LETTER 380: MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE TO MISS HARLOWE

Saturday, July 29. 

I repine not, my dear Sister, at the Severity you have been pleased to express in the Letter you favoured me with; because that Severity was accompanied with the grace I had petitioned for; and because the reproaches of mine own heart are stronger than any other person’s reproaches can be: And yet I am not half so culpable as I am imagined to be: As would be allowed, if all the circumstances of my unhappy Story were known; and which I shall be ready to communicate to Mrs. Norton, if she be commissioned to enquire into them; or to you, my Sister, if you can have patience to hear them.

I remembred with a bleeding heart what day the 24th of July was. I began with the eve of it; and I passed the day itself— as it was fit I should pass it. Nor have I any comfort to give to my dear and ever-honoured Father and Mother, and to you, my Bella, but This—That, as it was the first unhappyAnniversary of my Birth, in all probability, it will be the last .

Believe me, my dear Sister, I say not this, merely to move compassion; but from the best grounds. And as, on that account, I think it of the highest importance to my peace of mind to obtain one further favour, I would chuse to owe to your intercession, as my Sister, the leave I beg, to address half a dozen lines (with the hope of having them answered as I wish) to either or to both my honoured Parents, to beg their Last Blessing .

This Blessing is all the favour I have now to ask: It is all I dare to ask: Yet am I afraid to rush at once, tho’ by Letter, into the presence of either. And if I did not ask it, it might seem to be owing to stubbornness and want of duty, when my heart is all humility and penitence. Only, be so good as to embolden me to attempt this task—Write but this one line, “Clary Harlowe, you are at liberty to write as you desire.” This will be enough—And shall, to my last hour be acknowleged as the greatest favour, by

Your truly penitent Sister,
Clarissa Harlowe .

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