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But after all, I know not if it were not more eligible by far, that my story, and myself too, should be forgotten as soon as possible. And of this I shall have the less doubt, if the character of my parents [you will forgive me, my dear] cannot be guarded against the unqualified bitterness which, from your affectionate zeal for me, has sometimes mingled with your ink-a point that ought, and (I insist upon it) must be well considered of, if any thing be done which your mother and you are desirous to have done. The generality of the world is too apt to oppose a duty and general duties, my dear, ought not to be weakened by the justification of a single person, however unhappily circumstanced.
My father has been so good as to take off the heavy ma. lediction he laid me under. I must be now solicitous for a last blessing; and that is all I shall presume to petition for. My sister's letter, communicating this grace, is a severe one but as she writes to me as from every body, how could I expect it to be otherwise?
If you set out to-morrow, this letter cannot reach you till you get to your aunt Harman's. I shall therefore direct it thither, as Mr. Hickman instructed me.
I hope you will have met with no inconveniencies in your little journey and voyage; and that you will have found in good health all whom you wish to see well.
If your relations in the little island join their solicitations with your mother's commands, to have your nuptials celebrated before you leave them, let me beg of you, my dear, to oblige them. How grateful will the notification that you have done so be to
Your ever faithful and affectionate
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HARLOWE.
Saturday, July 29.
REPINE not, my dear Sister, at the severity you have been pleased to express in the letter you favoured me with; because that severity was accompanied with the grace I had petitioned for; and because the reproaches of mine own heart are stronger than any other person's reproaches can be and yet I am not half so culpable as I am imagined to be as would be allowed, if all the cir cumstances of my unhappy story were known: and which I shall be ready to communicate to Mrs. Norton, if she be commissioned to inquire into them; or to you, my Sister, if you can have patience to hear them.
I remembered with a bleeding heart what day the 24th of July was. I began with the eve of it; and I passed the day itself as it was fit I should pass it. Nor have I any comfort to give to my dear and ever-honoured father and mother, and to you, my Bella, but this-that, as it was the first unhappy anniversary of my birth, in all probability, it will be the last.
Believe me, my dear Sister, I say not this merely to move compassion, but from the best grounds. And as, on that account, I think it of the highest importance to my peace of mind to obtain one farther favour, I would choose to owe to your intercession, as my sister, the leave I beg, to address half dozen lines (with the hope of having them answered as I wish) to either or to both my honoured parents, to beg their last blessing.
This blessing is all the favour I have now to ask: it is
all I dare to ask: yet am I afraid to rush at once, though by letter, into the presence of either. And if I did not ask it, it might seem to be owing to stubbornness and want of duty, when my heart is all humility and penitence. Only, be so good as to embolden me to attempt this taskwrite but this one line, Clary Harlowe, you are at li 'berty to write as you desire.' This will be enoughand shall, to my last hour, be acknowledged as the greatest favour, by
Your truly penitent sister,
MRS. NORTON, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
MY DEAREST YOUNG LADY,
Monday, July 31.
MUST indeed own that I took the liberty to write to your mother, offering to enclose to her, if she gave me leave, your's of the 24th: by which I thought she would see what was the state of your mind; what the nature of your last troubles was from the wicked arrest; what the people are where you lodge; what proposals were made you from Lord M.'s family; also your sincere penitence; and how much Miss Howe's writing to them, in the terms she wrote in, disturbed you-but, as you have taken the matter into your own hands, and forbid me, in your last, to act in this nice affair unknown to you, I am glad the let. ter was not required of me—and indeed it may be better that the matter lie wholly between you and them; since my affection for you is thought to proceed from partiality.
They would choose, no doubt, that you should owe to themselves, and not to my humble mediation, the favour for which you so earnestly sue, and of which I would not have you despair: for I will venture to assure you, that your mother is ready to take the first opportunity to show her maternal tenderness: and this I gather from several hints I am not at liberty to explain myself upon.
I long to be with you, now I am better, and now my son is in a fair way of recovery. But is it not hard to have it signified to me that at present it will not be taken well if I go?-I suppose, while the reconciliation, which I hope will take place, is negotiating by means of the correspondence so newly opened between you and your sister. But if you would have me come, I will rely on my good inten. tions, and risque every one's displeasure.
Mr. Brand has business in town; to solicit for a benefice which it is expected the incumbent will be obliged to quit for a better preferment: and, when there, he is to inquire privately after your way of life, and of your
He is a very officious young man; and, but that your uncle Harlowe (who has chosen him for this errand) regards him as an oracle, your mother had rather any body else had been sent.
He is one of those puzzling, over-doing gentlemen, who think they see farther into matters than any body else, and are fond of discovered mysteries where there are none, in order to be thought shrewd men.
I can't say I like him, either in the pulpit or out of it: I, who had a father one of the so dest divines and finest scholars in the kingdom; who never made an ostentation of what he knew; but loved and venerated the gospel he taught, preferring; it to all other learning: to be obliged
to hear a young man depart from his text as soon as he has named it, (so contrary, too, to the example set him by his learned and worthy principal*, when his health permits him to preach;) and throwing about, to a christian and country audience, scraps of Latin and Greek from the Pagan Classics; and not always brought in with great propriety neither, (if I am to judge by the only way given me to judge of them, by the English he puts them into ;) is an indication of something wrong, either in his head, or his heart, or both; for, otherwise, his education at the university must have taught him better. You know, my dear Miss Clary, the honour I have for the cloth: it is owing to that, that I say what I do.
I know not the day he is to set out; and, as his inquiries are to be private, be pleased to take no notice of this intelligence. I have no doubt that your life and conver sation are such as may defy the scrutinies of the most officious inquirer.
I am just now told that you have written a second letter to your sister: but am afraid they will wait for Mr. Brand's report, before farther favour will be obtained from them; for they will not yet believe you are so ill as I fear you are.
But you would soon find that you have an indulgent mother, were she at liberty to act according to her own inclination. And this gives me great hopes that all will end well at last: for I verily think you are in the right way to a reconciliation. God give a blessing to it, and restore your health, and you to all your friends, prays Your ever affectionate
* Dr. Lewen.