Letter XVIII


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

nor unbusy.

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

with me.

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.