LETTER 102: MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS ARABELLA HARLOWE

To Miss Arabella Harlowe .
Inclosed to Miss Howe in the preceding.

St. Alban’s, Tuesday, Apr. 11.

My dear sister,
I have, I confess, been guilty of an action which carries with it a rash and undutiful appearance. And I should have thought it an inexcusable one, had I been used with less severity than I have been of late; and had I not had too great reason to apprehend, that I was to be made a sacrifice to a man I could not bear to think of. But what is done, is done—Perhaps I could wish it had not—and that I had trusted to the relenting of my dear and honoured parents. —Yet This from no other motives, but those of duty to them. —To whom I am ready to return [if I may not be permitted to retire to The Grove ], on conditions which I before offered to comply with.

Nor shall I be in any sort of dependence upon the person by whose means I have taken this truly reluctant step, inconsistent with any reasonable engagement I shall enter into, if I am not farther precipitated.

Let me not have it to say, [now, at this important crisis!] that I have a sister, but not a firiend in her. My reputation, dearer to me than life (whatever you may imagine from the step I have taken), is suffering. A little lenity will, even yet, in a great measure, restore it; and make that pass for a temporary misunderstanding only, which otherwise will be a stain as durable as life, upon a creature who has already been treated with great unkindness, to use no harsher a word.

For your own sake therefore, for my brother’s sake, who have thus precipitated me [I must say it!], and for all the family’s sake, aggravate not my fault, if, on recollecting every thing, you think it one; nor by widening the unhappy difference, expose a sister for ever—Prays,

Your ever-affectionate
Cl. Harlowe .

      I shall take it for a very great favour, to have my cloaths directly sent me, together with fifty guineas, which you’ll find in my escritoire [of which I inclose the key]; as also the divinity and miscellany classes of my little library; and, if it be thought fit, my jewels—Directed for me, To be left at Mr. Osgood’s, near Soho-Square —Till call’d for.

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