Clarissa Harlowe LETTER VI



I send by poor Lovelace’s desire, for particulars of the fatal breviate thou sentest him this night. He cannot bear to set pen to paper; yet wants to know every minute passage of Miss Harlowe’s departure. Yet why he should, I cannot see: for if she is gone, she is gone; and who can help it?

I never heard of such a woman in my life. What great matters has she suffered, that grief should kill her thus?

I wish the poor fellow had never known her. From first to last, what trouble she has cost him! The charming fellow had been half lost to us ever since he pursued her. And what is there in one woman more than another, for matter of that?

It was well we were with him when your note came. Your showed your true friendship in your foresight. Why, Jack, the poor fellow was quite beside himself—mad as any man ever was in Bedlam.

Will. brought him the letter just after we had joined him at the Bohemia Head; where he had left word at the Rose at Knightsbridge he should be; for he had been sauntering up and down, backwards and forwards, expecting us, and his fellow. Will., as soon as he delivered it, got out of his way; and, when he opened it, never was such a piece of scenery. He trembled like a devil at receiving it: fumbled at the seal, his fingers in a palsy, like Tom. Doleman’s; his hand shake, shake, shake, that he tore the letter in two, before he could come at the contents: and, when he had read them, off went his hat to one corner of the room, his wig to the other—D—n—n seize the world! and a whole volley of such-like excratious wishes; running up and down the room, and throwing up the sash, and pulling it down, and smiting his forehead with his double fist, with such force as would have felled as ox, and stamping and tearing, that the landlord ran in, and faster out again. And this was the distraction scene for some time.

In vain was all Jemmy or I could say to him. I offered once to take hold of his hands, because he was going to do himself a mischief, as I believed, looking about for his pistols, which he had laid upon the table, but which Will., unseen, had taken out with him, [a faithful, honest dog, that Will.! I shall for ever love the fellow for it,] and he hit me a d—d dowse of the chops, as made my nose bleed. ’Twas well ’twas he, for I hardly knew how to take it.

Jemmy raved at him, and told him, how wicked it was in him, to be so brutish to abuse a friend, and run mad for a woman. And then he said he was sorry for it; and then Will. ventured in with water and a towel; and the dog rejoiced, as I could see by his look, that I had it rather than he.

And so, by degrees, we brought him a little to his reason, and he promised to behave more like a man. And so I forgave him: and we rode on in the dark to here at Doleman’s. And we all tried to shame him out of his mad, ungovernable foolishness: for we told him, as how she was but a woman, and an obstinate perverse woman too; and how could he help it?

And you know, Jack, (as we told him, moreover,) that it was a shame to manhood, for a man, who had served twenty and twenty women as bad or worse, let him have served Miss Harlowe never so bad, should give himself such obstropulous airs, because she would die: and we advised him never to attempt a woman proud of her character and virtue, as they call it, any more: for why? The conquest did not pay trouble; and what was there in one woman more than another? Hay, you know, Jack!—And thus we comforted him, and advised him.

But yet his d—d addled pate runs upon this lady as much now she’s dead as it did when she was living. For, I suppose, Jack, it is no joke: she is certainly and bonรข fide dead: I’n’t she? If not, thou deservest to be doubly d—d for thy fooling, I tell thee that. So he will have me write for particulars of her departure.

He won’t bear the word dead on any account. A squeamish puppy! How love unmans and softens! And such a noble fellow as this too! Rot him for an idiot, and an oaf! I have no patience with the foolish duncical dog —upon my soul, I have not!

So send the account, and let him howl over it, as I suppose he will.

But he must and shall go abroad: and in a month or two Jemmy, and you, and I, will join him, and he’ll soon get the better of this chicken-hearted folly, never fear; and will then be ashamed of himself: and then we’ll not spare him; though now, poor fellow, it were pity to lay him on so thick as he deserves. And do thou, till then, spare all reflections upon him; for, it seems, thou hast worked him unmercifully.

I was willing to give thee some account of the hand we have had with the tearing fellow, who had certainly been a lost man, had we not been with him; or he would have killed somebody or other. I have no doubt of it. And now he is but very middling; sits grinning like a man in straw; curses and swears, and is confounded gloomy; and creeps into holes and corners, like an old hedge-hog hunted for his grease.

And so, adieu, Jack. Tourville, and all of us, wish for thee; for no one has the influence upon him that thou hast.


As I promised him that I would write for the particulars abovesaid, I

write this after all are gone to bed; and the fellow is set out

with it by day-break.