If I am to be still the most unhappy of men, let your pen by one line tell me so. If I am permitted to indulge a hope, however distant, your silence shall be deemed, by me, the happiest indication of it that you can give—except that still happier—(the happiest than can befall me,) a signification that you will accept the tender of that life and fortune, which it would be my pride and my glory to sacrifice in your service, leaving the reward to yourself.
Be your determination as it may, I must for ever admire and love you. Nor will I ever change my condition, while you live, whether you change your’s or not: for, having once had the presumption to address you, I cannot stoop to think of any other woman: and this I solemnly declare in the presence of that God, whom I daily pray to bless and protect you, be your determination what it will with regard to, dearest Madam,
Your most devoted and ever affectionate and faithful servant, Alexander Wyerley.
Miss CL. Harlowe, to Alex.
Sat. Aug. 26.
The generosity of your purpose would have commanded not only my notice, but my thanks, although you had not given me the alternative you are pleased to call artful. And I do therefore give you my thanks for your kind letter.
At the time you distinguished me by your favourable opinion, I told you, Sir, that my choice was the single life. And most truly did I tell you so.
When that was not permitted me, and I looked round upon the several gentlemen who had been proposed to me, and had reason to believe that there was not one of them against whose morals or principles there lay not some exception, it would not have been much to be wondered at, if fancy had been allowed to give a preference, where judgment was at a loss to determine.
Far be it from me to say this with a design to upbraid you, Sir, or to reflect upon you. I always wished you well. You had reason to think I did. You had the generosity to be pleased with the frankness of my behaviour to you; as I had with that of your’s to me; and I am sorry, very sorry, to be now told, that the acquaintance you obliged me with gave you so much pain.
Had the option I have mentioned been allowed me afterwards, (as I not only wished, but proposed,) things had not happened that did happen. But there was a kind of fatality by which our whole family was impelled, as I may say; and which none of us were permitted to avoid. But this is a subject that cannot be dwelt upon.