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.
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.
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.
MR. ANTONY HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE [IN REPLY TO HER'S TO HER UNCLE HARLOWE, OF THURSDAY, AUG. 10.] AUG. 12.
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.
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO ANTONY HARLOWE, ESQ. SUNDAY, AUG. 13.
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!
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
MR. BELFORD, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE SAT. MORN. AUG. 19.
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.
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.