Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XXXV


Just come from my charmer. She will not suffer me to say half the obliging, the tender things, which my honest heart is ready to overflow with. A confounded situation that, when a man finds himself in humour to be eloquent, and pathetic at the same time, yet cannot engage the mistress of his fate to lend an ear to his fine speeches.

I can account now how it comes about that lovers, when their mistresses are cruel, run into solitude, and disburthen their minds to stocks and stones: For am I not forced to make my complaints to thee?

She claimed the performance of my promise, the moment she saw me, of permitting her [haughtily she spoke the word] to go to Hampstead as soon as I was gone to Berks.

Most cheerfully I renewed it.

She desired me to give orders in her hearing.

I sent for Dorcas and Will. They came.—Do you both take notice, (but, perhaps, Sir, I may take you with me,) that your lady is to be obeyed in all her commands. She purposes to return to Hampstead as soon as I am gone—My dear, will you not have a servant to attend you?

I shall want no servant there.

Will you take Dorcas?

If I should want Dorcas, I can send for her.

Dorcas could not but say, She should be very proud—

Well, well, that may be at my return, if your lady permit.—Shall I, my dear, call up Mrs. Sinclair, and give her orders, to the same effect, in your hearing?

I desire not to see Mrs. Sinclair; nor any that belong to her.

As you please, Madam.

And then (the servants being withdrawn) I urged her again for the assurance, that she would meet me at the altar on Thursday next. But to no purpose.—May she not thank herself for all that may follow?

One favour, however, I would not be denied, to be admitted to pass the evening with her.

All sweetness and obsequiousness will I be on this occasion. My whole soul shall be poured out to move her to forgive me. If she will not, and if the promissory note should fall in my way, my revenge will doubtless take total possession of me.

All the house in my interest, and every one in it not only engaging to intimidate and assist, as occasion shall offer, but staking all their experience upon my success, if it be not my own fault, what must be the consequence?

This, Jack, however, shall be her last trial; and if she behave as nobly in and after this second attempt (all her senses about her) as she has done after the first, she will come out an angel upon full proof, in spite of man, woman, and devil: then shall there be an end of all her sufferings. I will then renounce that vanquished devil, and reform. And if any vile machination start up, presuming to mislead me, I will sooner stab it in my heart, as it rises, than give way to it.

A few hours will now decide all. But whatever be the event, I shall be too busy to write again, till I get to M. Hall.

Mean time, I am in strange agitations. I must suppress them, if possible, before I venture into her presence.—My heart bounces my bosom from the table. I will lay down my pen, and wholly resign to its impulses.