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had on Monday at Lord M.'s with Lovelace; and asked me abundance of questions about you, and about that vil. lanous man.
I could have raised a fine flame between them if I would: but, observing that he is a man of very lively passions, and believing you would be miserable if any thing should hap pen to him from a quarrel with a man who is known to have so many advantages at his sword, I made not the worst of the subjects we talked of. But, as I could not tell untruths in his favour, you must think I said enough to make him curse the wretch.
I don't find, well as they all used to respect Colonel Morden, that he has influence enough upon them to bring them to any terms of reconciliation.
What can they mean by it!-But your brother is come home, it seems: so, the honour of the house, the reputa tion of the family, is all the cry!
The Colonel is exceedingly out of humour with them all. Yet has he not hitherto, it seems, seen your brutal brother.—I told him how ill you were, and communicated to him some of the contents of your letter. He admired you, cursed Lovelace, and raved against all your family. -He declared that they were all unworthy of you.
At his earnest request, I permitted him to take some brief notes of such of the contents of your letter to me as I thought I could read to him; and, particularly, of your melancholy conclusion*.
He says that none of your friends think you so ill as you are; nor will believe it. He is sure they all love you; and that dearly too.
If they do, their present hardness of heart will be the
* See Letter LXXIV. of this volume.
subject of everlasting remorse to them should you be taken from us-but now it seems [barbarous wretches!] you are to suffer within an inch of your life.
He asked me questions about Mr. Belford: and, when he had heard what I had to say of that gentleman, and his disinterested services to you, he raved at some villanous Burmises thrown out against you by that officious pedant, Brand: who, but for his gown, I find, would come off poorly enough between your cousin and Lovelace.
He was so uneasy about you himself, that on Thursday, the 24th, he sent up an honest serious man*, one Alston, a gentleman farmer, to inquire of your condition, your visiters, and the like; who brought him word that you was very ill, and was put to great straits to support yourself: but as this was told him by the gentlewoman of the house where you lodge, who, it seems, mingled it with some tart, though deserved, reflections upon your relations' cruelty, it was not credited by them: and I myself hope it cannot be true; for surely you could not be so unjust, I will say, to my friendship, as to suffer any inconveniencies for want of money. I think I could not forgive you, if it were
The Colonel (as one of your trustees) is resolved to see you put into possession of your estate: and, in the mean time, he has actually engaged them to remit to him for you the produce of it accrued since your grandfather's death, (a very considerable sum ;) and proposes himself to attend you with it. But, by a hint he dropt, I find you had disappointed some people's littleness, by not writing to them for money and supplies; since they were determined to distress you, and to put you at defiance.
See Letter LXV. of this volume.
Like all the rest!-I hope I may say that without offence.
Your cousin imagines that, before a reconciliation takes place, they will insist that you shall make such a will, as to that estate, as they shall approve of: but he declares he will not go out of England till he has seen justice done you by every body; and that you shall not be imposed on either by friend or foe
By relation or foe, should he not have said?—for a friend will not impose upon a friend.
So, my dear, you are to buy your peace, if some people are to have their wills!
Your cousin [not I, my dear, though it was always my opinion*] says, that the whole family is too rich to be either humble, considerate, or contented. And as for himself, he has an ample fortune, he says, and thinks of leaving it wholly to you.
Had this villain Lovelace consulted his worldly interest only, what a fortune would he have had in you, even although your marrying him had deprived you of a pa. ternal share!
I am obliged to leave off here. But having a good deal still to write, and my mother better, I will pursue the subject in another letter, although I send both together. I need not say how much I am, and will ever be, Your affectionate, &c.
* See Vol. I. Letter X.
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
Thursday, August 31.
THE Colonel thought fit once, in praise of Lovelace's generosity, to say, that (as a man of honour ought) he took to himself all the blame, and acquitted you of the consequences of the precipitate step you had taken; since he said, as you loved him, and was in his power, he must have had advantages which he would not have had, if you had continued at your father's, or at any friend's.
Mighty generous, I said, (were it as he supposed,) in such insolent reflectors, the best of them; who pretend to clear reputations which never had been sullied but by falling into their dirty acqnaiutance! but in this case, I averred, that there was no need of any thing but the strictest truth, to demonstrate Lovelace to be the blackest of villains, you the brightest of innocents.
This he catched at; and swore, that if any thing uncommon or barbarous in the seduction were to come out, as indeed one of the letters you had written to your friends, and which had been shown him, very strongly implied; that is to say, my dear, if any thing worse than perjury, breach of faith, and abuse of a generous confidence, were to appear! [sorry fellows!] he would avenge his cousin to the utmost.
I urged your apprehensions on this head from your last letter to me: but he seemed capable of taking what I know to be real greatness of soul, in an unworthy sense for he mentioned directly upon it the expectations your friends had, that you should (previous to any reconciliation with them) appear in a court of justice against the villain-IF
you could do it with the advantage to yourself that I hinted might be done.
And truly, if I would have heard him, he had indelicacy enough to have gone into the nature of the proof of the crime upon which they wanted to have Lovelace arraigned. Yet this is a man improved by travel and learning!-Upon my word, my dear, I, who have been accustomed to the most delicate conversation ever since I had the honour to know you, despise this sex from the gentleman down to the peasant.
Upon the whole, I find that Mr. Morden has a very slender notion of women's virtue in particular cases: for which reason I put him down, though your favourite, as one who is not entitled to cast the first stone,
I never knew a man who deserved to be well thought of himself for his morals, who had a slight opinion of the virtue of our sex in general. For if, from the difference of temperament and education, modesty, chastity, and piety too, are not to be found in our sex preferably to the other, I should think it a sign of much worse nature in ours.
He even hinted (as from your relations indeed) that it is impossible but there must be some will where there is much love.
These sort of reflections are enough to make a woman, who has at heart her own honour and the honour of her sex, to look about her, and consider what she is doing when she enters into an intimacy with these wretches; since it is plain, that whenever she throws herself into the power of a man, and leaves for him her parents or guardians, every body will believe it to be owing more to her good luck than to her discretion if there be not an end of her virtue and let the man be ever such a villain to her, she must take into her own bosom a share of his guilty baseness.