I wish you would permit me, a young creature, just turned of nineteen years of age, blooming and healthy as I was a few months ago, now nipt by the cold hand of death, to influence you, in these my last hours, to a life of regularity and repentance for any past evils you may have been guilty of. For, believe me, Sir, that now, in this last stage, very few things will bear the test, or be passed as laudable, if pardonable, at our own bar, much less at a more tremendous one, in all we have done, or delighted in, even in a life not very offensive neither, as we may think! —Ought we not then to study in our full day, before the dark hours approach, so to live, as may afford reflections that will soften the agony of the last moments when they come, and let in upon the departing soul a ray of Divine mercy to illuminate its passage into an awful eternity?
She was ready to faint, and choosing to lie down, I withdrew; I need not say with a melancholy heart: and when I got to my new-taken apartment, my heart was still more affected by the sight of the solemn letter the admirable lady had so lately finished. It was communicated to me by Mrs. Lovick; who had it to copy for me; but it was not to be delivered to me till after her departure. However, I trespassed so far, as to prevail upon the widow to let me take a copy of it; which I did directly in character.
I send it enclosed. If thou canst read it, and thy heart not bleed at thy eyes, thy remorse can hardly be so deep as thou hast inclined me to think it is.
Miss Clarissa Harlowe, to Mrs.
[in answer to letter LVI.*]
* Begun on Monday Sept. 4, and by piecemeal finished on Tuesday; but not sent till the Thursday following.
MY DEAREST MRS. NORTON,
I am afraid I shall not be able to write all that is upon my mind to say to you upon the subject of your last. Yet I will try.
As to my friends, and as to the sad breakfasting, I cannot help being afflicted for them. What, alas! has not my mother, in particular, suffered by my rashness!—Yet to allow so much for a son!—so little for a daughter!—But all now will soon be over, as to me. I hope they will bury all their resentments in my grave.
As to your advice, in relation to Mr. Belford, let me only say, that the unhappy reprobation I have met with, and my short time, must be my apology now.—I wish I could have written to my mother and my uncles as you advise. And yet, favours come so slowly from them.