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thy as implacable; whose wills are governed by an all-grasping brother, who finds his account in keeping the breach open? On this over-solicitude it is now plain to me, that the vilest of men built all his schemes. He saw that you thirsted after it, beyond all reason for hope. The view, the hope, I own, extremely desirable, had your family been Christians; or even had they been Pagans who had bowels.
I shall send this short letter [I am obliged to make it a short one] by young Rogers, as we call him; the fellow I sent to you to Hampstead; an innocent, though pragmatical rustic. Admit him, I pray you, into your presence, that he may report to me how you look, and how you are.
Mr. Hickman should attend you: but I apprehend, that all his motions, and my own too, are watched by the execrable wretch: as indeed his are by an agent of mine: for I own, that I am so apprehensive of his plots and revenge, now I know that he has intercepted my vehement letters against him, that he is the subject of my dreams, as well as of my waking fears.
My mother, at my earnest importunity, has just given me leave to write, and to receive your letters -but fastened this condition upon the concession, that yours must be under cover to Mr. Hickman [this with a view, I suppose to give him consideration with me]; and upon this further condition, that she is to see all we write.- When girls are set upon a point,' she told one, who told me again, 'it is better for a mother, if possible, to make herself of their party, than to oppose them: since there will be then hopes that she will still hold the reins in her own hands.'
Pray let me know what the people are with
whom you lodge?-Shall I send Mrs. Townsend to direct you to lodgings either more safe or more convenient for you?
Be pleased to write to me by Rogers ; who will wait on you for your answer, at your own time.
Adieu, my dearest creature. Comfort yourself, as you would in the like unhappy circumstances comfort
Thursday, July 13. I am extremely concerned, my dear Miss Howe, for being primarily the occasion of the apprehensions you have of this wicked man's vindictive attempts. What a wide-spreading error is mine!
If I find that he sets on foot any machination against you, or against Mr. Hickman, I do assure you I will consent to prosecute him, although I were sure I should not survive my first appearance at the bar he should be arraigned at.
I own the justice of your mother's arguments on that subject; but must say, that I think there are circumstances in my particular case, which will excuse me, although on a slighter occasion than that you are apprehensive of, I should decline to appear against him. I have said, that I may one day enter more particularly into this argument.
Your messenger has now indeed seen me. I talked with him on the cheat put upon him at Hampstead : and am sorry to have reason to say, that had not the poor young man been very simple, and very self-sufficient, he had not been so grossly deluded. Mrs. Bevis has the same plea to make for herself. A good-natured thoughtless woman; not used to converse with so vile and so specious a deceiver as him, who made his advantage of both these shal. low creatures.
I think I cannot be more private than where I am. I hope I am safe. All the risk I run, is in going out, and returning from morning prayers; which I have two or three times ventured to do; once at Lincoln's-Inn chapel, at eleven; once at St. Dunstan's Fleet street, at seven in the morning*, in a chair both times; and twice at six in the morning, at the neighbouring church in Covent Garden. The wicked wretches I have escaped from, will not, I hope come to church to look for me; especially at so early prayers; and I have fixed upon the privatest pew in the latter church to hide myself in; and perhaps I may lay out a little matter in an ordinary gown, by way of disguise; my face half hid by my cap.--I am very careless, my dear, of my appearance now. Neat and clean, takes up the whole of my attention.
The man's name at whose house I lodge, is Smith -a glove maker, as well as seller. His wife is the shop-keeper. A dealer also in stockings, ribbons, snuff, and perfumes. A matron-like woman, plainhearted, and prudent. The husband an honest, industrious man. And they live in good understanding with each other : a proof with me, that their hearts are right; for where a married couple live together upon ill terms, it is a sign, I think, that each knows something amiss of the other, either with regard to temper or morals, which if the world
* The seven o'clock prayers at St. Dunstan's have been since discontinued.
knew as well as themselves, it would perhaps as little like them, as such people like each other. Happy the marriage, where neither man nor wife has any wilful or premeditated evil in their general conduct to reproach the other with !-For even persons who have bad hearts will have a veneration for those who have good ones.
Two neat rooms, with plain, but clean furniture on the first floor, are mine; one they call the dining room.
There is, up another pair of stairs, a very worthy widow lodger, Mrs. Lovick by name; who, although of low fortunes, is much respected, as Mrs. Smith assures me, by people of condition of her acquaintance, for her piety, prudence, and understanding. With her I propose to be well acquainted.
I thank you, my dear, for your kind, your seasonable advice and consolation. I hope I shall have more grace given me than to despond, in the religious sense of the word: especially, as I can apply to myself the comfort you give me, that neither my will, nor my inconsiderateness, has contributed to my calamity. But, nevertheless, the irreconcileableness of my relations, whom I love with an unabated reverence; my apprehensions of fresh violences [this wicked man, I doubt, will not yet let me rest); my being destitute of protection; my youth, my sex, my unacquaintedness with the world, subjecting me to insults: my reflections on the scandal I have given, added to the sense of the indignities I have received from a man, of whom I deserved not ill; all together will undoubtedly bring on the effect, that cannot be undesirable to me. The slower, however, perhaps from my natural good constitution; and, as I presume to ima. gine, from principles which I hope will, in due
time, and by due reflection, set me above the sense of all worldly disappointments.
At present, my head is much disordered. I have not indeed enjoyed it with any degree of clearness since the violence done to that, and to my heart too, by the wicked arts of the abandoned creatures I was cast among.
I must have more conflicts. At times I find myself not subdued enough to my condition. I will welcome those conflicts as they come, as probationary ones—but yet my father's maledictionthe temporary part so strangely and so literally completed !- I cannot, however, think, when my mind is strongest—but what is the story of Isaac, and Jacob, and Esau, and of Rebekah's cheating the latter of the blessing designed for him in favour of Jacob) given us for in the 27th chapter of Genesis? My father used, I remember, to enforce the doctrine deducible from it, on his children, by many arguments. At least therefore, he must believe there is great weight in the curse he has announced ; and shall I not be solicitous to get it revoked, that he may not hereafter be grieved, for my sake, that he did not revoke it ?
All I will at present add, are my thanks to your mother for her indulgence to us. Due compliments to Mr. Hickman ; and my request that you will believe me to be, to my last hour, and beyond it, if possible, my beloved friend, and my dearer self (for what is now myself!) Your obliged and affectionate