Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XLIII


Not one line, my dearest life, not one word, in answer to three letters I have written! The time is now so short, that this must be the last letter that can reach you on this side the important hour that might make us legally one.

My friend, Mr. Belford, is apprehensive, that he cannot wait upon you in time, by reason of some urgent affairs of his own.

I the less regret the disappointment, because I have procured a more acceptable person, as I hope, to attend you; Captain Tomlinson I mean: to whom I had applied for this purpose, before I had Mr. Belford’s answer.

I was the more solicitous to obtain his favour form him, because of the office he is to take upon him, as I humbly presume to hope, to-morrow. That office obliged him to be in town as this day: and I acquainted him with my unhappy situation with you; and desired that he would show me, on this occasion, that I had as much of his favour and friendship as your uncle had; since the whole treaty must be broken off, if he could not prevail upon you in my behalf.

He will dispatch the messenger directly; whom I propose to meet in person at Slough; either to proceed onward to London with a joyful heart, or to return back to M. Hall with a broken one.

I ought not (but cannot help it) to anticipate the pleasure Mr. Tomlinson proposes to himself, in acquainting you with the likelihood there is of your mother’s seconding your uncle’s views. For, it seems, he has privately communicated to her his laudable intentions: and her resolution depends, as well as his, upon what to-morrow will produce.

Disappoint not then, I beseech you, for an hundred persons’ sakes, as well as for mine, that uncle and that mother, whose displeasure I have heard you so often deplore.

You may think it impossible for me to reach London by the canonical hour. If it should, the ceremony may be performed in your own apartments, at any time in the day, or at night: so that Captain Tomlinson may have it to aver to your uncle, that it was performed on his anniversary.

Tell but the Captain, that you forbid me not to attend you: and that shall be sufficient for bringing to you, on the wings of love,

Your ever-grateful and affectionate LOVELACE.