I own, that I like not the turn of what he has written to me; and, before I will further interest myself in his favour, I have determined to inform myself, by a friend, from his own mouth, of his sincerity, and whether his whole inclination be, in his request to me, exclusive of the wishes of his relations. Yet my heart rises against him, on the supposition that there is the shadow of a reason for such a question, the woman Miss Clarissa Harlowe. But I think, with my mother, that marriage is now the only means left to make your future life tolerably easy—happy there is no saying.—His disgraces, in that case, in the eye of the world itself, will be more than your’s: and, to those who know you, glorious will be your triumph.
I am obliged to accompany my mother soon to the Isle of Wight. My aunt Harman is in a declining way, and insists upon seeing us both—and Mr. Hickman too, I think.
His sister, of whom we had heard so much, with her lord, were brought t’other day to visit us. She strangely likes me, or says she does.
I can’t say but that I think she answers the excellent character we heard of her.
It would be death to me to set out for the little island, and not see you first: and yet my mother (fond of exerting an authority that she herself, by that exertion, often brings into question) insists, that my next visit to you must be a congratulatory one as Mrs. Lovelace.
When I know what will be the result of the questions to be put in my name to that wretch, and what is your mind on my letter of the 13th, I shall tell you more of mine.
The bearer promises to make so much dispatch as to attend you this very afternoon. May he return with good tidings to
Your ever affectionate
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to miss
You pain me, Miss Howe, by the ardour of your noble friendship. I will be brief, because I am not well; yet a good deal better than I was; and because I am preparing an answer to your’s of the 13th. But, before hand, I must tell you, my dear, I will not have that man—don’t be angry with me. But indeed I won’t. So let him be asked no questions about me, I beseech you.
I do not despond, my dear. I hope I may say, I will not despond. Is not my condition greatly mended? I thank Heaven it is!
I am no prisoner now in a vile house. I am not now in the power of that man’s devices. I am not now obliged to hide myself in corners for fear of him. One of his intimate companions is become my warm friend, and engages to keep him from me, and that by his own consent. I am among honest people. I have all my clothes and effects restored to me. The wretch himself bears testimony to my honour.
Indeed I am very weak and ill: but I have an excellent physician, Dr. H. and as worthy an apothecary, Mr. Goddard.—Their treatment of me, my dear, is perfectly paternal!—My mind too, I can find, begins to strengthen: and methinks, at times, I find myself superior to my calamities.