Let me acquaint thee, Jack, adds he, by way of postscript, that this effort of hers to leave me, if she could have been received; her sending for a coach on Sunday; no doubt, resolving not to return, if she had gone out without me, (for did she not declare that she had thoughts to retire to some of the villages about town, where she could be safe and private?) have, all together, so much alarmed me, that I have been adding to the written instructions for my fellow and the people below how to act in case she should elope in my absence: particularly letting Will. know what he shall report to strangers in case she shall throw herself upon any such with a resolution to abandon me. To these instructions I shall further add as circumstances offer.
Miss Howe, to miss Clarissa
Thursday, may 18.
I have neither time nor patience, my dear friend, to answer every material article in your last letters just now received. Mr. Lovelace’s proposals are all I like of him. And yet (as you do) I think, that he concludes them not with the warmth and earnestness which we might naturally have expected from him. Never in my life did I hear or read of so patient a man, with such a blessing in his reach. But wretches of his cast, between you and me, my dear, have not, I fancy, the ardors that honest men have. Who knows, as your Bell once spitefully said, but he may have half a dozen creatures to quit his hands of before he engages for life?—Yet I believe you must not expect him to be honest on this side of his grand climacteric.
He, to suggest delay from a compliment to be made to Lord M. and to give time for settlements! He, a part of whose character it is, not to know what complaisance to his relations is—I have no patience with him! You did indeed want an interposing friend on the affecting occasion which you mention in yours of yesterday morning. But, upon my word, were I to have been that moment in your situation, and been so treated, I would have torn his eyes out, and left it to his own heart, when I had done, to furnish the reason for it.
Would to Heaven to-morrow, without complimenting any body, might be his happy day!—Villain! After he had himself suggested the compliment!—And I think he accuses you of delaying!—Fellow, that he is!—How my heart is wrung—
But as matters now stand betwixt you, I am very unseasonable in expressing my resentments against him.—Yet I don’t know whether I am or not, neither; since it is the most cruel of fates, for a woman to be forced to have a man whom her heart despises. You must, at least, despise him; at times, however. His clenched fist offered to his forehead on your leaving him in just displeasure—I wish it had been a pole-axe, and in the hand of his worst enemy.