Clarissa Harlowe LETTER II


I will send you a large packet, as you desire and expect; since I can do it by so safe a conveyance: but not all that is come to my hand—for I must own that my friends are very severe; too severe for any body, who loves them not, to see their letters. You, my dear, would not call them my friends, you said, long ago; but my relations: indeed I cannot call them my relations, I think!——But I am ill; and therefore perhaps more peevish than I should be. It is difficult to go out of ourselves to give a judgment against ourselves; and yet, oftentimes, to pass a just judgment, we ought.

I thought I should alarm you in the choice of my executor. But the sad necessity I am reduced to must excuse me.

I shall not repeat any thing I have said before on that subject: but if your objections will not be answered to your satisfaction by the papers and letters I shall enclose, marked 1, 2, 3, 4, to 9, I must think myself in another instance unhappy; since I am engaged too far (and with my own judgment too) to recede.

As Mr. Belford has transcribed for me, in confidence, from his friend’s letters, the passages which accompany this, I must insist that you suffer no soul but yourself to peruse them; and that you return them by the very first opportunity; that so no use may be made of them that may do hurt either to the original writer or to the communicator. You’ll observe I am bound by promise to this care. If through my means any mischief should arise, between this humane and that inhuman libertine, I should think myself utterly inexcusable.

I subjoin a list of the papers or letters I shall enclose. You must return them all when perused.*

* 1. A letter from Miss Montague, dated . . . . Aug. 1.

2. A copy of my answer . . . . . . . . . . . Aug. 3.

3. Mr. Belford’s Letter to me, which will show

you what my request was to him, and his

compliance with it; and the desired ex-

tracts from his friend’s letters . . . . Aug. 3, 4.

4. A copy of my answer, with thanks; and re-

questing him to undertake the executor-

ship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aug. 4.

5. Mr. Belford’s acceptance of the trust . . Aug. 4.

6. Miss Montague’s letter, with a generous

offer from Lord M. and the Ladies of that

family . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Aug. 7.

7. Mr. Lovelace’s to me . . . . . . . . . . . Aug. 7.

8. Copy of mine to Miss Montague, in answer

to her’s of the day before . . . . . . . Aug. 8.

9. Copy of my answer to Mr. Lovelace . . . . Aug. 11.

You will see by these several Letters, written and received in so little a space of time (to say nothing of what I have received and written which I cannot show you,) how little opportunity or leisure I can have for writing my own story.

I am very much tired and fatigued—with—I don’t know what—with writing, I think—but most with myself, and with a situation I cannot help aspiring to get out of, and above!

O my dear, the world we live in is a sad, a very sad world!——While under our parents’ protecting wings, we know nothing at all of it. Book-learned and a scribbler, and looking at people as I saw them as visiters or visiting, I thought I knew a great deal of it. Pitiable ignorance!—Alas! I knew nothing at all!

With zealous wishes for your happiness, and the happiness of every one dear to you, I am, and will ever be,

Your gratefully-affectionate CL. HARLOWE.