LETTER 434: MISS HOWE, TO MISS CLARISSA HARLOWE

In reply to hers of Friday Aug. 11.

         Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, Aug. 23.

My dearest Friend,
I have read the letters and copies of letters you favoured me with: And I return them by a particular hand.

 

I am extremely concerned at your indifferent state of health: But I approve all your proceedings and precautions, in relation to the naming of a man for an office, that, I hope, will not require to be filled up for many, many years.

 

I admire, and so we do all, that greatness of mind, which can make you so stedfastly despise (thro’ such inducements as no other woman could resist, and in such desolate circumstances as you are in) the wretch that ought to be so heartily despised and detested.

What must the contents of those letters from your relations be, which you will not communicate to me! Fie upon them! How my heart rises—But I dare say no more—Tho’ you yourself now begin to think they use you with great severity.

 

Every body here is so taken with Mr. Hickman, (and the more from the horror they conceive at the character of such a wretch as Lovelace) that I have been teazed to death almost, to name a day. This has given him airs; and, did I not keep him to it, he would behave himself as carelesly, and as insolently, as if he were sure of me. I have been forced to mortify him no less than four times since we have been here.

 

I made him lately undergo a severe penance for some negligences, that were not to be passed over: Not designed ones, he said: But that was a poor excuse, as I told him: For, had they been designed, he should never have come into my presence more: That they were not, shewed his want of thought and attention; and those were inexcuseable in a man only in his probatory state.

 

He hoped he had been more than in a probatory state, he said.

 

And therefore, Sir, might be more careless ? —So you add ingratitude to negligence, and make what you plead as accident, that itself wants an excuse, design, which deserves none.

 

I would not see him for two days, and he was so penitent, and so humble, that I had like to have lost myself, to make him amends: For, as you have said, a resentment carried too high, often ends in an amends too humble.

 

I long to be nearer to you: But that must not yet be, it seems. Pray, my dear, let me hear from you as often as you can.

 

May heaven increase your comforts, and restore your health, are the prayers of

 

Your ever faithful and affectionate


ANNA HOWE .

P. S.

 

    Excuse me that I did not write before; it was owing to a little coasting voyage I was obliged to give into.

 

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