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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady Volume 4.

I hear not the door shut again.  I shall receive her commands I hope anon.  What signifies her keeping me thus at a distance? she must be mine, let me do or offer what I will.  Courage whenever I assume, all is over:  for, should she think of escaping from hence, whither can she fly to avoid me?  Her parents will not receive her.  Her uncles will not entertain her.  Her beloved Norton is in their direction, and cannot.  Miss Howe dare not.  She has not one friend in town but me—­is entirely a stranger to the town.  And what then is the matter with me, that I should be thus unaccountably over-awed and tyrannized over by a dear creature who want sonly to know how impossible it is that she should escape me, in order to be as humble to me as she is to her persecuting relations!

Should I ever make the grand attempt, and fail, and should she hate me for it, her hatred can be but temporary.  She has already incurred the censure of the world.  She must therefore choose to be mine, for the sake of soldering up her reputation in the eye of that impudent world.  For, who that knows me, and knows that she has been in my power, though but for twenty-four hours, will think her spotless as to fact, let her inclination be what it will?  And then human nature is such a well-known rogue, that every man and woman judges by what each knows of him or herself, that inclination is no more to be trusted, where an opportunity is given, than I am; especially where a woman, young and blooming, loves a man well enough to go off with him; for such will be the world’s construction in the present case.

She calls her maid Dorcas.  No doubt, that I may hear her harmonious voice, and to give me an opportunity to pour out my soul at her feet; to renew all my vows; and to receive her pardon for the past offence:  and then, with what pleasure shall I begin upon a new score, and afterwards wipe out that; and begin another, and another, till the last offence passes; and there can be no other!  And once, after that, to be forgiven, will be to be forgiven for ever.

***

The door is again shut.  Dorcas tells me, that her lady denies to admit me to dine with her; a favour I had ordered the wench to beseech her to grant me, the next time she saw her—­not uncivilly, however, denies—­ coming-to by degrees!  Nothing but the last offence, the honest wench tells me, in the language of her principals below, will do with her.  The last offence is meditating.  Yet this vile recreant heart of mine plays me booty.

But here I conclude; though the tyranness leaves me nothing to do but to read, write, and fret.

Subscription is formal between us.  Besides, I am so much her’s, that I cannot say how much I am thine or any other person’s.

LETTER XXII

Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss Howe
Tuesday, may 9.

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