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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Clarissa, Or The History Of A Young Lady,
Volume 8, by Samuel Richardson

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Title: Clarissa, Or The History Of A Young Lady, Volume 8

Author: Samuel Richardson

Release Date: April 27, 2004 [EBook #12180]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CLARISSA, VOL. 8 ***




Produced by Julie C. Sparks.




CLARISSA HARLOWE

or the

HISTORY OF A YOUNG LADY

Nine Volumes
Volume VIII.



CONTENTS OF VOLUME VIII


LETTER I.  Miss Howe, from the Isle of Wight.--
In answer to her's, No. LXI. of Vol. VII.  Approves not of her choice of
Belford for her executor; yet thinks she cannot appoint for that office
any of her own family.  Hopes she will live any years.

LETTER II.  Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Sends her a large packet of letters; but (for her relations' sake) not
all she has received.  Must now abide by the choice of Mr. Belford for
executor; but farther refers to the papers she sends her, for her
justification on this head.

LETTER III.  Antony Harlowe to Clarissa.--
A letter more taunting and reproachful than that of her other uncle.  To
what owing.

LETTER IV.  Clarissa.  In answer.--
Wishes that the circumstances of her case had been inquired into.
Concludes with a solemn and pathetic prayer for the happiness of the
whole family.

LETTER V.  Mrs. Norton to Clarissa.--
Her friends, through Brand's reports, as she imagines, intent upon her
going to the plantations.  Wishes her to discourage improper visiters.
Difficult situations the tests of prudence as well as virtue.  Dr.
Lewen's solicitude for her welfare.  Her cousin Morden arrived in
England.  Farther pious consolations.

LETTER VI.  Clarissa.  In answer.--
Sends her a packet of letters, which, for her relations' sake, she cannot
communicate to Miss Howe.  From these she will collect a good deal of her
story.  Defends, yet gently blames her mother.  Afraid that her cousin
Morden will be set against her; or, what is worse, that he will seek to
avenge her.  Her affecting conclusion on her Norton's divine
consolations.

LETTER VII.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Is very ill.  The lady, if he die, will repent her refusal of him.  One
of the greatest felicities that can befal a woman, what.  Extremely ill.
His ludicrous behaviour on awaking, and finding a clergyman and his
friends praying for him by his bedside.

LETTER VIII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Concerned at his illness.  Wishes that he had died before last April.
The lady, he tells him, generously pities him; and prays that he may meet
with the mercy he has not shown.

LETTER IX.  Lovelace to Belford.--
In raptures on her goodness to him.  His deep regrets for his treatment
of her.  Blesses her.

LETTER X.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Congratulates him on his amendment.  The lady's exalted charity to him.
Her story a fine subject for tragedy.  Compares with it, and censures,
the play of the Fair Penitent.  She is very ill; the worse for some new
instances of the implacableness of her relations.  A meditation on the
subject.  Poor Belton, he tells him, is at death's door; and desirous to
see him.

LETTER XI.  Belford to Clarissa.--
Acquaints her with the obligation he is under to go to Belton, and (lest
she should be surprised) with Lovelace's resolution (as signified in the
next letter) to visit her.

LETTER XII.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Resolves to throw himself at the lady's feet.  Lord M. of opinion that
she ought to admit of one interview.

LETTER XIII.  From the same.--
Arrived in London, he finds the lady gone abroad.  Suspects Belford.  His
unaccountable freaks at Smith's.  His motives for behaving so ludicrously
there.  The vile Sally Martin entertains him with her mimicry of the
divine lady.

LETTER XIV.  From the same.--
His frightful dream.  How affected by it.  Sleeping or waking, his
Clarissa always present with him.  Hears she is returned to her lodgings.
Is hastening to her.

LETTER XV.  From the same.--
Disappointed again.  Is affected by Mrs. Lovick's expostulations.  Is
shown a meditation on being hunted after by the enemy of her soul, as it
is entitled.  His light comments upon it.  Leaves word that he resolves
to see her.  Makes several other efforts for that purpose.

LETTER XVI.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Reproaches him that he has not kept his honour with him.  Inveighs
against, and severely censures him for his light behaviour at Smith's.
Belton's terrors and despondency.  Mowbray's impenetrable behaviour.

LETTER XVII.  From the same.--
Mowbray's impatience to run from a dying Belton to a too-lively Lovelace.
Mowbray abuses Mr. Belton's servant in the language of a rake of the
common class.  Reflection on the brevity of life.

LETTER XVIII.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Receives a letter from Clarissa, written by way of allegory to induce him
to forbear hunting after her.  Copy of it.  He takes it in a literal
sense.  Exults upon it.  Will now hasten down to Lord M. and receive the
gratulations of all his family on her returning favour.  Gives an
interpretation of his frightful dream to his own liking.

LETTER XIX. XX.  From the same.--
Pities Belton.  Rakishly defends him on the issue of a duel, which now
adds to the poor man's terrors.  His opinion of death, and the fear of
it.  Reflections upon the conduct of play-writers with regard
servants.  He cannot account for the turn his Clarissa has taken in his
favour.  Hints at one hopeful cause of it.  Now matrimony seems to be in
his power, he has some retrograde motions.

LETTER XXI.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Continuation of his narrative of Belton's last illness and impatience.
The poor man abuses the gentlemen of the faculty.  Belford censures some
of them for their greediness after fees.  Belton dies.  Serious
reflections on the occasion.

LETTER XXII.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Hopes Belton is happy; and why.  He is setting out for Berks.

LETTER XXIII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Attends the lady.  She is extremely ill, and receives the sacrament.
Complains of the harasses his friend had given her.  Two different
persons (from her relations, he supposes) inquire after her.  Her
affecting address to the doctor, apothecary, and himself.  Disposes of
some more of her apparel for a very affecting purpose.

LETTER XXIV.  Dr. Lewen to Clarissa.--
Writes on his pillow, to prevail upon her to prosecute Lovelace for his
life.

LETTER XXV.  Her pathetic and noble answer.

LETTER XXVI.  Miss Arabella Harlowe to Clarissa.--
Proposes, in a most taunting and cruel manner, the prosecution of
Lovelace; or, if not, her going to Pensylvania.

LETTER XXVII.  Clarissa's affecting answer.

LETTER XXVIII. XXIX.  Mrs. Norton to Clarissa.--
Her uncle's cruel letter to what owing.  Colonel Morden resolved on a
visit to Lovelace.--Mrs. Hervey, in a private conversation with her,
accounts for, yet blames, the cruelty of her family.  Miss Dolly Hervey
wishes to attend her.

LETTER XXX. Clarissa.  In answer.--
Thinks she has been treated with great rigour by her relations.
Expresses more warmth than usual on this subject.  Yet soon checks
herself.  Grieves that Colonel Morden resolves on a visit to Lovelace.
Touches upon her sister's taunting letter.  Requests Mrs. Norton's
prayers for patience and resignation.

LETTER XXXI.  Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Approves now of her appointment of Belford for an executor.  Admires her
greatness of mind in despising Lovelace.  Every body she is with taken
with Hickman; yet she cannot help wantoning with the power his obsequious
love gives her over him.

LETTER XXXII. XXXIII.  Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
Instructive lessons and observations on her treatment of Hickman.--
Acquaints her with all that has happened since her last.  Fears that all
her allegorical letter is not strictly right.  Is forced by illness to
break off.  Resumes.  Wishes her married.

LETTER XXXIV.  Mr. Wyerley to Clarissa.--
A generous renewal of his address to her now in her calamity; and a
tender of his best services.

LETTER XXXV.  Her open, kind, and instructive answer.

LETTER XXXVI.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Uneasy, on a suspicion that her letter to him was a stratagem only.  What
he will do, if he find it so.

LETTER XXXVII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Brief account of his proceedings in Belton's affairs.  The lady extremely
ill.  Thought to be near her end.  Has a low-spirited day.  Recovers her
spirits; and thinks herself above this world.  She bespeaks her coffin.
Confesses that her letter to Lovelace was allegorical only.  The light in
which Belford beholds her.

LETTER XXXVIII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
An affecting conversation that passed between the lady and Dr. H.  She
talks of death, he says, and prepares for it, as if it were an occurrence
as familiar to her as dressing and undressing.  Worthy behaviour of the
doctor.  She makes observations on the vanity of life, on the wisdom of
an early preparation for death, and on the last behaviour of Belton.

LETTER XXXIX. XL. XLI.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Particulars of what passed between himself, Colonel Morden, Lord M., and
Mowbray, on the visit made him by the Colonel.  Proposes Belford to Miss
Charlotte Montague, by way of raillery, for an husband.--He encloses
Brand's letter, which misrepresents (from credulity and officiousness,
rather than ill-will) the lady's conduct.

LETTER XLII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Expatiates on the baseness of deluding young creatures, whose confidence
has been obtained by oaths, vows, promises.  Evil of censoriousness.
People deemed good too much addicted to it.  Desires to know what he
means my his ridicule with regard to his charming cousin.

LETTER XLIII.  From the same.--
A proper test of the purity of writing.  The lady again makes excuses for
her allegorical letter.  Her calm behaviour, and generous and useful
reflections, on his communicating to her Brand's misrepresentations of
her conduct.

LETTER XLIV.  Colonel Morden to Clarissa.--
Offers his assistance and service to make the best of what has happened.
Advises her to marry Lovelace, as the only means to bring about a general
reconciliation.  Has no doubt of his resolution to do her justice.
Desires to know if she has.

LETTER XLV.  Clarissa.  In answer.

LETTER XLVI.  Lovelace to Belford.--
His reasonings and ravings on finding the lady's letter to him only an
allegorical one.  In the midst of these, the natural gayety of his heart
runs him into ridicule on Belford.  His ludicrous image drawn from a
monument in Westminster Abbey.  Resumes his serious disposition.  If the
worst happen, (the Lord of Heaven and Earth, says he, avert that worst!)
he bids him only write that he advises him to take a trip to Paris; and
that will stab him to the heart.

LETTER XLVII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
The lady's coffin brought up stairs.  He is extremely shocked and
discomposed at it.  Her intrepidity.  Great minds, he observes, cannot
avoid doing uncommon things.  Reflections on the curiosity of women.

LETTER XLVIII.  From the same.--
Description of the coffin, and devices on the lid.  It is placed in her
bed-chamber.  His serious application to Lovelace on her great behaviour.

LETTER XLIX.  From the same.--
Astonished at his levity in the Abbey-instance.  The lady extremely ill.

LETTER L.  Lovelace to Belford.--
All he has done to the lady a jest to die for; since her triumph has ever
been greater than her sufferings.  He will make over all his possessions
and all his reversions to the doctor, if he will but prolong her life for
one twelvemonth.  How, but for her calamities, could her equanimity blaze
out as it does!  He would now love her with an intellectual flame.  He
cannot bear to think that the last time she so triumphantly left him
should be the last.  His conscience, he says, tears him.  He is sick of
the remembrance of his vile plots.

LETTER LI.  Belford to Lovelace.--
The lady alive, serene, and calm.  The more serene for having finished,
signed, and sealed her last will; deferred till now for reasons of filial
duty.

LETTER LII.  Miss Howe to Clarissa.--
Pathetically laments the illness of her own mother, and of her dear
friend.  Now all her pertness to the former, she says, fly in her face.
She lays down her pen; and resumes it, to tell her, with great joy, that
her mother is better.  She has had a visit form her cousin Morden.  What
passed in it.

LETTER LIII.  From the same.--
Displeased with the Colonel for thinking too freely of the sex.  Never
knew a man that had a slight notion of the virtue of women in general,
who deserved to be valued for his morals.  Why women must either be more
or less virtuous than men.  Useful hints to young ladies.  Is out of
humour with Mr. Hickman.  Resolves to see her soon in town.

LETTER LIV.  Belford to Lovelace.--
The lady writes and reads upon her coffin, as upon a desk.  The doctor
resolves to write to her father.  Her intense, yet cheerful devotion.

LETTER LV.  Clarissa to Miss Howe.--
A letter full of pious reflections, and good advice, both general and
particular; and breathing the true spirit of charity, forgiveness,
patience, and resignation.  A just reflection, to her dear friend, upon
the mortifying nature of pride.

LETTER LVI.  Mrs. Norton to Clarissa.--
Her account of an interesting conversation at Harlowe-place between the
family and Colonel Morden; and of another between her mother and self.
The Colonel incensed against them all.  Her advice concerning Belford,
and other matters.  Miss Howe has obtained leave, she hears, to visit
her.  Praises Mr. Hickman.  Gently censures Miss Howe on his account.
Her truly maternal and pious comfortings.

LETTER LVII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
The lady's sight begins to fail her.  She blesses God for the serenity
she enjoys.  It is what, she says, she had prayed for.  What a blessing,
so near to her dissolution, to have her prayers answered!  Gives
particular directions to him about her papers, about her last will and
apparel.  Comforts the women and him on their concern for her.  Another
letter brought her from Colonel Morden.  The substance of it.  Belford
writes to hasten up the Colonel.  Dr. H. has also written to her father;
and Brand to Mr. John Harlowe a letter recanting his officious one.

LETTER LVIII.  Dr. H. to James Harlowe, Senior, Esq.

LETTER LIX.  Copy of Mr. Belford's letter to Colonel Morden,
to hasten him up.

LETTER LX.  Lovelace to Belford.--
He feels the torments of the damned, in the remorse that wrings his
heart, on looking back on his past actions by this lady.  Gives him what
he calls a faint picture of his horrible uneasiness, riding up and down,
expecting the return of his servant as soon as he had dispatched him.
Woe be to the man who brings him the fatal news!

LETTER LXI.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Farther particulars of the lady's pious and exemplary behaviour.  She
rejoices in the gradual death afforded her.  Her thankful acknowledgments
to Mr. Belford, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Lovick, for their kindness to her.
Her edifying address to Mr. Belford.

LETTER LXII.  Clarissa to Mrs. Norton.  In answer to her's, No. LVI.--
Afflicted only for her friends.  Desires not now to see her cousin
Morden, nor even herself, or Miss Howe.  God will have no rivals, she
says, in the hearts of those whom HE sanctifies.  Advice to Miss Howe.
To Mr. Hickman.  Blesses all her relations and friends.

LETTER LXIII.  Lovelace to Belford.--
A letter of deep distress, remorse, and impatience.  Yet would he fain
lighten his own guilt by reflections on the cruelty of her relations.

LETTER LXIV.  Belford to Lovelace
The lady is disappointed at the Doctor's telling her that she may yet
live two or three days.  Death from grief the slowest of deaths.  Her
solemn forgiveness of Lovelace, and prayer for him.  Owns that once she
could have loved him.  Her generous concern for his future happiness.
Belford's good resolutions.

LETTER LXV.  Mr. Brand to Mr. John Walton.

LETTER LXVI.  Mr. Brand to John Harlowe, Esq.;
in excuse of his credulity, and of the misreports founded upon it.

LETTER LXVII.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Blesses him for sending him word the lady is better.  Her charity towards
him cuts him to the heart.  He cannot bear it.  His vehement self
reproaches.  Curses his contriving genius, and his disbelief that there
could be such virtue in woman.  The world never saw such an husband as he
will make, if she recover, and will be his.

LETTER LXVIII.  Belford to Lovelace.--
The lady's pious frame.  The approaches of death how supportable to her;
and why.  She has no reason, she says, to grieve for any thing but the
sorrow she has given to her friends.

LETTER LXIX.  Lovelace to Belford.--
Never prayed in his life, put all the years of it together, as he has
done for this fortnight.  Has repented of all his baseness: And will
nothing do?  Conjures him to send him good news in his next, as he would
not be answerable for consequences.

LETTER LXX.  Belford to Lovelace.--
Solemn leave taken of her by the doctor and apothecary; who tell her she
will hardly see the next night.  The pleasure with which she receives the
intimation.  How unlike poor Belton's behaviour her's!  A letter from
Miss Howe.  Copy of it.  She cannot see to read it.  Her exalted
expressions on hearing it read.  Tries to write an answer to it; but
cannot.  Dictates to Mrs. Lovick.  Writes the superscriptive part herself
on her knees.  Colonel Morden arrives in town.

LETTER LXXI.  From the same.--
What passes on Colonel Morden's visit to his cousin.  She enjoins the
Colonel not to avenge her.




THE HISTORY

OF

CLARISSA HARLOWE



LETTER I

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
YARMOUTH, ISLE OF WIGHT, MONDAY, AUG. 7.


MY DEAREST CREATURE,

I can write but just now a few lines.  I cannot tell how to bear the
sound of that Mr. Belford for your executor, cogent as your reasons for
that measure are: and yet I am firmly of opinion, that none of your
relations should be named for the trust.  But I dwell the less on this
subject, as I hope (and cannot bear to apprehend the contrary) that you
will still live many, many years.

Mr. Hickman, indeed, speaks very handsomely of Mr. Belford.  But he, poor
man! has not much penetration.--If he had, he would hardly think so well
of me as he does.

I have a particular opportunity of sending this by a friend of my aunt
Harman's; who is ready to set out for London, (and this occasions my
hurry,) and is to return out of hand.  I expect therefore, by him a large
packet from you; and hope and long for news of your amended health: which
Heaven grant to the prayers of

Your ever-affectionate
ANNA HOWE.



LETTER II

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
FRIDAY, AUG. 11.


I will send you a large packet, as you desire and expect; since I can do
it by so safe a conveyance: but not all that is come to my hand--for I
must own that my friends are very severe; too severe for any body, who
loves them not, to see their letters.  You, my dear, would not call them
my friends, you said, long ago; but my relations: indeed I cannot call
them my relations, I think!----But I am ill; and therefore perhaps more
peevish than I should be.  It is difficult to go out of ourselves to give
a judgment against ourselves; and yet, oftentimes, to pass a just
judgment, we ought.

I thought I should alarm you in the choice of my executor.  But the sad
necessity I am reduced to must excuse me.

I shall not repeat any thing I have said before on that subject: but if
your objections will not be answered to your satisfaction by the papers
and letters I shall enclose, marked 1, 2, 3, 4, to 9, I must think myself
in another instance unhappy; since I am engaged too far (and with my own
judgment too) to recede.

As Mr. Belford has transcribed for me, in confidence, from his friend's
letters, the passages which accompany this, I must insist that you suffer
no soul but yourself to peruse them; and that you return them by the very
first opportunity; that so no use may be made of them that may do hurt
either to the original writer or to the communicator.  You'll observe I
am bound by promise to this care.  If through my means any mischief
should arise, between this humane and that inhuman libertine, I should
think myself utterly inexcusable.

I subjoin a list of the papers or letters I shall enclose.  You must
return them all when perused.*


* 1. A letter from Miss Montague, dated . . . .  Aug. 1.
  2. A copy of my answer  . . . . . . . . . . .  Aug. 3.
  3. Mr. Belford's Letter to me, which will show
      you what my request was to him, and his
      compliance with it; and the desired ex-
      tracts from his friend's letters  . . . .  Aug. 3, 4.
  4. A copy of my answer, with thanks; and re-
      questing him to undertake the executor-
      ship  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Aug. 4.
  5. Mr. Belford's acceptance of the trust  . .  Aug. 4.
  6. Miss Montague's letter, with a generous
      offer from Lord M. and the Ladies of that
      family  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  Aug. 7.
  7. Mr. Lovelace's to me . . . . . . . . . . .  Aug. 7.
  8. Copy of mine to Miss Montague, in answer
      to her's of the day before  . . . . . . .  Aug. 8.
  9. Copy of my answer to Mr. Lovelace  . . . .  Aug. 11.

You will see by these several Letters, written and received in so little
a space of time (to say nothing of what I have received and written which
I cannot show you,) how little opportunity or leisure I can have for
writing my own story.


I am very much tired and fatigued--with--I don't know what--with writing,
I think--but most with myself, and with a situation I cannot help
aspiring to get out of, and above!

O my dear, the world we live in is a sad, a very sad world!----While
under our parents' protecting wings, we know nothing at all of it.
Book-learned and a scribbler, and looking at people as I saw them as
visiters or visiting, I thought I knew a great deal of it.  Pitiable
ignorance!--Alas! I knew nothing at all!

With zealous wishes for your happiness, and the happiness of every one
dear to you, I am, and will ever be,

Your gratefully-affectionate
CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER III

MR. ANTONY HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
[IN REPLY TO HER'S TO HER UNCLE HARLOWE, OF THURSDAY, AUG. 10.]
AUG. 12.


UNHAPPY GIRL!

As your uncle Harlowe chooses not to answer your pert letter to him;
and as mine, written to you before,* was written as if it were in the
spirit of prophecy, as you have found to your sorrow; and as you are now
making yourself worse than you are in your health, and better than you
are in your penitence, as we are very well assured, in order to move
compassion; which you do not deserve, having had so much warning: for all
these reasons, I take up my pen once more; though I had told your
brother, at his going to Edinburgh, that I would not write to you, even
were you to write to me, without letting him know.  So indeed had we all;
for he prognosticated what would happen, as to your applying to us, when
you knew not how to help it.


* See Vol. I. Letter XXXII.


Brother John has hurt your niceness, it seems, by asking you a plain
question, which your mother's heart is too full of grief to let her ask;
and modesty will not let your sister ask; though but the consequence of
your actions--and yet it must be answered, before you'll obtain from your
father and mother, and us, the notice you hope for, I can tell you that.

You lived several guilty weeks with one of the vilest fellows that ever
drew breath, at bed, as well as at board, no doubt, (for is not his
character known?) and pray don't be ashamed to be asked after what may
naturally come of such free living.  This modesty indeed would have
become you for eighteen years of your life--you'll be pleased to mark
that--but makes no good figure compared with your behaviour since the
beginning of April last.  So pray don't take it up, and wipe your mouth
upon it, as if nothing had happened.

But, may be, I likewise am to shocking to your niceness!--O girl, girl!
your modesty had better been shown at the right time and place--Every
body but you believed what the rake was: but you would believe nothing
bad of him--What think you now?

Your folly has ruined all our peace.  And who knows where it may yet end?
--Your poor father but yesterday showed me this text: With bitter grief
he showed it me, poor man! and do you lay it to your heart:

'A father waketh for his daughter, when no man knoweth; and the care for
her taketh away his sleep--When she is young, lest she pass away the
flower of her age--[and you know what proposals were made to you at
different times.]  And, being married, lest she should be hated.  In her
virginity, lest she should be defiled, and gotten with child in her
father's house--[and I don't make the words, mind that.]  And, having an
husband, lest she should misbehave herself.'  And what follows?  'Keep
a sure watch over a shameless daughter--[yet no watch could hold you!]
lest she make thee a laughing stock to thine enemies--[as you have made
us all to this cursed Lovelace,] and a bye-word in the city, and a
reproach among the people, and make thee ashamed before the multitude.'
Ecclus. xlii. 9, 10, &c.

Now will you wish you had not written pertly.  Your sister's severities!
--Never, girl, say that is severe that is deserved.  You know the meaning
of words.  No body better.  Would to the Lord you had acted up but to one
half of what you know! then had we not been disappointed and grieved, as
we all have been: and nobody more than him who was

Your loving uncle,
ANTONY HARLOWE.

This will be with you to-morrow.  Perhaps you may be suffered to have
      some part of your estate, after you have smarted a little more.
      Your pertly-answered uncle John, who is your trustee, will not have
      you be destitute.  But we hope all is not true that we hear of you.
      --Only take care, I advise you, that, bad as you have acted, you
      act not still worse, if it be possible to act worse.  Improve upon
      the hint.



LETTER IV

MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO ANTONY HARLOWE, ESQ.
SUNDAY, AUG. 13.


HONOURED SIR,

I am very sorry for my pert letter to my uncle Harlowe.  Yet I did not
intend it to be pert.  People new to misfortune may be too easily moved
to impatience.

The fall of a regular person, no doubt, is dreadful and inexcusable.
is like the sin of apostacy.  Would to Heaven, however, that I had had
the circumstances of mine inquired into!

If, Sir, I make myself worse than I am in my health, and better than I am
in my penitence, it is fit I should be punished for my double
dissimulation: and you have the pleasure of being one of my punishers.
My sincerity in both respects will, however, be best justified by the
event.  To that I refer.--May Heaven give you always as much comfort in
reflecting upon the reprobation I have met with, as you seem to have
pleasure in mortifying a young creature, extremely mortified; and that
from a right sense, as she presumes to hope, of her own fault!

What you heard of me I cannot tell.  When the nearest and dearest
relations give up an unhappy wretch, it is not to be wondered at that
those who are not related to her are ready to take up and propagate
slanders against her.  Yet I think I may defy calumny itself, and
(excepting the fatal, though involuntary step of April 10) wrap myself in
my own innocence, and be easy.  I thank you, Sir, nevertheless, for your
caution, mean it what it will.

As to the question required of me to answer, and which is allowed to be
too shocking either for a mother to put to a daughter, or a sister to a
sister; and which, however, you say I must answer;--O Sir!--And must I
answer?--This then be my answer:--'A little time, a much less time than
is imagined, will afford a more satisfactory answer to my whole family,
and even to my brother and sister, than I can give in words.'

Nevertheless, be pleased to let it be remembered, that I did not petition
for a restoration to favour.  I could not hope for that.  Nor yet to be
put in possession of any part of my own estate.  Nor even for means of
necessary subsistence from the produce of that estate--but only for a
blessing; for a last blessing!

And this I will farther add, because it is true, that I have no wilful
crime to charge against myself: no free living at bed and at board, as
you phrase it!

Why, why, Sir, were not other inquiries made of me, as well as this
shocking one?--inquiries that modesty would have permitted a mother or
sister to make; and which, if I may be excused to say so, would have been
still less improper, and more charitable, to have been made by uncles,
(were the mother forbidden, or the sister not inclined, to make them,)
than those they have made.

Although my humble application has brought upon me so much severe
reproach, I repent not that I have written to my mother, (although I
cannot but wish that I had not written to my sister;) because I have
satisfied a dutiful consciousness by it, however unanswered by the
wished-for success.  Nevertheless, I cannot help saying, that mine is
indeed a hard fate, that I cannot beg pardon for my capital errors
without doing it in such terms as shall be an aggravation of the offence.

But I had best leave off, lest, as my full mind, I find, is rising to my
pen, I have other pardons to beg as I multiply lines, where none at all
will be given.

God Almighty bless, preserve, and comfort my dear sorrowing and
grievously offended father and mother!--and continue in honour, favour,
and merit, my happy sister!--May God forgive my brother, and protect him
from the violence of his own temper, as well as from the destroyer of his
sister's honour!--And may you, my dear uncle, and your no less now than
ever dear brother, my second papa, as he used to bid me call him, be
blessed and happy in them, and in each other!--And, in order to this, may
you all speedily banish from your remembrance, for ever,

The unhappy
CLARISSA HARLOWE!



LETTER V

MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
MONDAY, AUG. 14.


All your friends here, my dear young lady, now seem set upon proposing to
you to go to one of the plantations.  This, I believe, is owing to some
misrepresentations of Mr. Brand; from whom they have received a letter.

I wish, with all my heart, that you could, consistently with your own
notions of honour, yield to the pressing requests of all Mr. Lovelace's
family in his behalf.  This, I think, would stop every mouth; and, in
time, reconcile every body to you.  For your own friends will not believe
that he is in earnest to marry you; and the hatred between the families
is such, that they will not condescend to inform themselves better; nor
would believe him, if he were ever so solemnly to avow that he is.

I should be very glad to have in readiness, upon occasion, some brief
particulars of your sad story under your own hand.  But let me tell you,
at the same time, that no misrepresentations, nor even your own
confession, shall lessen my opinion either of your piety, or of your
prudence in essential points; because I know it was always your humble
way to make light faults heavy against yourself: and well might you, my
dearest young lady, aggravate your own failings, who have ever had so
few; and those few so slight, that your ingenuousness has turned most of
them into excellencies.

Nevertheless, let me advise you, my dear Miss Clary, to discountenance
any visits, which, with the censorious, may affect your character.  As
that has not hitherto suffered by your wilful default, I hope you will
not, in a desponding negligence (satisfying yourself with a consciousness
of your own innocence) permit it to suffer.  Difficult situations, you
know, my dear young lady, are the tests not only of prudence but of
virtue.

I think, I must own to you, that, since Mr. Brand's letter has been
received, I have a renewed prohibition to attend you.  However, if you
will give me leave, that shall not detain me from you.  Nor would I stay
for that leave, if I were not in hopes that, in this critical situation,
I may be able to do you service here.

I have often had messages and inquiries after your health from the
truly-reverend Dr. Lewen, who has always expressed, and still expresses,
infinite concern for you.  He entirely disapproves of the measures of the
family with regard to you.  He is too much indisposed to go abroad.  But,
were he in good health, he would not, as I understand, visit at
Harlowe-place, having some time since been unhandsomely treated by your
brother, on his offering to mediate for you with your family.


***


I am just now informed that your cousin Morden is arrived in England.  He
is at Canterbury, it seems, looking after some concerns he has there; and
is soon expected in these parts.  Who knows what may arise from his
arrival?  God be with you, my dearest Miss Clary, and be your comforter
and sustainer.  And never fear but He will; for I am sure, I am very
sure, that you put your whole trust in Him.

And what, after all, is this world, on which we so much depend for
durable good, poor creatures that we are!--When all the joys of it, and
(what is a balancing comfort) all the troubles of it, are but momentary,
and vanish like a morning dream!

And be this remembered, my dearest young lady, that worldly joy claims no
kindred with the joys we are bid to aspire after.  These latter we must
be fitted for by affliction and disappointment.  You are therefore in the
direct road to glory, however thorny the path you are in.  And I had
almost said, that it depends upon yourself, by your patience, and by your
resignedness to the dispensation, (God enabling you, who never fails the
true penitent, and sincere invoker,) to be an heir of a blessed
immortality.

But this glory, I humbly pray, that you may not be permitted to enter
into, ripe as you are so soon to be for it, till, with your gentle hand,
(a pleasure I have so often, as you now, promised to myself,) you have
closed the eyes of

Your maternally-affectionate
JUDITH NORTON.



LETTER VI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. NORTON
THURSDAY, AUG. 27.


What Mr. Brand, or any body, can have written or said to my prejudice, I
cannot imagine; and yet some evil reports have gone out against me; as I
find by some hints in a very severe letter written to me by my uncle
Antony.  Such a letter as I believe was never written to any poor
creature, who, by ill health of body, as well as of mind, was before
tottering on the brink of the grave.  But my friends may possibly be
better justified than the reporters--For who knows what they may have
heard?

You give me a kind caution, which seems to imply more than you express,
when you advise me against countenancing visiters that may discredit me.
You have spoken quite out.  Surely, I have had afflictions enow to
strengthen my mind, and to enable it to bear the worst that can now
happen.  But I will not puzzle myself by conjectural evils; as I might
perhaps do, if I had not enow that were certain.  I shall hear all, when
it is thought proper that I should.  Mean time, let me say, for your
satisfaction, that I know not that I have any thing criminal or
disreputable to answer for either in word or deed, since the fatal 10th
of April last.

You desire an account of what passes between me and my friends; and also
particulars or brief heads of my sad story, in order to serve me as
occasion shall offer.  My dear good Mrs. Norton, you shall have a whole
packet of papers, which I have sent to my Miss Howe, when she returns
them; and you shall have likewise another packet, (and that with this
letter,) which I cannot at present think of sending to that dear friend
for the sake of my own relations; whom, without seeing that packet, she
is but too ready to censure heavily.  From these you will be able to
collect a great deal of my story.  But for what is previous to these
papers, and which more particularly relates to what I have suffered from
Mr. Lovelace, you must have patience; for at present I have neither head
nor heart for such subjects.  The papers I send you with this will be
those mentioned in the margin.*  You must restore them to me as soon as
perused; and upon your honour make no use of them, or of any intelligence
you have from me, but by my previous consent.


* 1. A copy of mine to my sister, begging
      off my father's malediction . . . . . .  dated July 21.
  2. My sister's answer . . . . . . . . . . .  dated July 27.
  3. Copy of my second letter to my sister. .  dated July 29.
  4. My sister's answer . . . . . . . . . . .  dated Aug. 3.
  5. Copy of my Letter to my mother . . . . .  dated Aug. 5.
  6. My uncle Harlowe's letter  . . . . . . .  dated Aug. 7.
  7. Copy of my answer to it  . . . . . . . .  dated the 1oth.
  8. Letter from my uncle Antony  . . . . . .  dated the 12th.
  9. And lastly, the copy of my answer to it.  dated the 13th.


These communications you must not, my good Mrs. Norton, look upon as
appeals against my relations.  On the contrary, I am heartily sorry that
they have incurred the displeasure of so excellent a divine as Dr. Lewen.
But you desire to have every thing before you: and I think you ought; for
who knows, as you say, but you may be applied to at last to administer
comfort from their conceding hearts, to one that wants it; and who
sometimes, judging by what she knows of her own heart, thinks herself
entitled to it?

I know that I have a most indulgent and sweet-tempered mother; but,
having to deal with violent spirits, she has too often forfeited that
peace of mind which she so much prefers, by her over concern to preserve
it.

I am sure she would not have turned me over for an answer to a letter
written with so contrite and fervent a spirit, as was mine to her, to a
masculine spirit, had she been left to herself.

But, my dear Mrs. Norton, might not, think you, the revered lady have
favoured me with one private line?----If not, might not you have written
by her order, or connivance, one softening, one motherly line, when she
saw her poor girl, whom once she dearly loved, borne so hard upon?

O no, she might not!--because her heart, to be sure, is in their
measures! and if she think them right, perhaps they must be right!--at
least, knowing only what they know, they must!--and yet they might know
all, if they would!--and possibly, in their own good time, they think to
make proper inquiry.--My application was made to them but lately.--Yet
how deeply will it afflict them, if their time should be out of time!

When you have before you the letters I have sent to Miss Howe, you will
see that Lord M. and the Ladies of his family, jealous as they are of the
honour of their house, (to express myself in their language,) think
better of me than my own relations do.  You will see an instance of their
generosity to me, which at the time extremely affected me, and indeed
still affects me.  Unhappy man! gay, inconsiderate, and cruel! what has
been his gain by making unhappy a creature who hoped to make him happy!
and who was determined to deserve the love of all to whom he is related!
--Poor man!--but you will mistake a compassionate and placable nature for
love!--he took care, great care, that I should rein-in betimes any
passion that I might have had for him, had he known how to be but
commonly grateful or generous!--But the Almighty knows what is best for
his poor creatures.

Some of the letters in the same packet will also let you into the
knowledge of a strange step which I have taken, (strange you will think
it); and, at the same time, give you my reasons for taking it.*


* She means that of making Mr. Belford her executor.


It must be expected, that situations uncommonly difficult will make
necessary some extraordinary steps, which, but for those situations,
would be hardly excusable.  It will be very happy indeed, and somewhat
wonderful, if all the measures I have been driven to take should be
right.  A pure intention, void of all undutiful resentment, is what must
be my consolation, whatever others may think of those measures, when they
come to know them: which, however, will hardly be till it is out of my
power to justify them, or to answer for myself.

I am glad to hear of my cousin Morden's safe arrival.  I should wish to
see him methinks: but I am afraid that he will sail with the stream; as
it must be expected, that he will hear what they have to say first.--But
what I most fear is, that he will take upon himself to avenge me.  Rather
than he should do so, I would have him look upon me as a creature utterly
unworthy of his concern; at least of his vindictive concern.

How soothing to the wounded heart of your Clarissa, how balmy are the
assurances of your continued love and favour;--love me, my dear mamma
Norton, continue to love me, to the end!--I now think that I may, without
presumption, promise to deserve your love to the end.  And, when I am
gone, cherish my memory in your worthy heart; for in so doing you will
cherish the memory of one who loves and honours you more than she can
express.

But when I am no more, I charge you, as soon as you can, the smarting
pangs of grief that will attend a recent loss; and let all be early
turned into that sweetly melancholy regard to MEMORY, which, engaging us
to forget all faults, and to remember nothing but what was thought
amiable, gives more pleasure than pain to survivors--especially if they
can comfort themselves with the humble hope, that the Divine mercy has
taken the dear departed to itself.

And what is the space of time to look backward upon, between an early
departure and the longest survivance!--and what the consolation attending
the sweet hope of meeting again, never more to be separated, never more
to be pained, grieved, or aspersed;--but mutually blessing, and being
blessed, to all eternity!

In the contemplation of this happy state, in which I hope, in God's good
time, to rejoice with you, my beloved Mrs. Norton, and also with my dear
relations, all reconciled to, and blessing the child against whom they
are now so much incensed, I conclude myself

Your ever dutiful and affectionate
CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER VII

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
SUNDAY, AUG. 13.


I don't know what a devil ails me; but I never was so much indisposed in
my life.  At first, I thought some of my blessed relations here had got a
dose administered to me, in order to get the whole house to themselves.
But, as I am the hopes of the family, I believe they would not be so
wicked.

I must lay down my pen.  I cannot write with any spirit at all.  What a
plague can be the matter with me!


***


Lord M. paid me just now a cursed gloomy visit, to ask how I do after
bleeding.  His sisters both drove away yesterday, God be thanked.  But
they asked not my leave; and hardly bid me good-bye.  My Lord was more
tender, and more dutiful, than I expected.  Men are less unforgiving than
women.  I have reason to say so, I am sure.  For, besides implacable Miss
Harlowe, and the old Ladies, the two Montague apes han't been near me
yet.


***


Neither eat, drink, nor sleep!--a piteous case, Jack!  If I should die
like a fool now, people would say Miss Harlowe had broken my heart.--That
she vexes me to the heart, is certain.

Confounded squeamish!  I would fain write it off.  But must lay down my
pen again.  It won't do.  Poor Lovelace!----What a devil ails thee?


***


Well, but now let's try for't--Hoy--Hoy--Hoy!  Confound me for a gaping
puppy, how I yawn!--Where shall I begin? at thy executorship--thou shalt
have a double office of it: for I really think thou mayest send me a
coffin and a shroud.  I shall be ready for them by the time they can come
down.

What a little fool is this Miss Harlowe!  I warrant she'll now repent
that she refused me.  Such a lovely young widow--What a charming widow
would she have made! how would she have adorned the weeds! to be a widow
in the first twelve months is one of the greatest felicities that can
befal a fine woman.  Such pretty employment in new dismals, when she had
hardly worn round her blazing joyfuls!  Such lights, and such shades! how
would they set off one another, and be adorned by the wearer!--

Go to the devil!--I will write!--Can I do anything else?

They would not have me write, Belford.--I must be ill indeed, when I
can't write.


***


But thou seemest nettled, Jack!  Is it because I was stung?  It is not
for two friends, any more than for man and wife, to be out of patience
at one time.--What must be the consequence if they are?--I am in no
fighting mood just now: but as patient and passive as the chickens that
are brought me in broth--for I am come to that already.

But I can tell thee, for all this, be thy own man, if thou wilt, as to
the executorship, I will never suffer thee to expose my letters.  They
are too ingenuous by half to be seen.  And I absolutely insist upon it,
that, on receipt of this, thou burn them all.

I will never forgive thee that impudent and unfriendly reflection, of my
cavaliering it here over half a dozen persons of distinction: remember,
too, thy words poor helpless orphan--these reflections are too serious,
and thou art also too serious, for me to let these things go off as
jesting; notwithstanding the Roman style* is preserved; and, indeed, but
just preserved.  By my soul, Jack, if I had not been taken thus
egregiously cropsick, I would have been up with thee, and the lady too,
before now.


* For what these gentlemen mean by the Roman style, see Vol. I. Letter
XXXI. in the first note.


But write on, however: and send me copies, if thou canst, of all that
passes between our Charlotte and Miss Harlowe.  I'll take no notice of
what thou communicatest of that sort.  I like not the people here the
worse for their generous offer to the lady.  But you see she is as proud
as implacable.  There's no obliging her.  She'd rather sell her clothes
than be beholden to any body, although she would oblige by permitting the
obligation.

O Lord! O Lord!--Mortal ill!--Adieu, Jack!


***


I was forced to leave off, I was so ill, at this place.  And what dost
think! why Lord M. brought the parson of the parish to pray by me; for
his chaplain is at Oxford.  I was lain down in my night-gown over my
waistcoat, and in a doze: and, when I opened my eyes, who should I see,
but the parson kneeling on one side the bed; Lord M. on the other; Mrs.
Greme, who had been sent for to tend me, as they call it, at the feet!
God be thanked, my Lord, said I in an ecstasy!--Where's Miss?--for I
supposed they were going to marry me.

They thought me delirious at first; and prayed louder and louder.

This roused me: off the bed I started; slid my feet into my slippers;
put my hand in my waistcoat pocket, and pulled out thy letter with my
beloved's meditation in it!  My Lord, Dr. Wright, Mrs. Greme, you have
thought me a very wicked fellow: but, see! I can read you as good as you
can read me.

They stared at one another.  I gaped, and read, Poor mo--or--tals the
cau--o--ause of their own--their own mi--ser--ry.

It is as suitable to my case, as to the lady's, as thou'lt observe, if
thou readest it again.*  At the passage where it is said, That when a man
is chastened for sin, his beauty consumes away, I stept to the glass: A
poor figure, by Jupiter, cried I!--And they all praised and admired me;
lifted up their hands and their eyes; and the doctor said, he always
thought it impossible, that a man of my sense could be so wild as the
world said I was.  My Lord chuckled for joy; congratulated me; and, thank
my dear Miss Harlowe, I got high reputation among good, bad, and
indifferent.  In short, I have established myself for ever with all here.
--But, O Belford, even this will not do--I must leave off again.


* See Vol. VII. Letter LXXXI.


***


A visit from the Montague sisters, led in by the hobbling Peer, to
congratulate my amendment and reformation both in one.  What a lucky
event this illness with this meditation in my pocket; for we were all to
pieces before!  Thus, when a boy, have I joined with a crowd coming out
of church, and have been thought to have been there myself.

I am incensed at the insolence of the young Levite.  Thou wilt highly
oblige me, if thou'lt find him out, and send me his ears in the next
letter.

My beloved mistakes me, if she thinks I proposed her writing to me as an
alternative that should dispense with my attendance upon her.  That it
shall not do, nor did I intend it should, unless she pleased me better in
the contents of her letter than she has done.  Bid her read again.  I
gave no such hopes.  I would have been with her in spite of you both, by
to-morrow, at farthest, had I not been laid by the heels thus, like a
helpless miscreant.

But I grow better and better every hour, I say: the doctor says not: but
I am sure I know best: and I will soon be in London, depend on't.  But
say nothing of this to my dear, cruel, and implacable Miss Harlowe.

A--dieu--u, Ja--aack--What a gaping puppy (yaw--n! yaw--n! yaw--n!)

Thy
LOVELACE.



LETTER VIII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
MONDAY, AUG. 15.


I am extremely concerned for thy illness.  I should be very sorry to lose
thee.  Yet, if thou diest so soon, I could wish, from my soul, it had
been before the beginning of last April: and this as well for thy sake,
as for the sake of the most excellent woman in the world: for then thou
wouldst not have had the most crying sin of thy life to answer for.

I was told on Saturday that thou wert very much out of order; and this
made me forbear writing till I heard farther.  Harry, on his return from
thee, confirmed the bad way thou art in.  But I hope Lord M. in his
unmerited tenderness for thee, thinks the worst of thee.  What can it be,
Bob.?  A violent fever, they say; but attended with odd and severe
symptoms.

I will not trouble thee in the way thou art in, with what passes here
with Miss Harlowe.  I wish thy repentance as swift as thy illness; and as
efficacious, if thou diest; for it is else to be feared, that she and you
will never meet in one place.

I told her how ill you are.  Poor man! said she.  Dangerously ill, say
you?

Dangerously indeed, Madam!--So Lord M. sends me word!

God be merciful to him, if he die!--said the admirable creature.--Then,
after a pause, Poor wretch!--may he meet with the mercy he has not shown!

I send this by a special messenger: for I am impatient to hear how it
goes with thee.--If I have received thy last letter, what melancholy
reflections will that last, so full of shocking levity, give to

Thy true friend,
JOHN BELFORD.



LETTER IX

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
TUESDAY, AUG. 15.*


* Text error: should be Aug. 16.


Thank thee, Jack; most heartily I thank thee, for the sober conclusion of
thy last!--I have a good mind, for the sake of it, to forgive thy till
now absolutely unpardonable extracts.

But dost think I will lose such an angel, such a forgiving angel, as
this?--By my soul, I will not!--To pray for mercy for such an ungrateful
miscreant!--how she wounds me, how she cuts me to the soul, by her
exalted generosity!--But SHE must have mercy upon me first!--then will
she teach me a reliance for the sake of which her prayer for me will be
answered.

But hasten, hasten to me particulars of her health, of her employments,
of her conversation.

I am sick only of love!  Oh! that I could have called her mine!--it would
then have been worth while to be sick!--to have sent for her down to me
from town; and to have had her, with healing in her dove-like wings,
flying to my comfort; her duty and her choice to pray for me, and to bid
me live for her sake!--O Jack! what an angel have I--

But I have not lost her!--I will not lose her!  I am almost well; should
be quite well but for these prescribing rascals, who, to do credit to
their skill, will make the disease of importance.--And I will make her
mine!--and be sick again, to entitle myself to her dutiful tenderness,
and pious as well as personal concern!

God for ever bless her!--Hasten, hasten particulars of her!--I am sick
of love!--such generous goodness!--By all that's great and good, I will
not lose her!--so tell her!--She says, that she could not pity me, if she
thought of being mine!  This, according to Miss Howe's transcriptions to
Charlotte.--But bid her hate me, and have me: and my behaviour to her
shall soon turn that hate to love! for, body and mind, I will be wholly
her's.



LETTER X

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
THURSDAY, AUG. 17.


I am sincerely rejoiced to hear that thou art already so much amended, as
thy servant tells me thou art.  Thy letter looks as if thy morals were
mending with thy health.  This was a letter I could show, as I did, to
the lady.

She is very ill: (cursed letters received from her implacable family!) so
I could not have much conversation with her, in thy favour, upon it.--But
what passed will make thee more and more adore her.

She was very attentive to me, as I read it; and, when I had done, Poor
man! said she; what a letter is this!  He had timely instances that my
temper was not ungenerous, if generosity could have obliged him!  But his
remorse, and that for his own sake, is all the punishment I wish him.--
Yet I must be more reserved, if you write to him every thing I say!

I extolled her unbounded goodness--how could I help it, though to her
face!

No goodness in it! she said--it was a frame of mind she had endeavoured
after for her own sake.  She suffered too much in want of mercy, not to
wish it to a penitent heart.  He seems to be penitent, said she; and it
is not for me to judge beyond appearances.--If he be not, he deceives
himself more than any body else.

She was so ill that this was all that passed on the occasion.

What a fine subject for tragedy, would the injuries of this lady, and her
behaviour under them, both with regard to her implacable friends, and to
her persecutor, make!  With a grand objection as to the moral,
nevertheless;* for here virtue is punished!  Except indeed we look
forward to the rewards of HEREAFTER, which, morally, she must be sure of,
or who can?  Yet, after all, I know not, so sad a fellow art thou, and so
vile an husband mightest thou have made, whether her virtue is not
rewarded in missing thee: for things the most grievous to human nature,
when they happen, as this charming creature once observed, are often the
happiest for us in the event.


* Mr. Belford's objections, That virtue ought not to suffer in a tragedy,
is not well considered: Monimia in the Orphean, Belvidera in Venice
Preserved, Athenais in Theodosius, Cordelia in Shakespeare's King Lear,
Desdemona in Othello, Hamlet, (to name no more,) are instances that a
tragedy could hardly be justly called a tragedy, if virtue did not
temporarily suffer, and vice for a while triumph.  But he recovers
himself in the same paragraph; and leads us to look up to the FUTURE for
the reward of virtue, and for the punishment of guilt: and observes not
amiss, when he says, He knows not but that the virtue of such a woman as
Clarissa is rewarded in missing such a man as Lovelace.


I have frequently thought, in my attendance on this lady, that if
Belton's admired author, Nic. Rowe, had had such a character before him,
he would have drawn another sort of penitent than he has done, or given
his play, which he calls The Fair Penitent, a fitter title.  Miss Harlowe
is a penitent indeed!  I think, if I am not guilty of a contradiction in
terms; a penitent without a fault; her parents' conduct towards her from
the first considered.

The whole story of the other is a pack of d----d stuff.  Lothario, 'tis
true, seems such another wicked ungenerous varlet as thou knowest who:
the author knew how to draw a rake; but not to paint a penitent.  Calista
is a desiring luscious wench, and her penitence is nothing else but rage,
insolence, and scorn.  Her passions are all storm and tumult; nothing of
the finer passions of the sex, which, if naturally drawn, will
distinguish themselves from the masculine passions, by a softness that
will even shine through rage and despair.  Her character is made up of
deceit and disguise.  She has no virtue; is all pride; and her devil is
as much within her, as without her.

How then can the fall of such a one create a proper distress, when all
the circumstances of it are considered?  For does she not brazen out her
crime, even after detection?  Knowing her own guilt, she calls for
Altamont's vengeance on his best friend, as if he had traduced her;
yields to marry Altamont, though criminal with another; and actually beds
that whining puppy, when she had given up herself, body and soul, to
Lothario; who, nevertheless, refused to marry her.

Her penitence, when begun, she justly styles the phrensy of her soul;
and, as I said, after having, as long as she could, most audaciously
brazened out her crime, and done all the mischief she could do,
(occasioning the death of Lothario, of her father, and others,) she stabs
herself.

And can this be the act of penitence?

But, indeed, our poets hardly know how to create a distress without
horror, murder, and suicide; and must shock your soul, to bring tears
from your eyes.

Altamont indeed, who is an amorous blockhead, a credulous cuckold, and,
(though painted as a brave fellow, and a soldier,) a mere Tom. Essence,
and a quarreler with his best friend, dies like a fool, (as we are led to
suppose at the conclusion of the play,) without either sword or pop-gun,
of mere grief and nonsense for one of the vilest of her sex: but the Fair
Penitent, as she is called, perishes by her own hand; and, having no
title by her past crimes to laudable pity, forfeits all claim to true
penitence, and, in all probability, to future mercy.

But here is Miss CLARISSA HARLOWE, a virtuous, noble, wise, and pious
young lady; who being ill used by her friends, and unhappily ensnared by
a vile libertine, whom she believes to be a man of honour, is in a manner
forced to throw herself upon his protection.  And he, in order to obtain
her confidence, never scruples the deepest and most solemn protestations
of honour.

After a series of plots and contrivances, al baffled by her virtue and
vigilance, he basely has recourse to the vilest of arts, and, to rob her
of her honour, is forced first to rob her of her senses.

Unable to bring her, notwithstanding, to his ungenerous views of
cohabitation, she over-awes him in the very entrance of a fresh act of
premeditated guilt, in presence of the most abandoned of women assembled
to assist his devilish purpose; triumphs over them all, by virtue only of
her innocence; and escapes from the vile hands he had put her into.

She nobly, not franticly, resents: refuses to see or to marry the wretch;
who, repenting his usage of so divine a creature, would fain move her to
forgive his baseness, and make him her husband: and this, though
persecuted by all her friends, and abandoned to the deepest distress,
being obliged, from ample fortunes, to make away with her apparel for
subsistence; surrounded also by strangers, and forced (in want of others)
to make a friend of the friend of her seducer.

Though longing for death, and making all proper preparations for it,
convinced that grief and ill usage have broken her noble heart, she
abhors the impious thought of shortening her allotted period; and, as
much a stranger to revenge as despair, is able to forgive the author of
her ruin; wishes his repentance, and that she may be the last victim to
his barbarous perfidy: and is solicitous for nothing so much in this
life, as to prevent vindictive mischief to and from the man who used her
so basely.

This is penitence!  This is piety!  And hence distress naturally arises,
that must worthily effect every heart.

Whatever the ill usage of this excellent woman is from her relations, she
breaks not out into excesses: she strives, on the contrary, to find
reason to justify them at her own expense; and seems more concerned for
their cruelty to her for their sakes hereafter, when she shall be no
more, than for her own: for, as to herself, she is sure, she says, God
will forgive her, though no one on earth will.

On every extraordinary provocation she has recourse to the Scriptures,
and endeavours to regulate her vehemence by sacred precedents.  'Better
people, she says, have been more afflicted than she, grievous as she
sometimes thinks her afflictions: and shall she not bear what less faulty
persons have borne?'  On the very occasion I have mentioned, (some new
instances of implacableness from her friends,) the enclosed meditation
will show how mildly, and yet how forcibly, she complains.  See if thou,
in the wicked levity of thy heart, canst apply it to thy cause, as thou
didst the other.  If thou canst not, give way to thy conscience, and that
will make the properest application.


MEDITATION

How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words!

Be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.

To her that is afflicted, pity should be shown from her friend.

But she that is ready to slip with her feet, is as a lamp despised in the
thought of them that are at ease.

There is a shame which bringeth sin, and there is a shame which bringeth
glory and grace.

Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye, my friends! for the hand of
God hath touched me.

If your soul were in my soul's stead, I also could speak as ye do: I
could heap up words against you--

But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips
should assuage your grief.

Why will ye break a leaf driven to and fro?  Why will ye pursue the dry
stubble?  Why will ye write bitter words against me, and make me possess
the iniquities of my youth?

Mercy is seasonable in the time of affliction, as clouds of rain in the
time of drought.

Are not my days few?  Cease then, and let me alone, that I may take
comfort a little--before I go whence I shall not return; even to the land
of darkness, and shadow of death!


Let me add, that the excellent lady is informed, by a letter from Mrs.
Norton, that Colonel Morden is just arrived in England.  He is now the
only person she wishes to see.

I expressed some jealousy upon it, lest he should have place given over
me in the executorship.  She said, That she had no thoughts to do so now;
because such a trust, were he to accept of it, (which she doubted,)
might, from the nature of some of the papers which in that case would
necessarily pass through his hands, occasion mischiefs between my friend
and him, that would be worse than death for her to think of.

Poor Belton, I hear, is at death's door.  A messenger is just come from
him, who tells me he cannot die till he sees me.  I hope the poor fellow
will not go off yet; since neither his affairs of this world, nor for the
other, are in tolerable order.  I cannot avoid going to the poor man.
Yet am unwilling to stir, till I have an assurance from you that you will
not disturb the lady: for I know he will be very loth to part with me,
when he gets me to him.

Tourville tells me how fast thou mendest: let me conjure thee not to
think of molesting this incomparable woman.  For thy own sake I request
this, as well as for her's, and for the sake of thy given promise: for,
should she die within a few weeks, as I fear she will, it will be said,
and perhaps too justly, that thy visit has hastened her end.

In hopes thou wilt not, I wish thy perfect recovery: else that thou
mayest relapse, and be confined to thy bed.



LETTER XI

MR. BELFORD, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
SAT. MORN. AUG. 19.


MADAM,

I think myself obliged in honour to acquaint you that I am afraid Mr.
Lovelace will try his fate by an interview with you.

I wish to Heaven you could prevail upon yourself to receive his visit.
All that is respectful, even to veneration, and all that is penitent,
will you see in his behaviour, if you can admit of it.  But as I am
obliged to set out directly for Epsom, (to perform, as I apprehend, the
last friendly offices for poor Mr. Belton, whom once you saw,) and as I
think it more likely that Mr. Lovelace will not be prevailed upon, than
that he will, I thought fit to give you this intimation, lest, if he
should come, you should be too much surprised.

He flatters himself that you are not so ill as I represent you to be.
When he sees you, he will be convinced that the most obliging things he
can do, will be as proper to be done for the sake of his own future peace
of mind, as for your health-sake; and, I dare say, in fear of hurting the
latter, he will forbear the thoughts of any farther intrusion; at least
while you are so much indisposed: so that one half-hour's shock, if it
will be a shock to see the unhappy man, (but just got up himself from a
dangerous fever,) will be all you will have occasion to stand.

I beg you will not too much hurry and discompose yourself.  It is
impossible he can be in town till Monday, at soonest.  And if he resolve
to come, I hope to be at Mr. Smith's before him.

I am, Madam, with the profoundest veneration,

Your most faithful and most obedient servant,
J. BELFORD.



LETTER XII
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO HIS OF AUG. 17.  SEE LETTER X. OF THIS VOLUME.]
SUNDAY, AUG. 20.


What an unmerciful fellow art thou!  A man has no need of a conscience,
who has such an impertinent monitor.  But if Nic. Rowe wrote a play that
answers not his title, am I to be reflected upon for that?--I have
sinned; I repent; I would repair--she forgives my sin: she accepts my
repentance: but she won't let me repair--What wouldst thou have me do?

But get thee gone to Belton, as soon as thou canst.  Yet whether thou
goest or not, up I must go, and see what I can do with the sweet oddity
myself.  The moment these prescribing varlets will let me, depend
upon it, I go.  Nay, Lord M. thinks she ought to permit me one interview.
His opinion has great authority with me--when it squares with my own: and
I have assured him, and my two cousins, that I will behave with all the
decency and respect that man can behave with to the person whom he most
respects.  And so I will.  Of this, if thou choosest not to go to Belton
mean time, thou shalt be witness.

Colonel Morden, thou hast heard me say, is a man of honour and bravery:--
but Colonel Morden has had his girls, as well as you or I.  And indeed,
either openly or secretly, who has not?  The devil always baits with a
pretty wench, when he angles for a man, be his age, rank, or degree, what
it will.

I have often heard my beloved speak of the Colonel with great distinction
and esteem.  I wish he could make matters a little easier, for her mind's
sake, between the rest of the implacables and herself.

Methinks I am sorry for honest Belton.  But a man cannot be ill, or
vapourish, but thou liftest up thy shriek-owl note, and killest him
immediately.  None but a fellow, who is for a drummer in death's
forlorn-hope, could take so much delight, as thou dost, in beating a
dead-march with thy goose-quills.  Whereas, didst thou but know thine own
talents, thou art formed to give mirth by thy very appearance; and
wouldst make a better figure by half, leading up thy brother-bears at
Hockley in the Hole, to the music of a Scot's bagpipe.  Methinks I see
thy clumsy sides shaking, (and shaking the sides of all beholders,) in
these attitudes; thy fat head archly beating time on thy porterly
shoulders, right and left by turns, as I once beheld thee practising to
the horn-pipe at Preston.  Thou remembrest the frolick, as I have done
an hundred times; for I never before saw thee appear so much in
character.

But I know what I shall get by this--only that notable observation
repeated, That thy outside is the worst of thee, and mine the best of me.
And so let it be.  Nothing thou writest of this sort can I take amiss.

But I shall call thee seriously to account, when I see thee, for the
extracts thou hast given the lady from my letters, notwithstanding what I
said in my last; especially if she continue to refuse me.  An hundred
times have I myself known a woman deny, yet comply at last: but, by these
extracts, thou hast, I doubt, made her bar up the door of her heart, as
she used to do her chamber-door, against me.--This therefore is a
disloyalty that friendship cannot bear, nor honour allow me to forgive.



LETTER XIII

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
LONDON, AUG. 21, MONDAY.


I believe I am bound to curse thee, Jack.  Nevertheless I won't
anticipate, but proceed to write thee a longer letter than thou hast had
from me for some time past.  So here goes.

That thou mightest have as little notice as possible of the time I was
resolved to be in town, I set out in my Lord's chariot-and-six yesterday,
as soon as I had dispatched my letter to thee, and arrived in town last
night: for I knew I could have no dependence on thy friendship where Miss
Harlowe's humour was concerned.

I had no other place so ready, and so was forced to go to my old
lodgings, where also my wardrobe is; and there I poured out millions of
curses upon the whole crew, and refused to see either Sally or Polly; and
this not only for suffering the lady to escape, but for the villanous
arrest, and for their detestable insolence to her at the officer's house.

I dressed myself in a never-worn suit, which I had intended for one of my
wedding-suits; and liked myself so well, that I began to think, with
thee, that my outside was the best of me:

I took a chair to Smith's, my heart bounding in almost audible thumps to
my throat, with the assured expectations of seeing my beloved.  I clasped
my fingers, as I was danced along: I charged my eyes to languish and
sparkle by turns: I talked to my knees, telling them how they must bend;
and, in the language of a charming describer, acted my part in fancy, as
well as spoke it to myself.

      Tenderly kneeling, thus will I complain:
      Thus court her pity; and thus plead my pain:
      Thus sigh for fancy'd frowns, if frowns should rise;
      And thus meet favour in her soft'ning eyes.

In this manner entertained I myself till I arrived at Smith's; and there
the fellows set down their gay burden.  Off went their hats; Will. ready
at hand in a new livery; up went the head; out rushed my honour; the
woman behind the counter all in flutters, respect and fear giving due
solemnity to her features, and her knees, I doubt not, knocking against
the inside of her wainscot-fence.

Your servant, Madam--Will. let the fellows move to some distance, and
wait.

You have a young lady lodges here; Miss Harlowe, Madam: Is she above?

Sir, Sir, and please your Honour: [the woman is struck with my figure,
thought I:] Miss Harlowe, Sir!  There is, indeed, such a young lady
lodges here--But, but--

But, what, Madam?--I must see her.--One pair of stairs; is it not?--
Don't trouble yourself--I shall find her apartment.  And was making
towards the stairs.

Sir, Sir, the lady, the lady is not at home--she is abroad--she is in the
country--

In the country!  Not at home!--Impossible!  You will not pass this story
upon me, good woman.  I must see her.  I have business of life and death
with her.

Indeed, Sir, the lady is not at home!  Indeed, Sir, she is abroad!--

She then rung a bell: John, cried she, pray step down!--Indeed, Sir, the
lady is not at home.

Down came John, the good man of the house, when I expected one of his
journeymen, by her saucy familiarity.

My dear, said she, the gentleman will not believe Miss Harlowe is abroad.

John bowed to my fine clothes: Your servant, Sir,--indeed the lady is
abroad.  She went out of town this morning by six o'clock--into the
country--by the doctor's advice.

Still I would not believe either John or his wife.  I am sure, said I,
she cannot be abroad.  I heard she was very ill--she is not able to go
out in a coach.  Do you know Mr. Belford, friend?

Yes, Sir; I have the honour to know 'Squire Belford.  He is gone into the
country to visit a sick friend.  He went on Saturday, Sir.

This had also been told from thy lodgings to Will. whom I sent to desire
to see thee on my first coming to town.

Well, and Mr. Belford wrote me word that she was exceeding ill.  How then
can she be gone out?

O Sir, she is very ill; very ill, indeed--she could hardly walk to the
coach.

Belford, thought I, himself knew nothing of the time of my coming;
neither can he have received my letter of yesterday: and so ill, 'tis
impossible she would go out.

Where is her servant?  Call her servant to me.

Her servant, Sir, is her nurse: she has no other.  And she is gone with
her.

Well, friend, I must not believe you.  You'll excuse me; but I must go up
stairs myself.  And was stepping up.

John hereupon put on a serious, and a less respectful face--Sir, this
house is mine; and--

And what, friend? not doubting then but she was above.--I must and will
see her.  I have authority for it.  I am a justice of the peace.  I have
a search warrant.

And up I went; they following me, muttering, and in a plaguy flutter.

The first door I came to was locked.  I tapped at it.

The lady, Sir, has the key of her own apartment.

On the inside, I question not, my honest friend; tapping again.  And
being assured, if she heard my voice, that her timorous and soft temper
would make her betray herself, by some flutters, to my listning ear, I
said aloud, I am confident Miss Harlowe is here: dearest Madam, open the
door: admit me but for one moment to your presence.

But neither answer nor fluttering saluted my ear; and, the people being
very quiet, I led on to the next apartment; and, the key being on the
outside, I opened it, and looked all around it, and into the closet.

The mans said he never saw so uncivil a gentleman in his life.

Hark thee, friend, said I; let me advise thee to be a little decent; or
I shall teach thee a lesson thou never learnedst in all thy life.

Sir, said he, 'tis not like a gentleman, to affront a man in his own
house.

Then prythee, man, replied I, don't crow upon thine own dunghil.

I stept back to the locked door: My dear Miss Harlowe, I beg of you to
open the door, or I'll break it open;--pushing hard against it, that it
cracked again.

The man looked pale: and, trembling with his fright, made a plaguy long
face; and called to one of his bodice-makers above, Joseph, come down
quickly.

Joseph came down: a lion's-face grinning fellow; thick, and short, and
bushy-headed, like an old oak-pollard.  Then did master John put on a
sturdier look.  But I only hummed a tune, traversed all the other
apartments, sounded the passages with my knuckles, to find whether there
were private doors, and walked up the next pair of stairs, singing all
the way; John and Joseph, and Mrs. Smith, following me up, trembling.

I looked round me there, and went into two open-door bed-chambers;
searched the closets, and the passages, and peeped through the key-hole
of another: no Miss Harlowe, by Jupiter!  What shall I do!--what shall I
do! as the girls say.--Now will she be grieved that she is out of the
way.

I said this on purpose to find out whether these people knew the lady's
story; and had the answer I expected from Mrs. Smith--I believe not, Sir.

Why so, Mrs. Smith?  Do you know who I am?

I can guess, Sir.

Whom do you guess me to be?

Your name is Mr. Lovelace, Sir, I make no doubt.

The very same.  But how came you to guess so well, dame Smith!  You never
saw me before, did you?

Here, Jack, I laid out for a compliment, and missed it.

'Tis easy to guess, Sir; for there cannot be two such gentlemen as you.

Well said, dame Smith--but mean you good or bad?--Handsome was the least
I thought she would have said.

I leave you to guess, Sir.

Condemned, thought I, by myself, on this appeal.

Why, father Smith, thy wife is a wit, man!--Didst thou ever find that out
before?--But where is widow Lovick, dame Smith?  My cousin John Belford
says she is a very good woman.  Is she within? or is she gone with Miss
Harlowe too?

She will be within by-and-by, Sir.  She is not with the lady.

Well, but my good dear Mrs. Smith, where is the lady gone? and when will
she return?

I can't tell, Sir.

Don't tell fibs, dame Smith; don't tell fibs, chucking her under the
chin: which made John's upper-lip, with chin shortened, rise to his nose.
--I am sure you know!--But here's another pair of stairs: let us see: Who
lives up there?--but hold, here's another room locked up, tapping at the
door--Who's at home? cried I.

That's Mrs. Lovick's apartment.  She is gone out, and has the key with
her.

Widow Lovick! rapping again, I believe you are at home: pray open the
door.

John and Joseph muttered and whispered together.

No whispering, honest friends: 'tis not manners to whisper.  Joseph, what
said John to thee?

JOHN! Sir, disdainfully repeated the good woman.

I beg pardon, Mrs. Smith: but you see the force of example.  Had you
showed your honest man more respect, I should.  Let me give you a piece
of advice--women who treat their husbands irreverently, teach strangers
to use them with contempt.  There, honest master John; why dost not pull
off thy hat to me?--Oh! so thou wouldst, if thou hadst it on: but thou
never wearest thy hat in thy wife's presence, I believe; dost thou?

None of your fleers and your jeers, Sir, cried John.  I wish every
married pair lived as happily as we do.

I wish so too, honest friend.  But I'll be hanged if thou hast any
children.

Why so, Sir?

Hast thou?--Answer me, man: Hast thou, or not?

Perhaps not, Sir.  But what of that?

What of that?--Why I'll tell thee: The man who has no children by his
wife must put up with plain John.  Hadst thou a child or two, thou'dst be
called Mr. Smith, with a courtesy, or a smile at least, at every word.

You are very pleasant, Sir, replied my dame.  I fancy, if either my
husband or I had as much to answer for as I know whom, we should not be
so merry.

Why then, dame Smith, so much the worse for those who were obliged to
keep you company.  But I am not merry--I am sad!--Hey-ho!--Where shall I
find my dear Miss Harlowe?

My beloved Miss Harlowe! [calling at the foot of the third pair of
stairs,] if you are above, for Heaven's sake answer me.  I am coming up.

Sir, said the good man, I wish you'd walk down.  The servants' rooms, and
the working-rooms, are up those stairs, and another pair; and nobody's
there that you want.

Shall I go up, and see if Miss Harlowe be there, Mrs. Smith?

You may, Sir, if you please.

Then I won't; for, if she was, you would not be so obliging.

I am ashamed to give you all this attendance: you are the politest
traders I ever knew.  Honest Joseph, slapping him upon the shoulders on
a sudden, which made him jump, didst ever grin for a wager, man?--for the
rascal seemed not displeased with me; and, cracking his flat face from
ear to ear, with a distended mouth, showed his teeth, as broad and as
black as his thumb-nails.--But don't I hinder thee?  What canst earn
a-day, man?

Half-a-crown I can earn a-day; with an air of pride and petulance, at
being startled.

There then is a day's wages for thee.  But thou needest not attend me
farther.

Come, Mrs. Smith, come John, (Master Smith I should say,) let's walk
down, and give me an account where the lady is gone, and when she will
return.

So down stairs led I.  John and Joseph (thought I had discharged the
latter,) and my dame, following me, to show their complaisance to a
stranger.

I re-entered one of the first-floor rooms.  I have a great mind to be
your lodger: for I never saw such obliging folks in my life.  What rooms
have you to let?

None at all, Sir.

I am sorry for that.  But whose is this?

Mine, Sir, chuffily said John.

Thine, man! why then I will take it of thee.  This, and a bed-chamber,
and a garret for one servant, will content me.  I will give thee thine
own price, and half a guinea a day over, for those conveniencies.

For ten guineas a day, Sir--

Hold, John! (Master Smith I should say)--Before thou speakest, consider--
I won't be affronted, man.

Sir, I wish you'd walk down, said the good woman.  Really, Sir, you
take--

Great liberties I hope you would not say, Mrs. Smith?

Indeed, Sir, I was going to say something like it.

Well, then, I am glad I prevented you; for such words better become my
mouth than yours.  But I must lodge with you till the lady returns.  I
believe I must.  However, you may be wanted in the shop; so we'll talk
that over there.

Down I went, they paying diligent attendance on my steps.

When I came into the shop, seeing no chair or stool, I went behind the
compter, and sat down under an arched kind of canopy of carved work,
which these proud traders, emulating the royal niche-fillers, often give
themselves, while a joint-stool, perhaps, serves those by whom they get
their bread: such is the dignity of trade in this mercantile nation!

I looked about me, and above me; and told them I was very proud of my
seat; asking, if John were ever permitted to fill this superb niche?

Perhaps he was, he said, very surlily.

That is it that makes thee looks so like a statue, man.

John looked plaguy glum upon me.  But his man Joseph and my man Will.
turned round with their backs to us, to hide their grinning, with each
his fist in his mouth.

I asked, what it was they sold?

Powder, and wash-balls, and snuff, they said; and gloves and stockings.

O come, I'll be your customer.  Will. do I want wash-balls?

Yes, and please your Honour, you can dispense with one or two.

Give him half a dozen, dame Smith.

She told me she must come where I was, to serve them.  Pray, Sir, walk
from behind the compter.

Indeed but I won't.  The shop shall be mine.  Where are they, if a
customer shall come in?

She pointed over my head, with a purse mouth, as if she would not have
simpered, could she have helped it.  I reached down the glass, and gave
Will. six.  There--put 'em up, Sirrah.

He did, grinning with his teeth out before; which touching my conscience,
as the loss of them was owing to me, Joseph, said I, come hither.  Come
hither, man, when I bid thee.

He stalked towards me, his hands behind him, half willing, and half
unwilling.

I suddenly wrapt my arm round his neck.  Will. thy penknife, this moment.
D----n the fellow, where's thy penknife?

O Lord! said the pollard-headed dog, struggling to get his head loose
from under my arm, while my other hand was muzzling about his cursed
chaps, as if I would take his teeth out.

I will pay thee a good price, man: don't struggle thus?  The penknife,
Will.!

O Lord, cried Joseph, struggling still more and more: and out comes
Will.'s pruning-knife; for the rascal is a gardener in the country.  I
have only this, Sir.

The best in the world to launch a gum.  D----n the fellow, why dost
struggle thus?

Master and Mistress Smith being afraid, I suppose, that I had a design
upon Joseph's throat, because he was their champion, (and this, indeed,
made me take the more notice of him,) coming towards me with countenances
tragic-comical, I let him go.

I only wanted, said I, to take out two or three of this rascal's broad
teeth, to put them into my servant's jaws--and I would have paid him his
price for them.--I would by my soul, Joseph.

Joseph shook his ears; and with both hands stroked down, smooth as it
would lie, his bushy hair; and looked at me as if he knew not whether he
should laugh or be angry: but, after a stupid stare or two, stalked off
to the other end of the shop, nodding his head at me as he went, still
stroking down his hair; and took his stand by his master, facing about
and muttering, that I was plaguy strong in the arms, and he thought would
have throttled him.  Then folding his arms, and shaking his bristled
head, added, 'twas well I was a gentleman, or he would not have taken
such an affront.

I demanded where their rappee was? the good woman pointed to the place;
and I took up a scollop-shell of it, refusing to let her weight it, and
filled my box.  And now, Mrs. Smith, said I, where are your gloves?

She showed me; and I chose four pair of them, and set Joseph, who looked
as if he wanted to be taken notice of again, to open the fingers.

A female customer, who had been gaping at the door, came in for some
Scots sniff; and I would serve her.  The wench was plaguy homely; and I
told her so; or else, I said, I would have treated her.  She, in anger,
[no woman is homely in her own opinion,] threw down her penny; and I put
it in my pocket.

Just then, turning my eye to the door, I saw a pretty, genteel lady, with
a footman after her, peeping in with a What's the matter, good folks? to
the starers; and I ran to her from behind the compter, and, as she was
making off, took her hand, and drew her into the shop; begging that she
would be my customer; for that I had but just begun trade.

What do you sell, Sir? said she, smiling; but a little surprised.

Tapes, ribbands, silk laces, pins, and needles; for I am a pedlar:
powder, patches, wash-balls, stockings, garters, snuffs, and pin
cushions--Don't we, goody Smith?

So in I gently drew her to the compter, running behind it myself, with an
air of great dilingence and obligingness.  I have excellent gloves and
wash-balls, Madam: rappee, Scots, Portugal, and all sorts of snuff.

Well, said she, in a very good humour, I'll encourage a young beginner
for once.  Here, Andrew, [to her footman,] you want a pair of gloves,
don't you?

I took down a parcel of gloves, which Mrs. Smith pointed to, and came
round to the fellow to fit them on myself.

No matter for opening them, said I: thy fingers, friend, are as stiff as
drum-sticks.  Push!--Thou'rt an awkward dog!  I wonder such a pretty lady
will be followed by such a clumsy varlet.

The fellow had no strength for laughing: and Joseph was mightily pleased,
in hopes, I suppose, I would borrow a few of Andrew's teeth, to keep him
in countenance: and, father and mother Smith, like all the world, as the
jest was turned from themselves, seemed diverted with the humour.

The fellow said the gloves were too little.

Thrust, and be d----d to thee, said I: why, fellow, thou hast not the
strength of a cat.

Sir, Sir, said he, laughing, I shall hurt your Honour's side.

D----n thee, thrust I say.

He did; and burst out the sides of the glove.

Will. said I, where's thy pruning-knife?  By my soul, friend, I had a
good mind to pare thy cursed paws.  But come, here's a larger pair: try
them, when thou gettest home; and let thy sweetheart, if thou hast one,
mend the other, so take both.

The lady laughed at the humour; as did my fellow, and Mrs. Smith, and
Joseph: even John laughed, though he seemed by the force put upon his
countenance to be but half pleased with me neither.

Madam, said I, and stepped behind the compter, bowing over it, now I hope
you will buy something for yourself.  Nobody shall use you better, nor
sell you cheaper.

Come, said she, give me six-penny worth of Portugal snuff.

They showed me where it was, and I served her; and said, when she would
have paid me, I took nothing at my opening.

If I treated her footman, she told me, I should not treat her.

Well, with all my heart, said I: 'tis not for us tradesmen to be saucy--
Is it, Mrs. Smith?

I put her sixpence in my pocket; and, seizing her hand, took notice to
her of the crowd that had gathered about the door, and besought her to
walk into the back-shop with me.

She struggled her hand out of mine, and would stay no longer.

So I bowed, and bid her kindly welcome, and thanked her, and hoped I
should have her custom another time.

She went away smiling; and Andrew after her; who made me a fine bow.

I began to be out of countenance at the crowd, which thickened apace; and
bid Will. order the chair to the door.

Well, Mrs. Smith, with a grave air, I am heartily sorry Miss Harlowe is
abroad.  You don't tell me where she is?

Indeed, Sir, I cannot.

You will not, you mean.--She could have no notion of my coming.  I came
to town but last night.  I have been very ill.  She has almost broken my
heart by her cruelty.  You know my story, I doubt not.  Tell her, I must
go out of town to-morrow morning.  But I will send my servant, to know if
she will favour me with one half-hour's conversation; for, as soon as I
get down, I shall set out for Dover, in my way to France, if I have not a
countermand from her, who has the sole disposal of my fate.

And so flinging down a Portugal six-and-thirty, I took Mr. Smith by the
hand, telling him, I was sorry we had not more time to be better
acquainted; and bidding farewell to honest Joseph, (who pursed up his
mouth as I passed by him, as if he thought his teeth still in jeopardy,)
and Mrs. Smith adieu, and to recommend me to her fair lodger, hummed an
air, and, the chair being come, whipt into it; the people about the door
seeming to be in good humour with me; one crying, a pleasant gentleman, I
warrant him! and away I was carried to White's, according to direction.

As soon as I came thither, I ordered Will. to go and change his clothes,
and to disguise himself by putting on his black wig, and keeping his
mouth shut; and then to dodge about Smith's, to inform himself of the
lady's motions.


***


I give thee this impudent account of myself, that thou mayest rave at me,
and call me hardened, and what thou wilt.  For, in the first place, I,
who had been so lately ill, was glad I was alive; and then I was so
balked by my charmer's unexpected absence, and so ruffled by that, and by
the bluff treatment of father John, that I had no other way to avoid
being out of humour with all I met with.  Moreover I was rejoiced to
find, by the lady's absence, and by her going out at six in the morning,
that it was impossible she should be so ill as thou representest her to
be; and this gave me still higher spirits.  Then I know the sex always
love cheerful and humourous fellows.  The dear creature herself used to
be pleased with my gay temper and lively manner; and had she been told
that I was blubbering for her in the back-shop, she would have despised
me still more than she does.

Furthermore, I was sensible that the people of the house must needs have
a terrible notion of me, as a savage, bloody-minded, obdurate fellow; a
perfect woman-eater; and, no doubt, expected to see me with the claws of
a lion, and the fangs of a tiger; and it was but policy to show them what
a harmless pleasant fellow I am, in order to familiarize the Johns and
the Josephs to me.  For it was evident to me, by the good woman's calling
them down, that she thought me a dangerous man.  Whereas now, John and I
have shaken hands together, and dame Smith having seen that I have the
face, and hands, and looks of a man, and walk upright, and prate, and
laugh, and joke, like other people; and Joseph, that I can talk of taking
his teeth out of his head, without doing him the least hurt; they will
all, at my next visit, be much more easy and pleasant to me than Andrew's
gloves were to him; and we shall be as thoroughly acquainted, as if we
had known one another a twelvemonth.

When I returned to our mother's, I again cursed her and all her nymphs
together; and still refused to see either Sally or Polly!  I raved at the
horrid arrest; and told the old dragon that it was owing to her and her's
that the fairest virtue in the world was ruined; my reputation for ever
blasted; and that I was not married and perfectly happy in the love of
the most excellent of her sex.

She, to pacify me, said she would show me a new face that would please
me; since I would not see my Sally, who was dying with grief.

Where is this new face? cried I: let me see her, though I shall never see
any face with pleasure but Miss Harlowe's.

She won't come down, replied she.  She will not be at the word of command
yet.  She is but just in the trammels; and must be waited upon, I'll
assure you; and courted much besides.

Ay! said I, that looks well.  Lead me to her this instant.

I followed her up: and who should she be, but that little toad Sally!

O curse you, said I, for a devil!  Is it you? is your's the new face?

O my dear, dear Mr. Lovelace! cried she, I am glad any thing will bring
you to me!--and so the little beast threw herself about my neck, and
there clung like a cat.  Come, said she, what will you give me, and I'll
be as virtuous for a quarter of an hour, and mimic your Clarissa to the
life?

I was Belforded all over.  I could not bear such an insult upon the dear
creature, (for I have a soft and generous nature in the main, whatever
thou thinkest;) and cursed her most devoutly, for taking my beloved's
name in her mouth in such a way.  But the little devil was not to be
balked; but fell a crying, sobbing, praying, begging, exclaiming,
fainting, that I never saw my lovely girl so well aped.  Indeed I was
almost taken in; for I could have fancied I had her before me once more.

O this sex! this artful sex! there's no minding them.  At first, indeed,
their grief and their concern may be real: but, give way to the
hurricane, and it will soon die away in soft murmurs, thrilling upon your
ears like the notes of a well-tuned viol.  And, by Sally, one sees that
art will generally so well supply the place of nature, that you shall not
easily know the difference.  Miss Clarisa Harlowe, indeed, is the only
woman in the world I believe that can say, in the words of her favourite
Job, (for I can quote a text as well as she,) But it is not so with me.

They were very inquisitive about my fair-one.  They told me that you
seldom came near them; that, when you did, you put on plaguy grave airs;
would hardly stay five minutes; and did nothing but praise Miss Harlowe,
and lament her hard fate.  In short, that you despised them; was full of
sentences; and they doubted not, in a little while, would be a lost man,
and marry.

A pretty character for thee, is it not? thou art in a blessed way; yet
hast nothing to do but to go on in it: and then what work hast thou to go
through!  If thou turnest back, these sorceresses will be like the czar's
cossacks, [at Pultowa, I think it was,] who were planted with ready
primed and cocked pieces behind the regulars, in order to shoot them
dead, if they did not push on and conquer; and then wilt thou be most
lamentably despised by every harlot thou hast made--and, O Jack, how
formidable, in that case, will be the number of thy enemies!

I intend to regulate my motions by Will.'s intelligence; for see this
dear creature I must and will.  Yet I have promised Lord M. to be down in
two or three days at farthest; for he is grown plaguy fond of me since I
was ill.

I am in hopes that the word I left, that I am to go out of town to-morrow
morning, will soon bring the lady back again.

Mean time, I thought I would write to divert thee, while thou art of such
importance about the dying; and as thy servant, it seems, comes backward
and forward every day, perhaps I may send thee another letter to-morrow,
with the particulars of the interview between the dear creature and me;
after which my soul thirsteth.



LETTER XIV

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.


I must write on, to divert myself: for I can get no rest; no refreshing
rest.  I awaked just now in a cursed fright.  How a man may be affected
by dreams!

'Methought I had an interview with my beloved.  I found her all goodness,
condescension, and forgiveness.  She suffered herself to be overcome in
my favour by the joint intercessions of Lord M., Lady Sarah, Lady Betty,
and my two cousins Montague, who waited upon her in deep mourning; the
ladies in long trains sweeping after them; Lord M. in a long black mantle
trailing after him.  They told her they came in these robs to express
their sorrow for my sins against her, and to implore her to forgive me.

'I myself, I thought, was upon my knees, with a sword in my hand,
offering either to put it up in the scabbard, or to thrust it into my
heart, as she should command the one or the other.

'At that moment her cousin Morden, I thought, all of a sudden, flashed in
through a window, with his drawn sword--Die, Lovelace! said he; this
instant die, and be d----d, if in earnest thou repairest not by marriage
my cousin's wrongs!

'I was rising to resent this insult, I thought, when Lord M. ran between
us with his great black mantle, and threw it over my face: and instantly
my charmer, with that sweet voice which has so often played upon my
ravished ears, wrapped her arms around me, muffled as I was in my Lord's
mantle: O spare, spare my Lovelace! and spare, O Lovelace, my beloved
cousin Morden!  Let me not have my distresses augmented by the fall of
either or both of those who are so dear to me!

'At this, charmed with her sweet mediation, I thought I would have
clasped her in my arms: when immediately the most angelic form I had ever
beheld, all clad in transparent white, descended in a cloud, which,
opening, discovered a firmament above it, crowded with golden cherubs and
glittering seraphs, all addressing her with Welcome, welcome, welcome!
and, encircling my charmer, ascended with her to the region of seraphims;
and instantly, the opened cloud closing, I lost sight of her, and of the
bright form together, and found wrapt in my arms her azure robe (all
stuck thick with stars of embossed silver) which I had caught hold of in
hopes of detaining her; but was all that was left me of my beloved
Clarissa.  And then, (horrid to relate!) the floor sinking under me, as
the firmament had opened for her, I dropt into a hole more frightful than
that of Elden; and, tumbling over and over down it, without view of a
bottom, I awaked in a panic; and was as effectually disordered for half
an hour, as if my dream had been a reality.'

Wilt thou forgive my troubling thee with such visionary stuff?  Thou wilt
see by it only that, sleeping or waking, my Clarissa is always present
with me.

But here this moment is Will. come running hither to tell me that his
lady actually returned to her lodgings last night between eleven and
twelve; and is now there, though very ill.

I hasten to her.  But, that I may not add to her indisposition, by any
rough or boisterous behaviour, I will be as soft and gentle as the dove
herself in my addresses to her.

      That I do love her, I all ye host of Heaven,
      Be witness.--That she is dear to me!
      Dearer than day, to one whom sight must leave;
      Dearer than life, to one who fears to die!

The chair is come.  I fly to my beloved.



LETTER XV

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.


Curse upon my stars!--Disappointed again!  It was about eight when I
arrived at Smith's.--The woman was in the shop.

So, old acquaintance, how do you now?  I know my love is above.--Let her
be acquainted that I am here, waiting for admission to her presence, and
can take no denial.  Tell her, that I will approach her with the most
respectful duty, and in whose company she pleases; and I will not touch
the hem of her garment, without her leave.

Indeed, Sir, you are mistaken.  The lady is not in this house, nor near
it.

I'll see that.--Will.! beckoning him to me, and whispering, see if thou
canst any way find out (without losing sight of the door, lest she should
be below stairs) if she be in the neighbourhood, if not within.

Will. bowed, and went off.  Up went I, without further ceremony; attended
now only by the good woman.

I went into each apartment, except that which was locked before, and was
now also locked: and I called to my Clarissa in the voice of love; but,
by the still silence, was convinced she was not there.  Yet, on the
strength of my intelligence, I doubted not but she was in the house.

I then went up two pairs of stairs, and looked round the first room: but
no Miss Harlowe.

And who, pray, is in this room? stopping at the door of another.

A widow gentlewoman, Sir.--Mrs. Lovick.

O my dear Mrs. Lovick! said I.--I am intimately acquainted with Mrs.
Lovick's character, from my cousin John Belford.  I must see Mrs. Lovick
by all means.--Good Mrs. Lovick, open the door.

She did.

Your servant, Madam.  Be so good as to excuse me.--You have heard my
story.  You are an admirer of the most excellent woman in the world.
Dear Mrs. Lovick, tell me what is become of her?

The poor lady, Sir, went out yesterday, on purpose to avoid you.

How so? she knew not that I would be here.

She was afraid you would come, when she heard you were recovered from
your illness.  Ah! Sir, what pity it is that so fine a gentleman should
make such ill returns for God's goodness to him!

You are an excellent woman, Mrs. Lovick: I know that, by my cousin John
Belford's account of you: and Miss Clarissa Harlowe is an angel.

Miss Harlowe is indeed an angel, replied she; and soon will be company
for angels.

No jesting with such a woman as this, Jack.

Tell me of a truth, good Mrs. Lovick, where I may see this dear lady.
Upon my soul, I will neither fright for offend her.  I will only beg of
her to hear me speak for one half-quarter of an hour; and, if she will
have it so, I will never trouble her more.

Sir, said the widow, it would be death for her to see you.  She was at
home last night; I'll tell you truth: but fitter to be in bed all day.
She came home, she said, to die; and, if she could not avoid your visit,
she was unable to fly from you; and believed she should die in your
presence.

And yet go out again this morning early?  How can that be, widow?

Why, Sir, she rested not two hours, for fear of you.  Her fear gave her
strength, which she'll suffer for, when that fear is over.  And finding
herself, the more she thought of your visit, the less able to stay to
receive it, she took chair, and is gone nobody knows whither.  But, I
believe, she intended to be carried to the waterside, in order to take
boat; for she cannot bear a coach.  It extremely incommoded her
yesterday.

But before we talk any further, said I, if she be gone abroad, you can
have no objection to my looking into every apartment above and below;
because I am told she is actually in the house.

Indeed, Sir, she is not.  You may satisfy yourself, if you please: but
Mrs. Smith and I waited on her to her chair.  We were forced to support
her, she was so weak.  She said, Whither can I go, Mrs. Lovick?  whither
can I go, Mrs. Smith?--Cruel, cruel man!--tell him I called him so, if he
come again!--God give him that peace which he denies me!

Sweet creature! cried I; and looked down, and took out my handkerchief.

The widow wept.  I wish, said she, I had never known so excellent a lady,
and so great a sufferer!  I love her as my own child!

Mrs. Smith wept.

I then gave over the hope of seeing her for this time, I was extremely
chagrined at my disappointment, and at the account they gave of her ill
health.

Would to Heaven, said I, she would put it in my power to repair her
wrongs!  I have been an ungrateful wretch to her.  I need not tell you,
Mrs. Lovick, how much I have injured her, nor how much she suffers by her
relations' implacableness, Mrs. Smith, that cuts her to the heart.  Her
family is the most implacable family on earth; and the dear creature, in
refusing to see me, and to be reconciled to me, shows her relation to
them a little too plainly.

O Sir, said the widow, not one syllable of what you say belongs to this
lady.  I never saw so sweet a temper! she is always accusing herself, and
excusing her relations.  And, as to you, Sir, she forgives you: she
wishes you well; and happier than you will let her die in peace? 'tis all
she wishes for.  You don't look like a hard-hearted gentleman!--How can
you thus hunt and persecute a poor lady, whom none of her relations will
look upon?  It makes my heart bleed for her.

And then she wept again.  Mrs. Smith wept also.  My seat grew uneasy to
me. I shifted to another several times; and what Mrs. Lovick farther
said, and showed me, made me still more uneasy.

Bad as the poor lady was last night, said she, she transcribed into her
book a meditation on your persecuting her thus.  I have a copy of it.  If
I thought it would have any effect, I would read it to you.

Let me read it myself, Mrs. Lovick.

She gave it to me.  It has an Harlowe-spirited title: and, from a
forgiving spirit, intolerable.  I desired to take it with me.  She
consented, on condition  that I showed it to 'Squire Belford.  So here,
Mr. 'Squire Belford, thou mayest read it, if thou wilt.


ON BEING HUNTED AFTER BY THE ENEMY OF MY SOUL.

MONDAY, AUG. 21.

Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man.

Preserve me from the violent man.

Who imagines mischief in his heart.

He hath sharpened his tongue like a serpent.  Adders' poison is under his
lips.

Keep me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked.  Preserve me from the
violent man, who hath purposed to overthrow my goings.

He hath hid a snare for me.  He hath spread a net by the way-side.  He
hath set gins for me in the way wherein I walked.

Keep me from the snares which he hath laid for me, and the gins of this
worker of iniquity.

The enemy hath persecuted my soul.  He hath smitten my life down to the
ground.  He hath made me dwell in darkness, as those that have been long
dead.

Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me.  My heart within me is
desolate.

Hide not thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble.

For my days are consumed like smoke: and my bones are burnt as the
hearth.

My heart is smitten and withered like grass: so that I forget to eat my
bread.

By reason of the voice of my groaning, my bones cleave to my skin.

I am like a pelican of the wilderness.  I am like an owl of the desart.

I watch; and am as a sparrow alone upon the house-top.

I have eaten ashes like bread; and mingled my drink with weeping:

Because of thine indignation, and thy wrath: for thou hast lifted me up,
and cast me down.

My days are like a shadow that declineth, and I am withered like grass.

Grant not, O Lord, the desires of the wicked: further not his devices,
lest he exalt himself.


Why now, Mrs. Lovick, said I, when I had read this meditation, as she
called it, I think I am very severely treated by the lady, if she mean me
in all this.  For how is it that I am the enemy of her soul, when I love
her both soul and body?

She says, that I am a violent man, and a wicked man.--That I have been
so, I own: but I repent, and only wish to have it in my power to repair
the injuries I have done her.

The gin, the snare, the net, mean matrimony, I suppose--But is it a crime
in me to wish to marry her?  Would any other woman think it so? and
choose to become a pelican in the wilderness, or a lonely sparrow on the
house-top, rather than have a mate that would chirp about her all day and
all night?

She says, she has eaten ashes like bread--A sad mistake to be sure!--And
mingled her drink with weeping--Sweet maudlin soul! should I say of any
body confessing this, but Miss Harlowe.

She concludes with praying, that the desires of the wicked (meaning poor
me, I doubt) may not be granted; that my devices may not be furthered,
lest I exalt myself.  I should undoubtedly exalt myself, and with reason,
could I have the honour and the blessing of such a wife.  And if my
desires have so honourable an end, I know not why I should be called
wicked, and why I should not be allowed to hope, that my honest devices
may be furthered, that I MAY exalt myself.

But here, Mrs. Lovick, let me ask, as something is undoubtedly meant by
the lonely sparrow on the house-top, is not the dear creature at this
very instant (tell me truly) concealed in Mrs. Smith's cockloft?--What
say you, Mrs. Lovick?  What say you, Mrs. Smith, to this?

They assured me to the contrary; and that shew as actually abroad, and
they knew not where.

Thou seest, Jack, that I would fain have diverted the chagrin given me
not only by the women's talk, but by this collection of Scripture-texts
drawn up in array against me.  Several other whimsical and light things I
said [all I had for it!] with the same view.  But the widow would not let
me come off so.  She stuck to me; and gave me, as I told thee, a good
deal of uneasiness, by her sensible and serious expostulations.  Mrs.
Smith put in now-and-then; and the two Jack-pudding fellows, John and
Joseph, not being present, I had no provocation to turn the conversation
into a farce; and, at last, they both joined warmly to endeavour to
prevail upon me to give up all thoughts of seeing the lady.  But I could
not hear of that.  On the contrary, I besought Mrs. Smith to let me have
one of her rooms but till I could see her; and were it but for one, two,
or three days, I would pay a year's rent for it; and quit it the moment
the interview was over.  But they desired to be excused; and were sure
the lady would not come to the house till I was gone, were it for a
month.

This pleased me; for I found they did not think her so very ill as they
would have me believe her to be; but I took no notice of the slip,
because I would not guard them against more of the like.

In short, I told them, I must and would see her: but that it should be
with all the respect and veneration that heart could pay to excellence
like her's: and that I would go round to all the churches in London and
Westminster, where there were prayers or service, from sun-rise to
sun-set, and haunt their house like a ghost, till I had the opportunity
my soul panted after.

This I bid them tell her.  And thus ended our serious conversation.

I took leave of them; and went down; and, stepping into my chair, caused
myself to be carried to Lincoln's-Inn; and walked in the gardens till the
chapel was opened; and then I went in, and staid prayers, in hopes of
seeing the dear creature enter: but to no purpose; and yet I prayed most
devoutly that she might be conducted thither, either by my good angel, or
her own.  And indeed I burn more than ever with impatience to be once
more permitted to kneel at the feet of this adorable woman.  And had I
met her, or espied her in the chapel, it is my firm belief that I should
not have been able (though it had been in the midst of the sacred office,
and in the presence of thousands) to have forborne prostration to her,
and even clamorous supplication for her forgiveness: a christian act; the
exercise of it therefore worthy of the place.

After service was over, I stept into my chair again, and once more was
carried to Smith's, in hopes I might have surprised her there: but no
such happiness for thy friend.  I staid in the back-shop an hour and an
half, by my watch; and again underwent a good deal of preachment from the
women.  John was mainly civil to me now; won over a little by my serious
talk, and the honour I professed for the lady.  They all three wished
matters could be made up between us: but still insisted that she could
never get over her illness; and that her heart was broken.  A cue, I
suppose, they had from you.

While I was there a letter was brought by a particular hand.  They seemed
very solicitous to hide it from me; which made me suspect it was for her.
I desired to be suffered to cast an eye upon the seal, and the
superscription; promising to give it back to them unopened.

Looking upon it, I told them I knew the hand and seal.  It was from her
sister.*  And I hoped it would bring her news that she would be pleased
with.


* See Letter XXVI. of this volume.


They joined most heartily in the same hope: and, giving the letter to
them again, I civilly took leave, and went away.

But I will be there again presently; for I fancy my courteous behaviour
to these women will, on their report of it, procure me the favour I so
earnestly covet.  And so I will leave my letter unsealed, to tell thee
the event of my next visit at Smith's.


***


Thy servant just calling, I sent thee this: and will soon follow it by
another.  Mean time, I long to hear how poor Belton is: to whom my best
wishes.



LETTER XVI

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.


I have been under such concern for the poor man, whose exit I almost
hourly expect, and at the shocking scenes his illness and his agonies
exhibit, that I have been only able to make memoranda of the melancholy
passages, from which to draw up a more perfect account, for the
instruction of us all, when the writing appetite shall return.


***


It is returned!  Indignation has revived it, on receipt of thy letters of
Sunday and yesterday; by which I have reason to reproach thee in very
serious terms, that thou hast not kept thy honour with me: and if thy
breach of it be attended with such effects as I fear it will be, I shall
let thee know more of my mind on this head.

If thou wouldst be thought in earnest in thy wishes to move the poor lady
in thy favour, thy ludicrous behaviour at Smith's, when it comes to be
represented to her, will have a very consistent appearance; will it
not?--I will, indeed, confirm in her opinion, that the grave is more to
be wished-for, by one of her serious and pious turn, than a husband
incapable either of reflection or remorse; just recovered, as thou art,
from a dangerous, at least a sharp turn.

I am extremely concerned for the poor unprotected lady.  She was so
excessively low and weak on Saturday, that I could not be admitted to her
speech: and to be driven out of her lodgings, when it was fitter for her
to be in bed, is such a piece of cruelty, as he only could be guilty of
who could act as thou hast done by such an angel.

Canst thou thyself say, on reflection, that it has not the look of a
wicked and hardened sportiveness, in thee, for the sake of a wanton
humour only, (since it can answer no end that thou proposest to thyself,
but the direct contrary,) to hunt from place to place a poor lady, who,
like a harmless deer, that has already a barbed shaft in her breast,
seeks only a refuge from thee in the shades of death.

But I will leave this matter upon thy own conscience, to paint thee such
a scene from my memoranda, as thou perhaps wilt be moved by more
effectually than by any other: because it is such a one as thou thyself
must one day be a principal actor in, and, as I thought, hadst very
lately in apprehension: and is the last scene of one of thy more intimate
friends, who has been for the four past days labouring in the agonies of
death.  For, Lovelace, let this truth, this undoubted truth, be engraved
on thy memory, in all thy gaieties, That the life we are so fond of is
hardly life; a mere breathing space only; and that, at the end of its
longest date,

      Thou must die, as well as Belton.

Thou knowest, by Tourville, what we had done as to the poor man's worldly
affairs; and that we had got his unhappy sister to come and live with him
(little did we think him so very near to his end): and so I will proceed
to tell thee, that when I arrived at his house on Saturday night, I found
him excessively ill: but just raised, and in his elbow-chair, held up by
his nurse and Mowbray (the roughest and most untouched creature that ever
entered a sick man's chamber); while the maid-servants were trying to
make that bed easier for him which he was to return to; his mind ten
times uneasier than that could be, and the true cause that the down was
no softer to him.

He had so much longed to see me, as I was told by his sister, (whom I
sent for down to inquire how he was,) that they all rejoiced when I
entered: Here, said Mowbray, here, Tommy, is honest Jack Belford!

Where, where? said the poor man.

I hear his voice, cried Mowbray: he is coming up stairs.

In a transport of joy, he would have raised himself at my entrance, but
had like to have pitched out of the chair: and when recovered, called me
his best friend! his kindest friend! but burst into a flood of tears: O
Jack! O Belford! said he, see the way I am in!  See how weak!  So much,
and so soon reduced!  Do you know me?  Do you know your poor friend
Belton?

You are not so much altered, my dear Belton, as you think you are.  But I
see you are weak; very weak--and I am sorry for it.

Weak, weak, indeed, my dearest Belford, said he, and weaker in mind, if
possible, than in body; and wept bitterly--or I should not thus unman
myself.  I, who never feared any thing, to be forced to show myself such
a nursling!--I am quite ashamed of myself!--But don't despise me; dear
Belford, don't despise me, I beseech thee.

I ever honoured a man that could weep for the distresses of others; and
ever shall, said I; and such a one cannot be insensible of his own.

However, I could not help being visibly moved at the poor fellow's emotion.

Now, said the brutal Mowbray, do I think thee insufferable, Jack.  Our
poor friend is already a peg too low; and here thou art letting him down
lower and lower still.  This soothing of him in his dejected moments, and
joining thy womanish tears with his, is not the way; I am sure it is not.
If our Lovelace were here, he'd tell thee so.

Thou art an impenetrable creature, replied I; unfit to be present at a
scene, the terrors of which thou wilt not be able to feel till thou
feelest them in thyself; and then, if thou hadst time for feeling, my
life for thine, thou behavest as pitifully as those thou thinkest most
pitiful.

Then turning to the poor sick man, Tears, my dear Belton, are no signs of
an unmanly, but, contrarily of a humane nature; they ease the
over-charged heart, which would burst but for that kindly and natural
relief.

      Give sorrow words (says Shakspeare)
      --The grief that does not speak,
      Whispers the o'er-fraught heart, and bids it break.

I know, my dear Belton, thou usedst to take pleasure in repetitions from
the poets; but thou must be tasteless of their beauties now: yet be not
discountenanced by this uncouth and unreflecting Mowbray, for, as Juvenal
says, Tears are the prerogative of manhood.

'Tis at least seasonably said, my dear Belford.  It is kind to keep me in
countenance for this womanish weakness, as Mowbray has been upbraidingly
calling it, ever since he has been with me: and in so doing, (whatever I
might have thought in such high health as he enjoys,) has convinced me,
that bottle-friends feel nothing but what moves in that little circle.

Well, well, proceed in your own way, Jack.  I love my friend Belton as
well as you can do; yet for the blood of me, I cannot but think, that
soothing a man's weakness is increasing it.

If it be a weakness, to be touched at great and concerning events, in
which our humanity is concerned, said I, thou mayest be right.

I have seen many a man, said the rough creature, going up Holborn-hill,
that has behaved more like a man than either of you.

Ay, but, Mowbray, replied the poor man, those wretches have not had their
minds enervated by such infirmities of body as I have long laboured
under.  Thou art a shocking fellow, and ever wert.--But to be able to
remember nothing in these moments but what reproaches me, and to know
that I cannot hold it long, and what may then be my lot, if--but
interrupting himself, and turning to me, Give me thy pity, Jack; 'tis
balm to my wounded soul; and let Mowbray sit indifferent enough to the
pangs of a dying friend, to laugh at us both.

The hardened fellow then retired, with the air of a Lovelace; only more
stupid; yawning and stretching, instead of humming a tune as thou didst
at Smith's.

I assisted to get the poor man into bed.  He was so weak and low, that he
could not bear the fatigue, and fainted away; and I verily thought was
quite gone.  But recovering, and his doctor coming, and advising to keep
him quiet, I retired, and joined Mowbray in the garden; who took more
delight to talk of the living Lovelace and levities, than of the dying
Belton and his repentance.

I just saw him again on Saturday night before I went to bed; which I did
early; for I was surfeited with Mowbray's frothy insensibility, and could
not bear him.

It is such a horrid thing to think of, that a man who had lived in such
strict terms of--what shall I call it? with another; the proof does not
come out so, as to say, friendship; who had pretended so much love for
him; could not bear to be out of his company; would ride an hundred miles
on end to enjoy it; and would fight for him, be the cause right or wrong:
yet now, could be so little moved to see him in such misery of body and
mind, as to be able to rebuke him, and rather ridicule than pity him,
because he was more affected by what he felt, than he had seen a
malefactor, (hardened perhaps by liquor, and not softened by previous
sickness,) on his going to execution.

This put me strongly in mind of what the divine Miss HARLOWE once said to
me, talking of friendship, and what my friendship to you required of me:
'Depend upon it, Mr. Belford,' said she, 'that one day you will be
convinced, that what you call friendship, is chaff and stubble; and that
nothing is worthy of that sacred name,

      'That has not virtue for its base.'


Sunday morning, I was called up at six o'clock, at the poor man's earnest
request, and found him in a terrible agony.  O Jack! Jack! said he,
looking wildly, as if he had seen a spectre--Come nearer me!--Dear, dear
Belford, save me!  Then clasping my arm with both his hands, and rearing
up his head towards me, his eyes strangely rolling, Save me! dear
Belford, save me! repeated he.

I put my other arm about him--Save you from what, my dear Belton! said I;
save you from what?  Nothing shall hurt you.  What must I save you from?

Recovering from his terror, he sunk down again, O save me from myself!
said he; save me from my own reflections.  O dear Jack! what a thing it
is to die; and not to have one comfortable reflection to revolve!  What
would I give for one year of my past life?--only one year--and to have
the same sense of things that I now have?

I tried to comfort him as well as I could: but free-livers to free-livers
are sorry death-bed comforters.  And he broke in upon me: O my dear
Belford, said he, I am told, (and I have heard you ridiculed for it,)
that the excellent Miss Harlowe has wrought a conversion in you.  May it
be so!  You are a man of sense: O may it be so!  Now is your time!  Now,
that you are in full vigour of mind and body!--But your poor Belton,
alas! your poor Belton kept his vices, till they left him--and see the
miserable effects in debility of mind and despondency!  Were Mowbray
here, and were he to laugh at me, I would own that this is the cause of
my despair--that God's justice cannot let his mercy operate for my
comfort: for, Oh! I have been very, very wicked; and have despised the
offers of his grace, till he has withdrawn it from me for ever.

I used all the arguments I could think of to give him consolation: and
what I said had such an effect upon him, as to quiet his mind for the
greatest part of the day; and in a lucid hour his memory served him to
repeat these lines of Dryden, grasping my hand, and looking wistfully
upon me:

      O that I less could fear to lose this being,
      Which, like a snow-ball, in my coward hand,
      The more 'tis grasped, the faster melts away!

In the afternoon of Sunday, he was inquisitive after you, and your
present behaviour to Miss Harlowe.  I told him how you had been, and how
light you made of it.  Mowbray was pleased with your impenetrable
hardness of heart, and said, Bob. Lovelace was a good edge-tool, and
steel to the back: and such coarse but hearty praises he gave you, as an
abandoned man might give, and only an abandoned man could wish to
deserve.

But hadst thou heard what the poor dying Belton said on this occasion,
perhaps it would have made thee serious an hour or two, at least.

'When poor Lovelace is brought,' said he, 'to a sick-bed, as I am now,
and his mind forebodes that it is impossible he should recover, (which
his could not do in his late illness: if it had, he could not have
behaved so lightly in it;) when he revolves his past mis-spent life; his
actions of offence to helpless innocents; in Miss Harlowe's case
particularly; what then will he think of himself, or of his past actions?
his mind debilitated; his strength turned into weakness; unable to stir
or to move without help; not one ray of hope darting in upon his
benighted soul; his conscience standing in the place of a thousand
witnesses; his pains excruciating; weary of the poor remnant of life he
drags, yet dreading, that, in a few short hours, his bad will be changed
to worse, nay, to worst of all; and that worst of all, to last beyond
time and to all eternity; O Jack! what will he then think of the poor
transitory gratifications of sense, which now engage all his attention?
Tell him, dear Belford, tell him, how happy he is if he know his own
dying happiness; how happy, compared to his poor dying friend, that he
has recovered from his illness, and has still an opportunity lent him,
for which I would give a thousand worlds, had I them to give!'

I approved exceedingly of his reflections, as suited to his present
circumstances; and inferred consolations to him from a mind so properly
touched.

He proceeded in the like penitent strain.  I have lived a very wicked
life; so have we all.  We have never made a conscience of doing whatever
mischief either force or fraud enabled us to do.  We have laid snares for
the innocent heart; and have not scrupled by the too-ready sword to
extend, as occasions offered, the wrongs we did to the persons whom we
had before injured in their dearest relations.  But yet, I flatter
myself, sometimes, that I have less to answer for than either Lovelace or
Mowbray; for I, by taking to myself that accursed deceiver from whom thou
hast freed me, (and who, for years, unknown to me, was retaliating upon
my own head some of the evils I had brought upon others,) and retiring,
and living with her as a wife, was not party to half the mischiefs, that
I doubt they, and Tourville, and even you, Belford, committed.  As to the
ungrateful Thomasine, I hope I have met with my punishment in her.  But
notwithstanding this, dost thou not think, that such an action--and such
an action--and such an action; [and then he recapitulated several
enormities, in the perpetration of which (led on by false bravery, and
the heat of youth and wine) we have all been concerned;] dost thou not
think that these villanies, (let me call them now by their proper name,)
joined to the wilful and gloried-in neglect of every duty that our better
sense and education gave us to know were required of us as men and
christians, are not enough to weigh down my soul into despondency?--
Indeed, indeed, they are! and now to hope for mercy; and to depend upon
the efficacy of that gracious attribute, when that no less shining one of
justice forbids me to hope; how can I!--I, who have despised all
warnings, and taken no advantage of the benefit I might have reaped from
the lingering consumptive illness I have laboured under, but left all to
the last stake; hoping for recovery against hope, and driving off
repentance, till that grace is denied me; for, oh! my dear Belford! I can
now neither repent, nor pray, as I ought; my heart is hardened, and I can
do nothing but despair!--

More he would have said; but, overwhelmed with grief and infirmity, he
bowed his head upon his pangful bosom, endeavouring to hide from the
sight of the hardened Mowbray, who just then entered the room, those
tears which he could not restrain.

Prefaced by a phlegmatic hem; sad, very sad, truly! cried Mowbray; who
sat himself down on one side of the bed, as I sat on the other: his eyes
half closed, and his lips pouting out to his turned-up nose, his chin
curdled [to use one of thy descriptions]; leaving one at a loss to know
whether stupid drowsiness or intense contemplation had got most hold of
him.

An excellent, however uneasy lesson, Mowbray! said I.--By my faith it is!
It may one day, who knows how soon? be our own case!

I thought of thy yawning-fit, as described in thy letter of Aug. 13.  For
up started Mowbray, writhing and shaking himself as in an ague-fit; his
hands stretched over his head--with thy hoy! hoy! hoy! yawning.  And then
recovering himself, with another stretch and a shake, What's o'clock?
cried he; pulling out his watch--and stalking by long tip-toe strides
through the room, down stairs he went; and meeting the maid in the
passage, I heard him say--Betty, bring me a bumper of claret; thy poor
master, and this d----d Belford, are enough to throw a Hercules into the
vapours.

Mowbray, after this, assuming himself in our friend's library, which is,
as thou knowest, chiefly classical and dramatical, found out a passage in
Lee's Oedipus, which he would needs have to be extremely apt; and in he
came full fraught with the notion of the courage it would give the dying
man, and read it to him.  'Tis poetical and pretty.  This is it:

      When the sun sets, shadows that show'd at noon
      But small, appear most long and terrible:
      So when we think fate hovers o'er our heads,
      Our apprehensions shoot beyond all bounds:
      Owls, ravens, crickets, seem the watch of death;
      Nature's worst vermin scare her godlike sons:
      Echoes, the very leavings of a voice,
      Grow babbling ghosts, and call us to our graves.
      Each mole-hill thought swells to a huge Olympus;
      While we, fantastic dreamers, heave and puff,
      And sweat with our imagination's weight.

He expected praises for finding this out.  But Belton turning his head
from him, Ah, Dick! (said he,) these are not the reflections of a dying
man!--What thou wilt one day feel, if it be what I now feel, will
convince thee that the evils before thee, and with thee, are more than
the effects of imagination.

I was called twice on Sunday night to him; for the poor fellow, when his
reflections on his past life annoy him most, is afraid of being left with
the women; and his eyes, they tell me, hunt and roll about for me.
Where's Mr. Belford?--But I shall tire him out, cries he--yet beg of him
to step to me--yet don't--yet do; were once the doubting and changeful
orders he gave: and they called me accordingly.

But, alas!  What could Belford do for him?  Belford, who had been but too
often the companion of his guilty hours; who wants mercy as much as he
does; and is unable to promise it to himself, though 'tis all he can bid
his poor friend rely upon!

What miscreants are we!  What figures shall we make in these terrible
hours!

If Miss HARLOWE'S glorious example, on one hand, and the terrors of this
poor man's last scene on the other, affect me not, I must be abandoned to
perdition; as I fear thou wilt be, if thou benefittest not thyself from
both.

Among the consolatory things I urged, when I was called up the last time
on Sunday night, I told him, that he must not absolutely give himself up
to despair: that many of the apprehensions he was under, were such as the
best men must have, on the dreadful uncertainty of what was to succeed to
this life.  'Tis well observed, said I, by a poetical divine, who was an
excellent christian,* That

        Death could not a more sad retinue find,
      Sickness and pain before, and darkness all behind.


* The Rev Mr. Norris, of Bremerton.


About eight o'clock yesterday (Monday) morning, I found him a little
calmer.  He asked me who was the author of the two lines I had repeated
to him; and made me speak them over again.  A sad retinue, indeed! said
the poor man.  And then expressing his hopelessness of life, and his
terrors at the thoughts of dying; and drawing from thence terrible
conclusions with regard to his future state; There is, said I, such a
natural aversion to death in human nature, that you are not to imagine,
that you, my dear Belton, are singular in the fear of it, and in the
apprehensions that fill the thoughtful mind upon its approach; but you
ought, as much as possible, to separate those natural fears which all men
must have on so solemn an occasion, from those particular ones which your
justly-apprehended unfitness fills you with.  Mr. Pomfret, in his
Prospect of Death, which I dipped into last night from a collection in
your closet, which I put into my pocket, says, [and I turned to the
place]

      Merely to die, no man of reason fears;
            For certainly we must,
            As we are born, return to dust;
      'Tis the last point of many ling-ring years;
            But whither then we go,
            Whither, we fain would know;
      But human understanding cannot show.
            This makes US tremble----

Mr. Pomfret, therefore, proceeded I, had such apprehensions of this dark
state as you have: and the excellent divine I hinted at last night, who
had very little else but human frailties to reproach himself with, and
whose miscellanies fell into my hands among my uncle's books in my
attendance upon him in his last hours, says,

      It must be done, my soul: but 'tis a strange,
         A dismal, and mysterious change,
      When thou shalt leave this tenement of clay,
         And to an unknown--somewhere--wing away;
      When time shall be eternity, and thou
         Shalt be--thou know'st not what--and live--
            thou know'st not how!
      Amazing state! no wonder that we dread
         To think of death, or view the dead;
      Thou'rt all wrapt up in clouds, as if to thee
            Our very knowledge had antipathy.

Then follows, what I repeated,

        Death could not a more sad retinue find,
      Sickness and pain before, and darkness all behind.

Alas! my dear Belford [inferred the unhappy deep-thinker] what poor
creatures does this convince me we mortals are at best!--But what then
must be the case of such a profligate as I, who by a past wicked life
have added greater force to these natural terrors?  If death be so
repugnant a thing to human nature, that good men will be startled at it,
what must it be to one who has lived a life of sense and appetite; nor
ever reflected upon the end which I now am within view of?

What could I say to an inference so fairly drawn?  Mercy, mercy,
unbounded mercy, was still my plea, though his repeated opposition of
justice to it, in a manner silenced that plea: and what would I have
given to have had rise in my mind, one good, eminently good action to
have remembered him of, in order to combat his fears with it?

I believe, Lovelace, I shall tire thee, and that more with the subject
of my letter, than even with the length of it.  But really, I think thy
spirits are so offensively up since thy recovery, that I ought, as the
melancholy subjects offer, to endeavour to reduce thee to the standard
of humanity, by expatiating upon them.  And then thou canst not but be
curious to know every thing that concerns the poor man, for whom thou
hast always expressed a great regard.  I will therefore proceed as I have
begun.  If thou likest not to read it now, lay it by, if thou wilt, till
the like circumstances befall thee, till like reflections from those
circumstances seize thee; and then take it up, and compare the two cases
together.


***


At his earnest request, I sat up with him last night; and, poor man! it
is impossible to tell thee, how easy and safe he thought himself in my
company, for the first part of the night: A drowning man will catch at a
straw, the proverb well says: and a straw was I, with respect to any real
help I could give him.  He often awaked in terrors; and once calling out
for me, Dear Belford, said he, Where are you!--Oh!  There you are!--Give
me your friendly hand!--Then grasping it, and putting his clammy,
half-cold lips to it--How kind!  I fear every thing when you are absent.
But the presence of a friend, a sympathising friend--Oh! how comfortable!

But, about four in the morning, he frighted me much: he waked with three
terrible groans; and endeavoured to speak, but could not presently--and
when he did,--Jack, Jack, Jack, five or six times repeated he as quick as
thought, now, now, now, save me, save me, save me--I am going--going
indeed!

I threw my arms about him, and raised him upon his pillow, as he was
sinking (as if to hide himself) in the bed-clothes--And staring wildly,
Where am I? said he, a little recovering.  Did you not see him? turning
his head this way and that; horror in his countenance; Did you not see
him?

See whom, see what, my dear Belton!

O lay me upon the bed again, cried he!--Let me not die upon the floor!--
Lay me down gently; and stand by me!--Leave me not!--All, all will soon
be over!

You are already, my dear Belton, upon the bed.  You have not been upon
the floor.  This is a strong delirium; you are faint for want of
refreshment [for he had refused several times to take any thing]: let me
persuade you to take some of this cordial julap.  I will leave you, if
you will not oblige me.

He then readily took it; but said he could have sworn that Tom. Metcalfe
had been in the room, and had drawn him out of bed by the throat,
upbraiding him with the injuries he had first done his sister, and then
him, in the duel to which he owed that fever which cost him his life.

Thou knowest the story, Lovelace, too well, to need my repeating it: but,
mercy on us, if in these terrible moments all the evils we do rise to our
frighted imaginations!--If so, what shocking scenes have I, but still
what more shocking ones hast thou, to go through, if, as the noble poet
says,

      If any sense at that sad time remains!

The doctor ordered him an opiate this morning early, which operated so
well, that he dosed and slept several hours more quietly than he had done
for the two past days and nights, though he had sleeping-draughts given
him before.  But it is more and more evident every hour that nature is
almost worn out in him.


***


Mowbray, quite tired with this house of mourning, intends to set out in
the morning to find you.  He was not a little rejoiced to hear you were
in town; I believe to have a pretence to leave us.


***


He has just taken leave of his poor friend, intending to go away early:
an everlasting leave, I may venture to say; for I think he will hardly
live till to-morrow night.

I believe the poor man would not have been sorry had he left him when I
arrived; for 'tis a shocking creature, and enjoys too strong health to
know how to pity the sick.  Then (to borrow an observation from thee) he
has, by nature, strong bodily organs, which those of his soul are not
likely to whet out; and he, as well as the wicked friend he is going to,
may last a great while from the strength of their constitutions, though
so greatly different in their talents, if neither the sword nor the
halter interpose.

I must repeat, That I cannot but be very uneasy for the poor lady whom
you so cruelly persecute; and that I do not think that you have kept your
honour with me.  I was apprehensive, indeed, that you would attempt to
see her, as soon as you got well enough to come up; and I told her as
much, making use of it as an argument to prepare her for your visit, and
to induce her to stand it.  But she could not, it is plain, bear the
shock of it: and indeed she told me that she would not see you, though
but for one half-hour, for the world.

Could she have prevailed upon herself, I know that the sight of her would
have been as affecting to you, as your visit could have been to her; when
you had seen to what a lovely skeleton (for she is really lovely still,
nor can she, with such a form and features, be otherwise) you have, in a
few weeks, reduced one of the most charming women in the world; and that
in the full bloom of her youth and beauty.

Mowbray undertakes to carry this, that he may be more welcome to you, he
says.  Were it to be sent unsealed, the characters we write in would be
Hebrew to the dunce.  I desire you to return it; and I'll give you a copy
of it upon demand; for I intend to keep it by me, as a guard against the
infection of your company, which might otherwise, perhaps, some time
hence, be apt to weaken the impressions I always desire to have of the
awful scene before me.  God convert us both!



LETTER XVII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY MORN. 11 O'CLOCK.


I believe no man has two such servants as I have.  Because I treat them
with kindness, and do not lord it over my inferiors, and d--n and curse
them by looks and words like Mowbray; or beat their teeth out like
Lovelace; but cry, Pr'ythee, Harry, do this, and, Pr'ythee, Jonathan, do
that; the fellows pursue their own devices, and regard nothing I say, but
what falls in with these.

Here, this vile Harry, who might have brought your letter of yesterday in
good time, came not in with it till past eleven at night (drunk, I
suppose); and concluding that I was in bed, as he pretends (because he
was told I sat up the preceding night) brought it not to me; and having
overslept himself, just as I had sealed up my letter, in comes the
villain with the forgotten one, shaking his ears, and looking as if he
himself did not believe the excuses he was going to make.  I questioned
him about it, and heard his pitiful pleas; and though I never think it
becomes a gentleman to treat people insolently who by their stations are
humbled beneath his feet, yet could I not forbear to Lovelace and Mowbray
him most cordially.

And this detaining Mowbray (who was ready to set out to you before) while
I write a few lines upon it, the fierce fellow, who is impatient to
exchange the company of a dying Belton for that of a too-lively Lovelace,
affixed a supplement of curses upon the staring fellow, that was larger
than my book--nor did I offer to take off the bear from such a mongrel,
since, on this occasion, he deserved not of me the protection which every
master owes to a good servant.

He has not done cursing him yet; for stalking about the court-yard with
his boots on, (the poor fellow dressing his horse, and unable to get from
him,) he is at him without mercy; and I will heighten his impatience,
(since being just under the window where I am writing, he will not let me
attend to my pen,) by telling you how he fills my ears as well as the
fellow's, with his--Hay, Sir!  And G--d d--n ye, Sir!  And were ye my
servant, ye dog ye!  And must I stay here till the mid-day sun scorches
me to a parchment, for such a mangy dog's drunken neglect?--Ye lie,
Sirrah!--Ye lie, I tell you--[I hear the fellow's voice in an humble
excusatory tone, though not articulately] Ye lie, ye dog!--I'd a good
mind to thrust my whip down your drunken throat: d--n me, if I would not
flay the skin from the back of such a rascal, if thou wert mine, and have
dog's-skin gloves made of it, for thy brother scoundrels to wear in
remembrance of thy abuses of such a master.

The poor horse suffers for this, I doubt not; for, What now! and, Stand
still, and be d--d to ye, cries the fellow, with a kick, I suppose, which
he better deserves himself; for these varlets, where they can, are
Mowbrays and Lovelaces to man or beast; and not daring to answer him, is
flaying the poor horse.

I hear the fellow is just escaped, the horse, (better curried than
ordinary, I suppose, in half the usual time,) by his clanking shoes, and
Mowbray's silence, letting me know, that I may now write on: and so, I
will tell thee that, in the first place, (little as I, as well as you,
regard dreams,) I would have thee lay thine to heart; for I could give
thee such an interpretation of it, as would shock thee, perhaps; and if
thou askest me for it, I will.

Mowbray calls to me from the court-yard, that 'tis a cursed hot day, and
he shall be fried by riding in the noon of it: and that poor Belton longs
to see me.  So I will only add my earnest desire, that you will give over
all thoughts of seeing the lady, if, when this comes to your hand, you
have not seen her: and, that it would be kind, if you'd come, and, for
the last time you will ever see your poor friend, share my concern for
him; and, in him, see what, in a little time, will be your fate and mine,
and that of Mowbray, Tourville, and the rest of us--For what are ten,
fifteen, twenty, or thirty years, to look back to; in the longest of
which periods forward we shall all perhaps be mingled with the dust from
which we sprung?



LETTER XVIII

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY MORN. AUG. 23.


All alive, dear Jack, and in ecstacy!--Likely to be once more a happy
man!  For I have received a letter from my beloved Miss HARLOWE; in
consequence, I suppose, of that which I mentioned in my last to be left
for her from her sister.  And I am setting out for Berks directly, to
show the contents to my Lord M. and to receive the congratulations of all
my kindred upon it.

I went, last night, as I intended, to Smith's: but the dear creature was
not returned at near ten o'clock.  And, lighting upon Tourville, I took
him home with me, and made him sing me out of my megrims.  I went to bed
tolerably easy at two; had bright and pleasant dreams; (not such of a
frightful one as that I gave thee an account of;) and at eight this
morning, as I was dressing, to be in readiness against the return of my
fellow, whom I had sent to inquire after the lady, I had the following
letter brought to me by a chairman:


TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUESDAY NIGHT, 11 O'CLOCK (AUG. 22.)


SIR,

I have good news to tell you.  I am setting out with all diligence for my
father's house, I am bid to hope that he will receive his poor penitent
with a goodness peculiar to himself; for I am overjoyed with the
assurance of a thorough reconciliation, through the interposition of a
dear, blessed friend, whom I always loved and honoured.  I am so taken up
with my preparation for this joyful and long-wished-for journey, that I
cannot spare one moment for any other business, having several matters of
the last importance to settle first.  So, pray, Sir, don't disturb or
interrupt me--I beseech you don't.  You may possibly in time see me at my
father's; at least if it be not your own fault.

I will write a letter, which shall be sent you when I am got thither and
received: till when, I am, &c.

CLARISSA HARLOWE.


***


I dispatched instantly a letter to the dear creature, assuring her, with
the most thankful joy, 'That I would directly set out for Berks, and wait
the issue of the happy reconciliation, and the charming hopes she had
filled me with.  I poured out upon her a thousand blessings.  I declared
that it should be the study of my whole life to merit such transcendent
goodness: and that there was nothing which her father or friends should
require at my hands, that I would not for her sake comply with, in order
to promote and complete so desirable a reconciliation.'

I hurried it away without taking a copy of it; and I have ordered the
chariot-and-six to be got ready; and hey for M. Hall!  Let me but know
how Belton does.  I hope a letter from thee is on the road.  And if the
poor fellow can spare thee, make haste, I command thee, to attend this
truly divine lady.  Thou mayest not else see her of months perhaps; at
least, not while she is Miss HARLOWE.  And oblige me, if possible, with
one letter before she sets out, confirming to me and accounting for this
generous change.

But what accounting for it is necessary?  The dear creature cannot
receive consolation herself but she must communicate it to others.  How
noble!  She would not see me in her adversity; but no sooner does the sun
of prosperity begin to shine upon her than she forgives me.

I know to whose mediation all this is owing.  It is to Colonel Morden's.
She always, as she says, loved and honoured him!  And he loved her above
all his relations.

I shall now be convinced that there is something in dreams.  The opening
cloud is the reconciliation in view.  The bright form, lifting up my
charmer through it to a firmament stuck round with golden cherubims and
seraphims, indicates the charming little boys and girls, that will be the
fruits of this happy reconciliation.  The welcomes, thrice repeated, are
those of her family, now no more to be deemed implacable.  Yet are they
family, too, that my soul cannot mingle with.

But then what is my tumbling over and over through the floor into a
frightful hole, descending as she ascends?  Ho! only this! it alludes to
my disrelish to matrimony: Which is a bottomless pit, a gulph, and I know
not what.  And I suppose, had I not awoke in such a plaguy fright, I had
been soused into some river at the bottom of the hole, and then been
carried (mundified or purified from my past iniquities,) by the same
bright form (waiting for me upon the mossy banks,) to my beloved girl;
and we should have gone on cherubiming of it and caroling to the end of
the chapter.

But what are the black sweeping mantles and robes of Lord M. thrown over
my face?  And what are those of the ladies?  O Jack!  I have these too:
They indicate nothing in the world but that my Lord will be so good as to
die, and leave me all he has.  So, rest to thy good-natured soul, honest
Lord M.

Lady Sarah Sadleir and Lady Betty Lawrance, will also die, and leave me
swinging legacies.

Miss Charlotte and her sister--what will become of the?--Oh! they will be
in mourning, of course, for their uncle and aunts--that's right!

As to Morden's flashing through the window, and crying, Die, Lovelace,
and be d----d, if thou wilt not repair my cousin's wrong!  That is only,
that he would have sent me a challenge, had I not been disposed to do the
lady justice.

All I dislike is this part of the dream: for, even in a dream, I would
not be thought to be threatened into any measure, though I liked it ever
so well.

And so much for my prophetic dream.

Dear charming creature!  What a meeting will there be between her and her
father and mother and uncles!  What transports, what pleasure, will this
happy, long-wished-for reconciliation give her dutiful heart!  And indeed
now methinks I am glad she is so dutiful to them; for her duty to her
parents is a conviction to me that she will be as dutiful to her husband:
since duty upon principle is an uniform thing.

Why pr'ythee, now, Jack, I have not been so much to blame as thou
thinkest: for had it not been for me, who have led her into so much
distress, she could neither have received nor given the joy that will now
overwhelm them all.  So here rises great and durable good out of
temporary evil.

I know they loved her (the pride and glory of their family,) too well to
hold out long!

I wish I could have seen Arabella's letter.  She has always been so much
eclipsed by her sister, that I dare say she has signified this
reconciliation to her with intermingled phlegm and wormwood; and her
invitation must certainly runs all in the rock-water style.

I shall long to see the promised letter too when she is got to her
father's, which I hope will give an account of the reception she will
meet with.

There is a solemnity, however, I think, in the style of her letter, which
pleases and affects me at the same time.  But as it is evident she loves
me still, and hopes soon to see me at her father's, she could not help
being a little solemn, and half-ashamed, [dear blushing pretty rogue!] to
own her love, after my usage of her.

And then her subscription: Till when, I am, CLARISSA HARLOWE: as much as
to say, after that, I shall be, if not to your own fault,
CLARISSA LOVELACE!

O my best love!  My ever-generous and adorable creature!  How much does
this thy forgiving goodness exalt us both!--Me, for the occasion given
thee!  Thee, for turning it so gloriously to thy advantage, and to the
honour of both!

And if, my beloved creature, you will but connive at the imperfections of
your adorer, and not play the wife with me: if, while the charms of
novelty have their force with me, I should happen to be drawn aside by
the love of intrigue, and of plots that my soul delights to form and
pursue; and if thou wilt not be open-eyed to the follies of my youth, [a
transitory state;] every excursion shall serve but the more to endear
thee to me, till in time, and in a very little time too, I shall get
above sense; and then, charmed by thy soul-attracting converse; and
brought to despise my former courses;  what I now, at distance, consider
as a painful duty, will be my joyful choice, and all my delight will
centre in thee!


***


Mowbray is just arrived with thy letters.  I therefore close my agreeable
subject, to attend to one which I doubt will be very shocking.

I have engaged the rough varlet to bear me company in the morning to
Berks; where I shall file off the rust he has contracted in his
attendance upon the poor fellow.

He tells me that, between the dying Belton and the preaching Belford, he
shan't be his own man these three days: and says that thou addest to the
unhappy fellow's weakness, instead of giving him courage to help him to
bear his destiny.

I am sorry he takes the unavoidable lot so heavily.  But he has been long
ill; and sickness enervates the mind as well as the body; as he himself
very significantly observed to thee.



LETTER XIX

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
WEDN. EVENING.


I have been reading thy shocking letter--Poor Belton! what a multitude of
lively hours have we passed together!  He was a fearless, cheerful
fellow: who'd have thought all that should end in such dejected
whimpering and terror?

But why didst thou not comfort the poor man about the rencounter between
him and that poltroon Metcalfe?  He acted in that affair like a man of
true honour, and as I should have acted in the same circumstances.  Tell
him I say so; and that what happened he could neither help nor foresee.

Some people are as sensible of a scratch from a pin's point, as others
from a push of a sword: and who can say any thing for the sensibility of
such fellows?  Metcalfe would resent for his sister, when his sister
resented not for herself.  Had she demanded her brother's protection and
resentment, that would have been another man's matte, to speak in Lord
M.'s phrase: but she herself thought her brother a coxcomb to busy
himself undesired in her affairs, and wished for nothing but to be
provided for decently and privately in her lying-in; and was willing to
take the chance of Maintenon-ing his conscience in her favour,* and
getting him to marry when the little stranger came; for she knew what
an easy, good-natured fellow he was.  And indeed if she had prevailed
upon him, it might have been happy for both; as then he would not have
fallen in with his cursed Thomasine.  But truly this officious brother of
her's must interpose.  This made a trifling affair important: And what
was the issue?  Metcalfe challenged; Belton met him; disarmed him; gave
him his life: but the fellow, more sensible in his skin than in his head,
having received a scratch, was frighted: it gave him first a puke, then
a fever, and then he died, that was all.  And how could Belton help that?
--But sickness, a long tedious sickness, will make a bugbear of any thing
to a languishing heart, I see that.  And so far was Mowbray a-propos in
the verses from Nat. Lee, which thou hast described.


* Madam Maintenon was reported to have prevailed upon Lewis XIV. of
France, in his old age, (sunk, as he was, by ill success in the field,)
to marry her, by way of compounding with his conscience for the freedoms
of his past life, to which she attributed his public losses.


Merely to die, no man of reason fears, is a mistake, say thou, or say
thy author, what ye will.  And thy solemn parading about the natural
repugnance between life and death, is a proof that it is.

Let me tell thee, Jack, that so much am I pleased with this world, in
the main; though, in some points too, the world (to make a person of it,)
has been a rascal to me; so delighted am I with the joys of youth; with
my worldly prospects as to fortune; and now, newly, with the charming
hopes given me by my dear, thrice dear, and for ever dear CLARISSA; that
were I even sure that nothing bad would come hereafter, I should be very
loth (very much afraid, if thou wilt have it so,) to lay down my life
and them together; and yet, upon a call of honour, no man fears death
less than myself.

But I have not either inclination or leisure to weigh thy leaden
arguments, except in the pig, or, as thou wouldst say, in the lump.

If I return thy letters, let me have them again some time hence, that is
to say, when I am married, or when poor Belton is half forgotten; or when
time has enrolled the honest fellow among those whom we have so long
lost, that we may remember them with more pleasure than pain; and then I
may give them a serious perusal, and enter with thee as deeply as thou
wilt into the subject.

When I am married, said I?--What a sound has that!

I must wait with patience for a sight of this charming creature, till she
is at her father's.  And yet, as the but blossoming beauty, as thou
tellest me, is reduced to a shadow, I should have been exceedingly
delighted to see her now, and every day till the happy one; that I might
have the pleasure of observing how sweetly, hour by hour, she will rise
to her pristine glories, by means of that state of ease and contentment,
which will take place of the stormy past, upon her reconciliation with
her friends, and our happy nuptials.



LETTER XX

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.


Well, but now my heart is a little at ease, I will condescend to take
brief notice of some other passages in thy letters.

I find I am to thank thee, that the dear creature has avoided my visit.
Things are now in so good a train that I must forgive thee; else thou
shouldst have heard more of this new instance of disloyalty to thy
general.

Thou art continually giving thyself high praise, by way of opposition, as
I may say, to others; gently and artfully blaming thyself for qualities
thou wouldst at the same time have to be thought, and which generally are
thought, praise-worthy.

Thus, in the airs thou assumest about thy servants, thou wouldst pass for
a mighty humane mortal; and that at the expense of Mowbray and me, whom
thou representest as kings and emperors to our menials.  Yet art thou
always unhappy in thy attempts of this kind, and never canst make us, who
know thee, believe that to be a virtue in thee, which is but the effect
of constitutional phlegm and absurdity.

Knowest thou not, that some men have a native dignity in their manner,
that makes them more regarded by a look, than either thou canst be in thy
low style, or Mowbray in his high?

I am fit to be a prince, I can tell thee, for I reward well, and I punish
seasonably and properly; and I am generally as well served by any man.

The art of governing these underbred varlets lies more in the dignity of
looks than in words; and thou art a sorry fellow, to think humanity
consists in acting by thy servants, as men must act who are not able to
pay them their wages; or had made them masters of secrets, which, if
divulged, would lay them at the mercy of such wretches.

Now to me, who never did any thing I was ashamed to own, and who have
more ingenuousness than ever man had; who can call a villany by its own
right name, though practised by myself, and (by my own readiness to
reproach myself) anticipate all reproach from others; who am not such a
hypocrite, as to wish the world to think me other or better than I am--
it is my part, to look a servant into his duty, if I can; nor will I keep
one who knows not how to take me by a nod, or a wink; and who, when I
smile, shall not be all transport; when I frown, all terror.  If, indeed,
I am out of the way a little, I always take care to rewards the varlets
for patiently bearing my displeasure.  But this I hardly ever am but when
a fellow is egregiously stupid in any plain point of duty, or will be
wiser than his master; and when he shall tell me, that he thought acting
contrary to my orders was the way to serve me best.

One time or other I will enter the lists with thee upon thy conduct and
mine to servants; and I will convince thee, that what thou wouldst have
pass for humanity, if it be indiscriminately practised to all tempers,
will perpetually subject thee to the evils thou complainest of; and
justly too; and that he only is fit to be a master of servants, who can
command their attention as much by a nod, as if he were to pr'ythee a
fellow to do his duty, on one hand, or to talk of flaying, and
horse-whipping, like Mowbray, on the other: for the servant who being
used to expect thy creeping style, will always be master of his master,
and he who deserves to be treated as the other, is not fit to be any
man's servant; nor would I keep such a fellow to rub my horse's heels.

I shall be the readier to enter the lists with thee upon this argument,
because I have presumption enough to think that we have not in any of our
dramatic poets, that I can at present call to mind, one character of a
servant of either sex, that is justly hit off.  So absurdly wise some,
and so sottishly foolish others; and both sometime in the same person.
Foils drawn from lees or dregs of the people to set off the characters of
their masters and mistresses; nay, sometimes, which is still more absurd,
introduced with more wit than the poet has to bestow upon their
principals.--Mere flints and steels to strike fire with--or, to vary the
metaphor, to serve for whetstones to wit, which, otherwise, could not be
made apparent; or, for engines to be made use of like the machinery of
the antient poets, (or the still more unnatural soliloquy,) to help on a
sorry plot, or to bring about a necessary eclaircissement, to save the
poet the trouble of thinking deeply for a better way to wind up his
bottoms.

Of this I am persuaded, (whatever my practice be to my own servants,)
that thou wilt be benefited by my theory, when we come to controvert the
point.  For then I shall convince thee, that the dramatic as well as
natural characteristics of a good servant ought to be fidelity, common
sense, cheerful obedience, and silent respect; that wit in his station,
except to his companions, would be sauciness; that he should never
presume to give his advice; that if he venture to expostulate upon any
unreasonable command, or such a one a appeared to him to be so, he should
do it with humility and respect, and take a proper season for it.  But
such lessons do most of the dramatic performances I have seen give, where
servants are introduced as characters essential to the play, or to act
very significant or long parts in it, (which, of itself, I think a
fault;) such lessons, I say, do they give to the footmen's gallery, that
I have not wondered we have so few modest or good men-servants among
those who often attend their masters or mistresses to plays.  Then how
miserably evident must that poet's conscious want of genius be, who can
stoop to raise or give force to a clap by the indiscriminate roar of the
party-coloured gallery!

But this subject I will suspend to a better opportunity; that is to say,
to the happy one, when my nuptials with my Clarissa will oblige me to
increase the number of my servants, and of consequence to enter more
nicely into their qualifications.


***


Although I have the highest opinion that man can have of the generosity
of my dear Miss Harlowe, yet I cannot for the heart of me account for
this agreeable change in her temper but one way.  Faith and troth,
Belford, I verily believe, laying all circumstances together, that the
dear creature unexpectedly finds herself in the way I have so ardently
wished her to be in; and that this makes her, at last, incline to favour
me, that she may set the better face upon her gestation, when at her
father's.

If this be the case, all her falling away, and her fainting fits, are
charmingly accounted for.  Nor is it surprising, that such a sweet novice
in these matters should not, for some time, have known to what to
attribute her frequent indispositions.  If this should be the case, how I
shall laugh at thee! and (when I am sure of her) at the dear novice
herself, that all her grievous distresses shall end in a man-child; which
I shall love better than all the cherubims and seraphims that may come
after; though there were to be as many of them as I beheld in my dream;
in which a vast expanse of firmament was stuck as full of them as it
could hold!

I shall be afraid to open thy next, lest it bring me the account of poor
Belton's death.  Yet, as there are no hopes of his recovery--but what
should I say, unless the poor man were better fitted--but thy heavy
sermon shall not affect me too much neither.

I enclose thy papers; and do thou transcribe them for me, or return them;
for there are some things in them, which, at a proper season, a mortal
man should not avoid attending to; and thou seemest to have entered
deeply into the shocking subject.--But here I will end, lest I grow too
serious.


***


Thy servant called here about an hour ago, to know if I had any commands;
I therefore hope that thou wilt have this early in the morning.  And if
thou canst let me hear from thee, do.  I'll stretch an hour or two in
expectation of it.  Yet I must be at Lord M.'s to-morrow night, if
possible, though ever so late.

Thy fellow tells me the poor man is much as he was when Mowbray left him.

Wouldst thou think that this varlet Mowbray is sorry that I am so near
being happy with Miss Harlowe?  And, 'egad, Jack, I know not what to say
to it, now the fruit seems to be within my reach--but let what will come,
I'll stand to't: for I find I can't live without her.



LETTER XXI

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, THREE O'CLOCK.


I will proceed where I left off in my last.

As soon as I had seen Mowbray mounted, I went to attend upon poor Belton;
whom I found in dreadful agonies, in which he awoke, after he generally
does.

The doctor came in presently after, and I was concerned at the scene that
passed between them.

It opened with the dying man's asking him, with melancholy earnestness,
if nothing--if nothing at all could be done for him?

The doctor shook his head, and told him, he doubted not.

I cannot die, said the poor man--I cannot think of dying.  I am very
desirous of living a little longer, if I could but be free from these
horrible pains in my stomach and head.  Can you give me nothing to make
me pass one week--but one week, in tolerable ease, that I may die like a
man, if I must die!

But, Doctor, I am yet a young man; in the prime of my years--youth is a
good subject for a physician to work upon--Can you do nothing--nothing at
all for me, Doctor?

Alas! Sir, replied his physician, you have been long in a bad way.  I
fear, I fear, nothing in physic can help you!

He was then out of all patience: What, then, is your art, Sir?--I have
been a passive machine for a whole twelvemonth, to be wrought upon at the
pleasure of you people of the faculty.--I verily believe, had I not taken
such doses of nasty stuff, I had been now a well man--But who the plague
would regard physicians, whose art is to cheat us with hopes while they
help to destroy us?--And who, not one of you, know any thing but by
guess?

Sir, continued he, fiercely, (and with more strength of voice and
coherence, than he had shown for several hours before,) if you give me
over, I give you over.--The only honest and certain part of the art of
healing is surgery.  A good surgeon is worth a thousand of you.  I have
been in surgeons' hands often, and have always found reason to depend
upon their skill; but your art, Sir, what is it?--but to daub, daub,
daub; load, load, load; plaster, plaster, plaster; till ye utterly
destroy the appetite first, and the constitution afterwards, which you
are called in to help.  I had a companion once, my dear Belford, thou
knewest honest Blomer, as pretty a physician he would have made as any
in England, had he kept himself from excess in wine and women; and he
always used to say, there was nothing at all but the pick-pocket parade
in the physician's art; and that the best guesser was the best physician.
And I used to believe him too--and yet, fond of life, and fearful of
death, what do we do, when we are taken ill, but call ye in?  And what
do ye do, when called in, but nurse our distempers, till from pigmies you
make giants of them? and then ye come creeping with solemn faces, when ye
are ashamed to prescribe, or when the stomach won't bear its natural
food, by reason of your poisonous potions,--Alas, I am afraid physic can
do no more for him!--Nor need it, when it has brought to the brink of the
grave the poor wretch who placed all his reliance in your cursed slops,
and the flattering hopes you gave him.

The doctor was out of countenance; but said, if we could make mortal men
immortal, and would not, all this might be just.

I blamed the poor man; yet excused him to the physician.  To die, dear
Doctor, when, like my poor friend, we are so desirous of life, is a
melancholy thing.  We are apt to hope too much, not considering that the
seeds of death are sown in us when we begin to live, and grow up, till,
like rampant weeds, they choke the tender flower of life; which declines
in us as those weeds flourish.  We ought, therefore, to begin early to
study what our constitutions will bear, in order to root out, by
temperance, the weeds which the soil is most apt to produce; or, at
least, to keep them down as they rise; and not, when the flower or plant
is withered at the root, and the weed in its full vigour, expect, that
the medical art will restore the one, or destroy the other; when that
other, as I hinted, has been rooting itself in the habit from the time of
our birth.

This speech, Bob., thou wilt call a prettiness; but the allegory is just;
and thou hast not quite cured me of the metaphorical.

Very true, said the doctor; you have brought a good metaphor to
illustrate the thing.  I am sorry I can do nothing for the gentleman; and
can only recommend patience, and a better frame of mind.

Well, Sir, said the poor angry man, vexed at the doctor, but more at
death, you will perhaps recommend the next succession to the physician,
when he can do no more; and, I suppose, will send your brother to pray by
me for those virtues which you wish me.

It seems the physician's brother is a clergyman in the neighbourhood.

I was greatly concerned to see the gentleman thus treated; and so I told
poor Belton when he was gone; but he continued impatient, and would not
be denied, he said, the liberty of talking to a man, who had taken so
many guineas of him for doing nothing, or worse than nothing, and never
declined one, though he know all the time he could do him no good.

It seems the gentleman, though rich, is noted for being greedy after
fees! and poor Belton went on raving at the extravagant fees of English
physicians, compared with those of the most eminent foreign ones.  But,
poor man! he, like the Turks, who judge of a general by his success, (out
of patience to think he must die,) would have worshipped the doctor, and
not grudged thee times the sum, could he have given him hopes of
recovery.

But, nevertheless, I must needs say, that gentlemen of the faculty should
be more moderate in their fees, or take more pains to deserve them; for,
generally, they only come into a room, feel the sick man's pulse, ask the
nurse a few questions, inspect the patient's tongue, and, perhaps, his
water; then sit down, look plaguy wise, and write.  The golden fee finds
the ready hand, and they hurry away, as if the sick man's room were
infectious.  So to the next they troll, and to the next, if men of great
practice; valuing themselves upon the number of visits they make in a
morning, and the little time they make them in.  They go to dinner and
unload their pockets; and sally out again to refill them.  And thus, in a
little time, they raise vast estates; for, as Ratcliffe said, when first
told of a great loss which befell him, It was only going up and down one
hundred pairs of stairs to fetch it up.

Mrs. Sambre (Belton's sister) had several times proposed to him a
minister to pray by him, but the poor man could not, he said, bear the
thoughts of one; for that he should certainly die in an hour or two
after; and he was willing to hope still, against all probability, that he
might recover; and was often asking his sister if she had not seen people
as bad as he was, who, almost to a miracle, when every body gave them
over, had got up again?

She, shaking her head, told him she had; but, once saying, that their
disorders were of an acute kind, and such as had a crisis in them, he
called her Small-hopes, and Job's comforter; and bid her say nothing, if
she could not say more to the purpose, and what was fitter for a sick man
to hear.  And yet, poor fellow, he has no hopes himself, as is plain by
his desponding terrors; one of which he fell into, and a very dreadful
one, soon after the doctor went.


***


WEDNESDAY, NINE O'CLOCK AT NIGHT.

The poor man had been in convulsions, terrible convulsions! for an hour
past.  O Lord! Lovelace, death is a shocking thing! by my faith it is!--
I wish thou wert present on this occasion.  It is not merely the concern
a man has for his friend; but, as death is the common lot, we see, in his
agonies, how it will be one day with ourselves.  I am all over as if cold
water were poured down my back, or as if I had a strong ague-fit upon me.
I was obliged to come away.  And I write, hardly knowing what.--I wish
thou wert here.


***


Though I left him, because I could stay no longer, I can't be easy by
myself, but must go to him again.


ELEVEN O'CLOCK.

Poor Belton!--Drawing on apace!  Yet was he sensible when I went in--too
sensible, poor man!  He has something upon his mind to reveal, he tells
me, that is the worst action of his life; worse than ever you or I knew
of him, he says.  It must then be very bad!

He ordered every body out; but was seized with another convulsion-fit,
before he could reveal it; and in it he lies struggling between life and
death--but I'll go in again.


ONE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING.

All now must soon be over with him: Poor, poor fellow!  He has given me
some hints of what he wanted to say; but all incoherent, interrupted by
dying hiccoughs and convulsions.

Bad enough it must be, Heaven knows, by what I can gather!--Alas!
Lovelace, I fear, I fear, he came too soon into his uncle's estate.

If a man were to live always, he might have some temptation to do base
things, in order to procure to himself, as it would then be, everlasting
ease, plenty, or affluence; but, for the sake of ten, twenty, thirty
years of poor life to be a villain--Can that be worth while? with a
conscience stinging him all the time too!  And when he comes to wind up
all, such agonizing reflections upon his past guilt!  All then appearing
as nothing!  What he most valued, most disgustful! and not one thing to
think of, as the poor fellow says twenty and twenty times over, but what
is attended with anguish and reproach!--

To hear the poor man wish he had never been born!--To hear him pray to be
nothing after death!  Good God! how shocking!

By his incoherent hints, I am afraid 'tis very bad with him.  No pardon,
no mercy, he repeats, can lie for him!

I hope I shall make a proper use of this lesson.  Laugh at me if thou
wilt; but never, never more, will I take the liberties I have taken; but
whenever I am tempted, will think of Belton's dying agonies, and what my
own may be.


***


THURSDAY, THREE IN THE MORNING.

He is now at the last gasp--rattles in the throat--has a new convulsion
every minute almost!  What horror is he in!  His eyes look like
breath-stained glass!  They roll ghastly no more; are quite set; his face
distorted, and drawn out, by his sinking jaws, and erected staring
eyebrows, with his lengthened furrowed forehead, to double its usual
length, as it seems.  It is not, it cannot be the face of Belton, thy
Belton, and my Belton, whom we have beheld with so much delight over the
social bottle, comparing notes, that one day may be brought against us,
and make us groan, as they very lately did him--that is to say, while he
had strength to groan; for now his voice is not to be heard; all inward,
lost; not so much as speaking by his eyes; yet, strange! how can it be?
the bed rocking under him like a cradle.

FOUR O'CLOCK.

      Alas: he's gone! that groan, that dreadful groan,
      Was the last farewell of the parting mind!
      The struggling soul has bid a long adieu
      To its late mansion--Fled!  Ah! whither fled?

Now is all indeed over!--Poor, poor Belton! by this time thou knowest if
thy crimes were above the size of God's mercies!  Now are every one's
cares and attendance at an end! now do we, thy friends,--poor Belton!--
know the worst of thee, as to this life!  Thou art released from
insufferable tortures both of body and mind! may those tortures, and thy
repentance, expiate for thy offences, and mayest thou be happy to all
eternity!

We are told, that God desires not the death, the spiritual death of a
sinner: And 'tis certain, that thou didst deeply repent!  I hope,
therefore, as thou wert not cut off in the midst of thy sins by the sword
of injured friendship, which more than once thou hadst braved, [the
dreadfullest of all deaths, next to suicide, because it gives no
opportunity for repentance] that this is a merciful earnest that thy
penitence is accepted; and that thy long illness, and dreadful agonies in
the last stages of it, were thy only punishment.

I wish indeed, I heartily wish, we could have seen one ray of comfort
darting in upon his benighted mind, before he departed.  But all, alas!
to the very last gasp, was horror and confusion.  And my only fear arises
from this, that, till within the four last days of his life, he could not
be brought to think he should die, though in a visible decline for
months; and, in that presumption, was too little inclined to set about a
serious preparation for a journey, which he hoped he should not be
obliged to take; and when he began to apprehend that he could not put it
off, his impatience, and terror, and apprehension, showed too little of
that reliance and resignation, which afford the most comfortable
reflections to the friends of the dying, as well as to the dying
themselves.

But we must leave poor Belton to that mercy, of which we have all so much
need; and, for my own part (do you, Lovelace, and the rest of the
fraternity, as ye will) I am resolved, I will endeavour to begin to
repent of my follies while my health is sound, my intellects untouched,
and while it is in my power to make some atonement, as near to
restitution or reparation, as is possible, to those I have wronged or
misled.  And do ye outwardly, and from a point of false bravery, make as
light as ye will of my resolution, as ye are none of ye of the class of
abandoned and stupid sots who endeavour to disbelieve the future
existence of which ye are afraid, I am sure you will justify me in your
hearts, if not by your practices; and one day you will wish you had
joined with me in the same resolution, and will confess there is more
good sense in it, than now perhaps you will own.


SEVEN O'CLOCK, THURSDAY MORNING.

You are very earnest, by your last letter, (just given me) to hear again
from me, before you set out for Berks.  I will therefore close with a few
words upon the only subject in your letter which I can at present touch
upon: and this is the letter of which you give me a copy from the lady.

Want of rest, and the sad scene I have before my eyes, have rendered me
altogether incapable of accounting for the contents of it in any shape.
You are in ecstacies upon it.  You have reason to be so, if it be as you
think.  Nor would I rob you of your joy: but I must say I am amazed at
it.

Surely, Lovelace, this surprising letter cannot be a forgery of thy own,
in order to carry on some view, and to impose upon me.  Yet, by the style
of it, it cannot though thou art a perfect Proteus too.

I will not, however, add another word, after I have desired the return of
this, and have told you that I am

Your true friend, and well-wisher,
J. BELFORD.



LETTER XXII

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
AUG. 24, THURSDAY MORNING.


I received thy letter in such good time, by thy fellow's dispatch, that
it gives me an opportunity of throwing in a few paragraphs upon it.  I
read a passage or two of it to Mowbray; and we both agree that thou art
an absolute master of the lamentable.

Poor Belton! what terrible conflicts were thy last conflicts!--I hope,
however, that he is happy: and I have the more hope, because the hardness
of his death is likely to be such a warning to thee.  If it have the
effect thou declarest it shall have, what a world of mischief will it
prevent! how much good will it do! how many poor wretches will rejoice at
the occasion, (if they know it,) however melancholy in itself, which
shall bring them in a compensation for injuries they had been forced to
sit down contented with!  But, Jack, though thy uncle's death has made
thee a rich fellow, art thou sure that the making good of such a vow will
not totally bankrupt thee?

Thou sayest I may laugh at thee, if I will.  Not I, Jack: I do not take
it to be a laughing subject: and I am heartily concerned at the loss we
all have in poor Belton: and when I get a little settled, and have
leisure to contemplate the vanity of all sublunary things (a subject that
will now-and-then, in my gayest hours, obtrude itself upon me) it is very
likely that I may talk seriously with thee upon these topics; and, if
thou hast not got too much the start of me in the repentance thou art
entering upon, will go hand-in-hand with thee in it.  If thou hast, thou
wilt let me just keep thee in my eye; for it is an up-hill work; and I
shall see thee, at setting out, at a great distance; but as thou art a
much heavier and clumsier fellow than myself, I hope that without much
puffing and sweating, only keeping on a good round dog-trot, I shall be
able to overtake thee.

Mean time, take back thy letter, as thou desirest.  I would not have it
in my pocket upon any account at present; nor read it once more.

I am going down without seeing my beloved.  I was a hasty fool to write
her a letter, promising that I would not come near her till I saw her at
her father's.  For as she is now actually at Smith's, and I so near her,
one short visit could have done no harm.

I sent Will., two hours ago, with my grateful compliments, and to know
how she does.

How must I adore this charming creature! for I am ready to think my
servant a happier fellow than myself, for having been within a pair of
stairs and an apartment of her.

Mowbray and I will drop a tear a-piece, as we ride along, to the memory
of poor Belton:--as we ride along, said I: for we shall have so much joy
when we arrive at Lord M.'s, and when I communicate to him and my cousins
the dear creature's letter, that we shall forget every thing grievous:
since now their family-hopes in my reformation (the point which lies so
near their hearts) will all revive; it being an article of their faith,
that if I marry, repentance and mortification will follow of course.

Neither Mowbray nor I shall accept of thy verbal invitation to the
funeral.  We like not these dismal formalities.  And as to the respect
that is supposed to be shown to the memory of a deceased friend in such
an attendance, why should we do any thing to reflect upon those who have
made it a fashion to leave this parade to people whom they hire for that
purpose?

Adieu, and be cheerful.  Thou canst now do no more for poor Belton, wert
thou to howl for him to the end of thy life.



LETTER XXIII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
SAT. AUG. 26.


On Thursday afternoon I assisted at the opening of poor Belton's will, in
which he has left me his sole executor, and bequeathed me a legacy of an
hundred guineas; which I shall present to his unfortunate sister, to whom
he has not been so kind as I think he ought to have been.  He has also
left twenty pounds a-piece to Mowbray, Tourville, thyself, and me, for a
ring to be worn in remembrance of him.

After I had given some particular orders about the preparations to be
made for his funeral, I went to town; but having made it late before I
got in on Thursday night, and being fatigued for want of rest several
nights before, and now in my spirits, [I could not help it, Lovelace!] I
contented myself to send my compliments to the innocent sufferer, to
inquire after her health.

My servant saw Mrs. Smith, who told him, she was very glad I was come to
town; for that lady was worse than she had yet been.

It is impossible to account for the contents of her letter to you; or to
reconcile those contents to the facts I have to communicate.

I was at Smith's by seven yesterday (Friday) morning; and found that the
lady was just gone in a chair to St. Dunstan's to prayers: she was too
ill to get out by six to Covent-garden church; and was forced to be
supported to her chair by Mrs. Lovick.  They would have persuaded her
against going; but she said she knew not but it would be her last
opportunity.  Mrs. Lovick, dreading that she would be taken worse at
church, walked thither before her.

Mrs. Smith told me she was so ill on Wednesday night, that she had
desired to receive the sacrament; and accordingly it was administered to
her, by the parson of the parish: whom she besought to take all
opportunities of assisting her in her solemn preparation.

This the gentleman promised: and called in the morning to inquire after
her health; and was admitted at the first word.  He staid with her about
half an hour; and when he came down, with his face turned aside, and a
faltering accent, 'Mrs. Smith,' said he, 'you have an angel in your
house.--I will attend her again in the evening, as she desires, and as
often as I think it will be agreeable to her.'

Her increased weakness she attributed to the fatigues she had undergone
by your means; and to a letter she had received from her sister, which
she answered the same day.

Mrs. Smith told me that two different persons had called there, one on
Thursday morning, one in the evening, to inquire after her state of
health; and seemed as if commissioned from her relations for that
purpose; but asked not to see her, only were very inquisitive after her
visiters: (particularly, it seems, after me: What could they mean by
that?) after her way of life, and expenses; and one of them inquired
after her manner of supporting them; to the latter of which, Mrs. Smith
said, she had answered, as the truth was, that she had been obliged to
sell some of her clothes, and was actually about parting with more; at
which the inquirist (a grave old farmer-looking man) held up his hands,
and said, Good God!--this will be sad, sad news to somebody!  I believe
I must not mention it.  But Mrs. Smith says she desired he would, let him
come from whom he would.  He shook his head, and said if she died, the
flower of the world would be gone, and the family she belonged to would
be no more than a common family.*  I was pleased with the man's
expression.


* This man came from her cousin Morden; as will be seen hereafter,
Letters LII. and LVI. of this volume.


You may be curious to know how she passed her time, when she was obliged
to leave her lodging to avoid you.

Mrs. Smith tells me 'that she was very ill when she went out on Monday
morning, and sighed as if her heart would break as she came down stairs,
and as she went through the shop into the coach, her nurse with her, as
you had informed me before: that she ordered the coachman (whom she hired
for the day) to drive any where, so it was into the air: he accordingly
drove her to Hampstead, and thence to Highgate.  There at the
Bowling-green House, she alighted, extremely ill, and having breakfasted,
ordered the coachman to drive very slowly any where.  He crept along to
Muswell-hill, and put up at a public house there; where she employed
herself two hours in writing, though exceedingly weak and low, till the
dinner she had ordered was brought in: she endeavoured to eat, but could
not: her appetite was gone, quite gone, she said.  And then she wrote on
for three hours more: after which, being heavy, she dozed a little in an
elbow-chair.  When she awoke, she ordered the coachman to drive her very
slowly to town, to the house of a friend of Mrs. Lovick; whom, as agreed
upon, she met there: but, being extremely ill, she would venture home at
a late hour, although she heard from the widow that you had been there;
and had reason to be shocked at your behaviour.  She said she found there
was no avoiding you: she was apprehensive she should not live many hours,
and it was not impossible but the shock the sight of you must give her
would determine her fate in your presence.

'She accordingly went home.  She heard the relation of your astonishing
vagaries, with hands and eyes often lifted up; and with these words
intermingled, Shocking creature! incorrigible wretch!  And will nothing
make him serious?  And not being able to bear the thoughts of an
interview with a man so hardened, she took to her usual chair early in
the morning, and was carried to the Temple-stairs, where she had ordered
her nurse before her, to get a pair of oars in readiness (for her
fatigues the day before made her unable to bear a coach;) and then she
was rowed to Chelsea, where she breakfasted; and after rowing about, put
in at the Swan at Brentford-ait, where she dined; and would have written,
but had no conveniency either of tolerable pens, or ink, or private room;
and then proceeding to Richmond, they rowed her back to Mort-lake; where
she put in, and drank tea at a house her waterman recommended to her.
She wrote there for an hour; and returned to the Temple; and, when she
landed, made one of the watermen get her a chair, and so was carried to
the widow's friend, as the night before; where she again met the widow,
who informed her that you had been after her twice that day.

'Mrs. Lovick gave her there her sister's letter;* and she was so much
affected with the contents of it, that she was twice very nigh fainting
away; and wept bitterly, as Mrs. Lovick told Mrs. Smith; dropping some
warmer expressions than ever they had heard proceed from her lips, in
relation to her friends; calling them cruel, and complaining of ill
offices done her, and of vile reports raised against her.


* See Letter XXVI. of this volume.


'While she was thus disturbed, Mrs. Smith came to her, and told her, that
you had been there a third time, and was just gone, (at half an hour
after nine,) having left word how civil and respectful you would be; but
that you was determined to see her at all events.

'She said it was hard she could not be permitted to die in peace: that
her lot was a severe one: that she began to be afraid she should not
forbear repining, and to think her punishment greater than her fault:
but, recalling herself immediately, she comforted herself, that her life
would be short, and with the assurance of a better.'

By what I have mentioned, you will conclude with me, that the letter
brought her by Mrs. Lovick (the superscription of which you saw to be
written in her sister's hand) could not be the letter on the contents of
which she grounded that she wrote to you, on her return home.  And yet
neither Mrs. Lovick, nor Mrs. Smith, nor the servant of the latter, know
of any other brought her.  But as the women assured me, that she actually
did write to you, I was eased of a suspicion which I had begun to
entertain, that you (for some purpose I could not guess at) had forged
the letter from her of which you sent me a copy.

On Wednesday morning, when she received your letter, in answer to her's,
she said, Necessity may well be called the mother of invention--but
calamity is the test of integrity.--I hope I have not taken an
inexcusable step--And there she stopt a minute or two; and then said, I
shall now, perhaps, be allowed to die in peace.

I staid till she came in.  She was glad to see me; but, being very weak,
said, she must sit down before she could go up stairs: and so went into
the back-shop; leaning upon Mrs. Lovick: and when she had sat down, 'I am
glad to see you, Mr. Belford, said she; I must say so--let mis-reporters
say what they will.'

I wondered at this expression;* but would not interrupt her.


* Explained in Letter XXVIII. of this volume.


O Sir, said she, I have been grievously harassed.  Your friend, who would
not let me live with reputation, will not permit me to die in peace.  You
see how I am.  Is there not a great alteration in me within this week!
but 'tis all for the better.  Yet were I to wish for life, I must say
that your friend, your barbarous friend, has hurt me greatly.

She was so weak, so short breathed, and her words and actions so very
moving, that I was forced to walk from her; the two women and her nurse
turning away their faces also, weeping.

I have had, Madam, said I, since I saw you, a most shocking scene before
my eyes for days together.  My poor friend Belton is no more.  He quitted
the world yesterday morning in such dreadful agonies, that the impression
they have left upon me have so weakened my mind--

I was loth to have her think that my grief was owing to the weak state I
saw her in, for fear of dispiriting her.

That is only, Mr. Belford, interrupted she, in order to strengthen it, if
a proper use be made of the impression.  But I should be glad, since you
are so humanely affected with the solemn circumstance, that you could
have written an account of it to your gay friend, in the style and manner
you are master of.  Who knows, as it would have come from an associate,
and of an associate, it might have affected him?

That I had done, I told her, in such a manner as had, I believed, some
effect upon you.

His behaviour in this honest family so lately, said she, and his cruel
pursuit of me, give me but little hope that any thing serious or solemn
will affect him.

We had some talk about Belton's dying behaviour, and I gave her several
particulars of the poor man's impatience and despair; to which she was
very attentive; and made fine observations upon the subject of
procrastination.

A letter and packet were brought her by a man on horseback from Miss
Howe, while we were talking.  She retired up stairs to read it; and while
I was in discourse with Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Lovick, the doctor and
apothecary both came in together.  They confirmed to me my fears, as to
the dangerous way she is in.  They had both been apprized of the new
instances of implacableness in her friends, and of your persecutions: and
the doctor said he would not for the world be either the unforgiving
father of that lady, or the man who had brought her to this distress.
Her heart's broken: she'll die, said he: there is no saving her.  But
how, were I either the one or the other of the people I have named, I
should support myself afterwards, I cannot tell.

When she was told we were all three together, she desired us to walk up.
She arose to receive us, and after answering two or three general
questions relating to her health, she addressed herself to us, to the
following effect:

As I may not, said she, see you three gentlemen together again, let me
take this opportunity to acknowledge my obligations to you all.  I am
inexpressibly obliged to you, Sir, and to you, Sir, [courtesying to the
doctor and to Mr. Goddard] for your more than friendly, your paternal
care and concern for me.  Humanity in your profession, I dare say, is far
from being a rare qualification, because you are gentlemen by your
profession: but so much kindness, so much humanity, did never desolate
creature meet with, as I have met with from you both.  But indeed I have
always observed, that where a person relies upon Providence, it never
fails to raise up a new friend for every old one that falls off.

This gentleman, [bowing to me,] who, some people think, should have been
one of the last I should have thought of for my executor--is,
nevertheless, (such is the strange turn that things have taken!) the only
one I can choose; and therefore I have chosen him for that charitable
office, and he has been so good as to accept of it: for, rich as I may
boast myself to be, I am rather so in right than in fact, at this
present.  I repeat, therefore, my humble thanks to you all three, and beg
of God to return to you and yours [looking to each] an hundred-fold, the
kindness and favour you have shown me; and that it may be in the power of
you and of yours, to the end of time, to confer benefits, rather than to
be obliged to receive them.  This is a godlike power, gentlemen: I once
rejoiced in it some little degree; and much more in the prospect I had of
its being enlarged to me; though I have had the mortification to
experience the reverse, and to be obliged almost to every body I have
seen or met with: but all, originally, through my own fault; so I ought
to bear the punishment without repining: and I hope I do.  Forgive these
impertinencies: a grateful heart, that wants the power it wishes for, to
express itself suitably to its own impulses, will be at a loss what
properly to dictate to the tongue; and yet, unable to restrain its
overflowings, will force the tongue to say weak and silly things, rather
than appear ungratefully silent.  Once more, then, I thank ye all three
for your kindness to me: and God Almighty make you that amends which at
present I cannot!

She retired from us to her closet with her eyes full; and left us looking
upon one another.

We had hardly recovered ourselves, when she, quite easy, cheerful, and
smiling, returned to us: Doctor, said she (seeing we had been moved) you
will excuse me for the concern I give you; and so will you, Mr. Goddard,
and you, Mr. Belford; for 'tis a concern that only generous natures can
show: and to such natures sweet is the pain, if I may say so, that
attends such a concern.  But as I have some few preparations still to
make, and would not (though in ease of Mr. Belford's future cares, which
is, and ought to be, part of my study) undertake more than it is likely I
shall have time lent me to perform, I would beg of you to give me your
opinions [you see my way of living, and you may be assured that I will do
nothing wilfully to shorten my life] how long it may possibly be, before
I may hope to be released from all my troubles.

They both hesitated, and looked upon each other.  Don't be afraid to
answer me, said she, each sweet hand pressing upon the arm of each
gentleman, with that mingled freedom and reserve, which virgin modesty,
mixed with conscious dignity, can only express, and with a look serenely
earnest, tell me how long you think I may hold it! and believe me,
gentlemen, the shorter you tell me my time is likely to be, the more
comfort you will give me.

With what pleasing woe, said the Doctor, do you fill the minds of those
who have the happiness to converse with you, and see the happy frame you
are in! what you have undergone within a few days past has much hurt you:
and should you have fresh troubles of those kinds, I could not be
answerable for your holding it--And there he paused.

How long, Doctor?--I believe I shall have a little more ruffling--I am
afraid I shall--but there can happen only one thing that I shall not be
tolerably easy under--How long then, Sir?--

He was silent.

A fortnight, Sir?

He was still silent.

Ten days?--A week?--How long, Sir? with smiling earnestness.

If I must speak, Madam, if you have not better treatment than you have
lately met with, I am afraid--There again he stopt.

Afraid of what, Doctor? don't be afraid--How long, Sir?

That a fortnight or three weeks may deprive the world of the finest
flower in it.

A fortnight or three weeks yet, Doctor?--But God's will be done!  I
shall, however, by this means, have full time, if I have but strength
and intellect, to do all that is now upon my mind to do.  And so, Sirs,
I can but once more thank you [turning to each of us] for all your
goodness to me; and, having letters to write, will take up no more of
your time--Only, Doctor, be pleased to order me some more of those drops:
they cheer me a little, when I am low; and putting a fee into his
unwilling hand--You know the terms, Sir!--Then, turning to Mr. Goddard,
you'll be so good, Sir, as to look in upon me to-night or to-morrow, as
you have opportunity: and you, Mr. Belford, I know, will be desirous to
set out to prepare for the last office for your late friend: so I wish
you a good journey, and hope to see you when that is performed.

She then retired with a cheerful and serene air.  The two gentlemen
went away together.  I went down to the women, and, inquiring, found,
that Mrs. Lovick was this day to bring her twenty guineas more, for some
other of her apparel.

The widow told me that she had taken the liberty to expostulate with her
upon the occasion she had for raising this money, to such great
disadvantage; and it produced the following short and affecting
conversation between them.

None of my friends will wear any thing of mine, said she.  I shall leave
a great many good things behind me.--And as to what I want the money for
--don't be surprised:--But suppose I want it to purchase a house?

You are all mystery, Madam.  I don't comprehend you.

Why, then, Mrs. Lovick, I will explain myself.--I have a man, not a
woman, for my executor: and think you that I will leave to his care any
thing that concerns my own person?--Now, Mrs. Lovick, smiling, do you
comprehend me?

Mrs. Lovick wept.

O fie! proceeded the Lady, drying up her tears with her own handkerchief,
and giving her a kiss--Why this kind weakness for one with whom you have
been so little while acquainted?  Dear, good Mrs. Lovick, don't be
concerned for me on a prospect with which I have occasion to be pleased;
but go to-morrow to your friends, and bring me the money they have agreed
to give you.

Thus, Lovelace, it is plain she means to bespeak her last house!  Here's
presence of mind; here's tranquillity of heart, on the most affecting
occasion--This is magnanimity indeed!--Couldst thou, or could I, with all
our boisterous bravery, and offensive false courage, act thus?--Poor
Belton! how unlike was thy behaviour!

Mrs. Lovick tells me that the lady spoke of a letter she had received
from her favourite divine Dr. Lewen, in the time of my absence; and of an
letter she had returned to it.  But Mrs. Lovick knows not the contents of
either.

When thou receivest the letter I am now writing, thou wilt see what will
soon be the end of all thy injuries to this divine lady.  I say when thou
receivest it; for I will delay it for some little time, lest thou
shouldest take it into thy head (under pretence of resenting the
disappointment her letter must give thee) to molest her again.

This letter having detained me by its length, I shall not now set out for
Epsom till to-morrow.

I should have mentioned that the lady explained to me what the one thing
was that she was afraid might happen to ruffle her.  It was the
apprehension of what may result from a visit which Col. Morden, as she is
informed, designs to make you.



LETTER XXIV

THE REV. DR. LEWEN, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
FRIDAY, AUG. 18.


Presuming, dearest and ever-respectable young lady, upon your former
favour, and upon your opinion of my judgment and sincerity, I cannot help
addressing you by a few lines on your present unhappy situation.

I will not look back upon the measures into which you have either been
led or driven.  But will only say as to those, that I think you are the
least to blame of any young lady that was ever reduced from happy to
unhappy circumstances; and I have not been wanting to say as much, where
I hoped my freedom would have been better received than I have had the
mortification to find it to be.

What I principally write for now is, to put you upon doing a piece of
justice to yourself, and to your sex, in the prosecuting for his life (I
am assured his life is in your power) the most profligate and abandoned
of men, as he must be, who could act so basely, as I understand Mr.
Lovelace has acted by you.

I am very ill; and am now forced to write upon my pillow; my thoughts
confused; and incapable of method: I shall not therefore aim at method:
but to give you in general my opinion--and that is, that your religion,
your duty to your family, the duty you owe to your honour, and even
charity to your sex, oblige you to give public evidence against this very
wicked man.

And let me add another consideration: The prevention, by this means, of
the mischiefs that may otherwise happen between your brother and Mr.
Lovelace, or between the latter and your cousin Morden, who is now, I
hear, arrived, and resolves to have justice done you.

A consideration which ought to affect your conscience, [forgive me,
dearest young lady, I think I am now in the way of my duty;] and to be
of more concern to you, than that hard pressure upon your modesty which
I know the appearance against him in an open court must be of to such a
lady as you; and which, I conceive, will be your great difficulty.  But I
know, Madam, that you have dignity enough to become the blushes of the
most naked truth, when necessity, justice, and honour, exact it from you.
Rakes and ravishers would meet with encouragement indeed, and most from
those who had the greatest abhorrence of their actions, if violated
modesty were never to complain of the injury it received from the
villanous attempters of it.

In a word, the reparation of your family dishonour now rests in your own
bosom: and which only one of these two alternatives can repair; to wit,
either to marry the offender, or to prosecute him at law.  Bitter
expedients for a soul so delicate as your's!

He, and all his friends, I understand, solicit you to the first: and it
is certainly, now, all the amends within his power to make.  But I am
assured that you have rejected their solicitations, and his, with the
indignation and contempt that his foul actions have deserved: but yet,
that you refuse not to extend to him the christian forgiveness he has so
little reason to expect, provided he will not disturb you farther.

But, Madam, the prosecution I advise, will not let your present and
future exemption from fresh disturbance from so vile a molester depend
upon his courtesy: I should think so noble and so rightly-guided a spirit
as your's would not permit that it should, if you could help it.

And can indignities of any kind be properly pardoned till we have it in
our power to punish them?  To pretend to pardon, while we are labouring
under the pain or dishonour of them, will be thought by some to be but
the vaunted mercy of a pusillanimous heart, trembling to resent them.
The remedy I propose is a severe one: But what pain can be more severe
than the injury?  Or how will injuries be believed to grieve us, that are
never honourably complained of?

I am sure Miss Clarissa Harlowe, however injured and oppressed, remains
unshaken in her sentiments of honour and virtue: and although she would
sooner die than deserve that her modesty should be drawn into question;
yet she will think no truth immodest that is to be uttered in the
vindicated cause of innocence and chastity.  Little, very little
difference is there, my dear young lady, between a suppressed evidence,
and a false one.

It is a terrible circumstance, I once more own, for a young lady of your
delicacy to be under the obligation of telling so shocking a story in
public court: but it is still a worse imputation, that she should pass
over so mortal an injury unresented.

Conscience, honour, justice, are on your side: and modesty would, by
some, be thought but an empty name, should you refuse to obey their
dictates.

I have been consulted, I own, on this subject.  I have given it as my
opinion, that you ought to prosecute the abandoned man--but without my
reasons.  These I reserved, with a resolution to lay them before you
unknown to any body, that the result, if what I wish, may be your own.

I will only add that the misfortunes which have befallen you, had they
been the lot of a child of my own, could not have affected me more than
your's have done.  My own child I love: but I both love and honour you:
since to love you, is to love virtue, good sense, prudence, and every
thing that is good and noble in woman.

Wounded as I think all these are by the injuries you have received, you
will believe that the knowledge of your distresses must have afflicted,
beyond what I am able to express,

Your sincere admirer, and humble servant,
ARTHUR LEWEN.


I just now understand that your sister will, by proper authority, propose
      this prosecution to you.  I humbly presume that the reason why you
      resolved not upon this step from the first, was, that you did not
      know that it would have the countenance and support of your
      relations.



LETTER XXV

MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO THE REV. DR. LEWEN
SAT. AUG. 19.


REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,

I thought, till I received your affectionate and welcome letter, that I
had neither father, uncle, brother left; nor hardly a friend among my
former favourers of your sex.  Yet, knowing you so well, and having no
reason to upbraid myself with a faulty will, I was to blame, (even
although I had doubted the continuance of your good opinion,) to decline
the trial whether I had forfeited it or not; and if I had, whether I
could not honourably reinstate myself in it.

But, Sir, it was owing to different causes that I did not; partly to
shame, to think how high, in my happier days, I stood in your esteem, and
how much I must be sunk in it, since those so much nearer in relation to
me gave me up; partly to deep distress, which makes the humbled heart
diffident; and made mine afraid to claim the kindred mind in your's,
which would have supplied to me in some measure all the dear and lost
relations I have named.

Then, so loth, as I sometimes was, to be thought to want to make a party
against those whom both duty and inclination bid me reverence: so long
trailed on between hope and doubt: so little my own mistress at one time;
so fearful of making or causing mischief at another; and not being
encouraged to hope, by your kind notice, that my application to you would
be acceptable:--apprehending that my relations had engaged your silence
at least*--THESE--But why these unavailing retrospections now?--I was to
be unhappy--in order to be happy; that is my hope!--Resigning therefore
to that hope, I will, without any further preamble, write a few lines,
(if writing to you, I can write but a few,) in answer to the subject of
your kind letter.


* The stiff visit this good divine was prevailed upon to make her, as
mentioned in Vol. II. Letter XXXI. (of which, however, she was too
generous to remind him) might warrant the lady to think that he had
rather inclined to their party, as to the parental side, than to her's.


Permit me, then, to say, That I believe your arguments would have been
unanswerable in almost every other case of this nature, but in that of
the unhappy Clarissa Harlowe.

It is certain that creatures who cannot stand the shock of public shame,
should be doubly careful how they expose themselves to the danger of
incurring private guilt, which may possibly bring them to it.  But as to
myself, suppose there were no objections from the declining way I am in
as to my health; and supposing I could have prevailed upon myself to
appear against this man; were there not room to apprehend that the end so
much wished for by my friends, (to wit, his condign punishment,) would
not have been obtained, when it came to be seen that I had consented to
give him a clandestine meeting; and, in consequence of that, had been
weakly tricked out of living under one roof with him for several weeks;
which I did, (not only without complaint, but) without cause of
complaint?

Little advantage in a court, (perhaps, bandied about, and jested
profligately with,) would some of those pleas in my favour have been,
which out of court, and to a private and serious audience, would have
carried the greatest weight against him--Such, particularly, as the
infamous methods to which he had recourse--

It would, no doubt, have been a ready retort from every mouth, that I
ought not to have thrown myself into the power of such a man, and that I
ought to take for my pains what had befallen me.

But had the prosecution been carried on to effect, and had he even been
sentenced to death, can it be supposed that his family would not have had
interest enough to obtain his pardon, for a crime thought too lightly of,
though one of the greatest that can be committed against a creature
valuing her honour above her life?--While I had been censured as pursuing
with sanguinary views a man who offered me early all the reparation in
his power to make?

And had he been pardoned, would he not then have been at liberty to do as
much mischief as ever?

I dare say, Sir, such is the assurance of the man upon whom my unhappy
destiny threw me; and such his inveteracy to my family, (which would then
have appeared to be justified by their known inveteracy to him, and by
their earnest endeavours to take away his life;) that he would not have
been sorry to have had an opportunity to confront me, and my father,
uncles, and brother, at the bar of a court of justice, on such an
occasion.  In which case, would not (on his acquittal, or pardon)
resentments have been reciprocally heightened?  And then would my
brother, or my cousin Morden, have been more secure than now?

How do these conditions aggravate my fault!  My motives, at first, were
not indeed blamable: but I had forgotten the excellent caution, which yet
I was not ignorant of, That we ought not to do evil that good may come of
it.

In full conviction of the purity of my heart, and of the firmness of my
principles, [Why may I not, thus called upon, say what I am conscious of,
and yet without the imputation of faulty pride; since all is but a duty,
and I should be utterly inexcusable, could I not justly say what I do?--
In this full conviction,] he has offered me marriage.  He has avowed his
penitence: a sincere penitence I have reason to think it, though perhaps
not a christian one.  And his noble relations, (kinder to the poor
sufferer than her own,) on the same conviction, and his own not
ungenerous acknowledgements, have joined to intercede with me to forgive
and accept of him.  Although I cannot comply with the latter part of
their intercession, have not you, Sir, from the best rules, and from the
divinest example, taught me to forgive injuries?

The injury I have received from him is indeed of the highest nature, and
it was attended with circumstances of unmanly baseness and premeditation;
yet, I bless God, it has not tainted my mind; it has not hurt my morals.
No thanks indeed to the wicked man that it has not.  No vile courses have
followed it.  My will is unviolated.  The evil, (respecting myself, and
not my friends,) is merely personal.  No credulity, no weakness, no want
of vigilance, have I to reproach myself with.  I have, through grace,
triumphed over the deepest machinations.  I have escaped from him.  I
have renounced him.  The man whom once I could have loved, I have been
enabled to despise: And shall not charity complete my triumph? and shall
I not enjoy it?--And where would be my triumph if he deserved my
forgiveness?--Poor man! he has had a loss in losing me!  I have the pride
to think so, because I think I know my own heart.  I have had none in
losing him.

But I have another plea to make, which alone would have been enough (as I
presume) to answer the contents of your very kind and friendly letter.

I know, my dear and reverend friend, the spiritual guide and director of
my happier days! I know, that you will allow of my endeavour to bring
myself to this charitable disposition, when I tell you how near I think
myself to that great and awful moment, in which, and even in the ardent
preparation to which, every sense of indignity or injury that concerns
not the immortal soul, ought to be absorbed in higher and more important
contemplations.

Thus much for myself.

And for the satisfaction of my friends and favourers, Miss Howe is
solicitous to have all those letters and materials preserved, which will
set my whole story in a true light.  The good Dr. Lewen is one of the
principal of those friends and favourers.

The warning that may be given from those papers to all such young
creatures as may have known or heard of me, may be of more efficacy to
the end wished for, as I humbly presume to think, than my appearance
could have been in a court of justice, pursuing a doubtful event, under
the disadvantages I have mentioned.  And if, my dear and good Sir, you
are now, on considering every thing, of this opinion, and I could know
it, I should consider it as a particular felicity; being as solicitous
as ever to be justified in what I may in your eyes.

I am sorry, Sir, that your indisposition has reduced you to the necessity
of writing upon your pillow.  But how much am I obliged to that kind and
generous concern for me, which has impelled you, as I may say, to write a
letter, containing so many paternal lines, with such inconvenience to
yourself!

May the Almighty bless you, dear and reverend Sir, for all your goodness
to me of long time past, as well as for that which engaged my present
gratitude!  Continue to esteem me to the last, as I do and will venerate
you!  And let me bespeak your prayers, the continuance, I should say, of
your prayers; for I doubt not, that I have always had them: and to them,
perhaps, has in part been owing (as well as to your pious precepts
instilled through my earlier youth) that I have been able to make the
stand I have made; although every thing that you prayed for has not been
granted to me by that Divine Wisdom, which knows what is best for its
poor creatures.

My prayers for you are, that it will please God to restore you to your
affectionate flock; and after as many years of life as shall be for his
service, and to your own comfort, give us a happy meeting in those
regions of blessedness, which you have taught me, as well by example, as
by precept, to aspire to!

CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER XXVI

MISS ARAB. HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S TO HER UNCLE ANTONY OF AUG. 13.*]
MONDAY, AUG. 21.


* See Letter IV. of this volume.


SISTER CLARY,

I find by your letters to my uncles, that they, as well as I, are in
great disgrace with you for writing our minds to you.

We can't help it, sister Clary.

You don't think it worth your while, I find, a second time to press for
the blessing you pretend to be so earnest about.  You think, no doubt,
that you have done your duty in asking for it: so you'll sit down
satisfied with that, I suppose, and leave it to your wounded parents to
repent hereafter that they have not done theirs, in giving it to you, at
the first word; and in making such inquiries about you, as you think
ought to have been made.  Fine encouragement to inquire after a run-away
daughter! living with her fellow as long as he would live with her!  You
repent also (with your full mind, as you modestly call it) that you wrote
to me.

So we are not likely to be applied to any more, I find, in this way.

Well then, since this is the case, sister Clary, let me, with all
humility, address myself with a proposal or two to you; to which you will
be graciously pleased to give an answer.

Now you must know, that we have had hints given us, from several
quarters, that you have been used in such a manner by the villain you ran
away with, that his life would be answerable for his crime, if it were
fairly to be proved.  And, by your own hints, something like it appears
to us.

If, Clary, there be any thing but jingle and affected period in what
proceeds from your full mind, and your dutiful consciousness; and if
there be truth in what Mrs. Norton and Mrs. Howe have acquainted us with;
you may yet justify your character to us, and to the world, in every
thing but your scandalous elopement; and the law may reach the villain:
and, could we but bring him to the gallows, what a meritorious revenge
would that be to our whole injured family, and to the innocents he has
deluded, as well as the saving from ruin many others!

Let me, therefore, know (if you please) whether you are willing to appear
to do yourself, and us, and your sex, this justice?  If not, sister
Clary, we shall know what to think of you; for neither you nor we can
suffer more than we have done from the scandal of your fall: and, if you
will, Mr. Ackland and counselor Derham will both attend you to make
proper inquiries, and to take minutes of your story, to found a process
upon, if it will bear one with as great a probability of success as we
are told it may be prosecuted with.

But, by what Mrs. Howe intimates, this is not likely to be complied with;
for it is what she hinted to you, it seems, by her lively daughter, but
not without effect;* so prudently in some certain points, as to entitle
yourself to public justice; which, if true, the Lord have mercy upon you!


* See Vol. VI. Letter LXXII.


One word only more as to the above proposal:--Your admirer, Dr. Lewen, is
clear, in his opinion, that you should prosecute the villain.

But if you will not agree to this, I have another proposal to make to
you, and that in the name of every one in the family; which is, that you
will think of going to Pensylvania to reside there for some few years
till all is blown over: and, if it please God to spare you, and your
unhappy parents, till they can be satisfied that you behave like a true
and uniform penitent; at least till you are one-and-twenty; you may then
come back to your own estate, or have the produce of it sent you thither,
as you shall choose.  A period which my father fixes, because it is the
custom; and because he thinks your grandfather should have fixed it; and
because, let me add, you have fully proved by your fine conduct, that you
were not at years of discretion at eighteen.  Poor doting, though good
old man!--Your grandfather, he thought--But I would not be too severe.

Mr. Hartley has a widow-sister at Pensylvania, with whom he will
undertake you may board, and who is a sober, sensible, well-read woman.
And if you were once well there, it would rid your father and mother of
a world of cares, and fears, and scandal; and that I think is what you
should wish for of all things.

Mr. Hartley will engage for all accommodations in your passage suitable
to your rank and fortune; and he has a concern in a ship, which will sail
in a month; and you may take your secret-keeping Hannah with you, or whom
you will of your newer acquaintance.  'Tis presumed that your companions
will be of your own sex.

These are what I had to communicate to you; and if you'll oblige me with
an answer, (which the hand that conveys this will call for on Wednesday
morning,) it will be very condescending.

ARABELLA HARLOWE.



LETTER XXVII

MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO MISS ARAB. HARLOWE
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.


Write to me, my hard-hearted Sister, in what manner you please, I shall
always be thankful to you for your notice.  But (think what you will of
me) I cannot see Mr. Ackland and the counselor on such a business as you
mention.

The Lord have mercy upon me indeed! for none else will.

Surely I am believed to a creature past all shame, or it could not be
thought of sending two gentlemen to me on such an errand.

Had my mother required of me (or would modesty have permitted you to
inquire into) the particulars of my sad story, or had Mrs. Norton been
directed to receive them from me, methinks it had been more fit: and I
presume to think that it would have been more in every one's character
too, had they been required of me before such heavy judgment had been
passed upon me as has been passed.

I know that this is Dr. Lewen's opinion.  He has been so good as to
enforce it in a kind letter to me.  I have answered his letter; and given
such reasons as I hope will satisfy him.  I could wish it were thought
worth while to request of him a sight of my answer.*


* Her letter, containing the reasons she refers to, was not asked for;
and Dr. Lewen's death, which fell out soon after he had received it, was
the reason that it was not communicated to the family, till it was too
late to do the service that might have been hoped for from it.


To your other proposal, of going to Pensylvania; this is my answer--If
nothing happen within a month which may full as effectually rid my
parents and friends of that world of cares, and fears, and scandals,
which you mention, and if I am then able to be carried on board of ship,
I will cheerfully obey my father and mother, although I were sure to die
in the passage.  And, if I may be forgiven for saying so (for indeed it
proceeds not from a spirit of reprisal) you shall set over me, instead of
my poor obliging, but really-unculpable, Hannah, your Betty Barnes; to
whom I will be answerable for all my conduct.  And I will make it worth
her while to accompany me.

I am equally surprised and concerned at the hints which both you and my
uncle Antony give of new points of misbehaviour in me!--What can be meant
by them?

I will not tell you, Miss Harlowe, how much I am afflicted at your
severity, and how much I suffer by it, and by your hard-hearted levity of
style, because what I shall say may be construed into jingle and period,
and because I know it is intended, very possibly for kind ends, to
mortify me.  All I will therefore say is, that it does not lose its end,
if that be it.

But, nevertheless, (divesting myself as much as possible of all
resentment,) I will only pray that Heaven will give you, for your own
sake, a kinder heart than at present you seem to have; since a kind
heart, I am convinced, is a greater blessing to its possessor than it can
be to any other person.  Under this conviction I subscribe myself, my
dear Bella,

Your ever-affectionate sister,
CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XXVIII

MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S OF THURSDAY, AUG. 17.*]
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.


* See Letter VI. of this volume.


MY DEAREST YOUNG LADY,

The letters you sent me I now return by the hand that brings you this.

It is impossible for me to express how much I have been affected by them,
and by your last of the 17th.  Indeed, my dear Miss Clary, you are very
harshly used; indeed you are!  And if you should be taken from us, what
grief and what punishment are not treasuring up against themselves in the
heavy reflections which their rash censures and unforgivingness will
occasion them!

But I find to what your uncle Antony's cruel letter is owing, as well as
one you will be still more afflicted by, [God help you, my poor dear
child!] when it comes to your hand, written by your sister, with
proposals to you.*


* See Letter XXVI. ibid.


It was finished to send you yesterday, I know; and I apprize you of it,
that you should fortify your heart against the contents of it.

The motives which incline them all to this severity, if well grounded,
would authorize any severity they could express, and which, while they
believe them to be so, both they and you are to be equally pitied.

They are owning to the information of that officious Mr. Brand, who has
acquainted them (from some enemy of your's in the neighbourhood about
you) that visits are made you, highly censurable, by a man of a free
character, and an intimate of Mr. Lovelace; who is often in private with
you; sometimes twice or thrice a day.

Betty gives herself great liberties of speech upon this occasion, and all
your friends are too ready to believe that things are not as they should
be; which makes me wish that, let the gentleman's views be ever so
honourable, you could entirely drop acquaintance with him.

Something of this nature was hinted at by Betty to me before, but so
darkly that I could not tell what to make of it; and this made me mention
to you so generally as I did in my last.

Your cousin Morden has been among them.  He is exceedingly concerned for
your misfortunes; and as they will not believe Mr. Lovelace would marry
you, he is determined to go to Lord M.'s, in order to inform himself from
Mr. Lovelace's own mouth, whether he intends to do you that justice or
not.

He was extremely caressed by every one at his first arrival; but I am
told there is some little coldness between them and him at present.

I was in hopes of getting a sight of this letter of Mr. Brand: (a rash
officious man!) but it seems Mr. Morden had it given him yesterday to
read, and he took it away with him.

God be your comfort, my dear Miss!  But indeed I am exceedingly disturbed
at the thoughts of what may still be the issue of all these things.  I
am, my beloved young lady,

Your most affectionate and faithful
JUDITH NORTON.



LETTER XXIX

MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
TUESDAY, AUG. 22.


After I had sealed up the enclosed, I had the honour of a private visit
from your aunt Hervey; who has been in a very low-spirited way, and kept
her chamber for several weeks past; and is but just got abroad.

She longed, she said, to see me, and to weep with me, on the hard fate
that had befallen her beloved niece.

I will give you a faithful account of what passed between us; as I expect
that it will, upon the whole, administer hope and comfort to you.

'She pitied very much your good mother, who, she assured me, is obliged
to act a part entirely contrary to her inclinations; as she herself, she
owns, had been in a great measure.

'She said, that the poor lady was with great difficulty with-held from
answering your letter to her; which had (as was your aunt's expression)
almost broken the heart of every one: that she had reason to think that
she was neither consenting to your two uncles writing, nor approving of
what they wrote.

'She is sure they all love you dearly; but have gone so far, that they
know not how to recede.

'That, but for the abominable league which your brother had got every
body into (he refusing to set out for Scotland till it was renewed, and
till they had all promised to take no step towards a reconciliation in
his absence but by his consent; and to which your sister's resentments
kept them up); all would before now have happily subsided.

'That nobody knew the pangs which their inflexible behaviour gave them,
ever since you had begun to write to them in so affecting and humble a
style.

'That, however, they were not inclined to believe that you were either so
ill, or so penitent as you really are; and still less, that Mr. Lovelace
is in earnest in his offers of marriage.

'She is sure, however, she says, that all will soon be well: and the
sooner for Mr. Morden's arrival: who is very zealous in your behalf.

'She wished to Heaven that you would accept of Mr. Lovelace, wicked as he
has been, if he were now in earnest.

'It had always,' she said, 'been matter of astonishment to her, that so
weak a pride in her cousin James, of making himself the whole family,
should induce them all to refuse an alliance with such a family as Mr.
Lovelace's was.

'She would have it, that your going off with Mr. Lovelace was the
unhappiest step for your honour and your interest that could have been
taken; for that although you would have had a severe trial the next day,
yet it would probably have been the last; and your pathetic powers must
have drawn you off some friends--hinting at your mother, at your uncle
Harlowe, at your uncle Hervey, and herself.'

But here (that the regret that you did not trust to the event of that
meeting, may not, in your present low way, too much afflict you) I must
observe, that it seems a little too evident, even from this opinion of
your aunt's, that it was not absolutely determined that all compulsion
was designed to be avoided, since your freedom from it must have been
owing to the party to be made among them by your persuasive eloquence and
dutiful expostulation.

'She owned, that some of them were as much afraid of meeting you as you
could be of meeting them:'--But why so, if they designed, in the last
instance, to give you your way?

Your aunt told me, 'That Mrs. Williams* had been with her, and asked her
opinion, if it would be taken amiss, if she desired leave to go up, to
attend her dearest young lady in her calamity.  Your aunt referred her to
your mother: but had heard no more of it.


* The former housekeeper at Harlowe-place.


'Her daughter,' (Miss Dolly,) she said, 'had been frequently earnest with
her on the same subject; and renewed her request with the greatest
fervour when your first letter came to hand.'

Your aunt says, 'That she then being very ill, wrote to your mother upon
it, hoping it would not be taken amiss if she permitted Dolly to go; but
that your sister, as from your mother, answered her, That now you seemed
to be coming-to, and to have a due sense of your faults, you must be left
entirely to their own management.

'Miss Dolly,' she said, 'had pined ever since she had heard of Mr.
Lovelace's baseness, being doubly mortified by it: first, on account of
your sufferings; next, because she was one who rejoiced in your getting
off, and vindicated you for it; and had incurred censure and ill-will on
that account; especially from your brother and sister; so that she seldom
went to Harlowe-place.'

Make the best use of these intelligences, my dearest young lady, for your
consolation.

I will only add, that I am, with the most fervent prayers for your
recovery and restoration to favour,

Your ever-faitful
JUDITH NORTON.



LETTER XXX

MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO MRS. JUDITH NORTON
THURSDAY, AUG. 24.


The relation of such a conversation as passed between my aunt and you
would have given me pleasure, had it come some time ago; because it would
have met with a spirit more industrious than mine now is, to pick out
remote comfort in the hope of a favourable turn that might one day have
rewarded my patient duty.

I did not doubt my aunt't good-will to me.  Her affection I did not
doubt.  But shall we wonder that kings and princes meet with so little
controul in their passions, be they every so violent, when, in a private
family, an aunt, nay, even a mother in that family, shall choose to give
up a once-favoured child against their own inclinations, rather than
oppose an aspiring young man, who had armed himself with the authority of
a father, who, when once determined, never would be expostulated with?

And will you not blame me, if I say, that good sense, that kindred
indulgence, must be a little offended at the treatment I have met with;
and if I own, that I think that great rigour has been exercised towards
me!  And yet I am now authorized to call it rigour by the judgment of two
excellent sisters, my mother and my aunt, who acknowledge (as you tell me
from my aunt) that they have been obliged to join against me, contrary to
their inclinations; and that even in a point which might seem to concern
my eternal welfare.

But I must not go on at this rate.  For may not the inclination my mother
has given up be the effect of a too-fond indulgence, rather than that I
merit the indulgence?  And yet so petulantly perverse am I, that I must
tear myself from the subject.

All then that I will say further to it, at this time, is, that were the
intended goodness to be granted to me but a week hence, it would possibly
be too late--too late I mean to be of the consolation to me that I would
wish from it: for what an inefficacious preparation must I have been
making, if it has not, by this time, carried me above--But above what?--
Poor mistaken creature!  Unhappy self-deluder! that finds herself above
nothing!  Nor able to subdue her own faulty impatience!

But in-deed, to have done with a subject that I dare not trust myself
with, if it come in your way, let my aunt Hervey, let my dear cousin
Dolly, let the worthy Mrs. Williams, know how exceedingly grateful to me
their kind intentions and concern for me are: and, as the best warrant
or justification of their good opinions, (since I know that their favour
for me is founded on the belief that I loved virtue,) tell them, that I
continued to love virtue to my last hour, as I presume to hope it may be
said; and assure them that I never made the least wilful deviation,
however unhappy I became for one faulty step; which nevertheless was not
owing to unworthy or perverse motives.

I am very sorry that my cousin Morden has taken a resolution to see Mr.
Lovelace.

My apprehensions on this intelligence are a great abatement to the
pleasure I have in knowing that he still loves me.

My sister's letter to me is a most affecting one--so needlessly, so
ludicrously taunting!--But for that part of it that is so, I ought rather
to pity her, than to be so much concerned at it as I am.

I wonder what I have done to Mr. Brand--I pray God to forgive both him
and his informants, whoever they be.  But if the scandal arise solely
from Mr. Belford's visits, a very little time will confute it.  Mean
while, the packet I shall send you, which I sent to Miss Howe, will, I
hope, satisfy you, my dear Mrs. Norton, as to my reasons for admitting
his visits.

My sister's taunting letter, and the inflexibleness of my dearer friends
--But how do remoter-begun subjects tend to the point which lies nearest
the heart!--As new-caught bodily disorders all crowd to a fractured or
distempered part.

I will break off, with requesting your prayers that I may be blessed with
patience and due resignation; and with assuring you, that I am, and will
be to the last hour of my life,

Your equally grateful and affectionate
CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XXXI

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[IN REPLY TO HER'S OF FRIDAY, AUG. 11.*]
YARMOUTH, ISLE OF WIGHT, AUG. 23.


* See Letter II. of this volume.


MY DEAREST FRIEND,

I have read the letters and copies of letters you favoured me with: and I
return them by a particular hand.  I am extremely concerned at your
indifferent state of health: but I approve of all your proceedings and
precautions in relation to the appointment of Mr. Belford for an office,
in which, I hope, neither he nor any body else will be wanted to act, for
many, very many years.

I admire, and so we do all, that greatness of mind which can make you so
stedfastly [sic] despise (through such inducements as no other woman
could resist, and in such desolate circumstances as you have been reduced
to) the wretch that ought to be so heartily despised and detested.

What must the contents of those letters from your relations be, which you
will not communicate to me!--Fie upon them!  How my heart rises!--But I
dare say no more--though you yourself now begin to think they use you
with great severity.

Every body here is so taken with Mr. Hickman (and the more from the
horror they conceive at the character of the detestable Lovelace,) that I
have been teased to death almost to name a day.  This has given him airs:
and, did I not keep him to it, he would behave as carelessly and as
insolently as if he were sure of me.  I have been forced to mortify him
no less than four times since we have been here.

I made him lately undergo a severe penance for some negligences that were
not to be passed over.  Not designed ones, he said: but that was a poor
excuse, as I told him: for, had they been designed, he should never have
come into my presence more: that they were not, showed his want of
thought and attention; and those were inexcusable in a man only in his
probatory state.

He hoped he had been more than in a probatory state, he said.

And therefore, Sir, might be more careless!--So you add ingratitude to
negligence, and make what you plead as accident, that itself wants an
excuse, design, which deserves none.

I would not see him for two days, and he was so penitent, and so humble,
that I had like to have lost myself, to make him amends: for, as you have
said, resentment carried too high, often ends in amends too humble.

I long to be nearer to you: but that must not yet be, it seems.  Pray, my
dear, let me hear from you as often as you can.

May Heaven increase your comforts, and restore your health, are the
prayers of

Your ever faithful and affectionate
ANNA HOWE.


P.S. Excuse me that I did not write before: it was owing to a little
      coasting voyage I was obliged to give into.



LETTER XXXII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
FRIDAY, AUG. 25.


You are very obliging, my dear Miss Howe, to account to me for your
silence.  I was easy in it, as I doubted not that, among such near and
dear friends as you are with, you was diverted from writing by some such
agreeable excursion as that you mention.

I was in hopes that you had given over, at this time of day, those very
sprightly airs, which I have taken the liberty to blame you for, as often
as you have given me occasion to so do; and that has been very often.

I was always very grave with you upon this subject: and while your own
and a worthy man's future happiness are in the question, I must enter
into it, whenever you forget yourself, although I had not a day to live:
and indeed I am very ill.

I am sure it was not your intention to take your future husband with you
to the little island to make him look weak and silly among those of your
relations who never before had seen him.  Yet do you think it possible
for them (however prepared and resolved they may be to like him) to
forbear smiling at him, when they see him suffering under your whimsical
penances?  A modest man should no more be made little in his own eyes,
than in the eyes of others.  If he be, he will have a diffidence, which
will give an awkwardness to every thing he says or does; and this will be
no more to the credit of your choice than to that of the approbation he
meets with from your friends, or to his own credit.

I love an obliging, and even an humble, deportment in a man to the woman
he addresses.  It is a mark of his politeness, and tends to give her that
opinion of herself, which it may be supposed bashful merit wants to be
inspired with.  But if the woman exacts it with an high hand, she shows
not either her own politeness or gratitude; although I must confess she
does her courage.  I gave you expectations that I would be very serious
with you.

O my dear, that it had been my lot (as I was not permitted to live
single,) to have met with a man by whom I could have acted generously and
unreservedly!

Mr. Lovelace, it is now plain, in order to have a pretence against me,
taxed my behaviour to him with stiffness and distance.  You, at one time,
thought me guilty of some degree of prudery.  Difficult situations should
be allowed for: which often make seeming occasions for censure
unavoidable.  I deserved not blame from him who made mine difficult.  And
you, my dear, had I any other man to deal with, or had he but half the
merit which Mr. Hickman has, would have found that my doctrine on this
subject should have governed my practice.

But to put myself out of the question--I'll tell you what I should think,
were I an indifferent by-stander, of those high airs of your's, in return
for Mr. Hickman's humble demeanour.  'The lady thinks of having the
gentleman, I see plainly, would I say.  But I see as plainly, that she
has a very great indifference to him.  And to what may this indifference
be owing?  To one or all of these considerations, no doubt: that she
receives his addresses rather from motives of convenience than choice:
that she thinks meanly of his endowments and intellects; at least more
highly of her own: or, she has not the generosity to use that power with
moderation, which his great affection for her puts into her hands.'

How would you like, my dear, to have any of these things said?

Then to give but the shadow of a reason for free-livers and free speakers
to say, or to imagine, that Miss Howe gives her hand to a man who has no
reason to expect any share in her heart, I am sure you would not wish
that such a thing should be so much as supposed.  Then all the regard
from you to come afterwards; none to be shown before; must, should I
think, be capable of being construed as a compliment to the husband, made
at the expense of the wife's and even of the sex's delicacy!

There is no fear that attempts could be formed by the most audacious [two
Lovelaces there cannot be!] upon a character so revered for virtue, and
so charmingly spirited, as Miss Howe's: yet, to have any man encouraged
to despise a husband by the example of one who is most concerned to do
him honour; what, my dear, think you of that?  It is but too natural for
envious men (and who that knows Miss Howe, will not envy Mr. Hickman!) to
scoff at, and to jest upon, those who are treated with or will bear
indignity from a woman.

If a man so treated have a true and ardent love for the woman he
addresses, he will be easily overawed by her displeasure: and this will
put him upon acts of submission, which will be called meanness.  And what
woman of true spirit would like to have it said, that she would impose
any thing upon the man from whom she one day expects protection and
defence, that should be capable of being construed as a meanness, or
unmanly abjectness in his behaviour, even to herself?--Nay, I am not
sure, and I ask it of you, my dear, to resolve me, whether, in your own
opinion, it is not likely, that a woman of spirit will despise rather
than value more, the man who will take patiently an insult at her hands;
especially before company.

I have always observed, that prejudices in disfavour of a person at his
first appearance, fix deeper, and are much more difficult to be removed
when fixed, than that malignant principle so eminently visible in little
minds, which makes them wish to bring down the more worthy characters to
their own low level, I pretend not to determine.  When once, therefore, a
woman of your good sense gives room to the world to think she has not an
high opinion of the lover, whom nevertheless she entertains, it will be
very difficult for her afterwards to make that world think so well as she
would have it of the husband she has chosen.

Give me leave to observe, that to condescend with dignity, and to command
with such kindness, and sweetness of manners, as should let the
condescension, while in a single state, be seen and acknowledged, are
points, which a wise woman, knowing her man, should aim at: and a wise
woman, I should think, would choose to live single all her life rather
than give herself to a man whom she thinks unworthy of a treatment so
noble.

But when a woman lets her lover see that she has the generosity to
approve of and reward a well-meant service; that she has a mind that
lifts her above the little captious follies, which some (too
licentiously, I hope,) attribute to the sex in general: that she resents
not (if ever she thinks she has reason to be displeased) with petulance,
or through pride: nor thinks it necessary to insist upon little points,
to come at or secure great ones, perhaps not proper to be aimed at: nor
leaves room to suppose she has so much cause to doubt her own merit, as
to put the love of the man she intends to favour upon disagreeable or
arrogant trials: but let reason be the principal guide of her actions--
she will then never fail of that true respect, of that sincere
veneration, which she wishes to meet with; and which will make her
judgment after marriage consulted, sometimes with a preference to a man's
own; at other times as a delightful confirmation of his.

And so much, my beloved Miss Howe, for this subject now, and I dare say,
for ever!

I will begin another letter by-and-by, and send both together.  Mean
time, I am, &c.



LETTER XXXIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE


[In this letter, the Lady acquaints Miss Howe with Mr. Brand's report;
      with her sister's proposals either that she will go abroad, or
      prosecute Mr. Lovelace.  She complains of the severe letters of
      her uncle Antony and her sister; but in milder terms than they
      deserved.

She sends her Dr. Lewen's letter, and the copy of her answer to it.

She tells her of the difficulties she had been under to avoid seeing Mr.
      Lovelace.  She gives her the contents of the letter she wrote to
      him to divert him from his proposed visit: she is afraid, she says,
      that it is a step that is not strictly right, if allegory or
      metaphor be not allowable to one in her circumstances.

She informs her of her cousin Morden's arrival and readiness to take her
      part with her relations; of his designed interview with Mr.
      Lovelace; and tells her what her apprehensions are upon it.

She gives her the purport of the conversation between her aunt Hervey and
      Mrs. Norton. And then add:]


But were they ever so favourably inclined to me now, what can they do for
me?  I wish, and that for their sakes more than for my own, that they
would yet relent--but I am very ill--I must drop my pen--a sudden
faintness overspreads my heart--excuse my crooked writing!--Adieu, my
dear!--Adieu!


THREE O'CLOCK, FRIDAY.

Once more I resume my pen.  I thought I had taken my last farewell to
you.  I never was so very oddly affected: something that seemed totally
to overwhelm my faculties--I don't know how to describe it--I believe I
do amiss in writing so much, and taking too much upon me: but an active
mind, though clouded by bodily illness, cannot be idle.

I'll see if the air, and a discontinued attention, will help me.  But, if
it will not, don't be concerned for me, my dear.  I shall be happy.  Nay,
I am more so already than of late I thought I could ever be in this life.
--Yet how this body clings!--How it encumbers!


SEVEN O'CLOCK.

I could not send this letter away with so melancholy an ending, as you
would have thought it.  So I deferred closing it, till I saw how I should
be on my return from my airing: and now I must say I am quite another
thing: so alert! that I could proceed with as much spirit as I began, and
add more preachment to your lively subject, if I had not written more
than enough upon it already.

I wish you would let me give you and Mr. Hickman joy.  Do, my dear.  I
should take some to myself, if you would.

My respectful compliments to all your friends, as well to those I have
the honour to know, as to those I do not know.


***


I have just now been surprised with a letter from one whom I long ago
gave up all thoughts of hearing from.  From Mr. Wyerley.  I will enclose
it.  You'll be surprised at it as much as I was.  This seems to be a man
whom I might have reclaimed.  But I could not love him.  Yet I hope I
never treated him with arrogance.  Indeed, my dear, if I am not too
partial to myself, I think I refused him with more gentleness, than you
retain somebody else.  And this recollection gives me less pain than I
should have had in the other case, on receiving this instance of a
generosity that affects me.  I will also enclose the rough draught of my
answer, as soon as I have transcribed it.

If I begin another sheet, I shall write to the end of it: wherefore I
will only add my prayers for your honour and prosperity, and for a long,
long, happy life; and that, when it comes to be wound up, you may be as
calm and as easy at quitting it as I hope in God I shall be.  I am, and
will be, to the latest moment,

Your truly affectionate and obliged servant,
CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XXXIV

MR. WYERLEY, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 23.


DEAREST MADAM,

You will be surprised to find renewed, at this distance of time, an
address so positively though so politely discouraged: but, however it be
received, I must renew it.  Every body has heard that you have been
vilely treated by a man who, to treat you ill, must be the vilest of men.
Every body knows your just resentment of his base treatment: that you are
determined never to be reconciled to him: and that you persist in these
sentiments against all the entreaties of his noble relations, against all
the prayers and repentance of his ignoble self.  And all the world that
have the honour to know you, or have heard of him, applaud your
resolution, as worthy of yourself; worthy of your virtue, and of that
strict honour which was always attributed to you by every one who spoke
of you.

But, Madam, were all the world to have been of a different opinion, it
could never have altered mine.  I ever loved you; I ever must love you.
Yet have I endeavoured to resign to my hard fate.  When I had so many
ways, in vain, sought to move you in my favour, I sat down seemingly
contented.  I even wrote to you that I would sit down contented.  And I
endeavoured to make all my friends and companions think I was.  But
nobody knows what pangs this self-denial cost me!  In vain did the chace,
in vain did travel, in vain did lively company, offer themselves, and
were embraced in their turn: with redoubled force did my passion for you
renew my unhappiness, when I looked into myself, into my own heart; for
there did your charming image sit enthroned; and you engrossed me all.

I truly deplore those misfortunes, and those sufferings, for your own
sake; which nevertheless encourage me to renew my old hope.  I know not
particulars.  I dare not inquire after them; because my sufferings would
be increased with the knowledge of what your's have been.  I therefore
desire not the know more than what common report wounds my ears with; and
what is given me to know, by your absence from your cruel family, and
from the sacred place, where I, among numbers of your rejected admirers,
used to be twice a week sure to behold you doing credit to that service
of which your example gave me the highest notions.  But whatever be those
misfortunes, of whatsoever nature those sufferings, I shall bless the
occasion for my own sake (though for your's curse the author of them,) if
they may give me the happiness to know that this my renewed address may
not be absolutely rejected.--Only give me hope, that it may one day meet
with encouragement, if in the interim nothing happen, either in my morals
or behaviour, to give you fresh offence.  Give me but hope of this--not
absolutely to reject me is all the hope I ask for; and I will love you,
if possible, still more than I ever loved you--and that for your
sufferings; for well you deserve to be loved, even to adoration, who can,
for honour's and for virtue's sake, subdue a passion which common spirits
[I speak by cruel experience] find invincible; and this at a time when
the black offender kneels and supplicates, as I am well assured he does,
(all his friends likewise supplicating for him,) to be forgiven.

That you cannot forgive him, not forgive him so as to receive him again
to favour, is no wonder.  His offence is against virtue: this is a part
of your essence.  What magnanimity is this!  How just to yourself, and to
your spotless character!  Is it any merit to admire more than ever a lady
who can so exaltedly distinguish?  It is not.  I cannot plead it.

What hope have I left, may it be said, when my address was before
rejected, now, that your sufferings, so nobly borne, have, with all the
good judges, exalted your character?  Yet, Madam, I have to pride myself
in this, that while your friends (not looking upon you in the just light
I do) persecute and banish you; while your estate is withheld from you,
and threatened (as I know,) to be withheld, as long as the chicaning law,
or rather the chicaneries of its practisers, can keep it from you: while
you are destitute of protection; every body standing aloof, either
through fear of the injurer of one family, or of the hard-hearted of the
other; I pride myself, I say, to stand forth, and offer my fortune, and
my life, at your devotion.  With a selfish hope indeed: I should be too
great an hypocrite not to own this! and I know how much you abhor
insincerity.

But, whether you encourage that hope or not, accept my best services, I
beseech you, Madam: and be pleased to excuse me for a piece of honest
art, which the nature of the case (doubting the honour of your notice
otherwise) makes me choose to conclude with--it is this:

If I am to be still the most unhappy of men, let your pen by one line
tell me so.  If I am permitted to indulge a hope, however distant, your
silence shall be deemed, by me, the happiest indication of it that you
can give--except that still happier--(the happiest than can befall me,)
a signification that you will accept the tender of that life and fortune,
which it would be my pride and my glory to sacrifice in your service,
leaving the reward to yourself.

Be your determination as it may, I must for ever admire and love you.
Nor will I ever change my condition, while you live, whether you change
your's or not: for, having once had the presumption to address you, I
cannot stoop to think of any other woman: and this I solemnly declare in
the presence of that God, whom I daily pray to bless and protect you, be
your determination what it will with regard to, dearest Madam,

Your most devoted and ever affectionate
and faithful servant,
ALEXANDER WYERLEY.



LETTER XXXV

MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO ALEX. WYERLEY, ESQ.
SAT. AUG. 26.


SIR,

The generosity of your purpose would have commanded not only my notice,
but my thanks, although you had not given me the alternative you are
pleased to call artful.  And I do therefore give you my thanks for your
kind letter.

At the time you distinguished me by your favourable opinion, I told you,
Sir, that my choice was the single life.  And most truly did I tell you
so.

When that was not permitted me, and I looked round upon the several
gentlemen who had been proposed to me, and had reason to believe that
there was not one of them against whose morals or principles there lay
not some exception, it would not have been much to be wondered at, if
FANCY had been allowed to give a preference, where JUDGMENT was at a loss
to determine.

Far be it from me to say this with a design to upbraid you, Sir, or to
reflect upon you.  I always wished you well.  You had reason to think I
did.  You had the generosity to be pleased with the frankness of my
behaviour to you; as I had with that of your's to me; and I am sorry,
very sorry, to be now told, that the acquaintance you obliged me with
gave you so much pain.

Had the option I have mentioned been allowed me afterwards, (as I not
only wished, but proposed,) things had not happened that did happen.  But
there was a kind of fatality by which our whole family was impelled, as I
may say; and which none of us were permitted to avoid.  But this is a
subject that cannot be dwelt upon.

As matters are, I have only to wish, for your own sake, that you will
encourage and cultivate those good motions in your mind, to which many
passages in your kind and generous letter now before me must be owing.
Depend upon it, Sir, that such motions, wrought into habit, will yield
you pleasure at a time when nothing else can; and at present, shining out
in your actions and conversation, will commend you to the worthiest of
our sex.  For, Sir, the man who is so good upon choice, as well as by
education, has that quality in himself, which ennobles the human race,
and without which the most dignified by birth or rank or ignoble.

As to the resolution you solemnly make not to marry while I live, I
should be concerned at it, were I not morally sure that you may keep it,
and yet not be detrimented by it: since a few, a very few days, will
convince you, that I am got above all human dependence; and that there is
no need of that protection and favour, which you so generously offer to,
Sir,

Your obliged well-wisher, and humble servant,
CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XXXVI

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
MONDAY NOON, AUG. 28.


About the time of poor Belton's interment last night, as near as we could
guess, Lord M., Mowbray, and myself, toasted once, To the memory of
honest Tom. Belton; and, by a quick transition to the living, Health to
Miss Harlowe; which Lord M. obligingly began, and, To the happy
reconciliation; and then we stuck in a remembrance To honest Jack
Belford, who, of late, we all agreed, is become an useful and humane man;
and one who prefers his friend's service to his own.

But what is the meaning I hear nothing from thee?*  And why dost thou not
let me into the grounds of the sudden reconciliation between my beloved
and her friends, and the cause of the generous invitation which she gives
me of attending her at her father's some time hence?


* Mr. Belford has not yet sent him his last-written letter.  His reason
for which see Letter XXIII. of this volume.


Thou must certainly have been let into the secret by this time; and I can
tell thee, I shall be plaguy jealous if there is to be any one thing pass
between my angel and thee that is to be concealed from me.  For either I
am a principal in this cause, or I am nothing.

I have dispatched Will. to know the reason of thy neglect.

But let me whisper a word or two in thy ear.  I begin to be afraid, after
all, that this letter was a stratagem to get me out of town, and for
nothing else: for, in the first place, Tourville, in a letter I received
this morning, tells me, that the lady is actually very ill!  [I am sorry
for it with all my soul!].  This, thou'lt say, I may think a reason why
she cannot set out as yet: but then I have heard, on the other hand, but
last night, that the family is as implacable as ever; and my Lord and I
expect this very afternoon a visit from Colonel Morden; who, undertakes,
it seems, to question me as to my intention with regard to his cousin.

This convinces me, that if she has apprized her friends of my offers to
her, they will not believe me to be in earnest, till they are assured
that I am so from my own mouth.  But then I understand, that the intended
visit is an officiousness of Morden's own, without the desire of any of
her friends.

Now, Jack, what can a man make of all this?  My intelligence as to the
continuance of her family's implacableness is not to be doubted; and yet
when I read her letter, what can one say?--Surely, the dear little rogue
will not lie!

I never knew her dispense with her word, but once; and that was, when she
promised to forgive me after the dreadful fire that had like to have
happened at our mother's, and yet would not see me the next day, and
afterwards made her escape to Hampstead, in order to avoid forgiving me:
and as she severely smarted for this departure from her honour given,
(for it is a sad thing for good people to break their word when it is in
their power to keep it,) one would not expect that she should set about
deceiving again; more especially by the premeditation of writing.  Thou,
perhaps, wilt ask, what honest man is obliged to keep his promise with a
highwayman? for well I know thy unmannerly way of making comparisons; but
I say, every honest man is--and I will give thee an illustration.

Here is a marauding varlet, who demands your money, with a pistol at your
breast.  You have neither money nor valuable effects about you; and
promise solemnly, if he will spare your life, that you will send him an
agreed-upon sum, by such a day, to such a place.

The question is, if your life is not in the fellow's power?

How he came by the power is another question; for which he must answer
with his life when caught--so he runs risque for risque.

Now if he give you your life, does he not give, think you, a valuable
consideration for the money you engage your honour to send him?  If not,
the sum must be exorbitant, or your life is a very paltry one, even in
your own opinion.

I need not make the application; and I am sure that even thou thyself,
who never sparest me, and thinkest thou knowest my heart by thy own,
canst not possibly put the case in a stronger light against me.

Then, why do good people take upon themselves to censure, as they do,
persons less scrupulous than themselves?  Is it not because the latter
allow themselves in any liberty, in order to carry a point?  And can my
not doing my duty, warrant another for not doing his?--Thou wilt not say
it can.

And how would it sound, to put the case as strongly once more, as my
greatest enemy would put it, both as to fact and in words--here has that
profligate wretch Lovelace broken his vow with and deceived Miss Clarissa
Harlowe.--A vile fellow! would an enemy say: but it is like him.  But
when it comes to be said that the pious Clarissa has broken her word with
and deceived Lovelace; Good Lord! would every one say; sure it cannot be!

Upon my soul, Jack, such is the veneration I have for this admirable
woman, that I am shocked barely at putting the case--and so wilt thou, if
thou respectest her as thou oughtest: for thou knowest that men and
women, all the world over, form their opinions of one another by each
person's professions and known practices.  In this lady, therefore, it
would be unpardonable to tell a wilful untruth, as it would be strange if
I kept my word.--In love cases, I mean; for, as to the rest, I am an
honest, moral man, as all who know me can testify.

And what, after all, would this lady deserve, if she has deceived me in
this case?  For did she not set me prancing away, upon Lord M.'s best
nag, to Lady Sarah's, and to Lady Betty's, with an erect and triumphing
countenance, to show them her letter to me?

And let me tell thee, that I have received their congratulations upon it:
Well, and now, cousin Lovelace, cries one: Well, and now, cousin
Lovelace, cries t'other; I hope you will make the best of husbands to so
excellent and so forgiving a lady!--And now we shall soon have the
pleasure of looking upon you as a reformed man, added one!  And now we
shall see you in the way we have so long wished you to be in, cried the
other!

My cousins Montague also have been ever since rejoicing in the new
relationship.  Their charming cousin, and their lovely cousin, at every
word!  And how dearly they will love he!  What lessons they will take
from her!  And yet Charlotte, who pretends to have the eye of an eagle,
was for finding out some mystery in the style and manner, till I overbore
her, and laughed her out of it.

As for Lord M. he has been in hourly expectation of being sent to with
proposals of one sort or other from the Harlowes; and still we have it,
that such proposals will be made by Colonel Morden when he comes; and
that the Harlowes only put on a fae of irreconcileableness, till they
know the issue of Morden's visit, in order to make the better terms with
us.

Indeed, if I had not undoubted reason, as I said, to believe the
continuance of their antipathy to me, and implacableness to her, I should
be apt to think there might be some foundation for my Lord's conjecture;
for there is a cursed deal of low cunning in all that family, except in
the angel of it; who has so much generosity of soul, that she despises
cunning, both name and thing.

What I mean by all this is, to let thee see what a stupid figure I shall
make to all my own family, if my Clarissa has been capable, as Gulliver
in his abominable Yahoo story phrases it, if it were only that I should
be outwitted by such a novice at plotting, and that it would make me look
silly to my kinswomen here, who know I value myself upon my contrivances,
it would vex me to the heart; and I would instantly clap a featherbed
into a coach and six, and fetch her away, sick or well, and marry her at
my leisure.

But Col. Morden is come, and I must break off.



LETTER XXXVII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
MONDAY NIGHT, AUG. 28.


I doubt you will be all impatience that you have not heard from me since
mine of Thursday last.  You would be still more so, if you knew that I
had by me a letter ready written.

I went early yesterday morning to Epsom; and found every thing disposed
according to the directions I had left on Friday; and at night the solemn
office was performed.  Tourville was there; and behaved very decently,
and with greater concern than I thought he would every have expressed for
any body.

Thomasine, they told me, in a kind of disguise, was in an obscure pew,
out of curiosity (for it seems she was far from showing any tokens of
grief) to see the last office performed for the man whose heart she had
so largely contributed to break.

I was obliged to stay till this afternoon, to settle several necessary
matters, and to direct inventories to be taken, in order for
appraisement; for every thing is to be turned into money, by his will.
I presented his sister with the hundred guineas the poor man left me as
his executor, and desired her to continue in the house, and take the
direction of every thing, till I could hear from his nephew at Antigua,
who is heir at law.  He had left her but fifty pounds, although he knew
her indigence; and that it was owing to a vile husband, and not to
herself, that she was indigent.

The poor man left about two hundred pounds in money, and two hundred
pounds in two East-India bonds; and I will contrive, if I can, to make
up the poor woman's fifty pounds, and my hundred guineas, two hundred
pounds to her; and then she will have some little matter coming in
certain, which I will oblige her to keep out of the hands of a son, who
has completed that ruin which his father had very nearly effected.

I gave Tourville his twenty pounds, and will send you and Mowbray your's
by the first order.

And so much for poor Belton's affairs till I see you.

I got to town in the evening, and went directly to Smith's.  I found Mrs.
Lovick and Mrs. Smith in the back shop, and I saw they had been both in
tears.  They rejoiced to see me, however; and told me, that the Doctor
and Mr. Goddard were but just gone; as was also the worthy clergyman, who
often comes to pray by her; and all three were of opinion, that she would
hardly live to see the entrance of another week.  I was not so much
surprised as grieved; for I had feared as much when I left her on
Saturday.

I sent up my compliments; and she returned, that she would take it for a
favour if I would call upon her in the morning by eight o'clock.  Mrs.
Lovick told me that she had fainted away on Saturday, while she was
writing, as she had done likewise the day before; and having received
benefit then by a little turn in a chair, she was carried abroad again.
She returned somewhat better; and wrote till late; yet had a pretty good
night: and went to Covent-garden church in the morning; but came home so
ill that she was obliged to lie down.

When she arose, seeing how much grieved Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith were
for her, she made apologies for the trouble she gave them--You were
happy, said she, before I came hither.  It was a cruel thing in me to
come amongst honest strangers, and to be sick, and die with you.

When they touched upon the irreconcileableness of her friends, I have had
ill offices done me to them, said she, and they do not know how ill I am;
nor will they believe any thing I should write.  But yet I cannot
sometimes forbear thinking it a little hard, that out of so many near and
dear friends as I have living, not one of them will vouchsafe to look
upon me.  No old servant, no old friend, proceeded she, to be permitted
to come near me, without being sure of incurring displeasure!  And to
have such a great work to go through by myself, a young creature as I am,
and to have every thing to think of as to my temporal matters, and to
order, to my very interment!  No dear mother, said the sweet sufferer, to
pray by me and bless me!--No kind sister to sooth and comfort me!--But
come, recollected she, how do I know but all is for the best--if I can
but make a right use of my discomforts?--Pray for me, Mrs. Lovick--pray
for me, Mrs. Smith, that I may--I have great need of your prayers.--This
cruel man has discomposed me.  His persecutions have given mea pain just
here, [putting her hand to her heart.]  What a step has he made me take
to avoid him!--Who can touch pitch, and not be defiled?  He had made a
bad spirit take possession of me, I think--broken in upon all my duties
--and will not yet, I doubt, let me be at rest.  Indeed he is very cruel
--but this is one of my trials, I believe.  By God's grace, I shall be
easier to-morrow, and especially if I have no more of his tormentings,
and if I can get a tolerable night.  And I will sit up till eleven, that
I may.

She said, that though this was so heavy a day with her, she was at other
times, within these few days past especially, blessed with bright hours;
and particularly that she had now and then such joyful assurances, (which
she hoped were not presumptuous ones,) that God would receive her to his
mercy, that she could hardly contain herself, and was ready to think
herself above this earth while she was in it: And what, inferred she to
Mrs. Lovick, must be the state itself, the very aspirations after which
have often cast a beamy light through the thickest darkness, and, when I
have been at the lowest ebb, have dispelled the black clouds of
despondency?--As I hope they soon will this spirit of repining.

She had a pretty good night, it seems; and this morning went in a chair
to St. Dunstan's church.

The chairmen told Mrs. Smith, that after prayers (for she did not return
till between nine and ten) they carried her to a house in Fleet-street,
whither they never waited on her before.  And where dost think this was?
--Why to an undertaker's!  Good Heaven! what a woman is this!  She went
into the back shop, and talked with the master of it about half an hour,
and came from him with great serenity; he waiting upon her to her chair
with a respectful countenance, but full of curiosity and seriousness.

'Tis evident that she went to bespeak her house that she talked of*--As
soon as you can, Sir, were her words to him as she got into the chair.
Mrs. Smith told me this with the same surprise and grief that I heard it.


* See Letter XXIII. of this volume.


She was very ill in the afternoon, having got cold either at St.
Dunstan's, or at chapel, and sent for the clergyman to pray by her; and
the women, unknown to her, sent both for Dr. H. and Mr. Goddard: who were
just gone, as I told you, when I came to pay my respects to her this
evening.

And thus have I recounted from the good women what passed to this night
since my absence.

I long for to-morrow, that I may see her: and yet it is such a melancholy
longing as I never experienced, and know not how to describe.


TUESDAY, AUG. 29.

I was at Smith's at half an hour after seven.  They told me that the lady
was gone in a chair to St. Dunstan's: but was better than she had been in
either of the two preceding days; and that she said she to Mrs. Lovick
and Mrs. Smith, as she went into the chair, I have a good deal to answer
for to you, my good friends, for my vapourish conversation of last night.

If, Mrs. Lovick, said she, smiling, I have no new matters to discompose
me, I believe my spirits will hold out purely.

She returned immediately after prayers.

Mr. Belford, said she, as she entered the back shop where I was, (and
upon my approaching her,) I am very glad to see you.  You have been
performing for your poor friend a kind last office.  'Tis not long ago
since you did the same for a near relation.  Is it not a little hard upon
you, that these troubles should fall so thick to your lot?  But they are
charitable offices: and it is a praise to your humanity, that poor dying
people know not where to choose so well.

I told her I was sorry to hear she had been so ill since I had the honour
to attend her; but rejoiced to find that now she seemed a good deal
better.

It will be sometimes better, and sometimes worse, replied she, with poor
creatures, when they are balancing between life and death.  But no more
of these matters just now.  I hope, Sir, you'll breakfast with me.  I was
quite vapourish yesterday.  I had a very bad spirit upon me.  Had I not,
Mrs. Smith?  But I hope I shall be no more so.  And to-day I am perfectly
serene.  This day rises upon me as if it would be a bright one.

She desired me to walk up, and invited Mr. Smith and his wife, and Mrs.
Lovick also, to breakfast with her.  I was better pleased with her
liveliness than with her looks.

The good people retiring after breakfast, the following conversation
passed between us:

Pray, Sir, let me ask you, if you think I may promise myself that I shall
be no more molested by your friend?

I hesitated: For how could I answer for such a man?

What shall I do, if he comes again?--You see how I am.--I cannot fly from
him now--If he has any pity left for the poor creature whom he has thus
reduced, let him not come.--But have you heard from him lately?  And will
he come?

I hope not, Madam.  I have not heard from him since Thursday last, that
he went out of town, rejoicing in the hopes your letter gave him of a
reconciliation between your friends and you, and that he might in good
time see you at your father's; and he is gone down to give all his
friends joy of the news, and is in high spirits upon it.

Alas! for me: I shall then surely have him come up to persecute me again!
As soon as he discovers that that was only a stratagem to keep him away,
he will come up, and who knows but even now he is upon the road?  I
thought I was so bad that I should have been out of his and every body's
way before now; for I expected not that this contrivance would serve me
above two or three days; and by this time he must have found out that I
am not so happy as to have any hope of a reconciliation with my family;
and then he will come, if it be only in revenge for what he will think a
deceit, but is not, I hope, a wicked one.

I believe I looked surprised to hear her confess that her letter was a
stratagem only; for she said, You wonder, Mr. Belford, I observe, that I
could be guilty of such an artifice.  I doubt it is not right: it was
done in a hurry of spirits.  How could I see a man who had so mortally
injured me; yet pretending a sorrow for his crimes, (and wanting to see
me,) could behave with so much shocking levity, as he did to the honest
people of the house?  Yet, 'tis strange too, that neither you nor he
found out my meaning on perusal of my letter.  You have seen what I
wrote, no doubt?

I have, Madam.  And then I began to account for it, as an innocent
artifice.

Thus far indeed, Sir, it is an innocent, that I meant him no hurt, and
had a right to the effect I hoped for from it; and he had none to invade
me.  But have you, Sir, that letter of his in which he gives you (as I
suppose he does) the copy of mine?

I have, Madam.  And pulled it out of my letter-case.  But hesitating--
Nay, Sir, said she, be pleased to read my letter to yourself--I desire
not to see his--and see if you can be longer a stranger to a meaning so
obvious.

I read it to myself--Indeed, Madam, I can find nothing but that you are
going down to Harlowe-place to be reconciled to your father and other
friends: and Mr. Lovelace presumed that a letter from your sister, which
he saw brought when he was at Mr. Smith's, gave you the welcome news of
it.

She then explained all to me, and that, as I may say, in six words--A
religious meaning is couched under it, and that's the reason that neither
you nor I could find it out.

'Read but for my father's house, Heaven, said she, and for the
interposition of my dear blessed friend, suppose the mediation of my
Saviour (which I humbly rely upon); and all the rest of the letter will
be accounted for.'  I hope (repeated she) that it is a pardonable
artifice.  But I am afraid it is not strictly right.

I read it so, and stood astonished for a minute at her invention, her
piety, her charity, and at thine and mine own stupidity to be thus taken
in.

And now, thou vile Lovelace, what hast thou to do (the lady all
consistent with herself, and no hopes left for thee) but to hang, drown,
or shoot thyself, for an outwitted boaster?

My surprise being a little over, she proceeded: As to the letter that
came from my sister while your friend was here, you will soon see, Sir,
that it is the cruellest letter she ever wrote me.

And then she expressed a deep concern for what might be the consequence
of Colonel Morden's intended visit to you; and besought me, that if now,
or at any time hereafter, I had opportunity to prevent any further
mischief, without detriment or danger to myself, I would do it.

I assured her of the most particular attention to this and to all her
commands; and that in a manner so agreeable to her, that she invoked a
blessing upon me for my goodness, as she called it, to a desolate
creature who suffered under the worst of orphanage; those were her words.

She then went back to her first subject, her uneasiness for fear of your
molesting her again; and said, If you have any influence over him, Mr.
Belford, prevail upon him that he will give me the assurance that the
short remainder of my time shall be all my own.  I have need of it.
Indeed I have.  Why will he wish to interrupt me in my duty?  Has he not
punished me enough for my preference of him to all his sex?  Has he not
destroyed my fame and my fortune?  And will not his causeless vengeance
upon me be complete, unless he ruin my soul too?--Excuse me, Sir, for
this vehemence!  But indeed it greatly imports me to know that I shall be
no more disturbed by him.  And yet, with all this aversion, I would
sooner give way to his visit, though I were to expire the moment I saw
him, than to be the cause of any fatal misunderstanding between you and
him.

I assured her that I would make such a representation of the matter to
you, and of the state of her health, that I would undertake to answer for
you, that you would not attempt to come near her.

And for this reason, Lovelace, do I lay the whole matter before you, and
desire you will authorize me, as soon as this and mine of Saturday last
come to your hands, to dissipate her fears.

This gave her a little satisfaction; and then she said that had I not
told her that I could promise for you, she was determined, ill as she is,
to remove somewhere out of my knowledge as well as out of your's.  And
yet, to have been obliged to leave people I am but just got acquainted
with, said the poor lady, and to have died among perfect strangers, would
have completed my hardships.

This conversation, I found, as well from the length as the nature of it,
had fatigued her; and seeing her change colour once or twice, I made that
my excuse, and took leave of her: desiring her permission, however, to
attend her in the evening; and as often as possible; for I could not help
telling her that, every time I saw her, I more and more considered her as
a beatified spirit; and as one sent from Heaven to draw me after her out
of the miry gulf in which I had been so long immersed.

And laugh at me if thou wilt; but it is true that, every time I approach
her, I cannot but look upon her as one just entering into a companionship
with saints and angels.  This thought so wholly possessed me, that I
could not help begging, as I went away, her prayers and her blessing,
with the reverence due to an angel.

In the evening, she was so low and weak, that I took my leave of her in
less than a quarter of an hour.  I went directly home.  Where, to the
pleasure and wonder of my cousin and her family, I now pass many honest
evenings: which they impute to your being out of town.

I shall dispatch my packet to-morrow morning early by my own servant, to
make thee amends for the suspense I must have kept thee in: thou'lt thank
me for that, I hope; but wilt not, I am sure, for sending thy servant
back without a letter.

I long for the particulars of the conversation between you and Mr.
Morden; the lady, as I have hinted, is full of apprehensions about it.
Send me back this packet when perused; for I have not had either time or
patience to take a copy of it.  And I beseech you enable me to make good
my engagements to the poor lady that you will not invade her again.



LETTER XXXVIII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 30.


I have a conversation to give you that passed between this admirable lady
and Dr. H. which will furnish a new instance of the calmness and serenity
with which she can talk of death, and prepare for it, as if it were an
occurrence as familiar to her as dressing and undressing.

As soon as I had dispatched my servant to you with my letters of the
26th, 28th, and yesterday the 29th, I went to pay my duty to her, and had
the pleasure to find her, after a tolerable night, pretty lively and
cheerful.  She was but just returned from her usual devotions; and Doctor
H. alighted as she entered the door.

After inquiring how she did, and hearing her complaints of shortness of
breath, (which she attributed to inward decay, precipitated by her late
harasses, as well from her friends as from you,) he was for advising her
to go into the air.

What will that do for me? said she: tell me truly, good Sir, with a
cheerful aspect, (you know you cannot disturb me by it,) whether now you
do not put on the true physician; and despairing that any thing in
medicine will help me, advise me to the air, as the last resource?--Can
you think the air will avail in such a malady as mine?

He was silent.

I ask, said she, because my friends (who will possibly some time hence
inquire after the means I used for my recovery) may be satisfied that I
omitted nothing which so worthy and skilful a physician prescribed?

The air, Madam, may possibly help the difficulty of breathing, which has
so lately attacked you.

But, Sir, you see how weak I am.  You must see that I have been consuming
from day to day; and now, if I can judge by what I feel in myself,
putting her hand to her heart, I cannot continue long.  If the air would
very probably add to my days, though I am far from being desirous to have
them lengthened, I would go into it; and the rather, as I know Mrs.
Lovick would kindly accompany me.  But if I were to be at the trouble of
removing into new lodgings, (a trouble which I think now would be too
much for me,) and this only to die in the country, I had rather the scene
were to shut up here.  For here have I meditated the spot, and the
manner, and every thing, as well of the minutest as of the highest
consequence, that can attend the solemn moments.  So, Doctor, tell me
truly, may I stay here, and be clear of any imputations of curtailing,
through wilfulness or impatiency, or through resentments which I hope I
am got above, a life that might otherwise be prolonged?--Tell me, Sir;
you are not talking to a coward in this respect; indeed you are not!--
Unaffectedly smiling.

The doctor, turning to me, was at a loss what to say, lifting up his eyes
only in admiration of her.

Never had any patient, said she, a more indulgent and more humane
physician.  But since you are loth to answer my question directly, I will
put it in other words--You don't enjoin me to go into the air, Doctor, do
you?

I do not, Madam.  Nor do I now visit you as a physician; but as a person
whose conversation I admire, and whose sufferings I condole.  And, to
explain myself more directly, as to the occasion of this day's visit in
particular, I must tell you, Madam, that, understanding how much you
suffer by the displeasure of your friends; and having no doubt but that,
if they knew the way you are in, they would alter their conduct to you;
and believing it must cut them to the heart, when too late, they shall be
informed of every thing; I have resolved to apprize them by letter
(stranger as I am to their persons) how necessary it is for some of them
to attend you very speedily.  For their sakes, Madam, let me press for
your approbation of this measure.

She paused; and at last said, This is kind, very kind, in you, Sir.  But
I hope that you do not think me so perverse, and so obstinate, as to have
left till now any means unessayed which I thought likely to move my
friends in my favour.  But now, Doctor, said she, I should be too much
disturbed at their grief, if they were any of them to come or to send to
me: and perhaps, if I found they still loved me, wish to live; and so
should quit unwillingly that life, which I am now really fond of
quitting, and hope to quit as becomes a person who has had such a
weaning-time as I have been favoured with.

I hope, Madam, said I, we are not so near as you apprehend to that
deplorable catastrophe you hint at with such an amazing presence of mind.
And therefore I presume to second the doctor's motion, if it were only
for the sake of your father and mother, that they may have the
satisfaction, if they must lose you, to think they were first reconciled
to you.

It is very kindly, very humanely considered, said she.  But, if you think
me not so very near my last hour, let me desire this may be postponed
till I see what effect my cousin Morden's mediation may have.  Perhaps he
may vouchsafe to make me a visit yet, after his intended interview with
Mr. Lovelace is over; of which, who knows, Mr. Belford, but your next
letters may give an account?  I hope it will not be a fatal one to any
body.  Will you promise me, Doctor, to forbear writing for two days only,
and I will communicate to you any thing that occurs in that time; and then
you shall take your own way?  Mean time, I repeat my thanks for your
goodness to me.--Nay, dear Doctor, hurry not away from me so
precipitately [for he was going, for fear of an offered fee]: I will no
more affront you with tenders that have pained you for some time past:
and since I must now, from this kindly-offered favour, look upon you only
as a friend, I will assure you henceforth that I will give you no more
uneasiness on that head: and now, Sir, I know I shall have the pleasure
of seeing you oftener than heretofore.

The worthy gentleman was pleased with this assurance, telling her that he
had always come to see her with great pleasure, but parted with her, on
the account she hinted at, with as much pain; and that he should not have
forborne to double his visits, could he have had this kind assurance as
early as he wished for it.

There are few instances of like disinterestedness, I doubt, in this
tribe.  Till now I always held it for gospel, that friendship and
physician were incompatible things; and little imagined that a man of
medicine, when he had given over his patient to death, would think of any
visits but those of ceremony, that he might stand well with the family,
against it came to their turns to go through his turnpike.

After the doctor was gone, she fell into a very serious discourse of the
vanity of life, and the wisdom of preparing for death, while health and
strength remained, and before the infirmities of body impaired the
faculties of the mind, and disabled them from acting with the necessary
efficacy and clearness: the whole calculated for every one's meridian,
but particularly, as it was easy to observe, for thine and mine.

She was very curious to know farther particulars of the behaviour of poor
Belton in his last moments.  You must not wonder at my inquiries, Mr.
Belford, said she; For who is it, that is to undertake a journey into a
country they never travelled to before, that inquires not into the
difficulties of the road, and what accommodations are to be expected in
the way?

I gave her a brief account of the poor man's terrors, and unwillingness
to die: and, when I had done, Thus, Mr. Belford, said she, must it always
be with poor souls who have never thought of their long voyage till the
moment they are to embark for it.

She made other such observations upon this subject as, coming from the
mouth of a person who will so soon be a companion for angels, I shall
never forget.  And indeed, when I went home, that I might engraft them
the better on my memory, I entered them down in writing: but I will not
let you see them until you are in a frame more proper to benefit by them
than you are likely to be in one while.

Thus far had I written, when the unexpected early return of my servant
with your packet (your's and he meeting at Slough, and exchanging
letters) obliged me to leave off to give its contents a reading.--Here,
therefore, I close this letter.



LETTER XXXIX

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
TUESDAY MORN. AUG. 29.


Now, Jack, will I give thee an account of what passed on occasion of the
visit made us by Col. Morden.

He came on horseback, attended by one servant; and Lord M. received him
as a relation of Miss Harlowe's with the highest marks of civility and
respect.

After some general talk of the times, and of the weather, and such
nonsense as Englishmen generally make their introductory topics to
conversation, the Colonel addressed himself to Lord M. and to me, as
follows:

I need not, my Lord, and Mr. Lovelace, as you know the relation I bear to
the Harlowe family, make any apology for entering upon a subject, which,
on account of that relation, you must think is the principal reason of
the honour I have done myself in this visit.

Miss Harlowe, Miss Clarissa Harlowe's affair, said Lord M. with his usual
forward bluntness.  That, Sir, is what you mean.  She is, by all
accounts, the most excellent woman in the world.

I am glad to hear that is your Lordship's opinion of her.  It is every
one's.

It is not only my opinion, Col. Morden (proceeded the prating Peer), but
it is the opinion of all my family.  Of my sisters, of my nieces, and of
Mr. Lovelace himself.

Col.   Would to Heaven it had been always Mr. Lovelace's opinion of her!

Lovel.   You have been out of England, Colonel, a good many years.
Perhaps you are not yet fully apprized of all the particulars of this
case.

Col.   I have been out of England, Sir, about seven years.  My cousin
Clary was then about 12 years of age: but never was there at twenty so
discreet, so prudent, and so excellent a creature.  All that knew her, or
saw her, admired her.  Mind and person, never did I see such promises of
perfection in any young lady: and I am told, nor is it to be wondered at,
that, as she advanced to maturity, she more than justified and made good
those promises.--Then as to fortune--what her father, what her uncles,
and what I myself, intended to do for her, besides what her grandfather
had done--there is not a finer fortune in the country.

Lovel.   All this, Colonel, and more than this, is Miss Clarissa Harlowe;
and had it not been for the implacableness and violence of her family
(all resolved to push her upon a match as unworthy of her as hateful to
her) she had still been happy.

Col.   I own, Mr. Lovelace, the truth of what you observed just now, that
I am not thoroughly acquainted with all that has passed between you and
my cousin.  But permit me to say, that when I first heard that you made
your addresses to her, I knew but of one objection against you; that,
indeed, a very great one: and upon a letter sent me, I gave her my free
opinion upon that subject.*  But had it not been for that, I own, that,
in my private mind, there could not have been a more suitable match: for
you are a gallant gentleman, graceful in your person, easy and genteel in
your deportment, and in your family, fortunes, and expectations, happy as
a man can wish to be.  Then the knowledge I had of you in Italy
(although, give me leave to say, your conduct there was not wholly
unexceptionable) convinces me that you are brave: and few gentlemen come
up to you in wit and vivacity.  Your education has given you great
advantages; your manners are engaging, and you have travelled; and I
know, if you'll excuse me, you make better observations than you are
governed by.  All these qualifications make it not at all surprising that
a young lady should love you: and that this love, joined to that
indiscreet warmth wherewith my cousin's friends would have forced her
inclinations in favour of men who are far your inferiors in the qualities
I have named, should throw herself upon your protection.  But then, if
there were these two strong motives, the one to induce, the other to
impel, her, let me ask you, Sir, if she were not doubly entitled to
generous usage from a man whom she chose for her protector; and whom, let
me take the liberty to say, she could so amply reward for the protection
he was to afford her?


* See Vol. IV. Letter XIX.


Lovel.   Miss Clarissa Harlowe was entitled, Sir, to have the best usage
that man could give her.  I have no scruple to own it.  I will always do
her the justice she so well deserves. I know what will be your inference;
and have only to say, that time past cannot be recalled; perhaps I wish
it could.

The Colonel then, in a very manly strain, set forth the wickedness of
attempting a woman of virtue and character.  He said, that men had
generally too many advantages from the weakness, credulity, and
inexperience of the fair sex: that their early learning, which chiefly
consisted in inflaming novels, and idle and improbable romances,
contributed to enervate and weaken their minds: that his cousin, however,
he was sure, was above the reach of common seduction, and not to be
influenced to the rashness her parents accused her of, by weaker motives
than their violence, and the most solemn promises on my part: but,
nevertheless, having those motives, and her prudence (eminent as it was)
being rather the effect of constitution than experience, (a fine
advantage, however, he said, to ground an unblamable future life upon,)
she might not be apprehensive of bad designs in a man she loved: it was,
therefore, a very heinous thing to abuse the confidence of such a woman.

He was going on in this trite manner; when, interrupting him, I said,
These general observations, Colonel, suit not perhaps this particular
case.  But you yourself are a man of gallantry; and, possibly, were you
to be put to the question, might not be able to vindicate every action of
your life, any more than I.

Col.   You are welcome, Sir, to put what questions you please to me.
And, I thank God, I can both own an be ashamed of my errors.

Lord M. looked at me; but as the Colonel did not by his manner seem to
intend a reflection, I had no occasion to take it for one; especially as
I can as readily own my errors, as he, or any man, can his, whether
ashamed of them or not.

He proceeded.  As you seem to call upon me, Mr. Lovelace, I will tell you
(without boasting of it) what has been my general practice, till lately,
that I hope I have reformed it a good deal.

I have taken liberties, which the laws of morality will by no means
justify; and once I should have thought myself warranted to cut the
throat of any young fellow who should make as free with a sister of mine
as I have made with the sisters and daughters of others.  But then I took
care never to promise any thing I intended not to perform.  A modest ear
should as soon have heard downright obscenity from my lips, as matrimony,
if I had not intended it.  Young ladies are generally ready enough to
believe we mean honourably, if they love us; and it would look lie a
strange affront to their virtue and charms, that it should be supposed
needful to put the question whether in your address you mean a wife.  But
when once a man make a promise, I think it ought to be performed; and a
woman is well warranted to appeal to every one against the perfidy of a
deceiver; and is always sure to have the world on her side.

Now, Sir, continued he, I believe you have so much honour as to own, that
you could not have made way to so eminent a virtue, without promising
marriage; and that very explicitly and solemnly--

I know very well, Colonel, interrupted I, all you would say.  You will
excuse me, I am sure, that I break in upon you, when you find it is to
answer the end you drive at.

I own to you then that I have acted very unworthily by Miss Clarissa
Harlowe; and I'll tell you farther, that I heartily repent of my
ingratitude and baseness to her.  Nay, I will say still farther, that I
am so grossly culpable as to her, that even to plead that the abuses and
affronts I daily received from her implacable relations were in any
manner a provocation to me to act vilely by her, would be a mean and low
attempt to excuse myself--so low and so mean, that it would doubly
condemn me.  And if you can say worse, speak it.

He looked upon Lord M. and then upon me, two or three times.  And my Lord
said, My kinsman speaks what he thinks, I'll answer for him.

Lovel.   I do, Sir; and what can I say more?  And what farther, in your
opinion, can be done?

Col.   Done!  Sir?  Why, Sir, [in a haughty tone he spoke,] I need not
tell you that reparation follows repentance.  And I hope you make no
scruple of justifying your sincerity as to the one or the other.

I hesitated, (for I relished not the manner of his speech, and his
haughty accent,) as undetermined whether to take proper notice of it or
not.

Col.   Let me put this question to you, Mr. Lovelace: Is it true, as I
have heard it is, that you would marry my cousin, if she would have you?
--What say you, Sir?--

This wound me up a peg higher.

Lovel.   Some questions, as they may be put, imply commands, Colonel.  I
would be glad to know how I am to take your's?  And what is to be the end
of your interrogatories?

Col.   My questions are not meant by me as commands, Mr. Lovelace.  The
end is, to prevail upon a gentleman to act like a gentleman, and a man of
honour.

Lovel. (briskly)   And by what arguments, Sir, do you propose to prevail
upon me?

Col.   By what arguments, Sir, prevail upon a gentleman to act like a
gentleman!--I am surprised at that question from Mr. Lovelace.

Lovel.   Why so, Sir?

Col.   WHY so, Sir!  (angrily)--Let me--

Lovel. (interrupting)   I don't choose, Colonel, to be repeated upon, in
that accent.

Lord M.   Come, come, gentlemen, I beg of you to be willing to understand
one another.  You young gentlemen are so warm--

Col.   Not I, my Lord--I am neither very young, nor unduly warm.  Your
nephew, my Lord, can make me be every thing he would have me to be.

Lovel.   And that shall be, whatever you please to be, Colonel.

Col. (fiercely)   The choice be your's, Mr. Lovelace.  Friend or foe! as
you do or are willing to do justice to one of the finest women in the
world.

Lord M.   I guessed, from both your characters, what would be the case
when you met.  Let me interpose, gentlemen, and beg you but to understand
one another.  You both shoot at one mark; and, if you are patient, will
both hit it.  Let me beg of you, Colonel, to give no challenges--

Col.   Challenges, my Lord!--They are things I ever was readier to accept
than to offer.  But does your Lordship think that a man, so nearly
related as I have the honour to be to the most accomplished woman on
earth,--

Lord M. (interrupting)   We all allow the excellencies of the lady--and
we shall all take it as the greatest honour to be allied to her that can
be conferred upon us.

Col.   So you ought, my Lord!--

A perfect Chamont; thought I.*


* See Otway's Orphan.


Lord M.   So we ought, Colonel! and so we do!--and pray let every one do
as he ought!--and no more than he ought; and you, Colonel, let me tell
you, will not be so hasty.

Lovel. (coolly)   Come, come, Col. Morden, don't let this dispute, whatever
you intend to make of it, go farther than with you and me.  You
deliver yourself in very high terms.  Higher than ever I was talked to in
my life.  But here, beneath this roof, 'twould be inexcusable for me to
take that notice of it which, perhaps, it would become me to take
elsewhere.

Col.   That is spoken as I wish the man to speak whom I should be pleased
to call my friend, if all his actions were of a piece; and as I would
have the man speak whom I would think it worth my while to call my foe.
I love a man of spirit, as I love my soul.  But, Mr. Lovelace, as my Lord
thinks we aim at one mark, let me say, that were we permitted to be alone
for six minutes, I dare say, we should soon understand one another
perfectly well.--And he moved to the door.

Lovel.   I am entirely of your opinion, Sir; and will attend you.

My Lord rung, and stept between us: Colonel, return, I beseech you
return, said he: for he had stept out of the room while my Lord held me--
Nephew, you shall not go out.

The bell and my Lord's raised voice brought in Mowbray, and Clements, my
Lord's gentleman; the former in his careless way, with his hands behind
him, What's the matter, Bobby?  What's the matter, my Lord?

Only, only, only, stammered the agitated peer, these young gentlemen are,
are, are--are young gentlemen, that's all.--Pray, Colonel Morden, [who
again entered the room with a sedater aspect,] let this cause have a fair
trial, I beseech you.

Col.   With all my heart, my Lord.

Mowbray whispered me, What is the cause, Bobby?--Shall I take the
gentleman to task for thee, my boy?

Not for the world, whispered I.  The Colonel is a gentleman, and I desire
you'll not say one word.

Well, well, well, Bobby, I have done.  I can turn thee loose to the best
man upon God's earth; that's all, Bobby; strutting off to the other end
of the room.

Col.   I am sorry, my Lord, I should give your Lordship the least
uneasiness.  I came not with such a design.

Lord M.   Indeed, Colonel, I thought you did, by your taking fire so
quickly.  I am glad to hear you say you did not.  How soon a little spark
kindles into a flame; especially when it meets with such combustible
spirits!

Col.   If I had had the least thought of proceeding to extremities, I am
sure Mr. Lovelace would have given me the honour of a meeting where I
should have been less an intruder: but I came with an amicable intention;
to reconcile differences rather than to widen them.

Lovel.   Well then, Colonel Morden, let us enter upon the subject in your
own way.  I don't know the man I should sooner choose to be upon terms
with than one whom Miss Clarissa Harlowe so much respects.  But I cannot
bear to be treated, either in word or accent, in a menacing way.

Lord M.   Well, well, well, well, gentlemen, this is somewhat like.
Angry men make to themselves beds of nettles, and, when they lie down in
them, are uneasy with every body.  But I hope you are friends.  Let me
hear you say you are.  I am persuaded, Colonel, that you don't know all
this unhappy story.  You don't know how desirous my kinsman is, as well
as all of us, to have this matter end happily.  You don't know, do you,
Colonel, that Mr. Lovelace, at all our requests, is disposed to marry the
lady?

Col.   At all your requests, my Lord?--I should have hoped that Mr.
Lovelace was disposed to do justice for the sake of justice; and when at
the same time the doing of justice was doing himself the highest honour.

Mowbray lifted up his before half-closed eyes to the Colonel, and glanced
them upon me.

Lovel.   This is in very high language, Colonel.

Mowbr.   By my soul, I thought so.

Col.   High language, Mr. Lovelace?  Is it not just language?

Lovel.   It is, Colonel.  And I think, the man that does honour to Miss
Clarissa Harlowe, does me honour.  But, nevertheless, there is a manner
in speaking, that may be liable to exception, where the words, without
that manner, can bear none.

Col.   Your observation in the general is undoubtedly just: but, if you
have the value for my cousin that you say you have, you must needs think
--

Lovel.   You must allow me, Sir, to interrupt you--IF I have the value I
say I have--I hope, Sir, when I say I have that value, there is no room
for that if, pronounced as you pronounced it with an emphasis.

Col.   You have broken in upon me twice, Mr. Lovelace.  I am as little
accustomed to be broken in upon, as you are to be repeated upon.

Lord M.   Two barrels of gunpowder, by my conscience!  What a devil will
it signify talking, if thus you are to blow one another up at every word?

Lovel.   No man of honour, my Lord, will be easy to have his veracity
called into question, though but by implication.

Col.   Had you heard me out, Mr. Lovelace, you would have found, that my
if was rather an if of inference, than of doubt.  But 'tis, really a
strange liberty gentlemen of free principles take; who at the same time
that they would resent unto death the imputation of being capable of
telling an untruth to a man, will not scruple to break through the most
solemn oaths and promises to a woman.  I must assure you, Mr. Lovelace,
that I always made a conscience of my vows and promises.

Lovel.   You did right, Colonel.  But let me tell you, Sir, that you know
not the man you talk to, if you imagine he is not able to rise to a
proper resentment, when he sees his generous confessions taken for a mark
of base-spiritedness.

Col. (warmly, and with a sneer,)   Far be it from me, Mr. Lovelace, to
impute to you the baseness of spirit you speak of; for what would that be
but to imagine that a man, who has done a very flagrant injury, is not
ready to show his bravery in defending it--

Mowbr.   This is d----d severe, Colonel.  It is, by Jove.  I could not
take so much at the hands of any man breathing as Mr. Lovelace before
this took at your's.

Col.   Who are you, Sir?  What pretence have you to interpose in a cause
where there is an acknowledged guilt on one side, and the honour of a
considerable family wounded in the tenderest part by that guilt on the
other?

Mowbr. (whispering to the Colonel)   My dear child, you will oblige me
highly if you will give me the opportunity of answering your question.
And was going out.

The Colonel was held in by my Lord.  And I brought in Mowbray.

Col.   Pray, my good Lord, let me attend this officious gentleman, I
beseech you do.  I will wait upon your Lordship in three minutes, depend
upon it.

Lovel.   Mowbray, is this acting like a friend by me, to suppose me
incapable of answering for myself?  And shall a man of honour and
bravery, as I know Colonel Morden to be, (rash as perhaps in this visit
he has shown himself,) have it to say, that he comes to my Lord M.'s
house, in a manner naked as to attendants and friends, and shall not for
that reason be rather borne with than insulted?  This moment, my dear
Mowbray, leave us.  You have really no concern in this business; and if
you are my friend, I desire you'll ask the Colonel pardon for interfering
in it in the manner you have done.

Mowbr.   Well, well, Bob.; thou shalt be arbiter in this matter; I know I
have no business in it--and, Colonel, (holding out his hand,) I leave you
to one who knows how to defend his own cause as well as any man in
England.

Col. (taking Mowbray's hand, at Lord M.'s request,)   You need not tell
me that, Mr. Mowbray.  I have no doubt of Mr. Lovelace's ability to
defend his own cause, were it a cause to be defended.  And let me tell
you, Mr. Lovelace, that I am astonished to think that a brave man, and a
generous man, as you have appeared to be in two or three instances that
you have given in the little knowledge I have of you, should be capable
of acting as you have done by the most excellent of her sex.

Lord M.   Well, but, gentlemen, now Mr. Mowbray is gone, and you have
both shown instances of courage and generosity to boot, let me desire you
to lay your heads together amicably, and think whether there be any thing
to be done to make all end happily for the lady?

Lovel.   But hold, my Lord, let me say one thing, now Mowbray is gone;
and that is, that I think a gentleman ought not to put up tamely one or
two severe things that the Colonel has said.

Lord M.   What the devil canst thou mean?  I thought all had been over.
Why thou hast nothing to do but to confirm to the Colonel that thou art
willing to marry Miss Harlowe, if she will have thee.

Col.   Mr. Lovelace will not scruple to say that, I suppose,
notwithstanding all that has passed: but if you think, Mr. Lovelace, I
have said any thing I should not have said, I suppose it is this, that
the man who has shown so little of the thing honour, to a defenceless
unprotected woman, ought not to stand so nicely upon the empty name of
it, with a man who is expostulating with him upon it.  I am sorry to have
cause to say this, Mr. Lovelace; but I would, on the same occasion,
repeat it to a king upon his throne, and surrounded by all his guards.

Lord M.   But what is all this, but more sacks upon the mill? more coals
upon the fire?  You have a mind to quarrel both of you, I see that.  Are
you not willing, Nephew, are you not most willing, to marry this lady, if
she can be prevailed upon to have you?

Lovel.   D---n me, my Lord, if I'd marry my empress upon such treatment
as this.

Lord M.   Why now, Bob., thou art more choleric than the Colonel.  It was
his turn just now.  And now you see he is cool, you are all gunpowder.

Lovel.   I own the Colonel has many advantages over me; but, perhaps,
there is one advantage he has not, if it were put to the trial.

Col.   I came not hither, as I said before, to seek the occasion: but if
it were offered me, I won't refuse it--and since we find we disturb my
good Lord M. I'll take my leave, and will go home by the way of St.
Alban's.

Lovel.   I'll see you part of the way, with all my heart, Colonel.

Col.   I accept your civility very cheerfully, Mr. Lovelace.

Lord M. (interposing again, as we were both for going out,)   And what
will this do, gentlemen?  Suppose you kill one another, will the matter
be bettered or worsted by that?  Will the lady be made happier or
unhappier, do you think, by either or both of your deaths?  Your
characters are too well known to make fresh instances of the courage of
either needful.  And, I think, if the honour of the lady is your view,
Colonel, it can by no other way so effectually promoted as by marriage.
And, Sir, if you would use your interest with her, it is very probable
that you may succeed, though nobody else can.

Lovel.   I think, my Lord, I have said all that a man can say, (since
what is passed cannot be recalled:) and you see Colonel Morden rises in
proportion to my coolness, till it is necessary for me to assert myself,
or even he would despise me.

Lord M.   Let me ask you, Colonel, have you any way, any method, that you
think reasonable and honourable to propose, to bring about a
reconciliation with the lady?  That is what we all wish for.  And I can
tell you, Sir, it is not a little owing to her family, and to their
implacable usage of her, that her resentments are heightened against my
kinsman; who, however, has used her vilely; but is willing to repair her
wrongs.--

Lovel.   Not, my Lord, for the sake of her family; nor for this
gentleman's haughty behaviour; but for her own sake, and in full sense of
the wrongs I have done her.

Col.   As to my haughty behaviour, as you call it, Sir, I am mistaken if
you would not have gone beyond it in the like case of a relation so
meritorious, and so unworthily injured.  And, Sir, let me tell you, that
if your motives are not love, honour, and justice, and if they have the
least tincture of mean compassion for her, or of an uncheerful assent on
your part, I am sure it will neither be desired or accepted by a person
of my cousin's merit and sense; nor shall I wish that it should.

Lovel.   Don't think, Colonel, that I am meanly compounding off a debate,
that I should as willingly go through with you as to eat or drink, if I
have the occasion given me for it: but thus much I will tell you, that my
Lord, that Lady Sarah Sadleir, Lady Betty Lawrance, my two cousins
Montague, and myself, have written to her in the most solemn and sincere
manner, to offer her such terms as no one but herself would refuse, and
this long enough before Colonel Morden's arrival was dreamt of.

Col.   What reason, Sir, may I ask, does she give, against listening to
so powerful a mediation, and to such offers?

Lovel.   It looks like capitulating, or else--

Col.   It looks not like any such thing to me, Mr. Lovelace, who have as
good an opinion of your spirit as man can have.  And what, pray, is the
part I act, and my motives for it?  Are they not, in desiring that
justice may be done to my Cousin Clarissa Harlowe, that I seek to
establish the honour of Mrs. Lovelace, if matters can once be brought to
bear?

Lovel.   Were she to honour me with her acceptance of that name, Mr.
Morden, I should not want you or any man to assert the honour of Mrs.
Lovelace.

Col.   I believe it.  But still she has honoured you with that
acceptance, she is nearer to me than to you, Mr. Lovelace.  And I speak
this, only to show you that, in the part I take, I mean rather to deserve
your thanks than your displeasure, though against yourself, were there
occasion.  Nor ought you take it amiss, if you rightly weigh the matter:
For, Sir, whom does a lady want protection against but her injurers?  And
who has been her greatest injurer?--Till, therefore, she becomes entitled
to your protection, as your wife, you yourself cannot refuse me some
merit in wishing to have justice done my cousin.  But, Sir, you were
going to say, that if it were not to look like capitulating, you would
hint the reasons my cousin gives against accepting such an honourable
mediation?

I then told him of my sincere offers of marriage: 'I made no difficulty,
I said, to own my apprehensions, that my unhappy behaviour to her had
greatly affected her: but that it was the implacableness of her friends
that had thrown her into despair, and given her a contempt for life.'  I
told him, 'that she had been so good as to send me a letter to divert me
from a visit my heart was set upon making her: a letter on which I built
great hopes, because she assured me that in it she was going to her
father's; and that I might see her there, when she was received, if it
were not my own fault.

Col.   Is it possible?  And were you, Sir, thus earnest?  And did she
send you such a letter?

Lord M. confirmed both; and also, that, in obedience to her desires, and
that intimation, I had come down without the satisfaction I had proposed
to myself in seeing her.

It is very true, Colonel, said I: and I should have told you this before:
but your heat made me decline it; for, as I said, it had an appearance of
meanly capitulating with you.  An abjectness of heart, of which, had I
been capable, I should have despised myself as much as I might have
expected you would despise me.

Lord M. proposed to enter into the proof of all this.  He said, in his
phraseological way, That one story was good till another was heard; and
that the Harlowe family and I, 'twas true, had behaved like so many
Orsons to one another; and that they had been very free with all our
family besides: that nevertheless, for the lady's sake, more than for
their's, or even for mine, (he could tell me,) he would do greater things
for me than they could ask, if she could be brought to have me: and that
this he wanted to declare, and would sooner have declared, if he could
have brought us sooner to patience, and a good understanding.

The Colonel made excuses for his warmth, on the score of his affection to
his cousin.

My regard for her made me readily admit them: and so a fresh bottle of
Burgundy, and another of Champagne, being put upon the table, we sat down
in good humour, after all this blustering, in order to enter closer into
the particulars of the case: which I undertook, at both their desires, to
do.

But these things must be the subject of another letter, which shall
immediately follow this, if it do not accompany it.

Mean time you will observe that a bad cause gives a man great
disadvantages: for I myself thing that the interrogatories put to me with
so much spirit by the Colonel made me look cursedly mean; at the same
time that it gave him a superiority which I know not how to allow to the
best man in Europe.  So that, literally speaking, as a good man would
infer, guilt is its own punisher: in that it makes the most lofty spirit
look like the miscreant he is--a good man, I say: So, Jack, proleptically
I add, thou hast no right to make the observation.



LETTER XL

MR. LOVELACE
[IN CONTINUATION.]
TUESDAY AFTERNOON, AUG. 29.


I went back, in this part of our conversation, to the day that I was
obliged to come down to attend my Lord in the dangerous illness which
some feared would have been his last.

I told the Colonel, 'what earnest letters I had written to a particular
friend, to engage him to prevail upon the lady not to slip a day that had
been proposed for the private celebration of our nuptials; and of my
letters* written to her on that subject;' for I had stepped to my closet,
and fetched down all the letters and draughts and copies of letters
relating to this affair.


* See Vol. VI. Letters XXXVII. XXXVIII. XXXIX. XLIII.


I read to him, 'several passages in the copies of those letters, which,
thou wilt remember, make not a little to my honour.'  And I told him,
'that I wished I had kept copies of those to my friend on the same
occasion; by which he would have seen how much in earnest I was in my
professions to her, although she would not answer one of them;' and thou
mayest remember, that one of those four letters accounted to herself why
I was desirous she should remain where I had left her.*


* See Vol. VI. Letter XXXVII.


I then proceeded to give him an account 'of the visit made by Lady Sarah
and Lady Betty to Lord M. and me, in order to induce me to do her
justice: of my readiness to comply with their desires; and of their high
opinion of her merit: of the visit made to Miss Howe by my cousins
Montague, in the name of us all, to engage her interest with her friend
in my behalf: of my conversation with Miss Howe, at a private assembly,
to whom I gave the same assurances, and besought her interest with her
friend.'

I then read a copy of the letter (though so much to my disadvantage)
which was written to her by Miss Charlotte Montague, Aug. 1,* entreating
her alliance in the names of all our family.


* See Vol. VII. Letter LXVI.


This made him ready to think that his fair cousin carried her resentment
against me too far.  He did not imagine, he said, that either myself or
our family had been so much in earnest.

So thou seest, Belford, that it is but glossing over one part of a story,
and omitting another, that will make a bad cause a good one at any time.
What an admirable lawyer should I have made!  And what a poor hand would
this charming creature, with all her innocence, have made of it in a
court of justice against a man who had so much to say and to show for
himself!

I then hinted at the generous annual tender which Lord M. and his sisters
made to his fair cousin, in apprehension that she might suffer by her
friends' implacableness.

And this also the Colonel highly applauded, and was pleased to lament the
unhappy misunderstanding between the two families, which had made the
Harlowes less fond of an alliance with a family of so much honour as this
instance showed ours to be.

I then told him, 'That having, by my friend, [meaning thee,] who was
admitted into her presence, (and who had always been an admirer of her
virtues, and had given me such advice from time to time in relation to
her as I wished I had followed,) been assured that a visit from me would
be very disagreeable to her, I once more resolved to try what a letter
would do; and that, accordingly, on the seventh of August, I wrote her
one.

'This, Colonel, is the copy of it.  I was then out of humour with my Lord
M. and the ladies of my family.  You will, therefore, read it to
yourself.'*


* See Vol. VII. Letter LXXIX.


This letter gave him high satisfaction.  You write here, Mr. Lovelace,
from your heart.  'Tis a letter full of penitence and acknowledgement.
Your request is reasonable--To be forgiven only as you shall appear to
deserve it after a time of probation, which you leave to her to fix.
Pray, Sir, did she return an answer to this letter?

She did, but with reluctance, I own, and not till I had declared by my
friend, that, if I could not procure one, I would go up to town, and
throw myself at her feet.

I wish I might be permitted to see it, Sir, or to hear such parts of it
read as you shall think proper.

Turning over my papers, Here it is, Sir.*  I will make no scruple to put
it into your hands.

This is very obliging, Mr. Lovelace.

He read it.  My charming cousin!--How strong her resentments!--Yet how
charitable her wishes!--Good Heaven! that such an excellent creature--
But, Mr. Lovelace, it is to your regret, as much as to mine, I doubt not
--

Interrupting him, I swore that it was.

So it ought, said he.  Nor do I wonder that it should be so.  I shall
tell you by-and-by, proceeded he, how much she suffers with her friends
by false and villanous reports.  But, Sir, will you permit me to take
with me these two letters?  I shall make use of them to the advantage of
you both.

I told him I would oblige him with all my heart.  And this he took very
kindly (as he had reason); and put them in his pocket-book, promising to
return hem in a few days.

I then told him, 'That upon this her refusal, I took upon myself to go to
town, in hopes to move her in my favour; and that, though I went without
giving her notice of my intention, yet had she got some notion of my
coming, and so contrived to be out of the way: and at last, when she
found I was fully determined at all events to see her, before I went
abroad, (which I shall do, said I, if I cannot prevail upon her,) she
sent me the letter I have already mentioned to you, desiring me to
suspend my purposed visit: and that for a reason which amazes and
confounds me; because I don't find there is any thing in it: and yet I
never knew her once dispense with her word; for she always made it a
maxim, that it was not lawful to do evil, that good might come of it: and
yet in this letter, for no reason in the world but to avoid seeing me (to
gratify an humour only) has she sent me out of town, depending upon the
assurance she had given me.'

Col.   This is indeed surprising.  But I cannot believe that my cousin,
for such an end only, or indeed for any end, according to the character I
hear of her, should stoop to make use of such an artifice.

Lovel.   This, Colonel, is the thing that astonishes me; and yet, see
here!--This is the letter she wrote me--Nay, Sir, 'tis her own hand.

Col.   I see it is; and a charming hand it is.

Lovel.   You observe, Colonel, that all her hopes of reconciliation with
her parents are from you.  You are her dear blessed friend!  She always
talked of you with delight.

Col.   Would to Heaven I had come to England before she left
Harlowe-place!--Nothing of this had then happened.  Not a man of those
whom I have heard that her friends proposed for her should have had her.
Nor you, Mr. Lovelace, unless I had found you to be the man every one who
sees you must wish you to be: and if you had been that man, no one living
should I have preferred to you for such an excellence.

My Lord and I both joined in the wish: and 'faith I wished it most
cordially.

The Colonel read the letter twice over, and then returned it to me.  'Tis
all a mystery, said he.  I can make nothing of it.  For, alas! her
friends are as averse to a reconciliation as ever.

Lord M.   I could not have thought it.  But don't you think there is
something very favourable to my nephew in this letter--something that
looks as if the lady would comply at last?

Col.   Let me die if I know what to make of it.  This letter is very
different from her preceding one!--You returned an answer to it, Mr.
Lovelace?

Lovel.   An answer, Colonel!  No doubt of it.  And an answer full of
transport.  I told her, 'I would directly set out for Lord M.'s, in
obedience to her will.  I told her that I would consent to any thing she
should command, in order to promote this happy reconciliation.  I told
her that it should be my hourly study, to the end of my life, to deserve
a goodness so transcendent.'  But I cannot forbear saying that I am not a
little shocked and surprised, if nothing more be meant by it than to get
me into the country without seeing her.

Col.   That can't be the thing, depend upon it, Sir.  There must be more
in it than that.  For, were that all, she must think you would soon be
undeceived, and that you would then most probably resume your intention--
unless, indeed, she depended upon seeing me in the interim, as she knew I
was arrived.  But I own I know not what to make of it.  Only that she
does me a great deal of honour, if it be me that she calls her dear
blessed friend, whom she always loved and honoured.  Indeed I ever loved
her: and if I die unmarried, and without children, shall be as kind to
her as her grandfather was: and the rather, as I fear there is too much
of envy and self-love in the resentments her brother and sister endeavour
to keep up in her father and mother against her.  But I shall know better
how to judge of this, when my cousin James comes from Edinburgh; and he
is every hour expected.

But let me ask you, Mr. Lovelace, what is the name of your friend, who is
admitted so easily into my cousin's presence?  Is it not Belford, pray?

Lovel.   It is, Sir; and Mr. Belford's a man of honour; and a great
admirer of your fair cousin.

Was I right, as to the first, Jack?  The last I have such strong proof
of, that it makes me question the first; since she would not have been
out of the way of my intended visit but for thee.

Col.   Are you sure, Sir, that Mr. Belford is a man of honour?

Lovel.   I can swear for him, Colonel.  What makes you put this question?

Col.   Only this: that an officious pragmatical novice has been sent up
to inquire into my cousin's life and conversation: And, would you believe
it? the frequent visits of this gentlemen have been interpreted basely to
her disreputation.--Read that letter, Mr. Lovelace; and you will be
shocked at ever part of it.

This cursed letter, no doubt, is from the young Levite, whom thou, Jack,
describest as making inquiry of Mrs. Smith about Miss Harlowe's character
and visiters.*


* See Vol. VII. Letter LXXXI.


I believe I was a quarter of an hour in reading it: for I made it, though
not a short one, six times as long as it is, by the additions of oaths
and curses to every pedantic line.  Lord M. too helped to lengthen it, by
the like execrations.  And thou, Jack, wilt have as much reason to curse
it as we.

You cannot but see, said the Colonel, when I had done reading it, that
this fellow has been officious in his malevolence; for what he says is
mere hearsay, and that hearsay conjectural scandal without fact, or the
appearance of fact, to support it; so that an unprejudiced eye, upon the
face of the letter, would condemn the writer of it, as I did, and acquit
my cousin.  But yet, such is the spirit by which the rest of my relations
are governed, that they run away with the belief of the worst it
insinuates, and the dear creature has had shocking letters upon it; the
pedant's hints are taken; and a voyage to one of the colonies has been
proposed to her, as the only way to avoid Mr. Belford and you.  I have
not seen these letters indeed; but they took a pride in repeating some of
their contents, which must have cut the poor soul to the heart; and
these, joined to her former sufferings,--What have you not, Mr. Lovelace,
to answer for?

Lovel.   Who the devil could have expected such consequences as these?
Who could have believe there could be parents so implacable?  Brother and
sister so immovably fixed against the only means that could be taken to
put all right with every body?--And what now can be done?

Lord M.   I have great hopes that Col. Morden may yet prevail upon his
cousin.  And, by her last letter, it runs in my mind that she has some
thoughts of forgiving all that's past.  Do you think, Colonel, if there
should not be such a thing as a reconciliation going forward at present,
that her letter may not imply that, if we could bring such a thing to
bear with her friends, she would be reconciled with Mr. Lovelace?

Col.   Such an artifice would better become the Italian subtilty than the
English simplicity.  Your Lordship has been in Italy, I presume?

Lovel.   My Lord has read Boccaccio, perhaps; and that's as well, as to
the hint he gives, which may be borrowed from one of that author's
stories.  But Miss Clarissa Harlowe is above all artifice.  She must have
some meaning I cannot fathom.

Col.   Well, my Lord, I can only say that I will make some use of the
letters Mr. Lovelace has obliged me with: and after I have had some talk
with my cousin James, who is hourly expected; and when I have dispatched
two or three affairs that press upon me; I will pay my respects to my
dear cousin; and shall then be able to form a better judgment of things.
Mean time I will write to her; for I have sent to inquire about her, and
find she wants consolation.

Lovel.   If you favour me, Colonel, with the d----d letter of that fellow
Brand for a day or two, you will oblige me.

Col.   I will.  But remember, the man is a parson, Mr. Lovelace; an
innocent one too, they say.  Else I had been at him before now.  And
these college novices, who think they know every thing in their
cloisters, and that all learning lies in books, make dismal figures when
they come into the world among men and women.

Lord M.   Brand!  Brand!  It should have been Firebrand, I think in my
conscience!

Thus ended this doughty conference.

I cannot say, Jack, but I am greatly taken with Col. Morden.  He is brave
and generous, and knows the world; and then his contempt of the parsons
is a certain sign that he is one of us.

We parted with great civility: Lord M. (not a little pleased that we did,
and as greatly taken with Colonel) repeated his wish, after the Colonel
was gone, that he had arrived in time to save the lady, if that would
have done it.

I wish so too.  For by my soul, Jack, I am every day more and more uneasy
about her.  But I hope she is not so ill as I am told she is.

I have made Charlotte transcribe the letter of this Firebrand, as my Lord
calls him; and will enclose her copy of it.  All thy phlegm I know will
be roused into vengeance when thou readest it.

I know not what to advise as to showing it to the lady.  Yet, perhaps,
she will be able to reap more satisfaction than concern from it, knowing
her own innocence; in that it will give her to hope that her friends'
treatment of her is owing as much to misrepresentation as to their own
natural implacableness.  Such a mind as her's, I know, would be glad to
find out the shadow of a reason for the shocking letters the Colonel says
they have sent her, and for their proposal to her of going to some one of
the colonies [confound them all--but, if I begin to curse, I shall never
have done]--Then it may put her upon such a defence as she might be glad
of an opportunity to make, and to shame them for their monstrous
credulity--but this I leave to thy own fat-headed prudence--Only it vexes
me to the heart, that even scandal and calumny should dare to surmise the
bare possibility of any man sharing the favours of a woman, whom now
methinks I could worship with a veneration due only to a divinity.

Charlotte and her sister could not help weeping at the base aspersion:
When, when, said Patty, lifting up her hands, will this sweet lady's
sufferings be at an end?--O cousin Lovelace!--

And thus am I blamed for every one's faults!--When her brutal father
curses her, it is I.  I upbraid her with her severe mother.  The
implacableness of her stupid uncles is all mine.  The virulence of her
brother, and the spite of her sister, are entirely owing to me.  The
letter of this rascal Brand is of my writing--O Jack, what a wretch is
thy Lovelace!


***


Returned without a letter!--This d----d fellow Will. is returned without
a letter!--Yet the rascal tells me that he hears you have been writing to
me these two days!

Plague confound thee, who must know my impatience, and the reason for it!

To send a man and horse on purpose; as I did!  My imagination chained me
to the belly of the beast, in order to keep pace with him!--Now he is got
to this place; now to that; now to London; now to thee!

Now [a letter given him] whip and spur upon the return.  This town just
entered, not staying to bait: that village passed by: leaves the wind
behind him; in a foaming sweat man and horse.

And in this way did he actually enter Lord M.'s courtyard.

The reverberating pavement brought me down--The letter, Will.!  The
letter, dog!--The letter, Sirrah!

No letter, Sir!--Then wildly staring round me, fists clenched, and
grinning like a maniac, Confound thee for a dog, and him that sent thee
without one!--This moment out of my sight, or I'll scatter thy stupid
brains through the air.  I snatched from his holsters a pistol, while the
rascal threw himself from the foaming beast, and ran to avoid the fate
which I wished with all my soul thou hadst been within the reach of me to
have met with.

But, to be as meek as a lamb to one who has me at his mercy, and can
wring and torture my soul as he pleases, What canst thou mean to send
back my varlet without a letter?--I will send away by day-dawn another
fellow upon another beast for what thou hast written; and I charge thee
on thy allegiance, that thou dispatch him not back empty-handed.


POSTSCRIPT

Charlotte, in a whim of delicacy, is displeased that I send the enclosed
letter to you--that her handwriting, forsooth! should go into the hands
of a single man!

There's encouragement for thee, Belford!  This is a certain sign that
thou may'st have her if thou wilt.  And yet, till she has given me this
unerring demonstration of her glancing towards thee, I could not have
thought it.  Indeed I have often in pleasantry told her that I would
bring such an affair to bear.  But I never intended it; because she
really is a dainty girl; and thou art such a clumsy fellow in thy person,
that I should as soon have wished her a rhinoceros for a husband as thee.
But, poor little dears! they must stay till their time's come!  They
won't have this man, and they won't have that man, from seventeen to
twenty-five: but then, afraid, as the saying is, that God has forgot
them, and finding their bloom departing, they are glad of whom they can
get, and verify the fable of the parson and the pears.



LETTER XLI

MR. BRAND, TO JOHN HARLOWE, ESQ.
[ENCLOSED IN THE PRECEDING.]


WORTHY SIR, MY VERY GOOD FRIEND AND PATRON,

I arrived in town yesterday, after a tolerably pleasant journey
(considering the hot weather and dusty roads).  I put up at the Bull and
Gate in Holborn, and hastened to Covent-garden.  I soon found the house
where the unhappy lady lodgeth.  And, in the back shop, had a good deal
of discourse* with Mrs. Smith, (her landlady,) whom I found to be so
'highly prepossessed'** in her 'favour,' that I saw it would not answer
your desires to take my informations 'altogether' from her: and being
obliged to attend my patron, (who to my sorrow,


* See Vol. VII. Letter LXXXI.
** Transcriber's note: Mr. Brand's letters are characterized by a style
that makes excessive use of italics for emphasis. Although in the
remainder of _Clarissa_ I have largely disregarded italics for the sake
of plain-text formatting, this style makes such emphatic use of italics
that I have indicated all such instances in his letters by placing the
italicized words and phrases in quotations, thus ' '.


      'Miserum et aliena vivere quadra,')

I find wanteth much waiting upon, and is 'another' sort of man than he
was at college: for, Sir, 'inter nos,' 'honours change manners.'  For the
'aforesaid causes,' I thought it would best answer all the ends of the
commission with which you honoured me, to engage, in the desired
scrutiny,  the wife of a 'particular friend,' who liveth almost
over-against the house where she lodgeth, and who is a gentlewoman of
'character,' and 'sobriety,' a 'mother of children,' and one who
'knoweth' the 'world' well.

To her I applied myself, therefore, and gave her a short history of the
case, and desired she would very particularly inquire into the 'conduct'
of the unhappy young lady; her 'present way of life' and 'subsistence';
her 'visiters,' her 'employments,' and such-like: for these, Sir, you
know, are the things whereof you wished to be informed.

Accordingly, Sir, I waited upon the gentlewoman aforesaid, this day; and,
to 'my' very great trouble, (because I know it will be to 'your's,' and
likewise to all your worthy family's,) I must say, that I do find things
look a little more 'darkly' than I hoped the would.  For, alas! Sir, the
gentlewoman's report turneth out not so 'favourable' for Miss's
reputation, as 'I' wished, as 'you' wished, and as 'every one' of her
friends wished.  But so it is throughout the world, that 'one false step'
generally brings on 'another'; and peradventure 'a worse,' and 'a still
worse'; till the poor 'limed soul' (a very fit epithet of the Divine
Quarles's!) is quite 'entangled,' and (without infinite mercy) lost for
ever.

It seemeth, Sir, she is, notwithstanding, in a very 'ill state of
health.'  In this, 'both' gentlewomen (that is to say, Mrs. Smith, her
landlady, and my friend's wife) agree.  Yet she goeth often out in a
chair, to 'prayers' (as it is said).  But my friend's wife told me, that
nothing is more common in London, than that the frequenting of the church
at morning prayers is made the 'pretence' and 'cover' for 'private
assignations.'  What a sad thing is this! that what was designed for
'wholesome nourishment' to the 'poor soul,' should be turned into 'rank
poison!'  But as Mr. Daniel de Foe (an ingenious man, though a
'dissenter') observeth (but indeed it is an old proverb; only I think he
was the first that put it into verse)

      God never had a house of pray'r
      But Satan had a chapel there.

Yet to do the lady 'justice,' nobody cometh home with her: nor indeed
'can' they, because she goeth forward and backward in a 'sedan,' or
'chair,' (as they call it).  But then there is a gentleman of 'no good
character' (an 'intimado' of Mr. Lovelace) who is a 'constant' visiter
of her, and of the people of the house, whom he 'regaleth' and
'treateth,' and hath (of consequence) their 'high good words.'

I have thereupon taken the trouble (for I love to be 'exact' in any
'commission' I undertake) to inquire 'particularly' about this
'gentleman,' as he is called (albeit I hold no man so but by his actions:
for, as Juvenal saith,

      --'Nobilitas sola est, atque unica virtus')

And this I did 'before' I would sit down to write to you.

His name is Belford.  He hath a paternal estate of upwards of one
thousand pounds by the year; and is now in mourning for an uncle who left
him very considerably besides.  He beareth a very profligate character as
to 'women,' (for I inquired particularly about 'that,') and is Mr.
Lovelace's more especial 'privado,' with whom he holdeth a 'regular
correspondence'; and hath been often seen with Miss (tete a tete) at the
'window'--in no 'bad way,' indeed: but my friend's wife is of opinion
that all is not 'as it should be.'  And, indeed, it is mighty strange to
me, if Miss be so 'notable a penitent' (as is represented) and if she
have such an 'aversion' to Mr. Lovelace, that she will admit his
'privado' into 'her retirements,' and see 'no other company.'

I understand, from Mrs. Smith, that Mr. Hickman was to see her some time
ago, from Miss Howe; and I am told, by 'another' hand, (you see, Sir, how
diligent I have been to execute the 'commissions' you gave me,) that he
had no 'extraordinary opinion' of this Belford at first; though they were
seen together one morning by the opposite neighbour, at 'breakfast': and
another time this Belford was observed to 'watch' Mr. Hickman's coming
from her; so that, as it should seem, he was mighty zealous to
'ingratiate' himself with Mr. Hickman; no doubt to engage him to make a
'favourable report to Miss Howe' of the 'intimacy' he was admitted into
by her unhappy friend; who ('as she is very ill') may 'mean no harm' in
allowing his visits, (for he, it seemeth, brought to her, or recommended,
at least, the doctor and apothecary that attend her:) but I think (upon
the whole) 'it looketh not well.'

I am sorry, Sir, I cannot give you a better account of the young lady's
'prudence.'  But, what shall we say?

      'Uvaque conspecta livorem ducit ab uva,'

as Juvenal observeth.

One thing I am afraid of; which is, that Miss may be under 'necessities';
and that this Belford (who, as Mrs. Smith owns, hath 'offered her money,'
which she, 'at the time,' refused) may find an opportunity to 'take
advantage' of those 'necessities': and it is well observed by that poet,
that

      'AEgre formosam poteris servare puellam:
         Nunc prece, nunc pretio, forma petita ruit.'

And this Belford (who is a 'bold man,' and hath, as they say, the 'look'
of one) may make good that of Horace, (with whose writings you are so
well acquainted; nobody better;)

      'Audax omnia perpeti,
      Gens humana ruit per vetitum nefas.'

Forgive me, Sir, for what I am going to write: but if you could prevail
upon the rest of your family to join in the scheme which 'you,' and her
'virtuous sister,' Miss Arabella, and the Archdeacon, and I, once talked
of, (which is to persuade the unhappy young lady to go, in some
'creditable' manner, to some one of the foreign colonies,) it might not
save only her 'own credit' and 'reputation,' but the 'reputation' and
'credit' of all her 'family,' and a great deal of 'vexation' moreover.
For it is my humble opinion, that you will hardly (any of you) enjoy
yourselves while this ('once' innocent) young lady is in the way of being
so frequently heard of by you: and this would put her 'out of the way'
both of 'this Belford' and of 'that Lovelace,' and it might,
peradventure, prevent as much 'evil' as 'scandal.'

You will forgive me, Sir, for this my 'plainness.'  Ovid pleadeth for me,

      '----Adulator nullus amicus erit.'

And I have no view but that of approving myself a 'zealous well-wisher'
to 'all' your worthy family, (whereto I owe a great number of
obligations,) and very particularly, Sir,

Your obliged and humble servant,
ELIAS BRAND.

WEDN. AUG. 9.


P.S. I shall give you 'farther hints' when I come down, (which will be in
      a few days;) and who my 'informants' were; but by 'these' you will
      see, that I have been very assiduous (for the time) in the task you
      set me upon.

The 'length' of my letter you will excuse: for I need not tell you, Sir,
      what 'narrative,' 'complex,' and 'conversation' letters (such a one
      as 'mine') require.  Every one to his 'talent.'  'Letter-writing'
      is mine.  I will be bold to say; and that my 'correspondence' was
      much coveted in the university, on that account, by 'tyros,' and
      by 'sophs,' when I was hardly a 'soph' myself.  But this I should
      not have taken upon myself to mention, but only in defence of the
      'length' of my letter; for nobody writeth 'shorter' or 'pithier,'
      when the subject requireth 'common forms' only--but, in apologizing
      for my 'prolixity,' I am 'adding' to the 'fault,' (if it were one,
      which, however, I cannot think it to be, the 'subject' considered:
      but this I have said before in other words:) so, Sir, if you will
      excuse my 'post-script,' I am sure you will not find fault with my
      'letter.'

One word more as to a matter of 'erudition,' which you greatly love to
      hear me 'start' and 'dwell upon.'  Dr. Lewen once, in 'your'
      presence, (as you, 'my good patron,' cannot but remember,) in a
      'smartish' kind of debate between 'him' and 'me,' took upon him to
      censure the 'paranthetical' style, as I call it.  He was a very
      learned and judicious man, to be sure, and an ornament to 'our
      function': but yet I must needs say, that it is a style which I
      greatly like; and the good Doctor was then past his 'youth,' and
      that time of life, of consequence, when a 'fertile imagination,'
      and a 'rich fancy,' pour in ideas so fast upon a writer, that
      parentheses are often wanted (and that for the sake of 'brevity,'
      as well as 'perspicuity') to save the reader the trouble of reading
      a passage 'more than once.'  Every man to his talent, (as I said
      before.)  We are all so apt to set up our 'natural biasses' for
      'general standards,' that I wondered 'the less' at the worthy
      Doctor's 'stiffness' on this occasion.  He 'smiled at me,' you may
      remember, Sir--and, whether I was right or not, I am sure I 'smiled
      at him.'  And 'you,' my 'worthy patron,' (as I had the satisfaction
      to observe,) seemed to be of 'my party.'  But was it not strange,
      that the 'old gentleman' and 'I' should so widely differ, when the
      'end' with 'both' (that is to say, 'perspicuity' or 'clearness,')
      was the same?--But what shall we say?--

            'Errare est hominis, sed non persistere.'

I think I have nothing to add until I have the honour of attending you in
      'person'; but I am, (as above,) &c. &c. &c.

E.B.



LETTER XLII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT, AUG. 30.


It was lucky enough that our two servants met at Hannah's,* which gave
them so good an opportunity of exchanging their letters time enough for
each to return to his master early in the day.


* The Windmill, near Slough.


Thou dost well to boast of thy capacity for managing servants, and to set
up for correcting our poets in their characters of this class of people,*
when, like a madman, thou canst beat their teeth out, and attempt to
shoot them through the head, for not bringing to thee what they had no
power to obtain.


* See Letter XX. of this volume.


You well observe* that you would have made a thorough-paced lawyer.  The
whole of the conversation-piece between you and the Colonel affords a
convincing proof that there is a black and a white side to every cause:
But what must the conscience of a partial whitener of his own cause, or
blackener of another's, tell him, while he is throwing dust in the eyes
of his judges, and all the time knows his own guilt?


* See Letter XL. of this volume.


The Colonel, I see, is far from being a faultless man: but while he
sought not to carry his point by breach of faith, he has an excuse which
thou hast not.  But, with respect to him, and to us all, I can now, with
the detestation of some of my own actions, see, that the taking advantage
of another person's good opinion of us to injure (perhaps to ruin) that
other, is the most ungenerous wickedness that can be committed.

Man acting thus by man, we should not be at a loss to give such actions a
name: But is it not doubly and trebly aggravated, when such advantage is
taken of an unexperienced and innocent young creature, whom we pretend to
love above all the women in the world; and when we seal our pretences by
the most solemn vows and protestations of inviolable honour that we can
invent?

I see that this gentleman is the best match thou ever couldest have had,
upon all accounts: his spirit such another impetuous one as thy own; soon
taking fire; vindictive; and only differing in this, that the cause he
engages in is a just one.  But commend me to honest brutal Mowbray, who,
before he knew the cause, offers his sword in thy behalf against a man
who had taken the injured side, and whom he had never seen before.

As soon as I had run through your letters, and the copy of that of the
incendiary Brand's, (by the latter of which I saw to what cause a great
deal of this last implacableness of the Harlowe family is owing,) I took
coach to Smith's, although I had been come from thence but about an hour,
and had taken leave of the lady for the night.

I sent up for Mrs. Lovick, and desired her, in the first place, to
acquaint the lady (who was busied in her closet,) that I had letters from
Berks: in which I was informed, that the interview between Colonel Morden
and Mr. Lovelace had ended without ill consequences; that the Colonel
intended to write to her very soon, and was interesting himself mean
while, in her favour, with her relations; that I hoped that this
agreeable news would be means of giving her good rest; and I would wait
upon her in the morning, by the time she should return from prayers, with
all the particulars.

She sent me word that she should be glad to see me in the morning; and
was highly obliged to me for the good news I had sent her up.

I then, in the back shop, read to Mrs. Lovick and to Mrs. Smith the copy
of Brand's letter, and asked them if they could guess at the man's
informant?  They were not at a loss; Mrs. Smith having seen the same
fellow Brand who had talked with her, as I mentioned in the former,* come
out of a milliner's shop over against them; which milliner, she said, had
also lately been very inquisitive about the lady.


* See Vol. VII. Letter LXXXI.


I wanted no farther hint; but, bidding them take no notice to the lady of
what I had read, I shot over the way, and, asking for the mistress of the
house, she came to me.

Retiring with her, at her invitation, into her parlour, I desired to know
if she were acquainted with a young country clergyman of the name of
Brand.  She hesitatingly, seeing me in some emotion, owned that she had
some small knowledge of the gentleman.  Just then came in her husband,
who is, it seems, a petty officer of excise, (and not an ill-behaved
man,) who owned a fuller knowledge of him.

I have the copy of a letter, said I, from this Brand, in which he has
taken great liberties with my character, and with that of the most
unblamable lady in the world, which he grounds upon information that you,
Madam, have given him.  And then I read to them several passages in his
letter, and asked what foundation she had for giving that fellow such
impressions of either of us?

They knew not what to answer: but at last said, that he had told them how
wickedly the young lady had run away from her parents: what worthy and
rich people they were: in what favour he stood with them; and that they
had employed him to inquire after her behaviour, visiters, &c.

They said, 'That indeed they knew very little of the young lady; but that
[curse upon their censoriousness!] it was but too natural to think, that,
where a lady had given way to a delusion, and taken so wrong a step, she
would not stop there: that the most sacred places and things were but too
often made clokes for bad actions; that Mr. Brand had been informed
(perhaps by some enemy of mine) that I was a man of very free principles,
and an intimado, as he calls it, of the man who had ruined her.  And that
their cousin Barker, a manteau-maker, who lodged up one pair of stairs,'
(and who, at their desire, came down and confirmed what they said,) 'had
often, from her window, seen me with the lady in her chamber, and both
talking very earnestly together; and that Mr. Brand, being unable to
account for her admiring my visits, and knowing I was but a new
acquaintance of her's, and an old one of Mr. Lovelace, thought himself
obliged to lay these matters before her friends.'

This was the sum and substance of their tale.  O how I cursed the
censoriousness of this plaguy triumvirate!  A parson, a milliner, and a
mantua-maker!  The two latter, not more by business led to adorn the
persons, than generally by scandal to destroy the reputations, of those
they have a mind to exercise their talents upon!

The two women took great pains to persuade me that they themselves were
people of conscience;--of consequence, I told them, too much addicted, I
feared, to censure other people who pretended not to their strictness;
for that I had ever found censoriousness, with those who affected to be
thought more pious than their neighbours.

They answered, that that was not their case; and that they had since
inquired into the lady's character and manner of life, and were very much
concerned to think any thing they had said should be made use of against
her: and as they heard from Mrs. Smith that she was not likely to live
long, they should be sorry she should go out of the world a sufferer by
their means, or with an ill opinion of them, though strangers to her.
The husband offered to write, if I pleased, to Mr. Brand, in vindication
of the lady; and the two women said they should be glad to wait upon her
in person, to beg her pardon for any thing she had reason to take amiss
from them; because they were now convinced that there was not such
another young lady in the world.

I told them that the least said of the affair to the lady, in her present
circumstances, was best.  That she was a heavenly creature, and fond of
taking all occasions to find excuses for her relations on their
implacableness to her: that therefore I should take some notice to her of
the uncharitable and weak surmises which gave birth to so vile a scandal:
but that I would have him, Mr. Walton, (for that is the husband's name,)
write to his acquaintance Brand as soon as possible, as he had offered;
and so I left them.

As to what thou sayest of thy charming cousin, let me know if thou hast
any meaning in it.  I have not the vanity to think myself deserving of
such a lady as Miss Montague; and should not therefore care to expose
myself to her scorn and to thy derision.  But were I assured I might
avoid both of these, I would soon acquaint thee that I should think no
pains nor assiduity too much to obtain a share in the good graces of such
a lady.

But I know thee too well to depend upon any thing thou sayest on this
subject.  Thou lovest to make thy friends the objects of ridicule to
ladies; and imaginest, from the vanity, (and, in this respect, I will say
littleness,) of thine own heart, that thou shinest the brighter for the
foil.

Thus didst thou once play off the rough Mowbray with Miss Hatton, till
the poor fellow knew not how to go either backward or forward.



LETTER XLIII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
THURSDAY, 11 O'CLOCK, AUG. 31.


I am just come from the lady, whom I left cheerful and serene.

She thanked me for my communication of the preceding night.  I read to
her such parts of your letters as I could read to her; and I thought it
was a good test to distinguish the froth and whipt-syllabub in them from
the cream, in what one could and could not read to a woman of so fine a
mind; since four parts out of six of thy letters, which I thought
entertaining as I read them to myself, appeared to me, when I should have
read them to her, most abominable stuff, and gave me a very contemptible
idea of thy talents, and of my own judgment.

She as far from rejoicing, as I had done, at the disappointment her
letter gave you when explained.

She said, she meant only an innocent allegory, which might carry
instruction and warning to you, when the meaning was taken, as well as
answer her own hopes for the time.  It was run off in a hurry.  She was
afraid it was not quite right in her.  But hoped the end would excuse (if
it could not justify) the means.  And then she again expressed a good
deal of apprehension lest you should still take it into your head to
molest her, when her time, she said, was so short, that she wanted every
moment of it; repeating what she had once said before, that, when she
wrote, she was so ill that she believed she should not have lived till
now: if she had thought she should, she must have studied for an
expedient that would have better answered her intentions.  Hinting at a
removal out of the knowledge of us both.

But she was much pleased that the conference between you and Colonel
Morden, after two or three such violent sallies, as I acquainted her you
had had between you, ended so amicably; and said she must absolutely
depend upon the promise I had given her to use my utmost endeavours to
prevent farther mischief on her account.

She was pleased with the justice you did her character to her cousin.

She was glad to hear that he had so kind an opinion of her, and that he
would write to her.

I was under an unnecessary concern, how to break to her that I had the
copy of Brand's vile letter: unnecessary, I say; for she took it just as
you thought she would, as an excuse she wished to have for the
implacableness of her friends; and begged I would let her read it
herself; for, said she, the contents cannot disturb me, be they what they
will.

I gave it to her, and she read it to herself; a tear now and then being
ready to start, and a sigh sometimes interposing.

She gave me back the letter with great and surprising calmness,
considering the subject.

There was a time, said she, and that not long since, when such a letter
as this would have greatly pained me.  But I hope I have now go above all
these things: and I can refer to your kind offices, and to those of Miss
Howe, the justice that will be done to my memory among my friends.  There
is a good and a bad light in which every thing that befalls us may be
taken.  If the human mind will busy itself to make the worst of every
disagreeable occurrence, it will never want woe.  This letter, affecting
as the subject of it is to my reputation, gives me more pleasure than
pain, because I can gather from it, that had not my friends been
prepossessed by misinformed or rash and officious persons, who are always
at hand to flatter or soothe the passions of the affluent, they could not
have been so immovably determined against me.  But now they are
sufficiently cleared from every imputation of unforgivingness; for, while
I appeared to them in the character of a vile hypocrite, pretending to
true penitence, yet giving up myself to profligate courses, how could I
expect either their pardon or blessing?

But, Madam, said I, you'll see by the date of this letter, that their
severity, previous to that, cannot be excused by it.

It imports me much, replied she, on account of my present wishes, as to
the office you are so kind to undertake, that you should not think
harshly of my friends.  I must own to you, that I have been apt sometimes
myself to think them not only severe but cruel.  Suffering minds will be
partial to their own cause and merits.  Knowing their own hearts, if
sincere, they are apt to murmur when harshly treated: But, if they are
not believed to be innocent, by persons who have a right to decide upon
their conduct according to their own judgments, how can it be helped?
Besides, Sir, how do you know, that there are not about my friends as
well-meaning misrepresenters as Mr. Brand really seems to be?  But, be
this as it will, there is no doubt that there are and have been
multitudes of persons, as innocent as myself, who have suffered upon
surmises as little probable as those on which Mr. Brand founds his
judgment.  Your intimacy, Sir, with Mr. Lovelace, and (may I say?) a
character which, it seems, you have been less solicitous formerly to
justify than perhaps you will be for the future, and your frequent visits
to me may well be thought to be questionable circumstances in my conduct.

I could only admire her in silence.

But you see, Sir, proceeded she, how necessary it is for young people of
our sex to be careful of our company.  And how much, at the same time, it
behoves young persons of your's to be chary of their own reputation, were
it only for the sake of such of our's as they may mean honourably by, and
who otherwise may suffer in their good names for being seen in their
company.

As to Mr. Brand, continued she, he is to be pitied; and let me enjoin
you, Mr. Belford, not to take any resentments against him which may be
detrimental either to his person or his fortunes.  Let his function and
his good meaning plead for him.  He will have concern enough, when he
finds every body, whose displeasure I now labour under, acquitting my
memory of perverse guilt, and joining in a general pity for me.

This, Lovelace, is the woman whose life thou hast curtailed in the
blossom of it!--How many opportunities must thou have had of admiring her
inestimable worth, yet couldst have thy senses so much absorbed in the
WOMAN, in her charming person, as to be blind to the ANGEL, that shines
out in such full glory in her mind!  Indeed, I have ever thought myself,
when blest with her conversation, in the company of a real angel: and I
am sure it would be impossible for me, were she to be as beautiful, and
as crimsoned over with health, as I have seen her, to have the least
thought of sex, when I heard her talk.


THURSDAY, THREE O'CLOCK, AUG. 31.

On my re-visit to the lady, I found her almost as much a sufferer from
joy as she had sometimes been from grief; for she had just received a
very kind letter from her cousin Morden; which she was so good as to
communicate to me.  As she had already begun to answer it, I begged leave
to attend her in the evening, that I might not interrupt her in it.

The letter is a very tender one * * * *

[Here Mr. Belford gives the substance of it upon his memory; but that is
      omitted; as the letter is given at length (see the next letter.)
      And then adds:]

But, alas! all will be now too late.  For the decree is certainly gone
out--the world is unworthy of her.



LETTER XLIV

COLONEL MORDEN, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
TUESDAY, AUG. 29.


I should not, my dearest Cousin, have been a fortnight in England,
without either doing myself the honour of waiting upon you in person, or
of writing to you; if I had not been busying myself almost all the time
in your service, in hopes of making my visit or letter still more
acceptable to you--acceptable as I have reason to presume either will be
from the unquestionable love I ever bore you, and from the esteem you
always honoured me with.

Little did I think that so many days would have been required to effect
my well-intended purpose, where there used to be a love so ardent on one
side, and where there still is, as I am thoroughly convinced, the most
exalted merit on the other!

I was yesterday with Mr. Lovelace and Lord M.  I need not tell you, it
seems, how very desirous the whole family and all the relations of that
nobleman are of the honour of an alliance with you; nor how exceedingly
earnest the ungrateful man is to make you all the reparation in his
power.

I think, my dear Cousin, that you cannot now do better than to give him
the honour of your hand.  He says just and great things of your virtue,
and so heartily condemns himself, that I think there is honorable room
for you to forgive him: and the more room, as it seems you are determined
against a legal prosecution.

Your effectual forgiveness of Mr. Lovelace, it is evident to me, will
accelerate a general reconciliation: for, at present, my other cousins
cannot persuade themselves that he is in earnest to do you justice; or
that you would refuse him, if you believed he was.

But, my dear Cousin, there may possibly be something in this affair, to
which I may be a stranger.  If there be, and you will acquaint me with
it, all that a naturally-warm heart can do in your behalf shall be done.

I hope I shall be able, in my next visits to my several cousins, to set
all right with them.  Haughty spirits, when convinced that they have
carried resentments too high, want but a good excuse to condescend: and
parents must always love the child they once loved.

But if I find them inflexible, I will set out, and attend you without
delay; for I long to see you, after so many years' absence.

Mean while, I beg the favour of a few lines, to know if you have reason
to doubt Mr. Lovelace's sincerity.  For my part, I can have none, if I am
to judge from the conversation that passed between us yesterday, in
presence of Lord M.

You will be pleased to direct for me at your uncle Antony's.

Permit me, my dearest Cousin, till I can procure a happy reconciliation
between you and your father, and brother, and uncles, to supply the place
to you of all those near relations, as well as that of

Your affectionate kinsman, and humble servant,
WM. MORDEN.



LETTER XLV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO WM. MORDEN, ESQ.
THURSDAY, AUG. 31.


I most heartily congratulate you, dear Sir, on your return to your native
country.

I heard with much pleasure that you were come; but I was both afraid and
ashamed, till you encouraged me by a first notice, to address myself to
you.

How consoling is it to my wounded heart to find that you have not been
carried away by that tide of resentment and displeasure with which I have
been so unhappily overwhelmed--but that, while my still nearer relations
have not thought fit to examine into the truth of vile reports raised
against me, you have informed yourself of my innocence, and generously
credited the information!

I have not the least reason to doubt Mr. Lovelace's sincerity in his
offers of marriage; nor that all his relations are heartily desirous of
ranking me among them.  I have had noble instances of their esteem for
me, on their apprehending that my father's displeasure must have had
absolutely refused their pressing solicitations in their kinsman's favour
as well as his own.

Nor think me, my dear Cousin, blamable for refusing him.  I had given Mr.
Lovelace no reason to think me a weak creature.  If I had, a man of his
character might have thought himself warranted to endeavour to take
ungenerous advantage of the weakness he had been able to inspire.  The
consciousness of my own weakness (in that case) might have brought me to
a composition with his wickedness.

I can indeed forgive him.  But that is, because I think his crimes have
set me above him.  Can I be above the man, Sir, to whom I shall give my
hand and my vows, and with them a sanction to the most premeditated
baseness?  No, Sir, let me say, that your cousin Clarissa, were she
likely to live many years, and that (if she married not this man) in
penury or want, despised and forsaken by all her friends, puts not so
high a value upon the conveniencies of life, nor upon life itself, as to
seek to re-obtain the one, or to preserve the other, by giving such a
sanction: a sanction, which (were she to perform her duty,) would reward
the violator.

Nor is it so much from pride as from principle that I say this.  What,
Sir! when virtue, when chastity, is the crown of a woman, and
particularly of a wife, shall form an attempt upon her's but upon a
presumption that she was capable of receiving his offered hand when he
had found himself mistaken in the vile opinion he had conceived of her?
Hitherto he has not had reason to think me weak.  Nor will I give an
instance so flagrant, that weak I am in a point in which it would be
criminal to be found weak.

One day, Sir, you will perhaps know all my story.  But, whenever it is
known, I beg that the author of my calamities may not be vindictively
sought after.  He could not have been the author of them, but for a
strange concurrence of unhappy causes.  As the law will not be able to
reach him when I am gone, the apprehension of any other sort of vengeance
terrifies me; since, in such a case, should my friends be safe, what
honour would his death bring to my memory?--If any of them should come to
misfortune, how would my fault be aggravated!

God long preserve you, my dearest Cousin, and bless you but in proportion
to the consolation you have given me, in letting me know that you still
love me; and that I have one near and dear relation who can pity and
forgive me; (and then you will be greatly blessed;) is the prayer of

Your ever grateful and affectionate
CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XLVI

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO HIS LETTERS XXIII. XXXVII. OF THIS VOLUME.]
THURSDAY, AUG. 31.


I cannot but own that I am cut to the heart by this Miss Harlowe's
interpretation of her letter.  She ought never to be forgiven.  She, a
meek person, and a penitent, and innocent, and pious, and I know not
what, who can deceive with a foot in the grave!--

'Tis evident, that she sat down to write this letter with a design to
mislead and deceive.  And if she be capable of that, at such a crisis,
she has as much need of Heaven's forgiveness, as I have of her's: and,
with all her cant of charity and charity, if she be not more sure of it
than I am of her real pardon, and if she take the thing in the light she
ought to take it in, she will have a few darker moments yet to come than
she seems to expect.

Lord M. himself, who is not one of those (to speak in his own phrase) who
can penetrate a millstone, sees the deceit, and thinks it unworthy of
her; though my cousins Montague vindicate her.  And no wonder this cursed
partial sex [I hate 'em all--by my soul, I hate 'em all!] will never
allow any thing against an individual of it, where our's is concerned.
And why?  Because, if they censure deceit in another, they must condemn
their own hearts.

She is to send me a letter after she is in Heaven, is she?  The devil
take such allegories, and the devil take thee for calling this absurdity
an innocent artifice!

I insist upon it, that if a woman of her character, at such a critical
time, is to be justified in such a deception, a man in full health and
vigour of body and mind, as I am, may be excused for all his stratagems
and attempts against her.  And, thank my stars, I can now sit me down
with a quiet conscience on that score.  By my soul, I can, Jack.  Nor has
any body, who can acquit her, a right to blame me.  But with some,
indeed, every thing she does must be good, every thing I do must be bad--
And why?  Because she has always taken care to coax the stupid misjudging
world, like a woman: while I have constantly defied and despised its
censures, like a man.

But, notwithstanding all, you may let her know from me that I will not
molest her, since my visits would be so shocking to her: and I hope she
will take this into her consideration as a piece of generosity which she
could hardly expect after the deception she has put upon me.  And let her
farther know, that if there be any thing in my power, that will
contribute either to her ease or honour, I will obey her, at the very
first intimation, however disgraceful or detrimental to myself.  All
this, to make her unapprehensive, and that she may have nothing to pull
her back.

If her cursed relations could be brought as cheerfully to perform their
parts, I'd answer life for life for her recovery.

But who, that has so many ludicrous images raised in his mind by the
awkward penitence, can forbear laughing at thee?  Spare, I beseech thee,
dear Belford, for the future, all thine own aspirations, if thou wouldst
not dishonour those of an angel indeed.

When I came to that passage, where thou sayest that thou considerest her*
as one sent from Heaven to draw thee after her--for the heart of me I
could not for an hour put thee out of my head, in the attitude of dame
Elizabeth Carteret, on her monument in Westminster Abbey.  If thou never
observedst it, go thither on purpose: and there wilt thou see this dame
in effigy, with uplifted head and hand, the latter taken hold of by a
cupid every inch of stone, one clumsy foot lifted up also, aiming, as the
sculptor designed it, to ascend; but so executed, as would rather make
one imagine that the figure (without shoe or stocking, as it is, though
the rest of the body is robed) was looking up to its corn-cutter: the
other riveted to its native earth, bemired, like thee (immersed thou
callest it) beyond the possibility of unsticking itself.  Both figures,
thou wilt find, seem to be in a contention, the bigger, whether it should
pull down the lesser about its ears--the lesser (a chubby fat little
varlet, of a fourth part of the other's bigness, with wings not much
larger than those of a butterfly) whether it should raise the larger to a
Heaven it points to, hardly big enough to contain the great toes of
either.


* See Letter XXXVII. of this volume.


Thou wilt say, perhaps, that the dame's figure in stone may do credit, in
the comparison, to thine, both in grain and shape, wooden as thou art all
over: but that the lady, who, in every thing but in the trick she has
played me so lately, is truly an angel, is but sorrily represented by the
fat-flanked cupid.  This I allow thee.  But yet there is enough in thy
aspirations to strike my mind with a resemblance of thee and the lady to
the figures on the wretched monument; for thou oughtest to remember,
that, prepared as she may be to mount to her native skies, it is
impossible for her to draw after her a heavy fellow who has so much to
repent of as thou hast.

But now, to be serious once more, let me tell you, Belford, that, if the
lady be really so ill as you write she is, it will become you [no Roman
style here!] in a case so very affecting, to be a little less pointed and
sarcastic in your reflections.  For, upon my soul, the matter begins to
grate me most confoundedly.

I am now so impatient to hear oftener of her, that I take the hint
accidentally given me by our two fellows meeting at Slough, and resolve
to go to our friend Doleman's at Uxbridge; whose wife and sister, as well
as he, have so frequently pressed me to give them my company for a week
or two.  There shall I be within two hours' ride, if any thing should
happen to induce her to see me: for it will well become her piety, and
avowed charity, should the worst happen, [the Lord of Heaven and Earth,
however, avert that worst!] to give me that pardon from her lips, which
she has not denied to me by pen and ink.  And as she wishes my
reformation, she knows not what good effects such an interview may have
upon me.

I shall accordingly be at Doleman's to-morrow morning, by eleven at
farthest.  My fellow will find me there at his return from you (with a
letter, I hope).  I shall have Joel with me likewise, that I may send
the oftener, as matters fall out.  Were I to be still nearer, or in town,
it would be impossible to withhold myself from seeing her.

But, if the worst happen!--as, by your continual knelling, I know not
what to think of it!--[Yet, once more, Heaven avert that worst!--How
natural it is to pray, when once cannot help one's self!]--THEN say not,
in so many dreadful words, what the event is--Only, that you advise me to
take a trip to Paris--And that will stab me to the heart.


***


I so well approve of your generosity to poor Belton's sister, that I have
made Mowbray give up his legacy, as I do mine, towards her India bonds.
When I come to town, Tourville shall do the like; and we will buy each a
ring to wear in memory of the honest fellow, with our own money, that we
may perform his will, as well as our own.

My fellow rides the rest of the night.  I charge you, Jack, if you would
save his life, that you send him not back empty-handed.



LETTER XLVII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUESDAY NIGHT, AUG. 30.


When I concluded my last, I hoped that my next attendance upon this
surprising lady would furnish me with some particulars as agreeable as
now could be hoped for from the declining way she is in, by reason of
the welcome letter she had received from her cousin Morden.  But it
proved quite otherwise to me, though not to herself; for I think I was
never more shocked in my life than on the occasion I shall mention
presently.

When I attended her about seven in the evening, she told me that she
found herself in a very petulant way after I had left her.  Strange, said
she, that the pleasure I received from my cousin's letter should have
such an effect upon me!  But I could not help giving way to a comparative
humour, as I may call it, and to think it very hard that my nearer
relations did not take the methods which my cousin Morden kindly took, by
inquiring into my merit or demerit, and giving my cause a fair audit
before they proceeded to condemnation.

She had hardly said this, when she started, and a blush overspread her
sweet face, on hearing, as I also did, a sort of lumbering noise upon the
stairs, as if a large trunk were bringing up between two people: and,
looking upon me with an eye of concern, Blunderers! said she, they have
brought in something two hours before the time.--Don't be surprised, Sir
--it is all to save you trouble.

Before I could speak, in came Mrs. Smith: O Madam, said she, what have
you done?--Mrs. Lovick, entering, made the same exclamation.  Lord have
mercy upon me, Madam! cried I, what have you done?--For she, stepping at
the same instant to the door, the women told me it was a coffin.--O
Lovelace! that thou hadst been there at that moment!--Thou, the causer of
all these shocking scenes!  Surely thou couldst not have been less
affected than I, who have no guilt, as to her, to answer for.

With an intrepidity of a piece with the preparation, having directed them
to carry it to her bed-chamber, she returned to us: they were not to have
brought it in till after dark, said she--Pray, excuse me, Mr. Belford:
and don't you, Mrs. Lovick, be concerned: nor you, Mrs. Smith.--Why
should you?  There is nothing more in it than the unusualness of the
thing.  Why may we not be as reasonably shocked at going to church where
are the monuments of our ancestors, with whose dust we even hope our dust
shall be one day mingled, as to be moved at such a sight as this?

We all remaining silent, the women having their aprons at their eyes, Why
this concern for nothing at all? said she.  If I am to be blamed for any
thing, it is for showing too much solicitude, as it may be thought, for
this earthly part.  I love to do every thing for myself that I can do.  I
ever did.  Every other material point is so far done, and taken care of,
that I have had leisure for things of lesser moment.  Minutenesses may be
observed, where greater articles are not neglected for them.  I might
have had this to order, perhaps, when less fit to order it.  I have no
mother, no sister, no Mrs. Norton, no Miss Howe, near me.  Some of you
must have seen this in a few days, if not now; perhaps have had the
friendly trouble of directing it.  And what is the difference of a few
days to you, when I am gratified rather than discomposed by it?  I shall
not die the sooner for such a preparation.  Should not every body that
has any thing to bequeath make their will?  And who, that makes a will,
should be afraid of a coffin?--My dear friends, [to the women] I have
considered these things; do not, with such an object before you as you
have had in me for weeks, give me reason to think you have not.

How reasonable was all this!--It showed, indeed, that she herself had
well considered it.  But yet we could not help being shocked at the
thoughts of the coffin thus brought in; the lovely person before our
eyes who is, in all likelihood, so soon to fill it.

We were all silent still, the women in grief; I in a manner stunned.  She
would not ask me, she said; but would be glad, since it had thus earlier
than she had intended been brought in, that her two good friends would
walk in and look upon it.  They would be less shocked when it was made
more familiar to their eye: don't you lead back, said she, a starting
steed to the object he is apt to start at, in order to familiarize him to
it, and cure his starting?  The same reason will hold in this case.  Come,
my good friends, I will lead you in.

I took my leave; telling her she had done wrong, very wrong; and ought
not, by any means, to have such an object before her.

The women followed her in.--'Tis a strange sex!  Nothing is too shocking
for them to look upon, or see acted, that has but novelty and curiosity
in it.

Down I posted; got a chair; and was carried home, extremely shocked and
discomposed: yet, weighing the lady's arguments, I know not why I was so
affected--except, as she said, at the unusualness of the thing.

While I waited for a chair, Mrs. Smith came down, and told me that there
were devices and inscriptions upon the lid.  Lord bless me! is a coffin a
proper subject to display fancy upon?--But these great minds cannot avoid
doing extraordinary things!



LETTER XLVIII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
FRIDAY MORN. SEPT. 1.


It is surprising, that I, a man, should be so much affected as I was, at
such an object as is the subject of my former letter; who also, in my
late uncle's case, and poor Belton's had the like before me, and the
directing of it: when she, a woman, of so weak and tender a frame, who
was to fill it (so soon perhaps to fill it!) could give orders about it,
and draw out the devices upon it, and explain them with so little concern
as the women tell me she did to them last night after I was gone.

I really was ill, and restless all night.  Thou wert the subject of my
execration, as she was of my admiration, all the time I was quite awake:
and, when I dozed, I dreamt of nothing but of flying hour-glasses,
deaths-heads, spades, mattocks, and eternity; the hint of her devices (as
given me by Mrs. Smith) running in my head.

However, not being able to keep away from Smith's, I went thither about
seven.  The lady was just gone out: she had slept better, I found, than
I, though her solemn repository was under her window, not far from her
bed-side.

I was prevailed upon by Mrs. Smith and her nurse Shelburne (Mrs. Lovick
being abroad with her) to go up and look at the devices.  Mrs. Lovick has
since shown me a copy of the draught by which all was ordered; and I will
give thee a sketch of the symbols.

The principal device, neatly etched on a plate of white metal, is a
crowned serpent, with its tail in its mouth, forming a ring, the emblem
of eternity: and in the circle made by it is this inscription:

                          CLARISSA HARLOWE.

                               April x.

                           [Then the year.]

                              AETAT. XIX.

For ornaments: at top, an hour-glass, winged.  At bottom, an urn.

Under the hour-glass, on another plate, this inscription:

      HERE the wicked cease from troubling: and HERE the
        weary be at rest.  Job. iii. 17.

Over the urn, near the bottom:

      Turn again unto thy rest, O my soul! for the Lord hath
        rewarded thee: And why?  Thou hast delivered my
        soul from death; mine eyes from tears; and my feet
        from falling.  Ps. cxvi. 7, 8.

Over this is the head of a white lily snapt short off, and just falling
from the stalk; and this inscription over that, between the principal
plate and the lily:

      The days of man are but as grass.  For he flourisheth as a
        flower of the field: for, as soon as the wind goeth over
        it, it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no
        more.  Ps. ciii. 15, 16.

She excused herself to the women, on the score of her youth, and being
used to draw for her needleworks, for having shown more fancy than would
perhaps be thought suitable on so solemn an occasion.

The date, April 10, she accounted for, as not being able to tell what her
closing-day would be; and as that was the fatal day of her leaving her
father's house.

She discharged the undertaker's bill after I went away, with as much
cheerfulness as she could ever have paid for the clothes she sold to
purchase this her palace: for such she called it; reflecting upon herself
for the expensiveness of it, saying, that they might observe in her, that
pride left not poor mortals to the last: but indeed she did not know but
her father would permit it, when furnished, to be carried down to be
deposited with her ancestors; and, in that case, she ought not to
discredit those ancestors in her appearance amongst them.

It is covered with fine black cloth, and lined with white satin; soon,
she said, to be tarnished with viler earth than any it could be covered
by.

The burial-dress was brought home with it.  The women had curiosity
enough, I suppose, to see her open that, if she did open it.--And,
perhaps, thou wouldst have been glad to have been present to have admired
it too!--

Mrs. Lovick said, she took the liberty to blame her; and wished the
removal of such an object--from her bed-chamber, at least: and was so
affected with the noble answer she made upon it, that she entered it down
the moment she left her.

'To persons in health, said she, this sight may be shocking; and the
preparation, and my unconcernedness in it, may appear affected: but to
me, who have had so gradual a weaning-time from the world, and so much
reason not to love it, I must say, I dwell on, I indulge, (and, strictly
speaking, I enjoy,) the thoughts of death.  For, believe me,' [looking
stedfastly at the awful receptacle,] 'believe what at this instant I feel
to be most true, That there is such a vast superiority of weight and
importance in the thought of death, and its hoped-for happy consequences,
that it in a manner annihilates all other considerations and concerns.
Believe me, my good friends, it does what nothing else can do: it teaches
me, by strengthening in me the force of the divinest example, to forgive
the injuries I have received; and shuts out the remembrance of past evils
from my soul.'

And now let me ask thee, Lovelace, Dost thou think that, when the time
shall come that thou shalt be obliged to launch into the boundless ocean
of eternity, thou wilt be able (any more than poor Belton) to act thy
part with such true heroism, as this sweet and tender blossom of a woman
has manifested, and continues to manifest!

Oh! no! it cannot be!--And why can't it be?--The reason is evident: she
has no wilful errors to look back upon with self-reproach--and her mind
is strengthened by the consolations which flow from that religious
rectitude which has been the guide of all her actions; and which has
taught her rather to choose to be a sufferer than an aggressor!

This was the support of the divine Socrates, as thou hast read.  When led
to execution, his wife lamenting that he should suffer being innocent,
Thou fool, said he, wouldst thou wish me to be guilty!



LETTER XLIX

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 1.


How astonishing, in the midst of such affecting scenes, is thy mirth on
what thou callest my own aspirations!  Never, surely, was there such
another man in this world, thy talents and thy levity taken together!--
Surely, what I shall send thee with this will affect thee.  If not,
nothing can, till thy own hour come: and heavy will then thy reflections
be!

I am glad, however, that thou enablest me to assure the lady that thou
wilt no more molest her; that is to say, in other words, that, after
having ruined her fortunes, and all her worldly prospects, thou wilt be
so gracious, as to let her lie down and die in peace.

Thy giving up to poor Belton's sister the little legacy, and thy
undertaking to make Mowbray and Tourville follow thy example, are, I must
say to thy honour, of a piece with thy generosity to thy Rose-bud and her
Johnny; and to a number of other good actions in pecuniary matters:
although thy Rose-bud's is, I believe, the only instance, where a pretty
woman was concerned, of such a disinterested bounty.

Upon my faith, Lovelace, I love to praise thee; and often and often, as
thou knowest, have I studied for occasions to do it: insomuch that when,
for the life of me, I could not think of any thing done by thee that
deserved praise, I have taken pains to applaud the not ungraceful manner
in which thou hast performed actions that merited the gallows.

Now thou art so near, I will dispatch my servant to thee, if occasion
requires.  But, I fear, I shall soon give thee the news thou art
apprehensive of.  For I am just now sent for by Mrs. Smith; who has
ordered the messenger to tell me, that she knew not if the lady will be
alive when I come.


FRIDAY, SEPT. 1, TWO O'CLOCK, AT SMITH'S.

I could not close my letter in such an uncertainty as must have added to
your impatience.  For you have, on several occasions, convinced me, that
the suspense you love to give would be the greatest torment to you that
you could receive.  A common case with all aggressive and violent
spirits, I believe.  I will just mention then (your servant waiting here
till I have written) that the lady has had two very severe fits: in the
last of which whilst she lay, they sent to the doctor and Mr. Goddard,
who both advised that a messenger should be dispatched for me, as her
executor; being doubtful whether, if she had a third, it would not carry
her off.

She was tolerably recovered by the time I cane; and the doctor made her
promise before me, that, while she was so weak, she would not attempt any
more to go abroad; for, by Mrs. Lovick's description, who attended her,
the shortness of her breath, her extreme weakness, and the fervour of her
devotions when at church, were contraries, which, pulling different ways
(the soul aspiring, the body sinking) tore her tender frame in pieces.

So much for the present.  I shall detain Will. no longer than just to beg
that you will send me back this packet and the last.  Your memory is so
good, that once reading is all you ever give, or need to give, to any
thing.  And who but ourselves can make out our characters, were you
inclined to let any body see what passes between us?  If I cannot be
obliged, I shall be tempted to withhold what I write, till I have time to
take a copy of it.*


* It may not be amiss to observe, that Mr. Belford's solicitude to get
back his letters was owing to his desire of fulfilling the lady's wishes
that he would furnish Miss Howe with materials to vindicate her memory.


A letter from Miss Howe is just now brought by a particular messenger,
who says he must carry back a few lines in return.  But, as the lady is
just retired to lie down, the man is to call again by-and-by.



LETTER L

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
UXBRIDGE, SEPT. 1, TWELVE O'CLOCK AT NIGHT.


I send you the papers with this.  You must account to me honestly and
fairly, when I see you, for the earnestness with which you write for
them.  And then also will we talk about the contents of your last
dispatch, and about some of your severe and unfriendly reflections.

Mean time, whatever thou dost, don't let the wonderful creature leave us!
Set before her the sin of her preparation, as if she thought she could
depart when she pleased.  She'll persuade herself, at this rate, that she
has nothing to do, when all is ready, but to lie down, and go to sleep:
and such a lively fancy as her's will make a reality of a jest at any
time.

A jest I call all that has passed between her and me; a mere jest to die
for--For has not her triumph over me, from first to last, been infinitely
greater than her sufferings from me?

Would the sacred regard I have for her purity, even for her personal as
well as intellectual purity, permit, I could prove this as clear as the
sun.  Tell, therefore, the dear creature that she must not be wicked in
her piety.  There is a too much, as well as too little, even in
righteousness.  Perhaps she does not think of that.--Oh! that she would
have permitted my attendance, as obligingly as she does of thine!--The
dear soul used to love humour.  I remember the time that she knew how to
smile at a piece of apropos humour.  And, let me tell thee, a smile upon
the lips, or a sparkling in the eye, must have had its correspondent
cheerfulness in a heart so sincere as her's.

Tell the doctor I will make over all my possessions, and all my
reversions, to him, if he will but prolong her life for one twelvemonth
to come.  But for one twelvemonth, Jack!--He will lose all his reputation
with me, and I shall treat him as Belton did his doctor, if he cannot do
this for me, on so young a subject.  But nineteen, Belford!--nineteen
cannot so soon die of grief, if the doctor deserve that title; and so
blooming and so fine a constitution as she had but three or four months
ago!

But what need the doctor to ask her leave to write to her friends?  Could
he not have done it without letting her know any thing of the matter?
That was one of the likeliest means that could be thought of to bring
some of them about her, since she is so desirous to see them.  At least
it would have induced them to send up her favourite Norton.  But these
plaguy solemn fellows are great traders in parade.  They'll cram down
your throat their poisonous drugs by wholesale, without asking you a
question; and have the assurance to own it to be prescribing: but when
they are to do good, they are to require your consent.

How the dear creature's character rises in every line of thy letters!
But it is owing to the uncommon occasions she has met with that she
blazes out upon us with such a meridian lustre.  How, but for those
occasions, could her noble sentiments, her prudent consideration, her
forgiving spirit, her exalted benevolence, and her equanimity in view of
the most shocking prospects (which set her in a light so superior to all
her sex, and even to the philosophers of antiquity) have been manifested?

I know thou wilt think I am going to claim some merit to myself, for
having given her such opportunities of signalizing her virtues.  But I am
not; for, if I did, I must share that merit with her implacable
relations, who would justly be entitled to two-thirds of it, at least:
and my soul disdains a partnership in any thing with such a family.

But this I mention as an answer to thy reproaches, that I could be so
little edified by perfections, to which, thou supposest, I was for so
long together daily and hourly a personal witness--when, admirable as she
was in all she said, and in all she did, occasion had not at that time
ripened, and called forth, those amazing perfections which now astonish
and confound me.

Hence it is that I admire her more than ever; and that my love for her is
less personal, as I may say, more intellectual, than ever I thought it
could be to a woman.

Hence also it is that I am confident (would it please the Fates to spare
her, and make her mine) I could love her with a purity that would draw on
my own FUTURE, as well as ensure her TEMPORAL, happiness.--And hence, by
necessary consequence, shall I be the most miserable of all men, if I am
deprived of her.

Thou severely reflectest upon me for my levity: the Abbey instance in
thine eye, I suppose.  And I will be ingenuous enough to own, that as
thou seest not my heart, there may be passages, in every one of my
letters, which (the melancholy occasion considered) deserve thy most
pointed rebukes.  But faith, Jack, thou art such a tragi-comical mortal,
with thy leaden aspirations at one time, and thy flying hour-glasses and
dreaming terrors at another, that, as Prior says, What serious is, thou
turn'st to farce; and it is impossible to keep within the bounds of
decorum or gravity when one reads what thou writest.

But to restrain myself (for my constitutional gayety was ready to run
away with me again) I will repeat, I must ever repeat, that I am most
egregiously affected with the circumstances of the case: and, were this
paragon actually to quit the world, should never enjoy myself one hour
together, though I were to live to the age of Methusalem.

Indeed it is to this deep concern, that my levity is owing: for I
struggle and struggle, and try to buffet down my cruel reflections as
they rise; and when I cannot, I am forced, as I have often said, to try
to make myself laugh, that I may not cry; for one or other I must do: and
is it not philosophy carried to the highest pitch, for a man to conquer
such tumults of soul as I am sometimes agitated by, and, in the very
height of the storm, to be able to quaver out an horse-laugh?

Your Seneca's, your Epictetus's, and the rest of your stoical tribe, with
all their apathy nonsense, could not come up to this.  They could forbear
wry faces: bodily pains they could well enough seem to support; and that
was all: but the pangs of their own smitten-down souls they could not
laugh over, though they could at the follies of others.  They read grave
lectures; but they were grave.  This high point of philosophy, to laugh
and be merry in the midst of the most soul-harrowing woes, when the
heart-strings are just bursting asunder, was reserved for thy Lovelace.

There is something owing to constitution, I own; and that this is the
laughing-time of my life.  For what a woe must that be, which for an hour
together can mortify a man six or seven and twenty, in high blood and
spirits, of a naturally gay disposition, who can sing, dance, and
scribble, and take and give delight in them all?--But then my grief, as
my joy, is sharper-pointed than most other men's; and, like what Dolly
Welby once told me, describing the parturient throes, if there were not
lucid intervals, if they did not come and go, there would be no bearing
them.


***


After all, as I am so little distant from the dear creature, and as she
is so very ill, I think I cannot excuse myself from making her one visit.
Nevertheless, if I thought her so near--[what word shall I use, that my
soul is not shocked at!] and that she would be too much discomposed by a
visit, I would not think of it.--Yet how can I bear the recollection,
that, when she last went from me (her innocence so triumphant over my
premeditated guilt, as was enough to reconcile her to life, and to set
her above the sense of injuries so nobly sustained, that) she should then
depart with an incurable fracture in her heart; and that that should be
the last time I should ever see her!--How, how, can I bear this
reflection!

O Jack! how my conscience, that gives edge even to thy blunt reflections,
tears me!--Even this moment would I give the world to push the cruel
reproacher from me by one ray of my usual gayety!--Sick of myself!--sick
of the remembrance of my vile plots; and of my light, my momentary
ecstacy [villanous burglar, felon, thief, that I was!] which has brought
on me such durable and such heavy remorse! what would I give that I had
not been guilty of such barbarous and ungrateful perfidy to the most
excellent of God's creatures!

I would end, methinks, with one sprightlier line!--but it will not be.--
Let me tell thee then, and rejoice at it if thou wilt, that I am

Inexpressibly miserable!



LETTER LI

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
SAT. MORNING, SEPT. 2.


I have some little pleasure given me by thine, just now brought me.  I
see now that thou hast a little humanity left.  Would to Heaven, for the
dear lady's sake, as well as for thy own, that thou hadst rummaged it up
from all the dark forgotten corners of thy soul a little sooner!

The lady is alive, and serene, and calm, and has all her noble intellects
clear and strong: but nineteen will not however save her.  She says she
will now content herself with her closet duties, and the visits of the
parish-minister; and will not attempt to go out.  Nor, indeed, will she,
I am afraid, ever walk up or down a pair of stairs again.

I am sorry at my soul to have this to say: but it would be a folly to
flatter thee.

As to thy seeing her, I believe the least hint of that sort, now, would
cut off some hours of her life.

What has contributed to her serenity, it seems, is, that taking the alarm
her fits gave her, she has entirely finished, and signed and sealed, her
last will: which she had deferred till this time, in hopes, as she said,
of some good news from Harlowe-place; which would have induced her to
alter some passages in it.

Miss Howe's letter was not given her till four in the afternoon,
yesterday; at which time the messenger returned for an answer.  She
admitted him into her presence in the dining-room, ill as she then was,
and she would have written a few lines, as desired by Miss Howe; but, not
being able to hold a pen, she bid the messenger tell her that she hoped
to be well enough to write a long letter by the next day's post; and
would not now detain him.


***


SATURDAY, SIX IN THE AFTERNOON.

I called just now, and found the lady writing to Miss Howe.  She made me
a melancholy compliment, that she showed me not Miss Howe's letter,
because I should soon have that and all her papers before me.  But she
told me that Miss Howe had very considerably obviated to Colonel Morden
several things which might have occasioned misapprehensions between him
and me; and had likewise put a lighter construction, for the sake of
peace, on some of your actions than they deserved.

She added, that her cousin Morden was warmly engaged in her favour with
her friends: and one good piece of news Miss Howe's letter contained,
that her father would give up some matters, which (appertaining to her of
right) would make my executorship the easier in some particulars that had
given her a little pain.

She owned she had been obliged to leave off (in the letter she was
writing) through weakness.

Will. says he shall reach you to-night.  I shall send in the morning;
and, if I find her not worse, will ride to Edgware, and return in the
afternoon.



LETTER LII

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
TUESDAY, AUG. 29.


MY DEAREST FRIEND,

We are at length returned to our own home.  I had intended to wait on you
in London: but my mother is very ill--Alas! my dear, she is very ill
indeed--and you are likewise very ill--I see that by your's of the 25th--
What shall I do, if I lose two such near, and dear, and tender friends?
She was taken ill yesterday at our last stage in our return home--and has
a violent surfeit and fever, and the doctors are doubtful about her.

If she should die, how will all my pertnesses to her fly in my face!--
Why, why, did I ever vex her?  She says I have been all duty and
obedience!--She kindly forgets all my faults, and remembers every thing I
have been so happy as to oblige her in.  And this cuts me to the heart.

I see, I see, my dear, that you are very bad--and I cannot bear it.  Do,
my beloved Miss Harlowe, if you can be better, do, for my sake, be
better; and send me word of it.  Let the bearer bring me a line.  Be sure
you send me a line.  If I lose you, my more than sister, and lose my
mother, I shall distrust my own conduct, and will not marry.  And why
should I?--Creeping, cringing in courtship!--O my dear, these men are a
vile race of reptiles in our day, and mere bears in their own.  See in
Lovelace all that is desirable in figure, in birth, and in fortune: but
in his heart a devil!--See in Hickman--Indeed, my dear, I cannot tell
what any body can see in Hickman, to be always preaching in his favour.
And is it to be expected that I, who could hardly bear control from a
mother, should take it from a husband?--from one too, who has neither
more wit, nor more understanding, than myself? yet he to be my
instructor!--So he will, I suppose; but more by the insolence of his will
than by the merit of his counsel.  It is in vain to think of it.  I
cannot be a wife to any man breathing whom I at present know.  This I the
rather mention now, because, on my mother's danger, I know you will be
for pressing me the sooner to throw myself into another sort of
protection, should I be deprived of her.  But no more of this subject, or
indeed of any other; for I am obliged to attend my mamma, who cannot bear
me out of her sight.


***


WEDNESDAY, AUG. 30.

My mother, Heaven be praised! has had a fine night, and is much better.
Her fever has yielded to medicine! and now I can write once more with
freedom and ease to you, in hopes that you also are better.  If this be
granted to my prayers, I shall again be happy, I writhe with still the
more alacrity as I have an opportunity given me to touch upon a subject
in which you are nearly concerned.

You must know then, my dear, that your cousin Morden has been here with
me.  He told me of an interview he had on Monday at Lord M.'s with
Lovelace; and asked me abundance of questions about you, and about that
villanous man.

I could have raised a fine flame between them if I would: but, observing
that he is a man of very lively passions, and believing you would be
miserable if any thing should happen to him from a quarrel with a man who
is known to have so many advantages at his sword, I made not the worst of
the subjects we talked of.  But, as I could not tell untruths in his
favour, you must think I said enough to make him curse the wretch.

I don't find, well as they all used to respect Colonel Morden, that he
has influence enough upon them to bring them to any terms of
reconciliation.

What can they mean by it!--But your brother is come home, it seems: so,
the honour of the house, the reputation of the family, is all the cry!

The Colonel is exceedingly out of humour with them all.  Yet has he not
hitherto, it seems, seen your brutal brother.--I told him how ill you
were, and communicated to him some of the contents of your letter.  He
admired you, cursed Lovelace, and raved against all your family.--He
declared that they were all unworthy of you.

At his earnest request, I permitted him to take some brief notes of such
of the contents of your letter to me as I thought I could read to him;
and, particularly, of your melancholy conclusion.*


* See Letter XXXII. of this volume.


He says that none of your friends think you are so ill as you are; nor
will believe it.  He is sure they all love you; and that dearly too.

If they do, their present hardness of heart will be the subject of
everlasting remorse to them should you be taken from us--but now it seems
[barbarous wretches!] you are to suffer within an inch of your life.

He asked me questions about Mr. Belford: and, when he had heard what I
had to say of that gentleman, and his disinterested services to you, he
raved at some villanous surmises thrown out against you by that officious
pedant, Brand: who, but for his gown, I find, would come off poorly enough
between your cousin and Lovelace.

He was so uneasy about you himself, that on Thursday, the 24th, he sent
up an honest serious man,* one Alston, a gentleman farmer, to inquire of
your condition, your visiters, and the like; who brought him word that
you was very ill, and was put to great straits to support yourself: but
as this was told him by the gentlewoman of the house where you lodge,
who, it seems, mingled it with some tart, though deserved, reflections
upon your relations' cruelty, it was not credited by them: and I myself
hope it cannot be true; for surely you could not be so unjust, I will
say, to my friendship, as to suffer any inconveniencies for want of
money.  I think I could not forgive you, if it were so.


* See Letter XXIII. ibid.


The Colonel (as one of your trustees) is resolved to see you put into
possession of your estate: and, in the mean time, he has actually engaged
them to remit to him for you the produce of it accrued since your
grandfather's death, (a very considerable sum;) and proposes himself to
attend you with it.  But, by a hint he dropt, I find you had disappointed
some people's littleness, by not writing to them for money and supplies;
since they were determined to distress you, and to put you at defiance.

Like all the rest!--I hope I may say that without offence.

Your cousin imagines that, before a reconciliation takes place, they will
insist that you make such a will, as to that estate, as they shall
approve of: but he declares that he will not go out of England till he
has seen justice done you by every body; and that you shall not be
imposed on either by friend or foe--

By relation or foe, should he not have said?--for a friend will not
impose upon a friend.

So, my dear, you are to buy your peace, if some people are to have their
wills!

Your cousin [not I, my dear, though it was always my opinion*] says, that
the whole family is too rich to be either humble, considerate, or
contented.  And as for himself, he has an ample fortune, he says, and
thinks of leaving it wholly to you.


* See Vol. I. Letter X.


Had this villain Lovelace consulted his worldly interest only, what a
fortune would he have had in you, even although your marrying him had
deprived you of a paternal share!

I am obliged to leave off here.  But having a good deal still more to
write, and my mother better, I will pursue the subject in another letter,
although I send both together.  I need not say how much I am, and will
ever be,

Your affectionate, &c.
ANNA HOWE.



LETTER LIII

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
THURSDAY, AUGUST 31.


The Colonel thought fit once, in praise of Lovelace's generosity, to say,
that (as a man of honour ought) he took to himself all the blame, and
acquitted you of the consequences of the precipitate step you had taken;
since he said, as you loved him, and was in his power, he must have had
advantages which he would not have had, if you had continued at your
father's, or at any friend's.

Mighty generous, I said, (were it as he supposed,) in such insolent
reflectors, the best of them; who pretend to clear reputations which
never had been sullied but by falling into their dirty acquaintance! but
in this case, I averred, that there was no need of any thing but the
strictest truth, to demonstrate Lovelace to be the blackest of villains,
you the brightest of innocents.

This he catched at; and swore, that if any thing uncommon or barbarous in
the seduction were to come out, as indeed one of the letters you had
written to your friends, and which had been shown him, very strongly
implied; that is to say, my dear, if any thing worse than perjury, breach
of faith, and abuse of a generous confidence, were to appear! [sorry
fellows!] he would avenge his cousin to the utmost.

I urged your apprehensions on this head from your last letter to me: but
he seemed capable of taking what I know to be real greatness of soul, in
an unworthy sense: for he mentioned directly upon it the expectations
your friends had, that you should (previous to any reconciliation with
them) appear in a court of justice against the villain--IF you could do
it with the advantage to yourself that I hinted might be done.

And truly, if I would have heard him, he had indelicacy enough to have
gone into the nature of the proof of the crime upon which they wanted to
have Lovelace arraigned.  Yet this is a man improved by travel and
learning!--Upon my word, my dear, I, who have been accustomed to the most
delicate conversation ever since I had the honour to know you, despise
this sex from the gentleman down to the peasant.

Upon the whole, I find that Mr. Morden has a very slender notion of
women's virtue in particular cases: for which reason I put him down,
though your favourite, as one who is not entitled to cast the first
stone.

I never knew a man who deserved to be well thought of himself for his
morals, who had a slight opinion of the virtue of our sex in general.
For if, from the difference of temperament and education, modesty,
chastity, and piety too, are not to be found in our sex preferably to
the other, I should think it a sign of much worse nature in ours.

He even hinted (as from your relations indeed) that it is impossible
but there most be some will where there is much love.

These sort of reflections are enough to make a woman, who has at heart
her own honour and the honour of her sex, to look about her, and consider
what she is doing when she enters into an intimacy with these wretches;
since it is plain, that whenever she throws herself into the power of a
man, and leaves for him her parents or guardians, every body will believe
it to be owing more to her good luck than to her discretion if there be
not an end of her virtue: and let the man be ever such a villain to her,
she must take into her own bosom a share of his guilty baseness.

I am writing to general cases.  You, my dear, are out of the question.
Your story, as I have heretofore said, will afford a warning as well as
an example:* For who is it that will not infer, that if a person of your
fortune, character, and merit, could not escape ruin, after she had put
herself into the power of her hyaena, what can a thoughtless, fond, giddy
creature expect?


* See Vol. IV. Letter XXIII.


Every man, they will say, is not a LOVELACE--True: but then, neither is
every woman a CLARISSA.  And allow for the one and for the other the
example must be of general use.

I prepared Mr. Morden to expect your appointment of Mr. Belford for an
office that we both hope he will have no occasion to act in (nor any body
else) for many, very many years to come.  He was at first startled at it:
but, upon hearing such of your reasons as had satisfied me, he only said
that such an appointment, were it to take place, would exceedingly affect
his other cousins.

He told me, he had a copy of Lovelace's letter to you, imploring your
pardon, and offering to undergo any penance to procure it;* and also of
your answer to it.**


* See Vol. VII. Letter LXXIX.
** Ibid. Letter LXXXIII.


I find he is willing to hope that a marriage between you may still take
place; which, he says, will heal up all breaches.

I would have written much more--on the following particulars especially;
to wit, of the wretched man's hunting you out of your lodgings: of your
relations' strange implacableness, [I am in haste, and cannot think of a
word you would like better just now:] of your last letter to Lovelace, to
divert him from pursuing you: of your aunt Hervey's penitential
conversation with Mrs. Norton: of Mr. Wyerley's renewed address: of your
lessons to me in Hickman's behalf, so approvable, were the man more so
than he is; but indeed I am offended with him at this instant, and have
been for these two days: of your sister's transportation-project: and of
twenty and twenty other things: but am obliged to leave off, to attend my
two cousins Spilsworth, and my cousin Herbert, who are come to visit us
on account of my mother's illness--I will therefore dispatch these by
Rogers; and if my mother gets well soon (as I hope she will) I am
resolved to see you in town, and tell you every thing that now is upon my
mind; and particularly, mingling my soul with your's, how much I am, and
will ever be, my dearest, dear friend,

Your affectionate
ANNA HOWE.

Let Rogers bring one line, I pray you.  I thought to have sent him this
      afternoon; but he cannot set out till to-morrow morning early.

I cannot express how much your staggering lines and your conclusion
      affect me!



LETTER LIV

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
SUNDAY EVENING, SEPT. 3.


I wonder not at the impatience your servant tells me you express to hear
from me.  I was designing to write you a long letter, and was just
returned from Smith's for that purpose; but, since you are urgent, you
must be contented with a short one.

I attended the lady this morning, just before I set out for Edgware.  She
was so ill over-night, that she was obliged to leave unfinished her
letter to Miss Howe.  But early this morning she made an end of it, and
just sealed it up as I came.  She was so fatigued with writing, that she
told me she would lie down after I was gone, and endeavour to recruit her
spirits.

They had sent for Mr. Goddard, when she was so ill last night; and not
being able to see him out of her own chamber, he, for the first time, saw
her house, as she calls it.  He was extremely shocked and concerned at
it; and chid Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Lovick for not persuading her to have
such an object removed form her bed-chamber: and when they excused
themselves on the little authority it was reasonable to suppose they must
have with a lady so much their superior, he reflected warmly on those who
had more authority, and who left her to proceed with such a shocking and
solemn whimsy, as he called it.

It is placed near the window, like a harpsichord, though covered over to
the ground: and when she is so ill that she cannot well go to her closet,
she writes and reads upon it, as others would upon a desk or table.  But
(only as she was so ill last night) she chooses not to see any body in
that apartment.

I went to Edgware; and, returning in the evening, attended her again.
She had a letter brought her from Mrs. Norton (a long one, as it seems by
its bulk,) just before I came.  But she had not opened it; and said, that
as she was pretty calm and composed, she was afraid to look into the
contents, lest she should be ruffled; expecting now to hear of nothing
that could do her good or give her pleasure from that good woman's dear
hard-hearted neighbours, as she called her own relations.

Seeing her so weak and ill, I withdrew; nor did she desire me to tarry,
as sometimes she does, when I make a motion to depart.

I had some hints, as I went away, from Mrs. Smith, that she had
appropriated that evening to some offices, that were to save trouble, as
she called it, after her departure; and had been giving orders to her
nurse, and to Mrs. Lovick, and Mrs. Smith, about what she would have done
when she was gone; and I believe they were of a very delicate and
affecting nature; but Mrs. Smith descended not to particulars.

The doctor had been with her, as well as Mr. Goddard; and they both
joined with great earnestness to persuade her to have her house removed
out of her sight; but she assured them that it gave her pleasure and
spirits; and, being a necessary preparation, she wondered they should be
surprised at it, when she had not any of her family about her, or any old
acquaintance, on whose care and exactness in these punctilios, as she
called them, she could rely.

The doctor told Mrs. Smith, that he believed she would hold out long
enough for any of her friends to have notice of her state, and to see
her; and hardly longer; and since he could not find that she had any
certainty of seeing her cousin Morden, (which made it plain that her
relations continued inflexible,) he would go home, and write a letter to
her father, take it as she would.

She had spent great part of the day in intense devotions; and to-morrow
morning she is to have with her the same clergyman who has often attended
her; from whose hands she will again receive the sacrament.

Thou seest, Lovelace, that all is preparing, that all will be ready; and
I am to attend her to-morrow afternoon, to take some instructions from
her in relation to my part in the office to be performed for her.  And
thus, omitting the particulars of a fine conversation between her and
Mrs. Lovick, which the latter acquainted me with, as well as another
between her and the doctor and apothecary, which I had a design this
evening to give you, they being of a very affecting nature, I have
yielded to your impatience.

   I shall dispatch Harry to-morrow morning early with her letter to Miss
      Howe: an offer she took very kindly; as she is extremely
      solicitous to lessen that young lady's apprehensions for her on
      not hearing from her by Saturday's post: and yet, if she write
      truth, as no doubt but she will, how can her apprehensions be
      lessened?



LETTER LV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE
SATURDAY, SEPT. 2.


I write, my beloved Miss Howe, though very ill still: but I could not by
the return of your messenger; for I was then unable to hold a pen.

Your mother's illness (as mentioned in the first part of your letter,)
gave me great distress for you, till I read farther.  You bewailed it as
became a daughter so sensible.  May you be blessed in each other for
many, very many years to come!  I doubt not, that even this sudden and
grievous indisposition, by the frame it has put you in, and the
apprehension it has given you of losing so dear a mother, will contribute
to the happiness I wish you: for, alas! my dear, we seldom know how to
value the blessings we enjoy, till we are in danger of losing them, or
have actually lost them: and then, what would we give to have them
restored to us!

What, I wonder, has again happened between you and Mr. Hickman?  Although
I know not, I dare say it is owing to some petty petulance, to some
half-ungenerous advantage taken of his obligingness and assiduity.  Will
you never, my dear, give the weight you and all our sex ought to give to
the qualities of sobriety and regularity of life and manners in that sex?
Must bold creatures, and forward spirits, for ever, and by the best and
wisest of us, as well as by the indiscreetest, be the most kindly
treated?

My dear friends know not that I have actually suffered within less than
an inch of my life.

Poor Mr. Brand! he meant well, I believe.  I am afraid all will turn
heavily upon him, when he probably imagined that he was taking the best
method to oblige.  But were he not to have been so light of belief, and
so weakly officious; and had given a more favourable, and, it would be
strange if I could not say, a juster report; things would have been,
nevertheless, exactly as they are.

I must lay down my pen.  I am very ill.  I believe I shall be better
by-and-by.  The bad writing would betray me, although I had a mind to
keep from you what the event must soon--


***


Now I resume my trembling pen.  Excuse the unsteady writing.  It will
be so--

I have wanted no money: so don't be angry about such a trifle as money.
Yet I am glad of what you inclined me to hope, that my friends will give
up the produce of my grandfather's estate since it has been in their
hands: because, knowing it to be my right, and that they could not want
it, I had already disposed of a good part of it; and could only hope they
would be willing to give it up at my last request.  And now how rich
shall I think myself in this my last stage!--And yet I did not want
before--indeed I did not--for who, that has many superfluities, can be
said to want!

Do not, my dear friend, be concerned that I call it my last stage; For
what is even the long life which in high health we wish for?  What, but,
as we go along, a life of apprehension, sometimes for our friends,
oftener for ourselves?  And at last, when arrived at the old age we
covet, one heavy loss or deprivation having succeeded another, we see
ourselves stript, as I may say, of every one we loved; and find ourselves
exposed, as uncompanionable poor creatures, to the slights, to the
contempts, of jostling youth, who want to push us off the stage, in hopes
to possess what we have:--and, superadded to all, our own infirmities
every day increasing: of themselves enough to make the life we wished for
the greatest disease of all!  Don't you remember the lines of Howard,
which once you read to me in my ivy-bower?*


* These are the lines the lady refers to:

      From death we rose to life: 'tis but the same,
      Through life to pass again from whence we came.
      With shame we see our PASSIONS can prevail,
      Where reason, certainty, and virtue fail.
      HONOUR, that empty name, can death despise;    |
      SCORN'D LOVE to death, as to a refuge, flies;  |
      And SORROW waits for death with longing eyes.  |
      HOPE triumphs o'er the thoughts of death; and FATE
      Cheats fools, and flatters the unfortunate.
      We fear to lose, what a small time must waste,
      Till life itself grows the disease at last.
      Begging for life, we beg for more decay,
      And to be long a dying only pray.


In the disposition of what belongs to me, I have endeavoured to do every
thing in the justest and best manner I could think of; putting myself in
my relations' places, and, in the greater points, ordering my matters as
if no misunderstanding had happened.

I hope they will not think much of some bequests where wanted, and where
due from my gratitude: but if they should, what is done, is done; and I
cannot now help it.  Yet I must repeat, that I hope, I hope, I have
pleased every one of them.  For I would not, on any account, have it
thought that, in my last disposition, any thing undaughterly, unsisterly,
or unlike a kinswoman, should have had place in a mind that is a truly
free (as I will presume to say) from all resentment, that it now
overflows with gratitude and blessings for the good I have received,
although it be not all that my heart wished to receive.  Were it even an
hardship that I was not favoured with more, what is it but an hardship
of half a year, against the most indulgent goodness of eighteen years and
an half, that ever was shown to a daughter?

My cousin, you tell me, thinks I was off my guard, and that I was taken
at some advantage.  Indeed, my dear, I was not.  Indeed I gave no room
for advantage to be taken of me.  I hope, one day, that will be seen, if
I have the justice done me which Mr. Belford assures me of.

I should hope that my cousin has not taken the liberties which you (by an
observation not, in general, unjust) seem to charge him with.  For it is
sad to think, that the generality of that sex should make so light of
crimes, which they justly hold so unpardonable in their own most intimate
relations of our's--yet cannot commit them without doing such injuries to
other families as they think themselves obliged to resent unto death,
when offered to their own.

But we women are to often to blame on this head; since the most virtuous
among us seldom make virtue the test of their approbation of the other
sex; insomuch that a man may glory in his wickedness of this sort without
being rejected on that account, even to the faces of women of
unquestionable virtue.  Hence it is, that a libertine seldom thinks
himself concerned so much as to save appearances: And what is it not that
our sex suffers in their opinion on this very score?  And what have I,
more than many others, to answer for on this account in the world's eye?

May my story be a warning to all, how they prefer a libertine to a man of
true honour; and how they permit themselves to be misled (where they mean
the best) by the specious, yet foolish hope of subduing riveted habits,
and, as I may say, of altering natures!--The more foolish, as constant
experience might convince us, that there is hardly one in ten, of even
tolerably happy marriages, in which the wife keeps the hold in the
husband's affections, which she had in the lover's.  What influence then
can she hope to have over the morals of an avowed libertine, who marries
perhaps for conveniency, who despises the tie, and whom, it is too
probable, nothing but old age, or sickness, or disease, (the consequence
of ruinous riot,) can reclaim?

I am very glad you gave my cous--


SUNDAY MORNING, SEPT. 3, SIX O'CLOCK.

Hither I had written, and was forced to quit my pen.  And so much weaker
and worse I grew, that had I resumed it, to have closed here, it must
have been with such trembling unsteadiness, that it would have given you
more concern for me, than the delay of sending it away by last night's
post can do.  I deferred it, therefore, to see how it would please God to
deal with me.  And I find myself, after a better night than I expected,
lively and clear; and hope to give a proof that I do, in the continuation
of my letter, which I will pursue as currently as if I had not left off.

I am glad that you so considerately gave my cousin Morden favourable
impressions of Mr. Belford; since, otherwise, some misunderstanding might
have happened between them: for although I hope this Mr. Belford is an
altered man, and in time will be a reformed one, yet is he one of those
high spirits that has been accustomed to resent imaginary indignities to
himself, when, I believe, he has not been studious to avoid giving real
offences to others; men of this cast acting as if they thought all the
world was made to bar with them, and they with nobody in it.

Mr. Lovelace, you tell me, thought fit to intrust my cousin with the copy
of his letter of penitence to me, and with my answer to it, rejecting him
and his suit: and Mr. Belford, moreover, acquaints me, how much concerned
Mr. Lovelace is for his baseness, and how freely he accused himself to my
cousin.  This shows, that the true bravery of spirit is to be above doing
a vile action; and that nothing subjects the human mind to so much
meanness, as the consciousness of having done wilful wrong to our fellow
creatures.  How low, how sordid, are the submissions which elaborate
baseness compels! that that wretch could treat me as he did, and then
could so poorly creep to me for forgiveness of crimes so wilful, so
black, and so premeditated! how my soul despised him for his meanness on
a certain occasion, of which you will one day be informed!* and him whose
actions one's heart despises, it is far from being difficult to reject,
had one ever so partially favoured him once.


* Meaning his meditated second violence (See Vol. VI. Letter XXXVI.) and
his succeeding letters to her, supplicating for her pardon.


Yet am I glad this violent spirit can thus creep; that, like a poisonous
serpent, he can thus coil himself, and hide his head in his own narrow
circlets; because this stooping, this abasement, gives me hope that no
farther mischief will ensue.

All my apprehension is, what may happen when I am gone; lest then my
cousin, or any other of my family, should endeavour to avenge me, and
risk their own more precious lives on that account.

If that part of Cain's curse were Mr. Lovelace's, to be a fugitive and
vagabond in the earth; that is to say, if it meant no more harm to him
than that he should be obliged to travel, as it seems he intends, (though
I wish him no ill in his travels;) and I could know it; then should I be
easy in the hoped-for safety of my friends from his skilful violence--Oh!
that I could hear he was a thousand miles off!

When I began this letter, I did not think I could have run to such a
length.  But 'tis to YOU, my dearest friend, and you have a title to the
spirits you raise and support; for they are no longer mine, and will
subside the moment I cease writing to you.

But what do you bid me hope for, when you tell me that, if your mother's
health will permit, you will see me in town?  I hope your mother's health
will be perfected as you wish; but I dare not promise myself so great a
favour; so great a blessing, I will call it--and indeed I know not if I
should be able to bear it now!

Yet one comfort it is in your power to give me; and that is, let me know,
and very speedily it must be, if you wish to oblige me, that all matters
are made up between you and Mr. Hickman; to whom, I see, you are
resolved, with all your bravery of spirit, to owe a multitude of
obligations for his patience with your flightiness.  Think of this, my
dear proud friend! and think, likewise, of what I have often told you,
that PRIDE, in man or woman, is an extreme that hardly ever fails, sooner
or later, to bring forth its mortifying CONTRARY.

May you, my dear Miss Howe, have no discomforts but what you make to
yourself! as it will be in your own power to lessen such as these, they
ought to be your punishment if you do not.  There is no such thing as
perfect happiness here, since the busy mind will make to itself evils,
were it to find none.  You will, therefore, pardon this limited wish,
strange as it may appear, till you consider it: for to wish you no
infelicity, either within or without you, were to wish you what can never
happen in this world; and what perhaps ought not to be wished for, if by
a wish one could give one's friend such an exemption; since we are not to
live here always.

We must not, in short, expect that our roses will grow without thorns:
but then they are useful and instructive thorns: which, by pricking the
fingers of the too-hasty plucker, teach future caution.  And who knows
not that difficulty gives poignancy to our enjoyments; which are apt to
lose their relish with us when they are over easily obtained?

I must conclude--

God for ever bless you, and all you love and honour, and reward you here
and hereafter for your kindness to

Your ever obliged and affectionate
CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER LVI

MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
[IN ANSWER TO HER'S OF THURSDAY, AUGUST 24.  SEE LETTER XXX. OF THIS
VOLUME.]
THURSDAY, AUG. 31.


I had written sooner, my dearest young lady, but that I have been
endeavouring, ever since the receipt of your last letter, to obtain a
private audience of your mother, in hopes of leave to communicate it to
her.  But last night I was surprised by an invitation to breakfast at
Harlowe-place this morning; and the chariot came early to fetch me--an
honour I did not expect.

When I came, I found there was to be a meeting of all your family with
Col. Morden, at Harlowe-place; and it was proposed by your mother, and
consented to, that I should be present.  Your cousin, I understand, had
with difficulty brought this meeting to bear; for your brother had before
industriously avoided all conversation with him on the affecting subject;
urging that it was not necessary to talk to Mr. Morden upon it, who,
being a remoter relation than themselves, had no business to make himself
a judge of their conduct to their daughter, their niece, and their
sister; especially as he had declared himself in her favour; adding, that
he should hardly have patience to be questioned by Mr. Morden on that
head.

I was in hopes that your mother would have given me an opportunity of
talking with her alone before the company met; but she seemed studiously
to avoid it; I dare say, however, not with her inclination.

I was ordered in just before Mr. Morden came; and was bid to sit down--
which I did in the window.

The Colonel, when he came, began the discourse, by renewing, as he called
it, his solicitations in your favour.  He set before them your penitence;
your ill health; your virtue, though once betrayed, and basely used; he
then read to them Mr. Lovelace's letter, a most contrite one indeed,* and
your high-souled answer;** for that was what he justly called it; and he
treated as it deserved Mr. Brand's officious information, (of which I had
before heard he had made them ashamed,) by representations founded upon
inquiries made by Mr. Alston,*** whom he had procured to go up on purpose
to acquaint himself with your manner of life, and what was meant by the
visits of that Mr. Belford.


* See Vol. VII. LXXIX.
** Ibid. Letter LXXXIII.
*** See Vol. VIII. Letter XXIII.


He then told them, that he had the day before waited upon Miss Howe, and
had been shown a letter from you to her,* and permitted to take some
memorandums from it, in which you appeared, both by handwriting, and the
contents, to be so very ill, that it seemed doubtful to him, if it were
possible for you to get over it.  And when he read to them that passage,
where you ask Miss Howe, 'What can be done for you now, were your friends
to be ever so favourable? and wish for their sakes, more than for your
own, that they would still relent;' and then say, 'You are very ill--you
must drop your pen--and ask excuse for your crooked writing; and take, as
it were, a last farewell of Miss Howe;--adieu, my dear, adieu,' are your
words--


* Ibid. Letter XXXIII.


O my child! my child! said you mamma, weeping, and clasping her hands.

Dear Madam, said your brother, be so good as to think you have more
children than this ungrateful one.

Yet your sister seemed affected.

Your uncle Harlowe, wiping his eyes, O cousin, said he, if one thought
the poor girl was really so ill--

She must, said your uncle Antony.  This is written to her private friend.
God forbid she should be quite lost!

Your uncle Harlowe wished they did not carry their resentments too far.

I begged for God's sake, wringing my hands, and with a bended knee, that
they would permit me to go up to you; engaging to give them a faithful
account of the way you were in.  But I was chidden by your brother; and
this occasioned some angry words between him and Mr. Morden.

I believe, Sir, I believe, Madam, said your sister to her father and
mother, we need not trouble my cousin to read any more.  It does but
grieve and disturb you.  My sister Clary seems to be ill: I think, if
Mrs. Norton were permitted to go up to her, it would be right; wickedly
as she has acted, if she be truly penitent--

Here she stopt; and every one being silent, I stood up once more, and
besought them to let me go; and then I offered to read a passage or two
in your letter to me of the 24th.  But I was taken up again by your
brother, and this occasioned still higher words between the Colonel and
him.

Your mother, hoping to gain upon your inflexible brother, and to divert
the anger of the two gentlemen from each other, proposed that the Colonel
should proceed in reading the minutes he had taken from your letter.

He accordingly read, 'of your resuming your pen; that you thought you had
taken your last farewell; and the rest of that very affecting passage, in
which you are obliged to break off more than once, and afterwards to take
an airing in a chair.'  Your brother and sister were affected at this;
and he had recourse to his snuff-box.  And where you comfort Miss Howe,
and say, 'You shall be happy;' It is more, said he, than she will let any
body else be.

Your sister called you sweet soul! but with a low voice: then grew
hard-hearted again; set said [sic], Nobody could help being affected by
your pathetic grief--but that it was your talent.

The Colonel then went on to the good effect your airing had upon you; to
your good wishes to Miss Howe and Mr. Hickman; and to your concluding
sentence, that when the happy life you wished to her comes to be wound
up, she may be as calm and as easy at quitting it, as you hope in God you
shall be.  Your mother could not stand this; but retired to a corner of
the room, and sobbed, and wept.  Your father for a few minutes could not
speak, though he seemed inclined to say something.

Your uncles were also both affected; but your brother went round to each,
and again reminded your mother that she had other children.--What was
there, he said, in what was read, but the result of the talent you had of
moving the passions?  And he blamed them for choosing to hear read what
they knew their abused indulgence could not be a proof against.

This set Mr. Morden up again--Fie upon you, Cousin Harlowe, said he, I
see plainly to whom it is owing that all relationship and ties of blood,
with regard to this sweet sufferer, are laid aside.  Such rigours as
these make it difficult for a sliding virtue ever to recover itself.

Your brother pretended the honour of the family; and declared, that no
child ought to be forgiven who abandoned the most indulgent of parents
against warning, against the light of knowledge, as you had done.

But, Sir, and Ladies, said I, rising from the seat in the window, and
humbly turning round to each, if I may be permitted to speak, my dear
Miss asks only for a blessing.  She does not beg to be received to
favour; she is very ill, and asks only for a last blessing.

Come, come, good Norton, [I need not tell you who said this,] you are
up again with your lamentables!--A good woman, as you are, to forgive
so readily a crime, that has been as disgraceful to your part in her
education as to her family, is a weakness that would induce one to
suspect your virtue, if you were to be encountered by a temptation
properly adapted.

By some such charitable logic, said Mr. Morden, as this, is my cousin
Arabella captivated, I doubt not.  If virtue, you, Mr. James Harlowe,
are the most virtuous young man in the world.

I knew how it would be, replied your brother, in a passion, if I met Mr.
Morden upon this business.  I would have declined it; but you, Sir, to
his father, would not permit me to do so.

But, Sir, turning to the Colonel, in no other presence----

Then, Cousin James, interrupted the other gentleman, that which is your
protection, it seems, is mine.  I am not used to bear defiances thus--
you are my Cousin, Sir, and the son and nephew of persons as dear as near
to me--There he paused--

Are we, said your father, to be made still more unhappy among ourselves,
when the villain lives that ought to be the object of every one's
resentment who has either a value for the family, or for this ungrateful
girl?

That's the man, said your cousin, whom last Monday, as you know, I went
purposely to make the object of mine.  But what could I say, when I found
him so willing to repair his crime?--And I give it as my opinion, and
have written accordingly to my poor cousin, that it is best for all round
that his offer should be accepted; and let me tell you--

Tell me nothing, said your father, quite enraged, or that very vile
fellow!  I have a rivetted hatred to him.  I would rather see the rebel
die an hundred deaths, were it possible, than that she should give such a
villain as him a relation to my family.

Well, but there is no room to think, said you mother, that she will give
us such a relation, my dear.  The poor girl will lessen, I fear, the
number of our relations not increase it.  If she be so ill as we are told
she is, let us send Mrs. Norton up to her.--That's the least we can do--
let us take her, however, out of the hands of that Belford.

Both your uncles supported this motion; the latter part of it especially.

Your brother observed, in his ill-natured way, what a fine piece of
consistency it was in you to refuse the vile injurer, and the amends he
offered; yet to throw yourself upon the protection of his fast friend.

Miss Harlowe was apprehensive, she said, that you would leave all you
could leave to that pert creature, Miss Howe, [so she called her,] if you
should die.

O do not, do not suppose that, my Bella, said your poor mother.  I cannot
think of parting with my Clary--with all her faults, she is my child--her
reasons for her conduct are not heard--it would break my heart to lose
her.--I think, my dear, to your father, none so fit as I to go up, if you
will give me leave, and Mrs. Norton shall accompany me.

This was a sweet motion, and your father paused upon it.  Mr. Morden
offered his service to escort her; your uncles seemed to approve of it;
but your brother dashed all.  I hope, Sir, said he, to his father--I
hope, Madam, to his mother--that you will not endeavour to recover a
faulty daughter by losing an unculpable son.  I do declare, that if ever
my sister Clary darkens these doors again, I never will.  I will set out,
Madam, the same hour you go to London, (on such an errand,) to Edinburgh;
and there I will reside, and try to forget that I have relations in
England, so near and so dear as you are now all to me.

Good God, said the Colonel, what a declaration is this!  And suppose,
Sir, and suppose, Madam, [turning to your father and mother,] this should
be the case, whether it is better, think you, that you should lose for
ever such a daughter as my cousin Clary, or that your son should go to
Edinburgh, and reside there upon an estate which will be the better for
his residence upon it?--

Your brother's passionate behaviour hereupon is hardly to be described.
He resented it as promising an alienation of the affection of the family
to him.  And to such an height were resentments carried, every one siding
with him, that the Colonel, with hands and eyes lifted up, cried out,
What hearts of flint am I related to!--O, Cousin Harlowe, to your father,
are you resolved to have but one daughter?--Are you, Madam, to be taught,
by a son, who has no bowels, to forget you are a mother?

The Colonel turned from them to draw out his handkerchief, and could not
for a minute speak.  The eyes of every one, but the hard-hearted brother,
caught tears from his.

But then turning to them, (with the more indignation, as it seemed, as he
had been obliged to show a humanity, which, however, no brave heart
should be ashamed of,) I leave ye all, said he, fit company for one
another.  I will never open my lips to any of you more upon this subject.
I will instantly make my will, and in me shall the dear creature have the
father, uncle, brother, she has lost.  I will prevail upon her to take
the tour of France and Italy with me; nor shall she return till ye know
the value of such a daughter.

And saying this, he hurried out of the room, went into the court-yard,
and ordered his horse.

Mr. Antony Harlowe went to him there, just as he was mounting, and said
he hoped he should find him cooler in the evening, (for he, till then,
had lodged at his house,) and that then they would converse calmly, and
every one, mean time, would weigh all matters well.--But the angry
gentleman said, Cousin Harlowe, I shall endeavour to discharge the
obligations I owe to your civility since I have been in England; but I
have been so treated by that hot-headed young man, (who, as far as I
know, has done more to ruin his sister than Lovelace himself, and this
with the approbation of you all,) that I will not again enter into your
doors, or theirs.  My servants shall have orders whither to bring what
belongs to me from your house.  I will see my dear cousin Clary as soon
as I can.  And so God bless you altogether!--only this one word to your
nephew, if you please--That he wants to be taught the difference between
courage and bluster; and it is happy for him, perhaps, that I am his
kinsman; though I am sorry he is mine.

I wondered to hear your uncle, on his return to them all, repeat this;
because of the consequences it may be attended with, though I hope it
will not have bad ones; yet it was considered as a sort of challenge, and
so it confirmed every body in your brother's favour; and Miss Harlowe
forgot not to inveigh against that error which had brought on all these
evils.

I took the liberty again, but with fear and trembling, to desire leave to
attend you.

Before any other person could answer, your brother said, I suppose you
look upon yourself, Mrs. Norton, to be your own mistress.  Pray do you
want our consents and courtship to go up?--If I may speak my mind, you
and my sister Clary are the fittest to be together.--Yet I wish you would
not trouble your head about our family matters, till you are desired to
do so.

But don't you know, brother, said Miss Harlowe, that the error of any
branch of a family splits that family into two parties, and makes not
only every common friend and acquaintance, but even servants judges over
both?--This is one of the blessed effects of my sister Clary's fault!

There never was a creature so criminal, said your father, looking with
displeasure at me, who had not some weak heads to pity and side with her.

I wept.  Your mother was so good as to take me by the hand; come, good
woman, said she, come along with me.  You have too much reason to be
afflicted with what afflicts us, to want additions to your grief.

But, my dearest young lady, I was more touched for your sake than for my
own; for I have been low in the world for a great number of years; and,
of consequence, have been accustomed to snubs and rebuffs from the
affluent.  But I hope that patience is written as legibly on my forehead,
as haughtiness on that of any of my obligers.

Your mother led me to her chamber; and there we sat and wept together for
several minutes, without being able to speak either of us one word to the
other.  At last she broke silence, asking me, if you were really and
indeed so ill as it was said you were?

I answered in the affirmative; and would have shown her your last letter;
but she declined seeing it.

I would fain have procured from her the favour of a line to you, with her
blessing.  I asked, what was intended by your brother and sister?  Would
nothing satisfy them but your final reprobation?--I insinuated, how easy
it would be, did not your duty and humility govern you, to make yourself
independent as to circumstances; but that nothing but a blessing, a last
blessing, was requested by you.  And many other thins I urged in your
behalf.  The following brief repetition of what she was pleased to say in
answer to my pleas, will give you a notion of it all; and of the present
situation of things.

She said, 'She was very unhappy!--She had lost the little authority she
once had over her other children, through one child's failing! and all
influence over Mr. Harlowe and his brothers.  Your father, she said, had
besought her to leave it to him to take his own methods with you; and,
(as she valued him,) to take no step in your favour unknown to him and
your uncles; yet she owned, that they were too much governed by your
brother.  They would, however, give way in time, she knew, to a
reconciliation--they designed no other, for they all still loved you.

'Your brother and sister, she owned, were very jealous of your coming
into favour again;--yet could but Mr. Morden have kept his temper, and
stood her son's first sallies, who (having always had the family grandeur
in view) had carried his resentment so high, that he knew not how to
descend, the conferences, so abruptly broken off just now, would have
ended more happily; for that she had reason to think that a few
concessions on your part, with regard to your grandfather's estate, and
your cousin's engaging for your submission as from proper motives, would
have softened them all.

'Mr. Brand's account of your intimacy with the friend of the obnoxious
man, she said, had, for the time very unhappy effects; for before that
she had gained some ground: but afterwards dared not, nor indeed had
inclination, to open her lips in your behalf.  Your continued intimacy
with that Mr. Belford was wholly unaccountable, and as wholly
inexcusable.

'What made the wished-for reconciliation, she said, more difficult, was,
first, that you yourself acknowledged yourself dishonoured; (and it was
too well known, that it was your own fault that you ever were in the
power of so great a profligate;) of consequence, that their and your
disgrace could not be greater than it was; yet, that you refuse to
prosecute the wretch.  Next, that the pardon and blessing hoped for must
probably be attended with your marriage to the man they hate, and who
hates them as much: very disagreeable circumstances, she said, I must
allow, to found a reconciliation upon.

'As to her own part, she must needs say, that if there were any hope that
Mr. Lovelace would become a reformed man, the letter her cousin Morden
had read to them from him to you, and the justice (as she hoped it was)
he did your character, though to his own condemnation, (his family and
fortunes being unexceptionable,) and all his relations earnest to be
related to you, were arguments that would weigh with her, could they have
any with your father and uncles.'

To my plea of your illness, 'she could not but flatter herself, she
answered, that it was from lowness of spirits, and temporary dejection.
A young creature, she said, so very considerate as you naturally were,
and fallen so low, must have enough of that.  Should they lose you, which
God forbid! the scene would then indeed be sadly changed; for then those
who now most resented, would be most grieved; all your fine qualities
would rise to their remembrance, and your unhappy error would be quite
forgotten.

'She wished you would put yourself into your cousin's protection
entirely, and have nothing to more to say to Mr. Belford.

And I would recommend it to your most serious consideration, my dear Miss
Clary, whether now, as your cousin (who is your trustee for your
grandfather's estate,) is come, you should not give over all thoughts of
Mr. Lovelace's intimate friend for your executor; more especially, as
that gentleman's interfering in the concerns of your family, should the
sad event take place (which my heart aches but to think of) might be
attended with those consequences which you are so desirous, in other
cases, to obviate and prevent.  And suppose, my dear young lady, you were
to write one letter more to each of your uncles, to let them know how ill
you are?--And to ask their advice, and offer to be governed by it, in
relation to the disposition of your estate and effects?--Methinks I wish
you would.

I find they will send you up a large part of what has been received from
that estate since it was your's; together with your current cash which
you left behind you: and this by your cousin Morden, for fear you should
have contracted debts which may make you uneasy.

They seem to expect, that you will wish to live at your grandfather's
house, in a private manner, if your cousin prevail not upon you to go
abroad for a year or two.


FRIDAY MORNING.

Betty was with me just now.  She tells me, that your cousin Morden is so
much displeased with them all, that he has refused to lodge any more at
your uncle Antony's; and has even taken up with inconvenient lodgings,
till he is provided with others to his mind.  This very much concerns
them; and they repent their violent treatment of him: and the more, as he
is resolved, he says, to make you his sole executrix, and heir to all his
fortune.

What noble fortunes still, my dearest young lady, await you!  I am
thoroughly convinced, if it please God to preserve your life and your
health, that every body will soon be reconciled to you, and that you will
see many happy days.

Your mother wished me not to attend you as yet, because she hopes that I
may give myself that pleasure soon with every body's good liking, and
even at their desire.  Your cousin Morden's reconciliation with them,
which they are very desirous of, I am ready to hope will include theirs
with you.

But if that should happen which I so much dread, and I not with you, I
should never forgive myself.  Let me, therefore, my dearest young lady,
desire you to command my attendance, if you find any danger, and if you
wish me peace of mind; and no consideration shall withhold me.

I hear that Miss Howe has obtained leave from her mother to see you; and
intends next week to go to town for that purpose; and (as it is believed)
to buy clothes for her approaching nuptials.

Mr. Hickman's mother-in-law is lately dead.  Her jointure of 600L. a-year
is fallen to him; and she has, moreover, as an acknowledgement of his
good behaviour to her, left him all she was worth, which was very
considerable, a few legacies excepted to her own relations.

These good men are uniformly good: indeed could not else be good; and
never fare the worse for being so.  All the world agrees he will make
that fine young lady an excellent husband: and I am sorry they are not as
much agreed in her making him an excellent wife.  But I hope a woman of
her principles would not encourage his address, if, whether she at
present love him or not, she thought she could not love him; or if she
preferred any other man to him.

Mr. Pocock undertakes to deliver this; but fears it will be Saturday
night first, if not Sunday morning.

May the Almighty protect and bless you!--I long to see you--my dearest
young lady, I long to see you; and to fold you once more to my fond
heart.  I dare to say happy days are coming.  Be but cheerful.  Give way
to hope.

Whether for this world, or the other, you must be happy.  Wish to live,
however, were it only because you are so well fitted in mind to make
every one happy who has the honour to know you.  What signifies this
transitory eclipse?  You are as near perfection, by all I have heard,
as any creature in this world can be: for here is your glory--you are
brightened and purified, as I may say, by your sufferings!--How I long to
hear your whole sad, yet instructive story, from your own lips!

For Miss Howe's sake, who, in her new engagements will so much want you;
for your cousin Morden's sake, for your mother's sake, if I must go on
farther in your family; and yet I can say, for all their sakes; and for
my sake, my dearest Miss Clary; let your resumed and accustomed
magnanimity bear you up.  You have many things to do which I know not the
person who will do if you leave us.

Join your prayers then to mine, that God will spare you to a world that
wants you and your example; and, although your days may seem to have been
numbered, who knows but that, with the good King Hezekiah, you may have
them prolonged?  Which God grant, if it be his blessed will, to the
prayers of

Your
JUDITH NORTON



LETTER LVII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
MONDAY, SEPT. 4.


The lady would not read the letter she had from Mrs. Norton till she had
received the Communion, for fear it should contain any thing that might
disturb that happy calm, which she had been endeavouring to obtain for
it.  And when that solemn office was over, she was so composed, she said,
that she thought she could receive any news, however affecting, with
tranquillity.

Nevertheless, in reading it, she was forced to leave off several times
through weakness and a dimness in her sight, of which she complained; if
I may say complained; for so easy and soft were her complaints, that they
could hardly be called such.

She was very much affected at divers parts of this letter.  She wept
several times, and sighed often.  Mrs. Lovick told me, that these were
the gentle exclamations she broke out into, as she read:--Her unkind, her
cruel brother!--How unsisterly!--Poor dear woman! seeming to speak of
Mrs. Norton.  Her kind cousin!--O these flaming spirits!  And then
reflecting upon herself more than once--What a deep error is mine!--What
evils have I been the occasion of!--

When I was admitted to her presence, I have received, said she, a long
and not very pleasing letter from my dear Mrs. Norton.  It will soon be
in your hands.  I am advised against appointing you to the office you
have so kindly accepted of: but you must resent nothing of these things.
My choice will have an odd appearance to them: but it is now too late to
alter it, if I would.

I would fain write an answer to it, continued she: but I have no distinct
sight, Mr. Belford, no steadiness of fingers.--This mistiness, however,
will perhaps be gone by-and-by.--Then turning to Mrs. Lovick, I don't
think I am dying yet--not actually dying, Mrs. Lovick--for I have no
bodily pain--no numbnesses; no signs of immediate death, I think.--And my
breath, which used of late to be so short, is now tolerable--my head
clear, my intellects free--I think I cannot be dying yet--I shall have
agonies, I doubt--life will not give up so blessedly easy, I fear--yet
how merciful is the Almighty, to give his poor creature such a sweet
serenity!--'Tis what I have prayed for!--What encouragement, Mrs. Lovick,
so near one's dissolution, to have it to hope that one's prayers are
answered.

Mrs. Smith, as well as Mrs. Lovick, was with her.  They were both in
tears; nor had I, any more than they, power to say a word in answer: yet
she spoke all this, as well as what follows, with a surprising composure
of mind and countenance.

But, Mr. Belford, said she, assuming a still sprightlier air and accent,
let me talk a little to you, while I am thus able to say what I have to
say.

Mrs. Lovick, don't leave us, [for the women were rising to go,] pray sit
down; and do you, Mrs. Smith, sit down too.--Dame Shelbourne, take this
key, and open the upper drawer.  I will move to it.

She did, with trembling knees.  Here, Mr. Belford, is my will.  It is
witnessed by three persons of Mr. Smith's acquaintance.

I dare to hope, that my cousin Morden will give you assistance, if you
request it of him.  My cousin Morden continued his affection for me: but
as I have not seen him, I leave all the trouble upon you, Mr. Belford.
This deed may want forms; and it does, no doubt: but the less, as I have
my grandfather's will almost by heart, and have often enough heard that
canvassed.  I will lay it by itself in this corner; putting it at the
further end of the drawer.

She then took up a parcel of letters, enclosed in one cover, sealed with
three seals of black wax: This, said she, I sealed up last night.  The
cover, Sir, will let you know what is to be done with what it encloses.
This is the superscription [holding it close to her eyes, and rubbing
them]; As soon as I am certainly dead, this to be broke open by Mr.
Belford.--Here, Sir, I put it [placing it by the will].--These folded
papers are letters, and copies of letters, disposed according to their
dates.  Miss Howe will do with those as you and she shall think fit.
If I receive any more, or more come when I cannot receive them, they may
be put into this drawer, [pulling out and pushing in the looking-glass
drawer,] to be given to Mr. Belford, be they from whom they will.  You'll
be so kind as to observe that, Mrs. Lovick, and dame Shelbourne.

Here, Sir, proceeded she, I put the keys of my apparel [putting them into
the drawer with her papers].  All is in order, and the inventory upon
them, and an account of what I have disposed of: so that nobody need to
ask Mrs. Smith any questions.

There will be no immediate need to open or inspect the trunks which
contain my wearing apparel.  Mrs. Norton will open them, or order
somebody to do it for her, in your presence, Mrs. Lovick; for so I have
directed in my will.  They may be sealed up now: I shall never more have
occasion to open them.

She then, though I expostulated with her to the contrary, caused me to
seal them up with my seal.

After this, she locked up the drawer where were her papers; first taking
out her book of meditations, as she called it; saying, she should,
perhaps, have use for that; and then desired me to take the key of that
drawer; for she should have no further occasion for that neither.

All this in so composed and cheerful a manner, that we were equally
surprised and affected with it.

You can witness for me, Mrs. Smith, and so can you, Mrs. Lovick,
proceeded she, if any one ask after my life and conversation, since you
have known me, that I have been very orderly; have kept good hours; and
never have lain out of your house but when I was in prison; and then you
know I could not help it.

O, Lovelace! that thou hadst heard her or seen her, unknown to herself,
on this occasion!--Not one of us could speak a word.

I shall leave the world in perfect charity, proceeded she.  And turning
towards the women, don't be so much concerned for me, my good friends.
This is all but needful preparation; and I shall be very happy.

Then again rubbing her eyes, which she said were misty, and looked more
intently round upon each, particularly on me--God bless you all! said
she; how kindly are you concerned for me!--Who says I am friendless?  Who
says I am abandoned, and among strangers?--Good Mr. Belford, don't be so
generously humane!--Indeed [putting her handkerchief to her charming
eyes,] you will make me less happy, than I am sure you wish me to be.

While we were thus solemnly engaged, a servant came with a letter from
her cousin Morden:--Then, said she, he is not come himself!

She broke it open; but every line, she said, appeared two to her: so
that, being unable to read it herself, she desired I would read it to
her.  I did so; and wished it were more consolatory to her: but she was
all patient attention: tears, however, often trickling down her cheeks.
By the date, it was written yesterday; and this is the substance of it.

He tells her, 'That the Thursday before he had procured a general meeting
of her principal relations, at her father's; though not without
difficulty, her haughty brother opposing it, and, when met, rendering all
his endeavours to reconcile them to her ineffectual.  He censures him, as
the most ungovernable young man he ever knew: some great sickness, he
says, some heavy misfortune, is wanted to bring him to a knowledge of
himself, and of what is due from him to others; and he wishes that he
were not her brother, and his cousin.  Nor doe he spare her father and
uncles for being so implicitly led by him.'

He tells her, 'That he parted with them all in high displeasure, and
thought never more to darken any of their doors: that he declared as much
to her two uncles, who came to him on Saturday, to try to accommodate
with him; and who found him preparing to go to London to attend her; and
that, notwithstanding their pressing entreaties, he determined so to do,
and not to go with them to Harlowe-place, or to either of their own
houses; and accordingly dismissed them with such an answer.

'But that her noble letter,' as he calls it, of Aug. 31,* 'being brought
him about an hour after their departure, he thought it might affect them
as much as it did him; and give them the exalted opinion of her virtue
which was so well deserved; he therefore turned his horse's head back
to her uncle Antony's, instead of forwards toward London.


* See Letter XLV. of this volume.


'That accordingly arriving there, and finding her two uncles together, he
read to them the affecting letter; which left none of the three a dry
eye: that the absent, as is usual in such cases, bearing all the load,
they accused her brother and sister; and besought him to put off his
journey to town, till he could carry with him the blessings which she had
formerly in vain solicited for; and (as they hoped) the happy tidings of
a general reconciliation.

'That not doubting but his visit would be the more welcome to her, if
these good ends could be obtained, he the more readily complied with
their desires.  But not being willing to subject himself to the
possibility of receiving fresh insult from her brother, he had given her
uncles a copy of her letter, for the family to assemble upon; and desired
to know, as soon as possible, the result of their deliberations.

'He tells her, that he shall bring her up the accounts relating to the
produce of her grandfather's estate, and adjust them with her; having
actually in his hands the arrears due to her from it.

'He highly applauds the noble manner in which she resents your usage of
her.  It is impossible, he owns, that you can either deserve her, or to
be forgiven.  But as you do justice to her virtue, and offer to make her
all the reparation now in your power; and as she is so very earnest with
him not to resent that usage; and declares, that you could not have been
the author of her calamities but through a strange concurrence of unhappy
causes; and as he is not at a loss to know how to place to a proper
account that strange concurrence; he desires her not to be apprehensive
of any vindictive measures from him.'

Nevertheless (as may be expected) 'he inveighs against you; as he finds
that she gave you no advantage over her.  But he forbears to enter
further into this subject, he says, till he has the honour to see her;
and the rather, as she seems so much determined against you.  However, he
cannot but say, that he thinks you a gallant man, and a man of sense; and
that you have the reputation of being thought a generous man in every
instance but where the sex is concerned.  In such, he owns, that you have
taken inexcusable liberties.  And he is sorry to say, that there are very
few young men of fortune but who allow themselves in the same.  Both
sexes, he observes, too much love to have each other in their power: yet
he hardly ever knew man or woman who was very fond of power make a right
use of it.

'If she be so absolutely determined against marrying you, as she declares
she is, he hopes, he says, to prevail upon her to take (as soon as her
health will permit) a little tour abroad with him, as what will probably
establish it; since traveling is certainly the best physic for all those
disorders which owe their rise to grief or disappointment.  An absence of
two or three years will endear her to every one, on her return, and every
one to her.

'He expresses his impatience to see her.  He will set out, he says, the
moment he knows the result of her family's determination; which, he
doubts not, will be favourable.  Nor will he wait long for that.'

When I had read the letter through to the languishing lady, And so, my
friends, said she, have I heard of a patient who actually died, while
five or six principal physicians were in a consultation, and not agreed
upon what name to give his distemper.  The patient was an emperor, the
emperor Joseph, I think.

I asked, if I should write to her cousin, as he knew not how ill she was,
to hasten up?

By no means, she said; since, if he were not already set out, she was
persuaded that she should be so low by the time he could receive my
letter, and come, that his presence would but discompose and hurry her,
and afflict him.

I hope, however, she is not so very near her end.  And without saying any
more to her, when I retired, I wrote to Colonel Morden, that if he
expects to see his beloved cousin alive, he must lose no time in setting
out.  I sent this letter by his own servant.

Dr. H. sent away his letter to her father by a particular hand this
morning.

Mrs. Walton the milliner has also just now acquainted Mrs. Smith, that
her husband had a letter brought by a special messenger from Parson
Brand, within this half hour, enclosing the copy of one he had written to
Mr. John Harlowe, recanting his officious one.

And as all these, and the copy of the lady's letter to Col. Morden, will
be with them pretty much at a time, the devil's in the family if they are
not struck with a remorse that shall burst open the double-barred doors
of their hearts.

Will. engages to reach you with this (late as it will be) before you go
to rest.  He begs that I will testify for him the hour and the minute I
shall give it him.  It is just half an hour after ten.

I pretend to be (now by use) the swiftest short-hand writer in England,
next to yourself.  But were matter to arise every hour to write upon, and
I had nothing else to do, I cannot write so fast as you expect.  And let
it be remembered, that your servants cannot bring letters or messages
before they are written or sent.



LETTER LVIII

DR. H. TO JAMES HARLOWE, SENIOR, ESQ.
LONDON, SEPT. 4.


SIR,

If I may judge of the hearts of other parents by my own, I cannot doubt
but you will take it well to be informed that you have yet an opportunity
to save yourself and family great future regret, by dispatching hither
some one of it with your last blessing, and your lady's, to the most
excellent of her sex.

I have some reason to believe, Sir, that she has been represented to you
in a very different light from the true one.  And this it is that induces
me to acquaint you, that I think her, on the best grounds, absolutely
irreproachable in all her conduct which has passed under my eye, or come
to my ear; and that her very misfortunes are made glorious to her, and
honourable to all that are related to her, by the use she has made of
them; and by the patience and resignation with which she supports herself
in a painful, lingering, and dispiriting decay! and by the greatness of
mind with which she views her approaching dissolution.  And all this from
proper motives; from motives in which a dying saint might glory.

She knows not that I write.  I must indeed acknowledge, that I offered to
do so some days ago, and that very pressingly: nor did she refuse me from
obstinacy--she seemed not to know what that is--but desired me to forbear
for two days only, in hopes that her newly-arrived cousin, who, as she
heard, was soliciting for her, would be able to succeed in her favour.

I hope I shall not be thought an officious man on this occasion; but, if
I am, I cannot help it, being driven to write, by a kind of parental and
irresistible impulse.

But, Sir, whatever you think fit to do, or permit to be done, must be
speedily done; for she cannot, I verily think, live a week: and how long
of that short space she may enjoy her admirable intellects to take
comfort in the favours you may think proper to confer upon her cannot be
said.  I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant,

R.H.



LETTER LIX

MR. BELFORD, TO WILLIAM MORDEN, ESQ.
LONDON, SEPT. 4.


SIR,

The urgency of the case, and the opportunity by your servant, will
sufficiently apologize for this trouble from a stranger to your person,
who, however, is not a stranger to your merit.

I understand you are employing your good offices with the parents of
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, and other relations, to reconcile them to the most
meritorious daughter and kinswoman that ever family had to boast of.

Generously as this is intended by you, we here have too much reason to
think all your solicitudes on this head will be unnecessary: for it is
the opinion of every one who has the honour of being admitted to her
presence, that she cannot lie over three days: so that, if you wish to
see her alive, you must lose no time to come up.

She knows not that I write.  I had done it sooner, if I had had the least
doubt that before now she would not have received from you some news of
the happy effects of your kind mediation in her behalf.  I am, Sir,

Your most humble servant,
J. BELFORD.



LETTER LX

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER LVII.]
UXBRIDGE, TUESDAY MORN, BETWEEN 4 AND 5.


And can it be, that this admirable creature will so soon leave this
cursed world!  For cursed I shall think it, and more cursed myself, when
she is gone.  O, Jack! thou who canst sit so cool, and, like Addison's
Angel, direct, and even enjoy, the storm, that tears up my happiness by
the roots; blame me not for my impatience, however unreasonable!  If thou
knowest, that already I feel the torments of the damned, in the remorse
that wrings my heart, on looking back upon my past actions by her, thou
wouldst not be the devil thou art, to halloo on a worrying conscience,
which, without my merciless aggravations, is altogether intolerable.

I know not what to write, nor what I would write.  When the company that
used to delight me is as uneasy to me as my reflections are painful, and
I can neither help nor divert myself, must not every servant about me
partake in a perturbation so sincere!

Shall I give thee a faint picture of the horrible uneasiness with which
my mind struggles?  And faint indeed it must be; for nothing but
outrageous madness can exceed it; and that only in the apprehension of
others; since, as to the sufferer, it is certain, that actual distraction
(take it out of its lucid intervals) must be an infinitely more happy
state than the state of suspense and anxiety, which often brings it on.

Forbidden to attend the dear creature, yet longing to see her, I would
give the world to be admitted once more to her beloved presence.  I ride
towards London three or four times a day, resolving pro and con, twenty
times in two or three miles; and at last ride back; and, in view of
Uxbridge, loathing even the kind friend, and hospitable house, turn my
horse's head again towards the town, and resolve to gratify my humour,
let her take it as she will; but, at the very entrance of it, after
infinite canvassings, once more alter my mind, dreading to offend and
shock her, lest, by that means, I should curtail a life so precious.

Yesterday, in particular, to give you an idea of the strength of that
impatience, which I cannot avoid suffering to break out upon my servants,
I had no sooner dispatched Will., than I took horse to meet him on his
return.

In order to give him time, I loitered about on the road, riding up this
lane to the one highway, down that to the other, just as my horse
pointed; all the way cursing my very being; and though so lately looking
down upon all the world, wishing to change conditions with the poorest
beggar that cried to me for charity as I rode by him--and throwing him
money, in hopes to obtain by his prayers the blessing my heart pants
after.

After I had sauntered about an hour or two, (which seemed three or four
tedious ones,) fearing I had slipt the fellow, I inquired at every
turnpike, whether a servant in such a livery had not passed through in
his return from London, on a full gallop; for woe had been to the dog,
had I met him on a sluggish trot!  And lest I should miss him at one end
of Kensingtohn, as he might take either the Acton or Hammersmith road; or
at the other, as he might come through the Park, or not; how many score
times did I ride backwards and forwards from the Palace to the Gore,
making myself the subject of observation to all passengers whether on
horseback or on foot; who, no doubt, wondered to see a well-dressed and
well-mounted man, sometimes ambling, sometimes prancing, (as the beast
had more fire than his master) backwards and forwards in so short a
compass!

Yet all this time, though longing to espy the fellow, did I dread to meet
him, lest he should be charged with fatal tidings.

When at distance I saw any man galloping towards me, my
resemblance-forming fancy immediately made it to be him; and then my
heart choked me.  But when the person's nearer approach undeceived me,
how did I curse the varlet's delay, and thee, by turns!  And how ready
was I to draw my pistol at the stranger, for having the impudence to
gallop; which none but my messenger, I thought, had either right or
reason to do!  For all the business of the world, I am ready to imagine,
should stand still on an occasion so melancholy and so interesting to me.
Nay, for this week past, I could cut the throat of any man or woman I see
laugh, while I am in such dejection of mind.

I am now convinced that the wretches who fly from a heavy scene, labour
under ten times more distress in the intermediate suspense and
apprehension, than they could have, were they present at it, and to see
and know the worst: so capable is fancy or imagination, the more
immediate offspring of the soul, to outgo fact, let the subject be either
joyous or grievous.

And hence, as I conceive, it is, that all pleasures are greater in the
expectation, or in the reflection, than in fruition; as all pains, which
press heavy upon both parts of that unequal union by which frail
mortality holds its precarious tenure, are ever most acute in the time of
suffering: for how easy sit upon the reflection the heaviest misfortunes,
when surmounted!--But most easy, I confess, those in which body has more
concern than soul.  This, however, is a point of philosophy I have
neither time nor head just now to weigh: so take it as it falls from a
madman's pen.

Woe be to either of the wretches who shall bring me the fatal news that
she is no more!  For it is but too likely that a shriek-owl so hated will
never hoot or scream again; unless the shock, that will probably disorder
my whole frame on so sad an occasion, (by unsteadying my hand,) shall
divert my aim from his head, heart, or bowels, if it turn not against my
own.

But, surely, she will not, she cannot yet die!  Such a matchless
excellence,

            ----whose mind
      Contains a world, and seems for all things fram'd,

could not be lent to be so soon demanded back again!

But may it not be, that thou, Belford, art in a plot with the dear
creature, (who will not let me attend her to convince myself,) in order
to work up my soul to the deepest remorse; and that, when she is
convinced of the sincerity of my penitence, and when my mind is made such
wax, as to be fit to take what impression she pleases to give it, she
will then raise me up with the joyful tidings of her returning health and
acceptance of me!

What would I give to have it so!  And when the happiness of hundreds, as
well as the peace and reconciliation of several eminent families, depend
upon her restoration and happiness, why should it not be so?

But let me presume it will.  Let me indulge my former hope, however
improbable--I will; and enjoy it too.  And let me tell thee how ecstatic
my delight would be on the unravelling of such a plot as this!

Do, dear Belford, let it be so!--And, O, my dearest, and ever-dear
Clarissa, keep me no loner in this cruel suspense; in which I suffer a
thousand times more than ever I made thee suffer.  Nor fear thou that I
will resent, or recede, on an ecclaircissement so desirable; for I will
adore thee for ever, and without reproaching thee for the pangs thou hast
tortured me with, confess thee as much my superior in virtue and honour!

But once more, should the worst happen--say not what that worst is--and I
am gone from this hated island--gone for ever--and may eternal--but I am
crazed already--and will therefore conclude myself,

Thine more than my own,
(and no great compliment neither)
R.L.



LETTER LXI

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUES. SEPT. 9 IN THE MORN. AT MR. SMITH'S.


When I read yours of this morning, I could not help pitying you for the
account you give of the dreadful anxiety and suspense you labour under.
I wish from my heart all were to end as you are so willing to hope: but
it will not be; and your suspense, if the worst part of your torment, as
you say it is, will soon be over; but, alas! in a way you wish not.

I attended the lady just now.  She is extremely ill: yet is she aiming
at an answer to her Norton's letter, which she began yesterday in her own
chamber, and has written a good deal: but in a hand not like her own fine
one, as Mrs. Lovick tells me, but larger, and the lines crooked.

I have accepted of the offer of a room adjoining to the widow Lovick's,
till I see how matters go; but unknown to the lady; and I shall go home
every night, for a few hours.  I would not lose a sentence that I could
gain from lips so instructive, nor the opportunity of receiving any
command from her, for an estate.

In this my new apartment I now write, and shall continue to write, as
occasions offer, that I may be the more circumstantial: but I depend upon
the return of my letters, or copies of them, on demand, that I may have
together all that relates to this affecting story; which I shall
re-peruse with melancholy pleasure to the end of my life.

I think I will send thee Brand's letter to Mr. John Harlowe, recanting
his base surmises.  It is a matchless piece of pedantry; and may perhaps
a little divert thy deep chagrin: some time hence at least it may, if not
now.

What wretched creatures are there in the world!  What strangely mixed
creatures!--So sensible and so silly at the same time!  What a various,
what a foolish creature is man!--


THREE O'CLOCK.

The lady has just finished her letter, and has entertained Mrs. Lovick,
Mrs. Smith, and me, with a noble discourse on the vanity and brevity of
life, to which I cannot do justice in the repetition: and indeed I am so
grieved for her, that, ill as she is, my intellects are not half so clear
as her's.

A few things which made the strongest impression upon me, as well from
the sentiments themselves as from her manner of uttering them, I
remember.  She introduced them thus:

I am thinking, said she, what a gradual and happy death God Almighty
(blessed be his name) affords me!  Who would have thought, that, suffering
what I have suffered, and abandoned as I have been, with such a
tender education as I have had, I should be so long a dying!--But see now
by little and little it had come to this.  I was first take off from the
power of walking; then I took a coach--a coach grew too violent an
exercise: then I took up a chair--the prison was a large DEATH-STRIDE
upon me--I should have suffered longer else!--Next, I was unable to go to
church; then to go up or down stairs; now hardly can move from one room
to another: and a less room will soon hold me.--My eyes begin to fail me,
so that at times I cannot see to read distinctly; and now I can hardly
write, or hold a pen.--Next, I presume, I shall know nobody, nor be able
to thank any of you; I therefore now once more thank you, Mrs. Lovick,
and you, Mrs. Smith, and you, Mr. Belford, while I can thank you, for all
your kindness to me.  And thus by little and little, in such a gradual
sensible death as I am blessed with, God dies away in us, as I may say,
all human satisfaction, in order to subdue his poor creatures to himself.

Thou mayest guess how affected we all were at this moving account of her
progressive weakness.  We heard it with wet eyes; for what with the
women's example, and what with her moving eloquence, I could no more help
it than they.  But we were silent nevertheless; and she went on applying
herself to me.

O Mr. Belford!  This is a poor transitory life in the best enjoyments.
We flutter about here and there, with all our vanities about us, like
painted butterflies, for a gay, but a very short season, till at last we
lay ourselves down in a quiescent state, and turn into vile worms: And
who knows in what form, or to what condition we shall rise again?

I wish you would permit me, a young creature, just turned of nineteen
years of age, blooming and healthy as I was a few months ago, now nipt by
the cold hand of death, to influence you, in these my last hours, to a
life of regularity and repentance for any past evils you may have been
guilty of.  For, believe me, Sir, that now, in this last stage, very few
things will bear the test, or be passed as laudable, if pardonable, at
our own bar, much less at a more tremendous one, in all we have done, or
delighted in, even in a life not very offensive neither, as we may think!
--Ought we not then to study in our full day, before the dark hours
approach, so to live, as may afford reflections that will soften the
agony of the last moments when they come, and let in upon the departing
soul a ray of Divine mercy to illuminate its passage into an awful
eternity?

She was ready to faint, and choosing to lie down, I withdrew; I need not
say with a melancholy heart: and when I got to my new-taken apartment, my
heart was still more affected by the sight of the solemn letter the
admirable lady had so lately finished.  It was communicated to me by Mrs.
Lovick; who had it to copy for me; but it was not to be delivered to me
till after her departure.  However, I trespassed so far, as to prevail
upon the widow to let me take a copy of it; which I did directly in
character.

I send it enclosed.  If thou canst read it, and thy heart not bleed at
thy eyes, thy remorse can hardly be so deep as thou hast inclined me to
think it is.



LETTER LXII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. NORTON
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER LVI.*]


* Begun on Monday Sept. 4, and by piecemeal finished on Tuesday; but not
sent till the Thursday following.


MY DEAREST MRS. NORTON,

I am afraid I shall not be able to write all that is upon my mind to say
to you upon the subject of your last.  Yet I will try.

As to my friends, and as to the sad breakfasting, I cannot help being
afflicted for them.  What, alas! has not my mother, in particular,
suffered by my rashness!--Yet to allow so much for a son!--so little for
a daughter!--But all now will soon be over, as to me.  I hope they will
bury all their resentments in my grave.

As to your advice, in relation to Mr. Belford, let me only say, that the
unhappy reprobation I have met with, and my short time, must be my
apology now.--I wish I could have written to my mother and my uncles as
you advise.  And yet, favours come so slowly from them.

The granting of one request only now remains as a desirable one from
them.  Which nevertheless, when granted, I shall not be sensible of.  It
is that they will be pleased to permit my remains to be laid with those
of my ancestors--placed at the feet of my dear grandfather, as I have
mentioned in my will.  This, however, as they please.  For, after all,
this vile body ought not so much to engage my cares.  It is a weakness--
but let it be called a natural weakness, and I shall be excused;
especially when a reverential gratitude shall be known to be the
foundation of it.   You know, my dear woman, how my grandfather loved me.
And you know how much I honoured him, and that from my very infancy to
the hour of his death.  How often since have I wished, that he had not
loved me so well!

I wish not now,  at the writing of this, to see even my cousin Morden.
O, my blessed woman!  My dear maternal friend!  I am entering upon a
better tour than to France or Italy either!--or even than to settle at my
once-beloved Dairy-house!--All these prospects and pleasures, which used
to be so agreeable to me in health, how poor seem they to me now!--

Indeed, indeed, my dear Mamma Norton, I shall be happy!  I know I shall!
--I have charming forebodings of happiness already!--Tell all my dear
friends, for their comfort, that I shall!--Who would not bear the
punishments I have borne, to have the prospects and assurances I rejoice
in!--Assurances I might not have had, were my own wishes to have been
granted to me!

Neither do I want to see even you, my dear Mrs. Norton.  Nevertheless I
must, in justice to my own gratitude, declare, that there was a time,
could you have been permitted to come, without incurring displeasure from
those whose esteem it is necessary for you to cultivate and preserve,
that your presence and comfortings would have been balm to my wounded
mind.  But were you now, even by consent, and with reconciliatory
tidings, to come, it would but add to your grief; and the sight of one I
so dearly love, so happily fraught with good news, might but draw me back
to wishes I have had great struggles to get above.  And let me tell you
for your comfort, that I have not left undone any thing that ought to be
done, either respecting mind or person; no, not to the minutest
preparation: so that nothing is left for you to do for me.  Every one has
her direction as to the last offices.--And my desk, that I now write upon
--O my dearest Mrs. Norton, all is provided!--All is ready!  And all will
be as decent as it should be!

And pray let my Miss Howe know, that by the time you will receive this,
and she your signification of the contents of it, will, in all
probability, be too late for her to do me the inestimable favour, as I
should once have thought it, to see me.  God will have no rivals in the
hearts of those he sanctifies.  By various methods he deadens all other
sensations, or rather absorbs them all in the love of him.

I shall nevertheless love you, my Mamma Norton, and my Miss Howe, whose
love to me has passed the love of woman, to my latest hour!--But yet, I
am now above the quick sense of those pleasures which once delighted me,
and once more I say, that I do not wish to see objects so dear to me,
which might bring me back again into sense, and rival my supreme love.


***


Twice have I been forced to leave off.  I wished, that my last writing
might be to you, or to Miss Howe, if it might not be to my dearest Ma----

Mamma, I would have wrote--is the word distinct?--My eyes are so misty!--
If, when I apply to you, I break off in half-words, do you supply them--
the kindest are your due.--Be sure take the kindest, to fill up chasms
with, if any chasms there be--


***


Another breaking off!--But the new day seems to rise upon me with healing
in its wings.  I have gotten, I think, a recruit of strength: spirits, I
bless God, I have not of late wanted.

Let my dearest Miss Howe purchase her wedding-garments--and may all
temporal blessings attend the charming preparation!--Blessings will, I
make no question, notwithstanding the little cloudiness that Mr. Hickman
encounters with now and then, which are but prognostications of a future
golden day to him: for her heart is good, and her head not wrong.--But
great merit is coy, and that coyness had not always its foundation in
pride: but if it should seem to be pride, take off the skin-deep
covering, and, in her, it is noble diffidence, and a love that wants but
to be assured!

Tell Mr. Hickman I write this, and write it, as I believe, with my last
pen; and bid him bear a little at first, and forbear; and all the future
will be crowning gratitude, and rewarding love: for Miss Howe had great
sense, fine judgment, and exalted generosity; and can such a one be
ungrateful or easy under those obligations which his assiduity and
obligingness (when he shall be so happy as to call her his) will lay her
under to him?

As for me, never bride was so ready as I am.  My wedding garments are
bought---and though not fine or gawdy to the sight, though not adorned
with jewels, and set off with gold and silver, (for I have no beholders'
eyes to wish to glitter in,) yet will they be the easiest, the happiest
suit, that ever bridal maiden wore--for they are such as carry with them
a security against all those anxieties, pains, and perturbations, which
sometimes succeed to the most promising outsettings.

And now, my dear Mrs. Norton, do I wish for no other.

O hasten, good God, if it be thy blessed will, the happy moment that I am
to be decked out in his all-quieting garb!  And sustain, comfort, bless,
and protect with the all-shadowing wing of thy mercy, my dear parents, my
uncles, my brother, my sister, my cousin Morden, my ever-dear and
ever-kind Miss Howe, my good Mrs. Norton, and every deserving person to
whom they wish well! is the ardent prayer, first and last, of every
beginning hour, as the clock tells it me, (hours now are days, nay,
years,) of

Your now not sorrowing or afflicted, but happy,
CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER LXIII

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
WED. MORN. SEPT. 6, HALF AN HOUR AFTER THREE.


I am not the savage which you and my worst enemies think me.  My soul is
too much penetrated by the contents of the letter which you enclosed in
your last, to say one word more to it, than that my heart has bled over
it from every vein!--I will fly from the subject--but what other can I
choose, that will not be as grievous, and lead into the same?

I could quarrel with all the world; with thee, as well as the rest;
obliging as thou supposest thyself for writing to me hourly.  How darest
thou, (though unknown to her,) to presume to take an apartment under the
sane roof with her?--I cannot bear to think that thou shouldest be seen,
at all hours passing to and repassing from her apartments, while I, who
have so much reason to call her mine, and one was preferred by her to all
the world, am forced to keep aloof, and hardly dare to enter the city
where she is!

If there be any thing in Brand's letter that will divert me, hasten it to
me.  But nothing now will ever divert me, will ever again give me joy or
pleasure!  I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep.  I am sick of all the
world.

Surely it will be better when all is over--when I know the worst the
Fates can do against me--yet how shall I bear that worst?--O Belford,
Belford! write it not to me!--But if it must happen, get somebody else to
write; for I shall curse the pen, the hand, the head, and the heart,
employed in communicating to me the fatal tidings.  But what is this
saying, when already I curse the whole world except her--myself most?

In fine, I am a most miserable being.  Life is a burden to me.  I would
not bear it upon these terms for one week more, let what would be my lot;
for already is there a hell begun in my own mind.  Never more mention it
to me, let her, or who will say it, the prison--I cannot bear it--May
d----n----n seize quick the cursed woman, who could set death upon taking
that large stride, as the dear creature calls it!--I had no hand in it!--
But her relations, her implacable relations, have done the business.  All
else would have been got over.  Never persuade me but it would.  The fire
of youth, and the violence of passion, would have pleaded for me to good
purpose, with an individual of a sex, which loves to be addressed with
passionate ardour, even to tumult, had it not been for that cruelty and
unforgivingness, which, (the object and the penitence considered,) have
no example, and have aggravated the heinousness of my faults.

Unable to rest, though I went not to bed till two, I dispatch this ere
the day dawn--who knows what this night, this dismal night, may have
produced!

I must after my messenger.  I have told the varlet I will meet him,
perhaps at Knightsbridge, perhaps in Piccadilly; and I trust not myself
with pistols, not only on his account, but my own--for pistols are too
ready a mischief.

I hope thou hast a letter ready for him.  He goes to thy lodgings first--
for surely thou wilt not presume to take thy rest in an apartment near
her's. If he miss thee there, he flies to Smith's, and brings me word
whether in being, or not.

I shall look for him through the air as I ride, as well as on horseback;
for if the prince of it serve me, as well as I have served him, he will
bring the dog by his ears, like another Habakkuk, to my saddle-bow, with
the tidings that my heart pants after.

Nothing but the excruciating pangs the condemned soul fells, at its
entrance into the eternity of the torments we are taught to fear, can
exceed what I now feel, and have felt for almost this week past; and
mayest thou have a spice of those, if thou hast not a letter ready
written for thy

LOVELACE.



LETTER LXIV

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
TUEDAY, SEPT. 5, SIX O'CLOCK.


The lady remains exceedingly weak and ill.  Her intellects, nevertheless,
continue clear and strong, and her piety and patience are without
example.  Every one thinks this night will be her last.  What a shocking
thing is that to say of such an excellence!  She will not, however, send
away her letter to her Norton, as yet.  She endeavoured in vain to
superscribe it: so desired me to do it.  Her fingers will not hold the
pen with the requisite steadiness.--She has, I fear, written and read her
last!


EIGHT O'CLOCK.

She is somewhat better than she was.  The doctor had been here, and
thinks she will hold out yet a day or two.  He has ordered her, as for
some time past, only some little cordials to take when ready to faint.
She seemed disappointed, when he told her she might yet live two or three
days; and said, she longed for dismission!--Life was not so easily
extinguished, she saw, as some imagined.--Death from grief, was, she
believed, the slowest of deaths.  But God's will must be done!--Her only
prayer was now for submission to it: for she doubted not but by the
Divine goodness she should be an happy creature, as soon as she could be
divested of these rags of mortality.

Of her own accord she mentioned you; which, till then, she had avoided to
do.  She asked, with great serenity, where you were?

I told her where, and your motives for being so near; and read to her a
few lines of your's of this morning, in which you mention your wishes to
see her, your sincere affliction, and your resolution not to approach her
without her consent.

I would have read more; but she said, Enough, Mr. Belford, enough!--Poor
man, does his conscience begin to find him!--Then need not any body to
wish him a greater punishment!--May it work upon him to an happy purpose!

I took the liberty to say, that as she was in such a frame that nothing
now seemed capable of discomposing her, I could wish that you might have
the benefit of her exhortations, which, I dared to say, while you were so
seriously affected, would have a greater force upon you than a thousand
sermons; and how happy you would think yourself, if you could but receive
her forgiveness on your knees.

How can you think of such a thing, Mr. Belford? said she, with some
emotion; my composure is owing, next to the Divine goodness blessing my
earnest supplications for it, to the not seeing him.  Yet let him know
that I now again repeat, that I forgive him.--And may God Almighty,
clasping her fingers, and lifting up her eyes, forgive him too; and
perfect repentance, and sanctify it to him!--Tell him I say so!  And tell
him, that if I could not say so with my whole heart, I should be very
uneasy, and think that my hopes of mercy were but weakly founded; and
that I had still, in my harboured resentment, some hankerings after a
life which he has been the cause of shortening.

The divine creature then turning aside her head--Poor man, said she!  I
once could have loved him.  This is saying more than ever I could say of
any other man out of my own family!  Would he have permitted me to have
been an humble instrument to have made him good, I think I could have
made him happy!  But tell him not this if he be really penitent--it may
too much affect him!--There she paused.--

Admirable creature!--Heavenly forgiver!--Then resuming--but pray tell
him, that if I could know that my death might be a mean to reclaim and
save him, it would be an inexpressible satisfaction to me!

But let me not, however, be made uneasy with the apprehension of seeing
him.  I cannot bear to see him!

Just as she had done speaking, the minister, who had so often attended
her, sent up his name; and was admitted.

Being apprehensive that it would be with difficulty that you could
prevail upon that impetuous spirit of your's not to invade her in her
dying hours, and of the agonies into which a surprise of this nature
would throw her, I thought this gentleman's visit afforded a proper
opportunity to renew the subject; and, (having asked her leave,)
acquainted him with the topic we had been upon.

The good man urged that some condescensions were usually expected, on
these solemn occasions, from pious souls like her's, however satisfied
with themselves, for the sake of showing the world, and for example-sake,
that all resentments against those who had most injured them were
subdued; and if she would vouchsafe to a heart so truly penitent, as I
had represented Mr. Lovelace's to be, that personal pardon, which I had
been pleading for there would be no room to suppose the least lurking
resentment remained; and it might have very happy effects upon the
gentleman.

I have no lurking resentment, Sir, said she--this is not a time for
resentment: and you will be the readier to believe me, when I can assure
you, (looking at me,) that even what I have most rejoiced in, the truly
friendly love that has so long subsisted between my Miss Howe and her
Clarissa, although to my last gasp it will be the dearest to me of all
that is dear in this life, has already abated of its fervour; has already
given place to supremer fervours; and shall the remembrance of Mr.
Lovelace's personal insults, which I bless God never corrupted that mind
which her friendship so much delighted, be stronger in these hours with
me, then the remembrance of a love as pure as the human heart ever
boasted?  Tell, therefore, the world, if you please, and (if, Mr.
Belford, you think what I said to you before not strong enough,) tell the
poor man, that I not only forgive him, but have such earnest wishes for
the good of his soul, and that from consideration of its immortality,
that could my penitence avail for more sins than my own, my last tear
should fall for him by whom I die!

Our eyes and hands expressed to us both what our lips could not utter.

Say not, then, proceeded she, nor let it be said, that my resentments are
unsubdued!--And yet these eyes, lifted up to Heaven as witness to the
truth of what I have said, shall never, if I can help it, behold him
more!--For do you not consider, Sirs, how short my time is; what much
more important subjects I have to employ it upon; and how unable I should
be, (so weak as I am,) to contend even with the avowed penitence of a
person in strong health, governed by passions unabated, and always
violent?--And now I hope you will never urge me more on this subject?

The minister said, it were pity ever to urge this plea again.

You see, Lovelace, that I did not forget the office of a friend, in
endeavouring to prevail upon her to give you her last forgiveness
personally.  And I hope, as she is so near her end, you will not invade
her in her last hours; since she must be extremely discomposed at such an
interview; and it might make her leave the world the sooner for it.

This reminds me of an expression which she used on your barbarous hunting
of her at Smith's, on her return to her lodgings; and that with a
serenity unexampled, (as Mrs. Lovick told me, considering the occasion,
and the trouble given her by it, and her indisposition at the time;) he
will not let me die decently, said the angelic sufferer!--He will not let
me enter into my Maker's presence with the composure that is required in
entering into the drawing-room of an earthly prince!

I cannot, however, forbear to wish, that the heavenly creature could have
prevailed upon herself, in these her last hours, to see you; and that for
my sake, as well as yours; for although I am determined never to be
guilty of the crimes, which, till within these few past weeks have
blackened my former life; and for which, at present, I most heartily hate
myself; yet should I be less apprehensive of such a relapse, if wrought
upon by the solemnity which such an interview must have been attended
with, you had become a reformed man: for no devil do I fear, but one in
your shape.


***


It is now eleven o'clock at night.  The lady who retired to rest an hour
ago, is, as Mrs. Lovick tells me, in a sweet slumber.

I will close here.  I hope I shall find her the better for it in the
morning.  Yet, alas! how frail is hope--How frail is life; when we are
apt to build so much on every shadowy relief; although in such a
desperate case as this, sitting down to reflect, we must know, that it is
but shadowy!

I will enclose Brand's horrid pedantry.  And for once am aforehand with
thy ravenous impatience.



LETTER LXV

MR. BRAND, TO MR. JOHN WALTON
SAT. NIGHT, SEPT. 2.


DEAR MR. WALTON,

I am obliged to you for the very 'handsomely penned', (and 'elegantly
written,') letter which you have sent me on purpose to do 'justice' to
the 'character' of the 'younger' Miss Harlowe; and yet I must tell you
that I had reason, 'before that came,' to 'think,' (and to 'know'
indeed,) that we were 'all wrong.'  And so I had employed the 'greatest
part' of this 'week,' in drawing up an 'apologetical letter' to my worthy
'patron,' Mr. John Harlowe, in order to set all 'matters right' between
'me and them,' and, ('as far as I could,') between 'them' and 'Miss.'
So it required little more than 'connection' and 'transcribing,' when I
received 'your's'; and it will be with Mr. Harlowe aforesaid, 'to-morrow
morning'; and this, and the copy of that, will be with you on 'Monday
morning.'

You cannot imagine how sorry I am that 'you' and Mrs. Walton, and Mrs.
Barker, and 'I myself,' should have taken matters up so lightly,
(judging, alas-a-day! by appearance and conjecture,) where 'character'
and 'reputation' are concerned.  Horace says truly,

      'Et semel emissum volat irrevocabile verbum.'

That is, 'Words one spoken cannot be recalled.'  But, Mr. Walton, they
may be 'contradicted' by 'other' words; and we may confess ourselves
guilty of a 'mistake,' and express our 'concern' for being 'mistaken';
and resolve to make our 'mistake' a 'warning' to us for the 'future': and
this is all that 'can be done,' and what every 'worthy mind will do'; and
what nobody can be 'readier to do' than 'we four undesigning offenders,'
(as I see by 'your letter,' on 'your part,' and as you will see by the
'enclosed copy,' on 'mine';) which, if it be received as I 'think it
ought,' (and as I 'believe it will,') must give me a 'speedy' opportunity
to see you when I 'visit the lady'; to whom, (as you will see in  it,) I
expect to be sent up with the 'olive-branch.'

The matter in which we all 'erred,' must be owned to be 'very nice'; and
(Mr. Belford's 'character considered') 'appearances' ran very strong
'against the lady.'  But all that this serveth to show is, 'that in
doubtful matters, the wisest people may be mistaken'; for so saith the
'Poet,'

      'Fallitur in dubiis hominum solertia rebus.'

If you have an 'opportunity,' you may (as if 'from yourself,' and
'unknown to me') show the enclosed to Mr. Belford, who (you tell me)
'resenteth' the matter very heinously; but not to let him 'see' or 'hear
read,' those words 'that relate to him,' in the paragraph at the 'bottom
of the second page,' beginning, ['But yet I do insist upon it,] to the
'end' of that paragraph; for one would not make one's self 'enemies,' you
know; and I have 'reason to think,' that this Mr. 'Belford' is as
'passionate' and 'fierce' a man as Mr. Lovelace.  What pity it is the
lady could find no 'worthier a protector!'  You may paste those lines
over with 'blue' or 'black paper,' before he seeth it: and if he
insisteth upon taking a copy of my letter, (for he, or any body that
'seeth it,' or 'heareth it read,' will, no doubt, be glad to have by them
the copy of a letter so full of the 'sentiments' of the 'noblest writers'
of 'antiquity,' and 'so well adapted,' as I will be bold to say they are,
to the 'point in hand'; I say, if he insisteth upon taking a copy,) let
him give you the 'strongest assurances' not to suffer it to be 'printed'
on 'any account'; and I make the same request to you, that 'you' will
not; for if any thing be to be made of a 'man's works,' who, but the
'author,' should have the 'advantage'?  And if the 'Spectators,' the
'Tatlers,' the 'Examiners,' the 'Guardians,' and other of our polite
papers, make such a 'strutting' with a 'single verse,' or so by way of
'motto,' in the 'front' of 'each day's' paper; and if other 'authors'
pride themselves in 'finding out' and 'embellishing' the 'title-pages'
of their 'books' with a 'verse' or 'adage' from the 'classical writers';
what a figure would 'such a letter as the enclosed make,' so full fraught
with 'admirable precepts,' and 'a-propos quotations,' from the 'best
authority'?

I have been told that a 'certain noble Lord,' who once sat himself down
to write a 'pamphlet' in behalf of a 'great minister,' after taking
'infinite pains' to 'no purpose' to find a 'Latin motto,' gave commission
to a friend of 'his' to offer to 'any one,' who could help him to a
'suitable one,' but of one or two lines, a 'hamper of claret.'
Accordingly, his lordship had a 'motto found him' from 'Juvenal,' which
he 'unhappily mistaking,' (not knowing 'Juvenal' was a 'poet,') printed
as a prose 'sentence' in his 'title-page.'

If, then, 'one' or 'two' lines were of so much worth, (A 'hamper of
claret'!  No 'less'!) of what 'inestimable value' would 'such a letter as
mine' be deemed?--And who knoweth but that this noble P--r, (who is now*
living,) if he should happen to see 'this letter' shining with such a
'glorious string of jewels,' might give the 'writer a scarf,' in order to
have him 'always at hand,' or be a 'mean' (some way or other) to bring
him into 'notice'?  And I would be bold to say ('bad' as the 'world' is)
a man of 'sound learning' wanteth nothing but an 'initiation' to make his
'fortune.'


* i.e. At the time this Letter was written.


I hope, my good friend, that the lady will not 'die': I shall be much
'grieved,' if she doth; and the more because of mine 'unhappy
misrepresentation': so will 'you' for the 'same cause'; so will her
'parents' and 'friends.'  They are very 'rich' and 'very worthy'
gentlefolks.

But let me tell you, 'by-the-by,' that they had carried the matter
against her 'so far,' that I believe in my heart they were glad to
'justify themselves' by 'my report'; and would have been 'less pleased,'
had I made a 'more favourable one.'  And yet in 'their hearts' they
'dote' upon her.  But now they are all (as I hear) inclined to be
'friends with her,' and 'forgive her'; her 'brother,' as well as 'the
rest.'

But their 'cousin,' Col. Morden, 'a very fine gentleman,' had had such
'high words' with them, and they with him, that they know not how to
'stoop,' lest it should look like being frighted into an 'accommodation.'
Hence it is, that 'I' have taken the greater liberty to 'press the
reconciliation'; and I hope in 'such good season,' that they will all be
'pleased' with it: for can they have a 'better handle' to save their
'pride' all round, than by my 'mediation'?  And let me tell you, (inter
nos, 'betwixt ourselves,') 'very proud they all are.'

By this 'honest means,' (for by 'dishonest ones' I would not be
'Archbishop of Canterbury,') I hope to please every body; to be
'forgiven,' in the 'first place,' by 'the lady,' (whom, being a 'lover of
learning' and 'learned men,' I shall have great 'opportunities' of
'obliging'; for, when she departed from her father's house, I had but
just the honour of her 'notice,' and she seemed 'highly pleased' with my
'conversation';) and, 'next' to be 'thanked' and 'respected' by her
'parents,' and 'all her family'; as I am (I bless God for it) by my 'dear
friend' Mr. John Harlowe: who indeed is a man that professeth a 'great
esteem' for 'men of erudition'; and who (with 'singular delight,' I know)
will run over with me the 'authorities' I have 'quoted,' and 'wonder' at
my 'memory,' and the 'happy knack' I have of recommending 'mine own sense
of things' in the words of the 'greatest sages of antiquity.'

Excuse me, my good friend, for this 'seeming vanity.'  The great Cicero
(you must have heard, I suppose) had a 'much greater' spice of it, and
wrote a 'long letter begging' and 'praying' to be 'flattered.'  But if I
say 'less of myself' than other people (who know me) 'say of me,' I think
I keep a 'medium' between 'vanity' and 'false modesty'; the latter of
which oftentimes gives itself the 'lie,' when it is 'declaring of' the
'compliments,' that 'every body' gives it as its due: an hypocrisy, as
well as folly, that, (I hope,) I shall for ever scorn to be guilty of.

I have 'another reason' (as I may tell to you, my 'old school-fellow') to
make me wish for this 'fine lady's recovery' and 'health'; and that is,
(by some distant intimations,) I have heard from Mr. John Harlowe, that
it is 'very likely' (because of the 'slur' she hath received) that she
will choose to 'live privately' and 'penitently'--and will probably (when
she cometh into her 'estate') keep a 'chaplain' to direct her in her
'devotions' and 'penitence'--If she doth, who can stand a 'better chance'
than 'myself'?--And as I find (by 'your' account, as well as by 'every
body's') that she is innocent as to 'intention,' and is resolved never to
think of Mr. 'Lovelace more,' who knoweth 'what' (in time) 'may happen'?
--And yet it must be after Mr. 'Lovelace's death,' (which may possibly
sooner happen than he 'thinketh' of, by means of his 'detestable
courses':) for, after all, a man who is of 'public utility,' ought not
(for the 'finest woman' in the world) to lay his 'throat' at the 'mercy'
of a man who boggleth at nothing.

I beseech you, let not this hint 'go farther' than to 'yourself,' your
'spouse,' and Mrs. 'Barker.'  I know I may trust my 'life' in 'your
hands' and 'theirs.'  There have been (let me tell ye) 'unlikelier'
things come to pass, and that with 'rich widows,' (some of 'quality'
truly!) whose choice, in their 'first marriages' hath (perhaps) been
guided by 'motives of convenience,' or 'mere corporalities,' as I may
say; but who by their 'second' have had for their view the 'corporal' and
'spiritual' mingled; which is the most eligible (no doubt) to 'substance'
composed 'of both,' as 'men' and 'women' are.

Nor think (Sir) that, should such a thing come to pass, 'either' would be
'disgraced,' since 'the lady' in 'me' would marry a 'gentleman' and a
'scholar': and as to 'mine own honour,' as the 'slur' would bring her
'high fortunes' down to an 'equivalence' with my 'mean ones,' (if
'fortune' only, and not 'merit,' be considered,) so hath not the 'life'
of 'this lady' been 'so tainted,' (either by 'length of time,' or
'naughtiness of practice,') as to put her on a 'foot' with the 'cast
Abigails,' that too, too often, (God knoweth,) are thought good enough
for a 'young clergyman,' who, perhaps, is drawn in by a 'poor benefice';
and (if the 'wicked one' be not 'quite worn out') groweth poorer and
poorer upon it, by an 'increase of family' he knoweth not whether 'is
most his,' or his 'noble,' ('ignoble,' I should say,) 'patrons.'

But, all this 'apart,' and 'in confidence.'

I know you made at school but a small progress in 'languages.'  So I have
restrained myself from 'many illustrations' from the 'classics,' that I
could have filled this letter with, (as I have done the enclosed one:)
and, being at a 'distance,' I cannot 'explain' them to you, as I 'do to
my friend,' Mr. John Harlowe; and who, (after all,) is obliged to 'me'
for pointing out to 'him' many 'beauties' of the 'authors I quote,' which
otherwise would lie concealed from 'him,' as they must from every 'common
observer.'--But this (too) 'inter nos'--for he would not take it well to
'have it known'--'Jays' (you know, old school-fellow, 'jays,' you know)
'will strut in peacocks' feathers.'

But whither am I running?  I never know where to end, when I get upon
'learned topics.'  And albeit I cannot compliment 'you' with the 'name of
a learned man,' yet are you 'a sensible man'; and ('as such') must have
'pleasure' in 'learned men,' and in 'their writings.'

In this confidence, (Mr. Walton,) with my 'kind respects' to the good
ladies, (your 'spouse' and 'sister,') and in hopes, for the 'young lady's
sake,' soon to follow this long, long epistle, in 'person,' I conclude
myself,

Your loving and faithful friend,
ELIAS BRAND.


You will perhaps, Mr. Walton, wonder at the meaning of the 'lines drawn
      under many of the words and sentences,' (UNDERSCORING we call it;)
      and were my letters to be printed, those would be put in a
      'different character.'  Now, you must know, Sir, that 'we learned
      men' do this to point out to the readers, who are not 'so learned,'
      where the 'jet of our arguments lieth,' and the 'emphasis' they are
      to lay upon 'those words'; whereby they will take in readily our
      'sense' and 'cogency.'  Some 'pragmatical' people have said, that
      an author who doth a 'great deal of this,' either calleth his
      readers 'fools,' or tacitly condemneth 'his own style,' as
      supposing his meaning would be 'dark' without it, or that all of
      his 'force' lay in 'words.'  But all of those with whom I have
      conversed in a learned way, 'think as I think.'  And to give a very
      'pretty,' though 'familiar illustration,' I have considered a page
      distinguished by 'different characters,' as a 'verdant field'
      overspread with 'butter-flowers' and 'daisies,' and other
      summer-flowers.  These the poets liken to 'enamelling'--have you
      not read in the poets of 'enamelled meads,' and so forth?



LETTER LXVI

MR. BRAND, TO JOHN HARLOWE, ESQ.
SAT. NIGHT, SEPT. 2.


WORTHY SIR,

I am under no 'small concern,' that I should (unhappily) be the
'occasion' (I am sure I 'intended' nothing like it) of 'widening
differences' by 'light misreport,' when it is the 'duty' of one of 'my
function' (and no less consisting with my 'inclination') to 'heal' and
'reconcile.'

I have received two letter to set me 'right': one from a 'particular
acquaintance,' (whom I set to inquire of Mr. Belford's character); and
that came on Tuesday last, informing me, that your 'unhappy niece' was
greatly injured in the account I had had of her; (for I had told 'him'
of it, and that with very 'great concern,' I am sure, apprehending it to
be 'true.')  So I 'then' set about writing to you, to 'acknowledge' the
'error.'  And had gone a good way in it, when the second letter came (a
very 'handsome one' it is, both in 'style' and 'penmanship') from my
friend Mr. Walton, (though I am sure it cannot be 'his inditing,')
expressing his sorrow, and his wife's, and his sister-in-law's likewise,
for having been the cause of 'misleading me,' in the account I gave of
the said 'young lady'; whom they 'now' say (upon 'further inquiry') they
find to be the 'most unblameable,' and 'most prudent,' and (it seems) the
most 'pious' young lady, that ever (once) committed a 'great error'; as
(to be sure) 'her's was,' in leaving such 'worthy parents' and
'relations' for so 'vile a man' as Mr. Lovelace; but what shall we say?--
Why, the divine Virgil tells us,

      'Improbe amor, quid non mortalia pectora cogis?'

For 'my part,' I was but too much afraid (for we have 'great
opportunities,' you are sensible, Sir, at the 'University,' of knowing
'human nature' from 'books,' the 'calm result' of the 'wise man's
wisdom,' as I may say,

      '(Haurit aquam cribro, qui discere vult sine libro)'

'uninterrupted' by the 'noise' and 'vanities' that will mingle with
'personal conversation,' which (in the 'turbulent world') is not to be
enjoyed but over a 'bottle,' where you have an 'hundred foolish things'
pass to 'one that deserveth to be remembered'; I was but too much afraid
'I say') that so 'great a slip' might be attended with 'still greater'
and 'worse': for 'your' Horace, and 'my' Horace, the most charming writer
that ever lived among the 'Pagans' (for the 'lyric kind of poetry,' I
mean; for, the be sure, 'Homer' and 'Virgil' would 'otherwise' be 'first'
named 'in their way') well observeth (and who understood 'human nature'
better than he?)

      'Nec vera virtus, cum semel excidit,
      Curat reponi deterioribus.'

And 'Ovid' no less wisely observeth:

      'Et mala sunt vicina bonis.  Errore sub illo
         Pro vitio virtus crimina saepe tulit.'

Who, that can draw 'knowledge' from its 'fountain-head,' the works of the
'sages of antiquity,' (improved by the 'comments' of the 'moderns,') but
would 'prefer' to all others the 'silent quiet life,' which
'contemplative men' lead in the 'seats of learning,' were they not called
out (according to their 'dedication') to the 'service' and 'instruction'
of the world?

Now, Sir, 'another' favourite poet of mine (and not the 'less a
favourite' for being a 'Christian') telleth us, that ill is the custom of
'some,' when in a 'fault,' to throw the blame upon the backs of 'others,'

      '----Hominum quoque mos est,
      Quae nos cunque premunt, alieno imponere tergo.'
                                         MANT.

But I, though (in this case) 'misled,' ('well intendedly,' nevertheless,
both in the 'misleaders' and 'misled,' and therefore entitled to lay hold
of that plea, if 'any body' is so entitled,) will not however, be classed
among such 'extenuators'; but (contrarily) will always keep in mind that
verse, which 'comforteth in mistake,' as well as 'instructeth'; and which
I quoted in my last letter;

      'Errare est hominis, sed non persistere----'

And will own, that I was very 'rash' to take up with 'conjectures' and
'consequences' drawn from 'probabilites,' where (especially) the
'character' of so 'fine a lady' was concerned.

      'Credere fallacy gravis est dementia famae.'      MANT.

Notwithstanding, Miss Clarissa Harlowe (I must be bold to say) is the
'only young lady,' that ever I heard of (or indeed read of) that, 'having
made such a false step,' so 'soon' (of 'her own accord,' as I may say)
'recovered' herself, and conquered her 'love of the deceiver'; (a great
conquest indeed!) and who flieth him, and resolveth to 'die,' rather than
to be his; which now, to her never-dying 'honour' (I am well assured) is
the case--and, in 'justice' to her, I am now ready to take to myself
(with no small vexation) that of Ovid,

      'Heu! patior telis vulnera facta meis.'

But yet I do insist upon it, that all 'that part' of my 'information,'
which I took upon mine own 'personal inquiry,' which is what relates to
Mr. 'Belford' and 'his character,' is 'literally true'; for there is not
any where to be met with a man of a more 'libertine character' as to
'women,' Mr. 'Lovelace' excepted, than he beareth.

And so, Sir, I must desire of you, that you will not let 'any blame' lie
upon my 'intention'; since you see how ready I am to 'accuse myself' of
too lightly giving ear to a 'rash information' (not knowing it to be so,
however): for I depended the more upon it, as the 'people I had it from'
are very 'sober,' and live in the 'fear of God': and indeed when I wait
upon you, you will see by their letter, that they must be 'conscientious'
good people: wherefore, Sir, let me be entitled, from 'all your good
family,' to that of my last-named poet,

      'Aspera confesso verba remitte reo.'

And now, Sir, (what is much more becoming of my 'function,') let me,
instead of appearing with the 'face of an accuser,' and a 'rash
censurer,' (which in my 'heart' I have not 'deserved' to be thought,)
assume the character of a 'reconciler'; and propose (by way of 'penance'
to myself for my 'fault') to be sent up as a 'messenger of peace' to the
'pious young lady'; for they write me word 'absolutely' (and, I believe
in my heart, 'truly') that the 'doctors' have 'given her over,' and that
she 'cannot live.'  Alas! alas! what a sad thing would that be, if the
'poor bough,' that was only designed (as I 'very well know,' and am
'fully assured') 'to be bent, should be broken!'

Let it not, dear Sir, seem to the 'world' that there was any thing in
your 'resentments' (which, while meant for 'reclaiming,' were just and
fit) that hath the 'appearance' of 'violence,' and 'fierce wrath,' and
'inexorability'; (as it would look to some, if carried to extremity,
after 'repentance' and 'contrition,' and 'humiliation,' on the 'fair
offender's' side:) for all this while (it seemeth) she hat been a 'second
Magdalen' in her 'penitence,' and yet not so bad as a 'Magdalen' in her
'faults'; (faulty, nevertheless, as she hath been once, the Lord knoweth!

      'Nam vitiis nemo sine nascitur: optimus ille est,
      Qui minimis urgentur'----saith Horace).

Now, Sir, if I may be named for this 'blessed' employment, (for, 'Blessed
is the peace-maker!') I will hasten to London; and (as I know Miss had
always a 'great regard' to the 'function' I have the honour to be of) I
have no doubt of making myself acceptable to her, and to bring her, by
'sound arguments,' and 'good advice,' into a 'liking of life,' which must
be the 'first step' to her 'recovery': for, when the 'mind' is 'made
easy,' the 'body' will not 'long suffer'; and the 'love of life' is a
'natural passion,' that is soon 'revived,' when fortune turneth about,
and smileth:

      'Vivere quisque diu, quamvis & egenus & ager,
      Optat.---- ---- ----' OVID.

And the sweet Lucan truly observeth,

      '---- ---- Fatis debentibus annos
      Mors invita subit.---- ----'

And now, Sir, let me tell you what shall be the 'tenor' of my 'pleadings'
with her, and 'comfortings' of her, as she is, as I may say, a 'learned
lady'; and as I can 'explain' to her 'those sentences,' which she cannot
so readily 'construe herself': and this in order to convince 'you' (did
you not already 'know' my 'qualifications') how well qualified I 'am' for
the 'christian office' to which I commend myself.

I will, IN THE FIRST PLACE, put her in mind of the 'common course of
things' in this 'sublunary world,' in which 'joy' and 'sorrow, sorrow'
and joy,' succeed one another by turns'; in order to convince her, that
her griefs have been but according to 'that' common course of things:

      'Gaudia post luctus veniunt, post gaudia luctus.'

SECONDLY, I will remind her of her own notable description of 'sorrow,'
whence she was once called upon to distinguish wherein 'sorrow, grief,'
and 'melancholy,' differed from each other; which she did 'impromptu,' by
their 'effects,' in a truly admirable manner, to the high satisfaction of
every one: I myself could not, by 'study,' have distinguished 'better,'
nor more 'concisely'--SORROW, said she, 'wears'; GRIEF 'tears'; but
MELANCHOLY 'sooths.'

My inference to her shall be, that since a happy reconciliation will take
place, 'grief' will be banished; 'sorrow' dismissed; and only sweet
'melancholy' remain to 'sooth' and 'indulge' her contrite 'heart,' and
show to all the world the penitent sense she hath of her great error.

THIRDLY, That her 'joys,'* when restored to health and favour, will be
the greater, the deeper her griefs were.


* 'Joy,' let me here observe, my dear Sir, by way of note, is not
absolutely inconsistent with 'melancholy'; a 'soft gentle joy,' not a
'rapid,' not a 'rampant joy,' however; but such a 'joy,' as shall lift
her 'temporarily' out of her 'soothing melancholy,' and then 'let her
down gently' into it again; for 'melancholy,' to be sure, her
'reflection' will generally make to be her state.


      'Gaudia, quae multo parta labore, placent.'

FOURTHLY, That having 'really' been guilty of a 'great error,' she should
not take 'impatiently' the 'correction' and 'anger' with which she hath
been treated.

      'Leniter, ex merito quicquid patiare ferundum est.'

FIFTHLY, That 'virtue' must be established by 'patience'; as saith
Prudentius:

      'Haec virtus vidua est, quam non patientia firmat.'

SIXTHLY, That in the words of Horace, she may 'expect better times,' than
(of late) she had 'reason' to look for.

      'Grata superveniet, quae non sperabitur, hora.'

SEVENTHLY, That she is really now in 'a way' to be 'happy,' since,
according to 'Ovid,' she 'can count up all her woe':

      'Felix, qui patitur quae numerare potest.'

And those comforting lines,

      'Estque serena dies post longos gratior imbres,
          Et post triste malum gratior ipsa salus.'

EIGHTHLY, That, in the words of Mantuan, her 'parents' and 'uncles' could
not 'help loving her' all the time they were 'angry at her':

      'AEqua tamen mens est, & amica voluntas,
      Sit licet in natos austere parentum.'

NINTHLY, That the 'ills she hath met with' may be turned (by the 'good
use' to be made of them) to her 'everlasting benefit'; for that,

      'Cum furit atque ferit, Deus olim parcere quaerit.'

TENTHLY, That she will be able to give a 'fine lesson' (a 'very' fine
lesson) to all the 'young ladies' of her 'acquaintance,' of the 'vanity'
of being 'lifted up' in 'prosperity,' and the 'weakness' of being 'cast
down' in 'adversity'; since no one is so 'high,' as to be above being
'humbled'; so 'low,' as to 'need to despair': for which purpose the
advice of 'Ausonius,'

      'Dum fortuna juvat, caveto tolli:
      Dum fortuna tonat, caveto mergi.'

I shall tell her, that Lucan saith well, when he calleth 'adversity the
element of patience';

      '----Gaudet patientia duris:'

That

      'Fortunam superat virtus, prudential famam.'

That while weak souls are 'crushed by fortune,' the 'brave mind' maketh
the fickle deity afraid of it:

      'Fortuna fortes metuit, ignavos permit.'

ELEVENTHLY, That if she take the advice of 'Horace,'

      'Fortiaque adversis opponite pectora rebus,'

it will delight her 'hereafter' (as 'Virgil' saith) to 'revoke her past
troubles':

      '----Forsan & haec olim meminisse juvabit.'

And, to the same purpose, 'Juvenal' speaking of the 'prating joy' of
mariners, after all their 'dangers are over':

      'Gaudent securi narrare pericula nautae.'

Which suiting the case so well, you'll forgive me, Sir, for 'popping
down' in 'English metre,' as the 'translative impulse' (pardon a new
word, and yet we 'scholars' are not fond of 'authenticating new' words)
came upon me 'uncalled for':

      The seaman, safe on shore, with joy doth tell
      What cruel dangers him at sea befell.

With 'these,' Sir, and an 'hundred more' wise 'adages,' which I have
always at my 'fingers' end,' will I (when reduced to 'form' and 'method')
entertain Miss; and as she is a 'well-read,' and (I might say, but for
this 'one' great error) a 'wise' young lady, I make no doubt but I shall
'prevail' upon her, if not by 'mine own arguments,' by those of 'wits'
and 'capacities' that have a 'congeniality' (as I may say) to 'her own,'
to take to heart,

      ----Nor of the laws of fate complain,
      Since, though it has been cloudy, now't clears up again.----

Oh! what 'wisdom' is there in these 'noble classical authors!'  A 'wise
man' will (upon searching into them,) always find that they speak 'his'
sense of 'men' and 'things.'  Hence it is, that they so readily occur to
my 'memory' on every occasion--though this may look like 'vanity,' it is
too true to be omitted; and I see not why a man may not 'know these
things of himself,' which 'every body' seeth and 'saith of him'; who,
nevertheless, perhaps know not 'half so much as he,' in other matters.

I know but of 'one objection,' Sir, that can lie against my going; and
that will arise from your kind 'care' and 'concern' for the 'safety of my
person,' in case that 'fierce' and 'terrible man,' the wicked Mr.
Lovelace, (of whom every one standeth in fear,) should come cross me, as
he may be resolved to try once more to 'gain a footing in Miss's
affections': but I will trust in 'Providence' for 'my safety,' while I
shall be engaged in a 'cause so worthy of my function'; and the 'more'
trust in it, as he is a 'learned man' as I am told.

Strange too, that so 'vile a rake' (I hope he will never see this!)
should be a 'learned man'; that is to say, that a 'learned man' may be a
'sly sinner,' and take opportunities, 'as they come in his way'--which,
however, I do assure you, 'I never did,'

I repeat, that as he is a 'learned man,' I shall 'vest myself,' as I may
say, in 'classical armour'; beginning 'meekly' with him (for, Sir,
'bravery' and 'meekness' are qualities 'very consistent with each other,'
and in no persons so shiningly 'exert' themselves, as in the 'Christian
priesthood'; beginning 'meekly' with him, I say) from Ovid,

      'Corpora magnanimo satis est protrasse leoni:'

So that, if I should not be safe behind the 'shield of mine own
prudence,' I certainly should be behind the 'shields' of the
'ever-admirable classics': of 'Horace' particularly; who, being a 'rake'
(and a 'jovial rake' too,) himself, must have great weight with all
'learned rakes.'

And who knoweth but I may be able to bring even this 'Goliath in
wickedness,' although in 'person' but a 'little David' myself, (armed
with the 'slings' and 'stones' of the 'ancient sages,') to a due sense of
his errors?  And what a victory would that be!

I could here, Sir, pursuing the allegory of David and Goliath, give you
some of the 'stones' ('hard arguments' may be called 'stones,' since they
'knock down a pertinacious opponent') which I could 'pelt him with,' were
he to be wroth with me; and this in order to take from you, Sir, all
apprehensions for my 'life,' or my 'bones'; but I forbear them till you
demand them of me, when I have the honour to attend you in person.

And now, (my dear Sir,) what remaineth, but that having shown you (what
yet, I believe, you did not doubt) how 'well qualified' I am to attend
the lady with the 'olive-branch,' I beg of you to dispatch me with it
'out of hand'?  For if she be so 'very ill,' and if she should not live
to receive the grace, which (to my knowledge) all the 'worthy family'
design her, how much will that grieve you all!  And then, Sir, of what
avail will be the 'eulogies' you shall all, peradventure, join to give to
her memory?  For, as Martial wisely observeth,

      '---- Post cineres gloria sera venit.'

Then, as 'Ausonius' layeth it down with 'equal propriety,' that 'those
favours which are speedily conferred are the most grateful and obliging'
----

And to the same purpose Ovid:

      'Gratia ab officio, quod mora tar dat, abest.'

And, Sir, whatever you do, let the 'lady's pardon' be as 'ample,' and as
'cheerfully given,' as she can 'wish for it': that I may be able to tell
her, that it hath your 'hands,' your 'countenances,' and your 'whole
hearts,' with it--for, as the Latin verse hath it, (and I presume to
think I have not weakened its sense by my humble advice),

      'Dat bene, dat multum, qui dat cum munere vultum.'

And now, Sir, when I survey this long letter,* (albeit I see it
enamelled, as a  'beautiful meadow' is enamelled by the 'spring' or
'summer' flowers, very glorious to behold!) I begin to be afraid that I
may have tired you; and the more likely, as I have written without that
'method' or 'order,' which I think constituteth the 'beauty' of 'good
writing': which 'method' or 'order,' nevertheless, may be the 'better
excused' in a 'familiar epistle,' (as this may be called,) you pardoning,
Sir, the 'familiarity' of the 'word'; but yet not altogether 'here,' I
must needs own; because this is 'a letter' and 'not a letter,' as I may
say; but a kind of 'short' and 'pithy discourse,' touching upon 'various'
and 'sundry topics,' every one of which might be a 'fit theme' to enlarge
upon of volumes; if this 'epistolary discourse' (then let me call it)
should be pleasing to you, (as I am inclined to think it will, because of
the 'sentiments' and 'aphorisms' of the 'wisest of the antients,' which
'glitter through it' like so many dazzling 'sunbeams,') I will (at my
leisure) work it up into a 'methodical discourse'; and perhaps may one
day print it, with a 'dedication' to my 'honoured patron,' (if, Sir, I
have 'your' leave,) 'singly' at first, (but not till I have thrown out
'anonymously,' two or three 'smaller things,' by the success of which I
shall have made myself of 'some account' in the 'commonwealth of
letters,') and afterwards in my 'works'--not for the 'vanity' of the
thing (however) I will say, but for the 'use' it may be of to the
'public'; for, (as one well observeth,) 'though glory always followeth
virtue, yet it should be considered only as its shadow.'


* And here, by way of note, permit me to say, that no 'sermon' I ever
composed cost me half the 'pains' that this letter hath done--but I knew
your great 'appetite' after, as well as 'admiration' of, the 'antient
wisdom,' which you so justly prefer to the 'modern'--and indeed I join
with you to think, that the 'modern' is only 'borrowed,' (as the 'moon'
doth its light from the 'sun,') at least, that we 'excel' them in
nothing; and that our 'best cogitations' may be found, generally
speaking, more 'elegantly' dressed and expressed by them.


      'Contemnit laudem virtus, licet usque sequatur
          Gloria virtutem, corpus ut umbra suum.'

A very pretty saying, and worthy of all men's admiration.

And now, ('most worthy Sir,' my very good friend and patron,) referring
the whole to 'your's,' and to your 'two brothers,' and to 'young Mr.
Harlowe's' consideration, and to the wise consideration of good 'Madam
Harlowe,' and her excellent daughter, 'Miss Arabella Harlowe'; I take the
liberty to subscribe myself, what I 'truly am,' and 'every shall delight
to be,' in 'all cases,' and at 'all times,'

Your and their most ready and obedient
as well as faithful servant,
ELIAS BRAND.



LETTER LXVII

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
[IN ANSWER TO LETTER LXIV. OF THIS VOLUME.]
WEDN. MORN. SEPT. 6.


And is she somewhat better?--Blessings upon thee without number or
measure!  Let her still be better and better!  Tell me so at least, if
she be not so: for thou knowest not what a joy that poor temporary
reprieve, that she will hold out yet a day or two, gave me.

But who told this hard-hearted and death-pronouncing doctor that she will
hold it no longer?  By what warrant says he this?  What presumption in
these parading solemn fellows of a college, which will be my contempt to
the latest hour of my life, if this brother of it (eminent as he is
deemed to be) cannot work an ordinary miracle in her favour, or rather in
mine!

Let me tell thee, Belford, that already he deserves the utmost contempt,
for suffering this charming clock to run down so low.  What must be his
art, if it could not wind it up in a quarter of the time he has attended
her, when, at his first visits, the springs and wheels of life and motion
were so god, that they seemed only to want common care and oiling!

I am obliged to you for endeavouring to engage her to see me.  'Twas
acting like a friend.  If she had vouchsafed me that favour, she should
have seen at her feet the most abject adorer that ever kneeled to
justly-offended beauty.

What she bid you, and what she forbid you, to tell me, (the latter for
tender considerations:) that she forgives me; and that, could she have
made me a good man, she would have made me a happy one!  That she even
loved me!  At such a moment to own that she once loved me!  Never before
loved any man!  That she prays for me!  That her last tear should be shed
for me, could she by it save a soul, doomed, without her, to perdition!--
O Belford! Belford! I cannot bear it!--What a dog, what a devil have I
been to a goodness so superlative!--Why does she not inveigh against me?
--Why does she not execrate me?--O the triumphant subduer!  Ever above
me!--And now to leave me so infinitely below her!

Marry and repair, at any time; this, wretch that I was, was my plea to
myself.  To give her a lowering sensibility; to bring her down from among
the stars which her beamy head was surrounded by, that my wife, so
greatly above me, might not despise me; this was one of my reptile
motives, owing to my more reptile envy, and to my consciousness of
inferiority to her!--Yet she, from step to step, from distress to
distress, to maintain her superiority; and, like the sun, to break out
upon me with the greater refulgence for the clouds that I had contrived
to cast about her!--And now to escape me thus!--No power left me to
repair her wrongs!--No alleviation to my self-reproach!--No dividing of
blame with her!--

Tell her, O tell her, Belford, that her prayers and wishes, her
superlatively-generous prayers and wishes, shall not be vain: that I can,
and do repent--and long have repented.--Tell her of my frequent deep
remorses--it was impossible that such remorses should not at last produce
effectual remorse--yet she must not leave me--she must live, if she would
wish to have my contrition perfect--For what can despair produce?


***


I will do every thing you would have me do, in the return of your
letters.  You have infinitely obliged me by this last, and by pressing
for an admission for me, though it succeeded not.

Once more, how could I be such a villain to so divine a creature!  Yet
love her all the time, as never man loved woman!--Curse upon my
contriving genius!--Curse upon my intriguing head, and upon my seconding
heart!--To sport with the fame, with the honour, with the life, of such
an angel of a woman!--O my d----d incredulity!  That, believing her to be
a woman, I must hope to find her a woman!  On my incredulity, that there
could be such virtue (virtue for virtue's sake) in the sex, founded I my
hope of succeeding with her.

But say not, Jack, that she must leave us yet.  If she recover, and if I
can but re-obtain her favour, then, indeed, will life be life to me.  The
world never saw such an husband as I will make.  I will have no will but
her's.  She shall conduct me in all my steps.  She shall open and direct
my prospects, and turn every motion of my heart as she pleases.

You tell me, in your letter, that at eleven o'clock she had sweet rest;
and my servant acquaints me, from Mrs. Smith, that she has had a good
night.  What hopes does this fill me with!  I have given the fellow five
guineas for his good news, to be divided between him and his
fellow-servant.

Dear, dear Jack! confirm this to me in thy next--for Heaven's sake, do!--
Tell the doctor I'll make a present of a thousand guineas if he recover
her.  Ask if a consultation then be necessary.

Adieu, dear Belford!  Confirm, I beseech thee, the hopes that now, with
sovereign gladness, have taken possession of a heart, that, next to
her's, is

Thine.



LETTER LXVIII

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDN. MORN. EIGHT O'CLOCK, (6 SEPT.)


Your servant arrived here before I was stirring.  I sent him to Smith's
to inquire how the lady was; and ordered him to call upon me when he came
back.  I was pleased to hear she had tolerable rest.  As soon as I had
dispatched him with the letter I had written over night, I went to attend
her.

I found hr up, and dressed; in a white sattin night-gown.  Ever elegant;
but now more so than I had seen her for a week past: her aspect serenely
cheerful.

She mentioned the increased dimness of her eyes, and the tremor which had
invaded her limbs.  If this be dying, said she, there is nothing at all
shocking in it.  My body hardly sensible of pain, my mind at ease, my
intellects clear and perfect as ever.  What a good and gracious God have
I!--For this is what I always prayed for.

I told her it was not so serene with you.

There is not the same reason for it, replied she.  'Tis a choice comfort,
Mr. Belford, at the winding up of our short story, to be able to say, I
have rather suffered injuries myself, than offered them to others.  I
bless God, though I have bee unhappy, as the world deems it, and once I
thought more so than at present I think I ought to have done, since my
calamities were to work out for me my everlasting happiness; yet have I
not wilfully made any one creature so.  I have no reason to grieve for
any thing but for the sorrow I have given my friends.

But pray, Mr. Belford, remember me in the best manner to my cousin
Morden; and desire him to comfort them, and to tell them, that all would
have been the same, had they accepted of my true penitence, as I wish and
as I trust the Almighty has done.

I was called down: it was to Harry, who was just returned from Miss
Howe's, to whom he carried the lady's letter.  The stupid fellow being
bid to make haste with it, and return as soon as possible, staid not
until Miss Howe had it, she being at the distance of five minutes,
although Mrs. Howe would have had him stay, and sent a man and horse
purposely with it to her daughter.


WEDNESDAY MORNING, TEN O'CLOCK.

The poor lady is just recovered from a fainting fit, which has left her
at death's door.  Her late tranquillity and freedom from pain seemed but
a lightening, as Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith call it.

By my faith, Lovelace, I had rather part with all the friends I have in
the world, than with this lady.  I never knew what a virtuous, a holy
friendship, as I may call mine to her, was before.  But to be so new to
it, and to be obliged to forego it so soon, what an affliction!  Yet,
thank Heaven, I lose her not by my own fault!--But 'twould be barbarous
not to spare thee now.

She has sent for the divine who visited her before, to pray with her.



LETTER LXIX

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
KENSINGTON, WEDNESDAY NOON.


Like AEsop's traveller, thou blowest hot and cold, life and death, in the
same breath, with a view, no doubt, to distract me.  How familiarly dost
thou use the words, dying, dimness, tremor?  Never did any mortal ring so
many changes on so few bells.  Thy true father, I dare swear, was a
butcher, or an undertaker, by the delight thou seemest to take in scenes
of death and horror.  Thy barbarous reflection, that thou losest her not
by thy own fault, is never to be forgiven.  Thou hast but one way to
atone for the torments thou hast given me, and that is, by sending me
word that she is better, and will recover.  Whether it be true or not,
let me be told so, and I will go abroad rejoicing and believing it, and
my wishes and imaginations shall make out all the rest.

If she live but one year, that I may acquit myself to myself (no matter
for the world!) that her death is not owing to me, I will compound for
the rest.

Will neither vows nor prayers save her?  I never prayed in my life, put
all the years of it together, as I have done for this fortnight past: and
I have most sincerely repented of all my baseness to her--And will
nothing do?

But after all, if she recovers not, this reflection must be my comfort;
and it is truth; that her departure will be owing rather to wilfulness,
to downright female wilfulness, than to any other cause.

It is difficult for people, who pursue the dictates of a violent
resentment, to stop where first they designed to stop.

I have the charity to believe, that even James and Arabella Harlowe, at
first, intended no more by the confederacy they formed against this their
angel sister, than to disgrace and keep her down, lest (sordid wretches!)
their uncles should follow the example their grandfather had set, to
their detriment.

So this lady, as I suppose, intended only at first to vex and plague me;
and, finding she could do it to purpose, her desire of revenge insensibly
became stronger in her than the desire of life; and now she is willing to
die, as an event which she thinks will cut my heart-strings asunder.  And
still, the more to be revenged, puts on the Christian, and forgives me.

But I'll have none of her forgiveness!  My own heart tells me I do not
deserve it; and I cannot bear it!--And what is it but a mere verbal
forgiveness, as ostentatiously as cruelly given with a view to magnify
herself, and wound me deeper!  A little, dear, specious--but let me stop
--lest I blaspheme!


***


Reading over the above, I am ashamed of my ramblings; but what wouldest
have me do?--Seest thou not that I am but seeking to run out of myself,
in hope to lose myself; yet, that I am unable to do either?

If ever thou lovedst but half so fervently as I love--but of that thy
heavy soul is not capable.

Send me word by the next, I conjure thee, in the names of all her kindred
saints and angels, that she is living, and likely to live!--If thou
sendest ill news, thou wilt be answerable for the consequences, whether
it be fatal to the messenger, or to

Thy
LOVELACE.



LETTER LXX

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
WEDNESDAY, ELEVEN O'CLOCK.


Dr. H. has just been here.  He tarried with me till the minister had done
praying by the lady; and then we were both admitted.  Mr. Goddard, who
came while the doctor and the clergyman were with her, went away with
them when they went.  They took a solemn and everlasting leave of her, as
I have no scruple to say; blessing her, and being blessed by her; and
wishing (when it came to be their lot) for an exit as happy as her's is
likely to be.

She had again earnestly requested of the doctor his opinion how long it
was now probable that she could continue; and he told her, that he
apprehended she would hardly see to-morrow night.  She said, she should
number the hours with greater pleasure than ever she numbered any in her
life on the most joyful occasion.

How unlike poor Belton's last hours her's!  See the infinite differences
in the effects, on the same awful and affecting occasion, between a good
and a bad conscience!

This moment a man is come from Miss Howe with a letter.  Perhaps I shall
be able to send you the contents.


***


She endeavoured several times with earnestness, but in vain, to read the
letter of her dear friend.  The writing, she said, was too fine for her
grosser sight, and the lines staggered under her eye.  And indeed she
trembled so, she could not hold the paper; and at last desired Mrs.
Lovick to read it to her, the messenger waiting for an answer.

Thou wilt see in Miss Howe's letter, how different the expression of the
same impatience, and passionate love, is, when dictated by the gentler
mind of a woman, from that which results from a mind so boisterous and
knotty as thine.  For Mrs. Lovick will transcribe it, and I shall send
it--to be read in this place, if thou wilt.


MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
TUESDAY, SEPT. 5.


O MY DEAREST FRIEND!

What will become of your poor Anna Howe!  I see by your writing, as well
as read by your own account, (which, were you not very, very ill, you
would have touched more tenderly,) how it is with you!  Why have I thus
long delayed to attend you!  Could I think, that the comfortings of a
faithful friend were as nothing to a gentle mind in distress, that I
could be prevailed upon to forbear visiting you so much as once in all
this time!  I, as well as every body else, to desert and abandon my dear
creature to strangers!  What will become of you, if you be as bad as my
apprehensions make you!

I will set out this moment, little as the encouragement is that you give
me to do so!  My mother is willing I should!  Why, O why was she not
before willing?

Yet she persuades me too, (lest I should be fatally affected were I to
find my fears too well justified,) to wait the return of this messenger,
who rides our swiftest horse.--God speed him with good news to me--One
line from your hand by him!--Send me but one line to bid me attend you!
I will set out the moment, the very moment I receive it.  I am now
actually ready to do so!  And if you love me, as I love you, the sight
of me will revive you to my hopes.--But why, why, when I can think this,
did I not go up sooner!

Blessed Heaven! deny not to my prayers, my friend, my admonisher, my
adviser, at a time so critical to myself.

But methinks, your style and sentiments are too well connected, too
full of life and vigour, to give cause for so much despair as thy
staggering pen seems to forbode.

I am sorry I was not at home, [I must add thus much, though the servant
is ready mounted at the door,] when Mr. Belford's servant came with your
affecting letter.  I was at Miss Lloyd's.  My mamma sent it to me--and I
came home that instant.  But he was gone: he would not stay, it seems.
Yet I wanted to ask him an hundred thousand questions.  But why delay I
thus my messenger?  I have a multitude of things to say to you--to advise
with you about!--You shall direct me in every thing.  I will obey the
holding up of your finger.  But, if you leave me--what is the world, or
any thing in it, to your

ANNA HOWE?


The effect this letter had on the lady, who is so near the end which the
fair writer so much apprehends and deplores, obliged Mrs. Lovick to make
many breaks in reading it, and many changes of voice.

This is a friend, said the divine lady, (taking the letter in her hand,
and kissing it,) worth wishing to live for.--O my dear Anna Howe! how
uninterruptedly sweet and noble has been our friendship!--But we shall
one day meet, (and this hope must comfort us both,) never to part again!
Then, divested of the shades of body, shall be all light and all mind!--
Then how unalloyed, how perfect, will be our friendship!  Our love then
will have one and the same adorable object, and we shall enjoy it and
each other to all eternity!

She said, her dear friend was so earnest for a line or two, that she fain
would write, if she could: and she tried--but to no purpose.  She could
dictate, however, she believed; and desired Mrs. Lovick would take pen
and paper.  Which she did, and then she dictated to her.  I would have
withdrawn; but at her desire staid.

She wandered a good deal at first.  She took notice that she did.  And
when she got into a little train, not pleasing herself, she apologized to
Mrs. Lovick for making her begin again and again; and said, that the
third time should go, let it be as it would.

She dictated the farewell part without hesitation; and when she came to
blessing and subscription, she took the pen, and dropping on her knees,
supported by Mrs. Lovick, wrote the conclusion; but Mrs. Lovick was
forced to guide her hand.

You will find the sense surprisingly entire, her weakness considered.

I made the messenger wait while I transcribed it.  I have endeavoured to
imitate the subscriptive part; and in the letter made pauses where, to
the best of my remembrance, she paused.  In nothing that relates to this
admirable lady can I be too minute.


WEDN. NEAR THREE O'CLOCK.


MY DEAREST MISS HOWE,

You must not be surprised--nor grieved--that Mrs. Lovick writes for me.
Although I cannot obey you, and write with my pen, yet my heart writes
by her's--accept it so--it is the nearest to obedience I can!

And now, what ought I to say?  What can I say?--But why should not you
know the truth? since soon you must--very soon.

Know then, and let your tears be those, if of pity, of joyful pity! for
I permit you to shed a few, to embalm, as I may say, a fallen blossom--
know then, that the good doctor, and the pious clergyman, and the worthy
apothecary, have just now--with joint benedictions--taken their last
leave of me; and the former bids me hope--do, my dearest, let me say hope
--hope for my enlargement before to-morrow sun-set.

Adieu, therefore, my dearest friend!--Be this your consolation, as it is
mine, that in God's good time we shall meet in a blessed eternity, never
more to part!--Once more, then, adieu!--and be happy!--Which a generous
nature cannot be, unless--to its power--it makes others so too.

God for ever bless you!--prays, dropt on my bended knees, although
supported upon them,

Your obliged, grateful, affectionate,
CL. HARLOWE.


***


When I had transcribed and sealed this letter, by her direction, I gave
it to the messenger myself, who told me that Miss Howe waited for nothing
but his return to set out for London.

Thy servant is just come; so I will close here.  Thou art a merciless
master.  These two fellows are battered to death by thee, to use a female
word; and all female words, though we are not sure of their derivation,
have very significant meanings.  I believe, in their hearts, they wish
the angel in the Heaven that is ready to receive her, and thee at the
proper place, that there might be an end of their flurries--another word
of the same gender.

What a letter hast thou sent me!--Poor Lovelace!--is all the answer I
will return.


FIVE O'CLOCK.] Col. Morden is this moment arrived.



LETTER LXXI

MR. BELFORD
[IN CONTINUATION.]
EIGHT IN THE EVENING.


I had but just time, in my former, to tell you that Col. Morden was
arrived.  He was on horseback, attended by two servants, and alighted
at the door just as the clock struck five.  Mrs. Smith was then below in
her back-shop, weeping, her husband with her, who was as much affected as
she; Mrs. Lovick having left them a little before, in tears likewise; for
they had been bemoaning one another; joining in opinion that the
admirable lady would not live the night over.  She had told them, it was
her opinion too, from some numbnesses, which she called the forerunners
of death, and from an increased inclination to doze.

The Colonel, as Mrs. Smith told me afterwards, asked with great
impatience, the moment he alighted, how Miss Harlowe was?  She answered--
Alive!--but, she feared, drawing on apace.--Good God! said he, with his
hands and eyes lifted up, can I see her?  My name is Morden.  I have the
honour to be nearly related to her.--Step up, pray, and let her know,
(she is sensible, I hope,) that I am here--Who is with her?

Nobody but her nurse, and Mrs. Lovick, a widow gentlewoman, who is as
careful of her as if she were her mother.

And more careful too, interrupted he, or she is not careful at all----

Except a gentleman be with her, one Mr. Belford, continued Mrs. Smith,
who has been the best friend she has had.

If Mr. Belford be with her, surely I may--but pray step up, and let Mr.
Belford know that I shall take it for a favour to speak with him first.

Mrs. Smith came up to me in my new apartment.  I had but just dispatched
your servant, and was asking her nurse if I might be again admitted?  Who
answered, that she was dozing in the elbow chair, having refused to lie
down, saying, she should soon, she hoped, lie down for good.

The Colonel, who is really a fine gentleman, received me with great
politeness.  After the first compliments--My kinswoman, Sir, said he, is
more obliged to you than to any of her own family.  For my part, I have
been endeavouring to move so many rocks in her favour; and, little
thinking the dear creature so very bad, have neglected to attend her, as
I ought to have done the moment I arrived; and would, had I known how ill
she was, and what a task I should have had with the family.  But, Sir,
your friend has been excessively to blame; and you being so intimately
his friend, has made her fare the worse for your civilities to her.  But
are there no hopes of her recovery?

The doctors have left her, with the melancholy declaration that there are
none.

Has she had good attendance, Sir?  A skilful physician?  I hear these
good folks have been very civil and obliging to her.

Who could be otherwise? said Mrs. Smith, weeping.--She is the sweetest
lady in the world!

The character, said the Colonel, lifting up his eyes and one hand, that
she has from every living creature!--Good God!  How could your accursed
friend--

And how could her cruel parents? interrupted I.--We may as easily account
for him, as for them.

Too true! returned me, the vileness of the profligates of our sex
considered, whenever they can get any of the other into their power.

I satisfied him about the care that had been taken of her, and told him
of the friendly and even paternal attendance she had had from Dr. H. and
Mr. Goddard.

He was impatient to attend her, having not seen her, as he said, since
she was twelve years old; and that then she gave promises of being one of
the finest women in England.

She was so, replied I, a very few months ago: and, though emaciated, she
will appear to you to have confirmed those promises; for her features are
so regular and exact, her proportions so fine, and her manner so
inimitably graceful, that, were she only skin and bone, she must be a
beauty.

Mrs. Smith, at his request, stept up, and brought us down word that Mrs.
Lovick and her nurse were with her; and that she was in so sound a sleep,
leaning upon the former in her elbow-chair, that she had neither heard
her enter the room, nor go out.  The Colonel begged, if not improper,
that he might see her, though sleeping.  He said, that his impatience
would not let him stay till he awaked.  Yet he would not have her
disturbed; and should be glad to contemplate her sweet features, when she
saw not him; and asked, if she thought he could not go in, and come out,
without disturbing her?

She believed he might, she answered; for her chair's back was towards the
door.

He said he would take care to withdraw, if she awoke, that his sudden
appearance might not surprise her.

Mrs. Smith, stepping up before us, bid Mrs. Lovick and nurse not stir,
when we entered; and then we went up softly together.

We beheld the lady in a charming attitude.  Dressed, as I told you
before, in her virgin white.  She was sitting in her elbow-chair, Mrs.
Lovick close by her, in another chair, with her left arm round her neck,
supporting it, as it were; for, it seems, the lady had bid her do so,
saying, she had been a mother to her, and she would delight herself in
thinking she was in her mamma's arms; for she found herself drowsy;
perhaps, she said, for the last time she should be so.

One faded cheek rested upon the good woman's bosom, the kindly warmth of
which had overspread it with a faint, but charming flush; the other paler
and hollow, as if already iced over by death.  Her hands white as the
lily, with her meandering veins more transparently blue than ever I had
seen even her's, (veins so soon, alas! to be choked up by the congealment
of that purple stream, which already so languidly creeps, rather than
flows, through them!) her hands hanging lifelessly, one before her, the
other grasped by the right-hand of the kind widow, whose tears bedewed
the sweet face which her motherly boson supported, though unfelt by the
fair sleeper; and either insensibly to the good woman, or what she would
not disturb her to wipe off, or to change her posture: her aspect was
sweetly calm and serene: and though she started now and then, yet her
sleep seemed easy; her breath, indeed short and quick; but tolerably
free, and not like that of a dying person.

In this heart-moving attitude she appeared to us when we approached her,
and came to have her lovely face before us.

The Colonel, sighing often, gazed upon her with his arms folded, and with
the most profound and affectionate attention; till at last, on her
starting, and fetching her breath with greater difficulty than before, he
retired to a screen, that was drawn before her house, as she calls it,
which, as I have heretofore observed, stands under one of the windows.
This screen was placed there at the time she found herself obliged to
take to her chamber; and in the depth of our concern, and the fulness of
other discourse at our first interview, I had forgotten to apprize the
Colonel of what he would probably see.

Retiring thither, he drew out his handkerchief, and, overwhelmed with
grief, seemed unable to speak; but, on casting his eye behind the screen,
he soon broke silence; for, struck with the shape of the coffin, he
lifted up a purplish-coloured cloth that was spread over it, and,
starting back, Good God! said he, what's here?

Mrs. Smith standing next him, Why, said he, with great emotion, is my
cousin suffered to indulge her sad reflections with such an object before
her?

Alas! Sir, replied the good woman, who should controul her?  We are all
strangers about her, in a manner: and yet we have expostulated with her
upon this sad occasion.

I ought, said I, (stepping softly up to him, the lady again falling into
a doze,) to have apprized you of this.  I was here when it was brought
in, and never was so shocked in my life.  But she had none of her friends
about her, and no reason to hope for any of them to come near her; and,
assured she should not recover, she was resolved to leave as little as
possible, especially as to what related to her person, to her executor.
But it is not a shocking object to her, though it be to every body else.

Curse upon the hard-heartedness of those, said he, who occasioned her to
make so sad a provision for herself!--What must her reflections have been
all the time she was thinking of it, and giving orders about it?  And
what must they be every time she turns her head towards it?  These
uncommon genius's--but indeed she should have been controuled in it, had
I been here.

The lady fetched a profound sigh, and, starting, it broke off our talk;
and the Colonel then withdrew farther behind the screen, that his sudden
appearance might not surprise her.

Where am I?--said she.  How drowsy I am!  How long have I dozed?  Don't
go, Sir, (for I was retiring,) I am very stupid, and shall be more and
more so, I suppose.

She then offered to raise herself; but being ready to faint through
weakness, was forced to sit down again, reclining her head on her chair
back; and, after a few moments, I believe now, my good friends, said she,
all your kind trouble will soon be over.  I have slept, but am not
refreshed, and my fingers' ends seem numbed--have no feeling! (holding
them up,)--'tis time to send the letter to my good Norton.

Shall I, Madam, send my servant post with it?

O no, Sir, I thank you.  It will reach the dear woman too soon, (as she
will think,) by the post.

I told her this was not post-day.

Is it Wednesday still, said she; bless me!  I know not how the time goes
--but very tediously, 'tis plain.  And now I think I must soon take to my
bed.  All will be most conveniently, and with least trouble, over there--
will it not, Mrs. Lovick?--I think, Sir, turning to me, I have left
nothing to these last incapacitating hours.  Nothing either to say, or to
do--I bless God, I have not.  If I had, how unhappy should I be!  Can
you, Sir, remind me of any thing necessary to be done or said to make
your office easy?

If, Madam, your cousin Morden should come, you would be glad to see him,
I presume?

I am too weak to wish to see my cousin now.  It would but discompose me,
and him too.  Yet, if he come while I can see him, I will see him, were
it but to thank him for former favours, and for his present kind
intentions to me.  Has any body been here from him?

He has called, and will be here, Madam, in half an hour; but he feared to
surprise you.

Nothing can surprise me now, except my mamma were to favour me with her
last blessing in person.  That would be a welcome surprise to me, even
yet.  But did my cousin come purposely to town to see me?

Yes, Madam, I took the liberty to let him know, by a line last Monday,
how ill you were.

You are very kind, Sir.  I am, and have been greatly obliged to you.  But
I think I shall be pained to see him now, because he will be concerned to
see me.  And yet, as I am not so ill as I shall presently be--the sooner
he comes the better.  But if he come, what shall I do about the screen?
He will chide me, very probably, and I cannot bear chiding now.  Perhaps,
[leaning upon Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith,] I can walk into the next
apartment to receive him.

She motioned to rise, but was ready to faint again, and forced to sit
still.

The Colonel was in a perfect agitation behind the screen to hear this
discourse; and twice, unseen by his cousin, was coming from it towards
her; but retreated for fear of surprising her too much.

I stept to him, and favoured his retreat; she only saying, Are you going,
Mr. Belford?  Are you sent for down?  Is my cousin come?  For she heard
somebody step softly across the room, and thought it to be me; her
hearing being more perfect than her sight.

I told her, I believed he was; and she said, We must make the best of it,
Mrs. Lovick, and Mrs. Smith.  I shall otherwise most grievously shock my
poor cousin: for he loved me dearly once.--Pray give me a few of the
doctor's last drops in water, to keep up my spirits for this one
interview; and that is all, I believe, that can concern me now.

The Colonel, (who heard all this,) sent in his name; and I, pretending to
go down to him, introduced the afflicted gentleman; she having first
ordered the screen to be put as close to the window as possible, that he
might not see what was behind it; while he, having heard what she had
said about it, was determined to take no notice of it.

He folded the angel in his arms as she sat, dropping down on one knee;
for, supporting herself upon the two elbows of the chair, she attempted
to rise, but could not.  Excuse, my dear Cousin, said she, excuse me,
that I cannot stand up--I did not expect this favour now.  But I am glad
of this opportunity to thank you for all your generous goodness to me.

I never, my best-beloved and dearest Cousin, said he, (with eyes running
over,) shall forgive myself, that I did not attend you sooner.  Little
did I think you were so ill; nor do any of your friends believe it.  If
they did--

If they did, repeated she, interrupting him, I should have had more
compassion from them.  I am sure I should--But pray, Sir, how did you
leave them?  Are you reconciled to them?  If you are not, I beg, if you
love your poor Clarissa, that you will; for every widened difference
augments but my fault; since that is the foundation of all.

I had been expecting to hear from them in your favour, my dear Cousin,
said he, for some hours, when this gentleman's letter arrived, which
hastened me up; but I have the account of your grandfather's estate to
make up with you, and have bills and drafts upon their banker for the
sums due to you; which they desire you may receive, lest you should have
occasion for money.  And this is such an earnest of an approaching
reconciliation, that I dare to answer for all the rest being according to
your wishes, if----

Ah! Sir, interrupted she, with frequent breaks and pauses--I wish--I wish
this does not rather show that, were I to live, they would have nothing
more to say to me.  I never had any pride in being independent of them;
all my actions, when I might have made myself more independent, show this
--But what avail these reflections now?--I only beg, Sir, that you, and
this gentleman--to whom I am exceedingly obliged--will adjust those
matters--according to the will I have written.  Mr. Belford will excuse
me; but it was in truth more necessity than choice that made me think of
giving him the trouble he so kindly accepts.  Had I the happiness to see
you, my Cousin, sooner--or to know that you still honoured me with your
regard--I should not have had the assurance to ask this favour of him.--
But, though the friend of Mr. Lovelace, he is a man of honour, and he
will make peace rather than break it.  And, my dear Cousin, let me beg
of you while I have nearer relations than my Cousin Morden, dear as you
are, and always were to me, you have no title to avenge my wrongs upon
him who has been the occasion of them.  But I wrote to you my mind on
this subject, and my reasons--and I hope I need not further urge them.

I must do Mr. Lovelace so much justice, answered he, wiping his eyes, as
to witness how sincerely he repents him of his ungrateful baseness to
you, and how ready he is to make you all the amends in his power.  He
owns his wickedness, and your merit.  If he did not, I could not pass it
over, though you have nearer relations; for, my dear Cousin, did not your
grandfather leave me in trust for you?  And should I think myself
concerned for your fortune, and not for your honour?  But since he is so
desirous to do you justice, I have the less to say; and you may make
yourself entirely easy on that account.

I thank you, thank you, Sir, said she;--all is now as I wished.--But I am
very faint, very weak.  I am sorry I cannot hold up; that I cannot better
deserve the honour of this visit--but it will not be--and saying this, she
sunk down in her chair, and was silent.

Hereupon we both withdrew, leaving word that we would be at the Bedford
Head, if any thing extraordinary happened.

We bespoke a little repast, having neither of us dined; and, while it was
getting ready, you may guess at the subject of our discourse.  Both
joined in lamentation for the lady's desperate state; admired her
manifold excellencies; severely condemned you and her friends.  Yet, to
bring him into better opinion of you, I read to him some passages from
your last letters, which showed your concern for the wrongs you had done
her, and your deep remorse: and he said it was a dreadful thing to labour
under the sense of a guilt so irredeemable.

We procured Mr. Goddard, (Dr. H. not being at home,) once more to visit
her, and to call upon us in his return.  He was so good as to do so; but
he tarried with her not five minutes; and told us, that she was drawing
on apace; that he feared she would not live till morning; and that she
wished to see Colonel Morden directly.

The Colonel made excuses where none were needed; and though our little
refection was just brought in, he went away immediately.

I could not touch a morsel; and took pen and ink to amuse myself, and
oblige you; knowing how impatient you would be for a few lines: for, from
what I have recited, you see it was impossible I could withdraw to write
when your servant came at half an hour after five, or have an opportunity
for it till now; and this is accidental; and yet your poor fellow was
afraid to go away with the verbal message I sent; importing, as no doubt
he told you, that the Colonel was with us, the lady excessively ill, and
that I could not stir to write a line.


TEN O'CLOCK.

The Colonel sent to me afterwards, to tell me that the lady having been
in convulsions, he was so much disordered that he could not possibly
attend me.

I have sent every half hour to know how she does--and just now I have the
pleasure to hear that her convulsions have left her; and that she is gone
to rest in a much quieter way than could be expected.

Her poor cousin is very much indisposed; yet will not stir out of the
house while she is in such a way; but intends to lie down on a couch,
having refused any other accommodation.

END OF VOL. 8.





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