Letter XI


You both nettled and alarmed me, my dearest Miss Howe, by the

concluding part of your last. At first reading it, I did not think it

necessary, said I to myself, to guard against a critic, when I was

writing to so dear a friend. But then recollecting myself, is there

not more in it, said I, than the result of a vein so naturally lively?

Surely I must have been guilty of an inadvertence. Let me enter into

the close examination of myself which my beloved friend advises.

I do so; and cannot own any of the glow, any of the throbs you

mention.--Upon my word I will repeat, I cannot. And yet the passages

in my letter, upon which you are so humourously severe, lay me fairly

open to your agreeable raillery. I own they do. And I cannot tell

what turn my mind had taken to dictate so oddly to my pen.

But, pray now--is it saying so much, when one, who has no very

particular regard to any man, says, there are some who are preferable

to others? And is it blamable to say, they are the preferable, who

are not well used by one's relations; yet dispense with that usage out

of regard to one's self which they would otherwise resent? Mr.

Lovelace, for instance, I may be allowed to say, is a man to be

preferred to Mr. Solmes; and that I do prefer him to that man: but,

surely, this may be said without its being a necessary consequence

that I must be in love with him.

Indeed I would not be in love with him, as it is called, for the

world: First, because I have no opinion of his morals; and think it a

fault in which our whole family (my brother excepted) has had a share,

that he was permitted to visit us with a hope, which, however, being

distant, did not, as I have observed heretofore,* entitle any of us to

call him to account for such of his immoralities as came to our ears.

Next, because I think him to be a vain man, capable of triumphing

(secretly at least) over a person whose heart he thinks he has

engaged. And, thirdly, because the assiduities and veneration which

you impute to him, seem to carry an haughtiness in them, as if he

thought his address had a merit in it, that would be more than an

equivalent to a woman's love. In short, his very politeness,

notwithstanding the advantages he must have had from his birth and

education, appear to be constrained; and, with the most remarkable

easy and genteel person, something, at times, seems to be behind in

his manner that is too studiously kept in. Then, good-humoured as he

is thought to be in the main to other people's servants, and this even

to familiarity (although, as you have observed, a familiarity that has

dignity in it not unbecoming to a man of quality) he is apt sometimes

to break out into a passion with his own: An oath or a curse follows,

and such looks from those servants as plainly shew terror, and that

they should have fared worse had they not been in my hearing: with a

confirmation in the master's looks of a surmise too well justified.

* Letter III.

Indeed, my dear, THIS man is not THE man. I have great objections to

him. My heart throbs not after him. I glow not, but with indignation

against myself for having given room for such an imputation. But you

must not, my dearest friend, construe common gratitude into love. I

cannot bear that you should. But if ever I should have the misfortune

to think it love, I promise you upon my word, which is the same as

upon my honour, that I will acquaint you with it.

You bid me to tell you very speedily, and by the new-found expedient,

that I am not displeased with you for your agreeable raillery: I

dispatch this therefore immediately, postponing to my next the account

of the inducements which my friends have to promote with so much

earnestness the address of Mr. Solmes.

Be satisfied, my dear, mean time, that I am not displeased with you:

indeed I am not. On the contrary, I give you my hearty thanks for

your friendly premonitions; and I charge you (as I have often done)

that if you observe any thing in me so very faulty as would require

from you to others in my behalf the palliation of friendly and partial

love, you acquaint me with it: for methinks I would so conduct myself

as not to give reason even for an adversary to censure me; and how

shall so weak and so young a creature avoid the censure of such, if my

friend will not hold a looking-glass before me to let me see my


Judge me, then, my dear, as any indifferent person (knowing what you

know of me) would do. I may be at first be a little pained; may glow

a little perhaps to be found less worthy of your friendship than I

wish to be; but assure yourself, that your kind correction will give

me reflection that shall amend me. If it do not, you will have a

fault to accuse me of, that will be utterly inexcusable: a fault, let

me add, that should you not accuse me of it (if in your opinion I am

guilty) you will not be so much, so warmly, my friend as I am yours;

since I have never spared you on the like occasions.

Here I break off to begin another letter to you, with the assurance,

mean time, that I am, and ever will be,

Your equally affectionate and grateful, CL. HARLOWE.