Clarissa Harlowe LETTER LI

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MISS HOWE [ENCLOSED IN THE PRECEDING.] THURSDAY, JULY 27.

MY DEAREST MISS HOWE,

Since you seem loth to acquiesce in my determined resolution, signified to you as soon as I was able to hold a pen, I beg the favour of you, by this, or by any other way you think most proper, to acquaint the worthy ladies, who have applied to you in behalf of their relation, that although I am infinitely obliged to their generous opinion of me, yet I cannot consent to sanctify, as I may say, Mr. Lovelace’s repeated breaches of all moral sanctions, and hazard my future happiness by a union with a man, through whose premeditated injuries, in a long train of the basest contrivances, I have forfeited my temporal hopes.

He himself, when he reflects upon his own actions, must surely bear testimony to the justice as well as fitness of my determination. The ladies, I dare say, would, were they to know the whole of my unhappy story.

Be pleased to acquaint them that I deceive myself, if my resolution on this head (however ungratefully and even inhumanely he has treated me) be not owing more to principle than passion. Nor can I give a stronger proof of the truth of this assurance, on this one easy condition, that he will never molest me more.

In whatever way you choose to make this declaration, be pleased to let my most respectful compliments to the ladies of that noble family, and to my Lord M., accompany it. And do you, my dear, believe that I shall be, to the last moment of my life,

Your ever obliged and affectionate CLARISSA HARLOWE.