Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady — Volume 5 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 307 pages of information about Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady Volume 5.

I hope she has had more rest than I have had.  Soft and balmy, I hope, have been her slumbers, that she may meet me in tolerable temper.  All sweetly blushing and confounded—­I know how she will look!—­But why should she, the sufferer, be ashamed, when I, the trespasser, am not?

But custom is a prodigious thing.  The women are told how much their blushes heighten their graces:  they practise for them therefore:  blushes come as hastily when they call for them, as their tears:  aye, that’s it!  While we men, taking blushes for a sign of guilt or sheepishness, are equally studious to suppress them.

***

By my troth, Jack, I am half as much ashamed to see the women below, as my fair-one can be to see me.  I have not yet opened my door, that I may not be obtruded upon my them.

After all, what devils may one make of the sex!  To what a height of—­ what shall I call it?—­must those of it be arrived, who once loved a man with so much distinction, as both Polly and Sally loved me; and yet can have got so much above the pangs of jealousy, so much above the mortifying reflections that arise from dividing and sharing with new objects the affections of them they prefer to all others, as to wish for, and promote a competitorship in his love, and make their supreme delight consist in reducing others to their level!—­For thou canst not imagine, how even Sally Martin rejoiced last night in the thought that the lady’s hour was approaching.

PAST TEN O’CLOCK.

I never longed in my life for any thing with so much impatience as to see my charmer.  She has been stirring, it seems, these two hours.

Dorcas just now tapped at her door, to take her morning commands.

She had none for her, was the answer.

She desired to know, if she would not breakfast?

A sullen and low-voiced negative received Dorcas.

I will go myself.

***

Three different times tapped I at the door, but had no answer.

Permit me, dearest creature, to inquire after your health.  As you have not been seen to-day, I am impatient to know how you do.

Not a word of answer; but a deep sigh, even to sobbing.

Let me beg of you, Madam, to accompany me up another pair of stairs—­ you’ll rejoice to see what a happy escape we have all had.

A happy escape indeed, Jack!—­For the fire had scorched the window-board, singed the hangings, and burnt through the slit-deal linings of the window-jambs.

No answer, Madam!—­Am I not worthy of one word?—­Is it thus you keep your promise with me?—­Shall I not have the favour of your company for two minutes [only for two minutes] in the dining-room?

Hem!—­and a deep sigh!—­were all the answer.

Answer me but how you do!  Answer me but that you are well!  Is this the forgiveness that was the condition of my obedience?

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Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady — Volume 5 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.