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jected admirers, used to be twice a week sure to behold you doing credit to that service of which your example gave me the highest notions. But whatever be those misfortunes, of whatsoever nature those sufferings, I shall bless the occasion for my own sake (though for your's curse the author of them,) if they may give me the happiness to know that this my renewed address may not be absolutely rejected.-Only give me hope, that it may one day meet with encouragement, if in the interim nothing happen, either in my morals or behaviour, to give you fresh offence. Give me but hope of this-not absolutely to reject me is all the hope I ask for; and I will love you, if possible, still more than I ever loved you-and that for your sufferings; for well you deserve to be loved, even to adoration, who can, for honour's and for virtue's sake, subdue a passion which common spirits [I speak by cruel experience] find invincible; and this at a time when the black offender kneels and supplicates, as I am well assured he does, (all his friends likewise supplicating for him,) to be forgiven.
That you cannot forgive him, not forgive him so as to receive him again to favour, is no wonder. His offence is against virtue: this is a part of your essence. What magnanimity is this! How just to yourself, and to your spotless character! Is it any merit to admire more than ever a lady who can so exaltedly distinguish? It is not. I cannot plead it.
What hope have I left, may it be said, when my address was before rejected, now, that your sufferings, so nobly. borne, have, with all good judges, exalted your charac ter? Yet, Madam, I have to pride myself in this, that while your friends (not looking upon you in the just light I do) persecute and banish you; while your estate is
withheld from you, and threatened (as I know,) to be withheld, as long as the chicaning law, or rather the chicaneries of its practisers, can keep it from you: while you are destitute of protection; every body standing aloof, either through fear of the injurer of one family, or of the hard-hearted of the other; I pride myself, I say, to stand forth, and offer my fortune, and my life, at your devotion. With a selfish hope indeed: I should be too great an hypocrite not to own this! and I know how much you abhor insincerity.
But, whether you encourage that hope or not, accept my best services, I beseech you, Madam: and be pleased to excuse me for a piece of honest art, which the nature of the case (doubting the honour of your notice otherwise) makes me choose to conclude with-it is this:
If I am to be still the most unhappy of men, let your pen by one line tell me so. If I am permitted to indulge a hope, however distant, your silence shall be deemed, by me, the happiest indication of it that you can giveexcept that still happier-(the happiest that can befall me,) a signification that you will accept the tender of that life and fortune, which it would be my pride and my glory to sacrifice in your service, leaving the reward to yourself.
Be your determination as it may, I must for ever admire and love you. Nor will I ever change my condition, while you live, whether you change your's or not: for, having once had the presumption to address you, I cannot stoop to think of any other woman: and this I solemnly declare in the presence of that God, whom I daily pray to bless and protect you, be your determina. tion what it will with regard to, dearest Madam,
Your most devoted and ever affectionate
MISS CL. HARLOWE, TO ALEX. WYERLEY, ESQ.
Sat. Aug. 26.
THE generosity of your purpose would have commanded not only my notice, but my thanks, although you had not given me the alternative you are pleased to call artful. And I do therefore give you my thanks for your kind letter.
At the time you distinguished me by your favourable opinion, I told you, Sir, that my choice was the single life. And most truly did I tell you so.
When that was not permitted me, and I looked round upon the several gentlemen who had been proposed to me, and had reason to believe that there was not one of them against whose morals or principles there lay not some exception, it would not have been much to be wondered at, if FANCY had been allowed to give a preference, where JUDGMENT was at a loss to determine.
Far be it from me to say this with a design to upbraid you, Sir, or to reflect upon you. I always wished you well. You had reason to think I did. You had the generosity to be pleased with the frankness of my behaviour to you; as I had with that of your's to me; and I am sorry, very sorry, to be now told, that the acquiescence you obliged me with gave you so much pain.
.. Had the option I have mentioned been allowed me afterwards, (as I not only wished, but proposed,) things had not happened that did happen. But there was a kind of fatality by which our whole family was impelled, as I
may say; and which none of us were permitted to avoid. But this is a subject that cannot be dwelt upon.
As matters are, I have only to wish, for your own sake, that you will encourage and cultivate those good motions in your mind, to which many passages in your kind and generous letter now before me must be owing. Depend upon it, Sir, that such motions, wrought into habit, will yield you pleasure at a time when nothing else can; and at present, shining out in your actions and conversation, will commend you to the worthiest of our sex. For, Sir, the man who is good upon choice, as well as by education, has that quality in himself, which ennobles the human race, and without which the most dig. nified by birth or rank are ignoble.
As to the resolution you solemnly make not to marry while I live, I should be concerned at it, were I not morally sure that you may keep it, and yet not be detri mented by it since a few, a very few days, will convince you, that I am got above all human dependence; and that there is no need of that protection and favour, which you so generously offer to, Sir,
Your obliged well-wisher, and humble servant,
MR. LOVELACE, TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Monday Noon, Aug. 28. ABOUT the time of poor Belton's interment last night, as near as we could guess, Lord M., Mowbray, and myself,
toasted once, To the memory of honest Tom. Belton; and, by a quick transition to the living, Health to Miss Harlowe; which Lord M. obligingly began, and, To the happy reconciliation; and then we stuck in a remembrance To honest Jack Belford, who, of late, we all agreed, is become an useful and humane man; and one who prefers his friend's service to his own.
But what is the meaning I hear nothing from thee*? And why dost thou not let me into the grounds of the sudden reconciliation between my beloved and her friends, and the cause of the generous invitation which she gives me of attending her at her father's some time hence?
Thou must certainly have been let into the secret by this time; and I can tell thee, I shall be plaguy jealous if there be any one thing pass between my angel and thee that is to be concealed from me. For either I am a principal in this cause, or I am nothing.
I have dispatched Will. to know the reason of thy neglect.
But let me whisper a word or two in thy ear. I begin to be afraid, after all, that this letter was a stratagem to get me out of town, and for nothing else for, in the first place, Tourville, in a letter I received this morning, tells me, that the lady is actually very ill! [I am sorry for it with all my soul!]. This, thou'lt say, I may think a reason why she cannot set out as yet but then I have heard, on the other hand, but last night, that the family is as implacable as ever; and my Lord and I expect this very afternoon a visit from Colonel Morden; who, undertakes, it seems, to question me as to my intention with regard to his cousin.
* Mr. Belford had not yet sent him his last-written letter. His reason for which see Letter LXV. of this volume.