« VorigeDoorgaan »
recovered not a sister, I would have a brother; and should find out a captain of a ship as well as he.”
And now, Jack, dost thou think she'll attempt to get from me, do what I will ?
Here's preparation, Belford ! Dost think I will throw it all away for anything thou canst say, or Lord M. write ? No indeed !-as my charmer says, when she bridles.
And what must necessarily be the consequence of all this, with regard to my beloved's behaviour to me? Canst thou doubt, that it was all complaisance next time she admitted me into her presence ?
Thursday we were very happy. All the morning extremely happy. I kissed her charming hand.--I need not describe to thee her hand and arm. When thou sawest her, I took notice that thy eyes dwelt upon them whenever thou couldst spare them from that beauty spot of wonders, her face.—Fifty times kissed her hand, I believe. Once her cheek, intending her lip, but so rapturously, that she could not help seeming angry.
Had she not thus kept me at arm’s-length; had she not denied me those innocent liberties which our sex, from step to step, aspire to; could I but have gained access to her in her hours of heedlessness and dishabille (for full dress creates dignity, augments consciousness, and compels distance); we had been familiarized to each other long ago. But keep her up ever so late, meet her ever so early, by breakfast time she is dressed for the day, and at her earliest hour, as nice as others dressed. All her forms thus kept up, wonder not that I have made so little progress in the proposed trial. But how must all this distance stimulate!
Thursday morning, as I said, we were extremely happy ; about noon, she numbered the hours she had been with me; all of them to me but as one minute; and desired to be left to herself. I was loth to comply : but observing the sunshine begin to shut in, I yielded.
I dined out. Returning, I talked of the house, and of Mrs. Fretchville-had seen Mennell—had pressed him to get the widow to quit. She pitied Mrs. Fretchville (another good effect of the overheard conversation)—had written to Lord M.; expected an answer soon from him. I was admitted to sup with her. I urged for her approbation or correction of my written terms. She again pro
answer as soon as she had heard from Miss Howe.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE.
Friday, May 19. ET me tell you, my dear, that I have known four
and-twenty hours together not unhappy ones, my
situation considered. She then gives the particulars of the conversation which
she had overheard between Mr. Lovelace, Mrs. Sinclair, and Miss Martin; but accounts more minutely than he had done, for the opportunity she had of overhear
ing it, unknown to them. She gives the reason she has to be pleased with what she
heard from each ; but is shocked at the measure he is resolved to take, if he misses her but for one day. Yet is pleased, that he proposes to avoid aggressive vio
lence, if her Brother and he meet in town. I cannot but acknowledge that I am pleased to find, that he has actually written to Lord M.
I have promised to give Mr. Lovelace an answer to his proposals as soon as I have heard from you, my dear, on the subject.
I hope that in my next letter I shall have reason to confirm these favourable appearances. Favourable I must think them in the wreck I have suffered.
MISS HOWE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Saturday, May 20. DID not know, my dear, that you deferred giving an answer to Mr. Lovelace's proposals till you
had my opinion of them. A particular hand occasionally going to town, will leave this at Wilson's, that no delay may be made on that account.
I never had any doubt of the man's justice and generosity in matters of settlement; and all his relations are as noble in their spirit as in their descent. But now, it may not be amiss for you to wait, to see what returns my Lord makes to his letter of invitation.
The scheme I think of is this.
There is a person whom I believe you have seen with me; her name Townsend, who is a great dealer in Indian silks, Brussels and French laces, cambrics, linen, and other valuable goods, which she has a way of coming at, duty free, and has a great vend for them (and for other curiosities which she imports) in the private families of the gentry round us.
She has her days of being in town, and then is at a chamber she rents at an inn in Southwark, where she keeps patterns of all her silks, and much of her portable goods, for the conveniency of her London customers. But her place of residence, and where she has her principal warehouse, is at Deptford, for the opportunity of getting her goods on shore.
Mrs. Townsend, as I have recollected, has two brothers, each a master of a vessel, and who knows, as she and they have concerns together, but that, in case of need, you may have a whole ship's crew at your devotion ? If Lovelace give you cause to leave him, take no thought for the people at Harlowe Place. Let them take care of one another. It is a care they are used to.
Had you not been so minute in your account of the circumstances that attended the opportunity you had of overhearing the dialogue between Mr. Lovelace and two of the women, I should have thought the conference contrived on purpose
for I showed Mr. Lovelace's proposals to Mr. Hickman, who had chambers once at Lincoln's Inn, being designed for the law, had his elder brother lived. He looked so wise, so proud, and so important, upon the occasion, and wanted to take so much consideration about them-would take them home if I pleased, and weigh them well, and so forth, and the like, and all that—that I had no patience with him, and snatched them back with anger.
O dear !—to be so angry, an't please me, for his zeal
Yes, zeal without knowledge, I said ; like most other zeals. If there were no objections that struck him at once, there were none.
So hasty, dearest madam !
And so slow, undearest sir, I could have said. But, surely, said I, with a look which implied, would you rebel, sir !
He begged my pardon. Saw no objection, indeed! But might he be allowed once more.
But, my dear, let the articles be drawn up, and engrossed, and solemnize upon them; and there's no more to be said.
Let me add, that the sailor fellow has been tampering with my Kitty, and offered a bribe to find where to direct to you. Next time he comes I will have him laid hold of; and if I can get nothing out of him, will have him drawn through one of our deepest fish-ponds. His attempt to corrupt a servant of mine will justify my orders.
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Sunday, May 21. AM too much disturbed in my mind, to think of anything but revenge.
What's the matter now, thou'lt ask ? Matter enough ; for Dorcas has found means to come at some of Miss Howe's last-written letters ; and Sally, and she, employed themselves with the utmost diligence, in making extracts, according to former directions, from these cursed letters, for my use. Cursed, I may well call them —such abuses such virulence !—0 this little fury Miss Howe !-Well might her saucy friend (who has been equally free with me, or the occasion could not have been given) be so violent as she lately was, at my endeavouring to come at one of these letters.
And here, just now, is another letter brought from the same little virulent devil.
May eternal vengeance pursue the villain if he give room to doubt his honour !—Women can't swear, Jack-sweet souls ! they can only curse.
I am said, to doubt her love-Have I not reason? And she, to doubt my ardour.—Ardour, Jack! Why, ʼtis very right-Women, as Miss Howe says, and as every rake knows, love ardours !
She apprises her of the ill-success of the application made to her uncle—by Hickman, no doubt !—I must have this fellow's ears in my pocket, very quickly, I believe.
She raves about coming up, if by so doing she could prevent so noble a creature from stooping too low, or save her from ruin-one reed to support another! I think I will contrive to bring her up.
How comes it to pass, that I cannot help being pleased with this virago's spirit, though I suffer by it? Had I her