Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss
Friday, may 12.
I must be silent, my exalted friend, under praises that oppress my heart with a consciousness of not deserving them; at the same time that the generous design of those praises raises and comforts it: for it is a charming thing to stand high in the opinion of those we love; and to find that there are souls that can carry their friendships beyond accidents, beyond body and ties of blood. Whatever, my dearest creature, is my shining-time, the time of a friend’s adversity is yours. And it would be almost a fault in me to regret those afflictions, which give you an opportunity so gloriously to exert those qualities, which not only ennoble our sex, but dignify human nature.
But let me proceed to subjects less agreeable.
I am sorry you have reason to think Singleton’s projects are not at an end. But who knows what the sailor had to propose?—Yet had any good been intended me, this method would hardly have been fallen upon.
Depend upon it, my dear, your letters shall be safe.
I have made a handle of Mr. Lovelace’s bold attempt and freedom, as I told you I would, to keep him ever since at a distance, that I may have an opportunity to see the success of the application to my uncle, and to be at liberty to embrace any favourable overtures that may arise from it. Yet he has been very importunate, and twice brought Mr. Mennell from Mrs. Fretchvill to talk about the house.—If I should be obliged to make up with him again, I shall think I am always doing myself a spite.
As to what you mention of his newly-detected crimes; and your advice to attach Dorcas to my interest; and to come at some of his letters; these things will require more or less of my attention, as I may hope favour or not from my uncle Harlowe.
I am sorry that my poor Hannah continues ill. Pray, my dear, inform yourself, and let me know, whether she wants any thing that befits her case.
I will not close this letter till to-morrow is over; for I am resolved to go to church; and this as well for the sake of my duty, as to see if I am at liberty to go out when I please without being attended or accompanied.
I have not been able to avoid a short debate with Mr. Lovelace. I had ordered a coach to the door. When I had noticed that it was come, I went out of my chamber to go to it; but met him dressed on the stairs head, with a book in his hand, but without his hat and sword. He asked, with an air very solemn yet respectful, if I were going abroad. I told him I was. He desired leave to attend me, if I were going to church. I refused him. And then he complained heavily of my treatment of him; and declared that he would not live such another week as the past, for the world.