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But if she will permit me to attend her for this purpose at either of the churches mentioned in the license, (which she has by her, and, thank Heaven! has not returned me with my letters,) then will I not disturb her; but meet her at the altar in either chuch, and will engage to bring my two cousins to attend her, and even Lady Sarah and Lady Betty; and my Lord M. in person shall give her to
Or, if it will be still more agreeable to her, I will undertake that either Lady Sarah or Lady Betty, or both, shall go to town and attend her down; and the marriage shall be celebrated in their presence, and in that of Lord M., either here or elsewhere, at her own choice.
Do not play me booty, Belford; but sincerely and warmly use all the eloquence thou art master of, to prevail upon her to choose one of these three methods. One of them she must choose-by my soul, she must.
Here is Charlotte tapping at my closet.door for admittance. What a devil wants Charlotte ?-I will hear no more reproaches!-Come in, girl!
My cousin Charlotte, finding me writing on with too much earnestness to have any regard for politeness to her, and guessing at my subject, besought me to let her see what I had written.
I obliged her. And she was so highly pleased on seeing me so much in earnest, that she offered, and I accepted her offer, to write a letter to Miss Harlowe; with permission to treat me in it as she thought fit.
I shall enclose a copy of her letter.
When she had written it, she brought it to me, with apologies for the freedom taken with me in it; but I ex.. cused it; and she was ready to give me a kiss for joy of
my approbation: and I gave her two for writing it; telling her I had hopes of success from it; and that I thought she had luckily hit it off.
Every one approves of it, as well as I; and is pleased with me for so patiently submitting to be abused, and undertaken for. If it do not succeed, all the blame will be thrown upon the dear creature's perverseness: her charitable or forgiving disposition, about which she makes such a parade, will be justly questioned; and the piety, of which she is now in full possession, will be transferred
Putting, therefore, my whole confidence in this letter, I postpone all my other alternatives, as also my going to town, till my empress send an answer to my cousin Montague.
But if she persist, and will not promise to take time to consider of the matter, thou mayest communicate to her what I had written, as above, before my cousin entered; and, if she be still perverse, assure her, that I must and will see her but this with all honour, all humility: and, if I cannot move her in my favour, I will then go abroad, and perhaps never more return to England.
I am sorry thou art, at this critical time, so busily employed, as thou informest me thou art, in thy Watford affairs, and in preparing to do Belton justice. If thou wantest my assistance in the latter, command me. Though engrossed by this perverse beauty, and plagued as I am, I will obey thy first summons.
I have great dependence upon thy zeal and thy friendship: hasten back to her, therefore, and resume a task so interesting to me, that it is equally the subject of my dreams, as of my waking hours.
MISS MONTAGUE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Tuesday, Aug. 1.
ALL our family is deeply sensible of the injuries you have received at the hands of one of it, whom you only can render in any manner worthy of the relation he stands in to us all and if, as an act of mercy and charity, the greatest your pious heart can show, you will be pleased to look over his past wickedness and ingratitude, and suffer yourself to be our kinswoman, you will make us the happiest family in the world: and I can engage, that Lord M., and Lady Sarah Sadleir, and Lady Betty Lawrance, and my sister, who are all admirers of your virtues, and of your nobleness of mind, will for ever love and reverence you, and do every thing in all their powers to make you amends for what you have suffered from Mr. Lovelace. This, Madam, we should not, however, dare to petition for, were we not assured, that Mr. Lovelace is most sin. cerely sorry for his past vileness to you; and that he will, on his knees, beg your pardon, and vow eternal love and honour to you.
Wherefore, my dearest cousin, [how you will charm us all, if this agreeable style may be permitted!] for all our sakes, for his soul's sake, [you must, I am sure, be so good a lady, as to wish to save a soul !] and allow me to say, for your own fame's sake, condescend to our joint request: and if, by way of encouragement, you will but say you will be glad to see, and to be as much known personally, as you are by fame, to Charlotte Montague, I will, in two days time from the receipt of your permission, wait
upon you, with or without my sister, and receive your farther commands.
Let me, our dearest cousin, [we cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of calling you so; let me] entreat you to give me your permission for my journey to London; and put it in the power of Lord M. and of the ladies of the family, to make you what reparation they can make you, for the injuries which a person of the greatest merit in the world has received from one of the most audacious men in it; and you will infinitely oblige us all; and particularly her, who repeatedly presumes to style herself
Your affectionate cousin, and obliged servant,
MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Thursday Morning, Aug. S. Six o'clock.
HAVE been so much employed in my own and Belton's affairs, that I could not come to town till last night; having contented myself with sending to Mrs. Lovick, to know, from time to time, the state of the lady's health; of which I received but very indifferent accounts, owing, in a great measure, to letters or advices brought her from her impla cable family.
I have now completed my own affairs; and, next week, shall go to Epsom, to endeavour to put Belton's sister into possession of his own house for him: after which, I shall devote myself wholly to your service, and to that of the lady.
I was admitted to her presence last night; and found her visibly altered for the worse. When I went home, I had your letter of Tuesday last put into my hands. Let me tell thee, Lovelace, that I insist upon the performance of thy engagement to me that thou wilt not personally molest her.
[Mr. Belford dates again on Thursday morning, ten o'clock; and gives an account of a conversation which he had just held with the Lady upon the subject of Miss Montague's letter to her, preceding, and upon Mr. Lovelace's alternatives, as mentioned in Letter XXII. which Mr. Belford supported with the tmost earnestness. But, as the result of this conversation will be found in the subsequent letters, Mr. Belford's pleas and arguments in favour of his friend, and the Lady's answers, are omitted.]
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS MONTAGUE,
Thursday, Aug. 3.
I AM infinitely obliged to you for your kind and conde scending letter. A letter, however, which heightens my regrets, as it gives me a new instance of what a happy creature I might have been in an alliance so much approved of by such worthy ladies; and which, on their accounts, and on that of Lord M. would have been so reputable to myself, and was once so desirable.
But indeed, indeed, Madam, my heart sincerely repulses the man who, descended from such a family, could be