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a little more modesty in your letter than in the letters of your pert advocate and my father is pleased to give me leave to write; but only these words for him, and no more: That he withdraws the curse he laid upon you,
at the first hearing of your wicked flight, so far as it is in his power to do it; and hopes that your present pu 'nishment may be all that you will meet with. For the C rest, he will never own you, nor forgive you; and " grieves he has such a daughter in the world.'
All this, and more you have deserved from him, and from all of us: But what have you done to this abandoned libertine, to deserve what you have met with at his hands? -I fear, I fear, Sister!-But no more!—A blessed four months' work have you made of it.
My brother is now at Edinburgh, sent thither by my father, [though he knows not this to be the motive,] that he may not meet your triumphant deluder.
We are told he would be glad to marry you: But why, then, did he abandon you ? He had kept you till he was tired of you, no question; and it is not likely he would wish to have you but upon the terms you have already without all doubt been his.
You ought to advise your friend Miss Howe to concern herself less in your matters than she does, except she could do it with more decency. She has written three letters to me: very insolent ones. Your favourer, poor Mrs. Norton, thinks you know nothing of the pert creature's writing. I hope you don't. But then the more impertinent the writer. But, believing the fond woman, I sat down the more readily to answer your letter; and I write with less severity, I can tell you, than otherwise I should have done, if I had answered it at all.
Monday last was your birth-day. Think, poor un
grateful wretch, as you are! how we all used to keep it; and you will not wonder to be told, that we ran away from one another that day. But God give you true penitence, if you have it not already! and it will be true, if it be equal to the shame and the sorrow you have given us all. Your afflicted sister,
Your cousin Morden is every day expected in England. He, as well as others of the family, when he comes to hear what a blessed piece of work you have made of it, will wish you never had had a being.
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE.
Sunday, July 30.
You have given me great pleasure, my dearest friend, by your approbation of my reasonings, and of my resolution founded upon them, never to have Mr. Lovelace. This approbation is so right a thing, give me leave to say, from the nature of the case, and from the strict honour and true dignity of mind, which I always admired in my Anna Howe, that I could hardly tell to what, but to my evil destiny, which of late would not let me please any body, to attribute the advice you gave me to the contrary.
But let not the ill state of my health, and what that may naturally tend to, sadden you. I have told you, that I will not run away from life, nor avoid the means that may
continue it, if God see fit: and if He do not, who shall repine at his will!
If it shall be found that I have not acted unworthy of your love, and of my own character, in my greater trials, that will be a happiness to both on reflection.
The shock which you so earnestly advise me to try to get above, was a shock, the greatest that I could receive. But, my dear, as it was not occasioned by my fault, I hope I am already got above it. I hope I am.
I am more grieved (at times however) for others, than for myself. And so I ought. For as to myself, I cannot but reflect that I have had an escape, rather than a loss, in missing Mr. Lovelace for a husband—even had he' not committed the vilest of all outrages.
Let any one, who knows my story, collect his character from his behaviour to me before that outrage; and then judge whether it was in the least probable that such a man should make me happy. But to collect his character from his principles with regard to the sex in general, and from his enterprizes upon many of them, and to consider the cruelty of his nature, and the sportiveness of his invention, together with the high opinion he has of himself, it will not be doubted that a wife of his must have been miserable; and more miserable if she loved him, than she could have been were she to be indifferent to him.
A twelvemonth might very probably have put a period to my life; situated as I was with my friends; persecuted and harassed as I had been by my brother and sister; and my very heart torn in pieces by the wilful, and (as it is now apparent) premeditated suspenses of the man, whose gratitude I wished to engage, and whose protection
I was the more entitled to expect, as he had robbed me of every other, and reduced me to an absolute dependence upon himself. Indeed I once thought that it was all his view to bring me to this, (as he hated my family;) and uncomfortable enough for me, if it had been all.
Can it be thought, my dear, that my heart was not more than half broken (happy as I was before I knew Mr. Lovelace) by such a grievous change in my circumstances? -Indeed it was. Nor perhaps was the wicked violence wanting to have cut short, though possibly not so very short, a life that he has sported with.
Had I been his but a month, he must have possessed the estate on which my relations had set their hearts; the more to their regret, as they hated him as much as he hated them.
Have I not reason, these things considered, to think myself happier without Mr. Lovelace than I could have been with him?-My will too unviolated; and very little, nay, not any thing as to him, to reproach myself with?
But with my relations it is otherwise. They indeed deserve to be pitied. They are, and no doubt will long be, unhappy.
To judge of their resentments, and of their conduct, we must put ourselves in their situation :—and while they think me more in fault than themselves, (whether my favourers are of their opinion, or not,) and have a right to judge for themselves, they ought to have great allowances made for them; my parents especially. They stand at least self-acquitted, (that I cannot;) and the rather, as they can recollect, to their pain, their past indulgencies to me, and their unquestionable love.
Your partiality for the friend you so much value will
not easily let you come into this way of thinking. But only, my dear, be pleased to consider the matter in the following light.
'Here was my MOTHER, one of the most prudent persons of her sex, married into a family, not perhaps so happily tempered as herself; but every one of which she had the address, for a great while, absolutely to govern ' as she pleased by her directing wisdom, at the same time that they knew not but her prescriptions were the dictates of their own hearts; such a sweet heart had she of 'conquering by seeming to yield. Think, my dear, what 6 must be the pride and the pleasure of such a mother, that
in my brother she could give a son to the family she dis'tinguished with her love, not unworthy of their wishes;
a daughter, in my sister, of whom she had no reason to be ashamed; and in me a second daughter, whom every body complimented (such was their partial favour to me)
as being the still more immediate likeness of herself? 'How, self pleased, could she smile round upon a family she had so blessed! What compliments were paid her upon the example she had given us, which was followed with such hopeful effects! With what a noble confidence 'could she look upon her dear Mr. Harlowe, as a person made happy by her; and be delighted to think that nothing but purity streamed from a fountain so pure!
Now, my dear, reverse, as I daily do, this charming prospect. See my dear mother, sorrowing in her closet; endeavouring to suppress her sorrow at her table, and in those retirements where sorrow was before
a stranger hanging down her pensive head: smiles no 6 more beaming over her benign aspect: her virtue made to suffer for faults she could not be guilty of: her pati