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it given into Mrs. Howe's hands, instead of her daughter's. Women who have lived some time in the world knew better, than to encourage such skittish pranks in young wives.

Let me just stop to tell thee, while it is in my head, that I have since given Will his cue to find out where the man lives who is gone with the fair fugitive's letter; and, if possible, to see him on his return , before he sees her.

I told the women, "I despaired that it would ever be better with us while Miss Howe had so strange an ascendency over my wife, and remained herself unmarried; and until the reconciliation with her friends could be effected; or a still happier event— as I should think it, who am the last male of my family; and which my foolish vow and her rigour, had hitherto" —

Here Istopt, and looked modest, turning my diamond ring round my finger: while (Joody Moore looked mighty significant, calling it a very particular case; and the maiden fanned away, and primm'd and purs'd, to shew, that what I said needed no further explanation.

"I told them the occasion of our present difference; I avowed the reality of the fire; but owned, that I would have made no scruple of breaking the unnatural oath she had bound me in (having a husband's right on my side) when she was so accidentally frighted into my arms: and I blamed myself, excessively, that I did not; since

she thought fit to carry her resentment so high, and had the injustice to suppose the fire to be a contrivance of mine."

Nay, forthat matter, Mrs. Moore said — as we were married, and madam was so odd — Every gentleman would not — and there stopt Mrs. Moore.

"To suppose I should have recourse to such a. poor contrivance, said I, when I saw the dear creature every hour —Was not this a bold put, Jack?

A most extraordinary case, truly! cried the maiden; fanning, yet coming in with her well-buts; and her sifting pi-ay sirs I and her restraining enough sirs! — flying from the question to the question; her seat now and then uneasy, for fear my want of delicacy should hurt her abundant modesty; and yet it was difficult to satisfy her super-abundant curiosity.

"My beloved's jealousy [and jealousy of itself, to female minds, accounts for a thousand unaccountablenessesj and the imputation of her half-phrensy brought upon her by her father's wicked curse, and by the previous persecutions she had undergone from all her family, were what I dwelt upon, in order to provide against what might happen."

In short "I owned against myself most of the offences which I did not doubt but she would charge me with in their hearing: and as every cause has a black and a white side, I gave the worst parts of our story the gentlest turn. And when I had done, acquainted them with some of the contents of that letter of Captain Tomlinson which I had left with the lady. I concluded with cautioning them to be guarded against the inquiries of James Harlowe, and of Captain Singleton, or of any sailor-looking men."

This thou wilt see from the letter itself was necessary to be done. Here therefore thou mayest read it. And a charming letter to my purpose wilt thou find it to be, if thou givest the least attention to its contents.

TO ROBERT LOVELACE , ESQ.

Dbak sis, Wodn. Jane 7.

Although I am obliged to be in town to-morrow, or next day at furthest, yet I would not dispense with writing to you by one of my servants, (whom I send up before me upon a particular occasion) in order to advertise you, that it is probable you will hear from some of your own relations on your [supposed*] nuptials. One of the persons, (Mr. Lilburne by name) to whom I hinted my belief of your marriage, happens to be acquainted with Mr. Spurrier, Lady Betty Lawrence's steward; and (not being under any restriction) mentioned it to Mr. Spurrier, and he to Lady Betty, as a thing certain: and this (though I have not the honour to be personally known to lier ladyship) brought on an in

* What is between hooks [] thou mayest suppose, Jack, I sunk, upon the women, in the account I gave them of the contents of this Letter.

Clarissa. III.

quiry from her ladyship to me by her gentleman; who coming to me in company with Mr. Lilburne, I had no way but to confirm the report. And I understand, that Lady Betty takes it amiss, that she was not acquainted with so desirable a piece of news from yourself.

Her ladyship, it seems, has business that calls her to town [and you will possibly choose to put her right. If you do, it will, I presume, be in confidence; that nothing may transpire from your own family to contradict what I have given out].

[I nave ever been of opinion, that truth ought to be strictly adhered to on all occasions: and am concerned that I have (though with so good a view) departed from my old maxim. But my dear friend Mr. John Harlowe would have it so. Yet I never knew a departure of this kind a single departure. But, to make the best of it now, allow me, sir, once more to beg the lady, as soon as possible, to authenticate the report given out] — When both you and the lady join in the acknowledgment of your marriage, it will be impertinent in any one to be inquisitive as to the day or week: [and, if as privately celebrated as you intend (while the gentlewomen with whom you lodge are properly in-' structed, as you say they are, and who actually believe you were married long ago) who shall be able to give a contradiction to my report?]

And yet it is very probable,

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that minute inquiries will be made; and this is what renders precaution necessary. For Mr. James Harlowe will not believe that you are married; and is sure, he says, that you both lived together when Mr. Hickman's application was made to Mr. John Harlowe: and if you lived together any time unmarried, he infers from your character, Mr. Lovelace, that it is not probable, that you would ever marry. And he leaves it to his two uncles to decide, if you even should be married, whether there be not room to believe, that his sister was first dishonoured; and if so, to judge of the title she will have to their favour, or to the forgiveness of any of her family. I believe, sir, this part of my letter had best be kept from the lady.

Young Mr. Harlowe is resolved to find this out, and to come at his sister's speech likewise; and for that purpose sets out to-morrow, as I am well informed, with a large

^attendance armed, and Mr. Solmes is to be of the party. And what makes him the more earnest to find it out, is this: Mr. John Harlowe has told the whole family that he will alter and new settle his will. Mr. Antony Harlowe is resolved to do the same by his;

, for, it seems, he has now given over all thoughts of changing his condition, having lately been disappointed in a view he had of that sort with Mrs. Howe. These two brothers generally act in concert; and Mr. James Harlowe dreads (and let me tell you, that he has

reason for it, on my Mr. Harlowe's account) that his younger sister will be, at last, more benefited than he wishes for, by the alteration intended. He has already been endeavouring to sound his uncle Harlowe on this subject, and wanted to know whether any new application had been made to him on his sister's part. Mr. Harlowe avoided a direct answer, and expressed his wishes for a general reconciliation, and his hopes that his niece was married. This offended the furious young man, and he reminded his uncle of engagements they had all entered into at his sister's going away, not to be reconciled but by general consent.

Mr. John Harlowe complains to me often, of the uncontrollableness of his nephew; and says, that now, that the young man has not any body of whose superior sense he stands in awe, he observes not decency in his behaviour to any of them. And this makes my Mr. Harlowe still more desirous than ever of bringing his younger niece into favour again. I will not say all I might of this young man's extraordinary rapaciousness: — but one would think, that these grasping men expect to live for ever!

"I took the liberty but within these two hours, to propose to set on foot (and offered my cover to) a correspondence between my friend, and his daughter-niece, as he still sometimes fondly calls her. She was mistress of so much prudence, I said, that I was sure she could better direct every thing to its desirable end, than any body else could. But he said, he did not think himself entirely at liberty to take such a step at present; and that it was best that he should have it in his power to say, occasionally, that he had not any correspondence withher, or letter from her.

"You will see, sir, from all this, the necessity of keeping our treaty an absolute secret; and if the lady has mentioned it to her worthy friend Miss Howe, I hope it is in confidence."

[And now, sir, a few lines in answer to yours of Monday last.]

[Mr. Harlowe was very well pleased with your readiness to come into his proposal. But as to what you both desire, that he will be present at the ceremony, he said, that his nephew watched all his steps so narrowly, that he thought it impracticable (if he were inclinable) to oblige you: but that he consented with all his heart, that I should be the person whom he had stipulated should be privately present at the ceremony on his part.]

[However, I think, I have an expedient for this, if your lady continues to be very desirous of her uncle's presence (except he should be more determined than his answer to me seemed to import); of which I shall acquaint you, and perhaps what he says to it, when I have the pleasure to see you in town. But, indeed, I think you have no time to lose. Mr. Harj lowe is impatient to hear, that you

are actually one; and I hope I may carry him down word, when I leave you next, that I saw the ceremony performed.]

ilf any obstacle arises from the y, (from you it cannot) I shall be tempted to think a little hardly of her punctilio.]

Mr. Harlowe hopes, sir, that you will rather take pains to avoid, than to meet, this violent young man. He has the better opinion of you, let me tell you, sir, from the account I gave him of your moderation and politeness; neither of which are qualities with his nephew. But we have all of us something to amend.

You cannot imagine how dearly my friend still loves this excellent niece of his —• I will give you an instance of it, which affected me a good deal — "If once more, said he, (the last time but one we were together) I can but see this sweet child gracing the upper end of my table, as mistress of my house, in my allotted month; all the rest of my family present but as her guests; for so I formerly would have it, and had her mother's consent for it—" There he stopt; for he was forced to turn his reverend face from me. Tears ran down his cheeks. Fain would he have hid them: but he could not. "Yet — yet, said he, — how — how —" Poor gentleman, he perfectly sobbed, "how shall I be able to bear the first meeting!"

I bless God I am no hard-hearted man, Mr. Lovelace: my eves shewed to my worthy friend, that he had no reason to be ashamed j of his humanity before me.

I will put an end to this long epistle. Be pleased to make my compliments acceptable to the most excellent of women; aa well as believe me to be, Dear sir, Your faithful friend, and humble servant, Antony Tomlinsoii.

During the conversation between me and the women, I had planted myself at the further end of the apartment we were in, over-against the door, which was open; and opposite to the lady's chamber-door, which was shut. I spoke so low that it was impossible for her, at that distance, to hear what we said; and in this situation I could see if her door opened.

1 told the women, that what I had mentioned to my spouse of Lady Betty's coming to town with her niece Montague, and of their intention to visit my beloved , whom they had never seen, nor she them, was real; and that I expected news of their arrival every hour. I then shewed them copies of the other two letters, which I had left with her; the one from Lady Betty, the other from my cousin Montague. — And here thou mayest read them if thou wilt.

Eternally reproaching, eternally upbraiding me, are my impertinent relations. But they are fond of occasions to find fault with me. Their love, their love,

Jack, and their dependence on my known good humour, are their inducements.

TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. Dear Nephew, Wedn. morn. June 7.

I Understand, that at length all our wishes are answered in your happy marriage. But I think, we might as well have heard of it directly from you, as from the round-about way by which we have been made acquainted with it. Methinks, sir, the power and the will we have to oblige you, should not expose us the more to your slights and negligence. My brother had set his neart upon giving to you the wife we have all so long wished you to have. But if you were actually married at the time you made him that request {supposing, perhaps, that his gout would not let him attend you) it is but like you*. — If your lady had her reasons to wish it to be private while the differences between her family and self continue, you might nevertheless have communicated it to us with that restriction; and we should have forborne the public manifestations of our joy, upon an event we have so long desired.

The distant way we have come to know it is by my steward; who is acquainted with a friend of Captain Tomlinson, to whom that gentleman revealed it: and he, it seems, had it from yourself and lady, with such circumstances tuk leave it not to be doubted. »

* I gave Mrs. Moore and Miss Kawlins\ room to think this reproach just, Jack,

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