Clarissa Harlowe LETTER VI


[Mr. Lovelace, in his last letters, having taken notice of the most

material passages contained in this letter, the following extracts

from it are only inserted.

She gives pretty near the same account that he does of what passed

between them on her resolution to go to church; and of his proposal

of St. Paul’s, and desire of attending her.—She praises his good

behaviour there; as also the discourse, and the preacher.—Is pleased

with its seasonableness.—Gives particulars of the conversation

between them afterwards, and commends the good observations he makes

upon the sermon.]

I am willing, says she, to have hopes of him: but am so unable to know how to depend upon his seriousness for an hour together, that all my favourable accounts of him in this respect must be taken with allowance.

Being very much pressed, I could not tell how to refuse dining with the widow and her nieces this day. I am better pleased with them than I ever thought I should be. I cannot help blaming myself for my readiness to give severe censures where reputation is concerned. People’s ways, humours, constitutions, education, and opportunities allowed for, my dear, many persons, as far as I know, may appear blameless, whom others, of different humours and educations, are too apt to blame; and who, from the same fault, may be as ready to blame them. I will therefore make it a rule to myself for the future—Never to judge peremptorily on first appearances: but yet I must observe that these are not people I should choose to be intimate with, or whose ways I can like: although, for the stations they are in, they may go through the world with tolerable credit.

Mr. Lovelace’s behaviour has been such as makes me call this, so far as it is passed, an agreeable day. Yet, when easiest as to him, my situation with my friends takes place in my thoughts, and causes me many a tear.

I am the more pleased with the people of the house, because of the persons of rank they are acquainted with, and who visits them.


I am still well pleased with Mr. Lovelace’s behaviour. We have had a good deal of serious discourse together. The man has really just and good notions. He confesses how much he is pleased with this day, and hopes for many such. Nevertheless, he ingenuously warned me, that his unlucky vivacity might return: but, he doubted not, that he should be fixed at last by my example and conversation.

He has given me an entertaining account of the four gentlemen he is to meet to-morrow night.—Entertaining, I mean for his humourous description of their persons, manners, &c. but such a description as is far from being to their praise. Yet he seemed rather to design to divert my melancholy by it than to degrade them. I think at bottom, my dear, that he must be a good-natured man; but that he was spoiled young, for want of check or controul.

I cannot but call this, my circumstances considered, an happy day to the end of it. Indeed, my dear, I think I could prefer him to all the men I ever knew, were he but to be always what he has been this day. You see how ready I am to own all you have charged me with, when I find myself out. It is a difficult thing, I believe, sometimes, for a young creature that is able to deliberate with herself, to know when she loves, or when she hates: but I am resolved, as much as possible, to be determined both in my hatred and love by actions, as they make the man worthy or unworthy.

[She dates again Monday, and declares herself highly displeased at Miss

Partington’s being introduced to her: and still more for being obliged

to promise to be present at Mr. Lovelace’s collation. She foresees,

she says, a murder’d evening.]