I have some reason to believe, Sir, that she has been represented to you in a very different light from the true one. And this it is that induces me to acquaint you, that I think her, on the best grounds, absolutely irreproachable in all her conduct which has passed under my eye, or come to my ear; and that her very misfortunes are made glorious to her, and honourable to all that are related to her, by the use she has made of them; and by the patience and resignation with which she supports herself in a painful, lingering, and dispiriting decay! and by the greatness of mind with which she views her approaching dissolution. And all this from proper motives; from motives in which a dying saint might glory.
She knows not that I write. I must indeed acknowledge, that I offered to do so some days ago, and that very pressingly: nor did she refuse me from obstinacy—she seemed not to know what that is—but desired me to forbear for two days only, in hopes that her newly-arrived cousin, who, as she heard, was soliciting for her, would be able to succeed in her favour.
I hope I shall not be thought an officious man on this occasion; but, if I am, I cannot help it, being driven to write, by a kind of parental and irresistible impulse.
But, Sir, whatever you think fit to do, or permit to be done, must be speedily done; for she cannot, I verily think, live a week: and how long of that short space she may enjoy her admirable intellects to take comfort in the favours you may think proper to confer upon her cannot be said. I am, Sir,
Your most humble servant,
Mr. Belford, to William Morden,
London, Sept. 4.
The urgency of the case, and the opportunity by your servant, will sufficiently apologize for this trouble from a stranger to your person, who, however, is not a stranger to your merit.
I understand you are employing your good offices with the parents of Miss Clarissa Harlowe, and other relations, to reconcile them to the most meritorious daughter and kinswoman that ever family had to boast of.
Generously as this is intended by you, we here have too much reason to think all your solicitudes on this head will be unnecessary: for it is the opinion of every one who has the honour of being admitted to her presence, that she cannot lie over three days: so that, if you wish to see her alive, you must lose no time to come up.
She knows not that I write. I had done it sooner, if I had had the least doubt that before now she would not have received from you some news of the happy effects of your kind mediation in her behalf. I am, Sir,
Your most humble servant,