Clarissa Harlowe LETTER LVIII



I find that all is not as it should be between you and my nephew Lovelace. It will very much afflict me, and all his friends, if he has been guilty of any designed baseness to a lady of your character and merit.

We have been long in expectation of an opportunity to congratulate you and ourselves upon an event most earnestly wished for by us all; since our hopes of him are built upon the power you have over him: for if ever man adored a woman, he is that man, and you, Madam, are that woman.

Miss Montague, in her last letter to me, in answer to one of mine, inquiring if she knew from him whether he could call you his, or was likely soon to have that honour, has these words: ‘I know not what to make of my cousin Lovelace, as to the point your Ladyship is so earnest about. He sometimes says he is actually married to Miss Cl. Harlowe: at other times, that it is her own fault if he be not.—He speaks of her not only with love but with reverence: yet owns, that there is a misunderstanding between them; but confesses that she is wholly faultless. An angel, and not a woman, he says she is: and that no man living can be worthy of her.’—

This is what my niece Montague writes.

God grant, my dearest young lady, that he may not have so heinously offended you that you cannot forgive him! If you are not already married, and refuse to be his, I shall lose all hopes that he ever will marry, or be the man I wish him to be. So will Lord M. So will Lady Sarah Sadleir.

I will now answer your questions: but indeed I hardly know what to write, for fear of widening still more the unhappy difference between you. But yet such a young lady must command every thing from me. This then is my answer:

I wrote not any letter to him on or about the 7th of June.

Neither I nor my steward know any such man as Captain Tomlinson.

I wrote not to my niece to meet me at Reading, nor to accompany me to my cousin Leeson’s in town.

My chancery affair, though, like most chancery affairs, it be of long standing, is, nevertheless, now in so good a way, that it cannot give me occasion to go to town.

Nor have I been in town these six months: nor at Hampstead for years.

Neither shall I have any temptation to go to town, except to pay my congratulatory compliments to Mrs. Lovelace. On which occasion I should go with the greatest pleasure; and should hope for the favour of your accompanying me to Glenham-hall, for a month at least.

Be what will the reason of your inquiry, let me entreat you, my dear young lady, for Lord M.’s sake; for my sake; for this giddy man’s sake, soul as well as body; and for all our family’s sakes; not to suffer this answer to widen differences so far as to make you refuse him, if he already has not the honour of calling you his; as I am apprehensive he has not, by your signing by your family-name.

And here let me offer to you my mediation to compose the difference between you, be it what it will. Your cause, my dear young lady, cannot be put into the hands of any body living more devoted to your service, than into those of

Your sincere admirer, and humble servant, ELIZ. LAWRANCE.