Letter XLI


How willingly would my dear mother shew kindness to me, were she

permitted! None of this persecution should I labour under, I am sure,

if that regard were paid to her prudence and fine understanding, which

they so well deserve. Whether owing to her, or to my aunt, or to

both, that a new trial was to be made upon me, I cannot tell, but this

morning her Shorey delivered into my hand the following condescending



For so I must still call you; since dear you may be to me, in every

sense of the word--we have taken into particular consideration some

hints that fell yesterday from your good Norton, as if we had not, at

Mr. Solmes's first application, treated you with that condescension,

wherewith we have in all other instances treated you. If it even had

been so, my dear, you were not excusable to be wanting in your part,

and to set yourself to oppose your father's will in a point which he

had entered too far, to recede with honour. But all yet may be well.

On your single will, my child, depends all our happiness.

Your father permits me to tell you, that if you now at last comply

with his expectations, all past disobligations shall be buried in

oblivion, as if they had never been: but withal, that this is the last

time that that grace will be offered you.

I hinted to you, you must remember,* that patterns of the richest

silks were sent for. They are come. And as they are come, your

father, to shew how much he is determined, will have me send them up

to you. I could have wished they might not have accompanied this

letter, but there is not great matter in that. I must tell you, that

your delicacy is not quite so much regarded as I had once thought it

deserved to be.

* See Letter XX.

These are the newest, as well as richest, that we could procure;

answerable to our situation in the world; answerable to the fortune,

additional to your grandfather's estate, designed you; and to the

noble settlements agreed upon.

Your father intends you six suits (three of them dressed suits) at his

own expense. You have an entire new suit; and one besides, which I

think you never wore but twice. As the new suit is rich, if you

choose to make that one of the six, your father will present you with

an hundred guineas in lieu.

Mr. Solmes intends to present you with a set of jewels. As you have

your grandmother's and your own, if you choose to have the former new

set, and to make them serve, his present will be made in money; a very

round sum--which will be given in full property to yourself; besides a

fine annual allowance for pin-money, as it is called. So that your

objection against the spirit of a man you think worse of than it

deserves, will have no weight; but you will be more independent than a

wife of less discretion than we attribute to you, perhaps ought to be.

You know full well, that I, who first and last brought a still larger

fortune into the family than you will carry to Mr. Solmes, had not a

provision made me of near this that we have made for you.--Where

people marry to their liking, terms are the least things stood upon-- yet should I be sorry if you cannot (to oblige us all) overcome a


Wonder not, Clary, that I write to you thus plainly and freely upon

this subject. Your behaviour hitherto has been such, that we have had

no opportunity of entering minutely into the subject with you. Yet,

after all that has passed between you and me in conversation, and

between you and your uncles by letter, you have no room to doubt what

is to be the consequence.--Either, child, we must give up our

authority, or you your humour. You cannot expect the one. We have

all the reason in the world to expect the other. You know I have told

you more than once, that you must resolve to have Mr. Solmes, or never

to be looked upon as our child.

The draught of the settlement you may see whenever you will. We think

there can be no room for objection to any of the articles. There is

still more in them in our family's favour, than was stipulated at

first, when your aunt talked of them to you. More so, indeed, than we

could have asked. If, upon perusal of them, you think any alteration

necessary, it shall be made.--Do, my dear girl, send to me within this

day or two, or rather ask me, for the perusal of them.

As a certain person's appearance at church so lately, and what he

gives out every where, makes us extremely uneasy, and as that

uneasiness will continue while you are single, you must not wonder

that a short day is intended. This day fortnight we design it to be,

if you have no objection to make that I shall approve of. But if you

determine as we would have you, and signify it to us, we shall not

stand with you for a week or so.

Your sightlines of person may perhaps make some think this alliance

disparaging. But I hope you will not put such a personal value upon

yourself: if you do, it will indeed be the less wonder that person

should weigh with you (however weak the consideration!) in another


Thus we parents, in justice, ought to judge: that our two daughters

are equally dear and valuable to us: if so, why should Clarissa think

that a disparagement, which Arabella would not (nor we for her) have

thought any, had the address been made to her?--You will know what I

mean by this, without my explaining myself farther.

Signify to us, now, therefore, your compliance with our wishes. And

then there is an end of your confinement. An act of oblivion, as I

may call it, shall pass upon all your former refractoriness: and you

will once more make us happy in you, and in one another. You may, in

this case, directly come down to your father and me, in his study;

where we will give you our opinions of the patterns, with our hearty

forgiveness and blessings.

Come, be a good child, as you used to be, my Clarissa. I have

(notwithstanding your past behaviour, and the hopelessness which some

have expressed in your compliance) undertaken this one time more for

you. Discredit not my hopes, my dear girl. I have promised never

more to interfere between your father and you, if this my most earnest

application succeed not. I expect you down, love. Your father

expects you down. But be sure don't let him see any thing uncheerful

in your compliance. If you come, I will clasp you to my fond heart,

with as much pleasure as ever I pressed you to it in my whole life.

You don't know what I have suffered within these few weeks past; nor

ever will be able to guess, till you come to be in my situation; which

is that of a fond and indulgent mother, praying night and day, and

struggling to preserve, against the attempts of more ungovernable

spirits, the peace and union of her family.

But you know the terms. Come not near us, if you have resolve to be

undutiful: but this, after what I have written, I hope you cannot be.

If you come directly, and, as I have said, cheerfully, as if your

heart were in your duty, (and you told me it was free, you know,) I

shall then, as I said, give you the most tender proofs how much I am

Your truly affectionate Mother.


Think for me, my dearest friend, how I must be affected by this

letter; the contents of it is so surprisingly terrifying, yet so

sweetly urged!--O why, cried I to myself, am I obliged to undergo this

severe conflict between a command that I cannot obey, and language so

condescendingly moving!--Could I have been sure of being struck dead

at the alter before the ceremony had given the man I hate a title to

my vows, I think I could have submitted to having been led to it. But

to think of living with and living for a man one abhors, what a sad

thing is that!

And then, how could the glare of habit and ornament be supposed any

inducement to one, who has always held, that the principal view of a

good wife in the adorning of her person, ought to be, to preserve the

affection of her husband, and to do credit to his choice; and that she

should be even fearful of attracting the eyes of others?--In this

view, must not the very richness of the patterns add to my disgusts?-- Great encouragement, indeed, to think of adorning one's self to be the

wife of Mr. Solmes!

Upon the whole, it was not possible for me to go down upon the

prescribed condition. Do you think it was?--And to write, if my

letter would have been read, what could I write that would be

admitted, and after what I had written and said to so little effect?

I walked backward and forward. I threw down with disdain the

patterns. Now to my closet retired I; then quitting it, threw myself

upon the settee; then upon this chair, then upon that; then into one

window, then into another--I knew not what to do!--And while I was in

this suspense, having again taken up the letter to re-peruse it, Betty

came in, reminding me, by order, that my papa and mamma waited for me

in my father's study.

Tell my mamma, said I, that I beg the favour of seeing her here for

one moment, or to permit me to attend her any where by herself.

I listened at the stairs-head--You see, my dear, how it is, cried my

father, very angrily: all your condescension (as your indulgence

heretofore) is thrown away. You blame your son's violence, as you

call it [I had some pleasure in hearing this]; but nothing else will

do with her. You shall not see her alone. Is my presence an

exception to the bold creature?

Tell her, said my mother to Betty, she knows upon what terms she may

come down to us. Nor will I see her upon any other.

The maid brought me this answer. I had recourse to my pen and ink;

but I trembled so, that I could not write, nor knew what to say, had I

steadier fingers. At last Betty brought me these lines from my



No condescension, I see, will move you. Your mother shall not see

you; nor will I. Prepare however to obey. You know our pleasure.

Your uncle Antony, your brother, and your sister, and your favourite

Mrs. Norton, shall see the ceremony performed privately at your

uncle's chapel. And when Mr. Solmes can introduce you to us, in the

temper we wish to behold you in, we may perhaps forgive his wife,

although we never can, in any other character, our perverse daughter.

As it will be so privately performed, clothes and equipage may be

provided for afterwards. So prepare to go to your uncle's for an

early day in next week. We will not see you till all is over: and we

will have it over the sooner, in order to shorten the time of your

deserved confinement, and our own trouble in contending with such a

rebel, as you have been of late. I will hear no pleas, I will receive

no letter, nor expostulation. Nor shall you hear from me any more

till you have changed your name to my liking. This from

Your incensed Father.

If this resolution be adhered to, then will my father never see me

more!--For I will never be the wife of that Solmes--I will die



He, this Solmes, came hither soon after I had received my father's

letter. He sent up to beg leave to wait upon me--I wonder at his


I said to Betty, who brought me this message, let him restore an

unhappy creature to her father and mother, and then I may hear what he

has to say. But, if my friends will not see me on his account, I will

not see him upon his own.

I hope, Miss, said Betty, you will not send me down with this answer.

He is with you papa and mamma.

I am driven to despair, said I. I cannot be used worse. I will not

see him.

Down she went with my answer. She pretended, it seems, to be loth to

repeat it: so was commanded out of her affected reserves, and gave it

in its full force.

O how I heard my father storm!

They were altogether, it seems, in his study. My brother was for

having me turned out of the house that moment, to Lovelace, and my

evil destiny. My mother was pleased to put in a gentle word for me: I

know not what it was: but thus she was answered--My dear, this is the

most provoking thing in the world in a woman of your good sense!--To

love a rebel, as well as if she were dutiful. What encouragement for

duty is this?--Have I not loved her as well as ever you did? And why

am I changed! Would to the Lord, your sex knew how to distinguish!

It is plain, that she relies upon her power over you. The fond mother

ever made a hardened child!

She was pleased, however, to blame Betty, as the wench owned, for

giving my answer its full force. But my father praised her for it.

The wench says, that he would have come up in his wrath, at my

refusing to see Mr. Solmes, had not my brother and sister prevailed

upon him to the contrary.

I wish he had!--And, were it not for his own sake, that he had killed


Mr. Solmes condescended [I am mightily obliged to him truly!] to plead

for me.

They are all in tumults! How it will end, I know not--I am quite

weary of life--So happy, till within these few weeks!--So miserable


Well, indeed, might my mother say, that I should have severe trials.*

* See Letter XXV.

P.S. The idiot [such a one am I treated like!] is begged, as I may

say, by my brother and sister. They have desired, that I may be

consigned over entirely to their management. If it be granted, [it is

granted, on my father's part, I understand, but not yet on my

mother's,] what cruelty may I not expect from their envy, jealousy,

and ill-will!--I shall soon see, by its effects, if I am to be so

consigned. This is a written intimation privately dropt in my wood- house walk, by my cousin Dolly Hervey. The dear girl longs to see me,

she tells me: but is forbidden till she see me as Mrs. Solmes, or as

consenting to be his. I will take example by their perseverance!-- Indeed I will!--