Clarissa Harlowe LETTER IX


With infinite regret I am obliged to tell you, that I can no longer write to you, or receive letters from you.—Your mother has sent me a letter enclosed in a cover to Mr. Lovelace, directed for him at Lord M.’s, (and which was brought him just now,) reproaching me on this subject in very angry terms, and forbidding me, ’as I would not be thought to intend to make her and you unhappy, to write to you without her leave.’

This, therefore, is the last you must receive from me, till happier days. And as my prospects are not very bad, I presume we shall soon have leave to write again; and even to see each other: since an alliance with a family so honourable as Mr. Lovelace’s is will not be a disgrace.

She is pleased to write, ’That if I would wish to inflame you, I should let you know her written prohibition: but if otherwise, find some way of my own accord (without bringing her into the question) to decline a correspondence, which I must know she has for some time past forbidden.’ But all I can say is, to beg of you not to be inflamed: to beg of you not to let her know, or even by your behaviour to her, on this occasion, guess, that I have acquainted you with my reason for declining to write to you. For how else, after the scruples I have heretofore made on this very subject, yet proceeding to correspond, can I honestly satisfy you about my motives for this sudden stop? So, my dear, I choose, you see, rather to rely upon your discretion, than to feign reasons with which you would not be satisfied, but with your usual active penetration, sift to the bottom, and at last find me to be a mean and low qualifier; and that with an implication injurious to you, that I supposed you had not prudence enough to be trusted with the naked truth.

I repeat, that my prospects are not bad. ’The house, I presume, will soon be taken. The people here are very respectful, notwithstanding my nicety about Miss Partington. Miss Martin, who is near marriage with an eminent tradesman in the Strand, just now, in a very respectful manner, asked my opinion of some patterns of rich silks for the occasion. The widow has a less forbidding appearance than at first. Mr. Lovelace, on my declared dislike of his four friends, has assured me that neither they nor any body else shall be introduced to me without my leave.’

These circumstances I mention (as you will suppose) that your kind heart may be at ease about me; that you may be induced by them to acquiesce with your mother’s commands, (cheerfully acquiesce,) and that for my sake, lest I should be thought an inflamer; who am, with very contrary intentions, my dearest and best beloved friend,

Your ever obliged and affectionate, CLARISSA HARLOWE.