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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady Volume 7.

I told them, that she was indeed a woman of family and fortune:  I still gave them room to suppose her married:  but left it to her to tell them all in her own time and manner:  all I would say was, that she had been very vilely treated; deserved it not; and was all innocence and purity.

You may suppose that they both expressed their astonishment, that there could be a man in the world who could ill treat so fine a creature.

As to the disposing of the two suits of apparel, I told Mrs. Smith that she should pretend that, upon inquiry, she had found a friend who would purchase the richest of them; but (that she might not mistrust) would stand upon a good bargain.  And having twenty guineas about me, I left them with her, in part of payment; and bid her pretend to get her to part with it for as little more as she could induce her to take.

I am setting out for Edgeware with poor Belton—­more of whom in my next.  I shall return to-morrow; and leave this in readiness for your messenger, if he call in my absence.

Adieu.

LETTER XXIII

Mr. Lovelace, to John Belford, ESQ. [In answer to letter XXI.  Of this volume.] M. Hall, wed. Night, July 19.

You might well apprehend that I should think you were playing me booty in communicating my letter to the lady.

You ask, Who would think you might not read to her the least exceptionable parts of a letter written in my own defence?—­I’ll tell you who—­the man who, in the same letter that he asks this question, tells the friend whom he exposes to her resentment, ’That there is such an air of levity runs through his most serious letters, that those of this are least fit to be seen which ought to be most to his credit:’  And now what thinkest thou of thyself-condemned folly?  Be, however, I charge thee, more circumspect for the future, that so this clumsy error may stand singly by itself.

‘It is painful to her to think of me!’ ‘Libertine froth!’ ’So pernicious and so despicable a plotter!’ ’A man whose friendship is no credit to any body!’ ‘Hardened wretch!’ ‘The devil’s counterpart!’ ’A wicked, wicked man!’—­But did she, could she, dared she, to say, or imply all this?—­and say it to a man whom she praises for humanity, and prefers to myself for that virtue; when all the humanity he shows, and she knows it too, is by my direction—­so robs me of the credit of my own works; admirably entitled, all this shows her, to thy refinement upon the words resentment and revenge.  But thou wert always aiming and blundering at some thing thou never couldst make out.

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