Clarissa Harlowe LETTER XXXIV


Late as I went to bed, I have had very little rest. Sleep and I have quarreled; and although I court it, it will not be friends. I hope its fellow-irreconcilables at Harlowe-place enjoy its balmy comforts. Else that will be an aggravation of my fault. My brother and sister, I dare say, want it not.

Mr. Lovelace, who is an early riser, as well as I, joined me in the garden about six; and after the usual salutations, asked me to resume our last night’s subject. It was upon lodgings at London, he said.

I think you mentioned one to me, Sir—Did you not?

Yes, Madam, [but, watching the turn of my countenance,] rather as what you would be welcome to, than perhaps approve of.

I believe so too. To go to town upon an uncertainty, I own, is not agreeable: but to be obliged to any persons of your acquaintance, when I want to be thought independent of you; and to a person, especially, to whom my friends are to direct to me, if they vouchsafe to take notice of me at all, is an absurd thing to mention.

He did not mention it as what he imagined I would accept, but only to confirm to me what he had said, that he himself knew of none fit for me.

Has not your family, Madam, some one tradesman they deal with, who has conveniences of this kind? I would make it worth such a person’s while to keep his secret of your being at his house. Traders are dealers in pins, said he, and will be more obliged by a penny customer, than by a pound present, because it is in their way: yet will refuse neither, any more than a lawyer or a man of office his fee.

My father’s tradesmen, I said, would, no doubt, be the first employed to find me out. So that that proposal was as wrong as the other. And who is it that a creature so lately in favour with all her friends can apply to, in such a situation as mine, but must be (at least) equally the friends of her relations.

We had a good deal of discourse upon the same topic. But, at last, the result was this—He wrote a letter to one Mr. Doleman, a married man, of fortune and character, (I excepting to Mr. Belford,) desiring him to provide decent apartments ready furnished [I had told him what they should be] for a single woman; consisting of a bed-chamber; another for a maidservant; with the use of a dining-room or parlour. This letter he gave me to peruse; and then sealed it up, and dispatched it away in my presence, by one of his own servants, who, having business in town, is to bring back an answer.

I attend the issue of it; holding myself in readiness to set out for London, unless you, my dear, advise the contrary.