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There may possibly be some reason why you are so much attached to her, in an error of this flagrant nature.
I help to make a sister unhappy !—It is false, miss :It is all her own doings !--Except, indeed, what she may owe to somebody's advice-you know who can best answer for that.
Let us know your mind as soon as you please : as we shall know it to be your mind, we shall judge what attention to give it. That's all, from, &c.
MISS HOWE TO MISS ARABELLA HARLOWE.
Saturday, July 22. WoT may be the misfortune of some people to engage
everybody's notice : others may be the happier, U though they may be the more envious, for nobody's thinking them worthy of any. But one would be glad people had the sense to be thankful for that want of consequence, which subjected them not to hazards they would hardly have been able to manage under.
I repeat it with gratitude, that the dear creature's advice was of very great service to me—and this before my mother's watchfulness became necessary. But how it would have fared with me, I cannot say, had I had a brother or sister, who had deemed it their interest, as well as a gratification of their sordid envy, to misrepresent me.
Your admirable sister, in effect, saved you, miss, as well as me—with this difference—you, against your will—me, with mine :—and but for your own brother, and his own sister, would not have been lost herself.
But why run I into length to such a poor thing ?—why push I so weak an adversary; whose first letter is all low malice, and whose next is made up of falsehood and inconsistence, as well as spite and ill-manners ? Yet I was willing to give you a part of my mind. Call for more of it; it shall be at your service ; from one, who, though she thanks God she is not your sister, is not your enemy: but that she is not the latter, is withheld but by two considerations; one, that you bear, though unworthily, a relation to a sister so excellent; the other, that you are not of consequence enough to engage anything but the pity and contempt of
MRS. HARLOWE TO MRS. HOWE.
Saturday, July 22. AVEAR MADAM,—I send you, inclosed, copies of
five letters that have passed between Miss
Howe and my Arabella. We beg, that we may not be reflected upon by a young lady, who knows not what we have suffered, and do suffer, by the rashness of a naughty creature who has brought ruin upon herself, and disgrace upon a family which she has robbed of all comfort. I offer not to prescribe to your known wisdom in this case ; but leave it to you to do as you think most proper. I am, madam,
Your most humble servant,
MRS. HOWE TO MRS. HARLOWE.
Saturday, July 22. EAR MADAM,-I am highly offended with my
daughter's letters to Miss Harlowe. I knew A nothing at all of her having taken such a liberty. These young creatures have such romantic notions, some of love, some of friendship, that there is no governing them in either. Nothing but time, and dear experience, will convince them of their absurdities in both. I have chidden Miss Howe very severely. I had before so just a notion of what your whole family's distress must be, that, as I told your brother, Mr. Antony Harlowe, I had often forbid her corresponding with the poor fallen angel—for surely never did young lady more resemble what we imagine of angels, both in person and mind. But, tired out with her headstrong ways (I am sorry to say this of my own child) I was forced to give way to it again. And, indeed, so sturdy was she in her will, that I was afraid it would end in a fit of sickness, as too often it did in fits of sullens.
There are a thousand excellencies in the poor sufferer, notwithstanding her fault : and, if the hints she has given to my daughter be true, she has been most grievously abused. But I think your forgiveness and her father's forgiveness of her ought to be all at your own choice; and nobody should intermeddle in that, for the sake of due authority in parents.
I am, madam, with compliments to good Mr. Harlowe, and all your afflicted family,
Your most humble servant,
ANNABELLA HOWE. I shall set out for the Isle of Wight in a few days, with my daughter. I will hasten our setting out, on purpose to break her mind from her friend's distresses; which afflict us as much, nearly, as Miss Clary's rashness has done you.
MISS HOWE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Saturday, July 22.
paring for our little journey and voyage: but I Need will be ill, I will be very ill, if I cannot hear you are better before I go.
I dispatch this by an extraordinary way, that it may reach you time enough to move you to consider well before you absolutely decide upon the contents of mine of the 13th, on the subject of the two Misses Montague's visit to me; since, according to what you write, must I answer them.
In your last, you conclude very positively, that you will not be his. To be sure, he rather deserves an infamous death, than such a wife. But, as I really believe him innocent of the arrest, and as all his family are such earnest pleaders, and will be guarantees, for him, I think the compliance with their entreaties, and his own, will be now the best step you can take; your own family remaining implacable, as I can assure you they do. He is a man of sense ; and it is not impossible but he may make you a good husband, and in time may become no bad man.
My mother is entirely of my opinion : and on Friday, pursuant to a hint I gave you in my last, Mr. Hickman had a conference with the strange wretch : and though he liked not, by any means, his behaviour to himself; nor, indeed, had reason to do so; yet he is of opinion, that he is sincerely determined to marry you, if you will condescend to have him.
Perhaps Mr. Hickman may make you a private visit before we set out. If I may not attend you myself, I shall not be easy, except he does. And he will then give you an account of the admirable character the surprising wretch gave of you, and of the justice he does to your virtue. Adieu, my dear,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE.
Sunday, July 23. RE U set before me your reasons, enforced by the
opinion of your honoured mother, why I should
think of Mr. Lovelace for a husband. And I have as well weighed the whole matter, and your
arguments in support of your advice, as at present my head and my heart will let me weigh them.
I am, moreover, willing to believe, not only from your own opinion, but from the assurances of one of Mr. Lovelace's friends, Mr. Belford, a good-natured and humane man, who spares not to censure the author of my calamities (I think, with undissembled and undesigning sincerity) that that man is innocent of the disgraceful arrest.
And even, if you please, in sincere compliment to your opinion, and to that of Mr. Hickman, that (over-persuaded by his friends, and ashamed of his unmerited baseness to me) he would in earnest marry me, if I would have him.
Well, and now, what is the result of all ? It is this, that I must abide by what I have already declared—and that is (don't be angry at me, my best friend) that I have much more pleasure in thinking of death, than of such a husband. In short, as I declared in my last, that I cannot (forgive me, if I say, I will not) ever be his.
My pride, then, my dearest friend, although a great deal mortified, is not sufficiently mortified, if it be necessary for me to submit to make that man my choice, whose actions are, and ought to be, my abhorrence! What !Shall I, who have been treated with such premeditated and perfidious barbarity, as is painful to be thought of, and cannot with modesty be described, think of taking the violator to my heart? Can I vow duty to one so wicked, and hazard my salvation by joining myself to so great a profligate, now I know him to be so ? Do you think your Clarissa Harlowe so lost, so sunk, at least, as that she could, for the sake of patching up, in the world's eye, a broken reputation, meanly appear indebted to the generosity, or perhaps compassion, of a man, who has, by means so inhuman, robbed her of it ? Indeed, my dear, I should not think my penitence for the rash step I took, anything better than a specious delusion, if I had not