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TO MISS LÆTITIA BEAUMONT.
I had still, perhaps, held Wednesday, June 7.
this resolution (as every apMY DEAREST FRIEND,
pearance, according to your You will perhaps think, that I
letters, was more and more have been too long silent. But
promising) had not the two I had begun two letters at dif
passed days furnished me with ferent times since my last, and
intelligence which it highly
imports you to know. written a great deal each time;)
But Imust stop here, and and with spirit enough I as
take a little walk, to try to IS sure you; incensed as I was against the abominable wretch
keep down that just indigna
tion which rises to my pen, you are with; particularly on
when I am about to relate to reading yours of the 21st of the
you what I must communicate. past month * i The first I intended to keep open till I could give you some
I am not my own mistress account of my proceedings
enough — then my mother -with Mrs. Townsend. It was
always up and down --- and some days before I saw her:
watching as if I were writing and this intervenient space
to a fellow - but I will try if I giving me time to re-peruse
can contain myself in tolerable what I had written, I thought
The women of the house it proper to lay that aside, and to write in a style a little less
where you are — O my dear fervent; for you would have
- the women of the house — IKS blamed me, I know, for the
but you never thought highly IS freedom of some of my ex
of them – so it cannot be very pressions sexecrations, if you
surprising – nor would you please]. And when I had gone
IKS have staid so long with them had a good way in the second, the
not the notion of removing to one change in your prospects, on
of your own, made you less unhis communicating to you Miss
easy, and less curious about Montague's letter, and his bet-||
their characters, and behaviour. ter behaviour, occasioning a
Yet I could now wish, that you
had been less reserved among change in your mind, I laid that aside also. And in this
them — but I tease you – in
S short, my dear, you are ceruncertainty, thought I would wait to see the issue of affairs
tainly in a devilish house! — between you before I wrote
Be assured, that the woman again; believing that all would
is one of the vilest of women. soon be decided one way or
- Nor does she go to you by other.
her right name — very true!
- her name is not Sinclair — * See Vol. II. Letter civ.
nor is the street she lives in,
Dover Street - did you never/ by me *, upon needless and go out by yourself, and dis weak considerations - be
charge the coach or chair, and cause, truly, I might have it IKS return by another coach or to say, if challenged, that I
chair? If you did (yet I don't knew not where to send to you! remember that you ever wrote -- I am ashamed of myself! to me, that you did] you would - Had this been at first exnever have found your way to cusable, it could not be a good the vile house, either by the reason for going on in the folly, woman's name, Sinclair, or by when you had no liking to the the street's name, mentioned house, and when he began to by that Doleman in his letter JK play tricks, and delay with about the lodgings*.
you.'- What! I was to misThe wretch might indeed trust myself, was I? – I was have held out the false lights a to allow it to be thought, little more excusably, had the that I could not keep my own house been an honest house; K secret? – But the house to and had his end only been to s be taken at this time, and at prevent mischief from your that time, led us both on - like brother.—But this contrivance fools, like tame fools in a was antecedent, as I think, to 75 string. – Upon my life, my your brother's project: so that| dear, this man is a vile, a conno excuse can be made for his temptible villain – I must
intentions at the time - the speak out! – How has he 65 man, whatever he may now laughed in his sleeve at us
intend, was certainly then, both, I warrant, for I can't tell even then, a villain in his how long! heart!
And yet who could have
thought that a man of fortune, IS I Am excessively concerned, and some reputation (this Dole
that I should be prevailed upon, man, I mean! not your wretch, between your over-niceness, to be sure!) - formerly a rake on one hand, and my mother's indeed - [1 inquired after him positiveness, on the other, to – long ago; and so was the to?
* See Vol. II. Letter lii. Par. 12. and Letter liv. Par. 12. Where the reader will observe, that the proposal came from herself; which, as it was also mentioned by Mr. Lovelace, (towards
the end of Letter lix. in Vol. II.) she ledge, or rather veiled in a
may be presumed to have forgotten. So that Clarissa had a double inducement for acquiescing with the proposed method of carrying on the correspondence be
tween Miss Howe and herself by Wil. quiesced in by you, as it was
son's conveyance, and by the name of Vol. II, Letters xxxiv, xxxv. Lætitia Beaumont,
easier satisfied) - but married quiring the less attention, I to a woman of family - having will try to account to you for had a palsy-blow — and one that. would think a penitent - Thus then it came about S should recommend such a " Miss Lardner (whom you house (why, my dear, he could have seen at her cousin Bidnot inquire of it, but must find dulph's) saw you at St. James's it to be bad] to such a man as church on Sunday was fortLovelace, to bring his future, night. She kept you in her nay, his ihen supposed, bride eye during the whole time;
but could not once obtain the * * * *
notice of yours, though she IS I WRITE, perhaps, with too courtsied to you twice. She
much violence, to be clear. | thought to pay her compliBut I cannot help it. Yet I ments to you when the service lay down my pen, and take it was over; for she doubted not up every ten minutes, in order but you were married — and to write with some temper — is for an odd reason — because my mother too in and out you came to church by yourself. what need I (she asks me) lock Every eye (as usual, wherever myself in, if I am only reading you are, she said) was upon
past correspondences? – For you: and this seeming to give is that is my pretence, when she you hurry, and you being
comes poking in with her face nearer the door than she, you sharpened to an edge, as I
slid out, before she could get is may say, by a curiosity that| to you. But she ordered her
gives her more pain than plea servant to follow you till you sure - Lord forgive me: "But were housed. This servant I believe I shall huff her next saw you step into a chair, time she comes in.
which waited for you; and you
ordered the men to carry you Do you forgive me too, my to the place where they took dear. My mother ought; be you up. cause she says, I am my “The next day, Miss Lard. father's girl; and because I ner sent the same servant, out am sure I am hers. I don't of mere curiosity, to make know what to do — I don't private inquiry whether Mr. know what to write next - I Lovelace were, or were not, have so much to write, yet with you there. And this inhave so little patience, and so 25 quiry brought out from difLittle opportunity.
ferent people, that the house But I will tell you how I was suspected to be one of came by my intelligence. those genteel wicked houses, Is That being a fact, and re-l which receive and accommo
date fashionable people of both | fainted upon the surprising sexes.
communication. But rage ta“Miss Lardner, confounded king place, it blew away the at this strange 'intelligence, sudden illness. I besought Miss made further inquiry; enjoin Lloyd to re-enjoin secresy to ing secresy to the servant she every one. I told her, that I had sent, as well as to the would not for the world that gentleman whom she em- s my mother, or any of your
ployed: who had it confirmed family, should know it. And I Jis from a rakish friend, who instantly caused a trusty friend
knew the house; and told him, to make what inquiries he could that there were two houses; about Tomlinson. the one in which all decent ap- T I had thoughts to have done pearances were preserved, and it before I had this intelligence: guests rarely admitted; the but not imagining it to be needother, the receptacle of those ful, and little thinking that you who were absolutely engaged, could be in such a house, and
and broken to the vile yoke.” | as you were pleased with your K Say, my dear creature - I changed prospects, I forbore.
say — shall I not execrate the And the rather forbore, as the wretch?-But words are weak matter is so laid, that Mrs.
- what can I say, that will Hodges is supposed to know suitably express my abhor nothing of the projected treaty rence of such a villain as he of accommodation; but, on must have been, when he the contrary, that it was demeditated to carry a Clarissa signed to be a secret to her, to such a place!
and to every body but imme“Miss Lardner kept this to diate parties; and it was Mrs. herself some days, not knowing Hodges that I had proposed to what to do; for she loves you, sound by a second band. and admires you of all women. 3 Now, my dear, it is certain, At last, she revealed it, but without applying to that tooin confidence, to Miss Bid-| much favoured housekeeper, dulph, by letter. Miss Bid that there is not such a man dulph, in like confidence, being within ten miles of your uncle. afraid it would distract me, Very true! One Tomkins there were I to know it, communi is, about four miles off; but he cated it to Miss Lloyd; and so, is a day-labourer, and one like a whispered scandal, it| Thomson, about five miles dispassed through several canals; tant the other way; but he is and then it came to me. a parish schoolmaster, poor, Which was not till last Mon- and about seventy. day.”
JS A man, though but of 8001. I thought I should have a year, cannot come from one
country to settle in another, IS your uncle, which it could not but every body in both must answer any wicked purpose for know it, and talk of it.
him to do; and what he writes S Mrs. Hodges may yet be of your uncle's proposal, to sounded at a distance, if you have it thought that you were will. Your uncle is an old man. married from the time that you Old men imagine themselves have lived in one house togeunder obligation to their ther; and that to bemade agree paramours, if younger than with the time of Mr. Hickman's
themselves, and seldom keep Is visit to your uncle: the inES any thing from their know-|| sisting on a trusty person's
ledge. But if we suppose him being present at the ceremony, to make a secret of the de- at that uncle's nominationsigned treaty, it is impossible, these things make me willing to before that treaty was thought try for a tolerable construction of, but she must have seen him, to be made of all; though I am at least have heard your uncle KS so much puzzled by what speak praisefully of a man he occurs on both sides of the is said to be so intimate with, question, that I cannot but let him have been ever so little abhor the devilish wretch, a while in those parts.
whose inventions and contriIs Yet, methinks, the story is vances are for ever employing
80 plausible: Tomlinson, as an inquisitive head, as mine is, you describe him, is so good a without affording the means of man, and so much of a gentle absolute detection.
man; the end to be answered But this is what I am ready 15 by his being an impostor, so to conjecture that Tomlinson,
much more than necessary if specious as he is, is a machine
Lovelace has villany in his of Lovelace; and that he is 13 head; and as you are in such employed for some end, which
a house — your wretch's be- has not yet been answered. haviour to him was so petulant| This is certain, that not only and lordly; and Tomlinson's Tomlinson, but Mennell, who, answer so full of spirit and cir-| I think, attended you more
cumstance; and then what he than once at this vile house, IKS communicated to you of Mr. must know it to be a vile house.
Hickman's application to your What can you then think of uncle, and of Mrs. Norton's to Tomlinson's declaring himself your mother (some of which in favour of it upon inquiry?
particulars, I am satisfied, his Lovelace too must know it JK vile agent Joseph Leman to be so; if not before he brought
could not reveal to his viler you to it, soon after. employer); his pressing on the I Perhaps the company he marriage-day, in the name of found there, may be the most