Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XI

MR. BELFORD, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE SAT. MORN. AUG. 19.

MADAM,

I think myself obliged in honour to acquaint you that I am afraid Mr. Lovelace will try his fate by an interview with you.

I wish to Heaven you could prevail upon yourself to receive his visit. All that is respectful, even to veneration, and all that is penitent, will you see in his behaviour, if you can admit of it. But as I am obliged to set out directly for Epsom, (to perform, as I apprehend, the last friendly offices for poor Mr. Belton, whom once you saw,) and as I think it more likely that Mr. Lovelace will not be prevailed upon, than that he will, I thought fit to give you this intimation, lest, if he should come, you should be too much surprised.

He flatters himself that you are not so ill as I represent you to be. When he sees you, he will be convinced that the most obliging things he can do, will be as proper to be done for the sake of his own future peace of mind, as for your health-sake; and, I dare say, in fear of hurting the latter, he will forbear the thoughts of any farther intrusion; at least while you are so much indisposed: so that one half-hour’s shock, if it will be a shock to see the unhappy man, (but just got up himself from a dangerous fever,) will be all you will have occasion to stand.

I beg you will not too much hurry and discompose yourself. It is impossible he can be in town till Monday, at soonest. And if he resolve to come, I hope to be at Mr. Smith’s before him.

I am, Madam, with the profoundest veneration,

Your most faithful and most obedient servant, J. BELFORD.