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I am writing to general cases. You, my dear, are out of the question. Your story, as I have heretofore said, will afford a warning, as well as an example*: For who is it that will not infer, that if a person of your fortune, character, and merit, could not escape ruin, after she had put herself into the power of her hyena, what can a thoughtless, fond, giddy creature expect?

Every man, they will say, is not a LOVELACE-True: but then, neither is every woman a CLARISSA. And allow for the one and for the other the example must be of general

use.

I prepared Mr. Morden to expect your appointment of Mr. Belford for an office that we both hope he will have no occasion to act in (nor any body else) for many, very many years to come. He was at first startled at it: but, upon hearing such of your reasons as had satisfied me, he only said that such an appointment, were it to take place, would exceedingly affect his other cousins.

He told me, he had a copy of Lovelace's letter to you, imploring your pardon, and offering to undergo any pe nance to procure itt; and also of your answer to it.

I find he is willing to hope that a marriage between you may still take place; which, he says, will heal up all breaches.

I would have written much more-on the following particulars especially; to wit, of the wretched man's hunting you out of your lodgings: of your relations strange impla cableness, [I am in haste, and cannot think of a word you you would like better just now:] of your last letter to Lovelace, to divert him from pursuing you: of your aunt

* See Vol. IV, Letter XI.

+ See Letter XXXVI. of this volume.

See Letter XL. ibid,

Hervey's penitential conversation with Mrs. Norton: o Mr. Wyerley's renewed address: of your lessons to me in Hickman's behalf, so approvable, were the man more so than he is; but indeed I am offended with him at this instant, and have been for these two days: of your sister's transportation-project: and of twenty and twenty other things: but am obliged to leave off, to attend my two cousins Spilsworth, and my cousin Herbert, who are come to visit us on account of my mother's illness-I will therefore dispatch these by Rogers; and if my mother gets well soon (as I hope she will) I am resolved to see you in town, and tell you every thing that now is upon my mind; and particularly, mingling my soul with your's, how much I am, and will ever be, my dearest, dear friend,

Your affectionate

ANNA HOWE.

Let Rogers bring one line, I pray you. I thought to have

sent him this afternoon; but he cannot set out till to

morrow morning early.

I cannot express how much your staggering lines and your

conclusion affect me!

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LETTER XCVI.

MR. BELFORD, TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.

Sunday Evening, Sept. 3.

I

WONDER not at the impatience your servant tells me you express to hear from me. I was designing to write you a long letter, and was just returned from Smith's for that purpose; but, since you are urgent, you must be contented with a short one.

I attended the lady this morning, just before I set out for Edgware. She was so ill over-night, that she was obliged to leave unfinished her letter to Miss Howe. But early this morning she made an end of it, and had just sealed it up as I came. She was so fatigued with writing, that she told me she would lie down after I was gone, and endeavour to recruit her spirits.

They had sent for Mr. Goddard, when she was so ill last night; and not being able to see him out of her own chamber, he, for the first time, saw her house, as she calls it. He was extremely shocked and concerned at it; and chid Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Lovick for not persuading her to have such an object removed from her bed-chamber: and when they excused themselves on the little authority it was reasonable to suppose they must have with a lady so much their superior, he reflected warmly on those who had more authority, and who left her to proceed with such a shocking and solemn whimsy, as he called it.

It is placed near the window, like a harpsichord, though covered over to the ground: and when she is so ill that she cannot well go to her closet, she writes and reads upon it, as others would upon a desk or table. But (only as she was so ill last night) she chooses not to see any body in that apartment.

I went to Edgware; and, returning in the evening, attended her again. She had a letter brought her from Mrs. Norton (a long one, as it seems by its bulk,) just before I came. But she had not opened it; and said, that as she was pretty calm and composed, she was afraid to look into the contents, lest she should be ruffled; expecting. now to hear of nothing that could do her good or give her pleasure from that good woman's dear hard-hearted neighbours, as she called her own relations.

. Seeing her so weak and ill, I withdrew; nor did she

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desire me to tarry, as sometimes she does, when I make a motion to depart.

I had some hints, as I went away, from Mrs. Smith, that she had appropriated that evening to some offices, that were to save trouble, as she called it, after her de parture; and had been giving orders to her nurse, and to Mrs. Lovick, and Mrs. Smith, about what she would have done when she was gone; and I believe they were of a very delicate and affecting nature; but Mrs. Smith descended not to particulars.

The doctor had been with her, as well as Mr. God dard; and they both joined with great earnestness to persuade her to have her house removed out of her sight; but she assured them that it gave her pleasure and spi rits; and, being a necessary preparation, she wondered they should be surprised at it, when she had not any of her family about her, or any old acquaintance, on whose care and exactness in these punctilios, as she called them, she could rely.

The doctor told Mrs. Smith, that he believed she would hold out long enough for any of her friends to have notice of her state, and to see her; and hardly longer; and since he could not find that she had any certainty of seeing her cousin Morden, (which made it plain that her relations continued inflexible,) he would go home, and write a letter to her father, take it as she would.

She had spent great part of the day in intense devo tions; and to-morrow morning she is to have with her the same clergyman who has often attended her; from whose hands she will again receive the sacrament.

Thou seest, Lovelace, that all is preparing, that all will be ready; and I am to attend her to-morrow afternoon, to take some instructions from her in relation to my part in the office to be performed for her. And thus,

omitting the particulars of a fine conversation between her and Mrs. Lovick, which the latter acquainted me with, as well as another between her and the doctor and apothecary, which I had a design this evening to give you, they being of a very affecting nature, I have yielded to your impatience.

I shall dispatch Harry to-morrow morning early with her letter to Miss Howe: an offer she took very kindly; as she is extremely solicitous to lessen that young lady's apprehensions for her on not hearing from her by Sa turday's post and yet, if she write truth, as no doubt but she will, how can her apprehensions be lessened?

LETTER XCVII.

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE,

Saturday, Sept. 2.

I

WRITE, my beloved Miss Howe, though very ill still: but I could not by the return of your messenger; for I was then unable to hold a pen.

Your mother's illness (as mentioned in the first part of your letter,) gave me great distress for you, till I read farther. You bewailed it as became a daughter so sen. sible. May you be blessed in each other for many, very many, happy years to come! I doubt not, that even this sudden and grievous indisposition, by the frame it has put you in, and the apprehension it has given you of losing so dear a mother, will contribute to the happiness I wish you: for, alas! my dear, we seldom know how to value the blessings we enjoy, till we are in danger of losing

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