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for a certain purpose, did assume the canonicals; and I was thought to make a fine sleek appearance ; my broad rose-bound beaver became me mightily; and I was much admired upon the whole by all who saw me.
Methinks it must be charmingly apropos to see me kneeling down by her bed-side (I am sure I shall pray heartily) beginning out of the Common Prayer Book the Sick Office for the restoration of the languishing lady, and concluding with an exhortation to charity and forgiveness for myself.
I will consider of this matter. But, in whatever shape I shall choose to appear, of this thou mayst assure thyself, I will apprise thee beforehand of my visit, that thou mayst contrive to be out of the way, and to know nothing of the matter. This will save thy word ; and, as to mine, can she think worse of me than she does at present?
Well, but the lady refers my destiny to the letter she has written, actually written, to Miss Howe; to whom it seems she has given her reasons why she will not have me. I long to know the contents of this letter : but am in great hopes that she has so expressed her denials as shall give room to think, she only wants to be persuaded to the contrary, in order to reconcile herself to herself.
I am glad that Miss Howe (as much as she hates me) kept her word with my cousins on their visit to her, and with me at the Colonel's, to endeavour to persuade her friend to make up all matters by matrimony; which, no doubt, is the best, nay, the only method she can take, for her own honour, and that of her family.
I had once thoughts of revenging myself on that vixen, and, particularly, as thou mayst remember, had planned something to this purpose on the journey she is going to take, which had been talked of some time. But, I think -let me see-yes, I think, I will let this Hickman have her safe, as thou believest the fellow to be a tolerable sort of a mortal, and that I had made the worst of him : and I am glad, for his own sake, he has not launched out too virulently against me to thee.
Although I just now said a kind thing or two for this fellow Hickman; yet I can tell thee, I could (to use one of my noble peer's humble phrases) eat him up without a corn of salt, when I think of his impudence to salute my charmer twice at parting : and have still less patience with the lady herself for presuming to offer her cheek or lip (thou sayest not which) to him, and to press his clumsy fist between her charming hands. An honour worth a king's ransom; and what would I give—what would I not give ? to have! And then he, in return, to press her, as thou sayest he did, to his stupid heart; at that time, no doubt, more sensible, than ever it was before !
By thy description of their parting, I see thou wilt be a delicate fellow in time. My mortification in this lady's displeasure, will be thy exaltation from her conversation. I envy thee as well for thy opportunities, as for thy improvements : and such an impression has thy concluding paragraph made upon me, that I wish I do not get into a reformation humour as well as thou : and then what a couple of lamentable puppies shall we make, howling in recitative to each other's discordant music!
Let me improve upon the thought, and imagine that, turned hermits, we have opened the two old caves at Hornsey, or dug new ones ; and in each of our cells set up a death's head, and an hour-glass, for objects of contemplation—I have seen such a picture : but then, Jack, had not the old penitent a suffocating long grey beard? What figures would a couple of brocaded or laced-waistcoated toupets make with their sour screwed up half-cocked faces, and more than half-shut eyes, in a kneeling attitude, recapitulating their respective rogueries? This scheme, were we only to make trial of it, and return afterwards to our old ways, might serve to better purpose by far, than
Horner's in the Country Wife, to bring the pretty wenches to us.
I know thou wilt think me too ludicrous. I think myself so. It is truly, to be ingenuous, a forced put: for my passions are so wound up, that I am obliged either to laugh or cry.
What a length have I run! Indeed I hardly at this present know what to do with myself but scribble. Tired with Lord M. who, in his recovery, has played upon me the fable of the nurse, the crying child, the wolftired with my cousins Montague, though charming girls, were they not so near of kin—tired with Mowbray and Tourville, and their everlasting identity—tired with the country—tired with myself—longing for what I have not -I must go to town; and there have an interview with the charmer of my soul: for desperate diseases must have desperate remedies; and I only wait to know my doom from Miss Howe; and then, if it be rejection, I will try my fate, and receive my sentence at her feet. But I will apprise thee of it beforehand, as I told thee, that thou mayst keep thy parole with the lady in the best manner thou canst.
MISS HOWE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Friday, July 28. WILL now, my dearest friend, write to you all
my mind, without reserve, on your resolution not K to have this vilest of men. You gave me, in yours of Sunday the 23rd, reasons so worthy of the pure mind of my Clarissa, in support of this your resolution, that nothing but self-love, lest I should lose my everamiable friend, could have prevailed upon me to wish you ito alter it.
Indeed, I thought it was impossible there could be (however desirable) so noble an instance given by any of
our sex, of a passion conquered, when there were so many inducements to give way to it. And, therefore, I was willing to urge you once more to overcome your just indignation, and to be prevailed upon by the solicitations of his friends, before you carried your resentments to so great a height, that it would be more difficult for you, and less to your honour, to comply, than if you had complied at first.
But now, my dear, that I see you fixed in your noble resolution ; and that it is impossible for your pure mind to join itself with that of so perjured a miscreant; I congratulate you most heartily upon it; and beg your pardon for but seeming to doubt, that theory and practice were not the same thing with my beloved Clarissa.
The reasons you give for discouraging my wishes to have you near us, are so convincing, that I ought at present to acquiesce in them : but, my dear, when your mind is fully settled, as (now you are so absolutely determined in it, with regard to this wretch) I hope it will soon be, I shall expect you with us, or near us: and then you shall chalk out every path that I will set my foot in; nor will I turn aside either to the right hand or to the left.
You intimate that were I actually married, and Mr. Hickman to desire it, you would think of obliging me with a visit on the occasion ; and that perhaps when with me, it would be difficult for you to remove far from me.
But let me tell you, my dear, that it is more in your power, than perhaps you think it, to hasten the day so much pressed for by my mother, as well as wished for by you—for the very day that you can assure me, that you are in a tolerable state of health, and have discharged your doctor and apothecary, at their own motions, on that account—some day in a month from that desirable news, shall be it. So, my dear, make haste and be well ; and then this matter will be brought to effect in a manner more agreeable to your Anna Howe than it otherwise ever can.
I send this day, by a particular band, to the Misses Montague your letter of just reprobation of the greatest profligate in the kingdom; and hope I shall not have done amiss that I transcribe some of the paragraphs of your letter of the 23rd, and send them with it, as you at first intended should be done.
On Monday we shall set out on our journey; and I hope to be back in a fortnight, and on my return will have one pull inore with my mother for a London journey: and if the pretence must be the buying of clothes, the principal motive will be that of seeing once more my dear friend, while I can say, I have not finally given consent to the change of a visitor into a relation, and so can call myself my own, as well as
MISS HOWE TO THE TWO MISSES MONTAGUE.
Saturday, July 29. EAR LADIES, I have not been wanting to use e all my interest with my beloved friend, to induce
A her to forgive and be reconciled to your kinsman (though he has so ill deserved it); and have even repeated my earnest advice to her on this head. This repetition, and the waiting for her answer, having taken up time, have been the cause, that I could not sooner do myself the honour of writing to you on this subject.
You will see, by the inclosed, her immoveable resolution, grounded on noble and high-souled motives, which I cannot but regret and applaud at the same time: applaud, for the justice of her determination, which will confirm all your worthy house in the opinion you had conceived of her unequalled merit; and regret, because I have