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of your conversation. It shall be my whole endeavour that it be not vain. The happiness of approaching you, which this trust, as I presume, will give me frequent opportunities of doing, must necessarily promote the desirable end since it will be impossible to be a witness of your piety, equanimity, and other virtues, and not aspire to emulate you. All I beg is, that you will not suffer future candidate, or event, to displace me; unless some new instances of unworthiness appear either in the morals or behaviour of,
Your most obliged and faithful servant,
MK. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Friday Night, Aug. 4.
HAVE actually delivered to the lady the extracts she re quested me to give her from your letters. I do assure you that I have made the very best of the matter for you, not that conscience, but that friendship, could oblige me to make. I have changed or omitted some free words. The warm description of her person in the fire-scene, as I may call it, I have omitted. I have told her, that I have done justice to you, in the justice you have done to her unexampled virtue. But take the very words which I wrote to her immediately following the extracts:
And now, Madam,'-See the paragraph marked
with an inverted comma [thus'], Letter XXVII. of this
The lady is extremely uneasy at the thoughts of your attempting to visit her. For Heaven's sake, (your word being given,) and for pity's sake, (for she is really in a very weak and languishing way,) let me beg of you not to think of it.
Yesterday afternoon she received a cruel letter (as Mrs. Lovick supposes it to be, by the effect it had upon her) from her sister, in answer to one written last Saturday, entreating a blessing and forgiveness from her parents.
She acknowledges, that if the same decency and justice are observed in all your letters, as in the extracts I have obliged her with, (as I have assured her they are,) she shall think herself freed from the necessity of writing her own story and this is an advantage to thee which thou oughtest to thank me for.
But what thinkest thou is the second request she had to make to me? no other than that I would be her executor! -Her motives will appear before thee in proper time; and then, I dare to answer, will be satisfactory.
You cannot imagine how proud I am of this trust. I am afraid I shall too soon come into the execution of it. As she is always writing, what a melancholy pleasure will the perusal and disposition of her papers afford me! such a sweetness of temper, so much patience and resignation, as she seems to be mistress of; yet writing of and in the midst of present distresses! how much more lively and affecting, for that reason, must her style be; her mind tortured by the pangs of uncertainty, (the events then hidden in the womb of fate,) than the dry, narrative, unanimated style of persons, relating difficulties and dangers
surmounted; the relater perfectly at ease; and if himself unmoved by his own story, not likely greatly to affect the reader!
Saturday Morning, Aug. 5.
I AM just returned from visiting the lady, and thanking her in person for the honour she has done me; and assuring her, if called to the sacred trust, of the utmost fide. lity and exactness. I found her very ill. I took notice of it. She said, she had received a second hard-hearted letter from her sister; and she had been writing a letter (and that on her knees) directly to her mother; which, before, she had not had the courage to do. It was for a last blessing and forgiveness. No wonder, she said, that I saw her affected. Now that I had accepted of the last charitable office for her, (for which, as well as for complying with her other request, she thanked me,) I should one day have all these letters before me and could she have a kind one in return to that she had been now writing, to counterbalance the unkind one she had from her sister, she might be induced to show nie both together-otherwise, for her sister's sake, it were no matter how few saw the poor Bella's letter.
I knew she would be displeased if I had censured the cruelty of her relations: I therefore only said, that surely she must have enemies, who hoped to find their account in keeping up the resentments of her friends against her.
It may be so, Mr. Belford, said she: the unhappy never want enemies. One fault, wilfully committed, authorizes the imputation of many more. Where the ear is opened to accusations, accusers will not be wanting; and every one will officiously come with stories against a disgraced
child, where nothing dare be said in her favour. I should have been wise in time, and not have needed to be convinced, by my own misfortunes, of the truth of what common experience daily demonstrates. Mr. Lovelace's baseness, my father's inflexibility, my sister's reproaches, are the natural consequences of my own rashness; so I must make the best of my hard lot. Only, as these consequences follow one another so closely, while they are new, how can I help being anew affected?
I asked, if a letter written by myself, by her doctor or apothecary, to any of her friends, representing her low state of health, and great humility, would be acceptable? or if a journey to any of them would be of service, 1 would gladly undertake it in person, and strictly conform to her orders, to whomsoever she should direct me to apply.
She earnestly desired that nothing of this sort might be attempted, especially without her knowledge and consent, Miss Howe, she said, had done harm by her kindly-intended zeal; and if there were room to expect favour by mediation, she had ready at hand a kind friend, Mrs. Norton, who for piety and prudence had few equals; and who would let slip no opportunity to endeavour to do her service.
I let her know that I was going out of town till Monday she wished me pleasure; and said she should be glad to see me on my return.
MISS AR. HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE.
[In answer to her's of July 29. See Letter XIX. of this volume.]
Thursday Morn. Aug. 3. I WISH YOU would not trouble me with any more of your letters. You had always a knack at writing; and depended upon making every one do what you would when you wrote. But your wit and folly have undone you. And now, as all naughty creatures do, when they can't help themselves, you come begging and praying, and make others as uneasy as yourself.
When I wrote last to you, I expected that I should not
be at rest.
And so you'd creep on, by little and little, till you'll want to be received agein.
But you only hope for forgiveness and a blessing, you say. A blessing for what, sister Clary? Think for what! -However, I read your lettter to my father and mother.
I won't tell you what my father said-one who has the true sense you boast to have of your misdeeds, may guess, without my telling you, what a justly-incensed father would say on such an occasion.
My poor mother-O wretch! what has not your ungrateful folly cost my poor mother!-Had you been less a darling, you would not, perhaps, have been so graceless: But I never in my life saw a cockered favourite come to good.
My heart is full, and I can't help writing my mind; for