For Miss Howe’s sake, who, in her new engagements will so much want you; for your cousin Morden’s sake, for your mother’s sake, if I must go on farther in your family; and yet I can say, for all their sakes; and for my sake, my dearest Miss Clary; let your resumed and accustomed magnanimity bear you up. You have many things to do which I know not the person who will do if you leave us.
Join your prayers then to mine, that God will spare you to a world that wants you and your example; and, although your days may seem to have been numbered, who knows but that, with the good King Hezekiah, you may have them prolonged? Which God grant, if it be his blessed will, to the prayers of
Mr. Belford, to Robert Lovelace,
Monday, Sept. 4.
The lady would not read the letter she had from Mrs. Norton till she had received the Communion, for fear it should contain any thing that might disturb that happy calm, which she had been endeavouring to obtain for it. And when that solemn office was over, she was so composed, she said, that she thought she could receive any news, however affecting, with tranquillity.
Nevertheless, in reading it, she was forced to leave off several times through weakness and a dimness in her sight, of which she complained; if I may say complained; for so easy and soft were her complaints, that they could hardly be called such.
She was very much affected at divers parts of this letter. She wept several times, and sighed often. Mrs. Lovick told me, that these were the gentle exclamations she broke out into, as she read:—Her unkind, her cruel brother!—How unsisterly!—Poor dear woman! seeming to speak of Mrs. Norton. Her kind cousin!—O these flaming spirits! And then reflecting upon herself more than once—What a deep error is mine!—What evils have I been the occasion of!—
When I was admitted to her presence, I have received, said she, a long and not very pleasing letter from my dear Mrs. Norton. It will soon be in your hands. I am advised against appointing you to the office you have so kindly accepted of: but you must resent nothing of these things. My choice will have an odd appearance to them: but it is now too late to alter it, if I would.
I would fain write an answer to it, continued she: but I have no distinct sight, Mr. Belford, no steadiness of fingers.—This mistiness, however, will perhaps be gone by-and-by.—Then turning to Mrs. Lovick, I don’t think I am dying yet—not actually dying, Mrs. Lovick—for I have no bodily pain—no numbnesses; no signs of immediate death, I think.—And my breath, which used of late to be so short, is now tolerable—my head clear, my intellects free—I think I cannot be dying yet—I shall have agonies, I doubt—life will not give up so blessedly easy, I fear—yet how merciful is the Almighty, to give his poor creature such a sweet serenity!—’Tis what I have prayed for!—What encouragement, Mrs. Lovick, so near one’s dissolution, to have it to hope that one’s prayers are answered.