LETTER 126:MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE

Late as I went to bed, I have had very little rest. Sleep and I have quarrell’d; and altho’ I court it, it will not be friends. I hope its Fellow-irreconcileables at Harlowe-Place, enjoy its balmy comforts. Else, that will be an aggravation of my fault. My brother and sister, I dare say, want it not.

 

Mr. Lovelace, who is an early riser, as well as I, join’d me in the garden about six; and, after the usual salutations, ask’d me to resume our last night’s subject. It was upon lodgings at London, he said.

 

I think you mention’d one to me, Sir;—Did you not?

 

Yes, Madam, but (watching the turn of my countenance) rather as what you’d be welcome to, than perhaps approve of.

 

I believe so too. To go to town upon an uncertainty, I own, is not agreeable; but to be oblig’d to any gentleman of your acquaintance, when I want to be thought independent of you; and to a gentleman especially, to whom my friends are to direct to me, if they vouchsafe to take notice of me at all; is an absurd thing to mention.

 

He did not mention it as what he imagin’d I would accept, but only to confirm to me what he had said, that he himself knew of none fit for me.

 

Has not your family, Madam, some one tradesman they deal with, who has conveniencies of this kind? I would make it worth such a person’s while, to keep

the secret of your being at his house. Traders are dealers in pins, said he; and will be more oblig’d by a peny customer than a pound present, because it is in their way: —Yet will refuse neither.

 

My father’s tradesmen, I said, would, no doubt, be the first employ’d to find me out: So that proposal was as absurd as the other.

 

We had a good deal of discourse upon the same topic. But, at last, the result of all was this. —He wrote a letter to one Mr. Doleman, a marry’d man of fortune and character [I excepting to Mr. Belford], desiring him to provide decent apartments ready furnish’d [for I had told him what they should be] for a single woman; consisting of a bedchamber; another for a maid-servant, with the use of a dining-room or parlour. This he gave me to peruse; and then sealed it up, and dispatch’d it away in my presence, by one of his own servants, who having business in town, is to bring back an answer.

 

I attend the issue of it; holding myself in readiness to set out for London, unless you advise the contrary. I will only add, that I am

Your ever-affectionate
Cl. Harlowe .

 

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