But after all, I know not if it were not more eligible by far, that my story, and myself too, should be forgotten as soon as possible. And of this I shall have the less doubt, if the character of my parents [you will forgive my, my dear] cannot be guarded against the unqualified bitterness which, from your affectionate zeal for me, has sometimes mingled with your ink—a point that ought, and (I insist upon it) must be well considered of, if any thing be done which your mother and you are desirous to have done. The generality of the world is too apt to oppose a duty—and general duties, my dear, ought not to be weakened by the justification of a single person, however unhappily circumstanced.
My father has been so good as to take off the heavy malediction he laid me under. I must be now solicitous for a last blessing; and that is all I shall presume to petition for. My sister’s letter, communicating this grace, is a severe one: but as she writes to me as from every body, how could I expect it to be otherwise?
If you set out to-morrow, this letter cannot reach you till you get to your aunt Harman’s. I shall therefore direct it thither, as Mr. Hickman instructed me.
I hope you will have met with no inconveniencies in your little journey and voyage; and that you will have found in good health all whom you wish to see well.
If your relations in the little island join their solicitations with your mother’s commands, to have your nuptials celebrated before you leave them, let me beg of you, my dear, to oblige them. How grateful will the notification that you have done so be to
Your ever faithful and affectionate
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss
Saturday, July 29.
I repine not, my dear Sister, at the severity you have been pleased to express in the letter you favoured me with; because that severity was accompanied with the grace I had petitioned for; and because the reproaches of mine own heart are stronger than any other person’s reproaches can be: and yet I am not half so culpable as I am imagined to be: as would be allowed, if all the circumstances of my unhappy story were known: and which I shall be ready to communicate to Mrs. Norton, if she be commissioned to inquire into them; or to you, my Sister, if you can have patience to hear them.
I remembered with a bleeding heart what day the 24th of July was. I began with the eve of it; and I passed the day itself—as it was fit I should pass it. Nor have I any comfort to give to my dear and ever-honoured father and mother, and to you, my Bella, but this—that, as it was the first unhappy anniversary of my birth, in all probability, it will be the last.
Believe me, my dear Sister, I say not this merely to move compassion, but from the best grounds. And as, on that account, I think it of the highest importance to my peace of mind to obtain one farther favour, I would choose to owe to your intercession, as my sister, the leave I beg, to address half a dozen lines (with the hope of having them answered as I wish) to either or to both my honoured parents, to beg their last blessing.