The letter is a very tender one * * * *
[Here Mr. Belford gives the substance of it upon his
memory; but that is
omitted; as the letter is given at length (see the next letter.)
And then adds:]
But, alas! all will be now too late. For the decree is certainly gone out—the world is unworthy of her.
Colonel Morden, to miss Clarissa
Tuesday, Aug. 29.
I should not, my dearest Cousin, have been a fortnight in England, without either doing myself the honour of waiting upon you in person, or of writing to you; if I had not been busying myself almost all the time in your service, in hopes of making my visit or letter still more acceptable to you—acceptable as I have reason to presume either will be from the unquestionable love I ever bore you, and from the esteem you always honoured me with.
Little did I think that so many days would have been required to effect my well-intended purpose, where there used to be a love so ardent on one side, and where there still is, as I am thoroughly convinced, the most exalted merit on the other!
I was yesterday with Mr. Lovelace and Lord M. I need not tell you, it seems, how very desirous the whole family and all the relations of that nobleman are of the honour of an alliance with you; nor how exceedingly earnest the ungrateful man is to make you all the reparation in his power.
I think, my dear Cousin, that you cannot now do better than to give him the honour of your hand. He says just and great things of your virtue, and so heartily condemns himself, that I think there is honorable room for you to forgive him: and the more room, as it seems you are determined against a legal prosecution.
Your effectual forgiveness of Mr. Lovelace, it is evident to me, will accelerate a general reconciliation: for, at present, my other cousins cannot persuade themselves that he is in earnest to do you justice; or that you would refuse him, if you believed he was.
But, my dear Cousin, there may possibly be something in this affair, to which I may be a stranger. If there be, and you will acquaint me with it, all that a naturally-warm heart can do in your behalf shall be done.
I hope I shall be able, in my next visits to my several cousins, to set all right with them. Haughty spirits, when convinced that they have carried resentments too high, want but a good excuse to condescend: and parents must always love the child they once loved.
But if I find them inflexible, I will set out, and attend you without delay; for I long to see you, after so many years’ absence.
Mean while, I beg the favour of a few lines, to know if you have reason to doubt Mr. Lovelace’s sincerity. For my part, I can have none, if I am to judge from the conversation that passed between us yesterday, in presence of Lord M.