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nued interest as to the subject of our visit. It shall be all our studies to oblige and recompense the dear lady to the utmost of our power, for what she has suffered from the unhappy man.
DEAR MISS HOWE,
We join in the above request of Miss Charlotte and Miss Patty Montague, for your favour and interest; being convinced that the accident was an accident; and no plot or contrivance of a wretch too full of them.
We are madam,
DEAR MISS HOWE,
After what is written above, by names and characters of such unquestionable honour, I might have been excused signing a name almost as hateful to myself, as I KNOW it is to you. But the above will have it so. Since therefore I must write, it shall be truth ;. which is, that, if I may be once more admitted to pay my dutyto the most deserving and most injured of her sex, I will be content to do it with a halter about my neck; and, attended by a parson on my right-hand, and the hangman on my left, be doomed, at her will, either to the church or the gallows.
Your most humble servant, Tuesday, July 18. ROBERT LOVELACE.
MR. BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESCf.
Sunday night, July 16. What a cursed piece of work hast thou made of it, with the most excellent of women. Thou mayest be in earnest, or in jest, as thou wilt; but the poor lady will not be long either thy sport, or the sport of fortune!
I will give thee an account of a scene that wants but her affecting pen to represent it justly; and it would wring all the black blood out of thy callous heart.
Thou only, who art the author of her calamities, shouldst have attended her in her prison: I am unequal to such a task: nor know I any other man but would.
. This last act, however unintended by thee, yet a consequence of thy general orders, and too likely to be thought agreeable to thee, by those who know thy other villanies by her, has finished thy barbarous work. And I advise thee to trumpet forth every where, how much in earnest thou art to marry her, whether true or not.
Thou mayest safely do it. She will not live to put thee to the trial; and it will a little palliate for thy enormous usage of her, and be a means to make mankind, who know not what I know of the matter, herd a little longer with thee, and forbear to hunt thee to thy fellow-savages in the Lybian wilds and desarts.
Your messenger found me at Edgware, expecting to dinner with me several friends, whom I had invited three days before. I sent apologies to them, as in a case of life and death; and speeded to town to the wicked woman's: for how knew I but shocking attempts might be made upon her by the cursed wretches: perhaps by your connivance, in order to mortify her into your measures?
Little knows the public what villanies are committed by vile wretches in these abominable houses upon innocent creatures drawn into their snares.
Finding the lady not there, I hastened away to the officer's, although Sally told me, that she had been just come from thence; and that she had refused to see her, or, (as she sent down word) any body else; being resolved to have the remainder of that Sunday to herself, as it might, perhaps, be the last she should ever see.
I had the same thing told me, when I got thither. , .
I sent up to let her know, that I came with a commission to set her at liberty. I was afraid of sending up the name of a man known to be your friend. She absolutely refused to see any man, however, for that day, or to answer further to any thing said from me.
Having therefore informed myself of all that the officer, and his wife, and servant, could acquaint me with, as well in relation to the horrid arrest, as to her behaviour, and the women's to her; and her ill state of health; I went back to Sinclair's, as I will still call her, and heard the three women's story. From all which, I am enabled to give you the following shocking particulars: which may serve till I can see the unhappy lady herself tomorrow, if then I gain admittance to her. You will find, that I have been very minute in my inquiries.
Your villain it was that set the poor lady, and
no doubt, that he was doing the most acceptable service to his blessed master. They had got a chair; the head ready up, as soon as service was over. And as she came out of the church, at the door fronting Bedford Street, the officers, stepping to her, whispered, that they had an action against her.
She was terrified, trembled, and turned pale.
Action! said she. What is that? 1 have
committed no bad action! Lord bless me! men,
what mean you?
That you are our prisoner, madam.
Prisoner, Sirs!—what—how—why—what have I done?
You must go with us. Be pleased, madam, to step into this chair.
With you !—with men! Must go with men !—I
am not used to go with strange men! Indeed
you must excuse me!
We can't excuse you: we are sheriff's officers. We have a writ against you. You must go with us, and you shall know at whose suit.
Suit! said the charming innocent; I don't know what you mean. Pray, men, don't lay hands upon me; (they offering to put her into the chair) I am not used to be thus treated—I have done nothing to deserve it.
She then spied thy villain—O thou wretch, said she, where is thy vile master ?—Am I again to be his prisoner? Help, good people!
A crowd had before begun to gather.
My master is in the country, madam, many miles off. If you please to go with these men, they will treat you civilly.
The people were most of them struck with compassion. A fine young creature !—A thousand pities, cried some. While some few threw out vile and shocking reflections! But a gentleman interposed, and demanded to see the fellows' authority.
They shewed it. Is your name Clarissa Harlowe, madam? said he.
Yes, yes, indeed, ready to sink, my name was Clarissa Harlowe :—but it is now wretchedness!— Lord be merciful to me, what is to come next?
You must go with these men, madam, said the gentleman: they have authority for what they do.
He pitied her, and retired.
Indeed you must, said one chairman.
Indeed you must, said the other.
Can nobody, joined in another gentleman, be applied to, who will see that so fine a creature is not ill used?
Thy villain answered, orders were given particularly for that. She had rich relations. She need but ask and have. She would only be carried to the officer's house, till matters could be made up. The people she had lodged with, loved her: but she had left her lodgings privately.
0! had she those tricks already? cried one or two.
She heard not this—but said—well, if I must go, I must—I cannot resist—but I will not be carried to the woman's; I will rather die at your feet, than be carried to the woman's.
You won't be carried there, madam, cried thy fellow.
Only to my house, madam, said one of the officers.
Where is that ?—In High Holborn, madam.
1 know not where High Holborn is; but any where, except to the woman's.—But am I to go with men only?
Looking about her, and seeing the three pasgages, to wit, that leading to Henrietta Street, that