Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XIV

TO THE EVER-HONOURED JAS. HARLOWE, SEN. ESQ.

MOST DEAR SIR,

With exulting confidence now does your emboldened daughter come into your awful presence by these lines, who dared not, but upon this occasion, to look up to you with hopes of favour and forgiveness; since, when this comes to your hands, it will be out of her power ever to offend you more.

And now let me bless you, my honoured Papa, and bless you, as I write, upon my knees, for all the benefits I have received from your indulgence: for your fond love to me in the days of my prattling innocence: for the virtuous education you gave me: and for, the crown of all, the happy end, which, through divine grace, by means of that virtuous education, I hope, by the time you will receive this, I shall have made. And let me beg of you, dear, venerable Sir, to blot out from your remembrance, if possible, the last unhappy eight months; and then I shall hope to be remembered with advantage for the pleasure you had the goodness to take in your Clarissa.

Still on her knees, let your poor penitent implore your forgiveness of all her faults and follies; more especially of that fatal error which threw her out of your protection.

When you know, Sir, that I have never been faulty in my will; that ever since my calamity became irretrievable, I have been in a state of preparation; that I have the strongest assurance that the Almighty has accepted my unfeigned repentance; and that by this time you will (as I humbly presume to hope,) have been the means of adding one to the number of the blessed; you will have reason for joy rather than sorrow. Since, had I escaped the snares by which I was entangled, I might have wanted those exercises which I look upon now as so many mercies dispensed to wean me betimes from a world that presented itself to me with prospects too alluring; and in that case (too easily satisfied with the worldly felicity) I might not have attained to that blessedness, in which now, on your reading of this, I humbly presume, (through the divine goodness,) I am rejoicing.

That the Almighty, in his own good time, will bring you, Sir, and my ever-honoured mother, after a series of earthly felicities, of which my unhappy fault be the only interruption, (and very grievous I know that must have been,) to rejoice in the same blessed state, is the repeated prayer of, Sir,

Your now happy daughter, CLARISSA HARLOWE.