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- Fairer to be seen Than the fair lily on the flow'ry green !
More fresh than May herself in blossoms new! I sent to thy lodgings within half an hour after our arrival, to receive thy congratulations upon it: but thou wert at Edgeware, it seems.
My beloved, who is charmingly amended, is retired to her constant employment, writing. I must content myself with the same amusement, till she shall be pleased to admit me to her presence ; for already have I given to every one her cue.
“ And, among the rest, who dost thou think is to be her maid-servant ?-Deb. Butler.
“Ah, Lovelace !
“And ah, Belford! It can't be otherwise. But what dost think Deb's name is to be ?—Why, Dorcas, Dorcas Wykes. And won't it be admirable, if either through fear, fright, or good liking, we can get my beloved to accept of Dorcas Wykes for a bedfellow ?”
In so many ways will it be now in my power to have the dear creature, that I shall not know which of them to choose !
But here comes the widow, with Dorcas Wykes in her hand, and I am to introduce them both to my fair one.
So !—The honest girl is accepted—Of good parentage : but, through a neglected education, plaguy illiterate—She can neither write, nor read writing. A kinswoman of Mrs. Sinclair—Could not therefore well be refused, the widow in person recommending her; and the wench only taken till her Hannah can come. What an advantage has an imposing or forward nature over a courteous one !-So here may something arise to lead into correspondences, and so forth. To be sure, a person need not be so wary, so cautious of what she writes, or what she leaves upon her table or toilette, when her attendant cannot read.
Dorcas is a neat creature, both in person and dress; her countenance not vulgar. And I am in hopes, as I hinted
above, that her lady will accept of her for her bedfellow, in a strange house, for a week or so. But I saw she had a dislike to her at her very first appearance : yet I thought the girl behaved very modestly-overdid it a little, perhaps—her lady shrank back, and looked shy upon her. The doctrine of sympathies and antipathies is a surprising doctrine.—But Dorcas will be excessively obliging, and win her lady's favour soon, I doubt not. I am secure in one of the wench's qualities however-she is not to be corrupted. A great point that !—Since a lady and her maid, when heartily of one party, will be too hard for half a score devils.
The dear creature was no less shy when the widow first accosted her, at her alighting. Yet I thought, that honest Doleman's letter had prepared her for her masculine appearance.
And now I mention that letter, why dost thou not wish me joy, Jack ?
Joy of what ?
Why, joy of my nuptials.--Know then, that said, is done with me, when I have a mind to have it so; and that we are actually man and wife : only that consummation has not passed—bound down to the contrary of that, by a solemn vow, till a reconciliation with her family take place. The women here are told so. They know it, before my beloved knows it; and that, thou wilt say, is odd.
But how shall I do to make my fair one keep her temper on the intimation? Why, is she not here ?-At Mrs. Sinclair's ?-But if she will hear reason, I doubt not to convince her, that she ought to acquiesce.
She will insist, I suppose, upon my leaving her, and that I shall not take up my lodgings under the same roof. But circumstances are changed since I first made her that promise. I have taken all the vacant apartments; and must carry this point also.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE.
Wednesday Afternoon, April 26. B T length, my dearest Miss Howe, I am in London,
and in my new lodgings. They are neatly
furnished, and the situation, for the town, is pleasant. But, I think, you must not ask me, how I like the old gentlewoman. Yet she seems courteous and obliging. Her kinswomen just appeared to welcome me at my alighting. They seem to be genteel young women. But more of their aunt and of them, as I shall see more.
Miss Sorlings has an uncle at Barnet, whom she found so very ill, that her uneasiness on that account (having large expectations from him) made me comply with her desire to stay with him. Yet I wished, as her uncle did not expect her, that she would see me settled in London ; and Mr. Lovelace was still more earnest that she would, offering to send her back again in a day or two, and urging, that her uncle's malady threatened not a sudden change. But leaving the matter to her choice, after she knew what would have been mine, she made me not the expected compliment. Mr. Lovelace, however, made her a handsome present at parting.
His genteel spirit on all occasions makes me often wish him more consistent.
As soon as I arrived, I took possession of my apartment. I shall make good use of the light closet in it, if I stay here any time.
Here I was broken in upon by Mr. Lovelace; introducing the widow leading in a kinswoman of hers to attend me, if I approved of her, till my Hannah should come, or till I had provided myself with some other servant. The widow gave her many good qualities ; but said, that she had one great defect; which was, that she could not write, nor read' writing; that part of her education having been neglected when she was young : but for discretion, fidelity, obligingness, she was not to be outdone by anybody. She commended her likewise for her skill at the needle.
As for her defect, I can easily forgive that. She is very likely and genteel ; too genteel indeed, I think, for a servant. But, what I like least of all in her, she has a strange sly eye. I never saw such an eye-half confident, I think. But indeed Mrs. Sinclair herself (for that is the widow's name) has an odd winking eye; and her respectfulness seems too much studied, methinks, for the London ease and freedom. But people can't help their looks, you know; and after all, she is extremely civil and obliging. And as for the young woman (Dorcas is her name) she will not be long with me.
I accepted her: how could I do otherwise (if I had had a mind to make objections, which in my present situation I had not), her aunt present, and the young woman also present; and Mr. Lovelace officious in his introducing them, to oblige me? But, upon their leaving me, I told him (who seemed inclinable to begin a conversation with me) that I desired that this apartment might be considered as my retirement: that when I saw him it might be in the dining-room (which is up a few stairs ; for this back house being once two, the rooms do not all of them very conveniently communicate with each other); and that I might be as little broken in upon as possible, when I am here. He withdrew very respectfully to the door; but there stopped; and asked for my company then in the dining-room. If he were about setting out for other lodgings, I would go with him now, I told him : but if he did not just then go, I would first finish my letter to Miss Howe.
I see he has no mind to leave me, if he can help it. My brother's scheme may give him a pretence to try to
engage me to dispense with his promise. But if I now do, I must quit him of it entirely.
My approbation of his tender behaviour in the midst of my grief has given him a right, as he seems to think, of addressing me with all the freedom of an approved lover. I see by this man, that when once a woman embarks with this sex, there is no receding. One concession is but the prelude to another with them. He has been ever since Sunday last continually complaining of the distance I keep him at; and thinks himself entitled now, to call in question my value for him ; strengthening his doubts by my former declared readiness to give him up to a reconciliation with my friends — and yet has himself fallen off from that obsequious tenderness, if I may couple the words, which drew from me the concessions he builds upon.
I have turned over the books I found in my closet; and am not a little pleased with them; and think the better of the people of the house for their sakes.
Stanhope's Gospels; Sharp's, Tillotson's, and South's Sermons; Nelson's Feasts and Fasts; a Sacramental piece of the Bishop of Man, and another of Dr. Gauden, Bishop of Exeter; and Inett's Devotions, are among the devout books.
In the blank leaves of the Nelson and Bishop Gauden, is Mrs. Sinclair's name; and in those of most of the others, either Sarah Martin, or Mary Horton, the names of the two nieces.
I am exceedingly out of humour with Mr. Lovelace : and have great reason to be so. As you will allow, when you have read the conversation I am going to give you an account of; for he would not let me rest till I gave him my company in the dining-room. She is thus out of humour with Lovelace, because of a
confession which he now thinks it prudent to make. He owns to having told Mrs. Sinclair that he and