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Hinting at a re.
have better answered her intentions. moval out of the knowledge of us both.
But she was much pleased that the conference between you and Colonel Morden, after two or three such violent sallies, as I acquainted her you had had between you, ended so amicably; and said she must absolutely depend upon the promise I had given her to use my utmost endeavours to prevent farther mischief on her account.
She was pleased with the justice you did her character to her cousin.
She was glad to hear that he had so kind an opinion of her, and that he would write to her.
I was under an unnecessary concern, how to break to her that I had the copy of Brand's vile letter: unnecessary, I say; for she took it just as you thought she would, as an excuse she wished to have for the implacableness of her friends; and begged I would let her read it herself; for, said she, the contents cannot disturb me, be they what they will.
I gave it to her, and she read it to herself; a tear now and then being ready to start, and a sigh sometimes in. terposing.
She gave me back the letter with great and surprising calmness, considering the subject.
There was a time, said she, and that not long since, when such a letter as this would have greatly pained me. But I hope I have now got above all these things: and I can refer to your kind offices, and to those of Miss Howe, the justice that will be done to my memory among my friends. There is a good and a bad light in which every thing that befalls us may be taken. If the human mind will busy itself to make the worst of every disagreeable occurrence, it will never want woe. This letter, affect.
ing as the subject of it is to my reputation, gives me more pleasure than pain, because I can gather from it, that had not my friends been prepossessed by misinformed or rash and officious persons, who are always at hand to flatter or soothe the passions of the affluent, they could not have been so immovably determined against me. But now they are sufficiently cleared from every imputation of unforgivingness; for, while I appeared to them in the character of a vile hypocrite, pretending to true penitence, yet giving up myself to profligate courses, how could I expect either their pardon or blessing?
But, Madam, said I, you'll see by the date of this letter, August 9, that their severity, previous to that, cannot be excused by it.
It imports me much, replied she, on account of my present wishes, as to the office you are so kind to undertake, that you should not think harshly of my friends. I must own to you, that I have been apt sometimes myself to think them not only severe but cruel. Suffering minds will be partial to their own cause and merits. Knowing their own hearts, if sincere, they are apt to murmur when harshly treated: But, if they are not believed to be innocent, by persons who have a right to decide upon their conduct according to their own judgments, how can it be helped? Besides, Sir, how do you know, that there are not about my friends as well-meaning misrepresenters as Mr. Brand really seems to be? But, be this as it will, there is no doubt that there are and have been multitudes of persons, as innocent as myself, who have suffered upon surmises as little probable as those on which Mr. Brand founds his judgment. Your intimacy, Sir, with Mr. Lovelace, and (may I say?) a character which, it seems, you have been less solicitous formerly
to justify than perhaps you will be for the future, and your frequent visits to me may well be thought to be questionable circumstances in my conduct.
I could only admire her in silence.
But you see, Sir, proceeded she, how necessary it is for young people of our sex to be careful of our company. And how much, at the same time, it behoves young persons of your's to be chary of their own reputation, were it only for the sake of such of our's as they may mean honourably by, and who otherwise may suffer in their good names for being seen in their company.
As to Mr. Brand, continued she, he is to be pitied; and let me enjoin you, Mr. Belford, not to take up any resentments against him which may be detrimental either to his person or his fortunes. Let his function and his good meaning plead for him. He will have concern enough, when he finds every body, whose displeasure I now labour under, acquitting my memory of perverse guilt, and joining in a general pity for me.
This, Lovelace, is the woman whose life thou hast cur. tailed in the blossom of it!-How many opportunities must thou have had of admiring her inestimable worth, yet couldst have thy senses so much absorbed in the woMAN, in her charming person, as to be blind to the ANGEL, that shines out in such full glory in her mind! Indeed, I have ever thought myself, when blest with her conversation, in the company of a real angel and I am sure it would be impossible for me, were she to be as beautiful, and as crimsoned over with health, as I have seen her, to have the least thought of sex, when I heard her talk.
Thursday, Three o'clock, Aug. 31. On my re-visit to the lady, I found her almost as much
a sufferer from joy as she had sometimes been from grief; for she had just received a very kind letter from her cousin Morden; which she was so good as to communicate to me. As she had already begun to answer it, I begged leave to attend her in the evening, that I might not inter. rupt her in it.
The letter is a very tender one * * * *
[Here Mr. Belford gives the substance of it upon his memory; but that is omitted; as the letter is given at length (see the next letter.) And then adds:]
But, alas! all will be now too late. For the decree is certainly gone out-the world is unworthy of her.
COLONEL MORDEN, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Tuesday, Aug. 29.
I SHOULD not, my dearest Cousin, have been a fortnight in England, without either doing myself the honour of waiting upon you in person, or of writing to you; if I had not been busying myself almost all the time in your service, in hopes of making my visit or letter still more acceptable to you-acceptable as I have reason to presume either will be from the unquestionable love I ever bore you, and from the esteem you always honoured me with.
Little did I think that so many days would have been required to effect my well-intended purpose, where there used to be a love so ardent on one side, and where there
still is, as I am thoroughly convinced, the most exalted merit on the other!
I was yesterday with Mr. Lovelace and Lord M. I nced not tell you, it seems, how very desirous the whole family and all the relations of that nobleman are of the honour of an alliance with you; nor how exceedingly earnest the ungrateful man is to make you all the repara. tion in his power.
I think, my dear Cousin, that you cannot now do better than to give him the honour of your hand. He says such just and great things of your virtue, and so heartily condemns himself, that I think there is honourable room for you to forgive him: and the more room, as it seems you are determined against a legal prosecution.
Your effectual forgiveness of Mr. Lovelace, it is evident to me, will accelerate a general reconciliation: for, at present, my other cousins cannot persuade themselves that he is in earnest to do you justice; or that you would refuse him, if you believed he was.
But, my dear Cousin, there may possibly be something in this affair, to which I may be a stranger. If there be, and you will acquaint me with it, all that a naturallywarm heart can do in your behalf shall be done.
I hope I shall he able, in my next visits to my several cousins, to set all right with them. Haughty spirits, when convinced that they have carried resentments too high, want but a good excuse to condescend: and pa. rents must always love the child they once loved.
But if I find them inflexible, I will set out, and attend you without delay; for I long to see you, after so many years' absence.
Mean while, I beg the favour of a few lines, to know if you have reason to doubt Mr. Lovelace's sincerity.