Part 2 out of 7
Lady Betty's protection, with a resolution to take the wretch for your
husband. All his future grandeur [he wants not pride] depends upon his
sincerity to you; and the young ladies vouch for the depth of his concern
for the wrongs he has done you.
All his apprehension is, in your readiness to communicate to every one,
as he fears, the evils you have suffered; which he thinks will expose you
both. But had you not revealed them to Lady Betty, you had not had so
warm a friend; since it is owing to two letters you wrote to her, that
all this good, as I hope it will prove, was brought about. But I advise
you to be more sparing in exposing what is past, whether you have
thoughts of accepting him or not: for what, my dear, can that avail now,
but to give a handle to vile wretches to triumph over your friends; since
every one will not know how much to your honour your very sufferings have
Your melancholy letter brought by Rogers,* with his account of your
indifferent health, confirmed to him by the woman of the house, as well
as by your looks and by your faintness while you talked with him, would
have given me inexpressible affliction, had I not bee cheered by this
agreeable visit from the young ladies. I hope you will be equally so on
my imparting the subject of it to you.
* See Letter II. of this volume.
Indeed, my dear, you must not hesitate. You must oblige them. The
alliance is splendid and honourable. Very few will know any thing of his
brutal baseness to you. All must end, in a little while, in a general
reconciliation; and you will be able to resume your course of doing the
good to every deserving object, which procured you blessings wherever you
set your foot.
I am concerned to find, that your father's inhuman curse affects you so
much as it does. Yet you are a noble creature to put it, as you put it--
I hope you are indeed more solicitous to get it revoked for their sakes
than for your own. It is for them to be penitent, who hurried you into
evils you could not well avoid. You are apt to judge by the unhappy
event, rather than upon the true merits of your case. Upon my honour, I
think you faultless almost in every step you have taken. What has not
that vilely-insolent and ambitious, yet stupid, brother of your's to
answer for?--that spiteful thing your sister too!
But come, since what is past cannot be helped, let us look forward. You
have now happy prospects opening to you: a family, already noble,
prepared to receive you with open arms and joyful heart; and who, by
their love to you, will teach another family (who know not what an
excellence they have confederated to persecute) how to value you. Your
prudence, your piety, will crown all. You will reclaim a wretch that,
for an hundred sakes more than for his own, one would wish to be
Like a traveller, who has been put out of his way, by the overflowing of
some rapid stream, you have only had the fore-right path you were in
overwhelmed. A few miles about, a day or two only lost, as I may say,
and you are in a way to recover it; and, by quickening your speed, will
get up the lost time. The hurry upon your spirits, mean time, will be
all your inconvenience; for it was not your fault you were stopped in
Think of this, my dear; and improve upon the allegory, as you know how.
If you can, without impeding your progress, be the means of assuaging the
inundation, of bounding the waters within their natural channel, and
thereby of recovering the overwhelmed path for the sake of future
passengers who travel the same way, what a merit will your's be!
I shall impatiently expect your next letter. The young ladies proposed
that you should put yourself, if in town, or near it, into the Reading
stage-coach, which inns somewhere in Fleet-street: and, if you give
notice of the day, you will be met on the road, and that pretty early in
your journey, by some of both sexes; one of whom you won't be sorry to
Mr. Hickman shall attend you at Slough; and Lady Betty herself, and one
of the Miss Montagues, with proper equipages, will be at Reading to
receive you; and carry you directly to the seat of the former: for I have
expressly stipulated, that the wretch himself shall not come into your
presence till your nuptials are to be solemnized, unless you give leave.
Adieu, my dearest friend. Be happy: and hundreds will then be happy of
consequence. Inexpressibly so, I am sure, will then be
Your ever affectionate
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
SUNDAY NIGHT, JULY 16.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
Why should you permit a mind, so much devoted to your service, to labour
under such an impatience as you must know it would labour under, for want
of an answer to a letter of such consequence to you, and therefore to me,
as was mine of Thursday night?--Rogers told me, on Thursday, you were so
ill; your letter sent by him was so melancholy!--Yet you must be ill
indeed, if you could not write something to such a letter; were it but a
line, to say you would write as soon as you could. Sure you have
received it. The master of your nearest post-office will pawn his
reputation that it went safe: I gave him particular charge of it.
God send me good news of your health, of your ability to write; and then
I will chide you--indeed I will--as I never yet did chide you.
I suppose your excuse will be, that the subject required consideration--
Lord! my dear, so it might; but you have so right a mind, and the matter
in question is so obvious, that you could not want half an hour to
determine.--Then you intended, probably, to wait Collins's call for your
letter as on to-morrow!--Suppose something were to happen, as it did on
Friday, that he should not be able to go to town to-morrow?--How, child,
could you serve me so!--I know not how to leave off scolding you!
Dear, honest Collins, make haste: he will: he will. He sets out, and
travels all night: for I have told him, that the dearest friend I have in
the world has it in her own choice to be happy, and to make me so; and
that the letter he will bring from her will assure it to me.
I have ordered him to go directly (without stopping at the
Saracen's-head-inn) to you at your lodgings. Matters are now in so good
a way, that he safely may.
Your expected letter is ready written I hope: if it can be not, he will
call for it at your hour.
You can't be so happy as you deserve to be: but I doubt not that you will
be as happy as you can; that is, that you will choose to put yourself
instantly into Lady Betty's protection. If you would not have the wretch
for your own sake; have him you must, for mine, for your family's, for
your honour's, sake!--Dear, honest Collins, make haste! make haste! and
relieve the impatient heart of my beloved's
Ever faithful, ever affectionate,
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CHARLOTTE MONTAGUE
TUESDAY MORN. JULY 18.
I take the liberty to write to you, by this special messenger. In the
phrensy of my soul I write to you, to demand of you, and of any of your
family who can tell news of my beloved friend, who, I doubt, has been
spirited away by the base arts of one of the blackest--O help me to a
name black enough to call him by! Her piety is proof against
self-attempts. It must, it must be he, the only wretch, who could injure
such an innocent; and now--who knows what he has done with her!
If I have patience, I will give you the occasion of this distracted
I wrote to her the very moment you and your sister left me. But being
unable to procure a special messenger, as I intended, was forced to send
by the post. I urged her, [you know I promised that I would: I urged
her,] with earnestness, to comply with the desires of all your family.
Having no answer, I wrote again on Sunday night; and sent it by a
particular hand, who travelled all night; chiding her for keeping a heart
so impatient as mine in such cruel suspense, upon a matter of so much
importance to her, and therefore to me. And very angry I was with her in
But, judge my astonishment, my distraction, when last night, the
messenger, returning post-haste, brought me word, that she had not been
heard of since Friday morning! and that a letter lay for her at her
lodgings, which came by the post; and must be mine!
She went out about six that morning; only intending, as they believe, to
go to morning-prayers at Covent-Garden church, just by her lodgings, as
she had done divers times before--Went on foot!--Left word she should be
back in an hour!--Very poorly in health!
Lord, have mercy upon me! What shall I do!--I was a distracted creature
all last night!
O Madam! you know not how I love her!--My own soul is not dearer to me,
than my Clarissa Harlowe!--Nay! she is my soul--for I now have none--only
a miserable one, however--for she was the joy, the stay, the prop of my
life. Never woman loved woman as we love one another. It is impossible
to tell you half her excellencies. It was my glory and my pride, that I
was capable of so fervent a love of so pure and matchless a creature.--
But now--who knows, whether the dear injured has not all her woes, her
undeserved woes, completed in death; or is not reserved for a worse fate!
--This I leave to your inquiry--for--your--[shall I call the man----
your?] relation I understand is still with you.
Surely, my good Ladies, you were well authorized in the proposals you
made in presence of my mother!--Surely he dare not abuse your confidence,
and the confidence of your noble relations! I make no apology for giving
you this trouble, nor for desiring you to favour with a line, by this
Your almost distracted
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
M. HALL, SAT. NIGHT, JUNE 15.
All undone, undone, by Jupiter!--Zounds, Jack, what shall I do now! a
curse upon all my plots and contrivances!--But I have it----in the very
heart and soul of me I have it!
Thou toldest me, that my punishments were but beginning--Canst thou, O
fatal prognosticator, cans thou tell me, where they will end?
Thy assistance I bespeak. The moment thou receivest this, I bespeak thy
assistance. This messenger rides for life and death--and I hope he'll
find you at your town-lodgings; if he meet not with you at Edgware;
where, being Sunday, he will call first.
This cursed, cursed woman, on Friday dispatched man and horse with the
joyful news (as she thought it would be to me) in an exulting letter from
Sally Martin, that she had found out my angel as on Wednesday last; and
on Friday morning, after she had been at prayers at Covent-Garden church
--praying for my reformation perhaps--got her arrested by two sheriff's
officers, as she was returning to her lodgings, who (villains!) put her
into a chair they had in readiness, and carried her to one of the cursed
She has arrested her for 150L. pretendedly due for board and lodging: a
sum (besides the low villany of the proceeding) which the dear soul could
not possibly raise: all her clothes and effects, except what she had on
and with her when she went away, being at the old devil's.
And here, for an aggravation, has the dear creature lain already two
days; for I must be gallanting my two aunts and my two cousins, and
giving Lord M. an airing after his lying-in--pox upon the whole family
of us! and returned not till within this hour: and now returned to my
distraction, on receiving the cursed tidings, and the exulting letter.
Hasten, hasten, dear Jack; for the love of God, hasten to the injured
charmer! my heart bleeds for her!--she deserved not this!--I dare not
stir. It will be thought done by my contrivance--and if I am absent from
this place, that will confirm the suspicion.
Damnation seize quick this accursed woman!--Yet she thinks she has made
no small merit with me. Unhappy, thrice unhappy circumstances!--At a
time too, when better prospects were opening for the sweet creature!
Hasten to her!--Clear me of this cursed job. Most sincerely, by all
that's sacred, I swear you may!----Yet have I been such a villanous
plotter, that the charming sufferer will hardly believe it: although the
proceeding be so dirtily low.
Set her free the moment you see her: without conditioning, free!--On your
knees, for me, beg her pardon: and assure her, that, wherever she goes, I
will not molest her: no, nor come near her without her leave: and be sure
allow not any of the d----d crew to go near her--only let her permit you
to receive her commands from time to time.--You have always been her
friend and advocate. What would I now give, had I permitted you to have
been a successful one!
Let her have all her clothes and effects sent her instantly, as a small
proof of my sincerity. And force upon the dear creature, who must be
moneyless, what sums you can get her to take. Let me know how she has
been treated. If roughly, woe be to the guilty!
Take thy watch in thy hand, after thou hast freed her, and d--n the whole
brood, dragon and serpents, by the hour, till thou'rt tired; and tell
them, I bid thee do so for their cursed officiousness.
They had nothing to do when they had found her, but to wait my orders how
The great devil fly away with them all, one by one, through the roof of
their own cursed house, and dash them to pieces against the tops of
chimneys as he flies; and let the lesser devils collect the scattered
scraps, and bag them up, in order to put them together again in their
allotted place, in the element of fire, with cements of molten lead.
A line! a line! a kingdom for a line! with tolerable news, the first
moment thou canst write!--This fellow waits to bring it.
MISS CHARLOTTE MONTAGUE, TO MISS HOWE
M. HALL, TUESDAY AFTERNOON.
DEAR MISS HOWE,
Your letter has infinitely disturbed us all.
This wretched man has been half distracted ever since Saturday night.
We knew not what ailed him, till your letter was brought.
Vile wretch, as he is, he is however innocent of this new evil.
Indeed he is, he must be; as I shall more at large acquaint you.
But will not now detain your messenger.
Only to satisfy your just impatience, by telling you, that the dear young
lady is safe, and we hope well.
A horrid mistake of his general orders has subjected her to the terror
and disgrace of an arrest.
Poor dear Miss Harlowe!--Her sufferings have endeared her to us, almost
as much as her excellencies can have endeared her to you.
But she must now be quite at liberty.
He has been a distracted man, ever since the news was brought him; and we
knew not what ailed him.
But that I said before.
My Lord M. my lady Sarah Sadleir, and my Lady Betty Lawrance, will all
write to you this very afternoon.
And so will the wretch himself.
And send it by a servant of their own, not to detain your's.
I know not what I write.
But you shall have all the particulars, just, and true, and fair, from
Your most faithful and obedient servant,
MISS MONTAGUE, TO MISS HOWE
M. HALL, JULY 18.
In pursuance of my promise, I will minutely inform you of every thing we
know relating to this shocking transaction.
When we returned from you on Thursday night, and made our report of the
kind reception both we and our message met with, in that you had been so
good as to promise to use your interest with your dear friend, it put us
all into such good humour with one another, and with my cousin Lovelace,
that we resolved upon a little tour of two days, the Friday and Saturday,
in order to give an airing to my Lord, and Lady Sarah, both having been
long confined, one by illness, the other by melancholy. My Lord, Lady
Sarah, Lady Betty, and myself, were in the coach; and all our talk was of
dear Miss Harlowe, and of our future happiness with her: Mr. Lovelace and
my sister (who is his favourite, as he is her's) were in his phaeton:
and, whenever we joined company, that was still the subject.
As to him, never man praised woman as he did her: Never man gave greater
hopes, and made better resolutions. He is none of those that are
governed by interest. He is too proud for that. But most sincerely
delighted was he in talking of her; and of his hopes of her returning
favour. He said, however, more than once, that he feared she would not
forgive him; for, from his heart, he must say, he deserved not her
forgiveness: and often and often, that there was not such a woman in the
This I mention to show you, Madam, that he could not at this time be
privy to such a barbarous and disgraceful treatment of her.
We returned not till Saturday night, all in as good humour with one
another as we went out. We never had such pleasure in his company
before. If he would be good, and as he ought to be, no man would be
better beloved by relations than he. But never was there a greater
alteration in man when he came home, and received a letter from a
messenger, who, it seems, had been flattering himself in hopes of a
reward, and had been waiting for his return from the night before. In
such a fury!--The man fared but badly. He instantly shut himself up to
write, and ordered man and horse to be ready to set out before day-light
the next morning, to carry the letter to a friend in London.
He would not see us all that night; neither breakfast nor dine with us
next day. He ought, he said, never to see the light; and bid my sister,
whom he called an innocent, (and who was very desirous to know the
occasion of all this,) shun him, saying, he was a wretch, and made so by
his own inventions, and the consequences of them.
None of us could get out of him what so disturbed him. We should too
soon hear, he said, to the utter dissipation of all his hopes, and of all
We could easily suppose that all was not right with regard to the worthy
young lady and him.
He went out each day; and said he wanted to run away from himself.
Late on Monday night he received a letter from Mr. Belford, his most
favoured friend, by his own messenger; who came back in a foam, man and
horse. Whatever were the contents, he was not easier, but like a madman
rather: but still would not let us know the occasion. But to my sister
he said, nobody, my dear Patsey, who can think but of half the plagues
that pursue an intriguing spirit, would ever quit the fore-right path.
He was out when your messenger came: but soon came in; and bad enough was
his reception from us all. And he said, that his own torments were
greater than ours, than Miss Harlowe's, or your's, Madam, all put
together. He would see your letter. He always carries every thing
before him: and said, when he had read it, that he thanked God, he was
not such a villain, as you, with too great an appearance of reason,
Thus, then, he owned the matter to be.
He had left general instructions to the people of the lodgings the dear
lady went from, to find out where she was gone to, if possible, that he
might have an opportunity to importune her to be his, before their
difference was public. The wicked people (officious at least, if not
wicked) discovered where she was on Wednesday; and, for fear she should
remove before they could have his orders, they put her under a gentle
restraint, as they call it; and dispatched away a messenger to acquaint
him with it; and to take his orders.
This messenger arrived Friday afternoon; and staid here till we returned
on Saturday night:--and, when he read the letter he brought--I have told
you, Madam, what a fury he was in.
The letter he retired to write, and which he dispatched away so early on
Sunday morning, was to conjure his friend, Mr. Belford, on receipt of it,
to fly to the lady, and set her free; and to order all her things to be
sent to her; and to clear him of so black and villanous a fact, as he
justly called it.
And by this time he doubts not that all is happily over; and the beloved
of his soul (as he calls her at ever word) in an easier and happier way
than she was before the horrid fact. And now he owns that the reason why
Mr. Belford's letter set him into stronger ravings was, because of his
keeping him wilfully (and on purpose to torment him) in suspense; and
reflecting very heavily upon him, (for Mr. Belford, he says, was ever the
lady's friend and advocate); and only mentioning, that he had waited upon
her; referring to his next for further particulars; which Mr. Belford
could have told him at the time.
He declares, and we can vouch for him, that he has been, ever since last
Saturday night, the most miserable of men.
He forbore going up himself, that it might not be imagined he was guilty
of so black a contrivance; and that he went up to complete any base views
in consequence of it.
Believe us all, dear Miss Howe, under the deepest concern at this unhappy
accident; which will, we fear, exasperate the charming sufferer; not too
much for the occasion, but too much for our hopes.
O what wretches are these free-living men, who love to tread in intricate
paths; and, when once they err, know not how far out of the way their
headstrong course may lead them!
My sister joins her thanks with mine to your good mother and self, for
the favours you heaped upon us last Thursday. We beseech your continued
interest as to the subject of our visit. It shall be all our studies to
oblige and recompense the dear lady to the utmost of our power, and for
what she has suffered from the unhappy man.
We are, dear Madam,
Your obliged and faithful servants,
CHARLOTTE | MONTAGUE.
DEAR MISS HOWE,
We join in the above request of Miss Charlotte and Miss Patty Montague,
for your favour and interest; being convinced that the accident was an
accident, and no plot or contrivance of a wretch too full of them. We
Your most obedient humble servants,
DEAR MISS HOWE,
After what is written above, by names and characters of unquestionable
honour, I might have been excused signing a name almost as hateful to
myself, as I KNOW it is to you. But the above will have it so. Since,
therefore, I must write, it shall be the truth; which is, that if I may
be once more admitted to pay my duty to the most deserving and most
injured of her sex, I will be content to do it with a halter about my
neck; and, attended by a parson on my right hand, and the hangman on my
left, be doomed, at her will, either to the church or the gallows.
Your most humble servant,
TUESDAY, JULY 18.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
SUNDAY NIGHT, JULY 16.
What a cursed piece of work hast thou made of it, with the most excellent
of women! Thou mayest be in earnest, or in jest, as thou wilt; but the
poor lady will not be long either thy sport, or the sport of fortune!
I will give thee an account of a scene that wants but her affecting pen
to represent it justly; and it would wring all the black blood out of thy
Thou only, who art the author of her calamities, shouldst have attended
her in her prison. I am unequal to such a task: nor know I any other man
This last act, however unintended by thee, yet a consequence of thy
general orders, and too likely to be thought agreeable to thee, by those
who know thy other villanies by her, has finished thy barbarous work.
And I advise thee to trumpet forth every where, how much in earnest thou
art to marry her, whether true or not.
Thou mayest safely do it. She will not live to put thee to the trial;
and it will a little palliate for thy enormous usage of her, and be a
mean to make mankind, who know not what I know of the matter, herd a
little longer with thee, and forbear to hunt thee to thy fellow-savages
in the Lybian wilds and desarts.
Your messenger found me at Edgware expecting to dinner with me several
friends, whom I had invited three days before. I sent apologies to them,
as in a case of life and death; and speeded to town to the
woman's: for how knew I but shocking attempts might be made upon her by
the cursed wretches: perhaps by your connivance, in order to mortify her
into your measures?
Little knows the public what villanies are committed by vile wretches, in
these abominable houses upon innocent creatures drawn into their snares.
Finding the lady not there, I posted away to the officer's, although
Sally told me that she had but just come from thence; and that she had
refused to see her, or (as she sent down word) any body else; being
resolved to have the remainder of that Sunday to herself, as it might,
perhaps, be the last she should ever see.
I had the same thing told me, when I got thither.
I sent up to let her know, that I came with a commission to set her at
liberty. I was afraid of sending up the name of a man known to be your
friend. She absolutely refused to see any man, however, for that day, or
to answer further to any thing said from me.
Having therefore informed myself of all that the officer, and his wife,
and servant, could acquaint me with, as well in relation to the horrid
arrest, as to her behaviour, and the women's to her; and her ill state of
health; I went back to Sinclair's, as I will still call her, and heard
the three women's story. From all which I am enabled to give you the
following shocking particulars: which may serve till I can see the
unhappy lady herself to-morrow, if then I gain admittance to her. You
will find that I have been very minute in my inquiries.
Your villain it was that set the poor lady, and had the impudence to
appear, and abet the sheriff's officers in the cursed transaction. He
thought, no doubt, that he was doing the most acceptable service to his
blessed master. They had got a chair; the head ready up, as soon as
service was over. And as she came out of the church, at the door
fronting Bedford-street, the officers, stepping up to her, whispered that
they had an action against her.
She was terrified, trembled, and turned pale.
Action, said she! What is that!----I have committed no bad action!----
Lord bless me! men, what mean you?
That you are our prisoner, Madam.
Prisoner, Sirs!--What--How--Why--What have I done?
You must go with us. Be pleased, Madam, to step into this chair.
With you!--With men! Must go with men!--I am not used to go with strange
men!----Indeed you must excuse me!
We can't excuse you. We are sheriff's officers, We have a writ against
you. You must go with us, and you shall know at whose suit.
Suit! said the charming innocent; I don't know what you mean. Pray, men,
don't lay hands upon me; (they offering to put her into the chair.) I am
not used to be thus treated--I have done nothing to deserve it.
She then spied thy villain--O thou wretch, said she, where is thy vile
master?--Am I again to be his prisoner? Help, good people!
A crowd had begun to gather.
My master is in the country, Madam, many miles off. If you please to go
with these men, they will treat you civilly.
The people were most of them struck with compassion. A fine young
creature!--A thousand pities cried some. While some few threw out vile
and shocking reflections! But a gentleman interposed, and demanded to
see the fellow's authority.
They showed it. Is your name Clarissa Harlowe, Madam? said he.
Yes, yes, indeed, ready to sink, my name was Clarissa Harlowe:--but it is
now Wretchedness!----Lord be merciful to me, what is to come next?
You must go with these men, Madam, said the gentleman: they have
authority for what they do.
He pitied her, and retired.
Indeed you must, said one chairman.
Indeed you must, said the other.
Can nobody, joined in another gentleman, be applied to, who will see that
so fine a creature is not ill used?
Thy villain answered, orders were given particularly for that. She had
rich relations. She need but ask and have. She would only be carried to
the officer's house till matters could be made up. The people she had
lodged with loved her:--but she had left her lodgings privately.
Oh! had she those tricks already? cried one or two.
She heard not this--but said--Well, if I must go, I must--I cannot resist
--but I will not be carried to the woman's! I will rather die at your
feet, than be carried to the woman's.
You won't be carried there, Madam, cried thy fellow.
Only to my house, Madam, said one of the officers.
Where is that?
In High-Holborn, Madam.
I know not where High-Holborn is: but any where, except to the woman's.
----But am I to go with men only?
Looking about her, and seeing the three passages, to wit, that leading to
Henrietta-street, that to King-street, and the fore-right one, to
Bedford-street, crowded, she started--Any where--any where, said she, but
to the woman's! And stepping into the chair, threw herself on the seat,
in the utmost distress and confusion--Carry me, carry me out of sight--
cover me--cover me up--for ever--were her words.
Thy villain drew the curtain: she had not power: and they went away with
her through a vast crowd of people.
Here I must rest. I can write no more at present.
Only, Lovelace, remember, all this was to a Clarissa.
The unhappy lady fainted away when she was taken out of the chair at the
Several people followed the chair to the very house, which is in a
wretched court. Sally was there; and satisfied some of the inquirers,
that the young gentlewoman would be exceedingly well used: and they soon
Dorcas was also there; but came not in her sight. Sally, as a favour,
offered to carry her to her former lodgings: but she declared they should
carry her thither a corpse, if they did.
Very gentle usage the women boast of: so would a vulture, could it speak,
with the entrails of its prey upon its rapacious talons. Of this you'll
judge from what I have to recite.
She asked, what was meant by this usage of her? People told me, said
she, that I must go with the men: that they had authority to take me: so
I submitted. But now, what is to be the end of this disgraceful
The end, said the vile Sally Martin, is, for honest people to come at
Bless me! have I taken away any thing that belongs to those who have
obtained the power over me?--I have left very valuable things behind me;
but have taken away that is not my own.
And who do you think, Miss Harlowe; for I understand, said the cursed
creature, you are not married; who do you think is to pay for your board
and your lodgings! such handsome lodgings! for so long a time as you were
at Mrs. Sinclair's?
Lord have mercy upon me!--Miss Martin, (I think you are Miss Martin!)--
And is this the cause of such a disgraceful insult upon me in the open
And cause enough, Miss Harlowe! (fond of gratifying her jealous revenge,
by calling her Miss,)--One hundred and fifty guineas, or pounds, is no
small sum to lose--and by a young creature who would have bilked her
You amaze me, Miss Martin!--What language do you talk in?--Bilk my
lodgings?--What is that?
She stood astonished and silent for a few moments.
But recovering herself, and turning from her to the window, she wrung her
hands [the cursed Sally showed me how!] and lifting them up--Now,
Lovelace: now indeed do I think I ought to forgive thee!--But who shall
forgive Clarissa Harlowe!----O my sister!--O my brother!--Tender mercies
were your cruelties to this!
After a pause, her handkerchief drying up her falling tears, she turned
to Sally: Now, have I noting to do but acquiesce--only let me say, that
if this aunt of your's, this Mrs. Sinclair, or this man, this Mr.
Lovelace, come near me; or if I am carried to the horrid house; (for
that, I suppose, is the design of this new outrage;) God be merciful to
the poor Clarissa Harlowe!----Look to the consequence!----Look, I charge
you, to the consequence!
The vile wretch told her, it was not designed to carry her any where
against her will: but, if it were, they should take care not to be
frighted again by a penknife.
She cast up her eyes to Heaven, and was silent--and went to the farthest
corner of the room, and, sitting down, threw her handkerchief over her
Sally asked her several questions; but not answering her, she told her,
she would wait upon her by-and-by, when she had found her speech.
She ordered the people to press her to eat and drink. She must be
fasting--nothing but her prayers and tears, poor thing!--were the
merciless devil's words, as she owned to me.--Dost think I did not curse
She went away; and, after her own dinner, returned.
The unhappy lady, by this devil's account of her, then seemed either
mortified into meekness, or to have made a resolution not to be provoked
by the insults of this cursed creature.
Sally inquired, in her presence, whether she had eat or drank any thing;
and being told by the woman, that she could not prevail upon her to taste
a morsel, or drink a drop, she said, this is wrong, Miss Harlowe! Very
wrong!--Your religion, I think, should teach you, that starving yourself
She answered not.
The wretch owned she was resolved to make her speak.
She asked if Mabell should attend her, till it were seen what her friends
would do for her in discharge of the debt? Mabell, said she, had not yet
earned the clothes you were so good as to give her.
Am I not worthy an answer, Miss Harlowe?
I would answer you (said the sweet sufferer, without any emotion) if I
I have ordered pen, ink, and paper, to be brought you, Miss Harlowe.
There they are. I know you love writing. You may write to whom you
please. Your friend, Miss Howe, will expect to hear from you.
I have no friend, said she, I deserve none.
Rowland, for that's the officer's name, told her, she had friends enow to
pay the debt, if she would write.
She would trouble nobody; she had no friends; was all they could get from
her, while Sally staid: but yet spoken with a patience of spirit, as if
she enjoyed her griefs.
The insolent creature went away, ordering them, in the lady's hearing, to
be very civil to her, and to let her want for nothing. Now had she, she
owned, the triumph of her heart over this haughty beauty, who kept them
all at such a distance in their own house!
What thinkest thou, Lovelace, of this!--This wretch's triumph was over a
About six in the evening, Rowland's wife pressed her to drink tea. She
said, she had rather have a glass of water; for her tongue was ready to
cleave to the roof of her mouth.
The woman brought her a glass, and some bread and butter. She tried to
taste the latter; but could not swallow it: but eagerly drank the water;
lifting up her eyes in thankfulness for that!!!
The divine Clarissa, Lovelace,--reduced to rejoice for a cup of cold
water!--By whom reduced?
About nine o'clock she asked if any body were to be her bedfellow.
Their maid, if she pleased; or, as she was so weak and ill, the girl
should sit up with her, if she chose she should.
She chose to be alone both night and day, she said. But might she not be
trusted with the key of the room where she was to lie down; for she
should not put off her clothes!
That, they told her, could not be.
She was afraid not, she said.--But indeed she would not get away, if she
They told me, that they had but one bed, besides that they lay in
themselves, (which they would fain have had her accept of,) and besides
that their maid lay in, in a garret, which they called a hole of a
garret: and that that one bed was the prisoner's bed; which they made
several apologies to me about. I suppose it is shocking enough.
But the lady would not lie in theirs. Was she not a prisoner? she said
--let her have the prisoner's room.
Yet they owned that she started, when she was conducted thither. But
recovering herself, Very well, said she--why should not all be of a
piece?--Why should not my wretchedness be complete?
She found fault, that all the fastenings were on the outside, and none
within; and said, she could not trust herself in a room where others
could come in at their pleasure, and she not go out. She had not been
used to it!!!
Dear, dear soul!--My tears flow as I write!----Indeed, Lovelace, she had
not been used to such treatment.
They assured her, that it was as much their duty to protect her from
other persons' insults, as from escaping herself.
Then they were people of more honour, she said, than she had been of late
She asked if they knew Mr. Lovelace?
No, was their answer.
Have you heard of him?
Well, then, you may be good sort of folks in your way.
Pause here for a moment, Lovelace!--and reflect--I must.
Again they asked her if they should send any word to her lodgings?
These are my lodgings now; are they not?--was all her answer.
She sat up in a chair all night, the back against the door; having, it
seems, thrust a piece of a poker through the staples where a bolt had
been on the inside.
Next morning Sally and Polly both went to visit her.
She had begged of Sally, the day before, that she might not see Mrs.
Sinclair, nor Dorcas, nor the broken-toothed servant, called William.
Polly would have ingratiated herself with her; and pretended to be
concerned for her misfortunes. But she took no more notice of her than
of the other.
They asked if she had any commands?--If she had, she only need to mention
what they were, and she should be obeyed.
None at all, she said.
How did she like the people of the house? Were they civil to her?
Pretty well, considering she had no money to give them.
Would she accept of any money? they could put it to her account.
She would contract no debts.
Had she any money about her?
She meekly put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out half a guinea, and
a little silver. Yes, I have a little.----But here should be fees paid,
I believe. Should there not? I have heard of entrance-money to compound
for not being stript. But these people are very civil people, I fancy;
for they have not offered to take away my clothes.
They have orders to be civil to you.
It is very kind.
But we two will bail you, Miss, if you will go back with us to Mrs.
Not for the world!
Her's are very handsome apartments.
The fitter for those who own them!
These are very sad ones.
The fitter for me!
You may be happy yet, Miss, if you will.
I hope I shall.
If you refuse to eat or drink, we will give bail, and take you with us.
Then I will try to eat and drink. Any thing but go with you.
Will you not send to your new lodgings; the people will be frighted.
So they will, if I send. So they will, if they know where I am.
But have you no things to send for from thence?
There is what will pay for their lodgings and trouble: I shall not lessen
But perhaps letters or messages may be left for you there.
I have very few friends; and to those I have I will spare the
mortification of knowing what has befallen me.
We are surprised at your indifference, Miss Harlowe! Will you not write
to any of your friends?
Why, you don't think of tarrying here always?
I shall not live always.
Do you think you are to stay here as long as you live?
That's as it shall please God, and those who have brought me hither.
Should you like to be at liberty?
I am miserable!--What is liberty to the miserable, but to be more
How miserable, Miss?--You may make yourself as happy as you please.
I hope you are both happy.
May you be more and more happy!
But we wish you to be so too.
I shall never be of your opinion, I believe, as to what happiness is.
What do you take our opinion of happiness to be?
To live at Mrs. Sinclair's.
Perhaps, said Sally, we were once as squeamish and narrow-minded as you.
How came it over with you?
Because we saw the ridiculousness of prudery.
Do you come hither to persuade me to hate prudery, as you call it, as
much as you do?
We came to offer our service to you.
It is out of your power to serve me.
It is not in my inclination to trouble you.
You may be worse offered.
Perhaps I may.
You are mighty short, Miss.
As I wish your visit to be, Ladies.
They owned to me, that they cracked their fans, and laughed.
Adieu, perverse beauty!
Your servant, Ladies.
Adieu, haughty airs!
You see me humbled--
As you deserve, Miss Harlowe. Pride will have a fall.
Better fall, with what you call pride, than stand with meanness.
I had once a better opinion of you, Miss Horton!--Indeed you should not
insult the miserable.
Neither should the miserable, said Sally, insult people for their
I should be sorry if I did.
Mrs. Sinclair shall attend you by-and-by, to know if you have any
commands for her.
I have no wish for any liberty, but that of refusing to see her, and one
What we came for, was to know if you had any proposals to make for your
Then, it seems, the officer put in. You have very good friends, Madam,
I understand. Is it not better that you make it up? Charges will run
high. A hundred and fifty guineas are easier paid than two hundred. Let
these ladies bail you, and go along with them; or write to your friends
to make it up.
Sally said, There is a gentleman who saw you taken, and was so much moved
for you, Miss Harlowe, that he would gladly advance the money for you,
and leave you to pay it when you can.
See, Lovelace, what cursed devils these are! This is the way, we know,
that many an innocent heart is thrown upon keeping, and then upon the
town. But for these wretches thus to go to work with such an angel as
this!--How glad would have been the devilish Sally, to have had the least
handle to report to thee a listening ear, or patient spirit, upon this
Sir, said she, with high indignation, to the officer, did not you say,
last night, that it was as much your business to protect me from the
insults of others, as from escaping?--Cannot I be permitted to see whom
I please? and to refuse admittance to those I like not?
Your creditors, Madam, will expect to see you.
Not if I declare I will not treat with them.
Then, Madam, you will be sent to prison.
Prison, friend!--What dost thou call thy house?
Not a prison, Madam.
Why these iron-barred windows, then? Why these double locks and bolts
all on the outside, none on the in?
And down she dropt into her chair, and they could not get another word
from her. She threw her handkerchief over her face, as one before, which
was soon wet with tears; and grievously, they own, she sobbed.
Gentle treatment, Lovelace!--Perhaps thou, as well as these wretches,
will think it so!
Sally then ordered a dinner, and said, They would soon be back a gain,
and see that she eat and drank, as a good christian should, comporting
herself to her condition, and making the best of it.
What has not this charming creature suffered, what has she not gone
through, in these last three months, that I know of!--Who would think
such a delicately-framed person could have sustained what she has
sustained! We sometimes talk of bravery, of courage, of fortitude!--Here
they are in perfection!--Such bravoes as thou and I should never have
been able to support ourselves under half the persecutions, the
disappointments, and contumelies, that she has met with; but, like
cowards, should have slid out of the world, basely, by some back-door;
that is to say, by a sword, by a pistol, by a halter, or knife;--but here
is a fine-principled woman, who, by dint of this noble consideration, as
I imagine, [What else can support her?] that she has not deserved the
evils she contends with; and that this world is designed but as a
transitory state of the probation; and that she is travelling to another
and better; puts up with all the hardships of the journey; and is not to
be diverted from her course by the attacks of thieves and robbers, or any
other terrors and difficulties; being assured of an ample reward at the
end of it.
If thou thinkest this reflection uncharacteristic from a companion and
friend of thine, imaginest thou, that I profited nothing by my long
attendance on my uncle in his dying state; and from the pious reflections
of the good clergyman, who, day by day, at the poor man's own request,
visited and prayed by him?--And could I have another such instance, as
this, to bring all these reflections home to me?
Then who can write of good persons, and of good subjects, and be capable
of admiring them, and not be made serious for the time? And hence may we
gather what a benefit to the morals of men the keeping of good company
must be; while those who keep only bad, must necessarily more and more
harden, and be hardened.
'Tis twelve of the clock, Sunday night--I can think of nothing but this
excellent creature. Her distresses fill my head and my heart. I was
drowsy for a quarter of an hour; but the fit is gone off. And I will
continue the melancholy subject from the information of these wretches.
Enough, I dare say, will arise in the visit I shall make, if admitted
to-morrow, to send by thy servant, as to the way I am likely to find her
After the women had left her, she complained of her head and her heart;
and seemed terrified with apprehensions of being carried once more to
Refusing any thing for breakfast, Mrs. Rowland came up to her, and told
her, (as these wretches owned they had ordered her, for fear she should
starve herself,) that she must and should have tea, and bread and butter:
and that, as she had friends who could support her, if she wrote to them,
it was a wrong thing, both for herself and them, to starve herself thus.
If it be for your own sakes, said she, that is another thing: let coffee,
or tea, or chocolate, or what you will, be got: and put down a chicken to
my account every day, if you please, and eat it yourselves. I will taste
it, if I can. I would do nothing to hinder you. I have friends will pay
you liberally, when they know I am gone.
They wondered, they told her, at her strange composure in such
They were nothing, she said, to what she had suffered already from the
vilest of all men. The disgrace of seizing her in the street; multitudes
of people about her; shocking imputations wounding her ears; had indeed
been very affecting to her. But that was over.--Every thing soon would!
--And she should be still more composed, were it not for the
apprehensions of seeing one man, and one woman; and being tricked or
forced back to the vilest house in the world.
Then were it not better to give way to the two gentlewoman's offer to
bail her?--They could tell her, it was a very kind proffer; and what was
not to be met every day.
She believed so.
The ladies might, possibly, dispense with her going back to the house to
which she had such an antipathy. Then the compassionate gentleman, who
was inclined to make it up with her creditors on her own bond--it was
very strange to them she hearkened not to so generous a proposal.
Did the two ladies tell you who the gentleman was?--Or, did they say any
more on the subject?
Yes, they did! and hinted to me, said the woman, that you had nothing to
do but to receive a visit from the gentleman, and the money, they
believed, would be laid down on your own bond or note.
She was startled.
I charge you, said she, as you will answer it one day to my friends, I
charge you don't. If you do, you know not what may be the consequence.
They apprehended no bad consequence, they said, in doing their duty: and
if she knew not her own good, her friends would thank them for taking any
innocent steps to serve her, though against her will.
Don't push me upon extremities, man!--Don't make me desperate, woman!--I
have no small difficulty, notwithstanding the seeming composure you just
now took notice of, to bear, as I ought to bear, the evils I suffer. But
if you bring a man or men to me, be the pretence what it will----
She stopt there, and looked so earnestly, and so wildly, they said, that
they did not know but she would do some harm to herself, if they
disobeyed her; and that would be a sad thing in their house, and might be
their ruin. They therefore promised, that no man should be brought to
her but by her own consent.
Mrs. Rowland prevailed on her to drink a dish of tea, and taste some
bread and butter, about eleven on Saturday morning: which she probably
did to have an excuse not to dine with the women when they returned.
But she would not quit her prison-room, as she called it, to go into
'Unbarred windows, and a lightsomer apartment,' she said, 'had too
cheerful an appearance for her mind.'
A shower falling, as she spoke, 'What,' said she, looking up, 'do the
elements weep for me?'
At another time, 'The light of the sun was irksome to her. The sun
seemed to shine in to mock her woes.'
'Methought,' added she, 'the sun darting in, and gilding these iron bars,
plays upon me like the two women, who came to insult my haggard looks, by
the word beauty; and my dejected heart, by the word haughty airs!'
Sally came again at dinner-time, to see how she fared, as she told her;
and that she did not starve herself: and, as she wanted to have some talk
with her, if she gave her leave, she would dine with her.
I cannot eat.
You must try, Miss Harlowe.
And, dinner being ready just then, she offered her hand, and desired her
to walk down.
No; she would not stir out of her prison-room.
These sullen airs won't do, Miss Harlowe: indeed they won't.
She was silent.
You will have harder usage than any you have ever yet known, I can tell
you, if you come not into some humour to make matters up.
She was still silent.
Come, Miss, walk down to dinner. Let me entreat you, do. Miss Horton is
below: she was once your favourite.
She waited for an answer: but received none.
We came to make some proposals to you, for your good; though you
affronted us so lately. And we would not let Mrs. Sinclair come in
person, because we thought to oblige you.
This is indeed obliging.
Come, give me your hand. Miss Harlowe: you are obliged to me, I can tell
you that: and let us go down to Miss Horton.
Excuse me: I will not stir out of this room.
Would you have me and Miss Horton dine in this filthy bed-room?
It is not a bed-room to me. I have not been in bed; nor will, while I am
And yet you care not, as I see, to leave the house.--And so, you won't go
down, Miss Harlowe?
I won't, except I am forced to it.
Well, well, let it alone. I sha'n't ask Miss Horton to dine in this
room, I assure you. I will send up a plate.
And away the little saucy toad fluttered down.
When they had dined, up they came together.
Well, Miss, you would not eat any thing, it seems?--Very pretty sullen
airs these!--No wonder the honest gentleman had such a hand with you.
She only held up her hands and eyes; the tears trickling down her cheeks.
Insolent devils!--how much more cruel and insulting are bad women even
than bad men!
Methinks, Miss, said Sally, you are a little soily, to what we have seen
you. Pity such a nice lady should not have changes of apparel! Why
won't you send to your lodgings for linen, at least?
I am not nice now.
Miss looks well and clean in any thing, said Polly. But, dear Madam, why
won't you send to your lodgings? Were it but in kindness to the people?
They must have a concern about you. And your Miss Howe will wonder
what's become of you; for, no doubt, you correspond.
She turned from them, and, to herself, said, Too much! Too much!--She
tossed her handkerchief, wet before with her tears, from her, and held
her apron to her eyes.
Don't weep, Miss! said the vile Polly.
Yet do, cried the viler Sally, it will be a relief. Nothing, as Mr.
Lovelace once told me, dries sooner than tears. For once I too wept
I could not bear the recital of this with patience. Yet I cursed them
not so much as I should have done, had I not had a mind to get from them
all the particulars of their gentle treatment: and this for two reasons;
the one, that I might stab thee to the heart with the repetition; and the
other, that I might know upon what terms I am likely to see the unhappy
Well, but, Miss Harlowe, cried Sally, do you think these forlorn airs
pretty? You are a good christian, child. Mrs. Rowland tells me, she has
got you a Bible-book.--O there it lies!--I make no doubt but you have
doubled down the useful places, as honest Matt. Prior says.
Then rising, and taking it up.--Ay, so you have.--The Book of Job! One
opens naturally here, I see--My mamma made me a fine Bible-scholar.--You
see, Miss Horton, I know something of the book.
They proposed once more to bail her, and to go home with them. A motion
which she received with the same indignation as before.
Sally told her, That she had written in a very favourable manner, in her
behalf, to you; and that she every hour expected an answer; and made no
doubt, that you would come up with a messenger, and generously pay the
whole debt, and ask her pardon for neglecting it.
This disturbed her so much, that they feared she would have fallen into
fits. She could not bear your name, she said. She hoped she should
never see you more: and, were you to intrude yourself, dreadful
consequences might follow.
Surely, they said, she would be glad to be released from her confinement.
Indeed she should, now they had begun to alarm her with his name, who was
the author of all her woes: and who, she now saw plainly, gave way to
this new outrage, in order to bring her to his own infamous terms.
Why then, they asked, would she not write to her friends, to pay Mrs.
Because she hoped she should not trouble any body; and because she knew
that the payment of the money if she should be able to pay it, was not
what was aimed at.
Sally owned that she told her, That, truly, she had thought herself as
well descended, and as well educated, as herself, though not entitled to
such considerable fortunes. And had the impudence to insist upon it to
me to be truth.
She had the insolence to add, to the lady, That she had as much reason as
she to expect Mr. Lovelace would marry her; he having contracted to do so
before he knew Miss Clarissa Harlowe: and that she had it under his hand
and seal too--or else he had not obtained his end: therefore it was not
likely she should be so officious as to do his work against herself, if
she thought Mr. Lovelace had designs upon her, like what she presumed to
hint at: that, for her part, her only view was, to procure liberty to a
young gentlewoman, who made those things grievous to her which would not
be made such a rout about by any body else--and to procure the payment of
a just debt to her friend Mrs. Sinclair.
She besought them to leave her. She wanted not these instances, she
said, to convince her of the company she was in; and told them, that, to
get rid of such visiters, and of the still worse she was apprehensive of,
she would write to one friend to raise the money for her; though it would
be death for her to do so; because that friend could not do it without
her mother, in whose eye it would give a selfish appearance to a
friendship that was above all sordid alloys.
They advised her to write out of hand.
But how much must I write for? What is the sum? Should I not have had a
bill delivered me? God knows, I took not your lodgings. But he that
could treat me as he has done, could do this!
Don't speak against Mr. Lovelace, Miss Harlowe. He is a man I greatly
esteem. [Cursed toad!] And, 'bating that he will take his advantage,
where he can, of US silly credulous women, he is a man of honour.
She lifted up her hands and eyes, instead of speaking: and well she
might! For any words she could have used could not have expressed the
anguish she must feel on being comprehended in the US.
She must write for one hundred and fifty guineas, at least: two hundred,
if she were short of more money, might well be written for.
Mrs. Sinclair, she said, had all her clothes. Let them be sold, fairly
sold, and the money go as far as it would go. She had also a few other
valuables; but no money, (none at all,) but the poor half guinea, and the
little silver they had seen. She would give bond to pay all that her
apparel, and the other maters she had, would fall short of. She had
great effects belonging to her of right. Her bond would, and must be
paid, were it for a thousand pounds. But her clothes she should never
want. She believed, if not too much undervalued, those, and her few
valuables, would answer every thing. She wished for no surplus but to
discharge the last expenses; and forty shillings would do as well for
those as forty pounds. 'Let my ruin, said she, lifting up her eyes, be
LARGE! Let it be COMPLETE, in this life!--For a composition, let it be
COMPLETE.'--And there she stopped.
The wretches could not help wishing to me for the opportunity of making
such a purchase for their own wear. How I cursed them! and, in my heart,
thee!--But too probable, thought I, that this vile Sally Martin may hope,
[though thou art incapable of it,] that her Lovelace, as she has the
assurance, behind thy back, to call thee, may present her with some of
the poor lady's spoils!
Will not Mrs. Sinclair, proceeded she, think my clothes a security, till
they can be sold? They are very good clothes. A suit or two but just
put on, as it were; never worn. They cost much more than it demanded of
me. My father loved to see me fine.--All shall go. But let me have the
particulars of her demand. I suppose I must pay for my destroyer [that
was her well-adapted word!] and his servants, as well as for myself. I
am content to do so--I am above wishing that any body, who could thus
act, should be so much as expostulated with, as to the justice and equity
of this payment. If I have but enough to pay the demand, I shall be
satisfied; and will leave the baseness of such an action as this, as ana
aggravation of a guilt which I thought could not be aggravated.
I own, Lovelace, I have malice in this particularity, in order to sting
thee on the heart. And, let me ask thee, what now thou can'st think of
thy barbarity, thy unprecedented barbarity, in having reduced a person of
her rank, fortune, talents, and virtue, so low?
The wretched women, it must be owned, act but in their profession: a
profession thou hast been the principal means of reducing these two to
act in. And they know what thy designs have been, and how far
prosecuted. It is, in their opinions, using her gently, that they have
forborne to bring her to the woman so justly odious to her: and that they
have not threatened her with the introducing to her strange men: nor yet
brought into her company their spirit-breakers, and humbling-drones,
(fellows not allowed to carry stings,) to trace and force her back to
their detested house; and, when there, into all their measures.
Till I came, they thought thou wouldst not be displeased at any thing she
suffered, that could help to mortify her into a state of shame and
disgrace; and bring her to comply with thy views, when thou shouldst come
to release her from these wretches, as from a greater evil than
cohabiting with thee.
When thou considerest these things, thou wilt make no difficulty of
believing, that this their own account of their behaviour to this
admirable woman has been far short of their insults: and the less, when I
tell thee, that, all together, their usage had such effect upon her, that
they left her in violent hysterics; ordering an apothecary to be sent
for, if she should continue in them, and be worse; and particularly (as
they had done from the first) that they kept out of her way any edged or
pointed instrument; especially a pen-knife; which, pretending to mend a
pen, they said, she might ask for.
At twelve, Saturday night, Rowland sent to tell them, that she was so
ill, that he knew not what might be the issue; and wished her out of his
And this made them as heartily wish to hear from you. For their
messenger, to their great surprise, was not then returned from M. Hall.
And they were sure he must have reached that place by Friday night.
Early on Sunday morning, both devils went to see how she did. They had
such an account of her weakness, lowness, and anguish, that they forebore
(out of compassion, they said, finding their visits so disagreeable to
her) to see her. But their apprehension of what might be the issue was,
no doubt, their principal consideration: nothing else could have softened
such flinty bosoms.
They sent for the apothecary Rowland had had to her, and gave him, and
Rowland, and his wife and maid, strict orders, many times repeated, for
the utmost care to be taken of her--no doubt, with an Old-Bailey
forecast. And they sent up to let her know what orders they had given:
but that, understanding she had taken something to compose herself, they
would not disturb her.
She had scrupled, it seems, to admit the apothecary's visit over night,
because he was a MAN. Nor could she be prevailed upon to see him, till
they pleaded their own safety to her.
They went again, from church, [Lord, Bob., these creatures go to church!]
but she sent them down word that she must have all the remainder of the
day to herself.
When I first came, and told them of thy execrations for what they had
done, and joined my own to them, they were astonished. The mother said,
she had thought she had known Mr. Lovelace better; and expected thanks,
and not curses.
While I was with them, came back halting and cursing, most horribly,
their messenger; by reason of the ill-usage he had received from you,
instead of the reward he had been taught to expect for the supposed good
news that he carried down.--A pretty fellow, art thou not, to abuse
people for the consequences of thy own faults?
Dorcas, whose acquaintance this fellow is, and who recommended him for
the journey, had conditioned with him, it seems, for a share in the
expected bounty from you. Had she been to have had her share made good,
I wish thou hadst broken every bone in his skin.
Under what shocking disadvantages, and with this addition to them, that I
am thy friend and intimate, am I to make a visit to this unhappy lady
to-morrow morning! In thy name, too!--Enough to be refused, that I am of
a sex, to which, for thy sake, she has so justifiable an aversion: nor,
having such a tyrant of a father, and such an implacable brother, has she
the reason to make an exception in favour of any of it on their accounts.
It is three o'clock. I will close here; and take a little rest: what I
have written will be a proper preparative for what shall offer by-and-by.
Thy servant is not to return without a letter, he tells me; and that thou
expectest him back in the morning. Thou hast fellows enough where thou
art at thy command. If I find any difficulty in seeing the lady, thy
messenger shall post away with this.--Let him look to broken bones, and
other consequences, if what he carries answer not thy expectation. But,
if I am admitted, thou shalt have this and the result of my audience both
together. In the former case, thou mayest send another servant to wait
the next advices from
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
MONDAY, JULY 17.
About six this morning, I went to Rowland's. Mrs. Sinclair was to follow
me, in order to dismiss the action; but not to come in sight.
Rowland, upon inquiry, told me, that the lady was extremely ill; and that
she had desired, that no one but his wife or maid should come near her.
I said, I must see her. I had told him my business over-night, and I
must see her.
His wife went up: but returned presently, saying, she could not get her
to speak to her; yet that her eyelids moved; though she either would not,
or could not, open them, to look up at her.
Oons, woman, said I, the lady may be in a fit: the lady may be dying--let
me go up. Show me the way.
A horrid hole of a house, in an alley they call a court; stairs
wretchedly narrow, even to the first-floor rooms: and into a den they led
me, with broken walls, which had been papered, as I saw by a multitude of
tacks, and some torn bits held on by the rusty heads.
The floor indeed was clean, but the ceiling was smoked with variety of
figures, and initials of names, that had been the woeful employment of
wretches who had no other way to amuse themselves.
A bed at one corner, with coarse curtains tacked up at the feet to the
ceiling; because the curtain-rings were broken off; but a coverlid upon
it with a cleanish look, though plaguily in tatters, and the corners tied
up in tassels, that the rents in it might go no farther.
The windows dark and double-barred, the tops boarded up to save mending;
and only a little four-paned eyelet-hole of a casement to let in air;
more, however, coming in at broken panes than could come in at that.
Four old Turkey-worked chairs, bursten-bottomed, the stuffing staring
An old, tottering, worm-eaten table, that had more nails bestowed in
mending it to make it stand, than the table cost fifty years ago, when
On the mantle-piece was an iron shove-up candlestick, with a lighted
candle in it, twinkle, twinkle, twinkle, four of them, I suppose, for a
Near that, on the same shelf, was an old looking-glass, cracked through
the middle, breaking out into a thousand points; the crack given it,
perhaps, in a rage, by some poor creature, to whom it gave the
representation of his heart's woes in his face.
The chimney had two half-tiles in it on one side, and one whole one on
the other; which showed it had been in better plight; but now the very
mortar had followed the rest of the tiles in every other place, and left
the bricks bare.
An old half-barred stove grate was in the chimney; and in that a large
stone-bottle without a neck, filled with baleful yew, as an evergreen,
withered southern-wood, dead sweet-briar, and sprigs of rue in flower.
To finish the shocking description, in a dark nook stood an old
broken-bottomed cane couch, without a squab, or coverlid, sunk at one
corner, and unmortised by the failing of one of its worm-eater legs,
which lay in two pieces under the wretched piece of furniture it could
no longer support.
And this, thou horrid Lovelace, was the bed-chamber of the divine
I had leisure to cast my eye on these things: for, going up softly, the
poor lady turned not about at our entrance; nor, till I spoke, moved her
She was kneeling in a corner of the room, near the dismal window, against
the table, on an old bolster (as it seemed to be) of the cane couch,
half-covered with her handkerchief; her back to the door; which was only
shut to, [no need of fastenings;] her arms crossed upon the table, the
fore-finger of her right-hand in her Bible. She had perhaps been reading
in it, and could read no longer. Paper, pens, ink, lay by her book on
the table. Her dress was white damask, exceeding neat; but her stays
seemed not tight-laced. I was told afterwards, that her laces had been
cut, when she fainted away at her entrance into this cursed place; and
she had not been solicitous enough about her dress to send for others.
Her head-dress was a little discomposed; her charming hair, in natural
ringlets, as you have heretofore described it, but a little tangled, as
if not lately combed, irregularly shading one side of the loveliest neck
in the world; as her disordered rumpled handkerchief did the other. Her
face [O how altered from what I had seen it! yet lovely in spite of all
her griefs and sufferings!] was reclined, when we entered, upon her
crossed arms; but so, as not more than one side of it could be hid.
When I surveyed the room around, and the kneeling lady, sunk with majesty
too in her white flowing robes, (for she had not on a hoop,) spreading
the dark, though not dirty, floor, and illuminating that horrid corner;
her linen beyond imagination white, considering that she had not been
undressed every since she had been here; I thought my concern would have
choked me. Something rose in my throat, I know not what, which made me,
for a moment, guggle, as it were, for speech: which, at last, forcing its
way, con--con--confound you both, said I, to the man and woman, is this
an apartment for such a lady? and could the cursed devils of her own sex,
who visited this suffering angel, see her, and leave her, in so d----d a
Sir, we would have had the lady to accept of our own bed-chamber: but she
refused it. We are poor people--and we expect nobody will stay with us
longer than they can help it.
You are people chosen purposely, I doubt not, by the d----d woman who has
employed you: and if your usage of this lady has been but half as bad as
your house, you had better never to have seen the light.
Up then raised the charming sufferer her lovely face; but with such a
significance of woe overspreading it, that I could not, for the soul of
me, help being visibly affected.
She waved her hand two or three times towards the door, as if commanding
me to withdraw; and displeased at my intrusion; but did not speak.
Permit me, Madam--I will not approach one step farther without your leave
--permit me, for one moment, the favour of your ear!
No--no--go, go, MAN! with an emphasis--and would have said more; but, as
if struggling in vain for words, she seemed to give up speech for lost,
and dropped her head down once more, with a deep sigh, upon her left arm;
her right, as if she had not the use of it (numbed, I suppose)
self-moved, dropping on her side.
O that thou hadst been there! and in my place!--But by what I then felt,
in myself, I am convinced, that a capacity of being moved by the
distresses of our fellow creatures, is far from being disgraceful to a
manly heart. With what pleasure, at that moment, could I have given up
my own life, could I but first have avenged this charming creature, and
cut the throat of her destroyer, as she emphatically calls thee, though
the friend that I best love: and yet, at the same time, my heart and my
eyes gave way to a softness of which (though not so hardened a wretch as
thou) they were never before so susceptible.
I dare not approach you, dearest lady, without your leave: but on my
knees I beseech you to permit me to release you from this d----d house,
and out of the power of the cursed woman, who was the occasion of your
She lifted up her sweet face once more, and beheld me on my knees. Never
knew I before what it was to pray so heartily.
Are you not--are you not Mr. Belford, Sir? I think your name is Belford?
It is, Madam, and I ever was a worshipper of your virtues, and an
advocate for you; and I come to release you from the hands you are in.
And in whose to place me?--O leave me, leave me! let me never rise from
this spot! let me never, never more believe in man!
This moment, dearest lady, this very moment, if you please, you may
depart whithersoever you think fit. You are absolutely free, and your
I had now as lieve die here in this place, as any where. I will owe no
obligation to any friend of him in whose company you have seen me. So,
pray, Sir, withdraw.
Then turning to the officer, Mr. Rowland I think your name is? I am
better reconciled to your house than I was at first. If you can but
engage that I shall have nobody come near me but your wife, (no man!)
and neither of those women who have sported with my calamities, I will
die with you, and in this very corner. And you shall be well satisfied
for the trouble you have had with me--I have value enough for that--for,
see, I have a diamond ring; taking it out of her bosom; and I have
friends will redeem it at a high price, when I am gone.
But for you, Sir, looking at me, I beg you to withdraw. If you mean well
by me, God, I hope, will reward you for your good meaning; but to the
friend of my destroyer will I not owe an obligation.
You will owe no obligation to me, nor to any body. You have been
detained for a debt you do not owe. The action is dismissed; and you
will only be so good as to give me your hand into the coach, which stands
as near to this house as it could draw up. And I will either leave you
at the coach-door, or attend you whithersoever you please, till I see you
safe where you would wish to be.
Will you then, Sir, compel me to be beholden to you?
You will inexpressibly oblige me, Madam, to command me to do you either
service or pleasure.
Why then, Sir, [looking at me]--but why do you mock me in that humble
posture! Rise, Sir! I cannot speak to you else.
Only, Sir, take this ring. I have a sister, who will be glad to have it,
at the price it shall be valued at, for the former owner's sake!--Out of
the money she gives, let this man be paid! handsomely paid: and I have a
few valuables more at my lodging, (Dorcas, or the MAN William, can tell
where that is;) let them, and my clothes at the wicked woman's, where you
have seen me, be sold for the payment of my lodging first, and next of
your friend's debts, that I have been arrested for, as far as they will
go; only reserving enough to put me into the ground, any where, or any
how, no matter----Tell your friend, I wish it may be enough to satisfy
the whole demand; but if it be not, he must make it up himself; or, if he
think fit to draw for it on Miss Howe, she will repay it, and with
interest, if he insist upon it.----And this, Sir, if you promise to
perform, you will do me, as you offer, both pleasure and service: and say
you will, and take the ring and withdraw. If I want to say any thing
more to you (you seem to be an humane man) I will let you know----and so,
Sir, God bless you!
I approached her, and was going to speak----
Don't speak, Sir: here's the ring.
I stood off.
And won't you take it? won't you do this last office for me?--I have no
other person to ask it of; else, believe me, I would not request it of
you. But take it, or not, laying it upon the table----you must withdraw,
Sir: I am very ill. I would fain get a little rest, if I could. I find
I am going to be bad again.
And offering to rise, she sunk down through excess of weakness and grief,
in a fainting fit.
Why, Lovelace, was thou not present thyself?----Why dost thou commit such
villanies, as even thou art afraid to appear in; and yet puttest a weaker
heart and head upon encountering with them?
The maid coming in just then, the woman and she lifted her up on a
decrepit couch; and I withdrew with this Rowland; who wept like a child,
and said, he never in his life was so moved.
Yet so hardened a wretch art thou, that I question whether thou wilt shed
a tear at my relation.
They recovered her by hartshorn and water. I went down mean while; for
the detestable woman had been below some time. O how I did curse her! I
never before was so fluent in curses.
She tried to wheedle me; but I renounced her; and, after she had
dismissed the action, sent her away crying, or pretending to cry, because
of my behaviour to her.
You will observe, that I did not mention one word to the lady about you.
I was afraid to do it. For 'twas plain, that she could not bear your
name: your friend, and the company you have seen me in, were the words
nearest to naming you she could speak: and yet I wanted to clear your
intention of this brutal, this sordid-looking villany.
I sent up again, by Rowland's wife, when I heard that the lady was
recovered, beseeching her to quit that devilish place; and the woman
assured her that she was at liberty to do so, for that the action was
But she cared not to answer her: and was so weak and low, that it was
almost as much out of her power as inclination, the woman told me, to
I would have hastened away for my friend Doctor H., but the house is such
a den, and the room she was in such a hole, that I was ashamed to be seen
in it by a man of his reputation, especially with a woman of such an
appearance, and in such uncommon distress; and I found there was no
prevailing upon her to quit it for the people's bed-room, which was neat
The strong room she was in, the wretches told me, should have been in
better order, but that it was but the very morning that she was brought
in that an unhappy man had quitted it; for a more eligible prison, no
doubt; since there could hardly be a worse.
Being told that she desired not to be disturbed, and seemed inclined to
doze, I took this opportunity to go to her lodgings in Covent-garden: to
which Dorcas (who first discovered her there, as Will. was the setter
from church) had before given me a direction.
The man's name is Smith, a dealer in gloves, snuff, and such petty
merchandize: his wife the shopkeeper: he a maker of the gloves they sell.
Honest people, it seems.
I thought to have got the woman with me to the lady; but she was not
I talked with the man, and told him what had befallen the lady; owing, as
I said, to a mistake of orders; and gave her the character she deserved;
and desired him to send his wife, the moment she came in, to the lady;
directing him whither; not doubting that her attendance would be very
welcome to her; which he promised.
He told me that a letter was left for her there on Saturday; and, about
half an hour before I came, another, superscribed by the same hand; the
first, by the post; the other, by a countryman; who having been informed
of her absence, and of all the circumstances they could tell him of it,
posted away, full of concern, saying, that the lady he was sent from
would be ready to break her heart at the tidings.
I thought it right to take the two letters back with me; and, dismissing
my coach, took a chair, as a more proper vehicle for the lady, if I (the
friend of her destroyer) could prevail upon her to leave Rowland's.
And here, being obliged to give way to an indispensable avocation, I will
make thee taste a little, in thy turn, of the plague of suspense; and
break off, without giving thee the least hint of the issue of my further
proceedings. I know, that those least bear disappointment, who love most
to give it. In twenty instances, hast thou afforded me proof of the
truth of this observation. And I matter not thy raving.
Another letter, however, shall be ready, send for it a soon as thou wilt.
But, were it not, have I not written enough to convince thee, that I am
Thy ready and obliging friend,
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
MONDAY, JULY 17, ELEVEN AT NIGHT.
Curse upon thy hard heart, thou vile caitiff! How hast thou tortured me,
by thy designed abruption! 'tis impossible that Miss Harlowe should have
ever suffered as thou hast made me suffer, and as I now suffer!
That sex is made to bear pain. It is a curse that the first of it
entailed upon all her daughters, when she brought the curse upon us all.
And they love those best, whether man or child, who give them most--But
to stretch upon thy d----d tenter-hooks such a spirit as mine--No rack,
no torture, can equal my torture!
And must I still wait the return of another messenger?
Confound thee for a malicious devil! I wish thou wert a post-horse, and
I upon the back of thee! how would I whip and spur, and harrow up thy
clumsy sides, till I make thee a ready-roasted, ready-flayed, mess of
dog's meat; all the hounds in the country howling after thee, as I drove
thee, to wait my dismounting, in order to devour thee piece-meal; life
still throbbing in each churned mouthful!
Give this fellow the sequel of thy tormenting scribble.
Dispatch him away with it. Thou hast promised it shall be ready. Every
cushion or chair I shall sit upon, the bed I shall lie down upon (if I go
to bed) till he return, will be stuffed with bolt-upright awls, bodkins,
corking-pins, and packing needles: already I can fancy that, to pink my
body like my mind, I need only to be put into a hogshead stuck full of
steel-pointed spikes, and rolled down a hill three times as high as the
But I lose time; yet know not how to employ it till this fellow returns
with the sequel of thy soul-harrowing intelligence!
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
MONDAY NIGHT, JULY 17.
On my return to Rowland's, I found that the apothecary was just gone up.
Mrs. Rowland being above with him, I made the less scruple to go up too,
as it was probable, that to ask for leave would be to ask to be denied;
hoping also, that the letters had with me would be a good excuse.
She was sitting on the side of the broken couch, extremely weak and low;
and, I observed, cared not to speak to the man: and no wonder; for I
never saw a more shocking fellow, of a profession tolerably genteel, nor
heard a more illiterate one prate--physician in ordinary to this house,
and others like it, I suppose! He put me in mind of Otway's apothecary
in his Caius Marius; as borrowed from the immortal Shakspeare:
Meagre and very rueful were his looks:
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones.
------------ Famine in his cheeks:
Need and oppression staring in his eyes:
Contempt and beggary hanging on his back:
The world no friend of his, nor the world's law.
As I am in black, he took me, at my entrance, I believe, to be a doctor;
and slunk behind me with his hat upon his two thumbs, and looked as if he
expected the oracle to open, and give him orders.
The lady looked displeased, as well at me as at Rowland, who followed me,
and at the apothecary. It was not, she said, the least of her present
misfortunes, that she could not be left to her own sex; and to her option
to see whom she pleased.
I besought her excuse; and winking for the apothecary to withdraw, [which
he did,] told her, that I had been at her new lodgings, to order every
thing to be got ready for reception, presuming she would choose to go
thither: that I had a chair at the door: that Mr. Smith and his wife [I
named their names, that she should not have room for the least fear of
Sinclair's] had been full of apprehensions for her safety: that I had
brought two letters, which were left there fore her; the one by the post,
the other that very morning.
This took her attention. She held out her charming hand for them; took
them, and, pressing them to her lips--From the only friend I have in the
world! said she; kissing them again; and looking at the seals, as if to
see whether they had been opened. I can't read them, said she, my eyes
are too dim; and put them into her bosom.
I besought her to think of quitting that wretched hole.
Whither could she go, she asked, to be safe and uninterrupted for the
short remainder of her life; and to avoid being again visited by the
creatures who had insulted her before?
I gave her the solemnest assurances that she should not be invaded in her
new lodgings by any body; and said that I would particularly engage my
honour, that the person who had most offended her should not come near
her, without her own consent.
Your honour, Sir! Are you not that man's friend!
I am not a friend, Madam, to his vile actions to the most excellent of
Do you flatter me, Sir? then you are a MAN.--But Oh, Sir, your friend,
holding her face forward with great earnestness, your barbarous friend,
what has he not to answer for!
There she stopt: her heart full; and putting her hand over her eyes and
forehead, the tears tricked through her fingers: resenting thy barbarity,
it seemed, as Caesar did the stab from his distinguished Brutus!
Though she was so very much disordered, I thought I would not lose this
opportunity to assert your innocence of this villanous arrest.
There is no defending the unhappy man in any of his vile actions by you,
Madam; but of this last outrage, by all that's good and sacred, he is
O wretches; what a sex is your's!--Have you all one dialect? good and
sacred!--If, Sir, you can find an oath, or a vow, or an adjuration, that
my ears have not been twenty times a day wounded with, then speak it, and
I may again believe a MAN.
I was excessively touched at these words, knowing thy baseness, and the
reason she had for them.
But say you, Sir, for I would not, methinks, have the wretch capable of
this sordid baseness!--Say you, that he is innocent of this last
wickedness? can you truly say that he is?
By the great God of Heaven!----
Nay, Sir, if you swear, I must doubt you!--If you yourself think your
WORD insufficient, what reliance can I have on your OATH!--O that this my
experience had not cost me so dear! but were I to love a thousand years,
I would always suspect the veracity of a swearer. Excuse me, Sir; but is
it likely, that he who makes so free with his GOD, will scruple any thing
that may serve his turn with his fellow creature?
This was a most affecting reprimand!
Madam, said I, I have a regard, a regard a gentleman ought to have, to my
word; and whenever I forfeit it to you----
Nay, Sir, don't be angry with me. It is grievous to me to question a
gentleman's veracity. But your friend calls himself a gentleman--you
know not what I have suffered by a gentleman!----And then again she wept.
I would give you, Madam, demonstration, if your grief and your weakness
would permit it, that he has no hand in this barbarous baseness: and that
he resents it as it ought to be resented.
Well, well, Sir, [with quickness,] he will have his account to make up
somewhere else; not to me. I should not be sorry to find him able to
acquit his intention on this occasion. Let him know, Sir, only one
thing, that when you heard me in the bitterness of my spirit, most
vehemently exclaim against the undeserved usage I have met with from him,
that even then, in that passionate moment, I was able to say [and never
did I see such an earnest and affecting exultation of hands and eyes,]
'Give him, good God! repentance and amendment; that I may be the last
poor creature, who shall be ruined by him!--and, in thine own good time,
receive to thy mercy the poor wretch who had none on me!--'
By my soul, I could not speak.--She had not her Bible before her for
I was forced to turn my head away, and to take out my handkerchief.