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She is sure, however, she says, that all will soon be well and the sooner for Mr. Morden's arrival: who
is very zealous in your behalf.
She wished to Heaven that you would accept of Mr < Lovelace, wicked as he has been, if he were now in earnest.
'It had always,' she said, 'been matter of astonishment to her, that so weak a pride in her cousin James, of 'making himself the whole family, should induce them all to refuse an alliance with such a family as Mr. Lovelace's was.
She would have it, that your going off with Mr. Lovelace was the unhappiest step for your honour and < your interest that could have been taken; for that al6 though you would have had a severe trial the next day, ( yet it would probably have been the last; and your 'pathetic powers must have drawn you off some friends— 'hinting at your mother, at your uncle Harlowe, at your uncle Hervey, and herself.'
But here (that the regret that you did not trust to the event of that meeting, may not, in your present low way, too much affiict you) I must observe, that it seems a little too evident, even from this opinion of your aunt's, that it was not absolutely determined that all compulsion was designed to be avoided, since your freedom from it must have been owing to the party to be made among them by your persuasive eloquence and dutiful expostu lation.
She owned, that some of them were as much afraid of 'meeting you as you could be of meeting them :'-But why so, if they designed, in the last instance, to give you your way?
Your aunt told me, That Mrs. Williams* had been 'with her, and asked her opinion, if it would be taken 6 amiss, if she desired leave to go up, to attend her ' dearest young lady in her calamity. Your aunt re'ferred her to your mother: but had heard no more of it. 'Her daughter,' (Miss Dolly,) she said, had been fre 6 quently earnest with her on the same subject; and renewed her request with the greatest fervour when your first letter came to hand.'
Your aunt says, "That she then being very ill, wrote 'to your mother upon it, hoping it would not be taken 'amiss if she permitted Miss Dolly to go; but that your
sister, as from your mother, answered her, That now " you seemed to be coming-to, and to have a due sense ' of your faults, you must be left entirely to their own 6 management.
Miss Dolly,' she said, had pined ever since she had heard of Mr. Lovelace's baseness; being doubly mor. tified by it: first, on account of your sufferings; next, because she was one who rejoiced in your getting off, and vindicated you for it; and had incurred censure and ⚫ill-will on that account; especially from your brother and sister; so that she seldom went to Harlowe-place.' Make the best use of these intelligences, my dearest young lady, for your consolation.
I will only add, that I am, with the most fervent prayers for your recovery and restoration to favour,
* The former housekeeper at Harlowe-place.
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO MRS. JUDITH NORTON.
Thursday, Aug. 24. THE relation of such a conversation as passed between my aunt and you would have given me pleasure, had it come some time ago; because it would have met with a spirit more industrious than mine now is, to pick out remote comfort in the hope of a favourable turn that might one day have rewarded my patient duty.
I did not doubt my aunt's good-will to me. Her affec tion I did not doubt. But shall we wonder that kings and princes meet with so little controul in their passions, be they ever so violent, when, in a private family, an aunt, nay, even a mother in that family, shall choose to give up a once-favoured child against their own inclinations, rather than oppose an aspiring young man, who had armed him. self with the authority of a father, who, when once deter. mined, never would be expostulated with?
And will you not blame me, if I say, that good sense, that kindred indulgence, must be a little offended at the treatment I have met with; and if I own, that I think that great rigour has been exercised towards me! And yet I am now authorized to call it rigour by the judgment of two excellent sisters, my mother and my aunt, who acknowledge (as you tell me from my aunt) that they have been obliged to join against me, contrary to their inclinations; and that even in a point which might seem to concern my eternal welfare.
But I must not go on at this rate. For may not the inclination my mother has given up be the effect of a too
fond indulgence, rather than that I merit the indulgence? And yet so petulantly perverse am I, that I must tear myself from the subject.
All then that I will say further to it, at this time, is, that were the intended goodness to be granted to me but a week hence, it would possibly be too late too late I mean to be of the consolation to me that I would wish from it: for what an inefficacious preparation must I have been making, if it has not, by this time, carried me aboveBut above what?-Poor mistaken creature! Unhappy self-deluder! that finds herself above nothing! Nor able to subdue her own faulty impatience!
But in-deed, to have done with a subject that I dare not trust myself with, if it come in your way, let my aunt Hervey, let my dear cousin Dolly, let the worthy Mrs. Williams, know how exceedingly grateful to me their kind intentions and concern for me are: and, as the best warrant or justification of their good opinions, (since I know that their favour for me is founded on the belief that I loved virtue,) tell them, that I continued to love virtue to my last hour, as I presume to hope it may be said; and assure them that I never made the least wilful deviation, however unhappy I became for one faulty step; which nevertheless was not owing to unworthy or perverse motives.
I am very sorry that my cousin Morden has taken a resolution to see Mr. Lovelace.
My apprehensions on this intelligence are a great abatement to the pleasure I have in knowing that he still loves me.
My sister's letter to me is a most afflicting one—so needlessly, so ludicrously taunting!-But for that part
of it that is so, I ought rather to pity her, than to be so much concerned at it as I am.
I wonder what I have done to Mr. Brand-I pray God to forgive both him and his informants, whoever they be. But if the scandal arise solely from Mr. Belford's visits, a very little time will confute it. Mean while, the packet I shall send you, which I sent to Miss Howe, will, I hope, satisfy you, my dear Mrs. Norton, as to my reasons for admitting his visits.
My sister's taunting letter, and the inflexibleness of my dearer friends-But how do remoter-begun subjects tend to the point which lies nearest the heart!-As new-caught bodily disorders all crowd to a fractured or distempered part.
I will break off, with requesting your prayers that I may be blessed with patience and due resignation; and with assuring you, that I am, and will be to the last hour of my life,
Your equally grateful and affectionate
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
[In reply to her's of Friday, Aug. 11*.]
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Aug. 23.
HAVE read the letters and copies of letters you favoured
me with and I return them by a particular hand.
* See Letter XLIV. of this volume.