« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO ANTONY HARLOWE, ESQ.
Sunday, Aug. 13.
I am very sorry for my pert letter to my uncle Harlowe.
Yet I did not intend it to be pert. People new to misfortune may be too easily moved to impatience.
The fall of a regular person, no doubt, is dreadful and inexcusable. It is like the sin of apostacy. Would to Heaven, however, that I had had the circumstances of mine inquired into!
If, Sir, I make myself worse than I am in my health, and better than I am in my penitence, it is fit I should be punished for my double dissimulation: and you have the pleasure of being one of my punishers. My sincerity in both respects will, however, be best justified by the event. To that I refer.-May Heaven give you always as much comfort in reflecting upon the reprobation I have met with, as you seem to have pleasure in mortifying a poor crea ture, extremely mortified; and that from a right sense, as she presumes to hope, of her own fault!
What you have heard of me I cannot tell. When the nearest and dearest relations give up an unhappy wretch, it is not to be wondered at that those who are not related to her are ready to take up and propagate slanders against her. Yet I think I may defy calumny itself, and (excepting the fatal, though involuntary step of April 10) wrap myself in my own innocence, and be easy. I thank you, Sir, nevertheless, for your caution, mean it what it
As to the question required of me to answer, and which
is allowed to be too shocking either for a mother to put to a daughter, or a sister to a sister; and which, however, you say I must answer;-O Sir!—And must I answer? -This then be my answer :- A little time, a much less time than is imagined, will afford a more satisfactory an6 swer to my whole family, and even to my brother and 6 sister, than I can give in words.'
Nevertheless, be pleased to let it be remembered, that I did not petition for a restoration to favour. I could not hope for that. Nor yet to be put in possession of any part of my own estate. Nor even for means of necessary subsistence from the produce of that estate-but only for a blessing; for a last blessing!
And this I will farther add, because it is true, that I have no wilful crime to charge against myself: no free living at bed and at board, as you phrase it!
Why, why, Sir, were not other inquiries made of me, as well as this shocking one?-inquiries that modesty would have permitted a mother or a sister to make; and which, if I may be excused to say so, would have been still less improper, and more charitable, to have been made by uncles, (were the mother forbidden, or the sister not inclined, to make them,) than those they have made.
Although my humble application has brought upon me só much severe reproach, I repent not that I have written to my mother, (although I cannot but wish that I had not written to my sister;) because I have satisfied a dutiful consciousness by it, however unanswered by the wished-for success. Nevertheless, I cannot help saying, that mine is indeed a hard fate, that I cannot beg pardon for my capital errors without doing it in such terms as shall be an aggravation of the offence.
But I had best leave off, lest, as my full mind, I find, is
rising to my pen, I have other pardons to beg as I multiply lines, where none at all will be given.
God Almighty bless, preserve, and comfort my dear sorrowing and grievously offended father and mother!and continue in honour, favour, and merit, my happy sister!-May God forgive my brother, and protect him from the violence of his own temper, as well as from the destroyer of his sister's honour!-And may you, my dear uncle, and your no less now than ever dear brother, my second papa, as he used to bid me call him, be blessed and happy in them, and in each other!-And, in order to this, may you all speedily banish from your remembrance, for ever,
MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Monday, Aug. 14. ALL your friends here, my dear young lady, now seem set upon proposing to you to go to one of the plantations. This, I believe, is owing to some misrepresentations of Mr. Brand; from whom they have received a letter.
I wish, with all my heart, that you could, consistently with your own notions of honour, yield to the pressing re quests of all Mr. Lovelace's family in his behalf. This, I think, would stop every mouth; and, in time, reconcile every body to you. For your own friends will not believe that he is in earnest to marry you; and the hatred be.
tween the families is such, that they will not condescend to inform themselves better; nor would believe him, if he were ever so solemnly to avow that he is.
I should be very glad to have in readiness, upon occasion, some brief particulars of your sad story under your own hand. But let me tell you, at the same time, that no misrepresentations, nor even your own confession, shall lessen my opinion either of your piety, or of your prudence in essential points; because I know it was always your hum ble way to make light faults heavy against yourself: and well might you, my dearest young lady, aggravate your own failings, who have ever had so few ; and those few so slight, that your ingenuousness has turned most of them into excellencies.
Nevertheless, let me advise you, my dear Miss Clary, to discountenance any visits, which, with the censorious, may affect your character. As that has not hitherto suffered by your wilful default, I hope you will not, in a desponding negligence (satisfying yourself with a consciousness of your own innocence) permit it to suffer. Difficult situations, you know, my dear young lady, are the tests not only of prudence but of virtue.
I think, I must own to you, that, since Mr. Brand's letter has been received, I have a renewed prohibition to attend you. However, if you will give me leave, that shall not detain me from you. Nor would I stay for that leave, if I were not in hopes that, in this critical situation, I may be able to do you service here.
I have often had messages and inquiries after your health from the truly-reverend Dr. Lewen, who has always expressed, and still expresses, infinite concern for you. He entirely disapproves of the measures of the family with re
gard to you. He is too much indisposed to go abroad. But, were he in good health, he would not, as I understand, visit at Harlowe-place; having some time since been un. handsomely treated by your brother, on his offering to mediate for you with your family.
I AM just now informed that your cousin Morden is arrived in England. He is at Canterbury, it seems, looking after some concerns he has there; and is soon expected in these parts. Who knows what may arise from his arrival. God be with you, my dearest Miss Clary, and be your comforter and sustainer. And never fear but He will; for I am sure, I am very sure, that you put your whole trust in Him.
And what, after all, is this world, on which we so much depend for durable good, poor creatures that we are!When all the joys of it, and (what is a balancing comfort) all the troubles of it, are but momentary, and vanish like a morning dream!
And be this remembered, my dearest young lady, that worldly joy claims no kindred with the joys we are bid to aspire after. These latter we must be fitted for by affliction and disappointment. You are therefore in the direct road to glory, however thorny the path you are in. And I had almost said, that it depends upon yourself, by your patience, and by your resignedness to the dispensation, (God enabling you, who never fails the true penitent, and sincere invoker,) to be an heir of a blessed immortality.
But this glory, I humbly pray, that you may not be permitted to enter into, ripe as you are so soon likely to be for it, till, with your gentle hand, (a pleasure I have se