HISTORY OF A YOUNG LADY
Nine Volumes Volume IX.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME IX
LETTER I. Belford to Lovelace.— Her silent devotion. Strong symptoms of her approaching dissolution. Comforts her cousin and him. Wishes she had her parents' last blessing: but God, she says, would not let her depend for comfort on any but Himself. Repeats her request to the Colonel, that he will not seek to avenge her wrongs; and to Belford, that he will endeavour to heal all breaches.
LETTER II. From the same.— The Colonel writes to Mr. John Harlowe that they may now spare themselves the trouble of debating about a reconciliation. The lady takes from her bosom a miniature picture of Miss Howe, to be given to Mr. Hickman after her decease. Her affecting address to it, on parting with it.
LETTER III. Belford to Mowbray.— Desires him and Tourville to throw themselves in the way of Lovelace, in order to prevent him doing either mischief to himself or others, on the receipt of the fatal news which he shall probably send him in an hour or two.
LETTER IV. Lovelace to Belford.— A letter filled with rage, curses, and alternate despair and hope.
LETTER V. Belford to Lovelace.— With the fatal hint, that he may take a tour to Paris, or wherever else his destiny shall lead him.
LETTER VI. Mowbray to Belford.— With the particulars, in his libertine manner, of Lovelace's behaviour on his receiving the fatal breviate, and of the distracted way he is in.
LETTER VII. Belford to Lovelace.— Particulars of Clarissa's truly christian behaviour in her last hours. A short sketch of her character.
LETTER VIII. From the same.— The three next following letters brought by a servant in livery, directed to the departed lady, viz.
LETTER IX. From Mrs. Norton.— With the news of a general reconciliation upon her own conditions.
LETTER X. From Miss Arabella.— In which she assures her of all their returning love and favour.
LETTER XI. From Mr. John Harlowe.— Regretting that things have been carried so far; and desiring her to excuse his part in what had passed.
LETTER XII. Belford to Lovelace.— His executorial proceedings. Eleven posthumous letters of the lady. Copy of one of them written to himself. Tells Lovelace of one written to him, in pursuance of her promise in her allegorical letter. (See Letter XVIII. of Vol. VIII.) Other executorial proceedings. The Colonel's letter to James Harlowe, signifying Clarissa's request to be buried at the feet of her grandfather.
LETTER XIII. From the same.— Mrs. Norton arrives. Her surprise and grief to find her beloved young lady departed. The posthumous letters calculated to give comfort, and not to reproach.
LETTER XIV. XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. Copies of Clarissa's posthumous letters to her father, mother, brother, sister, and uncle.
Substance of her letter to her aunt Hervey, concluding with advice to her cousin Dolly.
Substance of her letter to Miss Howe, with advice in favour of Mr. Hickman.
LETTER XIX. Belford to Lovelace.— The wretched Sinclair breaks her leg, and dispatches Sally Martin to beg a visit from him, and that he will procure for her the forgiveness. Sally's remorse for the treatment she gave her at Rowland's. Acknowledges the lady's ruin to be in a great measure owing to their instigations.
LETTER XX. From the same.— Miss Howe's distress on receiving the fatal news, and the posthumous letters directed to her. Copy of James Harlowe's answer to Colonel Morden's letter, in which he relates the unspeakable distress of the family; endeavours to exculpate himself; desires the body may be sent down to Harlowe-place; and that the Colonel will favour them with his company.
LETTER XXI. Belford to Lovelace.— The corpse sent down, attended by the Colonel and Mrs. Norton.
LETTER XXII. Mowbray to Belford.— An account of Lovelace's delirious unmanageableness, and extravagant design, had they not all interposed. They have got Lord M. to him. He endeavours to justify Lovelace by rakish principles, and by a true story of a villany which he thinks greater than that of Lovelace by Clarissa.
LETTER XXIII. Lovelace to Belford.— Written in the height of his delirium. The whole world, he says, is but one great Bedlam. Every one in it mad but himself.
LETTER XXIV. Belford to Mowbray.— Desires that Lovelace, on his recovery, may be prevailed upon to go abroad; and why. Exhorts him and Tourville to reform, as he is resolved to do.
LETTER XXV. Belford to Lovelace.— Describing the terrible impatience, despondency, and death of the wretched Sinclair.
[As the bad house is often mentioned in this work, without any other stigma than what arises from the wicked principles and actions occasionally given of the wretches who inhabit it; Mr. Belford here enters into the secret retirements of those creatures, and exposes them in the appearances they are supposed to make, before they are tricked out to ensnare weak and inconsiderate minds.]
LETTER XXVI. Colonel Morden to Mr. Belford.— With an account of his arrival at Harlowe-place before the body. The dreadful distress of the whole family in expectation of its coming. The deep remorse of James and Arabella Harlowe. Mutual recriminations on recollecting the numerous instances of their inexorable cruelty. Mrs. Norton so ill he was forced to leave her at St. Alban's. He dates again to give a farther account of their distress on the arrival of the hearse. Solemn respect paid to her memory by crowds of people.
LETTER XXVII. From the same.— Farther interesting accounts of what passed among the Harlowes. Miss Howe expected to see, for the last time, her beloved friend.
LETTER XXVIII. From the same.— Miss Howe arrives. The Colonel receives her. Her tender woe; and characteristic behaviour.
LETTER XXIX. Colonel Morden to Mr. Belford.— Mrs. Norton arrives. Amended in spirits. To what owing. Farther recriminations of the unhappy parents. They attempt to see the corpse; but cannot. Could ever wilful hard-heartedness, the Colonel asks, be more severely punished? Substance of the lady's posthumous letter to Mrs. Norton.
LETTER XXX. From the same.— Account of the funeral solemnity. Heads of the eulogium. The universal justice done to the lady's great and good qualities. Other affecting particulars.
LETTER XXXI. Belford to Colonel Morden.— Compliments him on his pathetic narratives. Farther account of his executorial proceedings.
LETTER XXXII. James Harlowe to Belford.
LETTER XXXIII. Mr. Belford. In answer.
The lady's LAST WILL. In the preamble to which, as well as in the body of it, she gives several instructive hints; and displays, in an exemplary manner, her forgiving spirit, her piety, her charity, her gratitude, and other christian and heroic virtues.
LETTER XXXIV. Colonel Morden to Mr. Belford.— The will read. What passed on the occasion.
LETTER XXXV. Belford to Lord M.— Apprehends a vindictive resentment from the Colonel.—Desires that Mr. Lovelace may be prevailed upon to take a tour.
LETTER XXXVI. Miss Montague. In answer.
Summary account of proceedings relating to the execution of the lady's will, and other matters. Substance of a letter from Mr. Belford to Mr. Hickman; of Mr. Hickman's answer; and of a letter from Miss Howe to Mr. Belford.
LETTER XXXVII. Lovelace to Belford.— Describing his delirium as dawning into sense and recollection. All is conscience and horror with him, he says. A description of his misery at its height.
LETTER XXXVIII. From the same.— Revokes his last letter, as ashamed of it. Yet breaks into fits and starts, and is ready to go back again. Why, he asks, did his mother bring him up to know no controul? His heart sickens at the recollection of what he was. Dreads the return of his malady. Makes an effort to forget all.
LETTER XXXIX. Lovelace to Belford.— Is preparing to leave the kingdom. His route. Seasonable warnings, though delivered in a ludicrous manner, on Belford's resolution to reform. Complains that he has been strangely kept in the dark of late. Demands a copy of the lady's will.
LETTER XL. Belford to Lovelace.— Justice likely to overtake his instrument Tomlinson. On what occasion. The wretched man's remorse on the lady's account. Belford urges Lovelace to go abroad for his health. Answers very seriously to the warnings he gives him. Amiable scheme for the conduct of his future life.
LETTER XLI. Lovelace to Belford.— Pities Tomlinson. Finds that he is dead in prison. Happy that he lived not to be hanged. Why. No discomfort so great but some comfort may be drawn from it. Endeavours to defend himself by a whimsical case which he puts between A. a miser, and B. a thief.
LETTER XLII. From the same.— Ridicules him on the scheme of life he has drawn out for himself. In his manner gives Belford some farther cautions and warnings. Reproaches him for not saving the lady. A breach of confidence in some cases is more excusable than to keep a secret. Rallies him on his person and air, on his cousin Charlotte, and the widow Lovick.
LETTER XLIII. Mr. Belford to Colonel Morden.— On a declaration he had made, of taking vengeance of Mr. Lovelace. His arguments with him on that subject, from various topics.
LETTER XLIV. The Lady's posthumous letter to her cousin Morden.— Containing arguments against DUELLING, as well as with regard to her particular case, as in general. See also Letter XVI. to her brother, on the same subject.
LETTER XLV. Colonel Morden to Mr. Belford.— In answer to his pleas against avenging his cousin. He paints in very strong colours the grief and distress of the whole family, on the loss of a child, whose character and excellencies rise upon them to their torment.
LETTER XLVI. Colonel Morden to Mr. Belford.— Farther particulars relating to the execution of the lady's will. Gives his thoughts of women's friendships in general; of that of Miss Howe and his cousin, in particular. An early habit of familiar letter-writing, how improving. Censures Miss Howe for her behaviour to Mr. Hickman. Mr. Hickman's good character. Caution to parents who desire to preserve their children's veneration for them. Mr. Hickman, unknown to Miss Howe, puts himself and equipage in mourning for Clarissa. Her lively turn upon him on that occasion. What he, the Colonel, expects from the generosity of Miss Howe, in relation to Mr. Hickman. Weakness of such as are afraid of making their last wills.
LETTER XLVII. Belford to Miss Howe.— With copies of Clarissa's posthumous letters; and respectfully, as from Colonel Morden and himself, reminding her of her performing her part of her dear friend's last desires, in making one of the most deserving men in England happy. Informs her of the delirium of Lovelace, in order to move her compassion for him, and of the dreadful death of Sinclair and Tomlinson.
LETTER XLVIII. Miss Howe to Mr. Belford.— Observations on the letters and subjects he communicates to her. She promises another letter, in answer to his and Colonel Morden's call upon her in Mr. Hickman's favour. Applauds the Colonel for purchasing her beloved friend's jewels, in order to present them to Miss Dolly Hervey.
LETTER XLIX. From the same.— She accounts for, though not defends, her treatment of Mr. Hickman. She owns that he is a man worthy of a better choice; that she values no man more than him: and assures Mr. Belford and the Colonel that her endeavours shall not be wanting to make him happy.
LETTER L. Mr. Belford to Miss Howe.— A letter full of grateful acknowledgements for the favour of her's.
LETTER LI. Lord M. to Mr. Belford.— Acquainting him with his kinsman's setting out for London, in order to embark. Wishes him to prevent a meeting between him and Mr. Morden.
LETTER LII. Mr. Belford to Lord M.— Has had a visit from Mr. Lovelace. What passed between them on the occasion. Has an interview with Colonel Morden.
LETTER LIII. Mr. Belford to Lord M.— Just returned from attending Mr. Lovelace part of his way towards Dover. Their solemn parting.
LETTER LIV. From the same.— An account of what passed between himself and Colonel Morden at their next meeting. Their affectionate parting.
LETTER LV. Miss Howe to Mr. Belford.— Gives, at his request, the character of her beloved friend at large; and an account of the particular distribution of her time in the twenty-four hours of the natural day.
LETTER LVI. Lovelace to Belford, from Paris.— Conscience the conqueror of souls. He cannot run away from his reflections. He desires a particular account of all that has passed since he left England.
LETTER LVII. Belford to Lovelace.— Answers him as to all the particulars he writes about.
LETTER LVIII. Lovelace to Belford.— Has received a letter from Joseph Leman (who, he says, is conscience-ridden) to inform him that Colonel Morden resolves to have his will of him. He cannot bear to be threatened. He will write to the Colonel to know his purpose. He cannot get off his regrets on account of the dear lady for the blood of him.
LETTER LIX. Belford to Lovelace.— It would be matter of serious reflection to him, he says, if that very Leman, who had been his machine, should be the instrument of his fall.
LETTER LX. Lovelace to Belford.— Has written to the Colonel to know his intention: but yet in such a manner that he may handsomely avoid taking it as a challenge; though, in the like case, he owns that he himself should not. Copy of his letter to the Colonel.
LETTER LXI. From the same.— He is now in his way to Trent, in order to meet Colonel Morden. He is sure of victory: but will not, if he can help it, out of regard to Clarissa, kill the Colonel.
LETTER LXII. From the same.— Interview with Colonel Morden. To-morrow, says he, is the day that will, in all probability, send either one or two ghosts to attend the manes of my Clarissa. He doubts not to give the Colonel his life, or his death; and to be able, by next morning eleven, to write all the particulars.
LETTER LXIV. THE ISSUE OF THE DUEL.
MR. BELFORD [IN CONTINUATION.] SOHO, SIX O'CLOCK, SEPT. 7.
The lady is still alive. The Colonel having just sent his servant to let me know that she inquired after me about an hour ago, I am dressing to attend her. Joel begs of me to dispatch him back, though but with one line to gratify your present impatience. He expects, he says, to find you at Knightsbridge, let him make what haste he can back; and, if he has not a line or two to pacify you, he is afraid you will pistol him; for he apprehends that you are hardly yourself. I therefore dispatch this, and will have another ready, as soon as I can, with particulars.—But you must have a little patience; for how can I withdraw myself every half hour to write, if I am admitted to the lady's presence, or if I am with the Colonel?
SMITH'S, EIGHT IN THE MORNING.
The lady is in a slumber. Mrs. Lovick, who sat up with her, says she had a better night than was expected; for although she slept little, she seemed easy; and the easier for the pious frame she was in; all her waking moments being taken up in devotion, or in an ejaculatory silence; her hands and eyes often lifted up, and her lips moving with a fervour worthy of these her last hours.
The Colonel being earnest to see his cousin as soon as she awoke, we were both admitted. We observed in her, as soon as we entered, strong symptoms of her approaching dissolution, notwithstanding what the women had flattered us with from her last night's tranquillity.—The Colonel and I, each loth to say what we thought, looked upon one another with melancholy countenances.
The Colonel told her he should send a servant to her uncle Antony's for some papers he had left there; and asked if she had any commands that way.
She thought not, she said, speaking more inwardly than she did the day before. She had indeed a letter ready to be sent to her good Norton; and there was a request intimated in it. But it was time enough, if the request were signified to those whom it concerned when all was over. —However, it might be sent them by the servant who was going that way. And she caused it to be given to the Colonel for that purpose.
Her breath being very short, she desired another pillow. Having two before, this made her in a manner sit up in her bed; and she spoke then with more distinctness; and, seeing us greatly concerned, forgot her own sufferings to comfort us; and a charming lecture she gave us, though a brief one, upon the happiness of a timely preparation, and upon the hazards of a late repentance, when the mind, as she observed, was so much weakened, as well as the body, as to render a poor soul hardly able to contend with its natural infirmities.
I beseech ye, my good friends, proceeded she, mourn not for one who mourns not, nor has cause to mourn, for herself. On the contrary, rejoice with me, that all my worldly troubles are so near to their end. Believe me, Sirs, that I would not, if I might, choose to live, although the pleasantest part of my life were to come over again: and yet eighteen years of it, out of nineteen, have been very pleasant. To be so much exposed to temptation, and to be so liable to fail in the trial, who would not rejoice that all her dangers are over?—All I wished was pardon and blessing from my dear parents. Easy as my departure seems promised to be, it would have been still easier, had I that pleasure. BUT GOD ALMIGHTY WOULD NOT LET ME DEPEND FOR COMFORT UPON ANY BUT HIMSELF.
She then repeated her request, in the most earnest manner, to her cousin, that he would not heighten her fault, by seeking to avenge her death; to me, that I would endeavour to make up all breaches, and use the power I had with my friend, to prevent all future mischiefs from him, as well as that which this trust might give me to prevent any to him.
She made some excuses to her cousin, for not having been able to alter her will, to join him in the executorship with me; and to me, for the trouble she had given, and yet should give me.
She had fatigued herself so much, (growing sensibly weaker) that she sunk her head upon her pillows, ready to faint; and we withdrew to the window, looking upon one another; but could not tell what to say; and yet both seemed inclinable to speak: but the motion passed over in silence. Our eyes only spoke; and that in a manner neither's were used to—mine, at least, not till I knew this admirable creature.
The Colonel withdrew to dismiss his messenger, and send away the letter to Mrs. Norton. I took the opportunity to retire likewise; and to write thus far. And Joel returning to take it, I now close here.
MR. BELFORD [IN CONTINUATION.]
The Colonel tells me that he had written to Mr. John Harlowe, by his servant, 'That they might spare themselves the trouble of debating about a reconciliation; for that his dear cousin would probably be no more before they could resolve.'
He asked me after his cousin's means of subsisting; and whether she had accepted of any favour from me; he was sure, he said, she would not from you.
I acquainted him with the truth of her parting with some of her apparel.
This wrung his heart; and bitterly did he exclaim as well against you as against her implacable relations.
He wished he had not come to England at all, or had come sooner; and hoped I would apprize him of the whole mournful story, at a proper season. He added, that he had thoughts, when he came over, of fixing here for the remainder of his days; but now, as it was impossible his cousin could recover, he would go abroad again, and re-settle himself at Florence or Leghorn.
The lady has been giving orders, with great presence of mind, about her body! directing her nurse and the maid of the house to put her in the coffin as soon as she is cold. Mr. Belford, she said, would know the rest by her will.
She has just now given from her bosom, where she always wore it, a miniature picture, set in gold, of Miss Howe. She gave it to Mrs. Lovick, desiring her to fold it up in white paper, and direct it, To Charles Hickman, Esq. and to give it to me, when she was departed, for that gentleman.
She looked upon the picture, before she gave it her—Sweet and ever-amiable friend!—Companion!—Sister!—Lover! said she—and kissed it four several times, once at each tender appellation.
Your other servant is come.—Well may you be impatient!—Well may you! —But do you think I can leave off, in the middle of a conversation, to run and set down what offers, and send it away piece-meal as I write? —If I could, must I not lose one half, while I put down the other?
This event is nearly as interesting to me as it is to you. If you are more grieved than I, there can be but one reason for it; and that's at your heart!—I had rather lose all the friends I have in the world, (yourself in the number,) than this divine lady; and shall be unhappy whenever I think of her sufferings, and of her merit; though I have nothing to reproach myself by reason of the former.
I say not this, just now, so much to reflect upon you as to express my own grief; though your conscience I suppose, will make you think otherwise.
Your poor fellow, who says that he begs for his life, in desiring to be dispatched back with a letter, tears this from me—else, perhaps, (for I am just sent for down,) a quarter of an hour would make you—not easy indeed—but certain—and that, in a state like your's, to a mind like your's, is a relief.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON, FOUR O'CLOCK.
MR. BELFORD, TO RICHARD MOWBRAY, ESQ. THURSDAY AFTERNOON.
I am glad to hear you are in town. Throw yourself the moment this comes to your hand, (if possible with Tourville,) in the way of the man who least of all men deserves the love of the worthy heart; but most that of thine and Tourville; else the news I shall most probably send him within an hour or two, will make annihilation the greatest blessing he has to wish for.
You will find him between Piccadilly and Kensington, most probably on horseback, riding backwards and forwards in a crazy way; or put up, perhaps, at some inn or tavern in the way—a waiter possibly, if so, watching for his servant's return to him from me.
His man Will. is just come to me. He will carry this to you in his way back, and be your director. Hie away in a coach, or any how. Your being with him may save either his or a servant's life. See the blessed effects of triumphant libertinism! Sooner or later it comes home to us, and all concludes in gall and bitterness!
Adieu. J. BELFORD.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Curse upon the Colonel, and curse upon the writer of the last letter I received, and upon all the world! Thou to pretend to be as much interested in my Clarissa's fate as myself!—'Tis well for one of us that this was not said to me, instead of written.—Living or dying, she is mine—and only mine. Have I not earned her dearly?—Is not d——n——n likely to be the purchase to me, though a happy eternity will be her's?
An eternal separation!—O God! O God!—How can I bear that thought!—But yet there is life!—Yet, therefore, hope—enlarge my hope, and thou shalt be my good genius, and I will forgive thee every thing.
For this last time—but it must not, shall not be the last—Let me hear, the moment thou receivest this—what I am to be—for, at present, I am
The most miserable of Men.
ROSE, AT KNIGHTSBRIDGE, FIVE O'CLOCK.
My fellow tells me that thou art sending Mowbray and Tourville to me:—I want them not—my soul's sick of them, and of all the world—but most of myself. Yet, as they send me word they will come to me immediately, I will wait for them, and for thy next. O Belford, let it not be—But hasten it, be what it may!
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. SEVEN O'CLOCK, THURSDAY EVENING, SEPT. 7.
I have only to say at present—Thou wilt do well to take a tour to Paris; or wherever else thy destiny shall lead thee!——
MR. MOWBRAY, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. UXBRIDGE, SEPT. 7, BETWEEN ELEVEN AND TWELVE AT NIGHT.
I send by poor Lovelace's desire, for particulars of the fatal breviate thou sentest him this night. He cannot bear to set pen to paper; yet wants to know every minute passage of Miss Harlowe's departure. Yet why he should, I cannot see: for if she is gone, she is gone; and who can help it?
I never heard of such a woman in my life. What great matters has she suffered, that grief should kill her thus?
I wish the poor fellow had never known her. From first to last, what trouble she has cost him! The charming fellow had been half lost to us ever since he pursued her. And what is there in one woman more than another, for matter of that?
It was well we were with him when your note came. Your showed your true friendship in your foresight. Why, Jack, the poor fellow was quite beside himself—mad as any man ever was in Bedlam.
Will. brought him the letter just after we had joined him at the Bohemia Head; where he had left word at the Rose at Knightsbridge he should be; for he had been sauntering up and down, backwards and forwards, expecting us, and his fellow. Will., as soon as he delivered it, got out of his way; and, when he opened it, never was such a piece of scenery. He trembled like a devil at receiving it: fumbled at the seal, his fingers in a palsy, like Tom. Doleman's; his hand shake, shake, shake, that he tore the letter in two, before he could come at the contents: and, when he had read them, off went his hat to one corner of the room, his wig to the other—D—n—n seize the world! and a whole volley of such-like excratious wishes; running up and down the room, and throwing up the sash, and pulling it down, and smiting his forehead with his double fist, with such force as would have felled as ox, and stamping and tearing, that the landlord ran in, and faster out again. And this was the distraction scene for some time.
In vain was all Jemmy or I could say to him. I offered once to take hold of his hands, because he was going to do himself a mischief, as I believed, looking about for his pistols, which he had laid upon the table, but which Will., unseen, had taken out with him, [a faithful, honest dog, that Will.! I shall for ever love the fellow for it,] and he hit me a d—d dowse of the chops, as made my nose bleed. 'Twas well 'twas he, for I hardly knew how to take it.
Jemmy raved at him, and told him, how wicked it was in him, to be so brutish to abuse a friend, and run mad for a woman. And then he said he was sorry for it; and then Will. ventured in with water and a towel; and the dog rejoiced, as I could see by his look, that I had it rather than he.
And so, by degrees, we brought him a little to his reason, and he promised to behave more like a man. And so I forgave him: and we rode on in the dark to here at Doleman's. And we all tried to shame him out of his mad, ungovernable foolishness: for we told him, as how she was but a woman, and an obstinate perverse woman too; and how could he help it?
And you know, Jack, (as we told him, moreover,) that it was a shame to manhood, for a man, who had served twenty and twenty women as bad or worse, let him have served Miss Harlowe never so bad, should give himself such obstropulous airs, because she would die: and we advised him never to attempt a woman proud of her character and virtue, as they call it, any more: for why? The conquest did not pay trouble; and what was there in one woman more than another? Hay, you know, Jack!—And thus we comforted him, and advised him.
But yet his d—d addled pate runs upon this lady as much now she's dead as it did when she was living. For, I suppose, Jack, it is no joke: she is certainly and bona fide dead: I'n't she? If not, thou deservest to be doubly d—d for thy fooling, I tell thee that. So he will have me write for particulars of her departure.
He won't bear the word dead on any account. A squeamish puppy! How love unmans and softens! And such a noble fellow as this too! Rot him for an idiot, and an oaf! I have no patience with the foolish duncical dog —upon my soul, I have not!
So send the account, and let him howl over it, as I suppose he will.
But he must and shall go abroad: and in a month or two Jemmy, and you, and I, will join him, and he'll soon get the better of this chicken-hearted folly, never fear; and will then be ashamed of himself: and then we'll not spare him; though now, poor fellow, it were pity to lay him on so thick as he deserves. And do thou, till then, spare all reflections upon him; for, it seems, thou hast worked him unmercifully.
I was willing to give thee some account of the hand we have had with the tearing fellow, who had certainly been a lost man, had we not been with him; or he would have killed somebody or other. I have no doubt of it. And now he is but very middling; sits grinning like a man in straw; curses and swears, and is confounded gloomy; and creeps into holes and corners, like an old hedge-hog hunted for his grease.
And so, adieu, Jack. Tourville, and all of us, wish for thee; for no one has the influence upon him that thou hast.
As I promised him that I would write for the particulars abovesaid, I write this after all are gone to bed; and the fellow is set out with it by day-break.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. THURSDAY NIGHT.
I may as well try to write; since, were I to go to bed, I shall not sleep. I never had such a weight of grief upon my mind in my life, as upon the demise of this admirable woman; whose soul is now rejoicing in the regions of light.
You may be glad to know the particulars of her happy exit. I will try to proceed; for all is hush and still; the family retired; but not one of them, and least of all her poor cousin, I dare say, to rest.
At four o'clock, as I mentioned in my last, I was sent for down; and, as thou usedst to like my descriptions, I will give thee the woeful scene that presented itself to me, as I approached the bed.
The Colonel was the first that took my attention, kneeling on the side of the bed, the lady's right hand in both his, which his face covered, bathing it with his tears; although she had been comforting him, as the women since told me, in elevated strains, but broken accents.
On the other side of the bed sat the good widow; her face overwhelmed with tears, leaning her head against the bed's head in a most disconsolate manner; and turning her face to me, as soon as she saw me, O Mr. Belford, cried she, with folded hands—the dear lady—A heavy sob permitted her not to say more.
Mrs. Smith, with clasped fingers, and uplifted eyes, as if imploring help from the only Power which could give it, was kneeling down at the bed's feet, tears in large drops trickling down her cheeks.
Her nurse was kneeling between the widow and Mrs. Smith, her arms extended. In one hand she held an ineffectual cordial, which she had just been offering to her dying mistress; her face was swoln with weeping (though used to such scenes as this); and she turned her eyes towards me, as if she called upon me by them to join in the helpless sorrow; a fresh stream bursting from them as I approached the bed.
The maid of the house with her face upon her folded arms, as she stood leaning against the wainscot, more audibly exprest her grief than any of the others.
The lady had been silent a few minutes, and speechless, as they thought, moving her lips without uttering a word; one hand, as I said, in her cousin's. But when Mrs. Lovick, on my approach, pronounced my name, O Mr. Belford, said she, with a faint inward voice, but very distinct nevertheless—Now!—Now! [in broken periods she spoke]—I bless God for his mercies to his poor creature—all will soon be over—a few—a very few moments—will end this strife—and I shall be happy!
Comfort here, Sir—turning her head to the Colonel—comfort my cousin —see! the blame—able kindness—he would not wish me to be happy —so soon!
Here she stopt for two or three minutes, earnestly looking upon him. Then resuming, My dearest Cousin, said she, be comforted—what is dying but the common lot?—The mortal frame may seem to labour—but that is all!—It is not so hard to die as I believed it to be!—The preparation is the difficulty—I bless God, I have had time for that—the rest is worse to beholders, than to me!—I am all blessed hope—hope itself. She looked what she said, a sweet smile beaming over her countenance.
After a short silence, Once more, my dear Cousin, said she, but still in broken accents, commend me most dutifully to my father and mother—There she stopt. And then proceeding—To my sister, to my brother, to my uncles—and tell them, I bless them with my parting breath—for all their goodness to me—even for their displeasure, I bless them—most happy has been to me my punishment here! Happy indeed!
She was silent for a few moments, lifting up her eyes, and the hand her cousin held not between his. Then, O Death! said she, where is thy sting! [the words I remember to have heard in the burial-service read over my uncle and poor Belton.] And after a pause—It is good for me that I was afflicted! Words of scripture, I suppose.
Then turning towards us, who were lost in speechless sorrow—O dear, dear gentlemen, said she, you know not what foretastes—what assurances—And there she again stopped, and looked up, as if in a thankful rapture, sweetly smiling.
Then turning her head towards me—Do you, Sir, tell your friend that I forgive him!—And I pray to God to forgive him!—Again pausing, and lifting up her eyes as if praying that He would. Let him know how happily I die:—And that such as my own, I wish to be his last hour.
She was again silent for a few moments: and then resuming—My sight fails me!—Your voices only—[for we both applauded her christian, her divine frame, though in accents as broken as her own]; and the voice of grief is alike in all. Is not this Mr. Morden's hand? pressing one of his with that he had just let go. Which is Mr. Belford's? holding out the other. I gave her mine. God Almighty bless you both, said she, and make you both—in your last hour—for you must come to this—happy as I am.
She paused again, her breath growing shorter; and, after a few minutes —And now, my dearest Cousin, give me your hand—nearer—still nearer —drawing it towards her; and she pressed it with her dying lips—God protect you, dear, dear Sir—and once more, receive my best and most grateful thanks—and tell my dear Miss Howe—and vouchsafe to see, and to tell my worthy Norton—she will be one day, I fear not, though now lowly in her fortunes, a saint in Heaven—tell them both, that I remember them with thankful blessings in my last moments!—And pray God to give them happiness here for many, many years, for the sake of their friends and lovers; and an heavenly crown hereafter; and such assurances of it, as I have, through the all-satisfying merits of my blessed Redeemer.
Her sweet voice and broken periods methinks still fill my ears, and never will be out of my memory.
After a short silence, in a more broken and faint accent—And you, Mr. Belford, pressing my hand, may God preserve you, and make you sensible of all your errors—you see, in me, how all ends—may you be—And down sunk her head upon her pillow, she fainting away, and drawing from us her hands.
We thought she was then gone; and each gave way to a violent burst of grief.
But soon showing signs of returning life, our attention was again engaged; and I besought her, when a little recovered, to complete in my favour her half-pronounced blessing. She waved her hand to us both, and bowed her head six several times, as we have since recollected, as if distinguishing every person present; not forgetting the nurse and the maid-servant; the latter having approached the bed, weeping, as if crowding in for the divine lady's blessing; and she spoke faltering and inwardly—Bless—bless—bless—you all—and—now—and now—[holding up her almost lifeless hands for the last time] come—O come—blessed Lord —JESUS!
And with these words, the last but half-pronounced, expired:—such a smile, such a charming serenity overspreading her sweet face at the instant, as seemed to manifest her eternal happiness already begun.
O Lovelace!—But I can write no more!
I resume my pen to add a few lines.
While warm, though pulseless, we pressed each her hand with our lips; and then retired into the next room.
We looked at each other, with intent to speak: but, as if one motion governed, as one cause affected both, we turned away silent.
The Colonel sighed as if his heart would burst: at last, his face and hands uplifted, his back towards me, Good Heaven! said he to himself, support me!—And is it thus, O flower of nature!—Then pausing—And must we no more—never more!—My blessed, blessed Cousin! uttering some other words, which his sighs made inarticulate.—And then, as if recollecting himself—Forgive me, Sir!—Excuse me, Mr. Belford! And sliding by me, Anon I hope to see you, Sir—And down stairs he went, and out of the house, leaving me a statue.
When I recovered, I was ready to repine at what I then called an unequal dispensation; forgetting her happy preparation, and still happier departure; and that she had but drawn a common lot; triumphing in it, and leaving behind her every one less assured of happiness, though equally certain that the lot would one day be their own.
She departed exactly at forty minutes after six o'clock, as by her watch on the table.
And thus died Miss CLARISSA HARLOWE, in the blossom of her youth and beauty: and who, her tender years considered, had not left behind her her superior in extensive knowledge and watchful prudence; nor hardly her equal for unblemished virtue, exemplary piety, sweetness of manners, discreet generosity, and true christian charity: and these all set off by the most graceful modesty and humility; yet on all proper occasions, manifesting a noble presence of mind, and true magnanimity: so that she may be said to have been not only an ornament to her sex, but to human nature.
A better pen than mine may do her fuller justice. Thine, I mean, O Lovelace! For well dost thou know how much she excelled in the graces of both mind and person, natural and acquired, all that is woman. And thou also can best account for the causes of her immature death, through those calamities which in so short a space of time, from the highest pitch of felicity, (every one in a manner adoring her,) brought he to an exit so happy for herself, but, that it was so early, so much to be deplored by all who had the honour of her acquaintance.
This task, then, I leave to thee: but now I can write no more, only that I am a sympathizer in every part of thy distress, except (and yet it is cruel to say it) in that which arises from thy guilt.
ONE O'CLOCK, FRIDAY MORNING.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. NINE, FRIDAY MORN.
I have no opportunity to write at length, having necessary orders to give on the melancholy occasion. Joel, who got to me by six in the morning, and whom I dispatched instantly back with the letter I had ready from last night, gives me but an indifferent account of the state of your mind. I wonder not at it; but time (and nothing else can) will make it easier to you: if (that is to say) you have compounded with your conscience; else it may be heavier every day than other.
Tourville tells us what a way you are in. I hope you will not think of coming hither. The lady in her will desires you may not see her. Four copies are making of it. It is a long one; for she gives her reasons for all she wills. I will write to you more particularly as soon as possibly I can.
Three letters are just brought by a servant in livery, directed To Miss Clarissa Harlowe. I will send copies of them to you. The contents are enough to make one mad. How would this poor lady have rejoiced to receive them!—And yet, if she had, she would not have been enabled to say, as she nobly did,* That God would not let her depend for comfort upon any but Himself.—And indeed for some days past she had seemed to have got above all worldly considerations.—Her fervent love, even for her Miss Howe, as she acknowledged, having given way to supremer fervours.**
* See Letter I. of this volume. ** See Vol. VIII. Letter LXII.
MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 6.
At length, my best beloved Miss Clary, every thing is in the wished train: for all your relations are unanimous in your favour. Even your brother and your sister are with the foremost to be reconciled to you.
I knew it must end thus! By patience, and persevering sweetness, what a triumph have you gained!
This happy change is owing to letters received from your physician, from your cousin Morden, and from Mr. Brand.
Colonel Morden will be with you, no doubt, before this can reach you, with his pocket-book filled with money-bills, that nothing may be wanting to make you easy.
And now, all our hopes, all our prayers, are, that this good news may restore you to spirits and health; and that (so long withheld) it may not come too late.
I know how much your dutiful heart will be raised with the joyful tidings I write you, and still shall more particularly tell you of, when I have the happiness to see you: which will be by next Sunday, at farthest; perhaps on Friday afternoon, by the time you can receive this.
For this day, being sent for by the general voice, I was received by every one with great goodness and condescension, and entreated (for that was the word they were pleased to use, when I needed no entreaty, I am sure,) to hasten up to you, and to assure you of all their affectionate regards to you: and your father bid me say all the kind things that were in my heart to say, in order to comfort and raise you up, and they would hold themselves bound to make them good.
How agreeable is this commission to your Norton! My heart will overflow with kind speeches, never fear! I am already meditating what I shall say, to cheer and raise you up, in the names of every one dear and near to you. And sorry I am that I cannot this moment set out, as I might, instead of writing, would they favour my eager impatience with their chariot; but as it was not offered, it would be a presumption to have asked for it: and to-morrow a hired chaise and pair will be ready; but at what hour I know not.
How I long once more to fold my dear, precious young lady to my fond, my more than fond, my maternal bosom!
Your sister will write to you, and send her letter, with this, by a particular hand.
I must not let them see what I write, because of my wish about the chariot.
Your uncle Harlowe will also write, and (I doubt not) in the kindest terms: for they are all extremely alarmed and troubled at the dangerous way your doctor represents you to be in; as well as delighted with the character he gives you. Would to Heaven the good gentleman had written sooner! And yet he writes, that you know not he has now written. But it is all our confidence, and our consolation, that he would not have written at all, had he thought it too late.
They will prescribe no conditions to you, my dear young lady; but will leave all to your own duty and discretion. Only your brother and sister declare they will never yield to call Mr. Lovelace brother; nor will your father, I believe, be easily brought to think of him for a son.
I am to bring you down with me as soon as your health and inclination will permit. You will be received with open arms. Every one longs to see you. All the servants please themselves that they shall be permitted to kiss your hands. The pert Betty's note is already changed; and she now runs over in your just praises. What friends does prosperity make! What enemies adversity! It always was, and always will be so, in every state of life, from the throne to the cottage.—But let all be forgotten now on this jubilee change: and may you, my dearest Miss, be capable of rejoicing in this good news; as I know you will rejoice, if capable of any thing.
God preserve you to our happy meeting! And I will, if I may say so, weary Heaven with my incessant prayers to preserve and restore you afterwards!
I need not say how much I am, my dear young lady, Your ever-affectionate and devoted, JUDITH NORTON.
An unhappy delay, as to the chaise, will make it Saturday morning before I can fold you to my fond heart.
MISS ARAB. HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE WEDN. MORN. SEPT. 6.
We have just heard that you are exceedingly ill. We all loved you as never young creature was loved: you are sensible of that, sister Clary. And you have been very naughty—but we could not be angry always.
We are indeed more afflicted with the news of your being so very ill than I can express; for I see not but, after this separation, (as we understand that your misfortune has been greater than your fault, and that, however unhappy, you have demeaned yourself like the good young creature you used to be,) we shall love you better, if possible, than ever.
Take comfort, therefore, sister Clary, and don't be too much cast down —whatever your mortifications may be from such noble prospects over-clouded, and from the reflections you will have from within, on your faulty step, and from the sullying of such a charming character by it, you will receive none from any of us; and, as an earnest of your papa's and mamma's favour and reconciliation, they assure you by me of their blessing and hourly prayers.
If it will be any comfort to you, and my mother finds this letter is received as we expect, (which we shall know by the good effect it will have upon your health,) she will herself go to town to you. Mean-time, the good woman you so dearly love will be hastened up to you; and she writes by this opportunity, to acquaint you of it, and of all our returning love.
I hope you will rejoice at this good news. Pray let us hear that you do. Your next grateful letter on this occasion, especially if it gives us the pleasure of hearing you are better upon this news, will be received with the same (if not greater) delight, than we used to have in all your prettily-penn'd epistles. Adieu, my dear Clary! I am,
Your loving sister, and true friend, ARABELLA HARLOWE.
TO HIS DEAR NIECE, MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 6.
We were greatly grieved, my beloved Miss Clary, at your fault; but we are still more, if possible, to hear you are so very ill; and we are sorry things have been carried so far. We know your talents, my dear, and how movingly you could write, whenever you pleased; so that nobody could ever deny you any thing; and, believing you depended on your pen, and little thinking you were so ill, and that you lived so regular a life, and are so truly penitent, are must troubled every one of us, your brother and all, for being so severe. Forgive my part in it, my dearest Clary. I am your second papa, you know. And you used to love me.
I hope you'll soon be able to come down, and, after a while, when your indulgent parents can spare you, that you will come to me for a whole month, and rejoice my heart, as you used to do. But if, through illness, you cannot so soon come down as we wish, I will go up to you; for I long to see you. I never more longed to see you in my life; and you was always the darling of my heart, you know.
My brother Antony desires his hearty commendations to you, and joins with me in the tenderest assurance, that all shall be well, and, if possible, better than ever; for we now have been so long without you, that we know the miss of you, and even hunger and thirst, as I may say, to see you, and to take you once more to our hearts; whence indeed you was never banished so far as our concern for the unhappy step made us think and you believe you were. Your sister and brother both talk of seeing you in town; so does my dear sister, your indulgent mother.
God restore your health, if it be his will; else, I know not what will become of
Your truly loving uncle, and second papa, JOHN HARLOWE.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. FRIDAY NIGHT, SEPT. 8, PAST TEN.
I will now take up the account of our proceedings from my letter of last night, which contained the dying words of this incomparable lady.
As soon as we had seen the last scene closed (so blessedly for herself!) we left the body to the care of the good women, who, according to the orders she had given them that very night, removed her into that last house which she had displayed so much fortitude in providing.
In the morning, between seven and eight o'clock, according to appointment, the Colonel came to me here. He was very much indisposed. We went together, accompanied by Mrs. Lovick and Mrs. Smith, into the deceased's chamber. We could not help taking a view of the lovely corpse, and admiring the charming serenity of her noble aspect. The women declared they never say death so lovely before; and that she looked as if in an easy slumber, the colour having not quite left her cheeks and lips.
I unlocked the drawer, in which (as I mentioned in a former*) she had deposited her papers. I told you in mine of Monday last, that she had the night before sealed up, with three black seals, a parcel inscribed, As soon as I am certainly dead, this to be broke open by Mr. Belford. I accused myself for not having done it over-night. But really I was then incapable of any thing.
* See Vol. VIII. Letter LVII.
I broke it open accordingly, and found in it no less than eleven letters, each sealed with her own seal, and black wax, one of which was directed to me.
I will enclose a copy of it.
TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. SUNDAY EVENING, SEPT. 3.
I take this last and solemn occasion to repeat to you my thanks for all your kindness to me at a time when I most needed countenance and protection.
A few considerations I beg leave, as now at your perusal of this, from the dead, to press upon you, with all the warmth of a sincere friendship.
By the time you will see this, you will have had an instance, I humbly trust, of the comfortable importance of a pacified conscience, in the last hours of one, who, to the last hour, will wish your eternal welfare.
The great Duke of Luxemburgh, as I have heard, on his death-bed, declared, that he would then much rather have had it to reflect upon, that he had administered a cup of cold water to a worthy poor creature in distress, than that he had won so many battles as he had triumphed for. And, as one well observes, All the sentiments of worldly grandeur vanish at that unavoidable moment which decides the destiny of men.
If then, Sir, at the tremendous hour it be thus with the conquerors of armies, and the subduers of nations, let me in a very few words (many are not needed,) ask, What, at that period, must be the reflection of those, (if capable of reflection,) who have lived a life of sense and offence; whose study and whose pride most ingloriously have been to seduce the innocent, and to ruin the weak, the unguarded, and the friendless; made still more friendless by their base seductions?—O Mr. Belford, weigh, ponder, and reflect upon it, now that, in health, and in vigour of mind and body, the reflections will most avail you—what an ungrateful, what an unmanly, what a meaner than reptile pride is this!
In the next place, Sir, let me beg of you, for my sake, who AM, or, as now you will best read it, have been, driven to the necessity of applying to you to be the executor of my will, that you will bear, according to that generosity which I think to be in you, with all my friends, and particularly with my brother, (who is really a worthy young man, but perhaps a little too headstrong in his first resentments and conceptions of things,) if any thing, by reason of this trust, should fall out disagreeably; and that you will study to make peace, and to reconcile all parties; and more especially, that you, who seem to have a great influence upon your still-more headstrong friend, will interpose, if occasion be, to prevent farther mischief—for surely, Sir, that violent spirit may sit down satisfied with the evils he has already wrought; and, particularly, with the wrongs, the heinous and ignoble wrongs, he has in me done to my family, wounded in the tenderest part of its honour.
For your compliance with this request I have already your repeated promise. I claim the observance of it, therefore, as a debt from you: and though I hope I need not doubt it, yet was I willing, on this solemn, this last occasion, thus earnestly to re-inforce it.
I have another request to make to you; it is only, that you will be pleased, by a particular messenger, to forward the enclosed letters as directed.
And now, Sir, having the presumption to think that an useful member is lost to society by means of the unhappy step which has brought my life so soon to its period, let me hope that I may be an humble instrument, in the hands of Providence, to reform a man of your abilities; and then I shall think that loss will be more abundantly repaired to the world, while it will be, by God's goodness, my gain; and I shall have this farther hope, that once more I shall have an opportunity in a blessed eternity to thank you, as I now repeatedly do, for the good you have done to, and the trouble you will have taken for, Sir,
Your obliged servant, CLARISSA HARLOWE.
The other letters are directed to her father, to her mother, one to her two uncles, to her brother, to her sister, to her aunt Hervey, to her cousin Morden, to Miss Howe, to Mrs. Norton, and lastly one to you, in performance of her promise, that a letter should be sent you when she arrived at her father's house!——I will withhold this last till I can be assured that you will be fitter to receive it than Tourville tells me you are at present.
Copies of all these are sealed up, and entitled, Copies of my ten posthumous letters, for J. Belford, Esq.; and put in among the bundle of papers left to my direction, which I have not yet had leisure to open.
No wonder, while able, that she was always writing, since thus only of late could she employ that time, which heretofore, from the long days she made, caused so many beautiful works to spring from her fingers. It is my opinion, that there never was a woman so young, who wrote so much, and with such celerity. Her thoughts keeping pace, as I have seen, with her pen, she hardly ever stopped or hesitated; and very seldom blotted out, or altered. It was a natural talent she was mistress of, among many other extraordinary ones. I gave the Colonel his letter, and ordered Harry instantly to get ready to carry the others. Mean time (retiring into the next apartment) we opened the will. We were both so much affected in perusing it, that at one time the Colonel, breaking off, gave it to me to read on; at another I gave it back to him to proceed with; neither of us being able to read it through without such tokens of sensibility as affected the voice of each.
Mrs. Lovick, Mrs. Smith, and her nurse, were still more touched, when we read those articles in which they are respectively remembered: but I will avoid mentioning the particulars, (except in what relates to the thread of my narration,) as in proper time I shall send you a copy of it.
The Colonel told me, he was ready to account with me for the money and bills brought up from Harlowe-place; which would enable me, as he said, directly to execute the legacy parts of the will; and he would needs at the instant force into my hands a paper relating to that subject. I put it into my pocket-book, without looking into it; telling him, that as I hoped he would do all in his power to promote a literal performance of the will, I must beg his advice and assistance in the execution of it.
Her request to be buried with her ancestors, made a letter of the following import necessary, which I prevailed upon the Colonel to write; being unwilling myself (so early at least,) to appear officious in the eye of a family which probably wishes not any communication with me.
TO JAMES HARLOWE, JUN. ESQ.
The letter which the bearer of this brings with him, will, I presume, make it unnecessary to acquaint you and my cousins with the death of the most excellent of women. But I am requested by her executor, who will soon send you a copy of her last will, to acquaint her father (which I choose to do by your means,) that in it she earnestly desires to be laid in the family-vault, at the feet of her grandfather.
If her father will not admit of it, she has directed her body to be buried in the church-yard of the parish where she died.
I need not tell you, that a speedy answer to this is necessary.
Her beatification commenced yesterday afternoon, exactly at forty minutes after six.
I can write no more, than that I am
Your's, &c. WM. MORDEN.
FRIDAY MORN. SEPT. 8.
By the time this was written, and by the Colonel's leave transcribed, Harry was booted and spurred, his horse at the door; and I delivered him the letters to the family, with those to Mrs. Norton and Miss Howe, (eight in all,) together with the above of the Colonel to Mr. James Harlowe; and gave him orders to use the utmost dispatch with them.
The Colonel and I have bespoke mourning for our selves and servants.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. SAT. TEN O'CLOCK.
Poor Mrs. Norton is come. She was set down at the door; and would have gone up stairs directly. But Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Lovick being together and in tears, and the former hinting too suddenly to the truly-venerable woman the fatal news, she sunk down at her feet in fits; so that they were forced to breath a vein to bring her to herself, and to a capacity of exclamation; and then she ran on to Mrs. Lovick and me, who entered just as she recovered, in praise of the lady, in lamentations for her, and invectives against you; but yet so circumscribed were her invectives, that I could observe in them the woman well educated, and in her lamentations the passion christianized, as I may say.
She was impatient to see the corpse. The women went up with her. But they owned that they were too much affected themselves on this occasion to describe her extremely-affecting behaviour.
With trembling impatience she pushed aside the coffin-lid. She bathed the face with her tears, and kissed her cheeks and forehead, as if she were living. It was she indeed! she said; her sweet young lady! her very self! Nor had death, which changed all things, a power to alter her lovely features! She admired the serenity of her aspect. She no doubt was happy, she said, as she had written to her she should be; but how many miserable creatures had she left behind her!—The good woman lamenting that she herself had lived to be one of them.
It was with difficulty they prevailed upon her to quit the corpse; and when they went into the next apartment, I joined them, and acquainted her with the kind legacy her beloved young lady had left her; but this rather augmented than diminished her concern. She ought, she said, to have attended her in person. What was the world to her, wringing her hands, now the child of her bosom, and of her heart, was no more? Her principal consolation, however, was, that she should not long survive her. She hoped, she said, that she did not sin, in wishing she might not.
It was easy to observe, by the similitude of sentiments shown in this and other particulars, that the divine lady owed to this excellent woman many of her good notions.
I thought it would divert the poor gentlewoman, and not altogether unsuitably, if I were to put her upon furnishing mourning for herself; as it would rouse her, by a seasonable and necessary employment, from that dismal lethargy of grief, which generally succeeds to the violent anguish with which a gentle nature is accustomed to be torn upon the first communication of the unexpected loss of a dear friend. I gave her therefore the thirty guineas bequeathed to her and to her son for mourning; the only mourning which the testatrix has mentioned; and desired her to lose no time in preparing her own, as I doubted not, that she would accompany the corpse, if it were permitted to be carried down.
The Colonel proposes to attend the hearse, if his kindred give him not fresh cause of displeasure; and will take with him a copy of the will. And being intent to give the family some favourable impressions of me, he desired me to permit him to take with him the copy of the posthumous letter to me; which I readily granted. He is so kind as to promise me a minute account of all that should pass on the melancholy occasion. And we have begun a friendship and settled a correspondence, which but one incident can possibly happen to interrupt to the end of our lives. And that I hope will not happen.
But what must be the grief, the remorse, that will seize upon the hearts of this hitherto-inexorable family, on the receiving of the posthumous letters, and that of the Colonel apprizing them of what has happened? I have given requisite orders to an undertaker, on the supposition that the body will be permitted to be carried down; and the women intend to fill the coffin with aromatic herbs.
The Colonel has obliged me to take the bills and draughts which he brought up with him, for the considerable sums which accrued since the grandfather's death from the lady's estate.
I could have shown to Mrs. Norton the copies of the two letters which she missed by coming up. But her grief wants not the heightenings which the reading of them would have given her.
I have been dipping into the copies of the posthumous letters to the family, which Harry has carried down. Well may I call this lady divine. They are all calculated to give comfort rather than reproach, though their cruelty to her merited nothing but reproach. But were I in any of their places, how much rather had I, that she had quitted scores with me by the most severe recrimination, than that she should thus nobly triumph over me by a generosity that has no example? I will enclose some of them, which I desire you to return as soon as you can.
TO THE EVER-HONOURED JAS. HARLOWE, SEN. ESQ.
MOST DEAR SIR,
With exulting confidence now does your emboldened daughter come into your awful presence by these lines, who dared not, but upon this occasion, to look up to you with hopes of favour and forgiveness; since, when this comes to your hands, it will be out of her power ever to offend you more.
And now let me bless you, my honoured Papa, and bless you, as I write, upon my knees, for all the benefits I have received from your indulgence: for your fond love to me in the days of my prattling innocence: for the virtuous education you gave me: and for, the crown of all, the happy end, which, through divine grace, by means of that virtuous education, I hope, by the time you will receive this, I shall have made. And let me beg of you, dear, venerable Sir, to blot out from your remembrance, if possible, the last unhappy eight months; and then I shall hope to be remembered with advantage for the pleasure you had the goodness to take in your Clarissa.
Still on her knees, let your poor penitent implore your forgiveness of all her faults and follies; more especially of that fatal error which threw her out of your protection.
When you know, Sir, that I have never been faulty in my will; that ever since my calamity became irretrievable, I have been in a state of preparation; that I have the strongest assurance that the Almighty has accepted my unfeigned repentance; and that by this time you will (as I humbly presume to hope,) have been the means of adding one to the number of the blessed; you will have reason for joy rather than sorrow. Since, had I escaped the snares by which I was entangled, I might have wanted those exercises which I look upon now as so many mercies dispensed to wean me betimes from a world that presented itself to me with prospects too alluring; and in that case (too easily satisfied with the worldly felicity) I might not have attained to that blessedness, in which now, on your reading of this, I humbly presume, (through the divine goodness,) I am rejoicing.
That the Almighty, in his own good time, will bring you, Sir, and my ever-honoured mother, after a series of earthly felicities, of which my unhappy fault be the only interruption, (and very grievous I know that must have been,) to rejoice in the same blessed state, is the repeated prayer of, Sir,
Your now happy daughter, CLARISSA HARLOWE.
TO THE EVER-HONOURED MRS. HARLOWE
The last time I had the boldness to write to you, it was with all the consciousness of a self-convicted criminal, supplicating her offended judge for mercy and pardon. I now, by these lines, approach you with more assurance; but nevertheless with the highest degree of reverence, gratitude, and duty. The reason of my assurance, my letter to my papa will give; and as I humbly on my knees implored his pardon, so now, in the same dutiful manner, do I supplicate your's, for the grief and trouble I have given you.
Every vein of my heart has bled for an unhappy rashness; which, (although involuntary as to the act,) from the moment it was committed, carried with it its own punishment; and was accompanied with a true and sincere penitence.
God, who has been a witness of my distresses, knows that, great as they have been, the greatest of all was the distress that I knew I must have given to you, Madam, and to my father, by a step that had so very ugly an appearance in your eyes and his; and indeed in the eyes of all my family; a step so unworthy of your daughter, and of the education you had given her.
But HE, I presume to hope, has forgiven me; and, at the instant this will reach your hands, I humbly trust, I shall be rejoicing in the blessed fruits of his forgiveness. And be this your comfort, my ever-honoured Mamma, that the principal end of your pious care for me is attained, though not in the way so much hoped for.
May the grief which my fatal error has given to you both, be the only grief that shall ever annoy you in this world!—May you, Madam, long live to sweeten the cares, and heighten the comforts, of my papa!—May my sister's continued, and, if possible, augmented duty, happily make up to you the loss you have sustained in me! And whenever my brother and she change their single state, may it be with such satisfaction to you both as may make you forget my offence; and remember me only in those days in which you took pleasure in me! And, at last, may a happy meeting with your forgiven penitent, in the eternal mansions, augment the bliss of her, who, purified by sufferings already, when this salutes your hands, presumes she shall be
The happy and for ever happy CLARISSA HARLOWE.
TO JAMES HARLOWE, JUN. ESQ.
There was but one time, but one occasion, after the rash step I was precipitated upon, that I would hope to be excused looking up to you in the character of a brother and friend. And NOW is that time, and THIS the occasion. NOW, at reading this, will you pity your late unhappy sister! NOW will you forgive her faults, both supposed and real! And NOW will you afford to her memory that kind concern which you refused to her before!
I write, my Brother, in the first place, to beg your pardon for the offence my unhappy step gave to you, and to the rest of a family so dear to me.
Virgin purity should not so behave as to be suspected, yet, when you come to know all my story, you will find farther room for pity, if not more than pity, for your late unhappy sister!
O that passion had not been deaf! That misconception would have given way to inquiry! That your rigorous heart, if it could not itself be softened (moderating the power you had obtained over every one) had permitted other hearts more indulgently to expand!
But I write not to give pain. I had rather you should think me faulty still, than take to yourself the consequence that will follow from acquitting me.
Abandoning therefore a subject which I had not intended to touch upon, (for I hope, at the writing of this, I am above the spirit of recrimination,) let me tell you, Sir, that my next motive for writing to you in this last and most solemn manner is, to beg of you to forego any active resentments (which may endanger a life so precious to all your friends) against the man to whose elaborate baseness I owe my worldly ruin.
For, ought an innocent man to run an equal risque with a guilty one?— A more than equal risque, as the guilty one has been long inured to acts of violence, and is skilled in the arts of offence?
You would not arrogate to yourself God's province, who has said, Vengeance is mine, and I will repay it. If you would, I tremble for the consequence: For will it not be suitable to the divine justice to punish the presumptuous innocent (as you would be in this case) in the very error, and that by the hand of the self-defending guilty—reserving him for a future day of vengeance for his accumulated crimes?
Leave then the poor wretch to the divine justice. Let your sister's fault die with her. At least, let it not be revived in blood. Life is a short stage where longest. A little time hence, the now-green head will be grey, if it lives this little time: and if Heaven will afford him time for repentance, why should not you?
Then think, my Brother, what will be the consequence to your dear parents, if the guilty wretch, who has occasioned to them the loss of a daughter, should likewise deprive them of their best hope, and only son, more worth in the family account than several daughters?
Would you add, my Brother, to those distresses which you hold your sister so inexcusable for having (although from involuntary and undersigned causes) given?
Seek not then, I beseech you, to extend the evil consequences of your sister's error. His conscience, when it shall please God to touch it, will be sharper than your sword.
I have still another motive for writing to you in this solemn manner: it is, to entreat you to watch over your passions. The principal fault I knew you to be guilty of is, the violence of your temper when you think yourself in the right; which you would oftener be, but for that very violence.
You have several times brought your life into danger by it.
Is not the man guilty of a high degree of injustice, who is more apt to give contradiction, than able to bear it? How often, with you, has impetuosity brought on abasement? A consequence too natural.
Let me then caution you, dear Sir, against a warmth of temper, an impetuosity when moved, and you so ready to be moved, that may hurry you into unforeseen difficulties; and which it is in some measure a sin not to endeavour to restrain. God enable you to do it for the sake of your own peace and safety, as well present as future! and for the sake of your family and friends, who all see your fault, but are tender of speaking to you of it!
As for me, my Brother, my punishment has been seasonable. God gave me grace to make a right use of my sufferings. I early repented. I never loved the man half so much as I hated his actions, when I saw what he was capable of. I gave up my whole heart to a better hope. God blessed my penitence and my reliance upon him. And now I presume to say, I AM HAPPY.
May Heave preserve you in safety, health, and honour, and long continue your life for a comfort and stay to your honoured parents! And may you, in that change of your single state, meet with a wife as agreeable to every one else as to yourself, and be happy in a hopeful race, and not have one Clarissa among them, to embitter your comforts when she should give you most comfort! But may my example be of use to warn the dear creatures whom once I hoped to live to see and to cherish, of the evils with which the deceitful world abounds! are the prayers of
Your affectionate sister, CL. HARLOWE.
TO MISS HARLOWE
Now may you, my dear Arabella, unrestrained by the severity of your virtue, let fall a pitying tear on the past faults and sufferings of your late unhappy sister; since, now, she can never offend you more. The Divine mercy, which first inspired her with repentance (an early repentance it was; since it preceded her sufferings) for an error which she offers not to extenuate, although perhaps it were capable of some extenuation, has now, as the instant that you are reading this, as I humbly hope, blessed her with the fruits of it.
Thus already, even while she writes, in imagination purified and exalted, she the more fearlessly writes to her sister; and now is assured of pardon for all those little occasions of displeasure which her forwarder youth might give you; and for the disgrace which her fall has fastened upon you, and upon her family.
May you, my Sister, continue to bless those dear and honoured relations, whose indulgence so well deserves your utmost gratitude, with those cheerful instances of duty and obedience which have hitherto been so acceptable to them, and praise-worthy in you! And may you, when a suitable proposal shall offer, fill up more worthily that chasm, which the loss they have sustained in me has made in the family!
Thus, my Arabella! my only sister! and for many happy years, my friend! most fervently prays that sister, whose affection for you, no acts, no unkindness, no misconstruction of her conduct, could cancel! And who NOW, made perfect (as she hopes) through sufferings, styles herself,
The happy CLARISSA HARLOWE.
TO JOHN AND ANTONY HARLOWE, ESQRS.
When these lines reach your hands, your late unhappy niece will have known the end of all her troubles; and, as she humbly hopes, will be rejoicing in the mercies of a gracious God, who has declared, that he will forgive the truly penitent of heart.
I write, therefore, my dear uncles, and to you both in one letter (since your fraternal love has made you both but as one person) to give you comfort, and not distress; for, however sharp my afflictions have been, they have been but of short duration; and I am betimes (happily as I hope) arrived at the end of a painful journey.
At the same time I write to thank you both for all your kind indulgence to me, and to beg your forgiveness of my last, my only great fault to you and to my family.
The ways of Providence are unsearchable. Various are the means made use of by it, to bring poor sinners to a sense of their duty. Some are drawn by love, others are driven by terrors, to their divine refuge. I had for eighteen years out of nineteen, rejoiced in the favour and affection of every one. No trouble came near to my heart, I seemed to be one of those designed to be drawn by the silken cords of love.—But, perhaps, I was too apt to value myself upon the love and favour of every one: the merit of the good I delighted to do, and of the inclinations which were given me, and which I could not help having, I was, perhaps, too ready to attribute to myself; and now, being led to account for the cause of my temporary calamities, find I had a secret pride to be punished for, which I had not fathomed: and it was necessary, perhaps, that some sore and terrible misfortunes should befall me, in order to mortify that my pride, and that my vanity.
Temptations were accordingly sent. I shrunk in the day of trial. My discretion, which had been so cried up, was found wanting when it came to be weighed in an equal balance. I was betrayed, fell, and became the by-word of my companions, and a disgrace to my family, which had prided itself in me perhaps too much. But as my fault was not that of a culpable will, when my pride was sufficiently mortified, I was not suffered (although surrounded by dangers, and entangled in snares) to be totally lost: but, purified by sufferings, I was fitted for the change I have NOW, at the time you will receive this, so newly, and, as I humbly hope, so happily experienced.
Rejoice with me, then, dear Sirs, that I have weathered so great a storm. Nor let it be matter of concern, that I am cut off in the bloom of youth. 'There is no inquisition in the grave,' says the wise man, 'whether we lived ten or a hundred years; and the day of death is better than the day of our birth.'
Once more, dear Sirs, accept my grateful thanks for all your goodness to me, from my early childhood to the day, the unhappy day, of my error! Forgive that error!—And God give us a happy meeting in a blessed eternity; prays
Your most dutiful and obliged kinswoman, CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Mr. Belford gives the Lady's posthumous letters to Mrs. Hervey, Miss Howe, and Mrs. Norton, at length likewise: but, although every letter varies in style as well as matter from the others; yet, as they are written on the same subject, and are pretty long, it is thought proper to abstract them.
That to her aunt Hervey is written in the same pious and generous strain with those preceding, seeking to give comfort rather than distress. 'The Almighty, I hope,' says she, 'has received and blessed my penitence, and I am happy. Could I have been more than so at the end of what is called a happy life of twenty, or thirty, or forty years to come? And what are twenty, or thirty, or forty years to look back upon? In half of any of these periods, what friends might not I have mourned for? what temptations from worldly prosperity might I not have encountered with? And in such a case, immersed in earthly pleasures, how little likelihood, that, in my last stage, I should have been blessed with such a preparation and resignation as I have now been blessed with?'
She proceeds as follows: 'Thus much, Madam, of comfort to you and to myself from this dispensation. As to my dear parents, I hope they will console themselves that they have still many blessings left, which ought to balance the troubles my error has given them: that, unhappy as I have been to be the interrupter of their felicities, they never, till this my fault, know any heavy evil: that afflictions patiently borne may be turned into blessings: that uninterrupted happiness is not to be expected in this life: that, after all, they have not, as I humbly presume to hope, the probability of the everlasting perdition of their child to deplore: and that, in short, when my story comes to be fully known, they will have the comfort to find that my sufferings redound more to my honour than to my disgrace.
'These considerations will, I hope, make their temporary loss of but one child out of three (unhappily circumstances too as she was) matter of greater consolation than affliction. And the rather, as we may hope for a happy meeting once more, never to be separated either by time or offences.'
She concludes this letter with an address to her cousin Dolly Hervey, whom she calls her amiable cousin; and thankfully remembers for the part she took in her afflictions.—'O my dear Cousin, let your worthy heart be guarded against those delusions which have been fatal to my worldly happiness!—That pity, which you bestowed upon me, demonstrates a gentleness of nature, which may possibly subject you to misfortunes, if your eye be permitted to mislead your judgment.—But a strict observance of your filial duty, my dearest Cousin, and the precepts of so prudent a mother as you have the happiness to have (enforced by so sad an example in your own family as I have set) will, I make no doubt, with the Divine assistance, be your guard and security.'
The posthumous letter to Miss Howe is extremely tender and affectionate. She pathetically calls upon her 'to rejoice that all her Clarissa's troubles are now at an end; that the state of temptation and trial, of doubt and uncertainty, is now over with her; and that she has happily escaped the snares that were laid for her soul; the rather to rejoice, as that her misfortunes were of such a nature, that it was impossible she could be tolerably happy in this life.'
She 'thankfully acknowledges the favours she had received from Mrs. Howe and Mr. Hickman; and expresses her concern for the trouble she has occasioned to the former, as well as to her; and prays that all the earthly blessings they used to wish to each other, may singly devolve upon her.'
She beseeches her, 'that she will not suspend the day which shall supply to herself the friend she will have lost in her, and give to herself a still nearer and dearer relation.'
She tells her, 'That her choice (a choice made with the approbation of all her friends) has fallen upon a sincere, an honest, a virtuous, and, what is more than all, a pious man; a man who, although he admires her person, is still more in love with the graces of her mind. And as those graces are improvable with every added year of life, which will impair the transitory ones of person, what a firm basis, infers she, has Mr. Hickman chosen to build his love upon!'
She prays, 'That God will bless them together; and that the remembrance of her, and of what she has suffered, may not interrupt their mutual happiness; she desires them to think of nothing but what she now is; and that a time will come when they shall meet again, never to be divided.
'To the Divine protection, mean time, she commits her; and charges her, by the love that has always subsisted between them, that she will not mourn too heavily for her; and again calls upon her, after a gentle tear, which she will allow her to let fall in memory of their uninterrupted friendship, to rejoice that she is so early released; and that she is purified by her sufferings, and is made, as she assuredly trusts, by God's goodness, eternally happy.'
The posthumous letters to Mr. LOVELACE and Mr. MORDEN will be inserted hereafter: as will also the substance of that written to Mrs. Norton.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. SAT. AFTERNOON, SEPT. 9.
I understand, that thou breathest nothing but revenge against me, for treating thee with so much freedom; and against the cursed woman and her infernal crew. I am not at all concerned for thy menaces against myself. It is my design to make thee feel. It gives me pleasure to find my intention answered. And I congratulate thee, that thou hast not lost that sense.
As to the cursed crew, well do they deserve the fire here, that thou threatenest them with, and the fire hereafter, that seems to await them. But I have this moment received news which will, in all likelihood, save thee the guilt of punishing the old wretch for her share of wickedness as thy agent. But if that happens to her which is likely to happen, wilt thou not tremble for what may befal the principal?
Not to keep thee longer in suspense; last night, it seems, the infamous woman got so heartily intoxicated with her beloved liquor, arrack punch, at the expense of Colonel Salter, that, mistaking her way, she fell down a pair of stairs, and broke her leg: and now, after a dreadful night, she lies foaming, raving, roaring, in a burning fever, that wants not any other fire to scorch her into a feeling more exquisite and durable than any thy vengeance could give her.
The wretch has requested me to come to her; and lest I should refuse a common messenger, sent her vile associate, Sally Martin; who not finding me at Soho, came hither; another part of her business being to procure the divine lady's pardon for the old creature's wickedness to her.
This devil incarnate, Sally, declares that she never was so shocked in her life, as when I told her the lady was dead.
She took out her salts to keep from fainting; and when a little recovered she accused herself for her part of the injuries the lady had sustained; as she said Polly Horton would do for her's; and shedding tears, declared, that the world never produced such another woman. She called her the ornament and glory of her sex; acknowledged, that her ruin was owing more to their instigations, than even (savage as thou art) to thy own vileness; since thou wert inclined to have done her justice more than once, had they not kept up thy profligate spirit to its height.
This wretch would fain have been admitted to a sight of the corpse; but I refused the request with execrations.
She could forgive herself, she said, for every thing but her insults upon the admirable lady at Rowland's, since all the rest was but in pursuit of a livelihood, to which she had been reduced, as she boasted, from better expectations, and which hundred follow as well as she. I did not ask her, by whom reduced?
At going away, she told me, that the old monster's bruises are of more dangerous consequence than the fracture; that a mortification is apprehended, and that the vile wretch has so much compunction of heart, on recollecting her treatment of Miss Harlowe, and is so much set upon procuring her forgiveness, that she is sure the news she is to carry her will hasten her end.
All these things I leave upon thy reflection.
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. SAT. NIGHT.
Your servant gives me a dreadful account of your raving unmanageableness. I wonder not at it. But as nothing violent is lasting, I dare say that your habitual gaiety of heart will quickly get the better of your phrensy; and the rather do I judge so, as your fits are of the raving kind, (suitable to your natural impetuosity,) and not of that melancholy species which seizes slower souls.
For this reason I will proceed in writing to you, that my narrative may not be broken by your discomposure; and that the contents of it may find you, and help you to reflection, when you shall be restored.
Harry is returned from carrying the posthumous letters to the family, and to Miss Howe; and that of the Colonel, which acquaints James Harlowe with his sister's death, and with her desire to be interred near her grandfather.
Harry was not admitted into the presence of any of the family. They were all assembled together, it seems, at Harlowe-place, on occasion of the Colonel's letter, which informed them of the lady's dangerous way;* and were comforting themselves, as Harry was told, with hopes that Mr. Morden had made the worst of her state, in order to quicken their resolutions.
* See the beginning of Letter II.
It is easy to judge what must be their grief and surprise on receiving the fatal news which the letters Harry sent in to them communicated.
He staid there long enough to find the whole house in confusion; the servants running different ways; lamenting and wringing their hands as they ran; the female servants particularly; as if somebody (poor Mrs. Harlowe, no doubt; and perhaps Mrs. Hervey too) were in fits.
Every one was in such disorder, that he could get no commands, nor obtain any notice of himself. The servants seemed more inclined to execrate than welcome him—O master!—O young man! cried three or four together, what dismal tidings have you brought?—They helped him, at the very first word, to his horse; which, with great civility, they had put up on his arrival; and he went to an inn, and pursued on foot his way to Mrs. Norton's; and finding her come to town, left the letter he carried don for her with her son, (a fine youth,) who, when he heard the fatal news, burst out into a flood of tears—first lamenting the lady's death, and then crying out, What—what would become of his poor mother!—How would she support herself, when she should find, on her arrival in town, that the dear lady, who was so deservedly the darling of her heart, was no more!
He proceeded to Miss Howe's with the letter for her. That lady, he was told, had just given orders for a young man, a tenant's son, to post to London, and bring her news of her dear friend's condition, and whether she should herself be encouraged, by an account of her being still alive, to make her a visit; every thing being ordered to be in readiness for her going up on his return with the news she wished and prayed for with the utmost impatience. And Harry was just in time to prevent the man's setting out.
He had the precaution to desire to speak with Miss Howe's woman or maid, and communicated to her the fatal tidings, that she might break them to her young lady. The maid herself was so affected, that her old lady (who, Harry said, seemed to be every where at once) came to see what ailed her! and was herself so struck with the communication, that she was forced to sit down in a chair.—O the sweet creature! said she, and is it come to this?—O my poor Nancy!—How shall I be able to break the matter to my Nancy?
Mr. Hickman was in the house. He hastened in to comfort the old lady— but he could not restrain his own tears. He feared, he said, when he was last in town, that this sad event would soon happen; but little thought it would be so very soon!—But she is happy, I am sure, said the good gentleman.
Mrs. Howe, when a little recovered, went up, in order to break the news to her daughter. She took the letter, and her salts in her hand. And they had occasion for the latter. For the housekeeper soon came hurrying down into the kitchen, her face overspread with tears—her young mistress had fainted away, she said—nor did she wonder at it—never did there live a lady more deserving of general admiration and lamentation, than Miss Clarissa Harlowe! and never was there a stronger friendship dissolved by death than between her young lady and her.
She hurried, with a lighted wax candle, and with feathers, to burn under the nose of her young mistress; which showed that she continued in fits.
Mr. Hickman, afterwards, with his usual humanity, directed that Harry should be taken care of all night; it being then the close of day. He asked him after my health. He expressed himself excessively afflicted, as well for the death of the most excellent of women, as for the just grief of the lady whom he so passionately loves. But he called the departed lady an Angel of Light. We dreaded, said he, (tell your master,) to read the letter sent—but we needed not—'tis a blessed letter! written by a blessed hand!—But the consolation she aims to give, will for the present heighten the sense we all shall have of the loss of so excellent a creature! Tell Mr. Belford, that I thank God I am not the man who had the unmerited honour to call himself her brother.