MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE THURSDAY EVENING, MARCH 2.
On Hannah's depositing my long letter, (begun yesterday, but by reason
of several interruptions not finished till within this hour,) she
found and brought me yours of this day. I thank you, my dear, for
this kind expedition. These few lines will perhaps be time enough
deposited, to be taken away by your servant with the other letter: yet
they are only to thank you, and to tell you my increasing
I must take or seek the occasion to apply to my mother for her
mediation; for I am in danger of having a day fixed, and antipathy
taken for bashfulness.--Should not sisters be sisters to each other?
Should not they make a common cause of it, as I may say, a cause of
sex, on such occasions as the present? Yet mine, in support of my
brother's selfishness, and, no doubt, in concert with him, has been
urging in full assembly it seems, (and that with an earnestness
peculiar to herself when she sets upon any thing,) that an absolute
day be given me; and if I comply not, to be told, that it shall be to
the forfeiture of all my fortunes, and of all their love.
She need not be so officious: my brother's interest, without hers, is
strong enough; for he has found means to confederate all the family
against me. Upon some fresh provocation, or new intelligence
concerning Mr. Lovelace, (I know not what it is,) they have bound
themselves, or are to bind themselves, by a signed paper, to one
another [The Lord bless me, my dear, what shall I do!] to carry their
point in favour of Mr. Solmes, in support of my father's authority, as
it is called, and against Mr. Lovelace, as a libertine, and an enemy
to the family: and if so, I am sure, I may say against me.--How
impolitic in them all, to join two people in one interest, whom they
wish for ever to keep asunder!
What the discharged steward reported of him is surely bad enough: what
Mrs. Fortescue said, not only confirms that bad, but gives room to
think him still worse. And yet the something further which my friends
have come at, is of so heinous a nature (as Betty Barnes tells Hannah)
that it proves him almost to be the worst of men.--But, hang the man,
I had almost said--What is he to me? What would he be--were not this
Mr. Sol----O my dear, how I hate the man in the light he is proposed
All of them, at the same time, are afraid of Mr. Lovelace; yet not
afraid to provoke him!--How am I entangled!--to be obliged to go on
corresponding with him for their sakes--Heaven forbid, that their
persisted-in violence should so drive me, as to make it necessary for
But surely they will yield--Indeed I cannot.
I believe the gentlest spirits when provoked (causelessly and cruelly
provoked) are the most determined. The reason may be, that not taking
up resolutions lightly--their very deliberation makes them the more
immovable.--And then when a point is clear and self-evident, how can
one with patience think of entering into an argument or contention
An interruption obliges me to conclude myself, in some hurry, as well
as fright, what I must ever be,
Yours more than my own, CLARISSA HARLOWE.