Having met with such bad success in my application to my relations, I

have taken a step that will surprise you. It is no other than writing

a letter to Mr. Solmes himself. I sent it, and have his answer. He

had certainly help in it. For I have seen a letter of his, and

indifferently worded, as poorly spelt. Yet the superscription is of

his dictating, I dare say, for he is a formal wretch. With these, I

shall enclose one from my brother to me, on occasion of mine to Mr.

Solmes. I did think that it was possible to discourage the man from

proceeding; and if I could have done that, it would have answered all

my wishes. It was worth the trial. But you'll see nothing will do.

My brother has taken his measures too securely.



You will wonder to receive a letter from me; and more still at the

uncommon subject of it. But the necessity of the case will justify

me, at least in my own apprehension; and I shall therefore make no

other apology for it.

When you first came acquainted with our family, you found the writer

of this one of the happiest creatures in the world; beloved by the

best and most indulgent of parents; and rejoicing in the kind favour

of two affectionate uncles, and in the esteem of every one.

But how is this scene now changed!--You was pleased to cast a

favourable eye upon me. You addressed yourself to my friends: your

proposals were approved of by them--approved of without consulting me;

as if my choice and happiness were of the least signification. Those

who had a right to all reasonable obedience from me, insisted upon it

without reserve. I had not the felicity to think as they did; almost

the first time my sentiments differed from theirs. I besought them to

indulge me in a point so important to my future happiness: but, alas,

in vain! And then (for I thought it was but honest) I told you my

mind; and even that my affections were engaged. But, to my

mortification and surprise, you persisted, and still persist.

The consequence of all is too grievous for me to repeat: you, who have

such free access to the rest of the family, know it too well--too well

you know it, either for the credit of your own generosity, or for my

reputation. I am used, on your account, as I never before was used,

and never before was thought to deserve to be used; and this was the

hard, the impossible, condition of their returning favour, that I must

prefer a man to all others, that of all others I cannot prefer.

Thus distressed, and made unhappy, and all to your sake, and through

your cruel perseverance, I write, Sir, to demand of you the peace of

mind you have robbed me of: to demand of you the love of so many dear

friends, of which you have deprived me; and, if you have the

generosity that should distinguish a man, and a gentleman, to adjure

you not to continue an address that has been attended with such cruel

effects to the creature you profess to esteem.

If you really value me, as my friends would make me believe, and as

you have declared you do, must it not be a mean and selfish value? A

value that can have no merit with the unhappy object of it, because it

is attended with effects so grievous to her? It must be for your own

sake only, not for mine. And even in this point you must be mistaken:

For, would a prudent man wish to marry one who has not a heart to

give? Who cannot esteem him? Who therefore must prove a bad wife!-- And how cruel would it be to make a poor creature a bad wife, whose

pride it would be to make a good one!

If I am capable of judging, our tempers and inclinations are vastly

different. Any other of my sex will make you happier than I can. The

treatment I meet with, and the obstinacy, as it is called, with which

I support myself under it, ought to convince you of this; were I not

able to give so good a reason for this my supposed perverseness, as

that I cannot consent to marry a man whom I cannot value.

But if, Sir, you have not so much generosity in your value for me, as

to desist for my own sake, let me conjure you, by the regard due to

yourself, and to your own future happiness, to discontinue your suit,

and place your affections on a worthier object: for why should you

make me miserable, and yourself not happy? By this means you will do

all that is now in your power to restore to me the affection of my

friends; and, if that can be, it will leave me in as happy a state as

you found me in. You need only to say, that you see there are no

HOPES, as you will perhaps complaisantly call it, of succeeding with

me [and indeed, Sir, there cannot be a greater truth]; and that you

will therefore no more think of me, but turn your thoughts another


Your compliance with this request will lay me under the highest

obligation to your generosity, and make me ever

Your well-wisher, and humble servant, CLARISSA HARLOWE.

TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE These most humbly present.


Your letter has had a very contrary effect upon me, to what you seem

to have expected from it. It has doubly convinced me of the

excellency of your mind, and of the honour of your disposition. Call

it selfish, or what you please, I must persist in my suit; and happy

shall I be, if by patience and perseverance, and a steady and

unalterable devoir, I may at last overcome the difficulty laid in my


As your good parents, your uncles, and other friends, are absolutely

determined you shall never have Mr. Lovelace, if they can help it; and

as I presume no other person is in the way, I will contentedly wait

the issue of this matter. And forgive me, dearest Miss, but a person

should sooner persuade me to give up to him my estate, as an instance

of my generosity, because he could not be happy without it, than I

would a much more valuable treasure, to promote the felicity of

another, and make his way easier to circumvent myself.

Pardon me, dear Miss; but I must persevere, though I am sorry you

suffer on my account, as you are pleased to think; for I never before

saw the woman I could love: and while there is any hope, and that you

remain undisposed of to some happier man, I must and will be

Your faithful and obsequious admirer,





What a fine whim you took into your head, to write a letter to Mr.

Solmes, to persuade him to give up his pretensions to you!--Of all the

pretty romantic flights you have delighted in, this was certainly one

of the most extraordinary. But to say nothing of what fires us all

with indignation against you (your owning your prepossession in a

villain's favour, and your impertinence to me, and your sister, and

your uncles; one of which has given it you home, child), how can you

lay at Mr. Solmes's door the usage you so bitterly complain of?--You

know, little fool as you are, that it is your fondness for Lovelace

that has brought upon you all these things; and which would have

happened, whether Mr. Solmes had honoured you with his addresses or


As you must needs know this to be true, consider, pretty witty Miss,

if your fond, love-sick heart can let you consider, what a fine figure

all your expostulations with us, and charges upon Mr. Solmes, make!-- With what propriety do you demand of him to restore to you your former

happiness (as you call it, and merely call it; for if you thought our

favour so, you would restore it to yourself), since it is yet in your

own power to do so? Therefore, Miss Pert, none of your pathetics,

except in the right place. Depend upon it, whether you have Mr.

Solmes, or not, you shall never have your heart's delight, the vile

rake Lovelace, if our parents, if our uncles, if I, can hinder it.

No! you fallen angel, you shall not give your father and mother such a

son, nor me such a brother, in giving yourself that profligate wretch

for a husband. And so set your heart at rest, and lay aside all

thoughts of him, if ever you expect forgiveness, reconciliation, or a

kind opinion, from any of your family; but especially from him, who,

at present, styles himself

Your brother, JAMES HARLOWE.

P.S. I know your knack at letter-writing. If you send me an answer

for this, I will return it unopened; for I will not argue with your

perverseness in so plain a case--Only once for all, I was willing to

put you right as to Mr. Solmes; whom I think to blame to trouble his

head about you.