Part 6 out of 7
my apparent grief may expose me to harshnesses?--Can it be contrived--
But to what purpose?--Don't send it--I charge you don't--I dare not see
Oh! forgive the almost distracted mother! You can.--You know how to
allow for all this--so I will let it go.--I will not write over again
this part of my letter.
But I choose not to know more of her than is communicated to us all--
no more than I dare own I have seen--and what some of them may rather
communicate to me, than receive from me: and this for the sake of my
outward quiet: although my inward peace suffers more and more by the
I was forced to break off. But I will now try to conclude my long
I am sorry you are ill. But if you were well, I could not, for your own
sake, wish you to go up, as Betty tells us you long to do. If you went,
nothing would be minded that came from you. As they already think you
too partial in her favour, your going up would confirm it, and do
yourself prejudice, and her no good. And as every body values you here,
I advise you not to interest yourself too warmly in her favour,
especially before my Bella's Betty, till I can let you know a proper
time. Yet to forbid you to love the dear naughty creature, who can? O
my Norton! you must love her!--And so must I!
I send you five guineas, to help you in your present illness, and your
son's; for it must have lain heavy upon you. What a sad, sad thing, my
dear good woman, that all your pains, and all my pains, for eighteen or
nineteen years together, have, in so few months, been rendered thus
deplorably vain! Yet I must be always your friend, and pity you, for the
very reason that I myself deserve every one's pity.
Perhaps I may find an opportunity to pay you a visit, as in your illness;
and then may weep over the letter you mention with you. But, for the
future, write nothing to me about the poor girl that you think may not be
communicated to us all.
And I charge you, as you value my friendship, as you wish my peace, not
to say any thing of a letter you have from me, either to the naughty one,
or to any body else. It was with some little relief (the occasion given)
to write to you, who must, in so particular a manner, share my
affliction. A mother, Mrs. Norton, cannot forget her child, though that
child could abandon her mother; and, in so doing, run away with all her
mother's comforts!--As I truly say is the case of
Your unhappy friend,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. JUDITH NORTON
SAT. JULY 29.
I congratulate you, my dear Mrs. Norton, with all my heart, on your son's
recovery; which I pray to God, with all your own health, to perfect.
I write in some hurry, being apprehensive of the sequence of the hints
you give of some method you propose to try in my favour [with my
relations, I presume, you mean]: but you will not tell me what, you say,
if it prove unsuccessful.
Now I must beg of you that you will not take any step in my favour, with
which you do not first acquaint me.
I have but one request to make to them, besides what is contained in my
letter to my sister; and I would not, methinks, for the sake of their own
future peace of mind, that they should be teased so by your well-meant
kindness, and that of Miss Howe, as to be put upon denying me that. And
why should more be asked for me than I can partake of? More than is
absolutely necessary for my own peace?
You suppose I should have my sister's answer to my letter by the time
your's reached my hand. I have it: and a severe one, a very severe one,
it is. Yet, considering my fault in their eyes, and the provocations I
am to suppose they so newly had from my dear Miss Howe, I am to look upon
it as a favour that it was answered at all. I will send you a copy of it
soon; as also of mine, to which it is an answer.
I have reason to be very thankful that my father has withdrawn that heavy
malediction, which affected me so much--A parent's curse, my dear Mrs.
Norton! What child could die in peace under a parent's curse? so
literally fulfilled too as this has been in what relates to this life!
My heart is too full to touch upon the particulars of my sister's letter.
I can make but one atonement for my fault. May that be accepted! And
may it soon be forgotten, by every dear relation, that there was such an
unhappy daughter, sister, or niece, as Clarissa Harlowe!
My cousin Morden was one of those who was so earnest in prayer for my
recovery, at nine and eleven years of age, as you mention. My sister
thinks he will be one of those who wish I never had had a being. But
pray, when he does come, let me hear of it with the first.
You think that, were it not for that unhappy notion of my moving talent,
my mother would relent. What would I give to see her once more, and,
although unknown to her, to kiss but the hem of her garment!
Could I have thought that the last time I saw her would have been the
last, with what difficulty should I have been torn from her embraced
feet!--And when, screened behind the yew-hedge on the 5th of April last,*
I saw my father, and my uncle Antony, and my brother and sister, how
little did I think that that would be the last time I should ever see
them; and, in so short a space, that so many dreadful evils would befal
* See Vol. II. Letter XXXVI.
But I can write nothing but what must give you trouble. I will
therefore, after repeating my desire that you will not intercede for me
but with my previous consent, conclude with the assurance, that I am, and
ever will be,
Your most affectionate and dutiful
MISS AR. HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S OF FRIDAY, JULY 21, LETTER XLV. OF THIS VOLUME.]
THURSDAY, JULY 27.
O MY UNHAPPY LOST SISTER!
What a miserable hand have you made of your romantic and giddy
expedition!--I pity you at my heart.
You may well grieve and repent!--Lovelace has left you!--In what way or
circumstances you know best.
I wish your conduct had made your case more pitiable. But 'tis your own
God help you!--For you have not a friend will look upon you!--Poor,
wicked, undone creature!--Fallen, as you are, against warning, against
expostulation, against duty!
But it signifies nothing to reproach you. I weep over you.
My poor mother!--Your rashness and folly have made her more miserable
than you can be.--Yet she has besought my father to grant your request.
My uncles joined with her: for they thought there was a little more
modesty in your letter than in the letters of your pert advocate: and my
father is pleased to give me leave to write; but only these words for
him, and no more: 'That he withdraws the curse he laid upon you, at the
first hearing of your wicked flight, so far as it is in his power to do
it; and hopes that your present punishment may be all that you will meet
with. For the rest, he will never own you, nor forgive you; and grieves
he has such a daughter in the world.'
All this, and more you have deserved from him, and from all of us: But
what have you done to this abandoned libertine, to deserve what you have
met with at his hands?--I fear, I fear, Sister!--But no more!--A blessed
four months' work have you made of it.
My brother is now at Edinburgh, sent thither by my father, [though he
knows not this to be the motive,] that he may not meet your triumphant
We are told he would be glad to marry you: But why, then, did he abandon
you? He had kept you till he was tired of you, no question; and it is
not likely he would wish to have you but upon the terms you have already
without all doubt been his.
You ought to advise your friend Miss Howe to concern herself less in your
matters than she does, except she could do it with more decency. She has
written three letters to me: very insolent ones. Your favourer, poor
Mrs. Norton, thinks you know nothing of the pert creature's writing. I
hope you don't. But then the more impertinent the writer. But,
believing the fond woman, I sat down the more readily to answer your
letter; and I write with less severity, I can tell you, than otherwise I
should have done, if I had answered it all.
Monday last was your birth-day. Think, poor ungrateful wretch, as you
are! how we all used to keep it; and you will not wonder to be told, that
we ran away from one another that day. But God give you true penitence,
if you have it not already! and it will be true, if it be equal to the
shame and the sorrow you have given us all.
Your afflicted sister,
Your cousin Morden is every day expected in England. He, as well as
others of the family, when he comes to hear what a blessed piece of
work you have made of it, will wish you never had had a being.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
SUNDAY, JULY 30.
You have given me great pleasure, my dearest friend, by your approbation
of my reasonings, and of my resolution founded upon them, never to have
Mr. Lovelace. This approbation is so right a thing, give me leave to
say, from the nature of the case, and from the strict honour and true
dignity of mind, which I always admired in my Anna Howe, that I could
hardly tell to what, but to my evil destiny, which of late would not let
me please any body, to attribute the advice you gave me to the contrary.
But let not the ill state of my health, and what that may naturally tend
to, sadden you. I have told you, that I will not run away from life, nor
avoid the means that may continue it, if God see fit: and if He do not,
who shall repine at His will!
If it shall be found that I have not acted unworthy of your love, and of
my own character, in my greater trials, that will be a happiness to both
The shock which you so earnestly advise me to try to get above, was a
shock, the greatest that I could receive. But, my dear, as it was not
occasioned by my fault, I hope I am already got above it. I hope I am.
I am more grieved (at times however) for others, than for myself. And so
I ought. For as to myself, I cannot but reflect that I have had an
escape, rather than a loss, in missing Mr. Lovelace for a husband--even
had he not committed the vilest of all outrages.
Let any one, who knows my story, collect his character from his behaviour
to me before that outrage; and then judge whether it was in the least
probable that such a man should make me happy. But to collect his
character from his principles with regard to the sex in general, and from
his enterprizes upon many of them, and to consider the cruelty of his
nature, and the sportiveness of his invention, together with the high
opinion he has of himself, it will not be doubted that a wife of his must
have been miserable; and more miserable if she loved him, than she could
have been were she to be indifferent to him.
A twelvemonth might very probably have put a period to my life; situated
as I was with my friends; persecuted and harassed as I had been by my
brother and sister; and my very heart torn in pieces by the wilful, and
(as it is now apparent) premeditated suspenses of the man, whose
gratitude I wished to engage, and whose protection I was the more
entitled to expect, as he had robbed me of every other, and reduced me to
an absolute dependence upon himself. Indeed I once thought that it was
all his view to bring me to this, (as he hated my family;) and
uncomfortable enough for me, if it had been all.
Can it be thought, my dear, that my heart was not more than half broken
(happy as I was before I knew Mr. Lovelace) by a grievous change in my
circumstances?--Indeed it was. Nor perhaps was the wicked violence
wanting to have cut short, though possibly not so very short, a life that
he has sported with.
Had I been his but a month, he must have possessed the estate on which my
relations had set their hearts; the more to their regret, as they hated
him as much as he hated them.
Have I not reason, these things considered, to think myself happier
without Mr. Lovelace than I could have been with him?--My will too
unviolated; and very little, nay, not any thing as to him, to reproach
But with my relations it is otherwise. They indeed deserve to be pitied.
They are, and no doubt will long be, unhappy.
To judge of their resentments, and of their conduct, we must put
ourselves in their situation:--and while they think me more in fault than
themselves, (whether my favourers are of their opinion, or not,) and have
a right to judge for themselves, they ought to have great allowances made
for them; my parents especially. They stand at least self-acquitted,
(that I cannot;) and the rather, as they can recollect, to their pain,
their past indulgencies to me, and their unquestionable love.
Your partiality for the friend you so much value will not easily let you
come into this way of thinking. But only, my dear, be pleased to consider
the matter in the following light.
'Here was my MOTHER, one of the most prudent persons of her sex, married
into a family, not perhaps so happily tempered as herself; but every one
of which she had the address, for a great while, absolutely to govern as
she pleased by her directing wisdom, at the same time that they knew not
but her prescriptions were the dictates of their own hearts; such a sweet
heart had she of conquering by seeming to yield. Think, my dear, what
must be the pride and the pleasure of such a mother, that in my brother
she could give a son to the family she distinguished with her love, not
unworthy of their wishes; a daughter, in my sister, of whom she had no
reason to be ashamed; and in me a second daughter, whom every body
complimented (such was their partial favour to me) as being the still
more immediate likeness of herself? How, self pleased, could she smile
round upon a family she had so blessed! What compliments were paid her
upon the example she had given us, which was followed with such hopeful
effects! With what a noble confidence could she look upon her dear Mr.
Harlowe, as a person made happy by her; and be delighted to think that
nothing but purity streamed from a fountain so pure!
'Now, my dear, reverse, as I daily do, this charming prospect. See my
dear mother, sorrowing in her closet; endeavouring to suppress her sorrow
at her table, and in those retirements where sorrow was before a
stranger: hanging down her pensive head: smiles no more beaming over her
benign aspect: her virtue made to suffer for faults she could not be
guilty of: her patience continually tried (because she has more of it
than any other) with repetitions of faults she is as much wounded by, as
those can be from whom she so often hears of them: taking to herself, as
the fountain-head, a taint which only had infected one of the
under-currents: afraid to open her lips (were she willing) in my favour,
lest it should be thought she has any bias in her own mind to failings
that never could have been suspected in her: robbed of that pleasing
merit, which the mother of well-nurtured and hopeful children may glory
in: every one who visits her, or is visited by her, by dumb show, and
looks that mean more than words can express, condoling where they used to
congratulate: the affected silence wounding: the compassionating look
reminding: the half-suppressed sigh in them, calling up deeper sighs from
her; and their averted eyes, while they endeavour to restrain the rising
tear, provoking tears from her, that will not be restrained.
'When I consider these things, and, added to these, the pangs that tear
in pieces the stronger heart of my FATHER, because it cannot relieve
itself by those which carry the torturing grief to the eyes of softer
spirits: the overboiling tumults of my impatient and uncontroulable
BROTHER, piqued to the heart of his honour, in the fall of a sister, in
whom he once gloried: the pride of an ELDER SISTER, who had given
unwilling way to the honours paid over her head to one born after her:
and, lastly, the dishonour I have brought upon two UNCLES, who each
contended which should most favour their then happy niece:--When, I say,
I reflect upon my fault in these strong, yet just lights, what room can
there be to censure any body but my unhappy self? and how much reason
have I to say, If I justify myself, mine own heart shall condemn me: if I
say I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse?'
Here permit me to lay down my pen for a few moments.
You are very obliging to me, intentionally, I know, when you tell me, it
is in my power to hasten the day of Mr. Hickman's happiness. But yet,
give me leave to say, that I admire this kind assurance less than any
other paragraph of your letter.
In the first place you know it is not in my power to say when I can
dismiss my physician; and you should not put the celebration of a
marriage intended by yourself, and so desirable to your mother, upon so
precarious an issue. Nor will I accept of a compliment, which must mean
a slight to her.
If any thing could give me a relish for life, after what I have suffered,
it would be the hopes of the continuance of the more than sisterly love,
which has, for years, uninterruptedly bound us together as one mind.--And
why, my dear, should you defer giving (by a tie still stronger) another
friend to one who has so few?
I am glad you have sent my letter to Miss Montague. I hope I shall hear
no more of this unhappy man.
I had begun the particulars of my tragical story: but it is so painful a
task, and I have so many more important things to do, and, as I
apprehend, so little time to do them in, that, could I avoid it, I would
go no farther in it.
Then, to this hour, I know not by what means several of his machinations
to ruin me were brought about; so that some material parts of my sad
story must be defective, if I were to sit down to write it. But I have
been thinking of a way that will answer the end wished for by your mother
and you full as well, perhaps better.
Mr. Lovelace, it seems, had communicated to his friend Mr. Belford all
that has passed between himself and me, as he went on. Mr. Belford has
not been able to deny it. So that (as we may observe by the way) a poor
young creature, whose indiscretion has given a libertine power over her,
has a reason she little thinks of, to regret her folly; since these
wretches, who have no more honour in one point than in another, scruple
not to make her weakness a part of their triumph to their brother
I have nothing to apprehend of this sort, if I have the justice done me
in his letters which Mr. Belford assures me I have: and therefore the
particulars of my story, and the base arts of this vile man, will, I
think, be best collected from those very letters of his, (if Mr. Belford
can be prevailed upon to communicate them;) to which I dare appeal with
the same truth and fervour as he did, who says--O that one would hear me!
and that mine adversary had written a book!--Surely, I would take it upon
my shoulders, and bind it to me as a crown! for I covered not my
transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom.
There is one way which may be fallen upon to induce Mr. Belford to
communicate these letters; since he seems to have (and declares he always
had) a sincere abhorrence of his friend's baseness to me: but that,
you'll say, when you hear it, is a strange one. Nevertheless, I am very
earnest upon it at present.
It is no other than this:
I think to make Mr. Belford the executor of my last will: [don't be
surprised:] and with this view I permit his visits with the less scruple:
and every time I see him, from his concern for me, am more and more
inclined to do so. If I hold in the same mind, and if he accept the
trust, and will communicate the materials in his power, those, joined
with what you can furnish, will answer the whole end.
I know you will start at my notion of such an executor; but pray, my
dear, consider, in my present circumstances, what I can do better, as I
am empowered to make a will, and have considerable matters in my own
Your mother, I am sure, would not consent that you should take this
office upon you. It might subject Mr. Hickman to the insults of that
violent man. Mrs. Norton cannot, for several reasons respecting herself.
My brother looks upon what I ought to have as his right. My uncle
Harlowe is already one of my trustees (as my cousin Morden is the other)
for the estate my grandfather left me: but you see I could not get from
my own family the few guineas I left behind me at Harlowe-place; and my
uncle Antony once threatened to have my grandfather's will controverted.
My father!--To be sure, my dear, I could not expect that my father would
do all I wish should be done: and a will to be executed by a father for a
daughter, (parts of it, perhaps, absolutely against his own judgment,)
carries somewhat daring and prescriptive in the very word.
If indeed my cousin Morden were to come in time, and would undertake this
trust--but even him it might subject to hazards; and the more, as he is a
man of great spirit; and as the other man (of as great) looks upon me
(unprotected as I have long been) as his property.
Now Mr. Belford, as I have already mentioned, knows every thing that has
passed. He is a man of spirit, and, it seems, as fearless as the other,
with more humane qualities. You don't know, my dear, what instances of
sincere humanity this Mr. Belford has shown, not only on occasion of the
cruel arrest, but on several occasions since. And Mrs. Lovick has taken
pains to inquire after his general character; and hears a very good one
of him, his justice and generosity in all his concerns of meum and tuum,
as they are called: he has a knowledge of law-matters; and has two
executorships upon him at this time, in the discharge of which his honour
All these reasons have already in a manner determined me to ask this
favour of him; although it will have an odd sound with it to make an
intimate friend of Mr. Lovelace my executor.
This is certain: my brother will be more acquiescent a great deal in such
a case with the articles of the will, as he will see that it will be to
no purpose to controvert some of them, which else, I dare say, he would
controvert, or persuade my other friends to do so. And who would involve
an executor in a law-suit, if they could help it?--Which would be the
case, if any body were left, whom my brother could hope to awe or
controul; since my father has possession of all, and is absolutely
governed by him. [Angry spirits, my dear, as I have often seen, will be
overcome by more angry ones, as well as sometimes be disarmed by the
meek.]--Nor would I wish, you may believe, to have effects torn out of my
father's hands: while Mr. Belford, who is a man of fortune, (and a good
economist in his own affairs) would have no interest but to do justice.
Then he exceedingly presses for some occasion to show his readiness to
serve me: and he would be able to manage his violent friend, over whom he
has more influence than any other person.
But after all, I know not if it were not more eligible by far, that my
story, and myself too, should be forgotten as soon as possible. And of
this I shall have the less doubt, if the character of my parents [you
will forgive my, my dear] cannot be guarded against the unqualified
bitterness which, from your affectionate zeal for me, has sometimes
mingled with your ink--a point that ought, and (I insist upon it) must be
well considered of, if any thing be done which your mother and you are
desirous to have done. The generality of the world is too apt to oppose
a duty--and general duties, my dear, ought not to be weakened by the
justification of a single person, however unhappily circumstanced.
My father has been so good as to take off the heavy malediction he laid
me under. I must be now solicitous for a last blessing; and that is all
I shall presume to petition for. My sister's letter, communicating this
grace, is a severe one: but as she writes to me as from every body, how
could I expect it to be otherwise?
If you set out to-morrow, this letter cannot reach you till you get to
your aunt Harman's. I shall therefore direct it thither, as Mr. Hickman
I hope you will have met with no inconveniencies in your little journey
and voyage; and that you will have found in good health all whom you wish
to see well.
If your relations in the little island join their solicitations with your
mother's commands, to have your nuptials celebrated before you leave
them, let me beg of you, my dear, to oblige them. How grateful will the
notification that you have done so be to
Your ever faithful and affectionate
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HARLOWE
SATURDAY, JULY 29.
I repine not, my dear Sister, at the severity you have been pleased to
express in the letter you favoured me with; because that severity was
accompanied with the grace I had petitioned for; and because the
reproaches of mine own heart are stronger than any other person's
reproaches can be: and yet I am not half so culpable as I am imagined
to be: as would be allowed, if all the circumstances of my unhappy story
were known: and which I shall be ready to communicate to Mrs. Norton, if
she be commissioned to inquire into them; or to you, my Sister, if you
can have patience to hear them.
I remembered with a bleeding heart what day the 24th of July was. I began
with the eve of it; and I passed the day itself--as it was fit I should
pass it. Nor have I any comfort to give to my dear and ever-honoured
father and mother, and to you, my Bella, but this--that, as it was the
first unhappy anniversary of my birth, in all probability, it will be the
Believe me, my dear Sister, I say not this merely to move compassion, but
from the best grounds. And as, on that account, I think it of the
highest importance to my peace of mind to obtain one farther favour, I
would choose to owe to your intercession, as my sister, the leave I beg,
to address half a dozen lines (with the hope of having them answered as I
wish) to either or to both my honoured parents, to beg their last
This blessing is all the favour I have now to ask: it is all I dare to
ask: yet am I afraid to rush at once, though by letter, into the presence
of either. And if I did not ask it, it might seem to be owing to
stubbornness and want of duty, when my heart is all humility
penitence. Only, be so good as to embolden me to attempt this task--
write but this one line, 'Clary Harlowe, you are at liberty to write as
you desire.' This will be enough--and shall, to my last hour, be
acknowledged as the greatest favour, by
Your truly penitent sister,
MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
MONDAY, JULY 31.
MY DEAREST YOUNG LADY,
I must indeed own that I took the liberty to write to your mother,
offering to enclose to her, if she gave me leave, your's of the 24th: by
which I thought she would see what was the state of your mind; what the
nature of your last troubles was from the wicked arrest; what the people
are where you lodge; what proposals were made you from Lord M.'s family;
also your sincere penitence; and how much Miss Howe's writing to them, in
the terms she wrote in, disturbed you--but, as you have taken the matter
into your own hands, and forbid me, in your last, to act in this nice
affair unknown to you, I am glad the letter was not required of me--and
indeed it may be better that the matter lie wholly between you and them;
since my affection for you is thought to proceed from partiality.
They would choose, no doubt, that you should owe to themselves, and not
to my humble mediation, the favour for which you so earnestly sue, and of
which I would not have your despair: for I will venture to assure you,
that your mother is ready to take the first opportunity to show her
maternal tenderness: and this I gather from several hints I am not at
liberty to explain myself upon.
I long to be with you, now I am better, and now my son is in a fair way
of recovery. But is it not hard to have it signified to me that at
present it will not be taken well if I go?--I suppose, while the
reconciliation, which I hope will take place, is negotiating by means of
the correspondence so newly opened between you and your sister. But if
you will have me come, I will rely on my good intentions, and risque
every one's displeasure.
Mr. Brand has business in town; to solicit for a benefice which it is
expected the incumbent will be obliged to quit for a better preferment:
and, when there, he is to inquire privately after your way of life, and
of your health.
He is a very officious young man; and, but that your uncle Harlowe (who
has chosen him for this errand) regards him as an oracle, your mother had
rather any body else had been sent.
He is one of those puzzling, over-doing gentlemen, who think they see
farther into matters than any body else, and are fond of discovered
mysteries where there are none, in order to be thought shrewd men.
I can't say I like him, either in the pulpit or out of it: I, who had a
father one of the soundest divines and finest scholars in the kingdom;
who never made an ostentation of what he knew; but loved and venerated he
gospel he taught, preferring it to all other learning: to be obliged to
hear a young man depart from his text as soon as he has named it, (so
contrary, too, to the example set him by his learned and worthy
principal,* when his health permits him to preach;) and throwing about,
to a christian and country audience, scraps of Latin and Greek from the
Pagan Classics; and not always brought in with great propriety neither,
(if I am to judge by the only way given me to judge of them, by the
English he puts them into;) is an indication of something wrong, either
in his head, or his heart, or both; for, otherwise, his education at the
university must have taught him better. You know, my dear Miss Clary,
the honour I have for the cloth: it is owing to that, that I say what I
* Dr. Lewen.
I know not the day he is to set out; and, as his inquiries are to be
private, be pleased to take no notice of this intelligence. I have no
doubt that your life and conversation are such as may defy the scrutinies
of the most officious inquirer.
I am just now told that you have written a second letter to your sister:
but am afraid they will wait for Mr. Brand's report, before farther
favour will be obtained from them; for they will not yet believe you are
so ill as I fear you are.
But you would soon find that you have an indulgent mother, were she at
liberty to act according to her own inclination. And this gives me great
hopes that all will end well at last: for I verily think you are in the
right way to a reconciliation. God give a blessing to it, and restore
your health, and you to all your friends, prays
Your ever affectionate,
Your mother has privately sent me five guineas: she is pleased to say to
help us in the illness we have been afflicted with; but, more
likely, that I might send them to you, as from myself. I hope,
therefore, I may send them up, with ten more I have still left.
I will send you word of Mr. Morden's arrival, the moment I know it.
If agreeable, I should be glad to know all that passes between your
relations and you.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. NORTON
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 2.
You give me, my dear Mrs. Norton, great pleasure in hearing of your's and
your son's recovery. May you continue, for many, many years, a blessing
to each other!
You tell me that you did actually write to my mother, offering to enclose
to her mine of the 24th past: and you say it was not required of you.
That is to say, although you cover it over as gently as you could, that
your offer was rejected; which makes it evident that no plea could be
made for me. Yet, you bid me hope, that the grace I sued for would, in
time, be granted.
The grace I then sued for was indeed granted; but you are afraid, you
say, that they will wait for Mr. Brand's report, before favour will be
obtained in return to the second letter which I wrote to my sister; and
you add, that I have an indulgent mother, were she at liberty to act
according to her own inclination; and that all will end well at last.
But what, my dear Mrs. Norton, what is the grace I sue for in my second
letter?--It is not that they will receive me into favour--If they think
it is, they are mistaken. I do not, I cannot expect that. Nor, as I
have often said, should I, if they would receive me, bear to live in the
eye of those dear friends whom I have so grievously offended. 'Tis only,
simply, a blessing I ask: a blessing to die with; not to lie with.--Do
they know that? and do they know that their unkindness will perhaps
shorten my date; so that their favour, if ever they intend to grant it,
may come too late?
Once more, I desire you not to think of coming to me. I have no
uneasiness now, but what proceeds from the apprehension of seeing a man I
would not see for the world, if I could help it; and from the severity of
my nearest and dearest relations: a severity entirely their own, I doubt;
for you tell me that my brother is at Edinburgh! You would therefore
heighten their severity, and make yourself enemies besides, if you were
to come to me--Don't you see you would?
Mr. Brand may come, if he will. He is a clergyman, and must mean well;
or I must think so, let him say of me what he will. All my fear is,
that, as he knows I am in disgrace with a family whose esteem he is
desirous to cultivate; and as he has obligations to my uncle Harlowe and
to my father; he will be but a languid acquitter--not that I am afraid of
what he, or any body in the world, can hear as to my conduct. You may,
my revered and dear friend, indeed you may, rest satisfied, that that is
such as may warrant me to challenge the inquiries of the most officious.
I will send you copies of what passes, as you desire, when I have an
answer to my second letter. I now begin to wish that I had taken the
heart to write to my father himself; or to my mother, at least; instead
of to my sister; and yet I doubt my poor mother can do nothing for me of
herself. A strong confederacy, my dear Mrs. Norton, (a strong
confederacy indeed!) against a poor girl, their daughter, sister, niece!
--My brother, perhaps, got it renewed before he left them. He needed
not--his work is done; and more than done.
Don't afflict yourself about money-matters on my account. I have no
occasion for money. I am glad my mother was so considerate to you. I
was in pain for you on the same subject. But Heaven will not permit so
good a woman to want the humble blessings she was always satisfied with.
I wish every individual of our family were but as rich as you!--O my
mamma Norton, you are rich! you are rich indeed!--the true riches are
such content as you are blessed with.--And I hope in God that I am in the
way to be rich too.
Adieu, my ever-indulgent friend. You say all will be at last happy--and
I know it will--I confide that it will, with as much security, as you
may, that I will be, to my last hour,
Your ever grateful and affectionate
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
TUESDAY, AUG. 1.
I am most confoundedly chagrined and disappointed: for here, on Saturday,
arrived a messenger from Miss Howe, with a letter to my cousins;* which I
knew nothing of till yesterday; when Lady Sarah and Lady Betty were
procured to be here, to sit in judgment upon it with the old Peer, and my
two kinswomen. And never was bear so miserably baited as thy poor
friend!--And for what?--why for the cruelty of Miss Harlowe: For have I
committed any new offence? and would I not have re-instated myself in her
favour upon her own terms, if I could? And is it fair to punish me for
what is my misfortune, and not my fault? Such event-judging fools as I
have for my relations! I am ashamed of them all.
* See Letter LV. of this volume.
In that of Miss Howe was enclosed one to her from Miss Harlowe,* to be
transmitted to my cousins, containing a final rejection of me; and that
in very vehement and positive terms; yet she pretends that, in this
rejection, she is governed more by principle than passion--[D----d lie,
as ever was told!] and, as a proof that she is, says, that she can
forgive me, and does, on this one condition, that I will never molest her
more--the whole letter so written as to make herself more admired, me
* See Letter XLI. of this volume.
What we have been told of the agitations and workings, and sighings and
sobbings, of the French prophets among us formerly, was nothing at all to
the scene exhibited by these maudlin souls, at the reading of these
letters; and of some affecting passages extracted from another of my fair
implacable's to Miss Howe--such lamentations for the loss of so charming
a relation! such applaudings of her virtue, of her exaltedness of soul
and sentiment! such menaces of disinherisons! I, not needing their
reproaches to be stung to the heart with my own reflections, and with the
rage of disappointment; and as sincerely as any of them admiring her--
'What the devil,' cried I, 'is all this for? Is it not enough to be
despised and rejected? Can I help her implacable spirit? Would I not
repair the evils I have made her suffer?'--Then was I ready to curse them
all, herself and Miss Howe for company: and heartily swore that she
should yet be mine.
I now swear it over again to thee--'Were her death to follow in a week
after the knot is tied, by the Lord of Heaven, it shall be tied, and she
shall die a Lovelace!'--Tell her so, if thou wilt: but, at the same time,
tell her that I have no view to her fortune; and that I will solemnly
resign that, and all pretensions to it, in whose favour she pleases, if
she resign life issueless.--I am not so low-minded a wretch, as to be
guilty of any sordid views to her fortune.--Let her judge for herself,
then, whether it be not for her honour rather to leave this world a
Lovelace than a Harlowe.
But do not think I will entirely rest a cause so near my heart upon an
advocate who so much more admires his client's adversary than his client.
I will go to town, in a few days, in order to throw myself at her feet:
and I will carry with me, or have at hand, a resolute, well-prepared
parson; and the ceremony shall be performed, let what will be the
But if she will permit me to attend her for this purpose at either of the
churches mentioned in the license, (which she has by her, and, thank
Heaven! has not returned me with my letters,) then will I not disturb
her; but meet her at the altar in either church, and will engage to bring
my two cousins to attend her, and even Lady Sarah and Lady Betty; and my
Lord M. in person shall give her to me.
Or, if it be still more agreeable to her, I will undertake that either
Lady Sarah or Lady Betty, or both, shall go to town and attend her down;
and the marriage shall be celebrated in their presence, and in that of
Lord M., either here or elsewhere, at her own choice.
Do not play me booty, Belford; but sincerely and warmly use all the
eloquence thou art master of, to prevail upon her to choose one of these
three methods. One of them she must choose--by my soul, she must.
Here is Charlotte tapping at my closet-door for admittance. What a devil
wants Charlotte?--I will hear no more reproaches!--Come in, girl!
My cousin Charlotte, finding me writing on with too much earnestness to
have any regard for politeness to her, and guessing at my subject,
besought me to let her see what I had written.
I obliged her. And she was so highly pleased on seeing me so much in
earnest, that she offered, and I accepted her offer, to write a letter to
Miss Harlowe; with permission to treat me in it as she thought fit.
I shall enclose a copy of her letter.
When she had written it, she brought it to me, with apologies for the
freedom taken with me in it: but I excused it; and she was ready to give
me a kiss for it; telling her I had hopes of success from it; and that I
thought she had luckily hit it off.
Every one approves of it, as well as I; and is pleased with me for so
patiently submitting to be abused, and undertaken for.--If it do not
succeed, all the blame will be thrown upon the dear creature's
perverseness: her charitable or forgiving disposition, about which she
makes such a parade, will be justly questioned; and the piety, of which
she is now in full possession, will be transferred to me.
Putting, therefore, my whole confidence in this letter, I postpone all my
other alternatives, as also my going to town, till my empress send an
answer to my cousin Montague.
But if she persist, and will not promise to take time to consider of the
matter, thou mayest communicate to her what I had written, as above,
before my cousin entered; and, if she be still perverse, assure her, that
I must and will see her--but this with all honour, all humility: and, if
I cannot move her in my favour, I will then go abroad, and perhaps never
more return to England.
I am sorry thou art, at this critical time, so busily employed, as thou
informest me thou art, in thy Watford affairs, and in preparing to do
Belton justice. If thou wantest my assistance in the latter, command me.
Though engrossed by this perverse beauty, and plagued as I am, I will
obey thy first summons.
I have great dependence upon thy zeal and thy friendship: hasten back to
her, therefore, and resume a task so interesting to me, that it is
equally the subject of my dreams, as of my waking hours.
MISS MONTAGUE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
TUESDAY, AUG. 1.
All our family is deeply sensible of the injuries you have received at
the hands of one of it, whom you only can render in any manner worthy of
the relation he stands in to us all: and if, as an act of mercy and
charity, the greatest your pious heart can show, you will be pleased to
look over his past wickedness and ingratitude, and suffer yourself to be
our kinswoman, you will make us the happiest family in the world: and I
can engage, that Lord M., and Lady Sarah Sadleir, and Lady Betty
Lawrance, and my sister, who are all admirers of your virtues, and of
your nobleness of mind, will for ever love and reverence you, and do
every thing in all their powers to make you amends for what you have
suffered from Mr. Lovelace. This, Madam, we should not, however, dare
to petition for, were we not assured, that Mr. Lovelace is most sincerely
sorry for his past vileness to you; and that he will, on his knees, beg
your pardon, and vow eternal love and honour to you.
Wherefore, my dearest cousin, [how you will charm us all, if this
agreeable style may be permitted!] for all our sakes, for his soul's
sake, [you must, I am sure, be so good a lady, as to wish to save a
soul!] and allow me to say, for your own fame's sake, condescend to our
joint request: and if, by way of encouragement, you will but say you will
be glad to see, and to be as much known personally, as you are by fame,
to Charlotte Montague, I will, in two days' time from the receipt of your
permission, wait upon you with or without my sister, and receive your
Let me, our dearest cousin, [we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of
calling you so; let me] entreat you to give me your permission for my
journey to London; and put it in the power of Lord M. and of the ladies
of the family, to make you what reparation they can make you, for the
injuries which a person of the greatest merit in the world has received
from one of the most audacious men in it; and you will infinitely oblige
us all; and particularly her, who repeatedly presumes to style herself
Your affectionate cousin, and obliged servant,
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
THURSDAY MORNING, AUG. 3. SIX O'CLOCK.
I have been so much employed in my own and Belton's affairs, that I could
not come to town till last night; having contented myself with sending to
Mrs. Lovick, to know, from time to time, the state of the lady's health;
of which I received but very indifferent accounts, owing, in a great
measure, to letters or advices brought her from her implacable family.
I have now completed my own affairs; and, next week, shall go to Epsom,
to endeavour to put Belton's sister into possession of his own house for
him: after which, I shall devote myself wholly to your service, and to
that of the lady.
I was admitted to her presence last night; and found her visibly altered
for the worse. When I went home, I had your letter of Tuesday last put
into my hands. Let me tell thee, Lovelace, that I insist upon the
performance of thy engagement to me that thou wilt not personally molest
[Mr. Belford dates again on Thursday morning, ten o'clock; and gives an
account of a conversation which he had just held with the Lady upon
the subject of Miss Montague's letter to her, preceding, and upon
Mr. Lovelace's alternatives, as mentioned in Letter LXV., which Mr.
Belford supported with the utmost earnestness. But, as the result
of this conversation will be found in the subsequent letters, Mr.
Belford's pleas and arguments in favour of his friend, and the
Lady's answers, are omitted.]
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS MONTAGUE
THURSDAY, AUG. 3.
I am infinitely obliged to you for your kind and condescending letter. A
letter, however, which heightens my regrets, as it gives me a new
instance of what a happy creature I might have been in an alliance so
much approved of by such worthy ladies; and which, on their accounts, and
on that of Lord M. would have been so reputable to myself, and was once
But indeed, indeed, Madam, my heart sincerely repulses the man who,
descended from such a family, could be guilty, first, of such
premeditated violence as he has been guilty of; and, as he knows, farther
intended me, on the night previous to the day he set out for Berkshire;
and, next, pretending to spirit, could be so mean as to wish to lift into
that family a person he was capable of abasing into a companionship with
the most abandoned of her sex.
Allow me then, dear Madam, to declare with favour, that I think I never
could be ranked with the ladies of a family so splendid and so noble, if,
by vowing love and honour at the altar to such a violator, I could
sanctify, as I may say, his unprecedented and elaborate wickedness.
Permit me, however, to make one request to my good Lord M., and to Lady
Betty, and Lady Sarah, and to your kind self, and your sister.--It is,
that you will all be pleased to join your authority and interests to
prevail upon Mr. Lovelace not to molest me farther.
Be pleased to tell him, that, if I am designed for life, it will be very
cruel in him to attempt to hunt me out of it; for I am determined never
to see him more, if I can help it. The more cruel, because he knows that
I have nobody to defend me from him: nor do I wish to engage any body to
his hurt, or to their own.
If I am, on the other hand, destined for death, it will be no less cruel,
if he will not permit me to die in peace--since a peaceable and happy end
I wish him; indeed I do.
Every worldly good attend you, dear Madam, and every branch of the
honourable family, is the wish of one, whose misfortune it is that she is
obliged to disclaim any other title than that of,
Your and their obliged and faithful servant,
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON, AUG. 3.
I am just now agreeably surprised by the following letter, delivered into
my hands by a messenger from the lady. The letter she mentions, as
enclosed,* I have returned, without taking a copy of it. The contents of
it will soon be communicated to you, I presume, by other hands. They are
an absolute rejection of thee--Poor Lovelace!
* See Miss Harlowe's Letter, No. LXVIII.
TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
You have frequently offered to oblige me in any thing that shall be
within your power: and I have such an opinion of you, as to be willing to
hope that, at the times you made these offers, you meant more than mere
I have therefore two requests to make to you: the first I will now
mention; the other, if this shall be complied with, otherwise not.
It behoves me to leave behind me such an account as may clear up my
conduct to several of my friends who will not at present concern
themselves about me: and Miss Howe, and her mother, are very solicitous
that I will do so.
I am apprehensive that I shall not have time to do this; and you will not
wonder that I have less and less inclination to set about such a painful
task; especially as I find myself unable to look back with patience on
what I have suffered; and shall be too much discomposed by the
retrospection, were I obliged to make it, to proceed with the requisite
temper in a task of still greater importance which I have before me.
It is very evident to me that your wicked friend has given you, from time
to time, a circumstantial account of all his behaviour to me, and devices
against me; and you have more than once assured me, that he has done my
character all the justice I could wish for, both by writing and speech.
Now, Sir, if I may have a fair, a faithful specimen from his letters or
accounts to you, written upon some of the most interesting occasions, I
shall be able to judge whether there will or will not be a necessity for
me, for my honour's sake, to enter upon the solicited task.
You may be assured, from my enclosed answer to the letter which Miss
Montague has honoured me with, (and which you'll be pleased to return me
as soon as read,) that it is impossible for me ever to think of your
friend in the way I am importuned to think of him: he cannot therefore
receive any detriment from the requested specimen: and I give you my
honour, that no use shall be made of it to his prejudice, in law, or
otherwise. And that it may not, after I am no more, I assure you, that
it is a main part of my view that the passages you shall oblige me with
shall be always in your own power, and not in that of any other person.
If, Sir, you think fit to comply with my request, the passages I would
wish to be transcribed (making neither better nor worse of the matter)
are those which he has written to you, on or about the 7th and 8th of
June, when I was alarmed by the wicked pretence of a fire; and what he
has written from Sunday, June 11, to the 19th. And in doing this you
will much oblige
Your humble servant,
Now, Lovelace, since there are no hopes for thee of her returning
favour--since some praise may lie for thy ingenuousness, having neither
offered [as more diminutive-minded libertines would have done] to
palliate thy crimes, by aspersing the lady, or her sex--since she may be
made easier by it--since thou must fare better from thine own pen than
from her's--and, finally, since thy actions have manifested that thy
letters are not the most guilty part of what she knows of thee--I see not
why I may not oblige her, upon her honour, and under the restrictions,
and for the reasons she has given; and this without breach of the
confidence due to friendly communication; especially, as I might have
added, since thou gloriest in thy pen and in thy wickedness, and canst
not be ashamed.
But, be this as it may, she will be obliged before thy remonstrances or
clamours against it can come; so, pr'ythee now, make the best of it, and
rave not; except for the sake of a pretence against me, and to exercise
thy talent of execration:--and, if thou likest to do so for these
reasons, rave and welcome.
I long to know what the second request is: but this I know, that if it be
any thing less than cutting thy throat, or endangering my own neck, I
will certainly comply; and be proud of having it in my power to oblige
And now I am actually going to be busy in the extracts.
MR. BELFORD, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
AUG. 3, 4.
You have engaged me to communicate to you, upon my honour, (making
neither better nor worse of the matter,) what Mr. Lovelace has written to
me, in relation to yourself, in the period preceding your going to
Hampstead, and in that between the 11th and 19th of June: and you assure
me you have no view in this request, but to see if it be necessary for
you, from the account he gives, to touch upon the painful subjects
yourself, for the sake of your own character.
Your commands, Madam, are of a very delicate nature, as they may seem to
affect the secrets of private friendship: but as I know you are not
capable of a view, the motives to which you will not own; and as I think
the communication may do some credit to my unhappy friend's character, as
an ingenuous man; though his actions by the most excellent woman in the
world have lost him all title to that of an honourable one; I obey you
with the greater cheerfulness.
[He then proceeds with his extracts, and concludes them with an address
to her in his friend's behalf, in the following words:]
'And now, Madam, I have fulfilled your commands; and, I hope, have not
dis-served my friend with you; since you will hereby see the justice he
does to your virtue in every line he writes. He does the same in all his
letters, though to his own condemnation: and, give me leave to add, that
if this ever-amiable sufferer can think it in any manner consistent with
her honour to receive his vows on the altar, on his truly penitent turn
of mind, I have not the least doubt but that he will make her the best
and tenderest of husbands. What obligation will not the admirable lady
hereby lay upon all his noble family, who so greatly admire her! and, I
will presume to say, upon her own, when the unhappy family aversion
(which certainly has been carried to an unreasonable height against him)
shall be got over, and a general reconciliation takes place! For who is
it that would not give these two admirable persons to each other, were
not his morals an objection?
However this be, I would humbly refer to you, Madam, whether, as you will
be mistress of very delicate particulars from me his friend, you should
not in honour think yourself concerned to pass them by, as if you had
never seen them; and not to take advantage of the communication, not even
in an argument, as some perhaps might lie, with respect to the
premeditated design he seems to have had, not against you, as you; but as
against the sex; over whom (I am sorry I can bear witness myself) it is
the villanous aim of all libertines to triumph: and I would not, if any
misunderstanding should arise between him and me, give him room to
reproach me that his losing of you, and (through his usage of you) of his
own friends, were owing to what perhaps he would call breach of trust,
were he to judge rather by the event than by my intention.
I am, Madam, with the most profound veneration,
Your most faithful humble servant,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
FRIDAY, AUG. 4.
I hold myself extremely obliged to you for your communications. I will
make no use of them, that you shall have reason to reproach either
yourself or me with. I wanted no new lights to make the unhappy man's
premeditated baseness to me unquestionable, as my answer to Miss
Montague's letter might convince you.*
* See Letter LXVIII. of this volume.
I must own, in his favour, that he has observed some decency in his
accounts to you of the most indecent and shocking actions. And if all
his strangely-communicative narrations are equally decent, nothing will
be rendered criminally odious by them, but the vile heart that could
meditate such contrivances as were much stronger evidences of his
inhumanity than of his wit: since men of very contemptible parts and
understanding may succeed in the vilest attempts, if they can once bring
themselves to trample on the sanctions which bind man to man; and sooner
upon an innocent person than upon any other; because such a one is apt to
judge of the integrity of others' hearts by its own.
I find I have had great reason to think myself obliged to your intention
in the whole progress of my sufferings. It is, however, impossible, Sir,
to miss the natural inference on this occasion that lies against his
predetermined baseness. But I say the less, because you shall not think
I borrow, from what you have communicated, aggravations that are not
And now, Sir, that I may spare you the trouble of offering any future
arguments in his favour, let me tell you that I have weighed every thing
thoroughly--all that human vanity could suggest--all that a desirable
reconciliation with my friends, and the kind respects of his own, could
bid me hope for--the enjoyment of Miss Howe's friendship, the dearest
consideration to me, now, of all the worldly ones--all these I have
weighed: and the result is, and was before you favoured me with these
communications, that I have more satisfaction in the hope that, in one
month, there will be an end of all with me, than in the most agreeable
things that could happen from an alliance with Mr. Lovelace, although I
were to be assured he would make the best and tenderest of husbands. But
as to the rest; if, satisfied with the evils he has brought upon me, he
will forbear all further persecutions of me, I will, to my last hour,
wish him good: although he hath overwhelmed the fatherless, and digged a
pit for his friend: fatherless may she well be called, and motherless
too, who has been denied all paternal protection, and motherly
And now, Sir, acknowledging gratefully your favour in the extracts, I
come to the second request I had to make you; which requires a great deal
of courage to mention; and which courage nothing but a great deal of
distress, and a very destitute condition, can give. But, if improper, I
can but be denied; and dare to say I shall be at least excused. Thus,
then, I preface it:
'You see, Sir, that I am thrown absolutely into the hands of strangers,
who, although as kind and compassionate as strangers can be wished to be,
are, nevertheless, persons from whom I cannot expect any thing more than
pity and good wishes; nor can my memory receive from them any more
protection than my person, if either should need it.
'If then I request it, of the only person possessed of materials that
will enable him to do my character justice;
'And who has courage, independence, and ability to oblige me;
'To be the protector or my memory, as I may say;
'And to be my executor; and to see some of my dying requests performed;
'And if I leave it to him to do the whole in his own way, manner, and
time; consulting, however, in requisite cases, my dear Miss Howe;
'I presume to hope that this my second request may be granted.'
And if it may, these satisfactions will accrue to me from the favour done
me, and the office undertaken:
'It will be an honour to my memory, with all those who shall know that I
was so well satisfied of my innocence, that, having not time to write my
own story, I could intrust it to the relation which the destroyer of my
fame and fortunes has given of it.
'I shall not be apprehensive of involving any one in my troubles or
hazards by this task, either with my own relations, or with your friend;
having dispositions to make which perhaps my own friends will not be so
well pleased with as it were to be wished they would be;' as I intend not
unreasonable ones; but you know, Sir, where self is judge, matters, even
with good people, will not always be rightly judged of.
'I shall also be freed from the pain of recollecting things that my soul
is vexed at; and this at a time when its tumults should be allayed, in
order to make way for the most important preparation.
'And who knows, but that Mr. Belford, who already, from a principle of
humanity, is touched at my misfortunes, when he comes to revolve the
whole story, placed before him in one strong light: and when he shall
have the catastrophe likewise before him; and shall become in a manner
interested in it; who knows, but that, from a still higher principle, he
may so regulate his future actions as to find his own reward in the
everlasting welfare which is wished him by his
MR. BELFORD, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
FRIDAY, AUG. 4.
I am so sensible of the honour done me in your's of this day, that I
would not delay for one moment the answering of it. I hope you will live
to see many happy years; and to be your own executrix in those points
which your heart is most set upon. But, in the case of survivorship, I
most cheerfully accept of the sacred office you are pleased to offer me;
and you may absolutely rely upon my fidelity, and, if possible, upon the
literal performance of every article you shall enjoin me.
The effect of the kind wish you conclude with, had been my concern ever
since I have been admitted to the honour of your conversation. It shall
be my whole endeavour that it be not vain. The happiness of approaching
you, which this trust, as I presume, will give me frequent opportunities
of doing, must necessarily promote the desired end: since it will be
impossible to be a witness of your piety, equanimity, and other virtues,
and not aspire to emulate you. All I beg is, that you will not suffer
any future candidate, or event, to displace me; unless some new instances
of unworthiness appear either in the morals or behaviour of,
Your most obliged and faithful servant,
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
FRIDAY NIGHT, AUG. 4.
I have actually delivered to the lady the extracts she requested me to
give her from your letters. I do assure you that I have made the very
best of the matter for you, not that conscience, but that friendship,
could oblige me to make. I have changed or omitted some free words. The
warm description of her person in the fire-scene, as I may call it, I
have omitted. I have told her, that I have done justice to you, in the
justice you have done to her by her unexampled virtue. But take the very
words which I wrote to her immediately following the extracts:
'And now, Madam,'--See the paragraph marked with an inverted comma
[thus '], Letter LXX. of this volume.
The lady is extremely uneasy at the thoughts of your attempting to visit
her. For Heaven's sake, (your word being given,) and for pity's sake,
(for she is really in a very weak and languishing way,) let me beg of you
not to think of it.
Yesterday afternoon she received a cruel letter (as Mrs. Lovick supposes
it to be, by the effect it had upon her) from her sister, in answer to
one written last Saturday, entreating a blessing and forgiveness from her
She acknowledges, that if the same decency and justice are observed in
all of your letters, as in the extracts I have obliged her with, (as I
have assured her they are,) she shall think herself freed from the
necessity of writing her own story: and this is an advantage to thee
which thou oughtest to thank me for.
But what thinkest thou is the second request she had to make to me? no
other than that I would be her executor!--Her motives will appear before
thee in proper time; and then, I dare to answer, will be satisfactory.
You cannot imagine how proud I am of this trust. I am afraid I shall too
soon come into the execution of it. As she is always writing, what a
melancholy pleasure will be the perusal and disposition of her papers
afford me! such a sweetness of temper, so much patience and resignation,
as she seems to be mistress of; yet writing of and in the midst of
present distresses! how much more lively and affecting, for that reason,
must her style be; her mind tortured by the pangs of uncertainty, (the
events then hidden in the womb of fate,) than the dry, narrative,
unanimated style of persons, relating difficulties and dangers
surmounted; the relater perfectly at ease; and if himself unmoved by his
own story, not likely greatly to affect the reader!
SATURDAY MORNING, AUG. 5.
I am just returned from visiting the lady, and thanking her in person for
the honour she has done me; and assuring her, if called to the sacred
trust, of the utmost fidelity and exactness.
I found her very ill. I took notice of it. She said, she had received a
second hard-hearted letter from her sister; and she had been writing a
letter (and that on her knees) directly to her mother; which, before, she
had not had the courage to do. It was for a last blessing and
forgiveness. No wonder, she said, that I saw her affected. Now that I
had accepted of the last charitable office for her, (for which, as well
as for complying with her other request, she thanked me,) I should one
day have all these letters before me: and could she have a kind one in
return to that she had been now writing, to counterbalance the unkind one
she had from her sister, she might be induced to show me both together--
otherwise, for her sister's sake, it were no matter how few saw the poor
I knew she would be displeased if I had censured the cruelty of her
relations: I therefore only said, that surely she must have enemies, who
hoped to find their account in keeping up the resentments of her friends
It may be so, Mr. Belford, said she: the unhappy never want enemies. One
fault, wilfully committed, authorizes the imputation of many more. Where
the ear is opened to accusations, accusers will not be wanting; and every
one will officiously come with stories against a disgraced child, where
nothing dare be said in her favour. I should have been wise in time, and
not have needed to be convinced, by my own misfortunes, of the truth of
what common experience daily demonstrates. Mr. Lovelace's baseness, my
father's inflexibility, my sister's reproaches, are the natural
consequences of my own rashness; so I must make the best of my hard lot.
Only, as these consequences follow one another so closely, while they are
new, how can I help being anew affected?
I asked, if a letter written by myself, by her doctor or apothecary, to
any of her friends, representing her low state of health, and great
humility, would be acceptable? or if a journey to any of them would be of
service, I would gladly undertake it in person, and strictly conform to
her orders, to whomsoever she should direct me to apply.
She earnestly desired that nothing of this sort might be attempted,
especially without her knowledge and consent. Miss Howe, she said, had
done harm by her kindly-intended zeal; and if there were room to expect
favour by mediation, she had ready at hand a kind friend, Mrs. Norton,
who for piety and prudence had few equals; and who would let slip no
opportunity to endeavour to do her service.
I let her know that I was going out of town till Monday: she wished me
pleasure; and said she should be glad to see me on my return.
MISS AR. HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S OF JULY 29. SEE LETTER LXII. OF THIS VOLUME.]
THURSDAY MORN. AUG. 3.
I wish you would not trouble me with any more of your letters. You had
always a knack at writing; and depended upon making every one do what you
would when you wrote. But your wit and folly have undone you. And now,
as all naughty creatures do, when they can't help themselves, you come
begging and praying, and make others as uneasy as yourself.
When I wrote last to you, I expected that I should not be at rest.
And so you'd creep on, by little and little, till you'll want to be
But you only hope for forgiveness and a blessing, you say. A blessing
for what, sister Clary? Think for what!--However, I read your letter to
my father and mother.
I won't tell you what my father said--one who has the true sense you
boast to have of your misdeeds, may guess, without my telling you, what a
justly-incensed father would say on such an occasion.
My poor mother--O wretch! what has not your ungrateful folly cost my poor
mother!--Had you been less a darling, you would not, perhaps, have been
so graceless: But I never in my life saw a cockered favourite come to
My heart is full, and I can't help writing my mind; for your crimes have
disgraced us all; and I am afraid and ashamed to go to any public or
private assembly or diversion: And why?--I need not say why, when your
actions are the subjects either of the open talk, or of the affronting
whispers, of both sexes at all such places.
Upon the whole, I am sorry I have no more comfort to send you: but I find
nobody willing to forgive you.
I don't know what time may do for you; and when it is seen that your
penitence is not owing more to disappointment than to true conviction:
for it is too probable, Miss Clary, that, had not your feather-headed
villain abandoned you, we should have heard nothing of these moving
supplications; nor of any thing but defiances from him, and a guilt
gloried in from you. And this is every one's opinion, as well as that of
Your afflicted sister,
I send this by a particular hand, who undertakes to give it you or leave
it for you by to-morrow night.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO HER MOTHER
SATURDAY, AUG. 5
No self-convicted criminal ever approached her angry and just judge with
greater awe, nor with a truer contrition, than I do you by these lines.
Indeed I must say, that if the latter of my humble prayer had not
respected my future welfare, I had not dared to take this liberty. But
my heart is set upon it, as upon a thing next to God Almighty's
forgiveness necessary for me.
Had my happy sister known my distresses, she would not have wrung my
heart, as she has done, by a severity, which I must needs think unkind
But complaint of any unkindness from her belongs not to me: yet, as she
is pleased to write that it must be seen that my penitence is less owing
to disappointment than to true conviction, permit me, Madam, to insist
upon it, that, if such a plea can be allowed me, I an actually entitled
to the blessing I sue for; since my humble prayer is founded upon a true
and unfeigned repentance: and this you will the readier believe, if the
creature who never, to the best of her remembrance, told her mamma a
wilful falsehood may be credited, when she declares, as she does, in the
most solemn manner, that she met the seducer with a determination not to
go off with him: that the rash step was owing more to compulsion than to
infatuation: and that her heart was so little in it, that she repented
and grieved from the moment she found herself in his power; and for every
moment after, for several weeks before she had any cause from him to
apprehend the usage she met with.
Wherefore, on my knees, my ever-honoured Mamma, (for on my knees I write
this letter,) I do most humbly beg your blessing: say but, in so many
words, (I ask you not, Madam, to call me your daughter,)--Lost, unhappy
wretch, I forgive you! and may God bless you!--This is all! Let me, on
a blessed scrap of paper, but see one sentence to this effect, under your
dear hand, that I may hold it to my heart in my most trying struggles,
and I shall think it a passport to Heaven. And, if I do not too much
presume, and it were WE instead of I, and both your honoured names
subjoined to it, I should then have nothing more to wish. Then would I
say, 'Great and merciful God! thou seest here in this paper thy poor
unworthy creature absolved by her justly-offended parents: Oh! join, for
my Redeemer's sake, thy all-gracious fiat, and receive a repentant sinner
to the arms of thy mercy!'
I can conjure you, Madam, by no subject of motherly tenderness, that will
not, in the opinion of my severe censurers, (before whom this humble
address must appear,) add to reproach: let me therefore, for God's sake,
prevail upon you to pronounce me blest and forgiven, since you will
thereby sprinkle comfort through the last hours of
MISS MONTAGUE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S OF AUG. 3. SEE LETTER LXVIII. OF THIS VOLUME.]
MONDAY, AUG. 7.
We were all of opinion, before your letter came, that Mr. Lovelace was
utterly unworthy of you, and deserved condign punishment, rather than to
be blessed with such a wife: and hoped far more from your kind
consideration for us, than any we supposed you could have for so base an
injurer. For we were all determined to love you, and admire you, let his
behaviour to you be what it would.
But, after your letter, what can be said?
I am, however, commanded to write in all the subscribing names, to let
you know how greatly your sufferings have affected us: to tell you that
my Lord M. has forbid him ever more to enter the doors of the apartments
where he shall be: and as you labour under the unhappy effects of your
friends' displeasure, which may subject you to inconveniencies, his
Lordship, and Lady Sarah, and Lady Betty, beg of you to accept, for your
life, or, at least, till you are admitted to enjoy your own estate, of
one hundred guineas per quarter, which will be regularly brought you by
an especial hand, and of the enclosed bank-bill for a beginning. And do
not, dearest Madam, we all beseech you, do not think you are beholden
(for this token of Lord M.'s, and Lady Sarah's, and Lady Betty's, love to
you) to the friends of this vile man; for he has not one friend left
We each of us desire to be favoured with a place in your esteem; and to
be considered upon the same foot of relationship as if what once was so
much our pleasure to hope would be, had been. And it shall be our united
prayer, that you may recover health and spirits, and live to see many
happy years: and, since this wretch can no more be pleaded for, that,
when he is gone abroad, as he now is preparing to do, we may be permitted
the honour of a personal acquaintance with a lady who has no equal.
These are the earnest requests, dearest young lady, of
Your affectionate friends,
and most faithful servants,
You will break the hearts of the three first-named more particularly, if
you refuse them your acceptance. Dearest young lady, punish not
them for his crimes. We send by a particular hand, which will
bring us, we hope, your accepting favour.
Mr. Lovelace writes by the same hand; but he knows nothing of our letter,
nor we of his: for we shun each other; and one part of the house
holds us, another him, the remotest from each other.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
SAT. AUG. 23.
I am so disturbed at the contents of Miss Harlowe's answer to my cousin
Charlotte's letter of Tuesday last, (which was given her by the same
fellow that gave me your's,) that I have hardly patience or consideration
enough to weigh what you write.
She had need indeed to cry out for mercy for herself from her friends,
who knows not how to show any! She is a true daughter of the Harlowes!--
By my soul, Jack, she is a true daughter of the Harlowes! Yet has she so
many excellencies, that I must love her; and, fool that I am, love her
the more for despising me.
Thou runnest on with thy cursed nonsensical reformado rote, of dying,
dying, dying! and, having once got the word by the end, canst not help
foisting it in at every period! The devil take me, if I don't think thou
wouldst rather give her poison with thy own hands, rather than she should
recover, and rob thee of the merit of being a conjurer!
But no more of thy cursed knell; thy changes upon death's candlestick
turned bottom-upwards: she'll live to bury me; I see that: for, by my
soul, I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep, nor, what is still worse, love
any woman in the world but her. Nor care I to look upon a woman now: on
the contrary, I turn my head from every one I meet: except by chance an
eye, an air, a feature, strikes me, resembling her's in some glancing-by
face; and then I cannot forbear looking again: though the second look
recovers me; for there can be nobody like her.
But surely, Belford, the devil's in this woman! The more I think of her
nonsense and obstinacy, the less patience I have with her. Is it
possible she can do herself, her family, her friends, so much justice any
other way, as by marrying me? Were she sure she should live but a day,
she ought to die a wife. If her christian revenge will not let her wish
to do so for her own sake, ought she not for the sake of her family, and
of her sex, which she pretends sometimes to have so much concern for?
And if no sake is dear enough to move her Harlowe-spirit in my favour,
has she any title to the pity thou so pitifully art always bespeaking for
As to the difference which her letter has made between me and the stupid
family here, [and I must tell thee we are all broke in pieces,] I value
not that of a button. They are fools to anathematize and curse me, who
can give them ten curses for one, were they to hold it for a day
I have one half of the house to myself; and that the best; for the great
enjoy that least which costs them most: grandeur and use are two things:
the common part is their's; the state part is mine: and here I lord it,
and will lord it, as long as I please; while the two pursy sisters, the
old gouty brother, and the two musty nieces, are stived up in the other
half, and dare not stir for fear of meeting me: whom, (that's the jest
of it,) they have forbidden coming into their apartments, as I have them
into mine. And so I have them all prisoners, while I range about as I
please. Pretty dogs and doggesses to quarrel and bark at me, and yet,
whenever I appear, afraid to pop out of their kennels; or, if out before
they see me, at the sight of me run growling in again, with their flapt
ears, their sweeping dewlaps, and their quivering tails curling inwards.
And here, while I am thus worthily waging war with beetles, drones,
wasps, and hornets, and am all on fire with the rage of slighted love,
thou art regaling thyself with phlegm and rock-water, and art going on
with thy reformation-scheme and thy exultations in my misfortunes!
The devil take thee for an insensible dough-baked varlet! I have no more
patience with thee than with the lady; for thou knowest nothing either of
love or friendship, but art as unworthy of the one, as incapable of the
other; else wouldst thou not rejoice, as thou dost under the grimace of
pity, in my disappointments.
And thou art a pretty fellow, art thou not? to engage to transcribe for
her some parts of my letters written to thee in confidence? Letters that
thou shouldest sooner have parted with thy cursed tongue, than have owned
that thou ever hadst received such: yet these are now to be communicated
to her! But I charge thee, and woe be to thee if it be too late! that
thou do not oblige her with a line of mine.
If thou hast done it, the least vengeance I will take is to break through
my honour given to thee not to visit her, as thou wilt have broken
through thine to me, in communicating letters written under the seal of
I am now convinced, too sadly for my hopes, by her letter to my cousin
Charlotte, that she is determined never to have me.
Unprecedented wickedness, she calls mine to her. But how does she know
what love, in its flaming ardour, will stimulate men to do? How does she
know the requisite distinctions of the words she uses in this case?--To
think the worst, and to be able to make comparisons in these very
delicate situations, must she not be less delicate than I had imagined
her to be?--But she has head that the devil is black; and having a mind
to make one of me, brays together, in the mortar of her wild fancy,
twenty chimney-sweepers, in order to make one sootier than ordinary rise
out of the dirty mass.
But what a whirlwind does she raise in my soul by her proud contempts of
me! Never, never, was mortal man's pride so mortified! How does she
sink me, even in my own eyes!--'Her heart sincerely repulses me, she
says, for my MEANNESS!'--Yet she intends to reap the benefit of what she
calls so!--Curse upon her haughtiness, and her meanness, at the same
time!--Her haughtiness to me, and her meanness to her own relations; more
unworthy of kindred with her, than I can be, or I am mean indeed.
Yet who but must admire, who but must adore her; Oh! that cursed, cursed
house! But for the women of that!--Then their d----d potions! But for
those, had her unimpaired intellects, and the majesty of her virtue,
saved her, as once it did by her humble eloquence,* another time by her
terrifying menaces against her own life.**
* In the fire-scene, Vol. V. Letter XVI.
** Vol. VI. Letter XXXVI. in the pen-knife-scene.
Yet in both these to find her power over me, and my love for her, and to
hate, to despise, and to refuse me!--She might have done this with some
show of justice, had the last-intended violation been perpetrated:--but
to go away conqueress and triumphant in every light!--Well may she
despise me for suffering her to do so.
She left me low and mean indeed!--And the impression holds with her.--I
could tear my flesh, that I gave her not cause--that I humbled her not
indeed;--or that I staid not in town to attend her motions instead of
Lord M.'s, till I could have exalted myself, by giving to myself a wife
superior to all trial, to all temptation.
I will venture one more letter to her, however; and if that don't do, or
procure me an answer, then will I endeavour to see her, let what will be
the consequence. If she get out of my way, I will do some noble mischief
to the vixen girl whom she most loves, and then quit the kingdom for
And now, Jack, since thy hand is in at communicating the contents of
private letters, tell her this, if thou wilt. And add to it, That if SHE
abandon me, GOD will: and what then will be the fate of
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER LXV. OF THIS VOLUME.]
MONDAY, AUG. 7.
And so you have actually delivered to the fair implacable extracts of
letters written in the confidence of friendship! Take care--take care,
Belford--I do indeed love you better than I love any man in the world:
but this is a very delicate point. The matter is grown very serious to
me. My heart is bent upon having her. And have her I will, though I
marry her in the agonies of death.
She is very earnest, you say, that I will not offer to molest her. That,
let me tell her, will absolutely depend upon herself, and the answer she
returns, whether by pen and ink, or the contemptuous one of silence,
which she bestowed upon my last four to her: and I will write it in such
humble, and in such reasonable terms, that, if she be not a true Harlowe,
she shall forgive me. But as to the executorship which she is for
conferring upon thee--thou shalt not be her executor: let me perish if
thou shalt.--Nor shall she die. Nobody shall be any thing, nobody shall
dare to be any thing, to her, but I--thy happiness is already too great,
to be admitted daily to her presence; to look upon her, to talk to her,
to hear her talk, while I am forbid to come within view of her window--
What a reprobation is this, of the man who was once more dear to her than
all the men in the world!--And now to be able to look down upon me, while
her exalted head is hid from me among the stars, sometimes with scorn, at
other times with pity; I cannot bear it.
This I tell thee, that if I have not success in my effort by letter, I
will overcome the creeping folly that has found its way to my heart, or I
will tear it out in her presence, and throw it at her's, that she may see
how much more tender than her own that organ is, which she, and you, and
every one else, have taken the liberty to call callous.
Give notice of the people who live back and edge, and on either hand, of
the cursed mother, to remove their best effects, if I am rejected: for
the first vengeance I shall take will be to set fire to that den of
serpents. Nor will there be any fear of taking them when they are in any
act that has the relish of salvation in it, as Shakspeare says--so that
my revenge, if they perish in the flames I shall light up, will be
complete as to them.
MR. LOVELACE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
MONDAY, AUG. 7.
Little as I have reason to expect either your patient ear, or forgiving
heart, yet cannot I forbear to write to you once more, (as a more
pardonable intrusion, perhaps, than a visit would be,) to beg of you to
put it in my power to atone, as far as it is possible to atone, for the
injuries I have done you.
Your angelic purity, and my awakened conscience, are standing records of
your exalted merit, and of my detestable baseness: but your forgiveness
will lay me under an eternal obligation to you.--Forgive me then, my
dearest life, my earthly good, the visible anchor of my future hope!--As
you, (who believe you have something to be forgiven for,) hope for pardon
yourself, forgive me, and consent to meet me, upon your own conditions,
and in whose company you please, at the holy altar, and to give yourself
a title to the most repentant and affectionate heart that ever beat in a
But, perhaps, a time of probation may be required. It may be impossible
for you, as well from indisposition as doubt, so soon to receive me to
absolute favour as my heart wishes to be received. In this case, I will
submit to your pleasure; and there shall be no penance which you can
impose that I will not cheerfully undergo, if you will be pleased to give
me hope that, after an expiation, suppose of months, wherein the
regularity of my future life and actions shall convince you of my
reformation, you will at last be mine.
Let me beg then the favour of a few lines, encouraging me in this
conditional hope, if it must not be a still nearer hope, and a more
If you refuse me this, you will make me desperate. But even then I must,
at all events, throw myself at your feet, that I may not charge myself
with the omission of any earnest, any humble effort, to move you in my
favour: for in YOU, Madam, in YOUR forgiveness, are centred my hopes as
to both worlds: since to be reprobated finally by you, will leave me
without expectation of mercy from above! For I am now awakened enough to
think that to be forgiven by injured innocents is necessary to the Divine
pardon; the Almighty putting into the power of such, (as is reasonable to
believe,) the wretch who causelessly and capitally offends them. And who
can be entitled to this power, if YOU are not?
Your cause, Madam, in a word, I look upon to be the cause of virtue, and,
as such, the cause of God. And may I not expect that He will assert it
in the perdition of a man, who has acted by a person of the most spotless
purity as I have done, if you, by rejecting me, show that I have offended
beyond the possibility of forgiveness.
I do most solemnly assure you that no temporal or worldly views induce me
to this earnest address. I deserve not forgiveness from you. Nor do my
Lord M. and his sisters from me. I despise them from my heart for
presuming to imagine that I will be controuled by the prospect of any
benefits in their power to confer. There is not a person breathing, but
yourself, who shall prescribe to me. Your whole conduct, Madam, has been
so nobly principled, and your resentments are so admirably just, that you
appear to me even in a divine light; and in an infinitely more amiable
one at the same time than you could have appeared in, had you not
suffered the barbarous wrongs, that now fill my mind with anguish and
horror at my own recollected villany to the most excellent of women.
I repeat, that all I beg for the present is a few lines to guide my
doubtful steps; and, if possible for you so far to condescend, to
encourage me to hope that, if I can justify my present vows by my future
conduct, I may be permitted the honour to style myself,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO LORD M. AND TO THE LADIES OF HIS HOUSE
[IN REPLY TO MISS MONTAGUE'S OF AUG. 7. SEE LETTER LXXVI. OF THIS VOLUME.]
TUESDAY, AUG. 8.
Excuse me, my good Lord, and my ever-honoured Ladies, from accepting of
your noble quarterly bounty; and allow me to return, with all grateful
acknowledgement, and true humility, the enclosed earnest of your goodness
to me. Indeed I have no need of the one, and cannot possibly want the
other: but, nevertheless have such a sense of your generous favour, that,
to my last hour, I shall have pleasure in contemplating upon it, and be
proud of the place I hold in the esteem of such venerable persons, to
whom I once had the ambition to hope to be related.
But give me leave to express my concern that you have banished your
kinsman from your presence and favour: since now, perhaps, he will be
under less restraint than ever; and since I in particular, who had hoped
by your influence to remain unmolested for the remainder of my days, may
again be subjected to his persecutions.
He has not, my good Lord, and my dear Ladies, offended against you, as he
has against me; yet you could all very generously intercede for him with
me: and shall I be very improper, if I desire, for my own peace-sake; for
the sake of other poor creatures, who may still be injured by him, if he
be made quite desperate; and for the sake of all your worthy family; that
you will extend to him that forgiveness which you hope for from me? and
this the rather, as I presume to think, that his daring and impetuous
spirit will not be subdued by violent methods; since I have no doubt that
the gratifying of a present passion will be always more prevalent with
him than any future prospects, however unwarrantable the one, or
beneficial the other.
Your resentments on my account are extremely generous, as your goodness
to me is truly noble: but I am not without hope that he will be properly
affected by the evils he has made me suffer; and that, when I am laid low
and forgotten, your whole honourable family will be enabled to rejoice in
his reformation; and see many of those happy years together, which, my
good Lord, and my dear Ladies, you so kindly wish to
Your ever-grateful and obliged
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
THURSDAY NIGHT, AUG. 10.
You have been informed by Tourville, how much Belton's illness and
affairs have engaged me, as well as Mowbray and him, since my former.
I called at Smith's on Monday, in my way to Epsom.
The lady was gone to chapel: but I had the satisfaction to hear she was
not worse; and left my compliments, and an intimation that I should be
out of town for three or four days.
I refer myself to Tourville, who will let you know the difficulty we had
to drive out this meek mistress, and frugal manager, with her cubs, and
to give the poor fellow's sister possession for him of his own house; he
skulking mean while at an inn at Croydon, too dispirited to appear in his
But I must observe that we were probably but just in time to save the
shattered remains of his fortune from this rapacious woman, and her
accomplices: for, as he cannot live long, and she thinks so, we found she
had certainly taken measures to set up a marriage, and keep possession of
all for herself and her sons.
Tourville will tell you how I was forced to chastise the quondam hostler
in her sight, before I could drive him out of the house. He had the
insolence to lay hands on me: and I made him take but one step from the
top to the bottom of a pair of stairs. I thought his neck and all his
bones had been broken. And then, he being carried out neck-and-heels,
Thomasine thought fit to walk out after him.
Charming consequences of keeping; the state we have been so fond of
extolling!--Whatever it may be thought of in strong health, sickness and
declining spirits in the keeper will bring him to see the difference.
She should soon have him, she told a confidant, in the space of six foot
by five; meaning his bed: and then she would let nobody come near him but
whom she pleased. This hostler-fellow, I suppose, would then have been
his physician; his will ready made for him; and widows' weeds probably
ready provided; who knows, but she to appear in them in his own sight? as
once I knew an instance in a wicked wife; insulting a husband she hated,
when she thought him past recovery: though it gave the man such spirits,
and such a turn, that he got over it, and lived to see her in her coffin,
dressed out in the very weeds she had insulted him in.
So much, for the present, for Belton and his Thomasine.
I begin to pity thee heartily, now I see thee in earnest in the fruitless
love thou expressest to this angel of a woman; and the rather, as, say
what thou wilt, it is impossible she should get over her illness, and her
friends' implacableness, of which she has had fresh instances.
I hope thou art not indeed displeased with the extracts I have made from
thy letters for her. The letting her know the justice thou hast done to
her virtue in them, is so much in favour of thy ingenuousness, (a
quality, let me repeat, that gives thee a superiority over common
libertines,) that I think in my heart I was right; though to any other
woman, and to one who had not known the worst of thee that she could
know, it might have been wrong.
If the end will justify the means, it is plain, that I have done well
with regard to ye both; since I have made her easier, and thee appear in
a better light to her, than otherwise thou wouldst have done.
But if, nevertheless, thou art dissatisfied with my having obliged her in
a point, which I acknowledge to be delicate, let us canvas this matter at
our first meeting: and then I will show thee what the extracts were, and
what connections I gave them in thy favour.
But surely thou dost not pretend to say what I shall, or shall not do, as
to the executorship.
I am my own man, I hope. I think thou shouldst be glad to have the
justification of her memory left to one, who, at the same time, thou
mayest be assured, will treat thee, and thy actions, with all the lenity
the case will admit.
I cannot help expressing my surprise at one instance of thy
self-partiality; and that is, where thou sayest she has need, indeed, to
cry out for mercy herself from her friends, who knows not how to show
Surely thou canst not think the cases alike--for she, as I understand,
desires but a last blessing, and a last forgiveness, for a fault in a