Clarissa Harlowe LETTER LV


It was expected you would send again to me, or to my aunt Hervey. The enclosed has lain ready for you, therefore, by direction. You will have no answer from any body, write to whom you will, and as often as you will, and what you will.

It was designed to bring you back by proper authority, or to send you whither the disgraces you have brought upon us all should be in the likeliest way, after a while, to be forgotten. But I believe that design is over: so you may range securely—nobody will think it worth while to give themselves any trouble about you. Yet my mother has obtained leave to send you your clothes of all sorts: but your clothes only. This is a favour you’ll see by the within letter not designed you: and now not granted for your sake, but because my poor mother cannot bear in her sight any thing you used to wear. Read the enclosed, and tremble.




For I know not what name you are permitted, or choose to go by.

You have filled us all with distraction. My father, in the first agitations of his mind, on discovering your wicked, your shameful elopement, imprecated on his knees a fearful curse upon you. Tremble at the recital of it!—No less, than ’that you may meet your punishment both here and hereafter, by means of the very wretch in whom you have chosen to place your wicked confidence.’

Your clothes will not be sent you. You seen, by leaving them behind you, to have been secure of them, whenever you demanded them, but perhaps you could think of nothing but meeting your fellow:—nothing but how to get off your forward self!—For every thing seems to have been forgotten but what was to contribute to your wicked flight.—Yet you judged right, perhaps, that you would have been detected had you endeavoured to get away with your clothes.—Cunning creature! not to make one step that we would guess at you by! Cunning to effect your own ruin, and the disgrace of all the family!

But does the wretch put you upon writing for your things, for fear you should be too expensive to him?—That’s it, I suppose.

Was there ever a giddier creature?—Yet this is the celebrated, the blazing Clarissa—Clarissa what? Harlowe, no doubt!—And Harlowe it will be, to the disgrace of us all!

Your drawings and your pieces are all taken down; as is also your whole-length picture, in the Vandyke taste, from your late parlour: they are taken down, and thrown into your closet, which will be nailed up, as if it were not a part of the house, there to perish together: For who can bear to see them? Yet, how did they use to be shown to every body: the former, for the magnifying of your dainty finger-works; the latter, for the imputed dignity (dignity now in the dust!) of your boasted figure; and this by those fond parents from whom you have run away with so much, yet with so little contrivance!

My brother vows revenge upon your libertine—for the family’s sake he vows it—not for yours!—for he will treat you, he declares, like a common creature, if ever he sees you: and doubts not that this will be your fate.

My uncle Harlowe renounces you for ever.

So does my uncle Antony.

So does my aunt Hervey.

So do I, base, unworthy creature! the disgrace of a good family, and the property of an infamous rake, as questionless you will soon find yourself, if you are not already.

Your books, since they have not taught you what belongs to your family, to your sex, and to your education, will not be sent to you. Your money neither. Nor yet the jewels so undeservedly made yours. For it is wished you may be seen a beggar along London-streets.

If all this is heavy, lay your hand to your heart, and ask yourself, why you have deserved it?

Every man whom your pride taught you to reject with scorn (Mr. Solmes excepted, who, however, has reason to rejoice that he missed you) triumphs in your shameful elopement, and now knows how to account for his being refused.

Your worthy Norton is ashamed of you, and mingles her tears with your mother’s; both reproaching themselves for their shares in you, and in so fruitless an education.

Every body, in short, is ashamed of you: but none more than