Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)
by Samuel Richardson
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By Samuel Richardson

Nine Volumes

Volume II.


LETTER I. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Another visit from her aunt and sister. The latter spitefully insults her with the patterns. A tender scene between her aunt and her in Arabella's absence. She endeavours to account for the inflexibility of her parents and uncles.

LETTER II. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Humourous description of Mr. Hickman. Imagines, from what Lovelace, Hickman, and Solmes, are now, what figures they made when boys at school.

LETTER III. From the same.—Useful observations on general life. Severe censures of the Harlowe family, for their pride, formality, and other bad qualities.

LETTER IV. From the same.—Mr. Hickman's conversation with two of Lovelace's libertine companions.

LETTER V. From the same.—An unexpected visit from Mr. Lovelace. What passes in it. Repeats her advice to her to resume her estate.

LETTER VI. VII. VIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Farther particulars of the persecutions she receives from her violent brother.

LETTER IX. From the same.—Impertinence of Betty Barnes. Overhears her brother and sister encourage Solmes to persevere in his address. She writes warmly to her brother upon it.

LETTER X. From the same.—Receives a provoking letter from her sister. Writes to her mother. Her mother's severe reply. Is impatient. Desires Miss Howe's advice what course to pursue. Tries to compose her angry passions at her harpsichord. An Ode to Wisdom, by a Lady.

LETTER XI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Chides her for misrepresenting Mr. Hickman. Fully answers her arguments about resuming her estate. Her impartiality with regard to what Miss Howe says of Lovelace, Solmes, and her brother. Reflections on revenge and duelling.

LETTER XII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Sir Harry Downeton's account of what passed between himself and Solmes. She wishes her to avoid both men. Admires her for her manifold excellencies.

LETTER XIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Why she cannot overcome her aversion to Solmes. Sharp letter to Lovelace. On what occasion. All his difficulties, she tells him, owning to his faulty morals; which level all distinction. Insists upon his laying aside all thoughts of her. Her impartial and dutiful reasonings on her difficult situation.

LETTER XIV. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—A notable debate between her and her mother on her case. Those who marry for love seldom so happy as those who marry for convenience. Picture of a modern marriage. A lesson both to parents and children in love-cases. Handsome men seldom make good husbands. Miss Howe reflects on the Harlowe family, as not famous for strictness in religion or piety. Her mother's partiality for Hickman.

LETTER XV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Her increased apprehensions. Warmly defends her own mother. Extenuates her father's feelings; and expostulates with her on her undeserved treatment of Mr. Hickman. A letter to her from Solmes. Her spirited answer. All in an uproar about it. Her aunt Hervey's angry letter to her. She writes to her mother. Her letter returned unopened. To her father. He tears her letter in pieces, and sends it back to her. She then writes a pathetic letter to her uncle Harlowe.

LETTER XVI. From the same.—Receives a gentler answer than she expected from her uncle Harlowe. Makes a new proposal in a letter to him, which she thinks must be accepted. Her relations assembled upon it. Her opinion of the sacrifice which a child ought to make to her parents.

LETTER XVII. From the same.—She tells her that the proposal she had made to her relations, on which she had built so much, is rejected. Betty's saucy report upon it. Her brother's provoking letter to her. Her letter to her uncle Harlowe on the occasion. Substance of a letter excusatory from Mr. Lovelace. He presses for an interview with her in the garden.

LETTER XVIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Her uncle's angry answer. Substance of a humble letter from Mr. Lovelace. He has got a violent cold and hoarseness, by his fruitless attendance all night in the coppice. She is sorry he is not well. Makes a conditional appointment with him for the next night, in the garden. Hates tyranny in all shapes.

LETTER XIX. From the same.—A characteristic dialogue with the pert Betty Barnes. Women have great advantage over men in all the powers that relate to the imagination. Makes a request to her uncle Harlowe, which is granted, on condition that she will admit of a visit from Solmes. She complies; and appoints that day sevennight. Then writes to Lovelace to suspend the intended interview. Desires Miss Howe to inquire into Lovelace's behaviour at the little inn he puts up at in his way to Harlowe-Place.

LETTER XX. From the same.—Receives a letter from Lovelace, written in very high terms, on her suspending the interview. Her angry answer. Resolves against any farther correspondence with him.

LETTER XXI. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Humourous account of her mother and Mr. Hickman in their little journey to visit her dying cousin. Rallies her on her present displeasure with Lovelace.

LETTER XXII. Mr. Hickman to Mrs. Howe.—Resenting Miss Howe's treatment of him.

LETTER XXIII. Mrs. Howe. In answer.

LETTER XXIV. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Observes upon the contents of her seven last letters. Advises her to send all the letters and papers she would not have her relations see; also a parcel of clothes, linen, &c. Is in hopes of procuring an asylum for her with her mother, if things come to extremity.

LETTER XXV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Requisites of true satire. Rejoices in the hopes she gives of her mother's protection. Deposits a parcel of linen, and all Lovelace's letters. Useful observations relating to family management, and to neatness of person and dress. Her contrivances to amuse Betty Barnes.

LETTER XXVI. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Result of her inquiry after Lovelace's behaviour at the inn. Doubts not but he has ruined the innkeeper's daughter. Passionately inveighs against him.

LETTER XXVII. Clarissa. In answer.—Is extremely alarmed at Lovelace's supposed baseness. Declares her abhorrence of him.

LETTER XXVIII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Lovelace, on inquiry, comes out to be not only innocent with regard to his Rosebud, but generous. Miss Howe rallies her on the effects this intelligence must have upon her generosity.

LETTER XXIX. Clarissa. In reply.—Acknowledges her generosity engaged in his favour. Frankly expresses tenderness and regard for him; and owns that the intelligence of his supposed baseness had affected her more than she thinks it ought. Contents of a letter she has received from him. Pities him. Writes to him that her rejection of Solmes is not in favour to himself; for that she is determined to hold herself free to obey her parents, (as she had offered to them,) of their giving up Solmes. Reproaches him for his libertine declarations in all companies against matrimony. Her notions of filial duty, notwithstanding the persecutions she meets with.

LETTER XXX. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Her treatment of Mr. Hickman on his intrusion into her company. Applauds Clarissa for the generosity of her spirit, and the greatness of her mind.

LETTER XXXI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Dr. Lewen makes her a formal visit. Affected civility of her brother and sister to her. Is visited by her uncle Harlowe: and by her sister. She penetrates the low art designed in this change of their outward behaviour. Substance of Lovelace's reply to her last. He acknowledges his folly for having ever spoken lightly of matrimony.

LETTER XXXII. From the same.—Another letter from Mr. Lovelace, in which he expresses himself extremely apprehensive of the issue of her interview with Solmes. Presses her to escape; proposes means for effecting it; and threatens to rescue her by violence, if they attempt to carry her to her uncle Antony's against her will. Her terror on the occasion. She insists, in her answer, on his forbearing to take any rash step; and expresses herself highly dissatisfied that he should think himself entitled to dispute her father's authority in removing her to her uncle's. She relies on Mrs. Howe's protection till her cousin Morden arrives.

LETTER XXXIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—A visit from her aunt Hervey, preparative to the approaching interview with Solmes. Her aunt tells her what is expected on her having consented to that interview.

LETTER XXXIV. XXXV. From the same.—A particular account of what passed in the interview with Solmes; and of the parts occasionally taken in it by her boisterous uncle, by her brutal brother, by her implacable sister, and by her qualifying aunt. Her perseverance and distress. Her cousin Dolly's tenderness for her. Her closet searched for papers. All the pens and ink they find taken from her.

LETTER XXXVI. From the same.—Substance of a letter from Lovelace. His proposals, promises, and declarations. All her present wish is, to be able to escape Solmes, on one hand, and to avoid incurring the disgrace of refuging with the family of a man at enmity with her own, on the other. Her emotions behind the yew-hedge on seeing her father going into the garden. Grieved at what she hears him say. Dutiful message to her mother. Harshly answered. She censures Mr. Lovelace for his rash threatenings to rescue her. Justifies her friends for resenting them; and condemns herself for corresponding with him at first.

LETTER XXXVII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Is vexed at the heart to be obliged to tell her that her mother refuses to receive and protect her. Offers to go away privately with her.

LETTER XXXVIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Her disinterested arguments in Mrs. Howe's favour, on her refusal to receive her. All her consolation is, that her unhappy situation is not owing to her own inadvertence of folly. Is afraid she is singled out, either for her own faults, or for those of her family, or perhaps for the faults of both, to be a very unhappy creature. Justifies the ways of Providence, let what will befal her: and argues with exemplary greatness of mind on this subject. Warmly discourages Miss Howe's motion to accompany her in her flight.

LETTER XXXIX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Further instances of her impartiality in condemning Lovelace, and reasoning for her parents. Overhears her brother and sister exulting in the success of their schemes; and undertaking, the one to keep his father up to his resentment on occasion of Lovelace's menaces, the other her mother. Exasperated at this, and at what her aunt Hervey tells her, she writes to Lovelace, that she will meet him the following Monday, and throw herself into the protection of the ladies of his family.

LETTER XL. From the same.—Her frightful dream. Now that Lovelace has got her letter, she repents her appointment.

LETTER XLI. From the same.—Receives a letter from Mr. Lovelace, full of transport, vows, and promises. He presumes upon her being his on her getting away, though she has not given him room for such hopes. In her answer she tells him, 'that she looks not upon herself as absolutely bound by her appointment: that there are many points to be adjusted between them (were she to leave her father's house) before she can give him particular encouragement: that he must expect she will do her utmost to procure a reconciliation with her father, and his approbation of her future steps.' All her friends are to be assembled on the following Wednesday: she is to be brought before them. How to be proceeded with. Lovelace, in his reply, asks pardon for writing to her with so much assurance; and declares his entire acquiescence with her will and pleasure.

LETTER XLII. From the same.—Confirms her appointment; but tells him what he is not to expect. Promises, that if she should change her mind as to withdrawing, she will take the first opportunity to see him, and acquaint him with her reasons. Reflections on what she has done. Her deep regret to be thus driven.

LETTER XLIII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Reasons why she ought to allow her to accompany her in her flight. Punctilio at an end, the moment she is out of her father's house. Requisites of friendship. Questions whether she will not rather choose to go off with one of her own sex than with Lovelace? And if not, whether she should not marry him as soon as possible?

LETTER XLIV. Clarissa to Miss Howe, (Miss Howe's last not received.) Lovelace promises compliance, in every article, with her pleasure. Her heart misgives her notwithstanding. She knows not but she may yet recede.

LETTER XLV. From the same. In answer to Letter XLIII.—Reflections worthy of herself on some of the passages in Miss Howe's last letter. Gives her home-put questions a full consideration; and determines NOT to withdraw with Lovelace.

LETTER XLVI. XLVII. From the same.—Substance of her letter to Lovelace, revoking her appointment. Thinks herself obliged (her letter being not taken away) as well by promise as in order to prevent mischief, to meet him, and to give him her reason for revoking.—The hour of meeting now at hand, she is apprehensive of the contest she shall have with him, as he will come with a different expectation.

LETTER XLVIII. From the same.—Dated from St. Alban's. Writes in the utmost anguish of mind for the little parcel of linen she had sent to her with better hopes. Condemns her own rashness in meeting Lovelace. Begs her pity and her prayers.




My heart fluttered with the hope and the fear of seeing my mother, and with the shame and grief of having given her so much uneasiness. But it needed not: she was not permitted to come. But my aunt was so good as to return, yet not without my sister; and, taking my hand, made me sit down by her.

She came, she must own, officiously, she said, this once more, though against the opinion of my father: but knowing and dreading the consequence of my opposition, she could not but come.

She then set forth to my friends' expectation from me; Mr. Solmes's riches (three times as rich he came out to be, as any body had thought him); the settlements proposed; Mr. Lovelace's bad character; their aversions to him; all in a very strong light; not in a stronger than my mother had before placed them in. My mother, surely, could not have given the particulars of what had passed between herself and me: if she had, my aunt would not have repeated many of the same sentiments, as you will find she did, that had been still more strongly urged, without effect by her venerable sister.

She said it would break the heart of my father to have it imagined that he had not a power over his own child; and that, as he thought, for my own good: a child too, whom they had always doated upon!—Dearest, dearest Miss, concluded she, clasping her fingers, with the most condescending earnestness, let me beg of you, for my sake, for your own sake, for a hundred sakes, to get over this averseness, to give up your prejudices, and make every one happy and easy once more.—I would kneel to you, my dearest Niece—nay, I will kneel to you—!

And down she dropt, and I with her, kneeling to her, and beseeching her not to kneel; clasping my arms about her, and bathing her worthy bosom with my tears.

O rise! rise! my beloved Aunt, said I: you cut me to the heart with this condescending goodness.

Say then, my dearest Niece, say then, that you will oblige all your friends!—If you love us, I beseech you do—

How can I perform what I can sooner choose to die than to perform—!

Say then, my dear, that you will consider of it. Say you will but reason with yourself. Give us but hopes. Don't let me entreat, and thus entreat, in vain—[for still she kneeled, and I by her].

What a hard case is mine!—Could I but doubt, I know I could conquer.—That which is an inducement to my friends, is none at all to me—How often, my dearest Aunt, must I repeat the same thing?—Let me but be single—Cannot I live single? Let me be sent, as I have proposed, to Scotland, to Florence, any where: let me be sent a slave to the Indies, any where—any of these I will consent to. But I cannot, cannot think of giving my vows to man I cannot endure!

Well then, rising, (Bella silently, with uplifted hands, reproaching my supposed perverseness,) I see nothing can prevail with you to oblige us.

What can I do, my dearest Aunt Hervey? What can I do? Were I capable of giving a hope I meant not to enlarge, then could I say, I would consider of your kind advice. But I would rather be thought perverse than insincere. Is there, however, no medium? Can nothing be thought of? Will nothing do, but to have a man who is the more disgustful to me, because he is unjust in the very articles he offers?

Whom now, Clary, said my sister, do you reflect upon? Consider that.

Make not invidious applications of what I say, Bella. It may not be looked upon in the same light by every one. The giver and the accepter are principally answerable in an unjust donation. While I think of it in this light, I should be inexcusable to be the latter. But why do I enter upon a supposition of this nature?—My heart, as I have often, often said, recoils, at the thought of the man, in every light.—Whose father, but mine, agrees upon articles where there is no prospect of a liking? Where the direct contrary is avowed, all along avowed, without the least variation, or shadow of a change of sentiment?—But it is not my father's doing originally. O my cruel, cruel brother, to cause a measure to be forced upon me, which he would not behave tolerably under, were the like to be offered to him!

The girl is got into her altitudes, Aunt Hervey, said my sister. You see, Madam, she spares nobody. Be pleased to let her know what she has to trust to. Nothing is to be done with her. Pray, Madam, pronounce her doom.

My aunt retired to the window, weeping, with my sister in her hand: I cannot, indeed I cannot, Miss Harlowe, said she, softly, (but yet I heard every word she said): there is great hardship in her case. She is a noble child after all. What pity things are gone so far!—But Mr. Solmes ought to be told to desist.

O Madam, said my sister, in a kind of loud whisper, are you caught too by the little siren?—My mother did well not to come up!—I question whether my father himself, after his first indignation, would not be turned round by her. Nobody but my brother can do any thing with her, I am sure.

Don't think of your brother's coming up, said my aunt, still in a low voice—He is too furious. I see no obstinacy, no perverseness, in her manner! If your brother comes, I will not be answerable for the consequences: for I thought twice or thrice she would have gone into fits.

O Madam, she has a strong heart!—And you see there is no prevailing with her, though you were upon your knees to her.

My sister left my aunt musing at the window, with her back towards us, and took that opportunity to insult me still more barbarously; for, stepping to my closet, she took up the patterns which my mother had sent me up, and bringing them to me, she spread them upon the chair by me; and offering one, and then another, upon her sleeve and shoulder, thus she ran on, with great seeming tranquility, but whisperingly, that my aunt might not hear her. This, Clary, is a pretty pattern enough: but this is quite charming! I would advise you to make your appearance in it. And this, were I you, should be my wedding night-gown—And this my second dressed suit! Won't you give orders, love, to have your grandmother's jewels new set?—Or will you thing to shew away in the new ones Mr. Solmes intends to present to you? He talks of laying out two or three thousand pounds in presents, child! Dear heart!—How gorgeously will you be array'd! What! silent still?—But, Clary, won't you have a velvet suit? It would cut a great figure in a country church, you know: and the weather may bear it for a month yet to come. Crimson velvet, suppose! Such a fine complexion as yours, how it would be set off by it! What an agreeable blush would it give you!—Heigh-ho! (mocking me, for I sighed to be thus fooled with,) and do you sigh, love?—Well then, as it will be a solemn wedding, what think you of black velvet, child?—Silent still, Clary?—Black velvet, so fair as you are, with those charming eyes, gleaming through a wintry cloud, like an April sun!—Does not Lovelace tell you they are charming eyes?—How lovely will you appear to every one!—What! silent still, love?—But about your laces, Clary?—

She would have gone on still further, had not my aunt advance towards me, wiping her eyes—What! whispering ladies! You seem so easy and so pleased, Miss Harlowe, with your private conference, that I hope I shall carry down good news.

I am only giving her my opinion of her patterns, here.—Unasked indeed; but she seems, by her silence, to approve of my judgment.

O Bella! said I, that Mr. Lovelace had not taken you at your word!—You had before now been exercising your judgment on your own account: and I had been happy as well as you! Was it my fault, I pray you, that it was not so?—

O how she raved!

To be so ready to give, Bella, and so loth to take, is not very fair in you.

The poor Bella descended to call names.

Why, Sister, said I, you are as angry, as if there were more in the hint than possibly might be designed. My wish is sincere, for both our sakes!—for the whole family's sake!—And what (good now) is there in it?—Do not, do not, dear Bella, give me cause to suspect, that I have found a reason for your behaviour to me, and which till now was wholly unaccountable from sister to sister—

Fie, fie, Clary! said my aunt.

My sister was more and more outrageous.

O how much fitter, said I, to be a jest, than a jester!—But now, Bella, turn the glass to you, and see how poorly sits the robe upon your own shoulders, which you have been so unmercifully fixing upon mine!

Fie, fie, Miss Clary! repeated my aunt.

And fie, fie, likewise, good Madam, to Miss Harlowe, you would say, were you to have heard her barbarous insults!

Let us go, Madam, said my sister, with great violence; let us leave the creature to swell till she bursts with her own poison.—The last time I will ever come near her, in the mind I am in!

It is so easy a thing, returned I, were I to be mean enough to follow an example that is so censurable in the setter of it, to vanquish such a teasing spirit as your's with its own blunt weapons, that I am amazed you will provoke me!—Yet, Bella, since you will go, (for she had hurried to the door,) forgive me. I forgive you. And you have a double reason to do so, both from eldership and from the offence so studiously given to one in affliction. But may you be happy, though I never shall! May you never have half the trials I have had! Be this your comfort, that you cannot have a sister to treat you as you have treated me!—And so God bless you!

O thou art a—And down she flung without saying what.

Permit me, Madam, said I to my aunt, sinking down, and clasping her knees with my arms, to detain you one moment—not to say any thing about my poor sister—she is her own punisher—only to thank you for all your condescending goodness to me. I only beg of you not to impute to obstinacy the immovableness I have shown to so tender a friend; and to forgive me every thing I have said or done amiss in your presence, for it has not proceeded from inward rancour to the poor Bella. But I will be bold to say, that neither she, nor my brother, nor even my father himself, knows what a heart they have set a bleeding.

I saw, to my comfort, what effect my sister's absence wrought for me.—Rise, my noble-minded Niece!—Charming creature! [those were her kind words] kneel not to me!—Keep to yourself what I now say to you.—I admire you more than I can express—and if you can forbear claiming your estate, and can resolve to avoid Lovelace, you will continue to be the greatest miracle I ever knew at your years—but I must hasten down after your sister.—These are my last words to you: 'Conform to your father's will, if you possibly can. How meritorious will it be in you if you do so! Pray to God to enable you to conform. You don't know what may be done.'

Only, my dear Aunt, one word, one word more (for she was going)—Speak all you can for my dear Mrs. Norton. She is but low in the world: should ill health overtake her, she may not know how to live without my mamma's favour. I shall have no means to help her; for I will want necessaries before I will assert my right: and I do assure you, she has said so many things to me in behalf of my submitting to my father's will, that her arguments have not a little contributed to make me resolve to avoid the extremities, which nevertheless I pray to God they do not at last force me upon. And yet they deprive me of her advice, and think unjustly of one of the most excellent of women.

I am glad to hear you say this: and take this, and this, and this, my charming Niece! (for so she called me almost at every word, kissing me earnestly, and clasping her arms about my neck:) and God protect you, and direct you! But you must submit: indeed you must. Some one day in a month from this is all the choice that is left you.

And this, I suppose, was the doom my sister called for; and yet no worse than what had been pronounced upon me before.

She repeated these last sentences louder than the former. 'And remember, Miss,' added she, 'it is your duty to comply.'—And down she went, leaving me with my heart full, and my eyes running over.

The very repetition of this fills me with almost equal concern to that which I felt at the time.

I must lay down my pen. Mistiness, which give to the deluged eye the appearance of all the colours in the rainbow, will not permit me to write on.


I will now add a few lines—My aunt, as she went down from me, was met at the foot of the stairs by my sister, who seemed to think she had staid a good while after her; and hearing her last words prescribing to me implicit duty, praised her for it, and exclaimed against my obstinacy. Did you ever hear of such perverseness, Madam? said she: Could you have thought that your Clarissa and every body's Clarissa, was such a girl?—And who, as you said, is to submit, her father or she?

My aunt said something in answer to her, compassionating me, as I thought, by her accent: but I heard not the words.

Such a strange perseverance in a measure so unreasonable!—But my brother and sister are continually misrepresenting all I say and do; and I am deprived of the opportunity of defending myself!—My sister says,* that had they thought me such a championess, they you not have engaged with me: and now, not knowing how to reconcile my supposed obstinacy with my general character and natural temper, they seem to hope to tire me out, and resolve to vary their measures accordingly. My brother, you see,** is determined to carry this point, or to abandon Harlowe-place, and never to see it more. So they are to lose a son, or to conquer a daughter—the perversest and most ungrateful that ever parents had!—This is the light he places things in: and has undertaken, it seems, to subdue me, if his advice should be followed. It will be farther tried; of that I am convinced; and what will be their next measure, who can divine?

* See Letter XLII. of Vol. I.

** Ibid.

I shall dispatch, with this, my answer to your's of Sunday last, begun on Monday;* but which is not yet quite finished. It is too long to copy: I have not time for it. In it I have been very free with you, my dear, in more places than one. I cannot say that I am pleased with all I have written—yet will not now alter it. My mind is not at ease enough for the subject. Don't be angry with me. Yet, if you can excuse one or two passages, it will be because they were written by


* See Letter XL, ibid.



ANGRY!—What should I be angry for? I am mightily pleased with your freedom, as you call it. I only wonder at your patience with me; that's all. I am sorry I gave you the trouble of so long a letter upon the occasion,* notwithstanding the pleasure I received in reading it.

* See Vol. I, Letter XXXVII, for the occasion; and Letters XXXVIII. and XL. of the same volume, for the freedom Clarissa apologizes for.

I believe you did not intend reserves to me: for two reasons I believe you did not: First, because you say you did not: Next, because you have not as yet been able to convince yourself how it is to be with you; and persecuted as you are, how so to separate the effects that spring from the two causes [persecution and love] as to give to each its particular due. But this I believe I hinted to you once before; and so will say no more upon this subject at present.

Robin says, you had but just deposited your last parcel when he took it: for he was there but half an hour before, and found nothing. He had seen my impatience, and loitered about, being willing to bring me something from you, if possible.

My cousin Jenny Fynnett is here, and desires to be my bedfellow to-night. So I shall not have an opportunity to sit down with that seriousness and attention which the subjects of yours require. For she is all prate, you know, and loves to set me a prating; yet comes upon a very grave occasion—to procure my mother to go with her to her grandmother Larking, who has long been bed-ridden; and at last has taken it into her head that she is mortal, and therefore will make her will; a work she was till now extremely averse to; but it must be upon condition that my mother, who is her distant relation, will go to her, and advise her as to the particulars of it: for she has a high opinion, as every one else has, of my mother's judgment in all matters relating to wills, settlements, and such-like notable affairs.

Mrs. Larking lives about seventeen miles off; and as my mother cannot endure to lie out of her own house, she proposes to set out early in the morning, that she might be able to get back again at night. So, to-morrow I shall be at your devotion from day-light to day-light; nor will I be at home to any body.

I have hinted before, that I could almost wish my mother and Mr. Hickman would make a match of it: and I here repeat my wishes. What signifies a difference of fifteen or twenty years; especially when the lady has spirits that will make her young a long time, and the lover is a mighty sober man?—I think, verily, I could like him better for a papa, than for a nearer relation: and they are strange admirers of one another.

But allow me a perhaps still better (and, as to years, more suitable and happier) disposal; for the man at least.—What think you, my dear, of compromising with your friends, by rejecting both men, and encouraging my parader?—If your liking one of the two go no farther than conditional, I believe it will do. A rich thought, if it obtain your approbation! In this light, I should have a prodigious respect for Mr. Hickman; more by half than I can have in the other. The vein is opened—Shall I let it flow? How difficult to withstand constitutional foibles!

Hickman is certainly a man more in your taste than any of those who have hitherto been brought to address you. He is mighty sober, mighty grave, and all that. Then you have told me, that he is your favourite. But that is because he is my mother's perhaps. The man would certainly rejoice at the transfer; or he must be a greater fool than I take him to be.

O but your fierce lover would knock him o' the head—I forgot that!—What makes me incapable of seriousness when I write about Hickman?—Yet the man so good a sort of man in the main!—But who is perfect? This is one of my foibles: and it is something for you to chide me for.

You believe me to be very happy in my prospect in relation to him: because you are so very unhappy in the foolish usage you meet with, you are apt (as I suspect) to think that tolerable which otherwise would be far from being so. I dare say, you would not, with all your grave airs, like him for yourself; except, being addressed by Solmes and him, you were obliged to have one of them.—I have given you a test. Let me see what you will say to it.

For my own part, I confess to you, that I have great exceptions to Hickman. He and wedlock never yet once entered into my head at one time. Shall I give you my free thoughts of him?—Of his best and his worst; and that as if I were writing to one who knows him not?—I think I will. Yet it is impossible I should do it gravely. The subject won't bear to be so treated in my opinion. We are not come so far as that yet, if ever we shall: and to do it in another strain, ill becomes my present real concern for you.


Here I was interrupted on the honest man's account. He has been here these two hours—courting the mother for the daughter, I suppose—yet she wants no courting neither: 'Tis well one of us does; else the man would have nothing but halcyon; and be remiss, and saucy of course.

He was going. His horses at the door. My mother sent for me down, pretending to want to say something to me.

Something she said when I came that signified nothing—Evidently, for no reason called me, but to give me an opportunity to see what a fine bow her man could make; and that she might wish me a good night. She knows I am not over ready to oblige him with my company, if I happen to be otherwise engaged. I could not help an air a little upon the fretful, when I found she had nothing of moment to say to me, and when I saw her intention.

She smiled off the visible fretfulness, that the man might go away in good humour with himself.

He bowed to the ground, and would have taken my hand, his whip in the other. I did not like to be so companioned: I withdrew my hand, but touched his elbow with a motion, as if from his low bow I had supposed him falling, and would have helped him up—A sad slip, it might have been! said I.

A mad girl! smiled it off my mother.

He was quite put out; took his horse-bridle, stumped back, back, back, bowing, till he run against his servant. I laughed. He mounted his horse. I mounted up stairs, after a little lecture; and my head is so filled with him, that I must resume my intention, in hopes to divert you for a few moments.

Take it then—his best, and his worst, as I said before.

Hickman is a sort of fiddling, busy, yet, to borrow a word from you, unbusy man: has a great deal to do, and seems to me to dispatch nothing. Irresolute and changeable in every thing, but in teasing me with his nonsense; which yet, it is evident, he must continue upon my mother's interest more than upon his own hopes; for none have I given him.

Then I have a quarrel against his face, though in his person, for a well-thriven man, tolerably genteel—Not to his features so much neither; for what, as you have often observed, are features in a man?—But Hickman, with strong lines, and big cheek and chin bones, has not the manliness in his aspect, which Lovelace has with the most regular and agreeable features.

Then what a set and formal mortal he is in some things!—I have not been able yet to laugh him out of his long bid and beads. Indeed, that is, because my mother thinks they become him; and I would not be so free with him, as to own I should choose to have him leave it off. If he did, so particular is the man, he would certainly, if left to himself, fall into a King-William's cravat, or some such antique chin-cushion, as by the pictures of that prince one sees was then the fashion.

As to his dress in general, he cannot indeed be called a sloven, but sometimes he is too gaudy, at other times too plain, to be uniformly elegant. And for his manners, he makes such a bustle with them, and about them, as would induce one to suspect that they are more strangers than familiars to him. You, I know, lay this to his fearfulness of disobliging or offending. Indeed your over-doers generally give the offence they endeavour to avoid.

The man however is honest: is of family: has a clear and good estate; and may one day be a baronet, an't please you. He is humane and benevolent, tolerably generous, as people say; and as I might say too, if I would accept of his bribes; which he offers in hopes of having them all back again, and the bribed into the bargain. A method taken by all corrupters, from old Satan, to the lowest of his servants. Yet, to speak in the language of a person I am bound to honour, he is deemed a prudent man; that is to say a good manager.

Then I cannot but confess, that now I like not anybody better, whatever I did once.

He is no fox-hunter: he keeps a pack indeed; but prefers not his hounds to his fellow-creatures. No bad sign for a wife, I own. He loves his horse; but dislikes racing in a gaming way, as well as all sorts of gaming. Then he is sober; modest; they say, virtuous; in short, has qualities that mothers would be fond of in a husband for their daughters; and for which perhaps their daughters would be the happier could they judge as well for themselves, as experience possibly may teach them to judge for their future daughters.

Nevertheless, to own the truth, I cannot say I love the man: nor, I believe, ever shall.

Strange! that these sober fellows cannot have a decent sprightliness, a modest assurance with them! Something debonnaire; which need not be separated from that awe and reverence, when they address a woman, which should shew the ardour of their passion, rather than the sheepishness of their nature; for who knows not that love delights in taming the lion-hearted? That those of the sex, who are most conscious of their own defect in point of courage, naturally require, and therefore as naturally prefer, the man who has most of it, as the most able to give them the requisite protection? That the greater their own cowardice, as it would be called in a man, the greater is their delight in subjects of heroism? As may be observed in their reading; which turns upon difficulties encountered, battles fought, and enemies overcome, four or five hundred by the prowess of one single hero, the more improbable the better: in short, that their man should be a hero to every one living but themselves; and to them know no bound to his humility. A woman has some glory in subduing a heart no man living can appall; and hence too often the bravo, assuming the hero, and making himself pass for one, succeeds as only a hero should.

But as for honest Hickman, the good man is so generally meek, as I imagine, that I know not whether I have any preference paid me in his obsequiousness. And then, when I rate him, he seems to be so naturally fitted for rebuke, and so much expects it, that I know not how to disappoint him, whether he just then deserve it, or not. I am sure, he has puzzled me many a time when I have seen him look penitent for faults he has not committed, whether to pity or laugh at him.

You and I have often retrospected the faces and minds of grown people; that is to say, have formed images for their present appearances, outside and in, (as far as the manners of the persons would justify us in the latter) what sort of figures they made when boys and girls. And I'll tell you the lights in which HICKMAN, SOLMES, and LOVELACE, our three heroes, have appeared to me, supposing them boys at school.

Solmes I have imagined to be a little sordid, pilfering rogue, who would purloin from every body, and beg every body's bread and butter from him; while, as I have heard a reptile brag, he would in a winter-morning spit upon his thumbs, and spread his own with it, that he might keep it all to himself.

Hickman, a great overgrown, lank-haired, chubby boy, who would be hunched and punched by every body; and go home with his finger in his eye, and tell his mother.

While Lovelace I have supposed a curl-pated villain, full of fire, fancy, and mischief; an orchard-robber, a wall-climber, a horse-rider without saddle or bridle, neck or nothing: a sturdy rogue, in short, who would kick and cuff, and do no right, and take no wrong of any body; would get his head broke, then a plaster for it, or let it heal of itself; while he went on to do more mischief, and if not to get, to deserve, broken bones. And the same dispositions have grown up with them, and distinguish them as me, with no very material alteration.

Only that all men are monkeys more or less, or else that you and I should have such baboons as these to choose out of, is a mortifying thing, my dear.

I am sensible that I am a little out of season in treating thus ludicrously the subject I am upon, while you are so unhappy; and if my manner does not divert you, as my flightiness used to do, I am inexcusable both to you, and to my own heart: which, I do assure you, notwithstanding my seeming levity, is wholly in your case.

As this letter is extremely whimsical, I will not send it until I can accompany it with something more solid and better suited to your unhappy circumstances; that is to say, to the present subject of our correspondence. To-morrow, as I told you, will be wholly my own, and of consequence yours. Adieu, therefore, till then.



My mother and cousin are already gone off in our chariot and four, attended by their doughty 'squire on horseback, and he by two of his own servants, and one of my mother's. They both love parade when they go abroad, at least in compliment to one another; which shews, that each thinks the other does. Robin is your servant and mine, and nobody's else—and the day is all my own.

I must begin with blaming you, my dear, for your resolution not to litigate for your right, if occasion were to be given you. Justice is due to ourselves, as well as to every body else. Still more must I blame you for declaring to your aunt and sister, that you will not: since (as they will tell it to your father and brother) the declaration must needs give advantage to spirits who have so little of that generosity for which you are so much distinguished.

There never was a spirit in the world that would insult where it dared, but it would creep and cringe where it dared not. Let me remind you of a sentence of your own, the occasion for which I have forgotten: 'That little spirits will always accommodate themselves to the temper of those they would work upon: will fawn upon a sturdy-tempered person: will insult the meek:'—And another given to Miss Biddulph, upon an occasion you cannot forget:—'If we assume a dignity in what we say and do, and take care not to disgrace by arrogance our own assumption, every body will treat us with respect and deference.'

I remember that you once made an observation, which you said, you was obliged to Mrs. Norton for, and she to her father, upon an excellent preacher, who was but an indifferent liver: 'That to excel in theory, and to excel in practice, generally required different talents; which did not always meet in the same person.' Do you, my dear (to whom theory and practice are the same thing in almost every laudable quality), apply the observation to yourself, in this particular case, where resolution is required; and where the performance of the will of the defunct is the question—no more to be dispensed with by you, in whose favour it was made, than by any body else who have only themselves in view by breaking through it.

I know how much you despise riches in the main: but yet it behoves you to remember, that in one instance you yourself have judged them valuable—'In that they put it into our power to lay obligations; while the want of that power puts a person under a necessity of receiving favours—receiving them perhaps from grudging and narrow spirits, who know not how to confer them with that grace, which gives the principal merit to a beneficent action.'—Reflect upon this, my dear, and see how it agrees with the declaration you have made to your aunt and sister, that you would not resume your estate, were you to be turned out of doors, and reduced to indigence and want. Their very fears that you will resume, point out to you the necessity of resuming upon the treatment you meet with.

I own, that (at first reading) I was much affected with your mother's letter sent with the patterns. A strange measure however from a mother; for she did not intend to insult you; and I cannot but lament that so sensible and so fine a woman should stoop to so much art as that letter is written with: and which also appears in some of the conversations you have given me an account of. See you not in her passiveness, what boisterous spirits can obtain from gentler, merely by teasing and ill-nature?

I know the pride they have always taken in calling you a Harlowe—Clarissa Harlowe, so formal and so set, at every word, when they are grave or proudly solemn.—Your mother has learnt it of them—and as in marriage, so in will, has been taught to bury her own superior name and family in theirs. I have often thought that the same spirit governed them, in this piece of affectation, and others of the like nature (as Harlowe-Place, and so-forth, though not the elder brother's or paternal seat), as governed the tyrant Tudor,* who marrying Elizabeth, the heiress of the house of York, made himself a title to a throne, which he would not otherwise have had (being but a base descendant of the Lancaster line); and proved a gloomy and vile husband to her; for no other cause, than because she had laid him under obligations which his pride would not permit him to own.—Nor would the unprincely wretch marry her till he was in possession of the crown, that he might not be supposed to owe it to her claim.

* Henry VII.

You have chidden me, and again will, I doubt not, for the liberties I take with some of your relations. But my dear, need I tell you, that pride in ourselves must, and for ever will, provoke contempt, and bring down upon us abasement from others?—Have we not, in the case of a celebrated bard, observed, that those who aim at more than their due, will be refused the honours they may justly claim?—I am very much loth to offend you; yet I cannot help speaking of your relations, as well as of others, as I think they deserve. Praise or dispraise, is the reward or punishment which the world confers or inflicts on merit or demerit; and, for my part, I neither can nor will confound them in the application. I despise them all, but your mother: indeed I do: and as for her—but I will spare the good lady for your sake—and one argument, indeed, I think may be pleaded in her favour, in the present contention—she who has for so many years, and with such absolute resignation, borne what she has borne to the sacrifice of her own will, may think it an easier task than another person can imagine it, for her daughter to give up hers. But to think to whose instigation all this is originally owing—God forgive me; but with such usage I should have been with Lovelace before now! Yet remember, my dear, that the step which would not be wondered at from such a hasty-tempered creatures as me, would be inexcusable in such a considerate person as you.

After your mother has been thus drawn in against her judgment, I am the less surprised, that your aunt Hervey should go along with her; since the two sisters never separate. I have inquired into the nature of the obligation which Mr. Hervey's indifferent conduct in his affairs has laid him under—it is only, it seems, that your brother has paid off for him a mortgage upon one part of his estate, which the mortgagee was about to foreclose; and taken it upon himself. A small favour (as he has ample security in his hands) from kindred to kindred: but such a one, it is plain, as has laid the whole family of the Herveys under obligation to the ungenerous lender, who has treated him, and his aunt too (as Miss Dolly Hervey has privately complained), with the less ceremony ever since.

Must I, my dear, call such a creature your brother?—I believe I must—Because he is your father's son. There is no harm, I hope, in saying that.

I am concerned, that you ever wrote at all to him. It was taking too much notice of him: it was adding to his self-significance; and a call upon him to treat you with insolence. A call which you might have been assured he would not fail to answer.

But such a pretty master as this, to run riot against such a man as Lovelace; who had taught him to put his sword into his scabbard, when he had pulled it out by accident!—These in-door insolents, who, turning themselves into bugbears, frighten women, children, and servants, are generally cravens among men. Were he to come fairly across me, and say to my face some of the free things which I am told he has said of me behind my back, or that (as by your account) he has said of our sex, I would take upon myself to ask him two or three questions; although he were to send me a challenge likewise.

I repeat, you know that I will speak my mind, and write it too. He is not my brother. Can you say, he is yours?—So, for your life, if you are just, you can't be angry with me: For would you side with a false brother against a true friend? A brother may not be a friend: but a friend will always be a brother—mind that, as your uncle Tony says!

I cannot descend so low, as to take very particular notice of the epistles of these poor souls, whom you call uncles. Yet I love to divert myself with such grotesque characters too. But I know them and love you; and so cannot make the jest of them which their absurdities call for.

You chide me, my dear,* for my freedoms with relations still nearer and dearer to you, than either uncles or brother or sister. You had better have permitted me (uncorrected) to have taken my own way. Do not use those freedoms naturally arise from the subject before us? And from whom arises that subject, I pray you? Can you for one quarter of an hour put yourself in my place, or in the place of those who are still more indifferent to the case than I can be?—If you can—But although I have you not often at advantage, I will not push you.

* See Vol. I. Letter XXVIII.

Permit me, however, to subjoin, that well may your father love your mother, as you say he does. A wife who has no will but his! But were there not, think you, some struggles between them at first, gout out of the question?—Your mother, when a maiden, had, as I have heard (and it is very likely) a good share of those lively spirits which she liked in your father. She has none of them now. How came they to be dissipated?—Ah! my dear!—she has been too long resident in Trophonius's cave, I doubt.*

* Spectator, Vol. VIII. No. 599.

Let me add one reflection upon this subject, and so entitle myself to your correction for all at once.—It is upon the conduct of those wives (for you and I know more than one such) who can suffer themselves to be out-blustered and out-gloomed of their own wills, instead of being fooled out of them by acts of tenderness and complaisance.—I wish, that it does not demonstrate too evidently, that, with some of the sex, insolent controul is a more efficacious subduer than kindness or concession. Upon my life, my dear, I have often thought, that many of us are mere babies in matrimony: perverse fools when too much indulged and humoured; creeping slaves, when treated harshly. But shall it be said, that fear makes us more gentle obligers than love?—Forbid it, Honour! Forbid it, Gratitude! Forbid it, Justice! that any woman of sense should give occasion to have this said of her!

Did I think you would have any manner of doubt, from the style or contents of this letter, whose saucy pen it is that has run on at this rate, I would write my name at length; since it comes too much from my heart to disavow it: but at present the initials shall serve; and I will go on again directly.




I will postpone, or perhaps pass by, several observations which I had to make on other parts of your letters; to acquaint you, that Mr. Hickman, when in London, found an opportunity to inquire after Mr. Lovelace's town life and conversation.

At the Cocoa-tree, in Pall-mall, he fell in with two of his intimates, the one named Belton, the other Mowbray; both very free of speech, and probably as free in their lives: but the waiters paid them great respect, and on Mr. Hickman's inquiry after their characters, called them men of fortune and honour.

They began to talk of Mr. Lovelace of their own accord; and upon some gentlemen in the room asking, when they expected him in town, answered, that very day. Mr. Hickman (as they both went on praising Lovelace) said, he had indeed heard, that Mr. Lovelace was a very fine gentleman—and was proceeding, when one of them, interrupting him, said,—Only, Sir, the finest gentleman in the world; that's all.

And so he led them on to expatiate more particularly on his qualities; which they were very fond of doing: but said not one single word in behalf of his morals—Mind that also, in your uncle's style.

Mr. Hickman said, that Mr. Lovelace was very happy, as he understood, in the esteem of the ladies; and smiling, to make them believe he did not think amiss of it, that he pushed his good fortune as far as it would go.

Well put, Mr. Hickman! thought I; equally grave and sage—thou seemest not to be a stranger to their dialect, as I suppose this is. But I said nothing; for I have often tried to find out this might sober man of my mother's: but hitherto have only to say, that he is either very moral, or very cunning.

No doubt of it, replied one of them; and out came an oath, with a Who would not?—That he did as every young fellow would do.

Very true! said my mother's puritan—but I hear he is in treaty with a fine lady—

So he was, Mr. Belton said—The devil fetch her! [vile brute!] for she engrossed all his time—but that the lady's family ought to be—something—[Mr. Hickman desired to be excused repeating what—though he had repeated what was worse] and might dearly repent their usage of a man of his family and merit.

Perhaps they may think him too wild, cries Hickman: and theirs is, I hear, a very sober family—

SOBER! said one of them: A good honest word, Dick!—Where the devil has it lain all this time?—D—— me if I have heard of it in this sense ever since I was at college! and then, said he, we bandied it about among twenty of us as an obsolete.

These, my dear, are Mr. Lovelace's companions: you'll be pleased to take notice of that!

Mr. Hickman said, this put him out of countenance.

I stared at him, and with such a meaning in my eyes, as he knew how to take; and so was out of countenance again.

Don't you remember, my dear, who it was that told a young gentleman designed for the gown, who owned that he was apt to be too easily put out of countenance when he came into free company, 'That it was a bad sign; that it looked as if his morals were not proof; but that his good disposition seemed rather the effect of accident and education, than of such a choice as was founded upon principle?' And don't you know the lesson the very same young lady gave him, 'To endeavour to stem and discountenance vice, and to glory in being an advocate in all companies for virtue;' particularly observing, 'That it was natural for a man to shun or to give up what he was ashamed of?' Which she should be sorry to think his case on this occasion: adding, 'That vice was a coward, and would hide its head, when opposed by such a virtue as had presence of mind, and a full persuasion of its own rectitude to support it.' The lady, you may remember, modestly put her doctrine into the mouth of a worthy preacher, Dr. Lewen, as she used to do, when she has a mind not to be thought what she is at so early an age; and that it may give more weight to any thing she hit upon, that might appear tolerable, was her modest manner of speech.

Mr. Hickman, upon the whole, professed to me, upon his second recovery, that he had no reason to think well of Mr. Lovelace's morals, from what he heard of him in town; yet his two intimates talked of his being more regular than he used to be. That he had made a very good resolution, that of old Tom Wharton, was the expression, That he would never give a challenge, nor refuse one; which they praised in him highly: that, in short, he was a very brave fellow, and the most agreeable companion in the world: and would one day make a great figure in his country; since there was nothing he was not capable of—

I am afraid that his last assertion is too true. And this, my dear, is all that Mr. Hickman could pick up about him: And is it not enough to determine such a mind as yours, if not already determined?

Yet it must be said too, that if there be a woman in the world that can reclaim him, it is you. And, by your account of his behaviour in the interview between you, I own I have some hope of him. At least, this I will say, that all the arguments he then used with you, seemed to be just and right. And if you are to be his—But no more of that: he cannot, after all, deserve you.



An unexpected visitor has turned the course of my thoughts, and changed the subject I had intended to pursue. The only one for whom I would have dispensed with my resolution not to see any body all the dedicated day: a visiter, whom, according to Mr. Hickman's report from the expectations of his libertine friends, I supposed to be in town.—Now, my dear, have I saved myself the trouble of telling you, that it was you too-agreeable rake. Our sex is said to love to trade in surprises: yet have I, by my promptitude, surprised myself out of mine. I had intended, you must know, to run twice the length, before I had suffered you to know so much as to guess who, and whether man or woman, my visiter was: but since you have the discovery at so cheap a rate, you are welcome to it.

The end of his coming was, to engage my interest with my charming friend; and he was sure that I knew all your mind, to acquaint him what he had to trust to.

He mentioned what had passed in the interview between you: but could not be satisfied with the result of it, and with the little satisfaction he had obtained from you: the malice of your family to him increasing, and their cruelty to you not abating. His heart, he told me, was in tumults, for fear you should be prevailed upon in favour of a man despised by every body.

He gave me fresh instance of indignities cast upon himself by your uncles and brother; and declared, that if you suffered yourself to be forced into the arms of the man for whose sake he was loaded with undeserved abuses, you should be one of the youngest, as you would be one of the loveliest widows in England. And that he would moreover call your brother to account for the liberties he takes with his character to every one he meets with.

He proposed several schemes, for you to choose some one of them, in order to enable you to avoid the persecutions you labour under: One I will mention—That you will resume your estate; and if you find difficulties that can be no otherwise surmounted, that you will, either avowedly or privately, as he had proposed to you, accept of Lady Betty Lawrance's or Lord M.'s assistance to instate you in it. He declared, that if you did, he would leave absolutely to your own pleasure afterwards, and to the advice which your cousin Morden on his arrival should give you, whether to encourage his address, or not, as you should be convinced of the sincerity of the reformation which his enemies make him so much want.

I had now a good opportunity to sound him, as you wished Mr. Hickman would Lord M. as to the continued or diminished favour of the ladies, and of his Lordship, towards you, upon their being acquainted with the animosity of your relations to them, as well as to their kinsman. I laid hold of the opportunity, and he satisfied me, by reading some passages of a letter he had about him, from Lord M. That an alliance with you, and that on the foot of your own single merit, would be the most desirable event to them that could happen: and so far to the purpose of your wished inquiry does his Lordship go in this letter, that he assures him, that whatever you suffer in fortune from the violence of your relations on his account, he and Lady Sarah and Lady Betty will join to make it up to him. And yet that the reputation of a family so splendid, would, no doubt, in a case of such importance to the honour of both, make them prefer a general consent.

I told him, as you yourself I knew had done, that you were extremely averse to Mr. Solmes; and that, might you be left to your own choice, it would be the single life. As to himself, I plainly said, That you had great and just objections to him on the score of his careless morals: that it was surprising, that men who gave themselves the liberties he was said to take, should presume to think, that whenever they took it into their heads to marry, the most virtuous and worthy of the sex were to fall to their lot. That as to the resumption, it had been very strongly urged by myself, and would be still further urged; though you had been hitherto averse to that measure: that your chief reliance and hopes were upon your cousin Morden; and that to suspend or gain time till he arrived, was, as I believed, your principal aim.

I told him, That with regard to the mischief he threatened, neither the act nor the menace could serve any end but theirs who persecuted you; as it would give them a pretence for carrying into effect their compulsory projects; and that with the approbation of all the world; since he must not think the public would give its voice in favour of a violent young man, of no extraordinary character as to morals, who should seek to rob a family of eminence of a child so valuable; and who threatened, if he could not obtain her in preference to a man chosen by themselves, that he would avenge himself upon them all by acts of violence.

I added, That he was very much mistaken, if he thought to intimidate you by such menaces: for that, though your disposition was all sweetness, yet I knew not a steadier temper in the world than yours; nor one more inflexible, (as your friends had found, and would still further find, if they continued to give occasion for its exertion,) whenever you thought yourself in the right; and that you were ungenerously dealt with in matters of too much moment to be indifferent about. Miss Clarissa Harlowe, Mr. Lovelace, let me tell you, said I, timid as her foresight and prudence may make her in some cases, where she apprehends dangers to those she loves, is above fear, in points where her honour, and the true dignity of her sex, are concerned.—In short, Sir, you must not think to frighten Miss Clarissa Harlowe into such a mean or unworthy conduct as only a weak or unsteady mind can be guilty of.

He was so very far from intending to intimidate you, he said, that he besought me not to mention one word to you of what had passed between us: that what he had hinted at, which carried the air of menace, was owing to the fervour of his spirits, raised by his apprehensions of losing all hope of you for ever; and on a supposition, that you were to be actually forced into the arms of a man you hated: that were this to be the case, he must own, that he should pay very little regard to the world, or its censures: especially as the menaces of some of your family now, and their triumph over him afterwards, would both provoke and warrant all the vengeance he could take.

He added, that all the countries in the world were alike to him, but on your account: so that, whatever he should think fit to do, were you lost to him, he should have noting to apprehend from the laws of this.

I did not like the determined air he spoke this with: he is certainly capable of great rashness.

He palliated a little this fierceness (which by the way I warmly censured) by saying, That while you remain single, he will bear all the indignities that shall be cast upon him by your family. But would you throw yourself, if you were still farther driven, into any other protection, if not Lord M.'s, or that of the ladies of his family, into my mother's,* suppose; or would you go to London to private lodgings, where he would never visit you, unless he had your leave (and from whence you might make your own terms with your relations); he would be entirely satisfied; and would, as he had said before, wait the effect of your cousin's arrival, and your free determination as to his own fate. Adding, that he knew the family so well, and how much fixed they were upon their measures, as well as the absolute dependence they had upon your temper and principles, that he could not but apprehend the worst, while you remained in their power, and under the influence of their persuasions and menaces.

* Perhaps it will be unnecessary to remind the reader, that although Mr. Lovelace proposes (as above) to Miss Howe, that her fair friend should have recourse to the protection of Mrs. Howe, if farther driven; yet he had artfully taken care, by means of his agent in the Harlowe family, not only to inflame the family against her, but to deprive her of Mrs. Howe's, and of every other protection, being from the first resolved to reduce her to an absolute dependence upon himself. See Vol. I. Letter XXXI.

We had a great deal of other discourse: but as the reciting of the rest would be but a repetition of many of the things that passed between you and him in the interview between you in the wood-house, I refer myself to your memory on that occasion.*

* See Vol. I. Letter XXXVI.

And now, my dear, upon the whole, I think it behoves you to make yourself independent: all then will fall right. This man is a violent man. I should wish, methinks, that you should not have either him or Solmes. You will find, if you get out of your brother's and sister's way, what you can or cannot do, with regard to either.

If your relations persist in their foolish scheme, I think I will take his hint, and, at a proper opportunity, sound my mother. Mean time, let me have your clear opinion of the resumption, which I join with Lovelace in advising. You can but see how your demand will work. To demand, is not to litigate. But be your resolution what it will, do not by any means repeat to them, that you will not assert your right. If they go on to give you provocation, you may have sufficient reason to change your mind: and let them expect that you will change it. They have not the generosity to treat you the better for disclaiming the power they know you have. That, I think, need not now be told you. I am, my dearest friend, and ever will be,

Your most affectionate and faithful ANNA HOWE.



On the report made by my aunt and sister of my obstinacy, my assembled relations have taken an unanimous resolution (as Betty tells me it is) against me. This resolution you will find signified to me in the inclosed letter from my brother, just now brought me. Be pleased to return it, when perused. I may have occasion for it, in the altercations between my relations and me.



I am commanded to let you know, that my father and uncles having heard your aunt Hervey's account of all that has passed between her and you: having heard from your sister what sort of treatment she has had from you: having recollected all that has passed between your mother and you: having weighed all your pleas and proposals: having taken into consideration their engagements with Mr. Solmes; that gentleman's patience, and great affection for you; and the little opportunity you have given yourself to be acquainted either with his merit, or his proposals: having considered two points more; to wit, the wounded authority of a father; and Mr. Solmes's continued entreaties (little as you have deserved regard from him) that you may be freed from a confinement to which he is desirous to attribute your perverseness to him [averseness I should have said, but let it go], he being unable to account otherwise for so strong a one, supposing you told truth to your mother, when you asserted that your heart was free; and which Mr. Solmes is willing to believe, though nobody else does—For all these reasons, it is resolved, that you shall go to your uncle Antony's: and you must accordingly prepare yourself to do so. You will have but short notice of the day, for obvious reasons.

I will honestly tell you the motive for your going: it is a double one; first, That they may be sure, that you shall not correspond with any body they do not like (for they find from Mrs. Howe, that, by some means or other, you do correspond with her daughter; and, through her, perhaps with somebody else): and next, That you may receive the visits of Mr. Solmes; which you have thought fit to refuse to do here; by which means you have deprived yourself of the opportunity of knowing whom and what you have hitherto refused.

If after one fortnight's conversation with Mr. Solmes, and after you have heard what your friends shall further urge in his behalf, unhardened by clandestine correspondencies, you shall convince them, that Virgil's amor omnibus idem (for the application of which I refer you to the Georgic as translated by Dryden) is verified in you, as well as in the rest of the animal creation; and that you cannot, or will not forego your prepossession in favour of the moral, the virtuous, the pious Lovelace, [I would please you if I could!] it will then be considered, whether to humour you, or to renounce you for ever.

It is hoped, that as you must go, you will go cheerfully. Your uncle Antony will make ever thing at his house agreeable to you. But indeed he won't promise, that he will not, at proper times, draw up the bridge.

Your visiters, besides Mr. Solmes, will be myself, if you permit me that honour, Miss Clary; your sister; and, as you behave to Mr. Solmes, your aunt Hervey, and your uncle Harlowe; and yet the two latter will hardly come neither, if they think it will be to hear your whining vocatives.—Betty Barnes will be your attendant: and I must needs tell you, Miss, that we none of us think the worse of the faithful maid for your dislike of her: although Betty, who would be glad to oblige you, laments it as a misfortune.

Your answer is required, whether you cheerfully consent to go? And your indulgent mother bids me remind you from her, that a fortnight's visit from Mr. Solmes, are all that is meant at present.

I am, as you shall be pleased to deserve, Yours, &c. JAMES HARLOWE, JUN.

So here is the master-stroke of my brother's policy! Called upon to consent to go to my uncle Antony's avowedly to receive Mr. Solmes's visits!—A chapel! A moated-house!—Deprived of the opportunity of corresponding with you!—or of any possibility of escape, should violence be used to compel me to be that odious man's!*

* These violent measures, and the obstinate perseverance of the whole family in them, will be the less wondered at, when it is considered, that all the time they were but as so many puppets danced upon Mr. Lovelace's wires, as he boasts, Vol. I. Letter XXXI.

Late as it was when I received this insolent letter, I wrote an answer to it directly, that it might be ready for the writer's time of rising. I inclose the rough draught of it. You will see by it how much his vile hint from the Georgic; and his rude one of my whining vocatives, have set me up. Besides, as the command to get ready to go to my uncle's is in the name of my father and uncles, it is but to shew a piece of the art they accuse me of, to resent the vile hint I have so much reason to resent in order to palliate my refusal of preparing to go to my uncle's; which refusal would otherwise be interpreted an act of rebellion by my brother and sister: for it seems plain to me, that they will work but half their ends, if they do not deprive me of my father's and uncles' favour, even although it were possible for me to comply with their own terms.

You might have told me, Brother, in three lines, what the determination of my friends was; only, that then you would not have had room to display your pedantry by so detestable an allusion or reference to the Georgic. Give me leave to tell you, Sir, that if humanity were a branch of your studies at the university, it has not found a genius in you for mastering it. Nor is either my sex or myself, though a sister, I see entitled to the least decency from a brother, who has studied, as it seems, rather to cultivate the malevolence of his natural temper, than any tendency which one might have hoped his parentage, if not his education, might have given him to a tolerable politeness.

I doubt not, that you will take amiss my freedom: but as you have deserved it from me, I shall be less and less concerned on that score, as I see you are more and more intent to shew your wit at the expense of justice and compassion.

The time is indeed come that I can no longer bear those contempts and reflections which a brother, least of all men, is entitled to give. And let me beg of you one favour, Sir:—It is this, That you will not give yourself any concern about a husband for me, till I shall have the forwardness to propose a wife to you. Pardon me, Sir; but I cannot help thinking, that could I have the art to get my father of my side, I should have as much right to prescribe for you, as you have for me.

As to the communication you make me, I must take upon me to say, That although I will receive, as becomes me, any of my father's commands; yet, as this signification is made by a brother, who has shewn of late so much of an unbrotherly animosity to me, (for no reason in the world that I know if, but that he believes he has, in me, one sister too much for his interest,) I think myself entitled to conclude, that such a letter as you have sent me, is all your own: and of course to declare, that, while I so think it, I will not willingly, nor even without violence, go to any place, avowedly to receive Mr. Solmes's visits.

I think myself so much entitled to resent your infamous hint, and this as well for the sake of my sex, as for my own, that I ought to declare, as I do, that I will not receive any more of your letters, unless commanded to do so by an authority I never will dispute; except in a case where I think my future as well as present happiness concerned: and were such a case to happen, I am sure my father's harshness will be less owing to himself than to you; and to the specious absurdities of your ambitious and selfish schemes.—Very true, Sir!

One word more, provoked as I am, I will add: That had I been thought as really obstinate and perverse as of late I am said to be, I should not have been so disgracefully treated as I have been—Lay your hand upon your heart, Brother, and say, By whose instigations?—And examine what I have done to deserve to be made thus unhappy, and to be obliged to style myself

Your injured sister, CL. HARLOWE.

When, my dear, you have read my answer to my brother's letter, tell me what you think of me?—It shall go!



My letter has set them all in tumults: for, it seems, none of them went home last night; and they all were desired to be present to give their advice, if I should refuse compliance with a command thought so reasonable as it seems this is.

Betty tells me, that at first my father, in a rage, was for coming up to me himself, and for turning me out of his doors directly. Nor was he restrained, till it was hinted to him, that that was no doubt my wish, and would answer all my perverse views. But the result was, that my brother (having really, as my mother and aunt insisted, taken wrong measures with me) should write again in a more moderate manner: for nobody else was permitted or cared to write to such a ready scribbler. And, I having declared, that I would not receive any more of his letters, without command from a superior authority, my mother was to give it hers: and accordingly has done so in the following lines, written on the superscription of his letter to me: which letter also follows; together with my reply.


Receive and read this, with the temper that becomes your sex, your character, your education, and your duty: and return an answer to it, directed to your brother.



Once more I write, although imperiously prohibited by a younger sister. Your mother will have me do so, that you may be destitute of all defence, if you persist in your pervicacy. Shall I be a pedant, Miss, for this word? She is willing to indulge in you the least appearance of that delicacy for which she once, as well as every body else, admired you—before you knew Lovelace; I cannot, however, help saying that: and she, and your aunt Hervey, will have it—[they would fain favour you, if they could] that I may have provoked from you the answer they nevertheless own to be so exceedingly unbecoming. I am now learning, you see, to take up the softer language, where you have laid it down. This then is the case:

They entreat, they pray, they beg, they supplicate (will either of these do, Miss Clary?) that you will make no scruple to go to your uncle Antony's: and fairly I am to tell you, for the very purpose mentioned in my last—or, 'tis presumable, they need not entreat, beg, pray, supplicate. Thus much is promised to Mr. Solmes, who is your advocate, and very uneasy that you should be under constraint, supposing that your dislike to him arises from that. And, if he finds that you are not to be moved in his favour, when you are absolutely freed from what you call a controul, he will forbear thinking of you, whatever it costs him. He loves you too well: and in this, I really think, his understanding, which you have reflected upon, is to be questioned.

Only for one fornight [sic], therefore, permit his visits. Your education (you tell me of mine, you know) ought to make you incapable of rudeness to any body. He will not, I hope, be the first man, myself excepted, whom you ever treated rudely, purely because he is esteemed by us all. I am, what you have a mind to make me, friend, brother, or servant—I wish I could be still more polite, to so polite, to so delicate, a sister.


You must still write to me, if you condescend to reply. Your mother will not be permitted to be disturbed with your nothing-meaning vocatives!—Vocatives, once more, Madam Clary, repeats the pedant your brother!



Permit me, my ever-dear and honoured Papa and Mamma, in this manner to surprise you into an audience, (presuming this will be read to you,) since I am denied the honour of writing to you directly. Let me beg of you to believe, that nothing but the most unconquerable dislike could make me stand against your pleasure. What are riches, what are settlements, to happiness? Let me not thus cruelly be given up to a man my very soul is averse to. Permit me to repeat, that I cannot honestly be his. Had I a slighter notion of the matrimonial duty than I have, perhaps I might. But when I am to bear all the misery, and that for life; when my heart is less concerned in this matter, than my soul; my temporary, perhaps, than my future good; why should I be denied the liberty of refusing? That liberty is all I ask.

It were easy for me to give way to hear Mr. Solmes talk for the mentioned fortnight, although it is impossible for me, say what he would, to get over my dislike to him. But the moated-house, the chapel there, and the little mercy my brother and sister, who are to be there, have hitherto shewn me, are what I am extremely apprehensive of. And why does my brother say, my restraint is to be taken off, (and that too at Mr. Solmes's desire,) when I am to be a still closer prisoner than before; the bridge threatened to be drawn up; and no dear papa and mamma near me, to appeal to, in the last resort?

Transfer not, I beseech you, to a brother and sister your own authority over your child—to a brother and sister, who treat me with unkindness and reproach; and, as I have too much reason to apprehend, misrepresent my words and behaviour; or, greatly favoured as I used to be, it is impossible I should be sunk so low in your opinions, as I unhappily am!

Let but this my hard, my disgraceful confinement be put an end to. Permit me, my dear Mamma, to pursue my needleworks in your presence, as one of your maidens; and you shall be witness, that it is not either wilfulness or prepossession that governs me. Let me not, however, be put out of your own house. Let Mr. Solmes come and go, as my papa pleases: let me but stay or retire when he comes, as I can; and leave the rest to Providence.

Forgive me, Brother, that thus, with an appearance of art, I address myself to my father and mother, to whom I am forbidden to approach, or to write. Hard it is to be reduced to such a contrivance! Forgive likewise the plain dealing I have used in the above, with the nobleness of a gentleman, and the gentleness due from a brother to a sister. Although of late you have given me but little room to hope either for your favour or compassion; yet, having not deserved to forfeit either, I presume to claim both: for I am confident it is at present much in your power, although but my brother (my honoured parents both, I bless God, in being), to give peace to the greatly disturbed mind of

Your unhappy sister, CL. HARLOWE.

Betty tells me, my brother has taken my letter all in pieces; and has undertaken to write such an answer to it, as shall confirm the wavering. So, it is plain, that I should have moved somebody by it, but for this hard-hearted brother—God forgive him!



I send you the boasted confutation-letter, just now put into my hands. My brother and sister, my uncle Antony and Mr. Solmes, are, I understand, exulting over the copy of it below, as an unanswerable performance.


Once again, my inflexible Sister, I write to you. It is to let you know, that the pretty piece of art you found out to make me the vehicle of your whining pathetics to your father and mother, has not had the expected effect.

I do assure you, that your behaviour has not been misrepresented—nor need it. Your mother, who is solicitous to take all opportunities of putting the most favourable constructions upon all you do, has been forced, as you well know, to give you up, upon full trial. No need then of the expedient of pursuing your needleworks in her sight. She cannot bear your whining pranks: and it is for her sake, that you are not permitted to come into her presence—nor will be, but upon her own terms.

You had like to have made a simpleton of your aunt Hervey yesterday: she came down from you, pleading in your favour. But when she was asked, What concession she had brought you to? she looked about her, and knew not what to answer. So your mother, when surprised into the beginning of your cunning address to her and to your father, under my name, (for I had begun to read it, little suspecting such an ingenious subterfuge,)and would then make me read it through, wrung her hands, Oh! her dear child, her dear child, must not be so compelled!—But when she was asked, Whether she would be willing to have for her son-in-law the man who bids defiance to her whole family; and who had like to have murdered her son? And what concession she had gained from her dear child to merit this tenderness? And that for one who had apparently deceived her in assuring her that her heart was free?—Then could she look about her, as her sister had done before: then was she again brought to herself, and to a resolution to assert her authority [not to transfer it, witty presumer!] over the rebel, who of late has so ungratefully struggled to throw it off.

You seem, child, to have a high notion of the matrimonial duty; and I'll warrant, like the rest of your sex, (one or two, whom I have the honour to know, excepted,) that you will go to church to promise what you will never think of afterwards. But, sweet child! as your worthy Mamma Norton calls you, think a little less of the matrimonial, (at least, till you come into that state,) and a little more of the filial duty.

How can you say, you are to bear all the misery, when you give so large a share of it to your parents, to your uncles, to your aunt, to myself, and to your sister; who all, for eighteen years of your life, loved you so well?

If of late I have not given you room to hope for my favour or compassion, it is because of late you have not deserved either. I know what you mean, little reflecting fool, by saying, it is much in my power, although but your brother, (a very slight degree of relationship with you,) to give you that peace which you can give yourself whenever you please.

The liberty of refusing, pretty Miss, is denied you, because we are all sensible, that the liberty of choosing, to every one's dislike, must follow. The vile wretch you have set your heart upon speaks this plainly to every body, though you won't. He says you are his, and shall be his, and he will be the death of any man who robs him of his PROPERTY. So, Miss, we have a mind to try this point with him. My father, supposing he has the right of a father in his child, is absolutely determined not to be bullied out of that right. And what must that child be, who prefers the rake to a father?

This is the light in which this whole debate ought to be taken. Blush, then, Delicacy, that cannot bear the poet's amor omnibus idem!—Blush, then, Purity! Be ashamed, Virgin Modesty! And, if capable of conviction, surrender your whole will to the will of the honoured pair, to whom you owe your being: and beg of all your friends to forgive and forget the part you have of late acted.

I have written a longer letter than ever I designed to write to you, after the insolent treatment and prohibition you have given me: and, now I am commissioned to tell you, that your friends are as weary of confining you, as you are of being confined. And therefore you must prepare yourself to go in a very few days, as you have been told before, to your uncle Antony's; who, notwithstanding you apprehensions, will draw up his bridge when he pleases; will see what company he pleases in his own house; nor will he demolish his chapel to cure you of your foolish late-commenced antipathy to a place of divine worship.—The more foolish, as, if we intended to use force, we could have the ceremony pass in your chamber, as well as any where else.

Prejudice against Mr. Solmes has evidently blinded you, and there is a charitable necessity to open your eyes: since no one but you thinks the gentleman so contemptible in his person; nor, for a plain country gentleman, who has too much solid sense to appear like a coxcomb, justly blamable in his manners.—And as to his temper, it is necessary you should speak upon fuller knowledge, than at present it is plain you can have of him.

Upon the whole, it will not be amiss, that you prepare for your speedy removal, as well for the sake of your own conveniency, as to shew your readiness, in one point, at least, to oblige your friends; one of whom you may, if you please to deserve it, reckon, though but a brother,


P.S. If you are disposed to see Mr. Solmes, and to make some excuses to him for past conduct, in order to be able to meet him somewhere else with the less concern to yourself for your freedoms with him, he shall attend you where you please.

If you have a mind to read the settlements, before they are read to you for your signing, they shall be sent you up—Who knows, but they will help you to some fresh objections?—Your heart is free, you know—It must—For, did you not tell your mother it was? And will the pious Clarissa fib to her mamma?

I desire no reply. The case requires none. Yet I will ask you, Have you, Miss, no more proposals to make?


I was so vexed when I came to the end of this letter, (the postscript to which, perhaps, might be written after the others had seen the letter,) that I took up my pen, with an intent to write to my uncle Harlowe about resuming my own estate, in pursuance of your advice. But my heart failed me, when I recollected, that I had not one friend to stand by or support me in my claim; and it would but the more incense them, without answering any good end. Oh! that my cousin were but come!

Is it not a sad thing, beloved as I thought myself so lately by every one, that now I have not one person in the world to plead for me, to stand by me, or who would afford me refuge, were I to be under the necessity of asking for it!—I who had the vanity to think I had as many friends as I saw faces, and flattered myself too, that it was not altogether unmerited, because I saw not my Maker's image, either in man, woman, or child, high or low, rich or poor, whom, comparatively, I loved not as myself.—Would to heaven, my dear, that you were married! Perhaps, then, you could have induced Mr. Hickman to afford me protection, till these storms were over-blown. But then this might have involved him in difficulties and dangers; and that I would not have done for the world.

I don't know what to do, not I!—God forgive me, but I am very impatient! I wish—But I don't know what to wish, without a sin!—Yet I wish it would please God to take me to his mercy!—I can meet with none here—What a world is this!—What is there in it desirable? The good we hope for, so strangely mixed, that one knows not what to wish for! And one half of mankind tormenting the other, and being tormented themselves in tormenting!—For here is this my particular case, my relations cannot be happy, though they make me unhappy!—Except my brother and sister, indeed—and they seem to take delight in and enjoy the mischief they make.

But it is time to lay down my pen, since my ink runs nothing but gall.



Mrs. Betty tells me, there is now nothing talked of but of my going to my uncle Antony's. She has been ordered, she says, to get ready to attend me thither: and, upon my expressing my averseness to go, had the confidence to say, That having heard me often praise the romanticness of the place, she was astonished (her hands and eyes lifted up) that I should set myself against going to a house so much in my taste.

I asked if this was her own insolence, or her young mistress's observation?

She half-astonished me by her answer: That it was hard she could not say a good thing, without being robbed of the merit of it.

As the wench looked as if she really thought she had said a good thing, without knowing the boldness of it, I let it pass. But, to say the truth, this creature has surprised me on many occasions with her smartness: for, since she has been employed in this controuling office, I have discovered a great deal of wit in her assurance, which I never suspected before. This shews, that insolence is her talent: and that Fortune, in placing her as a servant to my sister, had not done so kindly by her as Nature; for that she would make a better figure as her companion. And indeed I can't help thinking sometimes, that I myself was better fitted by Nature to be the servant of both, than the mistress of the one, or the servant of the other. And within these few months past, Fortune has acted by me, as if she were of the same mind.


Going down to my poultry-yard, just now, I heard my brother and sister and that Solmes laughing and triumphing together. The high yew-hedge between us, which divides the yard from the garden, hindered them from seeing me.

My brother, as I found, has been reading part, or the whole perhaps, of the copy of his last letter—Mighty prudent, and consistent, you'll say, with their views to make me the wife of a man from whom they conceal not what, were I to be such, it would be kind in them to endeavour to conceal, out of regard to my future peace!—But I have no doubt, that they hate me heartily.

Indeed, you was up with her there, brother, said my sister. You need not have bid her not to write to you. I'll engage, with all her wit, she'll never pretend to answer it.

Why, indeed, said my brother, with an air of college-sufficiency, with which he abounds, (for he thinks nobody writes like himself,) I believe I have given her a choke-pear. What say you, Mr. Solmes?

Why, Sir, said he, I think it is unanswerable. But will it not exasperate he more against me?

Never fear, Mr. Solmes, said my brother, but we'll carry our point, if she do not tire you out first. We have gone too far in this method to recede. Her cousin Morden will soon be here: so all must be over before that time, or she'll be made independent of us all.

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