LETTER 343: MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HOWE

Thursday afternoon.

 

You oppress me, my dearest Miss Howe, by your flaming, yet steady love. I will be very brief, because I am not well; yet a good deal better than I was; and because I am preparing an answer to yours of the 13th. But, beforehand, I must tell you, my dear, I will not have that man—Don’t be angry with me. —But indeed I won’t. So let him be asked no questions about me, I beseech you.

 

I do not despond, my dear. I hope I may say, I will not despond. Is not my condition greatly mended? I thank Heaven it is!

 

I am no prisoner now in a vile house. I am not now in the power of that man’s devices. I am not now obliged to hide myself in corners for fear of him. One of his intimate companions is become my warm friend, and engages to keep him from me, and that by his own consent. I am among honest people. I have all my cloaths and effects restored me. The wretch himself bears testimony to my honour.

 

Indeed I am very weak and ill: But I have an excellent physician, Dr. H. and as worthy an apothecary, Mr. Goddard. —Their treatment of me, my dear, is perfectly paternal ! —My mind too, I can find, begins to strengthen: And methinks, at times, I find myself superior to my calamities.

 

I shall have sinkings sometimes. I must expect such. And my father’s maledict——But you will chide me for introducing that, now I am enumerating my comforts.

 

But I charge you, my dear, that you do not suffer my calamities to sit too heavy upon your own mind: If you do, that will be to new-point some of those arrows, that have been blunted, and lost their sharpness.

 

If you would contribute to my happiness, give way, my dear, to your own ; and to the chearful prospects before you!

 

You will think very meanly of your Clarissa Harlowe, if you do not believe, that the greatest pleasure she can receive in this life, is in your prosperity and welfare. Think not of me, my only friend, but as we were in times past: And suppose me gone a great, great way off! —A long journey! —How often are the dearest of friends, at their country’s call, thus parted,—with a certainty for years— with a probability for ever!

 

Love me still, however. But let it be with a weaning love. I am not what I was, when we were inseparable lovers, as I may say. —Our views must now be different. —Resolve, my dear, to make a worthy man happy, because a worthy man must make you so. –And so, my dearest love, for the present adieu! —Adieu, my dearest love!— But I shall soon write again, I hope!

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