Pray acquaint me by a line of the result of your interposition. If it prove not such as may be reasonably hoped for, our dear friend shall know nothing of this step from me; and pray let her not from you. For, in that case, it would only give deeper grief to a heart already too much afflicted. I am, dear and worthy Mrs. Norton,
Your true friend,
Mrs. Norton, to miss Howe
Saturday, may 13.
My heart is almost broken, to be obliged to let you know, that such is the situation of things in the family of my ever-dear Miss Harlowe, that there can be at present no success expected from any application in her favour. Her poor mother is to be pitied. I have a most affecting letter from her; but must not communicate it to you; and she forbids me to let it be known that she writes upon the subject; although she is compelled, as it were, to do it, for the ease of her own heart. I mention it therefore in confidence.
I hope in God that my beloved young lady has preserved her honour inviolate. I hope there is not a man breathing who could attempt a sacrilege so detestable. I have no apprehension of a failure in a virtue so established. God for ever keep so pure a heart out of the reach of surprises and violence! Ease, dear Madam, I beseech you, my over-anxious heart, by one line, by the bearer, although but one line, to acquaint me (as surely you can) that her honour is unsullied.—If it be not, adieu to all the comforts this life can give: since none will it be able to afford
To the poor
Miss Howe, to Mrs. Judith
Saturday evening, may 13.
Your beloved’s honour is inviolate!—Must be inviolate! and will be so, in spite of men and devils. Could I have had hope of a reconciliation, all my view was, that she should not have had this man.—All that can be said now, is, she must run the risk of a bad husband: she of whom no man living is worthy!
You pity her mother—so do not I! I pity no mother that puts it out of her power to show maternal love, and humanity, in order to patch up for herself a precarious and sorry quiet, which every blast of wind shall disturb.
I hate tyrants in ever form and shape: but paternal and maternal tyrants are the worst of all: for they can have no bowels.
I repeat, that I pity none of them. Our beloved friend only deserves pity. She had never been in the hands of this man, but for them. She is quite blameless. You don’t know all her story. Were I to tell you that she had no intention to go off with this man, it would avail her nothing. It would only deserve to condemn, with those who drove her to extremities, him who now must be her refuge. I am