MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE SAT. MAR. 4.
Would you not have thought something might have been obtained in my
favour, from an offer so reasonable, from an expedient so proper, as I
imagine, to put a tolerable end, as from myself, to a correspondence I
hardly know how otherwise, with safety to some of my family, to get
rid of?--But my brother's plan, (which my mother spoke of, and of
which I have in vain endeavoured to procure a copy, with a design to
take it to pieces, and expose it, as I question not there is room to
do,) joined with my father's impatience of contradiction, are
I have not been in bed all night; nor am I in the least drowsy.
Expectation, and hope, and doubt, (an uneasy state!) kept me
sufficiently wakeful. I stept down at my usual time, that it might
not be known I had not been in bed; and gave directions in the family
About eight o'clock, Shorey came to me from my mother with orders to
attend her in her chamber.
My mother had been weeping, I saw by her eyes: but her aspect seemed
to be less tender, and less affectionate, than the day before; and
this, as soon as I entered into her presence, struck me with an awe,
which gave a great damp to my spirits.
Sit down, Clary Harlowe; I shall talk to you by-and-by: and continued
looking into a drawer among laces and linens, in a way neither busy
I believe it was a quarter of an hour before she spoke to me (my heart
throbbing with the suspense all the time); and then she asked me
coldly, What directions I had given for the day?
I shewed her the bill of fare for this day, and to-morrow, if, I said,
it pleased her to approve of it.
She made a small alteration in it; but with an air so cold and so
solemn, as added to my emotions.
Mr. Harlowe talks of dining out to-day, I think, at my brother
Mr. Harlowe!--Not my father!--Have I not then a father!--thought I.
Sit down when I bid you.
I sat down.
You look very sullen, Clary.
I hope not, Madam.
If children would always be children--parents--And there she stopt.
She then went to her toilette, and looked into the glass, and gave
half a sigh--the other half, as if she would not have sighed if she
could have helped it, she gently hem'd away.
I don't love to see the girl look so sullen.
Indeed, Madam, I am not sullen.--And I arose, and, turning from her,
drew out my handkerchief; for the tears ran down my cheeks.
I thought, by the glass before me, I saw the mother in her softened
eye cast towards me. But her words confirmed not the hoped-for
One of the most provoking things in this world is, to have people cry
for what they can help!
I wish to heaven I could, Madam!--And I sobbed again.
Tears of penitence and sobs of perverseness are mighty well suited!-- You may go up to your chamber. I shall talk with you by-and-by.
I courtesied with reverence.
Mock me not with outward gestures of respect. The heart, Clary, is
what I want.
Indeed, Madam, you have it. It is not so much mine as my Mamma's!
Fine talking!--As somebody says, If words were to pass for duty,
Clarissa Harlowe would be the dutifulest child breathing.
God bless that somebody!--Be it whom it will, God bless that
somebody!--And I courtesied, and, pursuant to her last command, was
She seemed struck; but was to be angry with me.
So turning from me, she spoke with quickness, Whither now, Clary
You commanded me, Madam, to go to my chamber.
I see you are very ready to go out of my presence.--Is your compliance
the effect of sullenness, or obedience?--You are very ready to leave
I could hold no longer; but threw myself at her feet: O my dearest
Mamma! Let me know all I am to suffer! Let me know what I am to be! --I will bear it, if I can bear it: but your displeasure I cannot
Leave me, leave me, Clary Harlowe!--No kneeling!--Limbs so supple!
Will so stubborn!--Rise, I tell you.
I cannot rise! I will disobey my Mamma, when she bids me leave her
without being reconciled to me! No sullens, my Mamma: no
perverseness: but, worse than either: this is direct disobedience!-- Yet tear not yourself from me! [wrapping my arms about her as I
kneeled; she struggling to get from me; my face lifted up to hers,
with eyes running over, that spoke not my heart if they were not all
humility and reverence] You must not, must not, tear yourself from me!
[for still the dear lady struggled, and looked this way and that, all
in a sweet disorder, as if she knew not what to do].--I will neither
rise, nor leave you, nor let you go, till you say you are not angry
O thou ever-moving child of my heart! [folding her dear arms about my
neck, as mine embraced her knees] Why was this task--But leave me!-- You have discomposed me beyond expression! Leave me, my dear!--I
won't be angry with you--if I can help it--if you'll be good.
I arose trembling, and, hardly knowing what I did, or how I stood or
walked, withdrew to my chamber. My Hannah followed me as soon as she
heard me quit my mother's presence, and with salts and spring-water
just kept me from fainting; and that was as much as she could do. It
was near two hours before I could so far recover myself as to take up
my pen, to write to you how unhappily my hopes have ended.
My mother went down to breakfast. I was not fit to appear: but if I
had been better, I suppose I should not have been sent for; since the
permission for my attending her down, was given by my father (when in
my chamber) only on condition that she found me worthy of the name of
daughter. That, I doubt, I shall never be in his opinion, if he be
not brought to change his mind as to this Mr. Solmes.