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and told him of your present deplorable illness, and resolution to die rather than to have him.
He vindicated not any part of his conduct, but that of the arrest ; and so solemnly protested his sorrow for his usage of you, accusing himself in the freest manner, and by deserved appellations, that I promised to lay before you this part of our conversation. And now you have it.
My mother, as well as Mr. Hickman, believes, from what passed on this occasion, that he is touched in conscience for the wrongs he has done you : but, by his whole behaviour, I must own, it seems to me, that nothing can touch him for half an hour together. Yet I have no doubt, that he would willingly marry you; and it piques his pride, I could see, that he should be denied : as it did mine, that such a wretch had dared to think it in his power to have such a woman whenever he pleased ; and that it must be accounted a condescension, and matter of obligation (by all his own family at least) that he would vouchsafe to think of marriage.
Now, my dear, you have before you the reason why I suspend the decisive negative to the ladies of his family : my mother, Miss Lloyd, and Miss Biddulph, who were inquisitive after the subject of our retired conversation, and whose curiosity I thought it was right, in some degree, to gratify (especially as those young ladies are of our select acquaintance) are all of opinion, that you should be his.
You will let Mr. Hickman know your whole mind; and when he acquaints me with it, I will tell you all my own.
Mean time, may the news he will bring me of the state of your health, be favourable ! prays, with the utmost fervency, : Your ever-faithful and affectionate
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE.
Thursday, July 27. cgY DEAREST MISS HOWE,—After I have KAVE thankfully acknowledged your favour in sending w Mr. Hickman to visit me before you set out upon your intended journey, I must chide you (in the sincerity of that faithful love, which could not be the love it is if it would not admit of that cementing freedom) for suspending the decisive negative, which, upon such full deliberation, I had entreated you to give to Mr. Lovelace's relations.
I am sorry, that I am obliged to repeat to you, my dear, who know me so well, that, were I sure I should live many years, I would not have Mr. Lovelace: much less can I think of him, as it is probable I may not live one.
As to the world and its censures, you know, my dear, that however desirous I always was of a fair fame, yet I never thought it right to give more than a second place to the world's opinion. The challenges made to Mr. Lovelace by Miss D'Oily, in public company, are a fresh proof that I have lost my reputation : and what advantage would it be to me, were it retrievable, and were I to live long, if I could not acquit myself to myself ?
As to the invitation you are so kind as to give me, to remove privately into your neighbourhood, I have told Mr. Hickman, that I will consider of it: but believe, if you will be so good as to excuse me, that I shall not accept of it, even should I be able to remove. I will give you my reasons for declining it; and so I ought, when both my love, and my gratitude, would make a visit now and then from my dear Miss Howe the most consolatory thing in the world to me.
You must know then, that this great town, wicked as it is, wants not opportunities of being better; having daily prayers at several churches in it; and I am desirous, as my strength will permit, to embrace those opportunities. The method I have proposed to myself (and was beginning to practise when that cruel arrest deprived me both of freedom and strength) is this : when I was disposed to gentle exercise, I took a chair to St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street, where are prayers at seven in the morning : I proposed, if the weather favoured, to walk (if not, to take chair) to Lincoln's Inn Chapel; where, at eleven in the morning, and at five in the afternoon, are the same desirable opportunities; and at other times to go no farther than Covent Garden Church, where are early morning prayers likewise.
Another reason why I choose not to go down into your neighbourhood, is, the displeasure that might arise on my account between your mother and you.
Your account of the gay unconcerned behaviour of Mr. Lovelace, at the Colonel's, does not surprise me at all, after I am told, that he had the intrepidity to go thither, knowing who were invited and expected. Only this, my dear, I really wonder at, that Miss Howe could imagine, that I could have a thought of such a man for a husband.
Poor wretch! I pity him, to see him fluttering about ; abusing talents that were given him for excellent purposes ; taking inconsideration for courage; and dancing, fearless of danger, on the edge of a precipice !
But indeed his threatening to see me most sensibly alarms and shocks me. I cannot but hope that I never, never more, shall see him in this world.
Since you are so loth, my dear, to send the desired negative to the ladies of his family, I will only trouble you to transmit the letter I shall inclose for that purpose ; directed indeed to yourself, because it was to you that those ladies applied themselves on this occasion ; but to be sent by you to any one of the ladies at your own choice.
I commend myself, my dearest Miss Howe, to your prayers; and conclude with repeated thanks for sending Mr. Hickman to me; and with wishes for your health and happiness, and for the speedy celebration of your nuptials; Your ever-affectionate and obliged
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE.
[Inclosed in the preceding.] MY DEAREST Miss HOWE,—Since you seem loth to acquiesce in my determined resolution, signified to you as soon as I was able to hold a pen, I beg the favour of you, by this, or by any other way you think most proper, to acquaint the worthy ladies who have applied to you in behalf of their relation, that, although I am infinitely obliged to their generous opinion of me, yet I cannot consent to sanctify, as I may say, Mr. Lovelace's repeated breaches of all moral sanctions, and hazard my future happiness by an union with a man, through whose premeditated injuries, in a long train of the basest contrivances, I have forfeited my temporal hopes.
He himself, when he reflects upon his own actions, must surely bear testimony to the justice as well as fitness of my determination. The ladies, I dare say, would, were they to know the whole of my unhappy story.
Be pleased to acquaint them, that I deceive myself, if my resolution on this head (however ungratefully, and even inhumanly, he has treated me) be not owing more to principle than passion. Nor can I give a stronger proof of the truth of this assurance, than by declaring, that I can and will forgive him, on this one easy condition, that he will never molest me more.
In whatever way you choose to make this declaration, be pleased to let my most respectful compliments to the ladies of the noble family, and to my Lord M. accompany
it. And do you, my dear, believe, that I shall be, to the last moment of my life, Your ever-obliged and affectionate !
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Friday, July 28. CANNOT endure thee for thy hopelessness in the
lady's recovery; and that in contradiction to the s doctor and apothecary.
I can tell thee, that, if nothing else will do, I am determined, in spite of thy buskin airs, and of thy engagements for me to the contrary, to see her myself.
Face to face have I known many a quarrel made up, which distance would have kept alive, and widened. Thou wilt be a madder Jack than he in the Tale of a Tub, if thou givest an active opposition to this interview.
In short, I cannot bear the thought, that a woman whom ·once I had bound to me in the silken cords of love, should slip through my fingers, and be able, while my heart flames out with a violent passion for her, to despise me, and to set both love and me at defiance. Thou canst not imagine how much I envy thee, and her doctor, and her .apothecary, and every one who I hear are admitted to her presence and conversation ; and wish to be the one or the other in turn.
Wherefore, if nothing else will do, I will see her. I'll tell thee of an admirable expedient, just come across me, to save thy promise, and my own.
Mrs. Lovick, you say, is a good woman : If the lady be worse, she shall advise her to send for a parson to pray by her: Unknown to ber, unknown to the lady, unknown to thee (for so it may pass) I will contrive to be the man, petticoated out, and vested in a gown and cassock. I once,