But indeed we had some homely coxcombs as proud as if they had persons to be proud of; at the same time that it was apparent, that the pains they took about themselves but the more exposed their defects.
The man who is fond of being thought more or better than he is, as I have often observed, but provokes a scrutiny into his pretensions; and that generally produces contempt. For pride, as I believe I have heretofore said, is an infallible sign of weakness; of something wrong in the head or in both. He that exalts himself insults his neighbour; who is provoked to question in him even that merit, which, were he modest, would perhaps be allowed to be his due.
You will say that I am very grave: and so I am. Mr. Lovelace is extremely sunk in my opinion since Monday night: nor see I before me any thing that can afford me a pleasing hope. For what, with a mind so unequal as his, can be my best hope?
I think I mentioned to you, in my former, that my clothes were brought me. You fluttered me so, that I am not sure I did. But I know I designed to mention that they were. They were brought me on Thursday; but neither my few guineas with them, nor any of my books, except a Drexelius on Eternity, the good old Practice of Piety, and a Francis Spira. My brother’s wit, I suppose. He thinks he does well to point out death and despair to me. I wish for the one, and every now-and-then am on the brink of the other.
You will the less wonder at my being so very solemn, when, added to the above, and to my uncertain situation, I tell you, that they have sent me with these books a letter form my cousin Morden. It has set my heart against Mr. Lovelace. Against myself too. I send it enclosed. If you please, my dear, you may read it here:
COL. MORDEN, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE
Florence, April 13.
I am extremely concerned to hear of a difference betwixt the rest of a family so near and dear to me, and you still dearer to than any of the rest.
My cousin James has acquainted me with the offers you have had, and with your refusals. I wonder not at either. Such charming promises at so early an age as when I left England; and those promises, as I have often heard, so greatly exceeded, as well in your person as mind; how much must you be admired! how few must there be worthy of you!
Your parents, the most indulgent in the world, to a child the most deserving, have given way it seems to your refusal of several gentlemen. They have contented themselves at last to name one with earnestness to you, because of the address of another whom they cannot approve.
They had not reason, it seems, from your behaviour, to think you greatly averse: so they proceeded: perhaps too hastily for a delicacy like your’s. But when all was fixed on their parts, and most extraordinary terms concluded in your favour; terms, which abundantly show the gentleman’s just value for you; you flew off with a warmth and vehemence little suited to that sweetness which gave grace to all your actions.