Your mother can’t ask, and your sister knows not in modesty how to ask; and so I ask you, if you have any reason to think yourself with child by this villain?—You must answer this, and answer it truly, before any thing can be resolved upon about you.
You may well be touched with a deep remorse for your misdeeds. Could I ever have thought that my doting-piece, as every one called you, would have done thus? To be sure I loved you too well. But that is over now. Yet, though I will not pretend to answer for any body but myself, for my own part I say God forgive you! and this is all from
Your afflicted uncle,
The following meditation was stitched to the bottom of this letter with black silk.
O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave! that thou wouldst keep me secret, till thy wrath be past!
My face is foul with weeping; and on my eye-lid is the shadow of death.
My friends scorn me; but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.
A dreadful sound is in my ears; in prosperity the destroyer came upon me!
I have sinned! what shall I do unto thee, O thou Preserver of men! why hast thou set me as a mark against thee; so that I am a burden to myself!
When I say my bed shall comfort me; my couch shall ease my complaint;
Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions.
So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than life.
I loath it! I would not live always!—Let me alone; for my days are vanity!
He hath made me a bye-word of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.
My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.
When I looked for good, then evil came unto me; and when I waited for light, then came darkness.
And where now is my hope?—
Yet all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to John
Thursday, Aug. 10.
It was an act of charity I begged: only for a last blessing, that I might die in peace. I ask not to be received again, as my severe sister [Oh! that I had not written to her!] is pleased to say, is my view. Let that grace be denied me when I do.
I could not look forward to my last scene with comfort, without seeking, at least, to obtain the blessing I petitioned for; and that with a contrition so deep, that I deserved not, were it known, to be turned over from the tender nature of a mother, to the upbraiding pen of an uncle! and to be wounded by a cruel question, put by him in a shocking manner: and which a little, a very little time, will better answer than I can: for I am not either a hardened or shameless creature: if I were, I should not have been so solicitous to obtain the favour I sued for.