[Mr. Belford insists upon the promise he had made
him, not to molest the
Lady: and gives him the contents of her answer to Lord M. and the
Ladies of his Lordship’s family, declining their generous offers.
See Letter LXXX. of this volume.
Miss CL. Harlowe, to Robert
Friday, Aug. 11.
It is a cruel alternative to be either forced to see you, or to write to you. But a will of my own has been long denied me; and to avoid a greater evil, nay, now I may say, the greatest, I write.
Were I capable of disguising or concealing my real sentiments, I might safely, I dare say, give you the remote hope you request, and yet keep all my resolutions. But I must tell you, Sir, (it becomes my character to tell you, that, were I to live more years than perhaps I may weeks, and there were not another man in the world, I could not, I would not, be your’s.
There is no merit in performing a duty.
Religion enjoins me not only to forgive injuries, but to return good for evil. It is all my consolation, and I bless God for giving me that, that I am now in such a state of mind, with regard to you, that I can cheerfully obey its dictates. And accordingly I tell you, that, wherever you go, I wish you happy. And in this I mean to include every good wish.
And now having, with great reluctance I own, complied with one of your compulsatory alternatives, I expect the fruits of it.
Mr. John Harlowe, to miss CL. Harlowe [in answer to her’s to her mother. See letter LXXV. Of this volume.] Monday, Aug. 7.
Your mother neither caring, nor being permitted, to write, I am desired to set pen to paper, though I had resolved against it.
And so I am to tell you, that your letters, joined to the occasion of them, almost break the hearts of us all.
Were we sure you had seen your folly, and were truly penitent, and, at the same time, that you were so very ill as you pretend, I know not what might be done for you. But we are all acquainted with your moving ways when you want to carry a point.
Unhappy girl! how miserable have you made us all! We, who used to visit with so much pleasure, now cannot endure to look upon one another.
If you had not know, upon an hundred occasions, how dear you once was to us, you might judge of it now, were you to know how much your folly has unhinged us all.
Naughty, naughty girl! You see the fruits of preferring a rake and libertine to a man of sobriety and morals, against full warning, against better knowledge. And such a modest creature, too, as you were! How could you think of such an unworthy preference!