LETTER 378: MISS ARABELLA HARLOWE TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE

Thursday, July 27. 

O my unhappy lost Sister !
What a miserable hand have you made of your romantic and giddy expedition! —I pity you at my heart.

You may well grieve and repent! —Lovelace has left you! —In what way or circumstances, you know best.

I wish your conduct had made your case more pitiable. But ’tis your own seeking!

God help you! —For you have not a friend will look upon you! —Poor, wicked, undone creature! —Fallen, as you are, against warning, against expostulation, against duty!

But it signifies nothing to reproach you. I weep over you.

My poor Mother! —Your rashness and folly have made her more miserable than you can be. —Yet she has besought my Father to grant your request.

My Uncles joined with her; for they thought there was a little more modesty in your Letter, than in the Letters of your pert advocate: And my Father is pleased to give me leave to write; but only these words for him, and no more: “That he withdraws the Curse he laid upon you, at the first hearing of your wicked flight, so far as it is in his power to do it; and hopes that your present punishment may be all that you will meet with. For the rest, He will never own you, nor forgive you; and grieves he has such a Daughter in the world.”

All this, and more, you have deserved from him, and from all of Us : But what have you done to this abandoned Libertine, to deserve what you have met with at his hands? —I fear, I fear, Sister! —But no more! —A blessed four months work have you made of it.

My Brother is now at Edinburgh, sent thither by my Father [tho’ he knows not this to be the motive] that he may not meet your triumphant deluder.

We are told he would be glad to marry you: But why, then, did he abandon you? He had kept you till he was tired of you, no question; and it is not likely he would wish to have you but upon the terms you have already without all doubt been his .

You ought to advise your friend Miss Howe to concern herself less in your matters than she does, except she could do it with more decency. She has written three Letters to me: Very insolent ones. Your favourer, poor Mrs. Norton, thinks you know nothing of the pert creature’s writing. I hope you don’t. But then the more impertinent the writer. But, believing the fond woman, I sat down the more readily to answer your Letter; and I write with less severity I can tell you, than otherwise I should have done, if I had answered it at all.

Monday last was your birth-day. Think, poor ungrateful wretch, as you are! how we all used to keep it; and you will not wonder to be told, that we ran away from one another that day. But God give you true penitence, if you have it not already! And it will be true, if it be equal to the shame and the sorrow you have given us all.

Your afflicted Sister,
Arabella Harlowe .

    Your Cousin Morden is every day expected in England. He, as well as others of the family, when he comes to hear what a blessed piece of work you have made of it, will wish you never had had a being.

In Answer to hers of Friday July 21. Letter xcv . of Vol. VI .)

 

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