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Here is Charlotte tapping at my closet-door for admittance. What a devil wants Charlotte ?-I will bear no more reproaches !—Come in, girl!
My cousin Charlotte, finding me writing on with too much earnestness to have any regard for politeness to her, and guessing at my subject, besought me to let her see what I had written.
I obliged her. And she was so highly pleased on seeing me so much in earnest, that she offered, and I accepted her offer, to write a letter to Miss Harlowe; with permission to treat me in it as she thought fit.
I shall inclose a copy of her letter.
When she had written it, she brought it to me, with apologies for the freedom taken with me in it: but I excused it; and she was ready to give me a kiss for joy of my approbation : and I gave her two for writing it; telling her, I had hopes of success from it; and that I thought she had luckily hit it off.
Putting therefore my whole confidence in this letter, I postpone all my other alternatives, as also my going to town, till my empress send an answer to my cousin Montague.
But if she persist, and will not promise to take time to consider of the matter, thou mayest communicate to her what I had written, as above, before my cousin entered ; and, if she be still perverse, assure her, that I must and will see her—but this with all honour, all humility : and, if I cannot move her in my favour, I will then go abroad, and perhaps never more return to England.
I have great dependence upon thy zeal and thy friendship: hasten back to her, therefore, and resume a task so interesting to me, that it is equally the subject of my dreams, as of my waking hours.
MISS MONTAGUE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Tuesday, August 1. WEAREST MADAM,- All our family is deeply sen
sible of the injuries you have received at the A hands of one of it, whom you only can render in any manner worthy of the relation he stands in to us all : and if, as an act of mercy and charity, the greatest your pious heart can show, you will be pleased to look over his past wickedness and ingratitude, and suffer yourself to be our kinswoman, you will make us the happiest family in the world : and I can engage, that Lord M. and Lady Sarah Sadleir, and Lady Betty Lawrence, and my sister, who are all admirers of your virtues, and of your nobleness of mind, will for ever love and reverence you, and do everything in all their powers to make you amends for what you have suffered from Mr. Lovelace. This, madam, we should not, however, dare to petition for, were we not assured, that Mr. Lovelace is most sincerely sorry for his past vileness to you; and that he will, on his knees, beg your pardon, and vow eternal love and honour to you.
Wherefore, my dearest cousin (how you will charm us all, if this agreeable style may be permitted !) for all our sakes, for his soul's sake (you must, I am sure, be so good a lady, as to wish to save a soul !) and allow me to say, for your own fame's sake, condescend to our joint request : and if, by way of encouragement, you will but say, you will be glad to see, and to be as much known personally, as you are by fame, to Charlotte Montague, I will, in two days' time from the receipt of your permission, wait upon you, with or without my sister, and receive your further commands.
Let me, our dearest. cousin (we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of calling you so ; let me) entreat you to give me your permission for my journey to London ; and put it in the power of Lord M. and of the ladies of the family, to make you what reparation they can make you, for the injuries which a person of the greatest merit in the world has received from one of the most audacious men in it; and you will infinitely oblige us all ; and particularly her, who repeatedly presumes to style herself, Your affectionate cousin, and obliged servant,
MR. BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Thursday Morning, August 3. WAS admitted to her presence last night; and
found her visibly altered for the worse. When AS I went home, I had your letter of Tuesday last put into my hands. Let me tell thee, Lovelace, that I insist upon the performance of thy engagement to me that thou wilt not personally molest her. Mr. Belford dates again on Thursday morning ten
o'clock; and gives an account of a conversation which he had just held with the lady upon the subject of Miss Montague's letter to her, preceding, and upon Mr. Lovelace's alternatives, which Mr. Belford supported with the utmost earnestness. But, as the result of this conversation will be found in the subsequent letters, Mr. Belford's pleas and arguments in favour of his friend, and the lady's answers, are omitted.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS MONTAGUE.
Thursday, August 3. GAVEAR MADAM,—I am infinitely obliged to you
for your kind and condescending letter. A K 2 letter, however, which heightens my regrets, as it gives me a new instance of what a happy creature I might have been in an alliance so much approved of by such worthy ladies; and which, on their accounts, and on that of Lord M. would have been so reputable to myself, and was once so desirable.
But indeed, indeed, madam, my heart sincerely repulses the man, who, descended from such a family, could be guilty, first, of such premeditated violence as he has been guilty of; and, as he knows, further intended me, on the night previous to the day he set out for Berkshire; and, next, pretending to spirit, could be so mean, as to wish to lift into that family a person he was capable of abasing into a companionship with the most abandoned of her sex.
Allow me then, dear madam, to declare with fervour, that I think I never could deserve to be ranked with the ladies of a family so splendid and so noble, if, by vowing love and honour at the altar to such a violator, I could sanctify, as I may say, his unprecedented and elaborate wickedness.
Permit me, however, to make one request to my good Lord M. and to Lady Betty and Lady Sarah, and to your kind self, and your sister-it is, that you will all be pleased to join your authority and interests to prevail upon Mr. Lovelace not to molest me further.
Be pleased to tell him, that, if I am designed for life, it will be very cruel in him to attempt to hunt me out of it; for I am determined never to see him more, if I can help it. The more cruel, because he knows, that I have nobody to defend me from him : nor do I wish to engage anybody to his hurt, or to their own.
If I am, on the other hand, destined for death, it will be no less cruel, if he will not permit me to die in peace -since a peaceable and happy end I wish him. Indeed I do.
Every worldly good attend you, dear madam, and every branch of the honourable family, is the wish of one, whose misfortune it is, that she is obliged to disclaim any other title, than that of,
MR. BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Thursday Afternoon, August 3. AM just now agreeably surprised by the following | letter, delivered into my hands by a messenger
s from the lady. The letter she mentions, as inclosed, I have returned, without taking a copy of it. The contents of it will soon be communicated to you, I presume, by other hands. They are an absolute rejection of thee-poor Lovelace !
TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
August 3. SIR,—You have frequently offered to oblige me in anything that shall be within your power : and I have such an opinion of you, as to be willing to hope, that at the times you made these offers, you meant more than mere compliment.
I have therefore two requests to make to you: the first I will now mention; the other, if this shall be complied with, otherwise not.
It behoves me to leave behind me such an account as may clear up my conduct to several of my friends who will not at present concern themselves about me: and Miss Howe, and her mother, are very solicitous that I will do so.
I am apprehensive that I shall not have time to do this; and you will not wonder that I have less and less inclination to set about such a painful task; especially as I find myself unable to look back with patience on what I