You will permit me, my dear, to touch upon a few passages in your last

letter, that affect me sensibly.

In the first place, you must allow me to say, low as I am in spirits,

that I am very angry with you, for your reflections on my relations,

particularly on my father and mother, and on the memory of my

grandfather. Nor, my dear, does your own mother always escape the

keen edge of your vivacity. One cannot one's self forbear to write or

speak freely of those we love and honour, when grief from imagined

hard treatment wrings the heart: but it goes against one to hear any

body else take the same liberties. Then you have so very strong a

manner of expression where you take a distaste, that when passion has

subdued, and I come (upon reflection) to see by your severity what I

have given occasion for, I cannot help condemning myself.

But least of all can I bear that you should reflect upon my mother.

What, my dear, if her meekness should not be rewarded? Is the want of

reward, or the want even of a grateful acknowledgement, a reason for

us to dispense with what we think our duty? They were my father's

lively spirits that first made him an interest in her gentle bosom.

They were the same spirits turned inward, as I have heretofore

observed,* that made him so impatient when the cruel malady seized

him. He always loved my mother: And would not LOVE and PITY

excusably, nay laudably, make a good wife (who was an hourly witness

of his pangs, when labouring under a paroxysm, and his paroxysms

becoming more and more frequent, as well as more and more severe) give

up her own will, her own likings, to oblige a husband, thus afflicted,

whose love for her was unquestionable?--And if so, was it not too

natural [human nature is not perfect, my dear] that the husband thus

humoured by the wife, should be unable to bear controul from any body

else, much less contradiction from his children?

* See Letter V.

If then you would avoid my highest displeasure, you must spare my

mother: and, surely, you will allow me, with her, to pity, as well as

to love and honour my father.

I have no friend but you to whom I can appeal, to whom I dare

complain. Unhappily circumstanced as I am, it is but too probable

that I shall complain, because it is but too probably that I shall

have more and more cause given me for complaint. But be it your part,

if I do, to sooth my angry passions, and to soften my resentments; and

this the rather, as you know what an influence your advice has upon

me; and as you must also know, that the freedoms you take with my

friends, can have no other tendency, but to weaken the sense of my

duty to them, without answering any good end to myself.

I cannot help owning, however, that I am pleased to have you join with

me in opinion of the contempt which Mr. Solmes deserves from me. But

yet, permit me to say, that he is not quite so horrible a creature as

you make him: as to his person, I mean; for with regard to his mind,

by all I have heard, you have done him but justice: but you have such

a talent at an ugly likeness, and such a vivacity, that they sometimes

carry you out of verisimilitude. In short, my dear, I have known you,

in more instances than one, sit down resolved to write all that wit,

rather than strict justice, could suggest upon the given occasion.

Perhaps it may be thought, that I should say the less on this

particular subject, because your dislike of him arises from love to

me: But should it not be our aim to judge of ourselves, and of every

thing that affects us, as we may reasonably imagine other people would

judge of us and of our actions?

As to the advice you give, to resume my estate, I am determined not to

litigate with my father, let what will be the consequence to myself.

I may give you, at another time, a more particular answer to your

reasonings on this subject: but, at present, will only observe, that

it is in my opinion, that Lovelace himself would hardly think me worth addressing, were he to know this would be my resolution. These men,

my dear, with all their flatteries, look forward to the PERMANENT.

Indeed, it is fit they should. For love must be a very foolish thing

to look back upon, when it has brought persons born to affluence into

indigence, and laid a generous mind under obligation and dependence.

You very ingeniously account for the love we bear to one another, from

the difference in our tempers. I own, I should not have thought of

that. There may possibly be something in it: but whether there be or

not, whenever I am cool, and give myself time to reflect, I will love

you the better for the correction you give, be as severe as you will

upon me. Spare me not, therefore, my dear friend, whenever you think

me in the least faulty. I love your agreeable raillery: you know I

always did: nor, however over-serious you think me, did I ever think

you flippant, as you harshly call it. One of the first conditions of

our mutual friendship was, each should say or write to the other

whatever was upon her mind, without any offence to be taken: a

condition, that is indeed indispensable in friendship.

I knew your mother would be for implicit obedience in a child. I am

sorry my case is so circumstanced, that I cannot comply. It would be

my duty to do so, if I could. You are indeed very happy, that you

have nothing but your own agreeable, yet whimsical, humours to contend

with, in the choice she invites you to make of Mr. Hickman. How happy

I should be, to be treated with so much lenity!--I should blush to

have my mother say, that she begged and prayed me, and all in vain, to

encourage a man so unexceptionable as Mr. Hickman.

Indeed, my beloved Miss Howe, I am ashamed to have your mother say,

with ME in her view, 'What strange effects have prepossession and love

upon young creatures of our sex!' This touches me the more sensibly,

because you yourself, my dear, are so ready to persuade me into it.

I should be very blamable to endeavour to hide any the least bias upon

my mind, from you: and I cannot but say--that this man--this Lovelace --is a man that might be liked well enough, if he bore such a

character as Mr. Hickman bears; and even if there were hopes of

reclaiming him. And further still I will acknowledge, that I believe

it possible that one might be driven, by violent measures, step by

step, as it were, into something that might be called--I don't know

what to call it--a conditional kind of liking, or so. But as to the

word LOVE--justifiable and charming as it is in some cases, (that is

to say, in all the relative, in all the social, and, what is still

beyond both, in all our superior duties, in which it may be properly

called divine;) it has, methinks, in the narrow, circumscribed,

selfish, peculiar sense, in which you apply it to me, (the man too so

little to be approved of for his morals, if all that report says of

him be true,) no pretty sound with it. Treat me as freely as you will

in all other respects, I will love you, as I have said, the better for

your friendly freedom. But, methinks, I could be glad that you would

not let this imputation pass so glibly from your pen, or your lips, as

attributable to one of your own sex, whether I be the person or not:

since the other must have a double triumph, when a person of your

delicacy (armed with such contempts of them all, as you would have one

think) can give up a friend, with an exultation over her weakness, as

a silly, love-sick creature.

I could make some other observations upon the contents of your last

two letters; but my mind is not free enough at present. The occasion

for the above stuck with me; and I could not help taking the earliest

notice of them.

Having written to the end of my second sheet, I will close this

letter, and in my next, acquaint you with all that has happened here

since my last.