Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XLVI

TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ. WEDN. JUNE 28, NEAR TWELVE O’CLOCK.

HONOURED SIR,

I received your’s, as your servant desired me to acquaint you, by ten this morning. Horse and man were in a foam.

I instantly equipped myself, as if come off from a journey, and posted away to the lady, intending to plead great affairs that I came not before, in order to favour your antedate; and likewise to be in a hurry, to have a pretence to hurry her ladyship, and to take no denial for her giving a satisfactory return to your messenger. But, upon my entering Mrs. Sinclair’s house, I found all in the greatest consternation.

You must not, Sir, be surprised. It is a trouble to me to be the relater of the bad news; but so it is—The lady is gone off! She was missed but half an hour before I came.

Her waiting-maid is run away, or hitherto is not to be found: so that they conclude it was by her connivance.

They had sent, before I came, to my honoured masters Mr. Belton, Mr. Mowbray, and Mr. Belford. Mr. Tourville is out of town.

High words are passing between Madam Sinclair, and Madam Horton, and Madam Martin; as also with Dorcas. And your servant William threatens to hang or drown himself.

They have sent to know if they can hear of Mabell, the waiting-maid, at her mother’s, who it seems lives in Chick-lane, West-Smithfield; and to an uncle of her’s also, who keeps an alehouse at Cow-cross, had by, and with whom she lived last.

Your messenger having just changed his horse, is come back: so I will not detain him longer than to add, that I am, with great concern for this misfortune, and thanks for your seasonable favour and kind intentions towards me—I am sure this was not my fault—

Honoured Sir, Your most obliged, humble servant, PATRICK M’DONALD.