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Title: Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady — Volume 1
Author: Richardson, Samuel, 1689-1761
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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CLARISSA HARLOWE

or the

HISTORY OF A YOUNG LADY

Nine Volumes

Volume I.


     Comprehending
     The most Important Concerns of Private Life.
     And particularly shewing,
     The Distresses that may attend the Misconduct
     Both of Parents and Children,
     In Relation to Marriage.



PREFACE


The following History is given in a series of letters, written
Principally in a double yet separate correspondence;

Between two young ladies of virtue and honor, bearing an inviolable
friendship for each other, and writing not merely for amusement, but
upon the most interesting subjects; in which every private family, more
or less, may find itself concerned; and,

Between two gentlemen of free lives; one of them glorying in his
talents for stratagem and invention, and communicating to the other, in
confidence, all the secret purposes of an intriguing head and resolute
heart.

But here it will be proper to observe, for the sake of such as may
apprehend hurt to the morals of youth, from the more freely-written
letters, that the gentlemen, though professed libertines as to the
female sex, and making it one of their wicked maxims, to keep no faith
with any of the individuals of it, who are thrown into their power,
are not, however, either infidels or scoffers; nor yet such as think
themselves freed from the observance of those other moral duties which
bind man to man.

On the contrary, it will be found, in the progress of the work, that
they very often make such reflections upon each other, and each upon
himself and his own actions, as reasonable beings must make, who
disbelieve not a future state of rewards and punishments, and who one
day propose to reform--one of them actually reforming, and by that means
giving an opportunity to censure the freedoms which fall from the gayer
pen and lighter heart of the other.

And yet that other, although in unbosoming himself to a select friend,
he discover wickedness enough to entitle him to general detestation,
preserves a decency, as well in his images as in his language, which
is not always to be found in the works of some of the most celebrated
modern writers, whose subjects and characters have less warranted the
liberties they have taken.

In the letters of the two young ladies, it is presumed, will be
found not only the highest exercise of a reasonable and practicable
friendship, between minds endowed with the noblest principles of
virtue and religion, but occasionally interspersed, such delicacy of
sentiments, particularly with regard to the other sex; such instances
of impartiality, each freely, as a fundamental principle of their
friendship, blaming, praising, and setting right the other, as are
strongly to be recommended to the observation of the younger part (more
specially) of female readers.

The principle of these two young ladies is proposed as an exemplar to
her sex. Nor is it any objection to her being so, that she is not in
all respects a perfect character. It was not only natural, but it was
necessary, that she should have some faults, were it only to show the
reader how laudably she could mistrust and blame herself, and carry to
her own heart, divested of self-partiality, the censure which arose from
her own convictions, and that even to the acquittal of those, because
revered characters, whom no one else would acquit, and to whose much
greater faults her errors were owing, and not to a weak or reproachable
heart. As far as it is consistent with human frailty, and as far as she
could be perfect, considering the people she had to deal with, and those
with whom she was inseparably connected, she is perfect. To have been
impeccable, must have left nothing for the Divine Grace and a purified
state to do, and carried our idea of her from woman to angel. As such is
she often esteemed by the man whose heart was so corrupt that he could
hardly believe human nature capable of the purity, which, on every trial
or temptation, shone out in her's [sic].

Besides the four principal person, several others are introduced, whose
letters are characteristic: and it is presumed that there will be found
in some of them, but more especially in those of the chief character
among the men, and the second character among the women, such strokes of
gayety, fancy, and humour, as will entertain and divert, and at the same
time both warn and instruct.

All the letters are written while the hearts of the writers must be
supposed to be wholly engaged in their subjects (the events at the time
generally dubious): so that they abound not only in critical situations,
but with what may be called instantaneous descriptions and reflections
(proper to be brought home to the breast of the youthful reader;) as
also with affecting conversations; many of them written in the dialogue
or dramatic way.

'Much more lively and affecting,' says one of the principal character,
'must be the style of those who write in the height of a present
distress; the mind tortured by the pangs of uncertainty (the events then
hidden in the womb of fate;) than the dry, narrative, unanimated style
of a person relating difficulties and danger surmounted, can be; the
relater perfectly at ease; and if himself unmoved by his own story, not
likely greatly to affect the reader.'

What will be found to be more particularly aimed at in the following
work is--to warn the inconsiderate and thoughtless of the one sex,
against the base arts and designs of specious contrivers of the
other--to caution parents against the undue exercise of their natural
authority over their children in the great article of marriage--to warn
children against preferring a man of pleasure to a man of probity upon
that dangerous but too-commonly-received notion, that a reformed rake
makes the best husband--but above all, to investigate the highest and
most important doctrines not only of morality, but of christianity, by
showing them thrown into action in the conduct of the worthy characters;
while the unworthy, who set those doctrines at defiance, are condignly,
and, as may be said, consequentially punished.

From what has been said, considerate readers will not enter upon the
perusal of the piece before them as if it were designed only to divert
and amuse. It will probably be thought tedious to all such as dip into
it, expecting a light novel, or transitory romance; and look upon story
in it (interesting as that is generally allowed to be) as its sole end,
rather than as a vehicle to the instruction.

Different persons, as might be expected, have been of different
opinions, in relation to the conduct of the Heroine in particular
situations; and several worthy persons have objected to the general
catastrophe, and other parts of the history. Whatever is thought
material of these shall be taken notice of by way of Postscript, at the
conclusion of the History; for this work being addressed to the public
as a history of life and manners, those parts of it which are
proposed to carry with them the force of an example, ought to be as
unobjectionable as is consistent with the design of the whole, and with
human nature.



NAMES OF THE PRINCIPAL PERSONS


  MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, a young lady of great beauty and merit.
  ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. her admirer.
  JAMES HARLOWE, ESQ. father of Clarissa.
  MRS. HARLOWE, his lady.
  JAMES HARLOWE, their only son.
  ARABELLA, their elder daughter.
  JOHN HARLOWE, ESQ. elder brother of James Harlowe, sen.
  ANTONY HARLOWE, third brother.
  ROGER SOLMES, ESQ. an admirer of Clarissa, favoured by her friends.
  MRS. HERVEY, half-sister of Mrs. Harlowe.
  MISS DOLLY HERVEY, her daughter.
  MRS. JUDITH NORTON, a woman of great piety and discretion, who had a
  principal share in the education of Clarissa.
  COL. WM. MORDEN, a near relation of the Harlowes.
  MISS HOWE, the most intimate friend, companion, and correspondent of
  Clarissa.
  MRS. HOWE, her mother.
  CHARLES HICKMAN, ESQ. an admirer of Miss Howe.
  LORD M., uncle to Mr. Lovelace.
  LADY SARAH SADLEIR, LADY BETTY LAWRANCE, half-sisters of Lord M.
  MISS CHARLOTTE MONTAGUE, MISS PATTY MONTAGUE, nieces of the same
  nobleman.
  DR. LEWEN, a worthy divine.
  MR. ELIAS BRAND, a pedantic young clergyman.
  DR. H. a humane physician.
  MR. GODDARD, an honest and skilful apothecary.
  JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. Mr. Lovelace's principal intimate and confidant.
  RICHARD MOWBRAY, THOMAS DOLEMAN, JAMES TOURVILLE, THOMAS BELTON,
  ESQRS. libertine friends of Mr. Lovelace.
  MRS. MOORE, a widow, keeping a lodging-house at Hampstead.
  MISS RAWLINS, a notable young gentlewoman there.
  MRS. BEVIS, a lively young widow of the same place.
  MRS. SINCLAIR, the pretended name of a private brothel-keeper in
  London.
  CAPTAIN TOMLINSON, the assumed name of a vile pander to the
  debaucheries of Mr. Lovelace.
  SALLY MARTIN, POLLY HORTON, assistants of, and partners with, the
  infamous Sinclair.
  DORCAS WYKES, an artful servant at the vile house.



LETTERS OF VOLUME I


LETTER I. Miss Howe to Miss Clarissa Harlowe.--Desires from her the
particulars of the rencounter between Mr. Lovelace and her brother; and
of the usage she receives upon it: also the whole of her story from the
time Lovelace was introduced as a suitor to her sister Arabella. Admires
her great qualities, and glories in the friendship between them.

LETTER II. III. IV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Gives the requested
particulars. Together with the grounds of her brother's and sister's
il-will to her; and of the animosity between her brother and
Lovelace.--Her mother connives at the private correspondence between
her and Lovelace, for the sake of preventing greater evils. Character
of Lovelace, from an enemy.--Copy of the preamble to her grandfather's
will.

LETTER V. From the same.--Her father, mother, brother, briefly
characterized. Her brother's consequence in the family. Wishes Miss Howe
had encouraged her brother's address. Endeavors to find excuses for her
father's ill temper, and for her mother's passiveness.

LETTER VI. From the same.--Mr. Symmes, Mr. Mullins, Mr. Wyerley, in
return, proposed to her, in malice to Lovelace; and, on their being
rejected, Mr. Solmes. Leave given her to visit Miss Howe for a few days.
Her brother's insolent behaviour upon it.

LETTER VII. From the same.--The harsh reception she meets with on her
return from Miss Howe. Solmes's first visit.

LETTER VIII. From the same.--All her family determined in Solmes's
favour. Her aversion to him. She rejects him, and is forbid going to
church, visiting, receiving visits, or writing to any body out of the
house.

LETTER IX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Her expedient to carry on a private
correspondence with Miss Howe. Regrets the necessity she is laid under
to take such a clandestine step.

LETTER X. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--Inveighs against the Harlowe family
for proposing such a man as Solmes. Characterizes them. Is jealous
of Antony Harlowe's visits to her mother. Rallies her friend on her
supposed regard to Lovelace.

LETTER XI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Is nettled and alarmed at her
raillery. Her reasons for not giving way to a passion for Lovelace.

LETTER XII. Miss Howe in reply.--Continues her raillery. Gives
Lovelace's character from Mrs. Fortescue.

LETTER XIII. XIV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--The views of her family in
favouring the address of Solmes. Her brother's and sister's triumph upon
the difficulties into which they have plunged her.

LETTER XV. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--She accounts for Arabella's malice.
Blames her for having given up the power over the estate left her by her
grandfather.

LETTER XVI. XVII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Offends her father by her
behaviour to Solmes in his presence. Tender conversation between her
mother and her.--Offers to give up all thoughts of Lovelace, if she may
be freed from Solmes's address. Substance of one of Lovelace's letters,
of her answer, and of his reply. Makes a proposal. Her mother goes down
with it.

LETTER XVIII. From the same.--The proposal rejected. Her mother affects
severity to her. Another interesting conversation between them.

LETTER XIX. From the same.--Her dutiful motives for putting her estate
into her father's power. Why she thinks she ought not to have Solmes.
Afflicted on her mother's account.

LETTER XX. XXI. From the same.--Another conference with her mother, who
leaves her in anger.--She goes down to beg her favour. Solmes comes in.
She offers to withdraw; but is forbid. What follows upon it.

LETTER XXII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Substance of a letter from
Lovelace. She desires leave to go to church. Is referred to her brother,
and insultingly refused by him. Her letter to him. His answer.

LETTER XXIII. XXIV. XXV. From the same.--Her faithful Hannah
disgracefully dismissed. Betty Barnes, her sister's maid, set over her.
A letter from her brother forbidding her to appear in the presence of
any of her relations without leave. Her answer. Writes to her mother.
Her mother's answer. Writes to her father. His answer.

LETTER XXVI. From the same.--Is desirous to know the opinion Lord M.'s
family have of her. Substance of a letter from Lovelace, resenting the
indignities he receives from her relations. She freely acquaints him
that he has nothing to expect from her contrary to her duty. Insists
that his next letter shall be his last.

LETTER XXVII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--Advises her to resume her estate.
Her satirical description of Solmes. Rallies her on her curiosity to
know what opinion Lord M. and his family have of her. Ascribes to the
difference in each of their tempers their mutual love. Gives particulars
of a conversation between her mother and her on Clarissa's case.
Reflects on the Harlowe family, and particularly on Mrs. Harlowe, for
her passiveness.

LETTER XXVIII. Clarissa. In answer.--Chides her for the liberties she
takes with her relations. Particularly defends her mother. Chides her
also for her lively airs to her own mother. Desires her to treat her
freely; but wishes not that she should impute love to her; and why.

LETTER XXIX. From the same.--Her expostulatory letter to her brother and
sister. Their answers.

LETTER XXX. From the same.--Exceedingly angry with Lovelace, on his
coming to their church. Reflections on pride, &c.

LETTER XXXI. Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.--Pride, revenge, love,
ambition, or a desire of conquest, his avowedly predominant passions.
His early vow to ruin as many of the fair sex as he can get into his
power. His pretences for it. Breathes revenge against the Harlowe
family. Glories in his contrivances. Is passionately in love with
Clarissa. His high notions of her beauty and merit. Yet is incensed
against her for preferring her own relations to him. Clears her,
however, of intentional pride, scorn, haughtiness, or want of
sensibility. What a triumph over the sex, and over her whole family, if
he can carry off a lady so watchful and so prudent! Is resolved, if he
cannot have the sister, to carry off the brother. Libertine as he is,
can have no thoughts of any other woman but Clarissa. Warns Belford,
Mowbray, Tourville, and Belton, to hold themselves in readiness to
obey his summons, on the likelihood there is of room for what he calls
glorious mischief.

LETTER XXXII. XXXIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Copies of her letters to
her two uncles; and of their characteristic answer.--Her expostulatory
letter to Solmes. His answer.--An insolent letter from her brother, on
her writing to Solmes.

LETTER XXXIV. Lovelace to Belford.--He directs him to come down to him.
For what end. Description of the poor inn he puts up at in disguise; and
of the innocent daughter there, whom he calls his Rosebud. He resolves
to spare her. Pride and policy his motives, and not principle. Ingenuous
reflections on his own vicious disposition. He had been a rogue, he
says, had he been a plough-boy. Resolves on an act of generosity for
his Rosebud, by way of atonement, as he calls it, for some of his bad
actions; and for other reasons which appear in the sequel.

LETTER XXXV. From the same.--His artful contrivances and dealings with
Joseph Leman. His revenge and his love uppermost by turns. If the latter
succeeds not, he vows that the Harlowes shall feel the former, although
for it he become an exile from his country forever. He will throw
himself into Clarissa's presence in the woodhouse. If he thought he had
no prospect of her favour, he would attempt to carry her off: that, he
says, would be a rape worthy of a Jupiter. The arts he is resolved to
practise when he sees her, in order to engage her future reliance upon
his honour.

LETTER XXXVI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Lovelace, in disguise, surprises
her in the woodhouse. Her terrors on first seeing him. He greatly
engages her confidence (as he had designed) by his respectful behaviour.

LETTER XXXVII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.--After rallying her on her not
readily owning the passion which she supposes she has for Lovelace, she
desires to know how far she thinks him eligible for his best qualities,
how far rejectable for his worst.

LETTER XXXVIII. XXXIX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--She disclaims tyranny to
a man who respects her. Her unhappy situation to be considered, in
which the imputed love is held by her parents to be an undutiful, and
therefore a criminal passion, and where the supposed object of it is a
man of faulty morals. Is interrupted by a visit from Mrs. Norton, who
is sent up to her to influence her in Solmes's favour. An affecting
conversation between them. What passes upon it, and after it.

LETTER XL. From the same.--Resumes the requested subject. What sort of
man she could have preferred to Mr. Lovelace. Arguments she has used to
herself in his favour, and in his disfavour. Frankly owns that were he
now a moral man, she would prefer him to all the men she ever saw. Yet
is persuaded, that she could freely give up the one man to get rid of
the other, as she had offered to her friends. Her delicacy affected
by Miss Howe's raillery; and why. Gives her opinion of the force which
figure or person may be allowed to have upon her sex.

LETTER XLI. From the same.--A letter from her mother (with patterns of
rich silks) in which she entreats her to comply with all their wishes.
What ought to be the principal view of a good wife in adorning her
person. Her distress. Begs leave to wait upon her mother alone. Her
father's angry letter, ordering her to prepare for her wedding-day.
Solmes requests to see her. She refuses. All in tumults below upon
it. Her brother and her sister desire that she may be left to their
management.

LETTER XLII. From the same.--A very warm dialogue between her sister
and her. Her sister's envy, unnatural behaviour, and violence. Clarissa
sends down proposals in writing to her friends, and a letter to her
brother. His insolent answer; in which he tells her, that her proposal
will be considered in full assembly next morning; but that, if they
shall be complied with, he will retire to Scotland, and never more
return to Harlowe-place.

LETTER XLIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.--Hardly doubts but her proposals
will be accepted. Paints to herself, as her relations arrive one by one,
what their deliberations, and the result of them will be, when they are
all assembled. Her proposals rejected. Her sister's cruel insults on the
occasion produce another warm dialogue between them. Her sister leaves
her in a fury. She is greatly disturbed at the contents of a letter from
Lovelace.

LETTER XLIV. From the same.--Her aunt Hervey, accompanied by her sister,
makes her a visit. Farther insults from her sister. Her aunt's fruitless
pleas in Solmes's favour.



THE HISTORY OF CLARISSA HARLOWE



LETTER I

MISS ANNA HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE JAN 10.


I am extremely concerned, my dearest friend, for the disturbance that
have happened in your family. I know how it must hurt you to become
the subject of the public talk: and yet, upon an occasion so generally
known, it is impossible but that whatever relates to a young lady, whose
distinguished merits have made her the public care, should engage every
body's attention. I long to have the particulars from yourself; and of
the usage I am told you receive upon an accident you could not help; and
in which, as far as I can learn, the sufferer was the aggressor.

Mr. Diggs, the surgeon, whom I sent for at the first hearing of the
rencounter, to inquire, for your sake, how your brother was, told me,
that there was no danger from the wound, if there were none from the
fever; which it seems has been increased by the perturbation of his
spirits.

Mr. Wyerley drank tea with us yesterday; and though he is far from being
partial to Mr. Lovelace, as it may well be supposed, yet both he and Mr.
Symmes blame your family for the treatment they gave him when he went
in person to inquire after your brother's health, and to express his
concern for what had happened.

They say, that Mr. Lovelace could not avoid drawing his sword: and that
either your brother's unskilfulness or passion left him from the very
first pass entirely in his power.

This, I am told, was what Mr. Lovelace said upon it; retreating as he
spoke: 'Have a care, Mr. Harlowe--your violence puts you out of your
defence. You give me too much advantage. For your sister's sake, I will
pass by every thing:--if--'

But this the more provoked his rashness, to lay himself open to the
advantage of his adversary--who, after a slight wound given him in the
arm, took away his sword.

There are people who love not your brother, because of his natural
imperiousness and fierce and uncontroulable temper: these say, that
the young gentleman's passion was abated on seeing his blood gush
plentifully down his arm; and that he received the generous offices of
his adversary (who helped him off with his coat and waistcoat, and bound
up his arm, till the surgeon could come,) with such patience, as was far
from making a visit afterwards from that adversary, to inquire after his
health, appear either insulting or improper.

Be this as it may, every body pities you. So steady, so uniform in your
conduct: so desirous, as you always said, of sliding through life to the
end of it unnoted; and, as I may add, not wishing to be observed
even for your silent benevolence; sufficiently happy in the noble
consciousness which attends it: Rather useful than glaring, your
deserved motto; though now, to your regret, pushed into blaze, as I may
say: and yet blamed at home for the faults of others--how must such a
virtue suffer on every hand!--yet it must be allowed, that your present
trial is but proportioned to your prudence.

As all your friends without doors are apprehensive that some other
unhappy event may result from so violent a contention, in which it seems
the families on both sides are now engaged, I must desire you to enable
me, on the authority of your own information, to do you occasional
justice.

My mother, and all of us, like the rest of the world, talk of nobody but
you on this occasion, and of the consequences which may follow from the
resentments of a man of Mr. Lovelace's spirit; who, as he gives out, has
been treated with high indignity by your uncles. My mother will have
it, that you cannot now, with any decency, either see him, or correspond
with him. She is a good deal prepossessed by your uncle Antony; who
occasionally calls upon us, as you know; and, on this rencounter, has
represented to her the crime which it would be in a sister to encourage
a man who is to wade into her favour (this was his expression) through
the blood of her brother.

Write to me therefore, my dear, the whole of your story from the
time that Mr. Lovelace was first introduced into your family; and
particularly an account of all that passed between him and your sister;
about which there are different reports; some people scrupling not to
insinuate that the younger sister has stolen a lover from the elder: and
pray write in so full a manner as may satisfy those who know not so much
of your affairs as I do. If anything unhappy should fall out from the
violence of such spirits as you have to deal with, your account of all
things previous to it will be your best justification.

You see what you draw upon yourself by excelling all your sex. Every
individual of it who knows you, or has heard of you, seems to think
you answerable to her for your conduct in points so very delicate and
concerning.

Every eye, in short, is upon you with the expectation of an example. I
wish to heaven you were at liberty to pursue your own methods: all
would then, I dare say, be easy, and honourably ended. But I dread your
directors and directresses; for your mother, admirably well qualified
as she is to lead, must submit to be led. Your sister and brother will
certainly put you out of your course.

But this is a point you will not permit me to expatiate upon: pardon me
therefore, and I have done.--Yet, why should I say, pardon me? when your
concerns are my concerns? when your honour is my honour? when I love
you, as never woman loved another? and when you have allowed of that
concern and of that love; and have for years, which in persons so young
may be called many, ranked in the first class of your friends,

Your ever grateful and affectionate, ANNA HOWE?


Will you oblige me with a copy of the preamble to the clauses in your
grandfather's will in your favour; and allow me to send it to my aunt
Harman?--She is very desirous to see it. Yet your character has so
charmed her, that, though a stranger to you personally, she assents to
the preference given you in that will, before she knows the testator's
reasons for giving you that preference.



LETTER II

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE HARLOWE-PLACE, JAN. 13.


How you oppress me, my dearest friend, with your politeness! I cannot
doubt your sincerity; but you should take care, that you give me not
reason from your kind partiality to call in question your judgment. You
do not distinguish that I take many admirable hints from you, and have
the art to pass them upon you for my own: for in all you do, in all you
say, nay, in your very looks (so animated!) you give lessons to one
who loves you and observes you as I love you and observe you, without
knowing that you do--So pray, my dear, be more sparing of your praise
for the future, lest after this confession we should suspect that you
secretly intend to praise yourself, while you would be thought only to
commend another.

Our family has indeed been strangely discomposed.--Discomposed!--It has
been in tumults, ever since the unhappy transaction; and I have borne
all the blame; yet should have had too much concern from myself, had I
been more justly spared by every one else.

For, whether it be owing to a faulty impatience, having been too
indulgently treated to be inured to blame, or to the regret I have to
hear those censured on my account, whom it is my duty to vindicate; I
have sometimes wished, that it had pleased God to have taken me in my
last fever, when I had every body's love and good opinion; but oftener
that I had never been distinguished by my grandfather as I was: since
that distinction has estranged from me my brother's and sister's
affections; at least, has raised a jealousy with regard to the
apprehended favour of my two uncles, that now-and-then overshadows their
love.

My brother being happily recovered of his fever, and his wound in a
hopeful way, although he has not yet ventured abroad, I will be as
particular as you desire in the little history you demand of me. But
heaven forbid that any thing should ever happen which may require it to
be produced for the purpose you mention!

I will begin, as you command, with Mr. Lovelace's address to my sister;
and be as brief as possible. I will recite facts only; and leave you
to judge of the truth of the report raised, that the younger sister has
robbed the elder.

It was in pursuance of a conference between Lord M. and my uncle Antony,
that Mr. Lovelace [my father and mother not forbidding] paid his respect
to my sister Arabella. My brother was then in Scotland, busying himself
in viewing the condition of the considerable estate which was left him
there by his generous godmother, together with one as considerable in
Yorkshire. I was also absent at my Dairy-house, as it is called,* busied
in the accounts relating to the estate which my grandfather had
the goodness to devise to me; and which once a year was left to my
inspection, although I have given the whole into my father's power.


     * Her grandfather, in order to invite her to him as often as
     her other friends would spare her, indulged her in erecting
     and fitting up a diary-house in her own taste. When
     finished, it was so much admired for its elegant simplicity
     and convenience, that the whole seat (before, of old time,
     from its situation, called The Grove) was generally known by
     the name of The Dairy-house. Her grandfather in particular
     was fond of having it so called.


My sister made me a visit there the day after Mr. Lovelace had been
introduced; and seemed highly pleased with the gentleman. His birth, his
fortune in possession, a clear 2000L. a year, as Lord M. had assured
my uncle; presumptive heir to that nobleman's large estate: his great
expectations from Lady Sarah Sadleir and Lady Betty Lawrence; who with
his uncle interested themselves very warmly (he being the last of his
line) to see him married.

'So handsome a man!--O her beloved Clary!' (for then she was ready
to love me dearly, from the overflowings of her good humour on his
account!) 'He was but too handsome a man for her!--Were she but as
amiable as somebody, there would be a probability of holding his
affections!--For he was wild, she heard; very wild, very gay; loved
intrigue--but he was young; a man of sense: would see his error, could
she but have patience with his faults, if his faults were not cured by
marriage!'

Thus she ran on; and then wanted me 'to see the charming man,' as she
called him.--Again concerned, 'that she was not handsome enough for
him;' with, 'a sad thing, that the man should have the advantage of
the woman in that particular!'--But then, stepping to the glass, she
complimented herself, 'That she was very well: that there were many
women deemed passable who were inferior to herself: that she was always
thought comely; and comeliness, let her tell me, having not so much
to lose as beauty had, would hold, when that would evaporate or fly
off:--nay, for that matter,' [and again she turned to the glass] 'her
features were not irregular; her eyes not at all amiss.' And I remember
they were more than usually brilliant at that time.--'Nothing, in short,
to be found fault with, though nothing very engaging she doubted--was
there, Clary.'

Excuse me, my dear, I never was thus particular before; no, not to you.
Nor would I now have written thus freely of a sister, but that she makes
a merit to my brother of disowning that she ever liked him; as I shall
mention hereafter: and then you will always have me give you minute
descriptions, nor suffer me to pass by the air and manner in which
things are spoken that are to be taken notice of; rightly observing,
that air and manner often express more than the accompanying words.

I congratulated her upon her prospects. She received my compliments with
a great deal of self-complacency.

She liked the gentleman still more at his next visit; and yet he made no
particular address to her, although an opportunity was given him for
it. This was wondered at, as my uncle has introduced him into our family
declaredly as a visitor to my sister. But as we are ever ready to make
excuses when in good humour with ourselves for the perhaps not unwilful
slights of those whose approbation we wish to engage; so my sister found
out a reason much to Mr. Lovelace's advantage for his not improving
the opportunity that was given him.--It was bashfulness, truly, in him.
[Bashfulness in Mr. Lovelace, my dear!]--Indeed, gay and lively as he
is, he has not the look of an impudent man. But, I fancy, it is many,
many years ago since he was bashful.

Thus, however, could my sister make it out--'Upon her word, she believed
Mr. Lovelace deserved not the bad character he had as to women.--He was
really, to her thinking, a modest man. He would have spoken out, she
believed; but once or twice as he seemed to intend to do so, he was
under so agreeable a confusion! Such a profound respect he seemed to
shew her! A perfect reverence, she thought: she loved dearly that a man
in courtship should shew a reverence to his mistress'--So indeed we all
do, I believe: and with reason; since, if I may judge from what I
have seen in many families, there is little enough of it shewn
afterwards.--And she told my aunt Hervey, that she would be a little
less upon the reserve next time he came: 'She was not one of those
flirts, not she, who would give pain to a person that deserved to be
well-treated; and the more pain for the greatness of his value for
her.'--I wish she had not somebody whom I love in her eye.

In his third visit, Bella governed herself by this kind and considerate
principle: so that, according to her own account of the matter, the man
might have spoken out.--But he was still bashful: he was not able to
overcome this unseasonable reverence. So this visit went off as the
former.

But now she began to be dissatisfied with him. She compared his general
character with this his particular behaviour to her; and having never
been courted before, owned herself puzzled how to deal with so odd a
lover. 'What did the man mean, she wondered? Had not her uncle brought
him declaredly as a suitor to her?--It could not be bashfulness (now she
thought of it) since he might have opened his mind to her uncle, if he
wanted courage to speak directly to her.--Not that she cared much for
the man neither: but it was right, surely, that a woman should be put
out of doubt early as to a man's intentions in such a case as this, from
his own mouth.--But, truly, she had begun to think, that he was more
solicitous to cultivate her mamma's good opinion, than hers!--Every
body, she owned, admired her mother's conversation; but he was mistaken
if he thought respect to her mother only would do with her. And
then, for his own sake, surely he should put it into her power to
be complaisant to him, if he gave her reason to approve of him. This
distant behaviour, she must take upon herself to say, was the more
extraordinary, as he continued his visits, and declared himself
extremely desirous to cultivate a friendship with the whole family; and
as he could have no doubt about her sense, if she might take upon her to
join her own with the general opinion; he having taken great notice of,
and admired many of her good things as they fell from her lips. Reserves
were painful, she must needs say, to open and free spirits, like hers:
and yet she must tell my aunt,' (to whom all this was directed) 'that
she should never forget what she owed to her sex, and to herself, were
Mr. Lovelace as unexceptionable in his morals as in his figure, and were
he to urge his suit ever so warmly.'

I was not of her council. I was still absent. And it was agreed upon
between my aunt Hervey and her, that she was to be quite solemn and shy
in his next visit, if there were not a peculiarity in his address to
her.

But my sister it seems had not considered the matter well. This was not
the way, as it proved, to be taken for matters of mere omission, with a
man of Mr. Lovelace's penetration. Nor with any man; since if love has
not taken root deep enough to cause it to shoot out into declaration, if
an opportunity be fairly given for it, there is little room to expect,
that the blighting winds of anger or resentment will bring it forward.
Then my poor sister is not naturally good-humoured. This is too
well-known a truth for me to endeavor to conceal it, especially from
you. She must therefore, I doubt, have appeared to great disadvantages
when she aimed to be worse tempered than ordinary.

How they managed it in their next conversation I know not. One would be
tempted to think by the issue, that Mr. Lovelace was ungenerous enough
to seek the occasion given,* and to improve it. Yet he thought fit to
put the question too:--But, she says, it was not till, by some means
or other (she knew not how) he had wrought her up to such a pitch of
displeasure with him, that it was impossible for her to recover herself
at the instant. Nevertheless he re-urged his question, as expecting
a definitive answer, without waiting for the return of her temper,
or endeavouring to mollify her; so that she was under a necessity of
persisting in her denial: yet gave him reason to think she did not
dislike his address, only the manner of it; his court being rather made
to her mother than to herself, as if he was sure of her consent at any
time.


     * See Mr. Lovelace's Letter, No. XXXI, in which he briefly
     accounts for his conduct in this affair.


A good encouraging denial, I must own: as was the rest of her plea; to
wit, 'A disinclination to change her state. Exceedingly happy as she
was: she never could be happier!' And such-like consenting negatives,
as I may call them, and yet not intend a reflection upon my sister: for
what can any young creature in the like circumstances say, when she is
not sure but a too-ready consent may subject her to the slights of a sex
that generally values a blessing either more or less as it is obtained
with difficulty or ease? Miss Biddulph's answer to a copy of verse from
a gentleman, reproaching our sex as acting in disguise, is not a bad
one, although you may perhaps think it too acknowledging for the female
character.

 Ungen'rous Sex!--To scorn us if we're kind;
   And yet upbraid us if we seem severe!
 Do you, t' encourage us to tell our mind,
   Yourselves put off disguise, and be sincere.
 You talk of coquetry!--Your own false hearts
 Compel our sex to act dissembling parts.

Here I am obliged to lay down my pen. I will soon resume it.



LETTER III

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE JAN. 13, 14.


And thus, as Mr. Lovelace thought fit to take it, had he his answer from
my sister. It was with very great regret, as he pretended, [I doubt
the man is an hypocrite, my dear] that he acquiesced in it. 'So much
determinedness; such a noble firmness in my sister, that there was no
hope of prevailing upon her to alter sentiments she had adopted on full
consideration.' He sighed, as Bella told us, when he took his leave of
her: 'Profoundly sighed; grasped her hand, and kissed it with such an
ardour--Withdrew with such an air of solemn respect--She could almost
find it in her heart, although he had vexed her, to pity him.' A good
intentional preparative to love, this pity; since, at the time, she
little thought that he would not renew his offer.

He waited on my mother after he had taken leave of Bella, and reported
his ill success in so respectful a manner, as well with regard to my
sister, as to the whole family, and with so much concern that he was
not accepted as a relation to it, that it left upon them all (my brother
being then, as I have said, in Scotland) impressions in his favour, and
a belief that this matter would certainly be brought on again. But Mr.
Lovelace going up directly to town, where he staid a whole fortnight,
and meeting there with my uncle Antony, to whom he regretted his niece's
cruel resolution not to change her state; it was seen that there was a
total end of the affair.

My sister was not wanting to herself on this occasion. She made a
virtue of necessity; and the man was quite another man with her. 'A vain
creature! Too well knowing his advantages: yet those not what she had
conceived them to be!--Cool and warm by fits and starts; an ague-like
lover. A steady man, a man of virtue, a man of morals, was worth a
thousand of such gay flutterers. Her sister Clary might think it worth
her while perhaps to try to engage such a man: she had patience: she
was mistress of persuasion: and indeed, to do the girl justice, had
something of a person: But as for her, she would not have a man of whose
heart she could not be sure for one moment; no, not for the world: and
most sincerely glad was she that she had rejected him.'

But when Mr. Lovelace returned into the country, he thought fit to visit
my father and mother; hoping, as he told them, that, however unhappy
he had been in the rejection of the wished-for alliance, he might be
allowed to keep up an acquaintance and friendship with a family which he
should always respect. And then unhappily, as I may say, was I at home
and present.

It was immediately observed, that his attention was fixed on me. My
sister, as soon as he was gone, in a spirit of bravery, seemed desirous
to promote his address, should it be tendered.

My aunt Hervey was there; and was pleased to say, we should make the
finest couple in England--if my sister had no objection.--No, indeed!
with a haughty toss, was my sister's reply--it would be strange if she
had, after the denial she had given him upon full deliberation.

My mother declared, that her only dislike of his alliance with either
daughter, was on account of his reputed faulty morals.

My uncle Harlowe, that his daughter Clary, as he delighted to call me
from childhood, would reform him if any woman in the world could.

My uncle Antony gave his approbation in high terms: but referred, as my
aunt had done, to my sister.

She repeated her contempt of him; and declared, that, were there not
another man in England, she would not have him. She was ready, on the
contrary, she could assure them, to resign her pretensions under hand
and seal, if Miss Clary were taken with his tinsel, and if every one
else approved of his address to the girl.

My father indeed, after a long silence, being urged by my uncle Antony
to speak his mind, said, that he had a letter from his son, on his
hearing of Mr. Lovelace's visits to his daughter Arabella; which he had
not shewn to any body but my mother; that treaty being at an end when
he received it: that in this letter he expressed great dislike to an
alliance with Mr. Lovelace on the score of his immoralities: that he
knew, indeed, there was an old grudge between them; but that, being
desirous to prevent all occasions of disunion and animosity in his
family, he would suspend the declaration of his own mind till his son
arrived, and till he had heard his further objections: that he was the
more inclined to make his son this compliment, as Mr. Lovelace's general
character gave but too much ground for his son's dislike of him; adding,
that he had hear (so, he supposed, had every one,) that he was a very
extravagant man; that he had contracted debts in his travels: and
indeed, he was pleased to say, he had the air of a spendthrift.

These particulars I had partly from my aunt Hervey, and partly from my
sister; for I was called out as soon as the subject was entered upon.
When I returned, my uncle Antony asked me, how I should like Mr.
Lovelace? Every body saw, he was pleased to say, that I had made a
conquest.

I immediately answered, that I did not like him at all: he seemed to
have too good an opinion both on his person and parts, to have any
regard to his wife, let him marry whom he would.

My sister particularly was pleased with this answer, and confirmed it to
be just; with a compliment to my judgment.--For it was hers.

But the very next day Lord M. came to Harlowe-Place [I was then absent];
and in his nephew's name made a proposal in form; declaring, that it was
the ambition of all his family to be related to ours: and he hoped his
kinsman would not have such an answer on the part of the younger sister,
as he had on that of the elder.

In short, Mr. Lovelace's visits were admitted as those of a man who had
not deserved disrespect from our family; but as to his address to
me, with a reservation, as above, on my father's part, that he would
determine nothing without his son. My discretion as to the rest was
confided in: for still I had the same objections as to the man: nor
would I, when we were better acquainted, hear any thing but general talk
from him; giving him no opportunity of conversing with me in private.

He bore this with a resignation little expected from his natural temper,
which is generally reported to be quick and hasty; unused it seems
from childhood to check or controul. A case too common in considerable
families where there is an only son: and his mother never had any
other child. But, as I have heretofore told you, I could perceive,
notwithstanding this resignation, that he had so good an opinion of
himself, as not to doubt, that his person and accomplishments would
insensibly engage me: And could that be once done, he told my aunt
Hervey, he should hope, from so steady a temper, that his hold in my
affections would be durable: While my sister accounted for his patience
in another manner, which would perhaps have had more force if it had
come from a person less prejudiced: 'That the man was not fond of
marrying at all: that he might perhaps have half a score mistresses: and
that delay might be as convenient for his roving, as for my well-acted
indifference.' That was her kind expression.

Whatever was his motive for a patience so generally believed to be out
of his usual character, and where the object of his address was supposed
to be of fortune considerable enough to engage his warmest attention,
he certainly escaped many mortifications by it: for while my father
suspended his approbation till my brother's arrival, Mr. Lovelace
received from every one those civilities which were due to his birth:
and although we heard from time to time reports to his disadvantage with
regard to morals, yet could we not question him upon them without giving
him greater advantages in his own opinion than the situation he was in
with us would justify to prudence; since it was much more likely that
his address would not be allowed of, than that it would.

And thus was he admitted to converse with our family almost upon his own
terms; for while my friends saw nothing in his behaviour but what was
extremely respectful, and observed in him no violent importunity,
they seemed to have taken a great liking to his conversation: While I
considered him only as a common guest when he came; and thought myself
no more concerned in his visits, not at his entrance and departure, than
any other of the family.

But this indifference on my side was the means of procuring him one
very great advantage; since upon it was grounded that correspondence by
letters which succeeded;--and which, had it been to be begun when the
family animosity broke out, would never have been entered into on my
part. The occasion was this:

My uncle Hervey has a young gentleman intrusted to his care, whom he has
thoughts of sending abroad a year or two hence, to make the Grand Tour,
as it is called; and finding Mr. Lovelace could give a good account
of every thing necessary for a young traveller to observe upon such an
occasion, he desired him to write down a description of the courts and
countries he had visited, and what was most worthy of curiosity in them.

He consented, on condition that I would direct his subjects, as he
called it: and as every one had heard his manner of writing commended;
and thought his narratives might be agreeable amusements in winter
evenings; and that he could have no opportunity particularly to address
me directly in them, since they were to be read in full assembly before
they were given to the young gentleman, I made the less scruple to
write, and to make observations, and put questions for our further
information--Still the less perhaps as I love writing; and those who do,
are fond, you know, of occasions to use the pen: And then, having
ever one's consent, and my uncle Hervey's desire that I would write,
I thought that if I had been the only scrupulous person, it would have
shewn a particularity that a vain man might construe to his advantage;
and which my sister would not fail to animadvert upon.

You have seen some of these letters; and have been pleased with this
account of persons, places, and things; and we have both agreed, that he
was no common observer upon what he had seen.

My sister allowed that the man had a tolerable knack of writing and
describing: And my father, who had been abroad in his youth, said, that
his remarks were curious, and shewed him to be a person of reading,
judgment and taste.

Thus was a kind of correspondence begun between him and me, with general
approbation; while every one wondered at, and was pleased with, his
patient veneration of me; for so they called it. However, it was not
doubted but he would soon be more importunate, since his visits were
more frequent, and he acknowledged to my aunt Hervey a passion for me,
accompanied with an awe that he had never known before; to which he
attributed what he called his but seeming acquiescence with my father's
pleasure, and the distance I kept him at. And yet, my dear, this may be
his usual manner of behaviour to our sex; for had not my sister at first
all his reverence?

Mean time, my father, expecting his importunity, kept in readiness the
reports he had heard in his disfavour, to charge them upon him then, as
so many objections to address. And it was highly agreeable to me that he
did so: it would have been strange if it were not; since the person who
could reject Mr. Wyerley's address for the sake of his free opinions,
must have been inexcusable, had she not rejected another's for his freer
practices.

But I should own, that in the letters he sent me upon the general
subject, he more than once inclosed a particular one, declaring his
passionate regards for me, and complaining with fervour enough, of my
reserves. But of these I took not the least notice: for, as I had not
written to him at all, but upon a subject so general, I thought it was
but right to let what he wrote upon one so particular pass off as if I
had never seen it; and the rather, as I was not then at liberty (from
the approbation his letters met with) to break off the correspondence,
unless I had assigned the true reason for doing so. Besides, with all
his respectful assiduities, it was easy to observe, (if it had not been
his general character) that his temper is naturally haughty and violent;
and I had seen too much of that untractable spirit in my brother to like
it in one who hoped to be still more nearly related to me.

I had a little specimen of this temper of his upon the very occasion I
have mentioned: For after he had sent me a third particular letter with
the general one, he asked me the next time he came to Harlowe-Place,
if I had not received such a one from him?--I told him I should never
answer one so sent; and that I had waited for such an occasion as he had
now given me, to tell him so: I desired him therefore not to write again
on the subject; assuring him, that if he did, I would return both, and
never write another line to him.

You can't imagine how saucily the man looked; as if, in short, he was
disappointed that he had not made a more sensible impression upon me:
nor, when he recollected himself (as he did immediately), what a visible
struggle it cost him to change his haughty airs for more placid ones.
But I took no notice of either; for I thought it best to convince him,
by the coolness and indifference with which I repulsed his forward hopes
(at the same time intending to avoid the affectation of pride or
vanity) that he was not considerable enough in my eyes to make me take
over-ready offence at what he said, or at his haughty looks: in other
words, that I had not value enough for him to treat him with peculiarity
either by smiles or frowns. Indeed he had cunning enough to give me,
undesignedly, a piece of instruction which taught me this caution; for
he had said in conversation once, 'That if a man could not make a woman
in courtship own herself pleased with him, it was as much and oftentimes
more to his purpose to make her angry with him.'

I must break off here, but will continue the subject the very first
opportunity. Mean time, I am

Your most affectionate friend and servant, CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER IV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE JAN. 15.


Such, my dear, was the situation Mr. Lovelace and I were in when my
brother arrived from Scotland.

The moment Mr. Lovelace's visits were mentioned to him, he, without
either hesitation or apology, expressed his disapprobation of them. He
found great flaws in his character; and took the liberty to say in so
many words, that he wondered how it came into the heads of his uncles
to encourage such a man for either of his sisters: At the same time
returning his thanks to my father for declining his consent till he
arrived, in such a manner, I thought, as a superior would do, when he
commended an inferior for having well performed his duty in his absence.

He justified his avowed inveteracy by common fame, and by what he had
known of him at college; declaring, that he had ever hated him; ever
should hate him; and would never own him for a brother, or me for a
sister, if I married him.

That early antipathy I have heard accounted for in this manner:

Mr. Lovelace was always noted for his vivacity and courage; and no less,
it seems, for the swift and surprising progress he made in all parts of
literature: for diligence in his studies in the hours of study, he
had hardly his equal. This it seems was his general character at the
university; and it gained him many friends among the more learned; while
those who did not love him, feared him, by reason of the offence his
vivacity made him too ready to give, and of the courage he shewed in
supporting the offence when given; which procured him as many followers
as he pleased among the mischievous sort.--No very amiable character,
you'll say, upon the whole.

But my brother's temper was not more happy. His native haughtiness could
not bear a superiority so visible; and whom we fear more than love, we
are not far from hating: and having less command of his passions than
the other, he was evermore the subject of his perhaps indecent
ridicule: so that every body, either from love or fear, siding with his
antagonist, he had a most uneasy time of it while both continued in the
same college.--It was the less wonder therefore that a young man who is
not noted for the gentleness of his temper, should resume an antipathy
early begun, and so deeply rooted.

He found my sister, who waited but for the occasion, ready to join him
in his resentments against the man he hated. She utterly disclaimed
all manner of regard for him: 'Never liked him at all:--His estate was
certainly much incumbered: it was impossible it should be otherwise; so
entirely devoted as he was to his pleasures. He kept no house; had no
equipage: Nobody pretended that he wanted pride: the reason therefore
was easy to be guessed at.' And then did she boast of, and my brother
praised her for, refusing him: and both joined on all occasions to
depreciate him, and not seldom made the occasions; their displeasure
against him causing every subject to run into this, if it began not with
it.

I was not solicitous to vindicate him when I was not joined in their
reflection. I told them I did not value him enough to make a difference
in the family on his account: and as he was supposed to have given
much cause for their ill opinion of him, I thought he ought to take the
consequence of his own faults.

Now and then indeed, when I observed that their vehemence carried them
beyond all bounds of probability in their charges against him, I thought
it but justice to put in a word for him. But this only subjected me
to reproach, as having a prepossession in his favour which I would not
own.--So that, when I could not change the subject, I used to retire
either to my music, or to my closet.

Their behaviour to him, when they could not help seeing him, was very
cold and disobliging; but as yet not directly affrontive. For they were
in hopes of prevailing upon my father to forbid his visits. But as there
was nothing in his behaviour, that might warrant such a treatment of
a man of his birth and fortune, they succeeded not: And then they were
very earnest with me to forbid them. I asked, what authority I had to
take such a step in my father's house; and when my behaviour to him was
so distant, that he seemed to be as much the guest of any other person
of the family, themselves excepted, as mine?--In revenge, they told me,
that it was cunning management between us; and that we both understood
one another better than we pretended to do. And at last they gave such a
loose to their passions, all of a sudden* as I may say, that instead of
withdrawing, as they used to do when he came, they threw themselves in
his way purposely to affront him.


     * The reason of this their more openly shown animosity is
     given in Letter XIII.


Mr. Lovelace, you may believe, very ill brooked this: but nevertheless
contented himself to complain of it to me: in high terms, however,
telling me, that but for my sake my brother's treatment of him was not
to be borne.

I was sorry for the merit this gave him in his own opinion with me: and
the more, as some of the affronts he received were too flagrant to be
excused: But I told him, that I was determined not to fall out with
my brother, if I could help it, whatever faults he had: and since they
could not see one another with temper, should be glad that he would not
throw himself in my brother's way; and I was sure my brother would not
seek him.

He was very much nettled at this answer: But said, he must bear his
affronts if I would have it so. He had been accused himself of violence
in his temper; but he hoped to shew on this occasion that he had a
command of his passions which few young men, so highly provoked, would
be able to shew; and doubted not but it would be attributed to a proper
motive by a person of my generosity and penetration.

My brother had just before, with the approbation of my uncles, employed
a person related to a discharged bailiff or steward of Lord M. who had
had the management of some part of Mr. Lovelace's affairs (from which
he was also dismissed by him) to inquire into his debts, after his
companions, into his amours, and the like.

My aunt Hervey, in confidence, gave me the following particulars of what
the man had said of him.

'That he was a generous landlord: that he spared nothing for solid and
lasting improvements upon his estate; and that he looked into his own
affairs, and understood them: that he had been very expensive when
abroad; and contracted a large debt (for he made no secret of his
affairs); yet chose to limit himself to an annual sum, and to decline
equipage, in order to avoid being obliged to his uncle and aunts; from
whom he might have what money he pleased; but that he was very jealous
of their controul; had often quarrels with them; and treated them so
freely, that they were all afraid of him. However, that his estate was
never mortgaged, as my brother had heard it was; his credit was always
high; and the man believed, he was by this time near upon, if not quite,
clear of the world.

'He was a sad gentleman, he said, as to women:--If his tenants had
pretty daughters, they chose to keep them out of his sight. He believed
he kept no particular mistress; for he had heard newelty, that was the
man's word, was every thing with him. But for his uncle's and aunt's
teazings, the man fancied he would not think of marriage: he was never
known to be disguised with liquor; but was a great plotter, and a great
writer: That he lived a wild life in town, by what he had heard: had six
or seven companions as bad as himself; whom now and then he brought down
with him; and the country was always glad when they went up again. He
would have it, that although passionate, he was good-humoured; loved
as well to take a jest as to give one; and would rally himself upon
occasion the freest of any man he ever knew.'

This was his character from an enemy; for, as my aunt observed, every
thing the man said commendably of him came grudgingly, with a must needs
say--to do him justice, &c. while the contrary was delivered with a free
good-will. And this character, as a worse was expected, though this was
bad enough, not answering the end of inquiring after it, my brother and
sister were more apprehensive than before, that his address would be
encouraged, since the worst part of it was known, or supposed, when he
was first introduced to my sister.

But, with regard to myself, I must observe in his disfavour, that,
notwithstanding the merit he wanted to make with me for his patience
upon my brother's ill-treatment of him, I owed him no compliments
for trying to conciliate with him. Not that I believe it would have
signified any thing if he had made ever such court either to him or to
my sister: yet one might have expected from a man of his politeness, and
from his pretensions, you know, that he would have been willing to try.
Instead of which, he shewed such a contempt both of my brother and my
sister, especially my brother, as was construed into a defiance of
them. And for me to have hinted at an alteration in his behaviour to my
brother, was an advantage I knew he would have been proud of; and which
therefore I had no mind to give him. But I doubted not that having so
very little encouragement from any body, his pride would soon take fire,
and he would of himself discontinue his visits, or go to town; where,
till he came acquainted with our family, he used chiefly to reside: And
in this latter case he had no reason to expect, that I would receive,
much less answer, his Letters: the occasions which had led me to receive
any of his, being by this time over.

But my brother's antipathy would not permit him to wait for such an
event; and after several excesses, which Mr. Lovelace still returned
with contempt, and a haughtiness too much like that of the aggressor, my
brother took upon himself to fill up the door-way once when he came, as
if to oppose his entrance: And upon his asking for me, demanded, what
his business was with his sister?

The other, with a challenging air, as my brother says, told him, he
would answer a gentleman any question; but he wished that Mr. James
Harlowe, who had of late given himself high airs, would remember that he
was not now at college.

Just then the good Dr. Lewen, who frequently honours me with a visit of
conversation, as he is pleased to call it, and had parted with me in my
own parlour, came to the door: and hearing the words, interposed; both
having their hands upon their swords: and telling Mr. Lovelace where
I was, he burst by my brother, to come to me; leaving him chafing, he
said, like a hunted boar at bay.

This alarmed us all. My father was pleased to hint to Mr. Lovelace,
that he wished he would discontinue his visits for the peace-sake of the
family: And I, by his command, spoke a great deal plainer.

But Mr. Lovelace is a man not easily brought to give up his purpose,
especially in a point wherein he pretends his heart is so much engaged:
and no absolute prohibition having been given, things went on for a
little while as before: for I saw plainly, that to have denied myself to
his visits (which however I declined receiving as often as I could) was
to bring forward some desperate issue between the two; since the offence
so readily given on one side was brooked by the other only out of
consideration to me.

And thus did my brother's rashness lay me under an obligation where I
would least have owed it.

The intermediate proposals of Mr. Symmes and Mr. Mullins, both (in turn)
encouraged by my brother, induced him to be more patient for a while,
as nobody thought me over-forward in Mr. Lovelace's favour; for he hoped
that he should engage my father and uncles to approve of the one or the
other in opposition to the man he hated. But when he found that I
had interest enough to disengage myself from the addresses of those
gentlemen, as I had (before he went to Scotland, and before Mr. Lovelace
visited here) of Mr. Wyerley's, he then kept no measures: and first set
himself to upbraid me for supposed prepossession, which he treated as
if it were criminal; and then to insult Mr. Lovelace in person, at Mr.
Edward Symmes's, the brother of the other Symmes, two miles off; and
no good Dr. Lewen being there to interpose, the unhappy rencounter
followed. My brother was disarmed, as you have heard; and on being
brought home, and giving us ground to suppose he was much worse hurt
than he really was, and a fever ensuing, every one flamed out; and all
was laid at my door.

Mr. Lovelace for three days together sent twice each day to inquire
after my brother's health; and although he received rude and even
shocking returns, he thought fit on the fourth day to make in person
the same inquiries; and received still greater incivilities from my two
uncles, who happened to be both there. My father also was held by force
from going to him with his sword in his hand, although he had the gout
upon him.

I fainted away with terror, seeing every one so violent, and hearing Mr.
Lovelace swear that he would not depart till he had made my uncles ask
his pardon for the indignities he had received at their hands; a door
being held fast locked between him and them. My mother all the time
was praying and struggling to with-hold my father in the great parlour.
Meanwhile my sister, who had treated Mr. Lovelace with virulence, came
in to me, and insulted me as fast as I recovered. But when Mr. Lovelace
was told how ill I was, he departed; nevertheless vowing revenge.

He was ever a favourite with our domestics. His bounty to them, and
having always something facetious to say to each, had made them all of
his party: and on this occasion they privately blamed every body else,
and reported his calm and gentlemanly behaviour (till the provocations
given him ran very high) in such favourable terms, that those reports,
and my apprehensions of the consequence of this treatment, induced me to
read a letter he sent me that night; and, it being written in the most
respectful terms (offering to submit the whole to my decision, and to
govern himself entirely by my will) to answer it some days after.

To this unhappy necessity was owing our renewed correspondence, as I
may call it; yet I did not write till I had informed myself from Mr.
Symmes's brother, that he was really insulted into the act of drawing
his sword by my brother's repeatedly threatening (upon his excusing
himself out of regard to me) to brand me ir he did not; and, by all the
inquiry I could make, that he was again the sufferer from my uncles in a
more violent manner than I have related.

The same circumstances were related to my father and other relations by
Mr. Symmes; but they had gone too far in making themselves parties
to the quarrel either to retract or forgive; and I was forbidden to
correspond with him, or to be seen a moment in his company.

One thing however I can say, but that in confidence, because my mother
commanded me not to mention it:--That, expressing her apprehension of
the consequences of the indignities offered to Mr. Lovelace, she told
me, she would leave it to my prudence to do all I could to prevent the
impending mischief on one side.

I am obliged to break off. But I believe I have written enough to answer
very fully all that you have required of me. It is not for a child
to seek to clear her own character, or to justify her actions, at the
expense of the most revered ones: yet, as I know that the account of
all those further proceedings by which I may be affected, will be
interesting to so dear a friend (who will communicate to others no more
than what is fitting) I will continue to write, as I have opportunity,
as minutely as we are used to write to each other. Indeed I have
no delight, as I have often told you, equal to that which I take in
conversing with you by letter, when I cannot in person.

Mean time, I cannot help saying, that I am exceedingly concerned to
find, that I am become so much the public talk as you tell me I am. Your
kind, your precautionary regard for my fame, and the opportunity you
have given me to tell my own story previous to any new accident (which
heaven avert!) is so like the warm friend I have ever found in my dear
Miss Howe, that, with redoubled obligation, you bind me to be

Your ever grateful and affectionate, CLARISSA HARLOWE.


Copy of the requested Preamble to the clauses in her Grandfather's Will:
inclosed in the preceding Letter.


As the particular estate I have mentioned and described above, is
principally of my own raising: as my three sons have been uncommonly
prosperous; and are very rich: the eldest by means of the unexpected
benefits he reaps from his new found mines; the second, by what has, as
unexpectedly, fallen in to him on the deaths of several relations of
his present wife, the worthy daughter by both sides of very honourable
families; over and above the very large portion which he received with
her in marriage: my son Antony by his East-India traffic, and successful
voyages: as furthermore my grandson James will be sufficiently provided
for by his grandmother Lovell's kindness to him; who, having no near
relations, hath assured me, that she hath, as well by deed of gift as
by will, left him both her Scottish and English estates: for never
was there a family more prosperous in all its branches, blessed be God
therefore: and as my said son James will very probably make it up to
my grand-daughter Arabella; to whom I intend no disrespect; nor have
reason; for she is a very hopeful and dutiful child: and as my sons,
John and Antony, seem not inclined to a married life; so that my son
James is the only one who has children, or is likely to have any. For
all these reasons; and because my dearest and beloved grand-daughter
Clarissa hath been from her infancy a matchless young creature in her
duty to me, and admired by all who knew her, as a very extraordinary
child; I must therefore take the pleasure of considering her as my own
peculiar child; and this without intending offence; and I hope it
will not be taken as any, since my son James can bestow his favours
accordingly, and in greater proportion, upon his son James, and upon his
daughter Arabella.--

These, I say, are the reasons which move me to dispose of the
above-described estate in the precious child's favour; who is the
delight of my old age: and, I verily think, has contributed, by her
amiable duty and kind and tender regards, to prolong my life.

Wherefore it is my express will and commandment, and I enjoin my said
three sons, John, James, and Antony, and my grandson James, and my
grand-daughter Arabella, as they value my blessing, and will regard my
memory, and would wish their own last wills and desires to be fulfilled
by their survivors, that they will not impugn or contest the following
bequests and devises in favour of my said grand-daughter Clarissa,
although they should not be strictly conformable to law or to the forms
thereof; nor suffer them to be controverted or disputed on any pretence
whatsoever.

And in this confidence, &c. &c. &c.



LETTER V

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE JAN. 20


I have been hindered from prosecuting my intention. Neither nights nor
mornings have been my own. My mother has been very ill; and would have
no other nurse but me. I have not stirred from her bedside (for she kept
her bed); and two nights I had the honour of sharing it with her.

Her disorder was a very violet colic. The contentions of these fierce,
these masculine spirits, and the apprehension of mischiefs that may
arise from the increasing animosity which all here have against Mr.
Lovelace, and his too well known resenting and intrepid character, she
cannot bear. Then the foundations laid, as she dreads, for jealousy and
heart-burnings in her own family, late so happy and so united, afflict
exceedingly a gentle and sensible mind, which has from the beginning, on
all occasions, sacrificed its own inward satisfaction to outward peace.
My brother and sister, who used very often to jar, are now so entirely
one, and are so much together, (caballing was the word that dropt from
my mother's lips, as if at unawares,) that she is very fearful of the
consequences that may follow;--to my prejudice, perhaps, is her kind
concern; since she sees that they behave to me every hour with more and
more shyness and reserve: yet, would she but exert that authority which
the superiority of her fine talents gives her, all these family feuds
might perhaps be extinguished in their but yet beginnings; especially as
she may be assured that all fitting concessions shall be made by me,
not only as my brother and sister are my elders, but for the sake of so
excellent and so indulgent a mother.

For, if I may say to you, my dear, what I would not to any other person
living, it is my opinion, that had she been of a temper that would have
borne less, she would have had ten times less to bear, than she has had.
No commendation, you'll say, of the generosity of those spirits which
can turn to its own disquiet so much condescending goodness.

Upon my word I am sometimes tempted to think that we may make the world
allow for and respect us as we please, if we can but be sturdy in our
wills, and set out accordingly. It is but being the less beloved for it,
that's all: and if we have power to oblige those we have to do with, it
will not appear to us that we are. Our flatterers will tell us any thing
sooner than our faults, or what they know we do not like to hear.

Were there not truth in this observation, is it possible that my brother
and sister could make their very failings, their vehemences, of such
importance to all the family? 'How will my son, how will my nephew, take
this or that measure? What will he say to it? Let us consult him about
it;' are references always previous to every resolution taken by his
superiors, whose will ought to be his. Well may he expect to be treated
with this deference by every other person, when my father himself,
generally so absolute, constantly pays it to him; and the more since his
godmother's bounty has given independence to a spirit that was before
under too little restraint.--But whither may these reflections lead
me!--I know you do not love any of us but my mother and me; and, being
above all disguises, make me sensible that you do not oftener than I
wish.--Ought I then to add force to your dislikes of those whom I wish
you to like?--of my father especially; for he, alas! has some excuse
for his impatience of contradiction. He is not naturally an ill-tempered
man; and in his person and air, and in his conversation too, when not
under the torture of a gouty paroxysm, every body distinguishes the
gentleman born and educated.

Our sex perhaps must expect to bear a little--uncourtliness shall I call
it?--from the husband whom as the lover they let know the preference
their hearts gave him to all other men.--Say what they will of
generosity being a manly virtue; but upon my word, my dear, I have ever
yet observed, that it is not to be met with in that sex one time in ten
that it is to be found in ours.--But my father was soured by the cruel
distemper I have named; which seized him all at once in the very prime
of life, in so violent a manner as to take from the most active of
minds, as his was, all power of activity, and that in all appearance for
life.--It imprisoned, as I may say, his lively spirits in himself,
and turned the edge of them against his own peace; his extraordinary
prosperity adding to his impatiency. Those, I believe, who want the
fewest earthly blessings, most regret that they want any.

But my brother! What excuse can be made for his haughty and morose
temper? He is really, my dear, I am sorry to have occasion to say it, an
ill-temper'd young man; and treats my mother sometimes--Indeed he is not
dutiful.--But, possessing every thing, he has the vice of age, mingled
with the ambition of youth, and enjoys nothing--but his own haughtiness
and ill-temper, I was going to say.--Yet again am I adding force to your
dislikes of some of us.--Once, my dear, it was perhaps in your power to
have moulded him as you pleased.--Could you have been my sister!--Then
had I friend in a sister.--But no wonder that he does not love you now;
who could nip in the bud, and that with a disdain, let me say, too
much of kin to his haughtiness, a passion that would not have wanted
a fervour worthy of the object; and which possibly would have made him
worthy.

But no more of this. I will prosecute my former intention in my next;
which I will sit down to as soon as breakfast is over; dispatching this
by the messenger whom you have so kindly sent to inquire after us on my
silence. Mean time, I am,


Your most affectionate and obliged friend and servant, CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER VI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE HARLOWE-PLACE, JAN. 20.


I will now resume my narrative of proceedings here.--My brother being
in a good way, although you may be sure that his resentments are rather
heightened than abated by the galling disgrace he has received, my
friends (my father and uncles, however, if not my brother and sister)
begin to think that I have been treated unkindly. My mother been so good
as to tell me this since I sent away my last.

Nevertheless I believe they all think that I receive letters from Mr.
Lovelace. But Lord M. being inclined rather to support than to blame his
nephew, they seem to be so much afraid of Mr. Lovelace, that they do
not put it to me whether I do or not; conniving on the contrary, as it
should seem, at the only method left to allay the vehemence of a spirit
which they have so much provoked: For he still insists upon satisfaction
from my uncles; and this possibly (for he wants not art) as the best way
to be introduced again with some advantage into our family. And indeed
my aunt Hervey has put it to my mother, whether it were not best to
prevail upon my brother to take a turn to his Yorkshire estate (which he
was intending to do before) and to stay there till all is blown over.

But this is very far from being his intention: For he has already
began to hint again, that he shall never be easy or satisfied till I
am married; and, finding neither Mr. Symmes nor Mr. Mullins will be
accepted, has proposed Mr. Wyerley once more, on the score of his
great passion for me. This I have again rejected; and but yesterday he
mentioned one who has applied to him by letter, making high offers. This
is Mr. Solmes; Rich Solmes you know they call him. But this application
has not met with the attention of one single soul.

If none of his schemes of getting me married take effect, he has
thoughts, I am told, of proposing to me to go to Scotland, that as the
compliment is, I may put his house there in such order as our own is in.
But this my mother intends to oppose for her own sake; because having
relieved her, as she is pleased to say, of the household cares (for
which my sister, you know, has no turn) they must again devolve upon her
if I go. And if she did not oppose it, I should; for, believe me, I have
no mind to be his housekeeper; and I am sure, were I to go with him, I
should be treated rather as a servant than a sister:--perhaps, not the
better because I am his sister. And if Mr. Lovelace should follow me,
things might be worse than they are now.

But I have besought my mother, who is apprehensive of Mr. Lovelace's
visits, and for fear of whom my uncles never stir out without arms and
armed servants (my brother also being near well enough to go abroad),
to procure me permission to be your guest for a fortnight, or so.--Will
your mother, think you, my dear, give me leave?

I dare not ask to go to my dairy-house, as my good grandfather would
call it: for I am now afraid of being thought to have a wish to enjoy
that independence to which his will has entitled me: and as matter are
situated, such a wish would be imputed to my regard to the man to whom
they have now so great an antipathy. And indeed could I be as easy and
happy here as I used to be, I would defy that man and all his sex; and
never repent that I have given the power of my fortune into my father's
hands.


***


Just now, my mother has rejoiced me with the news that my requested
permission is granted. Every one thinks it best that I should go to you,
except my brother. But he was told, that he must not expect to rule in
every thing. I am to be sent for into the great parlour, where are my
two uncles and my aunt Hervey, and to be acquainted with this concession
in form.

You know, my dear, that there is a good deal of solemnity among us.
But never was there a family more united in its different branches than
ours. Our uncles consider us as their own children, and declare that it
is for our sakes that they live single. So that they are advised
with upon every article relating to us, or that may affect us. It is
therefore the less wonder, at a time when they understand that Mr.
Lovelace is determined to pay us an amicable visit, as he calls it, (but
which I am sure cannot end amicably,) that they should both be consulted
upon the permission I had desired to attend you.


***


I will acquaint you with what passed at the general leave given me to be
your guest. And yet I know that you will not love my brother the better
for my communication. But I am angry with him myself, and cannot help
it. And besides, it is proper to let you know the terms I go upon, and
their motives for permitting me to go.

Clary, said my mother, as soon as I entered the great parlour, your
request to go to Miss Howe's for a few days has been taken into
consideration, and granted--

Much against my liking, I assure you, said my brother, rudely
interrupting her.

Son James! said my father, and knit his brows.

He was not daunted. His arm was in a sling. He often has the mean art
to look upon that, when any thing is hinted that may be supposed to lead
toward the least favour to or reconciliation with Mr. Lovelace.--Let the
girl then [I am often the girl with him] be prohibited seeing that vile
libertine.

Nobody spoke.

Do you hear, sister Clary? taking their silence for approbation of what
he had dictated; you are not to receive visits from Lord M.'s nephew.

Every one still remained silent.

Do you so understand the license you have, Miss? interrogated he.

I would be glad, Sir, said I, to understand that you are my
brother;--and that you would understand that you are only my brother.

O the fond, fond heart! with a sneer of insult, lifting up his hands.

Sir, said I, to my father, to your justice I appeal: If I have deserved
reflection, let me be not spared. But if I am to be answerable for the
rashness--

No more!--No more of either side, said my father. You are not to receive
the visits of that Lovelace, though.--Nor are you, son James, to reflect
upon your sister. She is a worthy child.

Sir, I have done, replied he:--and yet I have her honour at heart, as
much as the honour of the rest of the family.

And hence, Sir, retorted I, your unbrotherly reflections upon me?

Well, but you observe, Miss, said he, that it is not I, but your father,
that tells you, that you are not to receive the visits of that Lovelace.

Cousin Harlowe, said my aunt Hervey, allow me to say, that my cousin
Clary's prudence may be confided in.

I am convinced it may, joined my mother.

But, aunt, but, madam (put in my sister) there is no hurt, I presume, in
letting my sister know the condition she goes to Miss Howe upon; since,
if he gets a nack of visiting her there--

You may be sure, interrupted my uncle Harlowe, he will endeavour to see
her there.

So would such an impudent man here, said my uncle Antony: and 'tis
better done there than here.

Better no where, said my father.--I command you (turning to me) on pain
of displeasure, that you see him not at all.

I will not, Sir, in any way of encouragement, I do assure you: not at
all, if I can properly avoid it.

You know with what indifference, said my mother, she has hitherto seen
him.--Her prudence may be trusted to, as my sister Hervey says.

With what appa--rent indifference, drawled my brother.

Son James! said my father sternly.

I have done, Sir, said he. But again, in a provoking manner, he reminded
me of the prohibition.

Thus ended the conference.

Will you engage, my dear, that the hated man shall not come near your
house?--But what an inconsistence is this, when they consent to my
going, thinking his visits here no otherwise to be avoided!--But if he
does come, I charge you never to leave us alone together.

As I have no reason to doubt a welcome from your good mother, I will put
every thing in order here, and be with you in two or three days.

Mean time, I am Your most affectionate and obliged, CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER VII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE [AFTER HER RETURN FROM HER.]
HARLOWE-PLACE, FEB. 20.


I beg your excuse for not writing sooner. Alas! my dear, I have sad
prospects before me! My brother and sister have succeeded in all their
views. They have found out another lover for me; an hideous one!--Yet
he is encouraged by every body. No wonder that I was ordered home so
suddenly. At an hour's warning!--No other notice, you know, than what
was brought with the chariot that was to carry me back.--It was for
fear, as I have been informed [an unworthy fear!] that I should have
entered into any concert with Mr. Lovelace had I known their motive for
commanding me home; apprehending, 'tis evident, that I should dislike
the man they had to propose to me.

And well might they apprehend so:--For who do you think he is?--No
other than that Solmes--Could you have believed it?--And they are all
determined too; my mother with the rest!--Dear, dear excellence! how
could she be thus brought over, when I am assured, that on his first
being proposed she was pleased to say, That had Mr. Solmes the Indies
in possession, and would endow me with them, she should not think him
deserving of her Clarissa!

The reception I met with at my return, so different from what I used to
meet with on every little absence [and now I had been from them three
weeks], convinced me that I was to suffer for the happiness I had had
in your company and conversation for that most agreeable period. I will
give you an account of it.

My brother met me at the door, and gave me his hand when I stepped out
of the chariot. He bowed very low: pray, Miss, favour me.--I thought it
in good humour; but found it afterwards mock respect: and so he led
me in great form, I prattling all the way, inquiring of every body's
health, (although I was so soon to see them, and there was hardly time
for answers,) into the great parlour; where were my father, mother, my
two uncles, and sister.

I was struck all of a heap as soon as I entered, to see a solemnity
which I had been so little used to on the like occasions in the
countenance of every dear relation. They all kept their seats. I ran
to my father, and kneeled: then to my mother: and met from both a cold
salute: From my father a blessing but half pronounced: My mother indeed
called me child; but embraced me not with her usual indulgent ardour.

After I had paid my duty to my uncles, and my compliments to my sister,
which she received with solemn and stiff form, I was bid to sit down.
But my heart was full: and I said it became me to stand, if I could
stand, upon a reception so awful and unusual. I was forced to turn my
face from them, and pull out my handkerchief.

My unbrotherly accuser hereupon stood forth, and charged me with having
received no less than five or six visits at Miss Howe's from the
man they had all so much reason to hate [that was the expression];
notwithstanding the commands I had had to the contrary. And he bid me
deny it if I could.

I had never been used, I said, to deny the truth, nor would I now. I
owned I had in the three weeks passed seen the person I presumed he
meant oftener than five or six times [Pray hear me, brother, said I; for
he was going to flame out], but he always asked for Mrs. or Miss Howe,
when he came.

I proceeded, that I had reason to believe, that both Mrs. Howe and Miss,
as matters stood, would much rather have excused his visits; but they
had more than once apologized, that having not the same reason my papa
had to forbid him their house, his rank and fortune entitled him to
civility.

You see, my dear, I made not the pleas I might have made.

My brother seemed ready to give a loose to his passion: My father put
on the countenance which always portends a gathering storm: My uncles
mutteringly whispered: And my sister aggravatingly held up her hands.
While I begged to be heard out:--And my mother said, let the child, that
was her kind word, be heard.

I hoped, I said, there was no harm done: that it became not me to
prescribe to Mrs. or Miss Howe who should be their visitors: that Mrs.
Howe was always diverted with the raillery that passed between Miss and
him: that I had no reason to challenge her guest for my visitor, as I
should seem to have done had I refused to go into their company when he
was with them: that I had never seen him out of the presence of one or
both of those ladies; and had signified to him once, on his urging a
few moments' private conversation with me, that, unless a reconciliation
were effected between my family and his, he must not expect that I would
countenance his visits, much less give him an opportunity of that sort.

I told him further, that Miss Howe so well understood my mind, that she
never left me a moment while Mr. Lovelace was there: that when he came,
if I was not below in the parlour, I would not suffer myself to be
called to him: although I thought it would be an affectation which would
give him an advantage rather than the contrary, if I had left company
when he came in; or refused to enter into it when I found he would stay
any time.

My brother heard me out with such a kind of impatience as shewed he was
resolved to be dissatisfied with me, say what I would. The rest, as the
event has proved, behaved as if they would have been satisfied, had
they not further points to carry by intimidating me. All this made it
evident, as I mentioned above, that they themselves expected not my
voluntary compliance; and was a tacit confession of the disagreeableness
of the person they had to propose.

I was no sooner silent than my brother swore, although in my father's
presence, (swore, unchecked either by eye or countenance,) That for his
part, he would never be reconciled to that libertine: and that he would
renounce me for a sister, if I encouraged the addresses of a man so
obnoxious to them all.

A man who had like to have been my brother's murderer, my sister said,
with a face even bursting with restraint of passion.

The poor Bella has, you know, a plump high-fed face, if I may be allowed
the expression. You, I know, will forgive me for this liberty of speech
sooner than I can forgive myself: Yet how can one be such a reptile as
not to turn when trampled upon!

My father, with vehemence both of action and voice [my father has, you
know, a terrible voice when he is angry] told me that I had met with too
much indulgence in being allowed to refuse this gentleman, and the other
gentleman,; and it was now his turn to be obeyed!

Very true, my mother said:--and hoped his will would not now be disputed
by a child so favoured.

To shew they were all of a sentiment, my uncle Harlowe said, he hoped
his beloved niece only wanted to know her father's will, to obey it.

And my uncle Antony, in his rougher manner, added, that surely I would
not give them reason to apprehend, that I thought my grandfather's
favour to me had made me independent of them all.--If I did, he would
tell me, the will could be set aside, and should.

I was astonished, you must needs think.--Whose addresses now, thought I,
is this treatment preparative to?--Mr. Wyerley's again?--or whose? And
then, as high comparisons, where self is concerned, sooner than low,
come into young people's heads; be it for whom it will, this is wooing
as the English did for the heiress of Scotland in the time of Edward
the Sixth. But that it could be for Solmes, how should it enter into my
head?

I did not know, I said, that I had given occasion for this harshness.
I hoped I should always have a just sense of every one's favour to me,
superadded to the duty I owed as a daughter and a niece: but that I was
so much surprised at a reception so unusual and unexpected, that I hoped
my papa and mamma would give me leave to retire, in order to recollect
myself.

No one gainsaying, I made my silent compliments, and withdrew;--leaving
my brother and sister, as I thought, pleased; and as if they wanted to
congratulate each other on having occasioned so severe a beginning to be
made with me.

I went up to my chamber, and there with my faithful Hannah deplored the
determined face which the new proposal it was plain they had to make me
wore.

I had not recovered myself when I was sent for down to tea. I begged
my maid to be excused attending; but on the repeated command, went down
with as much cheerfulness as I could assume; and had a new fault to
clear myself of: for my brother, so pregnant a thing is determined
ill-will, by intimations equally rude and intelligible, charged my
desire of being excused coming down, to sullens, because a certain
person had been spoken against, upon whom, as he supposed, my fancy ran.

I could easily answer you, Sir, said I, as such a reflection deserves:
but I forbear. If I do not find a brother in you, you shall have a
sister in me.

Pretty meekness! Bella whisperingly said; looking at my brother, and
lifting up her lip in contempt.

He, with an imperious air, bid me deserve his love, and I should be sure
to have it.

As we sat, my mother, in her admirable manner, expatiated upon brotherly
and sisterly love; indulgently blamed my brother and sister for having
taken up displeasure too lightly against me; and politically, if I may
say so, answered for my obedience to my father's will.--The it would be
all well, my father was pleased to say: Then they should dote upon me,
was my brother's expression: Love me as well as ever, was my sister's:
And my uncles, That I then should be the pride of their hearts.--But,
alas! what a forfeiture of all these must I make!

This was the reception I had on my return from you.

Mr. Solmes came in before we had done tea. My uncle Antony presented
him to me, as a gentleman he had a particular friendship for. My uncle
Harlowe in terms equally favourable for him. My father said, Mr. Solmes
is my friend, Clarissa Harlowe. My mother looked at him, and looked at
me, now-and-then, as he sat near me, I thought with concern.--I at her,
with eyes appealing for pity. At him, when I could glance at him, with
disgust little short of affrightment. While my brother and sister Mr.
Solmes'd him, and Sirr'd--yet such a wretch!--But I will at present only
add, My humble thanks and duty to your honoured mother (to whom I will
particularly write, to express the grateful sense I have of her goodness
to me); and that I am

Your ever obliged, CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER VIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE FEB. 24.


They drive on here at a furious rate. The man lives here, I think.
He courts them, and is more and more a favourite. Such terms, such
settlements! That's the cry.

O my dear, that I had not reason to deplore the family fault, immensely
rich as they all are! But this I may the more unreservedly say to you,
as we have often joined in the same concern: I, for a father and uncles;
you, for a mother; in every other respect, faultless.

Hitherto, I seem to be delivered over to my brother, who pretends as
great a love to me as ever.

You may believe I have been very sincere with him. But he affects
to rally me, and not to believe it possible, that one so dutiful and
discreet as his sister Clary can resolve to disoblige all her friends.

Indeed, I tremble at the prospect before me; for it is evident that they
are strangely determined.

My father and mother industriously avoid giving me opportunity of
speaking to them alone. They ask not for my approbation, intended, as it
should seem, to suppose me into their will. And with them I shall hope
to prevail, or with nobody. They have not the interest in compelling me,
as my brother and sister have: I say less therefore to them, reserving
my whole force for an audience of my father, if he will permit me a
patient ear. How difficult is it, my dear, to give a negative where both
duty and inclination join to make one wish to oblige!

I have already stood the shock of three of this man's particular visits,
besides my share in his more general ones; and find it is impossible
I should ever endure him. He has but a very ordinary share of
understanding; is very illiterate; knows nothing but the value of
estates, and how to improve them, and what belongs to land-jobbing and
husbandry. Yet I am as one stupid, I think. They have begun so cruelly
with me, that I have not spirit enough to assert my own negative.

They had endeavoured it seems to influence my good Mrs. Norton before I
came home--so intent are they to carry their point! And her opinion
not being to their liking, she has been told that she would do well to
decline visiting here for the present: yet she is the person of all the
world, next to my mother, the most likely to prevail upon me, were the
measures they are engaged in reasonable measures, or such as she could
think so.

My aunt likewise having said that she did not think her niece could ever
be brought to like Mr. Solmes, has been obliged to learn another lesson.

I am to have a visit from her to-morrow. And, since I have refused so
much as to hear from my brother and sister what the noble settlements
are to be, she is to acquaint me with the particulars; and to receive
from me my determination: for my father, I am told, will not have
patience but to suppose that I shall stand in opposition to his will.

Mean time it has been signified to me, that it will be acceptable if I
do not think of going to church next Sunday.

The same signification was made for me last Sunday; and I obeyed. They
are apprehensive that Mr. Lovelace will be there with design to come
home with me.

Help me, dear Miss Howe, to a little of your charming spirit: I never
more wanted it.

The man, this Solmes, you may suppose, has no reason to boast of his
progress with me. He has not the sense to say any thing to the purpose.
His courtship indeed is to them; and my brother pretends to court me
as his proxy, truly!--I utterly, to my brother, reject his address; but
thinking a person, so well received and recommended by all my family,
entitled to good manners, all I say against him is affectedly attributed
to coyness: and he, not being sensible of his own imperfections,
believes that my avoiding him when I can, and the reserves I express,
are owing to nothing else: for, as I said, all his courtship is to
them; and I have no opportunity of saying no, to one who asks me not the
question. And so, with an air of mannish superiority, he seems rather to
pity the bashful girl, than to apprehend that he shall not succeed.


FEBRUARY 25.


I have had the expected conference with my aunt.

I have been obliged to hear the man's proposals from her; and have been
told also what their motives are for espousing his interest with so much
warmth. I am even loth to mention how equally unjust it is for him to
make such offers, or for those I am bound to reverence to accept of
them. I hate him more than before. One great estate is already obtained
at the expense of the relations to it, though distant relations; my
brother's, I mean, by his godmother: and this has given the hope,
however chimerical that hope, of procuring others; and that my own at
least may revert to the family. And yet, in my opinion, the world is
but one great family. Originally it was so. What then is this narrow
selfishness that reigns in us, but relationship remembered against
relationship forgot?

But here, upon my absolute refusal of him upon any terms, have I had
a signification made me that wounds me to the heart. How can I tell it
you? Yet I must. It is, my dear, that I must not for a month to come, or
till license obtained, correspond with any body out of the house.

My brother, upon my aunt's report, (made, however, as I am informed,
in the gentlest manner, and even giving remote hopes, which she had no
commission from me to give,) brought me, in authoritative terms, the
prohibition.

Not to Miss Howe? said I.

No, not to Miss Howe, Madam, tauntingly: for have you not acknowledged,
that Lovelace is a favourite there?

See, my dear Miss Howe--!

And do you think, Brother, this is the way--

Do you look to that.--But your letters will be stopt, I can tell
you.--And away he flung.

My sister came to me soon after--Sister Clary, you are going on in a
fine way, I understand. But as there are people who are supposed to
harden you against your duty, I am to tell you, that it will be taken
well if you avoid visits or visitings for a week or two till further
order.

Can this be from those who have authority--

Ask them; ask them, child, with a twirl of her finger.--I have delivered
my message. Your father will be obeyed. He is willing to hope you to be
all obedience, and would prevent all incitements to refractoriness.

I know my duty, said I; and hope I shall not find impossible condition
annexed to it.

A pert young creature, vain and conceited, she called me. I was the only
judge, in my own wise opinion, of what was right and fit. She, for her
part, had long seen into my specious ways: and now I should shew every
body what I was at bottom.

Dear Bella! said I, hands and eyes lifted up--why all this?--Dear, dear
Bella, why--

None of your dear, dear Bella's to me.--I tell you, I see through your
witchcrafts [that was her strange word]. And away she flung; adding, as
she went, and so will every body else very quickly, I dare say.

Bless me, said I to myself, what a sister have I!--How have I deserved
this?

Then I again regretted my grandfather's too distinguishing goodness to
me.


FEB. 25, IN THE EVENING.


What my brother and sister have said against me I cannot tell:--but I am
in heavy disgrace with my father.

I was sent for down to tea. I went with a very cheerful aspect: but had
occasion soon to change it.

Such a solemnity in every body's countenance!--My mother's eyes were
fixed upon the tea-cups; and when she looked up, it was heavily, as if
her eye-lids had weights upon them; and then not to me. My father sat
half-aside in his elbow-chair, that his head might be turned from me:
his hands clasped, and waving, as it were, up and down; his fingers,
poor dear gentleman! in motion, as if angry to the very ends of them. My
sister was swelling. My brother looked at me with scorn, having measured
me, as I may say, with his eyes as I entered, from head to foot. My aunt
was there, and looked upon me as if with kindness restrained, bending
coldly to my compliment to her as she sat; and then cast an eye first on
my brother, then on my sister, as if to give the reason [so I am willing
to construe it] of her unusual stiffness.--Bless me, my dear! that they
should choose to intimidate rather than invite a mind, till now, not
thought either unpersuadable or ungenerous!

I took my seat. Shall I make tea, Madam, to my mother?--I always used,
you know, my dear, to make tea.

No! a very short sentence, in one very short word, was the expressive
answer. And she was pleased to take the canister in her own hand.

My brother bid the footman, who attended, leave the room--I, he said,
will pour out the water.

My heart was up in my mouth. I did not know what to do with myself. What
is to follow? thought I.

Just after the second dish, out stept my mother--A word with you, sister
Hervey! taking her in her hand. Presently my sister dropt away. Then my
brother. So I was left alone with my father.

He looked so very sternly, that my heart failed me as twice or thrice
I would have addressed myself to him: nothing but solemn silence on all
hands having passed before.

At last, I asked, if it were his pleasure that I should pour him out
another dish?

He answered me with the same angry monosyllable, which I had received
from my mother before; and then arose, and walked about the room. I
arose too, with intent to throw myself at his feet; but was too much
overawed by his sternness, even to make such an expression of my duty to
him as my heart overflowed with.

At last, as he supported himself, because of his gout, on the back of a
chair, I took a little more courage; and approaching him, besought him
to acquaint me in what I had offended him?

He turned from me, and in a strong voice, Clarissa Harlowe, said he,
know that I will be obeyed.

God forbid, Sir, that you should not!--I have never yet opposed your
will--

Nor I your whimsies, Clarissa Harlowe, interrupted he.--Don't let me
run the fate of all who shew indulgence to your sex; to be the more
contradicted for mine to you.

My father, you know, my dear, has not (any more than my brother) a kind
opinion of our sex; although there is not a more condescending wife in
the world than my mother.

I was going to make protestations of duty--No protestations, girl! No
words! I will not be prated to! I will be obeyed! I have no child, I
will have no child, but an obedient one.

Sir, you never had reason, I hope--

Tell me not what I never had, but what I have, and what I shall have.

Good Sir, be pleased to hear me--My brother and sister, I fear--

Your brother and sister shall not be spoken against, girl!--They have a
just concern for the honour of my family.

And I hope, Sir--

Hope nothing.--Tell me not of hopes, but of facts. I ask nothing of you
but what is in your power to comply with, and what it is your duty to
comply with.

Then, Sir, I will comply with it--But yet I hope from your goodness--

No expostulations! No but's, girl! No qualifyings! I will be obeyed, I
tell you; and cheerfully too!--or you are no child of mine!

I wept.

Let me beseech you, my dear and ever-honoured Papa, (and I dropt down
on my knees,) that I may have only yours and my mamma's will, and not my
brother's, to obey.

I was going on; but he was pleased to withdraw, leaving me on the floor;
saying, That he would not hear me thus by subtilty and cunning aiming to
distinguish away my duty: repeating, that he would be obeyed.

My heart is too full;--so full, that it may endanger my duty, were I
to try to unburden it to you on this occasion: so I will lay down my
pen.--But can--Yet positively, I will lay down my pen--!



LETTER IX

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE FEB. 26, IN THE MORNING.


My aunt, who staid here last night, made me a visit this morning as
soon as it was light. She tells me, that I was left alone with my
father yesterday on purpose that he might talk with me on my expected
obedience; but that he owned he was put beside his purpose by reflecting
on something my brother had told him in my disfavour, and by his
impatience but to suppose, that such a gentle spirit as mine had
hitherto seemed to be, should presume to dispute his will in a point
where the advantage of the whole family was to be so greatly promoted by
my compliance.

I find, by a few words which dropt unawares from my aunt, that they have
all an absolute dependence upon what they suppose to be meekness in my
temper. But in this they may be mistaken; for I verily think, upon a
strict examination of myself, that I have almost as much in me of my
father's as of my mother's family.

My uncle Harlowe it seems is against driving me upon extremities: But
my brother has engaged, that the regard I have for my reputation, and
my principles, will bring me round to my duty; that's the expression.
Perhaps I shall have reason to wish I had not known this.

My aunt advises me to submit for the present to the interdicts they
have laid me under; and indeed to encourage Mr. Solmes's address. I have
absolutely refused the latter, let what will (as I have told her) be the
consequence. The visiting prohibition I will conform to. But as to that
of not corresponding with you, nothing but the menace that our letters
shall be intercepted, can engage my observation of it.

She believes that this order is from my father, and that my mother
has not been consulted upon it. She says, that it is given, as she has
reason think, purely in consideration to me, lest I should mortally
offend him; and this from the incitements of other people (meaning you
and Miss Lloyd, I make no doubt) rather than by my own will. For still,
as she tells me, he speaks kind and praiseful things of me.

Here is clemency! Here is indulgence!--And so it is, to prevent a
headstrong child, as a good prince would wish to deter disaffected
subjects, from running into rebellion, and so forfeiting every thing!
But this is allowing to the young-man's wisdom of my brother; a plotter
without a head, and a brother without a heart!

How happy might I have been with any other brother in the world but
James Harlowe; and with any other sister but his sister! Wonder not, my
dear, that I, who used to chide you for these sort of liberties with my
relations, now am more undutiful than you ever was unkind. I cannot bear
the thought of being deprived of the principal pleasure of my life; for
such is your conversation by person and by letter. And who, besides, can
bear to be made the dupe of such low cunning, operating with such high
and arrogant passions?

But can you, my dear Miss Howe, condescend to carry on a private
correspondence with me?--If you can, there is one way I have thought of,
by which it may be done.

You must remember the Green Lane, as we call it, that runs by the side
of the wood-house and poultry-yard where I keep my bantams, pheasants,
and pea-hens, which generally engage my notice twice a day; the more
my favourites because they were my grandfather's, and recommended to my
care by him; and therefore brought hither from my Dairy-house since his
death.

The lane is lower than the floor of the wood-house; and, in the side of
the wood-house, the boards are rotted away down to the floor for half an
ell together in several places. Hannah can step into the lane, and make
a mark with chalk where a letter or parcel may be pushed in, under some
sticks; which may be so managed as to be an unsuspected cover for the
written deposits from either.


***


I have been just now to look at the place, and find it will answer. So
your faithful Robert may, without coming near the house, and as only
passing through the Green Lame which leads to two or three farm-houses
[out of livery if you please] very easily take from thence my letters
and deposit yours.

This place is the more convenient, because it is seldom resorted to
but by myself or Hannah, on the above-mentioned account; for it is the
general store-house for firing; the wood for constant use being nearer
the house.

One corner of this being separated off for the roosting-place of my
little poultry, either she or I shall never want a pretence to go
thither.

Try, my dear, the success of a letter this way; and give me your opinion
and advice what to do in this disgraceful situation, as I cannot but
call it; and what you think of my prospects; and what you would do in my
case.

But before-hand I will tell you, that your advice must not run in favour
of this Solmes: and yet it is very likely they will endeavour to engage
your mother, in order to induce you, who have such an influence over me,
to favour him.

Yet, on second thoughts, if you incline to that side of the question,
I would have you write your whole mind. Determined as I think I am, and
cannot help it, I would at least give a patient hearing to what may be
said on the other side. For my regards are not so much engaged [upon my
word they are not; I know not myself if they be] to another person as
some of my friends suppose; and as you, giving way to your lively vein,
upon his last visits, affected to suppose. What preferable favour I
may have for him to any other person, is owing more to the usage he has
received, and for my sake borne, than to any personal consideration.

I write a few lines of grateful acknowledgement to your good mother for
her favours to me in the late happy period. I fear I shall never know
such another. I hope she will forgive me, that I did not write sooner.

The bearer, if suspected and examined, is to produce that as the only
one he carries.

How do needless watchfulness and undue restraint produce artifice and
contrivance! I should abhor these clandestine correspondences, were they
not forced upon me. They have so mean, so low an appearance to myself,
that I think I ought not to expect that you should take part in them.

But why (as I have also expostulated with my aunt) must I be pushed
into a state, which I have no wish to enter into, although I reverence
it?--Why should not my brother, so many years older, and so earnest to
see me engaged, be first engaged?--And why should not my sister be first
provided for?

But here I conclude these unavailing expostulations, with the assurance,
that I am, and ever will be,

Your affectionate, CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER X

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE FEB. 27


What odd heads some people have!--Miss Clarissa Harlowe to be sacrificed
in marriage to Mr. Roger Solmes!--Astonishing!

I must not, you say, give my advice in favour of this man!--You now
convince me, my dear, that you are nearer of kin than I thought you,
to the family that could think of so preposterous a match, or you would
never have had the least notion of my advising in his favour.

Ask for his picture. You know I have a good hand at drawing an ugly
likeness. But I'll see a little further first: for who knows what may
happen, since matters are in such a train; and since you have not the
courage to oppose so overwhelming a torrent?

You ask me to help you to a little of my spirit. Are you in earnest?
But it will not now, I doubt, do you service.--It will not sit naturally
upon you. You are your mother's girl, think what you will; and have
violent spirits to contend with. Alas! my dear, you should have borrowed
some of mine a little sooner;--that is to say, before you had given the
management of your estate into the hands of those who think they have a
prior claim to it. What though a father's!--Has not the father two elder
children?--And do they not both bear more of his stamp and image than
you do?--Pray, my dear, call me not to account for this free question;
lest your application of my meaning, on examination, prove to be as
severe as that.

Now I have launched out a little, indulge me one word more in the same
strain--I will be decent, I promise you. I think you might have know,
that Avarice and Envy are two passions that are not to be satisfied, the
one by giving, the other by the envied person's continuing to deserve
and excel.--Fuel, fuel both, all the world over, to flames insatiate and
devouring.

But since you ask for my opinion, you must tell me all you know or
surmise of their inducements. And if you will not forbid me to make
extracts from your letters for the entertainment of my aunt and cousin
in the little island, who long to hear more of your affairs, it will be
very obliging.

But you are so tender of some people who have no tenderness for any body
but themselves, that I must conjure you to speak out. Remember, that
a friendship like ours admits of no reserves. You may trust my
impartiality. It would be an affront to your own judgment, if you did
not: For do you not ask my advice? And have you not taught me that
friendship should never give a bias against justice?--Justify them,
therefore, if you can. Let us see if there be any sense, whether
sufficient reason or not in their choice. At present I cannot (and yet
I know a good deal of your family) have any conception how all of them,
your mother and your aunt Hervey in particular, can join with the rest
against judgments given. As to some of the others, I cannot wonder at
any thing they do, or attempt to do, where self is concerned.

You ask, Why may not your brother be first engaged in wedlock? I'll tell
you why: His temper and his arrogance are too well known to induce women
he would aspire to, to receive his addresses, notwithstanding his great
independent acquisitions, and still greater prospects. Let me tell you,
my dear, those acquisitions have given him more pride than reputation.
To me he is the most intolerable creature that I ever conversed with.
The treatment you blame, he merited from one whom he addressed with the
air of a person who presumes that he is about to confer a favour, rather
than to receive one. I ever loved to mortify proud and insolent spirits.
What, think you, makes me bear Hickman near me, but that the man is
humble, and knows and keeps his distance?

As to your question, Why your elder sister may not be first provided
for? I answer, Because she must have no man, but one who has a great and
clear estate; that's one thing. Another is, Because she has a younger
sister. Pray, my dear, be so good as to tell me, What man of a great and
clear estate would think of that eldest sister, while the younger were
single?

You are all too rich to be happy, child. For must not each of you, by
the constitutions of your family, marry to be still richer? People who
know in what their main excellence consists, are not to be blamed (are
they) for cultivating and improving what they think most valuable?--Is
true happiness any part of your family view?--So far from it, that none
of your family but yourself could be happy were they not rich. So let
them fret on, grumble and grudge, and accumulate; and wondering what
ails them that they have not happiness when they have riches, think the
cause is want of more; and so go on heaping up, till Death, as greedy an
accumulator as themselves, gathers them into his garner.

Well then once more I say, do you, my dear, tell me what you know of
their avowed and general motives; and I will tell you more than you will
tell me of their failings! Your aunt Hervey, you say,* has told you: Why
must I ask you to let me know them, when you condescend to ask my advice
on the occasion?


    * See Letter VIII.


That they prohibit your corresponding with me, is a wisdom I neither
wonder at, nor blame them for: since it is an evidence to me, that they
know their own folly: And if they do, is it strange that they should be
afraid to trust one another's judgment upon it?

I am glad you have found out a way to correspond with me. I approve
it much. I shall more, if this first trial of it prove successful. But
should it not, and should it fall into their hands, it would not concern
me but for your sake.

We have heard before you wrote, that all was not right between your
relations and you at your coming home: that Mr. Solmes visited you, and
that with a prospect of success. But I concluded the mistake lay in the
person; and that his address was to Miss Arabella. And indeed had she
been as good-natured as your plump ones generally are, I should have
thought her too good for him by half. This must certainly be the thing,
thought I; and my beloved friend is sent for to advise and assist in her
nuptial preparations. Who knows, said I to my mother, but that when
the man has thrown aside his yellow full-buckled peruke, and his
broad-brimmed beaver (both of which I suppose were Sir Oliver's best
of long standing) he may cut a tolerable figure dangling to church
with Miss Bell!--The woman, as she observes, should excel the man in
features: and where can she match so well for a foil?

I indulged this surmise against rumour, because I could not believe that
the absurdest people in England could be so very absurd as to think of
this man for you.

We heard, moreover, that you received no visiters. I could assign no
reason for this, except that the preparations for your sister were to be
private, and the ceremony sudden, for fear this man should, as another
man did, change his mind. Miss Lloyd and Miss Biddulph were with me to
inquire what I knew of this; and of your not being in church, either
morning or afternoon, the Sunday after your return from us; to the
disappointment of a little hundred of your admirers, to use their words.
It was easy for me to guess the reason to be what you confirm--their
apprehensions that Lovelace would be there, and attempt to wait on you
home.

My mother takes very kindly your compliments in your letter to her. Her
words upon reading it were, 'Miss Clarissa Harlowe is an admirable young
lady: wherever she goes, she confers a favour: whomever she leaves, she
fills with regret.'--And then a little comparative reflection--'O my
Nancy, that you had a little of her sweet obligingness!'

No matter. The praise was yours. You are me; and I enjoyed it. The more
enjoyed it, because--Shall I tell you the truth?--Because I think myself
as well as I am--were it but for this reason, that had I twenty brother
James's, and twenty sister Bell's, not one of them, nor all of them
joined together, would dare to treat me as yours presume to treat you.
The person who will bear much shall have much to bear all the world
through; it is your own sentiment,* grounded upon the strongest instance
that can be given in your own family; though you have so little improved
by it.


     * Letter V.


The result is this, that I am fitter for this world than you; you for
the next than me:--that is the difference.--But long, long, for my sake,
and for hundreds of sakes, may it be before you quit us for company more
congenial to you and more worthy of you!

I communicated to my mother the account you give of your strange
reception; also what a horrid wretch they have found out for you; and
the compulsory treatment they give you. It only set her on magnifying
her lenity to me, on my tyrannical behaviour, as she will call it
[mothers must have their way, you know, my dear] to the man whom she so
warmly recommends, against whom it seems there can be no just exception;
and expatiating upon the complaisance I owe her for her indulgence. So I
believe I must communicate to her nothing farther--especially as I know
she would condemn the correspondence between us, and that between you
and Lovelace, as clandestine and undutiful proceedings, and divulge our
secret besides; for duty implicit is her cry. And moreover she lends
a pretty open ear to the preachments of that starch old bachelor your
uncle Antony; and for an example to her daughter would be more careful
how she takes your part, be the cause ever so just.

Yet is this not the right policy neither. For people who allow nothing
will be granted nothing: in other words, those who aim at carrying too
many points will not be able to carry any.

But can you divine, my dear, what the old preachment-making,
plump-hearted soul, your uncle Antony, means by his frequent amblings
hither?--There is such smirking and smiling between my mother and him!
Such mutual praises of economy; and 'that is my way!'--and 'this I
do!'--and 'I am glad it has your approbation, Sir!'--and 'you look into
every thing, Madam!'--'Nothing would be done, if I did not!'--

Such exclamations against servants! Such exaltings of self! And
dear heart, and good lack!--and 'las a-day!--And now-and-then their
conversation sinking into a whispering accent, if I come across
them!--I'll tell you, my dear, I don't above half like it.

Only that these old bachelors usually take as many years to resolve upon
matrimony as they can reasonably expect to live, or I should be ready
to fire upon his visits; and to recommend Mr. Hickman to my mother's
acceptance, as a much more eligible man: for what he wants in years,
he makes up in gravity; and if you will not chide me, I will say, that
there is a primness in both (especially when the man has presumed too
much with me upon my mother's favour for him, and is under discipline on
that account) as make them seem near of kin: and then in contemplation
of my sauciness, and what they both fear from it, they sigh away! and
seem so mightily to compassionate each other, that if pity be but one
remove from love, I am in no danger, while they are both in a great
deal, and don't know it.

Now, my dear, I know you will be upon me with your grave airs: so in for
the lamb, as the saying is, in for the sheep; and do you yourself look
about you; for I'll have a pull with you by way of being aforehand.
Hannibal, we read, always advised to attack the Romans upon their own
territories.

You are pleased to say, and upon your word too! that your regards (a
mighty quaint word for affections) are not so much engaged, as some
of your friends suppose, to another person. What need you give one to
imagine, my dear, that the last month or two has been a period extremely
favourable to that other person, whom it has made an obliger of the
niece for his patience with the uncles.

But, to pass that by--so much engaged!--How much, my dear?--Shall I
infer? Some of your friends suppose a great deal. You seem to own a
little.

Don't be angry. It is all fair: because you have not acknowledged to
me that little. People I have heard you say, who affect secrets, always
excite curiosity.

But you proceed with a kind of drawback upon your averment, as if
recollection had given you a doubt--you know not yourself, if they be
[so much engaged]. Was it necessary to say this to me?--and to say
it upon your word too?--But you know best.--Yet you don't neither,
I believe. For a beginning love is acted by a subtle spirit; and
oftentimes discovers itself to a by-stander, when the person possessed
(why should I not call it possessed?) knows not it has such a demon.

But further you say, what preferable favour you may have for him to any
other person, is owing more to the usage he has received, and for your
sake borne, than to any personal consideration.

This is generously said. It is in character. But, O my friend, depend
upon it, you are in danger. Depend upon it, whether you know it or not,
you are a little in for't. Your native generosity and greatness of mind
endanger you: all your friends, by fighting against him with
impolitic violence, fight for him. And Lovelace, my life for yours,
notwithstanding all his veneration and assiduities, has seen further
than that veneration and those assiduities (so well calculated to your
meridian) will let him own he has seen--has seen, in short, that his
work is doing for him more effectually than he could do it for himself.
And have you not before now said, that nothing is so penetrating as the
eye of a lover who has vanity? And who says Lovelace wants vanity?

In short, my dear, it is my opinion, and that from the easiness of his
heart and behaviour, that he has seen more than I have seen; more than
you think could be seen--more than I believe you yourself know, or else
you would let me know it.

Already, in order to restrain him from resenting the indignities he has
received, and which are daily offered him, he has prevailed upon you to
correspond with him privately. I know he has nothing to boast of from
what you have written: but is not his inducing you to receive his
letters, and to answer them, a great point gained? By your insisting
that he should keep the correspondence private, it appears there is one
secret which you do not wish the world should know: and he is master of
that secret. He is indeed himself, as I may say, that secret! What an
intimacy does this beget for the lover! How is it distancing the parent!

Yet who, as things are situated, can blame you?--Your condescension has
no doubt hitherto prevented great mischiefs. It must be continued,
for the same reasons, while the cause remains. You are drawn in by
a perverse fate against inclination: but custom, with such
laudable purposes, will reconcile the inconveniency, and make an
inclination.--And I would advise you (as you would wish to manage on an
occasion so critical with that prudence which governs all your actions)
not to be afraid of entering upon a close examination into the true
springs and grounds of this your generosity to that happy man.

It is my humble opinion, I tell you frankly, that on inquiry it will
come out to be LOVE--don't start, my dear!--Has not your man himself had
natural philosophy enough to observe already to your aunt Hervey, that
love takes the deepest root in the steadiest minds? The deuce take his
sly penetration, I was going to say; for this was six or seven weeks
ago.

I have been tinctured, you know. Nor on the coolest reflection, could
I account how and when the jaundice began: but had been over head and
ears, as the saying is, but for some of that advice from you, which I
now return you. Yet my man was not half so--so what, my dear--to be sure
Lovelace is a charming fellow. And were he only--but I will not make
you glow, as you read--upon my word I will not.--Yet, my dear, don't you
find at your heart somewhat unusual make it go throb, throb, throb, as
you read just here?--If you do, don't be ashamed to own it--it is your
generosity, my love, that's all.--But as the Roman augur said, Caesar,
beware of the Ides of March!

Adieu, my dearest friend.--Forgive, and very speedily, by the new found
expedient, tell me that you forgive,

Your ever-affectionate, ANNA HOWE.



LETTER XI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1.


You both nettled and alarmed me, my dearest Miss Howe, by the concluding
part of your last. At first reading it, I did not think it necessary,
said I to myself, to guard against a critic, when I was writing to so
dear a friend. But then recollecting myself, is there not more in it,
said I, than the result of a vein so naturally lively? Surely I must
have been guilty of an inadvertence. Let me enter into the close
examination of myself which my beloved friend advises.

I do so; and cannot own any of the glow, any of the throbs you
mention.--Upon my word I will repeat, I cannot. And yet the passages in
my letter, upon which you are so humourously severe, lay me fairly open
to your agreeable raillery. I own they do. And I cannot tell what turn
my mind had taken to dictate so oddly to my pen.

But, pray now--is it saying so much, when one, who has no very
particular regard to any man, says, there are some who are preferable to
others? And is it blamable to say, they are the preferable, who are not
well used by one's relations; yet dispense with that usage out of regard
to one's self which they would otherwise resent? Mr. Lovelace, for
instance, I may be allowed to say, is a man to be preferred to Mr.
Solmes; and that I do prefer him to that man: but, surely, this may be
said without its being a necessary consequence that I must be in love
with him.

Indeed I would not be in love with him, as it is called, for the world:
First, because I have no opinion of his morals; and think it a fault in
which our whole family (my brother excepted) has had a share, that he
was permitted to visit us with a hope, which, however, being distant,
did not, as I have observed heretofore,* entitle any of us to call
him to account for such of his immoralities as came to our ears. Next,
because I think him to be a vain man, capable of triumphing (secretly at
least) over a person whose heart he thinks he has engaged. And, thirdly,
because the assiduities and veneration which you impute to him, seem to
carry an haughtiness in them, as if he thought his address had a merit
in it, that would be more than an equivalent to a woman's love. In
short, his very politeness, notwithstanding the advantages he must have
had from his birth and education, appear to be constrained; and, with
the most remarkable easy and genteel person, something, at times,
seems to be behind in his manner that is too studiously kept in. Then,
good-humoured as he is thought to be in the main to other people's
servants, and this even to familiarity (although, as you have observed,
a familiarity that has dignity in it not unbecoming to a man of quality)
he is apt sometimes to break out into a passion with his own: An oath
or a curse follows, and such looks from those servants as plainly shew
terror, and that they should have fared worse had they not been in my
hearing: with a confirmation in the master's looks of a surmise too well
justified.


     * Letter III.


Indeed, my dear, THIS man is not THE man. I have great objections to
him. My heart throbs not after him. I glow not, but with indignation
against myself for having given room for such an imputation. But you
must not, my dearest friend, construe common gratitude into love. I
cannot bear that you should. But if ever I should have the misfortune to
think it love, I promise you upon my word, which is the same as upon my
honour, that I will acquaint you with it.

You bid me to tell you very speedily, and by the new-found expedient,
that I am not displeased with you for your agreeable raillery: I
dispatch this therefore immediately, postponing to my next the account
of the inducements which my friends have to promote with so much
earnestness the address of Mr. Solmes.

Be satisfied, my dear, mean time, that I am not displeased with you:
indeed I am not. On the contrary, I give you my hearty thanks for your
friendly premonitions; and I charge you (as I have often done) that if
you observe any thing in me so very faulty as would require from you
to others in my behalf the palliation of friendly and partial love, you
acquaint me with it: for methinks I would so conduct myself as not to
give reason even for an adversary to censure me; and how shall so weak
and so young a creature avoid the censure of such, if my friend will not
hold a looking-glass before me to let me see my imperfections?

Judge me, then, my dear, as any indifferent person (knowing what you
know of me) would do. I may be at first be a little pained; may glow a
little perhaps to be found less worthy of your friendship than I wish
to be; but assure yourself, that your kind correction will give me
reflection that shall amend me. If it do not, you will have a fault to
accuse me of, that will be utterly inexcusable: a fault, let me add,
that should you not accuse me of it (if in your opinion I am guilty) you
will not be so much, so warmly, my friend as I am yours; since I have
never spared you on the like occasions.

Here I break off to begin another letter to you, with the assurance,
mean time, that I am, and ever will be,

Your equally affectionate and grateful, CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XII

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE THURSDAY MORNING, MARCH 2.


Indeed you would not be in love with him for the world!--Your servant,
my dear. Nor would I have you. For, I think, with all the advantages of
person, fortune, and family, he is not by any means worthy of you. And
this opinion I give as well from the reasons you mention (which I cannot
but confirm) as from what I have heard of him but a few hours ago
from Mrs. Fortescue, a favourite of Lady Betty Lawrance, who knows him
well--but let me congratulate you, however, on your being the first of
our sex that ever I heard of, who has been able to turn that lion, Love,
at her own pleasure, into a lap-dog.

Well but, if you have not the throbs and the glows, you have not: and
are not in love; good reason why--because you would not be in love; and
there's no more to be said.--Only, my dear, I shall keep a good look-out
upon you; and so I hope you will be upon yourself; for it is no manner
of argument that because you would not be in love, you therefore are
not.--But before I part entirely with this subject, a word in your ear,
my charming friend--'tis only by way of caution, and in pursuance of the
general observation, that a stander-by is often a better judge of the
game than those that play.--May it not be, that you have had, and
have, such cross creatures and such odd heads to deal with, as have not
allowed you to attend to the throbs?--Or, if you had them a little now
and then, whether, having had two accounts to place them to, you have
not by mistake put them to the wrong one?

But whether you have a value for Lovelace or not, I know you will be
impatient to hear what Mrs. Fortescue has said of him. Nor will I keep
you longer in suspense.

An hundred wild stories she tells of him from childhood to manhood:
for, as she observed, having never been subject to contradiction, he
was always as mischievous as a monkey. But I shall pass over these whole
hundred of his puerile rogueries (although indicative ones, as I may
say) to take notice as well of some things you are not quite ignorant
of, as of others you know not, and to make a few observations upon him
and his ways.

Mrs. Fortescue owns, what every body knows, 'that he is notoriously,
nay, avowedly, a man of pleasure; yet says, that in any thing he sets
his heart upon or undertakes, he is the most industrious and persevering
mortal under the sun. He rests it seems not above six hours in the
twenty-four--any more than you. He delights in writing. Whether at Lord
M.'s, or at Lady Betty's, or Lady Sarah's, he has always a pen in his
fingers when he retires. One of his companions (confirming his love of
writing) has told her, that his thoughts flow rapidly to his pen:' And
you and I, my dear, have observed, on more occasions than one, that
though he writes even a fine hand, he is one of the readiest and
quickest of writers. He must indeed have had early a very docile genius;
since a person of his pleasurable turn and active spirit, could
never have submitted to take long or great pains in attaining the
qualifications he is master of; qualifications so seldom attained by
youth of quality and fortune; by such especially of those of either,
who, like him, have never known what it was to be controuled.

'He had once it seems the vanity, upon being complimented on these
talents (and on his surprising diligence, for a man of pleasure) to
compare himself to Julius Caesar; who performed great actions by day,
and wrote them down at night; and valued himself, that he only wanted
Caesar's out-setting, to make a figure among his contemporaries.

'He spoke of this indeed, she says, with an air of pleasantry: for
she observed, and so have we, that he has the art of acknowledging his
vanity with so much humour, that it sets him above the contempt which
is due to vanity and self-opinion; and at the same time half persuades
those who hear him, that he really deserves the exultation he gives
himself.'

But supposing it to be true that all his vacant nightly hours are
employed in writing, what can be his subjects? If, like Caesar, his own
actions, he must undoubtedly be a very enterprising and very wicked man;
since nobody suspects him to have a serious turn; and, decent as he is
in his conversation with us, his writings are not probably such as would
redound either to his own honour, or to the benefit of others, were they
to be read. He must be conscious of this, since Mrs. Fortescue says,
'that in the great correspondence by letters which he holds, he is
as secret and as careful as if it were of a treasonable nature;--yet
troubles not his head with politics, though nobody knows the interests
of princes and courts better than he is said to do.'

That you and I, my dear, should love to write, is no wonder. We have
always, from the time each could hold a pen, delighted in epistolary
correspondencies. Our employments are domestic and sedentary; and we can
scribble upon twenty innocent subjects, and take delight in them because
they are innocent; though were they to be seen, they might not much
profit or please others. But that such a gay, lively young fellow as
this, who rides, hunts, travels, frequents the public entertainments,
and has means to pursue his pleasures, should be able to set himself
down to write for hours together, as you and I have heard him say he
frequently does, that is the strange thing.

Mrs. Fortescue says, 'that he is a complete master of short-hand
writing.' By the way, what inducements could a swift writer as he have
to learn short-hand!

She says (and we know it as well as she) 'that he has a surprising
memory, and a very lively imagination.'

Whatever his other vices are, all the world, as well as Mrs. Fortescue,
says, 'he is a sober man. And among all his bad qualities, gaming, that
great waster of time as well as fortune, is not his vice:' So that he
must have his head as cool, and his reason as clear, as the prime of
youth and his natural gaiety will permit; and by his early morning
hours, a great portion of time upon his hands to employ in writing, or
worse.

Mrs. Fortescue says, 'he has one gentleman who is more his intimate and
correspondent than any of the rest.' You remember what his dismissed
bailiff said of him and of his associates.* I don't find but that Mrs.
Fortescue confirms this part of it, 'that all his relations are afraid
of him; and that his pride sets him above owing obligations to them.
She believes he is clear of the world; and that he will continue so;'
No doubt from the same motive that makes him avoid being obliged to his
relations.


* Letter IV.


A person willing to think favourably of him would hope, that a brave, a
learned, and a diligent, man, cannot be naturally a bad man.--But if he
be better than his enemies say he is (and if worse he is bad indeed) he
is guilty of an inexcusable fault in being so careless as he is of his
reputation. I think a man can be so but from one of these two reasons:
either that he is conscious he deserves the ill spoken of him; or, that
he takes a pride in being thought worse than he is. Both very bad and
threatening indications; since the first must shew him to be utterly
abandoned; and it is but natural to conclude from the other, that what
a man is not ashamed to have imputed to him, he will not scruple to be
guilty of whenever he has an opportunity.

Upon the whole, and upon all I could gather from Mrs. Fortescue, Mr.
Lovelace is a very faulty man. You and I have thought him too gay, too
inconsiderate, too rash, too little an hypocrite, to be deep. You see
he never would disguise his natural temper (haughty as it certainly
is) with respect to your brother's behaviour to him. Where he thinks
a contempt due, he pays it to the uttermost. Nor has he complaisance
enough to spare your uncles.

But were he deep, and ever so deep, you would soon penetrate him, if
they would leave you to yourself. His vanity would be your clue. Never
man had more: Yet, as Mrs. Fortescue observed, 'never did man carry
it off so happily.' There is a strange mixture in it of humourous
vivacity:--Since but for one half of what he says of himself, when he is
in the vein, any other man would be insufferable.


***


Talk of the devil, is an old saying. The lively wretch has made me a
visit, and is but just gone away. He is all impatience and resentment
at the treatment you meet with, and full of apprehensions too, that they
will carry their point with you.

I told him my opinion, that you will never be brought to think of such a
man as Solmes; but that it will probably end in a composition, never to
have either.

No man, he said, whose fortunes and alliances are so considerable, ever
had so little favour from a woman for whose sake he had borne so much.

I told him my mind as freely as I used to do. But whoever was in fault,
self being judge? He complained of spies set upon his conduct, and to
pry into his life and morals, and this by your brother and uncles.

I told him, that this was very hard upon him; and the more so, as
neither his life nor morals perhaps would stand a fair inquiry.

He smiled, and called himself my servant.--The occasion was too fair,
he said, for Miss Howe, who never spared him, to let it pass.--But, Lord
help the shallow souls of the Harlowes! Would I believe it! they were
for turning plotters upon him. They had best take care he did not pay
them in their own coin. Their hearts were better turned for such works
than their heads.

I asked him, If he valued himself upon having a head better turned than
theirs for such works, as he called them?

He drew off: and then ran into the highest professions of reverence and
affection for you.

The object so meritorious, who can doubt the reality of his professions?

Adieu, my dearest, my noble friend!--I love and admire you for the
generous conclusion of your last more than I can express. Though I began
this letter with impertinent raillery, knowing that you always loved to
indulge my mad vein; yet never was there a heart that more glowed with
friendly love, than that of

Your own ANNA HOWE.



LETTER XIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1.


I now take up my pen to lay before you the inducements and motive which
my friends have to espouse so earnestly the address of this Mr. Solmes.

In order to set this matter in a clear light, it is necessary to go a
little back, and even perhaps to mention some things which you already
know: and so you may look upon what I am going to relate, as a kind of
supplement to my letters of the 15th and 20th of January last.*


* Letters IV. and V.


In those letters, of which I have kept memorandums, I gave you an
account of my brother's and sister's antipathy to Mr. Lovelace; and the
methods they took (so far as they had then come to my knowledge) to ruin
him in the opinion of my other friends. And I told you, that after a
very cold, yet not a directly affrontive behaviour to him, they all of
a sudden* became more violent, and proceeded to personal insults; which
brought on at last the unhappy rencounter between my brother and him.


     * See Letter IV.


Now you must know, that from the last conversation that passed between
my aunt and me, it comes out, that this sudden vehemence on my
brother's and sister's parts, was owing to stronger reasons than to the
college-begun antipathy on his side, or to slighted love on hers;
to wit, to an apprehension that my uncles intended to follow my
grandfather's example in my favour; at least in a higher degree
than they wish they should. An apprehension founded it seems on a
conversation between my two uncles and my brother and sister: which my
aunt communicated to me in confidence, as an argument to prevail upon
me to accept of Mr. Solmes's noble settlements: urging, that such a
seasonable compliance, would frustrate my brother's and sister's views,
and establish me for ever in the love of my father and uncles.

I will give you the substance of this communicated conversation, after
I have made a brief introductory observation or two, which however I
hardly need to make to you who are so well acquainted with us all, did
not the series or thread of the story require it.

I have more than once mentioned to you the darling view some of us have
long had of raising a family, as it is called. A reflection, as I have
often thought, upon our own, which is no considerable or upstart one, on
either side, on my mother's especially.--A view too frequently it
seems entertained by families which, having great substance, cannot be
satisfied without rank and title.

My uncles had once extended this view to each of us three children;
urging, that as they themselves intended not to marry, we each of
us might be so portioned, and so advantageously matched, as that
our posterity, if not ourselves, might make a first figure in our
country.--While my brother, as the only son, thought the two girls might
be very well provided for by ten or fifteen thousand pounds a-piece:
and that all the real estates in the family, to wit, my grandfather's,
father's, and two uncles', and the remainder of their respective
personal estates, together with what he had an expectation of from
his godmother, would make such a noble fortune, and give him such an
interest, as might entitle him to hope for a peerage. Nothing less would
satisfy his ambition.

With this view he gave himself airs very early; 'That his grandfather
and uncles were his stewards: that no man ever had better: that
daughters were but incumbrances and drawbacks upon a family:' and this
low and familiar expression was often in his mouth, and uttered always
with the self-complaisance which an imagined happy thought can be
supposed to give the speaker; to wit, 'That a man who has sons brings up
chickens for his own table,' [though once I made his comparison stagger
with him, by asking him, If the sons, to make it hold, were to have
their necks wrung off?] 'whereas daughters are chickens brought up
for tables of other men.' This, accompanied with the equally polite
reflection, 'That, to induce people to take them off their hands, the
family-stock must be impaired into the bargain,' used to put my sister
out of all patience: and, although she now seems to think a younger
sister only can be an incumbrance, she was then often proposing to me to
make a party in our own favour against my brother's rapacious views, as
she used to call them: while I was for considering the liberties he took
of this sort, as the effect of a temporary pleasantry, which, in a young
man, not naturally good-humoured, I was glad to see; or as a foible that
deserved raillery, but no other notice.

But when my grandfather's will (of the purport of which in my particular
favour, until it was opened, I was as ignorant as they) had lopped off
one branch of my brother's expectation, he was extremely dissatisfied
with me. Nobody indeed was pleased: for although every one loved me, yet
being the youngest child, father, uncles, brother, sister, all thought
themselves postponed, as to matter of right and power [Who loves not
power?]: And my father himself could not bear that I should be made
sole, as I may call it, and independent; for such the will, as to that
estate and the powers it gave, (unaccountably, as they all said,) made
me.

To obviate, therefore, every one's jealousy, I gave up to my father's
management, as you know, not only the estate, but the money bequeathed
me (which was a moiety of what my grandfather had by him at his death;
the other moiety being bequeathed to my sister); contenting myself
to take as from his bounty what he was pleased to allow me, without
desiring the least addition to my annual stipend. And then I hoped I had
laid all envy asleep: but still my brother and sister (jealous, as now
is evident, of my two uncles' favour of me, and of the pleasure I had
given my father and them by this act of duty) were every now-and-then
occasionally doing me covert ill offices: of which, however, I took the
less notice, when I was told of them, as I thought I had removed the
cause of their envy; and I imputed every thing of that sort to the
petulance they are both pretty much noted for.

My brother's acquisition then took place. This made us all very happy;
and he went down to take possession of it: and his absence (on so good
an account too) made us still happier. Then followed Lord M.'s proposal
for my sister: and this was an additional felicity for the time. I have
told you how exceedingly good-humoured it made my sister.

You know how that went off: you know what came on in its place.

My brother then returned; and we were all wrong again: and Bella, as
I observed in my letters abovementioned, had an opportunity to give
herself the credit of having refused Mr. Lovelace, on the score of his
reputed faulty morals. This united my brother and sister in one cause.
They set themselves on all occasions to depreciate Mr. Lovelace, and his
family too (a family which deserves nothing but respect): and this gave
rise to the conversation I am leading to, between my uncles and them: of
which I now come to give the particulars; after I have observed, that it
happened before the rencounter, and soon after the inquiry made into Mr.
Lovelace's affairs had come out better than my brother and sister hoped
it would.*


* See Letter IV.


They were bitterly inveighing against him, in their usual way,
strengthening their invectives with some new stories in his disfavour,
when my uncle Antony, having given them a patient hearing, declared,
'That he thought the gentleman behaved like a gentleman; his niece Clary
with prudence; and that a more honourable alliance for the family, as he
had often told them, could not be wished for: since Mr. Lovelace had a
very good paternal estate; and that, by the evidence of an enemy,
all clear. Nor did it appear, that he was so bad a man as he had been
represented to be: wild indeed; but it was a gay time of life: he was a
man of sense: and he was sure that his niece would not have him, if
she had not good reason to think him reformed, or that there was a
likelihood that she could reform him by her example.'

My uncle then gave one instance, my aunt told me, as a proof of a
generosity in Mr. Lovelace's spirit, which convinced him that he was not
a bad man in nature; and that he was of a temper, he was pleased to say,
like my own; which was, That when he (my uncle) had represented to him,
that he might, if he pleased, make three or four hundred pounds a year
of his paternal estate, more than he did; he answered, 'That his tenants
paid their rents well: that it was a maxim with his family, from which
he would by no means depart, Never to rack-rent old tenants, or their
descendants; and that it was a pleasure to him, to see all his tenants
look fat, sleek, and contented.'

I indeed had once occasionally heard him say something like this; and
thought he never looked so well as at that time;--except once; and that
was in an instance given by him on the following incident.

An unhappy tenant of my uncle Antony came petitioning to my uncle
for forbearance, in Mr. Lovelace's presence. When he had fruitlessly
withdrawn, Mr. Lovelace pleaded his cause so well, that the man was
called in again, and had his suit granted. And Mr. Lovelace privately
followed him out, and gave him two guineas, for present relief; the
man having declared, that, at the time, he had not five shilling in the
world.

On this occasion, he told my uncle (but without any airs of
ostentation), that he had once observed an old tenant and his wife in a
very mean habit at church; and questioning them about it the next day,
as he knew they had no hard bargain in their farm, the man said, he had
done some very foolish things with a good intention, which had put him
behind-hand, and he could not have paid his rent, and appear better.
He asked him how long it would take him to retrieve the foolish step
he acknowledged he had made. He said, Perhaps two or three years. Well
then, said he, I will abate you five pounds a year for seven years,
provided you will lay it upon your wife and self, that you may make a
Sunday-appearance like MY tenants. Mean time, take this (putting his
hand in his pocket, and giving him five guineas), to put yourselves in
present plight; and let me see you next Sunday at church, hand in hand,
like an honest and loving couple; and I bespeak you to dine with me
afterwards.

Although this pleased me when I heard it, as giving an instance of
generosity and prudence at the same time, not lessening (as my uncle
took notice) the yearly value of the farm, yet, my dear, I had no
throbs, no glows upon it!--Upon my word, I had not. Nevertheless I own
to you, that I could not help saying to myself on the occasion, 'Were it
ever to be my lot to have this man, he would not hinder me from pursuing
the methods I so much delight to take'--With 'A pity, that such a man
were not uniformly good!'

Forgive me this digression.

My uncle went on (as my aunt told me), 'That, besides his paternal
estate, he was the immediate heir to very splendid fortunes: that, when
he was in treaty for his niece Arabella, Lord M. told him (my uncle)
what great things he and his two half-sisters intended to do for him,
in order to qualify him for the title, which would be extinct at his
Lordship's death, and which they hoped to procure for him, or a still
higher, that of those ladies' father, which had been for some time
extinct on failure of heirs male: that it was with this view that his
relations were all so earnest for his marrying: that as he saw not
where Mr. Lovelace could better himself; so, truly, he thought there was
wealth enough in their own family to build up three considerable ones:
that, therefore, he must needs say, he was the more desirous of this
alliance, as there was a great probability, not only from Mr. Lovelace's
descent, but from his fortunes, that his niece Clarissa might one day
be a peeress of Great Britain:--and, upon that prospect [here was the
mortifying stroke], he should, for his own part, think it not wrong to
make such dispositions as should contribute to the better support of the
dignity.'

My uncle Harlowe, it seems, far from disapproving of what his brother
had said, declared, 'That there was but one objection to an alliance
with Mr. Lovelace; to wit, his faulty morals: especially as so much
could be done for Miss Bella, and for my brother too, by my father; and
as my brother was actually possessed of a considerable estate by virtue
of the deed of gift and will of his godmother Lovell.'

Had I known this before, I should the less have wondered at many things
I have been unable to account for in my brother's and sister's behaviour
to me; and been more on my guard than I imagined there was a necessity
to be.

You may easily guess how much this conversation affected my brother at
the time. He could not, you know, but be very uneasy to hear two of his
stewards talk at this rate to his face.

He had from early days, by his violent temper, made himself both feared
and courted by the whole family. My father himself, as I have lately
mentioned, very often (long before my brother's acquisition had made him
still more assuming) gave way to him, as to an only son who was to build
up the name, and augment the honour of it. Little inducement, therefore,
had my brother to correct a temper which gave him so much consideration
with every body.

'See, Sister Bella,' said he, in an indecent passion before my uncles,
on this occasion I have mentioned--'See how it is!--You and I ought to
look about us!--This little syren is in a fair way to out-uncle, as she
has already out-grandfather'd, us both!'

From this time (as I now find it plain upon recollection) did my brother
and sister behave to me, as to one who stood in their way; and to each
other as having but one interest: and were resolved, therefore, to bend
all their force to hinder an alliance from taking effect, which they
believed was likely to oblige them to contract their views.

And how was this to be done, after such a declaration from both my
uncles?

My brother found out the way. My sister (as I have said) went hand in
hand with him. Between them, the family union was broke, and every one
was made uneasy. Mr. Lovelace was received more and more coldly by all:
but not being to be put out of his course by slights only, personal
affronts succeeded; defiances next; then the rencounter: that, as you
have heard, did the business. And now, if I do not oblige them, my
grandfather's estate is to be litigated with me; and I, who never
designed to take advantage of the independency bequeathed me, am to be
as dependent upon my father's will, as a daughter ought to be who knows
not what is good for herself. This is the language of the family now.

But if I will suffer myself to be prevailed upon, how happy (as they lay
it out) shall we all be!--Such presents am I to have, such jewels, and
I cannot tell what, from every one in the family! Then Mr. Solmes's
fortunes are so great, and his proposals so very advantageous, (no
relation whom he values,) that there will be abundant room to raise
mine upon them, were the high-intended favours of my own relations to
be quite out of the question. Moreover, it is now, with this view,
found out, that I have qualifications which of themselves will be a full
equivalent to Mr. Solmes for the settlements he is to make; and still
leave him under an obligation to me for my compliance. He himself thinks
so, I am told--so very poor a creature is he, even in his own eyes, as
well as in theirs.

These desirable views answered, how rich, how splendid shall we all
three be! And I--what obligations shall I lay upon them all!--And that
only by doing an act of duty so suitable to my character, and manner of
thinking; if, indeed, I am the generous as well as dutiful creature I
have hitherto made them believe I am.

This is the bright side that is turned to my father and uncles, to
captivate them: but I am afraid that my brother's and sister's design is
to ruin me with them at any rate. Were it otherwise, would they not on
my return from you have rather sought to court than frighten me into
measures which their hearts are so much bent to carry? A method they
have followed ever since.

Mean time, orders are given to all the servants to shew the highest
respect to Mr. Solmes; the generous Mr. Solmes is now his character with
some of our family! But are not these orders a tacit confession,
that they think his own merit will not procure him respect? He is
accordingly, in every visit he makes, not only highly caressed by the
principals of our family, but obsequiously attended and cringed to by
the menials.--And the noble settlements are echoed from every mouth.

Noble is the word used to enforce the offers of a man who is mean enough
avowedly to hate, and wicked enough to propose to rob of their just
expectations, his own family, (every one of which at the same time
stands in too much need of his favour,) in order to settle all he is
worth upon me; and if I die without children, and he has none by any
other marriage, upon a family which already abounds. Such are his
proposals.

But were there no other motive to induce me to despise the upstart man,
is not this unjust one to his family enough?--The upstart man, I repeat;
for he was not born to the immense riches he is possessed of: riches
left by one niggard to another, in injury to the next heir, because that
other is a niggard. And should I not be as culpable, do you think, in my
acceptance of such unjust settlements, as he is in the offer of them, if
I could persuade myself to be a sharer in them, or suffer a reversionary
expectation of possessing them to influence my choice?

Indeed, it concerns me not a little, that my friends could be brought to
encourage such offers on such motives as I think a person of conscience
should not presume to begin the world with.

But this it seems is the only method that can be taken to disappoint Mr.
Lovelace; and at the same time to answer all my relations have wish for
each of us. And surely I will not stand against such an accession to the
family as may happen from marrying Mr. Solmes: since now a possibility
is discovered, (which such a grasping mind as my brother's can easily
turn into a probability,) that my grandfather's estate will revert to
it, with a much more considerable one of the man's own. Instances of
estates falling in, in cases far more unlikely than this, are insisted
upon; and my sister says, in the words of an old saw, It is good to be
related to an estate.

While Solmes, smiling no doubt to himself at a hope so remote, by offers
only, obtains all their interests; and doubts not to join to his own
the estate I am envied for; which, for the conveniency of its situation
between two of his, will it seems be of twice the value to him that
it would be of to any other person; and is therefore, I doubt not, a
stronger motive with him than the wife.

These, my dear, seem to me the principal inducements of my relations to
espouse so vehemently as they do this man's suit. And here, once more,
must I deplore the family fault, which gives those inducements such a
force as it will be difficult to resist.

And thus far, let matters with regard to Mr. Solmes and me come out as
they will, my brother has succeeded in his views; that is to say, he
has, in the first place, got my FATHER to make the cause his own, and to
insist upon my compliance as an act of duty.

My MOTHER has never thought fit to oppose my father's will, when once he
has declared himself determined.

My UNCLES, stiff, unbroken, highly-prosperous bachelors, give me leave
to say, (though very worthy persons in the main,) have as high notions
of a child's duty, as of a wife's obedience; in the last of which, my
mother's meekness has confirmed them, and given them greater reason to
expect the first.

My aunt HERVEY (not extremely happy in her own nuptials, and perhaps
under some little obligation) is got over, and chuses [sic] not to
open her lips in my favour against the wills of a father and uncles so
determined.

This passiveness in my mother and in my aunt, in a point so contrary
to their own first judgments, is too strong a proof that my father is
absolutely resolved.

Their treatment of my worthy MRS. NORTON is a sad confirmation of it:
a woman deserving of all consideration for her wisdom, and every body
thinking so; but who, not being wealthy enough to have due weight in a
point against which she has given her opinion, and which they seem
bent upon carrying, is restrained from visiting here, and even from
corresponding with me, as I am this very day informed.

Hatred to Lovelace, family aggrandizement, and this great motive
paternal authority!--What a force united must they be supposed to have,
when singly each consideration is sufficient to carry all before it!

This is the formidable appearance which the address of this disagreeable
man wears at present.

My BROTHER and my SISTER triumph.--They have got me down, as Hannah
overheard them exult. And so they have (yet I never knew that I
was insolently up); for now my brother will either lay me under an
obligation to comply to my own unhappiness, and so make me an instrument
of his revenge upon Lovelace; or, if I refuse, will throw me into
disgrace with my whole family.

Who will wonder at the intrigues and plots carried on by undermining
courtiers against one another, when a private family, but three of which
can possibly have clashing interests, and one of them (as she presumes
to think) above such low motives, cannot be free from them?

What at present most concerns me, is, the peace of my mother's mind!
How can the husband of such a wife (a good man too!--But oh! this
prerogative of manhood!) be so positive, so unpersuadable, to one who
has brought into the family means, which they know so well the value of,
that methinks they should value her the more for their sake?

They do indeed value her: but, I am sorry to say, she has purchased
that value by her compliances; yet has merit for which she ought to be
venerated; prudence which ought of itself to be conformed to in every
thing.

But whither roves my pen? How dare a perverse girl take these liberties
with relations so very respectable, and whom she highly respects? What
an unhappy situation is that which obliges her, in her own defence as it
were, to expose their failings?

But you, who know how much I love and reverence my mother, will judge
what a difficulty I am under, to be obliged to oppose a scheme which she
has engaged in. Yet I must oppose it (to comply is impossible); and must
without delay declare my opposition, or my difficulties will increase;
since, as I am just now informed, a lawyer has been this very day
consulted [Would you have believed it?] in relation to settlements.

Were ours a Roman Catholic family, how much happier for me, that they
thought a nunnery would answer all their views!--How happy, had not
a certain person slighted somebody! All then would have been probably
concluded between them before my brother had arrived to thwart
the match: then had I a sister; which now I have not; and two
brothers;--both aspiring; possibly both titled: while I should only have
valued that in either which is above title, that which is truly noble in
both!

But by what a long-reaching selfishness is my brother governed! By what
remote, exceedingly remote views! Views, which it is in the power of the
slightest accident, of a fever, for instance, (the seeds of which are
always vegetating, as I may say, and ready to burst forth, in his own
impetuous temper,) or of the provoked weapon of an adversary, to blow up
and destroy!

I will break off here. Let me write ever so freely of my friends, I am
sure of your kind construction: and I confide in your discretion, that
you will avoid reading to or transcribing for others such passages as
may have the appearance of treating too freely the parental, or even the
fraternal character, or induce others to censure for a supposed failure
in duty to the one, or decency to the other,

Your truly affectionate, CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XIV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE THURSDAY EVENING, MARCH 2.


On Hannah's depositing my long letter, (begun yesterday, but by reason
of several interruptions not finished till within this hour,) she found
and brought me yours of this day. I thank you, my dear, for this kind
expedition. These few lines will perhaps be time enough deposited, to be
taken away by your servant with the other letter: yet they are only to
thank you, and to tell you my increasing apprehensions.

I must take or seek the occasion to apply to my mother for her
mediation; for I am in danger of having a day fixed, and antipathy taken
for bashfulness.--Should not sisters be sisters to each other? Should
not they make a common cause of it, as I may say, a cause of sex, on
such occasions as the present? Yet mine, in support of my brother's
selfishness, and, no doubt, in concert with him, has been urging in full
assembly it seems, (and that with an earnestness peculiar to herself
when she sets upon any thing,) that an absolute day be given me; and if
I comply not, to be told, that it shall be to the forfeiture of all my
fortunes, and of all their love.

She need not be so officious: my brother's interest, without hers, is
strong enough; for he has found means to confederate all the family
against me. Upon some fresh provocation, or new intelligence concerning
Mr. Lovelace, (I know not what it is,) they have bound themselves, or
are to bind themselves, by a signed paper, to one another [The Lord
bless me, my dear, what shall I do!] to carry their point in favour of
Mr. Solmes, in support of my father's authority, as it is called, and
against Mr. Lovelace, as a libertine, and an enemy to the family: and if
so, I am sure, I may say against me.--How impolitic in them all, to join
two people in one interest, whom they wish for ever to keep asunder!

What the discharged steward reported of him is surely bad enough: what
Mrs. Fortescue said, not only confirms that bad, but gives room to think
him still worse. And yet the something further which my friends have
come at, is of so heinous a nature (as Betty Barnes tells Hannah) that
it proves him almost to be the worst of men.--But, hang the man, I
had almost said--What is he to me? What would he be--were not this Mr.
Sol----O my dear, how I hate the man in the light he is proposed to me!

All of them, at the same time, are afraid of Mr. Lovelace; yet not
afraid to provoke him!--How am I entangled!--to be obliged to go on
corresponding with him for their sakes--Heaven forbid, that their
persisted-in violence should so drive me, as to make it necessary for my
own!

But surely they will yield--Indeed I cannot.

I believe the gentlest spirits when provoked (causelessly and cruelly
provoked) are the most determined. The reason may be, that not taking
up resolutions lightly--their very deliberation makes them the more
immovable.--And then when a point is clear and self-evident, how can
one with patience think of entering into an argument or contention upon
it?--

An interruption obliges me to conclude myself, in some hurry, as well as
fright, what I must ever be,

Yours more than my own, CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER XV

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE FRIDAY, MARCH 3.


I have both your letters at once. It is very unhappy, my dear, since
your friends will have you marry, that a person of your merit should be
addressed by a succession of worthless creatures, who have nothing but
their presumption for their excuse.

That these presumers appear not in this very unworthy light to some of
your friends, is, because their defects are not so striking to them
as to others.--And why? Shall I venture to tell you?--Because they are
nearer their own standard--Modesty, after all, perhaps has a concern in
it; for how should they think that a niece or sister of theirs [I will
not go higher, for fear of incurring your displeasure] should be an
angel?

But where indeed is the man to be found (who has the least share of due
diffidence) that dares to look up to Miss Clarissa Harlowe with hope, or
with any thing but wishes? Thus the bold and forward, not being sensible
of their defects, aspire; while the modesty of the really worthy fills
them with too much reverence to permit them to explain themselves. Hence
your Symmes's, your Byron's, your Mullins's, your Wyerley's (the best
of the herd), and your Solmes's, in turn, invade you--Wretches that,
looking upon the rest of your family, need not despair of succeeding in
an alliance with it--But to you, what an inexcusable presumption!

Yet I am afraid all opposition will be in vain. You must, you will, I
doubt, be sacrificed to this odious man. I know your family. There will
be no resisting such baits as he has thrown out. O, my dear, my beloved
friend! and are such charming qualities, is such exalted merit, to be
sunk in such a marriage!--You must not, your uncle tells your mother,
dispute their authority. AUTHORITY! what a full word is that in the
mouth of a narrow-minded person, who happened to be born thirty years
before one!--Of your uncles I speak; for as to the paternal authority,
that ought to be sacred.--But should not parents have reason for what
they do?

Wonder not, however, at your Bell's unsisterly behaviour in this affair:
I have a particular to add to the inducements your insolent brother is
governed by, which will account for all her driving. You have already
owned, that her outward eye was from the first struck with the figure
and address of the man whom she pretends to despise, and who, 'tis
certain, thoroughly despises her: but you have not told me, that still
she loves him of all men. Bell has a meanness in her very pride; that
meanness rises with her pride, and goes hand in hand with it; and no
one is so proud as Bell. She has owned her love, her uneasy days,
and sleepless nights, and her revenge grafted upon her love, to her
favourite Betty Barnes--To lay herself in the power of a servant's
tongue! Poor creature!--But LIKE little souls will find one another
out, and mingle, as well as LIKE great ones. This, however, she told the
wench in strict confidence: and thus, by way of the female round-about,
as Lovelace had the sauciness on such another occasion, in ridicule of
our sex, to call it, Betty (pleased to be thought worthy of a secret,
and to have an opportunity of inveighing against Lovelace's perfidy,
as she would have it to be) told it to one of her confidants:
that confidant, with like injunctions of secrecy, to Miss Lloyd's
Harriot--Harriot to Miss Lloyd--Miss Lloyd to me--I to you--with leave
to make what you please of it.

And now you will not wonder to find Miss Bell an implacable rival,
rather than an affectionate sister; and will be able to account for the
words witchcraft, syren, and such like, thrown out against you; and for
her driving on for a fixed day for sacrificing you to Solmes: in short,
for her rudeness and violence of every kind.

What a sweet revenge will she take, as well upon Lovelace as upon you,
if she can procure her rival sister to be married to the man that sister
hates; and so prevent her having the man whom she herself loves (whether
she have hope of him or not), and whom she suspects her sister loves!

Poisons and poniard have often been set to work by minds inflamed by
disappointed love, and actuated by revenge.--Will you wonder, then, that
the ties of relationship in such a case have no force, and that a sister
forgets to be a sister?

Now I know this to be her secret motive, (the more grating to her, as
her pride is concerned to make her disavow it), and can consider it
joined with her former envy, and as strengthened by a brother, who has
such an ascendant over the whole family; and whose interest (slave to it
as he always was) engaged him to ruin you with every one: both possessed
of the ears of all your family, and having it as much in their power as
in their will to misrepresent all you say, all you do; such subject also
as to the rencounter, and Lovelace's want of morals, to expatiate upon:
your whole family likewise avowedly attached to the odious man by means
of the captivating proposals he has made them;--when I consider all
these things, I am full of apprehensions for you.--O my dear, how will
you be able to maintain your ground;--I am sure, (alas! I am too sure)
that they will subdue such a fine spirit as yours, unused to opposition;
and (tell it not in Gath) you must be Mrs. Solmes!

Mean time, it is now easy, as you will observe, to guess from what
quarter the report I mentioned to you in one of my former, came,
That the younger sister has robbed the elder of her lover:* for Betty
whispered it, at the time she whispered the rest, that neither Lovelace
nor you had done honourably by her young mistress.--How cruel, my dear,
in you, to rob the poor Bella of the only lover she only had!--At the
instant too that she was priding herself, that now at last she should
have it in her power not only to gratify her own susceptibilities, but
to give an example to the flirts of her sex** (my worship's self in
her eye) how to govern their man with a silken rein, and without a
curb-bridle!


     * Letter I.

     ** Letter II.


Upon the whole, I have now no doubt of their persevering in favour of
the despicable Solmes; and of their dependence upon the gentleness of
your temper, and the regard you have for their favour, and for your own
reputation. And now I am more than ever convinced of the propriety of
the advice I formerly gave you, to keep in your own hands the estate
bequeathed to you by your grandfather.--Had you done so, it would have
procured you at least an outward respect from your brother and sister,
which would have made them conceal the envy and ill-will that now are
bursting upon you from hearts so narrow.

I must harp a little more upon this string--Do not you observe, how much
your brother's influence has overtopped yours, since he has got into
fortunes so considerable, and since you have given some of them an
appetite to continue in themselves the possession of your estate, unless
you comply with their terms?

I know your dutiful, your laudable motives; and one would have thought,
that you might have trusted to a father who so dearly loved you. But had
you been actually in possession of that estate, and living up to it, and
upon it, (your youth protected from blighting tongues by the company
of your prudent Norton, as you had proposed,) do you think that your
brother, grudging it to you at the time as he did, and looking upon it
as his right as an only son, would have been practising about it, and
aiming at it? I told you some time ago, that I thought your trials but
proportioned to your prudence:* but you will be more than woman, if
you can extricate yourself with honour, having such violent spirits and
sordid minds in some, and such tyrannical and despotic wills in others,
to deal with. Indeed, all may be done, and the world be taught further
to admire you for your blind duty and will-less resignation, if you can
persuade yourself to be Mrs. Solmes.


     * Letter I.


I am pleased with the instances you give me of Mr. Lovelace's
benevolence to his own tenants, and with his little gift to your
uncle's. Mrs. Fortescue allows him to be the best of landlords: I might
have told you that, had I thought it necessary to put you into some
little conceit of him. He has qualities, in short, that may make him
a tolerable creature on the other side of fifty: but God help the
poor woman to whose lot he shall fall till then! women, I should say,
perhaps; since he may break half-a-dozen hearts before that time.--But
to the point I was upon--Shall we not have reason to commend the
tenant's grateful honesty, if we are told, that with joy the poor man
called out your uncle, and on the spot paid him in part of his debt
those two guineas?--But what shall we say of that landlord, who, though
he knew the poor man to be quite destitute, could take it; and, saying
nothing while Mr. Lovelace staid, as soon as he was gone, tell of it in
praise of the poor fellow's honesty?--Were this so, and were not that
landlord related to my dearest friend, how should I despise such a
wretch?--But, perhaps, the story is aggravated. Covetous people have
every one's ill word: and so indeed they ought; because they are
only solicitous to keep that which they prefer to every one's good
one.--Covetous indeed would they be, who deserved neither, yet expected
both!

I long for your next letter. Continue to be as particular as possible.
I can think of no other subject but what relates to you and to your
affairs: for I am, and ever will be, most affectionately,

Your own, ANNA HOWE.



LETTER XVI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE [HER PRECEDING NOT AT THAT TIME
RECEIVED.] FRIDAY, MARCH 3.


O my dear friend, I have had a sad conflict! Trial upon trial;
conference upon conference!--But what law, what ceremony, can give a
man a right to a heart which abhors him more than it does any living
creature?

I hope my mother will be able to prevail for me.--But I will recount it
all, though I sit up the whole night to do it; for I have a vast deal to
write, and will be as minute as you wish me to be.

I concluded my last in a fright. It was occasioned by a conversation
that passed between my mother and my aunt, part of which Hannah
overheard. I need not give you the particulars; since what I have to
relate to you from different conversations that have passed between my
mother and me, in the space of a very few hours, will include them all.
I will begin then.

I went down this morning when breakfast was ready with a very uneasy
heart, from what Hannah had informed me of yesterday afternoon; wishing
for an opportunity, however, to appeal to my mother, in hopes to engage
her interest in my behalf, and purposing to try to find one when she
retired to her own apartment after breakfast: but, unluckily, there was
the odious Solmes, sitting asquat between my mother and sister, with so
much assurance in his looks!--But you know, my dear, that those we love
not, cannot do any thing to please us.

Had the wretch kept his seat, it might have been well enough: but the
bend and broad-shouldered creature must needs rise, and stalk towards a
chair, which was just by that which was set for me.

I removed it to a distance, as if to make way to my own: and down I sat,
abruptly I believe; what I had heard all in my head.

But this was not enough to daunt him. The man is a very confident, he is
a very bold, staring man!--Indeed, my dear, the man is very confident.

He took the removed chair, and drew it so near mine, squatting in it
with his ugly weight, that he pressed upon my hoop.--I was so offended
(all I had heard, as I said, in my head) that I removed to another
chair. I own I had too little command of myself. It gave my brother
and sister too much advantage. I day say they took it. But I did it
involuntarily, I think. I could not help it.--I knew not what I did.

I saw that my father was excessively displeased. When angry, no man's
countenance ever shews it so much as my father's. Clarissa Harlowe! said
he with a big voice--and there he stopped. Sir! said I, trembling and
courtesying (for I had not then sat down again); and put my chair nearer
the wretch, and sat down--my face, as I could feel, all in a glow.

Make tea, child, said my kind mamma; sit by me, love, and make tea.

I removed with pleasure to the seat the man had quitted; and being
thus indulgently put into employment, soon recovered myself; and in the
course of the breakfasting officiously asked two or three questions
of Mr. Solmes, which I would not have done, but to make up with my
father.--Proud spirits may be brought to! Whisperingly spoke my sister
to me, over her shoulder, with an air of triumph and scorn: but I did
not mind her.

My mother was all kindness and condescension. I asked her once, if she
were pleased with the tea? She said, softly, (and again called me dear,)
she was pleased with all I did. I was very proud of this encouraging
goodness: and all blew over, as I hoped, between my father and me; for
he also spoke kindly to me two or three times.

Small accidents these, my dear, to trouble you with; only as they lead
to greater, as you shall hear.

Before the usual breakfast-time was over, my father withdrew with my
mother, telling her he wanted to speak with her. Then my sister and next
my aunt (who was with us) dropt away.

My brother gave himself some airs of insult, which I understood well
enough; but which Mr. Solmes could make nothing of: and at last he arose
from his seat--Sister, said he, I have a curiosity to shew you. I will
fetch it. And away he went shutting the door close after him.

I saw what all this was for. I arose; the man hemming up for a speech,
rising, and beginning to set his splay-feet [indeed, my dear, the man in
all his ways is hateful to me] in an approaching posture.--I will
save my brother the trouble of bringing to me his curiosity, said I. I
courtesied--Your servant, sir--The man cried, Madam, Madam, twice, and
looked like a fool.--But away I went--to find my brother, to save my
word.--But my brother, indifferent as the weather was, was gone to
walk in the garden with my sister. A plain case, that he had left his
curiosity with me, and designed to shew me no other.

I had but just got into my own apartment, and began to think of sending
Hannah to beg an audience of my mother (the more encouraged by her
condescending goodness at breakfast) when Shorey, her woman, brought me
her commands to attend me in her closet.

My father, Hannah told me, was just gone out of it with a positive angry
countenance. Then I as much dreaded the audience as I had wished for it
before.

I went down however; but, apprehending the subject she intended to
talk to me upon, approached her trembling, and my heart in visible
palpitations.

She saw my concern. Holding out her kind arms, as she sat, Come kiss
me, my dear, said she, with a smile like a sun-beam breaking through
the cloud that overshadowed her naturally benign aspect--Why flutters my
jewel so?

This preparative sweetness, with her goodness just before, confirmed my
apprehensions. My mother saw the bitter pill wanted gilding.

O my Mamma! was all I could say; and I clasped my arms round her neck,
and my face sunk into her bosom.

My child! my child! restrain, said she, your powers of moving! I dare
not else trust myself with you.--And my tears trickled down her bosom,
as hers bedewed my neck.

O the words of kindness, all to be expressed in vain, that flowed from
her lips!

Lift up your sweet face, my best child, my own Clarissa Harlowe!--O my
daughter, best beloved of my heart, lift up a face so ever amiable to
me!--Why these sobs?--Is an apprehended duty so affecting a thing, that
before I can speak--But I am glad, my love, you can guess at what I have
to say to you. I am spared the pains of breaking to you what was a task
upon me reluctantly enough undertaken to break to you. Then rising, she
drew a chair near her own, and made me sit down by her, overwhelmed as I
was with tears of apprehension of what she had to say, and of gratitude
for her truly maternal goodness to me--sobs still my only language.

And drawing her chair still nearer to mine, she put her arms round my
neck, and my glowing cheek wet with my tears, close to her own: Let me
talk to you, my child. Since silence is your choice, hearken to me, and
be silent.

You know, my dear, what I every day forego, and undergo, for the sake of
peace. Your papa is a very good man, and means well; but he will not
be controuled; nor yet persuaded. You have sometimes seemed to pity me,
that I am obliged to give up every point. Poor man! his reputation the
less for it; mine the greater: yet would I not have this credit, if
I could help it, at so dear a rate to him and to myself. You are a
dutiful, a prudent, and a wise child, she was pleased to say, in hope,
no doubt, to make me so: you would not add, I am sure, to my trouble:
you would not wilfully break that peace which costs your mother so much
to preserve. Obedience is better than sacrifice. O my Clary Harlowe,
rejoice my heart, by telling me that I have apprehended too much!--I see
your concern! I see your perplexity! I see your conflict! [loosing
her arm, and rising, not willing I should see how much she herself
was affected]. I will leave you a moment.--Answer me not--[for I was
essaying to speak, and had, as soon as she took her dear cheek from
mine, dropt down on my knees, my hands clasped, and lifted up in
a supplicating manner]--I am not prepared for your irresistible
expostulation, she was pleased to say. I will leave you to recollection:
and I charge you, on my blessing, that all this my truly maternal
tenderness be not thrown away upon you.

And then she withdrew into the next apartment; wiping her eyes as she
went from me; as mine overflowed; my heart taking in the whole compass
of her meaning.

She soon returned, having recovered more steadiness.

Still on my knees, I had thrown my face across the chair she had sat in.

Look up to me, my Clary Harlowe--No sullenness, I hope!

No, indeed, my ever-to-be-revered Mamma.--And I arose. I bent my knee.

She raised me. No kneeling to me, but with knees of duty and compliance.
Your heart, not your knees, must bend. It is absolutely determined.
Prepare yourself therefore to receive your father, when he visits you
by-and-by, as he would wish to receive you. But on this one quarter of
an hour depends the peace of my future life, the satisfaction of all the
family, and your own security from a man of violence: and I charge you
besides, on my blessing, that you think of being Mrs. Solmes.

There went the dagger to my heart, and down I sunk: and when I
recovered, found myself in the arms of my Hannah, my sister's Betty
holding open my reluctantly-opened palm, my laces cut, my linen scented
with hartshorn; and my mother gone. Had I been less kindly treated, the
hated name still forborne to be mentioned, or mentioned with a little
more preparation and reserve, I had stood the horrid sound with less
visible emotion--But to be bid, on the blessing of a mother so dearly
beloved, so truly reverenced, to think of being MRS. SOLMES--what a
denunciation was that!

Shorey came in with a message (delivered in her solemn way): Your mamma,
Miss, is concerned for your disorder: she expects you down again in an
hour; and bid me say, that she then hopes every thing from your duty.

I made no reply; for what could I say? And leaning upon my Hannah's arm,
withdrew to my own apartment. There you will guess how the greatest part
of the hour was employed.

Within that time, my mother came up to me.

I love, she was pleased to say, to come into this apartment.--No
emotions, child! No flutters!--Am I not your mother?--Do not discompose
me by discomposing yourself! Do not occasion me uneasiness, when I
would give you nothing but pleasure. Come, my dear, we will go into your
closet.

She took my hand, led the way, and made me sit down by her: and after
she had inquired how I did, she began in a strain as if she supposed I
had made use of the intervening space to overcome all my objections.

She was pleased to tell me, that my father and she, in order to spare my
natural modesty, had taken the whole affair upon themselves--

Hear me out; and then speak.--He is not indeed every thing I wish him to
be: but he is a man of probity, and has no vices--

No vices, Madam--!

Hear me out, child.--You have not behaved much amiss to him: we have
seen with pleasure that you have not--

O Madam, must I not now speak!

I shall have done presently.--A young creature of your virtuous and
pious turn, she was pleased to say, cannot surely love a profligate: you
love your brother too well, to wish to marry one who had like to have
killed him, and who threatened your uncles, and defies us all. You have
had your own way six or seven times: we want to secure you against a man
so vile. Tell me (I have a right to know) whether you prefer this man
to all others?--Yet God forbid that I should know you do; for such
a declaration would make us all miserable. Yet tell me, are your
affections engaged to this man?

I knew not what the inference would be, if I said they were not.

You hesitate--You answer me not--You cannot answer me.--Rising--Never
more will I look upon you with an eye of favour--

O Madam, Madam! Kill me not with your displeasure--I would not, I need
not, hesitate one moment, did I not dread the inference, if I answer
you as you wish.--Yet be that inference what it will, your threatened
displeasure will make me speak. And I declare to you, that I know not my
own heart, if it not be absolutely free. And pray, let me ask my dearest
Mamma, in what has my conduct been faulty, that, like a giddy creature,
I must be forced to marry, to save me from--From what? Let me beseech
you, Madam, to be the guardian of my reputation! Let not your Clarissa
be precipitated into a state she wishes not to enter into with any man!
And this upon a supposition that otherwise she shall marry herself, and
disgrace her whole family.

Well then, Clary [passing over the force of my plea] if your heart be
free--

O my beloved Mamma, let the usual generosity of your dear heart operate
in my favour. Urge not upon me the inference that made me hesitate.

I won't be interrupted, Clary--You have seen in my behaviour to you,
on this occasion, a truly maternal tenderness; you have observed that
I have undertaken the task with some reluctance, because the man is not
every thing; and because I know you carry your notions of perfection in
a man too high--

Dearest Madam, this one time excuse me!--Is there then any danger that I
should be guilty of an imprudent thing for the man's sake you hint at?

Again interrupted!--Am I to be questioned, and argued with? You know
this won't do somewhere else. You know it won't. What reason then,
ungenerous girl, can you have for arguing with me thus, but because you
think from my indulgence to you, you may?

What can I say? What can I do? What must that cause be that will not
bear being argued upon?

Again! Clary Harlowe!

Dearest Madam, forgive me: it was always my pride and my pleasure to
obey you. But look upon that man--see but the disagreeableness of his
person--

Now, Clary, do I see whose person you have in your eye!--Now is Mr.
Solmes, I see, but comparatively disagreeable; disagreeable only as
another man has a much more specious person

But, Madam, are not his manners equally so?--Is not his person the true
representative of his mind?--That other man is not, shall not be, any
thing to me, release me but from this one man, whom my heart, unbidden,
resists.

Condition thus with your father. Will he bear, do you think, to be thus
dialogued with? Have I not conjured you, as you value my peace--What
is it that I do not give up?--This very task, because I apprehended you
would not be easily persuaded, is a task indeed upon me. And will you
give up nothing? Have you not refused as many as have been offered to
you? If you would not have us guess for whom, comply; for comply you
must, or be looked upon as in a state of defiance with your whole
family.

And saying this, she arose and went from me. But at the chamber-door
stopt; and turned back: I will not say below in what a disposition I
leave you. Consider of every thing. The matter is resolved upon. As you
value your father's blessing and mine, and the satisfaction of all the
family, resolve to comply. I will leave you for a few moments. I will
come up to you again. See that I find you as I wish to find you; and
since your heart is free, let your duty govern it.

In about half an hour, my mother returned. She found me in tears.
She took my hand: It is my part evermore, said she, to be of the
acknowledging side. I believe I have needlessly exposed myself to your
opposition, by the method I have taken with you. I first began as if I
expected a denial, and by my indulgence brought it upon myself.

Do not, my dearest Mamma! do not say so!

Were the occasion for this debate, proceeded she, to have risen from
myself; were it in my power to dispense with your compliance; you too
well know what you can do with me.

Would any body, my dear Miss Howe, wish to marry, who sees a wife of
such a temper, and blessed with such an understanding as my mother is
noted for, not only deprived of all power, but obliged to be even active
in bringing to bear a point of high importance, which she thinks ought
not to be insisted upon?

When I came to you a second time, proceeded she, knowing that your
opposition would avail you nothing, I refused to hear your reasons: and
in this I was wrong too, because a young creature who loves to reason,
and used to love to be convinced by reason, ought to have all her
objections heard: I now therefore, this third time, see you; and am
come resolved to hear all you have to say: and let me, my dear, by my
patience engage your gratitude; your generosity, I will call it, because
it is to you I speak, who used to have a mind wholly generous.--Let me,
if your heart be really free, let me see what it will induce you to do
to oblige me: and so as you permit your usual discretion to govern you,
I will hear all you have to say; but with this intimation, that say what
you will, it will be of no avail elsewhere.

What a dreadful saying is that! But could I engage your pity, Madam, it
would be somewhat.

You have as much of my pity as of my love. But what is person, Clary,
with one of your prudence, and your heart disengaged?

Should the eye be disgusted, when the heart is to be engaged?--O
Madam, who can think of marrying when the heart is shocked at the
first appearance, and where the disgust must be confirmed by every
conversation afterwards?

This, Clary, is owing to your prepossession. Let me not have cause
to regret that noble firmness of mind in so young a creature which I
thought your glory, and which was my boast in your character. In this
instance it would be obstinacy, and want of duty.--Have you not made
objections to several--

That was to their minds, to their principles, Madam.--But this man--

Is an honest man, Clary Harlowe. He has a good mind. He is a virtuous
man.

He an honest man? His a good mind, Madam? He a virtuous man?--

Nobody denies these qualities.

Can he be an honest man who offers terms that will rob all his own
relations of their just expectations?--Can his mind be good--

You, Clary Harlowe, for whose sake he offers so much, are the last
person who should make this observation.

Give me leave to say, Madam, that a person preferring happiness to
fortune, as I do; that want not even what I have, and can give up the
use of that, as an instance of duty--

No more, no more of your merits!--You know you will be a gainer by that
cheerful instance of your duty; not a loser. You know you have but
cast your bread upon the waters--so no more of that!--For it is not
understood as a merit by every body, I assure you; though I think it a
high one; and so did your father and uncles at the time--

At the time, Madam!--How unworthily do my brother and sister, who are
afraid that the favour I was so lately in--

I hear nothing against your brother and sister--What family feuds have I
in prospect, at a time when I hoped to have most comfort from you all!


God bless my brother and sister in all their worthy views! You shall
have no family feuds if I can prevent them. You yourself, Madam, shall
tell me what I shall bear from them, and I will bear it: but let my
actions, not their misrepresentations (as I am sure by the disgraceful
prohibitions I have met with has been the case) speak for me.

Just then, up came my father, with a sternness in his looks that made me
tremble.--He took two or three turns about my chamber, though pained by
his gout; and then said to my mother, who was silent as soon as she saw
him--

My dear, you are long absent.--Dinner is near ready. What you had to
say, lay in a very little compass. Surely, you have nothing to do but
to declare your will, and my will--But perhaps you may be talking of the
preparations--Let us have you soon down--Your daughter in your hand, if
worthy of the name.

And down he went, casting his eye upon me with a look so stern, that
I was unable to say one word to him, or even for a few minutes to my
mother.

Was not this very intimidating, my dear?

My mother, seeing my concern, seemed to pity me. She called me her good
child, and kissed me; and told me that my father should not know I had
made such opposition. He has kindly furnished us with an excuse for
being so long together, said she.--Come, my dear--dinner will be upon
table presently--Shall we go down?--And took my hand.

This made me start: What, Madam, go down to let it be supposed we were
talking of preparations!--O my beloved Mamma, command me not down upon
such a supposition.

You see, child, that to stay longer together, will be owning that you
are debating about an absolute duty; and that will not be borne. Did not
your father himself some days ago tell you, he would be obeyed? I will a
third time leave you. I must say something by way of excuse for you:
and that you desire not to go down to dinner--that your modesty on the
occasion--

O Madam! say not my modesty on such an occasion: for that will be to
give hope--

And design you not to give hope?--Perverse girl!--Rising and flinging
from me; take more time for consideration!--Since it is necessary, take
more time--and when I see you next, let me know what blame I have to
cast upon myself, or to bear from your father, for my indulgence to you.

She made, however, a little stop at the chamber-door; and seemed to
expect that I would have besought her to make the gentlest construction
for me; for, hesitating, she was pleased to say, I suppose you would not
have me make a report--

O Madam, interrupted I, whose favour can I hope for if I lose my
mamma's?

To have desired a favourable report, you know, my dear, would have been
qualifying upon a point that I was too much determined upon, to give
room for any of my friends to think I have the least hesitation about
it. And so my mother went down stairs.

I will deposit thus far; and, as I know you will not think me too minute
in the relation of particulars so very interesting to one you honour
with your love, proceed in the same way. As matters stand, I don't care
to have papers, so freely written, about me.

Pray let Robert call every day, if you can spare him, whether I have any
thing ready or not.

I should be glad you would not send him empty handed. What a generosity
will it be in you, to write as frequently from friendship, as I am
forced to do from misfortune! The letters being taken away will be an
assurance that you have them. As I shall write and deposit as I have
opportunity, the formality of super and sub-scription will be excused.
For I need not say how much I am

Your sincere and ever affectionate, CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XVII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE


My mother, on her return, which was as soon as she had dined, was
pleased to inform me, that she told my father, on his questioning her
about my cheerul compliance (for, it seems, the cheerful was all that
was doubted) that she was willing, on so material a point, to give
a child whom she had so much reason to love (as she condescended to
acknowledge were her words) liberty to say all that was in her heart to
say, that her compliance might be the freer: letting him know, that
when he came up, she was attending to my pleas; for that she found I had
rather not marry at all.

She told me, that to this my father angrily said, let her take
care--let her take care--that she give me not ground to suspect her of
a preference somewhere else. But, if it be to ease her heart, and not to
dispute my will, you may hear her out.

So, Clary, said my mother, I am returned in a temper accordingly: and I
hope you will not again, by your peremptoriness, shew me how I ought to
treat you.

Indeed, Madam, you did me justice to say, I have no inclination to marry
at all. I have not, I hope, made myself so very unuseful in my papa's
family, as--

No more of your merits, Clary! You have been a good child. You have
eased me of all the family cares: but do not now give more than ever
you relieved me from. You have been amply repaid in the reputation
your skill and management have given you: but now there is soon to be a
period to all those assistances from you. If you marry, there will be
a natural, and, if to please us, a desirable period; because your own
family will employ all your talents in that way: if you do not, there
will be a period likewise, but not a natural one--you understand me,
child.

I wept.

I have made inquiry already after a housekeeper. I would have had your
good Norton; but I suppose you will yourself wish to have the worthy
woman with you. If you desire it, that shall be agreed upon for you.

But, why, dearest Madam, why am I, the youngest, to be precipitated into
a state, that I am very far from wishing to enter into with any body?

You are going to question me, I suppose, why your sister is not thought
of for Mr. Solmes?

I hope, Madam, it will not displease you if I were.

I might refer you for an answer to your father.--Mr. Solmes has reasons
for preferring you--

And I have reasons, Madam, for disliking him. And why I am--

This quickness upon me, interrupted my mother, is not to be borne! I am
gone, and your father comes, if I can do no good with you.

O Madam, I would rather die, than--

She put her hand to my mouth--No peremptoriness, Clary Harlowe: once you
declare yourself inflexible, I have done.

I wept for vexation. This is all, all, my brother's doings--his grasping
views--

No reflections upon your brother: he has entirely the honour of the
family at heart.

I would no more dishonour my family, Madam, than my brother would.

I believe it: but I hope you will allow your father, and me, and your
uncles, to judge what will do it honour, what dishonour.

I then offered to live single; never to marry at all; or never but with
their full approbation.

If you mean to shew your duty, and your obedience, Clary, you must shew
it in our way, not in your own.

I hope, Madam, that I have not so behaved hitherto, as to render such a
trial of my obedience necessary.

Yes, Clary, I cannot but say that you have hitherto behaved extremely
well: but you have had no trials till now: and I hope, that now you are
called to one, you will not fail in it. Parents, proceeded she, when
children are young, are pleased with every thing they do. You have been
a good child upon the whole: but we have hitherto rather complied with
you, than you with us. Now that you are grown up to marriageable years,
is the test; especially as your grandfather has made you independent, as
we may say, in preference to those who had prior expectations upon that
estate.

Madam, my grandfather knew, and expressly mentioned in his will his
desire, that my father will more than make it up to my sister. I did
nothing but what I thought my duty to procure his favour. It was rather
a mark of his affection, than any advantage to me: For, do I either
seek or wish to be independent? Were I to be queen of the universe, that
dignity should not absolve me from my duty to you and to my father. I
would kneel for your blessings, were it in the presence of millions--so
that--

I am loth to interrupt you, Clary; though you could more than once break
in upon me. You are young and unbroken: but, with all this ostentation
of your duty, I desire you to shew a little more deference to me when I
am speaking.

I beg your pardon, dear Madam, and your patience with me on such an
occasion as this. If I did not speak with earnestness upon it, I should
be supposed to have only maidenly objections against a man I never can
endure.

Clary Harlowe--!

Dearest, dearest Madam, permit me to speak what I have to say, this
once--It is hard, it is very hard, to be forbidden to enter into
the cause of all these misunderstandings, because I must not speak
disrespectfully of one who supposes me in the way of his ambition, and
treats me like a slave--

Whither, whither, Clary--

My dearest Mamma!--My duty will not permit me so far to suppose my
father arbitrary, as to make a plea of that arbitrariness to you--

How now, Clary!--O girl!

Your patience, my dearest Mamma:--you were pleased to say, you would
hear me with patience.--PERSON in a man is nothing, because I am
supposed to be prudent: so my eye is to be disgusted, and my reason not
convinced--

Girl, girl!

Thus are my imputed good qualities to be made my punishment; and I am to
wedded to a monster--

[Astonishing!--Can this, Clarissa, be from you?

The man, Madam, person and mind, is a monster in my eye.]--And that
I may be induced to bear this treatment, I am to be complimented with
being indifferent to all men: yet, at other times, and to serve other
purposes, be thought prepossessed in favour of a man against whose moral
character lie just objections.--Confined, as if, like the giddiest of
creatures, I would run away with this man, and disgrace my whole family!
O my dearest Mamma! who can be patient under such treatment?

Now, Clary, I suppose you will allow me to speak. I think I have had
patience indeed with you.--Could I have thought--but I will put all upon
a short issue. Your mother, Clarissa, shall shew you an example of that
patience you so boldly claim from her, without having any yourself.

O my dear, how my mother's condescension distressed me at the
time!--Infinitely more distressed me, than rigour could have done. But
she knew, she was to be sure aware, that she was put upon a harsh, upon
an unreasonable service, let me say, or she would not, she could not,
have had so much patience with me.

Let me tell you then, proceeded she, that all lies in a small compass,
as your father said.--You have been hitherto, as you are pretty ready to
plead, a dutiful child. You have indeed had no cause to be otherwise. No
child was ever more favoured. Whether you will discredit all your past
behaviour; whether, at a time and upon an occasion, that the highest
instance of duty is expected from you (an instance that is to crown
all); and when you declare that your heart is free--you will give that
instance; or whether, having a view to the independence you may claim,
(for so, Clary, whatever be your motive, it will be judged,) and which
any man you favour, can assert for you against us all; or rather for
himself in spite of us--whether, I say, you will break with us all;
and stand in defiance of a jealous father, needlessly jealous, I will
venture to say, of the prerogatives of his sex, as to me, and still ten
times more jealous of the authority of a father;--this is now the point
with us. You know your father has made it a point; and did he ever give
up one he thought he had a right to carry?

Too true, thought I to myself! And now my brother has engaged my father,
his fine scheme will walk alone, without needing his leading-strings;
and it is become my father's will that I oppose; not my brother's
grasping views.

I was silent. To say the truth, I was just then sullenly silent. My
heart was too big. I thought it was hard to be thus given up by
my mother; and that she should make a will so uncontroulable as my
brother's, her will.--My mother, my dear, though I must not say so, was
not obliged to marry against her liking. My mother loved my father.

My silence availed me still less.

I see, my dear, said she, that you are convinced. Now, my good
child--now, my Clary, do I love you! It shall not be known, that you
have argued with me at all. All shall be imputed to that modesty which
has ever so much distinguished you. You shall have the full merit of
your resignation.

I wept.

She tenderly wiped the tears from my eyes, and kissed my cheek--Your
father expects you down with a cheerful countenance--but I will excuse
your going. All your scruples, you see, have met with an indulgence
truly maternal from me. I rejoice in the hope that you are convinced.
This indeed seems to be a proof of the truth of your agreeable
declaration, that your heart is free.

Did not this seem to border upon cruelty, my dear, in so indulgent a
mother?--It would be wicked [would it not] to suppose my mother capable
of art?--But she is put upon it, and obliged to take methods to which
her heart is naturally above stooping; and all intended for my good,
because she sees that no arguing will be admitted any where else!

I will go down, proceeded she, and excuse your attendance at afternoon
tea, as I did to dinner: for I know you will have some little
reluctances to subdue. I will allow you those; and also some little
natural shynesses--and so you shall not come down, if you chuse not to
come down. Only, my dear, do not disgrace my report when you come to
supper. And be sure behave as you used to do to your brother and sister;
for your behaviour to them will be one test of your cheerful obedience
to us. I advise as a friend, you see, rather than command as a
mother--So adieu, my love. And again she kissed me; and was going.

O my dear Mamma, said I, forgive me!--But surely you cannot believe, I
can ever think of having that man!

She was very angry, and seemed to be greatly disappointed. She
threatened to turn me over to my father and uncles:--she however bid
me (generously bid me) consider, what a handle I gave to my brother
and sister, if I thought they had views to serve by making my uncles
dissatisfied with me.

I, said she, in a milder accent, have early said all that I thought
could be said against the present proposal, on a supposition, that
you, who have refused several other (whom I own to be preferable as to
person) would not approve of it; and could I have succeeded, you,
Clary, had never heard of it. But if I could not, how can you expect
to prevail? My great ends in the task I have undertaken, are the
preservation of the family peace so likely to be overturned; to
reinstate you in the affections of your father and uncles: and to
preserve you from a man of violence.--Your father, you must needs think
will flame out upon your refusal to comply: your uncles are so

thoroughly convinced of the consistency of the measure with their
favourite views of aggrandizing the family, that they are as much
determined as your father: your aunt Hervey and your uncle Hervey are of
the same party. And it is hard, if a father and mother, and uncles, and
aunt, all conjoined, cannot be allowed to direct your choice--surely, my
dear girl, proceeded she [for I was silent all this time], it cannot be
that you are the more averse, because the family views will be promoted
by the match--this, I assure you, is what every body must think, if
you comply not. Nor, while the man, so obnoxious to us all, remains
unmarried, and buzzes about you, will the strongest wishes to live
single, be in the least regarded. And well you know, that were Mr.
Lovelace an angel, and your father had made it a point that you should
not have him, it would be in vain to dispute his will. As to the
prohibition laid upon you (much as I will own against my liking), that
is owing to the belief that you corresponded by Miss Howe's means with
that man; nor do I doubt that you did so.

I answered to every article, in such a manner, as I am sure would have
satisfied her, could she have been permitted to judge for herself; and I
then inveighed with bitterness against the disgraceful prohibitions laid
upon me.

They would serve to shew me, she was pleased to say, how much in earnest
my father was. They might be taken off, whenever I thought fit, and no
harm done, nor disgrace received. But if I were to be contumacious, I
might thank myself for all that would follow.

I sighed. I wept. I was silent.

Shall I, Clary, said she, shall I tell your father that these
prohibitions are as unnecessary as I hoped they would be? That you know
your duty, and will not offer to controvert his will? What say you, my
love?

O Madam, what can I say to questions so indulgently put? I do indeed
know my duty: no creature in the world is more willing to practise
it: but, pardon me, dearest Madam, if I say, that I must bear these
prohibitions, if I am to pay so dear to have them taken off.

Determined and perverse, my dear mamma called me: and after walking
twice or thrice in anger about the room, she turned to me: Your
heart free, Clarissa! How can you tell me your heart is free? Such
extraordinary prepossessions to a particular person must be owing to
extraordinary prepossessions in another's favour! Tell me, Clary, and
tell me truly--Do you not continue to correspond with Mr. Lovelace?

Dearest Madam, replied I, you know my motives: to prevent mischief, I
answered his letters. The reasons for our apprehensions of this sort are
not over.

I own to you, Clary, (although now I would not have it known,) that
I once thought a little qualifying among such violent spirits was not
amiss. I did not know but all things would come round again by the
mediation of Lord M. and his two sisters: but as they all three think
proper to resent for their nephew; and as their nephew thinks fit to
defy us all; and as terms are offered, on the other hand, that could
not be asked, which will very probably prevent your grandfather's estate
going out of the family, and may be a means to bring still greater into
it; I see not, that the continuance of your correspondence with him
either can or ought to be permitted. I therefore now forbid it to you,
as you value my favour.

Be pleased, Madam, only to advise me how to break it off with safety to
my brother and uncles; and it is all I wish for. Would to heaven, the
man so hated had not the pretence to make of having been too violently
treated, when he meant peace and reconciliation! It would always have
been in my own power to have broke with him. His reputed immoralities
would have given me a just pretence at any time to do so. But, Madam, as
my uncles and my brother will keep no measures; as he has heard what the
view is; and his regard for me from resenting their violent treatment
of him and his family; what can I do? Would you have me, Madam, make him
desperate?

The law will protect us, child! offended magistracy will assert itself--

But, Madam, may not some dreadful mischief first happen?--The law
asserts not itself, till it is offended.

You have made offers, Clary, if you might be obliged in the point in
question--Are you really in earnest, were you to be complied with, to
break off all correspondence with Mr. Lovelace?--Let me know this.

Indeed I am; and I will. You, Madam, shall see all the letters that
have passed between us. You shall see I have given him no encouragement
independent of my duty. And when you have seen them, you will be
better able to direct me how, on the condition I have offered, to break
entirely with him.

I take you at your word, Clarissa--Give me his letters; and the copies
of yours.

I am sure, Madam, you will keep the knowledge that I write, and what I
write--

No conditions with your mother--surely my prudence may be trusted to.

I begged her pardon; and besought her to take the key of the private
drawer in my escritoire, where they lay, that she herself might see that
I had no reserves to my mother.

She did; and took all his letters, and the copies of
mine.--Unconditioned with, she was pleased to say, they shall be yours
again, unseen by any body else.

I thanked her; and she withdrew to read them; saying, she would return
them, when she had.


***


You, my dear, have seen all the letters that passed between Mr. Lovelace
and me, till my last return from you. You have acknowledged, that he has
nothing to boast of from them. Three others I have received since, by
the private conveyance I told you of: the last I have not yet answered.

In these three, as in those you have seen, after having besought my
favour, and, in the most earnest manner, professed the ardour of his
passion for me; and set forth the indignities done him; the defiances
my brother throws out against him in all companies; the menaces, and
hostile appearance of my uncles wherever they go; and the methods they
take to defame him; he declares, 'That neither his own honour, nor
the honour of his family, (involved as that is in the undistinguishing
reflection cast upon him for an unhappy affair which he would have
shunned, but could not) permit him to bear these confirmed indignities:
that as my inclinations, if not favourable to him, cannot be, nor are,
to such a man as the newly-introduced Solmes, he is interested the more
to resent my brother's behaviour; who to every body avows his rancour
and malice; and glories in the probability he has, through the address
of this Solmes, of mortifying me, and avenging himself on him: that
it is impossible he should not think himself concerned to frustrate a
measure so directly levelled at him, had he not a still higher motive
for hoping to frustrate it: that I must forgive him, if he enter into
conference with Solmes upon it. He earnestly insists (upon what he has
so often proposed) that I will give him leave, in company with Lord
M. to wait upon my uncles, and even upon my father--and he promises
patience, if new provocations, absolutely beneath a man to bear, be not
given:' which by the way I am far from being able to engage for.

In my answer, I absolutely declare, as I tell him I have often done,
'That he is to expect no favour from me against the approbation of my
friends: that I am sure their consents for his visiting any of them
will never be obtained: that I will not be either so undutiful, or so
indiscreet, as to suffer my interests to be separated from the interests
of my family, for any man upon earth: that I do not think myself obliged
to him for the forbearance I desire one flaming spirit to have with
others: that in this desire I require nothing of him, but what prudence,
justice, and the laws of his country require: that if he has any
expectations of favour from me, on that account, he deceives himself:
that I have no inclination, as I have often told him, to change my
condition: that I cannot allow myself to correspond with him any longer
in this clandestine manner: it is mean, low, undutiful, I tell him; and
has a giddy appearance, which cannot be excused: that therefore he is
not to expect that I will continue it.

To this in his last, among other things, he replies, 'That if I am
actually determined to break off all correspondence with him, he must
conclude, that it is with a view to become the wife of a man, whom no
woman of honour and fortune can think tolerable. And in that case, I
must excuse him for saying, that he shall neither be able to bear the
thoughts of losing for ever a person in whom all his present and all his
future hopes are centred; nor support himself with patience under the
insolent triumphs of my brother upon it. But that nevertheless he will
not threaten either his own life, or that of any other man. He must take
his resolutions as such a dreaded event shall impel him at the time. If
he shall know that it will have my consent, he must endeavour to resign
to his destiny: but if it be brought about by compulsion, he shall not
be able to answer for the consequence.'

I will send you these letters for your perusal in a few days. I would
enclose them; but that it is possible something may happen, which may
make my mother require to re-peruse them. When you see them, you will
observe how he endeavours to hold me to this correspondence.


***


In about an hour my mother returned. Take your letters, Clary: I have
nothing, she was pleased to say, to tax your discretion with, as to the
wording of yours to him: you have even kept up a proper dignity, as
well as observed all the rules of decorum; and you have resented, as you
ought to resent, his menacing invectives. In a word, I see not, that he
can form the least expectations, from what you have written, that you
will encourage the passion he avows for you. But does he not avow his
passion? Have you the least doubt about what must be the issue of this
correspondence, if continued? And do you yourself think, when you know
the avowed hatred of one side, and he declared defiances of the other,
that this can be, that it ought to be a match?

By no means it can, Madam; you will be pleased to observed, that I have
said as much to him. But now, Madam, that the whole correspondence
is before you, I beg your commands what to do in a situation so very
disagreeable.

One thing I will tell you, Clary--but I charge you, as you would not
have me question the generosity of your spirit, to take no advantage
of it, either mentally or verbally; that I am so much pleased with the
offer of your keys to me, made in so cheerful and unreserved a manner,
and in the prudence you have shewn in your letters, that were it
practicable to bring every one, or your father only, into my opinion, I
should readily leave all the rest to your discretion, reserving only to
myself the direction or approbation of your future letters; and to see,
that you broke off the correspondence as soon as possible. But as it is
not, and as I know your father would have no patience with you, should
it be acknowledged that you correspond with Mr. Lovelace, or that you
have corresponded with him since the time he prohibited you to do so;
I forbid you to continue such a liberty--Yet, as the case is difficult,
let me ask you, What you yourself can propose? Your heart, you say, is
free. Your own, that you cannot think, as matters circumstanced, that
a match with a man so obnoxious as he now is to us all, is proper to
be thought of: What do you propose to do?--What, Clary, are your own
thoughts of the matter?

Without hesitation thus I answered--What I humbly propose is
this:--'That I will write to Mr. Lovelace (for I have not answered his
last) that he has nothing to do between my father and me: that I
neither ask his advice nor need it: but that since he thinks he has some
pretence for interfering, because of my brother's avowal of the interest
of Mr. Solmes in displeasure to him, I will assure him (without giving
him any reason to impute the assurance to be in the least favourable to
himself) that I will never be that man's.' And if, proceeded I, I
may never be permitted to give him this assurance; and Mr. Solmes, in
consequence of it, be discouraged from prosecuting his address; let Mr.
Lovelace be satisfied or dissatisfied, I will go no farther; nor write
another line to him; nor ever see him more, if I can avoid it: and I
shall have a good excuse for it, without bringing in any of my family.

Ah! my love!--But what shall we do about the terms Mr. Solmes offers?
Those are the inducements with every body. He has even given hopes to
your brother that he will make exchanges of estates; or, at least, that
he will purchase the northern one; for you know it must be entirely
consistent with the family-views, that we increase our interest in this
country. Your brother, in short, has given a plan that captivates us
all. And a family so rich in all its branches, and that has its views to
honour, must be pleased to see a very great probability of taking rank
one day among the principal in the kingdom.

And for the sake of these views, for the sake of this plan of my
brother's, am I, Madam, to be given in marriage to a man I can never
endure!--O my dear Mamma, save me, save me, if you can, from this heavy
evil.--I had rather be buried alive, indeed I had, than have that man!

She chid me for my vehemence; but was so good as to tell me, That she
would sound my uncle Harlowe, who was then below; and if he encouraged
her (or would engage to second her) she would venture to talk to my
father herself; and I should hear further in the morning.

She went down to tea, and kindly undertook to excuse my attendance at
supper.

But is it not a sad thing, I repeat, to be obliged to stand in
opposition to the will of such a mother? Why, as I often say to myself,
was such a man as this Solmes fixed upon? The only man in the world,
surely, that could offer so much, and deserve so little!

Little indeed does he deserve!--Why, my dear, the man has the most
indifferent of characters. Every mouth is opened against him for his
sordid ways--A foolish man, to be so base-minded!--When the difference
between the obtaining of a fame for generosity, and incurring the
censure of being a miser, will not, prudently managed, cost fifty pounds
a year.

What a name have you got, at a less expense? And what an opportunity had
he of obtaining credit at a very small one, succeeding such a wretched
creature as Sir Oliver, in fortunes so vast?--Yet has he so behaved,
that the common phrase is applied to him, That Sir Oliver will never be
dead while Mr. Solmes lives.

The world, as I have often thought, ill-natured as it is said to be, is
generally more just in characters (speaking by what it feels) than is
usually apprehended: and those who complain most of its censoriousness,
perhaps should look inwardly for the occasion oftener than they do.

My heart is a little at ease, on the hopes that my mother will be able
to procure favour for me, and a deliverance from this man; and so I
have leisure to moralize. But if I had not, I should not forbear to
intermingle occasionally these sorts of remarks, because you command
me never to omit them when they occur to my mind: and not to be able
to make them, even in a more affecting situation, when one sits down
to write, would shew one's self more engaged to self, and to one's own
concerns, than attentive to the wishes of a friend. If it be said, that
it is natural so to be, what makes that nature, on occasions where a
friend may be obliged, or reminded of a piece of instruction, which
(writing down) one's self may be the better for, but a fault; which it
would set a person above nature to subdue?



LETTER XVIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SAT. MAR. 4.


Would you not have thought something might have been obtained in my
favour, from an offer so reasonable, from an expedient so proper, as I
imagine, to put a tolerable end, as from myself, to a correspondence I
hardly know how otherwise, with safety to some of my family, to get rid
of?--But my brother's plan, (which my mother spoke of, and of which I
have in vain endeavoured to procure a copy, with a design to take it to
pieces, and expose it, as I question not there is room to do,) joined
with my father's impatience of contradiction, are irresistible.

I have not been in bed all night; nor am I in the least drowsy.
Expectation, and hope, and doubt, (an uneasy state!) kept me
sufficiently wakeful. I stept down at my usual time, that it might not
be known I had not been in bed; and gave directions in the family way.

About eight o'clock, Shorey came to me from my mother with orders to
attend her in her chamber.

My mother had been weeping, I saw by her eyes: but her aspect seemed to
be less tender, and less affectionate, than the day before; and this, as
soon as I entered into her presence, struck me with an awe, which gave a
great damp to my spirits.

Sit down, Clary Harlowe; I shall talk to you by-and-by: and continued
looking into a drawer among laces and linens, in a way neither busy nor
unbusy.

I believe it was a quarter of an hour before she spoke to me (my heart
throbbing with the suspense all the time); and then she asked me coldly,
What directions I had given for the day?

I shewed her the bill of fare for this day, and to-morrow, if, I said,
it pleased her to approve of it.

She made a small alteration in it; but with an air so cold and so
solemn, as added to my emotions.

Mr. Harlowe talks of dining out to-day, I think, at my brother
Antony's--

Mr. Harlowe!--Not my father!--Have I not then a father!--thought I.

Sit down when I bid you.

I sat down.

You look very sullen, Clary.

I hope not, Madam.

If children would always be children--parents--And there she stopt.

She then went to her toilette, and looked into the glass, and gave half
a sigh--the other half, as if she would not have sighed if she could
have helped it, she gently hem'd away.

I don't love to see the girl look so sullen.

Indeed, Madam, I am not sullen.--And I arose, and, turning from her,
drew out my handkerchief; for the tears ran down my cheeks.

I thought, by the glass before me, I saw the mother in her softened eye
cast towards me. But her words confirmed not the hoped-for tenderness.

One of the most provoking things in this world is, to have people cry
for what they can help!

I wish to heaven I could, Madam!--And I sobbed again.

Tears of penitence and sobs of perverseness are mighty well suited!--You
may go up to your chamber. I shall talk with you by-and-by.

I courtesied with reverence.

Mock me not with outward gestures of respect. The heart, Clary, is what
I want.

Indeed, Madam, you have it. It is not so much mine as my Mamma's!

Fine talking!--As somebody says, If words were to pass for duty,
Clarissa Harlowe would be the dutifulest child breathing.

God bless that somebody!--Be it whom it will, God bless that
somebody!--And I courtesied, and, pursuant to her last command, was
going.

She seemed struck; but was to be angry with me.

So turning from me, she spoke with quickness, Whither now, Clary
Harlowe?

You commanded me, Madam, to go to my chamber.

I see you are very ready to go out of my presence.--Is your compliance
the effect of sullenness, or obedience?--You are very ready to leave me.

I could hold no longer; but threw myself at her feet: O my dearest
Mamma! Let me know all I am to suffer! Let me know what I am to be!--I
will bear it, if I can bear it: but your displeasure I cannot bear!

Leave me, leave me, Clary Harlowe!--No kneeling!--Limbs so supple! Will
so stubborn!--Rise, I tell you.

I cannot rise! I will disobey my Mamma, when she bids me leave her
without being reconciled to me! No sullens, my Mamma: no perverseness:
but, worse than either: this is direct disobedience!--Yet tear not
yourself from me! [wrapping my arms about her as I kneeled; she
struggling to get from me; my face lifted up to hers, with eyes
running over, that spoke not my heart if they were not all humility and
reverence] You must not, must not, tear yourself from me! [for still
the dear lady struggled, and looked this way and that, all in a sweet
disorder, as if she knew not what to do].--I will neither rise, nor
leave you, nor let you go, till you say you are not angry with me.

O thou ever-moving child of my heart! [folding her dear arms about my
neck, as mine embraced her knees] Why was this task--But leave me!--You
have discomposed me beyond expression! Leave me, my dear!--I won't be
angry with you--if I can help it--if you'll be good.

I arose trembling, and, hardly knowing what I did, or how I stood or
walked, withdrew to my chamber. My Hannah followed me as soon as she
heard me quit my mother's presence, and with salts and spring-water just
kept me from fainting; and that was as much as she could do. It was near
two hours before I could so far recover myself as to take up my pen, to
write to you how unhappily my hopes have ended.

My mother went down to breakfast. I was not fit to appear: but if I
had been better, I suppose I should not have been sent for; since the
permission for my attending her down, was given by my father (when in
my chamber) only on condition that she found me worthy of the name of
daughter. That, I doubt, I shall never be in his opinion, if he be not
brought to change his mind as to this Mr. Solmes.



LETTER XIX

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE [IN ANSWER TO LETTER XV.] SAT. MARCH
4, 12 O'CLOCK.


Hannah has just now brought me from the usual place your favour of
yesterday. The contents of it have made me very thoughtful; and you
will have an answer in my gravest style.--I to have that Mr. Solmes!--No
indeed!--I will sooner--But I will write first to those passages in your
letter which are less concerning, that I may touch upon this part with
more patience.

As to what you mention of my sister's value for Mr. Lovelace, I am not
very much surprised at it. She takes such officious pains, and it is so
much her subject, to have it thought that she never did, and never could
like him, that she gives but too much room to suspect that she does. She
never tells the story of their parting, and of her refusal of him, but
her colour rises, she looks with disdain upon me, and mingles anger with
the airs she gives herself:--anger as well as airs, demonstrating, that
she refused a man whom she thought worth accepting: Where else is the
reason either for anger or boast?--Poor Bella! She is to be pitied--she
cannot either like or dislike with temper! Would to heaven she had been
mistress of all her wishes!--Would to heaven she had!

As to what you say of my giving up to my father's controul the estate
devised me, my motives at the time, as you acknowledge, were not
blamable. Your advice to me on the subject was grounded, as I remember,
on your good opinion of me; believing that I should not make a bad use
of the power willed me. Neither you nor I, my dear, although you now
assume the air of a diviner, [pardon me] could have believed that would
have happened which has happened, as to my father's part particularly.
You were indeed jealous of my brother's views against me; or rather of
his predominant love of himself; but I did not think so hardly of my
brother and sister as you always did. You never loved them; and ill-will
has eyes ever open to the faulty side; as good-will or love is blind
even to real imperfections. I will briefly recollect my motives.

I found jealousies and uneasiness rising in every breast, where all
before was unity and love. The honoured testator was reflected upon: a
second childhood was attributed to him; and I was censured, as having
taken advantage of it. All young creatures, thought I, more or less,
covet independency; but those who wish most for it, are seldom the
fittest to be trusted either with the government of themselves, or with
power over others. This is certainly a very high and unusual devise to
so young a creature. We should not aim at all we have power to do. To
take all that good-nature, or indulgence, or good opinion confers,
shews a want of moderation, and a graspingness that is unworthy of that
indulgence; and are bad indications of the use that may be made of the
power bequeathed. It is true, thought I, that I have formed agreeable
schemes of making others as happy as myself, by the proper discharge of
the stewardship intrusted to me. [Are not all estates stewardships,
my dear?] But let me examine myself: Is not vanity, or secret love
of praise, a principal motive with me at the bottom?--Ought I not to
suspect my own heart? If I set up for myself, puffed up with every one's
good opinion, may I not be left to myself?--Every one's eyes are upon
the conduct, upon the visits, upon the visiters, of a young creature
of our sex, made independent: And are not such subjected, more than any
others, to the attempts of enterprisers and fortune-seekers?--And then,
left to myself, should I take a wrong step, though with ever so good an
intention, how many should I have to triumph over me, how few to pity
me!--The more of the one, and the fewer of the other, for having aimed
at excelling.

These were some of my reflections at the time: and I have no doubt, but
that in the same situation I should do the very same thing; and that
upon the maturest deliberation. Who can command or foresee events? To
act up to our best judgments at the time, is all we can do. If I have
erred, 'tis to worldly wisdom only that I have erred. If we suffer by an
act of duty, or even by an act of generosity, is it not pleasurable on
reflection, that the fault is in others, rather than in ourselves?--I
had much rather have reason to think others unkind, than that they
should have any to think me undutiful.

And so, my dear, I am sure had you.

And now for the most concerning part of your letter.

You think I must of necessity, as matters are circumstanced, be Solmes's
wife. I will not be very rash, my dear, in protesting to the contrary:
but I think it never can, and, what is still more, never ought to
be!--My temper, I know, is depended upon. But I have heretofore said,*
that I have something in me of my father's family, as well as of my
mother's. And have I any encouragement to follow too implicitly the
example which my mother sets of meekness, and resignedness to the wills
of others? Is she not for ever obliged (as she was pleased to hint to
me) to be of the forbearing side? In my mother's case, your observation
I must own is verified, that those who will bear much, shall have much
to bear.** What is it, as she says, that she has not sacrificed to
peace?--Yet, has she by her sacrifices always found the peace she has
deserved to find? Indeed, no!--I am afraid the very contrary. And often
and often have I had reason (on her account) to reflect, that we poor
mortals, by our over-solicitude to preserve undisturbed the qualities we
are constitutionally fond of, frequently lose the benefits we propose
to ourselves from them: since the designing and encroaching (finding out
what we most fear to forfeit) direct their batteries against these our
weaker places, and, making an artillery (if I may so phrase it) of our
hopes and fears, play upon us at their pleasure.


     * See Letter IX.

     ** See Letter X.


Steadiness of mind, (a quality which the ill-bred and censorious deny to
any of our sex) when we are absolutely convinced of being in the right
[otherwise it is not steadiness, but obstinacy] and when it is exerted
in material cases, is a quality, which, as my good Dr. Lewen was wont to
say, brings great credit to the possessor of it; at the same time that
it usually, when tried and known, raises such above the attempts of
the meanly machinating. He used therefore to inculcate upon me this
steadiness, upon laudable convictions. And why may I not think that I am
now put upon a proper exercise of it?

I said above, that I never can be, that I never ought to be, Mrs.
Solmes.--I repeat, that I ought not: for surely, my dear, I should not
give up to my brother's ambition the happiness of my future life. Surely
I ought not to be the instrument of depriving Mr. Solmes's relations of
their natural rights and reversionary prospects, for the sake of further
aggrandizing a family (although that I am of) which already lives
in great affluence and splendour; and which might be as justly
dissatisfied, were all that some of it aim at to be obtained, that they
were not princes, as now they are that they are not peers [For when ever
was an ambitious mind, as you observe in the case of avarice,* satisfied
by acquisition?]. The less, surely, ought I to give into these grasping
views of my brother, as I myself heartily despise the end aimed at; as
I wish not either to change my state, or better my fortunes; and as I
am fully persuaded, that happiness and riches are two things, and very
seldom meet together.


     * See Letter X.


Yet I dread, I exceedingly dread, the conflicts I know I must
encounter with. It is possible, that I may be more unhappy from the due
observation of the good doctor's general precept, than were I to
yield the point; since what I call steadiness is deemed stubbornness,
obstinacy, prepossession, by those who have a right to put what
interpretation they please upon my conduct.

So, my dear, were we perfect (which no one can be) we could not be
happy in this life, unless those with whom we have to deal (those more
especially who have any controul upon us) were governed by the same
principles. But then does not the good Doctor's conclusion recur,--That
we have nothing to do, but to chuse what is right; to be steady in the
pursuit of it; and to leave the issue to Providence?

This, if you approve of my motives, (and if you don't, pray inform me)
must be my aim in the present case.

But what then can I plead for a palliation to myself of my mother's
sufferings on my account? Perhaps this consideration will carry some
force with it--That her difficulties cannot last long; only till
this great struggle shall be one way or other determined--Whereas my
unhappiness, if I comply, will (from an aversion not to be overcome) be
for life. To which let me add, That as I have reason to think that the
present measures are not entered upon with her own natural liking, she
will have the less pain, should they want the success which I think in
my heart they ought to want.

I have run a great length in a very little time. The subject touched me
to the quick. My reflections upon it will give you reason to expect from
me a perhaps too steady behaviour in a new conference, which, I find, I
must have with my mother. My father and brother, as she was pleased
to tell me, dine at my uncle Antony's; and that, as I have reason to
believe, on purpose to give an opportunity for it.

Hannah informs me, that she heard my father high and angry with my
mother, at taking leave of her: I suppose for being to favourable to me;
for Hannah heard her say, as in tears, 'Indeed, Mr. Harlowe, you greatly
distress me!--The poor girl does not deserve--' Hannah heard no more,
but that he said, he would break somebody's heart--Mine, I suppose--Not
my mother's, I hope.

As only my sister dines with my mother, I thought I should have been
commanded down: but she sent me up a plate from her table. I continued
my writing. I could not touch a morsel. I ordered Hannah however to eat
of it, that I might not be thought sullen.

Before I conclude this, I will see whether any thing offers from either
of my private correspondencies, that will make it proper to add to it;
and will take a turn in the wood-yard and garden for that purpose.


***


I am stopped. Hannah shall deposit this. She was ordered by my mother
(who asked where I was) to tell me, that she would come up and talk with
me in my own closet.--She is coming! Adieu, my dear.



LETTER XX

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SAT. AFTERNOON.


The expected conference is over: but my difficulties are increased.
This, as my mother was pleased to tell me, being the last persuasory
effort that is to be attempted, I will be particular in the account of
it as my head and my heart will allow it to be.

I have made, said she, as she entered my room, a short as well as early
dinner, on purpose to confer with you: and I do assure you, that it will
be the last conference I shall either be permitted or inclined to hold
with you on the subject, if you should prove as refractory as it is
imagined you will prove by some, who are of opinion, that I have not
the weight with you which my indulgence deserves. But I hope you will
convince as well them as me of the contrary.

Your father both dines and sups at your uncle's, on purpose to give
us this opportunity; and, according to the report I shall make on his
return, (which I have promised shall be a very faithful one,) he will
take his measures with you.

I was offering to speak--Hear, Clarissa, what I have to tell you, said
she, before you speak, unless what you have to say will signify to me
your compliance--Say--Will it?--If it will, you may speak.

I was silent.

She looked with concern and anger upon me--No compliance, I find!--Such
a dutiful young creature hitherto!--Will you not, can you not, speak as
I would have you speak?--Then [rejecting me as it were with her hand]
continue silent.--I, no more than your father, will bear your avowed
contradiction.

She paused, with a look of expectation, as if she waited for my
consenting answer.

I was still silent; looking down; the tears in my eyes.

O thou determined girl!--But say--Speak out--Are you resolved to stand
in opposition to us all, in a point our hearts are set upon?

May I, Madam, be permitted to expostulate?--

To what purpose expostulate with me, Clarissa? Your father is
determined. Have I not told you there is no receding; that the honour as
well as the interest of the family is concerned? Be ingenuous: you used
to be so, even occasionally against yourself:--Who at the long run must
submit--all of us to you; or you to all of us?--If you intend to yield
at last if you find you cannot conquer, yield now, and with a grace--for
yield you must, or be none of our child.

I wept. I knew not what to say; or rather how to express what I had to
say.

Take notice, that there are flaws in your grandfather's will: not
a shilling of that estate will be yours, if you do not yield. Your
grandfather left it to you, as a reward of your duty to him and to
us--You will justly forfeit it, if--

Permit me, good Madam, to say, that, if it were unjustly bequeathed me,
I ought not to wish to have it. But I hope Mr. Solmes will be apprised
of these flaws.

This is very pertly said, Clarissa: but reflect, that the forfeiture of
that estate, through your opposition, will be attended with the total
loss of your father's favour: and then how destitute must you be; how
unable to support yourself; and how many benevolent designs and good
actions must you give up!

I must accommodate myself, Madam, in the latter case, to my
circumstance: much only is required where much is given. It becomes me
to be thankful for what I have had. I have reason to bless you, Madam,
and my good Mrs. Norton, for bringing me up to be satisfied with little;
with much less, I will venture to say, than my father's indulgence
annually confers upon me.--And then I thought of the old Roman and his
lentils.

What perverseness! said my mother.--But if you depend upon the favour of
either or both of your uncles, vain will be that dependence: they
will give you up, I do assure you, if your father does, and absolutely
renounce you.

I am sorry, Madam, that I have had so little merit as to have made no
deeper impressions of favour for me in their hearts: but I will love and
honour them as long as I live.

All this, Clarissa, makes your prepossession in a certain man's favour
the more evident. Indeed, your brother and sister cannot go any where,
but they hear of these prepossessions.

It is a great grief to me, Madam, to be made the subject of the public
talk: but I hope you will have the goodness to excuse me for observing,
that the authors of my disgrace within doors, the talkers of my
prepossession without, and the reporters of it from abroad, are
originally the same persons.

She severely chid me for this.

I received her rebukes in silence.

You are sullen, Clarissa: I see you are sullen.--And she walked about
the room in anger. Then turning to me--You can bear the imputation of
sullenness I see!--You have no concern to clear yourself of it. I was
afraid of telling you all I was enjoined to tell you, in case you were
to be unpersuadable: but I find that I had a greater opinion of
your delicacy, of your gentleness, than I needed to have--it cannot
discompose so steady, so inflexible a young creature, to be told, as I
now tell you, that the settlements are actually drawn; and that you will
be called down in a very few days to hear them read, and to sign them:
for it is impossible, if your heart be free, that you can make the least
objection to them; except it will be an objection with you, that they
are so much in your favour, and in the favour of all our family.

I was speechless, absolutely speechless. Although my heart was ready to
burst, yet could I neither weep nor speak.

I am sorry, said she, for your averseness to this match: [match she was
pleased to call it!] but there is no help. The honour and interest
of the family, as your aunt has told you, and as I have told you, are
concerned; and you must comply.

I was still speechless.

She folded the warm statue, as she was pleased to call me, in her arms;
and entreated me, for heaven's sake, to comply.

Speech and tears were lent me at the same time.--You have given me life,
Madam, said I, clasping my uplifted hands together, and falling on one
knee; a happy one, till now, has your goodness, and my papa's, made it!
O do not, do not, make all the remainder of it miserable!

Your father, replied she, is resolved not to see you, till he sees you
as obedient a child as you used to be. You have never been put to a test
till now, that deserved to be called a test. This is, this must be,
my last effort with you. Give me hope, my dear child: my peace is
concerned: I will compound with you but for hope: and yet your
father will not be satisfied without an implicit, and even a cheerful
obedience--Give me but hope, child!

To give you hope, my dearest, my most indulgent Mamma, is to give you
every thing. Can I be honest, if I give a hope that I cannot confirm?

She was very angry. She again called me perverse: she upbraided me with
regarding only my own prepossessions, and respecting not either her
peace of mind or my own duty:--'It is a grating thing, said she, for the
parents of a child, who delighted in her in all the time of her helpless
infancy, and throughout every stage of her childhood; and in every
part of her education to womanhood, because of the promises she gave of
proving the most grateful and dutiful of children; to find, just when
the time arrived which should crown their wishes, that child stand in
the way of her own happiness, and her parents' comfort,and, refusing an
excellent offer and noble settlements, give suspicions to her anxious
friends, that she would become the property of a vile rake and
libertine, who (be the occasion what it will) defies her family, and has
actually embrued his hands in her brother's blood.

'I have had a very hard time of it, said she, between your father and
you; for, seeing your dislike, I have more than once pleaded for you:
but all to no purpose. I am only treated as a too fond mother, who,
from motives of a blamable indulgence, encourage a child to stand in
opposition to a father's will. I am charged with dividing the family
into two parts; I and my youngest daughter standing against my husband,
his two brothers, my son, my eldest daughter, and my sister Hervey.
I have been told, that I must be convinced of the fitness as well
as advantage to the whole (your brother and Mr. Lovelace out of the
question) of carrying the contract with Mr. Solmes, on which so many
contracts depend, into execution.

'Your father's heart, I tell you once more, is in it: he has declared,
that he had rather have no daughter in you, than one he cannot dispose
of for your own good: especially if you have owned, that your heart is
free; and as the general good of his whole family is to be promoted
by your obedience. He has pleaded, poor man! that his frequent gouty
paroxysms (every fit more threatening than the former) give him no
extraordinary prospects, either of worldly happiness, or of long days:
and he hopes, that you, who have been supposed to have contributed
to the lengthening of your grandfather's life, will not, by your
disobedience, shorten your father's.'

This was a most affecting plea, my dear. I wept in silence upon it. I
could not speak to it. And my mother proceeded: 'What therefore can be
his motives, Clary Harlowe, in the earnest desire he has to see this
treaty perfected, but the welfare and aggrandizement of his family;
which already having fortunes to become the highest condition, cannot
but aspire to greater distinctions? However slight such views as these
may appear to you, Clary, you know, that they are not slight ones to any
other of the family: and your father will be his own judge of what
is and what is not likely to promote the good of his children. Your
abstractedness, child, (affectation of abstractedness, some call it,)
savours, let me tell you, of greater particularity, than we aim to
carry. Modesty and humility, therefore, will oblige you rather to
mistrust yourself of peculiarity, than censure views which all the world
pursues, as opportunity offers.'

I was still silent; and she proceeded--'It is owing to the good opinion,
Clary, which your father has of you, and of your prudence, duty, and
gratitude, that he engaged for your compliance, in your absence (before
you returned from Miss Howe); and that he built and finished contracts
upon it, which cannot be made void, or cancelled.'

But why then, thought I, did they receive me, on my return from Miss
Howe, with so much intimidating solemnity?--To be sure, my dear, this
argument, as well as the rest, was obtruded upon my mother.

She went on, 'Your father has declared, that your unexpected opposition,
[unexpected she was pleased to call it,] and Mr. Lovelace's continued
menaces and insults, more and more convince him, that a short day is
necessary in order to put an end to all that man's hopes, and to his own
apprehensions resulting from the disobedience of a child so favoured. He
has therefore actually ordered patterns of the richest silks to be sent
for from London--'

I started--I was out of breath--I gasped, at this frightful
precipitance--I was going to open with warmth against it. I knew whose
the happy expedient must be: female minds, I once heard my brother say,
that could but be brought to balance on the change of their state,
might easily be determined by the glare and splendour of the nuptial
preparations, and the pride of becoming the mistress of a family.--But
she was pleased to hurry on, that I might not have time to express
my disgusts at such a communication--to this effect: 'Your father
therefore, my Clary, cannot, either for your sake, or his own, labour
under a suspense so affecting to his repose. He has even thought fit to
acquaint me, on my pleading for you, that it becomes me, as I value my
own peace, [how harsh to such a wife!] and as I wish, that he does not
suspect that I secretly favour the address of a vile rake, (a character
which all the sex, he is pleased to say, virtuous and vicious, are but
too fond of!) to exert my authority over you: and that this I may the
less scrupulously do, as you have owned [the old string!] that your
heart is free.'

Unworthy reflection in my mother's case, surely, this of our sex's
valuing a libertine; since she made choice of my father in preference
to several suitors of equal fortune, because they were of inferior
reputation for morals!

'Your father, added she, at his going out, told me what he expected
from me, in case I found out that I had not the requisite influence upon
you--It was this--That I should directly separate myself from you, and
leave you singly to take the consequence of your double disobedience--I
therefore entreat you, my dear Clarissa, concluded she, and that in the
most earnest and condescending manner, to signify to your father, on his
return, your ready obedience; and this as well for my sake as your own.'

Affected by my mother's goodness to me, and by that part of her argument
which related to her own peace, and to the suspicions they had of her
secretly inclining to prefer the man so hated by them, to the man so
much my aversion, I could not but wish it were possible for me to obey,
I therefore paused, hesitated, considered, and was silent for some time.
I could see, that my mother hoped that the result of this hesitation
would be favourable to her arguments. But then recollecting, that all
was owing to the instigations of a brother and sister, wholly actuated
by selfish and envious views; that I had not deserved the treatment I
had of late met with; that my disgrace was already become the public
talk; that the man was Mr. Solmes; and that my aversion to him was too
generally known, to make my compliance either creditable to myself or
to them: that it would give my brother and sister a triumph over me,
and over Mr. Lovelace, which they would not fail to glory in; and which,
although it concerned me but little to regard on his account, yet might
be attended with fatal mischiefs--And then Mr. Solmes's
disagreeable person; his still more disagreeable manners; his low
understanding--Understanding! the glory of a man, so little to be
dispensed with in the head and director of a family, in order to
preserve to him that respect which a good wife (and that for the
justification of her own choice) should pay him herself, and wish every
body to pay him.--And as Mr. Solmes's inferiority in this respectable
faculty of the human mind [I must be allowed to say this to you, and no
great self assumption neither] would proclaim to all future, as well as
to all present observers, what must have been my mean inducement. All
these reflections crowding upon my remembrance; I would, Madam, said
I, folding my hands, with an earnestness in which my whole heart was
engaged, bear the cruelest tortures, bear loss of limb, and even of
life, to give you peace. But this man, every moment I would, at you
command, think of him with favour, is the more my aversion. You cannot,
indeed you cannot, think, how my whole soul resists him!--And to talk
of contracts concluded upon; of patterns; of a short day!--Save me,
save me, O my dearest Mamma, save your child, from this heavy, from this
insupportable evil--!

Never was there a countenance that expressed so significantly, as my
mother's did, an anguish, which she struggled to hide, under an anger
she was compelled to assume--till the latter overcoming the former, she
turned from me with an uplifted eye, and stamping--Strange perverseness!
were the only words I heard of a sentence that she angrily pronounced;
and was going. I then, half-frantically I believe, laid hold of her
gown--Have patience with me, dearest Madam! said I--Do not you renounce
me totally!--If you must separate yourself from your child, let it
not be with absolute reprobation on your own part!--My uncles may be
hard-hearted--my father may be immovable--I may suffer from my brother's
ambition, and from my sister's envy!--But let me not lose my Mamma's
love; at least, her pity.

She turned to me with benigner rays--You have my love! You have my pity!
But, O my dearest girl--I have not yours.

Indeed, indeed, Madam, you have: and all my reverence, all my gratitude,
you have!--But in this one point--Cannot I be this once obliged?--Will
no expedient be accepted? Have I not made a very fair proposal as to Mr.
Lovelace?

I wish, for both our sakes, my dear unpersuadable girl, that the
decision of this point lay with me. But why, when you know it does not,
why should you thus perplex and urge me?--To renounce Mr. Lovelace is
now but half what is aimed at. Nor will any body else believe you in
earnest in the offer, if I would. While you remain single, Mr. Lovelace
will have hopes--and you, in the opinion of others, inclinations.

Permit me, dearest Madam, to say, that your goodness to me, your
patience, your peace, weigh more with me, than all the rest put
together: for although I am to be treated by my brother, and, through
his instigations, by my father, as a slave in this point, and not as a
daughter, yet my mind is not that of a slave. You have not brought me up
to be mean.

So, Clary! you are already at defiance with your father! I have had too
much cause before to apprehend as much--What will this come to?--I, and
then my dear mamma sighed--I, am forced to put up with many humours--

That you are, my ever-honoured Mamma, is my grief. And can it be
thought, that this very consideration, and the apprehension of what may
result from a much worse-tempered man, (a man who has not half the sense
of my father,) has not made an impression upon me, to the disadvantage
of the married life? Yet 'tis something of an alleviation, if one must
bear undue controul, to bear it from a man of sense. My father, I
have heard you say, Madam, was for years a very good-humoured
gentleman--unobjectionable in person and manners--but the man proposed
to me--

Forbear reflecting upon your father: [Did I, my dear, in what I have
repeated, and I think they are the very words, reflect upon my father?]
it is not possible, I must say again, and again, were all men equally
indifferent to you, that you should be thus sturdy in your will. I am
tired out with your obstinacy--The most unpersuadable girl--You forget,
that I must separate myself from you, if you will not comply. You do not
remember that you father will take you up, where I leave you. Once
more, however, I will put it to you,--Are you determined to brave your
father's displeasure?--Are you determined to defy your uncles?--Do you
choose to break with us all, rather than encourage Mr. Solmes?--Rather
than give me hope?

Dreadful alternative--But is not my sincerity, is not the integrity of
my heart, concerned in the answer? May not my everlasting happiness
be the sacrifice? Will not the least shadow of the hope you just now
demanded from me, be driven into absolute and sudden certainty? Is it
not sought to ensnare, to entangle me in my own desire of obeying, if
I could give answers that might be construed into hope?--Forgive
me, Madam: bear with your child's boldness in such a cause as
this!--Settlements drawn!--Patterns sent for!--An early day!--Dear, dear
Madam, how can I give hope, and not intend to be this man's?

Ah, girl, never say your heart is free! You deceive yourself if you
think it is.

Thus to be driven [and I wrung my hands through impatience] by the
instigations of a designing, an ambitious brother, and by a sister,
that--

How often, Clary, must I forbid your unsisterly reflections?--Does not
your father, do not your uncles, does not every body, patronize
Mr. Solmes? And let me tell you, ungrateful girl, and unmovable as
ungrateful, let me repeatedly tell you, that it is evident to me, that
nothing but a love unworthy of your prudence can make you a creature
late so dutiful, now so sturdy. You may guess what your father's first
question on his return will be. He must know, that I can do nothing with
you. I have done my part. Seek me, if your mind change before he comes
back: you have yet a little more time, as he stays supper. I will no
more seek you, nor to you.--And away she flung.

What could I do but weep?

I am extremely affected on my mother's account--more, I must needs say,
than on my own. And indeed, all things considered, and especially, that
the measure she is engaged in, is (as I dare say it is) against her own
judgment, she deserves more compassion than myself.--Excellent woman!
What pity, that meekness and condescension should not be attended with
the due rewards of those charming graces!--Yet had she not let violent
spirits (as I have elsewhere observed with no small regret) find their
power over hers, it could not have been thus.

But here, run away with my pen, I suffer my mother to be angry with me
on her own account. She hinted to me, indeed, that I must seek her, if
my mind changed; which is a condition that amounts to a prohibition of
attending her: but, as she left me in displeasure, will it not have a
very obstinate appearance, and look like a kind of renunciation of her
mediation in my favour, if I go not down before my father returns, to
supplicate her pity, and her kind report to him?

I will attend her. I had rather all the world should be angry with me
than my mamma!

Mean time, to clear my hands from papers of such a nature, Hannah shall
deposit this. If two or three letters reach you together, they will but
express from one period to another, the anxieties and difficulties which
the mind of your unhappy but ever affectionate friend labours under.

CL. H.



LETTER XXI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SAT. NIGHT.


I have been down. I am to be unlucky in all I do, I think, be my
intentions ever so good. I have made matters worse instead of better: as
I shall now tell you.

I found my mother and sister together in my sister's parlour. My mother,
I fear, by the glow of her fine face, (and as the browner, sullener glow
in her sister's confirmed,) had been expressing herself with warmth,
against her unhappier child: perhaps giving such an account of what had
passed, as should clear herself, and convince Bella, and, through her,
my brother and uncles, of the sincere pains she had taken with me.

I entered like a dejected criminal; and besought the favour of a private
audience. My mother's return, both looks and words, gave but too much
reason for my above surmise.

You have, said she [looking at me with a sternness that never sits well
on her sweet features] rather a requesting than a conceding countenance,
Clarissa Harlowe: if I am mistaken, tell me so; and I will withdraw with
you wherever you will.--Yet whether so, or not, you may say what you
have to say before your sister.

My mother, I thought, might have withdrawn with me, as she knows that I
have not a friend in my sister.

I come down, Madam, said I, to beg of you to forgive me for any thing
you may have taken amiss in what passed above respecting your honoured
self; and that you will be pleased to use your endeavours to soften my
papa's displeasure against me, on his return.

Such aggravating looks; such lifting up of hands and eyes; such a
furrowed forehead, in my sister!

My mother was angry enough without all that; and asked me to what
purpose I came down, if I were still so intractable.

She had hardly spoken the words, when Shorey came in to tell her, that
Mr. Solmes was in the hall, and desired admittance.

Ugly creature! What, at the close of day, quite dark, brought him
hither?--But, on second thoughts, I believe it was contrived, that he
should be here at supper, to know the result of the conference between
my mother and me, and that my father, on his return, might find us
together.

I was hurrying away, but my mother commanded me (since I had come down
only, as she said, to mock her) not to stir; and at the same time see
if I could behave so to Mr. Solmes, as might encourage her to make the
favourable report to my father which I had besought her to make.

My sister triumphed. I was vexed to be so caught, and to have such an
angry and cutting rebuke given me, with an aspect much more like the
taunting sister than the indulgent mother, if I may presume to say so:
for she herself seemed to enjoy the surprise upon me.

The man stalked in. His usual walk is by pauses, as if (from the same
vacuity of thought which made Dryden's clown whistle) he was telling
his steps: and first paid his clumsy respects to my mother; then to my
sister; next to me, as if I was already his wife, and therefore to be
last in his notice; and sitting down by me, told us in general what
weather it was. Very cold he made it; but I was warm enough. Then
addressing himself to me: And how do you find it, Miss? was his
question; and would have taken my hand.

I withdrew it, I believe with disdain enough. My mother frowned. My
sister bit her lip.

I could not contain myself: I was never so bold in my life; for I went
on with my plea, as if Mr. Solmes had not been there.

My mother coloured, and looked at him, at my sister, and at me. My
sister's eyes were opener and bigger than ever I saw them before.

The man understood me. He hemmed, and removed from one chair to another.

I went on, supplicating for my mother's favourable report: Nothing but
invincible dislike, said I--

What would the girl be at, interrupted my mother? Why, Clary! Is this a
subject!--Is this!--Is this!--Is this a time--And again she looked upon
Mr. Solmes.

I am sorry, on reflection, that I put my mamma into so much
confusion--To be sure it was very saucy in me.

I beg pardon, Madam, said I. But my papa will soon return. And since
I am not permitted to withdraw, it is not necessary, I humbly presume,
that Mr. Solmes's presence should deprive me of this opportunity to
implore your favourable report; and at the same time, if he still visit
on my account [looking at him] to convince him, that it cannot possibly
be to any purpose--

Is the girl mad? said my mother, interrupting me.

My sister, with the affectation of a whisper to my mother--This is--This
is spite, Madam, [very spitefully she spoke the word,] because you
commanded her to stay.

I only looked at her, and turning to my mother, Permit me, Madam, said
I, to repeat my request. I have no brother, no sister!--If I ever lose
my mamma's favour, I am lost for ever!

Mr. Solmes removed to his first seat, and fell to gnawing the head of
his hazel; a carved head, almost as ugly as his own--I did not think the
man was so sensible.

My sister rose, with a face all over scarlet; and stepping to the table,
where lay a fan, she took it up, and, although Mr. Solmes had observed
that the weather was cold, fanned herself very violently.

My mother came to me, and angrily taking my hand, led me out of that
parlour into my own; which, you know, is next to it--Is not this
behaviour very bold, very provoking, think you, Clary?

I beg your pardon, Madam, if it has that appearance to you. But indeed,
my dear Mamma, there seem to be snares laying in wait for me. Too well
I know my brother's drift. With a good word he shall have my consent for
all he wishes to worm me out of--neither he, nor my sister, shall need
to take half this pains--

My mother was about to leave me in high displeasure.

I besought her to stay: One favour, but one favour, dearest Madam, said
I, give me leave to beg of you--

What would the girl?

I see how every thing is working about.--I never, never can think of Mr.
Solmes. My papa will be in tumults when he is told that I cannot. They
will judge of the tenderness of your heart to a poor child who seems
devoted by every one else, from the willingness you have already shewn
to hearken to my prayers. There will be endeavours used to confine me,
and keep me out of your presence, and out of the presence of every one
who used to love me [this, my dear Miss Howe, is threatened]. If this
be effected; if it be put out of my power to plead my own cause, and to
appeal to you, and to my uncle Harlowe, of whom only I have hope; then
will every ear be opened against me, and every tale encouraged--It
is, therefore, my humble request, that, added to the disgraceful
prohibitions I now suffer under, you will not, if you can help it, give
way to my being denied your ear.

Your listening Hannah has given you this intelligence, as she does many
others.

My Hannah, Madam, listens not--My Hannah--

No more in Hannah's behalf--Hannah is known to make mischief--Hannah
is known--But no more of that bold intermeddler--'Tis true your father
threatened to confine you to your chamber, if you complied not, in order
the more assuredly to deprive you of the opportunity of corresponding
with those who harden your heart against his will. He bid me tell you
so, when he went out, if I found you refractory. But I was loth to
deliver so harsh a declaration; being still in hope that you would come
down to us in a compliant temper. Hannah has overheard this, I suppose;
and has told you of it; as also, that he declared he would break your
heart, rather than you should break his. And I now assure you, that you
will be confined, and prohibited making teasing appeals to any of us:
and we shall see who is to submit, you to us, or every body to you.

Again I offered to clear Hannah, and to lay the latter part of the
intelligence to my sister's echo, Betty Barnes, who had boasted of it to
another servant: but I was again bid to be silent on that head. I
should soon find, my mother was pleased to say, that others could be as
determined as I was obstinate: and once for all would add, that since
she saw that I built upon her indulgence, and was indifferent about
involving her in contentions with my father, she would now assure me,
that she was as much determined against Mr. Lovelace, and for Mr. Solmes
and the family schemes, as any body; and would not refuse her consent to
any measures that should be thought necessary to reduce a stubborn child
to her duty.

I was ready to sink. She was so good as to lend me her arm to support
me.

And this, said I, is all I have to hope for from my Mamma?

It is. But, Clary, this one further opportunity I give you--Go in again
to Mr. Solmes, and behave discreetly to him; and let your father find
you together, upon civil terms at least.

My feet moved [of themselves, I think] farther from the parlour where he
was, and towards the stairs; and there I stopped and paused.

If, proceeded she, you are determined to stand in defiance of us
all--then indeed you may go up to your chamber (as you are ready to
do)--And God help you!

God help me, indeed! for I cannot give hope of what I cannot intend--But
let me have your prayers, my dear Mamma!--Those shall have mine, who
have brought me into all this distress.

I was moving to go up--

And will you go up, Clary?

I turned my face to her: my officious tears would needs plead for me: I
could not just then speak, and stood still.

Good girl, distress me not thus!--Dear, good girl, do not thus distress
me! holding out her hand; but standing still likewise.

What can I do, Madam?--What can I do?

Go in again, my child--Go in again, my dear child!--repeated she; and
let your father find you together.

What, Madam, to give him hope?--To give hope to Mr. Solmes?

Obstinate, perverse, undutiful Clarissa! with a rejecting hand, and
angry aspect; then take your own way, and go up!--But stir not down
again, I charge you, without leave, or till your father's pleasure be
known concerning you.

She flung away from me with high indignation: and I went up with a very
heavy heart; and feet as slow as my heart was heavy.


***


My father is come home, and my brother with him. Late as it is, they are
all shut up together. Not a door opens; not a soul stirs. Hannah, as she
moves up and down, is shunned as a person infected.


***


The angry assembly is broken up. My two uncles and my aunt Hervey are
sent for, it seems, to be here in the morning to breakfast. I shall
then, I suppose, know my doom. 'Tis past eleven, and I am ordered not to
go to bed.


TWELVE O'CLOCK.


This moment the keys of every thing are taken from me. It was proposed
to send for me down: but my father said, he could not bear to look upon
me.--Strange alteration in a few weeks!--Shorey was the messenger. The
tears stood in her eyes when she delivered her message.

You, my dear, are happy--May you always be so--and then I can never be
wholly miserable. Adieu, my beloved friend!

CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XXII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SUNDAY MORNING, MARCH 5.


Hannah has just brought me from the private place in the garden-wall, a
letter from Mr. Lovelace, deposited last night, signed also by Lord M.

He tells me in it, 'That Mr. Solmes makes it his boast, that he is to
be married in a few days to one of the shyest women in England: that my
brother explains his meaning: This shy creature, he says, is me; and
he assures every one, that his younger sister is very soon to be Mr.
Solmes's wife. He tells me of the patterns bespoken which my mother
mentioned to me.'

Not one thing escapes him that is done or said in this house.

'My sister, he says, reports the same things; and that with such
particular aggravations of insult upon him, that he cannot but be
extremely piqued, as well at the manner, as from the occasion; and
expresses himself with great violence upon it.

'He knows not, he says, what my relations' inducements can be to prefer
such a man as Solmes to him. If advantageous settlements be the motive,
Solmes shall not offer what he will refuse to comply with.

'As to his estate and family; the first cannot be excepted against: and
for the second, he will not disgrace himself by a comparison so odious.
He appeals to Lord M. for the regularity of his life and manners ever
since he has made his addresses to me, or had hope of my favour.'

I suppose he would have his Lordship's signing to this letter to be
taken as a voucher for him.

'He desires my leave (in company with my Lord), in a pacific manner,
to attend my father and uncles, in order to make proposals that must be
accepted, if they will see him, and hear what they are: and tells me,
that he will submit to any measures that I shall prescribe, in order to
bring about a reconciliation.'

He presumes to be very earnest with me, 'to give him a private meeting
some night, in my father's garden, attended by whom I please.'

Really, my dear, were you to see his letter, you would think I had given
him great encouragement, and that I am in direct treaty with him; or
that he is sure that my friends will drive me into a foreign protection;
for he has the boldness to offer, in my Lord's name, an asylum to me,
should I be tyrannically treated in Solmes's behalf.

I suppose it is the way of this sex to endeavour to entangle the
thoughtless of ours by bold supposals and offers, in hopes that we shall
be too complaisant or bashful to quarrel with them; and, if not checked,
to reckon upon our silence, as assents voluntarily given, or concessions
made in their favour.

There are other particulars in this letter which I ought to mention to
you: but I will take an opportunity to send you the letter itself, or a
copy of it.

For my own part, I am very uneasy to think how I have been drawn on one
hand, and driven on the other, into a clandestine, in short, into a mere
loverlike correspondence, which my heart condemns.

It is easy to see, if I do not break it off, that Mr. Lovelace's
advantages, by reason of my unhappy situation, will every day increase,
and I shall be more and more entangled. Yet if I do put an end to
it, without making it a condition of being freed from Mr. Solmes's
address--May I, my dear, is it best to continue it a little longer, in
order to extricate myself out of the other difficulty, by giving up all
thoughts of Mr. Lovelace?--Whose advice can I now ask but yours.

All my relations are met. They are at breakfast together. Mr. Solmes is
expected. I am excessively uneasy. I must lay down my pen.


***


They are all going to church together. Grievously disordered they appear
to be, as Hannah tells me. She believes something is resolved upon.


SUNDAY NOON.


What a cruel thing is suspense!--I will ask leave to go to church this
afternoon. I expect to be denied. But, if I do not ask, they may allege,
that my not going is owing to myself.


***


I desired to speak with Shorey. Shorey came. I directed her to carry to
my mother my request for permission to go to church this afternoon. What
think you was the return? Tell her, that she must direct herself to
her brother for any favour she has to ask.--So, my dear, I am to be
delivered up to my brother!

I was resolved, however, to ask of him this favour. Accordingly, when
they sent me up my solitary dinner, I gave the messenger a billet,
in which I made it my humble request through him to my father, to be
permitted to go to church this afternoon.

This was the contemptuous answer: 'Tell her, that her request will be
taken into consideration to-morrow.'

Patience will be the fittest return I can make to such an insult. But
this method will not do with me; indeed it will not! And yet it is but
the beginning, I suppose, of what I am to expect from my brother, now I
am delivered up to him.



On recollection, I thought it best to renew my request. I did. The
following is a copy of what I wrote, and what follows that, of the
answer sent me.


SIR,

I know not what to make of the answer brought to my request of being
permitted to go to church this afternoon. If you designed to shew your
pleasantry by it, I hope that will continue; and then my request will be
granted.

You know, that I never absented myself, when well, and at home, till the
two last Sundays; when I was advised not to go. My present situation is
such, that I never more wanted the benefit of the public prayers.

I will solemnly engage only to go thither, and back again.

I hope it cannot be thought that I would do otherwise.

My dejection of spirits will give a too just excuse on the score
of indisposition for avoiding visits. Nor will I, but by distant
civilities, return the compliments of any of my acquaintances. My
disgraces, if they are to have an end, need not be proclaimed to the
whole world. I ask this favour, therefore, for my reputation's sake,
that I may be able to hold up my head in the neighbourhood, if I live to
see an end of the unmerited severities which seem to be designed for

Your unhappy sister, CL. HARLOWE.



TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE

For a girl to lay so much stress upon going to church, and yet resolve
to defy her parents, in an article of the greatest consequence to them,
and to the whole family, is an absurdity. You are recommended, Miss, to
the practice of your private devotions. May they be efficacious upon the
mind of one of the most pervicacious young creatures that ever was heard
of! The intention is, I tell you plainly, to mortify you into a sense
of your duty. The neighbours you are so solicitous to appear well with,
already know, that you defy that. So, Miss, if you have a real value for
your reputation, shew it as you ought. It is yet in your own power to
establish or impair it.

JA. HARLOWE.



Thus, my dear Miss Howe, has my brother got me into his snares; and I,
like a poor silly bird, the more I struggle, am the more entangled.



LETTER XXIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE MONDAY MORNING, MARCH 6.


They are resolved to break my heart. My poor Hannah is
discharged--disgracefully discharged!--Thus it was.

Within half an hour after I had sent the poor girl down for my
breakfast, that bold creature Betty Barnes, my sister's confidant and
servant, (if a favourite maid and confidant can be deemed a servant,)
came up.

What, Miss, will you please to have for breakfast?

I was surprised. What will I have for breakfast,
Betty!--How!--What!--How comes it!--Then I named Hannah. I could not
tell what to say.

Don't be surprised, Miss:--but you'll see Hannah no more in this house.

God forbid!--Is any harm come to Hannah?--What! What is the matter with
Hannah?

Why, Miss, the short and the long is this: Your papa and mamma think
Hannah has staid long enough in the house to do mischief; and so she
is ordered to troop [that was the confident creature's word]; and I am
directed to wait upon you in her stead.

I burst into tears. I have no service for you, Betty Barnes; none at
all. But where is Hannah? Cannot I speak with the poor girl? I owe her
half a year's wages. May I not see the honest creature, and pay her her
wages? I may never see her again perhaps; for they are resolved to break
my heart.

And they think you are resolved to break theirs: so tit for tat, Miss.

Impertinent I called her; and asked her, if it were upon such confident
terms that her service was to begin.

I was so very earnest to see the poor maid, that (to oblige me, as she
said) she went down with my request.

The worthy creature was as earnest to see me; and the favour was granted
in presence of Shorey and Betty.

I thanked her, when she came up, for her past service to me.

Her heart was ready to break. And she began to vindicate her fidelity
and love; and disclaimed any mischief she had ever made.

I told her, that those who occasioned her being turned out of my
service, made no question of her integrity: that her dismission was
intended for an indignity to me: that I was very sorry to be obliged to
part with her, and hoped she would meet with as good a service.

Never, never, wringing her hands, should she meet with a mistress
she loved so well. And the poor creature ran on in my praises, and in
professions of love to me.

We are all apt, you know, my dear, to praise our benefactors, because
they are our benefactors; as if every body did right or wrong, as they
obliged or disobliged us. But this good creature deserved to be kindly
treated; so I could have no merit in favouring one whom it would have
been ungrateful not to distinguish.

I gave her a little linen, some laces, and other odd things; and instead
of four pounds which were due to her, ten guineas: and said, if ever I
were again allowed to be my own mistress, I would think of her in the
first place.

Betty enviously whispered Shorey upon it.

Hannah told me, before their faces, having no other opportunity, that
she had been examined about letters to me, and from me: and that she
had given her pockets to Miss Harlowe, who looked into them, and put her
fingers in her stays, to satisfy herself that she had not any.

She gave me an account of the number of my pheasants and bantams; and I
said, they should be my own care twice or thrice a day.

We wept over each other at parting. The girl prayed for all the family.

To have so good a servant so disgracefully dismissed, is very cruel: and
I could not help saying that these methods might break my heart, but not
any other way answer the end of the authors of my disgraces.

Betty, with a very saucy fleer, said to Shorey, There would be a trial
of skill about that she fancied. But I took no notice of it. If this
wench thinks that I have robbed her young mistress of a lover, as you
say she has given out, she may believe that it is some degree of merit
in herself to be impertinent to me.

Thus have I been forced to part with my faithful Hannah. If you can
command the good creature to a place worthy of her, pray do for my sake.



LETTER XXIV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE MONDAY, NEAR 12 O'CLOCK.


The enclosed letter was just now delivered to me. My brother has carried
all his points.

I send you also the copy of my answer. No more at this time can I
write--!



MONDAY, MAR. 6.

MISS CLARY,


By command of your father and mother I write expressly to forbid you to
come into their presence, or into the garden when they are there: nor
when they are not there, but with Betty Banes to attend you; except by
particular license or command.

On their blessings, you are forbidden likewise to correspond with the
vile Lovelace; as it is well known you did by means of your sly Hannah.
Whence her sudden discharge. As was fit.

Neither are you to correspond with Miss Howe; who has given herself high
airs of late; and might possibly help on your correspondence with that
detested libertine. Nor, in short, with any body without leave.

You are not to enter into the presence of either of your uncles, without
their leave first obtained. It is a mercy to you, after such a behaviour
to your mother, that your father refuses to see you.

You are not to be seen in any apartment of the house you so lately
governed as you pleased, unless you are commanded down.

In short, you are strictly to confine yourself to your chamber, except
now and then, in Betty Barnes's sight (as aforesaid) you take a morning
or evening turn in the garden: and then you are to go directly, and
without stopping at any apartment in the way, up or down the back
stairs, that the sight of so perverse a young creature may not add to
the pain you have given every body.

The hourly threatenings of your fine fellow, as well as your own
unheard-of obstinacy, will account to you for all this. What a hand has
the best and most indulgent of mothers had with you, who so long pleaded
for you, and undertook for you; even when others, from the manner of
your setting out, despaired of moving you!--What must your perverseness
have been, that such a mother can give you up! She thinks it right so to
do: nor will take you to favour, unless you make the first steps, by a
compliance with your duty.

As for myself, whom perhaps you think hardly of [in very good company,
if you do, that is my sole consolation]; I have advised, that you may be
permitted to pursue your own inclinations, (some people need no greater
punishment than such a permission,) and not to have the house encumbered
by one who must give them the more pain for the necessity she has laid
them under of avoiding the sight of her, although in it.

If any thing I have written appear severe or harsh, it is still in your
power (but perhaps will not always be so) to remedy it; and that by a
single word.

Betty Barnes has orders to obey you in all points consistent with her
duty to those whom you owe it, as well as she.

JA. HARLOWE.



TO JAMES HARLOWE, JUNIOR, ESQ.

SIR,

I will only say, That you may congratulate yourself on having so far
succeeded in all your views, that you may report what you please of me,
and I can no more defend myself, than if I were dead. Yet one favour,
nevertheless, I will beg of you. It is this--That you will not occasion
more severities, more disgraces, that are necessary for carrying into
execution your further designs, whatever they be, against

Your unhappy sister, CLARISSA HARLOWE.



LETTER XXV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE TUESDAY, MARCH 7.


By my last deposit, you will see how I am driven, and what a poor
prisoner I am.--No regard had to my reputation. The whole matter is now
before you. Can such measures be supposed to soften?--But surely they
can only mean to try and frighten me into my brother's views!--All my
hope is, to be able to weather this point till my cousin Morden comes
from Florence; and he is soon expected: yet, if they are determined upon
a short day, I doubt he will not be here in time enough to save me.

It is plain by my brother's letter, that my mother has not spared me, in
the report she was pleased to make of the conference between herself and
me: yet she was pleased to hint to me, that my brother had views which
she would have had me try to disappoint. But indeed she had engaged to
give a faithful account of what was to pass between herself and me: and
it was, doubtless, much more eligible to give up a daughter, than to
disoblige a husband, and every other person of the family.

They think they have done every thing by turning away my poor Hannah:
but as long as the liberty of the garden, and my poultry-visits, are
allowed me, they will be mistaken.

I asked Mrs. Betty, if she had any orders to watch or attend me; or
whether I was to ask her leave whenever I should be disposed to walk in
the garden, or to go feed my bantams?--Lord bless her! what could I mean
by such a question! Yet she owned, that she had heard, that I was not to
go into the garden, when my father, mother, or uncles were there.

However, as it behoved me to be assured on this head, I went down
directly, and staid an hour, without question or impediment; and yet a
good part of the time, I walked under and in sight, as I may say, of my
brother's study window, where both he and my sister happened to be.
And I am sure they saw me, by the loud mirth they affected, by way of
insult, as I suppose.

So this part of my restraint was doubtless a stretch of the authority
given him. The enforcing of that may perhaps come next. But I hope not.


TUESDAY NIGHT.


Since I wrote the above, I ventured to send a letter by Shorey to my
mother. I desired her to give it into her own hand, when nobody was by.

I shall enclose a copy of it. You will see that I would have it thought,
that now Hannah is gone, I have no way to correspond out of the house. I
am far from thinking all I do right. I am afraid this is a little piece
of art, that is not so. But this is an afterthought. The letter went
first.


HONOURED MADAM,

Having acknowledged to you, that I had received letters from Mr.
Lovelace full of resentment, and that I answered them purely to prevent
further mischief, and having shewn you copies of my answers, which you
did not disapprove of, although you thought fit, after you had read
them, to forbid me any further correspondence with him, I think it my
duty to acquaint you, that another letter from him has since come to my
hand, in which he is very earnest with me to permit him to wait on my
papa, or you, or my two uncles, in a pacific way, accompanied by Lord
M.: on which I beg your commands.

I own to you, Madam, that had not the prohibition been renewed, and had
not Hannah been so suddenly dismissed my service, I should have made
the less scruple to have written an answer, and to have commanded her
to convey it to him, with all speed, in order to dissuade him from these
visits, lest any thing should happen on the occasion that my heart aches
but to think of.

And here I cannot but express my grief, that I should have all the
punishment and all the blame, who, as I have reason to think, have
prevented great mischief, and have not been the occasion of any. For,
Madam, could I be supposed to govern the passions of either of the
gentlemen?--Over the one indeed I have had some little influence,
without giving him hitherto any reason to think he has fastened an
obligation upon me for it.--Over the other, Who, Madam, has any?--I am
grieved at heart, to be obliged to lay so great a blame at my brother's
door, although my reputation and my liberty are both to be sacrificed
to his resentment and ambition. May not, however, so deep a sufferer be
permitted to speak out?

This communication being as voluntarily made, as dutifully intended,
I humbly presume to hope, that I shall not be required to produce the
letter itself. I cannot either in honour or prudence do that, because of
the vehemence of his style; for having heard [not, I assure you, by my
means, or through Hannah's] of some part of the harsh treatment I have
met with; he thinks himself entitled to place it to his own account, by
reason of speeches thrown out by some of my relations, equally vehement.

If I do not answer him, he will be made desperate, and think himself
justified (thought I shall not think him so) in resenting the treatment
he complains of: if I do, and if, in compliment to me, he forbears to
resent what he thinks himself entitled to resent; be pleased, Madam, to
consider the obligation he will suppose he lays me under.

If I were as strongly prepossessed in his favour as is supposed, I
should not have wished this to be considered by you. And permit me, as
a still further proof that I am not prepossessed, to beg of you to
consider, Whether, upon the whole, the proposal I made, of declaring for
the single life (which I will religiously adhere to) is not the best way
to get rid of his pretensions with honour. To renounce him, and not be
allowed to aver, that I will never be the other man's, will make him
conclude (driven as I am driven) that I am determined in that other
man's favour.

If this has not its due weight, my brother's strange schemes must be
tried, and I will resign myself to my destiny with all the acquiescence
that shall be granted to my prayers. And so leaving the whole to your
own wisdom, and whether you choose to consult my papa and uncles upon
this humble application, or not; or whether I shall be allowed to write
an answer to Mr. Lovelace, or not [and if allowed to do so, I beg your
direction by whom to send it]; I remain,

Honoured Madam, Your unhappy, but ever dutiful daughter, CL. HARLOWE.


WEDNESDAY MORNING.


I have just received an answer to the enclosed letter. My mother, you
will observe, has ordered me to burn it: but, as you will have it in
your safekeeping, and nobody else will see it, her end will be equally
answered, as if it were burnt. It has neither date nor superscription.


CLARISSA,

Say not all the blame and all the punishment is yours. I am as much
blamed, and as much punished, as you are; yet am more innocent. When
your obstinacy is equal to any other person's passion, blame not your
brother. We judged right, that Hannah carried on your correspondencies.
Now she is gone, and you cannot write [we think you cannot] to Miss
Howe, nor she to you, without our knowledge, one cause of uneasiness and
jealousy is over.

I had no dislike of Hannah. I did not tell her so; because somebody was
within hearing when she desired to pay her duty to me at going. I gave
her a caution, in a raised voice, To take care, wherever she went to
live next, if there were any young ladies, how she made parties, and
assisted in clandestine correspondencies. But I slid two guineas into
her hand: nor was I angry to hear that you were still more bountiful to
her. So much for Hannah.

I don't know what to write, about your answering that man of violence.
What can you think of it, that such a family as ours, should have such
a rod held over it?--For my part, I have not owned that I know you have
corresponded. By your last boldness to me [an astonishing one it was,
to pursue before Mr. Solmes the subject I was forced to break from
above-stairs!] you may, as far as I know, plead, that you had my
countenance for your correspondence with him; and so add to the
uneasiness between your father and me. You were once my comfort,
Clarissa; you made all my hardships tolerable:--But now!--However,
nothing, it is plain, can move you; and I will say no more on that head:
for you are under your father's discipline now; and he will neither be
prescribed to, nor entreated.

I should have been glad to see the letter you tell me of, as I saw the
rest. You say, both honour and prudence forbid you to shew it to me.--O
Clarissa! what think you of receiving letters that honour and prudence
forbid you to shew to a mother!--But it is not for me to see it, if you
would choose to shew it me. I will not be in your secret. I will not
know that you did correspond. And, as to an answer, take your own
methods. But let him know it will be the last you will write. And, if
you do write, I won't see it: so seal it up (if you do) and give it to
Shorey; and she--Yet do not think I give you license to write.

We will be upon no conditions with him, nor will you be allowed to be
upon any. Your father and uncles would have no patience were he to come.
What have you to do to oblige him with your refusal of Mr. Solmes?--Will
not that refusal be to give him hope? And while he has any, can we be
easy or free from his insults? Were even your brother in fault, as that
fault cannot be conquered, is a sister to carry on a correspondence that
shall endanger her brother? But your father has given his sanction to
your brother's dislikes, your uncles', and every body's!--No matter to
whom owing.

As to the rest, you have by your obstinacy put it out of my power to do
any thing for you. Your father takes it upon himself to be answerable
for all consequences. You must not therefore apply to me for favour.
I shall endeavour to be only an observer: Happy, if I could be an
unconcerned one!--While I had power, you would not let me use it as I
would have used it. Your aunt has been forced to engage not to interfere
but by your father's direction. You'll have severe trials. If you have
any favour to hope for, it must be from the mediation of your uncles.
And yet, I believe, they are equally determined: for they make it a
principle, [alas! they never had children!] that that child, who in
marriage is not governed by her parents, is to be given up as a lost
creature!

I charge you, let not this letter be found. Burn it. There is too much
of the mother in it, to a daughter so unaccountably obstinate.

Write not another letter to me. I can do nothing for you. But you can do
every thing for yourself.


***


Now, my dear, to proceed with my melancholy narrative.

After this letter, you will believe, that I could have very little
hopes, that an application directly to my father would stand me in any
stead: but I thought it became me to write, were it but to acquit myself
to myself, that I have left nothing unattempted that has the least
likelihood to restore me to his favour. Accordingly I wrote to the
following effect:


I presume not, I say, to argue with my Papa; I only beg his mercy and
indulgence in this one point, on which depends my present, and perhaps
my future, happiness; and beseech him not to reprobate his child for an
aversion which it is not in her power to conquer. I beg, that I may not
be sacrificed to projects, and remote contingencies. I complain of the
disgraces I suffer in this banishment from his presence, and in being
confined to my chamber. In every thing but this one point, I promise
implicit duty and resignation to his will. I repeat my offers of a
single life; and appeal to him, whether I have ever given him cause to
doubt my word. I beg to be admitted to his, and to my mamma's, presence,
and that my conduct may be under their own eye: and this with the more
earnestness, as I have too much reason to believe that snares are laid
for me; and tauntings and revilings used on purpose to make a handle of
my words against me, when I am not permitted to speak in my own defence.
I conclude with hoping, that my brother's instigations may not rob an
unhappy child of her father.


***


This is the answer, sent without superscription, and unsealed, although
by Betty Barnes, who delivered it with an air, as if she knew the
contents.


WEDNESDAY.

I write, perverse girl; but with all the indignation that your
disobedience deserves. To desire to be forgiven a fault you own, and
yet resolve to persevere in, is a boldness, no more to be equaled,
than passed over. It is my authority you defy. Your reflections upon a
brother, that is an honour to us all, deserve my utmost resentment. I
see how light all relationship sits upon you. The cause I guess at,
too. I cannot bear the reflections that naturally arise from this
consideration. Your behaviour to your too-indulgent and too-fond
mother----But, I have no patience--Continue banished from my presence,
undutiful as you are, till you know how to conform to my will.
Ingrateful creature! Your letter but upbraid me for my past indulgence.
Write no more to me, till you can distinguish better; and till you are
convinced of your duty to

A JUSTLY INCENSED FATHER.


***


This angry letter was accompanied by one from my mother, unsealed, and
unsuperscribed also. Those who take so much pains to confederate every
one against me, I make no doubt, obliged her to bear her testimony
against the poor girl.

My mother's letter being a repetition of some of the severe things that
passed between herself and me, of which I have already informed you, I
shall not need to give you the contents--only thus far, that she also
praises my brother, and blames me for my freedoms with him.



LETTER XXVI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE THURSDAY MORN., MARCH 9.


I have another letter from Mr. Lovelace, although I had not answered his
former.

This man, somehow or other, knows every thing that passes in our family.
My confinement; Hanna's dismission; and more of the resentments and
resolutions of my father, uncles, and brother, than I can possibly know,
and almost as soon as the things happen, which he tells me of. He cannot
come at these intelligencies fairly.

He is excessively uneasy upon what he hears; and his expressions, both
of love to me, and resentment to them, are very fervent. He solicits me,
'To engage my honour to him never to have Mr. Solmes.'

I think I may fairly promise him that I will not.

He begs, 'That I will not think he is endeavouring to make to himself
a merit at any man's expense, since he hopes to obtain my favour on the
foot of his own; nor that he seeks to intimidate me into a consideration
for him. But declares, that the treatment he meets with from my family
is of such a nature, that he is perpetually reproached for not resenting
it; and that as well by Lord M. and Lady Sarah, and Lady Betty, as by
all his other friends: and if he must have no hope from me, he cannot
answer for what his despair will make him do.'

Indeed, he says, 'his relations, the ladies particularly, advise him to
have recourse to a legal remedy: But how, he asks, can a man of honour
go to law for verbal abuses given by people entitled to wear swords?'

You see, my dear, that my mother seems as apprehensive of mischief as
myself; and has indirectly offered to let Shorey carry my answer to the
letter he sent me before.

He is full of the favours of the ladies of his family to me: to whom,
nevertheless, I am personally a stranger; except, that I once saw Miss
Patty Montague at Mrs. Knolly's.

It is natural, I believe, for a person to be the more desirous of making
new friends, in proportion as she loses the favour of old ones. Yet had
I rather appear amiable in the eyes of my own relations, and in your
eyes, than in those of all the world besides--but these four ladies of
his family have such excellent characters, that one cannot but wish to
be thought well of by them. Cannot there be a way to find out, by Mrs.
Fortescue's means, or by Mr. Hickman, who has some knowledge of Lord M.
[covertly, however,] what their opinions are of the present situation of
things in our family; and of the little likelihood there is, that ever
the alliance once approved of by them, can take effect?

I cannot, for my own part, think so well of myself, as to imagine, that
they can wish their kinsman to persevere in his views with regard to me,
through such contempts and discouragements.--Not that it would concern
me, should they advise him to the contrary. By my Lord's signing Mr.
Lovelace's former letter; by Mr. Lovelace's assurances of the continued
favour of all his relations; and by the report of others; I seem still
to stand high in their favour. But, methinks, I should be glad to have
this confirmed to me, as from themselves, by the lips of an indifferent
person; and the rather, because of their fortunes and family; and take
it amiss (as they have reason) to be included by ours in the contempt
thrown upon their kinsman.

Curiosity at present is all my motive: nor will there ever, I hope, be a
stronger, notwithstanding your questionable throbs--even were the merits
of Mr. Lovelace much greater than they are.


***


I have answered his letters. If he takes me at my word, I shall need to
be less solicitous for the opinions of his relations in my favour: and
yet one would be glad to be well thought of by the worthy.

This is the substance of my letter:

'I express my surprise at his knowing (and so early) all that passes
here.'

I assure him, 'That were there not such a man in the world as himself, I
would not have Mr. Solmes.'

I tell him, 'That to return, as I understand he does, defiances for
defiances, to my relations, is far from being a proof with me, either of
his politeness, or of the consideration he pretends to have for me.

'That the moment I hear he visits any of my friends without their
consent, I will make a resolution never to see him more, if I can help
it.'

I apprize him, 'That I am connived at in sending this letter (although
no one has seen the contents) provided it shall be the last I will ever
write to him: that I had more than once told him, that the single life
was my choice; and this before Mr. Solmes was introduced as a visitor
in our family: that Mr. Wyerley, and other gentlemen, knew it to be my
choice, before himself was acquainted with any of us: that I had never
been induced to receive a line from him on the subject, but that I
thought he had not acted ungenerously by my brother; and yet had not
been so handsomely treated by my friends, as he might have expected:
but that had he even my friends on his side, I should have very great
objections to him, were I to get over my choice of a single life, so
really preferable to me as it is; and that I should have declared as
much to him, had I not regarded him as more than a common visiter. On
all these accounts, I desire, that the one more letter, which I will
allow him to deposit in the usual place, may be the very last; and that
only, to acquaint me with his acquiescence that it shall be so; at least
till happier times.'

This last I put in that he may not be quite desperate. But, if he take
me at my word, I shall be rid of one of my tormentors.

I have promised to lay before you all his letters, and my answers: I
repeat that promise: and am the less solicitous, for that reason, to
amplify upon the contents of either. But I cannot too often express my
vexation, to be driven to such streights and difficulties, here at
home, as oblige me to answer letters, (from a man I had not absolutely
intended to encourage, and to whom I had really great objections,)
filled as his are with such warm protestations, and written to me with a
spirit of expectation.

For, my dear, you never knew so bold a supposer. As commentators find
beauties in an author, to which the author perhaps was a stranger; so he
sometimes compliments me in high strains of gratitude for favours, and
for a consideration, which I never designed him; insomuch that I am
frequently under a necessity of explaining away the attributed goodness
to him, which, if I shewed, I should have the less opinion of myself.

In short, my dear, like a restiff horse, (as I have heard described by
sportsmen,) he pains one's hands, and half disjoints one's arms, to rein
him in. And, when you see his letters, you must form no judgment upon
them, till you have read my answers. If you do, you will indeed think
you have cause to attribute self-deceit, and throbs, and glows, to your
friend: and yet, at other times, the contradictory nature complains,
that I shew him as little favour, and my friends as much inveteracy,
as if, in the rencontre betwixt my brother and him, he had been the
aggressor; and as if the catastrophe had been as fatal, as it might have
been.

If he has a design by this conduct (sometimes complaining of my shyness,
at others exalting in my imaginary favours) to induce me at one time to
acquiesce with his compliments; at another to be more complaisant
for his complaints; and if the contradiction be not the effect of his
inattention and giddiness; I shall think him as deep and as artful (too
probably, as practised) a creature, as ever lived; and were I to be sure
of it, should hate him, if possible, worse than I do Solmes.

But enough for the present of a creature so very various.



LETTER XXVII

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE THURSDAY NIGHT, MARCH 9.


I have not patience with any of the people you are with. I know not what
to advise you to do. How do you know that you are not punishable
for being the cause, though to your own loss, that the will of your
grandfather is not complied with?--Wills are sacred things, child. You
see, that they, even they, think so, who imagine they suffer by a will,
through the distinction paid you in it.

I allow of all your noble reasonings for what you did at the time: But,
since such a charming, such a generous instance of filial duty is to go
thus unrewarded, why should you not resume?

Your grandfather knew the family-failing. He knew what a noble spirit
you had to do good. He himself, perhaps, [excuse me, my dear,] had done
too little in his life-time; and therefore he put it in your power to
make up for the defects of the whole family. Were it to me, I would
resume it. Indeed I would.

You will say, you cannot do it, while you are with them. I don't know
that. Do you think they can use you worse than they do? And is it not
your right? And do they not make use of your own generosity to oppress
you? Your uncle Harlowe is one trustee; your cousin Morden is the other:
insist upon your right to your uncle; and write to your cousin Morden
about it. This, I dare say, will make them alter their behaviour to you.

Your insolent brother--what has he to do to controul you?--Were it me [I
wish it were for one month, and no more] I'd shew him the difference. I
would be in my own mansion, pursuing my charming schemes, and making all
around me happy. I would set up my own chariot. I would visit them when
they deserved it. But when my brother and sister gave themselves airs,
I would let them know, that I was their sister, and not their servant:
and, if that did not do, I would shut my gates against them; and bid
them go and be company for each other.

It must be confessed, however, that this brother and sister of yours,
judging as such narrow spirits will ever judge, have some reason for
treating you as they do. It must have long been a mortification to
them (set disappointed love on her side, and avarice on his, out of the
question) to be so much eclipsed by a younger sister. Such a sun in a
family, where there are none but faint twinklers, how could they bear
it! Why, my dear, they must look upon you as a prodigy among them: and
prodigies, you know, though they obtain our admiration, never attract
our love. The distance between you and them is immense. Their eyes ache
to look up at you. What shades does your full day of merit cast
upon them! Can you wonder, then, that they should embrace the first
opportunity that offered, to endeavour to bring you down to their level?

Depend upon it, my dear, you will have more of it, and more still, as
you bear it.

As to this odious Solmes, I wonder not at your aversion to him. It is
needless to say any thing to you, who have so sincere any antipathy to
him, to strengthen your dislike: Yet, who can resist her own talents?
One of mine, as I have heretofore said, is to give an ugly likeness.
Shall I indulge it?--I will. And the rather, as, in doing so, you
will have my opinion in justification of your aversion to him, and
in approbation of a steadiness that I ever admired, and must for ever
approve of, in your temper.

'I was twice in this wretch's company. At one of the times your Lovelace
was there. I need not mention to you, who have such a pretty curiosity,
(though at present, only a curiosity, you know,) the unspeakable
difference.

'Lovelace entertained the company in his lively gay way, and made
every body laugh at one of his stories. It was before this creature was
thought of for you. Solmes laughed too. It was, however, his laugh: for
his first three years, at least, I imagine, must have been one continual
fit of crying; and his muscles have never yet been able to recover a
risible tone. His very smile [you never saw him smile, I believe; never
at least gave him cause to smile] is so little natural to his features,
that it appears to him as hideous as the grin of a man in malice.

'I took great notice of him, as I do of all the noble lords of the
creation, in their peculiarities; and was disgusted, nay, shocked at
him, even then. I was glad, I remember, on that particular occasion,
to see his strange features recovering their natural gloominess; though
they did this but slowly, as if the muscles which contributed to his
distortions, had turned upon rusty springs.

'What a dreadful thing must even the love of such a husband be! For my
part, were I his wife! (But what have I done to myself, to make such a
supposition?) I should never have comfort but in his absence, or when
I was quarreling with him. A splenetic woman, who must have somebody to
find fault with, might indeed be brought to endure such a wretch:
the sight of him would always furnish out the occasion, and all her
servants, for that reason, and for that only, would have cause to blame
their master. But how grievous and apprehensive a thing it must be for
his wife, had she the least degree of delicacy, to catch herself in
having done something to oblige him?

'So much for his person. As to the other half of him, he is said to be
an insinuating, creeping mortal to any body he hopes to be a gainer by:
an insolent, overbearing one, where he has no such views: And is not
this the genuine spirit of meanness? He is reported to be spiteful and
malicious, even to the whole family of any single person who has once
disobliged him; and to his own relations most of all. I am told, that
they are none of them such wretches as himself. This may be one reason
why he is for disinheriting them.

'My Kitty, from one of his domestics, tells me, that his tenants hate
him: and that he never had a servant who spoke well of him. Vilely
suspicious of their wronging him (probably from the badness of his own
heart) he is always changing.

'His pockets, they say, are continually crammed with keys: so that, when
he would treat a guest, (a friend he has not out of your family), he is
half as long puzzling which is which, as his niggardly treat might be
concluded in. And if it be wine, he always fetches it himself. Nor has
he much trouble in doing so; for he has very few visiters--only those,
whom business or necessity brings: for a gentleman who can help it,
would rather be benighted, than put up at his house.'

Yet this is the man they have found out (for considerations as sordid as
those he is governed by) for a husband, that is to say, for a lord and
master, for Miss Clarissa Harlowe!

But, perhaps, he may not be quite so miserable as he is represented.
Characters extremely good, or extremely bad, are seldom justly given.
Favour for a person will exalt the one, as disfavour will sink the
other. But your uncle Antony has told my mother, who objected to his
covetousness, that it was intended to tie him up, as he called it, to
your own terms; which would be with a hempen, rather than a matrimonial,
cord, I dare say. But, is not this a plain indication, that even his
own recommenders think him a mean creature; and that he must be articled
with--perhaps for necessaries? But enough, and too much, of such a
wretch as this!--You must not have him, my dear,--that I am clear
in--though not so clear, how you will be able to avoid it, except you
assert the independence to which your estate gives you a title.


***


Here my mother broke in upon me. She wanted to see what I had written. I
was silly enough to read Solmes's character to her.

She owned, that the man was not the most desirable of men; and that he
had not the happiest appearance: But what, said she, is person in a man?
And I was chidden for setting you against complying with your father's
will. Then followed a lecture on the preference to be given in favour of
a man who took care to discharge all his obligations to the world, and
to keep all together, in opposition to a spendthrift or profligate. A
fruitful subject you know, whether any particular person be meant by it,
or not.

Why will these wise parents, by saying too much against the persons they
dislike, put one upon defending them? Lovelace is not a spendthrift;
owes not obligations to the world; though, I doubt not, profligate
enough. Then, putting one upon doing such but common justice, we
must needs be prepossessed, truly!--And so perhaps we are put upon
curiosities first, that is to say, how such a one or his friends may
think of one: and then, but too probably, comes in a distinguishing
preference, or something that looks exceedingly like it.

My mother charged me at last, to write that side over again.--But
excuse me, my good Mamma! I would not have the character lost upon any
consideration; since my vein ran freely into it: and I never wrote to
please myself, but I pleased you. A very good reason why--we have but
one mind between us--only, that sometimes you are a little too grave,
methinks; I, no doubt, a little too flippant in your opinion.

This difference in our tempers, however, is probably the reason that we
love one another so well, that in the words of Norris, no third love can
come in betwixt. Since each, in the other's eye, having something amiss,
and each loving the other well enough to bear being told of it (and the
rather perhaps as neither wishes to mend it); this takes off a good deal
from that rivalry which might encourage a little (if not a great deal)
of that latent spleen, which in time might rise into envy, and that into
ill-will. So, my dear, if this be the case, let each keep her fault, and
much good may do her with it: and what an hero or heroine must he or
she be, who can conquer a constitutional fault? Let it be avarice, as in
some I dare not name: let it be gravity, as in my best friend: or let it
be flippancy, as in--I need not say whom.

It is proper to acquaint you, that I was obliged to comply with my
mother's curiosity, [my mother has her share, her full share, of
curiosity, my dear,] and to let her see here-and-there some passages in
your letters--

I am broken in upon--but I will tell you by-and-by what passed between
my mother and me on this occasion--and the rather, as she had her GIRL,
her favourite HICKMAN, and your LOVELACE, all at once in her eye, in her
part of the conversation.

Thus it was.

'I cannot but think, Nancy, said she, after all, that there is a little
hardship in Miss Harlowe's case: and yet (as her mother says) it is
a grating thing to have a child, who was always noted for her duty
in smaller points, to stand in opposition to her parents' will in the
greater; yea, in the greatest of all. And now, to middle the matter
between both, it is pity, that the man they favour has not that sort of
merit which a person of a mind so delicate as that of Miss Harlowe might
reasonably expect in a husband.--But then, this man is surely preferable
to a libertine: to a libertine too, who has had a duel with her own
brother; fathers and mothers must think so, were it not for that
circumstance--and it is strange if they do not know best.'

And so they must, thought I, from their experience, if no little dirty
views give them also that prepossession in one man's favour, which they
are so apt to censure their daughters for having in another's--and
if, as I may add in your case, they have no creeping, old, musty uncle
Antonys to strengthen their prepossessions, as he does my mother's.
Poor, creeping, positive soul, what has such an old bachelor as he to
do, to prate about the duties of children to parents; unless he had a
notion that parents owe some to their children? But your mother, by her
indolent meekness, let me call it, has spoiled all the three brothers.

'But you see, child, proceeded my mother, what a different behaviour
MINE is to YOU. I recommend to you one of the soberest, yet politest,
men in England--'

I think little of my mother's politest, my dear. She judges of honest
Hickman for her daughter, as she would have done, I suppose, twenty
years ago, for herself.

'Of a good family, continued my mother; a fine, clear, and improving
estate [a prime consideration with my mother, as well as with some other
folks, whom you know]: and I beg and I pray you to encourage him: at
least not to use him the worse, for his being so obsequious to you.'

Yes, indeed! To use him kindly, that he may treat me familiarly--but
distance to the men-wretches is best--I say.

'Yet all will hardly prevail upon you to do as I would have you. What
would you say, were I to treat you as Miss Harlowe's father and mother
treat her?

'What would I say, Madam!--That's easily answered. I would say nothing.
Can you think such usage, and to such a young lady, is to be borne?

'Come, come, Nancy, be not so hasty: you have heard but one side; and
that there is more to be said is plain, by your reading to me but parts
of her letters. They are her parents. They must know best. Miss Harlowe,
as fine a child as she is, must have done something, must have said
something, (you know how they loved her,) to make them treat her thus.

'But if she should be blameless, Madam, how does your own supposition
condemn them?'

Then came up Solmes's great estate; his good management of it--'A little
too NEAR indeed,' was the word!--[O how money-lovers, thought I, will
palliate! Yet my mother is a princess in spirit to this Solmes!] 'What
strange effects, added she, have prepossession and love upon young
ladies!'

I don't know how it is, my dear; but people take high delight in finding
out folks in love. Curiosity begets curiosity. I believe that's the
thing.

She proceeded to praise Mr. Lovelace's person, and his qualifications
natural and acquired. But then she would judge as mothers will judge,
and as daughters are very loth to judge: but could say nothing in answer
to your offer of living single; and breaking with him--if--if--[three or
four if's she made of one good one, if] that could be depended on.

But still obedience without reserve, reason what I will, is the burden
of my mother's song: and this, for my sake, as well as for yours.

I must needs say, that I think duty to parents is a very meritorious
excellence. But I bless God I have not your trials. We can all be good
when we have no temptation nor provocation to the contrary: but few
young persons (who can help themselves too as you can) would bear what
you bear.

I will now mention all that is upon my mind, in relation to the
behaviour of your father and uncles, and the rest of them, because
I would not offend you: but I have now a higher opinion of my own
sagacity, than ever I had, in that I could never cordially love any one
of your family but yourself. I am not born to like them. But it is my
duty to be sincere to my friend: and this will excuse her Anna Howe to
Miss Clarissa Harlowe.

I ought indeed to have excepted your mother; a lady to be reverenced:
and now to be pitied. What must have been her treatment, to be thus
subjugated, as I may call it? Little did the good old viscount think,
when he married his darling, his only daughter, to so well-appearing a
gentleman, and to her own liking too, that she would have been so much
kept down. Another would call your father a tyrant, if I must not: all
the world that know him, do call him so; and if you love your mother,
you should not be very angry at the world for taking that liberty.

Yet, after all, I cannot help thinking, that she is the less to be
pitied, as she may be said (be the gout, or what will, the occasion
of his moroseness) to have long behaved unworthy of her birth and fine
qualities, in yielding so much as she yields to encroaching spirits
[you may confine the reflection to your brother, if it will pain you
to extend it]; and this for the sake of preserving a temporary peace to
herself; which was the less worth endeavouring to preserve, as it always
produced a strength in the will of others, which subjected her to an
arbitrariness that of course grew, and became established, upon her
patience.--And now to give up the most deserving of her children
(against her judgment) a sacrifice to the ambition and selfishness of
the least deserving!--But I fly from this subject--having I fear, said
too much to be forgiven--and yet much less than is in my heart to say
upon the over-meek subject.

Mr. Hickman is expected from London this evening. I have desired him to
inquire after Lovelace's life and conversation in town. If he has not
inquired, I shall be very angry with him. Don't expect a very good
account of either. He is certainly an intriguing wretch, and full of
inventions.

Upon my word, I most heartily despise that sex! I wish they would let
our fathers and mothers alone; teasing them to tease us with their
golden promises, and protestations and settlements, and the rest
of their ostentatious nonsense. How charmingly might you and I live
together, and despise them all!--But to be cajoled, wire-drawn,
and ensnared, like silly birds, into a state of bondage, or vile
subordination; to be courted as princesses for a few weeks, in order to
be treated as slaves for the rest of our lives. Indeed, my dear, as you
say of Solmes, I cannot endure them!--But for your relations [friends no
more will I call them, unworthy as they are even of the other name!]
to take such a wretch's price as that; and to the cutting off of all
reversions from his own family:--How must a mind but commonly just
resist such a measure!

Mr. Hickman shall sound Lord M. upon the subject you recommend. But
beforehand, I can tell you what he and what his sisters will say, when
they are sounded. Who would not be proud of such a relation as Miss
Clarissa Harlowe?--Mrs. Fortescue told me, that they are all your very
great admirers.

If I have not been clear enough in my advice about what you shall do,
let me say, that I can give it in one word: it is only by re-urging you
to RESUME. If you do, all the rest will follow.

We are told here, that Mrs. Norton, as well as your aunt Hervey, has
given her opinion on the implicit side of the question. If she can
think, that the part she has had in your education, and your own
admirable talents and acquirements, are to be thrown away upon such a
worthless creature as Solmes, I could heartily quarrel with her. You may
think I say this to lessen your regard for the good woman. And perhaps
not wholly without cause, if you do. For, to own the truth, methinks,
I don't love her so well as I should do, did you love her so apparently
less, that I could be out of doubt, that you love me better.

Your mother tells you, 'That you will have great trials: that you are
under your father's discipline.'--The word is enough for me to despise
them who give occasion for its use.--'That it is out of her power to
help you!' And again: 'That if you have any favour to hope for, it must
be by the mediation of your uncles.' I suppose you will write to the
oddities, since you are forbid to see them. But can it be, that such a
lady, such a sister, such a wife, such a mother, has no influence in her
own family? Who, indeed, as you say, if this be so, would marry, that
can live single? My choler is again beginning to rise. RESUME, my dear:
and that is all I will give myself time to say further, lest I offend
you when I cannot serve you--only this, that I am

Your truly affectionate friend and servant, ANNA HOWE.



LETTER XXVIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE FRIDAY, MARCH 10.


You will permit me, my dear, to touch upon a few passages in your last
letter, that affect me sensibly.

In the first place, you must allow me to say, low as I am in spirits,
that I am very angry with you, for your reflections on my relations,
particularly on my father and mother, and on the memory of my
grandfather. Nor, my dear, does your own mother always escape the keen
edge of your vivacity. One cannot one's self forbear to write or speak
freely of those we love and honour, when grief from imagined hard
treatment wrings the heart: but it goes against one to hear any body
else take the same liberties. Then you have so very strong a manner of
expression where you take a distaste, that when passion has subdued,
and I come (upon reflection) to see by your severity what I have given
occasion for, I cannot help condemning myself.

But least of all can I bear that you should reflect upon my mother.
What, my dear, if her meekness should not be rewarded? Is the want of
reward, or the want even of a grateful acknowledgement, a reason for us
to dispense with what we think our duty? They were my father's lively
spirits that first made him an interest in her gentle bosom. They were
the same spirits turned inward, as I have heretofore observed,* that
made him so impatient when the cruel malady seized him. He always loved
my mother: And would not LOVE and PITY excusably, nay laudably, make a
good wife (who was an hourly witness of his pangs, when labouring under
a paroxysm, and his paroxysms becoming more and more frequent, as well
as more and more severe) give up her own will, her own likings,
to oblige a husband, thus afflicted, whose love for her was
unquestionable?--And if so, was it not too natural [human nature is not
perfect, my dear] that the husband thus humoured by the wife, should be
unable to bear controul from any body else, much less contradiction from
his children?


     * See Letter V.


If then you would avoid my highest displeasure, you must spare my
mother: and, surely, you will allow me, with her, to pity, as well as to
love and honour my father.

I have no friend but you to whom I can appeal, to whom I dare complain.
Unhappily circumstanced as I am, it is but too probable that I shall
complain, because it is but too probably that I shall have more and more
cause given me for complaint. But be it your part, if I do, to sooth my
angry passions, and to soften my resentments; and this the rather, as
you know what an influence your advice has upon me; and as you must
also know, that the freedoms you take with my friends, can have no other
tendency, but to weaken the sense of my duty to them, without answering
any good end to myself.

I cannot help owning, however, that I am pleased to have you join with
me in opinion of the contempt which Mr. Solmes deserves from me. But
yet, permit me to say, that he is not quite so horrible a creature as
you make him: as to his person, I mean; for with regard to his mind,
by all I have heard, you have done him but justice: but you have such
a talent at an ugly likeness, and such a vivacity, that they sometimes
carry you out of verisimilitude. In short, my dear, I have known you, in
more instances than one, sit down resolved to write all that wit, rather
than strict justice, could suggest upon the given occasion. Perhaps it
may be thought, that I should say the less on this particular subject,
because your dislike of him arises from love to me: But should it not be
our aim to judge of ourselves, and of every thing that affects us, as
we may reasonably imagine other people would judge of us and of our
actions?

As to the advice you give, to resume my estate, I am determined not to
litigate with my father, let what will be the consequence to myself.
I may give you, at another time, a more particular answer to your
reasonings on this subject: but, at present, will only observe, that
it is in my opinion, that Lovelace himself would hardly think me worth
addressing, were he to know this would be my resolution. These men, my
dear, with all their flatteries, look forward to the PERMANENT. Indeed,
it is fit they should. For love must be a very foolish thing to look
back upon, when it has brought persons born to affluence into indigence,
and laid a generous mind under obligation and dependence.

You very ingeniously account for the love we bear to one another, from
the difference in our tempers. I own, I should not have thought of that.
There may possibly be something in it: but whether there be or not,
whenever I am cool, and give myself time to reflect, I will love you the
better for the correction you give, be as severe as you will upon me.
Spare me not, therefore, my dear friend, whenever you think me in the
least faulty. I love your agreeable raillery: you know I always did:
nor, however over-serious you think me, did I ever think you flippant,
as you harshly call it. One of the first conditions of our mutual
friendship was, each should say or write to the other whatever was upon
her mind, without any offence to be taken: a condition, that is indeed
indispensable in friendship.

I knew your mother would be for implicit obedience in a child. I am
sorry my case is so circumstanced, that I cannot comply. It would be
my duty to do so, if I could. You are indeed very happy, that you have
nothing but your own agreeable, yet whimsical, humours to contend with,
in the choice she invites you to make of Mr. Hickman. How happy I should
be, to be treated with so much lenity!--I should blush to have my mother
say, that she begged and prayed me, and all in vain, to encourage a man
so unexceptionable as Mr. Hickman.

Indeed, my beloved Miss Howe, I am ashamed to have your mother say, with
ME in her view, 'What strange effects have prepossession and love upon
young creatures of our sex!' This touches me the more sensibly, because
you yourself, my dear, are so ready to persuade me into it.

I should be very blamable to endeavour to hide any the least bias
upon my mind, from you: and I cannot but say--that this man--this
Lovelace--is a man that might be liked well enough, if he bore such
a character as Mr. Hickman bears; and even if there were hopes of
reclaiming him. And further still I will acknowledge, that I believe it
possible that one might be driven, by violent measures, step by step, as
it were, into something that might be called--I don't know what to
call it--a conditional kind of liking, or so. But as to the word
LOVE--justifiable and charming as it is in some cases, (that is to say,
in all the relative, in all the social, and, what is still beyond both,
in all our superior duties, in which it may be properly called divine;)
it has, methinks, in the narrow, circumscribed, selfish, peculiar sense,
in which you apply it to me, (the man too so little to be approved of
for his morals, if all that report says of him be true,) no pretty sound
with it. Treat me as freely as you will in all other respects, I will
love you, as I have said, the better for your friendly freedom. But,
methinks, I could be glad that you would not let this imputation pass so
glibly from your pen, or your lips, as attributable to one of your own
sex, whether I be the person or not: since the other must have a double
triumph, when a person of your delicacy (armed with such contempts of
them all, as you would have one think) can give up a friend, with an
exultation over her weakness, as a silly, love-sick creature.

I could make some other observations upon the contents of your last two
letters; but my mind is not free enough at present. The occasion for the
above stuck with me; and I could not help taking the earliest notice of
them.

Having written to the end of my second sheet, I will close this letter,
and in my next, acquaint you with all that has happened here since my
last.



LETTER XXIX

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SATURDAY, MARCH 11.


I have had such taunting messages, and such repeated avowals of ill
offices, brought me from my brother and sister, if I do no comply with
their wills, (delivered, too, with provoking sauciness by Betty Barnes,)
that I have thought it proper, before I entered upon my intended address
to my uncles, in pursuance of the hint given me in my mother's letter,
to expostulate a little with them. But I have done it in such a manner,
as will give you (if you please to take it as you have done some parts
of my former letters) great advantage over me. In short, you will have
more cause than ever, to declare me far gone in love, if my reasons for
the change of my style in these letters, with regard to Mr. Lovelace, do
not engage your more favourable opinion.--For I have thought proper to
give them their own way: and, since they will have it, that I have a
preferable regard for Mr. Lovelace, I give them cause rather to confirm
their opinion than doubt it.

These are my reasons in brief, for the alteration of my style.

In the first place, they have grounded their principal argument for my
compliance with their will, upon my acknowledgement that my heart is
free; and so, supposing I give up no preferable person, my opposition
has the look of downright obstinacy in their eyes; and they argue,
that at worst, my aversion to Solmes is an aversion that may be easily
surmounted, and ought to be surmounted in duty to my father, and for the
promotion of family views.

Next, although they build upon this argument in order to silence me,
they seem not to believe me, but treat me as disgracefully, as if I
were in love with one of my father's footmen: so that my conditional
willingness to give up Mr. Lovelace has procured me no favour.

In the next place, I cannot but think, that my brother's antipathy
to Mr. Lovelace is far from being well grounded: the man's inordinate
passion for the sex is the crime that is always rung in my ears: and a
very great one it is: But, does my brother recriminate upon him thus
in love to me?--No--his whole behaviour shews me, that that is not
his principal motive, and that he thinks me rather in his way than
otherwise.

It is then the call of justice, as I may say, to speak a little in
favour of a man, who, although provoked by my brother, did not do
him all the mischief he could have done him, and which my brother had
endeavoured to do him. It might not be amiss therefore, I thought, to
alarm them a little with apprehension, that the methods they are taking
with me are the very reverse of those they should take to answer the end
they design by them. And after all, what is the compliment I make Mr.
Lovelace, if I allow it to be thought that I do really prefer him to
such a man as him they terrify me with? Then, my Miss Howe [concluded I]
accuses me of a tameness which subject me to insults from my brother: I
will keep that dear friend in my eye; and for all these considerations,
try what a little of her spirit will do--sit it ever so awkwardly upon
me.

In this way of thinking, I wrote to my brother and sister. This is my
letter to him.



TREATED as I am, and, in a great measure, if not wholly, by your
instigations, Brother, you must permit me to expostulate with you upon
the occasion. It is not my intention to displease you in what I am going
to write: and yet I must deal freely with you: the occasion calls for
it.

And permit me, in the first place, to remind you, that I am your sister;
and not your servant; and that, therefore, the bitter revilings and
passionate language brought me from you, upon an occasion in which you
have no reason to prescribe to me, are neither worthy of my character to
bear, nor of yours to offer.

Put the case, that I were to marry the man you dislike: and that he were
not to make a polite or tender husband, Is that a reason for you to be
an unpolite and disobliging brother?--Why must you, Sir, anticipate my
misfortunes, were such a case to happen?--Let me tell you plainly,
that the man who could treat me as a wife, worse than you of late have
treated me as a sister, must be a barbarous man indeed.

Ask yourself, I pray you, Sir, if you would thus have treated your
sister Bella, had she thought fit to receive the addresses of the man so
much hated by you?--If not, let me caution you, my Brother, not to take
your measures by what you think will be borne, but rather by what ought
to be offered.

How would you take it, if you had a brother, who, in a like case, were
to act by you, as you do by me?--You cannot but remember what a laconic
answer you gave even to my father, who recommended to you Miss Nelly
D'Oily--You did not like her, were your words: and that was thought
sufficient.

You must needs think, that I cannot but know to whom to attribute my
disgraces, when I recollect my father's indulgence to me, permitting
me to decline several offers; and to whom, that a common cause is
endeavoured to be made, in favour of a man whose person and manners
are more exceptional than those of any of the gentlemen I have been
permitted to refuse.

I offer not to compare the two men together: nor is there indeed the
least comparison to be made between them. All the difference to
the one's disadvantage, if I did, is but one point--of the greatest
importance, indeed--But to whom of most importance?--To myself, surely,
were I to encourage his application: of the least to you. Nevertheless,
if you do not, by your strange politics, unite that man and me as joint
sufferers in one cause, you shall find me as much resolved to renounce
him, as I am to refuse the other. I have made an overture to this
purpose: I hope you will not give me reason to confirm my apprehensions,
that it will be owing to you if it be not accepted.

It is a sad thing to have it to say, without being conscious of ever
having given you cause of offence, that I have in you a brother, but not
a friend.

Perhaps you will not condescend to enter into the reasons of your
late and present conduct with a foolish sister. But if politeness, if
civility, be not due to that character, and to my sex, justice is.

Let me take the liberty further to observe, that the principal end of
a young man's education at the university, is, to learn him to reason
justly, and to subdue the violence of his passions. I hope, Brother,
that you will not give room for any body who knows us both, to conclude,
that the toilette has taught the one more of the latter doctrine, than
the university has taught the other. I am truly sorry to have cause
to say, that I have heard it often remarked, that your uncontrouled
passions are not a credit to your liberal education.

I hope, Sir, that you will excuse the freedom I have taken with you: you
have given me too much reason for it, and you have taken much greater
with me, without reason:--so, if you are offended, ought to look at the
cause, and not at the effect:--then examining yourself, that cause will
cease, and there will not be any where a more accomplished gentleman
than my brother.

Sisterly affection, I do assure you, Sir, (unkindly as you have used
me,) and not the pertness which of late you have been so apt to impute
to me, is my motive in this hint. Let me invoke your returning kindness,
my only brother! And give me cause, I beseech you, to call you my
compassionating friend. For I am, and ever will be,

Your affectionate sister, CLARISSA HARLOWE.


***


This is my brother's answer.


TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE

I KNOW there will be no end of your impertinent scribble, if I don't
write to you. I write therefore: but, without entering into argument
with such a conceited and pert preacher and questioner, it is, to forbid
you to plague me with your quaint nonsense. I know not what wit in a
woman is good for, but to make her overvalue herself, and despise every
other person. Yours, Miss Pert, has set you above your duty, and above
being taught or prescribed to, either by parents, or any body else. But
go on, Miss: your mortification will be the greater; that's all, child.
It shall, I assure you, if I can make it so, so long as you prefer that
villainous Lovelace, (who is justly hated by all your family) to every
body. We see by your letter now (what we too justly suspected before),
most evidently we see, the hold he has got of your forward heart. But
the stronger the hold, the greater must be the force (and you shall have
enough of that) to tear such a miscreant from it. In me, notwithstanding
your saucy lecturing, and your saucy reflections before, you are sure of
a friend, as well as of a brother, if it be not your own fault. But if
you will still think of such a wretch as that Lovelace, never expect
either friend or brother in

JA. HARLOWE.


***


I will now give you a copy of my letter to my sister; with her answer.


IN what, my dear Sister, have I offended you, that instead of
endeavouring to soften my father's anger against me, (as I am sure I
should have done for you, had my unhappy case been yours,) you should,
in so hard-hearted a manner, join to aggravate not only his displeasure,
but my mother's against me. Make but my case your own, my dear Bella;
and suppose you were commanded to marry Mr. Lovelace, (to whom you
are believed to have such an antipathy,) would you not think it a very
grievous injunction?--Yet cannot your dislike to Mr. Lovelace be greater
than mine is to Mr. Solmes. Nor are love and hatred voluntary passions.

My brother may perhaps think it a proof of a manly spirit, to shew
himself an utter stranger to the gentle passions. We have both heard him
boast, that he never loved with distinction: and, having predominating
passions, and checked in his first attempt, perhaps he never will. It
is the less wonder, then, raw from the college, so lately himself the
tutored, that he should set up for a tutor, a prescriber to our
gentler sex, whose tastes and manners are differently formed: for what,
according to his account, are colleges, but classes of tyrants, from
the upper students over the lower, and from them to the tutor?--That he,
with such masculine passions should endeavour to controul and bear down
an unhappy sister, in a case where his antipathy, and, give me leave
to say, his ambition [once you would have allowed the latter to be his
fault] can be gratified by so doing, may not be quite so much to be
wondered at--but that a sister should give up the cause of a sister, and
join with him to set her father and mother against her, in a case that
might have been her own--indeed, my Bella, this is not pretty in you.

There was a time that Mr. Lovelace was thought reclaimable, and when it
was far from being deemed a censurable view to hope to bring back to the
paths of virtue and honour, a man of his sense and understanding. I am
far from wishing to make the experiment: but nevertheless will say, that
if I have not a regard for him, the disgraceful methods taken to compel
me to receive the addresses of such a man as Mr. Solmes are enough to
induce it.

Do you, my Sister, for one moment, lay aside all prejudice, and compare
the two men in their births, their educations, their persons, their
understandings, their manners, their air, and their whole deportments;
and in their fortunes too, taking in reversions; and then judge of both;
yet, as I have frequently offered, I will live single with all my heart,
if that will do.

I cannot thus live in displeasure and disgrace. I would, if I could,
oblige all my friends. But will it be just, will it be honest, to marry
a man I cannot endure? If I have not been used to oppose the will of
my father, but have always delighted to oblige and obey, judge of the
strength of my antipathy, by the painful opposition I am obliged to
make, and cannot help it.

Pity then, my dearest Bella, my sister, my friend, my companion, my
adviser, as you used to be when I was happy, and plead for

Your ever-affectionate, CL. HARLOWE.


***


TO MISS CLARY HARLOWE

Let it be pretty or not pretty, in your wise opinion, I shall speak my
mind, I will assure you, both of you and your conduct in relation
to this detested Lovelace. You are a fond foolish girl with all your
wisdom. Your letter shews that enough in twenty places. And as to your
cant of living single, nobody will believe you. This is one of your
fetches to avoid complying with your duty, and the will of the most
indulgent parents in the world, as yours have been to you, I am
sure--though now they see themselves finely requited for it.

We all, indeed, once thought your temper soft and amiable: but why was
it? You never were contradicted before: you had always your own way. But
no sooner do you meet with opposition in your wishes to throw yourself
away upon a vile rake, but you shew what you are. You cannot love Mr.
Solmes! that's the pretence; but Sister, Sister, let me tell you, that
is because Lovelace has got into your fond heart:--a wretch hated,
justly hated, by us all; and who has dipped his hands in the blood of
your brother: yet him you would make our relation, would you?

I have no patience with you, but for putting the case of my liking such
a vile wretch as him. As to the encouragement you pretend he received
formerly from all our family, it was before we knew him to be so vile:
and the proofs that had such force upon us, ought to have had some upon
you:--and would, had you not been a foolish forward girl; as on this
occasion every body sees you are.

O how you run out in favour of the wretch!--His birth, his
education, his person, his understanding, his manners, his air, his
fortune--reversions too taken in to augment the surfeiting catalogue!
What a fond string of lovesick praises is here! And yet you would live
single--Yes, I warrant!--when so many imaginary perfections dance before
your dazzled eye!--But no more--I only desire, that you will not, while
you seem to have such an opinion of your wit, think every one else a
fool; and that you can at pleasure, by your whining flourishes, make us
all dance after your lead.

Write as often as you will, this shall be the last answer or notice you
shall have upon this subject from

ARABELLA HARLOWE.


***


I had in readiness a letter for each of my uncles; and meeting in the
garden a servant of my uncle Harlowe, I gave him to deliver according to
their respective directions. If I am to form a judgment by the answers I
have received from my brother and sister, as above, I must not, I
doubt, expect any good from those letters. But when I have tried every
expedient, I shall have the less to blame myself for, if any thing
unhappy should fall out. I will send you copies of both, when I shall
see what notice they will be thought worthy of, if of any.



LETTER XXX

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SUNDAY NIGHT, MARCH 12.


This man, this Lovelace, gives me great uneasiness. He is extremely bold
and rash. He was this afternoon at our church--in hopes to see me, I
suppose: and yet, if he had such hopes, his usual intelligence must have
failed him.

Shorey was at church; and a principal part of her observation was upon
his haughty and proud behaviour when he turned round in the pew where he
sat to our family-pew. My father and both my uncles were there; so were
my mother and sister. My brother happily was not.--They all came home in
disorder. Nor did the congregation mind any body but him; it being his
first appearance there since the unhappy rencounter.

What did the man come for, if he intended to look challenge and
defiance, as Shorey says he did, and as others, it seems, thought he
did, as well as she? Did he come for my sake; and, by behaving in such
a manner to those present of my family, imagine he was doing me either
service or pleasure?--He knows how they hate him: nor will he take
pains, would pains do, to obviate their hatred.

You and I, my dear, have often taken notice of his pride; and you have
rallied him upon it; and instead of exculpating himself, he has owned
it: and by owning it he has thought he has done enough.

For my own part, I thought pride in his case an improper subject for
raillery.--People of birth and fortune to be proud, is so needless,
so mean a vice!--If they deserve respect, they will have it, without
requiring it. In other words, for persons to endeavour to gain respect
by a haughty behaviour, is to give a proof that they mistrust their own
merit: To make confession that they know that their actions will not
attract it.--Distinction or quality may be prided in by those to whom
distinction or quality is a new thing. And then the reflection and
contempt which such bring upon themselves by it, is a counter-balance.

Such added advantages, too, as this man has in his person and mien:
learned also, as they say he is: Such a man to be haughty, to be
imperious!--The lines of his own face at the same time condemning
him--how wholly inexcusable!--Proud of what? Not of doing well: the only
justifiable pride.--Proud of exterior advantages!--Must not one be led
by such a stop-short pride, as I may call it, in him or her who has it,
to mistrust the interior? Some people may indeed be afraid, that if
they did not assume, they would be trampled upon. A very narrow fear,
however, since they trample upon themselves, who can fear this. But this
man must be secure that humility would be an ornament to him.

He has talents indeed: but those talents and his personal advantages
have been snares to him. It is plain they have. And this shews, that,
weighed in an equal balance, he would be found greatly wanting.

Had my friends confided as they did at first, in that discretion which
they do not accuse me of being defective in, I dare say I should have
found him out: and then should have been as resolute to dismiss him, as
I was to dismiss others, and as I am never to have Mr. Solmes. O that
they did but know my heart!--It shall sooner burst, than voluntarily,
uncompelled, undriven, dictate a measure that shall cast a slur either
upon them, or upon my sex.

Excuse me, my dear friend, for these grave soliloquies, as I may call
them. How have I run from reflection to reflection!--But the occasion is
recent--They are all in commotion below upon it.

Shorey says, that Mr. Lovelace watched my mother's eye, and bowed to
her: and she returned the compliment. He always admired my mother. She
would not, I believe, have hated him, had she not been bid to hate him:
and had it not been for the rencounter between him and her only son.

Dr. Lewen was at church; and observing, as every one else did, the
disorder into which Mr. Lovelace's appearance* had put all our family,
was so good as to engage him in conversation, when the service was over,
till they were all gone to their coaches.


     * See Letter XXXI, for Mr. Lovelace's account of his
     behaviour and intentions in his appearance at church.


My uncles had my letters in the morning. They, as well as my father,
are more and more incensed against me, it seems. Their answers, if
they vouchsafe to answer me, will demonstrate, I doubt not, the
unseasonableness of this rash man's presence at our church.

They are angry also, as I understand, with my mother, for returning
his compliment. What an enemy is hatred, even to the common forms of
civility! which, however, more distinguish the payer of a compliment,
than the receiver. But they all see, they say, that there is but one way
to put an end to his insults. So I shall suffer: And in what will the
rash man have benefited himself, or mended his prospects?

I am extremely apprehensive that this worse than ghost-like appearance
of his, bodes some still bolder step. If he come hither (and very
desirous he is of my leave to come) I am afraid there will be murder. To
avoid that, if there were no other way, I would most willingly be buried
alive.

They are all in consultation--upon my letters, I suppose--so they were
in the morning; which occasioned my uncles to be at our church. I will
send you the copies of those letters, as I promised in my last, when
I see whether I can give you their answers with them. This letter is
all--I cannot tell what--the effect of apprehension and displeasure
at the man who has occasioned my apprehensions. Six lines would have
contained all that is in it to the purpose of my story.

CL. H.



LETTER XXXI

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. MONDAY, MARCH 13.


In vain dost thou* and thy compeers press me to go to town, while I am
in such an uncertainty as I am in at present with this proud beauty.
All the ground I have hitherto gained with her is entirely owing to her
concern for the safety of people whom I have reason to hate.

     *These gentlemen affected what they called the Roman style
     (to wit, the thee and the thou) in their letters: and it was
     an agreed rule with them, to take in good part whatever
     freedoms they treated each other with, if the passages were
     written in that style.

Write then, thou biddest me, if I will not come. That, indeed, I can do;
and as well without a subject, as with one. And what follows shall be a
proof of it.

The lady's malevolent brother has now, as I told thee at M. Hall,
introduced another man; the most unpromising in his person and
qualities, the most formidable in his offers, that has yet appeared.

This man has by his proposals captivated every soul of the
Harlowes--Soul! did I say--There is not a soul among them but my
charmer's: and she, withstanding them all, is actually confined, and
otherwise maltreated by a father the most gloomy and positive; at the
instigation of a brother the most arrogant and selfish. But thou knowest
their characters; and I will not therefore sully my paper with them.

But is it not a confounded thing to be in love with one, who is the
daughter, the sister, the niece, of a family, I must eternally despise?
And, the devil of it, that love increasing with her--what shall I call
it?--'Tis not scorn:--'Tis not pride:--'Tis not the insolence of an
adored beauty:--But 'tis to virtue, it seems, that my difficulties are
owin; and I pay for not being a sly sinner, an hypocrite; for being
regardless of my reputation; for permittin slander to open its mouth
against me. But is it necessary for such a one as I, who have been used
to carry all before me, upon my own terms--I, who never inspired a fear,
that had not a discernibly-predominant mixture of love in it, to be a
hypocrite?--Well says the poet:

 He who seems virtuous does but act a part;
 And shews not his own nature, but his art.

Well, but it seems I must practise for this art, if it would succeed
with this truly-admirable creature; but why practise for it?--Cannot
I indeed reform?--I have but one vice;--Have I, Jack?--Thou knowest my
heart, if any man living does. As far as I know it myself, thou knowest
it. But 'tis a cursed deceiver; for it has many a time imposed upon its
master--Master, did I say? That I am not now; nor have I been from the
moment I beheld this angel of a woman. Prepared indeed as I was by her
character before I saw her: For what a mind must that be, which,
though not virtuous itself, admires not virtue in another?--My visit
to Arabella, owing to a mistake of the sister, into which, as thou hast
heard me say, I was led by the blundering uncle; who was to introduce
me (but lately come from abroad) to the divinity, as I thought; but,
instead of her, carried me to a mere mortal. And much difficulty had I,
so fond and forward my lady! to get off without forfeiting all with a
family I intended should give me a goddess.

I have boasted that I was once in love before:--and indeed I thought
I was. It was in my early manhood--with that quality jilt, whose
infidelity I have vowed to revenge upon as many of the sex as shall come
into my power. I believe, in different climes, I have already
sacrificed an hecatomb to my Nemesis, in pursuance of this vow. But upon
recollecting what I was then, and comparing it with what I find myself
now, I cannot say that I was ever in love before.

What was it then, dost thou ask me, since the disappointment had such
effects upon me, when I found myself jilted, that I was hardly kept in
my senses?--Why, I'll grant thee what, as near as I can remember; for
it was a great while ago:--It was--Egad, Jack, I can hardly tell what
it was--but a vehement aspiration after a novelty, I think. Those
confounded poets, with their terrenely-celestial descriptions, did as
much with me as the lady: they fired my imagination, and set me upon
a desire to become a goddess-maker. I must needs try my new-fledged
pinions in sonnet, elogy, and madrigal. I must have a Cynthia, a Stella,
a Sacharissa, as well as the best of them: darts and flames, and the
devil knows what, must I give to my cupid. I must create beauty, and
place it where nobody else could find it: and many a time have I been at
a loss for a subject, when my new-created goddess has been kinder than
it was proper for my plaintive sonnet that she should be.

Then I found I had a vanity of another sort in my passion: I found
myself well received among the women in general; and I thought it a
pretty lady-like tyranny [I was then very young, and very vain!] to
single out some one of the sex, to make half a score jealous. And I can
tell thee, it had its effect: for many an eye have I made to sparkle
with rival indignation: many a cheek glow; and even many a fan have I
caused to be snapped at a sister-beauty; accompanied with a reflection
perhaps at being seen alone with a wild young fellow who could not be in
private with both at once.

In short, Jack, it was more pride than love, as I now find it, that put
me upon making such a confounded rout about losing that noble varletess.
I thought she loved me at least as well as I believed I loved her:
nay, I had the vanity to suppose she could not help it. My friends were
pleased with my choice. They wanted me to be shackled: for early did
they doubt my morals, as to the sex. They saw, that the dancing, the
singing, the musical ladies were all fond of my company: For who [I am
in a humour to be vain, I think!]--for who danced, who sung, who touched
the string, whatever the instrument, with a better grace than thy
friend?

I have no notion of playing the hypocrite so egregiously, as to pretend
to be blind to qualifications which every one sees and acknowledges.
Such praise-begetting hypocrisy! Such affectedly disclaimed attributes!
Such contemptible praise-traps!--But yet, shall my vanity extend only
to personals, such as the gracefulness of dress, my debonnaire, and my
assurance?--Self-taught, self-acquired, these!--For my parts, I value
not myself upon them. Thou wilt say, I have no cause.--Perhaps not. But
if I had any thing valuable as to intellectuals, those are not my own;
and to be proud of what a man is answerable for the abuse of, and has
no merit in the right use of, is to strut, like the jay, in borrowed
plumage.

But to return to my fair jilt. I could not bear, that a woman, who was
the first that had bound me in silken fetters [they were not iron ones,
like those I now wear] should prefer a coronet to me: and when the bird
was flown, I set more value upon it, that when I had it safe in my cage,
and could visit in when I pleased.

But now am I indeed in love. I can think of nothing, of nobody, but
the divine Clarissa Harlowe--Harlowe!--How that hated word sticks in my
throat--But I shall give her for it the name of Love.*


* Lovelace.


 CLARISSA! O there's music in the name,
 That, soft'ning me to infant tenderness,
 Makes my heart spring like the first leaps of life!

But couldst thou have believed that I, who think it possible for me
to favour as much as I can be favoured; that I, who for this charming
creature think of foregoing the life of honour for the life of shackles;
could adopt these over-tender lines of Otway?

I checked myself, and leaving the first three lines of the following of
Dryden to the family of whiners, find the workings of the passion in my
stormy soul better expressed by the three last:

 Love various minds does variously inspire:
 He stirs in gentle natures gentle fires;
 Like that of incense on the alter laid.

 But raging flames tempestuous souls invade:
 A fire which ev'ry windy passion blows;
 With pride it mounts, and with revenge it glows.

And with REVENGE it shall glow!--For, dost thou think, that if it were
not from the hope, that this stupid family are all combined to do my
work for me, I would bear their insults?--Is it possible to imagine,
that I would be braved as I am braved, threatened as I am threatened, by
those who are afraid to see me; and by this brutal brother, too, to
whom I gave a life; [a life, indeed, not worth my taking!] had I not
a greater pride in knowing that by means of his very spy upon me, I am
playing him off as I please; cooling or inflaming his violent passions
as may best suit my purposes; permitting so much to be revealed of my
life and actions, and intentions, as may give him such a confidence in
his double-faced agent, as shall enable me to dance his employer upon my
own wires?

This it is that makes my pride mount above my resentment. By this
engine, whose springs I am continually oiling, I play them all off.
The busy old tarpaulin uncle I make but my ambassador to Queen Anabella
Howe, to engage her (for example-sake to her princessly daughter) to
join in their cause, and to assert an authority they are resolved, right
or wrong, (or I could do nothing,) to maintain.

And what my motive, dost thou ask? No less than this, That my beloved
shall find no protection out of my family; for, if I know hers, fly she
must, or have the man she hates. This, therefore, if I take my measures
right, and my familiar fail me not, will secure her mine, in spite of
them all; in spite of her own inflexible heart: mine, without condition;
without reformation-promises; without the necessity of a siege of years,
perhaps; and to be even then, after wearing the guise of merit-doubting
hypocrisy, at an uncertainty, upon a probation unapproved of. Then shall
I have all the rascals and rascalesses of the family come creeping to
me: I prescribing to them; and bringing that sordidly imperious brother
to kneel at the footstool of my throne.

All my fear arises from the little hold I have in the heart of this
charming frost-piece: such a constant glow upon her lovely features:
eyes so sparkling: limbs so divinely turned: health so florid: youth so
blooming: air so animated--to have an heart so impenetrable: and I, the
hitherto successful Lovelace, the addresser--How can it be? Yet there
are people, and I have talked with some of them, who remember that
she was born. Her nurse Norton boasts of her maternal offices in her
earliest infancy; and in her education gradatim. So there is full proof,
that she came not from above all at once an angel! How then can she be
so impenetrable?

But here's her mistake; nor will she be cured of it--She takes the man
she calls her father [her mother had been faultless, had she not been
her father's wife]; she takes the men she calls her uncles; the fellow
she calls her brother; and the poor contemptible she calls her sister;
to be her father, to be her uncles, her brother, her sister; and that,
as such, she owes to some of them reverence, to others respect, let them
treat her ever so cruelly!--Sordid ties!--Mere cradle prejudices!--For
had they not been imposed upon her by Nature, when she was in a perverse
humour, or could she have chosen her relations, would any of these have
been among them?

How my heart rises at her preference of them to me, when she is
convinced of their injustice to me! Convinced, that the alliance would
do honour to them all--herself excepted; to whom every one owes honour;
and from whom the most princely family might receive it. But how much
more will my heart rise with indignation against her, if I find she
hesitates but one moment (however persecuted) about preferring me to the
man she avowedly hates! But she cannot surely be so mean as to purchase
her peace with them at so dear a rate. She cannot give a sanction to
projects formed in malice, and founded in a selfishness (and that at her
own expense) which she has spirit enough to despise in others; and ought
to disavow, that we may not think her a Harlowe.

By this incoherent ramble thou wilt gather, that I am not likely to come
up in haste; since I must endeavour first to obtain some assurance from
the beloved of my soul, that I shall not be sacrificed to such a wretch
as Solmes! Woe be to the fair one, if ever she be driven into my
power (for I despair of a voluntary impulse in my favour) and I find a
difficulty in obtaining this security.

That her indifference to me is not owing to the superior liking she has
for any other, is what rivets my chains. But take care, fair one; take
care, O thou most exalted of female minds, and loveliest of persons, how
thou debasest thyself by encouraging such a competition as thy sordid
relations have set on foot in mere malice to me!--Thou wilt say I rave.
And so I do:

 Perdition catch my soul, but I do love her.

Else, could I hear the perpetual revilings of her implacable
family?--Else, could I basely creep about--not her proud father's
house--but his paddock and garden walls?--Yet (a quarter of a mile
distance between us) not hoping to behold the least glimpse of her
shadow?--Else, should I think myself repaid, amply repaid, if the
fourth, fifth, or sixth midnight stroll, through unfrequented paths, and
over briery enclosures, affords me a few cold lines; the even expected
purport only to let me know, that she values the most worthless person
of her very worthless family, more than she values me; and that she
would not write at all, but to induce me to bear insults, which unman
me to bear?--My lodging in the intermediate way at a wretched alehouse;
disguised like an inmate of it: accommodations equally vile, as those
I met with in my Westphalian journey. 'Tis well, that the necessity for
all this arise not from scorn and tyranny! but is first imposed upon
herself!

But was ever hero in romance (fighting with giants and dragons excepted)
called upon to harder trials?--Fortune and family, and reversionary
grandeur on my side! Such a wretched fellow my competitor!--Must I not
be deplorably in love, that can go through these difficulties, encounter
these contempts?--By my soul, I am half ashamed of myself: I, who am
perjured too, by priority of obligation, if I am faithful to any woman
in the world?

And yet, why say I, I am half ashamed?--Is it not a glory to love her
whom every one who sees her either loves, or reveres, or both? Dryden
says,

 The cause of love can never be assign'd:
 'Tis in no face;--but in the lover's mind.
--And Cowley thus addresses beauty as a mere imaginary:

 Beauty! thou wild fantastic ape,
 Who dost in ev'ry country change thy shape:
 Here black; there brown; here tawny; and there white!
 Thou flatt'rer, who comply'st with ev'ry sight!
 Who hast no certain what, nor where.

But both these, had they been her contemporaries, and known her, would
have confessed themselves mistaken: and, taking together person, mind,
and behaviour, would have acknowledged the justice of the universal
voice in her favour.

 --Full many a lady
 I've ey'd with best regard; and many a time
 Th' harmony of their tongues hath into bondage
 Brought my too-diligent ear.  For sev'ral virtues
 Have I liked several women.  Never any
 With so full a soul, but some defect in her
 Did quarrel with the noblest grace she ow'd,
 And put it to the foil.  But SHE!--O SHE!
 So perfect and so peerless is created,
 Of ev'ry creature's best.

 SHAKESP.

Thou art curious to know, if I have not started a new game? If it
be possible for so universal a lover to be confined so long to one
object?--Thou knowest nothing of this charming creature, that thou canst
put such questions to me; or thinkest thou knowest me better than
thou dost. All that's excellent in her sex is this lady!--Until by
MATRIMONIAL or EQUAL intimacies, I have found her less than angel, it is
impossible to think of any other. Then there are so many stimulatives
to such a spirit as mine in this affair, besides love: such a field of
stratagem and contrivance, which thou knowest to be the delight of my
heart. Then the rewarding end of all!--To carry off such a girl as this,
in spite of all her watchful and implacable friends; and in spite of a
prudence and reserve that I never met with in any of the sex;--what a
triumph!--What a triumph over the whole sex!--And then such a revenge to
gratify; which is only at present politically reined in, eventually to
break forth with greater fury--Is it possible, thinkest thou, that there
can be room for a thought that is not of her, and devoted to her?


***


By the devices I have this moment received, I have reason to think, that
I shall have occasion for thee here. Hold thyself in readiness to come
down upon the first summons.

Let Belton, and Mowbray, and Tourville, likewise prepare themselves. I
have a great mind to contrive a method to send James Harlowe to travel
for improvement. Never was there a booby 'squire that more wanted it.
Contrive it, did I say? I have already contrived it; could I but put
it in execution without being suspected to have a hand in it. This I am
resolved upon; if I have not his sister, I will have him.

But be this as it may, there is a present likelihood of room for
glorious mischief. A confederacy had been for some time formed against
me; but the uncles and the nephew are now to be double-servanted
[single-servanted they were before]; and those servants are to be
double armed when they attend their masters abroad. This indicates their
resolute enmity to me, and as resolute favour to Solmes.

The reinforced orders for this hostile apparatus are owing it seems to a
visit I made yesterday to their church.--A good place I thought to begin
a reconciliation in; supposing the heads of the family to be christians,
and that they meant something by their prayers. My hopes were to have
an invitation (or, at least, to gain a pretence) to accompany home the
gloomy sire; and so get an opportunity to see my goddess: for I believed
they durst not but be civil to me, at least. But they were filled with
terror it seems at my entrance; a terror they could not get over. I saw
it indeed in their countenances; and that they all expected something
extraordinary to follow.--And so it should have done, had I been more
sure than I am of their daughter's favour. Yet not a hair of any of
their stupid heads do I intend to hurt.

You shall all have your directions in writing, if there be occasion. But
after all, I dare say there will be no need but to shew your faces in my
company.

Such faces never could four men shew--Mowbray's so fierce and so
fighting: Belton's so pert and so pimply: Tourville's so fair and
so foppish: thine so rough and so resolute: and I your leader!--What
hearts, although meditating hostility, must those be which we shall not
appall?--Each man occasionally attended by a servant or two, long ago
chosen for qualities resembling those of his master.

Thus, Jack, as thou desirest, have I written.--Written upon something;
upon nothing; upon REVENGE, which I love; upon LOVE, which I hate,
heartily hate, because 'tis my master: and upon the devil knows what
besides: for looking back, I am amazed at the length of it. Thou mayest
read it: I would not for a king's ransom. But so as I do but write, thou
sayest thou wilt be pleased.

Be pleased then. I command thee to be pleased: if not for the writer's
or written sake, for thy word's sake. And so in the royal style (for am
I not likely to be thy king and thy emperor in the great affair before
us?) I bid thee very heartily

Farewell.



LETTER XXXII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE TUESDAY, MARCH 14.


I now send you copies of my letters to my uncles: with their answers. Be
pleased to return the latter by the first deposit. I leave them for you
to make remarks upon. I shall make none.


TO JOHN HARLOWE, ESQ. SAT. MARCH 11.

Allow me, my honoured second Papa, as in my happy days you taught me
to call you, to implore your interest with my Papa, to engage him to
dispense with a command, which, if insisted upon, will deprive me of my
free-will, and make me miserable for my whole life.

For my whole life! let me repeat: Is that a small point, my dear Uncle,
to give up? Am not I to live with the man? Is any body else? Shall I not
therefore be allowed to judge for myself, whether I can, or cannot, live
happily with him?

Should it be ever so unhappily, will it be prudence to complain or
appeal? If it were, to whom could I appeal with effect against a
husband? And would not the invincible and avowed dislike I have for him
at setting out, seem to justify any ill usage from him, in that state,
were I to be ever so observant of him? And if I were to be at all
observant of him, it must be from fear, not love.

Once more, let me repeat, That this is not a small point to give up:
and that it is for life. Why, I pray you, good Sir, should I be made
miserable for life? Why should I be deprived of all comfort, but that
which the hope that it would be a very short one, would afford me?

Marriage is a very solemn engagement, enough to make a young creature's
heart ache, with the best prospects, when she thinks seriously of
it!--To be given up to a strange man; to be engrafted into a strange
family; to give up her very name, as a mark of her becoming his absolute
and dependent property; to be obliged to prefer this strange man to
father, mother--to every body:--and his humours to all her own--or to
contend, perhaps, in breach of avowed duty, for every innocent
instance of free-will. To go no where; to make acquaintance; to give up
acquaintance; to renounce even the strictest friendships, perhaps;
all at his pleasure, whether she thinks it reasonable to do so or not.
Surely, Sir, a young creature ought not to be obliged to make all these
sacrifices but for such a man as she can love. If she be, how sad must
be the case! How miserable the life, if it can be called life!

I wish I could obey you all. What a pleasure would it be to me, if I
could!--Marry first, and love will come after, was said by one of my
dearest friends! But this is a shocking assertion. A thousand thing may
happen to make that state but barely tolerable, where it is entered into
with mutual affections: What must it then be, where the husband can have
no confidence in the love of his wife: but has reason rather to question
it, from the preference he himself believes she would have given to
somebody else, had she had her own option? What doubts, what jealousies,
what want of tenderness, what unfavourable prepossessions, will there
be, in a matrimony thus circumstanced! How will every look, every
action, even the most innocent, be liable to misconstruction!--While,
on the other hand, an indifference, a carelessness to oblige, may take
place; and fear only can constrain even an appearance of what ought to
be the effect of undisguised love!

Think seriously of these things, dear, good Sir, and represent them to
my father in that strong light which the subject will bear; but in which
my sex, and my tender years and inexperience, will not permit me to
paint it; and use your powerful interest, that your poor niece may not
be consigned to a misery so durable.

I offered to engage not to marry at all, if that condition may be
accepted. What a disgrace is it to me to be thus sequestered from
company, thus banished my papa's and mamma's presence; thus slighted and
deserted by you, Sir, and my other kind uncle! And to be hindered from
attending at that public worship, which, were I out of the way of my
duty, would be most likely to reduce me into the right path again!--Is
this the way, Sir; can this be thought to be the way to be taken with
a free and open spirit? May not this strange method rather harden than
convince? I cannot bear to live in disgrace thus. The very servants so
lately permitted to be under my own direction, hardly daring to speak to
me; my own servant discarded with high marks of undeserved suspicion and
displeasure, and my sister's maid set over me.

The matter may be too far pushed.--Indeed it may.--And then, perhaps,
every one will be sorry for their parts in it.

May I be permitted to mention an expedient?--'If I am to be
watched, banished, and confined; suppose, Sir, it were to be at your
house?'--Then the neighbouring gentry will the less wonder, that the
person of whom they used to think so favourably, appear not at church
here; and that she received not their visits.

I hope there can be no objection to this. You used to love to have
me with you, Sir, when all went happily with me: And will you not now
permit me, in my troubles, the favour of your house, till all this
displeasure is overblown?--Upon my word, Sir, I will not stir out of
doors, if you require the contrary of me: nor will I see any body, but
whom you will allow me to see; provided Mr. Solmes be not brought to
persecute me there.

Procure, then, this favour for me; if you cannot procure the still
greater, that of a happy reconciliation (which nevertheless I presume to
hope for, if you will be so good as to plead for me); and you will then
add to those favours and to that indulgence, which have bound me, and
will for ever bind me to be

Your dutiful and obliged niece, CLARISSA HARLOWE.


THE ANSWER


SUNDAY NIGHT.

MY DEAR NIECE,

It grieves me to be forced to deny you any thing you ask. Yet it must be
so; for unless you can bring your mind to oblige us in this one point,
in which our promises and honour were engaged before we believed there
could be so sturdy an opposition, you must never expect to be what you
have been to us all.

In short, Niece, we are in an embattled phalanx. Your reading makes you
a stranger to nothing but what you should be most acquainted with. So
you will see by that expression, that we are not to be pierced by your
persuasions, and invincible persistence. We have agreed all to be
moved, or none; and not to comply without one another. So you know your
destiny; and have nothing to do but to yield to it.

Let me tell you, the virtue of obedience lies not in obliging when you
can be obliged again. But give up an inclination, and there is some
merit in that.

As to your expedient; you shall not come to my house, Miss Clary; though
this is a prayer I little thought I ever should have denied you: for
were you to keep your word as to seeing nobody but whom we please, yet
can you write to somebody else, and receive letters from him. This we
too well know you can, and have done--more is the shame and the pity!

You offer to live single, Miss--we wished you married: but because you
may not have the man your heart is set upon, why, truly, you will have
nobody we shall recommend: and as we know, that somehow or other you
correspond with him, or at least did as long as you could; and as he
defies us all, and would not dare to do so, if he were not sure of you
in spite of us all, (which is not a little vexatious to us, you must
think,) we are resolved to frustrate him, and triumph over him, rather
than that he should triumph over us: that's one word for all. So expect
not any advocateship from me: I will not plead for you; and that's
enough. From

Your displeased uncle, JOHN HARLOWE.

P.S. For the rest I refer to my brother Antony.


***


TO ANTONY HARLOWE, ESQ. SATURDAY, MARCH 11.

HONOURED SIR,

As you have thought fit to favour Mr. Solmes with your particular
recommendation, and was very earnest in his behalf, ranking him (as
you told me, upon introducing him to me) among your select friends; and
expecting my regards to him accordingly; I beg your patience, while
I offer a few things, out of many that I could offer, to your serious
consideration, on occasion of his address to me, if I am to use that
word.

I am charged with prepossession in another person's favour. You will be
pleased, Sir, to remember, that till my brother returned from Scotland,
that other person was not absolutely discouraged, nor was I forbid to
receive his visits. I believe it will not be pretended, that in birth,
education, or personal endowments, a comparison can be made between the
two. And only let me ask you, Sir, if the one would have been thought of
for me, had he not made such offers, as, upon my word, I think, I ought
not in justice to accept of, nor he to propose: offers, which if he had
not made, I dare say, my papa would not have required them of him.

But the one, it seems, has many faults:--Is the other faultless?--The
principal thing objected to Mr. Lovelace (and a very inexcusable one) is
that he is immoral in his loves--Is not the other in his hatreds?--Nay,
as I may say, in his loves too (the object only differing) if the love
of money be the root of all evil.

But, Sir, if I am prepossessed, what has Mr. Solmes to hope for?--Why
should he persevere? What must I think of the man who would wish me to
be his wife against my inclination?--And is it not a very harsh thing
for my friends to desire to see me married to one I cannot love, when
they will not be persuaded but that there is one whom I do love?

Treated as I am, now is the time for me to speak out or never.--Let
me review what it is Mr. Solmes depends upon on this occasion. Does he
believe, that the disgrace which I supper on his account, will give
him a merit with me? Does he think to win my esteem, through my uncles'
sternness to me; by my brother's contemptuous usage; by my sister's
unkindness; by being denied to visit, or be visited; and to correspond
with my chosen friend, although a person of unexceptionable honour and
prudence, and of my own sex; my servant to be torn from me, and another
servant set over me; to be confined, like a prisoner, to narrow and
disgraceful limits, in order avowedly to mortify me, and to break my
spirit; to be turned out of that family-management which I loved, and
had the greater pleasure in it, because it was an ease, as I thought, to
my mamma, and what my sister chose not; and yet, though time hangs heavy
upon my hands, to be so put out of my course, that I have as little
inclination as liberty to pursue any of my choice delights?--Are these
steps necessary to reduce me to a level so low, as to make me a fit wife
for this man?--Yet these are all he can have to trust to. And if
his reliance is on these measures, I would have him to know, that
he mistakes meekness and gentleness of disposition for servility and
baseness of heart.

I beseech you, Sir, to let the natural turn and bent of his mind and my
mind be considered: What are his qualities, by which he would hope to
win my esteem?--Dear, dear Sir, if I am to be compelled, let it be in
favour of a man that can read and write--that can teach me something:
For what a husband must that man make, who can do nothing but command;
and needs himself the instruction he should be qualified to give?

I may be conceited, Sir; I may be vain of my little reading; of my
writing; as of late I have more than once been told I am. But, Sir, the
more unequal the proposed match, if so: the better opinion I have of
myself, the worse I must have of him; and the more unfit are we for each
other.

Indeed, Sir, I must say, I thought my friends had put a higher value
upon me. My brother pretended once, that it was owing to such value,
that Mr. Lovelace's address was prohibited.--Can this be; and such a man
as Mr. Solmes be intended for me?

As to his proposed settlements, I hope I shall not incur your great
displeasure, if I say, what all who know me have reason to think (and
some have upbraided me for), that I despise those motives. Dear, dear
Sir, what are settlements to one who has as much of her own as she
wishes for?--Who has more in her own power, as a single person, than
it is probable she would be permitted to have at her disposal, as a
wife?--Whose expenses and ambition are moderate; and who, if she had
superfluities, would rather dispense them to the necessitous, than lay
them by her useless? If then such narrow motives have so little weight
with me for my own benefit, shall the remote and uncertain view of
family-aggrandizements, and that in the person of my brother and his
descendents, be thought sufficient to influence me?

Has the behaviour of that brother to me of late, or his consideration
for the family (which had so little weight with him, that he could
choose to hazard a life so justly precious as an only son's, rather than
not ratify passions which he is above attempting to subdue, and, give me
leave to say, has been too much indulged in, either with regard to his
own good, or the peace of any body related to him;) Has his behaviour, I
say, deserved of me in particular, that I should make a sacrifice of my
temporal (and, who knows? of my eternal) happiness, to promote a plan
formed upon chimerical, at least upon unlikely, contingencies; as I will
undertake to demonstrate, if I may be permitted to examine it?

I am afraid you will condemn my warmth: But does not the occasion
require it? To the want of a greater degree of earnestness in my
opposition, it seems, it is owing, that such advances have been made,
as have been made. Then, dear Sir, allow something, I beseech you, for a
spirit raised and embittered by disgraces, which (knowing my own heart)
I am confident to say, are unmerited.

But why have I said so much, in answer to the supposed charge of
prepossession, when I have declared to my mamma, as now, Sir, I do
to you, that if it be not insisted upon that I shall marry any other
person, particularly this Mr. Solmes, I will enter into any engagements
never to have the other, nor any man else, without their consents; that
is to say, without the consents of my father and my mother, and of you
my uncle, and my elder uncle, and my cousin Morden, as he is one of the
trustees for my grandfather's bounty to me?--As to my brother indeed, I
cannot say, that his treatment of me has been of late so brotherly,
as to entitle him to more than civility from me: and for this, give me
leave to add, he would be very much my debtor.

If I have not been explicit enough in declaring my dislike to Mr. Solmes
(that the prepossession which is charged upon me may not be supposed to
influence me against him) I do absolutely declare, That were there no
such man as Mr. Lovelace in the world, I would not have Mr. Solmes.
It is necessary, in some one of my letters to my dear friends, that I
should write so clearly as to put this matter out of all doubt: and to
whom can I better address myself with an explicitness that can admit
of no mistake, than to that uncle who professes the highest regard for
plain-dealing and sincerity?

Let me, for these reasons, be still more particular in some of my
exceptions to him.

Mr. Solmes appears to me (to all the world, indeed) to have a very
narrow mind, and no great capacity: he is coarse and indelicate; as
rough in his manners as in his person: he is not only narrow, but
covetous: being possessed of great wealth, he enjoys it not; nor has the
spirit to communicate to a distress of any kind. Does not his own sister
live unhappily, for want of a little of his superfluities? And suffers
not he his aged uncle, the brother of his own mother, to owe to
the generosity of strangers the poor subsistence he picks up from
half-a-dozen families?--You know, Sir, my open, free, communicative
temper: how unhappy must I be, circumscribed in his narrow, selfish
circle! out of which being with-held by this diabolical parsimony, he
dare no more stir, than a conjurer out of his; nor would let me.

Such a man, as this, love!--Yes, perhaps he may, my grandfather's
estate; which he has told several persons (and could not resist hinting
the same thing tome, with that sort of pleasure which a low mind takes,
when it intimates its own interest as a sufficient motive for it to
expect another's favour) lies so extremely convenient for him, that it
would double the value of a considerable part of his own. That estate,
and an alliance which would do credit to his obscurity and narrowness,
they make him think he can love, and induce him to believe he does: but
at most, he is but a second-place love. Riches were, are, and always
will be, his predominant passion. His were left him by a miser, on this
very account: and I must be obliged to forego all the choice delights
of my life, and be as mean as he, or else be quite unhappy. Pardon, Sir,
this severity of expression--one is apt to say more than one would of
a person one dislikes, when more is said in his favour than he can
possibly deserve; and when he is urged to my acceptance with so much
vehemence, that there is no choice left me.

Whether these things be perfectly so, or not, while I think they are,
it is impossible I should ever look upon Mr. Solmes in the light he is
offered to me. Nay, were he to be proved ten times better than I have
represented him, and sincerely think him; yet would he be still ten
times more disagreeable to me than any other man I know in the world.
Let me therefore beseech you, Sir, to become an advocate for your niece,
that she may not be made a victim to a man so highly disgustful to her.

You and my other uncle can do a great deal for me, if you please, with
my papa. Be persuaded, Sir, that I am not governed by obstinacy in this
case; but by aversion; an aversion I cannot overcome: for, if I have but
endeavoured to reason with myself, (out of regard to the duty I owe
to my father's will,) my heart has recoiled, and I have been averse to
myself, for offering but to argue with myself, in behalf of a man who,
in the light he appears to me, has no one merit; and who, knowing this
aversion, could not persevere as he does, if he had the spirit of a man.

If, Sir, you can think of the contents of this letter reasonable, I
beseech you to support them with your interest. If not--I shall be most
unhappy!--Nevertheless, it is but just in me so to write, as that Mr.
Solmes may know what he has to trust to.

Forgive, dear Sir, this tedious letter; and suffer it to have weight
with you; and you will for ever oblige

Your dutiful and affectionate niece,

CL. HARLOWE.


***


MR. ANTONY HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE

NIECE CLARY,

You had better not write to us, or to any of us. To me, particularly,
you had better never to have set pen to paper, on the subject whereon
you have written. He that is first in his own cause, saith the wise man,
seemeth just: but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. And so, in
this respect, I will be your neighbour: for I will search your heart to
the bottom; that is to say, if your letter be written from your heart.
Yet do I know what a task I have undertaken, because of the knack you
are noted for at writing. But in defence of a father's authority, in
behalf of the good, and honour, and prosperity of the family one comes
of, what a hard thing it would be, if one could not beat down all the
arguments a rebel child (how loth I am to write down that word of Miss
Clary Harlowe!) can bring, in behalf of her obstinacy!

In the first place, don't you declare (and that contrary to your
declarations to your mother, remember that, girl!) that you prefer the
man we all hate, and who hates us as bad!--Then what a character have
you given of a worthy man! I wonder you dare write so freely of one we
all respect--but possibly it may be for that very reason.

How you begin your letter!--Because I value Mr. Solmes as my friend, you
treat him the worse--That's the plain dunstable of the matter, Miss!--I
am not such a fool but I can see that.--And so a noted whoremonger is
to be chosen before a man who is a money-lover!--Let me tell you, Niece,
this little becomes so nice a one as you have been always reckoned. Who,
think you, does more injustice, a prodigal man or a saving man?--The one
saves his own money; the other spends other people's. But your favourite
is a sinner in grain, and upon record.

The devil's in your sex! God forgive me for saying so--the nicest of
them will prefer a vile rake and wh---- I suppose I must not repeat the
word:--the word will offend, when the vicious denominated by that word
will be chosen!--I had not been a bachelor to this time, if I had not
seen such a mass of contradictions in you all.--Such gnat-strainers and
camel-swallowers, as venerable Holy Writ has it.

What names will perverseness call things by!--A prudent man, who intends
to be just to every body, is a covetous man!--While a vile, profligate
rake is christened with the appellation of a gallant man; and a polite
man, I'll warrant you!

It is my firm opinion, Lovelace would not have so much regard for you
as he professes, but for two reasons. And what are these?--Why, out of
spite to all of us--one of them. The other, because of your independent
fortune. I wish your good grandfather had not left what he did so much
in your own power, as I may say. But little did he imagine his beloved
grand-daughter would have turned upon all her friends as she has done!

What has Mr. Solmes to hope for, if you are prepossessed! Hey-day!
Is this you, cousin Clary!--Has he then nothing to hope for from your
father's, and mother's, and our recommendations?--No, nothing at all, it
seems!--O brave!--I should think that this, with a dutiful child, as we
took you to be, was enough. Depending on this your duty, we proceeded:
and now there is no help for it: for we will not be balked: neither
shall our friend Mr. Solmes, I can tell you that.

If your estate is convenient for him, what then? Does that (pert cousin)
make it out that he does not love you? He had need to expect some good
with you, that has so little good to hope for from you; mind that. But
pray, is not this estate our estate, as we may say? Have we not all an
interest in it, and a prior right, if right were to have taken place?
And was it not more than a good old man's dotage, God rest his soul!
that gave it you before us all?--Well then, ought we not to have a
choice who shall have it in marriage with you? and would you have the
conscience to wish us to let a vile fellow, who hates us all, run away
with it?--You bid me weigh what you write: do you weigh this, Girl: and
it will appear we have more to say for ourselves than you was aware of.

As to your hard treatment, as you call it, thank yourself for that. It
may be over when you will: so I reckon nothing upon that. You was not
banished and confined till all entreaty and fair speeches were tried
with you: mind that. And Mr. Solmes can't help your obstinacy: let that
be observed too.

As to being visited, and visiting; you never was fond of either: so
that's a grievance put into the scale to make weight.--As to disgrace,
that's as bad to us as to you: so fine a young creature! So much as we
used to brag of you too!--And besides, this is all in your power, as the
rest.

But your heart recoils, when you would persuade yourself to obey your
parent--Finely described, is it not!--Too truly described, I own, as you
go on. I know that you may love him if you will. I had a good mind to
bid you hate him; then, perhaps, you would like him the better: for I
have always found a most horrid romantic perverseness in your sex.--To
do and to love what you should not, is meat, drink, and vesture, to you
all.

I am absolutely of your brother's mind, That reading and writing, though
not too much for the wits of you young girls, are too much for your
judgments.--You say, you may be conceited, Cousin; you may be vain!--And
so you are, to despise this gentleman as you do. He can read and write
as well as most gentlemen, I can tell you that. Who told you Mr. Solmes
cannot read and write? But you must have a husband who can learn
you something!--I wish you knew but your duty as well as you do your
talents--that, Niece, you have of late days to learn; and Mr. Solmes
will therefore find something to instruct you in. I will not shew him
this letter of yours, though you seem to desire it, lest it should
provoke him to be too severe a schoolmaster, when you are his'n.

But now I think of it, suppose you are the reader at your pen than
he--You will make the more useful wife to him; won't you? For who so
good an economist as you?--And you may keep all of his accounts,
and save yourselves a steward.--And, let me tell you, this is a fine
advantage in a family: for those stewards are often sad dogs, and creep
into a man's estate before he knows where he is; and not seldom is he
forced to pay them interest for his own money.

I know not why a good wife should be above these things. It is better
than lying a-bed half the day, and junketing and card-playing all the
night, and making yourselves wholly useless to every good purpose in
your own families, as is now the fashion among ye. The duce take you all
that do so, say I!--Only that, thank my stars, I am a bachelor.

Then this is a province you are admirably versed in: you grieve that
it is taken from you here, you know. So here, Miss, with Mr. Solmes you
will have something to keep account of, for the sake of you and your
children: with the other, perhaps you will have an account to keep,
too--but an account of what will go over the left shoulder; only of what
he squanders, what he borrows, and what he owes, and never will pay.
Come, come, Cousin, you know nothing of the world; a man's a man; and
you may have many partners in a handsome man, and costly ones too, who
may lavish away all you save. Mr. Solmes therefore for my money, and I
hope for yours.

But Mr. Solmes is a coarse man. He is not delicate enough for your
niceness; because I suppose he dresses not like a fop and a coxcomb, and
because he lays not himself out in complimental nonsense, the poison of
female minds. He is a man of sense, that I can tell you. No man
talks more to the purpose to us: but you fly him so, that he has no
opportunity given him, to express it to you: and a man who loves, if he
have ever so much sense, looks a fool; especially when he is despised,
and treated as you treated him the last time he was in your company.

As to his sister; she threw herself away (as you want to do) against his
full warning: for he told her what she had to trust to, if she married
where she did marry. And he was as good as his word; and so an honest
man ought: offences against warning ought to be smarted for. Take care
this be not your case: mind that.

His uncle deserves no favour from him; for he would have circumvented
Mr. Solmes, and got Sir Oliver to leave to himself the estate he had
always designed for him his nephew, and brought him up in the hope of
it. Too ready forgiveness does but encourage offences: that's your good
father's maxim: and there would not be so many headstrong daughters as
there are, if this maxim were kept in mind.--Punishments are of service
to offenders; rewards should be only to the meriting: and I think the
former are to be dealt out rigourously, in willful cases.

As to his love; he shews it but too much for your deservings, as they
have been of late; let me tell you that: and this is his misfortune; and
may in time perhaps be yours.

As to his parsimony, which you wickedly call diabolical, [a very free
word in your mouth, let me tell ye], little reason have you of all
people for this, on whom he proposes, of his own accord, to settle all
he has in the world: a proof, let him love riches as he will, that he
loves you better. But that you may be without excuse on this score,
we will tie him up to your own terms, and oblige him by the
marriage-articles to allow you a very handsome quarterly sum to do what
you please with. And this has been told you before; and I have said it
to Mrs. Howe (that good and worthy lady) before her proud daughter, that
you might hear of it again.

To contradict the charge of prepossession to Lovelace, you offer never
to have him without our consents: and what is this saying, but that you
will hope on for our consents, and to wheedle and tire us out? Then he
will always be in expectation while you are single: and we are to live
on at this rate (are we?) vexed by you, and continually watchful about
you; and as continually exposed to his insolence and threats. Remember
last Sunday, Girl!--What might have happened, had your brother and he
met?--Moreover, you cannot do with such a spirit as his, as you can with
worthy Mr. Solmes: the one you make tremble; the other will make
you quake: mind that--and you will not be able to help yourself. And
remember, that if there should be any misunderstanding between one of
them and you, we should all interpose; and with effect, no doubt: but
with the other, it would be self-do, self-have; and who would either
care or dare to put in a word for you? Nor let the supposition of
matrimonial differences frighten you: honey-moon lasts not now-a-days
above a fortnight; and Dunmow flitch, as I have been informed, was never
claimed; though some say once it was. Marriage is a queer state, Child,
whether paired by the parties or by their friends. Out of three brothers
of us, you know, there was but one had courage to marry. And why was it,
do you think? We were wise by other people's experience.

Don't despise money so much: you may come to know the value of it: that
is a piece of instruction that you are to learn; and which, according to
your own notions, Mr. Solmes will be able to teach you.

I do indeed condemn your warmth. I will not allow for disgraces you
bring upon yourself. If I thought them unmerited, I would be your
advocate. But it was always my notion, that children should not dispute
their parents' authority. When your grandfather left his estate to you,
though his three sons, and a grandson, and your elder sister, were in
being, we all acquiesced: and why? Because it was our father's doing. Do
you imitate that example: if you will not, those who set it you have the
more reason to hold you inexcusable: mind that, Cousin.

You mention your brother too scornfully: and, in your letter to him, are
very disrespectful; and so indeed you are to your sister, in the letter
you wrote to her. Your brother, Madam, is your brother; and third older
than yourself, and a man: and pray be so good as not to forget what is
due to a brother, who (next to us three brothers) is the head of the
family, and on whom the name depends--as upon your dutiful compliance
laid down for the honour of the family you are come of. And pray now let
me ask you, If the honour of that will not be an honour to you?--If you
don't think so, the more unworthy you. You shall see the plan, if you
promise not to be prejudiced against it right or wrong. If you are not
besotted to that man, I am sure you will like it. If you are, were Mr.
Solmes an angel, it would signify nothing: for the devil is love, and
love is the devil, when it gets into any of your heads. Many examples
have I seen of that.

If there were no such man as Lovelace in the world, you would not have
Mr. Solmes.--You would not, Miss!--Very pretty, truly!--We see how your
spirit is embittered indeed.--Wonder not, since it is come to your will
not's, that those who have authority over you, say, You shall have the
other. And I am one: mind that. And if it behoves YOU to speak out,
Miss, it behoves US not to speak in. What's sauce for the goose is sauce
for the gander: take that in your thought too.

I humbly apprehend, that Mr. Solmes has the spirit of a man, and a
gentleman. I would admonish you therefore not to provoke it. He pities
you as much as he loves you. He says, he will convince you of his love
by deeds, since he is not permitted by you to express it by words. And
all his dependence is upon your generosity hereafter. We hope he may
depend upon that: we encourage him to think he may. And this heartens
him up. So that you may lay his constancy at your parents' and your
uncles' doors; and this will be another mark of your duty, you know.

You must be sensible, that you reflect upon your parents, and all of
us, when you tell me you cannot in justice accept of the settlements
proposed to you. This reflection we should have wondered at from you
once; but now we don't.

There are many other very censurable passages in this free letter of
yours; but we must place them to the account of your embittered spirit.
I am glad you mentioned that word, because we should have been at a
loss what to have called it.--I should much rather nevertheless have had
reason to give it a better name.

I love you dearly still, Miss. I think you, though my niece, one of the
finest young gentlewomen I ever saw. But, upon my conscience, I think
you ought to obey your parents, and oblige me and my brother John:
for you know very well, that we have nothing but your good at heart:
consistently indeed with the good and honour of all of us. What must we
think of any one of it, who would not promote the good of the whole?
and who would set one part of it against another?--Which God forbid, say
I!--You see I am for the good of all. What shall I get by it, let things
go as they will? Do I want any thing of any body for my own sake?--Does
my brother John?--Well, then, Cousin Clary, what would you be at, as I
may say?

O but you can't love Mr. Solmes!--But, I say, you know not what you
can do. You encourage yourself in your dislike. You permit your heart
(little did I think it was such a froward one) to recoil. Take it to
task, Niece; drive it on as fast as it recoils, [we do so in all our
sea-fights, and land-fights too, by our sailors and soldiers, or we
should not conquer]; and we are all sure you will overcome it. And why?
Because you ought. So we think, whatever you think: and whose thoughts
are to be preferred? You may be wittier than we; but, if you were wiser,
we have lived some of us, let me tell you, to very little purpose,
thirty or forty years longer than you.

I have written as long a letter as yours. I may not write in so lively,
or so polite a style as my Niece: but I think I have all the argument
on my side: and you will vastly oblige me, if you will shew me, by your
compliance with all our desires, that you think so too. If you do not,
you must not expect an advocate, or even a friend, in me, dearly as I
love you. For then I shall be sorry to be called

Your uncle, ANT. HARLOWE.

TUESDAY, TWO IN THE MORNING. POSTSCRIPT.

You must send me no more letters: but a compliable one you may send.
But I need not have forbid you; for I am sure this, by fair argument,
is unanswerable--I know it is. I have written day and night, I may say,
ever since Sunday morning, only church-time, or the like of that: but
this is the last, I can tell you, from

ANT. H.



LETTER XXXIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE THURSDAY, MARCH 16.


Having met with such bad success in my application to my relations, I
have taken a step that will surprise you. It is no other than writing
a letter to Mr. Solmes himself. I sent it, and have his answer. He had
certainly help in it. For I have seen a letter of his, and indifferently
worded, as poorly spelt. Yet the superscription is of his dictating,
I dare say, for he is a formal wretch. With these, I shall enclose one
from my brother to me, on occasion of mine to Mr. Solmes. I did think
that it was possible to discourage the man from proceeding; and if I
could have done that, it would have answered all my wishes. It was worth
the trial. But you'll see nothing will do. My brother has taken his
measures too securely.


TO ROGER SOLMES, ESQ. WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15.

SIR,

You will wonder to receive a letter from me; and more still at the
uncommon subject of it. But the necessity of the case will justify me,
at least in my own apprehension; and I shall therefore make no other
apology for it.

When you first came acquainted with our family, you found the writer of
this one of the happiest creatures in the world; beloved by the best
and most indulgent of parents; and rejoicing in the kind favour of two
affectionate uncles, and in the esteem of every one.

But how is this scene now changed!--You was pleased to cast a favourable
eye upon me. You addressed yourself to my friends: your proposals were
approved of by them--approved of without consulting me; as if my choice
and happiness were of the least signification. Those who had a right to
all reasonable obedience from me, insisted upon it without reserve.
I had not the felicity to think as they did; almost the first time my
sentiments differed from theirs. I besought them to indulge me in a
point so important to my future happiness: but, alas, in vain! And then
(for I thought it was but honest) I told you my mind; and even that
my affections were engaged. But, to my mortification and surprise, you
persisted, and still persist.

The consequence of all is too grievous for me to repeat: you, who have
such free access to the rest of the family, know it too well--too well
you know it, either for the credit of your own generosity, or for my
reputation. I am used, on your account, as I never before was used, and
never before was thought to deserve to be used; and this was the hard,
the impossible, condition of their returning favour, that I must prefer
a man to all others, that of all others I cannot prefer.

Thus distressed, and made unhappy, and all to your sake, and through
your cruel perseverance, I write, Sir, to demand of you the peace of
mind you have robbed me of: to demand of you the love of so many dear
friends, of which you have deprived me; and, if you have the generosity
that should distinguish a man, and a gentleman, to adjure you not to
continue an address that has been attended with such cruel effects to
the creature you profess to esteem.

If you really value me, as my friends would make me believe, and as you
have declared you do, must it not be a mean and selfish value? A value
that can have no merit with the unhappy object of it, because it is
attended with effects so grievous to her? It must be for your own sake
only, not for mine. And even in this point you must be mistaken: For,
would a prudent man wish to marry one who has not a heart to give? Who
cannot esteem him? Who therefore must prove a bad wife!--And how cruel
would it be to make a poor creature a bad wife, whose pride it would be
to make a good one!

If I am capable of judging, our tempers and inclinations are vastly
different. Any other of my sex will make you happier than I can. The
treatment I meet with, and the obstinacy, as it is called, with which I
support myself under it, ought to convince you of this; were I not able
to give so good a reason for this my supposed perverseness, as that I
cannot consent to marry a man whom I cannot value.

But if, Sir, you have not so much generosity in your value for me, as
to desist for my own sake, let me conjure you, by the regard due to
yourself, and to your own future happiness, to discontinue your suit,
and place your affections on a worthier object: for why should you make
me miserable, and yourself not happy? By this means you will do all that
is now in your power to restore to me the affection of my friends; and,
if that can be, it will leave me in as happy a state as you found me
in. You need only to say, that you see there are no HOPES, as you will
perhaps complaisantly call it, of succeeding with me [and indeed, Sir,
there cannot be a greater truth]; and that you will therefore no more
think of me, but turn your thoughts another way.

Your compliance with this request will lay me under the highest
obligation to your generosity, and make me ever

Your well-wisher, and humble servant, CLARISSA HARLOWE.



TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE These most humbly present.

DEAREST MISS,

Your letter has had a very contrary effect upon me, to what you seem to
have expected from it. It has doubly convinced me of the excellency of
your mind, and of the honour of your disposition. Call it selfish, or
what you please, I must persist in my suit; and happy shall I be, if by
patience and perseverance, and a steady and unalterable devoir, I may at
last overcome the difficulty laid in my way.

As your good parents, your uncles, and other friends, are absolutely
determined you shall never have Mr. Lovelace, if they can help it; and
as I presume no other person is in the way, I will contentedly wait the
issue of this matter. And forgive me, dearest Miss, but a person should
sooner persuade me to give up to him my estate, as an instance of my
generosity, because he could not be happy without it, than I would a
much more valuable treasure, to promote the felicity of another, and
make his way easier to circumvent myself.

Pardon me, dear Miss; but I must persevere, though I am sorry you suffer
on my account, as you are pleased to think; for I never before saw the
woman I could love: and while there is any hope, and that you remain
undisposed of to some happier man, I must and will be

Your faithful and obsequious admirer, ROGER SOLMES.

MARCH 16.


***


MR. JAMES HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE MARCH 16.

What a fine whim you took into your head, to write a letter to Mr.
Solmes, to persuade him to give up his pretensions to you!--Of all the
pretty romantic flights you have delighted in, this was certainly one
of the most extraordinary. But to say nothing of what fires us all with
indignation against you (your owning your prepossession in a villain's
favour, and your impertinence to me, and your sister, and your uncles;
one of which has given it you home, child), how can you lay at Mr.
Solmes's door the usage you so bitterly complain of?--You know, little
fool as you are, that it is your fondness for Lovelace that has brought
upon you all these things; and which would have happened, whether Mr.
Solmes had honoured you with his addresses or not.

As you must needs know this to be true, consider, pretty witty Miss, if
your fond, love-sick heart can let you consider, what a fine figure all
your expostulations with us, and charges upon Mr. Solmes, make!--With
what propriety do you demand of him to restore to you your former
happiness (as you call it, and merely call it; for if you thought our
favour so, you would restore it to yourself), since it is yet in your
own power to do so? Therefore, Miss Pert, none of your pathetics, except
in the right place. Depend upon it, whether you have Mr. Solmes, or not,
you shall never have your heart's delight, the vile rake Lovelace, if
our parents, if our uncles, if I, can hinder it. No! you fallen angel,
you shall not give your father and mother such a son, nor me such a
brother, in giving yourself that profligate wretch for a husband. And so
set your heart at rest, and lay aside all thoughts of him, if ever you
expect forgiveness, reconciliation, or a kind opinion, from any of your
family; but especially from him, who, at present, styles himself

Your brother, JAMES HARLOWE.

P.S. I know your knack at letter-writing. If you send me an answer
for this, I will return it unopened; for I will not argue with your
perverseness in so plain a case--Only once for all, I was willing to put
you right as to Mr. Solmes; whom I think to blame to trouble his head
about you.



LETTER XXXIV

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. FRIDAY, MARCH 17.


I receive, with great pleasure, the early and cheerful assurances of
your loyalty and love. And let our principal and most trusty friends
named in my last know that I do.

I would have thee, Jack, come down, as soon as thou canst. I believe I
shall not want the others so soon. Yet they may come down to Lord M.'s.
I will be there, if not to receive them, to satisfy my lord, that there
is no new mischief in hand, which will require his second intervention.

For thyself, thou must be constantly with me: not for my security: the
family dare do nothing but bully: they bark only at a distance: but
for my entertainment: that thou mayest, from the Latin and the English
classics, keep my lovesick soul from drooping.

Thou hadst best come to me here, in thy old corporal's coat: thy servant
out of livery; and to be upon a familiar footing with me, as a distant
relation, to be provided for by thy interest above--I mean not in
Heaven, thou mayest be sure. Thou wilt find me at a little alehouse,
they call it an inn; the White Hart, most terribly wounded, (but by
the weather only,) the sign: in a sorry village, within five miles from
Harlowe-place. Every body knows Harlowe-place, for, like Versailles, it
is sprung up from a dunghill, within every elderly person's remembrance.
Every poor body, particularly, knows it: but that only for a few years
past, since a certain angel has appeared there among the sons and
daughters of men.

The people here at the Hart are poor, but honest; and have gotten it
into their heads, that I am a man of quality in disguise; and there is
no reining-in their officious respect. Here is a pretty little
smirking daughter, seventeen six days ago. I call her my Rose-bud. Her
grandmother (for there is no mother), a good neat old woman, as ever
filled a wicker chair in a chimney-corner, has besought me to be
merciful to her.

This is the right way with me. Many and many a pretty rogue had I
spared, whom I did not spare, had my power been acknowledged, and my
mercy in time implored. But the debellare superbos should be my motto,
were I to have a new one.

This simple chit (for there is a simplicity in her thou wouldst be
highly pleased with: all humble; all officious; all innocent--I love her
for her humility, her officiousness, and even for her innocence) will be
pretty amusement to thee; while I combat with the weather, and dodge and
creep about the walls and purlieus of Harlowe-place. Thou wilt see in
her mind, all that her superiors have been taught to conceal, in order
to render themselves less natural, and of consequence less pleasing.

But I charge thee, that thou do not (what I would not permit myself to
do for the world--I charge thee, that thou do not) crop my Rose-bud. She
is the only flower of fragrance, that has blown in this vicinage for ten
years past, or will for ten years to come: for I have looked backward
to the have-been's, and forward to the will-be's; having but too much
leisure upon my hands in my present waiting.

I never was so honest for so long together since my matriculation. It
behoves me so to be--some way or other, my recess at this little inn may
be found out; and it will then be thought that my Rose-bud has attracted
me. A report in my favour, from simplicities so amiable, may establish
me; for the grandmother's relation to my Rose-bud may be sworn to: and
the father is an honest, poor man; has no joy, but in his Rose-bud.--O
Jack! spare thou, therefore, (for I shall leave thee often alone with
her, spare thou) my Rose-bud!--Let the rule I never departed from, but
it cost me a long regret, be observed to my Rose-bud!--never to ruin a
poor girl, whose simplicity and innocence were all she had to trust to;
and whose fortunes were too low to save her from the rude contempts of
worse minds than her own, and from an indigence extreme: such a one will
only pine in secret; and at last, perhaps, in order to refuge herself
from slanderous tongues and virulence, be induced to tempt some
guilty stream, or seek her end in the knee-encircling garter, that
peradventure, was the first attempt of abandoned love.--No defiances
will my Rose-bud breathe; no self-dependent, thee-doubting watchfulness
(indirectly challenging thy inventive machinations to do their worst)
will she assume. Unsuspicious of her danger, the lamb's throat will
hardly shun thy knife!--O be not thou the butcher of my lambkin!

The less thou be so, for the reason I am going to give thee--The gentle
heart is touched by love: her soft bosom heaves with a passion she
has not yet found a name for. I once caught her eye following a young
carpenter, a widow neighbour's son, living [to speak in her dialect] at
the little white house over the way. A gentle youth he also seems to be,
about three years older than herself: playmates from infancy, till
his eighteenth and her fifteenth year furnished a reason for a greater
distance in shew, while their hearts gave a better for their being
nearer than ever--for I soon perceived the love reciprocal. A scrape and
a bow at first seeing his pretty mistress; turning often to salute her
following eye; and, when a winding lane was to deprive him of her sight,
his whole body turned round, his hat more reverently doffed than before.
This answered (for, unseen, I was behind her) by a low courtesy, and
a sigh, that Johnny was too far off to hear!--Happy whelp! said I to
myself.--I withdrew; and in tript my Rose-bud, as if satisfied with the
dumb shew, and wishing nothing beyond it.

I have examined the little heart. She has made me her confidant. She
owns, she could love Johnny Barton very well: and Johnny Barton has told
her, he could love her better than any maiden he ever saw--but, alas!
it must not be thought of. Why not be thought of!--She don't know!--And
then she sighed: But Johnny has an aunt, who will give him an hundred
pounds, when his time is out; and her father cannot give her but a few
things, or so, to set her out with: and though Johnny's mother says, she
knows not where Johnny would have a prettier, or notabler wife, yet--And
then she sighed again--What signifies talking?--I would not have Johnny
be unhappy and poor for me!--For what good would that do me, you know,
Sir!

What would I give [by my soul, my angel will indeed reform me, if her
friends' implacable folly ruin us not both!--What would I give] to have
so innocent and so good a heart, as either my Rose-bud's, or Johnny's!

I have a confounded mischievous one--by nature too, I think!--A good
motion now-and-then rises from it: but it dies away presently--a love
of intrigue--an invention for mischief--a triumph in subduing--fortune
encouraging and supporting--and a constitution--What signifies
palliating? But I believe I had been a rogue, had I been a plough-boy.

But the devil's in this sex! Eternal misguiders. Who, that has once
trespassed with them, ever recovered his virtue? And yet where there is
not virtue, which nevertheless we freelivers are continually plotting
to destroy, what is there even in the ultimate of our wishes with
them?--Preparation and expectation are in a manner every thing:
reflection indeed may be something, if the mind be hardened above
feeling the guilt of a past trespass: but the fruition, what is there in
that? And yet that being the end, nature will not be satisfied without
it.

See what grave reflections an innocent subject will produce! It gives
me some pleasure to think, that it is not out of my power to reform:
but then, Jack, I am afraid I must keep better company than I do at
present--for we certainly harden one another. But be not cast down, my
boy; there will be time enough to give the whole fraternity warning to
choose another leader: and I fancy thou wilt be the man.

Mean time, as I make it my rule, whenever I have committed a very
capital enormity, to do some good by way of atonement; and as I believe
I am a pretty deal indebted on that score, I intend, before I leave
these parts (successfully shall I leave them I hope, or I shall be
tempted to double the mischief by way of revenge, though not to my
Rose-bud any) to join an hundred pounds to Johnny's aunt's hundred
pounds, to make one innocent couple happy.--I repeat therefore, and for
half a dozen more therefores, spare thou my Rose-bud.

An interruption--another letter anon; and both shall go together.



LETTER XXXV

MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.


I have found out by my watchful spy almost as many of my charmer's
motions, as those of the rest of her relations. It delights me to think
how the rascal is caressed by the uncles and nephew; and let into their
secrets; yet it proceeds all the time by my line of direction. I have
charged him, however, on forfeiture of his present weekly stipend, and
my future favour, to take care, that neither my beloved, nor any of
the family suspect him: I have told him that he may indeed watch her
egresses and regresses; but that only keep off other servants from her
paths; yet not to be seen by her himself.

The dear creature has tempted him, he told them, with a bribe [which she
never offered] to convey a letter [which she never wrote] to Miss Howe;
he believes, with one enclosed (perhaps to me): but he declined it: and
he begged they would take notice of it to her. This brought him a stingy
shilling; great applause; and an injunction followed it to all the
servants, for the strictest look-out, lest she should contrive some way
to send it--and, above an hour after, an order was given him to throw
himself in her way; and (expressing his concern for denying her request)
to tender his service to her, and to bring them her letter: which it
will be proper for him to report that she has refused to give him.

Now seest thou not, how many good ends this contrivance answers?

In the first place, the lady is secured by it, against her own
knowledge, in the liberty allowed her of taking her private walks in the
garden: for this attempt has confirmed them in their belief, that now
they have turned off her maid, she has no way to send a letter out of
the house: if she had, she would not have run the risque of tempting
a fellow who had not been in her secret--so that she can prosecute
unsuspectedly her correspondence with me and Miss Howe.

In the next place, it will perhaps afford me an opportunity of a private
interview with her, which I am meditating, let her take it as she will;
having found out by my spy (who can keep off every body else) that
she goes every morning and evening to a wood-house remote from the
dwelling-house, under pretence of visiting and feeding a set of
bantam-poultry, which were produced from a breed that was her
grandfather's, and of which for that reason she is very fond; as also of
some other curious fowls brought from the same place. I have an account
of all her motions here. And as she has owned to me in one of her
letters that she corresponds privately with Miss Howe, I presume it is
by this way.

The interview I am meditating, will produce her consent, I hope, to
other favours of the like kind: for, should she not choose the place
in which I am expecting to see her, I can attend her any where in the
rambling Dutch-taste garden, whenever she will permit me that honour:
for my implement, high Joseph Leman, has procured me the opportunity of
getting two keys made to the garden-door (one of which I have given him
for reasons good); which door opens to the haunted coppice, as tradition
has made the servants think it; a man having been found hanging in it
about twenty years ago: and Joseph, upon proper notice, will leave it
unbolted.

But I was obliged previously to give him my honour, that no mischief
should happen to any of my adversaries, from this liberty: for the
fellow tells me, that he loves all his masters: and, only that he knows
I am a man of honour; and that my alliance will do credit to the family;
and after prejudices are overcome, every body will think so; or he would
not for the world act the part he does.

There never was a rogue, who had not a salvo to himself for being
so.--What a praise to honesty, that every man pretends to it, even at
the instant that he knows he is pursuing the methods that will perhaps
prove him a knave to the whole world, as well as to his own conscience!

But what this stupid family can mean, to make all this necessary, I
cannot imagine. My REVENGE and my LOVE are uppermost by turns. If
the latter succeed not, the gratifying of the former will be my only
consolation: and, by all that's good, they shall feel it; although for
it I become an exile from my native country for ever.

I will throw myself into my charmer's presence. I have twice already
attempted it in vain. I shall then see what I may depend upon from her
favour. If I thought I had no prospect of that, I should be tempted to
carry her off. That would be a rape worthy of Jupiter!

But all gentle shall be my movements: all respectful, even to reverence,
my address to her--her hand shall be the only witness to the pressure
of my lip--my trembling lip: I know it will tremble, if I do not bid
it tremble. As soft my sighs, as the sighs of my gentle Rose-bud. By my
humility will I invite her confidence: the loneliness of the place shall
give me no advantage: to dissipate her fears, and engage her reliance
upon my honour for the future, shall be my whole endeavour: but
little will I complain of, not at all will I threaten, those who are
continually threatening me: but yet with a view to act the part of
Dryden's lion; to secure my love, or to let loose my vengeance upon my
hunters.

 What tho' his mighty soul his grief contains?
 He meditates revenge who least complains:
 And like a lion slumb'ring in his way,
 Or sleep dissembling, while he waits his prey,
 His fearless foes within his distance draws,
 Constrains his roaring, and contracts his paws:
 Till at the last, his time for fury found,
 He shoots with sudden vengeance from the ground:
 The prostrate vulgar passes o'er, and spares,
 But, with a lordly rage, his hunter tears.



LETTER XXXVI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SATURDAY, MARCH 18.


I have been frighted out of my wits--still am in a manner out of
breath--thus occasioned--I went down, under the usual pretence, in
hopes to find something from you. Concerned at my disappointment, I was
returning from the wood-house, when I heard a rustling as of somebody
behind a stack of wood. I was extremely surprised: but still more, to
behold a man coming from behind the furthermost stack. Oh! thought I, at
that moment, the sin of a prohibited correspondence!

In the same point of time that I saw him, he besought me not to be
frighted: and, still nearer approaching me, threw open a horseman's
coat: And who should it be but Mr. Lovelace!--I could not scream out
(yet attempted to scream, the moment I saw a man; and again, when I saw
who it was); for I had no voice: and had I not caught hold of a prop
which supported the old roof, I should have sunk.

I had hitherto, as you know, kept him at a distance: And now, as I
recovered myself, judge of my first emotions, when I recollected his
character from every mouth of my family; his enterprising temper; and
found myself alone with him, in a place so near a bye-lane, and so
remote from the house.

But his respectful behaviour soon dissipated these fears, and gave me
others; lest we should be seen together, and information of it given to
my brother: the consequences of which, I could readily think, would be,
if not further mischief, an imputed assignation, a stricter confinement,
a forfeited correspondence with you, my beloved friend, and a pretence
for the most violent compulsion: and neither the one set of reflections,
nor the other, acquitted him to me for his bold intrusion.

As soon therefore as I could speak, I expressed with the greatest warmth
my displeasure; and told him, that he cared not how much he exposed me
to the resentment of all my friends, provided he could gratify his own
impetuous humour. I then commanded him to leave the place that moment;
and was hurrying from him, when he threw himself in the way at my feet,
beseeching my stay for one moment; declaring, that he suffered himself
to be guilty of this rashness, as I thought it, to avoid one much
greater:--for, in short, he could not bear the hourly insults he
received from my family, with the thoughts of having so little interest
in my favour, that he could not promise himself that his patience and
forbearance would be attended with any other issue than to lose me for
ever, and be triumphed over and insulted upon it.

This man, you know, has very ready knees. You have said, that he ought,
in small points, frequently to offend, on purpose to shew what an
address he is master of.

He ran on, expressing his apprehensions that a temper so gentle and
obliging, as he said mine was, to every body but him, (and a dutifulness
so exemplary inclined me to do my part to others, whether they did
theirs or not by me,) would be wrought upon in favour of a man set up in
part to be revenged upon myself, for my grandfather's envied distinction
of me; and in part to be revenged upon him, for having given life to
one, who would have taken his; and now sought to deprive him of hopes
dearer to him than life.

I told him, he might be assured, that the severity and ill-usage I
met with would be far from effecting the proposed end: that although I
could, with great sincerity, declare for a single life (which had always
been my choice); and particularly, that if ever I married, if they would
not insist upon the man I had an aversion to, it should not be with the
man they disliked--

He interrupted me here: He hoped I would forgive him for it; but
he could not help expressing his great concern, that, after so many
instances of his passionate and obsequious devotion--

And pray, Sir, said I, let me interrupt you in my turn;--Why don't you
assert, in still plainer words, the obligation you have laid me under by
this your boasted devotion? Why don't you let me know, in terms as high
as your implication, that a perseverance I have not wished for, which
has set all my relations at variance with me, is a merit that throws
upon me the guilt of ingratitude for not having answered it as you seem
to expect?

I must forgive him, he said, if he, who pretended only to a comparative
merit, (and otherwise thought no man living could deserve me,) had
presumed to hope for a greater share in my favour, than he had hitherto
met with, when such men as Mr. Symmes, Mr. Wyerley, and now, lastly, so
vile a reptile as this Solmes, however discouraged by myself, were made
his competitors. As to the perseverance I mentioned, it was impossible
for him not to persevere: but I must needs know, that were he not in
being, the terms Solmes had proposed were such, as would have involved
me in the same difficulties with my relations that I now laboured under.
He therefore took the liberty to say, that my favour to him, far from
increasing those difficulties, would be the readiest way to extricate me
from them. They had made it impossible [he told me, with too much truth]
to oblige them any way, but by sacrificing myself to Solmes. They were
well apprized besides of the difference between the two; one, whom they
hoped to manage as they pleased; the other, who could and would protect
me from every insult; and who had natural prospects much superior to my
brother's foolish views of a title.

How comes this man to know so well all our foibles? But I more wonder,
how he came to have a notion of meeting me in this place?

I was very uneasy to be gone; and the more as the night came on apace.
But there was no getting from him, till I had heard a great deal more of
what he had to say.

As he hoped, that I would one day make him the happiest man in the
world, he assured me, that he had so much regard for my fame, that he
would be as far from advising any step that was likely to cast a shade
upon my reputation, (although that step was to be ever so much in his
own favour,) as I would be to follow such advice. But since I was not
to be permitted to live single, he would submit it to my consideration,
whether I had any way but one to avoid the intended violence to my
inclinations--my father so jealous of his authority: both my uncles in
my father's way of thinking: my cousin Morden at a distance: my uncle
and aunt Hervey awed into insignificance, was his word: my brother and
sister inflaming every one: Solmes's offers captivating: Miss Howe's
mother rather of a party with them, for motives respecting example to
her own daughter.

And then he asked me, if I would receive a letter from Lady Betty
Lawrance, on this occasion: for Lady Sarah Sadleir, he said, having
lately lost her only child, hardly looked into the world, or thought of
it farther than to wish him married, and, preferably to all the women in
the world, with me.

To be sure, my dear, there is a great deal in what the man said--I may
be allowed to say this, without an imputed glow or throb. But I told
him nevertheless, that although I had great honour for the ladies he
was related to, yet I should not choose to receive a letter on a subject
that had a tendency to promote an end I was far from intending to
promote: that it became me, ill as I was treated at present, to hope
every thing, to bear every thing, and to try ever thing: when my father
saw my steadfastness, and that I would die rather than have Mr. Solmes,
he would perhaps recede--

Interrupting me, he represented the unlikelihood there was of that,
from the courses they had entered upon; which he thus enumerated:--Their
engaging Mrs. Howe against me, in the first place, as a person I might
have thought to fly to, if pushed to desperation--my brother continually
buzzing in my father's ears, that my cousin Morden would soon arrive,
and then would insist upon giving me possession of my grandfather's
estate, in pursuance of the will; which would render me independent
of my father--their disgraceful confinement of me--their dismissing so
suddenly my servant, and setting my sister's over me--their engaging my
mother, contrary to her own judgment, against me: these, he said, were
all so many flagrant proofs that they would stick at nothing to carry
their point; and were what made him inexpressibly uneasy.

He appealed to me, whether ever I knew my father recede from any
resolution he had once fixed; especially, if he thought either
his prerogative, or his authority concerned in the question. His
acquaintance with our family, he said, enabled him to give several
instances (but they would be too grating to me) of an arbitrariness
that had few examples even in the families of princes: an arbitrariness,
which the most excellent of women, my mother, too severely experienced.
He was proceeding, as I thought, with reflections of this sort; and I
angrily told him, I would not permit my father to be reflected upon;
adding, that his severity to me, however unmerited, was not a warrant
for me to dispense with my duty to him.

He had no pleasure, he said, in urging any thing that could be so
construed; for, however well warranted he was to make such reflections
from the provocations they were continually giving him, he knew how
offensive to me any liberties of this sort would be. And yet he must
own, that it was painful to him, who had youth and passions to be
allowed for, as well as others, and who had always valued himself under
speaking his mind, to curb himself, under such treatment. Nevertheless,
his consideration for me would make him confine himself, in his
observations, to facts that were too flagrant, and too openly avowed, to
be disputed. It could not therefore justly displease, he would venture
to say, if he made this natural inference from the premises, That
if such were my father's behaviour to a wife, who disputed not the
imaginary prerogatives he was so unprecedently fond of asserting, what
room had a daughter to hope, that he would depart from an
authority he was so earnest, and so much more concerned, to
maintain?--Family-interests at the same time engaging; an aversion,
however causelessly conceived, stimulating my brother's and sister's
resentments and selfish views cooperating; and my banishment from their
presence depriving me of all personal plea or entreaty in my own favour.

How unhappy, my dear, that there is but too much reason for these
observations, and for this inference; made, likewise, with more coolness
and respect to my family than one would have apprehended from a man
so much provoked, and of passions so high, and generally thought
uncontroulable!

Will you not question me about throbs and glows, if from such instances
of a command over his fiery temper, for my sake, I am ready to infer,
that were my friends capable of a reconciliation with him, he might be
affected by arguments apparently calculated for his present and future
good! Nor is it a very bad indication, that he has such moderate notions
of that very high prerogative in husbands, of which we in our family
have been accustomed to hear so much.

He represented to me, that my present disgraceful confinement was known
to all the world: that neither my sister nor my brother scrupled to
represent me as an obliged and favoured child in a state of actual
rebellion. That, nevertheless, every body who knew me was ready to
justify me for an aversion to a man whom every body thought utterly
unworthy of me, and more fit for my sister: that unhappy as he was,
in not having been able to make any greater impression upon me in his
favour, all the world gave me to him. Nor was there but one objection
made to him by his very enemies (his birth, his prospects all very
unexceptionable, and the latter splendid); and that objection, he
thanked God, and my example, was in a fair way of being removed for
ever: since he had seen his error, and was heartily sick of the courses
he had followed; which, however, were far less enormous than malice and
envy had represented them to be. But of this he should say the less, as
it were much better to justify himself by his actions, than by the most
solemn asseverations and promises. And then, complimenting my person,
he assured me (for that he always loved virtue, although he had not
followed its rules as he ought) that he was still more captivated with
the graces of my mind: and would frankly own, that till he had the
honour to know me, he had never met with an inducement sufficient to
enable him to overcome an unhappy kind of prejudice to matrimony; which
had made him before impenetrable to the wishes and recommendations of
all his relations.

You see, my dear, he scruples not to speak of himself, as his enemies
speak of him. I can't say, but his openness in these particulars gives
a credit to his other professions. I should easily, I think, detect
an hypocrite: and this man particularly, who is said to have allowed
himself in great liberties, were he to pretend to instantaneous lights
and convictions--at this time of life too. Habits, I am sensible, are
not so easily changed. You have always joined with me in remarking, that
he will speak his mind with freedom, even to a degree of unpoliteness
sometimes; and that his very treatment of my family is a proof that he
cannot make a mean court to any body for interest sake--What pity, where
there are such laudable traces, that they should have been so mired, and
choaked up, as I may say!--We have heard, that the man's head is better
than his heart: But do you really think Mr. Lovelace can have a very bad
heart? Why should not there be something in blood in the human
creature, as well as in the ignobler animals? None of his family are
exceptionable--but himself, indeed. The characters of the ladies are
admirable. But I shall incur the imputation I wish to avoid. Yet what a
look of censoriousness does it carry in an unsparing friend, to take one
to task for doing that justice, and making those which one ought without
scruple to do, and to make, in the behalf of any other man living?

He then again pressed me to receive a letter of offered protection from
Lady Betty. He said, that people of birth stood a little too much upon
punctilio; as people of value also did (but indeed birth, worthily lived
up to, was virtue: virtue, birth; the inducements to a decent punctilio
the same; the origin of both one): [how came this notion from him!]
else, Lady Betty would write to me: but she would be willing to be first
apprized that her offer will be well received--as it would have the
appearance of being made against the liking of one part of my family;
and which nothing would induce her to make, but the degree of unworthy
persecution which I actually laboured under, and had reason further to
apprehend.

I told him, that, however greatly I thought myself obliged to Lady Betty
Lawrance, if this offer came from herself; yet it was easy to see to
what it led. It might look like vanity in me perhaps to say, that this
urgency in him, on this occasion, wore the face of art, in order to
engage me into measures from which I might not easily extricate myself.
I said, that I should not be affected by the splendour of even a royal
title. Goodness, I thought, was greatness. That the excellent characters
of the ladies of his family weighed more with me, than the consideration
that they were half-sisters to Lord M. and daughters of an earl: that
he would not have found encouragement from me, had my friends been
consenting to his address, if he had only a mere relative merit to those
ladies: since, in that case, the very reasons that made me admire them,
would have been so many objections to their kinsman.

I then assured him, that it was with infinite concern, that I had found
myself drawn into an epistolary correspondence with him; especially
since that correspondence had been prohibited: and the only agreeable
use I could think of making of this unexpected and undesired interview,
was, to let him know, that I should from henceforth think myself obliged
to discontinue it. And I hoped, that he would not have the thought of
engaging me to carry it on by menacing my relations.

There was light enough to distinguish, that he looked very grave upon
this. He so much valued my free choice, he said, and my unbiassed
favour, (scorning to set himself upon a footing with Solmes in the
compulsory methods used in that man's behalf,) that he should hate
himself, were he capable of a view of intimidating me by so very poor
a method. But, nevertheless, there were two things to be considered:
First, that the continual outrages he was treated with; the spies set
over him, one of which he had detected; the indignities all his family
were likewise treated with;--as also, myself; avowedly in malice to him,
or he should not presume to take upon himself to resent for me, without
my leave [the artful wretch saw he would have lain open here, had he not
thus guarded]--all these considerations called upon him to shew a proper
resentment: and he would leave it to me to judge, whether it would be
reasonable for him, as a man of spirit, to bear such insults, if it
were not for my sake. I would be pleased to consider, in the next place,
whether the situation I was in, (a prisoner in my father's house, and my
whole family determined to compel me to marry a man unworthy of me, and
that speedily, and whether I consented or not,) admitted of delay in the
preventive measures he was desirous to put me upon, in the last resort
only. Nor was there a necessity, he said, if I were actually in Lady
Betty's protection, that I should be his, if, afterwards, I should see
any thing objectionable in his conduct.

But what would the world conclude would be the end, I demanded, were I,
in the last resort, as he proposed, to throw myself into the protection
of his friends, but that it was with such a view?

And what less did the world think of me now, he asked, than that I was
confined that I might not? You are to consider, Madam, you have not now
an option; and to whom is it owing that you have not; and that you
are in the power of those (parents, why should I call them?) who are
determined, that you shall not have an option. All I propose is, that
you will embrace such a protection--but not till you have tried every
way, to avoid the necessity for it.

And give me leave to say, proceeded he, that if a correspondence, on
which I have founded all my hopes, is, at this critical conjuncture, to
be broken off; and if you are resolved not to be provided against the
worst; it must be plain to me, that you will at last yield to that
worst--worst to me only--it cannot be to you--and then! [and he put his
hand clenched to his forehead] How shall I bear this supposition?--Then
will you be that Solmes's!--But, by all that's sacred, neither he, nor
your brother, nor your uncles, shall enjoy their triumph--Perdition
seize my soul, if they shall!

The man's vehemence frightened me: yet, in resentment, I would have
left him; but, throwing himself at my feet again, Leave me not thus--I
beseech you, dearest Madam, leave me not thus, in despair! I kneel not,
repenting of what I have vowed in such a case as that I have supposed.
I re-vow it, at your feet!--and so he did. But think not it is by way
of menace, or to intimidate you to favour me. If your heart inclines
you [and then he arose] to obey your father (your brother rather) and to
have Solmes; although I shall avenge myself on those who have insulted
me, for their insults to myself and family, yet will I tear out my heart
from this bosom (if possible with my own hands) were it to scruple to
give up its ardours to a woman capable of such a preference.

I told him, that he talked to me in very high language; but he might
assure himself that I never would have Mr. Solmes, (yet that this I said
not in favour to him,) and I had declared as much to my relations, were
there not such a man as himself in the world.

Would I declare, that I would still honour him with my
correspondence?--He could not bear, that, hoping to obtain greater
instances of my favour, he should forfeit the only one he had to boast
of.

I bid him forbear rashness or resentment to any of my family, and I
would, for some time at least, till I saw what issue my present trials
were likely to have, proceed with a correspondence, which, nevertheless,
my heart condemned--

And his spirit him, the impatient creature said, interrupting me, for
bearing what he did; when he considered, that the necessity of it was
imposed upon him, not by my will, (for then he would bear it cheerfully,
and a thousand times more,) but by creatures--And there he stopt.

I told him plainly that he might thank himself (whose indifferent
character, as to morals, had given such a handle against him) for all.
It was but just, that a man should be spoken evil of, who set no value
upon his reputation.

He offered to vindicate himself. But I told him, I would judge him by
his own rule--by his actions, not by his professions.

Were not his enemies, he said, so powerful, and so determined; and had
they not already shewn their intentions in such high acts of even cruel
compulsion; but would leave me to my choice, or to my desire of living
single; he would have been content to undergo a twelvemonth's probation,
or more: but he was confident, that one month would either complete all
their purposes, or render them abortive: and I best knew what hopes I
had of my father's receding--he did not know him, if I had any.

I said, I would try every method, that either my duty or my influence
upon any of them should suggest, before I would put myself into any
other protection: and, if nothing else would do, would resign the envied
estate; and that I dared to say would.

He was contented, he said, to abide that issue. He should be far from
wishing me to embrace any other protection, but, as he had frequently
said, in the last necessity. But dearest creature, said he, catching
my hand with ardour, and pressing it to his lips, if the yielding up
of that estate will do--resign it--and be mine--and I will corroborate,
with all my soul, your resignation!

This was not ungenerously said: But what will not these men say to
obtain belief, and a power over one?

I made many efforts to go; and now it was so dark, that I began to have
great apprehensions. I cannot say from his behaviour: indeed, he has a
good deal raised himself in my opinion by the personal respect, even to
reverence, which he paid me during the whole conference: for, although
he flamed out once, upon a supposition that Solmes might succeed, it was
upon a supposition that would excuse passion, if any thing could, you
know, in a man pretending to love with fervour; although it was so
levelled, that I could not avoid resenting it.

He recommended himself to my favour at parting, with great earnestness,
yet with as great submission; not offering to condition any thing with
me; although he hinted his wishes for another meeting: which I forbad
him ever attempting again in the same place. And I will own to you,
from whom I should be really blamable to conceal any thing, that his
arguments (drawn from the disgraceful treatment I meet with) of what
I am to expect, make me begin to apprehend that I shall be under an
obligation to be either the one man's or the other's--and, if so, I
fancy I shall not incur your blame, were I to say which of the two it
must be: you have said, which it must not be. But, O my dear, the single
life is by far the most eligible to me: indeed it is. And I hope yet to
be permitted to make that option.

I got back without observation; but the apprehension that I should
not, gave me great uneasiness; and made me begin a letter in a greater
flutter than he gave me cause to be in, except at the first seeing him;
for then indeed my spirits failed me; and it was a particular felicity,
that, in such a place, in such a fright, and alone with him, I fainted
not away.

I should add, that having reproached him with his behaviour the last
Sunday at church, he solemnly assured me, that it was not what had been
represented to me: that he did not expect to see me there: but hoped to
have an opportunity to address himself to my father, and to be permitted
to attend him home. But that the good Dr. Lewen had persuaded him not
to attempt speaking to any of the family, at that time; observing to him
the emotions into which his presence had put every body. He intended
no pride, or haughtiness of behaviour, he assured me; and that the
attributing such to him was the effect of that ill-will which he had
the mortification to find insuperable: adding, that when he bowed to my
mother, it was a compliment he intended generally to every one in the
pew, as well as to her, whom he sincerely venerated.

If he may be believed, (and I should think he would not have come
purposely to defy my family, yet expect favour from me,) one may see,
my dear, the force of hatred, which misrepresents all things. Yet why
should Shorey (except officiously to please her principals) make a
report in his disfavour? He told me, that he would appeal to Dr. Lewen
for his justification on this head; adding, that the whole conversation
between the Doctor and him turned upon his desire to attempt to
reconcile himself to us all, in the face of the church; and upon
the Doctor's endeavouring to dissuade him from making such a public
overture, till he knew how it would be accepted. But to what purpose
his appeal, when I am debarred from seeing that good man, or any one who
would advise me what to do in my present difficult situation!

I fancy, my dear, however, that there would hardly be a guilty person in
the world, were each suspected or accused person to tell his or her own
story, and be allowed any degree of credit.

I have written a very long letter.

To be so particular as you require in subjects of conversation, it is
impossible to be short.

I will add to it only the assurance, That I am, and ever will be,

Your affectionate and faithful friend and servant, CLARISSA HARLOWE.

You'll be so good, my dear, as to remember, that the date of your last
letter to me was the 9th.



LETTER XXXVII

MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE. SUNDAY, MARCH 19.


I beg your pardon, my dearest friend, for having given you occasion to
remind me of the date of my last. I was willing to have before me as
much of the workings of your wise relations as possible; being verily
persuaded, that one side or the other would have yielded by this
time: and then I should have had some degree of certainty to found my
observations upon. And indeed what can I write that I have not already
written?--You know, that I can do nothing but rave at your stupid
persecutors: and that you don't like. I have advised you to resume your
own estate: that you won't do. You cannot bear the thoughts of having
their Solmes: and Lovelace is resolved you shall be his, let who will
say to the contrary. I think you must be either the one man's or the
other's. Let us see what their next step will be.

As to Lovelace, while he tells his own story (having also behaved so
handsomely on his intrusion in the wood-house, and intended so well at
church) who can say, that the man is in the least blameworthy?--Wicked
people! to combine against so innocent a man!--But, as I said, let us
see what their next step will be, and what course you will take upon it;
and then we may be the more enlightened.

As to your change of style to your uncles, and brother and sister, since
they were so fond of attributing to you a regard for Lovelace, and would
not be persuaded to the contrary; and since you only strengthened their
arguments against yourself by denying it; you did but just as I would
have done, in giving way to their suspicions, and trying what that would
do--But if--but if--Pray, my dear, indulge me a little--you yourself
think it was necessary to apologize to me for that change of style to
them--and till you will speak out like a friend to her unquestionable
friend, I must tease you a little--let it run therefore; for it will
run--

If, then, there be not a reason for this change of style, which you have
not thought fit to give me, be so good as to watch, as I once before
advised you, how the cause for it will come on--Why should it be
permitted to steal upon you, and you know nothing of the matter?

When we get a great cold, we are apt to puzzle ourselves to find out
when it began, or how we got it; and when that is accounted for, down
we sit contented, and let it have its course; or, if it be very
troublesome, take a sweat, or use other means to get rid of it. So
my dear, before the malady you wot of, yet wot not of, grows so
importunate, as that you must be obliged to sweat it out, let me advise
you to mind how it comes on. For I am persuaded, as surely as that I am
now writing to you, that the indiscreet violence of your friends on the
one hand, and the insinuating address of Lovelace on the other, (if the
man be not a greater fool than any body thinks him,) will effectually
bring it to this, and do all his work for him.

But let it--if it must be Lovelace or Solmes, the choice cannot admit of
debate. Yet if all be true that is reported, I should prefer almost any
of your other lovers to either; unworthy as they also are. But who can
be worthy of a Clarissa?

I wish you are not indeed angry with me for harping so much on one
string. I must own, that I should think myself inexcusable so to do,
(the rather, as I am bold enough to imagine it a point out of all doubt
from fifty places in your letters, were I to labour the proof,) if you
would ingenuously own--

Own what? you'll say. Why, my Anna Howe, I hope you don't think that I
am already in love--!

No, to be sure! How can your Anna Howe have such a thought?--What then
shall we call it? You might have helped me to a phrase--A conditional
kind of liking!--that's it.--O my friend! did I not know how much you
despise prudery; and that you are too young, and too lovely, to be a
prude--

But, avoiding such hard names, let me tell you one thing, my dear (which
nevertheless I have told you before); and that is this: that I shall
think I have reason to be highly displeased with you, if, when you write
to me, you endeavour to keep from me any secret of your heart.

Let me add, that if you would clearly and explicitly tell me, how far
Lovelace has, or has not, a hold in your affections, I could better
advise you what to do, than at present I can. You, who are so famed
for prescience, as I may call it; and than whom no young lady ever had
stronger pretensions to a share of it; have had, no doubt, reasonings
in your heart about him, supposing you were to be one day his: [no doubt
but you have had the same in Solmes's case: whence the ground for the
hatred of the one; and for the conditional liking of the other.] Will
you tell me, my dear, what you have thought of Lovelace's best and of
his worst?--How far eligible for the first; how far rejectable for the
last?--Then weighing both parts in opposite scales, we shall see which
is likely to preponderate; or rather which does preponderate. Nothing
less than the knowledge of the inmost recesses of your heart, can
satisfy my love and my friendship. Surely, you are not afraid to trust
yourself with a secret of this nature: if you are, then you may the more
allowably doubt me. But, I dare say, you will not own either--nor is
there, I hope, cause for either.

Be pleased to observe one thing, my dear, that whenever I have given
myself any of those airs of raillery, which have seemed to make you look
about you, (when, likewise, your case may call for a more serious turn
from a sympathizing friend,) it has not been upon those passages which
are written, though, perhaps not intended, with such explicitness [don't
be alarmed, my dear!] as leaves little cause of doubt: but only when you
affect reserve; when you give new words for common things; when you
come with your curiosities, with your conditional likings, and with your
PRUDE-encies [mind how I spell the word] in a case that with every other
person defies all prudence--over-acts of treason all these, against the
sovereign friendship we have avowed to each other.

Remember, that you found me out in a moment. You challenged me. I owned
directly, that there was only my pride between the man and me; for I
could not endure, I told you, to think of any fellow living to give me a
moment's uneasiness. And then my man, as I have elsewhere said, was not
such a one as yours: so I had reason to impute full as much as to my own
inconsideration, as to his power over me: nay, more: but still more
to yours. For you reasoned me out of the curiosity first; and when the
liking was brought to be conditional--why then, you know, I throbbed no
more about him.

O! pray now, as you say, now I have mentioned that my fellow was not
such a charming fellow as yours, let Miss Biddulph, Miss Lloyd, Miss
Campion, and me, have your opinion, how far figure ought to engage us:
with a view to your own case, however--mind that--as Mr. Tony says--and
whether at all, if the man be vain of it; since, as you observe in a
former, that vanity is a stop-short pride in such a one, that would make
one justly doubt the worthiness of his interior. You, our pattern, so
lovely in feature, so graceful in person, have none of it; and have
therefore with the best grace always held, that it is not excusable even
in a woman.

You must know, that this subject was warmly debated among us in our last
conversation: and Miss Lloyd wished me to write to you upon it for your
opinion; to which, in every debated case, we always paid the greatest
deference. I hope you will not be so much engrossed by your weighty
cares, as not to have freedom of spirits enough to enter upon the task.
You know how much we all admire your opinion on such topics; which ever
produces something new and instructive, as you handle the subjects. And
pray tell us, to what you think it owing, that your man seems so careful
to adorn that self-adorned person of his! yet so manages, that one
cannot for one's heart think him a coxcomb?--Let this question, and the
above tasks, divert, and not displease you, my dear. One subject, though
ever so important, could never yet engross your capacious mind. If
they should displease you, you must recollect the many instances of my
impertinence which you have forgiven, and then say, 'This is a mad girl:
but yet I love her!--And she is my own'

ANNA HOWE.



LETTER XXXVIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE MONDAY, MARCH 20.


Your last so sensibly affects me, that I must postpone every other
consideration, however weighty, to reply to it: and this I will do
very distinctly, and with all the openness of heart which our mutual
friendship demands.

But let me observe, in the first place, gratefully observe, that if I
have in fifty passages of my letters given you such undoubted proofs of
my value for Mr. Lovelace, that you have spared me for the sake of my
explicitness, it is acting by me with a generosity worthy of yourself.

But lives the man, think you, who is so very bad, that he does not give
even a doubting mind reason at one time to be better pleased with him
than at another? And when that reason offers, is it not just to express
one's self accordingly? I would do the man who addresses me as much
justice, as if he did not address me: it has such a look of tyranny, it
appears so ungenerous, methinks, in our sex, to use a man worse for his
respect to us, (no other cause for disrespect occurring,) that I would
not by any means be that person who should do so.

But, although I may intend no more than justice, it will perhaps be
difficult to hinder those who know the man's views, from construing it
as a partial favour: and especially if the eager-eyed observer has been
formerly touched herself, and would triumph that her friend had been no
more able to escape than she. Noble minds, emulative of perfection, (and
yet the passion properly directed, I do not take to be an imperfection
neither,) may be allowed a little generous envy, I think.

If I meant by this a reflection, by way of revenge, it is but a revenge,
my dear, in the soft sense of the word. I love, as I have told you, your
pleasantry. Although at the time your reproof may pain me a little; yet,
on recollection, when I find it more of the cautioning friend than
of the satirizing observer, I shall be all gratitude upon it. All the
business will be this; I shall be sensible of the pain in the present
letter perhaps; but I shall thank you in the next, and ever after.

In this way, I hope, my dear, you will account for a little of
that sensibility which you find above, and perhaps still more, as I
proceed.--You frequently remind me, by an excellent example, your own to
me, that I must not spare you!

I am not conscious, that I have written any thing of this man, that has
not been more in his dispraise than in his favour. Such is the man, that
I think I must have been faulty, and ought to take myself to account,
if I had not. But you think otherwise, I will not put you upon labouring
the proof, as you call it. My conduct must then have a faulty appearance
at least, and I will endeavour to rectify it. But of this I assure you,
that whatever interpretation my words were capable of, I intended not
any reserve to you. I wrote my heart at the time: if I had had thought
of disguising it, or been conscious that there was reason for doing
so, perhaps I had not given you the opportunity of remarking upon my
curiosity after his relations' esteem for me; nor upon my conditional
liking, and such-like. All I intended by the first, I believe, I
honestly told you at the time. To that letter I therefore refer, whether
it make for me, or against me: and by the other, that I might bear in
mind, what it became a person of my sex and character to be and to
do, in such an unhappy situation, where the imputed love is thought an
undutiful, and therefore a criminal passion; and where the supported
object of it is a man of faulty morals too. And I am sure you will
excuse my desire of appearing at those times the person I ought to be;
had I no other view in it but to merit the continuance of your good
opinion.

But that I may acquit myself of having reserves--O, my dear, I must here
break off--!



LETTER XXXIX

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE MONDAY, MARCH 12.


This letter will account to you, my dear, for my abrupt breaking off in
the answer I was writing to yours of yesterday; and which, possibly,
I shall not be able to finish and send you till to-morrow or next day;
having a great deal to say to the subjects you put to me in it. What
I am now to give you are the particulars of another effort made by my
friends, through the good Mrs. Norton.

It seems they had sent to her yesterday, to be here this day, to take
their instructions, and to try what she could do with me. It would,
at least, I suppose they thought, have this effect; to render me
inexcusable with her; or to let her see, that there was no room for the
expostulations she had often wanted to make in my favour to my mother.

The declaration, that my heart was free, afforded them an argument to
prove obstinacy and perverseness upon me; since it could be nothing else
that governed me in my opposition to their wills, if I had no particular
esteem for another man. And now, that I have given them reason (in
order to obviate this argument) to suppose that I have a preference to
another, they are resolved to carry their schemes into execution as soon
as possible. And in order to this, they sent for this good woman, for
whom they know I have even a filial regard.

She found assembled my father and mother, my brother and sister, my two
uncles, and my aunt Hervey.

My brother acquainted her with all that had passed since she was last
permitted to see me; with the contents of my letters avowing my regard
for Mr. Lovelace (as they all interpreted them); with the substance of
their answers to them; and with their resolutions.

My mother spoke next; and delivered herself to this effect, as the good
woman told me.

After reciting how many times I had been indulged in my refusals of
different men, and the pains she had taken with me, to induce me to
oblige my whole family in one instance out of five or six, and my
obstinacy upon it; 'O my good Mrs. Norton, said the dear lady, could
you have thought, that my Clarissa and your Clarissa was capable of so
determined an opposition to the will of parents so indulgent to her? But
see what you can do with her. The matter is gone too far to be receded
from on our parts. Her father had concluded every thing with Mr. Solmes,
not doubting her compliance. Such noble settlements, Mrs. Norton, and
such advantages to the whole family!--In short, she has it in her power
to lay an obligation upon us all. Mr. Solmes, knowing she has good
principles, and hoping by his patience now, and good treatment
hereafter, to engage her gratitude, and by degrees her love, is willing
to overlook all!--'

[Overlook all, my dear! Mr. Solmes to overlook all! There's a word!]

'So, Mrs. Norton, if you are convinced, that it is a child's duty to
submit to her parents' authority, in the most important point as well as
in the least, I beg you will try your influence over her: I have none:
her father has none: her uncles neither: although it is her apparent
interest to oblige us all; for, on that condition, her grandfather's
estate is not half of what, living and dying, is purposed to be done for
her. If any body can prevail with her, it is you; and I hope you will
heartily enter upon this task.'

The good woman asked, Whether she was permitted to expostulate with them
upon the occasion, before she came up to me?

My arrogant brother told her, she was sent for to expostulate with his
sister, and not with them. And this, Goody Norton [she is always
Goody with him!] you may tell her, that the treaty with Mr. Solmes is
concluded: that nothing but her compliance with her duty is wanting;
of consequence, that there is no room for your expostulation, or hers
either.

Be assured of this, Mrs. Norton, said my father, in an angry tone, that
we will not be baffled by her. We will not appear like fools in this
matter, and as if we have no authority over our own daughter. We will
not, in short, be bullied out of our child by a cursed rake, who had
like to have killed our only son!--And so she had better make a merit
of her obedience; for comply she shall, if I live; independent as she
thinks my father's indiscreet bounty has made her of me, her father.
Indeed, since that, she has never been like she was before. An unjust
bequest!--And it is likely to prosper accordingly!--But if she marry
that vile rake Lovelace, I will litigate every shilling with her: tell
her so; and that the will may be set aside, and shall.

My uncles joined, with equal heat.

My brother was violent in his declarations.

My sister put in with vehemence, on the same side.

My aunt Hervey was pleased to say, there was no article so proper for
parents to govern in, as this of marriage: and it was very fit mine
should be obliged.

Thus instructed, the good woman came up to me. She told me all that had
passed, and was very earnest with me to comply; and so much justice did
she to the task imposed upon her, that I more than once thought, that
her own opinion went with theirs. But when she saw what an immovable
aversion I had to the man, she lamented with me their determined
resolution: and then examined into the sincerity of my declaration,
that I would gladly compound with them by living single. Of this being
satisfied, she was so convinced that this offer, which, carried into
execution, would exclude Lovelace effectually, ought to be accepted,
that she would go down (although I told her, it was what I had tendered
over-and-over to no purpose) and undertake to be guaranty for me on that
score.

She went accordingly; but soon returned in tears; being used harshly for
urging this alternative:--They had a right to my obedience upon their
own terms, they said: my proposal was an artifice, only to gain time:
nothing but marrying Mr. Solmes should do: they had told me so before:
they should not be at rest till it was done; for they knew what an
interest Lovelace had in my heart: I had as good as owned it in my
letters to my uncles, and brother and sister, although I had most
disingenuously declared otherwise to my mother. I depended, they said,
upon their indulgence, and my own power over them: they would not
have banished me from their presence, if they had not known that their
consideration for me was greater than mine for them. And they would
be obeyed, or I never should be restored to their favour, let the
consequence be what it would.

My brother thought fit to tell the good woman, that her whining nonsense
did but harden me. There was a perverseness, he said, in female minds, a
tragedy-pride, that would make a romantic young creature, such a one as
me, risque any thing to obtain pity. I was of an age, and a turn [the
insolent said] to be fond of a lover-like distress: and my grief (which
she pleaded) would never break my heart: I should sooner break that of
the best and most indulgent of mothers. He added, that she might once
more go up to me: but that, if she prevailed not, he should suspect,
that the man they all hated had found a way to attach her to his
interest.

Every body blamed him for this unworthy reflection; which greatly
affected the good woman. But nevertheless he said, and nobody
contradicted him, that if she could not prevail upon her sweet child,
[as it seems she had fondly called me,] she had best draw to her own
home, and there tarry till she was sent for; and so leave her sweet
child to her father's management.

Sure nobody had ever so insolent, so hard-hearted a brother, as I have!
So much resignation to be expected from me! So much arrogance, and to so
good a woman, and of so fine an understanding, to be allowed in him.

She nevertheless told him, that however she might be ridiculed for
speaking of the sweetness of my disposition, she must take upon herself
to say, that there never was a sweeter in the sex: and that she had
ever found, that my mild methods, and gentleness, I might at any time be
prevailed upon, even in points against my own judgment and opinion.

My aunt Hervey hereupon said, It was worth while to consider what
Mrs. Norton said: and that she had sometimes allowed herself to doubt,
whether I had been begun with by such methods as generous tempers are
only to be influenced by, in cases where their hearts are supposed to be
opposite to the will of their friends.

She had both my brother and sister upon her for this: who referred to
my mother, whether she had not treated me with an indulgence that had
hardly any example?

My mother said, she must own, that no indulgence had been wanting from
her: but she must needs say, and had often said it, that the reception
I met with on my return from Miss Howe, and the manner in which the
proposal of Mr. Solmes was made to me, (which was such as left nothing
to my choice,) and before I had an opportunity to converse with him,
were not what she had by any means approved of.

She was silenced, you will guess by whom,--with, My dear!--my dear!--You
have ever something to say, something to palliate, for this rebel of a
girl!--Remember her treatment of you, of me!--Remember, that the wretch,
whom we so justly hate, would not dare persist in his purposes, but for
her encouragement of him, and obstinacy to us.--Mrs. Norton, [angrily to
her,] go up to her once more--and if you think gentleness will do, you
have a commission to be gentle--if it will not, never make use of that
plea again.

Ay, my good woman, said my mother, try your force with her. My sister
Hervey and I will go up to her, and bring her down in our hands, to
receive her father's blessing, and assurances of every body's love, if
she will be prevailed upon: and, in that case, we will all love you the
better for your good offices.

She came up to me, and repeated all these passages with tears. But I
told her, that after what had passed between us, she could not hope to
prevail upon me to comply with measures so wholly my brother's, and so
much to my aversion. And then folding me to her maternal bosom, I leave
you, my dearest Miss, said she--I leave you, because I must!--But let me
beseech you to do nothing rashly; nothing unbecoming your character. If
all be true that is said, Mr. Lovelace cannot deserve you. If you can
comply, remember it is your duty to comply. They take not, I own, the
right method with so generous a spirit. But remember, that there would
not be any merit in your compliance, if it were not to be against
your own liking. Remember also, what is expected from a character
so extraordinary as yours: remember, it is in your power to unite or
disunite your whole family for ever. Although it should at present be
disagreeable to you to be thus compelled, your prudence, I dare say,
when you consider the matter seriously, will enable you to get over
all prejudices against the one, and all prepossessions in favour of the
other: and then the obligation you will lay all your family under,
will be not only meritorious in you, with regard to them, but in a few
months, very probably, highly satisfactory, as well as reputable, to
yourself.

Consider, my dear Mrs. Norton, said I, only consider, that it is not a
small thing that is insisted upon; not for a short duration; it is for
my life: consider too, that all this is owing to an overbearing brother,
who governs every body. Consider how desirous I am to oblige them, if
a single life, and breaking all correspondence with the man they hate,
because my brother hates him, will do it.

I consider every thing, my dearest Miss: and, added to what I have said,
do you only consider, that if, by pursuing your own will, and rejecting
theirs, you should be unhappy, you will be deprived of all that
consolation which those have, who have been directed by their parents,
although the event prove not answerable to their wishes.

I must go, repeated she: your brother will say [and she wept] that I
harden you by my whining nonsense. 'Tis indeed hard, that so much
regard should be paid to the humours of one child, and so little to
the inclination of another. But let me repeat, that it is your duty to
acquiesce, if you can acquiesce: your father has given your brother's
schemes his sanction, and they are now his. Mr. Lovelace, I doubt,
is not a man that will justify your choice so much as he will their
dislike. It is easy to see that your brother has a view in discrediting
you with all your friends, with your uncles in particular: but for that
very reason, you should comply, if possible, in order to disconcert his
ungenerous measures. I will pray for you; and that is all I can do for
you. I must now go down, and make a report, that you are resolved never
to have Mr. Solmes--Must I?--Consider, my dear Miss Clary--Must I?

Indeed you must!--But of this I do assure you, that I will do nothing to
disgrace the part you have had in my education. I will bear every thing
that shall be short of forcing my hand into his who never can have any
share in my heart. I will try by patient duty, by humility, to overcome
them. But death will I choose, in any shape, rather than that man.

I dread to go down, said she, with so determined an answer: they will
have no patience with me.--But let me leave you with one observation,
which I beg of you always to bear in mind:--

'That persons of prudence, and distinguished talents, like yours, seem
to be sprinkled through the world, to give credit, by their example, to
religion and virtue. When such persons wilfully err, how great must
be the fault! How ungrateful to that God, who blessed them with such
talents! What a loss likewise to the world! What a wound to virtue!--But
this, I hope, will never be to be said of Miss Clarissa Harlowe!'

I could give her no answer, but by my tears. And I thought, when she
went away, the better half of my heart went with her.

I listened to hear what reception she would meet with below; and found
it was just such a one as she had apprehended.

Will she, or will she not, be Mrs. Solmes? None of your whining
circumlocutions, Mrs. Norton!--[You may guess who said this] Will she,
or will she not, comply with her parents' will?

This cut short all she was going to say.

If I must speak so briefly, Miss will sooner die, than have--

Any body but Lovelace! interrupted my brother.--This, Madam, this, Sir,
is your meek daughter! This is Mrs. Norton's sweet child!--Well, Goody,
you may return to your own habitation. I am empowered to forbid you to
have any correspondence with this perverse girl for a month to come, as
you value the favour of our whole family, or of any individual of it.

And saying this, uncontradicted by any body, he himself shewed her
to the door,--no doubt, with all that air of cruel insult, which the
haughty rich can put on to the unhappy low, who have not pleased them.

So here, my dear Miss Howe, am I deprived of the advice of one of the
most prudent and conscientious women in the world, were I to have ever
so much occasion for it.

I might indeed write (as I presume, under your cover) and receive her
answers to what I should write. But should such a correspondence be
charged upon her, I know she would not be guilty of a falsehood for the
world, nor even of an equivocation: and should she own it after this
prohibition, she would forfeit my mother's favour for ever. And in my
dangerous fever, some time ago, I engaged my mother to promise me, that,
if I died before I could do any thing for the good woman, she would set
her above want for the rest of her life, should her eyes fail her, or
sickness befall her, and she could not provide for herself, as she now
so prettily does by her fine needle-works.

What measures will they fall upon next?--Will they not recede when they
find that it must be a rooted antipathy, and nothing else, that could
make a temper, not naturally inflexible, so sturdy?

Adieu, my dear. Be you happy!--To know that it is in your power to be
so, is all that seems wanting to make you so.

CL. HARLOWE.



LETTER XL

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE [In continuation of the subject in
Letter XXXVIII.]


I will now, though midnight (for I have no sleep in my eyes) resume
the subject I was forced so abruptly to quit, and will obey yours, Miss
Lloyd's, Miss Campion's, and Miss Biddulph's call, with as much temper
as my divided thought will admit. The dead stillness of this solemn hour
will, I hope, contribute to calm my disturbed mind.

In order to acquit myself of so heavy a charge as that of having
reserves to so dear a friend, I will acknowledge (and I thought I had
over-and-over) that it is owing to my particular situation, if Mr.
Lovelace appears to me in a tolerable light: and I take upon me to say,
that had they opposed to him a man of sense, of virtue, of generosity;
one who enjoyed his fortune with credit, who had a tenderness in his
nature for the calamities of others, which would have given a moral
assurance, that he would have been still less wanting in grateful
returns to an obliging spirit:--had they opposed such a man as this to
Mr. Lovelace, and been as earnest to have me married, as now they are,
I do not know myself, if they would have had reason to tax me with that
invincible obstinacy which they lay to my charge: and this whatever
had been the figure of the man; since the heart is what we women should
judge by in the choice we make, as the best security for the party's
good behaviour in every relation of life.

But, situated as I am, thus persecuted and driven, I own to you, that
I have now-and-then had a little more difficulty than I wished for, in
passing by Mr. Lovelace's tolerable qualities, to keep up my dislike to
him for his others.

You say, I must have argued with myself in his favour, and in his
disfavour, on a supposition, that I might possibly be one day his. I
own that I have: and thus called upon by my dearest friend, I will set
before you both parts of the argument.

And first, what occurred to me in his favour.

At his introduction into our family, his negative virtues were insisted
upon:--He was no gamester; no horse-racer; no fox-hunter; no drinker:
my poor aunt Hervey had, in confidence, given us to apprehend much
disagreeable evil (especially to a wife of the least delicacy) from a
wine-lover: and common sense instructed us, that sobriety in a man is
no small point to be secured, when so many mischiefs happen daily from
excess. I remember, that my sister made the most of this favourable
circumstance in his character while she had any hopes of him.

He was never thought to be a niggard; not even ungenerous: nor when
his conduct came to be inquired into, an extravagant, a squanderer: his
pride [so far was it a laudable pride] secured him from that. Then he
was ever ready to own his errors. He was no jester upon sacred things:
poor Mr. Wyerley's fault; who seemed to think there was wit in saying
bold things, which would shock a serious mind. His conversation with us
was always unexceptionable, even chastely so; which, be his actions what
they would, shewed him capable of being influenced by decent company;
and that he might probably therefore be a led man, rather than a leader,
in other company. And one late instance, so late as last Saturday
evening, has raised him not a little in my opinion, with regard to this
point of good (and at the same time, of manly) behaviour.

As to the advantage of birth, that is of his side, above any man who has
been found out for me. If we may judge by that expression of his,
which you were pleased with at the time; 'That upon true quality, and
hereditary distinction, if good sense were not wanting, humour sat as
easy as his glove;' that, with as familiar an air, was his familiar
expression; 'while none but the prosperous upstart, MUSHROOMED into
rank, (another of his peculiars,) was arrogantly proud of it.'--If, I
say, we may judge of him by this, we shall conclude in his favour, that
he knows what sort of behaviour is to be expected from persons of birth,
whether he act up to it or not. Conviction is half way to amendment.

His fortunes in possession are handsome; in expectation, splendid: so
nothing need be said on that subject.

But it is impossible, say some, that he should make a tender or kind
husband. Those who are for imposing upon me such a man as Mr. Solmes,
and by methods so violent, are not entitled to make this objection. But
now, on this subject, let me tell you how I have argued with myself--for
still you must remember, that I am upon the extenuating part of his
character.

A great deal of the treatment a wife may expect from him, will possibly
depend upon herself. Perhaps she must practise as well as promise
obedience, to a man so little used to controul; and must be careful to
oblige. And what husband expects not this?--The more perhaps if he had
not reason to assure himself of the preferable love of his wife before
she became such. And how much easier and pleasanter to obey the man of
her choice, if he should be even more unreasonable sometimes, than one
she would not have had, could she have avoided it? Then, I think, as
the men were the framers of the matrimonial office, and made obedience
a part of the woman's vow, she ought not, even in policy, to shew him,
that she can break through her part of the contract, (however lightly
she may think of the instance,) lest he should take it into his head
(himself is judge) to think as lightly of other points, which she may
hold more important--but, indeed, no point so solemnly vowed can be
slight.

Thus principled, and acting accordingly, what a wretch must that husband
be, who could treat such a wife brutally!--Will Lovelace's wife be the
only person to whom he will not pay the grateful debt of civility and
good manners? He is allowed to be brave: Who ever knew a brave man, if a
brave man of sense, an universally base man? And how much the gentleness
of our sex, and the manner of our training up and education, make us
need the protection of the brave, and the countenance of the generous,
let the general approbation, which we are all so naturally inclined to
give to men of that character, testify.

At worst, will he confine me prisoner to my chamber? Will he deny me the
visits of my dearest friend, and forbid me to correspond with her? Will
he take from me the mistressly management, which I had not faultily
discharged? Will he set a servant over me, with license to insult me?
Will he, as he has not a sister, permit his cousins Montague, or would
either of those ladies accept of a permission, to insult and tyrannize
over me?--It cannot be.--Why then, think I often, do you tempt me, O my
cruel friends, to try the difference?

And then has the secret pleasure intruded itself, to be able to reclaim
such a man to the paths of virtue and honour: to be a secondary means,
if I were to be his, of saving him, and preventing the mischiefs so
enterprising a creature might otherwise be guilty of, if he be such a
one.

When I have thought of him in these lights, (and that as a man of sense
he will sooner see his errors, than another,) I own to you, that I have
had some difficulty to avoid taking the path they so violently endeavour
to make me shun: and all that command of my passions which has been
attributed to me as my greatest praise, and, in so young a creature, as
my distinction, has hardly been sufficient for me.

And let me add, that the favour of his relations (all but himself
unexceptionable) has made a good deal of additional weight, thrown in
the same scale.

But now, in his disfavour. When I have reflected upon the prohibition
of my parents; the giddy appearance, disgraceful to our sex, that such
a preference would have: that there is no manner of likelihood, enflamed
by the rencounter, and upheld by art and ambition on my brother's side,
that ever the animosity will be got over: that I must therefore be at
perpetual variance with all my own family: that I must go to him, and to
his, as an obliged and half-fortuned person: that his aversion to them
all is as strong as theirs to him: that his whole family are hated
for his sake; they hating ours in return: that he has a very immoral
character as to women: that knowing this, it is a high degree of
impurity to think of joining in wedlock with such a man: that he is
young, unbroken, his passions unsubdued: that he is violent in his
temper, yet artful; I am afraid vindictive too: that such a husband
might unsettle me in all my own principles, and hazard my future hopes:
that his own relations, two excellent aunts, and an uncle, from whom
he has such large expectations, have no influence upon him: that what
tolerable qualities he has, are founded more in pride than in virtue:
that allowing, as he does, the excellency of moral precepts, and
believing the doctrine of future rewards and punishments, he can live as
if he despised the one, and defied the other: the probability that the
taint arising from such free principles, may go down into the manners
of posterity: that I knowing these things, and the importance of them,
should be more inexcusable than one who knows them not; since an error
against judgment is worse, infinitely worse, than an error in judgment.
Reflecting upon these things, I cannot help conjuring you, my dear, to
pray with me, and to pray for me, that I may not be pushed upon such
indiscreet measures, as will render me inexcusable to myself: for that
is the test, after all. The world's opinion ought to be but a secondary
consideration.

I have said in his praise, that he is extremely ready to own his errors:
but I have sometimes made a great drawback upon this article, in his
disfavour; having been ready to apprehend, that this ingenuousness may
possibly be attributable to two causes, neither of them, by any means,
creditable to him. The one, that his vices are so much his masters, that
he attempts not to conquer them; the other, that he may think it policy,
to give up one half of his character to save the other, when the
whole may be blamable: by this means, silencing by acknowledgment
the objections he cannot answer; which may give him the praise of
ingenuousness, when he can obtain no other, and when the challenged
proof might bring out, upon discussion, other evils. These, you will
allow, are severe constructions; but every thing his enemies say of him
cannot be false.

I will proceed by-and-by.


***


Sometimes we have both thought him one of the most undesigning merely
witty men we ever knew; at other times one of the deepest creatures
we ever conversed with. So that when in one visit we have imagined
we fathomed him, in the next he has made us ready to give him up as
impenetrable. This impenetrableness, my dear, is to be put among the
shades in his character. Yet, upon the whole, you have been so far
of his party, that you have contested that his principal fault is
over-frankness, and too much regardlessness of appearances, and that he
is too giddy to be very artful: you would have it, that at the time he
says any thing good, he means what he speaks; that his variableness and
levity are constitutional, owing to sound health, and to a soul and body
[that was your observation] fitted for and pleased with each other. And
hence you concluded, that could this consentaneousness [as you call it]
of corporal and animal faculties be pointed by discretion; that is
to say, could his vivacity be confined within the pale of but moral
obligations, he would be far from being rejectable as a companion for
life.

But I used then to say, and I still am of opinion, that he wants
a heart: and if he does, he wants every thing. A wrong head may be
convinced, may have a right turn given it: but who is able to give a
heart, if a heart be wanting? Divine Grace, working a miracle, or next
to a miracle, can only change a bad heart. Should not one fly the man
who is but suspected of such a one? What, O what, do parents do, when
they endeavour to force a child's inclination, but make her think better
than otherwise she would think of a man obnoxious to themselves, and
perhaps whose character will not stand examination?

I have said, that I think Mr. Lovelace a vindictive man: upon my word, I
have sometimes doubted, whether his perseverance in his addresses to
me has not been the more obstinate, since he has found himself so
disagreeable to my friends. From that time I verily think he has
been the more fervent in them; yet courts them not, but sets them at
defiance. For this indeed he pleads disinterestedness [I am sure he
cannot politeness]; and the more plausibly, as he is apprized of the
ability they have to make it worth his while to court them. 'Tis true
he has declared, and with too much reason, (or there would be no bearing
him,) that the lowest submissions on his part would not be accepted; and
to oblige me, has offered to seek a reconciliation with them, if I would
give him hope of success.

As to his behaviour at church, the Sunday before last, I lay no stress
upon that, because I doubt there was too much outward pride in his
intentional humility, or Shorey, who is not his enemy, could not have
mistaken it.

I do not think him so deeply learned in human nature, or in ethics, as
some have thought him. Don't you remember how he stared at the following
trite observations, which every moralist could have furnished him with?
Complaining as he did, in a half-menacing strain, of the obloquies
raised against him--'That if he were innocent, he should despise the
obloquy: if not, revenge would not wipe off his guilt.' 'That nobody
ever thought of turning a sword into a sponge!' 'That it was in his own
power by reformation of an error laid to his charge by an enemy, to make
that enemy one of his best friends; and (which was the noblest revenge
in the world) against his will; since an enemy would not wish him to be
without the faults he taxed him with.'

But the intention, he said, was the wound.

How so, I asked him, when that cannot wound without the application?
'That the adversary only held the sword: he himself pointed it to his
breast:--And why should he mortally resent that malice, which he might
be the better for as long as he lived?'--What could be the reading
he has been said to be master of, to wonder, as he did, at these
observations?

But, indeed, he must take pleasure in revenge; and yet holds others to
be inexcusable for the same fault. He is not, however, the only one
who can see how truly blamable those errors are in another, which they
hardly think such in themselves.

From these considerations, from these over-balances, it was, that I
said, in a former, that I would not be in love with this man for the
world: and it was going further than prudence would warrant, when I was
for compounding with you, by the words conditional liking, which you so
humourously rally.

Well but, methinks you say, what is all this to the purpose? This is
still but reasoning: but, if you are in love, you are: and love,
like the vapours, is the deeper rooted for having no sufficient cause
assignable for its hold. And so you call upon me again to have no
reserves, and so-forth.

Why then, my dear, if you will have it, I think, that, with all his
preponderating faults, I like him better than I ever thought I should
like him; and, those faults considered, better perhaps than I ought to
like him. And I believe, it is possible for the persecution I labour
under to induce me to like him still more--especially while I can
recollect to his advantage our last interview, and as every day produces
stronger instances of tyranny, I will call it, on the other side.--In
a word, I will frankly own (since you cannot think any thing I say too
explicit) that were he now but a moral man, I would prefer him to all
the men I ever saw.

So that this is but conditional liking still, you'll say: nor, I hope,
is it more. I never was in love as it is called; and whether this be it,
or not, I must submit to you. But will venture to think it, if it be,
no such mighty monarch, no such unconquerable power, as I have heard
it represented; and it must have met with greater encouragement than
I think I have given it, to be absolutely unconquerable--since I am
persuaded, that I could yet, without a throb, most willingly give up the
one man to get rid of the other.

But now to be a little more serious with you: if, my dear, my
particularly-unhappy situation had driven (or led me, if you please)
into a liking of the man; and if that liking had, in your opinion,
inclined me to love him, should you, whose mind is susceptible of the
most friendly impressions, who have such high notions of the delicacy
which ought to be observed by our sex in these matters, and who actually
do enter so deeply into the distresses of one you love--should you
have pushed so far that unhappy friend on so very nice a
subject?--Especially, when I aimed not (as you could prove by fifty
instances, it seems) to guard against being found out. Had you rallied
me by word of mouth in the manner you do, it might have been more in
character; especially, if your friend's distresses had been surmounted,
and if she had affected prudish airs in revolving the subject: but to
sit down to write it, as methinks I see you, with a gladdened eye, and
with all the archness of exultation--indeed, my dear, (and I take notice
of it, rather for the sake of your own generosity, than for my sake,
for, as I have said, I love your raillery,) it is not so very pretty;
the delicacy of the subject, and the delicacy of your own mind,
considered.

I lay down my pen here, that you may consider of it a little, if you
please.


***


I resume, to give you my opinion of the force which figure or person
ought to have upon our sex: and this I shall do both generally as to the
other sex, and particularly as to this man; whence you will be able to
collect how far my friends are in the right, or in the wrong, when
they attribute a good deal of prejudice in favour of one man, and in
disfavour of the other, on the score of figure. But, first, let me
observe, that they see abundant reason, on comparing Mr. Lovelace and
Mr. Solmes together, to believe that this may be a consideration with
me; and therefore they believe it is.

There is certainly something very plausible and attractive, as well
as creditable to a woman's choice, in figure. It gives a favourable
impression at first sight, in which we wish to be confirmed: and if,
upon further acquaintance, we find reason to be so, we are pleased with
our judgment, and like the person the better, for having given us cause
to compliment our own sagacity, in our first-sighted impressions. But,
nevertheless, it has been generally a rule with me, to suspect a fine
figure, both in man and woman; and I have had a good deal of reason
to approve my rule;--with regard to men especially, who ought to value
themselves rather upon their intellectual than personal qualities.
For, as to our sex, if a fine woman should be led by the opinion of the
world, to be vain and conceited upon her form and features; and that to
such a degree, as to have neglected the more material and more durable
recommendations, the world will be ready to excuse her; since a pretty
fool, in all she says, and in all she does, will please, we know not
why.

But who would grudge this pretty fool her short day! Since, with her
summer's sun, when her butterfly flutters are over, and the winter
of age and furrows arrives, she will feel the just effects of having
neglected to cultivate her better faculties: for then, lie another
Helen, she will be unable to bear the reflection even of her own glass,
and being sunk into the insignificance of a mere old woman, she will
be entitled to the contempts which follow that character. While the
discreet matron, who carries up [we will not, in such a one's case,
say down] into advanced life, the ever-amiable character of virtuous
prudence and useful experience, finds solid veneration take place of
airy admiration, and more than supply the want of it.

But for a man to be vain of his person, how effeminate! If such a
one happens to have genius, it seldom strikes deep into intellectual
subjects. His outside usually runs away with him. To adorn, and perhaps,
intending to adorn, to render ridiculous that person, takes up all his
attention. All he does is personal; that is to say, for himself: all he
admires, is himself: and in spite of the correction of the stage, which
so often and so justly exposes a coxcomb, he usually dwindles down, and
sinks into that character; and, of consequence, becomes the scorn of one
sex, and the jest of the other.

This is generally the case of your fine figures of men, and of those who
value themselves on dress and outward appearance: whence it is, that I
repeat, that mere person in a man is a despicable consideration. But
if a man, besides figure, has learning, and such talents as would have
distinguished him, whatever were his form, then indeed person is an
addition: and if he has not run too egregiously into self-admiration,
and if he has preserved his morals, he is truly a valuable being.

Mr. Lovelace has certainly taste; and, as far as I am able to determine,
he has judgment in most of the politer arts. But although he has a
humourous way of carrying it off, yet one may see that he values himself
not a little, both on his person and his parts, and even upon his dress;
and yet he has so happy an ease in the latter, that it seems to be the
least part of his study. And as to the former, I should hold myself
inexcusable, if I were to add to his vanity by shewing the least regard
for what is too evidently so much his.

And now, my dear, let me ask you, Have I come up to your expectation? If
I have not, when my mind is more at ease, I will endeavour to please
you better. For, methinks, my sentences drag, my style creeps, my
imagination is sunk, my spirits serve me not, only to tell you, that
whether I have more or less, I am wholly devoted to the commands of my
dear Miss Howe.



P.S. The insolent Betty Barnes has just now fired me anew, by reporting
to me the following expressions of the hideous creature, Solmes--'That
he is sure of the coy girl; and that with little labour to himself. That
be I ever so averse to him beforehand, he can depend upon my principles;
and it will be a pleasure to him to see by what pretty degrees I shall
come to.' [Horrid wretch!] 'That it was Sir Oliver's observation, who
knew the world perfectly well, that fear was a better security than
love, for a woman's good behaviour to her husband; although, for his
part, to such a fine creature [truly] he would try what love would do,
for a few weeks at least; being unwilling to believe what the old knight
used to aver, that fondness spoils more wives than it makes good.'

What think you, my dear, of such a wretch as this! tutored, too, by that
old surly misogynist, as he was deemed, Sir Oliver?--



LETTER XLI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE TUESDAY, MARCH 21.


How willingly would my dear mother shew kindness to me, were she
permitted! None of this persecution should I labour under, I am sure, if
that regard were paid to her prudence and fine understanding, which they
so well deserve. Whether owing to her, or to my aunt, or to both, that
a new trial was to be made upon me, I cannot tell, but this morning her
Shorey delivered into my hand the following condescending letter.


MY DEAR GIRL,

For so I must still call you; since dear you may be to me, in every
sense of the word--we have taken into particular consideration some
hints that fell yesterday from your good Norton, as if we had not, at
Mr. Solmes's first application, treated you with that condescension,
wherewith we have in all other instances treated you. If it even had
been so, my dear, you were not excusable to be wanting in your part,
and to set yourself to oppose your father's will in a point which he had
entered too far, to recede with honour. But all yet may be well. On your
single will, my child, depends all our happiness.

Your father permits me to tell you, that if you now at last comply with
his expectations, all past disobligations shall be buried in oblivion,
as if they had never been: but withal, that this is the last time that
that grace will be offered you.

I hinted to you, you must remember,* that patterns of the richest silks
were sent for. They are come. And as they are come, your father, to shew
how much he is determined, will have me send them up to you. I could
have wished they might not have accompanied this letter, but there is
not great matter in that. I must tell you, that your delicacy is not
quite so much regarded as I had once thought it deserved to be.


     * See Letter XX.


These are the newest, as well as richest, that we could procure;
answerable to our situation in the world; answerable to the fortune,
additional to your grandfather's estate, designed you; and to the noble
settlements agreed upon.

Your father intends you six suits (three of them dressed suits) at his
own expense. You have an entire new suit; and one besides, which I think
you never wore but twice. As the new suit is rich, if you choose to
make that one of the six, your father will present you with an hundred
guineas in lieu.

Mr. Solmes intends to present you with a set of jewels. As you have your
grandmother's and your own, if you choose to have the former new set,
and to make them serve, his present will be made in money; a very round
sum--which will be given in full property to yourself; besides a fine
annual allowance for pin-money, as it is called. So that your objection
against the spirit of a man you think worse of than it deserves, will
have no weight; but you will be more independent than a wife of less
discretion than we attribute to you, perhaps ought to be. You know full
well, that I, who first and last brought a still larger fortune into the
family than you will carry to Mr. Solmes, had not a provision made me
of near this that we have made for you.--Where people marry to their
liking, terms are the least things stood upon--yet should I be sorry if
you cannot (to oblige us all) overcome a dislike.

Wonder not, Clary, that I write to you thus plainly and freely upon
this subject. Your behaviour hitherto has been such, that we have had no
opportunity of entering minutely into the subject with you. Yet, after
all that has passed between you and me in conversation, and between you
and your uncles by letter, you have no room to doubt what is to be the
consequence.--Either, child, we must give up our authority, or you your
humour. You cannot expect the one. We have all the reason in the world
to expect the other. You know I have told you more than once, that
you must resolve to have Mr. Solmes, or never to be looked upon as our
child.

The draught of the settlement you may see whenever you will. We think
there can be no room for objection to any of the articles. There is
still more in them in our family's favour, than was stipulated at first,
when your aunt talked of them to you. More so, indeed, than we
could have asked. If, upon perusal of them, you think any alteration
necessary, it shall be made.--Do, my dear girl, send to me within this
day or two, or rather ask me, for the perusal of them.

As a certain person's appearance at church so lately, and what he gives
out every where, makes us extremely uneasy, and as that uneasiness will
continue while you are single, you must not wonder that a short day
is intended. This day fortnight we design it to be, if you have no
objection to make that I shall approve of. But if you determine as we
would have you, and signify it to us, we shall not stand with you for a
week or so.

Your sightlines of person may perhaps make some think this alliance
disparaging. But I hope you will not put such a personal value upon
yourself: if you do, it will indeed be the less wonder that person
should weigh with you (however weak the consideration!) in another man.

Thus we parents, in justice, ought to judge: that our two daughters are
equally dear and valuable to us: if so, why should Clarissa think that
a disparagement, which Arabella would not (nor we for her) have thought
any, had the address been made to her?--You will know what I mean by
this, without my explaining myself farther.

Signify to us, now, therefore, your compliance with our wishes. And then
there is an end of your confinement. An act of oblivion, as I may call
it, shall pass upon all your former refractoriness: and you will once
more make us happy in you, and in one another. You may, in this case,
directly come down to your father and me, in his study; where we will
give you our opinions of the patterns, with our hearty forgiveness and
blessings.

Come, be a good child, as you used to be, my Clarissa. I have
(notwithstanding your past behaviour, and the hopelessness which some
have expressed in your compliance) undertaken this one time more for
you. Discredit not my hopes, my dear girl. I have promised never more
to interfere between your father and you, if this my most earnest
application succeed not. I expect you down, love. Your father expects
you down. But be sure don't let him see any thing uncheerful in your
compliance. If you come, I will clasp you to my fond heart, with as much
pleasure as ever I pressed you to it in my whole life. You don't know
what I have suffered within these few weeks past; nor ever will be able
to guess, till you come to be in my situation; which is that of a fond
and indulgent mother, praying night and day, and struggling to preserve,
against the attempts of more ungovernable spirits, the peace and union
of her family.

But you know the terms. Come not near us, if you have resolve to be
undutiful: but this, after what I have written, I hope you cannot be.

If you come directly, and, as I have said, cheerfully, as if your heart
were in your duty, (and you told me it was free, you know,) I shall
then, as I said, give you the most tender proofs how much I am

Your truly affectionate Mother.


***


Think for me, my dearest friend, how I must be affected by this letter;
the contents of it is so surprisingly terrifying, yet so sweetly
urged!--O why, cried I to myself, am I obliged to undergo this
severe conflict between a command that I cannot obey, and language so
condescendingly moving!--Could I have been sure of being struck dead
at the alter before the ceremony had given the man I hate a title to my
vows, I think I could have submitted to having been led to it. But to
think of living with and living for a man one abhors, what a sad thing
is that!

And then, how could the glare of habit and ornament be supposed any
inducement to one, who has always held, that the principal view of a
good wife in the adorning of her person, ought to be, to preserve the
affection of her husband, and to do credit to his choice; and that she
should be even fearful of attracting the eyes of others?--In this view,
must not the very richness of the patterns add to my disgusts?--Great
encouragement, indeed, to think of adorning one's self to be the wife of
Mr. Solmes!

Upon the whole, it was not possible for me to go down upon the
prescribed condition. Do you think it was?--And to write, if my letter
would have been read, what could I write that would be admitted, and
after what I had written and said to so little effect?

I walked backward and forward. I threw down with disdain the patterns.
Now to my closet retired I; then quitting it, threw myself upon the
settee; then upon this chair, then upon that; then into one window, then
into another--I knew not what to do!--And while I was in this suspense,
having again taken up the letter to re-peruse it, Betty came in,
reminding me, by order, that my papa and mamma waited for me in my
father's study.

Tell my mamma, said I, that I beg the favour of seeing her here for one
moment, or to permit me to attend her any where by herself.

I listened at the stairs-head--You see, my dear, how it is, cried
my father, very angrily: all your condescension (as your indulgence
heretofore) is thrown away. You blame your son's violence, as you call
it [I had some pleasure in hearing this]; but nothing else will do with
her. You shall not see her alone. Is my presence an exception to the
bold creature?

Tell her, said my mother to Betty, she knows upon what terms she may
come down to us. Nor will I see her upon any other.

The maid brought me this answer. I had recourse to my pen and ink; but
I trembled so, that I could not write, nor knew what to say, had I
steadier fingers. At last Betty brought me these lines from my father.


UNDUTIFUL AND PERVERSE CLARISSA,

No condescension, I see, will move you. Your mother shall not see you;
nor will I. Prepare however to obey. You know our pleasure. Your uncle
Antony, your brother, and your sister, and your favourite Mrs. Norton,
shall see the ceremony performed privately at your uncle's chapel. And
when Mr. Solmes can introduce you to us, in the temper we wish to behold
you in, we may perhaps forgive his wife, although we never can, in
any other character, our perverse daughter. As it will be so privately
performed, clothes and equipage may be provided for afterwards. So
prepare to go to your uncle's for an early day in next week. We will not
see you till all is over: and we will have it over the sooner, in order
to shorten the time of your deserved confinement, and our own trouble in
contending with such a rebel, as you have been of late. I will hear no
pleas, I will receive no letter, nor expostulation. Nor shall you hear
from me any more till you have changed your name to my liking. This from

Your incensed Father.


If this resolution be adhered to, then will my father never see me
more!--For I will never be the wife of that Solmes--I will die first--!


TUESDAY EVENING.


He, this Solmes, came hither soon after I had received my father's
letter. He sent up to beg leave to wait upon me--I wonder at his
assurance--!

I said to Betty, who brought me this message, let him restore an unhappy
creature to her father and mother, and then I may hear what he has to
say. But, if my friends will not see me on his account, I will not see
him upon his own.

I hope, Miss, said Betty, you will not send me down with this answer. He
is with you papa and mamma.

I am driven to despair, said I. I cannot be used worse. I will not see
him.

Down she went with my answer. She pretended, it seems, to be loth to
repeat it: so was commanded out of her affected reserves, and gave it in
its full force.

O how I heard my father storm!

They were altogether, it seems, in his study. My brother was for
having me turned out of the house that moment, to Lovelace, and my evil
destiny. My mother was pleased to put in a gentle word for me: I know
not what it was: but thus she was answered--My dear, this is the most
provoking thing in the world in a woman of your good sense!--To love a
rebel, as well as if she were dutiful. What encouragement for duty
is this?--Have I not loved her as well as ever you did? And why am I
changed! Would to the Lord, your sex knew how to distinguish! It is
plain, that she relies upon her power over you. The fond mother ever
made a hardened child!

She was pleased, however, to blame Betty, as the wench owned, for giving
my answer its full force. But my father praised her for it.

The wench says, that he would have come up in his wrath, at my refusing
to see Mr. Solmes, had not my brother and sister prevailed upon him to
the contrary.

I wish he had!--And, were it not for his own sake, that he had killed
me!

Mr. Solmes condescended [I am mightily obliged to him truly!] to plead
for me.

They are all in tumults! How it will end, I know not--I am quite weary
of life--So happy, till within these few weeks!--So miserable now!

Well, indeed, might my mother say, that I should have severe trials.*


* See Letter XXV.


P.S. The idiot [such a one am I treated like!] is begged, as I may say,
by my brother and sister. They have desired, that I may be consigned
over entirely to their management. If it be granted, [it is granted,
on my father's part, I understand, but not yet on my mother's,] what
cruelty may I not expect from their envy, jealousy, and ill-will!--I
shall soon see, by its effects, if I am to be so consigned. This is a
written intimation privately dropt in my wood-house walk, by my cousin
Dolly Hervey. The dear girl longs to see me, she tells me: but is
forbidden till she see me as Mrs. Solmes, or as consenting to be his. I
will take example by their perseverance!--Indeed I will--!



LETTER XLII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE


An angry dialogue, a scolding-bout rather, has passed between my sister
and me. Did you think I could scold, my dear?

She was sent up to me, upon my refusal to see Mr. Solmes--let loose
upon me, I think!--No intention on their parts to conciliate! It seems
evident that I am given up to my brother and her, by general consent.

I will do justice to every thing she said against me, which carried any
force with it. As I ask for your approbation or disapprobation of my
conduct, upon the facts I lay before you, I should think it the sign of
a very bad cause, if I endeavoured to mislead my judge.

She began with representing to me the danger I had been in, had my
father come up, as he would have done had he not been hindered--by
Mr. Solmes, among the rest. She reflected upon my Norton, as if she
encouraged me in my perverseness. She ridiculed me for my supposed
esteem for Mr. Lovelace--was surprised that the witty, the prudent, nay,
the dutiful and pi--ous [so she sneeringly pronounced the word] Clarissa
Harlowe, should be so strangely fond of a profligate man, that her
parents were forced to lock her up, in order to hinder her from running
into his arms. 'Let me ask you, my dear, said she, how you now keep
your account of the disposition of your time? How many hours in the
twenty-four do you devote to your needle? How many to your prayers?
How many to letter-writing? And how many to love?--I doubt, I doubt, my
little dear, was her arch expression, the latter article is like Aaron's
rod, and swallows up the rest!--Tell me; is it not so?'

To these I answered, That it was a double mortification to me to owe
my safety from the effects of my father's indignation to a man I could
never thank for any thing. I vindicated the good Mrs. Norton with a
warmth that was due to her merit. With equal warmth I resented her
reflections upon me on Mr. Lovelace's account. As to the disposition of
my time in the twenty-four hours, I told her it would better have become
her to pity a sister in distress, than to exult over her--especially,
when I could too justly attribute to the disposition of some of her
wakeful hours no small part of that distress.

She raved extremely at this last hint: but reminded me of the gentle
treatment of all my friends, my mother's in particular, before it
came to this. She said, that I had discovered a spirit they never had
expected: that, if they had thought me such a championess, they would
hardly have ventured to engage with me: but that now, the short and the
long of it was, that the matter had gone too far to be given up: that it
was become a contention between duty and willfulness; whether a parent's
authority were to yield to a daughter's obstinacy, or the contrary: that
I must therefore bend or break, that was all, child.

I told her, that I wished the subject were of such a nature, that I
could return her pleasantry with equal lightness of heart: but that, if
Mr. Solmes had such merit in every body's eyes, in hers, particularly,
why might he not be a brother to me, rather than a husband?

O child, says she, methinks you are as pleasant to the full as I am:
I begin to have some hopes of you now. But do you think I will rob my
sister of her humble servant? Had he first addressed himself to me,
proceeded she, something might have been said: but to take my younger
sister's refusal! No, no, child; it is not come to that neither!
Besides, that would be to leave the door open in your heart for you know
who, child; and we would fain bar him out, if possible. In short [and
then she changed both her tone and her looks] had I been as forward
as somebody, to throw myself into the arms of one of the greatest
profligates in England, who had endeavoured to support his claim to me
through the blood of my brother, then might all my family join together
to save me from such a wretch, and to marry me as fast as they could,
to some worthy man, who might opportunely offer himself. And now, Clary,
all's out, and make the most of it.

Did not this deserve a severe return? Do, say it did, to justify my
reply.--Alas! for my poor sister! said I--The man was not always so
great a profligate. How true is the observation, That unrequited love
turns to deepest hate!

I thought she would beat me. But I proceeded--I have heard often of my
brother's danger, and my brother's murderer. When so little ceremony is
made with me, why should I not speak out?--Did he not seek to kill the
other, if he could have done it? Would my brother have given Lovelace
his life, had it been in his power?--The aggressor should not
complain.--And, as to opportune offers, would to Heaven some one
had offered opportunely to somebody! It is not my fault, Bella, the
opportune gentleman don't come!

Could you, my dear, have shewn more spirit? I expected to feel the
weight of her hand. She did come up to me, with it held up: then,
speechless with passion, ran half way down the stairs, and came up
again.

When she could speak--God give me patience with you!

Amen, said I: but you see, Bella, how ill you bear the retort you
provoke. Will you forgive me; and let me find a sister in you, as I am
sorry, if you had reason to think me unsisterly in what I have said?

Then did she pour upon me, with greater violence; considering my
gentleness as a triumph of temper over her. She was resolved, she said,
to let every body know how I took the wicked Lovelace's part against my
brother.

I wished, I told her, I could make the plea for myself, which she
might for herself; to wit, that my anger was more inexcusable than my
judgment. But I presumed she had some other view in coming to me, than
she had hitherto acquainted me with. Let me, said I, but know (after
all that has passed) if you have any thing to propose that I can comply
with; any thing that can make my only sister once more my friend?

I had before, upon hearing her ridiculing me on my supposed character of
meekness, said, that, although I wished to be thought meek, I would not
be abject; although humble not mean: and here, in a sneering way, she
cautioned me on that head.

I replied, that her pleasantry was much more agreeable than her anger.
But I wished she would let me know the end of a visit that had hitherto
(between us) been so unsisterly.

She desired to be informed, in the name of every body, was her word,
what I was determined upon? And whether to comply or not?--One word for
all: My friends were not to have patience with so perverse a creature
for ever.

This then I told her I would do: Absolutely break with the man they were
all so determined against: upon condition, however, that neither Mr.
Solmes, nor any other, were urged upon me with the force of a command.

And what was this, more than I had offered before? What, but ringing
my changes upon the same bells, and neither receding nor advancing one
tittle?

If I knew what other proposals I could make, I told her, that would
be acceptable to them all, and free me from the address of a man so
disagreeable to me, I would make them. I had indeed before offered,
never to marry without my father's consent--

She interrupted me, That was because I depended upon my whining tricks
to bring my father and mother to what I pleased.

A poor dependence! I said:--She knew those who would make that
dependence vain--

And I should have brought them to my own beck, very probably, and my
uncle Harlowe too, as also my aunt Hervey, had I not been forbidden from
their sight, and thereby hindered from playing my pug's tricks before
them.

At least, Bella, said I, you have hinted to me to whom I am obliged,
that my father and mother, and every body else, treat me thus harshly.
But surely you make them all very weak. Indifferent persons, judging of
us two from what you say, would either think me a very artful creature,
or you a very spiteful one--

You are indeed a very artful one, for that matter, interrupted she in
a passion: one of the artfullest I ever knew! And then followed an
accusation so low! so unsisterly!--That I half-bewitched people by my
insinuating address: that nobody could be valued or respected, but must
stand like ciphers wherever I came. How often, said she, have I and my
brother been talking upon a subject, and had every body's attention,
till you came in, with your bewitching meek pride, and humble
significance? And then have we either been stopped by references to Miss
Clary's opinion, forsooth; or been forced to stop ourselves, or must
have talked on unattended to by every body.

She paused. Dear Bella, proceed!

She indeed seemed only gathering breath.

And so I will, said she--Did you not bewitch my grandfather? Could any
thing be pleasing to him, that you did not say or do? How did he use
to hang, till he slabbered again, poor doting old man! on your silver
tongue! Yet what did you say, that we could not have said? What did you
do, that we did not endeavour to do?--And what was all this for? Why,
truly, his last will shewed what effect your smooth obligingness had
upon him!--To leave the acquired part of his estate from the next heirs,
his own sons, to a grandchild; to his youngest grandchild! A daughter
too!--To leave the family-pictures from his sons to you, because you
could tiddle about them, and, though you now neglect their examples,
could wipe and clean them with your dainty hands! The family-plate too,
in such quantities, of two or three generations standing, must not be
changed, because his precious child,* humouring his old fal-lal taste,
admired it, to make it all her own.


     * Alluding to his words in the preamble to the clauses in
     his will. See Letter IV.


This was too low to move me: O my poor sister! said I: not to be able,
or at least willing, to distinguish between art and nature! If I did
oblige, I was happy in it: I looked for no further reward: my mind is
above art, from the dirty motives you mention. I wish with all my heart
my grandfather had not thus distinguished me; he saw my brother likely
to be amply provided for out of the family, as well as in it: he desired
that you might have the greater share of my father's favour for it;
and no doubt but you both have. You know, Bella, that the estate my
grandfather bequeathed me was not half the real estate he left.

What's all that to an estate in possession, and left you with such
distinctions, as gave you a reputation of greater value than the estate
itself?

Hence my misfortune, Bella, in your envy, I doubt!--But have I not given
up that possession in the best manner I could--

Yes, interrupting me, she hated me for that best manner. Specious little
witch! she called me: your best manner, so full of art and design, had
never been seen through, if you, with your blandishing ways, have not
been put out of sight, and reduced to positive declarations!--Hindered
from playing your little declarations!--Hindered from playing your
little whining tricks! curling, like a serpent about your mamma; and
making her cry to deny you any thing your little obstinate heart was set
upon--!

Obstinate heart, Bella!

Yes, obstinate heart! For did you ever give up any thing? Had you not
the art to make them think all was right you asked, though my brother
and I were frequently refused favours of no greater import!

I know not, Bella, that I ever asked any thing unfit to be granted. I
seldom asked favours for myself, but for others.

I was a reflecting creature for this.

All you speak of, Bella, was a long time ago. I cannot go so far back
into our childish follies. Little did I think of how long standing your
late-shewn antipathy is.

I was a reflector again! Such a saucy meekness; such a best manner; and
such venom in words!--O Clary! Clary! Thou wert always a two-faced girl!

Nobody thought I had two faces, when I gave up all into my father's
management; taking from his bounty, as before, all my little
pocket-money, without a shilling addition to my stipend, or desiring
it--

Yes, cunning creature!--And that was another of your fetches!--For did
it not engage my fond father (as no doubt you thought it would) to tell
you, that since you had done so grateful and dutiful a thing, he would
keep entire, for your use, all the produce of the estate left you, and
be but your steward in it; and that you should be entitled to the same
allowances as before? Another of your hook-in's, Clary!--So that all
your extravagancies have been supported gratis.

My extravagancies, Bella!--But did my father ever give me any thing he
did not give you?

Yes, indeed; I got more by that means, than I should have had the
conscience to ask. But I have still the greater part to shew! But you!
What have you to shew?--I dare say, not fifty pieces in the world!

Indeed I have not!

I believe you!--Your mamma Norton, I suppose--But mum for that--!

Unworthy Bella! The good woman, although low in circumstance, is great
in mind! Much greater than those who would impute meanness to a soul
incapable of it.

What then have you done with the sums given you from infancy to
squander?--Let me ask you [affecting archness], Has, has, has Lovelace,
has your rake, put it out at interest for you?

O that my sister would not make me blush for her! It is, however, out at
interest!--And I hope it will bring me interest upon interest!--Better
than to lie useless in my cabinet.

She understood me, she said. Were I a man, she should suppose I was
aiming to carry the county--Popularity! A crowd to follow me with their
blessings as I went to and from church, and nobody else to be regarded,
were agreeable things. House-top-proclamations! I hid not my light under
a bushel, she would say that for me. But was it not a little hard upon
me, to be kept from blazing on a Sunday?--And to be hindered from my
charitable ostentations?

This, indeed, Bella, is cruel in you, who have so largely contributed to
my confinement.--But go on. You'll be out of breath by-and-by. I cannot
wish to be able to return this usage.--Poor Bella! And I believe I
smiled a little too contemptuously for a sister to a sister.

None of your saucy contempts [rising in her voice]: None of your poor
Bella's, with that air of superiority in a younger sister!

Well then, rich Bella! courtesying--that will please you better--and it
is due likewise to the hoards you boast of.

Look ye, Clary, holding up her hand, if you are not a little more abject
in your meekness, a little more mean in your humility, and treat me with
the respect due to an elder sister--you shall find--

Not that you will treat me worse than you have done, Bella!--That cannot
be; unless you were to let fall your uplifted hand upon me--and that
would less become you to do, than me to bear.

Good, meek creature:--But you were upon your overtures just now!--I
shall surprise every body by tarrying so long. They will think some good
may be done with you--and supper will be ready.

A tear would stray down my cheek--How happy have I been, said I,
sighing, in the supper-time conversations, with all my dear friends in
my eye round their hospitable board.

I met only with insult for this--Bella has not a feeling heart. The
highest joy in this life she is not capable of: but then she saves
herself many griefs, by her impenetrableness--yet, for ten times the
pain that such a sensibility is attended with, would I not part with the
pleasure it brings with it.

She asked me, upon my turning from her, if she should not say any thing
below of my compliances?

You may say, that I will do every thing they would have me do, if they
will free me from Mr. Solmes's address.

This is all you desire at present, creeper on! insinuator! [What words
she has!] But will not t'other man flame out, and roar most horribly,
upon the snatching from his paws a prey he thought himself sure of?

I must let you talk in your own way, or we shall never come to a point.
I shall not matter in his roaring, as you call it. I will promise him,
that, if I ever marry any other man, it shall not be till he is married.
And if he be not satisfied with such a condescension, I shall think he
ought: and I will give any assurances, that I will neither correspond
with him, nor see him. Surely this will do.

But I suppose then you will have no objection to see and converse, on a
civil footing, with Mr. Solmes--as your father's friend, or so?

No! I must be permitted to retire to my apartment whenever he comes.
I would no more converse with the one, than correspond with the other.
That would be to make Mr. Lovelace guilty of some rashness, on a belief,
that I broke with him, to have Mr. Solmes.

And so, that wicked wretch is to be allowed such a controul over you,
that you are not to be civil to your father's friends, at his own house,
for fear of incensing him!--When this comes to be represented, be so
good as to tell me, what is it you expect from it!

Every thing, I said, or nothing, as she was pleased to represent it.--Be
so good as to give it your interest, Bella, and say, further, 'That
I will by any means I can, in the law or otherwise, make over to my
father, to my uncles, or even to my brother, all I am entitled to by my
grandfather's will, as a security for the performance of my promises.
And as I shall have no reason to expect any favour from my father, if I
break them, I shall not be worth any body's having. And further
still, unkindly as my brother has used me, I will go down to Scotland
privately, as his housekeeper [I now see I may be spared here] if he
will promise to treat me no worse than he would do an hired one.--Or
I will go to Florence, to my cousin Morden, if his stay in Italy will
admit of it. In either case, it may be given out, that I am gone to the
other; or to the world's end. I care not whither it is said I am gone,
or do go.'

Let me ask you, child, if you will give your pretty proposal in writing?

Yes, with all my heart. And I stepped to my closet, and wrote to the
purpose I have mentioned; and moreover, the following lines to my
brother.


MY DEAR BROTHER,

I hope I have made such proposals to my sister as will be accepted. I am
sure they will, if you please to give them your sanction. Let me beg
of you, for God's sake, that you will. I think myself very unhappy in
having incurred your displeasure. No sister can love a brother better
than I love you. Pray do not put the worst but the best constructions
upon my proposals, when you have them reported to you. Indeed I mean the
best. I have no subterfuges, no arts, no intentions, but to keep to the
letter of them. You shall yourself draw up every thing into writing, as
strong as you can, and I will sign it: and what the law will not do to
enforce it, my resolution and my will shall: so that I shall be worth
nobody's address, that has not my papa's consent: nor shall any person,
nor any consideration, induce me to revoke it. You can do more than any
body to reconcile my parents and uncles to me. Let me owe this desirable
favour to your brotherly interposition, and you will for ever oblige

Your afflicted Sister, CL. HARLOWE.


***


And how do you think Bella employed herself while I was writing?--Why,
playing gently upon my harpsichord; and humming to it, to shew her
unconcernedness.

When I approached her with what I had written, she arose with an air
of levity--Why, love, you have not written already!--You have, I
protest!--O what a ready penwoman!--And may I read it?

If you please. And let me beseech you, my dear Bella, to back these
proposals with your good offices: and [folding my uplifted hands; tears,
I believe, standing in my eyes] I will love you as never sister loved
another.

Thou art a strange creature, said she; there is no withstanding thee.

She took the proposals and letter; and having read them, burst into an
affected laugh: How wise ones may be taken in!--Then you did not know,
that I was jesting with you all this time!--And so you would have me
carry down this pretty piece of nonsense?

Don't let me be surprised at your seeming unsisterliness, Bella. I hope
it is but seeming. There can be no wit in such jesting as this.

The folly of the creature!--How natural is it for people, when they set
their hearts upon any thing, to think every body must see with their
eyes!--Pray, dear child, what becomes of your father's authority
here?--Who stoops here, the parent, or the child?--How does this square
with engagements actually agreed upon between your father and Mr.
Solmes? What security, that your rake will not follow you to the world's
end?--Nevertheless, that you may not think that I stand in the way of
a reconciliation on such fine terms as these, I will be your messenger
this once, and hear what my papa will say to it; although beforehand I
can tell you, these proposals will not answer the principal end.

So down she went. But, it seems, my aunt Hervey and my uncle Harlowe
were not gone away: and as they have all engaged to act in concert,
messengers were dispatched to my uncle and aunt to desire them to be
there to breakfast in the morning.


MONDAY NIGHT, ELEVEN O'CLOCK.


I am afraid I shall not be thought worthy--

Just as I began to fear I should not be thought worthy of an answer,
Betty rapped at my door, and said, if I were not in bed, she had a
letter for me. I had but just done writing the above dialogue, and stept
to the door with the pen in my hand--Always writing, Miss! said the
bold wench: it is admirable how you can get away what you write--but the
fairies, they say, are always at hand to help lovers.--She retired in
so much haste, that, had I been disposed, I could not take the notice of
this insolence which it deserved.

I enclose my brother's letter. He was resolved to let me see, that I
should have nothing to expect from his kindness. But surely he will
not be permitted to carry every point. The assembling of my friends
to-morrow is a good sign: and I will hope something from that, and from
proposals so reasonable. And now I will try if any repose will fall to
my lot for the remainder of this night.


TO MISS CLARY HARLOWE [ENCLOSED IN THE PRECEDING.]

Your proposals will be considered by your father and mother, and
all your friends, to-morrow morning. What trouble does your shameful
forwardness give us all! I wonder you have the courage to write to me,
upon whom you are so continually emptying your whole female quiver. I
have no patience with you, for reflecting upon me as the aggressor in a
quarrel which owed its beginning to my consideration for you.

You have made such confessions in a villain's favour, as ought to cause
all your relations to renounce you for ever. For my part, I will
not believe any woman in the world, who promises against her avowed
inclination. To put it out of your power to ruin yourself is the only
way left to prevent your ruin. I did not intend to write; but your
too-kind sister has prevailed upon me. As to your going to Scotland,
that day of grace is over.--Nor would I advise, that you should go to
grandfather-up your cousin Morden. Besides, that worthy gentleman might
be involved in some fatal dispute, upon your account; and then be called
the aggressor.

A fine situation you have brought yourself to, to propose to hide
yourself from your rake, and to have falsehoods told, to conceal
you!--Your confinement, at this rate, is the happiest thing that could
befal you. Your bravo's behaviour at church, looking out for you, is a
sufficient indication of his power over you, had you not so shamelessly
acknowledged it.

One word for all--Your parents and uncles may do as they will: but if,
for the honour of the family, I cannot carry this point, I will retire
to Scotland, and never see the face of any one of it more.

JAMES HARLOWE.


***


There's a brother!--There's flaming duty to a father, and mother, and
uncles!--But he sees himself valued, and made of consequence; and he
gives himself airs accordingly!--Nevertheless, as I said above, I will
hope better things from those who have not the interest my brother has
to keep open these unhappy differences.



LETTER XLIII

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE TUESDAY, MARCH 21.


Would you not have thought, my dear Miss Howe, as well as I, that my
proposal must have been accepted: and that my brother, by the last
article of his unbrotherly letter (where he threatens to go to Scotland
if it should be hearkened to) was of opinion that it would.

For my part, after I had read the unkind letter over and over,
I concluded, upon the whole, that a reconciliation upon terms so
disadvantageous to myself, as hardly any other person in my case, I
dare say, would have proposed, must be the result of this morning's
conference. And in that belief I had begun to give myself new trouble in
thinking (this difficulty over) how I should be able to pacify Lovelace
on that part of my engagement, by which I undertook to break off all
correspondence with him, unless my friends should be brought, by the
interposition of his powerful friends, and any offers they might make,
(which it was rather his part to suggest, than mine to intimate,) to
change their minds.

Thus was I employed, not very agreeably, you may believe, because of the
vehemence of the tempers I had to conflict with; when breakfasting-time
approached, and my judges began to arrive.

And oh! how my heart fluttered on hearing the chariot of the one,
and then of the other, rattle through the court-yard, and the
hollow-sounding foot-step giving notice of each person's stepping out,
to take his place on the awful bench which my fancy had formed for them
and my other judges!

That, thought I, is my aunt Hervey's! That my uncle Harlowe's! Now comes
my uncle Antony! And my imagination made a fourth chariot for the odious
Solmes, although it happened he was not there.

And now, thought I, are they all assembled: and now my brother calls
upon my sister to make her report! Now the hard-hearted Bella interlards
her speech with invective! Now has she concluded her report! Now they
debate upon it!--Now does my brother flame! Now threaten to go to
Scotland! Now is he chidden, and now soothed!

And then I ran through the whole conference in my imagination, forming
speeches for this person and that, pro and con, till all concluded, as
I flattered myself, in an acceptance of my conditions, and in giving
directions to have an instrument drawn to tie me up to my good
behaviour; while I supposed all agreed to give Solmes a wife every way
more worthy of him, and with her the promise of my grandfather's estate,
in case of my forfeiture, or dying unmarried, on the righteous condition
he proposes to entitle himself to it with me.

And now, thought I, am I to be ordered down to recognize my own
proposals. And how shall I look upon my awful judges? How shall I stand
the questions of some, the set surliness of others, the returning love
of one or two? How greatly shall I be affected!

Then I wept: then I dried my eyes: then I practised at my glass for a
look more cheerful than my heart.

And now [as any thing stirred] is my sister coming to declare the issue
of all! Tears gushing again, my heart fluttering as a bird against its
wires; drying my eyes again and again to no purpose.

And thus, my Nancy, [excuse the fanciful prolixity,] was I employed, and
such were my thoughts and imaginations, when I found a very different
result from the hopeful conference.

For about ten o'clock up came my sister, with an air of cruel triumph,
waving her hand with a light flourish--

Obedience without reserve is required of you, Clary. My papa is justly
incensed, that you should presume to dispute his will, and to make
conditions with him. He knows what is best for you: and as you own
matters are gone a great way between this hated Lovelace and you,
they will believe nothing you say; except you will give the one only
instance, that will put them out of doubt of the sincerity of your
promises.

What, child, are you surprised?--Cannot you speak?--Then, it seems, you
had expected a different issue, had you?--Strange that you could!--With
all your acknowledgements and confessions, so creditable to your noted
prudence--!

I was indeed speechless for some time: my eyes were even fixed, and
ceased to flow. But upon the hard-hearted Bella's proceeding with her
airs of insult, Indeed I was mistaken, said I; indeed I was!----For in
you, Bella, I expected, I hoped for, a sister--

What! interrupted she, with all your mannerly flings, and your despising
airs, did you expect that I was capable of telling stories for you?--Did
you think, that when I was asked my own opinion of the sincerity of your
declarations, I could not tell tem, how far matters had gone between you
and your fellow?--When the intention is to bend that stubborn will of
yours to your duty, do you think I would deceive them?--Do you think I
would encourage them to call you down, to contradict all that I should
have invented in your favour?

Well, well, Bella; I am the less obliged to you; that's all. I was
willing to think that I had still a brother and sister. But I find I am
mistaken.

Pretty mopsy-eyed soul!--was her expression!--And was it willing to
think it had still a brother and sister? And why don't you go on, Clary?
[mocking my half-weeping accent] I thought I had a father, and mother,
two uncles, and an aunt: but I am mis--taken, that's all--come, Clary,
say this, and it will in part be true, because you have thrown off all
their authority, and because you respect one vile wretch more than them
all.

How have I deserved this at your hands, Sister?--But I will only say, I
pity you.

And with that disdainful air too, Clary!--None of that bridled neck!
none of your scornful pity, girl!--I beseech you!

This sort of behaviour is natural to you, surely, Bella!--What new
talents does it discover in you!--But proceed--If it be a pleasure to
you, proceed, Bella. And since I must not pity you, I will pity myself:
for nobody else will.

Because you don't, said she--

Hush, Bella, interrupting her, because I don't deserve it--I know you
were going to say so. I will say as you say in every thing; and that's
the way to please you.

Then say, Lovelace is a villain.

So I will, when I think him so.

Then you don't think him so?

Indeed I don't. You did not always, Bella.

And what, Clary, mean you by that? [bristling up to me]--Tell me what
you mean by that reflection?

Tell me why you call it a reflection?--What did I say?

Thou art a provoking creature--But what say you to two or three duels of
that wretch's?

I can't tell what to say, unless I knew the occasions.

Do you justify duelling at all?

I do not: neither can I help his duelling.

Will you go down, and humble that stubborn spirit of yours to your
mamma?

I said nothing.

Shall I conduct your Ladyship down? [offering to take my declined hand].

What! not vouchsafe to answer me?

I turned from her in silence.

What! turn your back upon me too!--Shall I bring up your mamma to you,
love? [following me, and taking my struggling hand] What? not speak yet!
Come, my sullen, silent dear, speak one word to me--you must say two
very soon to Mr. Solmes, I can tell you that.

Then [gushing into tears, which I could not hold in longer] they shall
be the last words I will ever speak.

Well, well, [insultingly wiping my averted face with her handkerchief,
while her other hand held mine, in a ridiculing tone,] I am glad any
thing will make thee speak: then you think you may be brought to speak
the two words--only they are to be the last!--How like a gentle lovyer
from its tender bleeding heart was that!

Ridiculous Bella!

Saucy Clary! [changing her sneering tone to an imperious one] But do you
think you can humble yourself to go down to your mamma?

I am tired of such stuff as this. Tell me, Bella, if my mamma will
condescend to see me?

Yes, if you can be dutiful at last.

I can. I will.

But what call you dutiful?

To give up my own inclinations--That's something more for you to tell
of--in obedience to my parents' commands; and to beg that I may not be
made miserable with a man that is fitter for any body than for me.

For me, do you mean, Clary?

Why not? since you have put the question. You have a better opinion of
him than I have. My friends, I hope, would not think him too good for
me, and not good enough for you. But cannot you tell me, Bella, what
is to become of me, without insulting over me thus?--If I must be thus
treated, remember, that if I am guilty of any rashness, the usage I meet
with will justify it.

So, Clary, you are contriving an excuse, I find, for somewhat that we
have not doubted has been in your head a great while.

If it were so, you seem resolved, for your part, and so does my brother
for his, that I shall not want one.--But indeed, Bella, I can bear no
longer this repetition of the worst part of yesterday's conversation:
I desire I may throw myself at my father's and mother's feet, and hear
from them what their sentence is. I shall at least avoid, by that means,
the unsisterly insults I meet with from you.

Hey-day! What, is this you? Is it you, my meek sister Clary?

Yes, it is I, Bella; and I will claim the protection due to a child of
the family, or to know why I am to be thus treated, when I offer only to
preserve to myself the liberty of refusal, which belongs to my sex; and,
to please my parents, would give up my choice. I have contented myself
till now to take second-hand messengers, and first-hand insults: you are
but my sister: my brother is not my sovereign. And while I have a father
and mother living, I will not be thus treated by a brother and sister,
and their servants, all setting upon me, as it should seem, to make me
desperate, and do a rash thing.--I will know, in short, sister Bella,
why I am to be constrained thus?--What is intended by it?--And whether I
am to be considered as a child or a slave?

She stood aghast all this time, partly with real, partly with affected,
surprise.

And is it you? Is it indeed you?--Well, Clary, you amaze me! But since
you are so desirous to refer yourself to your father and mother, I will
go down, and tell them what you say. Your friends are not yet gone,
I believe: they shall assemble again; and then you may come down, and
plead your own cause in person.

Let me then. But let my brother and you be absent. You have made
yourselves too much parties against me, to sit as my judges. And I
desire to have none of yours or his interpositions. I am sure you could
not have represented what I proposed fairly: I am sure you could not.
Nor is it possible you should be commissioned to treat me thus.

Well, well, I'll call up my brother to you.--I will indeed.--He shall
justify himself, as well as me.

I desire not to see my brother, except he will come as a brother, laying
aside the authority he has unjustly assumed over me.

And so, Clary, it is nothing to him, or to me, is it, that our sister
shall disgrace her whole family?

As how, Bella, disgrace it?--The man whom you thus freely treat, is a
man of birth and fortune: he is a man of parts, and nobly allied.--He
was once thought worthy of you: and I wish to Heaven you had had him.
I am sure it was not thus my fault you had not, although you treat me
thus.

This set her into a flame: I wish I had forborne it. O how the poor
Bella raved! I thought she would have beat me once or twice: and she
vowed her fingers itched to do so--but I was not worth her anger: yet
she flamed on.

We were heard to be high.--And Betty came up from my mother to command
my sister to attend her.--She went down accordingly, threatening me with
letting every one know what a violent creature I had shewn myself to be.


TUESDAY NOON, MARCH 21.


I have as yet heard no more of my sister: and have not courage enough
to insist upon throwing myself at the feet of my father and mother, as I
thought in my heat of temper I should be able to do. And I am now grown
as calm as ever; and were Bella to come up again, as fit to be played
upon as before.

I am indeed sorry that I sent her from me in such disorder. But my
papa's letter threatening me with my uncle Antony's house and chapel,
terrifies me strangely; and by their silence I'm afraid some new storm
is gathering.

But what shall I do with this Lovelace? I have just now, but the
unsuspected hole in the wall (that I told you of in my letter by Hannah)
got a letter from him--so uneasy is he for fear I should be prevailed
upon in Solmes's favour; so full of menaces, if I am; so resenting
the usage I receive [for, how I cannot tell, but he has undoubtedly
intelligence of all that is done in the family]; such protestations of
inviolable faith and honour; such vows of reformation; such pressing
arguments to escape from this disgraceful confinement--O my Nancy, what
shall I do with this Lovelace?--



LETTER XLIV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE WENESDAY MORNING, NINE O'CLOCK.


My aunt Hervey lay here last night, and is but just gone from me. She
came up to me with my sister. They would not trust my aunt without this
ill-natured witness. When she entered my chamber, I told her, that this
visit was a high favour to a poor prisoner, in her hard confinement.
I kissed her hand. She, kindly saluting me, said, Why this distance to
your aunt, my dear, who loves you so well?

She owned, that she came to expostulate with me, for the peace-sake of
the family: for that she could not believe it possible, if I did not
conceive myself unkindly treated, that I, who had ever shewn such a
sweetness of temper, as well as manners, should be thus resolute, in a
point so very near to my father, and all my friends. My mother and she
were both willing to impute my resolution to the manner I had been begun
with; and to my supposing that my brother had originally more of a hand
in the proposals made by Mr. Solmes, than my father or other friends. In
short, fain would my aunt have furnished me with an excuse to come off
my opposition; Bell all the while humming a tune, and opening this book
and that, without meaning; but saying nothing.

After having shewed me, that my opposition could not be of
signification, my father's honour being engaged, my aunt concluded with
enforcing upon me my duty, in stronger terms than I believe she would
have done, (the circumstances of the case considered), had not my sister
been present.

It would be repeating what I have so often mentioned, to give you the
arguments that passed on both sides.--So I will only recite what she was
pleased to say, that carried with it a new face.

When she found me inflexible, as she was pleased to call it, she said,
For her part, she could not but say, that if I were not to have either
Mr. Solmes or Mr. Lovelace, and yet, to make my friends easy, must
marry, she should not think amiss of Mr. Wyerley. What did I think of
Mr. Wyerley?

Ay, Clary, put in my sister, what say you to Mr. Wyerley?

I saw through this immediately. It was said on purpose, I doubted
not, to have an argument against me of absolute prepossession in Mr.
Lovelace's favour: since Mr. Wyerley every where avows his value, even
to veneration, for me; and is far less exceptionable both in person and
mind, than Mr. Solmes: and I was willing to turn the tables, by trying
how far Mr. Solmes's terms might be dispensed with; since the same terms
could not be expected from Mr. Wyerley.

I therefore desired to know, whether my answer, if it should be in
favour of Mr. Wyerley, would release me from Mr. Solmes?--For I owned,
that I had not the aversion to him, that I had to the other.

Nay, she had no commission to propose such a thing. She only knew, that
my father and mother would not be easy till Mr. Lovelace's hopes were
entirely defeated.

Cunning creature! said my sister.

And this, and her joining in the question before, convinced me, that it
was a designed snare for me.

Don't you, dear Madam, said I, put questions that can answer no end, but
to support my brother's schemes against me.--But are there any hopes
of an end to my sufferings and disgrace, without having this hated man
imposed upon me? Will not what I have offered be accepted? I am sure it
ought--I will venture to say that.

Why, Niece, if there be not any such hopes, I presume you don't think
yourself absolved from the duty due from a child to her parents?

Yes, said my sister, I do not doubt but it is Miss Clary's aim, if she
does not fly to her Lovelace, to get her estate into her own hands, and
go to live at The Grove, in that independence upon which she builds all
her perverseness. And, dear heart! my little love, how will you then
blaze away! Your mamma Norton, your oracle, with your poor at your
gates, mingling so proudly and so meanly with the ragged herd!
Reflecting, by your ostentation, upon all the ladies in the county,
who do not as you do. This is known to be your scheme! and the poor
without-doors, and Lovelace within, with one hand building up a name,
pulling it down with the other!--O what a charming scheme is this!--But
let me tell you, my pretty little flighty one, that your father's living
will shall controul your grandfather's dead one; and that estate will be
disposed of as your fond grandfather would have disposed of it, had he
lived to see such a change in his favourite. In a word, Miss, it will be
kept out of your hands, till my father sees you discreet enough to have
the management of it, or till you can dutifully, by law, tear it from
him.

Fie, Miss Harlowe! said my aunt: this is not pretty to your sister.

O Madam, let her go on. This is nothing to what I have borne from Miss
Harlowe. She is either commissioned to treat me ill by her envy, or by
an higher authority, to which I must submit.--As to revoking the estate,
what hinders, if I pleased? I know my power; but have not the least
thought of exerting it. Be pleased to let my father know, that, whatever
be the consequence to myself, were he to turn me out of doors, (which
I should rather he would do, than to be confined and insulted as I am),
and were I to be reduced to indigence and want, I would seek no relief
that should be contrary to his will.

For that matter, child, said my aunt, were you to marry, you must do as
your husband will have you. If that husband be Mr. Lovelace, he will be
glad of any opportunity of further embroiling the families. And, let
me tell you, Niece, if he had the respect for you which he pretends to
have, he would not throw out defiances as he does. He is known to be a
very revengeful man; and were I you, Miss Clary, I should be afraid he
would wreak upon me that vengeance, though I had not offended him, which
he is continually threatening to pour upon the family.

Mr. Lovelace's threatened vengeance is in return for threatened
vengeance. It is not every body will bear insult, as, of late, I have
been forced to bear it.

O how my sister's face shone with passion!

But Mr. Lovelace, proceeded I, as I have said twenty and twenty times,
would be quite out of question with me, were I to be generously treated!

My sister said something with great vehemence: but only raising my
voice, to be heard, without minding her, Pray, Madam, (provokingly
interrogated I), was he not known to have been as wild a man, when he
was at first introduced into our family, as he now is said to be? Yet
then, the common phrases of wild oats, and black oxen, and such-like,
were qualifiers; and marriage, and the wife's discretion, were to
perform wonders--but (turning to my sister) I find I have said too much.

O thou wicked reflecter!--And what made me abhor him, think you, but
the proof of those villainous freedoms that ought to have had the same
effect upon you, were you but half so good a creature as you pretend to
be?

Proof, did you say, Bella! I thought you had not proof?--But you know
best.

Was not this very spiteful, my dear?

Now, Clary, said she, would I give a thousand pounds to know all that is
in thy little rancorous and reflecting heart at this moment.

I might let you know for a much less sum, and not be afraid of being
worse treated than I have been.

Well, young ladies, I am sorry to see passion run so high between
you. You know, Niece, (to me,) you had not been confined thus to
your apartment, could your mother by condescension, or your father by
authority, have been able to move you. But how can you expect, when
there must be a concession on one side, that it should be on theirs?
If my Dolly, who has not the hundredth part of your understanding, were
thus to set herself up in absolute contradiction to my will, in a point
so material, I should not take it well of her--indeed I should not.

I believe not, Madam: and if Miss Hervey had just such a brother, and
just such a sister [you may look, Bella!] and if both were to aggravate
her parents, as my brother and sister do mine--then, perhaps, you might
use her as I am used: and if she hated the man you proposed to her, and
with as much reason as I do Mr. Solmes--

And loved a rake and libertine, Miss, as you do Lovelace, said my
sister--

Then might she [continued I, not minding her,] beg to be excused from
obeying. Yet if she did, and would give you the most solemn assurances,
and security besides, that she would never have the man you disliked,
against your consent--I dare say, Miss Hervey's father and mother would
sit down satisfied, and not endeavour to force her inclinations.

So!--[said my sister, with uplifted hands] father and mother now come in
for their share!

But if, child, replied my aunt, I knew she loved a rake, and suspected
that she sought only to gain time, in order to wire-draw me into a
consent--

I beg pardon, Madam, for interrupting you; but if Miss Hervey could
obtain your consent, what further would be said?

True, child; but she never should.

Then, Madam, it would never be.

That I doubt, Niece.

If you do, Madam, can you think confinement and ill usage is the way to
prevent the apprehended rashness?

My dear, this sort of intimation would make one but too apprehensive,
that there is no trusting to yourself, when one knows your inclination.

That apprehension, Madam, seems to have been conceived before this
intimation, or the least cause for it, was given. Why else the
disgraceful confinement I have been laid under?--Let me venture to say,
that my sufferings seem to be rather owing to a concerted design to
intimidate me [Bella held up her hands], (knowing there were too good
grounds for my opposition,) than to a doubt of my conduct; for, when
they were inflicted first, I had given no cause of doubt: nor should
there now be room for any, if my discretion might be trusted to.

My aunt, after a little hesitation, said, But, consider, my dear, what
confusion will be perpetuated in your family, if you marry this hated
Lovelace!

And let it be considered, what misery to me, Madam, if I marry that
hated Solmes!

Many a young creature has thought she could not love a man, with whom
she has afterwards been very happy. Few women, child, marry their first
loves.

That may be the reason there are so few happy marriages.

But there are few first impressions fit to be encouraged.

I am afraid so too, Madam. I have a very indifferent opinion of light
and first impressions. But, as I have often said, all I wish for is, to
have leave to live single.

Indeed you must not, Miss. Your father and mother will be unhappy till
they see you married, and out of Lovelace's reach. I am told that you
propose to condition with him (so far are matters gone between you)
never to have any man, if you have not him.

I know no better way to prevent mischief on all sides, I freely own
it--and there is not, if he be out of the question, another man in the
world I can think favourably of. Nevertheless, I would give all I have
in the world, that he were married to some other person--indeed I would,
Bella, for all you put on that smile of incredulity.

May be so, Clary: but I will smile for all that.

If he be out of the question! repeated my aunt--So, Miss Clary, I see
how it is--I will go down--[Miss Harlowe, shall I follow you?]--And I
will endeavour to persuade your father to let my sister herself come up:
and a happier event may then result.

Depend upon it, Madam, said my sister, this will be the case: my mother
and she will both be in tears; but with this different effect: my
mother will come down softened, and cut to the heart; but will leave her
favourite hardened, from the advantages she will think she has over my
mother's tenderness--why, Madam, it is for this very reason the girl is
not admitted into her presence.

Thus she ran on, as she went downstairs.

END OF VOL. 1





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