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your crimes have disgraced us all; and I am afraid and ashamed to go to any public or private assembly or diversion: And why?—I need not say why, when your actions are the subjects either of the open talk, or of the affronting whispers, of both sexes at all such places.
Upon tho whole, I am sorry I have no more comfort to send you: but I find nobody willing to forgive you.
I don't know what time may do for you; and when it is seen that your penitence is not owing more to disappointment than to true conviction: for it is too probable, Miss Clary, that, had you gone on as swimmingly as you expected, and had not your feather-headed villain aban doned you, we should have heard nothing of these moving supplications; nor of any thing but defiances from him, and a guilt gloried in from you. And this is every one's opinion, as well as that of
Your afflicted sister,
I send this by a particular hand, who undertakes to give it you or leave it for you by to-morrow night.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO HER MOTHER.
Saturday, Aug. 5. No self-convicted criminal ever approached her angry and just judge with greater awe, nor with a truer contrition, than I do you by these lines.
Indeed I must say, that if the matter of my humble prayer had not respected my future welfare, I had not dared to take this liberty. But my heart is set upon it, as upon a thing next to God Almighty's forgiveness necessary
Had my happy sister known my distresses, she would have wrung my heart, as she has done, by a severity, which I must needs think unkind and unsisterly.
But complaint of any unkindness from her belongs not to me: yet, as she is pleased to write that it must be seen that my penitence is less owing to disappointment than to true conviction, permit me, Madam, to insist upon it, that, if such a plea can be allowed me, I am actually entitled to the blessing I sue for; since my humble prayer is founded upon a true and unfeigned repentance: and this you will the readier believe, if the creature who never, to the best of her remembrance, told her mamma a wilful falshood may be credited, when she declares, as she does, in the most solemn manner, that she met the seducer with a determination not to go off with him: that the rash step was owing more to compulsion than to infatuation: and that her heart was so little in it, that she repented and grieved from the moment she found herself in his power; and for every moment after, for several weeks before she had any cause from him to apprehend the usage she met with.
Wherefore, on my knees, my ever-honoured Mamma, (for on my knees I write this letter,) I do most humbly beg your blessing: say but, in so many words, (I ask you not, Madam, to call me your daughter,)--Lost, unhappy wretch, I forgive you! and may God bless you!-This is all! Let me, on a blessed scrap of paper, but see one
sentence to this effect, under your dear hand, that I may hold it to my heart in my most trying struggles, and I shall think it a passport to Heaven. And, if I do not too much presume, and it were we instead of I, and both your honoured names subjoined to it, I should then have nothing more to wish. Then would I say, 'Great and merciful God! thou seest here in this paper thy poor un. worthy creature absolved by her justly-offended parents: Oh! join, for my Redeemer's sake, thy all-gracious 'fiat, and receive a repentant sinner to the arms of thy " mercy!'
I can conjure you, Madam, by no subject of motherly tenderness, that will not, in the opinion of my severe censurers, (before whom this humble address must appear,) add to reproach: let me therefore, for God's sake, prevail upon you to pronounce me blest and forgiven, since you will thereby sprinkle comfort through the last hours of Your
MISS MONTAGUE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
[In answer to her's of Aug. 3. See Letter XXV. of this volume.]
Monday, Aug 7.
We were all of opinion, before your letter came, that Mr. Lovelace was utterly unworthy of you, and deserved
condign punishment, rather than to be blessed with such a wife and hoped far more from your kind consideration for us, than any we supposed you could have for so base an injurer. For we were all determined to love you, and admire you, let his behaviour to you be what it would.
But, after your letter, what can be said?
I am, however, commanded to write in all the subscribing names, to let you know how greatly your sufferings have affected us: to tell you that my Lord M. has forbid him ever more to enter the doors of the apartments where he shall be and as you labour under the unhappy effects of your friends' displeasure, which may subject you to inconveniencies, his Lordship, and Lady Sarah, and Lady Betty, beg of you to accept, for your life, or, at least, till you are admitted to enjoy your own estate, of one hundred guineas per quarter, which will be regularly brought you by an especial hand, and of the enclosed bank-bill for a beginning. And do not, dearest Madam, we all beseech you, do not think you are beholden (for this token of Lord M.'s, and Lady Sarah's, and Lady Betty's, love to you) to the friends of this vile man; for he has not one friend left among us.
We each of us desire to be favoured with a place in your esteem; and to be considered upon the same foot of relationship as if what once was so much our pleasure to hope would be, had been. And it shall be our united prayer, that you may recover health and spirits, and live to see many happy years: and, since this wretch can no more be pleaded for, that, when he is gone abroad, as he now is preparing to do, we may be permitted the honour of a personal acquaintance with a lady who has no
You will break the hearts of the three first-named more particularly, if you refuse them your acceptance. Dearest young lady, punish not them for his crimes. We send by a particular hand, which will bring us, we hope, your accepting favour.
Mr. Lovelace writes by the same hand; but he knows nothing of our letter, nor we of his for we shun each other; and one part of the house holds us, another him, the remotest from each other.
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Sat. Aug. 23.
I AM SO excessively disturbed at the contents of Miss Harlowe's answer to my cousin Charlotte's letter of Tuesday last, (which was given her by the same fellow that gave me your's,) that I have hardly patience or consideration enough to weigh what you write.
She had need indeed to cry out for mercy for herself