Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XXXIII


Miss Rawlins at her brothers; Mrs. Moore engaged in household matters; widow Bevis dressing; I have nothing to do but write. This cursed Tomlinson not yet arrived!—Nothing to be done without him.

I think he shall complain in pretty high language of the treatment he met with yesterday. ’What are our affairs to him? He can have no view but to serve us. Cruel to send back to town, un-audienced, unseen, a man of his business and importance. He never stirs a-foot, but something of consequence depends upon his movements. A confounded thing to trifle thus humoursomely with such a gentleman’s moments!—These women think, that all the business of the world must stand still for their figaries [a good female word, Jack!] the greatest triflers in the creation, to fancy themselves the most important beings in it—marry come up! as I have heard goody Sorlings say to her servants, when she has rated at them with mingled anger and disdain.’

After all, methinks I want those tostications [thou seest how women, and women’s words, fill my mind] to be over, happily over, that I may sit down quietly, and reflect upon the dangers I have passed through, and the troubles I have undergone. I have a reflecting mind, as thou knowest; but the very word reflecting implies all got over.

What briars and thorns does the wretch rush into (a scratched face and tattered garments the unavoidable consequence) who will needs be for striking out a new path through overgrown underwood; quitting that beaten out for him by those who have travelled the same road before him!


A visit from the widow Bevis, in my own apartment. She tells me, that my spouse had thoughts last night, after I was gone to my lodgings, of removing from Mrs. Moore’s.

I almost wish she had attempted to do so.

Miss Rawlins, it seems, who was applied to upon it, dissuaded her from it.

Mrs. Moore also, though she did not own that Will. lay in the house, (or rather set up in it, courting,) set before her the difficulties, which, in her opinion, she would have to get clear off, without my knowledge; assuring her, that she could be no where more safe than with her, till she had fixed whither to go. And the lady herself recollected, that if she went, she might miss the expected letter from her dear friend Miss Howe! which, as she owned, was to direct her future steps.

She must also surely have some curiosity to know what her uncle’s friend had to say to her from her uncle, contemptuously as she yesterday treated a man of his importance. Nor could she, I should think, be absolutely determined to put herself out of the way of receiving the visits of two of the principal ladies of my family, and to break entirely with me in the face of them all.—Besides, whither could she have gone?—Moreover, Miss Howe’s letter coming (after her elopement) so safely to her hands, must surely put her into a more confiding temper with me, and with every one else, though she would not immediately own it.

But these good folks have so little charity!—Are such severe censurers! —Yet who is absolutely perfect?—It were to be wished, however, that they would be so modest as to doubt themselves sometimes: then would they allow for others, as others (excellent as they imagine themselves to be) must for them.


Tomlinson at last is come. Forced to ride five miles about (though I shall impute his delay to great and important business) to avoid the sight of two or three impertinent rascals, who, little thinking whose affairs he was employed in, wanted to obtrude themselves upon him. I think I will make this fellow easy, if he behave to my liking in this affair.

I sent up the moment he came.

She desired to be excused receiving his visit till four this afternoon.

Intolerable!—No consideration!—None at all in this sex, when their cursed humours are in the way!—Pay-day, pay-hour, rather, will come!— Oh! that it were to be the next!

The Captain is in a pet. Who can blame him? Even the women think a man of his consequence, and generously coming to serve us, hardly used. Would to heaven she had attempted to get off last night! The women not my enemies, who knows but the husband’s exerted authority might have met with such connivance, as might have concluded either in carrying her back to her former lodgings, or in consummation at Mrs. Moore’s, in spite of exclamations, fits, and the rest of the female obsecrations?

My beloved has not appeared to any body this day, except to Mrs. Moore. Is, it seems, extremely low: unfit for the interesting conversation that is to be held in the afternoon. Longs to hear from her dear friend Miss Howe—yet cannot expect a letter for a day or two. Has a bad opinion of all mankind.—No wonder!—Excellent creature as she is! with such a father, such uncles, such a brother, as she has!

How does she look?

Better than could be expected from yesterday’s fatigue, and last night’s ill rest.

These tender doves know not, till put to it, what they can bear; especially when engaged in love affairs; and their attention wholly engrossed. But the sex love busy scenes. Still life is their aversion. A woman will create a storm, rather than be without one. So that they can preside in the whirlwind, and direct it, they are happy.—But my beloved’s misfortune is, that she must live in tumult; yet neither raise them herself, nor be able to controul them.