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But you seem to be sensible enough of your errors now.—So are all giddy girls, when it is too late: and what a crest-fallen figure then do the consequences of their self-willed obstinacy and headstrongedness compel them to make!
I may say too much: only as I think it proper to bear that testimony against your rashness which it behoves every careful parent to bear: and none more than
Your compassionating well-wisher,
I send this by a special messenger, who has business only as far as Barnet, because you shall have no need to write again: knowing how you love writing: and knowing likewise, that misfortunes make people plaintive.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MRS. HOWE.
Saturday, July 1. Perm It me, madam, to trouble you with a few lines> were it only to thank you for your reproofs; which have nevertheless drawn fresh streams of blood from a bleeding heart.
My story is a dismal story. It has circumstances in it that would engage pity, and possibly a judgment not altogether unfavourable, were these circumstances known. But it is my business, and shall be all my business, to repent of my failings, and not endeavour to extenuate them.
Nor will I seek to distress your worthy mind. If J cannot suffer alone, I will make as few parties as I can in my sufferings. And, indeed, I took up my
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pen with this resolution when I wrote the letter which has fallen into your hands. It was only to know, and that for a very particular reason, as well as for affection unbounded, if my dear Miss Howe, from whom I had not heard of a long time, were ill; as I had been told she was; and if so, how she now does. But my injuries being recent, and 'my distresses having been exceeding great, self would crowd into my letter. When distressed, the human mind is apt to turn itself to every one in whom it imagined or wished an interest, for pity and consolation.—Or, to express myself better, and more concisely in your own words, misfortune makes people plaintive: and to whom, if not to a friend, can the afflicted complain?
Miss Howe being abroad when my letter came, I natter myself that she is recovered. But it would be some satisfaction to me to be informed if she has been ill. Another line from your hand would be too great a favour: but, if you will be pleased to direct any servant to answer yes, or no, to that question, I will not be further troublesome.
Nevertheless, I must declare, that my Miss Howe's friendship was all the comfort I had, or expected to have in this world; and a line from her would have been a cordial to my fainting heart. Judge then, dearest madam, how reluctantly I must obey your prohibition—but yet I will endeavour to obey it; although I should have hoped, as well from the tenor of all that has passed between Miss Howe and me, as from her established virtue, that she could not be tainted by evil communication, had one or two letters been permitted. This, however, I ask not for, since I think I have nothing to do, but to beg of God (who, I hope, has not yet withdrawn his grace from me, although he is pleased to let loose his justice upon my faults) to give me a truly broken spirit, if it be not already broken enough, and then to take to his mercy, The unhappy
Two favours, good madam, I have to beg of you.— The first;—that you will not let any of my relations know that you have heard from me. The other!—that no living creature be apprised where I am to be heard of, or directed to. This is a point that concerns me, more than I can express. —In short, my preservation from further evils may depend upon it.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO HANNAH BURTON.
My Good Hannah, Thursday, June 29.
Strange things have happened to me, since you were dismissed my service (so sorely against my will) and your pert fellow-servant set over me. But that must be all forgotten now—
How do you, my Hannah? are you recovered of your illness? if you are, do you choose to come and be with me? Or can you conveniently?
I am a very unhappy creature, and, being among all strangers, should be glad to have you with me, of whose fidelity and love I have had so many acceptable instances.
Living or dying, I will endeavour to make it worth your while, my Hannah.
If you are recovered, as I hope, and if you have A good place, it may be they would bear with your absence, and suffer somebody in your room for a month or so: and, by that time, I hope to be provided for, and you may then return to your place.
Don't let any of my friends know of this my desire; whether you can come or not.
I am at Mr. Smith's, a hosier's and glove-shop, in King-street, Covent Garden.
You must direct to me by the name of Rachel Clark.
Do, my good Hannah, come if you can to your poor young mistress, who always valued yoij, and always will whether you come or not.
I send this to your mother at St. Alban's, not knowing where to direct to you. Return me a line, that I may know what to depend upon; and I shall gee you have not forgotten the pretty hand you were taught, in happy days, by
Your true friend,
HANNAH BURTON.. IN ANSWER.
Honored MiDDAM, Monday, July 3.
I Have not forgot to write, and never will forget any thing you, my dear young lad)', was so good as to lam me. I am very sorrowful for your misfortens, my dearest young lady; so sorrowfujl, I do not know what to do. Gladd at harfe would I be to be able to come to you. But indeed I have not been able to stir out of my rome here at my mother's ever since I was forsed to leave my plase with a roomatise, which has made me quite and clene helpless. I will pray for you night and day, my dearest, my kindest, my goodest young lady, who have been so badly used; and I am very sorry I cannot come to do you love and sarvice; which will ever be in the harte of mee to do, if it was in my power; who am
Your most dutifull servant to command,
MISS Ct. HARLOWE TO MRS. JUDITH NORTON*
My Dear Mrs. Norton, Thursday, June 29,
I Address myself to you after a very long silence, (which, however, was not owing either to want of love or duty) principally to desire you to satisfy me in two or three points, which it behoves me to know.
My father and all the family, I am informed, are to be at my uncle Harlowe's this day as usual. Pray acquaint me, if they have been there? And if they were cheerful on the anniversary occasion? And also, if you have heard of any journey, or intended journey, of my brother, in company with Captain Singleton and Mr. Solmes?
Strange things have happened to me, my dear, worthy, and maternal friend—very strange things! —Mr. Lovelace has proved a very barbarous and ungrateful man to me. But, God be praised, I have escaped from him. Being among absolute strangers (though I think worthy folks) I have written to Hannah Burton to come and be with me. If the good creature fall in your way, pray encourage her to come to me. I always intended to have her, she knows: but hoped to be in happier circumstances.
Say nothing to any of my friends that you have heard front me.