Clarissa Harlowe LETTER LXIV

MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE, TO MRS. NORTON WEDNESDAY, AUG. 2.

You give me, my dear Mrs. Norton, great pleasure in hearing of your’s and your son’s recovery. May you continue, for many, many years, a blessing to each other!

You tell me that you did actually write to my mother, offering to enclose to her mine of the 24th past: and you say it was not required of you. That is to say, although you cover it over as gently as you could, that your offer was rejected; which makes it evident that no plea could be made for me. Yet, you bid me hope, that the grace I sued for would, in time, be granted.

The grace I then sued for was indeed granted; but you are afraid, you say, that they will wait for Mr. Brand’s report, before favour will be obtained in return to the second letter which I wrote to my sister; and you add, that I have an indulgent mother, were she at liberty to act according to her own inclination; and that all will end well at last.

But what, my dear Mrs. Norton, what is the grace I sue for in my second letter?—It is not that they will receive me into favour—If they think it is, they are mistaken. I do not, I cannot expect that. Nor, as I have often said, should I, if they would receive me, bear to live in the eye of those dear friends whom I have so grievously offended. ’Tis only, simply, a blessing I ask: a blessing to die with; not to lie with.—Do they know that? and do they know that their unkindness will perhaps shorten my date; so that their favour, if ever they intend to grant it, may come too late?

Once more, I desire you not to think of coming to me. I have no uneasiness now, but what proceeds from the apprehension of seeing a man I would not see for the world, if I could help it; and from the severity of my nearest and dearest relations: a severity entirely their own, I doubt; for you tell me that my brother is at Edinburgh! You would therefore heighten their severity, and make yourself enemies besides, if you were to come to me—Don’t you see you would?

Mr. Brand may come, if he will. He is a clergyman, and must mean well; or I must think so, let him say of me what he will. All my fear is, that, as he knows I am in disgrace with a family whose esteem he is desirous to cultivate; and as he has obligations to my uncle Harlowe and to my father; he will be but a languid acquitter—not that I am afraid of what he, or any body in the world, can hear as to my conduct. You may, my revered and dear friend, indeed you may, rest satisfied, that that is such as may warrant me to challenge the inquiries of the most officious.

I will send you copies of what passes, as you desire, when I have an answer to my second letter. I now begin to wish that I had taken the heart to write to my father himself; or to my mother, at least; instead of to my sister; and yet I doubt my poor mother can do nothing for me of herself. A strong confederacy, my dear Mrs. Norton, (a strong confederacy indeed!) against a poor girl, their daughter, sister, niece! —My brother, perhaps, got it renewed before he left them. He needed not—his work is done; and more than done.

Don’t afflict yourself about money-matters on my account. I have no occasion for money. I am glad my mother was so considerate to you. I was in pain for you on the same subject. But Heaven will not permit so good a woman to want the humble blessings she was always satisfied with. I wish every individual of our family were but as rich as you!—O my mamma Norton, you are rich! you are rich indeed!—the true riches are such content as you are blessed with.—And I hope in God that I am in the way to be rich too.

Adieu, my ever-indulgent friend. You say all will be at last happy—and I know it will—I confide that it will, with as much security, as you may, that I will be, to my last hour,

Your ever grateful and affectionate CL. HARLOWE.