All then that I will say further to it, at this time, is, that were the intended goodness to be granted to me but a week hence, it would possibly be too late—too late I mean to be of the consolation to me that I would wish from it: for what an inefficacious preparation must I have been making, if it has not, by this time, carried me above—But above what?— Poor mistaken creature! Unhappy self-deluder! that finds herself above nothing! Nor able to subdue her own faulty impatience!
But in-deed, to have done with a subject that I dare not trust myself with, if it come in your way, let my aunt Hervey, let my dear cousin Dolly, let the worthy Mrs. Williams, know how exceedingly grateful to me their kind intentions and concern for me are: and, as the best warrant or justification of their good opinions, (since I know that their favour for me is founded on the belief that I loved virtue,) tell them, that I continued to love virtue to my last hour, as I presume to hope it may be said; and assure them that I never made the least wilful deviation, however unhappy I became for one faulty step; which nevertheless was not owing to unworthy or perverse motives.
I am very sorry that my cousin Morden has taken a resolution to see Mr. Lovelace.
My apprehensions on this intelligence are a great abatement to the pleasure I have in knowing that he still loves me.
My sister’s letter to me is a most affecting one—so needlessly, so ludicrously taunting!—But for that part of it that is so, I ought rather to pity her, than to be so much concerned at it as I am.
I wonder what I have done to Mr. Brand—I pray God to forgive both him and his informants, whoever they be. But if the scandal arise solely from Mr. Belford’s visits, a very little time will confute it. Mean while, the packet I shall send you, which I sent to Miss Howe, will, I hope, satisfy you, my dear Mrs. Norton, as to my reasons for admitting his visits.
My sister’s taunting letter, and the inflexibleness of my dearer friends —But how do remoter-begun subjects tend to the point which lies nearest the heart!—As new-caught bodily disorders all crowd to a fractured or distempered part.
I will break off, with requesting your prayers that I may be blessed with patience and due resignation; and with assuring you, that I am, and will be to the last hour of my life,
Your equally grateful and affectionate
MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE [IN REPLY TO HER’S OF FRIDAY, AUG. 11.*] YARMOUTH, ISLE OF WIGHT, AUG. 23.
* See Letter II. of this volume.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
I have read the letters and copies of letters you favoured me with: and I return them by a particular hand. I am extremely concerned at your indifferent state of health: but I approve of all your proceedings and precautions in relation to the appointment of Mr. Belford for an office, in which, I hope, neither he nor any body else will be wanted to act, for many, very many years.