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I don't know what time may do for you ; and when it is seen that your penitence is not owing more to disappointment than to true conviction : for it is too probable, Miss Clary, that, had you gone on as swimmingly as you expected, and had not your feather-headed villain abandoned you, we should have heard nothing of these moving supplications ; nor of anything but defiances from him, and a guilt gloried in from you. And this is every one's opinion, as well as that of
Your grieved sister,
ARABELLA HARLOWE. I send this by a particular hand, who undertakes to give it you or leave it for you by to-morrow night.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO HER MOTHER.
Saturday, August 5. O NOURED MADAM,—No self-convicted crimiSMP nal ever approached her angry and just judge When with greater awe, nor with a truer contrition, than I do you by these lines.
Indeed I must say, that if the matter of my humble prayer had not respected my future welfare, I had not dared to take this liberty. But my heart is set upon it, as upon a thing next to God Almighty's forgiveness necessary for me.
Wherefore, on my knees, my ever-honoured mamma (for on my knees I write this letter), I do most humbly beg your blessing : say but, in so many words (I ask you not, madam, to call me your daughter)—Lost, unhappy wretch, I forgive you ! and may God bless you this is all! Let me, on a blessed scrap of paper, but see one sentence to this effect, under your dear hand, that I may hold it to my heart in my most trying struggles, and I shall think it a passport to heaven. And, if I do not too much presume, and it were We instead of I, and both your honoured names subjoined to it, I should then have nothing more to wish. Then would I say, Great and merciful God! thou seest here in this paper thy poor unworthy creature absolved by her justly offended parents : O join, for my Redeemer's sake, thy all-gracious fiat, and receive a repentant sinner to the arms of thy mercy !
I can conjure you, madam, by no subject of motherly tenderness, that will not, in the opinion of my severe censurers (before whom this humble address must appear) add to my reproach : let me therefore, for God's sake, prevail upon you to pronounce me blest and forgiven, since you will thereby sprinkle comfort through the last hours of
Your CLARISSA HARLOWE.
MISS MONTAGUE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Monday, August 7. JEAR MADAM,–We were all of opinion before
your letter came, that Mr. Lovelace was utterly
unworthy of you, and deserved condign punishment, rather than to be blessed with such a wife : and hoped far more from your kind consideration for us, than any we supposed you could have for so base an injurer. For we were all determined to love you, and admire you, let his behaviour to you be what it would.
But, after your letter, what can be said ?
I am, however, commanded to write in all the subscribing names, to let you know, how greatly your sufferings have affected us : to tell you, that my Lord Mhas forbid him ever more to enter the doors of the apartments where he shall be: and as you labour under the unhappy effects of your friends' displeasure, which may subject you to inconveniences, his lordship, and Lady Sarah, and Lady Betty, beg of you to accept, for your life, or, at least, till you are admitted to enjoy your own estate,
of one hundred guineas per quarter, which will be regularly brought you by an especial hand, and of the enclosed bank bill for a beginning. And do not, dearest madam, we all beseech you, do not think you are beholden (for this token of Lord M.'s and Lady Sarah's and Lady Betty's love to you) to the friends of this vile man; for he has not one friend left among us.
We each of us desire to be favoured with a place in your esteem ; and to be considered upon the same foot of relationship, as if what once was so much our pleasure to hope would be, had been. And it shall be our united prayer, that you may recover health and spirits, and live to see many happy years : And, since this wretch can no more be pleaded for, that, when he is gone abroad, as he now is preparing to do, we may be permitted the honour of a personal acquaintance with a lady who has no equal. These are the earnest requests, dearest young lady, of Your affectionate friends, and
most faithful servants,
You will break the hearts of the three first named more particularly, if you refuse them your acceptance. Dearest young lady, punish not them for his crimes. We send by a particular hand, which will bring us, we hope, your accepting favour.
Mr. Lovelace writes by the same hand; but he knows nothing of our letter, nor we of his : for we shun each other; and one part of the house holds us, another him, the remotest from each other.
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Saturday, August 5. AM so excessively disturbed at the contents of Miss Harlowe's answer to my cousin Char
lotte's letter of Tuesday last (which was given her by the same fellow that gave me yours) that I have hardly patience or consideration enough to weigh what you write.
She had need indeed to cry out for mercy herself from her friends, who knows not how to show any! She is a true daughter of the Harlowes !—By my soul, Jack, she is a true daughter of the Harlowes! Yet has she so many excellencies, that I must love her; and, fool that I am, love her the more for her despising me.
Thou runnest on with thy cursed nonsensical reformado rote, of dying, dying, dying! and, having once got the word by the end, canst not help foisting it in at every period! The devil take me, if I don't think thou wouldst give her poison with thy own hands, rather than she should recover, and rob thee of the merit of being a conjurer!
But no more of thy cursed knell; thy changes upon death's candlestick turned bottom upwards : she'll live to bury me; I see that : for, by my soul, I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep, nor, what is still worse, love any woman in the world but her. Nor care I to look upon a woman now : on the contrary, I turn my head from every one I meet; except by chance an eye, an air, a feature, strikes me resembling hers in some glancing-by face; and then I cannot forbear looking again ; though the second look recovers me; for there can be nobody like her.
As to the difference which her letter has made between me and the stupid family here (and I must tell thee we are all broke in pieces) I value not that of a button.
They are fools to anathematize and curse me, who can give them ten curses for one, were they to hold it for a day together.
I have one half of the house to myself; and that the best ; for the great enjoy that least which costs them most : grandeur and use are two things: the common part is theirs; the state part is mine : and here I lord it, and will lord it, as long as I please ; while the two pursy sisters, the old gouty brother, and the two musty nieces, are stived up in the other half, and dare not stir for fear of meeting me : whom (that's the jest of it) they have forbidden coming into their apartments, as I have them into mine. And so I have them all prisoners, while I range about as I please. Pretty dogs and doggesses, to quarrel and bark at me, and yet, whenever I appear, afraid to pop out of their kennels; or if out before they see me, at the sight of me run growling in again, with their flapt ears, their sweeping dewlaps, and their quivering tails curling inwards.
And thou art a pretty fellow, art thou not ? to engage to transcribe for her some parts of my letters written to thee in confidence ? letters that thou shouldest sooner hare parted with thy cursed tongue, than have owned thou ever hadst received such : yet these are now to be communicated to her! But I charge thee, and woe be to thee if it be too late! that thou do not oblige her with a line of mine.
If thou hast done it, the least vengeance I will take, is to break through my honour given to thee not to Tisit her, as thou wilt have broken through thine to me, in communicating letters written under the seal of friendship
I am now conrinced, too sadly for my hopes, by her letter to my cousin Charlotte, that she is determined DETET to have me.
But what a whirlwind does she raise in my soul, by her