* Her letter, containing the reasons she refers to, was not asked for; and Dr. Lewen’s death, which fell out soon after he had received it, was the reason that it was not communicated to the family, till it was too late to do the service that might have been hoped for from it.
To your other proposal, of going to Pensylvania; this is my answer—If nothing happen within a month which may full as effectually rid my parents and friends of that world of cares, and fears, and scandals, which you mention, and if I am then able to be carried on board of ship, I will cheerfully obey my father and mother, although I were sure to die in the passage. And, if I may be forgiven for saying so (for indeed it proceeds not from a spirit of reprisal) you shall set over me, instead of my poor obliging, but really-unculpable, Hannah, your Betty Barnes; to whom I will be answerable for all my conduct. And I will make it worth her while to accompany me.
I am equally surprised and concerned at the hints which both you and my uncle Antony give of new points of misbehaviour in me!—What can be meant by them?
I will not tell you, Miss Harlowe, how much I am afflicted at your severity, and how much I suffer by it, and by your hard-hearted levity of style, because what I shall say may be construed into jingle and period, and because I know it is intended, very possibly for kind ends, to mortify me. All I will therefore say is, that it does not lose its end, if that be it.
But, nevertheless, (divesting myself as much as possible of all resentment,) I will only pray that Heaven will give you, for your own sake, a kinder heart than at present you seem to have; since a kind heart, I am convinced, is a greater blessing to its possessor than it can be to any other person. Under this conviction I subscribe myself, my dear Bella,
Your ever-affectionate sister,
Mrs. Norton, to miss Clarissa Harlowe [in answer to her’s of Thursday, Aug. 17.*] Tuesday, Aug. 22.
* See Letter VI. of this volume.
The letters you sent me I now return by the hand that brings you this.
It is impossible for me to express how much I have been affected by them, and by your last of the 17th. Indeed, my dear Miss Clary, you are very harshly used; indeed you are! And if you should be taken from us, what grief and what punishment are not treasuring up against themselves in the heavy reflections which their rash censures and unforgivingness will occasion them!
But I find to what your uncle Antony’s cruel letter is owing, as well as one you will be still more afflicted by, [God help you, my poor dear child!] when it comes to your hand, written by your sister, with proposals to you.*