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deprived of her, will put an end to our afflictions ?-Can it be thought that the fall of such a child will not be regretted by us to the last hour of our lives?
But, in the letter you have, does she, without reserve, express her contrition? Has she in it no reflecting hints? Does she not aim at extenuations?-If I were to see it, will it not shock me so much, that my apparent grief may expose me to harshnesses ?-Can it be contrived
But to what purpose?-Don't send it-I charge you don't-I dare not see it
Oh! forgive the almost distracted mother! You can. -You know how to allow for all this-so I will let it go. -I will not write over again this part of my letter.
But I choose not to know more of her than is commu. nicated to us all-no more than I dare own I have seenand what some of them may rather communicate to me, than receive from me: and this for the sake of my outward quiet although my inward peace suffers more and more by the compelled reserve.
But I will now try to con
I WAS forced to break off. clude my long letter.
I am sorry you are ill. But if you were well, I could not, for your own sake, wish you to go up, as Betty tells us you long to do. If you went, nothing would be minded that came from you. As they already think you too par tial in her favour, your going up would confirm it, and do yourself prejudice, and her no good. And as every body values you here, I advise you not to interest yourself too warmly in her favour, especially before my Bella's Betty, till I can let you know a proper time. Yet to forbid you
to love the dear naughty creature, who can? O my Norton! you must love her!—And so must I!
I send you five guineas, to help you in your present illness, and your son's; for it must have lain heavy upon you. What a sad, sad thing, my dear good woman, that all your pains, and all my pains, for eighteen or nineteen years together, have, in so few months, been rendered. thus deplorably vain! Yet I must be always your friend, and pity you, for the very reason that I myself deserve every one's pity.
Perhaps I may find an opportunity to pay you a visit, as in your illness; and then may weep over the letter you mention with you. But, for the future, write nothing to me about the poor girl that you think may not be communicated to us all.
And I charge you, as you value my friendship, as you wish my peace, not to say any thing of a letter you have from me, either to the naughty one, or to any body else. It was some little relief (the occasion given) to write to you, who must, in so particular a manner, share my afflic tion. A mother, Mrs. Norton, cannot forget her child, though that child could abandon her mother; and, in so doing, run away with all her mother's comforts!-As I can truly say is the case of
Your unhappy friend,
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. JUDITH NORTON.
Sat. July 29.
CONGRATULATE You, my dear Mrs. Norton, with all my heart, on your son's recovery; which I pray to God, with your own health, to perfect.
I write in some hurry, being apprehensive of the consequence of the hints you give of some method you propose to try in my favour [with my relations, I presume, you mean]: but you will not tell me what, you say, if it prove unsuccessful.
Now I must beg of you that you will not take any step in my favour, with which you do not first acquaint me.
I have but one request to make to them, besides what is contained in my letter to my sister; and I would not, methinks, for the sake of their own future peace of mind, that they should be teased so by your well-meant kindness, and that of Miss Howe, as to be put upon denying me that. And why should more be asked for me than I can partake of? More than is absolutely necessary for
my own peace?
You suppose I should have my sister's answer to my letter by the time your's reached my hand. I have it: and a severe one, a very severe one, it is. Yet, considering my fault in their eyes, and the provocations I am to suppose they so newly had from my dear Miss Howe, I am to look upon it as a favour that it was answered at all. I will send you a copy of it soon; as also of mine, to to which it is an answer.
I have reason to be very thankful that my father has withdrawn that heavy malediction, which affected me so much-A parent's curse, my dear Mrs. Norton! What child could die in peace under a parent's curse? so literally fulfilled too as this has has been in what relates to this life!
My heart is too full to touch upon the particulars of my sister's letter. I can make but one atonement for my fault. May that be accepted! And may it soon be forgotten, by every dear relation, that there was such an unhappy daughter, sister, or niece, as Clarissa Harlowe !
My cousin Morden was one of those who was so earnest in prayer for my recovery, at nine and eleven years of age, as you mention. My sister thinks he will be one of those who will wish I never had had a being. But pray, when he does come, let me hear of it with the first.
You think that, were it not for that unhappy notion of my moving talent, my mother would relent. What would I give to see her once more, and, although unknown to her, to kiss but the hem of her garment!
Could I have thought that the last time I saw her would have been the last, with what difficulty should I have been torn from her embraced feet!-And when, screened behind the yew-hedge on the 5th of April last*, I saw my father, and my uncle Antony, and my brother and sister, how little did I think that that would be the last time I should ever see them; and, in so short a space, that so many dreadful evils would befal me!
But I can write nothing but what must give you trouble. I will therefore, after repeating my desire that you
* See Vol. II. Letter XXXV,
will not intercede for me but with my previous consent, conclude with the assurance, that I am, and ever will be,
Your most affectionate and dutiful
MISS AR. HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE.
[In answer to her's of Friday, July 21, Letter XCV. of Vol. VI.]
O MY UNHAPPY LOST SISTER!
You may well grieve and repent!-Lovelace has left you!-In what way or circumstances you know best.
I wish your conduct had made your case more pitiable, But 'tis your own seeking!
God help you!-For you have not a friend will look upon you!-Poor, wicked, undone creature!-Fallen, as you are, against warning, against expostulation, against duty!
But it signifies nothing to reproach you. I you.
My poor mother!-Your rashness and folly have made her more miserable than you can be.-Yet she has be sought my father to grant your request.
My uncles joined with her: for they thought there was
Thursday, July 27.