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where I was, he burst by my brother to come to me, leaving him chafing, he said, like a hunted boar at bay.
This alarmed us all. My father was pleased to hint to Mr. Lovelace, that he wished he would discontinue his visits for the peace' sake of the family; and I, by his command, spoke a great deal plainer.
But Mr. Lovelace is a man not easily brought to give up his purpose, especially in a point wherein he pretends his heart is so much engaged ; and no absolute prohibition having been given, things went on for a little while as before.
My brother then kept no measures, and first set himself to upbraid me for a supposed prepossession, which he treated as if it were criminal; and then to insult Mr. Lovelace in person, and the unhappy rencounter followed. My brother was disarmed, as you have heard; and on being brought home, and giving us ground to suppose he was much worse hurt than he really was, and a fever ensuing, every one flamed out, and all was laid at my door.
Mr. Lovelace for three days together sent twice each day to inquire after my brother's health ; and although he received rude and even shocking returns, he thought fit on the fourth day to make in person the same inquiries, and received still greater incivilities from my two uncles, who happened to be both there. My father also was held by force from going to him with his sword in his hand, although he had the gout upon him.
I fainted away with terror, seeing every one so violent, and hearing Mr. Lovelace swear that he would not depart till he had made my uncles ask his pardon for the indignities he had received at their hands; a door being held fast locked between him and them. My mother all the time was praying and struggling to withhold my father in the great parlour. Meanwhile my sister, who had treated Mr. Lovelace with virulence, came in to me and insulted me as fast as I recovered. But when Mr. Lovelace was told how ill I was, he departed, nevertheless vowing revenge.
He was ever a favourite with our domestics. His bounty to them, and having always something facetious to say to each, had made them all of his party; and on this occasion they privately blamed everybody else, and reported his calm and gentlemanly behaviour (till the provocations given him ran very high) in such favourable terms, that those reports, and my apprehensions of the consequence of this treatment, induced me to read a letter he sent me that night, and, it being written in the most respectful terms (offering to submit the whole to my decision and to govern himself entirely by my will), to answer it some days after.
To this unhappy necessity was owing our renewed correspondence, as I may call it; yet I did not write till I had informed myself from Mr. Synımes's brother that he was really insulted into the act of drawing his sword by my brother's repeatedly threatening (upon his excusing himself out of regard to me) to brand him if he did not ; and, by all the inquiry I could make, that he was again the sufferer from my uncles in a more violent manner than I have related.
The same circumstances were related to my father and other relations by Mr. Symmes, but they had gone too far in making themselves parties to the quarrel either to retract or forgive; and I was forbidden to correspond with him, or to be seen a moment in his company.
One thing, however, I can say, but that in confidence, because my mother commanded me not to mention it : that, expressing her apprehension of the consequences of the indignities offered to Mr. Lovelace, she told me she would leave it to my prudence to do all I could to prevent the impending mischief on one side.
I am obliged to break off; but I believe I have written enough to answer very fully all that you have required of me. I will continue to write, as I have opportunity, as minutely as we are used to write to each other. Indeed I have no delight, as I have often told you, equal to that which I take in conversing with you—by letter when I cannot in person. Your ever-grateful and affectionate,
Copy of the requested PREAMBLE to the clauses in her
grandfather's will (inclosed in the preceding letter).
As the particular estate I have mentioned and described above is principally of my own raising : as my three sons have been uncommonly prosperous and are very rich—the eldest by means of the unexpected benefits he reaps from his new-found mines; the second, by what has, as unexpectedly, fallen in to him on the deaths of several relations of his present wife, the worthy daughter by both sides of very honourable families, over and above the very large portion which he received with her in marriage; my son Antony by his East India traffic and successful voyages ; as, furthermore, my grandson James will be sufficiently provided for by his grandmother Lovell's kindness to him, who, having no near relations, hath assured me that she hath, as well by deed of gift as by will, left him both her Scottish and English estates : for never was there a family more prosperous in all its branches, blessed be God therefore; and as my said son James will very probably make it up to my granddaughter Arabella, to whom I intend no disrespect, nor have reason, for she is a very hopeful and dutiful child ; and as my sons John and Antony seem not inclined to a married life, so that my son James is the only one who has children, or is likely to have any—for all these reasons, and because my dearest and beloved granddaughter Clarissa hath been from her infancy a matchless young creature in her duty to me, and admired
by all who knew her as a very extraordinary child, I must therefore take the pleasure of considering her as my own peculiar child, and this without intending offence; and I hope it will not be taken as any, since my son James can bestow his favours accordingly, and in greater proportion, upon his son James and upon his daughter Arabella. These, I say, are the reasons which move me to dispose of the above-described estate in the precious child's favour, who is the delight of my old age, and, I verily think, has contributed, by her amiable duty and kind and tender regards, to prolong my life.
Wherefore it is my express will and commandment, and I enjoin my said three sons John, James, and Antony, and my grandson James, and my granddaughter Arabella, as they value my blessing, and will regard my memory, and would wish their own last wills and desires to be fulfilled by their survivors, that they will not impugn or contest the following bequests and devises in favour of my said granddaughter Clarissa, although they should not be strictly conformable to law or to the forms thereof, nor suffer them to be controverted or disputed on any pretence whatsoever.
And in this confidence, &c., &c., &c.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE.
January 20. HAVE been hindered from prosecuting my intention. Neither nights normornings have
been my own. My mother has been very ill, and would have no other nurse but me. I have not stirred from her bedside; and two nights I had the honour of sharing it with her.
Her disorder was a violent colic. The foundations laid for jealousy and heart-burnings in her own family, late so happy and so united, afflict exceedingly a gentle and sensible mind, which has from the beginning, on all occasions, sacrificed its own inward satisfaction to outward peace. My brother and sister, who used very often to jar, are now so entirely one, and are so much together (caballing was the word that dropped from my mother's lips, as if at unawares) that she is very fearful of the consequences that may follow; yet, would she but exert that authority which the superiority of her fine talents gives her, all these family-feuds might perhaps be extinguished in their but yet beginnings.
It is my opinion, that had she been of a temper that would have borne less, she would have had ten times less to bear than she has had.
Were there not truth in this observation, is it possible that my brother and sister could make their vehemences of such importance to all the family? “How will my son, how will my nephew, take this or that measure? What will he say to it? Let us consult him about it;" are references always previous to every resolution taken by his superiors, whose will ought to be his. Well may he expect to be treated with this deference by every other person, when my father himself, generally so absolute, constantly pays it to him; and the more since his godmother's bounty has given independence to a spirit that was before under too little restraint.
My friends (my father and uncles, however, if not my brother and sister) begin to think that I have been treated unkindly. My mother has been so good as to tell me this since I sent away my last.
Nevertheless I believe they all think that I receive letters from Mr. Lovelace. But Lord M. being inclined rather to support than to blame his nephew, they seem to be so much afraid of Mr. Lovelace, that they do not put it to me whether I do or not, conniving, on the contrary, as it should seem, at the only method left to allay the vehemence of a spirit which they have so much provoked ;