O dear!—to be so angry, an’t please me, for his zeal!—
Yes, zeal without knowledge, I said—like most other zeals—if there were no objections that struck him at once, there were none.
So hasty, dearest Madam—
And so slow, un-dearest Sir, I could have said—But surely, said I, with a look that implied, Would you rebel, Sir!
He begged my pardon—Saw no objection, indeed!—But might he be allowed once more—
No matter—no matter—I would have shown them to my mother, I said, who, though of no inn of court, knew more of these things than half the lounging lubbers of them; and that at first sight—only that she would have been angry at the confession of our continued correspondence.
But, my dear, let the articles be drawn up, and engrossed; and solemnize upon them; and there’s no more to be said.
Let me add, that the sailor-fellow has been tampering with my Kitty, and offered a bribe, to find where to direct to you. Next time he comes, I will have him laid hold of; and if I can get nothing out of him, will have him drawn through one of our deepest fishponds. His attempt to corrupt a servant of mine will justify my orders.
I send this letter away directly. But will follow it by another; which shall have for its subject only my mother, myself, and your uncle Antony. And as your prospects are more promising than they have been, I will endeavour to make you smile upon the occasion. For you will be pleased to know, that my mother has had a formal tender from that grey goose, which may make her skill in settlements useful to herself, were she to encourage it.
May your prospects be still more and more happy, prays
Miss Howe, to miss Clarissa
sat. Sunday, may 20, 21.
Now, my dear, for the promised subject. You must not ask me how I came by the originals [such they really are] that I am going to present you with: for my mother would not read to me those parts of your uncle’s letter which bore hard upon myself, and which leave him without any title to mercy from me: nor would she let me hear but what she pleased of her’s in answer; for she has condescended to answer him—with a denial, however; but such a denial as no one but an old bachelor would take from a widow.
Any body, except myself, who could have been acquainted with such a fal-lal courtship as this must have been had it proceeded, would have been glad it had gone on: and I dare say, but for the saucy daughter, it had. My good mamma, in that case, would have been ten years the younger for it, perhaps: and, could I but have approved of it, I should have been considered by her as if ten years older than I am: since, very likely, it would have been: ’We widows, my dear, know not how to keep men at a distance—so as to give them pain, in order to try their love.—You must advise me, child: you must teach me to be cruel—yet not too cruel neither—so as to make a man heartless, who has no time, God wot, to throw away.’—Then would my behaviour to Mr. Hickman have been better liked; and my mother would have bridled like her daughter.