Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XV


What a cursed piece of work hast thou made of it, with the most excellent of women! Thou mayest be in earnest, or in jest, as thou wilt; but the poor lady will not be long either thy sport, or the sport of fortune!

I will give thee an account of a scene that wants but her affecting pen to represent it justly; and it would wring all the black blood out of thy callous heart.

Thou only, who art the author of her calamities, shouldst have attended her in her prison. I am unequal to such a task: nor know I any other man but would.

This last act, however unintended by thee, yet a consequence of thy general orders, and too likely to be thought agreeable to thee, by those who know thy other villanies by her, has finished thy barbarous work. And I advise thee to trumpet forth every where, how much in earnest thou art to marry her, whether true or not.

Thou mayest safely do it. She will not live to put thee to the trial; and it will a little palliate for thy enormous usage of her, and be a mean to make mankind, who know not what I know of the matter, herd a little longer with thee, and forbear to hunt thee to thy fellow-savages in the Lybian wilds and desarts.

Your messenger found me at Edgware expecting to dinner with me several friends, whom I had invited three days before. I sent apologies to them, as in a case of life and death; and speeded to town to the woman’s: for how knew I but shocking attempts might be made upon her by the cursed wretches: perhaps by your connivance, in order to mortify her into your measures?

Little knows the public what villanies are committed by vile wretches, in these abominable houses upon innocent creatures drawn into their snares.

Finding the lady not there, I posted away to the officer’s, although Sally told me that she had but just come from thence; and that she had refused to see her, or (as she sent down word) any body else; being resolved to have the remainder of that Sunday to herself, as it might, perhaps, be the last she should ever see.

I had the same thing told me, when I got thither.

I sent up to let her know, that I came with a commission to set her at liberty. I was afraid of sending up the name of a man known to be your friend. She absolutely refused to see any man, however, for that day, or to answer further to any thing said from me.

Having therefore informed myself of all that the officer, and his wife, and servant, could acquaint me with, as well in relation to the horrid arrest, as to her behaviour, and the women’s to her; and her ill state of health; I went back to Sinclair’s, as I will still call her, and heard the three women’s story. From all which I am enabled to give you the following shocking particulars: which may serve till I can see the unhappy lady herself to-morrow, if then I gain admittance to her. You will find that I have been very minute in my inquiries.

Your villain it was that set the poor lady, and had the impudence to appear, and abet the sheriff’s officers in the cursed transaction. He thought, no doubt, that he was doing the most acceptable service to his blessed master. They had got a chair; the head ready up, as soon as service was over. And as she came out of the church, at the door fronting Bedford-street, the officers, stepping up to her, whispered that they had an action against her.

She was terrified, trembled, and turned pale.

Action, said she! What is that!——I have committed no bad action!—— Lord bless me! men, what mean you?

That you are our prisoner, Madam.

Prisoner, Sirs!—What—How—Why—What have I done?

You must go with us. Be pleased, Madam, to step into this chair.

With you!—With men! Must go with men!—I am not used to go with strange men!——Indeed you must excuse me!

We can’t excuse you. We are sheriff’s officers, We have a writ against you. You must go with us, and you shall know at whose suit.

Suit! said the charming innocent; I don’t know what you mean. Pray, men, don’t lay hands upon me; (they offering to put her into the chair.) I am not used to be thus treated—I have done nothing to deserve it.

She then spied thy villain—O thou wretch, said she, where is thy vile master?—Am I again to be his prisoner? Help, good people!

A crowd had begun to gather.

My master is in the country, Madam, many miles off. If you please to go with these men, they will treat you civilly.

The people were most of them struck with compassion. A fine young creature!—A thousand pities cried some. While some few threw out vile and shocking reflections! But a gentleman interposed, and demanded to see the fellow’s authority.

They showed it. Is your name Clarissa Harlowe, Madam? said he.

Yes, yes, indeed, ready to sink, my name was Clarissa Harlowe:—but it is now Wretchedness!——Lord be merciful to me, what is to come next?

You must go with these men, Madam, said the gentleman: they have authority for what they do.

He pitied her, and retired.

Indeed you must, said one chairman.

Indeed you must, said the other.

Can nobody, joined in another gentleman, be applied to, who will see that so fine a creature is not ill used?

Thy villain answered, orders were given particularly for that. She had rich relations. She need but ask and have. She would only be carried to the officer’s house till matters could be made up. The people she had lodged with loved her:—but she had left her lodgings privately.

Oh! had she those tricks already? cried one or two.

She heard not this—but said—Well, if I must go, I must—I cannot resist —but I will not be carried to the woman’s! I will rather die at your feet, than be carried to the woman’s.

You won’t be carried there, Madam, cried thy fellow.

Only to my house, Madam, said one of the officers.

Where is that?

In High-Holborn, Madam.

I know not where High-Holborn is: but any where, except to the woman’s. ——But am I to go with men only?

Looking about her, and seeing the three passages, to wit, that leading to Henrietta-street, that to King-street, and the fore-right one, to Bedford-street, crowded, she started—Any where—any where, said she, but to the woman’s! And stepping into the chair, threw herself on the seat, in the utmost distress and confusion—Carry me, carry me out of sight— cover me—cover me up—for ever—were her words.

Thy villain drew the curtain: she had not power: and they went away with her through a vast crowd of people.

Here I must rest. I can write no more at present.

Only, Lovelace, remember, all this was to a Clarissa.


The unhappy lady fainted away when she was taken out of the chair at the officer’s house.

Several people followed the chair to the very house, which is in a wretched court. Sally was there; and satisfied some of the inquirers, that the young gentlewoman would be exceedingly well used: and they soon dispersed.

Dorcas was also there; but came not in her sight. Sally, as a favour, offered to carry her to her former lodgings: but she declared they should carry her thither a corpse, if they did.

Very gentle usage the women boast of: so would a vulture, could it speak, with the entrails of its prey upon its rapacious talons. Of this you’ll judge from what I have to recite.

She asked, what was meant by this usage of her? People told me, said she, that I must go with the men: that they had authority to take me: so I submitted. But now, what is to be the end of this disgraceful violence?

The end, said the vile Sally Martin, is, for honest people to come at their own.

Bless me! have I taken away any thing that belongs to those who have obtained the power over me?—I have left very valuable things behind me; but have taken away that is not my own.

And who do you think, Miss Harlowe; for I understand, said the cursed creature, you are not married; who do you think is to pay for your board and your lodgings! such handsome lodgings! for so long a time as you were at Mrs. Sinclair’s?

Lord have mercy upon me!—Miss Martin, (I think you are Miss Martin!)— And is this the cause of such a disgraceful insult upon me in the open streets?

And cause enough, Miss Harlowe! (fond of gratifying her jealous revenge, by calling her Miss,)—One hundred and fifty guineas, or pounds, is no small sum to lose—and by a young creature who would have bilked her lodgings.

You amaze me, Miss Martin!—What language do you talk in?—Bilk my lodgings?—What is that?

She stood astonished and silent for a few moments.

But recovering herself, and turning from her to the window, she wrung her hands [the cursed Sally showed me how!] and lifting them up—Now, Lovelace: now indeed do I think I ought to forgive thee!—But who shall forgive Clarissa Harlowe!——O my sister!—O my brother!—Tender mercies were your cruelties to this!

After a pause, her handkerchief drying up her falling tears, she turned to Sally: Now, have I nothing to do but acquiesce—only let me say, that if this aunt of your’s, this Mrs. Sinclair, or this man, this Mr. Lovelace, come near me; or if I am carried to the horrid house; (for that, I suppose, is the design of this new outrage;) God be merciful to the poor Clarissa Harlowe!——Look to the consequence!——Look, I charge you, to the consequence!

The vile wretch told her, it was not designed to carry her any where against her will: but, if it were, they should take care not to be frighted again by a penknife.

She cast up her eyes to Heaven, and was silent—and went to the farthest corner of the room, and, sitting down, threw her handkerchief over her face.

Sally asked her several questions; but not answering her, she told her, she would wait upon her by-and-by, when she had found her speech.

She ordered the people to press her to eat and drink. She must be fasting—nothing but her prayers and tears, poor thing!—were the merciless devil’s words, as she owned to me.—Dost think I did not curse her?

She went away; and, after her own dinner, returned.

The unhappy lady, by this devil’s account of her, then seemed either mortified into meekness, or to have made a resolution not to be provoked by the insults of this cursed creature.

Sally inquired, in her presence, whether she had eat or drank any thing; and being told by the woman, that she could not prevail upon her to taste a morsel, or drink a drop, she said, this is wrong, Miss Harlowe! Very wrong!—Your religion, I think, should teach you, that starving yourself is self-murder.

She answered not.

The wretch owned she was resolved to make her speak.

She asked if Mabell should attend her, till it were seen what her friends would do for her in discharge of the debt? Mabell, said she, had not yet earned the clothes you were so good as to give her.

Am I not worthy an answer, Miss Harlowe?

I would answer you (said the sweet sufferer, without any emotion) if I knew how.

I have ordered pen, ink, and paper, to be brought you, Miss Harlowe. There they are. I know you love writing. You may write to whom you please. Your friend, Miss Howe, will expect to hear from you.

I have no friend, said she, I deserve none.

Rowland, for that’s the officer’s name, told her, she had friends enow to pay the debt, if she would write.

She would trouble nobody; she had no friends; was all they could get from her, while Sally staid: but yet spoken with a patience of spirit, as if she enjoyed her griefs.

The insolent creature went away, ordering them, in the lady’s hearing, to be very civil to her, and to let her want for nothing. Now had she, she owned, the triumph of her heart over this haughty beauty, who kept them all at such a distance in their own house!

What thinkest thou, Lovelace, of this!—This wretch’s triumph was over a Clarissa!

About six in the evening, Rowland’s wife pressed her to drink tea. She said, she had rather have a glass of water; for her tongue was ready to cleave to the roof of her mouth.

The woman brought her a glass, and some bread and butter. She tried to taste the latter; but could not swallow it: but eagerly drank the water; lifting up her eyes in thankfulness for that!!!

The divine Clarissa, Lovelace,—reduced to rejoice for a cup of cold water!—By whom reduced?

About nine o’clock she asked if any body were to be her bedfellow.

Their maid, if she pleased; or, as she was so weak and ill, the girl should sit up with her, if she chose she should.

She chose to be alone both night and day, she said. But might she not be trusted with the key of the room where she was to lie down; for she should not put off her clothes!

That, they told her, could not be.

She was afraid not, she said.—But indeed she would not get away, if she could.

They told me, that they had but one bed, besides that they lay in themselves, (which they would fain have had her accept of,) and besides that their maid lay in, in a garret, which they called a hole of a garret: and that that one bed was the prisoner’s bed; which they made several apologies to me about. I suppose it is shocking enough.

But the lady would not lie in theirs. Was she not a prisoner? she said —let her have the prisoner’s room.

Yet they owned that she started, when she was conducted thither. But recovering herself, Very well, said she—why should not all be of a piece?—Why should not my wretchedness be complete?

She found fault, that all the fastenings were on the outside, and none within; and said, she could not trust herself in a room where others could come in at their pleasure, and she not go out. She had not been used to it!!!

Dear, dear soul!—My tears flow as I write!——Indeed, Lovelace, she had not been used to such treatment.

They assured her, that it was as much their duty to protect her from other persons’ insults, as from escaping herself.

Then they were people of more honour, she said, than she had been of late used to.

She asked if they knew Mr. Lovelace?

No, was their answer.

Have you heard of him?


Well, then, you may be good sort of folks in your way.

Pause here for a moment, Lovelace!—and reflect—I must.


Again they asked her if they should send any word to her lodgings?

These are my lodgings now; are they not?—was all her answer.

She sat up in a chair all night, the back against the door; having, it seems, thrust a piece of a poker through the staples where a bolt had been on the inside.


Next morning Sally and Polly both went to visit her.

She had begged of Sally, the day before, that she might not see Mrs. Sinclair, nor Dorcas, nor the broken-toothed servant, called William.

Polly would have ingratiated herself with her; and pretended to be concerned for her misfortunes. But she took no more notice of her than of the other.

They asked if she had any commands?—If she had, she only need to mention what they were, and she should be obeyed.

None at all, she said.

How did she like the people of the house? Were they civil to her?

Pretty well, considering she had no money to give them.

Would she accept of any money? they could put it to her account.

She would contract no debts.

Had she any money about her?

She meekly put her hand in her pocket, and pulled out half a guinea, and a little silver. Yes, I have a little.——But here should be fees paid, I believe. Should there not? I have heard of entrance-money to compound for not being stript. But these people are very civil people, I fancy; for they have not offered to take away my clothes.

They have orders to be civil to you.

It is very kind.

But we two will bail you, Miss, if you will go back with us to Mrs. Sinclair’s.

Not for the world!

Her’s are very handsome apartments.

The fitter for those who own them!

These are very sad ones.

The fitter for me!

You may be happy yet, Miss, if you will.

I hope I shall.

If you refuse to eat or drink, we will give bail, and take you with us.

Then I will try to eat and drink. Any thing but go with you.

Will you not send to your new lodgings; the people will be frighted.

So they will, if I send. So they will, if they know where I am.

But have you no things to send for from thence?

There is what will pay for their lodgings and trouble: I shall not lessen their security.

But perhaps letters or messages may be left for you there.

I have very few friends; and to those I have I will spare the mortification of knowing what has befallen me.

We are surprised at your indifference, Miss Harlowe! Will you not write to any of your friends?


Why, you don’t think of tarrying here always?

I shall not live always.

Do you think you are to stay here as long as you live?

That’s as it shall please God, and those who have brought me hither.

Should you like to be at liberty?

I am miserable!—What is liberty to the miserable, but to be more miserable.

How miserable, Miss?—You may make yourself as happy as you please.

I hope you are both happy.

We are.

May you be more and more happy!

But we wish you to be so too.

I shall never be of your opinion, I believe, as to what happiness is.

What do you take our opinion of happiness to be?

To live at Mrs. Sinclair’s.

Perhaps, said Sally, we were once as squeamish and narrow-minded as you.

How came it over with you?

Because we saw the ridiculousness of prudery.

Do you come hither to persuade me to hate prudery, as you call it, as much as you do?

We came to offer our service to you.

It is out of your power to serve me.

Perhaps not.

It is not in my inclination to trouble you.

You may be worse offered.

Perhaps I may.

You are mighty short, Miss.

As I wish your visit to be, Ladies.

They owned to me, that they cracked their fans, and laughed.

Adieu, perverse beauty!

Your servant, Ladies.

Adieu, haughty airs!

You see me humbled—

As you deserve, Miss Harlowe. Pride will have a fall.

Better fall, with what you call pride, than stand with meanness.

Who does?

I had once a better opinion of you, Miss Horton!—Indeed you should not insult the miserable.

Neither should the miserable, said Sally, insult people for their civility.

I should be sorry if I did.

Mrs. Sinclair shall attend you by-and-by, to know if you have any commands for her.

I have no wish for any liberty, but that of refusing to see her, and one more person.

What we came for, was to know if you had any proposals to make for your enlargement.

Then, it seems, the officer put in. You have very good friends, Madam, I understand. Is it not better that you make it up? Charges will run high. A hundred and fifty guineas are easier paid than two hundred. Let these ladies bail you, and go along with them; or write to your friends to make it up.

Sally said, There is a gentleman who saw you taken, and was so much moved for you, Miss Harlowe, that he would gladly advance the money for you, and leave you to pay it when you can.

See, Lovelace, what cursed devils these are! This is the way, we know, that many an innocent heart is thrown upon keeping, and then upon the town. But for these wretches thus to go to work with such an angel as this!—How glad would have been the devilish Sally, to have had the least handle to report to thee a listening ear, or patient spirit, upon this hint!

Sir, said she, with high indignation, to the officer, did not you say, last night, that it was as much your business to protect me from the insults of others, as from escaping?—Cannot I be permitted to see whom I please? and to refuse admittance to those I like not?

Your creditors, Madam, will expect to see you.

Not if I declare I will not treat with them.

Then, Madam, you will be sent to prison.

Prison, friend!—What dost thou call thy house?

Not a prison, Madam.

Why these iron-barred windows, then? Why these double locks and bolts all on the outside, none on the in?

And down she dropt into her chair, and they could not get another word from her. She threw her handkerchief over her face, as one before, which was soon wet with tears; and grievously, they own, she sobbed.

Gentle treatment, Lovelace!—Perhaps thou, as well as these wretches, will think it so!

Sally then ordered a dinner, and said, They would soon be back a gain, and see that she eat and drank, as a good christian should, comporting herself to her condition, and making the best of it.

What has not this charming creature suffered, what has she not gone through, in these last three months, that I know of!—Who would think such a delicately-framed person could have sustained what she has sustained! We sometimes talk of bravery, of courage, of fortitude!—Here they are in perfection!—Such bravoes as thou and I should never have been able to support ourselves under half the persecutions, the disappointments, and contumelies, that she has met with; but, like cowards, should have slid out of the world, basely, by some back-door; that is to say, by a sword, by a pistol, by a halter, or knife;—but here is a fine-principled woman, who, by dint of this noble consideration, as I imagine, [What else can support her?] that she has not deserved the evils she contends with; and that this world is designed but as a transitory state of the probation; and that she is travelling to another and better; puts up with all the hardships of the journey; and is not to be diverted from her course by the attacks of thieves and robbers, or any other terrors and difficulties; being assured of an ample reward at the end of it.

If thou thinkest this reflection uncharacteristic from a companion and friend of thine, imaginest thou, that I profited nothing by my long attendance on my uncle in his dying state; and from the pious reflections of the good clergyman, who, day by day, at the poor man’s own request, visited and prayed by him?—And could I have another such instance, as this, to bring all these reflections home to me?

Then who can write of good persons, and of good subjects, and be capable of admiring them, and not be made serious for the time? And hence may we gather what a benefit to the morals of men the keeping of good company must be; while those who keep only bad, must necessarily more and more harden, and be hardened.


’Tis twelve of the clock, Sunday night—I can think of nothing but this excellent creature. Her distresses fill my head and my heart. I was drowsy for a quarter of an hour; but the fit is gone off. And I will continue the melancholy subject from the information of these wretches. Enough, I dare say, will arise in the visit I shall make, if admitted to-morrow, to send by thy servant, as to the way I am likely to find her in.

After the women had left her, she complained of her head and her heart; and seemed terrified with apprehensions of being carried once more to Sinclair’s.

Refusing any thing for breakfast, Mrs. Rowland came up to her, and told her, (as these wretches owned they had ordered her, for fear she should starve herself,) that she must and should have tea, and bread and butter: and that, as she had friends who could support her, if she wrote to them, it was a wrong thing, both for herself and them, to starve herself thus.

If it be for your own sakes, said she, that is another thing: let coffee, or tea, or chocolate, or what you will, be got: and put down a chicken to my account every day, if you please, and eat it yourselves. I will taste it, if I can. I would do nothing to hinder you. I have friends will pay you liberally, when they know I am gone.

They wondered, they told her, at her strange composure in such distresses.

They were nothing, she said, to what she had suffered already from the vilest of all men. The disgrace of seizing her in the street; multitudes of people about her; shocking imputations wounding her ears; had indeed been very affecting to her. But that was over.—Every thing soon would! —And she should be still more composed, were it not for the apprehensions of seeing one man, and one woman; and being tricked or forced back to the vilest house in the world.

Then were it not better to give way to the two gentlewoman’s offer to bail her?—They could tell her, it was a very kind proffer; and what was not to be met every day.

She believed so.

The ladies might, possibly, dispense with her going back to the house to which she had such an antipathy. Then the compassionate gentleman, who was inclined to make it up with her creditors on her own bond—it was very strange to them she hearkened not to so generous a proposal.

Did the two ladies tell you who the gentleman was?—Or, did they say any more on the subject?

Yes, they did! and hinted to me, said the woman, that you had nothing to do but to receive a visit from the gentleman, and the money, they believed, would be laid down on your own bond or note.

She was startled.

I charge you, said she, as you will answer it one day to my friends, I charge you don’t. If you do, you know not what may be the consequence.

They apprehended no bad consequence, they said, in doing their duty: and if she knew not her own good, her friends would thank them for taking any innocent steps to serve her, though against her will.

Don’t push me upon extremities, man!—Don’t make me desperate, woman!—I have no small difficulty, notwithstanding the seeming composure you just now took notice of, to bear, as I ought to bear, the evils I suffer. But if you bring a man or men to me, be the pretence what it will——

She stopt there, and looked so earnestly, and so wildly, they said, that they did not know but she would do some harm to herself, if they disobeyed her; and that would be a sad thing in their house, and might be their ruin. They therefore promised, that no man should be brought to her but by her own consent.

Mrs. Rowland prevailed on her to drink a dish of tea, and taste some bread and butter, about eleven on Saturday morning: which she probably did to have an excuse not to dine with the women when they returned.

But she would not quit her prison-room, as she called it, to go into their parlour.

’Unbarred windows, and a lightsomer apartment,’ she said, ’had too cheerful an appearance for her mind.’

A shower falling, as she spoke, ’What,’ said she, looking up, ’do the elements weep for me?’

At another time, ’The light of the sun was irksome to her. The sun seemed to shine in to mock her woes.’

’Methought,’ added she, ’the sun darting in, and gilding these iron bars, plays upon me like the two women, who came to insult my haggard looks, by the word beauty; and my dejected heart, by the word haughty airs!’

Sally came again at dinner-time, to see how she fared, as she told her; and that she did not starve herself: and, as she wanted to have some talk with her, if she gave her leave, she would dine with her.

I cannot eat.

You must try, Miss Harlowe.

And, dinner being ready just then, she offered her hand, and desired her to walk down.

No; she would not stir out of her prison-room.

These sullen airs won’t do, Miss Harlowe: indeed they won’t.

She was silent.

You will have harder usage than any you have ever yet known, I can tell you, if you come not into some humour to make matters up.

She was still silent.

Come, Miss, walk down to dinner. Let me entreat you, do. Miss Horton is below: she was once your favourite.

She waited for an answer: but received none.

We came to make some proposals to you, for your good; though you affronted us so lately. And we would not let Mrs. Sinclair come in person, because we thought to oblige you.

This is indeed obliging.

Come, give me your hand. Miss Harlowe: you are obliged to me, I can tell you that: and let us go down to Miss Horton.

Excuse me: I will not stir out of this room.

Would you have me and Miss Horton dine in this filthy bed-room?

It is not a bed-room to me. I have not been in bed; nor will, while I am here.

And yet you care not, as I see, to leave the house.—And so, you won’t go down, Miss Harlowe?

I won’t, except I am forced to it.

Well, well, let it alone. I sha’n’t ask Miss Horton to dine in this room, I assure you. I will send up a plate.

And away the little saucy toad fluttered down.

When they had dined, up they came together.

Well, Miss, you would not eat any thing, it seems?—Very pretty sullen airs these!—No wonder the honest gentleman had such a hand with you.

She only held up her hands and eyes; the tears trickling down her cheeks.

Insolent devils!—how much more cruel and insulting are bad women even than bad men!

Methinks, Miss, said Sally, you are a little soily, to what we have seen you. Pity such a nice lady should not have changes of apparel! Why won’t you send to your lodgings for linen, at least?

I am not nice now.

Miss looks well and clean in any thing, said Polly. But, dear Madam, why won’t you send to your lodgings? Were it but in kindness to the people? They must have a concern about you. And your Miss Howe will wonder what’s become of you; for, no doubt, you correspond.

She turned from them, and, to herself, said, Too much! Too much!—She tossed her handkerchief, wet before with her tears, from her, and held her apron to her eyes.

Don’t weep, Miss! said the vile Polly.

Yet do, cried the viler Sally, it will be a relief. Nothing, as Mr. Lovelace once told me, dries sooner than tears. For once I too wept mightily.

I could not bear the recital of this with patience. Yet I cursed them not so much as I should have done, had I not had a mind to get from them all the particulars of their gentle treatment: and this for two reasons; the one, that I might stab thee to the heart with the repetition; and the other, that I might know upon what terms I am likely to see the unhappy lady to-morrow.

Well, but, Miss Harlowe, cried Sally, do you think these forlorn airs pretty? You are a good christian, child. Mrs. Rowland tells me, she has got you a Bible-book.—O there it lies!—I make no doubt but you have doubled down the useful places, as honest Matt. Prior says.

Then rising, and taking it up.—Ay, so you have.—The Book of Job! One opens naturally here, I see—My mamma made me a fine Bible-scholar.—You see, Miss Horton, I know something of the book.

They proposed once more to bail her, and to go home with them. A motion which she received with the same indignation as before.

Sally told her, That she had written in a very favourable manner, in her behalf, to you; and that she every hour expected an answer; and made no doubt, that you would come up with a messenger, and generously pay the whole debt, and ask her pardon for neglecting it.

This disturbed her so much, that they feared she would have fallen into fits. She could not bear your name, she said. She hoped she should never see you more: and, were you to intrude yourself, dreadful consequences might follow.

Surely, they said, she would be glad to be released from her confinement.

Indeed she should, now they had begun to alarm her with his name, who was the author of all her woes: and who, she now saw plainly, gave way to this new outrage, in order to bring her to his own infamous terms.

Why then, they asked, would she not write to her friends, to pay Mrs. Sinclair’s demand?

Because she hoped she should not trouble any body; and because she knew that the payment of the money if she should be able to pay it, was not what was aimed at.

Sally owned that she told her, That, truly, she had thought herself as well descended, and as well educated, as herself, though not entitled to such considerable fortunes. And had the impudence to insist upon it to me to be truth.

She had the insolence to add, to the lady, That she had as much reason as she to expect Mr. Lovelace would marry her; he having contracted to do so before he knew Miss Clarissa Harlowe: and that she had it under his hand and seal too—or else he had not obtained his end: therefore it was not likely she should be so officious as to do his work against herself, if she thought Mr. Lovelace had designs upon her, like what she presumed to hint at: that, for her part, her only view was, to procure liberty to a young gentlewoman, who made those things grievous to her which would not be made such a rout about by any body else—and to procure the payment of a just debt to her friend Mrs. Sinclair.

She besought them to leave her. She wanted not these instances, she said, to convince her of the company she was in; and told them, that, to get rid of such visiters, and of the still worse she was apprehensive of, she would write to one friend to raise the money for her; though it would be death for her to do so; because that friend could not do it without her mother, in whose eye it would give a selfish appearance to a friendship that was above all sordid alloys.

They advised her to write out of hand.

But how much must I write for? What is the sum? Should I not have had a bill delivered me? God knows, I took not your lodgings. But he that could treat me as he has done, could do this!

Don’t speak against Mr. Lovelace, Miss Harlowe. He is a man I greatly esteem. [Cursed toad!] And, ’bating that he will take his advantage, where he can, of US silly credulous women, he is a man of honour.

She lifted up her hands and eyes, instead of speaking: and well she might! For any words she could have used could not have expressed the anguish she must feel on being comprehended in the US.

She must write for one hundred and fifty guineas, at least: two hundred, if she were short of more money, might well be written for.

Mrs. Sinclair, she said, had all her clothes. Let them be sold, fairly sold, and the money go as far as it would go. She had also a few other valuables; but no money, (none at all,) but the poor half guinea, and the little silver they had seen. She would give bond to pay all that her apparel, and the other maters she had, would fall short of. She had great effects belonging to her of right. Her bond would, and must be paid, were it for a thousand pounds. But her clothes she should never want. She believed, if not too much undervalued, those, and her few valuables, would answer every thing. She wished for no surplus but to discharge the last expenses; and forty shillings would do as well for those as forty pounds. ’Let my ruin, said she, lifting up her eyes, be LARGE! Let it be COMPLETE, in this life!—For a composition, let it be COMPLETE.’—And there she stopped.

The wretches could not help wishing to me for the opportunity of making such a purchase for their own wear. How I cursed them! and, in my heart, thee!—But too probable, thought I, that this vile Sally Martin may hope, [though thou art incapable of it,] that her Lovelace, as she has the assurance, behind thy back, to call thee, may present her with some of the poor lady’s spoils!

Will not Mrs. Sinclair, proceeded she, think my clothes a security, till they can be sold? They are very good clothes. A suit or two but just put on, as it were; never worn. They cost much more than it demanded of me. My father loved to see me fine.—All shall go. But let me have the particulars of her demand. I suppose I must pay for my destroyer [that was her well-adapted word!] and his servants, as well as for myself. I am content to do so—I am above wishing that any body, who could thus act, should be so much as expostulated with, as to the justice and equity of this payment. If I have but enough to pay the demand, I shall be satisfied; and will leave the baseness of such an action as this, as an aggravation of a guilt which I thought could not be aggravated.

I own, Lovelace, I have malice in this particularity, in order to sting thee on the heart. And, let me ask thee, what now thou can’st think of thy barbarity, thy unprecedented barbarity, in having reduced a person of her rank, fortune, talents, and virtue, so low?

The wretched women, it must be owned, act but in their profession: a profession thou hast been the principal means of reducing these two to act in. And they know what thy designs have been, and how far prosecuted. It is, in their opinions, using her gently, that they have forborne to bring her to the woman so justly odious to her: and that they have not threatened her with the introducing to her strange men: nor yet brought into her company their spirit-breakers, and humbling-drones, (fellows not allowed to carry stings,) to trace and force her back to their detested house; and, when there, into all their measures.

Till I came, they thought thou wouldst not be displeased at any thing she suffered, that could help to mortify her into a state of shame and disgrace; and bring her to comply with thy views, when thou shouldst come to release her from these wretches, as from a greater evil than cohabiting with thee.

When thou considerest these things, thou wilt make no difficulty of believing, that this their own account of their behaviour to this admirable woman has been far short of their insults: and the less, when I tell thee, that, all together, their usage had such effect upon her, that they left her in violent hysterics; ordering an apothecary to be sent for, if she should continue in them, and be worse; and particularly (as they had done from the first) that they kept out of her way any edged or pointed instrument; especially a pen-knife; which, pretending to mend a pen, they said, she might ask for.

At twelve, Saturday night, Rowland sent to tell them, that she was so ill, that he knew not what might be the issue; and wished her out of his house.

And this made them as heartily wish to hear from you. For their messenger, to their great surprise, was not then returned from M. Hall. And they were sure he must have reached that place by Friday night.

Early on Sunday morning, both devils went to see how she did. They had such an account of her weakness, lowness, and anguish, that they forebore (out of compassion, they said, finding their visits so disagreeable to her) to see her. But their apprehension of what might be the issue was, no doubt, their principal consideration: nothing else could have softened such flinty bosoms.

They sent for the apothecary Rowland had had to her, and gave him, and Rowland, and his wife and maid, strict orders, many times repeated, for the utmost care to be taken of her—no doubt, with an Old-Bailey forecast. And they sent up to let her know what orders they had given: but that, understanding she had taken something to compose herself, they would not disturb her.

She had scrupled, it seems, to admit the apothecary’s visit over night, because he was a MAN. Nor could she be prevailed upon to see him, till they pleaded their own safety to her.

They went again, from church, [Lord, Bob., these creatures go to church!] but she sent them down word that she must have all the remainder of the day to herself.

When I first came, and told them of thy execrations for what they had done, and joined my own to them, they were astonished. The mother said, she had thought she had known Mr. Lovelace better; and expected thanks, and not curses.

While I was with them, came back halting and cursing, most horribly, their messenger; by reason of the ill-usage he had received from you, instead of the reward he had been taught to expect for the supposed good news that he carried down.—A pretty fellow, art thou not, to abuse people for the consequences of thy own faults?

Dorcas, whose acquaintance this fellow is, and who recommended him for the journey, had conditioned with him, it seems, for a share in the expected bounty from you. Had she been to have had her share made good, I wish thou hadst broken every bone in his skin.

Under what shocking disadvantages, and with this addition to them, that I am thy friend and intimate, am I to make a visit to this unhappy lady to-morrow morning! In thy name, too!—Enough to be refused, that I am of a sex, to which, for thy sake, she has so justifiable an aversion: nor, having such a tyrant of a father, and such an implacable brother, has she the reason to make an exception in favour of any of it on their accounts.

It is three o’clock. I will close here; and take a little rest: what I have written will be a proper preparative for what shall offer by-and-by.

Thy servant is not to return without a letter, he tells me; and that thou expectest him back in the morning. Thou hast fellows enough where thou art at thy command. If I find any difficulty in seeing the lady, thy messenger shall post away with this.—Let him look to broken bones, and other consequences, if what he carries answer not thy expectation. But, if I am admitted, thou shalt have this and the result of my audience both together. In the former case, thou mayest send another servant to wait the next advices from