But come, since what is past cannot be helped, let us look forward. You have now happy prospects opening to you: a family, already noble, prepared to receive you with open arms and joyful heart; and who, by their love to you, will teach another family (who know not what an excellence they have confederated to persecute) how to value you. Your prudence, your piety, will crown all. You will reclaim a wretch that, for an hundred sakes more than for his own, one would wish to be reclaimed.
Like a traveller, who has been put out of his way, by the overflowing of some rapid stream, you have only had the fore-right path you were in overwhelmed. A few miles about, a day or two only lost, as I may say, and you are in a way to recover it; and, by quickening your speed, will get up the lost time. The hurry upon your spirits, mean time, will be all your inconvenience; for it was not your fault you were stopped in your progress.
Think of this, my dear; and improve upon the allegory, as you know how. If you can, without impeding your progress, be the means of assuaging the inundation, of bounding the waters within their natural channel, and thereby of recovering the overwhelmed path for the sake of future passengers who travel the same way, what a merit will your’s be!
I shall impatiently expect your next letter. The young ladies proposed that you should put yourself, if in town, or near it, into the Reading stage-coach, which inns somewhere in Fleet-street: and, if you give notice of the day, you will be met on the road, and that pretty early in your journey, by some of both sexes; one of whom you won’t be sorry to see.
Mr. Hickman shall attend you at Slough; and Lady Betty herself, and one of the Miss Montagues, with proper equipages, will be at Reading to receive you; and carry you directly to the seat of the former: for I have expressly stipulated, that the wretch himself shall not come into your presence till your nuptials are to be solemnized, unless you give leave.
Adieu, my dearest friend. Be happy: and hundreds will then be happy of consequence. Inexpressibly so, I am sure, will then be
Your ever affectionate
Miss Howe, to miss Clarissa
Sunday night, July 16.
Why should you permit a mind, so much devoted to your service, to labour under such an impatience as you must know it would labour under, for want of an answer to a letter of such consequence to you, and therefore to me, as was mine of Thursday night?—Rogers told me, on Thursday, you were so ill; your letter sent by him was so melancholy!—Yet you must be ill indeed, if you could not write something to such a letter; were it but a line, to say you would write as soon as you could. Sure you have received it. The master of your nearest post-office will pawn his reputation that it went safe: I gave him particular charge of it.