Now, my dear, is not this a particular incident, either as I have made it, or as it was designed? I don’t love to do an uncivil thing. And if nothing were meant by the request, my refusal deserves to be called uncivil. Then I have shown a suspicion of foul usage by it, which surely dare not be meant. If just, I ought to apprehend every thing, and fly the house and the man as I would an infection. If not just, and if I cannot contrive to clear myself of having entertained suspicions, by assigning some other plausible reason for my denial, the very staying here will have an appearance not at all reputable to myself.
I am now out of humour with him,—with myself,—with all the world, but you. His companions are shocking creatures. Why, again I repeat, should he have been desirous to bring me into such company? Once more I like him not.—Indeed I do not like him!
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss
Tuesday, may 2.
With infinite regret I am obliged to tell you, that I can no longer write to you, or receive letters from you.—Your mother has sent me a letter enclosed in a cover to Mr. Lovelace, directed for him at Lord M.’s, (and which was brought him just now,) reproaching me on this subject in very angry terms, and forbidding me, ’as I would not be thought to intend to make her and you unhappy, to write to you without her leave.’
This, therefore, is the last you must receive from me, till happier days. And as my prospects are not very bad, I presume we shall soon have leave to write again; and even to see each other: since an alliance with a family so honourable as Mr. Lovelace’s is will not be a disgrace.
She is pleased to write, ’That if I would wish to inflame you, I should let you know her written prohibition: but if otherwise, find some way of my own accord (without bringing her into the question) to decline a correspondence, which I must know she has for some time past forbidden.’ But all I can say is, to beg of you not to be inflamed: to beg of you not to let her know, or even by your behaviour to her, on this occasion, guess, that I have acquainted you with my reason for declining to write to you. For how else, after the scruples I have heretofore made on this very subject, yet proceeding to correspond, can I honestly satisfy you about my motives for this sudden stop? So, my dear, I choose, you see, rather to rely upon your discretion, than to feign reasons with which you would not be satisfied, but with your usual active penetration, sift to the bottom, and at last find me to be a mean and low qualifier; and that with an implication injurious to you, that I supposed you had not prudence enough to be trusted with the naked truth.