Part 3 out of 7
What an angel is this!--Even the gaoler, and his wife and maid, wept.
Again I wish thou hadst been there, that thou mightest have sunk down at
her feet, and begun that moment to reap the effect of her generous wishes
for thee; undeserving, as thou art, of any thing but perdition.
I represented to her that she would be less free where she was from
visits she liked not, than at her own lodgings. I told her, that it
would probably bring her, in particular, one visiter, who, otherwise I
would engage, [but I durst not swear again, after the severe reprimand
she had just given me,] should not come near her, without her consent.
And I expressed my surprize, that she should be unwilling to quit such a
place as this; when it was more than probable that some of her friends,
when it was known how bad she was, would visit her.
She said the place, when she was first brought into it, was indeed very
shocking to her: but that she had found herself so weak and ill, and her
griefs had so sunk her, that she did not expect to have lived till now:
that therefore all places had been alike to her; for to die in a prison,
was to die; and equally eligible as to die in a palace, [palaces, she
said, could have no attractions for a dying person:] but that, since she
feared she was not so soon to be released, as she had hoped; since she
was suffered to be so little mistress of herself here; and since she
might, by removal, be in the way of her dear friend's letters; she would
hope that she might depend upon the assurances I gave her of being at
liberty to return to her last lodgings, (otherwise she would provide
herself with new ones, out of my knowledge, as well as your's;) and that
I was too much of a gentleman, to be concerned in carrying her back to
the house she had so much reason to abhor, and to which she had been once
before most vilely betrayed to her ruin.
I assured her, in the strongest terms [but swore not,] that you were
resolved not to molest her: and, as a proof of the sincerity of my
professions, besought her to give me directions, (in pursuance of my
friend's express desire,) about sending all her apparel, and whatever
belonged to her, to her new lodgings.
She seemed pleased; and gave me instantly out of her pocket her keys;
asking me, If Mrs. Smith, whom I had named, might not attend me; and she
would give her further directions? To which I cheerfully assented; and
then she told me that she would accept of the chair I had offered her.
I withdrew; and took the opportunity to be civil to Rowland and his maid;
for she found no fault with their behaviour, for what they were; and the
fellow seems to be miserably poor. I sent also for the apothecary, who
is as poor as the officer, (and still poorer, I dare say, as to the skill
required in his business,) and satisfied him beyond his hopes.
The lady, after I had withdrawn, attempted to read the letters I had
brought her. But she could read but a little way in one of them, and had
great emotions upon it.
She told the woman she would take a speedy opportunity to acknowledge her
civilities and her husband's, and to satisfy the apothecary, who might
send her his bill to her lodgings.
She gave the maid something; probably the only half-guinea she had: and
then with difficulty, her limbs trembling under her, and supported by
Mrs. Rowland, got down stairs.
I offered my arm: she was pleased to lean upon it. I doubt, Sir, said
she, as she moved, I have behaved rudely to you: but, if you knew all,
you would forgive me.
I know enough, Madam, to convince me, that there is not such purity and
honour in any woman upon earth; nor any one that has been so barbarously
She looked at me very earnestly. What she thought, I cannot say; but, in
general, I never saw so much soul in a woman's eyes as in her's.
I ordered my servant, (whose mourning made him less observable as such,
and who had not been in the lady's eye,) to keep the chair in view; and
to bring me word, how she did, when set down. The fellow had the thought
to step into the shop, just before the chair entered it, under pretence
of buying snuff; and so enabled himself to give me an account, that she
was received with great joy by the good woman of the house; who told her,
she was but just come in; and was preparing to attend her in High
Holborn.--O Mrs. Smith, said she, as soon as she saw her, did you not
think I was run away?--You don't know what I have suffered since I saw
you. I have been in a prison!----Arrested for debts I owe not!--But,
thank God, I am here!--Will your maid--I have forgot her name already----
Will you let Catharine assist me to bed?--I have not had my clothes off
since Thursday night.
What she further said the fellow heard not, she leaning upon the maid,
and going up stairs.
But dost thou not observe, what a strange, what an uncommon openness of
heart reigns in this lady? She had been in a prison, she said, before a
stranger in the shop, and before the maid-servant: and so, probably, she
would have said, had there been twenty people in the shop.
The disgrace she cannot hide from herself, as she says in her letter to
Lady Betty, she is not solicitous to conceal from the world!
But this makes it evident to me, that she is resolved to keep no terms
with thee. And yet to be able to put up such a prayer for thee, as she
did in her prison; [I will often mention the prison-room, to tease thee!]
Does this not show, that revenge has very little sway in her mind; though
she can retain so much proper resentment?
And this is another excellence in this admirable woman's character: for
whom, before her, have we met with in the whole sex, or in ours either,
that knew how, in practice, to distinguish between REVENGE and
RESENTMENT, for base and ungrateful treatment?
'Tis a cursed thing, after all, that such a woman as this should be
treated as she has been treated. Hadst thou been a king, and done as
thou hast done by such a meritorious innocent, I believe, in my heart, it
would have been adjudged to be a national sin, and the sword, the
pestilence, or famine, must have atoned for it!--But as thou art a
private man, thou wilt certainly meet with thy punishment, (besides what
thou mayest expect from the justice of the country, and the vengeance of
her friends,) as she will her reward, HEREAFTER.
It must be so, if there be really such a thing as future remuneration; as
now I am more and more convinced there must:--Else, what a hard fate is
her's, whose punishment, to all appearance, has so much exceeded her
fault? And, as to thine, how can temporary burnings, wert thou by some
accident to be consumed in thy bed, expiate for thy abominable vileness
to her, in breach of all obligations moral and divine?
I was resolved to lose no time in having every thing which belonged to
the lady at the cursed woman's sent her. Accordingly, I took coach to
Smith's, and procured the lady, (to whom I sent up my compliments, and
inquiries how she bore her removal,) ill as she sent down word she was,
to give proper direction to Mrs. Smith: whom I took with me to
Sinclair's: and who saw every thing looked out, and put into the trunks
and boxes they were first brought in, and carried away in two coaches.
Had I not been there, Sally and Polly would each of them have taken to
herself something of the poor lady's spoils. This they declared: and I
had some difficulty to get from Sally a fine Brussels-lace head, which
she had the confidence to say she would wear for Miss Harlowe's sake.
Nor should either I or Mrs. Smith have known she had got it, had she not
been in search of the ruffles belonging to it.
My resentment on this occasion, and the conversation which Mrs. Smith and
I had, (in which I not only expatiated on the merits of the lady, but
expressed my concern for her sufferings; though I left her room to
suppose her married, yet without averring it,) gave me high credit with
the good woman: so that we are perfectly well acquainted already: by
which means I shall be enabled to give you accounts from time to time of
all that passes; and which I will be very industrious to do, provided I
may depend upon the solemn promises I have given the lady, in your name,
as well as in my own, that she shall be free from all personal
molestation from you. And thus shall I have it in my power to return in
kind your writing favours; and preserve my short-hand besides: which,
till this correspondence was opened, I had pretty much neglected.
I ordered the abandoned women to make out your account. They answered,
That they would do it with a vengeance. Indeed they breathe nothing but
vengeance. For now, they say, you will assuredly marry; and your example
will be followed by all your friends and companions--as the old one says,
to the utter ruin of her poor house.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUESDAY MORN. JULY 18, SIX O'CLOCK.
Having sat up so late to finish and seal in readiness my letter to the
above period, I am disturbed before I wished to have risen, by the
arrival of thy second fellow, man and horse in a foam.
While he baits, I will write a few lines, most heartily to congratulate
thee on thy expected rage and impatience, and on thy recovery of mental
How much does the idea thou givest me of thy deserved torments, by thy
upright awls, bodkins, pins, and packing-needles, by thy rolling hogshead
with iron spikes, and by thy macerated sides, delight me!
I will, upon every occasion that offers, drive more spikes into thy
hogshead, and roll thee down hill, and up, as thou recoverest to sense,
or rather returnest back to senselessness. Thou knowest therefore the
terms on which thou art to enjoy my correspondence. Am not I, who have
all along, and in time, protested against thy barbarous and ungrateful
perfidies to a woman so noble, entitled to drive remorse, if possible,
into thy hitherto-callous heart?
Only let me repeat one thing, which perhaps I mentioned too slightly
before. That the lady was determined to remove to new lodgings, where
neither you nor I should be able to find her, had I not solemnly assured
her, that she might depend upon being free from your visits.
These assurances I thought I might give her, not only because of your
promise, but because it is necessary for you to know where she is, in
order to address yourself to her by your friends.
Enable me therefore to make good to her this my solemn engagement; or
adieu to all friendship, at least to all correspondence, with thee for
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUESDAY, JULY 18. AFTERNOON.
I renewed my inquiries after the lady's health, in the morning, by my
servant: and, as soon as I had dined, I went myself.
I had but a poor account of it: yet sent up my compliments. She returned
me thanks for all my good offices; and her excuses, that they could not
be personal just then, being very low and faint: but if I gave myself the
trouble of coming about six this evening, she should be able, she hoped,
to drink a dish of tea with me, and would then thank me herself.
I am very proud of this condescension; and think it looks not amiss for
you, as I am your avowed friend. Methinks I want fully to remove from
her mind all doubts of you in this last villanous action: and who knows
then what your noble relations may be able to do for you with her, if you
hold your mind? For your servant acquainted me with their having
actually engaged Miss Howe in their and your favour, before this cursed
affair happened. And I desire the particulars of all from yourself, that
I may the better know how to serve you.
She has two handsome apartments, a bed-chamber and dining-room, with
light closets in each. She has already a nurse, (the people of the house
having but one maid,) a woman whose care, diligence, and honesty, Mrs.
Smith highly commends. She has likewise the benefit of a widow
gentlewoman, Mrs. Lovick her name, who lodges over her apartment, and of
whom she seems very fond, having found something in her, she thinks,
resembling the qualities of her worthy Mrs. Norton.
About seven o'clock this morning, it seems, the lady was so ill, that she
yielded to their desires to have an apothecary sent for--not the fellow,
thou mayest believe, she had had before at Rowland's; but one Mr.
Goddard, a man of skill and eminence; and of conscience too; demonstrated
as well by general character, as by his prescriptions to this lady: for
pronouncing her case to be grief, he ordered, for the present, only
innocent juleps, by way of cordial; and, as soon as her stomach should be
able to bear it, light kitchen-diet; telling Mrs. Lovick, that that, with
air, moderate exercise, and cheerful company, would do her more good than
all the medicines in his shop.
This has given me, as it seems it has the lady, (who also praises his
modest behaviour, paternal looks, and genteel address,) a very good
opinion of the man; and I design to make myself acquainted with him, and,
if he advises to call in a doctor, to wish him, for the fair patient's
sake, more than the physician's, (who wants not practice,) my worthy
friend Dr. H.--whose character is above all exception, as his humanity, I
am sure, will distinguish him to the lady.
Mrs. Lovick gratified me with an account of a letter she had written from
the lady's mouth to Miss Howe; she being unable to write herself with
It was to this effect; in answer, it seems, to her two letters, whatever
were the contents of them:
'That she had been involved in a dreadful calamity, which she was sure,
when known, would exempt her from the effects of her friendly
displeasure, for not answering her first; having been put under an
arrest.--Could she have believed it?--That she was released but the day
before: and was now so weak and so low, that she was obliged to account
thus for her silence to her [Miss Howe's] two letters of the 13th and
16th: that she would, as soon as able, answer them--begged of her, mean
time, not to be uneasy for her; since (only that this was a calamity
which came upon her when she was far from being well, a load laid upon
the shoulders of a poor wretch, ready before to sink under too heavy a
burden) it was nothing to the evil she had before suffered: and one
felicity seemed likely to issue from it; which was, that she would be
at rest, in an honest house, with considerate and kind-hearted people;
having assurance given her, that she should not be molested by the
wretch, whom it would be death for her to see: so that now she, [Miss
Howe,] needed not to send to her by private and expensive conveyances:
nor need Collins to take precautions for fear of being dogged to her
lodgings; nor need she write by a fictitious name to her, but by her
You can see I am in a way to oblige you: you see how much she depends
upon my engaging for your forbearing to intrude yourself into her
company: let not your flaming impatience destroy all; and make me look
like a villain to a lady who has reason to suspect every man she sees to
be so.--Upon this condition, you may expect all the services that can
Your sincere well-wisher,
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUESDAY NIGHT, JULY 18.
I am just come from the lady. I was admitted into the dining-room, where
she was sitting in an elbow-chair, in a very weak and low way. She made
an effort to stand up when I entered; but was forced to keep her seat.
You'll excuse me, Mr. Belford: I ought to rise to thank you for all your
kindness to me. I was to blame to be so loth to leave that sad place;
for I am in heaven here, to what I was there; and good people about me
too!--I have not had good people about me for a long, long time before;
so that [with a half-smile] I had begun to wonder whither they were all
Her nurse and Mrs. Smith, who were present, took occasion to retire: and,
when we were alone, You seem to be a person of humanity, Sir, said she:
you hinted, as I was leaving my prison, that you were not a stranger to
my sad story. If you know it truly, you must know that I have been most
barbarously treated; and have not deserved it at the man's hands by whom
I have suffered.
I told her I knew enough to be convinced that she had the merit of a
saint, and the purity of an angel: and was proceeding, when she said, No
flighty compliments! no undue attributes, Sir!
I offered to plead for my sincerity; and mentioned the word politeness;
and would have distinguished between that and flattery. Nothing can be
polite, said she, that is not just: whatever I may have had; I have now
no vanity to gratify.
I disclaimed all intentions of compliment: all I had said, and what I
should say, was, and should be, the effect of sincere veneration. My
unhappy friend's account of her had entitled her to that.
I then mentioned your grief, your penitence, your resolutions of making
her all the amends that were possible now to be made her: and in the most
earnest manner, I asserted your innocence as to the last villanous
Her answer was to this effect--It is painful to me to think of him. The
amends you talk of cannot be made. This last violence you speak of, is
nothing to what preceded it. That cannot be atoned for: nor palliated:
this may: and I shall not be sorry to be convinced that he cannot be
guilty of so very low a wickedness.----Yet, after his vile forgeries of
hands--after his baseness in imposing upon me the most infamous persons
as ladies of honour of his own family--what are the iniquities he is not
I would then have given her an account of the trial you stood with your
friends: your own previous resolutions of marriage, had she honoured you
with the requested four words: all your family's earnestness to have the
honour of her alliance: and the application of your two cousins to Miss
Howe, by general consent, for that young lady's interest with her: but,
having just touched upon these topics, she cut me short, saying, that was
a cause before another tribunal: Miss Howe's letters to her were upon the
subject; and as she would write her thoughts to her as soon as she was
I then attempted more particularly to clear you of having any hand in the
vile Sinclair's officious arrest; a point she had the generosity to wish
you cleared of: and, having mentioned the outrageous letter you had
written to me on this occasion, she asked, If I had that letter about me?
I owned I had.
She wished to see it.
This puzzled me horribly: for you must needs think that most of the free
things, which, among us rakes, pass for wit and spirit, must be shocking
stuff to the ears or eyes of persons of delicacy of that sex: and then
such an air of levity runs through thy most serious letters; such a false
bravery, endeavouring to carry off ludicrously the subjects that most
affect thee; that those letters are generally the least fit to be seen,
which ought to be most to thy credit.
Something like this I observed to her; and would fain have excused myself
from showing it: but she was so earnest, that I undertook to read some
parts of it, resolving to omit the most exceptionable.
I know thou'lt curse me for that; but I thought it better to oblige her
than to be suspected myself; and so not have it in my power to serve thee
with her, when so good a foundation was laid for it; and when she knows
as bad of thee as I can tell her.
Thou rememberest the contents, I suppose, of thy furious letter.* Her
remarks upon the different parts of it, which I read to her, were to the
* See Letter XII. of this volume.
Upon the last two lines, All undone! undone, by Jupiter! Zounds, Jack,
what shall I do now? a curse upon all my plots and contrivances! thus she
'O how light, how unaffected with the sense of its own crimes, is the
heart that could dictate to the pen this libertine froth?'
The paragraph which mentions the vile arrest affected her a good deal.
In the next I omitted thy curse upon thy relations, whom thou wert
gallanting: and read on the seven subsequent paragraphs down to thy
execrable wish; which was too shocking to read to her. What I read
produced the following reflections from her:
'The plots and contrivances which he curses, and the exultings of the
wicked wretches on finding me out, show me that all his guilt was
premeditated: nor doubt I that his dreadful perjuries, and inhuman arts,
as he went along, were to pass for fine stratagems; for witty sport; and
to demonstrate a superiority of inventive talents!--O my cruel, cruel
brother! had it not been for thee, I had not been thrown upon so
pernicious and so despicable a plotter!--But proceed, Sir; pray proceed.'
At that part, Canst thou, O fatal prognosticator! tell me where my
punishment will end?--she sighed. And when I came to that sentence,
praying for my reformation, perhaps--Is that there? said she, sighing
again. Wretched man!--and shed a tear for thee.--By my faith, Lovelace,
I believe she hates thee not! she has at least a concern, a generous
concern for thy future happiness--What a noble creature hast thou
She made a very severe reflection upon me, on reading the words--On your
knees, for me, beg her pardon--'You had all your lessons, Sir, said she,
when you came to redeem me--You was so condescending as to kneel: I
thought it was the effect of your own humanity, and good-natured
earnestness to serve me--excuse me, Sir, I knew not that it was in
consequence of a prescribed lesson.'
This concerned me not a little; I could not bear to be thought such a
wretched puppet, such a Joseph Leman, such a Tomlinson. I endeavoured,
therefore, with some warmth, to clear myself of this reflection; and she
again asked my excuse: 'I was avowedly, she said, the friend of a man,
whose friendship, she had reason to be sorry to say, was no credit to any
body.'--And desired me to proceed.
I did; but fared not much better afterwards: for on that passage where
you say, I had always been her friend and advocate, this was her
unanswerable remark: 'I find, Sir, by this expression, that he had always
designs against me; and that you all along knew that he had. Would to
Heaven, you had had the goodness to have contrived some way, that might
not have endangered your own safety, to give me notice of his baseness,
since you approved not of it! But you gentlemen, I suppose, had rather
see an innocent fellow-creature ruined, than be thought capable of an
action, which, however generous, might be likely to loosen the bands of a
After this severe, but just reflection, I would have avoided reading the
following, although I had unawares begun the sentence, (but she held me
to it:) What would I now give, had I permitted you to have been a
successful advocate! And this was her remark upon it--'So, Sir, you see,
if you had been the happy means of preventing the evils designed me, you
would have had your friend's thanks for it when he came to his
consideration. This satisfaction, I am persuaded every one, in the long
run, will enjoy, who has the virtue to withstand, or prevent, a wicked
purpose. I was obliged, I see, to your kind wishes--but it was a point
of honour with you to keep his secret; the more indispensable with you,
perhaps, the viler the secret. Yet permit me to wish, Mr. Belford, that
you were capable of relishing the pleasures that arise to a benevolent
mind from VIRTUOUS friendship!--none other is worthy of the sacred name.
You seem an humane man: I hope, for your own sake, you will one day
experience the difference: and, when you do, think of Miss Howe and
Clarissa Harlowe, (I find you know much of my sad story,) who were the
happiest creatures on earth in each other's friendship till this friend
of your's'--And there she stopt, and turned from me.
Where thou callest thyself a villanous plotter; 'To take a crime to
himself, said she, without shame, O what a hardened wretch is this man!'
On that passage, where thou sayest, Let me know how she has been treated:
if roughly, woe be to the guilty! this was her remark, with an air of
indignation: 'What a man is your friend, Sir!--Is such a one as he to set
himself up to punish the guilty?--All the rough usage I could receive
from them, was infinitely less'--And there she stopt a moment or two:
then proceeding--'And who shall punish him? what an assuming wretch!--
Nobody but himself is entitled to injure the innocent;--he is, I suppose,
on the earth, to act the part which the malignant fiend is supposed to
act below--dealing out punishments, at his pleasure, to every inferior
instrument of mischief!'
What, thought I, have I been doing! I shall have this savage fellow
think I have been playing him booty, in reading part of his letter to
this sagacious lady!--Yet, if thou art angry, it can only, in reason,
be at thyself; for who would think I might not communicate to her some
of thy sincerity in exculpating thyself from a criminal charge, which
thou wrotest to thy friend, to convince him of thy innocence? But a bad
heart, and a bad cause are confounded things: and so let us put it to its
I passed over thy charge to me, to curse them by the hour; and thy names
of dragon and serpents, though so applicable; since, had I read them,
thou must have been supposed to know from the first what creatures they
were; vile fellow as thou wert, for bringing so much purity among them!
And I closed with thy own concluding paragraph, A line! a line! a kingdom
for a line! &c. However, telling her (since she saw that I omitted some
sentences) that there were farther vehemences in it; but as they were
better fitted to show to me the sincerity of the writer than for so
delicate an ear as her's to hear, I chose to pass them over.
You have read enough, said she--he is a wicked, wicked man!--I see he
intended to have me in his power at any rate; and I have no doubt of what
his purposes were, by what his actions have been. You know his vile
Tomlinson, I suppose--You know--But what signifies talking?--Never was
there such a premeditated false heart in man, [nothing can be truer,
thought I!] What has he not vowed! what has he not invented! and all for
what?--Only to ruin a poor young creature, whom he ought to have
protected; and whom he had first deceived of all other protection!
She arose and turned from me, her handkerchief at her eyes: and, after a
pause, came towards me again--'I hope, said she, I talk to a man who has
a better heart: and I thank you, Sir, for all your kind, though
ineffectual pleas in my favour formerly, whether the motives for them
were compassion, or principle, or both. That they were ineffectual,
might very probably be owing to your want of earnestness; and that, as
you might think, to my want of merit. I might not, in your eye, deserve
to be saved!--I might appear to you a giddy creature, who had run away
from her true and natural friends; and who therefore ought to take the
consequence of the lot she had drawn.'
I was afraid, for thy sake, to let her know how very earnest I had been:
but assured her that I had been her zealous friend; and that my motives
were founded upon a merit, that, I believed, was never equaled: that,
however indefensible Mr. Lovelace was, he had always done justice to her
virtue: that to a full conviction of her untainted honour it was owing
that he so earnestly desired to call so inestimable a jewel his--and was
proceeding, when she again cut me short--
Enough, and too much, of this subject, Sir!--If he will never more let me
behold his face, that is all I have now to ask of him.--Indeed, indeed,
clasping her hands, I never will, if I can, by any means not criminally
desperate, avoid it.
What could I say for thee?--There was no room, however, at that time, to
touch this string again, for fear of bringing upon myself a prohibition,
not only of the subject, but of ever attending her again.
I gave some distant intimations of money-matters. I should have told
thee, when I read to her that passage, where thou biddest me force what
sums upon her I can get her to take--she repeated, No, no, no, no!
several times with great quickness; and I durst no more than just
intimate it again--and that so darkly, as left her room to seem not to
Indeed I know not the person, man or woman, I should be so much afraid
of disobliging, or incurring a censure from, as from her. She has so
much true dignity in her manner, without pride or arrogance, (which, in
those who have either, one is tempted to mortify,) such a piercing eye,
yet softened so sweetly with rays of benignity, that she commands all
Methinks I have a kind of holy love for this angel of a woman; and it is
matter of astonishment to me, that thou couldst converse with her a
quarter of an hour together, and hold thy devilish purposes.
Guarded as she was by piety, prudence, virtue, dignity, family, fortune,
and a purity of heart that never woman before her boasted, what a real
devil must he be (yet I doubt I shall make thee proud!) who could resolve
to break through so many fences!
For my own part, I am more and more sensible that I ought not to have
contented myself with representing against, and expostulating with thee
upon, thy base intentions: and indeed I had it in my head, more than
once, to try to do something for her. But, wretch that I was! I was
with-held by notions of false honour, as she justly reproached me,
because of thy own voluntary communications to me of thy purposes: and
then, as she was brought into such a cursed house, and was so watched by
thyself, as well as by thy infernal agents, I thought (knowing my man!)
that I should only accelerate the intended mischiefs.--Moreover, finding
thee so much over-awed by her virtue, that thou hadst not, at thy first
carrying her thither, the courage to attempt her; and that she had, more
than once, without knowing thy base views, obliged thee to abandon them,
and to resolve to do her justice, and thyself honour; I hardly doubted,
that her merit would be triumphant at last.
It is my opinion, (if thou holdest thy purposes to marry,) that thou
canst not do better than to procure thy real aunts, and thy real cousins,
to pay her a visit, and to be thy advocates. But if they decline
personal visits, letters from them, and from my Lord M. supported by Miss
Howe's interest, may, perhaps, effect something in thy favour.
But these are only my hopes, founded on what I wish for thy sake. The
lady, I really think, would choose death rather than thee: and the two
women are of opinion, though they knew not half of what she has suffered,
that her heart is actually broken.
At taking my leave, I tendered my best services to her, and besought her
to permit me frequently to inquire after her health.
She made me no answer, but by bowing her head.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 19.
This morning I took a chair to Smith's; and, being told that the lady had
a very bad night, but was up, I sent for her worthy apothecary; who, on
his coming to me, approving of my proposal of calling in Dr. H., I bid
the woman acquaint her with the designed visit.
It seems she was at first displeased; yet withdrew her objection: but,
after a pause, asked them, What she should do? She had effects of value,
some of which she intended, as soon as she could, to turn into money,
but, till then, had not a single guinea to give the doctor for his fee.
Mrs. Lovick said, she had five guineas by her; they were at her service.
She would accept of three, she said, if she would take that (pulling a
diamond ring from her finger) till she repaid her; but on no other terms.
Having been told I was below with Mr. Goddard, she desired to speak one
word with me, before she saw the Doctor.
She was sitting in an elbow-chair, leaning her head on a pillow; Mrs.
Smith and the widow on each side her chair; her nurse, with a phial of
hartshorn, behind her; in her own hand her salts.
Raising her head at my entrance, she inquired if the Doctor knew Mr.
I told her no; and that I believed you never saw him in your life.
Was the Doctor my friend?
He was; and a very worthy and skilful man. I named him for his eminence
in his profession: and Mr. Goddard said he knew not a better physician.
I have but one condition to make before I see the gentleman; that he
refuse not his fees from me. If I am poor, Sir, I am proud. I will not
be under obligation, you may believe, Sir, I will not. I suffer this
visit, because I would not appear ungrateful to the few friends I have
left, nor obstinate to such of my relations, as may some time hence, for
their private satisfaction, inquire after my behaviour in my sick hours.
So, Sir, you know the condition. And don't let me be vexed. 'I am very
ill! and cannot debate the matter.'
Seeing her so determined, I told her, if it must be so, it should.
Then, Sir, the gentleman may come. But I shall not be able to answer
many questions. Nurse, you can tell him at the window there what a night
I have had, and how I have been for two days past. And Mr. Goddard, if
he be here, can let him know what I have taken. Pray let me be as little
questioned as possible.
The Doctor paid his respects to her with the gentlemanly address for
which he is noted: and she cast up her sweet eyes to him with that
benignity which accompanies her every graceful look.
I would have retired: but she forbid it.
He took her hand, the lily not of so beautiful a white: Indeed, Madam,
you are very low, said he: but give me leave to say, that you can do more
for yourself than all the faculty can do for you.
He then withdrew to the window. And, after a short conference with the
women, he turned to me, and to Mr. Goddard, at the other window: We can
do nothing here, (speaking low,) but by cordials and nourishment. What
friends has the lady? She seems to be a person of condition; and, ill as
she is, a very fine woman.----A single lady, I presume?
I whisperingly told him she was. That there were extraordinary
circumstances in her case; as I would have apprized him, had I met with
him yesterday: that her friends were very cruel to her; but that she
could not hear them named without reproaching herself; though they were
much more to blame than she.
I knew I was right, said the Doctor. A love-case, Mr. Goddard! a
love-case, Mr. Belford! there is one person in the world who can do her
more service than all the faculty.
Mr. Goddard said he had apprehended her disorder was in her mind; and had
treated her accordingly: and then told the Doctor what he had done: which
he approving of, again taking her charming hand, said, My good young
lady, you will require very little of our assistance. You must, in a
great measure, be your own assistance. You must, in a great measure, be
your own doctress. Come, dear Madam, [forgive me the familiar
tenderness; your aspect commands love as well as reverence; and a father
of children, some of them older than yourself, may be excused for his
familiar address,] cheer up your spirits. Resolve to do all in your
power to be well; and you'll soon grow better.
You are very kind, Sir, said she. I will take whatever you direct. My
spirits have been hurried. I shall be better, I believe, before I am
worse. The care of my good friends here, looking at the women, shall not
meet with an ungrateful return.
The Doctor wrote. He would fain have declined his fee. As her malady,
he said, was rather to be relieved by the soothings of a friend, than by
the prescriptions of a physician, he should think himself greatly
honoured to be admitted rather to advise her in the one character, than
to prescribe to her in the other.
She answered, That she should be always glad to see so humane a man: that
his visits would keep her in charity with his sex: but that, where [sic]
she able to forget that he was her physician, she might be apt to abate
of the confidence in his skill, which might be necessary to effect the
amendment that was the end of his visits.
And when he urged her still further, which he did in a very polite
manner, and as passing by the door two or three times a day, she said she
should always have pleasure in considering him in the kind light he
offered himself to her: that that might be very generous in one person to
offer, which would be as ungenerous in another to accept: that indeed she
was not at present high in circumstance; and he saw by the tender, (which
he must accept of,) that she had greater respect to her own convenience
than to his merit, or than to the pleasure she should take in his visits.
We all withdrew together; and the Doctor and Mr. Goddard having a great
curiosity to know something more of her story, at the motion of the
latter we went into a neighbouring coffee-house, and I gave them, in
confidence, a brief relation of it; making all as light for you as I
could; and yet you'll suppose, that, in order to do but common justice
to the lady's character, heavy must be that light.
THREE O'CLOCK, AFTERNOON.
I just now called again at Smith's; and am told she is somewhat better;
which she attributed to the soothings of her Doctor. She expressed
herself highly pleased with both gentlemen; and said that their behaviour
to her was perfectly paternal.----
Paternal, poor lady!----never having been, till very lately, from under
her parents' wings, and now abandoned by all her friends, she is for
finding out something paternal and maternal in every one, (the latter
qualities in Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith,) to supply to herself the father
and mother her dutiful heart pants after.
Mrs. Smith told me, that, after we were gone, she gave the keys of her
trunk and drawers to her and the widow Lovick, and desired them to take
an inventory of them; which they did in her presence.
They also informed me, that she had requested them to find her a
purchaser for two rich dressed suits; one never worn, the other not above
once or twice.
This shocked me exceedingly--perhaps it may thee a little!!!--Her reason
for so doing, she told them, was, that she should never live to wear
them: that her sister, and other relations, were above wearing them: that
her mother would not endure in her sight any thing that was her's: that
she wanted the money: that she would not be obliged to any body, when she
had effects by her for which she had no occasion: and yet, said she, I
expect not that they will fetch a price answerable to their value.
They were both very much concerned, as they owned; and asked my advice
upon it: and the richness of her apparel having given them a still higher
notion of her rank than they had before, they supposed she must be of
quality; and again wanted to know her story.
I told them, that she was indeed a woman of family and fortune: I still
gave them room to suppose her married: but left it to her to tell them
all in her own time and manner: all I would say was, that she had been
very vilely treated; deserved it not; and was all innocence and purity.
You may suppose that they both expressed their astonishment, that there
could be a man in the world who could ill treat so fine a creature.
As to the disposing of the two suits of apparel, I told Mrs. Smith that
she should pretend that, upon inquiry, she had found a friend who would
purchase the richest of them; but (that she might not mistrust) would
stand upon a good bargain. And having twenty guineas about me, I left
them with her, in part of payment; and bid her pretend to get her to part
with it for as little more as she could induce her to take.
I am setting out for Edgeware with poor Belton--more of whom in my next.
I shall return to-morrow; and leave this in readiness for your messenger,
if he call in my absence.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER XXI. OF THIS VOLUME.]
M. HALL, WED. NIGHT, JULY 19.
You might well apprehend that I should think you were playing me booty in
communicating my letter to the lady.
You ask, Who would think you might not read to her the least
exceptionable parts of a letter written in my own defence?--I'll tell you
who--the man who, in the same letter that he asks this question, tells
the friend whom he exposes to her resentment, 'That there is such an air
of levity runs through his most serious letters, that those of this are
least fit to be seen which ought to be most to his credit:' And now what
thinkest thou of thyself-condemned folly? Be, however, I charge thee,
more circumspect for the future, that so this clumsy error may stand
singly by itself.
'It is painful to her to think of me!' 'Libertine froth!' 'So pernicious
and so despicable a plotter!' 'A man whose friendship is no credit to any
body!' 'Hardened wretch!' 'The devil's counterpart!' 'A wicked, wicked
man!'--But did she, could she, dared she, to say, or imply all this?--and
say it to a man whom she praises for humanity, and prefers to myself for
that virtue; when all the humanity he shows, and she knows it too, is by
my direction--so robs me of the credit of my own works; admirably
entitled, all this shows her, to thy refinement upon the words resentment
and revenge. But thou wert always aiming and blundering at some thing
thou never couldst make out.
The praise thou givest to her ingenuousness, is another of thy peculiars.
I think not as thou dost, of her tell-tale recapitulations and
exclamations:--what end can they answer?--only that thou hast a holy love
for her, [the devil fetch thee for thy oddity!] or it is extremely
provoking to suppose one sees such a charming creature stand upright
before a libertine, and talk of the sin against her, that cannot be
forgiven!--I wish, at my heart, that these chaste ladies would have a
little modesty in their anger!--It would sound very strange, if I Robert
Lovelace should pretend to have more true delicacy, in a point that
requires the utmost, than Miss Clarissa Harlowe.
I think I will put it into the head of her nurse Norton, and her Miss
Howe, by some one of my agents, to chide the dear novice for her
But to be serious: let me tell thee, that, severe as she is, and saucy,
in asking so contemptuously, 'What a man is your friend, Sir, to set
himself to punish guilty people!' I will never forgive the cursed woman,
who could commit this last horrid violence on so excellent a creature.
The barbarous insults of the two nymphs, in their visits to her; the
choice of the most execrable den that could be found out, in order, no
doubt, to induce her to go back to theirs; and the still more execrable
attempt, to propose to her a man who would pay the debt; a snare, I make
no question, laid for her despairing and resenting heart by that devilish
Sally, (thinking her, no doubt, a woman,) in order to ruin her with me;
and to provoke me, in a fury, to give her up to their remorseless
cruelty; are outrages, that, to express myself in her style, I never can,
never will forgive.
But as to thy opinion, and the two women's at Smith's, that her heart is
broken! that is the true women's language: I wonder how thou camest into
it: thou who hast seen and heard of so many female deaths and revivals.
I'll tell thee what makes against this notion of theirs.
Her time of life, and charming constitution: the good she ever delighted
to do, and fancified she was born to do; and which she may still continue
to do, to as high a degree as ever; nay, higher: since I am no sordid
varlet, thou knowest: her religious turn: a turn that will always teach
her to bear inevitable evils with patience: the contemplation upon her
last noble triumph over me, and over the whole crew; and upon her
succeeding escape from us all: her will unviolated: and the inward pride
of having not deserved the treatment she has met with.
How is it possible to imagine, that a woman, who has all these
consolations to reflect upon, will die of a broken heart?
On the contrary, I make no doubt, but that, as she recovers from the
dejection into which this last scurvy villany (which none but wretches
of her own sex could have been guilty of) has thrown her, returning love
will re-enter her time-pacified mind: her thoughts will then turn once
more on the conjugal pivot: of course she will have livelier notions in
her head; and these will make her perform all her circumvolutions with
ease and pleasure; though not with so high a degree of either, as if the
dear proud rogue could have exalted herself above the rest of her sex, as
she turned round.
Thou askest, on reciting the bitter invectives that the lady made against
thy poor friend, (standing before her, I suppose, with thy fingers in thy
mouth,) What couldst thou say FOR me?
Have I not, in my former letters, suggested an hundred things, which a
friend, in earnest to vindicate or excuse a friend, might say on such an
But now to current topics, and the present state of matters here.--It is
true, as my servant told thee, that Miss Howe had engaged, before this
cursed woman's officiousness, to use her interest with her friend in my
behalf: and yet she told my cousins, in the visit they made her, that it
was her opinion that she would never forgive me. I send to thee enclosed
copies of all that passed on this occasion between my cousins Montague,
Miss Howe, myself, Lady Betty, Lady Sarah, and Lord M.
I long to know what Miss Howe wrote to her friend, in order to induce her
to marry the despicable plotter; the man whose friendship is no credit to
any body; the wicked, wicked man. Thou hadst the two letters in thy
hand. Had they been in mine, the seal would have yielded to the touch of
my warm finger, (perhaps without the help of the post-office bullet;) and
the folds, as other placations have done, opened of themselves to oblige
my curiosity. A wicked omission, Jack, not to contrive to send them down
to me by man and horse! It might have passed, that the messenger who
brought the second letter, took them both back. I could have returned
them by another, when copied, as from Miss Howe, and nobody but myself
and thee the wiser.
That's a charming girl! her spirit, her delightful spirit!--not to be
married to it--how I wish to get that lively bird into my cage! how would
I make her flutter and fly about!--till she left a feather upon every
Had I begun there, I am confident, as I have heretofore said,* that I
should not have had half the difficulty with her as I have had with her
charming friend. For these passionate girls have high pulses, and a
clever fellow may make what sport he pleases with their unevenness--now
too high, now too low, you need only to provoke and appease them by
turns; to bear with them, and to forbear to tease and ask pardon; and
sometimes to give yourself the merit of a sufferer from them; then
catching them in the moment of concession, conscious of their ill usage
of you, they are all your own.
* See Vol. VI. Letter VII.
But these sedate, contemplative girls, never out of temper but with
reason; when that reason is given them, hardly ever pardon, or afford you
another opportunity to offend.
It was in part the apprehension that this would be so with my dear Miss
Harlowe, that made me carry her to a place where I believed she would be
unable to escape me, although I were not to succeed in my first attempts.
Else widow Sorlings's would have been as well for me as widow Sinclair's.
For early I saw that there was no credulity in her to graft upon: no
pretending to whine myself into her confidence. She was proof against
amorous persuasion. She had reason in her love. Her penetration and
good sense made her hate all compliments that had not truth and nature in
them. What could I have done with her in any other place? and yet how
long, even there, was I kept in awe, in spite of natural incitement, and
unnatural instigations, (as I now think them,) by the mere force of that
native dignity, and obvious purity of mind and manners, which fill every
one with reverence, if not with holy love, as thou callest it,* the
moment he sees her!--Else, thinkest thou not, it was easy for me to be a
fine gentleman, and a delicate lover, or, at least a specious and
* See Letter XXI. of this volume.
Lady Sarah and Lady Betty, finding the treaty, upon the success of which
they have set their foolish hearts, likely to run into length, are about
departing to their own seats; having taken from me the best security the
nature of the case will admit of, that is to say, my word, to marry the
lady, if she will have me.
And after all, (methinks thou asked,) art thou still resolved to repair,
if reparation be put into thy power?
Why, Jack, I must needs own that my heart has now-and-then some
retrograde motions upon thinking seriously of the irrevocable ceremony.
We do not easily give up the desire of our hearts, and what we imagine
essential to our happiness, let the expectation or hope of compassing it
be ever so unreasonable or absurd in the opinion of others. Recurrings
there will be; hankerings that will, on every but-remotely-favourable
incident, (however before discouraged and beaten back by ill success,)
pop up, and abate the satisfaction we should otherwise take in
'Tis ungentlemanly, Jack, man to man, to lie.----But matrimony I do not
heartily love--although with a CLARISSA--yet I am in earnest to marry
But I am often thinking that if now this dear creature, suffering time,
and my penitence, my relations' prayers, and Miss Howe's mediation to
soften her resentments, (her revenge thou hast prettily* distinguished
away,) and to recall repulsed inclination, should consent to meet me at
the altar--How vain will she then make all thy eloquent periods of
execration!--How many charming interjections of her own will she spoil!
And what a couple of old patriarchs shall we become, going in the
mill-horse round; getting sons and daughters; providing nurses for them
first, governors and governesses next; teaching them lessons their
fathers never practised, nor which their mother, as her parents will say,
was much the better for! And at last, perhaps, when life shall be turned
into the dully sober stillness, and I become desirous to forget all my
past rogueries, what comfortable reflections will it afford to find them
all revived, with equal, or probably greater trouble and expense, in the
persons and manners of so many young Lovelaces of the boys; and to have
the girls run away with varlets, perhaps not half so ingenious as myself;
clumsy fellows, as it might happen, who could not afford the baggages one
excuse for their weakness, besides those disgraceful ones of sex and
nature!--O Belford! who can bear to think of these things!----Who, at my
time of life especially, and with such a bias for mischief!
* See Letter XVIII. of this volume.
Of this I am absolutely convinced, that if a man ever intends to marry,
and to enjoy in peace his own reflections, and not be afraid
retribution, or of the consequences of his own example, he should never
be a rake.
This looks like conscience; don't it, Belford?
But, being in earnest still, as I have said, all I have to do in my
present uncertainty, is, to brighten up my faculties, by filing off the
rust they have contracted by the town smoke, a long imprisonment in my
close attendance to so little purpose on my fair perverse; and to brace
up, if I can, the relaxed fibres of my mind, which have been twitched and
convulsed like the nerves of some tottering paralytic, by means of the
tumults she has excited in it; that so I may be able to present to her a
husband as worthy as I can be of her acceptance; or, if she reject me, be
in a capacity to resume my usual gaiety of heart, and show others of the
misleading sex, that I am not discouraged, by the difficulties I have met
with from this sweet individual of it, from endeavouring to make myself
as acceptable to them as before.
In this latter case, one tour to France and Italy, I dare say, will do
the business. Miss Harlowe will by that time have forgotten all she has
suffered from her ungrateful Lovelace: though it will be impossible that
her Lovelace should ever forget a woman, whose equal he despairs to meet
with, were he to travel from one end of the world to the other.
If thou continuest paying off the heavy debts my long letters, for so
many weeks together, have made thee groan under, I will endeavour to
restrain myself in the desires I have, (importunate as they are,) of
going to town, to throw myself at the feet of my soul's beloved. Policy
and honesty, both join to strengthen the restraint my own promise and thy
engagement have laid me under on this head. I would not afresh provoke:
on the contrary, would give time for her resentments to subside, that so
all that follows may be her own act and deed.
Hickman, [I have a mortal aversion to that fellow!] has, by a line which
I have just now received, requested an interview with me on Friday at Mr.
Dormer's, as at a common friend's. Does the business he wants to meet me
upon require that it should be at a common friend's?--A challenge
implied: Is it not, Belford?--I shall not be civil to him, I doubt. He
has been an intermeddler?--Then I envy him on Miss Howe's account: for if
I have a right notion of this Hickman, it is impossible that that virago
can ever love him.
Every one knows that the mother, (saucy as the daughter sometimes is,)
crams him down her throat. Her mother is one of the most
violent-spirited women in England. Her late husband could not stand in
the matrimonial contention of Who should? but tipt off the perch in it,
neither knowing how to yield, nor knowing how to conquer.
A charming encouragement for a man of intrigue, when he has reason to
believe that the woman he has a view upon has no love for her husband!
What good principles must that wife have, who is kept in against
temptation by a sense of her duty, and plighted faith, where affection
has no hold of her!
Pr'ythee let's know, very particularly, how it fares with poor Belton.
'Tis an honest fellow. Something more than his Thomasine seems to stick
Thou hast not been preaching to him conscience and reformation, hast
thou?--Thou shouldest not take liberties with him of this sort, unless
thou thoughtest him absolutely irrecoverable. A man in ill health, and
crop-sick, cannot play with these solemn things as thou canst, and be
neither better nor worse for them.--Repentance, Jack, I have a notion,
should be set about while a man is in health and spirits. What's a man
fit for, [not to begin a new work, surely!] when he is not himself, nor
master of his faculties?--Hence, as I apprehend, it is that a death-bed
repentance is supposed to be such a precarious and ineffectual thing.
As to myself, I hope I have a great deal of time before me; since I
intend one day to be a reformed man. I have very serious reflections
now-and-then. Yet am I half afraid of the truth of what my charmer once
told me, that a man cannot repent when he will.--Not to hold it, I
suppose she meant! By fits and starts I have repented a thousand times.
Casting my eye over the two preceding paragraphs, I fancy there is
something like contradiction in them. But I will not reconsider them.
The subject is a very serious one. I don't at present quite understand
it. But now for one more airy.
Tourville, Mowbray, and myself, pass away our time as pleasantly as
possibly we can without thee. I wish we don't add to Lord M.'s gouty
days by the joy we give him.
This is one advantage, as I believe I have elsewhere observed, that we
male-delinquents in love-matters have of the other sex:--for while they,
poor things! sit sighing in holes and corners, or run to woods and groves
to bemoan themselves on their baffled hopes, we can rant and roar, hunt
and hawk; and, by new loves, banish from our hearts all remembrance of
the old ones.
Merrily, however, as we pass our time, my reflections upon the injuries
done to this noble creature bring a qualm upon my heart very often. But
I know she will permit me to make her amends, after she has plagued me
heartily; and that's my consolation.
An honest fellow still--clap thy wings, and crow, Jack!----
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
THURSDAY MORN. JUNE* 20.
* Text error: should be JULY.
What, my dearest creature, have been your sufferings!--What must have
been your anguish on so disgraceful an insult, committed in the open
streets, and in the broad day!
No end, I think, of the undeserved calamities of a dear soul, who had
been so unhappily driven and betrayed into the hands of a vile libertine!
--How was I shocked at the receiving of your letter written by another
hand, and only dictated by you!--You must be very ill. Nor is it to be
wondered at. But I hope it is rather from hurry, and surprise, and
lowness, which may be overcome, than from a grief given way to, which may
be attended with effects I cannot bear to think of.
But whatever you do, my dear, you must not despond! Indeed you must not
despond! Hitherto you have been in no fault: but despair would be all
your own: and the worst fault you can be guilty of.
I cannot bear to look upon another hand instead of your's. My dear
creature, send me a few lines, though ever so few, in your own hand, if
possible.--For they will revive my heart; especially if they can acquaint
me of your amended health.
I expect your answer to my letter of the 13th. We all expect it with
His relations are persons of so much honour--they are so very earnest to
rank you among them--the wretch is so very penitent: every one of his
family says he is--your own are so implacable--your last distress, though
the consequence of his former villany, yet neither brought on by his
direction nor with his knowledge; and so much resented by him--that my
mother is absolutely of opinion that you should be his--especially if,
yielding to my wishes, as expressed in my letter, and those of all his
friends, you would have complied, had it not been for this horrid arrest.
I will enclose the copy of the letter I wrote to Miss Montague last
Tuesday, on hearing that nobody knew what was become of you; and the
answer to it, underwritten and signed by Lord M., Lady Sarah Sadleir, and
Lady Betty Lawrance, as well as by the young Ladies; and also by the
I own, that I like not the turn of what he has written to me; and, before
I will further interest myself in his favour, I have determined to inform
myself, by a friend, from his own mouth, of his sincerity, and whether
his whole inclination be, in his request to me, exclusive of the wishes
of his relations. Yet my heart rises against him, on the supposition
that there is the shadow of a reason for such a question, the woman Miss
Clarissa Harlowe. But I think, with my mother, that marriage is now the
only means left to make your future life tolerably easy--happy there is
no saying.--His disgraces, in that case, in the eye of the world itself,
will be more than your's: and, to those who know you, glorious will be
I am obliged to accompany my mother soon to the Isle of Wight. My aunt
Harman is in a declining way, and insists upon seeing us both--and Mr.
Hickman too, I think.
His sister, of whom we had heard so much, with her lord, were brought
t'other day to visit us. She strangely likes me, or says she does.
I can't say but that I think she answers the excellent character we heard
It would be death to me to set out for the little island, and not see you
first: and yet my mother (fond of exerting an authority that she herself,
by that exertion, often brings into question) insists, that my next visit
to you must be a congratulatory one as Mrs. Lovelace.
When I know what will be the result of the questions to be put in my name
to that wretch, and what is your mind on my letter of the 13th, I shall
tell you more of mine.
The bearer promises to make so much dispatch as to attend you this very
afternoon. May he return with good tidings to
Your ever affectionate
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
You pain me, Miss Howe, by the ardour of your noble friendship. I will
be brief, because I am not well; yet a good deal better than I was; and
because I am preparing an answer to your's of the 13th. But, before
hand, I must tell you, my dear, I will not have that man--don't be angry
with me. But indeed I won't. So let him be asked no questions about me,
I beseech you.
I do not despond, my dear. I hope I may say, I will not despond. Is not
my condition greatly mended? I thank Heaven it is!
I am no prisoner now in a vile house. I am not now in the power of that
man's devices. I am not now obliged to hide myself in corners for fear
of him. One of his intimate companions is become my warm friend, and
engages to keep him from me, and that by his own consent. I am among
honest people. I have all my clothes and effects restored to me. The
wretch himself bears testimony to my honour.
Indeed I am very weak and ill: but I have an excellent physician, Dr. H.
and as worthy an apothecary, Mr. Goddard.--Their treatment of me, my
dear, is perfectly paternal!--My mind too, I can find, begins to
strengthen: and methinks, at times, I find myself superior to my
I shall have sinkings sometimes. I must expect such. And my father's
maledict----But you will chide me for introducing that, now I am
enumerating my comforts.
But I charge you, my dear, that you do not suffer my calamities to sit
too heavily upon your own mind. If you do, that will be to new-point
some of those arrows that have been blunted and lost their sharpness.
If you would contribute to my happiness, give way, my dear, to your own;
and to the cheerful prospects before you!
You will think very meanly of your Clarissa, if you do not believe, that
the greatest pleasure she can receive in this life is in your prosperity
and welfare. Think not of me, my only friend, but as we were in times
past: and suppose me gone a great, great way off!--A long journey!----How
often are the dearest of friends, at their country's call, thus parted--
with a certainty for years--with a probability for ever.
Love me still, however. But let it be with a weaning love. I am not what
I was, when we were inseparable lovers, as I may say.--Our views must now
be different--Resolve, my dear, to make a worthy man happy, because a
worthy man make you so.--And so, my dearest love, for the present adieu!
--adieu, my dearest love!--but I shall soon write again, I hope!
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER XXIII. OF THIS VOLUME.]
THURDAY, JULY 20.
I read that part of your conclusion to poor Belton, where you inquire
after him, and mention how merrily you and the reset pass your time at
M. Hall. He fetched a deep sigh: You are all very happy! were his words.
--I am sorry they were his words; for, poor fellow, he is going very
fast. Change of air, he hopes, will mend him, joined to the cheerful
company I have left him in. But nothing, I dare say, will.
A consuming malady, and a consuming mistress, to an indulgent keeper, are
dreadful things to struggle with both together: violence must be used to
get rid of the latter; and yet he has not spirit enough left him to exert
himself. His house is Thomasine's house; not his. He has not been
within his doors for a fortnight past. Vagabonding about from inn to
inn; entering each for a bait only; and staying two or three days without
power to remove; and hardly knowing which to go to next. His malady is
within him; and he cannot run away from it.
Her boys (once he thought them his) are sturdy enough to shoulder him in
his own house as they pass by him. Siding with the mother, they in a
manner expel him; and, in his absence, riot away on the remnant of his
broken fortunes. As to their mother, (who was once so tender, so
submissive, so studious to oblige, that we all pronounced him happy, and
his course of life the eligible,) she is now so termagant, so insolent,
that he cannot contend with her, without doing infinite prejudice to his
health. A broken-spirited defensive, hardly a defensive, therefore,
reduced to: and this to a heart, for so many years waging offensive war,
(not valuing whom the opponent,) what a reduction! now comparing himself
to the superannuated lion in the fable, kicked in the jaws, and laid
sprawling, by the spurning heel of an ignoble ass!
I have undertaken his cause. He has given me leave, yet not without
reluctance, to put him into possession of his own house; and to place in
it for him his unhappy sister, whom he has hitherto slighted, because
unhappy. It is hard, he told me, (and wept, poor fellow, when he said
it,) that he cannot be permitted to die quietly in his own house!--The
fruits of blessed keeping these!----
Though but lately apprized of her infidelity, it now comes out to have
been of so long continuance, that he has no room to believe the boys to
be his: yet how fond did he use to be of them!
To what, Lovelace, shall we attribute the tenderness which a reputed
father frequently shows to the children of another man?--What is that, I
pray thee, which we call nature, and natural affection? And what has man
to boast of as to sagacity and penetration, when he is as easily brought
to cover and rear, and even to love, and often to prefer, the product of
another's guilt with his wife or mistress, as a hen or a goose the eggs,
and even young, of others of their kind?
Nay, let me ask, if instinct, as it is called, in the animal creation,
does not enable them to distinguish their own, much more easily than we,
with our boasted reason and sagacity, in this nice particular, can do?
If some men, who have wives but of doubtful virtue, considered this
matter duly, I believe their inordinate ardour after gain would be a good
deal cooled, when they could not be certain (though their mates could)
for whose children they were elbowing, bustling, griping, and perhaps
cheating, those with whom they have concerns, whether friends,
neighbours, or more certain next-of-kin, by the mother's side however.
But I will not push this notion so far as it might be carried; because,
if propagated, it might be of unsocial or unnatural consequence; since
women of virtue would perhaps be more liable to suffer by the mistrusts
and caprices or bad-hearted and foolish-headed husbands, than those who
can screen themselves from detection by arts and hypocrisy, to which a
woman of virtue cannot have recourse. And yet, were this notion duly and
generally considered, it might be attended with no bad effects; as good
education, good inclinations, and established virtue, would be the
principally-sought-after qualities; and not money, when a man (not
biased by mere personal attractions) was looking round him for a partner
in his fortunes, and for a mother of his future children, which are to be
the heirs of his possessions, and to enjoy the fruits of his industry.
But to return to poor Belton.
If I have occasion for your assistance, and that of our compeers, in
re-instating the poor fellow, I will give you notice. Mean time, I have
just now been told that Thomasine declares she will not stir; for, it
seems, she suspects that measures will be fallen upon to make her quit.
She is Mrs. Belton, she says, and will prove her marriage.
If she would give herself these airs in his life-time, what would she
attempt to do after his death?
Her boy threatens any body who shall presume to insult their mother.
Their father (as they call poor Belton) they speak of as an unnatural
one. And their probably true father is for ever there, hostilely there,
passing for her cousin, as usual: now her protecting cousin.
Hardly ever, I dare say, was there a keeper that did not make
keeperess; who lavished away on her kept-fellow what she obtained from
the extravagant folly of him who kept her.
I will do without you, if I can. The case will be only, as I conceive,
that like of the ancient Sarmatians, their wives then in possession of
their slaves. So that they had to contend not only with those wives,
conscious of their infidelity, and with their slaves, but with the
children of those slaves, grown up to manhood, resolute to defend their
mothers and their long-manumitted fathers. But the noble Sarmatians,
scorning to attack their slaves with equal weapons, only provided
themselves with the same sort of whips with which they used formerly to
chastise them. And attacking them with them, the miscreants fled before
them.--In memory of which, to this day, the device on the coin in
Novogrod, in Russia, a city of the antient Sarmatia, is a man on
horseback, with a whip in his hand.
The poor fellow takes it ill, that you did not press him more than you
did to be of your party at M. Hall. It is owing to Mowbray, he is sure,
that he had so very slight an invitation from one whose invitations used
to be so warm.
Mowbray's speech to him, he says, he never will forgive: 'Why, Tom,' said
the brutal fellow, with a curse, 'thou droopest like a pip or
roup-cloaking chicken. Thou shouldst grow perter, or submit to a
solitary quarantine, if thou wouldst not infect the whole brood.'
For my own part, only that this poor fellow is in distress, as well in
his affairs as in his mind, or I should be sick of you all. Such is the
relish I have of the conversation, and such my admiration of the
deportment and sentiments of this divine lady, that I would forego a
month, even of thy company, to be admitted into her's but for one hour:
and I am highly in conceit with myself, greatly as I used to value thine,
for being able, spontaneously as I may say, to make this preference.
It is, after all, a devilish life we have lived. And to consider how it
all ends in a very few years--to see to what a state of ill health this
poor fellow is so soon reduced--and then to observe how every one of ye
run away from the unhappy being, as rats from a falling house, is fine
comfort to help a man to look back upon companions ill-chosen, and a life
It will be your turns by-and-by, every man of ye, if the justice of your
country interpose not.
Thou art the only rake we have herded with, if thou wilt not except
thyself, who hast preserved entire thy health and thy fortunes.
Mowbray indeed is indebted to a robust constitution that he has not yet
suffered in his health; but his estate is dwindled away year by year.
Three-fourths of Tourville's very considerable fortunes are already
dissipated; and the remaining fourth will probably soon go after the
Poor Belton! we see how it is with him!--His own felicity is, that he
will hardly live to want.
Thou art too proud, and too prudent, ever to be destitute; and, to do
thee justice, hath a spirit to assist such of thy friends as may be
reduced; and wilt, if thou shouldest then be living. But I think thou
must, much sooner than thou imaginest, be called to thy account--knocked
on the head perhaps by the friends of those whom thou hast injured; for
if thou escapest this fate from the Harlowe family, thou wilt go on
tempting danger and vengeance, till thou meetest with vengeance; and
this, whether thou marriest, or not: for the nuptial life will not, I
doubt, till age join with it, cure thee of that spirit for intrigue which
is continually running away with thee, in spite of thy better sense, and
Well, then, I will suppose thee laid down quietly among thy worthier
And now let me look forward to the ends of Tourville and Mowbray, [Belton
will be crumbled into dust before thee, perhaps,] supposing thy early
exit has saved thee from gallows intervention.
Reduced, probably, by riotous waste to consequential want, behold them
refuged in some obscene hole or garret; obliged to the careless care of
some dirty old woman, whom nothing but her poverty prevails upon to
attend to perform the last offices for men, who have made such shocking
ravage among the young ones.
Then how miserably will they whine through squeaking organs; their big
voices turned into puling pity-begging lamentations! their now-offensive
paws, how helpless then!--their now-erect necks then denying support to
their aching heads; those globes of mischief dropping upon their quaking
shoulders. Then what wry faces will they make! their hearts, and their
heads, reproaching each other!--distended their parched mouths!--sunk
their unmuscled cheeks!--dropt their under jaws!--each grunting like the
swine he had resembled in his life! Oh! what a vile wretch have I been!
Oh! that I had my life to come over again!--Confessing to the poor old
woman, who cannot shrive them! Imaginary ghosts of deflowered virgins,
and polluted matrons, flitting before their glassy eyes! And old Satan,
to their apprehensions, grinning behind a looking-glass held up before
them, to frighten them with the horror visible in their own countenances!
For my own part, if I can get some good family to credit me with a sister
or daughter, as I have now an increased fortune, which will enable me to
propose handsome settlements, I will desert ye all; marry, and live a
life of reason, rather than a life of a brute, for the time to come.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
I was forced to take back my twenty guineas. How the women managed it I
can't tell, (I suppose they too readily found a purchaser for the rich
suit;) but she mistrusted, that I was the advancer of the money; and
would not let the clothes go. But Mrs. Lovick has actually sold, for
fifteen guineas, some rich lace worth three times the sum; out of which
she repaid her the money she borrowed for fees to the doctor, in an
illness occasioned by the barbarity of the most savage of men. Thou
knowest his name!
The Doctor called on her in the morning it seems, and had a short debate
with her about fees. She insisted that he should take one every time he
came, write or not write; mistrusting that he only gave verbal directions
to Mrs. Lovick, or the nurse, to avoid taking any.
He said that it would be impossible for him, had he not been a physician,
to forbear inquiries after the health and welfare of so excellent a
person. He had not the thought of paying her a compliment in declining
the offered fee: but he knew her case could not so suddenly vary as to
demand his daily visits. She must permit him, therefore, to inquire of
the women below after her health; and he must not think of coming up, if
he were to be pecuniarily rewarded for the satisfaction he was so
desirous to give himself.
It ended in a compromise for a fee each other time; which she unwillingly
submitted to; telling him, that though she was at present desolate and in
disgrace, yet her circumstances were, of right, high; and no expenses
could rise so as to be scrupled, whether she lived or died. But she
submitted, she added, to the compromise, in hopes to see him as often as
he had opportunity; for she really looked upon him, and Mr. Goddard, from
their kind and tender treatment of her, with a regard next to filial.
I hope thou wilt make thyself acquainted with this worthy Doctor when
thou comest to town; and give him thy thanks, for putting her into
conceit with the sex that thou hast given her so much reason to execrate.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
M. HALL, FRIDAY, JULY 21.
Just returned from an interview with this Hickman: a precise fop of a
fellow, as starched as his ruffles.
Thou knowest I love him not, Jack; and whom we love not we cannot allow a
merit to! perhaps not the merit they should be granted. However, I am in
earnest, when I say, that he seems to me to be so set, so prim, so
affected, so mincing, yet so clouterly in his person, that I dare engage
for thy opinion, if thou dost justice to him, and to thyself, that thou
never beheldest such another, except in a pier-glass.
I'll tell thee how I play'd him off.
He came in his own chariot to Dormer's; and we took a turn in the garden,
at his request. He was devilish ceremonious, and made a bushel of
apologies for the freedom he was going to take: and, after half a hundred
hums and haws, told me, that he came--that he came--to wait on me--at the
request of dear Miss Howe, on the account--on the account--of Miss
Well, Sir, speak on, said I: but give me leave to say, that if your book
be as long as your preface, it will take up a week to read it.
This was pretty rough, thou'lt say: but there's nothing like balking
these formalities at first. When they are put out of their road, they
are filled with doubts of themselves, and can never get into it again: so
that an honest fellow, impertinently attacked, as I was, has all the game
in his own hand quite through the conference.
He stroked his chin, and hardly knew what to say. At last, after
parenthesis within parenthesis, apologizing for apologies, in imitation,
I suppose, of Swift's digression in praise of digressions--I presume--I
presume, Sir, you were privy to the visit made to Miss Howe by the young
Ladies your cousins, in the name of Lord M., and Lady Sarah Sadleir, and
Lady Betty Lawrance.
I was, Sir: and Miss Howe had a letter afterwards, signed by his Lordship
and by those Ladies, and underwritten by myself. Have you seen it, Sir?
I can't say but I have. It is the principal cause of this visit: for
Miss Howe thinks your part of it is written with such an air of levity--
pardon me, Sir--that she knows not whether you are in earnest or not, in
your address to her for her interest to her friend.*
* See Mr. Lovelace's billet to Miss Howe, Letter XIV. of this volume.
Will Miss Howe permit me to explain myself in person to her, Mr. Hickman?
O Sir, by no means. Miss Howe, I am sure, would not give you that
I should not think it a trouble. I will most readily attend you, Sir, to
Miss Howe, and satisfy her in all her scruples. Come, Sir, I will wait
upon you now. You have a chariot. Are alone. We can talk as we ride.
He hesitated, wriggled, winced, stroked his ruffles, set his wig, and
pulled his neckcloth, which was long enough for a bib.--I am not going
directly back to Miss Howe, Sir. It will be as well if you will be so
good as to satisfy Miss Howe by me.
What is it she scruples, Mr. Hickman?
Why, Sir, Miss Howe observes, that in your part of the letter, you say--
but let me see, Sir--I have a copy of what you wrote, [pulling it out,]
will you give me leave, Sir?--Thus you begin--Dear Miss Howe--
No offence, I hope, Mr. Hickman?
None in the least, Sir!--None at all, Sir!--Taking aim, as it were, to
Do you use spectacles, Mr. Hickman?
Spectacles, Sir! His whole broad face lifted up at me: Spectacles!--What
makes you ask me such a question? such a young man as I use spectacles,
They do in Spain, Mr. Hickman: young as well as old, to save their eyes.
--Have you ever read Prior's Alma, Mr. Hickman?
I have, Sir--custom is every thing in nations, as well as with
individuals: I know the meaning of your question--but 'tis not the
Was you ever in Spain, Mr. Hickman?
No, Sir: I have been in Holland.
In Holland, Sir?--Never to France or Italy?--I was resolved to travel
with him into the land of puzzledom.
No, Sir, I cannot say I have, as yet.
That's a wonder, Sir, when on the continent!
I went on a particular affair: I was obliged to return soon.
Well, Sir; you was going to read--pray be pleased to proceed.
Again he took aim, as if his eyes were older than the rest of him; and
read, After what is written above, and signed by names and characters of
such unquestionable honour--to be sure, (taking off his eye,) nobody
questions the honour of Lord M. nor that of the good Ladies who signed
I hope, Mr. Hickman, nobody questions mine neither?
If you please, Sir, I will read on.--I might have been excused signing a
name, almost as hateful to myself [you are pleased to say]--as I KNOW it
is to YOU--
Well, Mr. Hickman, I must interrupt you at this place. In what I wrote
to Miss Howe, I distinguished the word KNOW. I had a reason for it.
Miss Howe has been very free with my character. I have never done her
any harm. I take it very ill of her. And I hope, Sir, you come in her
name to make excuses for it.
Miss Howe, Sir, is a very polite young lady. She is not accustomed to
treat any man's character unbecomingly.
Then I have the more reason to take it amiss, Mr. Hickman.
Why, Sir, you know the friendship--
No friendship should warrant such freedoms as Miss Howe has taken with my
(I believed he began to wish he had not come near me. He seemed quite
Have you not heard Miss Howe treat my name with great--
Sir, I come not to offend or affront you: but you know what a love there
is between Miss Howe and Miss Harlowe.--I doubt, Sir, you have not
treated Miss Harlowe as so fine a young lady deserved to be treated. And
if love for her friend has made Miss Howe take freedoms, as you call
them, a mind not ungenerous, on such an occasion, will rather be sorry
for having given the cause, than--
I know your consequence, Sir!--but I'd rather have this reproof from a
lady than from a gentleman. I have a great desire to wait upon Miss
Howe. I am persuaded we should soon come to a good understanding.
Generous minds are always of kin. I know we should agree in every thing.
Pray, Mr. Hickman, be so kind as to introduce me to Miss Howe.
Sir--I can signify your desire, if you please, to Miss Howe.
Do so. Be pleased to read on, Mr. Hickman.
He did very formally, as if I remembered not what I had written; and when
he came to the passage about the halter, the parson, and the hangman,
reading it, Why, Sir, says he, does not this look like a jest?--Miss Howe
thinks it does. It is not in the lady's power, you know, Sir, to doom
you to the gallows.
Then, if it were, Mr. Hickman, you think she would?
You say here to Miss Howe, proceeded he, that Miss Harlowe is the most
injured of her sex. I know, from Miss Howe, that she highly resents the
injuries you own: insomuch that Miss Howe doubts that she shall never
prevail upon her to overlook them: and as your family are all desirous
you should repair her wrongs, and likewise desire Miss Howe's
interposition with her friend; Miss Howe fears, from this part of your
letter, that you are too much in jest; and that your offer to do her
justice is rather in compliment to your friends' entreaties, than
proceeding form your own inclinations: and she desires to know your true
sentiments on this occasion, before she interposes further.
Do you think, Mr. Hickman, that, if I am capable of deceiving my own
relations, I have so much obligation to Miss Howe, who has always treated
me with great freedom, as to acknowledge to her what I don't to them?
Sir, I beg pardon: but Miss Howe thinks that, as you have written to her,
she may ask you, by me, for an explanation of what you have written.
You see, Mr. Hickman, something of me.--Do you think I am in jest, or in
I see, Sir, you are a gay gentleman, of fine spirits, and all that. All
I beg in Miss Howe's name is, to know if you really and bona fide join
with your friends in desiring her to use her interest to reconcile you to
I should be extremely glad to be reconciled to Miss Harlowe; and should
owe great obligations to Miss Howe, if she could bring about so happy an
Well, Sir, and you have no objections to marriage, I presume, as the
condition of that reconciliation?
I never liked matrimony in my life. I must be plain with you, Mr.
I am sorry for it: I think it a very happy state.
I hope you will find it so, Mr. Hickman.
I doubt not but I shall, Sir. And I dare say, so would you, if you were
to have Miss Harlowe.
If I could be happy in it with any body, it would be with Miss Harlowe.
I am surprised, Sir!----Then, after all, you don't think of marrying Miss
Harlowe!----After the hard usage----
What hard usage, Mr. Hickman? I don't doubt but a lady of her niceness
has represented what would appear trifles to any other, in a very strong
If what I have had hinted to me, Sir--excuse me--had been offered to the
lady, she has more than trifles to complain of.
Let me know what you have heard, Mr. Hickman? I will very truly answer
to the accusations.
Sir, you know best what you have done: you own the lady is the most
injured, as well as the most deserving of her sex.
I do, Sir; and yet I would be glad to know what you have heard: for on
that, perhaps, depends my answer to the questions Miss Howe puts to me by
Why then, Sir, since you ask it, you cannot be displeased if I answer
you:--in the first place, Sir, you will acknowledge, I suppose, that you
promised Miss Harlowe marriage, and all that?
Well, Sir, and I suppose what you have to charge me with is, that I was
desirous to have all that, without marriage?
Cot-so, Sir, I know you are deemed to be a man of wit: but may I not ask
if these things sit not too light upon you?
When a thing is done, and cannot be helped, 'tis right to make the best
of it. I wish the lady would think so too.
I think, Sir, ladies should not be deceived. I think a promise to a lady
should be as binding as to any other person, at the least.
I believe you think so, Mr. Hickman: and I believe you are a very honest,
good sort of a man.
I would always keep my word, Sir, whether to man or woman.
You say well. And far be it from me to persuade you to do otherwise.
But what have you farther heard?
(Thou wilt think, Jack, I must be very desirous to know in what light my
elected spouse had represented things to Miss Howe; and how far Miss Howe
had communicated them to Mr. Hickman.)
Sir, this is no part of my present business.
But, Mr. Hickman, 'tis part of mine. I hope you would not expect that I
should answer your questions, at the same time that you refused to answer
mine. What, pray, have you farther heard?
Why then, Sir, if I must say, I am told, that Miss Harlowe was carried to
a very bad house.
Why, indeed, the people did not prove so good as they should be.--What
farther have you heard?
I have heard, Sir, that the lady had strange advantages taken of her,
very unfair ones: but what I cannot say.
And cannot you say? Cannot you guess?--Then I'll tell you, Sir. Perhaps
some liberty was taken with her when she was asleep. Do you think no
lady ever was taken at such an advantage?--You know, Mr. Hickman, that
ladies are very shy of trusting themselves with the modestest of our sex,
when they are disposed to sleep; and why so, if they did not expect that
advantages would be taken of them at such times?
But, Sir, had not the lady something given her to make her sleep?
Ay, Mr. Hickman, that's the question: I want to know if the lady says she
I have not seen all she has written; but, by what I have heard, it is a
very black affair--Excuse me, Sir.
I do excuse you, Mr. Hickman: but, supposing it were so, do you think a
lady was never imposed upon by wine, or so?--Do you not think the most
cautious woman in the world might not be cheated by a stronger liquor for
a smaller, when she was thirsty, after a fatigue in this very warm
weather? And do you think, if she was thus thrown into a profound sleep,
that she is the only lady that was ever taken at such an advantage?
Even as you make it, Mr. Lovelace, this matter is not a light one. But I
fear it is a great deal heavier than as you put it.
What reasons have you to fear this, Sir? What has the lady said? Pray
let me know. I have reason to be so earnest.
Why, Sir, Miss Howe herself knows not the whole. The lady promises to
give her all the particulars at a proper time, if she lives; but has said
enough to make it out to be a very bad affair.
I am glad Miss Harlowe has not yet given all the particulars. And, since
she has not, you may tell Miss Howe from me, that neither she, nor any
woman in the world can be more virtuous than Miss Harlowe is to this
hour, as to her own mind. Tell her, that I hope she never will know the
particulars; but that she has been unworthily used: tell her, that though
I know not what she has said, yet I have such an opinion of her veracity,
that I would blindly subscribe to the truth of every tittle of it, though
it make me ever so black. Tell her, that I have but three things to
blame her for; one, that she won't give me an opportunity of repairing
her wrongs: the second, that she is so ready to acquaint every body with
what she has suffered, that it will put it out of my power to redress
those wrongs, with any tolerable reputation to either of us. Will this,
Mr. Hickman, answer any part of the intention of this visit?
Why, Sir, this is talking like a man of honour, I own. But you say there
is a third thing you blame the lady for: May I ask what that is?
I don't know, Sir, whether I ought to tell it you, or not. Perhaps you
won't believe it, if I do. But though the lady will tell the truth, and
nothing but the truth, yet, perhaps, she will not tell the whole truth.
Pray, Sir--But it mayn't be proper--Yet you give me great curiosity.
Sure there is no misconduct in the lady. I hope there is not. I am
sure, if Miss Howe did not believe her to be faultless in every
particular, she would not interest herself so much in her favour as she
does, dearly as she loves her.
I love Miss Harlowe too well, Mr. Hickman, to wish to lessen her in Miss
Howe's opinion; especially as she is abandoned of every other friend.
But, perhaps, it would hardly be credited, if I should tell you.
I should be very sorry, Sir, and so would Miss Howe, if this poor lady's
conduct had laid her under obligation to you for this reserve.--You have
so much the appearance of a gentleman, as well as are so much
distinguished in your family and fortunes, that I hope you are incapable
of loading such a young lady as this, in order to lighten yourself----
Excuse me, Sir.
I do, I do, Mr. Hickman. You say you came not with any intention to
affront me. I take freedom, and I give it. I should be very loth, I
repeat, to say any thing that may weaken Miss Harlowe in the good opinion
of the only friend she thinks she has left.
It may not be proper, said he, for me to know your third article against
this unhappy lady: but I never heard of any body, out of her own
implacable family, that had the least doubt of her honour. Mrs. Howe,
indeed, once said, after a conference with one of her uncles, that she
feared all was not right on her side.--But else, I never heard--
Oons, Sir, in a fierce tone, and with an erect mien, stopping short upon
him, which made him start back--'tis next to blasphemy to question this
lady's honour. She is more pure than a vestal; for vestals have often
been warmed by their own fires. No age, from the first to the present,
ever produced, nor will the future, to the end of the world, I dare aver,
ever produce, a young blooming lady, tried as she has been tried, who has
stood all trials, as she has done.--Let me tell you, Sir, that you never
saw, never knew, never heard of, such another woman as Miss Harlowe.
Sir, Sir, I beg your pardon. Far be it from me to question the lady.
You have not heard me say a word that could be so construed. I have the
utmost honour for her. Miss Howe loves her, as she loves her own soul;
and that she would not do, if she were not sure she were as virtuous as
As herself, Sir!--I have a high opinion of Miss Howe, Sir--but, I dare
What, Sir, dare you say of Miss Howe!--I hope, Sir, you will not presume
to say any thing to the disparagement of Miss Howe.
Presume, Mr. Hickman!--that is presuming language, let me tell you, Mr.
The occasion for it, Mr. Lovelace, if designed, is presuming, if you
please.--I am not a man ready to take offence, Sir--especially where I am
employed as a mediator. But no man breathing shall say disparaging
things of Miss Howe, in my hearing, without observation.
Well said, Mr. Hickman. I dislike not your spirit, on such a supposed
occasion. But what I was going to say is this. That there is not, in my
opinion, a woman in the world, who ought to compare herself with Miss
Clarissa Harlowe till she has stood her trials, and has behaved under
them, and after them, as she has done. You see, Sir, I speak against
myself. You see I do. For, libertine as I am thought to be, I never
will attempt to bring down the measures of right and wrong to the
standard of my actions.
Why, Sir, this is very right. It is very noble, I will say. But 'tis
pity, that the man who can pronounce so fine a sentence, will not square
his actions accordingly.
That, Mr. Hickman, is another point. We all err in some things. I wish
not that Miss Howe should have Miss Harlowe's trials: and I rejoice that
she is in no danger of any such from so good a man.
(Poor Hickman!--he looked as if he knew not whether I meant a compliment
or a reflection!)
But, proceeded I, since I find that I have excited your curiosity, that
you may not go away with a doubt that may be injurious to the most
admirable of women, I am enclined to hint to you what I have in the third
place to blame her for.
Sir, as you please--it may not be proper--
It cannot be very improper, Mr. Hickman--So let me ask you, What would
Miss Howe think, if her friend is the more determined against me, because
she thinks (to revenge to me, I verily believe that!) of encouraging
How, Sir!--Sure this cannot be the case!--I can tell you, Sir, if Miss
Howe thought this, she would not approve of it at all: for, little as you
think Miss Howe likes you, Sir, and little as she approves of your
actions by her friend, I know she is of opinion that she ought to have
nobody living but you: and should continue single all her life, if she be
Revenge and obstinacy, Mr. Hickman, will make women, the best of them, do
very unaccountable things. Rather than not put out both eyes of a man
they are offended with, they will give up one of their own.
I don't know what to say to this, Sir: but sure she cannot encourage any
other person's address!--So soon too--Why, Sir, she is, as we are told,
so ill, and so weak----
Not in resentment weak, I'll assure you. I am well acquainted with all
her movements--and I tell you, believe it, or not, that she refuses me in
view of another lover.
Can it be?
'Tis true, by my soul!--Has she not hinted this to Miss Howe, do you
No, indeed, Sir. If she had I should not have troubled you at this time
from Miss Howe.
Well then, you see I am right: that though she cannot be guilty of a
falsehood, yet she has not told her friend the whole truth.
What shall a man say to these things!--(looking most stupidly perplexed.)
Say! Say! Mr. Hickman!--Who can account for the workings and ways of a
passionate and offended woman? Endless would be the histories I could
give you, within my own knowledge, of the dreadful effects of woman's
passionate resentments, and what that sex will do when disappointed.
There was Miss DORRINGTON, [perhaps you know her not,] who run away with
her father's groom, because he would not let her have a half-pay officer,
with whom (her passions all up) she fell in love at first sight, as he
accidentally passed under her window.
There was MISS SAVAGE; she married her mother's coachman, because her
mother refused her a journey to Wales; in apprehension that miss intended
to league herself with a remote cousin of unequal fortunes, of whom she
was not a little fond when he was a visiting-guest at their house for a
There was the young widow SANDERSON, who believing herself slighted by a
younger brother of a noble family, (Sarah Stout like,) took it into her
head to drown herself.
Miss SALLY ANDERSON, [You have heard of her, no doubt?] being checked by
her uncle for encouraging an address beneath her, in spite, threw herself
into the arms of an ugly dog, a shoe-maker's apprentice, running away
with him in a pair of shoes he had just fitted to her feet, though she
never saw the fellow before, and hated him ever after: and, at last, took
laudanum to make her forget for ever her own folly.
But can there be a stronger instance in point than what the unaccountable
resentments of such a lady as Miss Clarissa Harlowe afford us? Who at
this instant, ill as she is, not only encourages, but, in a manner, makes
court to one of the most odious dogs that ever was seen? I think Miss
Howe should not be told this--and yet she ought too, in order to dissuade
her from such a preposterous rashness.
O fie! O strange! Miss Howe knows nothing of this! To be sure she
won't look upon her, if this be true!
'Tis true, very true, Mr. Hickman! True as I am here to tell you so!--
And he is an ugly fellow too; uglier to look at than me.
Than you, Sir! Why, to be sure, you are one of the handsomest men in
Well, but the wretch she so spitefully prefers to me is a mis-shapen,
meagre varlet; more like a skeleton than a man! Then he dresses--you
never saw a devil so bedizened! Hardly a coat to his back, nor a shoe
to his foot. A bald-pated villain, yet grudges to buy a peruke to his
baldness: for he is as covetous as hell, never satisfied, yet plaguy
Why, Sir, there is some joke in this, surely. A man of common parts
knows not how to take such gentleman as you. But, Sir, if there be any
truth in the story, what is he? Some Jew or miserly citizen, I suppose,
that may have presumed on the lady's distressful circumstances; and your
lively wit points him out as it pleases.
Why, the rascal has estates in every county in England, and out of
Some East India governor, I suppose, if there be any thing in it. The
lady once had thoughts of going abroad. But I fancy all this time you
are in jest, Sir. If not, we must surely have heard of him----
Heard of him! Aye, Sir, we have all heard of him--But none of us care to
be intimate with him--except this lady--and that, as I told you, in spite
of me--his name, in short, is DEATH!--DEATH! Sir, stamping, and speaking
loud, and full in his ears; which made him jump half a yard high.
(Thou never beheldest any man so disconcerted. He looked as if the
frightful skeleton was before him, and he had not his accounts ready.
When a little recovered, he fribbled with his waistcoat buttons, as if he
had been telling his beads.)
This, Sir, proceeded I, is her wooer!--Nay, she is so forward a girl,
that she wooes him: but I hope it never will be a match.
He had before behaved, and now looked with more spirit than I expected
I came, Sir, said he, as a mediator of differences.--It behoves me to
keep my temper. But, Sir, and turned short upon me, as much as I love
peace, and to promote it, I will not be ill-used.