St. Alban’s, Tuesday Morn. past One.
O my dearest friend!
After what I had resolved upon, as by my former, what shall I write? What can I? With what consciousness, even by Letter, do I approach you! —You will soon hear (if already you have not heard from the mouth of common fame), that your Clarissa Harlowe is gone off with a man!—
I am busying myself to give you the particulars at large. The whole twenty-four hours of each day (to begin the moment I can fix) shall be imployed in it till it is finished: Every-one of the hours, I mean, that will be spared me, by this interrupting man, to whom I have made myself so foolishly accountable for too many of them. Rest is departed from me. I have no call for That: And That has no balm for the wounds of my mind. So you’ll have all those hours, without interruption, till the account is ended.
But will you receive, shall you be permitted to receive, my letters, after what I have done? O, my dearest friend! —But I must make the best of it. I hope that will not be very bad! Yet am I convinced, that I did a rash, an inexcusable thing, in meeting him; and all his tenderness, all his vows, cannot pacify my inward reproaches on that account.
The bearer comes to you, my dear, for the little parcel of linen, which I sent you with far better and more agreeable hopes. Send not my letters. Send the linen only: Except you will favour me with one line, to tell me, you will love me still; and that you will suspend your censures, till you have the whole before you. I am the readier to send thus early, because if you have deposited any-thing for me, you may cause it to be taken back, or withhold any thing you had but intended to send.
Adieu, my dearest friend! —I beseech you to love me still! —But, alas! what will your mamma say? — What will mine! —What my other relations?—and what my dear Mrs. Norton? And how will my brother and sister triumph?— I cannot at present tell you how, or where, you can direct to me. For very early shall I leave this place; harrassed and fatigued to death! But, when I can do nothing else, constant use has made me able to write. Long, very long, has that been all my amusement and pleasure: Yet could not that have been such to me, had I not had you, my best-beloved friend, to write to. Once more adieu. Pity, and pray for,
Cl. Harlowe .