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And if I leave it to him to do the whole in his own way, manner, and time; consulting, however, in requisite cases, my dear Miss Howe;
I presume to hope, that this my second request may be granted.
And if it may, these satisfactions will accrue to me from the favour done me, and the office undertaken:
It will be an honour to my memory, with all those who shall know, that I was so well satisfied of my innocence, that, having not time to write my own story, I could entrust it to the relation which the destroyer of my fame and fortunes has given of it.
I shall not be apprehensive of involving any one in troubles or hazards by this task, either with my own relations, or with your friend; having dispositions to make, which perhaps my own friends will not be so well pleased with as it were to be wished they would be; as I intend not unreasonable ones : but you know, sir, where self is judge, matters, even with good people, will not always be rightly judged of.
I shall also be freed from the pain of recollecting things, that my soul is vexed at; and this at a time when its tumults should be allayed, in order to make way for the most important preparation.
And who knows, but that Mr. Belford, who already, from a principle of humanity, is touched at my misfortunes, when he comes to revolve the whole story, placed before him in one strong light; and when he shall have the catastrophe likewise before him; and shall become in a manner, interested in it; who knows, but that, from a still higher principle, he may so regulate his future actions as to find his own reward in the everlasting welfare which is wished him by his
MR. BELFORD TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Friday, August 4. ADAM, I am so sensible of the honour done SKV me in yours of this day, that I would not
delay for one moment the answering of it. I hope you will live to see many happy years; and to be your own executrix in those points which your heart is most set upon. But, in case of survivorship, I most cheerfully accept of the sacred office you are pleased to offer me; and you may absolutely rely upon my fidelity, and, if possible, upon the literal performance of every article you shall enjoin me.
The effect of the kind wish you conclude with, has been my concern ever since I have been admitted to the honour of your conversation. It shall be my whole endeavour that it be not vain. The happiness of approaching you, which this trust, as I presume, will give me frequent opportunities of doing, must necessarily promote the desirable end; since it will be impossible to be a witness of your piety, equanimity, and other virtues, and not aspire to emulate you. All I beg is, that you will not suffer any future candidate, or event, to displace me; unless some new instances of unworthiness appear either in the morals or behaviour of,
MR. BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Friday Night, August 4. HAVE actually delivered to the lady the extracts
she requested me to give her from your letters.
| I do assure you that I have made the very best of the matter for you, not that conscience, but that
friendship, could oblige me to make. I have changed or omitted some free words. The warm description of her person in the Fire-Scene, as I may call it, I have omitted. I have told her, that I have done justice to you, in the justice you have done to her unexampled virtue. But take the very words which I wrote to her immediately following the extracts :
See Mr. Belford's letter to Miss Clarissa Harlowe, of August 3. Page 72.
The lady is extremely uneasy at the thoughts of your attempting to visit her. For heaven's sake (your word being given) and for pity's sake (for she is really in a very weak and languishing way) let me beg of you not to think of it.
Yesterday afternoon she received a cruel letter (as Mrs. Lovick supposes it to be, by the effect it had upon her) from her sister, in answer to one written last Saturday, entreating a blessing and forgiveness from her parents.
She acknowledges, that if the same decency and justice are observed in all your letters, as in the extracts I have obliged her with (as I have assured her they are) she shall think herself freed from the necessity of writing her own story: and this is an advantage to thee which thou oughtest to thank me for.
But what thinkest thou is the second request she had to make to me? No other than that I would be her executor !—Her motives will appear before thee in proper time; and then, I dare to answer, will be satisfactory.
Saturday Morning, August 5. I am just returned from visiting the lady, and thanking her in person for the honour she has done me; and assuring her, if called to the sacred trust, of the utmost fidelity and exactness.
I found her very ill. I took notice of it. She said, she
had received a second hard-hearted letter from her sister; and she had been writing a letter (and that on her knees) directly to her mother; which, before, she had not had the courage to do. It was for a last blessing, and forgiveness. No wonder, she said, that I saw her affected. Now that I had accepted of the last charitable office for her (for which, as well as for complying with her other request, she thanked me) I should one day have all these letters before me: and could she have a kind one in return to that she had been now writing, to counterbalance the unkind one she had from her sister, she might be induced to show me both together—otherwise, for her sister's sake, it were no matter how few saw the poor Bella's letter.
I asked, if a letter written by myself, by her doctor or apothecary, to any of her friends, representing her low state of health, and great humility, would be acceptable ? Or if a journey to any of them would be of service, I would gladly undertake it in person, and strictly conform to her orders, to whomsoever she would direct me to apply.
She earnestly desired, that nothing of this sort might be attempted, especially without her knowledge and consent. Miss Howe, she said, had done harm by her kindlyintended zeal ; and if there were room to expect favour by mediation, she had ready at hand a kind friend, Mrs. Norton, who for piety and prudence had few equals; and who would let slip no opportunity to endeavour to do her service.
I let her know, that I was going out of town till Monday: she wished me pleasure; and said, she should be glad to see me on my return.
MISS ARABELLA HARLOWE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Thursday Morning, August 3. GYISTER CLARY, I wish you would not trouble
me with any more of your letters. You had 2 always a knack at writing; and depended upon making every one do what you would when you wrote. But your wit and your folly have undone you. And now, as all naughty creatures do, when they can't help themselves, you come begging and praying, and make others as uneasy as yourself.
When I wrote last to you, I expected that I should not be at rest.
And so you'd creep on, by little and little, till you'll want to be received again.
But you only hope for forgiveness, and a blessing, you say. A blessing for what, sister Clary? Think for what! -However, I read your letter to my father and mother.
I won't tell you what my father said—one who has the true sense you boast to have of your misdeeds, may guess, without my telling you, what a justly-incensed father would say on such an occasion.
My poor mother—0 wretch! What has not your ungrateful folly cost my poor mother !-Had you been less a darling, you would not, perhaps, have been so graceless : but I never in my life saw a cockered favourite come to
My heart is full, and I can't help writing my mind; for your crimes have disgraced us all; and I am afraid and ashamed to go to any public or private assembly or diversion: and why ?-I need not say why, when your actions are the subjects either of the open talk or of the affronting whispers of both sexes at all such places.
Upon the whole, I am sorry I have no more comfort to send you: but I find nobody willing to forgive you.