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be. It is difficult to go out of ouršelves to give a judgment against ourselves; and yet, oftentimes, to pass a just judgment, we ought.
I thought I should alarm you in the choice of my executor. But the sad necessity I am reduced to must excuse me..
As Mr. Belford has transcribed for me, in confidence, from his friend's letters, the passages which accompany this, I must insist, that you suffer no soul but yourself to peruse them; and that you return them by the very first opportunity; that so no use may be made of them that may do hurt either to the original writer, or to the communicator. You'll observe I am bound by promise to this care. If through my means any mischief should arise, between this humane and that inhuman libertine, I should think myself utterly inexcusable.
I subjoin a list of the papers or letters I shall inclose. You must return them all when perused.
I am very much tired and fatigued — with—I don't know what—with writing, I think—but most with myself, and with a situation I cannot help aspiring to get out of, and above!
O, my dear, the world we live in is a sad, a very sad world !—While under our parents' protecting wings, we know nothing at all of it. Book-learned and a scribbler, and looking at people as I saw them as visitors or visiting, I thought I knew a great deal of it. Pitiable ignorance ! --Alas! I knew nothing at all!
With zealous wishes for your happiness, and the happiness of every one dear to you, I am, and will ever be, Your gratefully affectionate
MR. ANTONY HARLOWE TO MISS CL. HARLOWE.
August 12. VENHAPPY GIRL!--- As your uncle Harlowe
chooses not to answer your pert letter to US him; and as mine written to you before, was written as if it were in the spirit of prophecy, as you have found to your sorrow; and as you are now making yourself worse than you are in your health, and better than you are in your penitence, as we are very well assured, in order to move compassion; which you do not deserve, having had so much warning: for all these reasons, I take up my pen once more ; though I had told your brother, at his going to Edinburgh, that I would not write to you, even were you to write to me, without letting him know. So indeed had we all; for he prognosticated what would happen, as to your applying to us, when you knew not how to help it.
Brother John has hurt your niceness, it seems, by asking you a plain question, which your mother's heart is too full of grief to let her ask ; and modesty will not let your sister ask, though but the consequence of your actionsand yet it must be answered, before you'll obtain from your father and mother, and us, the notice you hope for, I can tell you that.
Your folly has ruined all our peace. And who knows where it may yet end ?--Your poor father but yesterday showed me this text: with bitter grief he showed it me, poor man! And do you lay it to your heart :
"A father waketh for his daughter, when no man knoweth ; and the care for her taketh away his sleepwhen she is young, lest she pass away the flower of her age [and you know what proposals were made to you at different times] : and, being married, lest she should be hated: in her virginity, lest. she should be defiled, and gotten with child in her father's house (I don't make the words, mind that] : and, having an husband, lest she should misbehave herself.” And what follows? “Keep a sure watch over a shameless daughter (yet no watch could hold you !] lest she make thee a laughing-stock to thine enemies (as you have made us all to this cursed Lovelace], and a by-word in the city, and a reproach among the people, and make thee ashamed before the multitude.” Ecclus. xlii. 9, 10, &c.
Now will you wish you had not written pertly. Your sister's severities !– Never, girl, say that is severe, that is deserved. You know the meaning of words. Nobody better. Would to the Lord you had acted up but to one half of what you know! Then had we not been disappointed and grieved, as we all have been : and nobody more than him who was
Your loving uncle,
This will be with you to-morrow. Perhaps you may be suffered to have some part of your estate, after you have smarted a little more. Your pertly-answered uncle John, who is your trustee, will not have you be destitute. But we hope all is not true that we hear of you.—Only take care, I advise you, that, bad as you have acted, you act not still worse, if it be possible to act worse. Improve upon the hint.
MISS CL. HARLOWE TO ANT. HARLOWE, ESQ.
Sunday, August 13. TONOURED SIR,—I am very sorry for my pert A letter to my uncle Harlowe. Yet I did not
intend it to be pert. People new to misfortune may be too easily moved to impatience.
The fall of a regular person, no doubt, is dreadful and
inexcusable. It is like the sin of apostasy. Would to Heaven, however, that I had had the circumstances of mine inquired into !
What you have heard of me I cannot tell. When the nearest and dearest relations give up an unhappy wretch, it is not to be wondered at, that those who are not related to her are ready to take up and propagate slanders against her. Yet I think I may defy calumny itself, and (excepting the fatal, though involuntary step of April 10) wrap myself in my own innocence, and be easy. I thank you, sir, nevertheless, for your caution, mean it what it will.
As to the question required of me to answer, and which is allowed to be too shocking either for a mother to put to a daughter, or a sister to a sister; and which however, you say, I must answer :-0 sir !—and must I answer?This then be my answer:-A little time, a much less time than is imagined, will afford a more satisfactory answer to my whole family, and even to my brother and sister, than I can give in words.
Nevertheless, be pleased to let it be remembered, that I did not petition for a restoration to favour. I could not hope for that. Nor yet to be put in possession of any part of my own estate. Nor even for means of necessary subsistence from the produce of that estate—but only for a blessing ; for a last blessing!
And this I will further add, because it is true, that I have no wilful crime to charge against myself: no free living at bed and at board, as you phrase it !
Why, why, sir, were not other inquiries made of me, as well as this shocking one ?-inquiries that modesty would have permitted a mother or a sister to make; and which, if I may be excused to say so, would have been still less improper, and more charitable, to have been made by uncles (were the mother forbidden, or the sister not inclined, to make them) than those they have made.
But I had best leave off, lest, as my full mind, I find, is rising to my pen, I have other pardons to beg, as I multiply lines, where none at all will be given.
God Almighty bless, preserve, and comfort my dear sorrowing and grievously offended father and mother !—And continue in honour, favour, and merit, my happy sister! May God forgive my brother, and protect him from the violence of his own temper, as well as from the destroyer of his sister's honour !—And may you, my dear uncle, and your no less now than ever dear brother, my second papa, as he used to bid me call him, be blessed and happy in them, and in each other !-And, in order to this, may you all speedily banish from your remembrance for ever
MRS. NORTON TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Monday, August 14. LL your friends here, my dear young lady, now
seem set upon proposing to you to go to one of
| the plantations. This, I believe, is owing to some misrepresentations of Mr. Brand; from whom they have received a letter.
I should be very glad to have in readiness, upon occasion, some brief particulars of your sad story under your own hand. But let me tell you, at the same time, that no mnisrepresentations, nor even your own confession, shall lessen my opinion either of your piety, or of your prudence in essential points; because I know it was always your humble way to make light faults heavy against yourself : and well might you, my dearest young lady, aggravate your own failings, who have ever had so few; and those few so slight, that your ingenuousness has turned most of them into excellencies.
Nevertheless, let me advise you, my dear Miss Clary, to discountenance any visits, which, with the censorious, may