LETTER 391: MR BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ

Friday night, Aug. 4.

I have actually delivered to the lady the extracts she requested me to give her from thy letters. I do assure thee, that I have made the very best of the matter for thee, not that conscience, but that friendship, could oblige me to make. I have changed or omitted some free words. The warm description of her person in the fire-scene, as I may call it, I have omitted. I have told her, that I have done justice to you, in the justice you have done to her unexampled virtue. But take the very words which I wrote to her immediately following the extracts:

 

‘And now, Madam,’— See the paragraph marked with inverted commas [‘ thus] [in LETTER 338].

 

The lady is extremely uneasy at the thoughts of your attempting to visit her. For Heaven’s sake (your word being given), and for Pity’s sake (for she is really in a very weak and languishing way), let me beg of you not to think of it.

 

Yesterday afternoon she received a cruel letter, as Mrs. Lovick supposes it to be, by the effect it had upon her, from her sister, in answer to one written last Saturday, intreating a blessing and forgiveness from her parents.

 

She acknowleges, that, if all thy letters are written with equal decency and justice, as I have assured her they are, she shall think herself freed from the necessity of writing her own story: And this is an advantage to the accruing from the extracts I have obliged her with; tho’ thou, perhaps, wilt not thank me for so doing.

 

But what thinkest thou is the second request she had to make to me? No other than that I would be her Executor ! —Her motives will appear before thee in proper time; and then, I dare answer for them, will be satisfactory.

 

You cannot imagine how proud I am of this trust. I am afraid I shall too soon come into the execution of it. As she is always writing, what a melancholy pleasure will the perusal and disposition of her papers afford me! Such a sweetness of temper, so much patience and resignation, as she seems to be mistress of; yet writing of and in the midst of present distresses! How much more lively and affecting, for that reason, must her stile be, than all that can be read in the dry, narrative, unanimated stile of persons relating difficulties and dangers surmounted! The minds of such not labouring in suspense, not tortured by the pangs of uncertainty, about events still hidden in the womb of fate; but, on the contrary, perfectly at ease; the relater unmoved by his own story, how then able to move the hearer or reader?

 

Saturday morning, Aug. 5.

 

I am just returned from visiting the lady, and thanking her in person for the honour she has done me; and assuring her, if called to the sacred trust, of the utmost fidelity and exactness. I found her very ill. I took notice of it. She said, She had received a second hard-hearted letter from her sister; and she had been writing a letter (and that on her knees) directly to her mother; which before she had not the courage to do. It was for a last blessing, and forgiveness. No wonder, she said, that I saw her affected. Now that I had accepted of the last charitable office for her (for which, as well as for complying with her other request, she thanked me) I should one day have all these letters before me: And could she have a kind one, in return to that she had been now writing, to counterbalance the unkind one she had from her sister, she might be induced to shew me both together.

 

I knew she would be displeased, if I had censured the cruelty of her relations; I therefore only said, That surely she must have enemies, who hoped to find their account in keeping up the resentments of her friends against her.

 

It may be so, Mr. Belford, said she: The unhappy never want enemies. One fault, wilfully committed, authorizes the imputation of many more. Where the ear is opened to accusations, accusers will not be wanting; and every-one will officiously come with stories against a disgraced child, where nothing dare be said in her favour. I should have been wise in time, and not have needed to be convinced, by my own misfortunes, of the truth of what common experience daily demonstrates. Mr. Lovelace’s baseness, my father’s inflexibility, my sister’s reproaches, are the natural consequences of my own rashness; so I must make the best of my hard lot. Only, as these consequences follow one another so closely, while they are new, how can I help being anew affected?

 

I asked, If a letter written by myself, by her doctor or apothecary, to any of her friends, representing her low state of health, and great humility, would be acceptable? Or if a journey to any of them would be of service, I would gladly undertake it in person, and strictly conform to her orders, to whomsoever she would direct me to apply.

 

She earnestly desired, that nothing of this sort might be attempted, especially without her knowlege and consent. Miss Howe, she said, had done harm by her kindly-intended zeal; and if there were room to expect favour by mediation, she had ready at hand a kind friend, Mrs. Norton, who for piety and prudence had few equals; and who would let slip no opportunity to do her service.

 

I let her know, that I was going out of town till Monday: She wish’d me pleasure; and said, she should be glad to see me on my return.

Adieu!

This entry was posted in from John Belford, To Mr. Lovelace and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to LETTER 391: MR BELFORD TO ROBERT LOVELACE, ESQ

  1. Pingback: LETTER 396: MR LOVELACE TO JOHN BELFORD, ESQ | EN426: Digital Approaches to CLARISSA

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *