« НазадПродовжити »
to avoid dependence upon their betters, and ob- And what! (methinks thou askest with surliged to no man living! My expectations still so prise) Dost thou question this most admirable much more considerable ! My person, my ta- of women?—The virtue of a Clarissa dost thou lents-not to be despised, surely-yet rejected question ? by them with scorn. Obliged to carry on an un- I do not, I dare not question it. My reverence derhand address to their daughter, when two of for her will not let me directly question it. But the most considerable families in the kingdom let me, in my turn, ask thee-Is not, may not have made overtures, which I have declined, her virtue be founded rather in pride than in partly for her sake, and partly because I never principle? Whose daughter is she? And is she will marry, if she be not the person. To be for- not a daughter ? If impeccable, how came she card to steal her away, not only from them, but by her impeccability? The pride of setting an from herself! And must I be brought to implore example to her sex has run away with her hiforgiveness and reconciliation from the Har- therto, and may have made her till now invincilowes ?-Beg to be acknowledged as the son of ble. But is not that pride abated ? What may a gloomy tyrant, whose only boast is his riches ? not both men and women be brought to do in a As a brother to a wretch, who has conceived im- mortified state? What mind is superior to calamortal hatred to me; and to a sister who was mity? Pride is perhaps the principal bulwark beneath my attempts, or I would have had her of female virtue. Humble a woman, and may in my own way, and that with a tenth part of she not be effectually humbled ? the trouble and pains that her sister has cost Then who says Miss Clarissa Harlowe is the me; and, finally, as a nephew to uncles, who, paragon of virtue ? - Is virtue itself ? valuing themselves upon their acquired fortunes, All who know her, and have heard of her, it would insult me as creeping to them on that will be answered. account? -Forbid it the blood of the Lovelaces, Common bruit !-Is virtue to be established that the last, and, let me say, not the meanest by common bruit only? Has her virtue ever of your stock, should thus creep, thus fawn, thus been proved? Who has dared to try her virtue ? lick the dust, for a wife!
I told thee, I would sit down to argue with Proceed anon.
myself ; and I have drawn myself into argumentation before I was aware.
Let me enter into a strict discussion of this LETTER XVII.
I know how ungenerous an appearance what MR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
I have said, and what I have further to say, on
this topic, will have from me : But am I not [In continuation.]
bringing virtue to the touch-stone, with a view
to exalt it, if it come out to be proof ?--Avaunt But is it not the divine CLARISSA [Harlowe then, for one moment, all consideration that may let me not say; my soul spurns them all but arise from a weakness which some would miscall ber] whom I am thus by implication threaten- gratitude ; and is oftentimes the corrupter of a ing? - If virtue be the true nobility, how is she - heart not ignoble !. ennobled, and how shall an alliance with her To the test then-and I will bring this charme ennoble, were not contempt due to the family ing creature to the strictest test, that all the from which she sprung and prefers to me! sex, who may be shewn any passages in my leta
But again, let me stop.- Is there not some- ters, [and I know thou cheerest the hearts of thing wrong, has there not been something wrong, all thy acquaintance with such detached parts of in this divine creature ? And will not the reflec- mine as tend not to dishonour characters or retions upon that wrong (what though it may be veal names; and this gives me an appetite to construed in my favour ?*) make me unhappy, oblige thee by interlardment,] that all the sex, when novelty has lost its charms, and when, I say, may see what they ought to be ; what is mind and person, she is all my own? Libertines expected from them; and if they have to deal are nicer, if at all nice, than other men. They with a person of reflection and punctilio, (of seldom meet with the stand of virtue in the wo- pride, if thou wilt,) how careful they ought to men whom they attempt. And, by the frailty be, by a regular and uniform conduct, not to of those they have triumphed over, they judge give him cause to think lightly of them for faof all the rest.“ Importunity and opportunity vours granted, which may be interpreted into no woman is proof against, especially from the natural weakness. For is not a wife the keeper persevering lover, who knows how to suit temp- of a man's honour ? And do not her faults bring tations to inclinations :" This, thou knowest, is more disgrace upon a husband than even upon a prime article of the rake's creed.
The particular attention of such of the fair sex, as are more apt to read for the sake of amusement than instruction, is requested to this letter of Mr Lovelace.
It is not for nothing, Jack, that I have dis- A Lovelace, is the answer. liked the life of shackles.
Is there but one Lovelace in the world ? May To the test then, as I said, since now I have not more Lovelaces be attracted by so fine a the question brought home to me, Whether I figure? By such exalted qualities ? 'It was her am to have a wife? And whether she be to be character that drew me to her : and it was her a wife at the first or at the second hand ? beauty and good sense that rivetted my chains;
I will proceed fairly. I will do the dear crea- and now all together make me think her a subture not only strict but generous justice ; for I ject worthy of my attempts, worthy of my amwill try her by her own judgment, as well as by bition. our principles
But has she had the candour, the openness, She blames herself for having corresponded to acknowledge that love? with me, a man of free character; and one in- She has not. deed whose first view it was to draw her into Well then, if love be at the bottom, is there this correspondence; and who succeeded in it pot another fault lurking beneath the shadow by means unknown to herself.
of that love ?-Has she not affectation ?-Or is Now, what were her inducements to this cor- it pride of heart? respondence? If not what her niceness makes And what results ?-Is then the divine Claher think blame-worthy, why does she blame rissa capable of loving a man whom she ought herself?
not to love ? And is she capable of affectation ? Has she been capable of error ? Of persisting And is her virtue founded in pride ? —And, if in that error ?
the answer to these questions be affirmative, Whoever was the tempter, that is not the
must she not then be a woman ? thing ; nor what the temptation. The fact, the And can she keep this love at bay? Can she error, is now before us.
make him, who has been accustomed to triumph Did she persist in it against parental prohibi- over other women, tremble? Can she conduct tion?
herself, as to make him, at times, question wheShe owns she did.
ther she loves him or any man ; yet not have Was a daughter ever known who had higher no- the requisite command over the passion itself in tions of the filial duty, of the parental authority? steps of the highest consequence to her honour, Never.
as she thinks, I I am trying her, Jack, by her What must be those inducements, how strong, own thoughts, J but suffer herself to be prothat were too strong for duty, in a daughter so voked to promise to abandon her father's house, dutiful ? —What must my thoughts have been and go off with him, knowing his character ; of these inducements, what my hopes built upon and even conditioning not to marry till improthem at the time, taken in this light?
bable and remote contingencies were to come to Well, but it will be said, That her principal pass? What though the provocations were such view was to prevent mischief between her bro- as would justify any other woman; yet was a ther and her other friends, and the man vilely Clarissa to be susceptible to provocations which insulted by them all.
she thinks herself highly censurable for being But why should she be more concerned for so much moved by? the safety of others than they were for their But let us see the dear creature resolved to own? And had not the rencounter then hap- revoke her promise, yet meeting her lover ; a pened ? Was a person of virtue to be prevailed bold and intrepid man, who was more than once upon to break through her apparent, her ac- before disappointed by her, and who comes, as knowledged duty, upon any consideration? And, she knows, prepared to expect the fruits of her if not, was she to be so prevailed upon to pre- appointment, and resolved to carry her off. And vent an apprehended evil only?
let us see him actually carrying her off, and Thou,
Lovelace, the tempter (thou wilt again having her at his mercy—May there not be, break out and say) to be the accuser !
I repeat, other Lovelaces, other like intrepid, But I am not the accuser. I am the arguer
persevering enterprizers; although they may not only, and, in my heart, all the time acquit
and go to work in the same way? worship the divine creature. But let me, ne- And has then a Clarissa (herself her judge) vertheless, examine, whether the acquittal be failed ?-In such great points failed ?-And owing to her merit, or to my weakness-Weak- may she not further fail ? Fail in the greatest ness the true name for love!
point, to which all the other points, in which But shall we suppose another motive ?-And she has failed, have but a natural tendency? that is love; a motive which all the world will Nor say thou, that virtue, in the eye of Heaexcuse her for.' But let me tell all the world ven, is as much a manly as a womanly grace. that do, not because they ought, but because all By virtue in this place I mean chastity, and to the world is apt to be misled by it.
be superior to temptation ; my Clarissa out of Let Love then be the motive :-Love of the question. Nor ask thou, shall the man be whom?
guilty, yet expect the woman to be guiltless, and even unsuspectable ? Urge thou not these puzzle my invention. I have concluded against arguments, I say, since the wife, by a failure, the whole sex upon it. And now, if I have not may do much more injury to the husband, than found a virtue that cannot be corrupted, I will the husband can do to the wife, and not only to swear that there is not one such in the whole her husband, but to all his family, by obtruding sex. Is not then the whole sex concerned that another man's children into his possessions, per- this trial should be made? And who is it that haps to the exclusion of (at least to a participa- knows this lady, that would not stake upon her tion with) his own ; he believing them all the head the honour of the whole ?—Let her who time to be his. In the eye of Heaven, therefore, would refuse it come forth, and desire to stand the sin cannot be equal. Besides I have read in in her place. some places, that the woman was made for the I must assure thee, that I have a prodigious man, not the man for the woman. Virtue then high opinion of virtue; as I have of all those is less to be dispensed with in the woman than graces and excellencies which I have not been in tie man.
able to attain myself. Every free-liver would Thou, Lovelace, (methinks some better man not say this, nor think thus-every argument he than thyself will say,) to expect such perfection uses, condemnatory of his own actions, as some in a woman!
would think. But ingenuousness was ever a sigYes, I, may I answer. Was not the great nal part of my character. Cæsar a great rake as to women? Was he not Satan, whom thou mayest, if thou wilt, in called, by his very soldiers, on one of his trium- this case, call my instigator, put the good man phant entries into Rome, the bald-pated lecher ? of old upon the severest trials. To his behaand warning given of him to the wives, as well viour under these trials that good man owed his as to the daughters, of his fellow-citizens? Yet honour and his future rewards. An innocent did not Cæsar repudiate his wife for being only person, if doubted, must wish to be brought to in company with Clodius, or rather because Clo- a fair and candid trial. dius, though by surprise upon her, was found Rinaldo, indeed, in Ariosto, put the Mantua in hers? And what was the reason he gave for Knight's cup of trial from him, which was to be it?-It was this, (though a rake himself, as I the proof of his wife's chastity*_This was his have said,) and only this—The wife of Cæsar argument for forbearing the experiment:“Why must not be suspected!
should I seek a thing I should be loath to find Cæsar was not a prouder man than Lovelace. My wife is a woman. The sex is frail. I can
Go to then, Jack; nor say, nor let anybody not believe better of her than I do. It will be say, in thy hearing, that Lovelace, a man va- to my own loss, if I find reason to think worse." luing himself upon his ancestry, is singular in But Rinaldo would not have refused the trial of his expectations of a wife's purity, though not the lady, before she became his wife, and when pure himself.
he might have found his account in detecting As to my CLARISSA, I own that I hardly her. think there ever was such an angel of a woman. For my part, I would not have put the cup But has she not, as above, already taken steps, from me, though married, had it been but in which she herself condemns ? Steps, which the hope of finding reason to confirm my good opiworld and her own family did not think her nion of my wife's honour; and that I might capable of taking? And for which her own fa- know whether I had a snake or a dove in my mily will not forgive her?
bosom. Nor think it strange, that I refuse to hear any To my point-What must that virtue be thing pleaded in behalf of a standard virtue from which will not stand a trial ?- What that wohigh provocations. Are not provocations and man who would wish to shun it? temptations the tests of virtue? A standard vir- Well, then, a trial seems necessary for the tue must not be allowed to be provoked to de- further establishment of the honour of so excelstroy or annihilate itself.
lent a creature. May not then the success of him, who could And who shall put her to this trial ? Who, carry her thus far, be allowed to be an en- but the man who has, as she thinks, already incouragement for him to try to carry her far. duced her in lesser points to swerve? - And this ther? 'Tis but to try. Who will be afraid of for her own sake in a double sense—not only, as a trial for this divine creature? Thou knowest, he has been able to make some impression, but that I have, more than once, twice, or thrice, as she regrets the impression made ; and so may put to the fiery trial young women of name and be presumed to be guarded against his further character ; and never yet met with one who attempts. held out a month, nor indeed so long as could The situation she is at present in, it must be
The story tells us, that whoever drank of this cup, if his wife were chaste, could drink without spilling ; if otherwise, the contrary.
confessed, is a disadvantageous one to her ; but, Let me begin then, as opportunity presents if she overcome, that will redound to her ho- I will, and watch her every step to find one nour.
sliding one ; her every moment to find the moShun not, therefore, my dear soul, further ment critical. And the rather, as she spares not trials, nor hate me for making them.-For what me, but takes every advantage that offers to woman can be said to be virtuous till she has puzzle and plague me, nor expects nor thinks been tried ?
me to be a good man. Nor is one effort, one trial, to be sufficient. If she be a woman, and love me, I shall surely Why? Because a woman's heart may be at one catch her once tripping ; for love was ever a time adamant, at another wax-as I have often traitor to its harbourer: and love within, and I experienced. And so, no doubt, hast thou. without, she will be more than woman, as the
A fine time of it, methinks, thou sayest, poet says, or I less than man, if I succeed not. would the women have, if they were all to be Now, Belford, all is out. The lady is mine; tried !
shall be more mine. Marriage, I see, is in my But, Jack, I am not for that neither. Though power, now she is so. Else perhaps it had not. I am a rake, I am not a rake's friend, except if I can have her without marriage, who can thine and company's.
blame me for trying ? If not, great will be her And be this one of the morals of my tedious glory, and my future confidence. And well will discussion-Let the little rogues who would she merit the sacrifice I shall make her of my not be put to the question, as I may call it, choose liberty; and, from all her sex, honours next to accordingly. Let them prefer to their favour divine,' for giving a proof, that there was once good honest sober fellows, who have not been a woman whose virtue no trials, no stratagems, used to play dog's tricks; who will be willing no temptations, even from the man she hated to take them as they offer; and who, being to not, could overpower. lerable themselves, are not suspicious of others. Now wilt thou see all my circulation; as in
But what, methinks thou askest, is to become a glass wilt thou see it. CABALA, however, is of the lady if she fail ?
the word ;* nor let the secret escape thee, even What? Why will she not, “ if once sub- in thy dreams. dued, be always subdued ?” Another of our li. Nobody doubts that she is to be my wife. bertine maxims. And what an immense plea- Let her pass for such when I give the word. sure to a marriage-hater, what rapture to thought, Meantime, reformation shall be my stalkingto be able to prevail upon such a woman as Miss horse ; some one of the women in London, if I Clarissa Harlowe to live with him, without real can get her thither, my bird. And so much for change of name !
this time. But if she resist-if nobly she stand her trial?Why then I will marry her, and bless my
LETTER XVIII. stars for such an angel of a wife.
But will she not hate thee? Will she not refuse
No, no, Jack Circumstanced and situated [In answer to Letters VIIL and XIV.) as we are, I am not afraid of that. And hate me! Why should she hate the man who loves Do not be much concerned, my dearest friend, her upon proof?
at the bickerings between my mother and me. And then for a little hint at reprisal-Am I We love one another dearly, notwithstanding. not justified in my resolutions of trying her vir- If my mother had not me to find fault with, tue, who is resolved, as I may say, to try mine? she must find fault with somebody else. And Who has declared, that she will not marry me as to me, I am a very saucy girl ; and were there till she has hopes of my reformation ?
not this occasion, there would be some other, to And now, to put an end to this sober argu- shew it. mentation, Wilt thou not thyself (whom I have You have heard me say, that this was always supposed an advocate for the lady, because I the case between us. You could not otherwise know that Lord M. has put thee upon using have known it. For when you was with us, you the interest he thinks thou hast in me, to per- harmonized us both ; and, indeed, I was always suade me to enter the pale ; wilt thou not thy- more afraid of you than of my mother. But then self) allow me to try if I cannot awaken the wo- that awe is accompanied with love. Your reman in her ? To try if she, with all that glow- proofs, as I have always found, are so charminging symmetry of parts, and that full bloom of sy mild and instructive, so evidently calculated vernal graces, by which she attracts every eye, to improve, and not to provoke, that a generous be really inflexible as to the grand article? temper must be amended by them. But hear
MISS HOWE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE.
* This word, whenever used by any of these gentlemen, was agreed to imply an inviolable secret.
now, mind my good mamma, when you are not have a mind that is much too delicate for you with us—“You shall, I tell you, Nancy. I will part. But when the lover is exalted, the lady have it so. Don't I know best? I won't be disobeye must be humbled. He is naturally proud and el." How can a daughter of spirit bear such lan- saucy. I doubt you must engage his pride, which guage, such looks, too, with the language, and he calls his honour, and that you must throw off not have a longing mind to disobey ?
a little more of the veil. And I would have you Don't advise me, my dear, to subscribe to my restrain your wishes before him, that you had mother's probibition of correspondence with you, not met him, and the like. What signifies wishShe has no reason for it ; nor would she of her ing, my dear? He will not bear it. You can own judgment have prohibited it. That odd hardly expect that he will. old ambling soul your uncle, (whose visits are Nevertheless, it vexes me to the very bottom frequenter than ever) instigated by your mali- of my pride, that any wretch of that sex should cious and selfish brother and sister, is the occa- be able to triumph over Clarissa. sion ; and they only have borrowed my mother's I cannot, however, but say, that I am charmlips, at the distance they are from you, for a sort ed with your spirit. So much sweetness, where of speaking trumpet for them. The prohibition, sweetness is requisite; so much spirit, where once more I say, cannot come from her heart; spirit is called for-what a true magnanimity! but if it did so, is so much danger to be appre- But I doubt, in your present circumstances, bended from my continuing to write to one of you must endeavour after a little more of the my own sex, as if I wrote to one of the other reserve, in cases where you are displeased with Don't let dejection and disappointment, and the him, and palliate a little. That humility which course of oppression which you haverun through, he puts on when you rise upon him, is not naweaken your mind, my dearest creature, and tural to him. make you see inconveniencies where there pos- Methinks I see the man hesitating, and looksibly cannot be any. If your talent is scribbling, ing like the fool you paint him, under your coras you call it, so is mine--and I will scribble on, rective superiority! But he is not a fool. Don't at all opportunities, and to you, let them say put him upon mingling resentment with his what they will. Nor let your letters be filled
love. with the self-accusations you mention ; there is You are very serious, my dear, in the first of no cause for them. I wish that your Anna Howe, the two letters before me, in relation to Mr who continues in her mother's house, were but Hickman and me, and in relation to my mother half so good as Miss Clarissa Harlowe, who has and me. But as to the latter, you must not be been driven out of her father's.
too grave. If we are not well together at one I will say nothing upon your letter to your time, we are not ill together at another. And sister, till I see the effect it will have. You hope, while I am able to make her smile in the midst you tell me, that you shall have your money and of the most angry fit she ever fell into on the elothes sent you, notwithstanding my opinion present occasion, (though sometimes she would to the contrary. I am sorry to have it to ac- not, if she could help it) it is a very good sign, quaint you, that I have just now heard that they a sign that displeasure can never go deep, or be have sat in council upon your letter, and that lasting: and then a kind word, or kind look, to your mother was the only person who was for her favourite Hickman, sets the one into rapsending you your things, and was over-ruled. I tures, and the other in tolerable humour, at any charge you, therefore, to accept of my offer, as time. by my last; and give me particular directions
But your case pains me at heart, and with all for what you want, that I can supply you with my levity, both the good folks must sometimes besides.
partake of that pain, nor will it be over, as long Don't set your thoughts so much upon a re- as you are in a state of uncertainty, and especonciliation as to prevent your laying hold of cially as I was not able to prevail for that proany bandsome opportunity to give yourself a pro- tection for you which would have prevented the tector ; such a one as the man will be, who, I unhappy step, the necessity for which we both, imagine, husband-like, will let nobody insult with so much reason, deplore. you but himself.
I have only to add (and yet it is needless to What could he mean by letting slip such a one tell you) that I am, and will ever be, as that you mention? I don't know how to Your affectionate friend and servant, blame you; for how could you go beyond si
Anna Howe. lence and blushes, when the foolish fellow came with his observances of the restrictions which you laid him under when in another situation ?
LETTER XIX. But, as I told you above, you really strike people into awe ; and, upon my word, you did not spare him. I repeat what I said in my last, that you
have You tell me, my dear, that my clothes, and a very nice part to act ; and I will add, that you the little sum of money í left behind me, will
MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE.