Clarissa Harlowe LETTER LXXVI



We were all of opinion, before your letter came, that Mr. Lovelace was utterly unworthy of you, and deserved condign punishment, rather than to be blessed with such a wife: and hoped far more from your kind consideration for us, than any we supposed you could have for so base an injurer. For we were all determined to love you, and admire you, let his behaviour to you be what it would.

But, after your letter, what can be said?

I am, however, commanded to write in all the subscribing names, to let you know how greatly your sufferings have affected us: to tell you that my Lord M. has forbid him ever more to enter the doors of the apartments where he shall be: and as you labour under the unhappy effects of your friends’ displeasure, which may subject you to inconveniencies, his Lordship, and Lady Sarah, and Lady Betty, beg of you to accept, for your life, or, at least, till you are admitted to enjoy your own estate, of one hundred guineas per quarter, which will be regularly brought you by an especial hand, and of the enclosed bank-bill for a beginning. And do not, dearest Madam, we all beseech you, do not think you are beholden (for this token of Lord M.’s, and Lady Sarah’s, and Lady Betty’s, love to you) to the friends of this vile man; for he has not one friend left among us.

We each of us desire to be favoured with a place in your esteem; and to be considered upon the same foot of relationship as if what once was so much our pleasure to hope would be, had been. And it shall be our united prayer, that you may recover health and spirits, and live to see many happy years: and, since this wretch can no more be pleaded for, that, when he is gone abroad, as he now is preparing to do, we may be permitted the honour of a personal acquaintance with a lady who has no equal. These are the earnest requests, dearest young lady, of

Your affectionate friends, and most faithful servants, M. SARAH SADLEIR. ELIZ. LAWRANCE. CHARL. MONTAGUE. MARTH. MONTAGUE.

You will break the hearts of the three first-named more particularly, if

you refuse them your acceptance. Dearest young lady, punish not

them for his crimes. We send by a particular hand, which will

bring us, we hope, your accepting favour.

Mr. Lovelace writes by the same hand; but he knows nothing of our letter,

nor we of his: for we shun each other; and one part of the house

holds us, another him, the remotest from each other.