A few words upon the subject of your last letters. I know not whether your brother’s wise project be given up or not. A dead silence reigns in your family. Your brother was absent three days; then at home one; and is now absent: but whether with Singleton, or not, I cannot find out.
By your account of your wretch’s companions, I see not but they are a set of infernals, and he the Beelzebub. What could he mean, as you say, by his earnestness to bring you into such company, and to give you such an opportunity to make him and them reflecting-glasses to one another? The man’s a fool, to be sure, my dear—a silly fellow, at least—the wretches must put on their best before you, no doubt—Lords of the creation!— noble fellows these!—Yet who knows how many poor despicable souls of our sex the worst of them has had to whine after him!
You have brought an inconvenience upon yourself, as you observe, by your refusal of Miss Partington for your bedfellow. Pity you had not admitted her! watchful as you are, what could have happened? If violence were intended, he would not stay for the night. You might have sat up after her, or not gone to bed. Mrs. Sinclair pressed it too far. You was over-scrupulous.
If any thing happen to delay your nuptials, I would advise you to remove: but, if you marry, perhaps you may think it no great matter to stay where you are till you take possession of your own estate. The knot once tied, and with so resolute a man, it is my opinion your relations will soon resign what they cannot legally hold: and, were even a litigation to follow, you will not be able, nor ought you to be willing, to help it: for your estate will then be his right; and it will be unjust to wish it to be withheld from him.
One thing I would advise you to think of; and that is, of proper settlements: it will be to the credit of your prudence and of his justice (and the more as matters stand) that something of this should be done before you marry. Bad as he is, nobody accounts him a sordid man. And I wonder he has been hitherto silent on that subject.
I am not displeased with his proposal about the widow lady’s house. I think it will do very well. But if it must be three weeks before you can be certain about it, surely you need not put off his day for that space: and he may bespeak his equipages. Surprising to me, as well as to you, that he could be so acquiescent!
I repeat—continue to write to me. I insist upon it; and that as minutely as possible: or, take the consequence. I send this by a particular hand. I am, and ever will be,
Your most affectionate,
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss
Thursday, may 4.
I forego every other engagement, I suspend ever wish, I banish every other fear, to take up my pen, to beg of you that you will not think of being guilty of such an act of love as I can never thank you for; but must for ever regret. If I must continue to write to you, I must. I know full well your impatience of control, when you have the least imagination that your generosity or friendship is likely to be wondered at.