MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE HARLOWE-PLACE, JAN. 20.
I will now resume my narrative of proceedings here.--My brother being
in a good way, although you may be sure that his resentments are
rather heightened than abated by the galling disgrace he has received,
my friends (my father and uncles, however, if not my brother and
sister) begin to think that I have been treated unkindly. My mother
been so good as to tell me this since I sent away my last.
Nevertheless I believe they all think that I receive letters from Mr.
Lovelace. But Lord M. being inclined rather to support than to blame
his nephew, they seem to be so much afraid of Mr. Lovelace, that they
do not put it to me whether I do or not; conniving on the contrary, as
it should seem, at the only method left to allay the vehemence of a
spirit which they have so much provoked: For he still insists upon
satisfaction from my uncles; and this possibly (for he wants not art)
as the best way to be introduced again with some advantage into our
family. And indeed my aunt Hervey has put it to my mother, whether it
were not best to prevail upon my brother to take a turn to his
Yorkshire estate (which he was intending to do before) and to stay
there till all is blown over.
But this is very far from being his intention: For he has already
began to hint again, that he shall never be easy or satisfied till I
am married; and, finding neither Mr. Symmes nor Mr. Mullins will be
accepted, has proposed Mr. Wyerley once more, on the score of his
great passion for me. This I have again rejected; and but yesterday
he mentioned one who has applied to him by letter, making high offers.
This is Mr. Solmes; Rich Solmes you know they call him. But this
application has not met with the attention of one single soul.
If none of his schemes of getting me married take effect, he has
thoughts, I am told, of proposing to me to go to Scotland, that as the
compliment is, I may put his house there in such order as our own is
in. But this my mother intends to oppose for her own sake; because
having relieved her, as she is pleased to say, of the household cares
(for which my sister, you know, has no turn) they must again devolve
upon her if I go. And if she did not oppose it, I should; for,
believe me, I have no mind to be his housekeeper; and I am sure, were
I to go with him, I should be treated rather as a servant than a
sister:--perhaps, not the better because I am his sister. And if Mr.
Lovelace should follow me, things might be worse than they are now.
But I have besought my mother, who is apprehensive of Mr. Lovelace's
visits, and for fear of whom my uncles never stir out without arms and
armed servants (my brother also being near well enough to go abroad),
to procure me permission to be your guest for a fortnight, or so.-- Will your mother, think you, my dear, give me leave?
I dare not ask to go to my dairy-house, as my good grandfather would
call it: for I am now afraid of being thought to have a wish to enjoy
that independence to which his will has entitled me: and as matter are
situated, such a wish would be imputed to my regard to the man to whom
they have now so great an antipathy. And indeed could I be as easy
and happy here as I used to be, I would defy that man and all his sex;
and never repent that I have given the power of my fortune into my
Just now, my mother has rejoiced me with the news that my requested
permission is granted. Every one thinks it best that I should go to
you, except my brother. But he was told, that he must not expect to
rule in every thing. I am to be sent for into the great parlour,
where are my two uncles and my aunt Hervey, and to be acquainted with
this concession in form.
You know, my dear, that there is a good deal of solemnity among us.
But never was there a family more united in its different branches
than ours. Our uncles consider us as their own children, and declare
that it is for our sakes that they live single. So that they are
advised with upon every article relating to us, or that may affect us.
It is therefore the less wonder, at a time when they understand that
Mr. Lovelace is determined to pay us an amicable visit, as he calls
it, (but which I am sure cannot end amicably,) that they should both
be consulted upon the permission I had desired to attend you.
I will acquaint you with what passed at the general leave given me to
be your guest. And yet I know that you will not love my brother the
better for my communication. But I am angry with him myself, and
cannot help it. And besides, it is proper to let you know the terms I
go upon, and their motives for permitting me to go.
Clary, said my mother, as soon as I entered the great parlour, your
request to go to Miss Howe's for a few days has been taken into
consideration, and granted--
Much against my liking, I assure you, said my brother, rudely
Son James! said my father, and knit his brows.
He was not daunted. His arm was in a sling. He often has the mean
art to look upon that, when any thing is hinted that may be supposed
to lead toward the least favour to or reconciliation with Mr.
Lovelace.--Let the girl then [I am often the girl with him] be
prohibited seeing that vile libertine.
Do you hear, sister Clary? taking their silence for approbation of
what he had dictated; you are not to receive visits from Lord M.'s
Every one still remained silent.
Do you so understand the license you have, Miss? interrogated he.
I would be glad, Sir, said I, to understand that you are my brother;-- and that you would understand that you are only my brother.
O the fond, fond heart! with a sneer of insult, lifting up his hands.
Sir, said I, to my father, to your justice I appeal: If I have
deserved reflection, let me be not spared. But if I am to be
answerable for the rashness--
No more!--No more of either side, said my father. You are not to
receive the visits of that Lovelace, though.--Nor are you, son James,
to reflect upon your sister. She is a worthy child.
Sir, I have done, replied he:--and yet I have her honour at heart, as
much as the honour of the rest of the family.
And hence, Sir, retorted I, your unbrotherly reflections upon me?
Well, but you observe, Miss, said he, that it is not I, but your
father, that tells you, that you are not to receive the visits of that
Cousin Harlowe, said my aunt Hervey, allow me to say, that my cousin
Clary's prudence may be confided in.
I am convinced it may, joined my mother.
But, aunt, but, madam (put in my sister) there is no hurt, I presume,
in letting my sister know the condition she goes to Miss Howe upon;
since, if he gets a nack of visiting her there--
You may be sure, interrupted my uncle Harlowe, he will endeavour to
see her there.
So would such an impudent man here, said my uncle Antony: and 'tis
better done there than here.
Better no where, said my father.--I command you (turning to me) on
pain of displeasure, that you see him not at all.
I will not, Sir, in any way of encouragement, I do assure you: not at
all, if I can properly avoid it.
You know with what indifference, said my mother, she has hitherto seen
him.--Her prudence may be trusted to, as my sister Hervey says.
With what appa--rent indifference, drawled my brother.
Son James! said my father sternly.
I have done, Sir, said he. But again, in a provoking manner, he
reminded me of the prohibition.
Thus ended the conference.
Will you engage, my dear, that the hated man shall not come near your
house?--But what an inconsistence is this, when they consent to my
going, thinking his visits here no otherwise to be avoided!--But if he
does come, I charge you never to leave us alone together.
As I have no reason to doubt a welcome from your good mother, I will
put every thing in order here, and be with you in two or three days.
Mean time, I am Your most affectionate and obliged, CLARISSA HARLOWE.