MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE TUESDAY, MARCH 14.
I now send you copies of my letters to my uncles: with their answers.
Be pleased to return the latter by the first deposit. I leave them
for you to make remarks upon. I shall make none.
TO JOHN HARLOWE, ESQ. SAT. MARCH 11.
Allow me, my honoured second Papa, as in my happy days you taught me
to call you, to implore your interest with my Papa, to engage him to
dispense with a command, which, if insisted upon, will deprive me of
my free-will, and make me miserable for my whole life.
For my whole life! let me repeat: Is that a small point, my dear
Uncle, to give up? Am not I to live with the man? Is any body else?
Shall I not therefore be allowed to judge for myself, whether I can,
or cannot, live happily with him?
Should it be ever so unhappily, will it be prudence to complain or
appeal? If it were, to whom could I appeal with effect against a
husband? And would not the invincible and avowed dislike I have for
him at setting out, seem to justify any ill usage from him, in that
state, were I to be ever so observant of him? And if I were to be at
all observant of him, it must be from fear, not love.
Once more, let me repeat, That this is not a small point to give up:
and that it is for life. Why, I pray you, good Sir, should I be made
miserable for life? Why should I be deprived of all comfort, but that
which the hope that it would be a very short one, would afford me?
Marriage is a very solemn engagement, enough to make a young
creature's heart ache, with the best prospects, when she thinks
seriously of it!--To be given up to a strange man; to be engrafted
into a strange family; to give up her very name, as a mark of her
becoming his absolute and dependent property; to be obliged to prefer
this strange man to father, mother--to every body:--and his humours to
all her own--or to contend, perhaps, in breach of avowed duty, for
every innocent instance of free-will. To go no where; to make
acquaintance; to give up acquaintance; to renounce even the strictest
friendships, perhaps; all at his pleasure, whether she thinks it
reasonable to do so or not. Surely, Sir, a young creature ought not
to be obliged to make all these sacrifices but for such a man as she
can love. If she be, how sad must be the case! How miserable the
life, if it can be called life!
I wish I could obey you all. What a pleasure would it be to me, if I
could!--Marry first, and love will come after, was said by one of my
dearest friends! But this is a shocking assertion. A thousand thing
may happen to make that state but barely tolerable, where it is
entered into with mutual affections: What must it then be, where the
husband can have no confidence in the love of his wife: but has reason
rather to question it, from the preference he himself believes she
would have given to somebody else, had she had her own option? What
doubts, what jealousies, what want of tenderness, what unfavourable
prepossessions, will there be, in a matrimony thus circumstanced! How
will every look, every action, even the most innocent, be liable to
misconstruction!--While, on the other hand, an indifference, a
carelessness to oblige, may take place; and fear only can constrain
even an appearance of what ought to be the effect of undisguised love!
Think seriously of these things, dear, good Sir, and represent them to
my father in that strong light which the subject will bear; but in
which my sex, and my tender years and inexperience, will not permit me
to paint it; and use your powerful interest, that your poor niece may
not be consigned to a misery so durable.
I offered to engage not to marry at all, if that condition may be
accepted. What a disgrace is it to me to be thus sequestered from
company, thus banished my papa's and mamma's presence; thus slighted
and deserted by you, Sir, and my other kind uncle! And to be hindered
from attending at that public worship, which, were I out of the way of
my duty, would be most likely to reduce me into the right path again! --Is this the way, Sir; can this be thought to be the way to be taken
with a free and open spirit? May not this strange method rather
harden than convince? I cannot bear to live in disgrace thus. The
very servants so lately permitted to be under my own direction, hardly
daring to speak to me; my own servant discarded with high marks of
undeserved suspicion and displeasure, and my sister's maid set over
The matter may be too far pushed.--Indeed it may.--And then, perhaps,
every one will be sorry for their parts in it.
May I be permitted to mention an expedient?--'If I am to be watched,
banished, and confined; suppose, Sir, it were to be at your house?'-- Then the neighbouring gentry will the less wonder, that the person of
whom they used to think so favourably, appear not at church here; and
that she received not their visits.
I hope there can be no objection to this. You used to love to have me
with you, Sir, when all went happily with me: And will you not now
permit me, in my troubles, the favour of your house, till all this
displeasure is overblown?--Upon my word, Sir, I will not stir out of
doors, if you require the contrary of me: nor will I see any body,
but whom you will allow me to see; provided Mr. Solmes be not brought
to persecute me there.
Procure, then, this favour for me; if you cannot procure the still
greater, that of a happy reconciliation (which nevertheless I presume
to hope for, if you will be so good as to plead for me); and you will
then add to those favours and to that indulgence, which have bound me,
and will for ever bind me to be
Your dutiful and obliged niece, CLARISSA HARLOWE.
MY DEAR NIECE,
It grieves me to be forced to deny you any thing you ask. Yet it must
be so; for unless you can bring your mind to oblige us in this one
point, in which our promises and honour were engaged before we
believed there could be so sturdy an opposition, you must never expect
to be what you have been to us all.
In short, Niece, we are in an embattled phalanx. Your reading makes
you a stranger to nothing but what you should be most acquainted with.
So you will see by that expression, that we are not to be pierced by
your persuasions, and invincible persistence. We have agreed all to
be moved, or none; and not to comply without one another. So you know
your destiny; and have nothing to do but to yield to it.
Let me tell you, the virtue of obedience lies not in obliging when you
can be obliged again. But give up an inclination, and there is some
merit in that.
As to your expedient; you shall not come to my house, Miss Clary;
though this is a prayer I little thought I ever should have denied
you: for were you to keep your word as to seeing nobody but whom we
please, yet can you write to somebody else, and receive letters from
him. This we too well know you can, and have done--more is the shame
and the pity!
You offer to live single, Miss--we wished you married: but because you
may not have the man your heart is set upon, why, truly, you will have
nobody we shall recommend: and as we know, that somehow or other you
correspond with him, or at least did as long as you could; and as he
defies us all, and would not dare to do so, if he were not sure of you
in spite of us all, (which is not a little vexatious to us, you must
think,) we are resolved to frustrate him, and triumph over him, rather
than that he should triumph over us: that's one word for all. So
expect not any advocateship from me: I will not plead for you; and
that's enough. From
Your displeased uncle, JOHN HARLOWE.
P.S. For the rest I refer to my brother Antony.
TO ANTONY HARLOWE, ESQ. SATURDAY, MARCH 11.
As you have thought fit to favour Mr. Solmes with your particular
recommendation, and was very earnest in his behalf, ranking him (as
you told me, upon introducing him to me) among your select friends;
and expecting my regards to him accordingly; I beg your patience,
while I offer a few things, out of many that I could offer, to your
serious consideration, on occasion of his address to me, if I am to
use that word.
I am charged with prepossession in another person's favour. You will
be pleased, Sir, to remember, that till my brother returned from
Scotland, that other person was not absolutely discouraged, nor was I
forbid to receive his visits. I believe it will not be pretended,
that in birth, education, or personal endowments, a comparison can be
made between the two. And only let me ask you, Sir, if the one would
have been thought of for me, had he not made such offers, as, upon my
word, I think, I ought not in justice to accept of, nor he to propose:
offers, which if he had not made, I dare say, my papa would not have
required them of him.
But the one, it seems, has many faults:--Is the other faultless?--The
principal thing objected to Mr. Lovelace (and a very inexcusable one)
is that he is immoral in his loves--Is not the other in his hatreds?-- Nay, as I may say, in his loves too (the object only differing) if the
love of money be the root of all evil.
But, Sir, if I am prepossessed, what has Mr. Solmes to hope for?--Why
should he persevere? What must I think of the man who would wish me
to be his wife against my inclination?--And is it not a very harsh
thing for my friends to desire to see me married to one I cannot love,
when they will not be persuaded but that there is one whom I do love?
Treated as I am, now is the time for me to speak out or never.--Let me
review what it is Mr. Solmes depends upon on this occasion. Does he
believe, that the disgrace which I supper on his account, will give
him a merit with me? Does he think to win my esteem, through my
uncles' sternness to me; by my brother's contemptuous usage; by my
sister's unkindness; by being denied to visit, or be visited; and to
correspond with my chosen friend, although a person of unexceptionable
honour and prudence, and of my own sex; my servant to be torn from me,
and another servant set over me; to be confined, like a prisoner, to
narrow and disgraceful limits, in order avowedly to mortify me, and to
break my spirit; to be turned out of that family-management which I
loved, and had the greater pleasure in it, because it was an ease, as
I thought, to my mamma, and what my sister chose not; and yet, though
time hangs heavy upon my hands, to be so put out of my course, that I
have as little inclination as liberty to pursue any of my choice
delights?--Are these steps necessary to reduce me to a level so low,
as to make me a fit wife for this man?--Yet these are all he can have
to trust to. And if his reliance is on these measures, I would have
him to know, that he mistakes meekness and gentleness of disposition
for servility and baseness of heart.
I beseech you, Sir, to let the natural turn and bent of his mind and
my mind be considered: What are his qualities, by which he would hope
to win my esteem?--Dear, dear Sir, if I am to be compelled, let it be
in favour of a man that can read and write--that can teach me
something: For what a husband must that man make, who can do nothing
but command; and needs himself the instruction he should be qualified
I may be conceited, Sir; I may be vain of my little reading; of my
writing; as of late I have more than once been told I am. But, Sir,
the more unequal the proposed match, if so: the better opinion I have
of myself, the worse I must have of him; and the more unfit are we for
Indeed, Sir, I must say, I thought my friends had put a higher value
upon me. My brother pretended once, that it was owing to such value,
that Mr. Lovelace's address was prohibited.--Can this be; and such a
man as Mr. Solmes be intended for me?
As to his proposed settlements, I hope I shall not incur your great
displeasure, if I say, what all who know me have reason to think (and
some have upbraided me for), that I despise those motives. Dear, dear
Sir, what are settlements to one who has as much of her own as she
wishes for?--Who has more in her own power, as a single person, than
it is probable she would be permitted to have at her disposal, as a
wife?--Whose expenses and ambition are moderate; and who, if she had
superfluities, would rather dispense them to the necessitous, than lay
them by her useless? If then such narrow motives have so little
weight with me for my own benefit, shall the remote and uncertain view
of family-aggrandizements, and that in the person of my brother and
his descendents, be thought sufficient to influence me?
Has the behaviour of that brother to me of late, or his consideration
for the family (which had so little weight with him, that he could
choose to hazard a life so justly precious as an only son's, rather
than not ratify passions which he is above attempting to subdue, and,
give me leave to say, has been too much indulged in, either with
regard to his own good, or the peace of any body related to him;) Has
his behaviour, I say, deserved of me in particular, that I should make
a sacrifice of my temporal (and, who knows? of my eternal) happiness,
to promote a plan formed upon chimerical, at least upon unlikely,
contingencies; as I will undertake to demonstrate, if I may be
permitted to examine it?
I am afraid you will condemn my warmth: But does not the occasion
require it? To the want of a greater degree of earnestness in my
opposition, it seems, it is owing, that such advances have been made,
as have been made. Then, dear Sir, allow something, I beseech you,
for a spirit raised and embittered by disgraces, which (knowing my own
heart) I am confident to say, are unmerited.
But why have I said so much, in answer to the supposed charge of
prepossession, when I have declared to my mamma, as now, Sir, I do to
you, that if it be not insisted upon that I shall marry any other
person, particularly this Mr. Solmes, I will enter into any
engagements never to have the other, nor any man else, without their
consents; that is to say, without the consents of my father and my
mother, and of you my uncle, and my elder uncle, and my cousin Morden,
as he is one of the trustees for my grandfather's bounty to me?--As to
my brother indeed, I cannot say, that his treatment of me has been of
late so brotherly, as to entitle him to more than civility from me:
and for this, give me leave to add, he would be very much my debtor.
If I have not been explicit enough in declaring my dislike to Mr.
Solmes (that the prepossession which is charged upon me may not be
supposed to influence me against him) I do absolutely declare, That
were there no such man as Mr. Lovelace in the world, I would not have
Mr. Solmes. It is necessary, in some one of my letters to my dear
friends, that I should write so clearly as to put this matter out of
all doubt: and to whom can I better address myself with an
explicitness that can admit of no mistake, than to that uncle who
professes the highest regard for plain-dealing and sincerity?
Let me, for these reasons, be still more particular in some of my
exceptions to him.
Mr. Solmes appears to me (to all the world, indeed) to have a very
narrow mind, and no great capacity: he is coarse and indelicate; as
rough in his manners as in his person: he is not only narrow, but
covetous: being possessed of great wealth, he enjoys it not; nor has
the spirit to communicate to a distress of any kind. Does not his own
sister live unhappily, for want of a little of his superfluities? And
suffers not he his aged uncle, the brother of his own mother, to owe
to the generosity of strangers the poor subsistence he picks up from
half-a-dozen families?--You know, Sir, my open, free, communicative
temper: how unhappy must I be, circumscribed in his narrow, selfish
circle! out of which being with-held by this diabolical parsimony, he
dare no more stir, than a conjurer out of his; nor would let me.
Such a man, as this, love!--Yes, perhaps he may, my grandfather's
estate; which he has told several persons (and could not resist
hinting the same thing tome, with that sort of pleasure which a low
mind takes, when it intimates its own interest as a sufficient motive
for it to expect another's favour) lies so extremely convenient for
him, that it would double the value of a considerable part of his own.
That estate, and an alliance which would do credit to his obscurity
and narrowness, they make him think he can love, and induce him to
believe he does: but at most, he is but a second-place love. Riches
were, are, and always will be, his predominant passion. His were left
him by a miser, on this very account: and I must be obliged to forego
all the choice delights of my life, and be as mean as he, or else be
quite unhappy. Pardon, Sir, this severity of expression--one is apt
to say more than one would of a person one dislikes, when more is said
in his favour than he can possibly deserve; and when he is urged to my
acceptance with so much vehemence, that there is no choice left me.
Whether these things be perfectly so, or not, while I think they are,
it is impossible I should ever look upon Mr. Solmes in the light he is
offered to me. Nay, were he to be proved ten times better than I have
represented him, and sincerely think him; yet would he be still ten
times more disagreeable to me than any other man I know in the world.
Let me therefore beseech you, Sir, to become an advocate for your
niece, that she may not be made a victim to a man so highly disgustful
You and my other uncle can do a great deal for me, if you please, with
my papa. Be persuaded, Sir, that I am not governed by obstinacy in
this case; but by aversion; an aversion I cannot overcome: for, if I
have but endeavoured to reason with myself, (out of regard to the duty
I owe to my father's will,) my heart has recoiled, and I have been
averse to myself, for offering but to argue with myself, in behalf of
a man who, in the light he appears to me, has no one merit; and who,
knowing this aversion, could not persevere as he does, if he had the
spirit of a man.
If, Sir, you can think of the contents of this letter reasonable, I
beseech you to support them with your interest. If not--I shall be
most unhappy!--Nevertheless, it is but just in me so to write, as that
Mr. Solmes may know what he has to trust to.
Forgive, dear Sir, this tedious letter; and suffer it to have weight
with you; and you will for ever oblige
Your dutiful and affectionate niece,
MR. ANTONY HARLOWE, TO MISS CL. HARLOWE
You had better not write to us, or to any of us. To me, particularly,
you had better never to have set pen to paper, on the subject whereon
you have written. He that is first in his own cause, saith the wise
man, seemeth just: but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. And
so, in this respect, I will be your neighbour: for I will search your
heart to the bottom; that is to say, if your letter be written from
your heart. Yet do I know what a task I have undertaken, because of
the knack you are noted for at writing. But in defence of a father's
authority, in behalf of the good, and honour, and prosperity of the
family one comes of, what a hard thing it would be, if one could not
beat down all the arguments a rebel child (how loth I am to write down
that word of Miss Clary Harlowe!) can bring, in behalf of her
In the first place, don't you declare (and that contrary to your
declarations to your mother, remember that, girl!) that you prefer the
man we all hate, and who hates us as bad!--Then what a character have
you given of a worthy man! I wonder you dare write so freely of one
we all respect--but possibly it may be for that very reason.
How you begin your letter!--Because I value Mr. Solmes as my friend,
you treat him the worse--That's the plain dunstable of the matter,
Miss!--I am not such a fool but I can see that.--And so a noted
whoremonger is to be chosen before a man who is a money-lover!--Let me
tell you, Niece, this little becomes so nice a one as you have been
always reckoned. Who, think you, does more injustice, a prodigal man
or a saving man?--The one saves his own money; the other spends other
people's. But your favourite is a sinner in grain, and upon record.
The devil's in your sex! God forgive me for saying so--the nicest of
them will prefer a vile rake and wh--I suppose I must not repeat the
word:--the word will offend, when the vicious denominated by that word
will be chosen!--I had not been a bachelor to this time, if I had not
seen such a mass of contradictions in you all.--Such gnat-strainers
and camel-swallowers, as venerable Holy Writ has it.
What names will perverseness call things by!--A prudent man, who
intends to be just to every body, is a covetous man!--While a vile,
profligate rake is christened with the appellation of a gallant man;
and a polite man, I'll warrant you!
It is my firm opinion, Lovelace would not have so much regard for you
as he professes, but for two reasons. And what are these?--Why, out
of spite to all of us--one of them. The other, because of your
independent fortune. I wish your good grandfather had not left what
he did so much in your own power, as I may say. But little did he
imagine his beloved grand-daughter would have turned upon all her
friends as she has done!
What has Mr. Solmes to hope for, if you are prepossessed! Hey-day!
Is this you, cousin Clary!--Has he then nothing to hope for from your father's, and mother's, and our recommendations?--No, nothing at all, it seems!--O brave!--I should think that this, with a dutiful child,
as we took you to be, was enough. Depending on this your duty, we
proceeded: and now there is no help for it: for we will not be balked:
neither shall our friend Mr. Solmes, I can tell you that.
If your estate is convenient for him, what then? Does that (pert
cousin) make it out that he does not love you? He had need to expect
some good with you, that has so little good to hope for from you; mind
that. But pray, is not this estate our estate, as we may say? Have
we not all an interest in it, and a prior right, if right were to have
taken place? And was it not more than a good old man's dotage, God
rest his soul! that gave it you before us all?--Well then, ought we
not to have a choice who shall have it in marriage with you? and would
you have the conscience to wish us to let a vile fellow, who hates us
all, run away with it?--You bid me weigh what you write: do you weigh
this, Girl: and it will appear we have more to say for ourselves than
you was aware of.
As to your hard treatment, as you call it, thank yourself for that.
It may be over when you will: so I reckon nothing upon that. You was
not banished and confined till all entreaty and fair speeches were
tried with you: mind that. And Mr. Solmes can't help your obstinacy:
let that be observed too.
As to being visited, and visiting; you never was fond of either: so
that's a grievance put into the scale to make weight.--As to disgrace,
that's as bad to us as to you: so fine a young creature! So much as
we used to brag of you too!--And besides, this is all in your power,
as the rest.
But your heart recoils, when you would persuade yourself to obey your
parent--Finely described, is it not!--Too truly described, I own, as
you go on. I know that you may love him if you will. I had a good
mind to bid you hate him; then, perhaps, you would like him the
better: for I have always found a most horrid romantic perverseness in
your sex.--To do and to love what you should not, is meat, drink, and
vesture, to you all.
I am absolutely of your brother's mind, That reading and writing,
though not too much for the wits of you young girls, are too much for
your judgments.--You say, you may be conceited, Cousin; you may be
vain!--And so you are, to despise this gentleman as you do. He can
read and write as well as most gentlemen, I can tell you that. Who
told you Mr. Solmes cannot read and write? But you must have a
husband who can learn you something!--I wish you knew but your duty as
well as you do your talents--that, Niece, you have of late days to
learn; and Mr. Solmes will therefore find something to instruct you
in. I will not shew him this letter of yours, though you seem to
desire it, lest it should provoke him to be too severe a schoolmaster,
when you are his'n.
But now I think of it, suppose you are the reader at your pen than he --You will make the more useful wife to him; won't you? For who so
good an economist as you?--And you may keep all of his accounts, and
save yourselves a steward.--And, let me tell you, this is a fine
advantage in a family: for those stewards are often sad dogs, and
creep into a man's estate before he knows where he is; and not seldom
is he forced to pay them interest for his own money.
I know not why a good wife should be above these things. It is better
than lying a-bed half the day, and junketing and card-playing all the
night, and making yourselves wholly useless to every good purpose in
your own families, as is now the fashion among ye. The duce take you
all that do so, say I!--Only that, thank my stars, I am a bachelor.
Then this is a province you are admirably versed in: you grieve that
it is taken from you here, you know. So here, Miss, with Mr. Solmes
you will have something to keep account of, for the sake of you and
your children: with the other, perhaps you will have an account to
keep, too--but an account of what will go over the left shoulder; only
of what he squanders, what he borrows, and what he owes, and never
will pay. Come, come, Cousin, you know nothing of the world; a man's
a man; and you may have many partners in a handsome man, and costly
ones too, who may lavish away all you save. Mr. Solmes therefore for
my money, and I hope for yours.
But Mr. Solmes is a coarse man. He is not delicate enough for your
niceness; because I suppose he dresses not like a fop and a coxcomb,
and because he lays not himself out in complimental nonsense, the
poison of female minds. He is a man of sense, that I can tell you.
No man talks more to the purpose to us: but you fly him so, that he
has no opportunity given him, to express it to you: and a man who
loves, if he have ever so much sense, looks a fool; especially when he
is despised, and treated as you treated him the last time he was in
As to his sister; she threw herself away (as you want to do) against
his full warning: for he told her what she had to trust to, if she
married where she did marry. And he was as good as his word; and so
an honest man ought: offences against warning ought to be smarted for.
Take care this be not your case: mind that.
His uncle deserves no favour from him; for he would have circumvented
Mr. Solmes, and got Sir Oliver to leave to himself the estate he had
always designed for him his nephew, and brought him up in the hope of
it. Too ready forgiveness does but encourage offences: that's your
good father's maxim: and there would not be so many headstrong
daughters as there are, if this maxim were kept in mind.--Punishments
are of service to offenders; rewards should be only to the meriting:
and I think the former are to be dealt out rigourously, in willful
As to his love; he shews it but too much for your deservings, as they
have been of late; let me tell you that: and this is his misfortune;
and may in time perhaps be yours.
As to his parsimony, which you wickedly call diabolical, [a very free
word in your mouth, let me tell ye], little reason have you of all
people for this, on whom he proposes, of his own accord, to settle all
he has in the world: a proof, let him love riches as he will, that he
loves you better. But that you may be without excuse on this score,
we will tie him up to your own terms, and oblige him by the marriage- articles to allow you a very handsome quarterly sum to do what you
please with. And this has been told you before; and I have said it to
Mrs. Howe (that good and worthy lady) before her proud daughter, that
you might hear of it again.
To contradict the charge of prepossession to Lovelace, you offer never
to have him without our consents: and what is this saying, but that
you will hope on for our consents, and to wheedle and tire us out?
Then he will always be in expectation while you are single: and we are
to live on at this rate (are we?) vexed by you, and continually
watchful about you; and as continually exposed to his insolence and
threats. Remember last Sunday, Girl!--What might have happened, had
your brother and he met?--Moreover, you cannot do with such a spirit
as his, as you can with worthy Mr. Solmes: the one you make tremble;
the other will make you quake: mind that--and you will not be able to
help yourself. And remember, that if there should be any
misunderstanding between one of them and you, we should all interpose;
and with effect, no doubt: but with the other, it would be self-do,
self-have; and who would either care or dare to put in a word for you?
Nor let the supposition of matrimonial differences frighten you:
honey-moon lasts not now-a-days above a fortnight; and Dunmow flitch,
as I have been informed, was never claimed; though some say once it
was. Marriage is a queer state, Child, whether paired by the parties
or by their friends. Out of three brothers of us, you know, there was
but one had courage to marry. And why was it, do you think? We were
wise by other people's experience.
Don't despise money so much: you may come to know the value of it:
that is a piece of instruction that you are to learn; and which,
according to your own notions, Mr. Solmes will be able to teach you.
I do indeed condemn your warmth. I will not allow for disgraces you
bring upon yourself. If I thought them unmerited, I would be your
advocate. But it was always my notion, that children should not
dispute their parents' authority. When your grandfather left his
estate to you, though his three sons, and a grandson, and your elder
sister, were in being, we all acquiesced: and why? Because it was our
father's doing. Do you imitate that example: if you will not, those
who set it you have the more reason to hold you inexcusable: mind
You mention your brother too scornfully: and, in your letter to him,
are very disrespectful; and so indeed you are to your sister, in the
letter you wrote to her. Your brother, Madam, is your brother; and
third older than yourself, and a man: and pray be so good as not to
forget what is due to a brother, who (next to us three brothers) is
the head of the family, and on whom the name depends--as upon your
dutiful compliance laid down for the honour of the family you are come
of. And pray now let me ask you, If the honour of that will not be an
honour to you?--If you don't think so, the more unworthy you. You
shall see the plan, if you promise not to be prejudiced against it
right or wrong. If you are not besotted to that man, I am sure you
will like it. If you are, were Mr. Solmes an angel, it would signify
nothing: for the devil is love, and love is the devil, when it gets
into any of your heads. Many examples have I seen of that.
If there were no such man as Lovelace in the world, you would not have
Mr. Solmes.--You would not, Miss!--Very pretty, truly!--We see how
your spirit is embittered indeed.--Wonder not, since it is come to
your will not's, that those who have authority over you, say, You
shall have the other. And I am one: mind that. And if it behoves YOU
to speak out, Miss, it behoves US not to speak in. What's sauce for
the goose is sauce for the gander: take that in your thought too.
I humbly apprehend, that Mr. Solmes has the spirit of a man, and a
gentleman. I would admonish you therefore not to provoke it. He
pities you as much as he loves you. He says, he will convince you of
his love by deeds, since he is not permitted by you to express it by
words. And all his dependence is upon your generosity hereafter. We
hope he may depend upon that: we encourage him to think he may. And
this heartens him up. So that you may lay his constancy at your
parents' and your uncles' doors; and this will be another mark of your
duty, you know.
You must be sensible, that you reflect upon your parents, and all of
us, when you tell me you cannot in justice accept of the settlements
proposed to you. This reflection we should have wondered at from you
once; but now we don't.
There are many other very censurable passages in this free letter of
yours; but we must place them to the account of your embittered
spirit. I am glad you mentioned that word, because we should have
been at a loss what to have called it.--I should much rather
nevertheless have had reason to give it a better name.
I love you dearly still, Miss. I think you, though my niece, one of
the finest young gentlewomen I ever saw. But, upon my conscience, I
think you ought to obey your parents, and oblige me and my brother
John: for you know very well, that we have nothing but your good at
heart: consistently indeed with the good and honour of all of us.
What must we think of any one of it, who would not promote the good of
the whole? and who would set one part of it against another?--Which
God forbid, say I!--You see I am for the good of all. What shall I
get by it, let things go as they will? Do I want any thing of any
body for my own sake?--Does my brother John?--Well, then, Cousin
Clary, what would you be at, as I may say?
O but you can't love Mr. Solmes!--But, I say, you know not what you
can do. You encourage yourself in your dislike. You permit your
heart (little did I think it was such a froward one) to recoil. Take
it to task, Niece; drive it on as fast as it recoils, [we do so in all
our sea-fights, and land-fights too, by our sailors and soldiers, or
we should not conquer]; and we are all sure you will overcome it. And
why? Because you ought. So we think, whatever you think: and whose
thoughts are to be preferred? You may be wittier than we; but, if you
were wiser, we have lived some of us, let me tell you, to very little
purpose, thirty or forty years longer than you.
I have written as long a letter as yours. I may not write in so
lively, or so polite a style as my Niece: but I think I have all the
argument on my side: and you will vastly oblige me, if you will shew
me, by your compliance with all our desires, that you think so too.
If you do not, you must not expect an advocate, or even a friend, in
me, dearly as I love you. For then I shall be sorry to be called
Your uncle, ANT. HARLOWE.
TUESDAY, TWO IN THE MORNING. POSTSCRIPT.
You must send me no more letters: but a compliable one you may send.
But I need not have forbid you; for I am sure this, by fair argument,
is unanswerable--I know it is. I have written day and night, I may
say, ever since Sunday morning, only church-time, or the like of that:
but this is the last, I can tell you, from