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see me; refusing her meals. She resolves not to see me; that's more :—never again, if she can help it; and in the mind she is in—I hope she has said.
The dear creatures, whenever they quarrel with their humble servants, should always remember this saving clause, that they may not be forsworn.
But thinkest thou that I will not make it the subject of one of my first plots, to inform myself of the reason why all this commotion was necessary on so slight an occasion as this would have been, were not the letters that pass between these ladies of a treasonable nature?
No admission to breakfast, any more than to supper. I wish this lady is not a simpleton, after all.
I must keep a good look-out. She is not now afraid of her brother's plot. I shan't be at all surprised, if Singleton calls upon Miss Howe, as the only person who knows, or is likely to know, where Miss Harlowe is; pretending to have affairs of importance, and of particular service to her, if he can but be admitted to her speech—of compromise, who knows, from her brother?
Then will Miss Howe warn her to keep close. Then will my protection be again necessary. This will do, I believe. Anything from Miss Howe must.
Joseph Leman is a vile fellow with her, and my implement. Joseph, honest Joseph, as I call him, may hang himself. I have played him off enough, and have very little further use for him. No need to wear one plot to the stumps, when I can find new ones every hour.
Nor blame me for the use I make of my talents. Who, that hath such, will let 'em be idle?
Well then, I will find a Singleton; that's all I have to do.
Instantly find one !—Will!—
This moment call me hither thy cousin Paul Wheatly, just come from sea, whom thou wert recommending to my service, if I were to marry, and keep a pleasureboat.
Presto—Will's gone—Paul will be here presently. Presently will he be gone to Mrs. Howe's. If Paul be Singleton's mate, coming from his captain, it will do as well as if it were Singleton himself.
But to own the truth, I have overplotted myself. To make my work secure, as I thought, I have frightened the dear creature with the sight of my four Hottentots, and I shall be a long time, I doubt, before I can recover my lost ground. And then this cursed family at Harlowe Place have made her out of humour with me, with, herself, and with all the world, but Miss Howe, who, nodoubt, is continually adding difficulties to my other difficulties.
I am very unwilling to have recourse to measures which these demons below are continually urging me to take; because I am sure, that, at last, I shall be brought to make her legally mine.
One complete trial over, and I think I will do her noble justice.
Well, Paul's gone—gone already—has all his lessons. A notable fellow !—Lord W.'s necessary-man was Paul before he went to sea. A more sensible rogue Paul than Joseph! Not such a pretender to piety neither, as the other. At what a price have I bought that Joseph! I believe I must punish the rascal at last: but must let him many first: then (though that may be punishment enough) I shall punish two at once in the man and his wife. And how richly does Betty deserve punishment for her behaviour to my goddess?
But now I hear the rusty hinges of my beloved's door give me creaking invitation. My heart creaks and throbs with respondent trepidations: whimsical enough though !. For what relation has a lover's heart to a rusty pair of hinges? But they are the hinges that open and shut the door of my beloved's bedchamber. Relation enough in that.
She calls her maid Dorcas. No doubt, that I may hear her harmonious voice, and to give me an opportunity to pour out my soul at her feet; to renew all my vows; and to receive her pardon for the past offence: and then, with what pleasure shall I begin upon a new score; and afterwards wipe out that; and begin another, and another; till the last offence passes; and there can be no other! And once, after that, to be forgiven, will be to be forgiven for ever.
The door is again shut. Dorcas tells me, that her Lady denies to admit me to dine with her; a favour I had ordered the wench to beseech her to grant me, the next time she saw her—not uncivilly, however, denies—coming to by degrees!
But here I conclude; though the tyranness leaves me nothing to do, but to read, write, and fret.
Subscription is formal between us. Besides, I am so totally hers, that I cannot say how much I am thine or any other person's.
MISS CLA1USSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE.
Tuesday, May 9. jF, my dear, you approve of the application to my Uncle Harlowe, I wish it may be made as soon as possible. We are quite out again. I have shut myself up from him. The offence indeed not very great—and yet it is too. He had like to have got a letter. One of yours. But never will I write again, or re-peruse my papers, in an apartment where he thinks himself entitled to come. He did not read a line of it. Indeed he did not. So don't be alarmed. And rely upon future caution.
Thus it was. The sun being upon my closet, and Mr. Lovelace abroad—
She then gives Miss Howe an account of his coming in
by surprise upon her: of his fluttering speech: of
his bold address: of her struggle with him for the
And now, my dear, proceeds she, I am more and more
convinced, that I am too much in his power to make it
prudent to stay with him. And if my friends will but
give me hope, I will resolve to abandon him for ever.
Adieu, my dearest friend !—May your heart never know the hundredth part of the pain mine at present feels! prays
Your Clar1ssa Harlowe.
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Wednesday, May 10. WILL write! No man shall write for me. No woman shall hinder me from writing. Surely I am of age to distinguish between reason and caprice. I am not writing to a man, am I ?—If I were carrying on a correspondence with a fellow, of whom my mother disapproved, and whom it might be improper for me to encourage, my own honour and my duty would engage my obedience. But as the case is so widely different, not a word more on this subject, I beseech you! I much approve of your resolution to leave this wretch, if you can make up with your uncle.
I hate the man—most heartily do I hate him, for his teazing ways. The very reading of your account of them teazes me almost as much as they can you. May you have encouragement to fly the foolish wretch!
I have other reasons to wish you may: for I have just made an acquaintance with one who knows a vast deal of his private history. The man is really a villain, my dear! an execrable one! if all be true that I have heard: and yet I am promised other particulars. I do assure you, my dear friend, that had he a dozen lives, he might have forfeited them all, and been dead twenty crimes ago.
I am sorry to tell you, that I have reason to think, that your brother has not laid aside his foolish plot. A sunburnt, sailor-looking fellow was with me just now, pretending great service to you from Captain Singleton, could he be admitted to your speech. I pleaded ignorance, as to the place of your abode. The fellow was too well instructed for me to get anything out of him. Your ever faithful and affectionate,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE.
Sunday, May 14. HAVE not been able to avoid a short debate with Mr. Lovelace. I had ordered a coach to the door. When I had notice that it was come,
I went out of my chamber to go to it; but met him dressed on the stairs-head with a book in his hand, but without his hat and sword. He asked with an air very solemn, yet respectful, if I were going abroad. I told him I was. He desired leave to attend me, if I were going to church. I refused him. And then he complained heavily of my treatment of him; and declared that he would not live such another week as the past, for the world.
I owned to him very frankly, that I had made an application to my friends; and that I was resolved to keep myself to myself till I knew the issue of it.
He coloured, and seemed surprised. But checking himself in something he was going to say, he pleaded my danger from Singleton, and again desired to attend me.
And then he told me, that Mrs. Fretchville had desired to continue a fortnight longer in the house. She found, said he, that I was unable to determine about entering