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the specious veil of humility, doubling the merit myself: or, perhaps, take a resolution to throw to myself by the supposed, and indeed imputed, myself at once into Lady Betty's protection; gracefulness in the manner of conferring bene- and this will hinder him from making his insofits, when I had not a single merit in what I lently-threatened visit to Harlowe-Place. did, vastly overpaid by the pleasure of doing some little good, and impelled, as I may say, by [The lady writes again on Monday evening ; talents given me-For what? --Not to be proud and gives her friend an account of all that
passed between herself and Mr Lovelace that So desirous, in short, to be considered as an day; and of her being terrified out of her example? A vanity which my partial admirers purpose, of going out; but Mr Lovelace's put into my head !-And so secure in my own next letters giving a more ample account of virtue!
all, hers are omitted. I am punished enough, enough mortified, for It is proper, however, to mention, that she rethis my vanity-I hope, enough, if it so please urges Miss Howe (from the dissatisfaction the All-gracious Inflíctor; since now, I verily she has reason for from what passed between think, I more despise myself for my presump- Mr Lovelace and herself) to perfect her scheme tuous self-security, as well as vanity, than ever in relation to Mrs Townsend. She concludes I secretly vaunted myself on my good inclina- this letter in these words:] tions : secretly, I say, however; for, indeed, I had not given myself leisure to reflect, till I was I should say something of your last favour thus mortified, how very imperfect I was ; nor (but a few hours ago received) and of your diahow much truth there is in what divines tell us, logue with your mother-Are you not very that we sin in our best performances.
whimsical, my dear? I have but two things to But I was very young. --But here let me watch wish for on this occasion.—The one, over myself again; for in those four words, I charming pleasantry had a better subject than was very young, is there not a palliation couch- that you find for it in this dialogue—the other, ed, that were enough to take all efficacy from that my situation were not such, as must too the discovery and confession ?
often damp that pleasantry in you, and will not What strange imperfect beings !—But self permit me to enjoy it as I used to do. Be, howhere, which is at the bottom of all we do, and ever, happy in yourself, though you cannot in of all we wish, is the grand misleader.
Your I will not apologize to you, my dear, for these
CLARISSA HARLOWE. grave reflections. Is it not enough to make the unhappy creature look into herself, and endeavour to detect herself, who, from such an high
LETTER CVIII. reputation, left to proud and presumptuous self,
MR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ. should, by one thoughtless step, be brought to the dreadful situation I am in?
Monday Morning, May 22. Let me, however, look forward: to despond No generosity in this lady. None at all. would be to add sin to sin. And whom have I Wouldst thou not have thought, that, after I had to raise me up, whom to comfort me, if I desert permitted her to withdraw, primed for mischief myself ?-Thou, O Father, who, I hope, hast as I was, she would meet me next morning not yet deserted, hast not yet cursed me !-For early, and that with a smile, making me one of I am thine !—It is fit that mediation should sup- her best courtesies ? ply the rest.
I was in the dining-room before six, expecting her. She opened not her door. I went up stairs and down, and hemm’d, and called Will,
called Dorcas, threw the doors hard to; but I was so disgusted with him, as well as fright- still she opened not her door. Thus, till half an ed by him, that, on my return to my chamber, hour after eight, fooled I away my time ; and in a fit of passionate despair, I tore almost in then (breakfast ready) I sent Dorcas to request two the answer I had written to his proposals. her company.
I will see him in the morning, because I pro- But I was astonished, when (following the mised I would. But I will go out, and that wench, as she did at the first invitation) I saw without him, or any attendant. If he account her enter dressed, all but her gloves, and those not tolerably for his sudden change of behaviour, and her fan in her hand; in the same moment and a proper opportunity offer of a private lodging bidding Dorcas direct Will to get her a chair to in some creditable house, I will not any more the door. return to this :--at present I think so.-And Cruel creature, thought I, to expose me thus there will I either attend the perfecting of your to the derision of the women below! scheme ; or, by your epistolary mediation, make Going abroad, madam ? my own terms with the wretch ; since it is your I am, sir. opinion, that I must be his, and cannot help I looked cursed silly, I am sure. You will
breakfast first, I hope, madam ?--and a very withheld. I like you not, nor your ways. You humble strain ; yet with an hundred tenter- sought to quarrel with me yesterday, for no reahooks in
son in the world that I can think of, but because Had she given me more notice of her inten- I was too obliging. You are an ungrateful man; tion, I had perhaps wrought myself up to the and I hate you with my whole heart, Mr Loveframe I was in the day before, and begun my lace! vengeance. And immediately came into my head Do not make me desperate, madam. Permit all the virulence that had been transcribed for me to
shall not leave me in this me from Miss Howe's letters, and in that letter humour. Wherever you go, I will attend you. which I had transcribed myself.
Had Miss Howe been my friend, I had not been Yes, she would drink one dish ; and then laid thus treated. It is but too plain to whom my her gloves and fan in the window just by. difficulties are owing. I have long observed,
I was perfectly disconcerted. I hemm'd, and that every letter you received from her, makes was going to speak several times; but I knew an alteration in your behaviour to me. She would not in what key. Who's modest now! thought have you treat me, as she treats Mr Hickman, I 1. Who's insolent now !-How a tyrant of a suppose; but neither does that treatment bewoman confounds a bashful man! She was act- come your admirable temper to offer, nor me to ing Miss Howe, I thought; and I the spiritless receive. Hickman.
This startled her. She did not care to have At last, I will begin, thought I.
me think hardly of Miss Howe. She a dish-I a dish.
But recollecting herself, Miss Howe, said she, Sip, her eyes her own, she ; like an haughty is a friend to virtue, and to good men. If she and imperious sovereign, conscious of dignity, like not you, it is because you are not one of every look a favour.
those. Sip, like her vassal, I ; lips and hands trembling, Yes, madam ; and therefore, to speak of Mr and not knowing that I sipp'd or tasted.
Hickman and myself, as you both, I suppose, I was I was—I sipp'd- (drawing in my think of each, she treats him as she would not breath and the liquor together, though I scalded treat a Lovelace. I challenge you, madam, to my mouth with it) I was in hopes, madam shew me but one of the many letters you have
Dorcas came in just then.-Dorcas, said she, received from her, where I am mentioned. is a chair gone for?
Miss Howe is just ; Miss Howe is good, reDamn'd impertinence, thought I, thus to put plied she. She writes, she speaks of everybody me out in my speech! And I was forced to wait as they deserve. If you point me out but any for the servant's answer to the insolent mistress's one occasion, upon which you have reason to question.
build a merit to yourself, as either just or good, William is gone for one, madam.
or even generous, I will look out for her letter This cost me a minute's silence before I could on that occasion (if such an occasion there be, begin again. And then it was with my hopes, I have certainly acquainted her with it]; and and my hopes, and my hopes, that I should will engage it shall be in your favour. have been early admitted to
Devilish severe ! And as indelicate as severe, What weather is it, Dorcas ? said she, as re- to put a modish man upon hunting backward gardless of me as if I had not been present. after his own merits.
A little lowering, madam-The sun is gone She would have flung from me: I will not be in-it was very fine half an hour ago.
detained, Mr Lovelace. I will go out. I had no patience. Up I rose. Down went Indeed you must not, madam, in this humour. the tea-cup, saucer and all-Confound the wea- And I placed myself between her and the door. ther, the sunshine, and the wench !--Begone -And then, fanning, she threw herself into for a devil, when I am speaking to your lady, a chair, her sweet face all crimsoned over with and have so little opportunity given me. passion.
Up rose the saucy-face, half-frighted, and I cast myself at her feet.--Begone, Mr Lovesnatched from the window her gloves and fan. lace, said she, with a rejecting motion, her fan
You must not go, madam !-Seizing her hand in her hand; for your own sake, leave me !—My -by my soul, you must not!
soul is above thee, man! with both her hands Must not, sir !-But I must-you can curse pushing me from her!-Urge me not to tell thee, your maid in my absence, as well as if I were how sincerely I think my soul above thee ! present-Except-except-you intend for me, Thou hast, in mine, a proud, a too proud heart what you direct to her.
to contend with !-Leave me, and leave me for Dearest creature, you must not go-you must ever !—Thou hast a proud heart to contend not leave me-Such determined scorn! such with ! contempts !-Questions asked your servant, of Her air, her manner, her voice, were bewitchno meaning but to break in upon me-I cannot ingly noble, though her words were so severe. bear it!
Let me worship an angel, said I, no woman. Detain me not [struggling). I will not be Forgive me, dearest creature !-creature if you
be, forgive me !-forgive my inadvertencies ! gentle, slower to be moved than those of the forgive my inequalities !~pity my infirmities ! quick, are the most flaming, the most irresisti-Who is equal to my Clarissa ?
hle, when raised.—Yet her charming body is I trembled between admiration and love ; and not equally organized. The unequal partners wrapt my arms about her knees, as she sat. She pull two ways; and the divinity within her tears tried to rise at the moment; but my clasping her silken frame. But had the same soul inround her thus ardently, drew her down again; formed a masculine body, never would there and never was woman more affrighted. But free have been a truer hero. as my clasping emotion might appear to her apprehensive heart, I had not, at the instant, any
Monday, Two o'clock. thought but what reverence inspired. And till Not yet visible !
—My beloved is not well. she had actually withdrawn [which I permitted What expectations had she from my ardent adunder promise of a speedy return, and on her miration of her !—More rudeness than revenge consent to dismiss the chair], all the motions of apprehended. Yet, how my soul thirsts for remy heart were as pure as her own.
venge upon both these ladies ! I must have reShe kept not her word. An hour I waited, be- course to my master-strokes. This cursed profore I sent to claim her promise. She could not ject of Miss Howe and her Mrs Townsend (if I possibly see me yet, was her answer.
cannot contrive to render it abortive,) will be alas she could, she would.
ways a sword hanging over my head. Upon every Dorcas says, she still excessively trembled ; little disobligation my beloved will be for taking and ordered her to give her hartshorn and wa- wing; and the pains I have taken to deprive her
of every other refuge or protection, in order A strange apprehensive creature ! Her terror to make her absolutely dependent upon me, will is too great for the occasion. Evils are often be all thrown away. But perhaps I shall find greater in apprehension, than in reality. Hast out a smuggler to counterplot Miss Howe. thou never observed, that the terrors of a bird Thou rememberest the contention between the caught, and actually in the hand, bear no com- Sun and the North-wind, in the fable; which parison to what we might have supposed those should first make an honest traveller throw off terrors would be, were we to have formed a his cloak. judgment of the same bird by its shyness before Boreas began first. He puffed away most it was taken?
vehemently; and often made the poor fellow Dear creature ! -Did she never romp? Did curve and stagger ; but with no other effect, she never, from girlhood to now, hoyden? The than to cause him to wrap his surtout the closer innocent kinds of freedom taken and allowed on about him. these occasions, would have familiarized her to But when it came to Phæbus's turn, he so greater. Sacrilege but to touch the hem of her played upon the traveller with his beams, that garment!—Excess of delicacy !--O the consecra- he made him first unbutton, and then throw it ted beauty ! How can she think to be a wife? quite off:-Nor left he, till he obliged him to
But how do I know till I try, whether she take to the friendly shade of a spreading beech ; may not by a less alarming treatment be pre- where, prostrating himself on the thrown-off vailed upon, or whether [Day, I have done with cloak, he took a comfortable nap. thee !] she may not yield to nightly surprises ? The victor-god then laughed outright, both This is still the burden of my song, I can marry at Boreas and the traveller, and pursued his raher when I will. And if I do, after prevailing, diant course, shining upon, and warming and (whether by surprise, or by reluctant consent,) cherishing a thousand new objects, as he danced whom but myself shall I have injured ? along; and at night, when he put up his fiery
coursers, he diverted his Themis with the relation of his pranks in the passed day.
I, in like manner, will discard all my boisIt is now eleven o'clock. She will see me as terous inventions; and if I can oblige my sweet soon as she can, she tells Polly Horton, who traveller to throw aside, but for one moment, the made her a tender visit, and to whom she is less cloak of her rigid virtue, I shall have nothing reserved than to anybody else. Her emotion, to do, but, like the sun, to bless new objects she assures her, was not owing to perverseness, with my rays. But my chosen hours of conto nicety, to ill humour; but to weakness of heart. versation and repose, after all my peregrinations, She has not strength of mind sufficient, she says, will be devoted to my goddess. to enable her to support her condition.
Yet whata contradiction!-Weakness of heart, says she, with such a strength of will ?-0 Belford ! she is a lion-hearted lady, in every case And now, Belford, according to my new syswhere her honour, her punctilio rather, calls for tem, I think this house of Mrs Fretchville an spirit. But I have had reason more than once embarrass upon me. I will get rid of it; for in her case, to conclude, that the passions of the some time at least. Mennell, when I am out,
shall come to her, inquiring for me. What for? meet me in the dining-room to afternoon tea,
in a pretty confusion, for having carried her ap-
She disengaged her hand. Again I would This has so terrified the widow, that she is have snatched it. taken with all the symptoms that threaten an Be quiet, [peevishly withdrawing it.) And attack from that dreadful enemy of fair faces.-- down she sat; a gentle palpitation in the beauty So must not think of removing ; yet cannot ex- of beauties indicating mingled sullenness and pect, that we should be further delayed on her resentment; her snowy handkerchief rising and account.
falling, and a sweet flush overspreading her She now wishes, with all her heart, that she charming cheeks. had known her own mind, and gone into the For God's sake, madam !-[And a third time country at first when I treated about the house. I would have taken her repulsing hand. ] This evil then had not happened! a cursed cross And for the same sake, sir, no more teazing. accident for us, too!-Heigh-ho! nothing else, Dorcas retired; I drew my chair nearer hers, I think, in this mortal life ! people need not and with the most respectful tenderness took her study to bring crosses upon themselves by their hand; and told her, that I could not forbear to petulancies.
express my apprehensions (from the distance she So this affair of the house will be over ; at was so desirous to keep me at) that if any man least for one while. But then I can fall upon in the world was more indifferent to her, to use an expedient which will make amends for this no harsher a word, than another, it was the undisappointment. I must move slow, in order to happy wretch before her. be sure.
I have a charming contrivance or two She looked steadily upon me for a moment, in my head, even supposing my beloved should and with her other hand, not withdrawing that get away, to bring her back again.
I held, pulled her handkerchief out of her
lieve, in every case, less patiently bear the de-
entered upon with indifference on either side.
It is insolence, interrupted she, it is a pre
Monday Evening. sumption, sir, to expect tokens of value, withAr any repeated request she condescended to out resolving to deserve them. You have no
whining creature before you, Mr Lovelace, over- your behaviour to one whom you have brought come by weak motives, to love where there is no into distress--and I can hardly bear you in my merit. Miss Howe can tell you, sir, that I never sight. loved the faults of my friend ; nor ever wished She turned from me, standing up; and, lifther to love me for mine. It was a rule with us ing up her folded hands, and charming eyes not to spare each other. And would a man who swimming in tears, O my father, said the inihas nothing but faults (for pray, sir, what are mitable creature, you might have spared your your virtues?) expect that I should shew a value heavy curse, had you known how I have been for him? Indeed, if I did, I should not deserve punished ever since my swerving feet led me out even his value; but ought to be despised by him. of your garden-doors to meet this man !—Then,
Well have you, madam, kept up to this noble sinking into her chair, a burst of passionate tears manner of thinking. You are in no danger of forced their way down her glowing cheeks. being despised for any marks of tenderness or My dearest life, staking her still folded hands favour shewn to the man before you. You have in mine,] who can bear an invocation so affectbeen perhaps, you'll think, laudably studious of ing, though so passionate? making and taking occasions to declare, that it And, as I hope to live, my nose tingled, as I was far from being owing to your choice, that you once, when a boy, remember it did (and indeed had any thoughts of me. My whole soul, ma- once more very lately) just before some tears dam, in all its errors, in all its wishes, in all its came into my eyes; and I durst hardly trust my views, had been laid open and naked before you, face in view of hers. had I been encouraged by such a share in your What have I done to deserve this impatient confidence and esteem, as would have secured exclamation ?-Have I, at any time, by word, me against your apprehended worst constructions by deeds, by looks, given you cause to doubt my of what I should from time to time have revealed honour, my reverence, my adoration, I may call to you, and consulted you upon. For never was it, of your virtues ? All is owing to misapprethere a franker heart; nor a man so ready to ac- hension, I hope, on both sides. Condescend to cuse himself. [This, Belford, is true.). But clear up but your part, as I will mine, and all you know, madam, how much otherwise it has must speedily be happy:-Would to Heaven I been between us.—Doubt, distance, reserve, on loved that Heaven as I love you! and yet, if I your part, begat doubt, fear, awe, on mine.- doubted a return in love, let me perish if I How little confidence ! as if we apprehended should know how to wish you mine!–Give me each other to be a plotter rather than a lover. hope, dearest creature! give me but hope, that I How have I dreaded every letter that has been am your preferable choice !-Give me but hope, brought you from Wilson's !-and with reason: that you hate me not: that you do not despise since the last, from which I expected so much, on account of the proposals I had made you in O Mr Lovelace, we have been long enough writing, has, if I may judge by the effects, and together to be tired of each other's humours and by your denial of seeing me yesterday, (though ways; ways and humours so different, that peryou could go abroad, and in a chair too, to avoid haps you ought to dislike me, as much as I do my attendance on you,) set you against me more you.—I think, I think, that I cannot make an than ever.
answerable return to the value you profess for I was guilty, it seems, of going to church, me. My temper is utterly ruined. You have said the indignant charmer; and without the given me an ill opinion of all mankind; of yourcompany of a man, whose choice it would not self in particular: and withal so bad a one of have been to go, had I not gone I was guilty myself, that I shall never be able to look up, of desiring to have the whole Sunday to myself, having utterly and for ever lost all that sellafter I had obliged you, against my will, at a complacency, and conscious pride, which are so play; and after you had detained me (equally necessary to carry a woman through this life to my dislike) to a very late hour over-night. with tolerable satisfaction to herself. These were my faults: for these I was to be She paused. I was silent. By my soul, punished: I was to be compelled to see you, and thought I, this sweet creature will at last undo to be terrified when I did see you, by the most me! shocking ill humour that was ever shewn to a She proceeded: What now remains, but that creature in my circumstances, and not bound to you pronounce me free of all obligation to you? bear it. You have pretended to find free fault and that you hinder me not from pursuing the with my father's temper, Mr Lovelace ; but the destiny that shall be allotted me? worst that he ever shewed after marriage, was Again she paused. I was still silent; medinot in the least to be compared to what you have tating whether to renounce all further designs shewn twenty times beforehand.- And what are upon her; whether I had not received sufficient my prospects with you, at the very best?-My evidence of a virtue, and of a greatness of soul, indignation rises against you, Mr Lovelace, while that could not be questioned or impeached. I speak to you, when I recollect the many in- She went on : Propitious to me be your sistances, equally ungenerous and unpolite, of lence, Mr Lovelace !- Tell me, that I am free