My respectful compliments to all your friends, as well to those I have the honour to know, as to those I do not know.
I have just now been surprised with a letter from one whom I long ago gave up all thoughts of hearing from. From Mr. Wyerley. I will enclose it. You’ll be surprised at it as much as I was. This seems to be a man whom I might have reclaimed. But I could not love him. Yet I hope I never treated him with arrogance. Indeed, my dear, if I am not too partial to myself, I think I refused him with more gentleness, than you retain somebody else. And this recollection gives me less pain than I should have had in the other case, on receiving this instance of a generosity that affects me. I will also enclose the rough draught of my answer, as soon as I have transcribed it.
If I begin another sheet, I shall write to the end of it: wherefore I will only add my prayers for your honour and prosperity, and for a long, long, happy life; and that, when it comes to be wound up, you may be as calm and as easy at quitting it as I hope in God I shall be. I am, and will be, to the latest moment,
Your truly affectionate and obliged servant,
Mr. Wyerley, to miss Clarissa
Wednesday, Aug. 23.
You will be surprised to find renewed, at this distance of time, an address so positively though so politely discouraged: but, however it be received, I must renew it. Every body has heard that you have been vilely treated by a man who, to treat you ill, must be the vilest of men. Every body knows your just resentment of his base treatment: that you are determined never to be reconciled to him: and that you persist in these sentiments against all the entreaties of his noble relations, against all the prayers and repentance of his ignoble self. And all the world that have the honour to know you, or have heard of him, applaud your resolution, as worthy of yourself; worthy of your virtue, and of that strict honour which was always attributed to you by every one who spoke of you.
But, Madam, were all the world to have been of a different opinion, it could never have altered mine. I ever loved you; I ever must love you. Yet have I endeavoured to resign to my hard fate. When I had so many ways, in vain, sought to move you in my favour, I sat down seemingly contented. I even wrote to you that I would sit down contented. And I endeavoured to make all my friends and companions think I was. But nobody knows what pangs this self-denial cost me! In vain did the chace, in vain did travel, in vain did lively company, offer themselves, and were embraced in their turn: with redoubled force did my passion for you renew my unhappiness, when I looked into myself, into my own heart; for there did your charming image sit enthroned; and you engrossed me all.