lovelace.--
In answer to his letter, No. LXXIX.
LETTER LXXXIV. Her uncle Harlowe's cruel answer,
in answer to her's to her mother, No. LXXV. Meditation stitched to it
with black silk.
LETTER LXXXV. Clarissa to her uncle Harlowe. In reply.
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
WED. NIGHT, JULY 12.
I write, my dearest creature, I cannot but write, to express my concern
on your dejection. Let me beseech you, my charming excellence, let me
beseech you, not to give way to it.
Comfort yourself, on the contrary, in the triumphs of a virtue unsullied;
a will wholly faultless. Who could have withstood the trials you have
surmounted?--Your cousin Morden will soon come. He will see justice done
you, I make no doubt, as well with regard to what concerns your person as
your estate. And many happy days may you yet see; and much good may you
still do, if you will not heighten unavoidable accidents into guilty
But why, why, my dear, this pining solicitude continued after a
reconciliation with relations as unworthy as implacable; whose wills are
governed by an all-grasping brother, who finds his account in keeping the
breach open? On this over-solicitude it is now plain to me, that the
vilest of men built all his schemes. He saw that you thirsted after it
beyond all reason for hope. The view, the hope, I own, extremely
desirable, had your family been Christians: or even had they been Pagans
who had had bowels.
I shall send this short letter [I am obliged to make it a short one] by
young Rogers, as we call him; the fellow I sent to you to Hampstead; an
innocent, though pragmatical rustic. Admit him, I pray you, into you
presence, that he may report to me how you look, and how you are.
Mr. Hickman should attend you; but I apprehend, that all his motions, and
mine own too, are watched by the execrable wretch: and indeed his are by
an agent of mine; for I own, that I am so apprehensive of his plots and
revenge, now I know that he has intercepted my vehement letters against
him, that he is the subject of my dreams, as well as of my waking fears.
My mother, at my earnest importunity, has just given me leave to write,
and to receive your letters--but fastened this condition upon the
concession, that your's must be under cover to Mr. Hickman, [this is a
view, I suppose, to give him consideration with me]; and upon this
further consideration, that she is to see all we write.--'When girls are
set upon a point,' she told one who told me again, 'it is better for a
mother, if possible, to make herself of their party, than to oppose them;
since there will be then hopes that she will still hold the reins in her
Pray let me know what the people are with whom you lodge?--Shall I send
Mrs. Townsend to direct you to lodgings either more safe or more
convenient for you?
Be pleased to write to me by Rogers; who will wait on you for your
answer, at your own time.
Adieu, my dearest creature. Comfort yourself, as you would in the like
unhappy circumstances comfort
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
THURSDAY, JULY 13.
I am extremely concerned, my dear Miss Howe, for being primarily the
occasion of the apprehensions you have of this wicked man's vindictive
attempts. What a wide-spreading error is mine!----
If I find that he has set foot on any machination against you, or against
Mr. Hickman, I do assure you I will consent to prosecute him, although I
were sure I could not survive my first appearance at the bar he should be
I own the justice of your mother's arguments on that subject; but must
say, that I think there are circumstances in my particular case, which
will excuse me, although on a slighter occasion than that you are
apprehensive of I should decline to appear against him. I have said,
that I may one day enter more particularly into this argument.
Your messenger has now indeed seen me. I talked with him on the cheat
put upon him at Hampstead: and am sorry to have reason to say, that had
not the poor young man been very simple, and very self-sufficient, he had
not been so grossly deluded. Mrs. Bevis has the same plea to make for
herself. A good-natured, thoughtless woman; not used to converse with so
vile and so specious a deceiver as him, who made his advantage of both
these shallow creatures.
I think I cannot be more private than where I am. I hope I am safe. All
the risque I run, is in going out, and returning from morning-prayers;
which I have two or three times ventured to do; once at Lincoln's-inn
chapel, at eleven; once at St. Dunstan's, Fleet-street, at seven in the
morning,* in a chair both times; and twice, at six in the morning, at the
neighbouring church in Covent-garden. The wicked wretches I have escaped
from, will not, I hope, come to church to look for me; especially at so
early prayers; and I have fixed upon the privatest pew in the latter
church to hide myself in; and perhaps I may lay out a little matter in an
ordinary gown, by way of disguise; my face half hid by my mob.--I am very
careless, my dear, of my appearance now. Neat and clean takes up the
whole of my attention.
* The seven-o'clock prayers at St. Dunstan's have been since
The man's name at whose house I belong, is Smith--a glove maker, as well
as seller. His wife is the shop-keeper. A dealer also in stockings,
ribbands, snuff, and perfumes. A matron-like woman, plain-hearted, and
prudent. The husband an honest, industrious man. And they live in good
understanding with each other: a proof with me that their hearts are
right; for where a married couple live together upon ill terms, it is a
sign, I think, that each knows something amiss of the other, either with
regard to temper or morals, which if the world knew as well as
themselves, it would perhaps as little like them as such people like each
other. Happy the marriage, where neither man nor wife has any wilful or
premeditated evil in their general conduct to reproach the other with!--
for even persons who have bad hearts will have a veneration for those who
have good ones.
Two neat rooms, with plain, but clean furniture, on the first floor, are
mine; one they call the dining-room.
There is, up another pair of stairs, a very worthy widow-lodger, Mrs.
Lovick by name; who, although of low fortunes, is much respected, as Mrs.
Smith assures me, by people of condition of her acquaintance, for her
piety, prudence, and understanding. With her I propose to be well
I thank you, my dear, for your kind, your seasonable advice and
consolation. I hope I shall have more grace given me than to despond, in
the religious sense of the word: especially as I can apply to myself the
comfort you give me, that neither my will, nor my inconsiderateness, has
contributed to my calamity. But, nevertheless, the irreconcilableness of
my relations, whom I love with an unabated reverence; my apprehensions of
fresh violences, [this wicked man, I doubt, will not let me rest]; my
being destitute of protection; my youth, my sex, my unacquaintedness with
the world, subjecting me to insults; my reflections on the scandal I have
given, added to the sense of the indignities I have received from a man,
of whom I deserved not ill; all together will undoubtedly bring on the
effect that cannot be undesirable to me.--The situation; and, as I
presume to imagine, from principles which I hope will, in due time, and
by due reflection, set me above the sense of all worldly disappointments.
At present, my head is much disordered. I have not indeed enjoyed it
with any degree of clearness, since the violence done to that, and to my
heart too, by the wicked arts of the abandoned creatures I was cast
I must have more conflicts. At times I find myself not subdued enough to
my condition. I will welcome those conflicts as they come, as
probationary ones.--But yet my father's malediction--the temporary part
so strangely and so literally completed!--I cannot, however, think, when
my mind is strongest--But what is the story of Isaac, and Jacob, and
Esau, and of Rebekah's cheating the latter of the blessing designed for
him, (in favour of Jacob,) given us for in the 27th chapter of Genesis?
My father used, I remember, to enforce the doctrine deducible from it, on
his children, by many arguments. At least, therefore, he must believe
there is great weight in the curse he has announced; and shall I not be
solicitous to get it revoked, that he may not hereafter be grieved, for
my sake, that he did not revoke it?
All I will at present add, are my thanks to your mother for her
indulgence to us; due compliments to Mr. Hickman; and my request, that
you will believe me to be, to my last hour, and beyond it, if possible,
my beloved friend, and my dearer self (for what is now myself!)
Your obliged and affectionate
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
FRIDAY, JULY 7.
I have three of thy letters at once before me to answer; in each of which
thou complainest of my silence; and in one of them tallest me, that thou
canst not live without I scribble to thee every day, or every other day
Why, then, die, Jack, if thou wilt. What heart, thinkest thou, can I
have to write, when I have lost the only subject worth writing upon?
Help me again to my angel, to my CLARISSA; and thou shalt have a letter
from me, or writing at least part of a letter, every hour. All that the
charmer of my heart shall say, that will I put down. Every motion, every
air of her beloved person, every look, will I try to describe; and when
she is silent, I will endeavour to tell thee her thoughts, either what
they are, or what I would have them to be--so that, having her, I shall
never want a subject. Having lost her, my whole soul is a blank: the
whole creation round me, the elements above, beneath, and every thing I
behold, (for nothing can I enjoy,) are a blank without her.
Oh! return, return, thou only charmer of my soul! return to thy adoring
Lovelace! What is the light, what the air, what the town, what the
country, what's any thing, without thee? Light, air, joy, harmony, in my
notion, are but parts of thee; and could they be all expressed in one
word, that word would be CLARISSA.
O my beloved CLARISSA, return thou then; once more return to bless thy
LOVELACE, who now, by the loss of thee, knows the value of the jewel he
has slighted; and rises every morning but to curse the sun that shines
upon every body but him!
Well, but, Jack, 'tis a surprising thing to me, that the dear fugitive
cannot be met with; cannot be heard of. She is so poor a plotter, (for
plotting is not her talent,) that I am confident, had I been at liberty,
I should have found her out before now; although the different emissaries
I have employed about town, round the adjacent villages, and in Miss
Howe's vicinage, have hitherto failed of success. But my Lord continues
so weak and low-spirited, that there is no getting from him. I would not
disoblige a man whom I think in danger still: for would his gout, now it
has got him down, but give him, like a fair boxer, the rising-blow, all
would be over with him. And here [pox of his fondness for me! it happens
at a very bad time] he makes me sit hours together entertaining him with
my rogueries: (a pretty amusement for a sick man!) and yet, whenever he
has the gout, he prays night and morning with his chaplain. But what
must his notions of religion be, who after he has nosed and mumbled over
his responses, can give a sigh or groan of satisfaction, as if he thought
he had made up with Heaven; and return with a new appetite to my stories?
--encouraging them, by shaking his sides with laughing at them, and
calling me a sad fellow, in such an accent as shows he takes no small
delight in his kinsman.
The old peer has been a sinner in his day, and suffers for it now: a
sneaking sinner, sliding, rather than rushing into vices, for fear of his
reputation.--Paying for what he never had, and never daring to rise to
the joy of an enterprise at first hand, which could bring him within view
of a tilting, or of the honour of being considered as a principal man in
a court of justice.
To see such an old Trojan as this, just dropping into the grave, which I
hoped ere this would have been dug, and filled up with him; crying out
with pain, and grunting with weakness; yet in the same moment crack his
leathern face into an horrible laugh, and call a young sinner charming
varlet, encoreing him, as formerly he used to do to the Italian eunuchs;
what a preposterous, what an unnatural adherence to old habits!
My two cousins are generally present when I entertain, as the old peer
calls it. Those stories must drag horribly, that have not more hearers
and applauders than relaters.
Ay, Belford, applauders, repeat I; for although these girls pretend to
blame me sometimes for the facts, they praise my manner, my invention, my
intrepidity.--Besides, what other people call blame, that call I praise:
I ever did; and so I very early discharged shame, that cold-water damper
to an enterprising spirit.
These are smart girls; they have life and wit; and yesterday, upon
Charlotte's raving against me upon a related enterprise, I told her, that
I had had in debate several times, whether she were or were not too near
of kin to me: and that it was once a moot point with me, whether I could
not love her dearly for a month or so: and perhaps it was well for her,
that another pretty little puss started up, and diverted me, just as I
was entering upon the course.
They all three held up their hands and eyes at once. But I observed
that, though the girls exclaimed against me, they were not so angry at
this plain speaking as I have found my beloved upon hints so dark that
I have wondered at her quick apprehension.
I told Charlotte, that, grave as she pretended to be in her smiling
resentments on this declaration, I was sure I should not have been put to
the expense of above two or three stratagems, (for nobody admired a good
invention more than she,) could I but have disentangled her conscience
from the embarrasses of consanguinity.
She pretended to be highly displeased: so did her sister for her. I told
her, she seemed as much in earnest as if she had thought me so; and dared
the trial. Plain words, I said, in these cases, were more shocking to
their sex than gradatim actions. And I bid Patty not be displeased at my
distinguishing her sister; since I had a great respect for her likewise.
An Italian air, in my usual careless way, a half-struggled-for kiss from
me, and a shrug of the shoulder, by way of admiration, from each pretty
cousin, and sad, sad fellow, from the old peer, attended with a
side-shaking laugh, made us all friends.
There, Jack!--Wilt thou, or wilt thou not, take this for a letter?
there's quantity, I am sure.--How have I filled a sheet (not a short-hand
one indeed) without a subject! My fellow shall take this; for he is
going to town. And if thou canst think tolerably of such execrable
stuff, I will send thee another.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
SIX, SATURDAY MORNING, JULY 8.
Have I nothing new, nothing diverting, in my whimsical way, thou askest,
in one of thy three letters before me, to entertain thee with?--And thou
tallest me, that, when I have least to narrate, to speak, in the Scottish
phrase, I am most diverting. A pretty compliment, either to thyself, or
to me. To both indeed!--a sign that thou hast as frothy a heart as I a
head. But canst thou suppose that this admirable woman is not all, is
not every thing with me? Yet I dread to think of her too; for detection
of all my contrivances, I doubt, must come next.
The old peer is also full of Miss Harlowe: and so are my cousins. He
hopes I will not be such a dog [there's a specimen of his peer-like
dialect] as to think of doing dishonourably by a woman of so much merit,
beauty, and fortune; and he says of so good a family. But I tell him,
that this is a string he must not touch: that it is a very tender point:
in short, is my sore place; and that I am afraid he would handle it too
roughly, were I to put myself in the power of so ungentle an operator.
He shakes his crazy head. He thinks all is not as it should be between
us; longs to have me present her to him as my wife; and often tells me
what great things he will do, additional to his former proposals; and
what presents he will make on the birth of the first child. But I hope
the whole of his estate will be in my hands before such an event takes
place. No harm in hoping, Jack! Lord M. says, were it not for hope, the
heart would break.
Eight o'clock at Midsummer, and these lazy varletesses (in full health)
not come down yet to breakfast!--What a confounded indecency in young
ladies, to let a rake know that they love their beds so dearly, and, at
the same time, where to have them! But I'll punish them--they shall
breakfast with their old uncle, and yawn at one another as if for a
wager; while I drive my phaeton to Colonel Ambroses's, who yesterday gave
me an invitation both to breakfast and dine, on account of two Yorkshire
nieces, celebrated toasts, who have been with him this fortnight past;
and who, he says, want to see me. So, Jack, all women do not run away
from me, thank Heaven!--I wish I could have leave of my heart, since the
dear fugitive is so ungrateful, to drive her out of it with another
beauty. But who can supplant her? Who can be admitted to a place in it
after Miss Clarissa Harlowe?
At my return, if I can find a subject, I will scribble on, to oblige
My phaeton's ready. My cousins send me word they are just coming down:
so in spite I'll be gone.
I did stay to dine with the Colonel, and his lady, and nieces: but I
could not pass the afternoon with them, for the heart of me. There was
enough in the persons and faces of the two young ladies to set me upon
comparisons. Particular features held my attention for a few moments:
but these served but to whet my impatience to find the charmer of my
soul; who, for person, for air, for mind, never had any equal. My heart
recoiled and sickened upon comparing minds and conversation. Pert wit, a
too-studied desire to please; each in high good humour with herself; an
open-mouth affectation in both, to show white teeth, as if the principal
excellence; and to invite amorous familiarity, by the promise of a sweet
breath; at the same time reflecting tacitly upon breaths arrogantly
implied to be less pure.
Once I could have borne them.
They seemed to be disappointed that I was so soon able to leave them.
Yet have I not at present so much vanity [my Clarissa has cured me of my
vanity] as to attribute their disappointment so much to particular liking
of me, as to their own self-admiration. They looked upon me as a
connoisseur in beauty. They would have been proud of engaging my
attention, as such: but so affected, so flimsy-witted, mere skin-deep
beauties!--They had looked no farther into themselves than what their
glasses were flattering-glasses too; for I thought them passive-faced,
and spiritless; with eyes, however, upon the hunt for conquests, and
bespeaking the attention of others, in order to countenance their own.
----I believe I could, with a little pains, have given them life and
soul, and to every feature of their faces sparkling information--but my
Clarissa!--O Belford, my Clarissa has made me eyeless and senseless to
every other beauty!--Do thou find her for me, as a subject worthy of my
pen, or this shall be the last from
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
SUNDAY NIGHT, JULY 9.
Now, Jack, have I a subject with a vengeance. I am in the very height of
my trial for all my sins to my beloved fugitive. For here to-day, at
about five o'clock, arrived Lady Sarah Sadleir and Lady Betty Lawrance,
each in her chariot-and-six. Dowagers love equipage; and these cannot
travel ten miles without a sett, and half a dozen horsemen.
My time had hung heavy upon my hands; and so I went to church after
dinner. Why may not handsome fellows, thought I, like to be looked at,
as well as handsome wenches? I fell in, when service was over, with
Major Warneton; and so came not home till after six; and was surprised,
at entering the court-yard here, to find it littered with equipages and
servants. I was sure the owners of them came for no good to me.
Lady Sarah, I soon found, was raised to this visit by Lady Betty; who has
health enough to allow her to look out to herself, and out of her own
affairs, for business. Yet congratulation to Lord M. on his amendment,
[spiteful devils on both accounts!] was the avowed errand. But coming in
my absence, I was their principal subject; and they had opportunity to
set each other's heart against me.
Simon Parsons hinted this to me, as I passed by the steward's office; for
it seems they talked loud; and he was making up some accounts with old
However, I hastened to pay my duty to them--other people not performing
theirs, is no excuse for the neglect of our own, you know.
And now I enter upon my TRIAL.
With horrible grave faces was I received. The two antiquities only bowed
their tabby heads; making longer faces than ordinary; and all the old
lines appearing strong in their furrowed foreheads and fallen cheeks; How
do you, Cousin? And how do you, Mr. Lovelace? looking all round at one
another, as who should say, do you speak first: and, do you: for they
seemed resolved to lose no time.
I had nothing for it, but an air as manly, as theirs was womanly. Your
servant, Madam, to Lady Betty; and, Your servant, Madam, I am glad to see
you abroad, to Lady Sarah.
I took my seat. Lord M. looked horribly glum; his fingers claspt, and
turning round and round, under and over, his but just disgouted thumb;
his sallow face, and goggling eyes, on his two kinswomen, by turns; but
not once deigning to look upon me.
Then I began to think of the laudanum, and wet cloth, I told thee of long
ago; and to call myself in question for a tenderness of heart that will
never do me good.
At last, Mr. Lovelace!----Cousin Lovelace!----Hem!--Hem!--I am sorry,
very sorry, hesitated Lady Sarah, that there is no hope of your ever
What's the matter now, Madam?
The matter now!----Why Lady Betty has two letters from Miss Harlowe,
which have told us what's the matter----Are all women alike with you?
Yes; I could have answered; 'bating the difference which pride makes.
Then they all chorus'd upon me--Such a character as Miss Harlowe's!
cried one----A lady of so much generosity and good sense! Another--How
charmingly she writes! the two maiden monkeys, looking at her find
handwriting: her perfections my crimes. What can you expect will be the
end of these things! cried Lady Sarah--d----d, d----d doings! vociferated
the Peer, shaking his loose-fleshe'd wabbling chaps, which hung on his
shoulders like an old cow's dewlap.
For my part, I hardly knew whether to sing or say what I had to reply to
these all-at-once attacks upon me!-Fair and softly, Ladies--one at a
time, I beseech you. I am not to be hunted down without being heard, I
hope. Pray let me see these letters. I beg you will let me see them.
There they are:--that's the first--read it out, if you can.
I opened a letter from my charmer, dated Thursday, June 29, our
wedding-day, that was to be, and written to Lady Betty Lawrance. By the
contents, to my great joy, I find the dear creature is alive and well,
and in charming spirits. But the direction where to send an answer to
was so scratched out that I could not read it; which afflicted me much.
She puts three questions in it to Lady Betty.
1st. About a letter of her's, dated June 7, congratulating me on my
nuptials, and which I was so good as to save Lady Betty the trouble of
writing----A very civil thing of me, I think!
Again--'Whether she and one of her nieces Montague were to go to town, on
an old chancery suit?'--And, 'Whether they actually did go to town
accordingly, and to Hampstead afterwards?' and, 'Whether they brought to
town from thence the young creature whom they visited?' was the subject
of the second and third questions.
A little inquisitive, dear rogue! and what did she expect to be the
better for these questions?----But curiosity, d----d curiosity, is the
itch of the sex--yet when didst thou know it turned to their benefit?--
For they seldom inquire, but what they fear--and the proverb, as my Lord
has it, says, It comes with a fear. That is, I suppose, what they fear
generally happens, because there is generally occasion for the fear.
Curiosity indeed she avows to be her only motive for these
interrogatories: for, though she says her Ladyship may suppose the
questions are not asked for good to me, yet the answer can do me no harm,
nor her good, only to give her to understand, whether I have told her a
parcel of d----d lyes; that's the plain English of her inquiry.
Well, Madam, said I, with as much philosophy as I could assume; and may I
ask--Pray, what was your Ladyship's answer?
There's a copy of it, tossing it to me, very disrespectfully.
This answer was dated July 1. A very kind and complaisant one to the
lady, but very so-so to her poor kinsman--That people can give up their
own flesh and blood with so much ease!--She tells her 'how proud all our
family would be of an alliance with such an excellence.' She does me
justice in saying how much I adore her, as an angel of a woman; and begs
of her, for I know not how many sakes, besides my soul's sake, 'that she
will be so good as to have me for a husband:' and answers--thou wilt
guess how--to the lady's questions.
Well, Madam; and pray, may I be favoured with the lady's other letter?
I presume it is in reply to your's.
It is, said the Peer: but, Sir, let me ask you a few questions, before
you read it--give me the letter, Lady Betty.
There it is, my Lord.
Then on went the spectacles, and his head moved to the lines--a charming
pretty hand!--I have often heard that this lady is a genius.
And so, Jack, repeating my Lord's wise comments and questions will let
thee into the contents of this merciless letter.
'Monday, July 3,' [reads my Lord.]--Let me see!--that was last Monday; no
longer ago! 'Monday, July the third--Madam--I cannot excuse myself'--um,
um, um, um, um, um, [humming inarticulately, and skipping,]--'I must own
to you, Madam, that the honour of being related'----
Off went the spectacles--Now, tell me, Sir-r, Has not this lady lost all
the friends she had in the world for your sake?
She has very implacable friends, my Lord: we all know that.
But has she not lost them all for your sake?--Tell me that.
I believe so, my Lord.
Well then!--I am glad thou art not so graceless as to deny that.
On went the spectacles again--'I must own to you, Madam, that the honour
of being related to ladies as eminent for their virtue as for their
descent.'--Very pretty, truly! saith my Lord, repeating, '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.'
There is dignity, born-dignity, in this lady, cried my Lord.
Lady Sarah. She would have been a grace to our family.
Lady Betty. Indeed she would.
Lovel. To a royal family, I will venture to say.
Lord M. Then what a devil---
Lovel. Please to read on, my Lord. It cannot be her letter, if it does
not make you admire her more and more as you read. Cousin Charlotte,
Cousin Patty, pray attend----Read on, my Lord.
Miss Charlotte. Amazing fortitude!
Miss Patty only lifted up her dove's eyes.
Lord M. [Reading.] 'And the rather, as I was determined, had it come
to effect, to do every thing in my power to deserve your favourable
Then again they chorus'd upon me!
A blessed time of it, poor I!--I had nothing for it but impudence!
Lovel. Pray read on, my Lord--I told you how you would all admire her
----or, shall I read?
Lord M. D----d assurance! [Then reading.] 'I had another motive,
which I knew would of itself give me merit with your whole family: [they
were all ear:] 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 at
bottom to be reclaimed; or at least gratitude enough to acknowledge the
intended obligation, whether the generous hope were to succeed or not.'
--Excellent young creature!--
Excellent young creature! echoed the Ladies, with their handkerchiefs at
their eyes, attended with music.
Lovel. By my soul, Miss Patty, you weep in the wrong place: you shall
never go with me to a tragedy.
Lady Betty. Hardened wretch.
His Lordship had pulled off his spectacles to wipe them. His eyes were
misty; and he thought the fault in his spectacles.
I saw they were all cocked and primed--to be sure that is a very pretty
sentence, said I----that is the excellency of this lady, that in every
line, as she writes on, she improves upon herself. Pray, my Lord,
proceed--I know her style; the next sentence will still rise upon us.
Lord M. D----d fellow! [Again saddling, and reading.] 'But I have
been most egregiously mistaken in Mr. Lovelace!' [Then they all
clamoured again.]--'The only man, I persuade myself'----
Lovel. Ladies may persuade themselves to any thing: but how can she
answer for what other men would or would not have done in the same
I was forced to say any thing to stifle their outcries. Pox take ye
altogether, thought I; as if I had not vexation enough in losing her!
Lord M. [Reading.] 'The only man, I persuade myself, pretending to be
a gentleman, in whom I could have been so much mistaken.'
They were all beginning again--Pray, my Lord, proceed!--Hear, hear--pray,
Ladies, hear!--Now, my Lord, be pleased to proceed. The Ladies are
So they were; lost in admiration of me, hands and eyes uplifted.
Lord M. I will, to thy confusion; for he had looked over the next
What wretches, Belford, what spiteful wretches, are poor mortals!--So
rejoiced to sting one another! to see each other stung!
Lord M. [Reading.] '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.'--What say you to that, Sir-r?
Lady S. | Ay, Sir, what say you to this?
Lady B. |
Lovel. Say! Why I say it is a very pretty metaphor, if it would but
hold.--But, if you please, my Lord, read on. Let me hear what is further
said, and I will speak to it all together.
Lord M. I will. '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.'
They all looked at me, as expecting me to speak.
Lovel. Be pleased to proceed, my Lord: I will speak to this by-and-by--
How came she to know I kept a list?--I will speak to this by-and-by.
Lord M. [Reading on.] 'And this, Madam, by means that would shock
humanity to be made acquainted with.'
Then again, in a hurry, off went the spectacles.
This was a plaguy stroke upon me. I thought myself an oak in impudence;
but, by my troth, this almost felled me.
Lord M. What say you to this, SIR-R!
Remember, Jack, to read all their Sirs in this dialogue with a double rr,
Sir-r! denoting indignation rather than respect.
They all looked at me as if to see if I could blush.
Lovel. Eyes off, my Lord!----Eyes off, Ladies! [Looking bashfully, I
believe.]--What say I to this, my Lord!--Why, I say, that this lady has a
strong manner of expressing herself!--That's all.--There are many things
that pass among lovers, which a man cannot explain himself upon before
Lady Betty. Among lovers, Sir-r! But, Mr. Lovelace, can you say that
this lady behaved either like a weak, or a credulous person?--Can you say--
Lovel. I am ready to do the lady all manner of justice.--But, pray now,
Ladies, if I am to be thus interrogated, let me know the contents of the
rest of the letter, that I may be prepared for my defence, as you are all
for my arraignment. For, to be required to answer piecemeal thus,
without knowing what is to follow, is a cursed ensnaring way of
They gave me the letter: I read it through to myself:--and by the
repetition of what I said, thou wilt guess at the remaining contents.
You shall find, Ladies, you shall find, my Lord, that I will not spare
myself. Then holding the letter in my hand, and looking upon it, as a
lawyer upon his brief,
Miss Harlowe says, 'That when your Ladyship,' [turning to Lady Betty,]
'shall know, that, in the progress to her ruin, wilful falsehoods,
repeated forgeries, and numberless perjuries, were not the least of my
crimes, you will judge that she can have no principles that will make her
worthy of an alliance with ladies of your's, and your noble sister's
character, if she could not, from her soul, declare, that such an
alliance can never now take place.'
Surely, Ladies, this is passion! This is not reason. If our family
would not think themselves dishonoured by my marrying a person whom I had
so treated; but, on the contrary, would rejoice that I did her this
justice: and if she has come out pure gold from the assay; and has
nothing to reproach herself with; why should it be an impeachment of her
principles, to consent that such an alliance take place?
She cannot think herself the worse, justly she cannot, for what was done
against her will.
Their countenances menaced a general uproar--but I proceeded.
Your Lordship read to us, that she had an hope, a presumptuous one: nay,
a punishably-presumptuous one, she calls it; 'that she might be a mean,
in the hand of Providence, to reclaim me; and that this, she knew, if
effected, would give her a merit with you all.' But from what would she
reclaim me?--She had heard, you'll say, (but she had only heard, at the
time she entertained that hope,) that, to express myself in the women's
dialect, I was a very wicked fellow!--Well, and what then?--Why, truly,
the very moment she was convinced, by her own experience, that the charge
against me was more than hearsay; and that, of consequence, I was a fit
subject for her generous endeavours to work upon; she would needs give me
up. Accordingly, she flies out, and declares, that the ceremony which
would repair all shall never take place!--Can this be from any other
motive than female resentment?
This brought them all upon me, as I intended it should: it was as a tub
to a whale; and after I had let them play with it a while, I claimed
their attention, and, knowing that they always loved to hear me prate,
The lady, it is plain, thought, that the reclaiming of a man from bad
habits was a much easier task than, in the nature of things, it can be.
She writes, as your Lordship has read, 'That, in endeavouring to save a
drowning wretch, she had been, not accidentally, but premeditatedly, and
of set purpose, drawn in after him.' But how is this, Ladies?--You see
by her own words, that I am still far from being out of danger myself.
Had she found me, in a quagmire suppose, and I had got out of it by her
means, and left her to perish in it; that would have been a crime indeed.
--But is not the fact quite otherwise? Has she not, if her allegory
prove what she would have it prove, got out herself, and left me
floundering still deeper and deeper in?--What she should have done, had
she been in earnest to save me, was, to join her hand with mine, that so
we might by our united strength help one another out.--I held out my hand
to her, and besought her to give me her's:--But, no truly! she was
determined to get out herself as fast as she could, let me sink or swim:
refusing her assistance (against her own principles) because she saw I
wanted it.--You see, Ladies, you see, my Lord, how pretty tinkling words
run away with ears inclined to be musical.
They were all ready to exclaim again: but I went on, proleptically, as a
rhetorician would say, before their voices would break out into words.
But my fair accuser says, that, 'I have added to the list of those I have
ruined, a name that would not have disparaged my own.' It is true, I
have been gay and enterprising. It is in my constitution to be so. I
know not how I came by such a constitution: but I was never accustomed to
check or controul; that you all know. When a man finds himself hurried
by passion into a slight offence, which, however slight, will not be
forgiven, he may be made desperate: as a thief, who only intends a
robbery, is often by resistance, and for self-preservation, drawn in to
I was a strange, a horrid wretch, with every one. But he must be a silly
fellow who has not something to say for himself, when every cause has its
black and its white side.--Westminster-hall, Jack, affords every day as
confident defences as mine.
But what right, proceeded I, has this lady to complain of me, when she as
good as says--Here, Lovelace, you have acted the part of a villain by me!
--You would repair your fault: but I won't let you, that I may have the
satisfaction of exposing you; and the pride of refusing you.
But, was that the case? Was that the case? Would I pretend to say, I
would now marry the lady, if she would have me?
Lovel. You find she renounces Lady Betty's mediation----
Lord M. [Interrupting me.] Words are wind; but deeds are mind: What
signifies your cursed quibbling, Bob?--Say plainly, if she will have
you, will you have her? Answer me, yes or no; and lead us not a
wild-goose chace after your meaning.
Lovel. She knows I would. But here, my Lord, if she thus goes on to
expose herself and me, she will make it a dishonour to us both to marry.
Charl. But how must she have been treated--
Lovel. [Interrupting her.] Why now, Cousin Charlotte, chucking her
under the chin, would you have me tell you all that has passed between
the lady and me? Would you care, had you a bold and enterprizing lover,
that proclamation should be made of every little piece of amorous
roguery, that he offered to you?
Charlotte reddened. They all began to exclaim. But I proceeded.
The lady says, 'She has been dishonoured' (devil take me, if I spare
myself!) 'by means that would shock humanity to be made acquainted with
them.' She is a very innocent lady, and may not be a judge of the means
she hints at. Over-niceness may be under-niceness: Have you not such a
proverb, my Lord?--tantamount to, One extreme produces another!----Such
a lady as this may possibly think her case more extraordinary than it is.
This I will take upon me to say, that if she has met with the only man in
the world who would have treated her, as she says I have treated her, I
have met in her with the only woman in the world who would have made such
a rout about a case that is uncommon only from the circumstances that
This brought them all upon me; hands, eyes, voices, all lifted at once.
But my Lord M. who has in his head (the last seat of retreating lewdness)
as much wickedness as I have in my heart, was forced (upon the air I
spoke this with, and Charlotte's and all the rest reddening) to make a
mouth that was big enough to swallow up the other half of his face;
crying out, to avoid laughing, Oh! Oh!--as if under the power of a gouty
Hadst thou seen how the two tabbies and the young grimalkins looked at
one another, at my Lord, and at me, by turns, thou would have been ready
to split thy ugly face just in the middle. Thy mouth hath already done
half the work. And, after all, I found not seldom in this conversation,
that my humourous undaunted airs forced a smile into my service from the
prim mouths of the young ladies. They perhaps, had they met with such
another intrepid fellow as myself, who had first gained upon their
affections, would not have made such a rout as my beloved has done, about
such an affair as that we were assembled upon. Young ladies, as I have
observed on an hundred occasions, fear not half so much for themselves
as their mothers do for them. But here the girls were forced to put on
grave airs, and to seem angry, because the antiques made the matter of
such high importance. Yet so lightly sat anger and fellow-feeling at
their hearts, that they were forced to purse in their mouths, to
suppress the smiles I now-and-then laid out for: while the elders
having had roses (that is to say, daughters) of their own, and knowing
how fond men are of a trifle, would have been very loth to have had
them nipt in the bud, without saying to the mother of them, By your
leave, Mrs. Rose-bush.
The next article of my indictment was for forgery; and for personating
of Lady Betty and my cousin Charlotte.
Two shocking charges, thou'lt say: and so they were!--The Peer was
outrageous upon the forgery charge. The Ladies vowed never to forgive
the personating part.
Not a peace-maker among them. So we all turned women, and scolded.
My Lord told me, that he believed in his conscience there was not a
viler fellow upon God's earth than me.--What signifies mincing the
matter? said he--and that it was not the first time I had forged his
To this I answered, that I supposed, when the statute of Scandalum
Magnatum was framed, there were a good many in the peerage who knew
they deserved hard names; and that that law therefore was rather made
to privilege their qualities, than to whiten their characters.
He called upon me to explain myself, with a Sir-r, so pronounced, as to
show that one of the most ignominious words in our language was in his
People, I said, that were fenced in by their quality, and by their
years, should not take freedoms that a man of spirit could not put up
with, unless he were able heartily to despise the insulter.
This set him in a violent passion. He would send for Pritchard
instantly. Let Pritchard be called. He would alter his will; and all
he could leave from me, he would.
Do, do, my Lord, said I: I always valued my own pleasure above your
estate. But I'll let Pritchard know, that if he draws, he shall sign
Why, what would I do to Pritchard?--shaking his crazy head at me.
Only, what he, or any man else, writes with his pen, to despoil me of
what I think my right, he shall seal with his ears; that's all, my
Then the two Ladies interposed.
Lady Sarah told me, that I carried things a great way; and that neither
Lord M. nor any of them, deserved the treatment I gave them.
I said, I could not bear to be used ill by my Lord, for two reasons;
first, because I respected his Lordship above any man living; and next,
because it looked as if I were induced by selfish considerations to
take that from him, which nobody else would offer to me.
And what, returned he, shall be my inducement to take what I do at your
Indeed, Cousin Lovelace, said Lady Betty, with great gravity, we do not
any of us, as Lady Sarah says, deserve at your hands the treatment you
give us: and let me tell you, that I don't think my character and your
cousin Charlotte's ought to be prostituted, in order to ruin an innocent
lady. She must have known early the good opinion we all have of her, and
how much we wished her to be your wife. This good opinion of ours has
been an inducement to her (you see she says so) to listen to your
address. And this, with her friends' folly, has helped to throw her into
your power. How you have requited her is too apparent. It becomes the
character we all bear, to disclaim your actions by her. And let me tell
you, that to have her abused by wicked people raised up to personate us,
or any of us, makes a double call upon us to disclaim them.
Lovel. Why this is talking somewhat like. I would have you all
disclaim my actions. I own I have done very vilely by this lady. One
step led to another. I am curst with an enterprizing spirit. I hate
to be foiled--
Foiled! interrupted Lady Sarah. What a shame to talk at this
rate!--Did the lady set up a contention with you? All nobly sincere,
and plain-hearted, have I heard Miss Clarissa Harlowe is: above art,
above disguise; neither the coquette, nor the prude!--Poor lady! she
deserved a better fare from the man for whom she took the step which
she so freely blames!
This above half affected me.--Had this dispute been so handled by every
one, I had been ashamed to look up. I began to be bashful.
Charlotte asked if I did not still seem inclinable to do the lady
justice, if she would accept of me? It would be, she dared to say, the
greatest felicity the family could know (she would answer for one) that
this fine lady were of it.
They all declared to the same effect; and Lady Sarah put the matter
home to me.
But my Lord Marplot would have it that I could not be serious for six
I told his Lordship that he was mistaken; light as he thought I made of
his subject, I never knew any that went so near my heart.
Miss Patty said she was glad to hear that: and her soft eyes glistened
Lord M. called her sweet soul, and was ready to cry.
Not from humanity neither, Jack. This Peer has no bowels; as thou
mayest observe by this treatment of me. But when people's minds are
weakened by a sense of their own infirmities, and when they are drawing
on to their latter ends, they will be moved on the slightest occasions,
whether those offer from within or without them. And this, frequently,
the unpenetrating world, calls humanity; when all the time, in
compassionating the miseries of human nature, they are but pitying
themselves; and were they in strong health and spirits, would care as
little for any body else as thou or I do.
Here broke they off my trial for this sitting. Lady Sarah was much
fatigued. It was agreed to pursue the subject in the morning. They
all, however, retired together, and went into private conference.
The Ladies, instead of taking up the subject where we had laid it down,
must needs touch upon passage in my fair accuser's letter, which I was in
hopes they would have let rest, as we were in a tolerable way. But,
truly, they must hear all they could hear of our story, and what I had to
say to those passages, that they might be better enabled to mediate
between us, if I were really and indeed inclined to do her the hoped-for
These passages were, 1st, 'That, after I had compulsorily tricked her
into the act of going off with me, I carried her to one of the worst
houses in London.'
2nd, 'That I had made a wicked attempt upon her; in resentment of which
she fled to Hampstead privately.'
3dly, Came the forgery, and personating charges again; and we were upon
the point of renewing out quarrel, before we could get to the next
charge: which was still worse.
For that (4thly) was 'That having betrayed her back to the vile house, I
first robbed her of her senses, and then her honour; detaining her
afterwards a prisoner there.'
Were I to tell thee the glosses I put upon these heavy charges, what
would it be, but repeat many of the extenuating arguments I have used in
my letters to thee?--Suffice it, therefore, to say, that I insisted much,
by way of palliation, on the lady's extreme niceness: on her diffidence
in my honour: on Miss Howe's contriving spirit; plots on their parts
begetting plots on mine: on the high passions of the sex. I asserted,
that my whole view, in gently restraining her, was to oblige her to
forgive me, and to marry me; and this for the honour of both families.
I boasted of my own good qualities; some of which none that knew me deny;
and to which few libertines can lay claim.
They then fell into warm admirations and praises of the lady; all of them
preparatory, as I knew, to the grand question: and thus it was introduced
by Lady Sarah.
We have said as much as I think we can say upon these letters of the poor
lady. To dwell upon the mischiefs that may ensue from the abuse of a
person of her rank, if all the reparation be not made that now can be
made, would perhaps be to little purpose. But you seem, Sir, still to
have a just opinion of her, as well as affection for her. Her virtue is
not in the least questionable. She could not resent as she does, had she
any thing to reproach herself with. She is, by every body's account, a
fine woman; has a good estate in her own right; is of no contemptible
family; though I think, with regard to her, they have acted as
imprudently as unworthily. For the excellency of her mind, for good
economy, the common speech of her, as the worthy Dr. Lewen once told me,
is that her prudence would enrich a poor man, and her piety reclaim a
licentious one. I, who have not been abroad twice this twelvemonth, came
hither purposely, so did Lady Betty, to see if justice may not be done
her; and also whether we, and my Lord M. (your nearest relations, Sir,)
have, or have not, any influence over you. And, for my own part, as your
determination shall be in this article, such shall be mine, with regard
to the disposition of all that is within my power.
Lady Betty. And mine.
And mine, said my Lord: and valiantly he swore to it.
Lovel. Far be it from me to think slightly of favours you may any of
you be glad I would deserve! but as far be it from me to enter into
conditions against my own liking, with sordid views!--As to future
mischiefs, let them come. I have not done with the Harlowes yet. They
were the aggressors; and I should be glad they would let me hear from
them, in the way they should hear from me in the like case. Perhaps I
should not be sorry to be found, rather than be obliged to seek, on this
Miss Charlotte. [Reddening.] Spoke like a man of violence, rather than
a man of reason! I hope you'll allow that, Cousin.
Lady Sarah. Well, but since what is done, and cannot be undone, let us
think of the next best, Have you any objection against marrying Miss
Harlowe, if she will have you?
Lovel. There can possibly be but one: That she is to every body, no
doubt, as well as to Lady Betty, pursuing that maxim peculiar to herself,
(and let me tell you so it ought to be:) that what she cannot conceal
from herself, she will publish to the world.
Miss Patty. The lady, to be sure, writes this in the bitterness of her
grief, and in despair.----
Lovel. And so when her grief is allayed; when her despairing fit is
over--and this from you, Cousin Patty!--Sweet girl! And would you, my
dear, in the like case [whispering her] have yielded to entreaty--would
you have meant no more by the like exclamations?
I had a rap with her fan, and blush; and from Lord M. a reflection, That
I turn'd into jest every thing they said.
I asked, if they thought the Harlowes deserved any consideration from me?
And whether that family would not exult over me, were I to marry their
daughter, as if I dared not to do otherwise?
Lady Sarah. Once I was angry with that family, as we all were. But now
I pity them; and think, that you have but too well justified the worse
treatment they gave you.
Lord M. Their family is of standing. All gentlemen of it, and rich,
and reputable. Let me tell you, that many of our coronets would be glad
they could derive their descents from no worse a stem than theirs.
Lovel. The Harlowes are a narrow-souled and implacable family. I hate
them: and, though I revere the lady, scorn all relation to them.
Lady Betty. I wish no worse could be said of him, who is such a scorner
of common failings in others.
Lord M. How would my sister Lovelace have reproached herself for all
her indulgent folly to this favourite boy of her's, had she lived till
now, and been present on this occasion!
Lady Sarah. Well, but, begging your Lordship's pardon, let us see if
any thing can be done for this poor lady.
Miss Ch. If Mr. Lovelace has nothing to object against the lady's
character, (and I presume to think he is not ashamed to do her justice,
though it may make against himself,) I cannot but see her honour and
generosity will compel from him all that we expect. If there be any
levities, any weaknesses, to be charged upon the lady, I should not open
my lips in her favour; though in private I would pity her, and deplore
her hard hap. And yet, even then, there might not want arguments, from
honour to gratitude, in so particular a case, to engage you, Sir, to make
good the vows it is plain you have broken.
Lady Betty. My niece Charlotte has called upon you so justly, and has
put the question to you so properly, that I cannot but wish you would
speak to it directly, and without evasion.
All in a breath then bespoke my seriousness, and my justice: and in this
manner I delivered myself, assuming an air sincerely solemn.
'I am very sensible that the performance of the task you have put me upon
will leave me without excuse: but I will not have recourse either to
evasion or palliation.
'As my cousin Charlotte has severely observed, I am not ashamed to do
justice to Miss Harlowe's merit.
'I own to you all, and, what is more, with high regret, (if not with
shame, cousin Charlotte,) that I have a great deal to answer for in my
usage of this lady. The sex has not a nobler mind, nor a lovelier person
of it. And, for virtue, I could not have believed (excuse me, Ladies)
that there ever was a woman who gave, or could have given, such
illustrious, such uniform proofs of it: for, in her whole conduct, she
has shown herself to be equally above temptation and art; and, I had
almost said, human frailty.
'The step she so freely blames herself for taking, was truly what she
calls compulsatory: for though she was provoked to think of going off
with me, she intended it not, nor was provided to do so: neither would
she ever have had the thought of it, had her relations left her free,
upon her offered composition to renounce the man she did not hate, in
order to avoid the man she did.
'It piqued my pride, I own, that I could so little depend upon the force
of those impressions which I had the vanity to hope I had made in a heart
so delicate; and, in my worst devices against her, I encouraged myself
that I abused no confidence; for none had she in my honour.
'The evils she has suffered, it would have been more than a miracle had
she avoided. Her watchfulness rendered more plots abortive than those
which contributed to her fall; and they were many and various. And all
her greater trials and hardships were owing to her noble resistance and
'I know, proceeded I, how much I condemn myself in the justice I am doing
to this excellent creature. But yet I will do her justice, and cannot
help it if I would. And I hope this shows that I am not so totally
abandoned as I have been thought to be.
'Indeed, with me, she has done more honour to her sex in her fall, if it
be to be called a fall, (in truth it ought not,) than ever any other
could do in her standing.
'When, at length, I had given her watchful virtue cause of suspicion, I
was then indeed obliged to make use of power and art to prevent her
escaping from me. She then formed contrivances to elude mine; but all
her's were such as strict truth and punctilious honour would justify.
She could not stoop to deceit and falsehood, no, not to save herself.
More than once justly did she tell me, fired by conscious worthiness,
that her soul was my soul's superior!--Forgive me, Ladies, for saying,
that till I knew her, I questioned a soul in a sex, created, as I was
willing to suppose, only for temporary purposes.--It is not to be
imagined into what absurdities men of free principle run in order to
justify to themselves their free practices; and to make a religion to
their minds: and yet, in this respect, I have not been so faulty as some
'No wonder that such a noble creature as this looked upon every studied
artifice as a degree of baseness not to be forgiven: no wonder that she
could so easily become averse to the man (though once she beheld him with
an eye not wholly indifferent) whom she thought capable of premeditated
guilt. Nor, give me leave, on the other hand, to say, is it to be
wondered at, that the man who found it so difficult to be forgiven for
the slighter offences, and who had not the grace to recede or repent,
(made desperate,) should be hurried on to the commission of the greater.
'In short, Ladies, in a word, my Lord, Miss Clarissa Harlowe is an angel;
if ever there was or could be one in human nature: and is, and ever was,
as pure as an angel in her will: and this justice I must do her, although
the question, I see by every glistening eye, is ready to be asked, What
then, Lovelace, art thou?'--
Lord M. A devil!--a d----d devil! I must answer. And may the curse of
God follow you in all you undertake, if you do not make her the best
amends now in your power to make her!
Lovel. From you, my Lord, I could expect no other: but from the Ladies
I hope for less violence from the ingenuousness of my confession.
The Ladies, elder and younger, had their handkerchiefs to their eyes, at
the just testimony which I bore to the merits of this exalted creature;
and which I would make no scruple to bear at the bar of a court of
justice, were I to be called to it.
Lady Betty. Well, Sir, this is a noble character. If you think as you
speak, surely you cannot refuse to do the lady all the justice now in
your power to do her.
They all joined in this demand.
I pleaded, that I was sure she would not have me: that, when she had
taken a resolution, she was not to be moved. Unpersuadableness was an
Harlowe sin: that, and her name, I told them, were all she had of theirs.
All were of opinion, that she might, in her present desolate
circumstances, be brought to forgive me. Lady Sarah said, that Lady
Betty and she would endeavour to find out the noble sufferer, as they
justly called her; and would take her into their protection, and be
guarantees of the justice that I would do her; as well after marriage as
It was some pleasure to me, to observe the placability of these ladies of
my own family, had they, any or either of them, met with a LOVELACE. But
'twould be hard upon us honest fellows, Jack, if all women were
Here I am obliged to break off.
It is much better, Jack, to tell your own story, when it must be known,
than to have an adversary tell it for you. Conscious of this, I gave
them a particular account how urgent I had been with her to fix upon the
Thursday after I left her (it being her uncle Harlowe's anniversary
birth-day, and named to oblige her) for the private celebration; having
some days before actually procured a license, which still remained with
That, not being able to prevail upon her to promise any thing, while
under a supposed restraint! I offered to leave her at full liberty, if
she would give me the least hope for that day. But neither did this
offer avail me.
That this inflexibleness making me desperate, I resolved to add to my
former fault, by giving directions that she should not either go or
correspond out of the house, till I returned from M. Hall; well knowing,
that if she were at full liberty, I must for ever lose her.
That this constraint had so much incensed her, that although I wrote no
less than four different letters, I could not procure a single word in
answer; though I pressed her but for four words to signify the day and
I referred to my two cousins to vouch for me the extraordinary methods I
took to send messengers to town, though they knew not the occasion; which
now I told them was this.
I acquainted them, that I even had wrote to you, Jack, and to another
gentleman of whom I thought she had a good opinion, to attend her, in
order to press for her compliance; holding myself in readiness the last
day, at Salt-hill, to meet the messenger they should send, and proceed to
London, if his message were favourable. But that, before they could
attend her, she had found means to fly away once more: and is now, said
I, perched perhaps somewhere under Lady Betty's window at Glenham-hall;
and there, like the sweet Philomela, a thorn in her breast, warbles forth
her melancholy complaints against her barbarous Tereus.
Lady Betty declared that she was not with her; nor did she know where she
was. She should be, she added, the most welcome guest to her that she
In truth, I had a suspicion that she was already in their knowledge, and
taken into their protection; for Lady Sarah I imagined incapable of being
roused to this spirit by a letter only from Miss Harlowe, and that not
directed to herself; she being a very indolent and melancholy woman. But
her sister, I find had wrought her up to it: for Lady Betty is as
officious and managing a woman as Mrs. Howe; but of a much more generous
and noble disposition--she is my aunt, Jack.
I supposed, I said, that her Ladyship might have a private direction
where to send to her. I spoke as I wished: I would have given the world
to have heard that she was inclined to cultivate the interest of any of
Lady Betty answered that she had no direction but what was in the letter;
which she had scratched out, and which, it was probable, was only a
temporary one, in order to avoid me: otherwise she would hardly have
directed an answer to be left at an inn. And she was of opinion, that to
apply to Miss Howe would be the only certain way to succeed in any
application for forgiveness, would I enable that young lady to interest
herself in procuring it.
Miss Charlotte. Permit me to make a proposal.----Since we are all of
one mind, in relation to the justice due to Miss Harlowe, if Mr. Lovelace
will oblige himself to marry her, I will make Miss Howe a visit, little
as I am acquainted with her; and endeavour to engage her interest to
forward the desired reconciliation. And if this can be done, I make no
question but all may be happily accommodated; for every body knows the
love there is between Miss Harlowe and Miss Howe.
MARRIAGE, with these women, thou seest, Jack, is an atonement for all we
can do to them. A true dramatic recompense!
This motion was highly approved of; and I gave my honour, as desired, in
the fullest manner they could wish.
Lady Sarah. Well then, Cousin Charlotte, begin your treaty with Miss
Howe, out of hand.
Lady Betty. Pray do. And let Miss Harlowe be told, that I am ready to
receive her as the most welcome of guests: and I will not have her out of
my sight till the knot is tied.
Lady Sarah. Tell her from me, that she shall be my daughter, instead of
my poor Betsey!----And shed a tear in remembrance of her lost daughter.
Lord M. What say you, Sir, to this?
Lovel. CONTENT, my Lord, I speak in the language of your house.
Lord M. We are not to be fooled, Nephew. No quibbling. We will have
no slur put upon us.
Lovel. You shall not. And yet, I did not intend to marry, if she
exceeded the appointed Thursday. But, I think (according to her own
notions) that I have injured her beyond reparation, although I were to
make her the best of husbands; as I am resolved to be, if she will
condescend, as I will call it, to have me. And be this, Cousin
Charlotte, my part of your commission to say.
This pleased them all.
Lord M. Give me thy hand, Bob!--Thou talkest like a man of honour at
last. I hope we may depend upon what thou sayest!
The Ladies eyes put the same question to me.
Lovel. You may, my Lord--You may, Ladies--absolutely you may.
Then was the personal character of the lady, as well as her more
extraordinary talents and endowments again expatiated upon: and Miss
Patty, who had once seen her, launched out more than all the rest in her
praise. These were followed by such inquiries as are never forgotten to
be made in marriage-treaties, and which generally are the principal
motives with the sages of a family, though the least to be mentioned by
the parties themselves, and yet even by them, perhaps, the first thought
of: that is to say, inquisition into the lady's fortune; into the
particulars of the grandfather's estate; and what her father, and her
single-souled uncles, will probably do for her, if a reconciliation be
effected; as, by their means, they make no doubt but it will be between
both families, if it be not my fault. The two venerables [no longer
tabbies with me now] hinted at rich presents on their own parts; and my
Lord declared that he would make such overtures in my behalf, as should
render my marriage with Miss Harlowe the best day's work I ever made;
and what, he doubted not, would be as agreeable to that family as to
Thus, at present, by a single hair, hangs over my head the matrimonial
sword. And thus ended my trial. And thus are we all friends, and Cousin
and Cousin, and Nephew and Nephew, at every word.
Did ever comedy end more happily than this long trial?
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
WEDN. JULY 12.
So, Jack, they think they have gained a mighty point. But, were I to
change my mind, were I to repent, I fancy I am safe.--And yet this very
moment it rises to my mind, that 'tis hard trusting too; for surely there
must be some embers, where there was fire so lately, that may be stirred
up to give a blaze to combustibles strewed lightly upon them. Love, like
some self-propagating plants, or roots, (which have taken strong hold in
the earth) when once got deep into the heart, is hardly ever totally
extirpated, except by matrimony indeed, which is the grave of love,
because it allows of the end of love. Then these ladies, all advocates
for herself, with herself, Miss Howe at their head, perhaps,----not in
favour to me--I don't expect that from Miss Howe--but perhaps in favour
to herself: for Miss Howe has reason to apprehend vengeance from me, I
ween. Her Hickman will be safe too, as she may think, if I marry her
beloved friend: for he has been a busy fellow, and I have long wished to
have a slap at him!--The lady's case desperate with her friends too; and
likely to be so, while single, and her character exposed to censure.
A husband is a charming cloke, a fig-leaved apron for a wife: and for a
lady to be protected in liberties, in diversions, which her heart pants
after--and all her faults, even the most criminal, were she to be
detected, to be thrown upon the husband, and the ridicule too; a charming
privilege for a wife!
But I shall have one comfort, if I marry, which pleases me not a little.
If a man's wife has a dear friend of her sex, a hundred liberties may be
taken with that friend, which could not be taken, if the single lady
(knowing what a title to freedoms marriage had given him with her friend)
was not less scrupulous with him than she ought to be as to herself.
Then there are broad freedoms (shall I call them?) that may be taken by
the husband with his wife, that may not be quite shocking, which, if the
wife bears before her friends, will serve for a lesson to that friend;
and if that friend bears to be present at them without check or
bashfulness, will show a sagacious fellow that she can bear as much
herself, at proper time and place.
Chastity, Jack, like piety, is an uniform thing. If in look, if in
speech, a girl give way to undue levity, depend upon it the devil has
got one of his cloven feet in her heart already--so, Hickman, take care
of thyself, I advise thee, whether I marry or not.
Thus, Jack, have I at once reconciled myself to all my relations--and if
the lady refuses me, thrown the fault upon her. This, I knew, would be
in my power to do at any time: and I was the more arrogant to them, in
order to heighten the merit of my compliance.
But, after all, it would be very whimsical, would it not, if all my plots
and contrivances should end in wedlock? What a punishment should this
come out to be, upon myself too, that all this while I have been
plundering my own treasury?
And then, can there be so much harm done, if it can be so easily repaired
by a few magical words; as I Robert take thee, Clarissa; and I Clarissa
take thee, Robert, with the rest of the for-better and for-worse
legerdemain, which will hocus pocus all the wrongs, the crying wrongs,
that I have done to Miss Harlowe, into acts of kindness and benevolence
to Mrs. Lovelace?
But, Jack, two things I must insist upon with thee, if this is to be the
case.--Having put secrets of so high a nature between me and my spouse
into thy power, I must, for my own honour, and for the honour of my wife
and illustrious progeny, first oblige thee to give up the letters I have
so profusely scribbled to thee; and in the next place, do by thee, as I
have head whispered in France was done by the true father of a certain
monarque; that is to say, cut thy throat, to prevent thy telling of
I have found means to heighten the kind opinion my friends here have
begun to have of me, by communicating to them the contents of the four
last letters which I wrote to press my elected spouse to solemnize. My
Lord repeated one of his phrases in my favour, that he hopes it will come
out, that the devil is not quite so black as he is painted.
Now pr'ythee, dear Jack, since so many good consequences are to flow from
these our nuptials, (one of which to thyself; since the sooner thou
diest, the less thou wilt have to answer for); and that I now-and-then am
apt to believe there may be something in the old fellow's notion, who
once told us, that he who kills a man, has all that man's sins to answer
for, as well as his own, because he gave him not the time to repent of
them that Heaven designed to allow him, [a fine thing for thee, if thou
consentest to be knocked of the head; but a cursed one for the
manslayer!] and since there may be room to fear that Miss Howe will not
give us her help; I pr'ythee now exert thyself to find out my Clarissa
Harlowe, that I may make a LOVELACE of her. Set all the city bellmen,
and the country criers, for ten miles round the metropolis, at work, with
their 'Oye's! and if any man, woman, or child can give tale or tidings.'
--Advertise her in all the news-papers; and let her know, 'That if she
will repair to Lady Betty Lawrance, or to Miss Charlotte Montague, she
may hear of something greatly to her advantage.'
My two cousins Montague are actually to set out to-morrow to Mrs. Howe's,
to engage her vixen daughter's interest with her friend. They will
flaunt it away in a chariot-and-six, for the greater state and
Confounded mortification to be reduced this low!--My pride hardly knows
how to brook it.
Lord M. has engaged the two venerables to stay here to attend the issue:
and I, standing very high at present in their good graces, am to gallant
them to Oxford, to Blenheim, and to several other places.
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
THURSDAY NIGHT, JULY 13.
Collins sets not out to-morrow. Some domestic occasion hinders him.
Rogers is but now returned from you, and cannot be well spared. Mr.
Hickman is gone upon an affair of my mother's, and has taken both his
servants with him, to do credit to his employer: so I am forced to
venture this by post, directed by your assumed name.
I am to acquaint you, that I have been favoured with a visit from Miss
Montague and her sister, in Lord M.'s chariot-and-six. My Lord's
gentleman rode here yesterday, with a request that I would receive a
visit from the two young ladies, on a very particular occasion; the
greater favour if it might be the next day.
As I had so little personal knowledge of either, I doubted not but it
must be in relation to the interests of my dear friend; and so consulting
with my mother, I sent them an invitation to favour me (because of the
distance) with their company at dinner; which they kindly accepted.
I hope, my dear, since things have been so very bad, that their errand to
me will be as agreeable to you, as any thing that can now happen. They
came in the name of Lord M. and Lady Sarah and Lady Betty his two
sisters, to desire my interest to engage you to put yourself into the
protection of Lady Betty; who will not part with you till she sees all
the justice done you that now can be done.
Lady Sarah had not stirred out for a twelve-month before; never since she
lost her agreeable daughter whom you and I saw at Mrs. Benson's: but was
induced to take this journey by Lady Betty, purely to procure you
reparation, if possible. And their joint strength, united with Lord
M.'s, has so far succeeded, that the wretch has bound himself to them,
and to these young ladies, in the solemnest manner, to wed you in their
presence, if they can prevail upon you to give him your hand.
This consolation you may take to yourself, that all this honourable
family have a due (that is, the highest) sense of your merit, and greatly
admire you. The horrid creature has not spared himself in doing justice
to your virtue; and the young ladies gave us such an account of his
confessions, and self-condemnation, that my mother was quite charmed with
you; and we all four shed tears of joy, that there is one of our sex [I,
that that one is my dearest friend,] who has done so much honour to it,
as to deserve the exalted praises given you by a wretch so
self-conceited; though pity for the excellent creature mixed with our
He promises by them to make the best of husbands; and my Lord, and Lady
Sarah, and Lady Betty, are all three to be guarantees that he will be so.
Noble settlements, noble presents, they talked of: they say, they left
Lord M. and his two sisters talking of nothing else but of those presents
and settlements, how most to do you honour, the greater in proportion for
the indignities you have suffered; and of changing of names by act of
parliament, preparative to the interest they will all join to make to get
the titles to go where the bulk of the estate must go, at my Lord's
death, which they apprehend to be nearer than they wish. Nor doubt they
of a thorough reformation in his morals, from your example and influence
I made a great many objections for you--all, I believe, that you could
have made yourself, had you been present. But I have no doubt to advise
you, my dear, (and so does my mother,) instantly to put yourself into