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and disgrace my whole family !-0 my dearest mamma! who can be patient under such treatment ?
Now, Clary, I suppose you will allow me to speak. I think I have had patience indeed with you.—Could I have thought-but I will put all upon a short issue. Your mother, Clarissa, shall show you an example of that patience you so boldly claim from her, without having any yourself.
Let me tell you then, proceeded she, that all lies in a small compass, as your father said. Whether you will break with us all, and stand in defiance of a jealous father. This is now the point with us. You know your father has made it a point; and did he ever give up one he thought he had a right to carry ?
I was silent. To say the truth, I was just then sullenly silent. My heart was too big. I thought it was hard to be thus given up by my mother; and that she should make a will so uncontrollable as my brother's, her will. — My mother, my dear, though I must not say so, was not obliged to marry against her liking. My mother loved my father.
My silence availed me still less.
I see, my dear, said she, that you are convinced. Now, my good child, now, my Clary, do I love you! It shall not be known, that you have argued with me at all. All shall be imputed to that modesty which has ever so much distinguished you. You shall have the full merit of your resignation.
She tenderly wiped the tears from my eyes, and kissed my cheek. Your father expects you down with a cheerful countenance—but I will excuse your going. All your scruples, you see, have met with an indulgence truly maternal from me. I rejoice in the hope that you are convinced. This indeed seems to be a proof of the truth of your agreeable declaration, that your heart is free.
Did not this seem to border upon cruelty, my dear, in so indulgent a mother ?
I will go down, proceeded she, and excuse your attendance at afternoon tea, as I did to dinner: for I know you will have some little reluctances to subdue. I will allow you those; and also some little natural shynesses—and so you shall not come down, if you choose not to come down -only, my dear, do not disgrace my report when you come to supper. And be sure behave as you used to do to your brother and sister; for your behaviour to them will be one test of your cheerful obedience to us. I advise as a friend, you see, rather than command as a motherSo adieu, my love. And again she kissed me; and was going
O my dear mamma, said I, forgive me !-But surely you cannot believe, I can ever think of having that man !
She was very angry.
Determined and perverse, my dear mamma called me : and after walking twice or thrice in anger about the room, .she turned to me ;-Your heart free, Clarissa ! How can you tell me your heart is free? Such extraordinary antipathies to a particular person must be owing to extraordinary prepossessions in another's favour !—Tell me, Clary; and tell me truly-do you not continue to correspond with Mr. Lovelace ?
Dearest madam, replied I, you know my motives : to prevent mischief, I answered his letters. The reasons for our apprehensions of this sort are not over. He is only restrained by his regard for me from resenting the violent treatment of him and his family; what can I do? Would you have me, madam, make him desperate ?
The law will protect us, child ! Offended magistracy will assert itself
But, madam, may not some dreadful mischief first happen ?-The law asserts not itself, till it is offended.
You have made offers, Clary, if you might be obliged in the point in question-Are you really in earnest, were you to be complied with, to break off all correspondence with Mr. Lovelace ?-Let me know this.
Indeed, I am ; and I will. You, madam, shall see all the letters that have passed between us. You shall see I have given him no encouragement.
I take you at your word, Clarissa-Give me his letters; and the copies of yours.
I am sure, madam, you will keep the knowledge that I write, and what I write
No conditions with your mother-surely my prudence may be trusted to.
I begged her pardon; and besought her to take the key of the private drawer in my escritoire, where they lay, that she herself might see, that I had no reserves to my mother.
She did ; and took all his letters, and the copies of mine.- Unconditioned with, she was pleased to say, they shall be yours again, unseen by anybody else.
I thanked her; and she withdrew to read them ; saying, she would return them, when she had.
In about an hour my mother returned. Take your letters, Clary: I have nothing, she was pleased to say, to tax your discretion with, as to the wording of yours to him: you have even kept up a proper dignity, as well as observed all the rules of decorum ; and you have resented, as you ought to resent, his menacing invectives. In a word, I see not, that he can form the least expectations from what you have written, that you will encourage the passion he avows for you. But does he not avow his passion ? Have you the least doubt about what must be the issue of this correspondence, if continued ? And do you yourself think, when you know the avowed hatred of one side, and the declared defiances of the other, that this can be, that it ought to be a match ?
By no means it can, madam ; you will be pleased to observe, that I have said as much to him. But now, madam, that the whole correspondence is before you, I beg your commands what to do in a situation so very disagreeable.
Let me ask you, what you yourself can propose ? What, Clary, are your own thoughts of the matter ?
Without hesitation thus I answered—What I humbly propose is this :-“ That I will write to Mr. Lovelace (for I have not answered his last) that he has nothing to do between my father and me: that I neither ask his advice, nor need it: but that since he thinks he has some pretence for interfering, because of my brother's avowal of the interest of Mr. Solmes in displeasure to him, I will assure him (without giving him any reason to impute the assurance to be in the least favourable to himself) that I never will be that man's.” And if, proceeded I, I may be permitted to give him this assurance; and Mr. Solmes, in consequence of it, be discouraged from prosecuting his address ; let Mr. Lovelace be satisfied or dissatisfied, I will go no farther; nor write another line to him ; nor ever see him more, if I can avoid it; and I shall have a good excuse for it, without bringing in any of my family.
Ah! my love !—But what shall we do about the terms Mr. Solmes offers ? Those are the inducements with everybody. He has even given hopes to your brother that he will make exchanges of estates.
And for the sake of these views, for the sake of this plan of my brother's, am I, madam, to be given in marriage to a man I never can endure !-O my dear mamma, save me, save me, if you can, from this heavy evil I had rather be buried alive, indeed I had, than have that man !
She chid me for my vehemence; but was so good as to tell me, that she would sound my uncle Harlowe, who was then below; and if he encouraged her (or would engage to
a period to all those assistances from you. If you marry, there will be a natural period; if you do not, there will be a period likewise, but not a natural one-you understand me, child.
I have made inquiry already after a housekeeper. I would have had your good Norton; but I suppose you will yourself wish to have the worthy woman with you. If you desire it, that shall be agreed upon for you.
But, why, dearest madam, why am I, the youngest, to be precipitated into a state, that I am very far from wishing to enter into with anybody? • You are going to question me, I suppose, why your sister is not thought of for Mr. Solmes ?
I hope, madam, it will not displease you, if I were ?
I might refer you for an answer to your father.—Mr. Solmes has reasons for preferring you—
And I have reasons, madam, for disliking him. And why am I,
This quickness upon me, interrupted my mother, is not to be borne! I am gone, and your father comes, if I can do no good with you.
O madam, I would rather die, than
She put her hand to my mouth.—No peremptoriness, Clary Harlowe : once you declare yourself inflexible, I have done.
I wept for vexation. This is all, all, my brother's doings-his grasping views
No reflections upon your brother : he has entirely the honour of the family at heart.
I would no more dishonour my family, madam, than my brother would.
I believe it : but I hope you will allow your father, and me, and your uncles, to judge what will do it honour, what dishonour.