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MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE.
Friday, Aug. 11.
WILL send you a large packet, as you desire and expect; since I can do it by so safe a conveyance: but not all that is come to my hand-for I must own that my friends are very severe; too severe for any body, who loves them not, to see their letters. You, my dear, would not call them my friends, you said, long ago; but my relations: indeed I cannot call them my relations, I think!—But I am ill; and therefore perhaps more peevish than I should be. It is difficult to go out of ourselves to give a judgment against ourselves; and yet, oftentimes, to pass a just judgment, we ought.
I thought I should alarm you in the choice of my executor. But the sad necessity I am reduced to must excuse
I shall not repeat any thing I have said before on that subject but if your objections will not be answered to your satisfaction by the papers and letters I shall enclose, marked 1, 2, 3, 4, to 9, I must think myself in another instance unhappy; since I am engaged too far (and with my own judgment too) to recede.
As Mr. Belford has transcribed for me, in confidence, from his friend's letters, the passages which accompany this, I must insist that you suffer no soul but yourself to peruse them; and that you return them by the very first opportunity; that so no use may be made of them that may do hurt either to the original writer or to the communicator. You'll observe I am bound by promise to this
If through my means any mischief should arise, between this humane and that inhuman libertine, I should think myself utterly inexcusable.
I subjoin a list of the papers or letters I shall enclose. You must return them all when perused*.
I am very much tired and fatigued-with-I don't know what-with writing, I think-but most with myself, and with a situation I cannot help aspiring to get out of, and above!
O my dear, the world we live in is a sad, a very sad world!While under our parents protecting wings, we know nothing at all of it. Book-learned and a scribbler, and looking at people as I saw them as visiters or vi siting, I thought I knew a great deal of it. Pitiable ignorance!-Alas! I knew nothing at all!
* 1. A letter from Miss Montague, dated
3. Mr. Belford's Letter to me, which will show
4. A copy of my answer, with thanks; and re-
9. Copy of my answer to Mr. Lovelace You will see by these several Letters, written and received in so little a space of time, (to say nothing of what I have received and written which I cannot show you,) how little opportunity or leisure I can have for writing my own story.
Aug. 3, 4.
With zealous wishes for your happiness, and the happiness of every one dear to you, I am, and will ever be, Your gratefully-affectionate
MR. ANTONY HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE.
[In reply to her's to her uncle Harlowe, of Thursday, Aug. 10.]
As your uncle Harlowe chooses not to answer your pert letter to him; and as mine, written to you before*, was written as if it were in the spirit of prophecy, as you have found to your sorrow; and as you are now making yourself worse than you are in your health, and better than you are in your penitence, as we are very well assured, in order to move compassion; which you do not deserve, having had so much warning: for all these reasons, I take up my pen once more; though I had told your brother, at his going to Edinburgh, that I would not write to you, even were you to write to me, without letting him know. So indeed had we all; for he prognosticated what would happen, as to your applying to us, when you knew not how to help it.
Brother John has hurt your niceness, it seems, by asking you a plain question, which your mother's heart is too
full of grief to let her ask; and modesty will not let your sister ask; though but the consequence of your actionsand yet it must be answered, before you'll obtain from your father and mother, and us, the notice you hope for, I can tell you that.
You lived several guilty weeks with one of the vilest fellows that ever drew breath, at bed, as well as board, no doubt, (for is not his character known?) and pray don't be ashamed to be asked after what may naturally come of such free living. This modesty indeed would have become you for eighteen years of your life-you'll be pleased to mark that but makes no good figure compared with your behaviour since the beginning of April last. So pray don't take it up, and wipe your mouth upon it, as if nothing had happened.
But, may be, I likewise am too shocking to your niceness!-O girl, girl! your modesty had better been shown at the right time and place!-Every body but you believed what the rake was: but you would believe nothing bad of him-What think you now?
Your folly has ruined all our peace. And who knows where it may yet end?-Your poor father but yesterday showed me this text: With bitter grief he showed it me, poor man! and do you lay it to your heart:
A father waketh for his daughter, when no man knoweth ; and the care for her taketh away his sleepWhen she is young, lest she pass away the flower of her 6 age-[and you know what proposals were made to you at different times.] And, being married, lest she should be hated. In her virginity, lest she should be defiled, and 'gotten with child in her father's house—[I don't make the words, mind that.] And, having an husband, lest she should misbehave herself.' And what follows?
Keep a sure watch over a shameless daughter-yet no watch could hold you !] lest she make thee a laughing 'stock to thine enemies-[as you have made us all to this cursed Lovelace, and a bye-word in the city, and 6 a reproach among the people, and make thee ashamed 'before the multitude.' Ecclus. xlii. 9, 10, &c.
Now will you wish you had not written pertly. Your sister's severities!—Never, girl, say that is severe that is deserved. You know the meaning of words. No body better. Would to the Lord you had acted up but to one half of what you know! then had we not been disappointed and grieved, as we all have been: and nobody more than him who was
Your loving uncle,
This will be with you to-morrow. Perhaps you may be suffered to have some part of your estate, after you have smarted a little more. Your pertly-answered uncle John, who is your trustee, will not have you be destitute. But we hope all is not true that we hear of you. -Only take care, I advise you, that, bad as you have acted, you act not still worse, if it be possible to act worse. Improve upon the hint.