We have flying reports here, and at Harlowe-place, of some fresh insults which you have undergone: and that you are about to put yourself into Lady Betty Lawrance’s protection. I believe they would not be glad (as I should be) that you would do so; and this, perhaps, will make them suspend, for the present, any determination in your favour.
How unhappy am I, that the dangerous way my son is in prevents my attendance on you! Let me beg of you to write to me word how you are, both as to person and mind. A servant of Sir Robert Beachcroft, who rides post on his master’s business to town, will present you with this; and, perhaps, will bring me the favour of a few lines in return. He will be obliged to stay in town several hours for an answer to his dispatches.
This is the anniversary that used to give joy to as many as had the pleasure and honour of knowing you. May the Almighty bless you, and grant that it may be the only unhappy one that may ever be known by you, my dearest young lady, and by
Your ever affectionate
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to Mrs.
Monday night, July 24.
MY DEAR MRS. NORTON,
Had I not fallen into fresh troubles, which disabled me for several days from holding a pen, I should not have forborne inquiring after your health, and that of your son; for I should have been but too ready to impute your silence to the cause to which, to my very great concern, I find it was owing. I pray to Heaven, my dear good friend, to give you comfort in the way most desirable to yourself.
I am exceedingly concerned at Miss Howe’s writing about me to my friends. I do assure you, that I was as ignorant of her intention so to do as of the contents of her letter. Nor has she yet let me know (discouraged, I suppose, by her ill success) that she did write. It is impossible to share the delight which such charming spirits give, without the inconvenience that will attend their volatility.—So mixed are our best enjoyments!
It was but yesterday that I wrote to chide the dear creature for freedoms of that nature, which her unseasonably-expressed love for me had made her take, as you wrote me word in your former. I was afraid that all such freedoms would be attributed to me. And I am sure that nothing but my own application to my friends, and a full conviction of my contrition, will procure me favour. Least of all can I expect that either your mediation or her’s (both of whose fond and partial love of me is so well known) will avail me.