Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

twice or thrice a day. We wept over each other at parting. The girl prayed for all the family. If you can commend the good creature to a place worthy of her, pray do for my sake.

Monday. The enclosed letter was just now delivered to me. My brother has carried all his points.

Monday, March 6. Miss CLARY,

By command of your father and mother I write, expressly to forbid you to come into their presence, or into the garden when they are there : nor when they are not there, but with Betty Barnes to attend you ; except by particular licence or command.

On their blessings, you are forbidden likewise to correspond with the vile Lovelace; as it is well known you did by means of your sly Hannah. Whence her sudden discharge. As was fit.

Neither are you to correspond with Miss Howe; nor, in short, with anybody without leave.

You are not to enter into the presence of either of your uncles, without their leave first obtained. It is in mercy to you, after such a behaviour to your mother, that your father refuses to see you.

You are not to be seen in any apartment of the house you so lately governed as you pleased, unless you are commanded down.

In short, you are strictly to confine yourself to your chamber, except now-and-then, in Betty Barnes's sight (as aforesaid) you take a morning or evening turn in the garden : and then you are to go directly, and without stopping at any apartment in the way, up and down the back stairs, that the sight of so perverse a young creature may not add to the pain you have given everybody.

The hourly threatenings of your fine fellow, as well as. your own unheard-of obstinacy, will account to you for all this.

If anything I have written, appear severe or harsh, it is still in your power (but perhaps will not always be so) to remedy it; and that by a single word.

Betty Barnes has orders to obey you on all points consistent with her duty to those to whom you owe it, as well as she.

JA. HARLOWE.

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE.

Tuesday, March 7.
Y my last deposit, you will see how I am driven,

and what a poor prisoner I am.—All my hope is, 2 to be able to weather this point till my cousin Morden comes from Florence; and he is soon expected : yet, if they are determined upon a short day, I doubt he will not be here time enough to save me.

They think they have done everything by turning away my poor Hannah : but as long as the liberty of the garden, and my poultry visits, are allowed me, they will be mistaken.

I asked Mrs. Betty, if she had any orders to watch or attend me; or whether I was to ask her leave whenever I should be disposed to walk in the garden, or to go to feed my bantams ?—Lord bless her! what could I mean by such a question ! Yet she owned, that she had heard, that I was not to go into the garden, when my father, mother, or uncles were there.

However, as it behoved me to be assured on this head, I went down directly, and stayed an hour, without question or impediment; and yet a good part of the time, I walked under and in sight, as I may say, of my brother's studywindow, where both he and my sister happened to be. And I am sure they saw me, by the loud mirth they affected, by way of insult, as I suppose.

So this part of my restraint was doubtless a stretch of the authority given him. The enforcing of that, may perhaps, come next. But I hope not.

Tuesday Night. Since I wrote the above, I ventured to send a letter by Shorey to my mother. I desired her to give it into her own hand, when nobody was by. I enclose the copy of it.

HONOURED MADAM,

Having acknowledged to you, that I had received letters from Mr. Lovelace full of resentment, and that I answered them purely to prevent further mischief; and having shown you copies of my answers, which you did not disapprove of, although you thought fit, after you had read them, to forbid me any further correspondence with him ; I think it my duty to acquaint you, that another letter from him has since come to my hand, in which he is very earnest with me to permit him to wait on my papa, or you, or my two uncles, in a pacific way, accompanied by Lord M. : on which I beg your commands.

If I do not answer him, he will be made desperate, and think himself justified (though I shall not think him so) in resenting the treatment he complains of: if I do, and if, in compliment to me, he forbears to resent what he thinks himself entitled to resent; be pleased, madam, to consider the obligation he will suppose he lays me under.

If I were as strongly prepossessed in his favour as is supposed, I should not have wished this to be considered by you. And permit me, as a still further proof that I am not prepossessed, to beg of you to consider, whether, upon the whole, the proposal I made, of declaring for the single life (which I will religiously adhere to) is not the best way to get rid of his pretensions with honour. To renounce him, and not be allowed to aver, that I will never be the other man's, will make him conclude (driven as I am driven) that I am determined in that other man's favour.

Honoured Madam,
Your unhappy, but ever dutiful daughter,

CL. HARLOWE.

Wednesday Morning. İ have just received an answer to the letter. My mother, you will observe, has ordered me to burn it : but, as you will have it in your safe keeping, and nobody else will see it, her end will be equally answered, as if it were burnt. It has neither date nor superscription.

CLARISSA,

I don't know what to write, about your answering that man of violence. What can you think of it, that such a family as ours, should have such a rod held over it ?–For my part, I have not owned that I know you have corresponded : as to an answer, take your own methods. But let him know it will be the last you will write. And, if you do write, I won't see it: so seal it up (if you do) and give it to Shorey; and sheyet do not think I give you licence to write.

We will be upon no conditions with him, nor will you be allowed to be upon any. Your father and uncles would have no patience were he to come. What have you to do to oblige him with your refusal of Mr. Solmes ?– Will not that refusal be to give him hope? And while he has any, can we be easy or free from his insults ?

I charge you, let not this letter be found. Burn it. There is too much of the mother in it, to a daughter so unaccountably obstinate.

Write not another letter to me. I can do nothing for you. But you can do everything for yourself.

Thursday Morning, March 9. I have another letter from Mr. Lovelace, although I had not answered his former.

This man, somehow or other, knows everything that passes in our family. My confinement; Hannah's dismission; and more of the resentments and resolutions of my father, uncles, and brother, than I can possibly know, and almost as soon as the things happen, which he tells me of. He cannot come at these intelligences fairly.

He is excessively uneasy upon what he hears ; and his expressions both of love to me, and resentment to them, are very fervent. He solicits me, "to engage my honour to him, never to have Mr. Solmes."

I think I may fairly promise him that I will not.

He begs, “That I will not think he is endeavouring to make himself a merit at any man's expense, since he hopes to obtain my favour on the foot of his own; nor that he seeks to intimidate me into a consideration for him. But declares, that the treatment he meets with from my family is of such a nature, that he is perpetually reproached for not resenting it; and that as well by Lord M. and Lady Sarah, and Lady Betty, as by all his other friends : and if he must have no hope from me, he cannot answer for what his despair will make him do."

Indeed, he says, “his relations, the ladies particularly, advise him to have recourse to a legal remedy: but how, he asks, can a man of honour go to law for verbal abuses given by people entitled to wear swords ? ”

You see, my dear, that my mother seems as apprehensive of mischief as myself; and has indirectly offered to let Shorey carry my answer to the letter he sent me before.

He is full of the favour of the ladies of his family to me: to whom, nevertheless, I am personally a stranger ; except, that once I saw Miss Patty Montague at Mrs. Knollys's.

It is natural, I believe, for a person to be the more desirous of making new friends, in proportion as she loses the favour of old ones : yet had I rather appear amiable

« VorigeDoorgaan »