Letter XXIV


The enclosed letter was just now delivered to me. My brother has

carried all his points.

I send you also the copy of my answer. No more at this time can I




By command of your father and mother I write expressly to forbid you

to come into their presence, or into the garden when they are there:

nor when they are not there, but with Betty Banes to attend you;

except by particular license or command.

On their blessings, you are forbidden likewise to correspond with the

vile Lovelace; as it is well known you did by means of your sly

Hannah. Whence her sudden discharge. As was fit.

Neither are you to correspond with Miss Howe; who has given herself

high airs of late; and might possibly help on your correspondence with

that detested libertine. Nor, in short, with any body without leave.

You are not to enter into the presence of either of your uncles,

without their leave first obtained. It is a mercy to you, after such

a behaviour to your mother, that your father refuses to see you.

You are not to be seen in any apartment of the house you so lately

governed as you pleased, unless you are commanded down.

In short, you are strictly to confine yourself to your chamber, except

now and then, in Betty Barnes's sight (as aforesaid) you take a

morning or evening turn in the garden: and then you are to go

directly, and without stopping at any apartment in the way, up or down

the back stairs, that the sight of so perverse a young creature may

not add to the pain you have given every body.

The hourly threatenings of your fine fellow, as well as your own

unheard-of obstinacy, will account to you for all this. What a hand

has the best and most indulgent of mothers had with you, who so long

pleaded for you, and undertook for you; even when others, from the

manner of your setting out, despaired of moving you!--What must your

perverseness have been, that such a mother can give you up! She

thinks it right so to do: nor will take you to favour, unless you make

the first steps, by a compliance with your duty.

As for myself, whom perhaps you think hardly of [in very good company,

if you do, that is my sole consolation]; I have advised, that you may

be permitted to pursue your own inclinations, (some people need no

greater punishment than such a permission,) and not to have the house

encumbered by one who must give them the more pain for the necessity

she has laid them under of avoiding the sight of her, although in it.

If any thing I have written appear severe or harsh, it is still in

your power (but perhaps will not always be so) to remedy it; and that

by a single word.

Betty Barnes has orders to obey you in all points consistent with her

duty to those whom you owe it, as well as she.




I will only say, That you may congratulate yourself on having so far

succeeded in all your views, that you may report what you please of

me, and I can no more defend myself, than if I were dead. Yet one

favour, nevertheless, I will beg of you. It is this--That you will

not occasion more severities, more disgraces, that are necessary for

carrying into execution your further designs, whatever they be,


Your unhappy sister, CLARISSA HARLOWE.