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ters to their own low level, I pretend not to determine When once, therefore, a woman of your good sense gives room to the world to think she has not an high opinion of the lover, whom nevertheless she entertains, it will be very difficult for her afterwards to make that world think so well as she would have it of the husband she has chosen.
Give me leave to observe, that to condescend with dignity, and to command with such kindness, and sweetness of manners, as should let the condescension, while in a single state, be seen and acknowledged, are points, which a wise woman, knowing her man, should aim at: and a wise woman, I should think, would choose to live single all her life rather than give herself to a man whom she thinks unworthy of a treatment so noble.
But when a woman lets her lover see that she has the generosity to approve of and reward a well-meant service; that she has a mind that lifts her above the little captious follies, which some (too licentiously, I hope,) attribute to the sex in general: that she resents not (if ever she thinks she has reason to be displeased) with petulance, or through pride nor thinks it necessary to insist upon little points, to come at or secure great ones, perhaps not proper to be aimed at nor leaves room to suppose she has so much cause to doubt her own merit, as to put the love of the man she intends to favour upon disagreeable or arrogant trials but let reason be the principal guide of her actions --she will then never fail of that true respect, of that sincere veneration, which she wishes to meet with; and which will make her judgment after marriage consulted, sometimes with a preference to a man's own; at other times as a delightful confirmation of his.
And so much, my beloved Miss Howe, for this subject now, and I dare say, for ever!
I will begin another letter by-and-by, and send both together. Mean time, I am, &c.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE.
[In this letter the Lady acquaints Miss Howe with Mr. Brand's report; with her sister's proposals either that she will go abroad, or prosecute Mr. Lovelace. She complains of the severe letters of her uncle Antony and her sister; but in milder terms than they deserved. She sends her Dr. Lewen's letter, and the copy of her answer to it.
She tells her of the difficulties she had been under to avoid seeing Mr. Lovelace. She gives her the contents of the letter she wrote to him to divert him from his proposed visit: she is afraid, she says, that it is a step that is not strictly right, if allegory or metaphor be not allowable to one in her circumstances.
She informs her of her cousin Morden's arrival and readiness to take her part with her relations; of his de signed interview with Mr. Lovelace; and tells her what her apprehensions are upon it.
She gives her the purport of the conversation between her aunt Hervey and Mrs. Norton. And then adds :]
BUT were they ever so favourably inclined to me now, what can they do for me? I wish, and that for their sakes more than for my own, that they would yet relent—but I am very ill-I must drop my pen-a sudden faintness
overspreads my heart-excuse my crooked writing!Adieu, my dear!-Adieu!
Three o'clock, Friday. ONCE more I resume my pen. I thought I had taken my last farewell of you. I never was so very oddly af fected: something that seemed totally to overwhelm my faculties-I don't know how to describe it-I believe I do amiss in writing so much, and taking too much upon me: but an active mind, though clouded by bodily illness, cannot be idle.
I'll see if the air, and a discontinued attention, will help me. But, if it will not, don't be concerned for me, my dear. I shall be happy. Nay, I am more so already than of late I thought I could ever be in this life.-Yet how this body clings!-How it encumbers!
I COULD not send this letter away with so melancholy an ending, as you would have thought it. So I deferred closing it, till I saw how I should be on my return from my airing and now I must say I am quite another thing: so alert! that I could proceed with as much spirit as I began, and add more preachment to your lively subject, if I had not written more than enough upon it already.
I wish you would let me give you and Mr. Hickman joy. Do, my dear. I should take some to myself, if you would.
My respectful compliments to all your friends, as well to those I have the honour to know, as to those I do not know.
I HAVE just now been surprised with a letter from one
whom I long ago gave up all thoughts of hearing from. From Mr. Wyerley. I will enclose it. You'll be surprised at it as much as I was. This seems to be a man whom I might have reclaimed. But I could not love him. Yet I hope I never treated him with arrogance. Indeed, my dear, if I am not too partial to myself, I think I refused him with more gentleness, than you re tain somebody else. And this recollection gives me less pain than I should have had in the other case, on receiving this instance of a generosity that affects me. I will also enclose the rough draught of my answer, as soon as I have transcribed it.
If I begin another sheet, I shall write to the end of it: wherefore I will only add my prayers for your honour and prosperity, and for a long, long, happy life; and that, when it comes to be wound up, you may be as calm and as easy at quitting it as I hope in God I shall be. I am, and will be, to the latest moment,
Your truly affectionate and obliged servant,
MR. WYERLEY, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Wednesday, Aug. 23.
You will be surprised to find renewed, at this distance of time, an address so positively though so politely discouraged; but, however it be received, I must renew it. Every body has heard that you have been vilely treated by a man who, to treat you ill, must be the vilest of men.
Every body knows your just resentment of his base treatment: that you are determined never to be reconciled to him and that you persist in these sentiments against all the entreaties of his noble relations, against all the prayers and repentance of his ignoble self. And all the world that have the honour to know you, or have heard of him, applaud your resolution, as worthy of yourself; worthy of your virtue, and of that strict honour which was always attributed to you by every one who spoke of you.
But, Madam, were all the world to have been of a different opinion, it could never have altered mine. I ever loved you; I ever must love you. Yet have I endeavoured to resign to my hard fate. When I had so many ways, in vain, sought to move you in my favour, I sat down seemingly contented. I even wrote to you that I would sit down contented. And I endeavoured to make all my friends and companions think I was, But nobody knows what pangs this self-denial cost me! In vain did the chace, in vain did travel, in vain did lively company, offer themselves, and were embraced in their turn: with redoubled force did my passion for you renew my unhap piness, when I looked into myself, into my own heart; for there did your charming image sit enthroned; and you engrossed me all.
I truly deplore those misfortunes, and those sufferings, for your own sake; which nevertheless encourage me to renew my old hope. I know not particulars. I dare not inquire after them; because my sufferings would be increased with the knowledge of what your's have been. I therefore desire not to know more than what common report wounds my ears with; and what is given me to know, by your absence from your cruel family, and from the sacred place, where I, among numbers of your re