There are a thousand excellencies in the poor sufferer, notwithstanding her fault: and, if the hints she has given to my daughter be true, she has been most grievously abused. But I think your forgiveness and her father’s forgiveness of her ought to be all at your own choice; and nobody should intermeddle in that, for the sake of due authority in parents: and besides, as Miss Harlowe writes, it was what every body expected, though Miss Clary would not believe it till she smarted for her credulity. And, fir these reasons, I offer not to plead any thing in alleviation of her fault, which is aggravated by her admirable sense, and a judgment above her years.
I am, Madam, with compliments to good Mr. Harlowe, and all your afflicted family,
Your most humble servant,
I shall set out for the Isle of Wight in a few days,
with my daughter. I
will hasten our setting out, on purpose to break her mind from her
friend’s distresses; which afflict us as much, nearly, as Miss
Clary’s rashness has done you.
Miss Howe, to miss Clarissa
sat. July 22.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
We are busy in preparing for our little journey and voyage: but I will be ill, I will be very ill, if I cannot hear you are better before I go.
Rogers greatly afflicted me, by telling me the bad way you are in. But now you have been able to hold a pen, and as your sense is strong and clear, I hope that the amusement you will receive from writing will make you better.
I dispatch this by an extraordinary way, that it may reach you time enough to move you to consider well before you absolutely decide upon the contents of mine of the 13th, on the subject of the two Misses Montague’s visit to me; since, according to what you write, must I answer them.
In your last, conclude very positively that you will not be his. To be sure, he rather deserves an infamous death than such a wife. But as I really believe him innocent of the arrest, and as all his family are such earnest pleaders, and will be guarantees, for him, I think the compliance with their entreaties, and his own, will be now the best step you can take; your own family remaining implacable, as I can assure you they do. He is a man of sense; and it is not impossible but he may make you a good husband, and in time may become no bad man.
My mother is entirely of my opinion: and on Friday, pursuant to a hint I gave you in my last, Mr. Hickman had a conference with the strange wretch: and though he liked not, by any means, his behaviour to himself; nor indeed, had reason to do so; yet he is of opinion that he is sincerely determined to marry you, if you will condescend to have him.