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MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE
Friday, three o'clock. ... My sister is but this moment gone from me. She came up all in a flaine; which obliged me abruptly to lay down my pen ; she ran to me
O Spirit! said she, tapping my neck a little too hard. And is it come to this at last !
Do you beat me, Bella ?
Do you call this beating you ? only tapping your shoulder thus, said she, tapping again more gently-.this is what we expected it would come to--you want to be independent-my father has lived too long for you!
I was going to speak with vehemence; but she put her handkerchief before my mouth, very rudely—You have done enough with your pen, mean listener, as you are! But know that neither your independent scheme, nor any of your visiting ones, will be granted you. Take your course, perverse one ! Call in your rake to help you to an independence upon your parents, and a dependence upon him !-Do so ! Prepare this moment-resolve what you will take with you-to-morrow you go-depend upon it to-morrow you go !—No longer shall you stay here, watching and creeping about to hearken to what people say.—'Tis determined, child !—You go to-morrow-my brother would have come up to tell you so ; but I persuaded him to the contrary—for I know not what had become of you if he had.-Such a letter ! such an insolent, such a conceited challenger! Oh thou vain creature! But prepare yourself, I say-to-morrow you go—my brother will accept of your bold challenge; but it must be personal : and at my uncle Antony's— or perhaps at Mr. Solmes's
Thus she ran on, almost foaming with passion ; till, quite out of patience, I said, No more of your violence, Bella.--Had I
known in what way you designed to come up, you should not have found my chamber-door open-talk to your servant in this manner. Unlike you, as I bless God I am, I am nevertheless your sister-and let me tell you that I won't go to-morrow, nor the next day, nor next day to that,except I am dragged away by violence.
What ! not if your father or your mother command it-Girl ! said she, intending another word, by her pause and manner before it came out.
Let it come to that, Bella ; then I shall know what to say. But it shall be from their own mouths, if I do—not from yours, nor your Betty's.-And say another word to me, in this manner, and be the consequence what it may, I will force myself into their presence; and demand what I have done to be used thus !
Come along child ! Come along, Meekness— taking my hand, and leading me towards the door---Demand it of them now—you'll find both your despised parents together !—What ! does your heart fail you ?—for I resisted being thus insolently offered to be led, and pulled my hand from her.
I want not to be led, said I ; and since I can plead your invitation, I will go: and was posting to the stairs accordingly in my passion—but she got between me and the door, and shut it
Let me first, bold one, said she, apprise them of your visitfor your own sake let me— for my brother is with them. But yet opening it again, seeing me shrink back—Go, if you will ! Why don't you go ?--Why don't you go, Miss ?-following me to my closet, whither I retired, with my heart full, and pulled the sash-door after me ; and could no longer hold in my tears.
Nor would I answer one word to her repeated aggravations, nor to her demands upon me to open the door (for the key was on the inside); nor so much as turn my head towards her, as she looked through the glass at me. And at last, which vexed her to the heart, I drew the silk curtain that she should not see me, and down she went muttering all the way.
Is not this usage enough to provoke a rashness never before thought of ?
As it is but too probable that I may be hurried away to uncle's without being able to give you previous notice of it ; I beg you that as soon as you shall hear of such a violence, you would send to the usual place, to take back such of your letters as may not have reached my hands, or to fetch any of mine that may be there.—May you, my dear, be always happy, prays your
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
At Mrs. Sinclair's, Monday afternoon. ... DREADING what might happen as to her intellects, and being very apprehensive that she might go through a great deal before morning (though more violent she could not well be with the worst she dreaded), I humoured her, and ordered Will to endeavour to get a coach directly, to carry us to Hampstead ; I cared not at what price.
Robbers, with whom I would have terrified her, she feared not— I was all her fear, I found; and this house her terror: for I saw plainly that she now believed that Lady Betty and Miss Montague were both impostors.
But her mistrust is a little of the latest to do her service!
And, O Jack, the rage of love, the rage of revenge is upon me! by turns they tear me! The progress already made—the women's instigations- the power I shall have to try her to the utmost, and still to marry her, if she be not to be brought to cohabitation, let me perish, Belford, if she escape me now!
Will is not yet come back. Near eleven.
Will is this moment returned. No coach to be got either for love or money.
Once more she urges- to Mrs. Leeson's, let me go, Lovelace ! Good Lovelace, let me go to Mrs. Leeson's. What is Miss Montague's illness to my terror ? For the Almighty's sake, Mr. Lovelace !-her hands clasped !
Oh, my angel ! What a wildness is this ! Do you know, do you see, my dearest life, what appearances your causeless apprehensions have given you? Do you know it is past eleven o'clock ?
Twelve, one, two, three, four—any hour, I care not—if you mean me honourably, let me go out of this hated house !
Thou'lt observe, Belford, that though this was written afterwards, yet (as in other places) I write it as it was spoken and happened, as if I had retired to put down every sentence as spoken. I know thou likest this lively present-tense manner, as it is one of my peculiars.
Just as she had repeated the last words, “ If you mean me honourably, let me go out of this hated house," in came Mrs. Sinclair, in a great ferment-And what, pray, Madam has this house done to you ? Mr. Lovelace, you have known me some time; and if I have not the niceness of this lady, I hope I do not deserve to be treated thus !
She set her huge arms akimbo—Hoh! Madam, let me tell you that I am amazed at your freedoms with my character ! And, Mr. Lovelace (holding up and violently shaking her head), if you are a gentleman and a man of honour
Having never before seen anything but obsequiousness in this woman, little as she liked her, she was frighted at her masculine air and fierce look —God help me ! she cried, what will become of me now! then, turning her head hither and thither, in a wild kind of amaze, Whom have I found protector! What will become of me now !
I will be your protector, my dearest love !—But indeed you are uncharitably severe upon poor Mrs. Sinclair! Indeed you are !-She is a gentlewoman born, and the relict of a man of honour; and though left in such circumstances as to oblige her to let lodgings, yet would she scorn to be guilty of a wilful baseness.
I hope so—it may be so—I may be mistaken-but-but there is no crime, I presume, no treason to say I don't like her house.
The old dragon straddled up to her, with her arms kimboed again, her eye-brows erect, like the bristles upon a hog's back, and scowling over her shortened nose, more than half hid her ferret eyes. Her mouth was distorted. She pouted out her blubber-lips, as if to bellows up wind and sputter into her horsenostrils ; and her chin was curdled, and more than usually prominent with passion.
With two “Hoh- Madams,” she accosted the frighted fair one ; who, terrified, caught hold of my sleeve.
I feared she would fall into fits; and with a look of indignation, told Mrs. Sinclair that these apartments were mine ; and I could not imagine what she meant, either by listening to what passed between me and my spouse, or to come in uninvited ; and still more I wondered at her giving herself these strange liberties.
I may be to blame, Jack, for suffering this wretch to give herself these airs ; but her coming in was without my orders.
The old beldam, throwing herself into a chair, fell a blubbering and exclaiming. And the pacifying of her, and endeavouring to reconcile the lady to her, took up till near one o'clock.
And thus, between terror, and the late hour, and what followed, she was diverted from the thoughts of getting out of the house to Mrs. Leeson’s, or anywhere else.
MR. LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ.
Tuesday morning. AND now, Belford, I can go no further. The affair is over. Clarissa lives. And I am, Your humble servant,
R. LOVELACE. (From the Same.)
MR. BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ.
Thursday night. I MAY as well try to write ; since, were I to go to bed, I shall not sleep. I never had such a weight of grief upon my mind in my life, as upon the demise of this admirable woman ; whose soul is now rejoicing in the regions of light. You may be glad to know the particulars of her happy exit. I will try to proceed ; for all is hush and still; the family retired ; but not one of them, and least of all her poor cousin, I daresay, to rest. At four o'clock, as I mentioned in my last, I was sent for down ; and as thou usedst to like my descriptions, I will give thee the woful scene that presented itself to me as I approached the bed. The Colonel was the first that took my attention, kneeling on the side of the bed, the lady's right hand in both his, which his face covered, bathing it with his tears ; although she had been