Samuel Richardson.

Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady — Volume 8 online

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not without effect;* so prudently in some certain points, as to entitle
yourself to public justice; which, if true, the Lord have mercy upon you!

* See Vol. VI. Letter LXXII.

One word only more as to the above proposal: - Your admirer, Dr. Lewen, is
clear, in his opinion, that you should prosecute the villain.

But if you will not agree to this, I have another proposal to make to
you, and that in the name of every one in the family; which is, that you
will think of going to Pensylvania to reside there for some few years
till all is blown over: and, if it please God to spare you, and your
unhappy parents, till they can be satisfied that you behave like a true
and uniform penitent; at least till you are one-and-twenty; you may then
come back to your own estate, or have the produce of it sent you thither,
as you shall choose. A period which my father fixes, because it is the
custom; and because he thinks your grandfather should have fixed it; and
because, let me add, you have fully proved by your fine conduct, that you
were not at years of discretion at eighteen. Poor doting, though good
old man! - Your grandfather, he thought - But I would not be too severe.

Mr. Hartley has a widow-sister at Pensylvania, with whom he will
undertake you may board, and who is a sober, sensible, well-read woman.
And if you were once well there, it would rid your father and mother of
a world of cares, and fears, and scandal; and that I think is what you
should wish for of all things.

Mr. Hartley will engage for all accommodations in your passage suitable
to your rank and fortune; and he has a concern in a ship, which will sail
in a month; and you may take your secret-keeping Hannah with you, or whom
you will of your newer acquaintance. 'Tis presumed that your companions
will be of your own sex.

These are what I had to communicate to you; and if you'll oblige me with
an answer, (which the hand that conveys this will call for on Wednesday
morning,) it will be very condescending.




Write to me, my hard-hearted Sister, in what manner you please, I shall
always be thankful to you for your notice. But (think what you will of
me) I cannot see Mr. Ackland and the counselor on such a business as you

The Lord have mercy upon me indeed! for none else will.

Surely I am believed to a creature past all shame, or it could not be
thought of sending two gentlemen to me on such an errand.

Had my mother required of me (or would modesty have permitted you to
inquire into) the particulars of my sad story, or had Mrs. Norton been
directed to receive them from me, methinks it had been more fit: and I
presume to think that it would have been more in every one's character
too, had they been required of me before such heavy judgment had been
passed upon me as has been passed.

I know that this is Dr. Lewen's opinion. He has been so good as to
enforce it in a kind letter to me. I have answered his letter; and given
such reasons as I hope will satisfy him. I could wish it were thought
worth while to request of him a sight of my answer.*

* Her letter, containing the reasons she refers to, was not asked for;
and Dr. Lewen's death, which fell out soon after he had received it, was
the reason that it was not communicated to the family, till it was too
late to do the service that might have been hoped for from it.

To your other proposal, of going to Pensylvania; this is my answer - If
nothing happen within a month which may full as effectually rid my
parents and friends of that world of cares, and fears, and scandals,
which you mention, and if I am then able to be carried on board of ship,
I will cheerfully obey my father and mother, although I were sure to die
in the passage. And, if I may be forgiven for saying so (for indeed it
proceeds not from a spirit of reprisal) you shall set over me, instead of
my poor obliging, but really-unculpable, Hannah, your Betty Barnes; to
whom I will be answerable for all my conduct. And I will make it worth
her while to accompany me.

I am equally surprised and concerned at the hints which both you and my
uncle Antony give of new points of misbehaviour in me! - What can be meant
by them?

I will not tell you, Miss Harlowe, how much I am afflicted at your
severity, and how much I suffer by it, and by your hard-hearted levity of
style, because what I shall say may be construed into jingle and period,
and because I know it is intended, very possibly for kind ends, to
mortify me. All I will therefore say is, that it does not lose its end,
if that be it.

But, nevertheless, (divesting myself as much as possible of all
resentment,) I will only pray that Heaven will give you, for your own
sake, a kinder heart than at present you seem to have; since a kind
heart, I am convinced, is a greater blessing to its possessor than it can
be to any other person. Under this conviction I subscribe myself, my
dear Bella,

Your ever-affectionate sister,



* See Letter VI. of this volume.


The letters you sent me I now return by the hand that brings you this.

It is impossible for me to express how much I have been affected by them,
and by your last of the 17th. Indeed, my dear Miss Clary, you are very
harshly used; indeed you are! And if you should be taken from us, what
grief and what punishment are not treasuring up against themselves in the
heavy reflections which their rash censures and unforgivingness will
occasion them!

But I find to what your uncle Antony's cruel letter is owing, as well as
one you will be still more afflicted by, [God help you, my poor dear
child!] when it comes to your hand, written by your sister, with
proposals to you.*

* See Letter XXVI. ibid.

It was finished to send you yesterday, I know; and I apprize you of it,
that you should fortify your heart against the contents of it.

The motives which incline them all to this severity, if well grounded,
would authorize any severity they could express, and which, while they
believe them to be so, both they and you are to be equally pitied.

They are owning to the information of that officious Mr. Brand, who has
acquainted them (from some enemy of your's in the neighbourhood about
you) that visits are made you, highly censurable, by a man of a free
character, and an intimate of Mr. Lovelace; who is often in private with
you; sometimes twice or thrice a day.

Betty gives herself great liberties of speech upon this occasion, and all
your friends are too ready to believe that things are not as they should
be; which makes me wish that, let the gentleman's views be ever so
honourable, you could entirely drop acquaintance with him.

Something of this nature was hinted at by Betty to me before, but so
darkly that I could not tell what to make of it; and this made me mention
to you so generally as I did in my last.

Your cousin Morden has been among them. He is exceedingly concerned for
your misfortunes; and as they will not believe Mr. Lovelace would marry
you, he is determined to go to Lord M.'s, in order to inform himself from
Mr. Lovelace's own mouth, whether he intends to do you that justice or

He was extremely caressed by every one at his first arrival; but I am
told there is some little coldness between them and him at present.

I was in hopes of getting a sight of this letter of Mr. Brand: (a rash
officious man!) but it seems Mr. Morden had it given him yesterday to
read, and he took it away with him.

God be your comfort, my dear Miss! But indeed I am exceedingly disturbed
at the thoughts of what may still be the issue of all these things. I
am, my beloved young lady,

Your most affectionate and faithful



After I had sealed up the enclosed, I had the honour of a private visit
from your aunt Hervey; who has been in a very low-spirited way, and kept
her chamber for several weeks past; and is but just got abroad.

She longed, she said, to see me, and to weep with me, on the hard fate
that had befallen her beloved niece.

I will give you a faithful account of what passed between us; as I expect
that it will, upon the whole, administer hope and comfort to you.

'She pitied very much your good mother, who, she assured me, is obliged
to act a part entirely contrary to her inclinations; as she herself, she
owns, had been in a great measure.

'She said, that the poor lady was with great difficulty with-held from
answering your letter to her; which had (as was your aunt's expression)
almost broken the heart of every one: that she had reason to think that
she was neither consenting to your two uncles writing, nor approving of
what they wrote.

'She is sure they all love you dearly; but have gone so far, that they
know not how to recede.

'That, but for the abominable league which your brother had got every
body into (he refusing to set out for Scotland till it was renewed, and
till they had all promised to take no step towards a reconciliation in
his absence but by his consent; and to which your sister's resentments
kept them up); all would before now have happily subsided.

'That nobody knew the pangs which their inflexible behaviour gave them,
ever since you had begun to write to them in so affecting and humble a

'That, however, they were not inclined to believe that you were either so
ill, or so penitent as you really are; and still less, that Mr. Lovelace
is in earnest in his offers of marriage.

'She is sure, however, she says, that all will soon be well: and the
sooner for Mr. Morden's arrival: who is very zealous in your behalf.

'She wished to Heaven that you would accept of Mr. Lovelace, wicked as he
has been, if he were now in earnest.

'It had always,' she said, 'been matter of astonishment to her, that so
weak a pride in her cousin James, of making himself the whole family,
should induce them all to refuse an alliance with such a family as Mr.
Lovelace's was.

'She would have it, that your going off with Mr. Lovelace was the
unhappiest step for your honour and your interest that could have been
taken; for that although you would have had a severe trial the next day,
yet it would probably have been the last; and your pathetic powers must
have drawn you off some friends - hinting at your mother, at your uncle
Harlowe, at your uncle Hervey, and herself.'

But here (that the regret that you did not trust to the event of that
meeting, may not, in your present low way, too much afflict you) I must
observe, that it seems a little too evident, even from this opinion of
your aunt's, that it was not absolutely determined that all compulsion
was designed to be avoided, since your freedom from it must have been
owing to the party to be made among them by your persuasive eloquence and
dutiful expostulation.

'She owned, that some of them were as much afraid of meeting you as you
could be of meeting them:' - But why so, if they designed, in the last
instance, to give you your way?

Your aunt told me, 'That Mrs. Williams* had been with her, and asked her
opinion, if it would be taken amiss, if she desired leave to go up, to
attend her dearest young lady in her calamity. Your aunt referred her to
your mother: but had heard no more of it.

* The former housekeeper at Harlowe-place.

'Her daughter,' (Miss Dolly,) she said, 'had been frequently earnest with
her on the same subject; and renewed her request with the greatest
fervour when your first letter came to hand.'

Your aunt says, 'That she then being very ill, wrote to your mother upon
it, hoping it would not be taken amiss if she permitted Dolly to go; but
that your sister, as from your mother, answered her, That now you seemed
to be coming-to, and to have a due sense of your faults, you must be left
entirely to their own management.

'Miss Dolly,' she said, 'had pined ever since she had heard of Mr.
Lovelace's baseness, being doubly mortified by it: first, on account of
your sufferings; next, because she was one who rejoiced in your getting
off, and vindicated you for it; and had incurred censure and ill-will on
that account; especially from your brother and sister; so that she seldom
went to Harlowe-place.'

Make the best use of these intelligences, my dearest young lady, for your

I will only add, that I am, with the most fervent prayers for your
recovery and restoration to favour,

Your ever-faitful



The relation of such a conversation as passed between my aunt and you
would have given me pleasure, had it come some time ago; because it would
have met with a spirit more industrious than mine now is, to pick out
remote comfort in the hope of a favourable turn that might one day have
rewarded my patient duty.

I did not doubt my aunt't good-will to me. Her affection I did not
doubt. But shall we wonder that kings and princes meet with so little
controul in their passions, be they every so violent, when, in a private
family, an aunt, nay, even a mother in that family, shall choose to give
up a once-favoured child against their own inclinations, rather than
oppose an aspiring young man, who had armed himself with the authority of
a father, who, when once determined, never would be expostulated with?

And will you not blame me, if I say, that good sense, that kindred
indulgence, must be a little offended at the treatment I have met with;
and if I own, that I think that great rigour has been exercised towards
me! And yet I am now authorized to call it rigour by the judgment of two
excellent sisters, my mother and my aunt, who acknowledge (as you tell me
from my aunt) that they have been obliged to join against me, contrary to
their inclinations; and that even in a point which might seem to concern
my eternal welfare.

But I must not go on at this rate. For may not the inclination my mother
has given up be the effect of a too-fond indulgence, rather than that I
merit the indulgence? And yet so petulantly perverse am I, that I must
tear myself from the subject.

All then that I will say further to it, at this time, is, that were the
intended goodness to be granted to me but a week hence, it would possibly
be too late - too late I mean to be of the consolation to me that I would
wish from it: for what an inefficacious preparation must I have been
making, if it has not, by this time, carried me above - But above what? -
Poor mistaken creature! Unhappy self-deluder! that finds herself above
nothing! Nor able to subdue her own faulty impatience!

But in-deed, to have done with a subject that I dare not trust myself
with, if it come in your way, let my aunt Hervey, let my dear cousin
Dolly, let the worthy Mrs. Williams, know how exceedingly grateful to me
their kind intentions and concern for me are: and, as the best warrant
or justification of their good opinions, (since I know that their favour
for me is founded on the belief that I loved virtue,) tell them, that I
continued to love virtue to my last hour, as I presume to hope it may be
said; and assure them that I never made the least wilful deviation,
however unhappy I became for one faulty step; which nevertheless was not
owing to unworthy or perverse motives.

I am very sorry that my cousin Morden has taken a resolution to see Mr.

My apprehensions on this intelligence are a great abatement to the
pleasure I have in knowing that he still loves me.

My sister's letter to me is a most affecting one - so needlessly, so
ludicrously taunting! - But for that part of it that is so, I ought rather
to pity her, than to be so much concerned at it as I am.

I wonder what I have done to Mr. Brand - I pray God to forgive both him
and his informants, whoever they be. But if the scandal arise solely
from Mr. Belford's visits, a very little time will confute it. Mean
while, the packet I shall send you, which I sent to Miss Howe, will, I
hope, satisfy you, my dear Mrs. Norton, as to my reasons for admitting
his visits.

My sister's taunting letter, and the inflexibleness of my dearer friends
- But how do remoter-begun subjects tend to the point which lies nearest
the heart! - As new-caught bodily disorders all crowd to a fractured or
distempered part.

I will break off, with requesting your prayers that I may be blessed with
patience and due resignation; and with assuring you, that I am, and will
be to the last hour of my life,

Your equally grateful and affectionate



* See Letter II. of this volume.


I have read the letters and copies of letters you favoured me with: and I
return them by a particular hand. I am extremely concerned at your
indifferent state of health: but I approve of all your proceedings and
precautions in relation to the appointment of Mr. Belford for an office,
in which, I hope, neither he nor any body else will be wanted to act, for
many, very many years.

I admire, and so we do all, that greatness of mind which can make you so
stedfastly [sic] despise (through such inducements as no other woman
could resist, and in such desolate circumstances as you have been reduced
to) the wretch that ought to be so heartily despised and detested.

What must the contents of those letters from your relations be, which you
will not communicate to me! - Fie upon them! How my heart rises! - But I
dare say no more - though you yourself now begin to think they use you
with great severity.

Every body here is so taken with Mr. Hickman (and the more from the
horror they conceive at the character of the detestable Lovelace,) that I
have been teased to death almost to name a day. This has given him airs:
and, did I not keep him to it, he would behave as carelessly and as
insolently as if he were sure of me. I have been forced to mortify him
no less than four times since we have been here.

I made him lately undergo a severe penance for some negligences that were
not to be passed over. Not designed ones, he said: but that was a poor
excuse, as I told him: for, had they been designed, he should never have
come into my presence more: that they were not, showed his want of
thought and attention; and those were inexcusable in a man only in his
probatory state.

He hoped he had been more than in a probatory state, he said.

And therefore, Sir, might be more careless! - So you add ingratitude to
negligence, and make what you plead as accident, that itself wants an
excuse, design, which deserves none.

I would not see him for two days, and he was so penitent, and so humble,
that I had like to have lost myself, to make him amends: for, as you have
said, resentment carried too high, often ends in amends too humble.

I long to be nearer to you: but that must not yet be, it seems. Pray, my
dear, let me hear from you as often as you can.

May Heaven increase your comforts, and restore your health, are the
prayers of

Your ever faithful and affectionate

P.S. Excuse me that I did not write before: it was owing to a little
coasting voyage I was obliged to give into.



You are very obliging, my dear Miss Howe, to account to me for your
silence. I was easy in it, as I doubted not that, among such near and
dear friends as you are with, you was diverted from writing by some such
agreeable excursion as that you mention.

I was in hopes that you had given over, at this time of day, those very
sprightly airs, which I have taken the liberty to blame you for, as often
as you have given me occasion to so do; and that has been very often.

I was always very grave with you upon this subject: and while your own
and a worthy man's future happiness are in the question, I must enter
into it, whenever you forget yourself, although I had not a day to live:
and indeed I am very ill.

I am sure it was not your intention to take your future husband with you
to the little island to make him look weak and silly among those of your
relations who never before had seen him. Yet do you think it possible
for them (however prepared and resolved they may be to like him) to
forbear smiling at him, when they see him suffering under your whimsical
penances? A modest man should no more be made little in his own eyes,
than in the eyes of others. If he be, he will have a diffidence, which
will give an awkwardness to every thing he says or does; and this will be
no more to the credit of your choice than to that of the approbation he
meets with from your friends, or to his own credit.

I love an obliging, and even an humble, deportment in a man to the woman
he addresses. It is a mark of his politeness, and tends to give her that
opinion of herself, which it may be supposed bashful merit wants to be
inspired with. But if the woman exacts it with an high hand, she shows
not either her own politeness or gratitude; although I must confess she
does her courage. I gave you expectations that I would be very serious
with you.

O my dear, that it had been my lot (as I was not permitted to live
single,) to have met with a man by whom I could have acted generously and

Mr. Lovelace, it is now plain, in order to have a pretence against me,
taxed my behaviour to him with stiffness and distance. You, at one time,
thought me guilty of some degree of prudery. Difficult situations should
be allowed for: which often make seeming occasions for censure
unavoidable. I deserved not blame from him who made mine difficult. And
you, my dear, had I any other man to deal with, or had he but half the
merit which Mr. Hickman has, would have found that my doctrine on this
subject should have governed my practice.

But to put myself out of the question - I'll tell you what I should think,
were I an indifferent by-stander, of those high airs of your's, in return
for Mr. Hickman's humble demeanour. 'The lady thinks of having the
gentleman, I see plainly, would I say. But I see as plainly, that she
has a very great indifference to him. And to what may this indifference
be owing? To one or all of these considerations, no doubt: that she
receives his addresses rather from motives of convenience than choice:
that she thinks meanly of his endowments and intellects; at least more
highly of her own: or, she has not the generosity to use that power with
moderation, which his great affection for her puts into her hands.'

How would you like, my dear, to have any of these things said?

Then to give but the shadow of a reason for free-livers and free speakers
to say, or to imagine, that Miss Howe gives her hand to a man who has no
reason to expect any share in her heart, I am sure you would not wish
that such a thing should be so much as supposed. Then all the regard
from you to come afterwards; none to be shown before; must, should I
think, be capable of being construed as a compliment to the husband, made
at the expense of the wife's and even of the sex's delicacy!

There is no fear that attempts could be formed by the most audacious [two
Lovelaces there cannot be!] upon a character so revered for virtue, and
so charmingly spirited, as Miss Howe's: yet, to have any man encouraged
to despise a husband by the example of one who is most concerned to do
him honour; what, my dear, think you of that? It is but too natural for
envious men (and who that knows Miss Howe, will not envy Mr. Hickman!) to
scoff at, and to jest upon, those who are treated with or will bear
indignity from a woman.

If a man so treated have a true and ardent love for the woman he
addresses, he will be easily overawed by her displeasure: and this will
put him upon acts of submission, which will be called meanness. And what
woman of true spirit would like to have it said, that she would impose
any thing upon the man from whom she one day expects protection and
defence, that should be capable of being construed as a meanness, or
unmanly abjectness in his behaviour, even to herself? - Nay, I am not
sure, and I ask it of you, my dear, to resolve me, whether, in your own
opinion, it is not likely, that a woman of spirit will despise rather
than value more, the man who will take patiently an insult at her hands;

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Online LibrarySamuel RichardsonClarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady — Volume 8 → online text (page 10 of 24)