Letter XIV


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

to me!

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

my own!

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

upon it?--

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.