CONCLUSION. Supposed to be written by Mr. Belford.
What remains to be mentioned for the satisfaction of such of the readers as may be presumed to have interested themselves in the fortunes of those other principals in the Story, who survived Mr. Lovelace, will be found summarily related as follows:
The news of Mr. Lovelace's unhappy End was received with as much grief by his own relations, as it was with exultation by the Harlowe-family, and by Miss Howe. His own family were most to be pitied, because, being sincere admirers of the inimitable Lady, they were greatly grieved for the injustice done her; and now had the additional mortification of losing the only Male of it, by a violent death.
That his fate was deserved, was still a heightening of their calamity, as they had, for that very reason, and his unpreparedness for it, but too much ground for apprehension with regard to his future happiness. While the other family, from their unforgiving spirit, and even the noble young Lady above-mentioned, from her lively resentments, found his death some little, some temporary, alleviation of the heavy loss they had sustained, principally thro' his means.
Temporary alleviation, we repeat, as to the Harlowe-family; for THEY were far from being happy or easy in their reflections upon their own conduct. ---·And still the less, as the inconsolable Mother rested not,
till she had procured, by means of Colonel Morden, large extracts from some of the Letters that compose this History, which convinced them all, that the very correspondence which Clarissa, while with them, renewed with Mr. Lovelace, was renewed for their sakes, more than for her own: That she had given him no encouragement contrary to her duty, and to that prudence for which she was so early noted: That had they trusted to a discretion which they owned she had never brought into question, she would have extricated them and herself (as she once proposed (a) [Footnote a: 1Kb] to her Mother) from all difficulties as to Lovelace: That she, if any woman ever could, would have given a glorious instance of a passion conquered, or at least kept under, by Reason, and by Piety; the man being too immoral to be implicitly beloved.
·The unhappy Parents and Uncles, from the perusal of these Extracts, too evidently for their peace, saw, That it was entirely owing to the avarice, the ambition, the envy, of her implacable Brother and Sister, and to the senseless confederacy entered into by the whole family, to compel her to give her hand to a man she must despise, or she had not been a Clarissa, and to their consequent persecutions of her, that she ever thought of quitting her Father's house: And that even when she first entertained such a thought, it was with intent, if possible, to procure for herself a private asylum with Mrs. Howe, or at some other place of safety (but not with Mr. Lovelace, nor with any of the Ladies of his family, tho' invited by the latter) from whence she might propose terms which ought to have been complied with, and which were entirely consistent with her duty---That tho' she found herself disappointed of the hoped for refuge and protection, she intended not, by meeting Mr. Lovelace, to put herself into his power; all that she aimed at by taking that step, being to endeavour
to pacify so fierce a spirit, lest he should (as he indeed was determined to do) pay a visit to her friends which might have been attended with fatal consequences; but was spirited away by him in such a manner, as made her an object of pity, rather than of blame.
·These Extracts further convinced them all, that it was to her unaffected regret, that she found, that Marriage was not in her power afterwards for a long time; and at last, but on one occasion, when their unnatural cruelty to her (on a new application she had made to her Aunt Hervey, to procure mercy and pardon) rendered her incapable of receiving his proferr'd hand; and so obliged her to suspend the day; intending only to suspend it, till recovered.
·They saw with equal abhorrence of Lovelace, and of their own cruelty, and with the highest admiration of her, That the majesty of her virtue had awed the most daring spirit in the world, so that he durst not attempt to carry his base designs into execution, till, by wicked potions, he had made her senses the previous sacrifice.
·But how did they in a manner adore her memory! How did they recriminate upon each other! when they found, that she had not only preserved herself from repeated outrage, by the most glorious and intrepid behaviour, in defiance, and to the utter confusion, of all his Libertine notions; but had the fortitude, constantly, and with a noble disdain, to reject Him. ---Whom? ---Why, the Man she once could have loved, kneeling for pardon, and begging to be permitted to make her the best reparation then in his power to make her; that is to say, by Marriage. His fortunes high and unbroken. She his prisoner at the time in a vile house: Rejected by all her friends; upon repeated application to them, for mercy and forgiveness, rejected---Mercy and forgiveness, and a last blessing, afterwards imploring; and that as
much to lighten their future remorses, as for the comfort of her own pious heart---Yet, tho' savagely refused, on a supposition that she was not so near her End, as was represented, departed, forgiving and blessing them all.
·Then they recollected, that her posthumous Letters, instead of reproaches, were filled with comfortings: That she had in her Last Will, in their own way, laid obligations upon them all; obligations which they neither deserved nor expected; as if she thought to repair the injustice which self-partiality made some of them conclude done to them by her Grandfather in his Will.
·These intelligences and recollections were perpetual subjects of recrimination to them: Heightened their anguish for the loss of a child who was the glory of their family; and not seldom made them shun each other (at the times they were accustomed to meet together) that they might avoid the mutual reproaches of Eyes that spoke, when Tongues were silent--- Their stings also sharpened by time; what an unhappy family was This! Well might Colonel Morden, in the words of Juvenal, challenge all other miserable families to produce such a growing distress as that of the Harlowes (a few months before so happy!) were able to produce.
·Humani generis mores tibi nôsse volenti ·Sufficit una domus: paucos consume dies, & ·Dicere te miserum, postquam illinc veneris, aude.
·Mrs. Harlowe lived about two years and an half, after the lamented death of her Clarissa.
·Mr. Harlowe had the additional affliction to survive his Lady about half a year; her death, by new-pointing his former anguish and remorse, hastening his own.·
Both, in their last hours, however, comforted themselves, that they should be restored to their BLESSED
daughter, as they always (from the time that they were acquainted with the above particulars of her story, and with her happy exit) called her.
They both lived, however, to see their son James, and their daughter Arabella, married: But not to take joy in either of their nuptials.
Mr.James Harlowe married a woman of family, an orphan; and is obliged, at a very great expence, to support her claim to Estates, which were his principal inducement to make his addresses to her; but which, to this day, he has not recovered; nor is likely to recover; having very powerful adversaries to contend with, and a title to assert, which admits of litigation; and he not blessed with so much patience as is necessary to persons embarrassed in Law.
What is further observable with regard to him, is, that the match was entirely of his own head, against the advice of his Father, Mother, and Uncles, who warned him of marrying in this Lady a Law-suit for life. His ungenerous behaviour to his Wife, for what she cannot help, and for what is as much her misfortune as his, has occasioned such estrangements between them (she being a woman of spirit) as, were the Lawsuits determined, and even more favourably than probably they will be, must make him unhappy to the End of his Life. He attributes all his misfortunes, when he opens himself to the few friends he has, to his vile and cruel treatment of his angelic Sister. He confesses these misfortunes to be just, without having temper to acquiesce in the acknowleged justice. One month in every year he puts on mourning, and that month commences with him on the 7th of September, during which he shuts himself up from all company. Finally, he is looked upon, and often calls himself,
The most miserable of Beings.
Arabella's Fortune became a temptation to a man of Quality to make his addresses to her: His Title an inducement with her to approve of him. Brothers
and Sisters, when they are not Friends, are generally the sharpest Enemies to each other. He thought too much was done for her in the Settlements. She thought not enough. And for some years past, they have so heartily hated each other, that if either know a joy, it is in being told of some new misfortune or displeasure that happens to the other. Indeed, before they came to an open rupture, they were continually loading each other, by way of exonerating themselves (to the additional disquiet of the whole family) with the principal guilt of their implacable behaviour and sordid cruelty to their admirable Sister. ---May the reports that are spread of this Lady's further unhappiness from her Lord's free life; a fault she justly thought so odious in Mr. Lovelace (though that would not have been an insuperable objection with her to his addresses); and of his public slights and contempt of her, and even sometimes of his personal abuses, which are said to be owing to her impatient spirit, and violent passions; be utterly groundless. ---For, what a heart must that be, which would wish she might be as great a torment to herself, as she had aimed to be to her Sister? Especially as she regrets to this hour, and declares, that she shall to the last of her life, her cruel treatment of that Sister; and (as well as her Brother) is but too ready to attribute to that her own unhappiness.
Mr. Antony and Mr. John Harlowe are still [at the writing of this] living: But often declare, That, with their beloved Niece, they lost all the joy of their lives: And lament, without reserve, in all companies, the unnatural part they were induced to take against her.
Mr. Solmes is also still living, if a man of his cast may be said to live; for his general behaviour and sordid manners are such as justify the aversion the excellent Lady had to him. He has moreover found his addresses rejected by several women of far inferior fortunes (great as his own are) to those of the Lady to whom he was encouraged to aspire.
Mr. Mowbray and Mr. Tourville having lost the man in whose conversation they so much delighted; shock'd and awakened by the several unhappy catastrophes before their eyes; and having always rather ductile than dictating hearts; took their friend Belford's advice: Converted the remainder of their fortunes into Annuities for Life; and retired, the one into Yorkshire, the other into Nottinghamshire, of which counties they are natives: Their friend Belford managing their concerns for them, and corresponding with them, and having more and more hopes every time he sees them (which is once or twice a year, when they come to town) that they will become more and more worthy of their Names and Families.
·As those Sisters in iniquity, Sally Martin and Polly Horton, had abilities and education superior to what creatures of their cast generally can boast of; and as their Histories are no-where given in the preceding Papers, in which they are frequently mentioned; it cannot fail of gratifying the reader's curiosity, as well as answering the good ends designed by the publication of this Work, to give a brief account of their Parentage, and manner of Training-up, preparative to the vile courses they fell into, and of what became of them, after the dreadful exit of the infamous Sinclair.
·Sally Martin was the daughter of a substantial Mercer at the Court-end of the town; to whom her Mother, a Grocer's Daughter in the city, brought a handsome fortune; and both having a gay turn, and being fond of the fashions which it was their business to promote; and which the wives and daughters of the uppermost tradesmen (especially in that quarter of the town) generally affect to follow; it was no wonder that they brought up their daughter accordingly: Nor that she, who was a very sprightly and ready-witted girl, and reckoned very pretty and very genteel, should every year improve upon such examples.
·She early found herself mistress of herself. All she did was right: All she said was admired. Early, very early, did she dismiss blushes from her cheek. She could not blush, because she could not doubt: And silence, whatever were the subject, was as much a stranger to her, as diffidence.
·She never was left out of any party of pleasure, after she had passed her Ninth year; and, in honour of her prattling vein, was considered as a principal person in the frequent Treats and Entertainments which her parents, fond of luxurious living, gave with a view to encrease their acquaintance for the sake of their business. Not duly reflecting, that the part they suffered her to take in what made for their interest, would probably be a means to quicken the appetites and ruin the morals of that Daughter, for whose sake, as an only child, they were solicitous to obtain wealth.
·The Child so much a Woman, what must the Woman be?
·At Fifteen or Sixteen, she affected, both in dress and manners, to ape such of the quality, as were most Apish. The richest silks in her Father's shop were not too rich for her. At all public diversions, she was the leader, instead of the led, of all her female kindred and acquaintance; tho' they were a third older than herself. She would bustle herself into a place, and make room for her more bashful companions, through the frowns of the first possessors, at a crouded theatre; leaving every one near her amazed at her self-consequence, wondering she had no servant to keep place for her; whisperingly enquiring who she was; and then sitting down admiring her fortitude.
·She officiously made herself of consequence to the most noted Players; who, as one of their patronesses, applied to her for her interest, on their Benefit-nights.
She knew the Christian, as well as Sur-Name of every pretty fellow who frequented public places; and affected to speak of them by their former.
·Those who had not obeyed the call her eyes always made upon all of them for notice at her entrance, or before she took her seat, were spoken of with haughtiness, as, Jack's, or Tom's; while her favourites with an affectedly-endearing familiarity, and a prettiness of accent, were Jackeys and Tommys; and if they stood very high in her graces, Dear Devils, and Agreeable Toads.
·She sat in judgment, and an inexorable judge she was, upon the actions and conduct of every man and woman of quality and fashion, as they became the subjects of conversation. She was deeply learned in the scandalous Chronicle: She made every character, every praise, and every censure, serve to exalt herself. She should scorn to do so or so! ---Or, That was ever her way; and just what she did, or liked to do; and judging herself by the vileness of the most vile of her Sex, she wiped her mouth, and sat down satisfied with her own virtue.
·She had her Chair to attend her where-ever she went, and found people among her Betters, as her pride stooped to call some of the most insignificant people in the world, to encourage her visits.
·She was practised in all the arts of the Card-table: A true Spartan girl; and had even courage, occasionally, to wrangle off a detection. Late hours (turning night into day, and day into night) were the almost unavoidable consequence of her frequent play. Her parents pleased themselves that their Sally had a charming constitution: And as long as she suffered not in her health, they were regardless of her morals.
·The Needle she hated: And made the constant subjects of her ridicule the fine works that used to employ, and keep out of idleness, luxury, and extravagance, and at home (were they to have been of
no other service) the women of the last age, when there were no Vaux-halls, Ranelaghs, Marybones, and such like places of diversion, to dress out for, and gad after.
·And as to Family-management, her parents had not required any knowlege of that sort from her; and she considered it as a qualification only necessary for hirelings, and the low-born, and as utterly unworthy of the attention of a modern fine Lady.
·Altho' her Father had great business, yet, living in so high and expensive a way, he pretended not to give her a fortune answerable to it. Neither he nor his Wife, having set out with any notion of frugality, could think of retrenching. Nor did their Daughter desire that they should retrench. They thought glare or ostentation reputable. They called it living genteelly. And as they lifted their heads above their neighbours, they supposed their credit concerned to go forward rather than backward in outward appearances. They flattered themselves, and they flattered their girl, and she was entirely of their opinion, that she had charms and wit enough to attract some man of rank; of Fortune at least: And yet this Daughter of a Mercer-Father and Grocer-Mother could not bear the thoughts of a creeping Cit; encouraging herself with the few instances (comparatively few) which she had always in her head as common ones, of girls much inferior to herself in station, talents, education, and even fortune, who had succeeded---as she doubted not to succeed. Handsome Settlements, and a Chariot, that tempting gewgaw to the vanity of the middling class of females, were the least that she proposed to herself. But all this while, neither her parents nor herself considered, that she had appetites indulged to struggle with, and a turn of education given her, as well as a warm constitution, unguarded by sound principles, and unbenefited
by example, which made her much better qualified for a Mistress than a Wife.
·Her Twentieth year, to her own equal wonder and regret, passed over her head, and she had not had one offer that her pride would permit her to accept of. A girl from Fifteen to Eighteen, her beauty then beginning to blossom, will, as a new thing, attract the eyes of men: But if she make her face cheap at public places, she will find, that new faces will draw more attention than fine faces constantly seen. Policy therefore, if nothing else were considered, would induce a young beauty, if she could tame her vanity, just to shew herself, and to be talked of, and then withdrawing, as if from discretion (and discreet it will be to do so) expect to be sought after, rather than to be thought to seek for; only reviving now-and-then the memory of herself, at the public places in turn, if she find herself likely to be forgotten; and then she will be new again. But this observation ought young Ladies always to have in their heads, that they can hardly ever expect to gratify their vanity, and at the same time gain the admiration of men worthy of making partners for life. They may, in short, have many admirers at public places, but not one Lover.
·Sally Martin knew nothing of this doctrine. Her beauty was in its bloom, and yet she found herself neglected. 'Sally Martin, the Mercer's Daughter: She never fails being here;' was the answer, and the accompanying observation, made to every Questioner, Who is that Lady?
·At last, her destiny approached. It was at a Masquerade, that she first saw the gay, the handsome Lovelace, who was just returned from his travels. She was immediately struck with his figure, and with the brilliant things that she heard fall from his lips as he happened to sit near her. He, who was not then looking out for a Wife, was taken with Sally's smartness,
and with an air that at the same time shewed her to be equally genteel and self-significant; and signs of approbation mutually passing, he found no difficulty in acquainting himself where to visit her next day. And yet it was some mortification to a person of her self-consequence, and gay appearance, to submit to be known by so fine a young gentleman as no more than a Mercer's daughter. So natural is it for a girl brought up as Sally was, to be occasionally ashamed of those whose folly had set her above herself.
·But whatever it might be to Sally, it was no disappointment to Mr. Lovelace, to find his Mistress of no higher degree; because he hoped to reduce her soon, to the lowest condition that an unhappy woman can fall into.
·But when Miss Martin had informed herself, that her lover was the Nephew and presumptive Heir of Lord M. she thought him the very man for whom she had been so long and so impatiently looking out; and for whom it was worth her while to spread her toils. And here it may not be amiss to observe, that it is very probable, that Mr. Lovelace had Sally Martin in his thoughts, and perhaps two or three more whose hopes of marriage from him had led them to their ruin, when he drew the following whimsical picture, in a Letter to his friend Belford, not inserted in the preceding Collection.
·'Methinks, says he, I see a young couple in courtship, having each a design upon the other: The girl plays off: She is very happy, as she is: She cannot be happier: She will not change her single state: The man, I will suppose, is one who does not confess, that he desires not that she should: She holds ready a net under her apron; he another under his coat; each intending to throw it over the other's neck; she over his, when her pride is gratified, and she thinks she can be sure of him; he over hers,
when the watched-for yielding moment has carried consent too far---And suppose he happens to be the more dextrous of the two, and whips his net over her, before she can cast hers over him; how, I would fain know, can she be justly entitled to cry out upon cruelty, barbarity, deception, sacrifices, and all the rest of the exclamatory nonsense, with which the pretty fools, in such a case, are wont to din the ears of their conquerors? Is it not just, thinkest thou, when she makes her appeals to gods and men, that both gods and men should laugh at her, and hitting her in the teeth with her own felonious intentions, bid her sit down patiently under her deserved disappointment?'
·In short, Sally's parents, as well as herself, encouraged Mr. Lovelace's visits. They thought they might trust to a discretion in her which she herself was too wise to doubt. Pride they knew she had. And that, in these cases, is often called discretion--- Lord help the Sex, says Lovelace, if they had not Pride! ---Nor did they suspect danger from that specious air of sincerity, and gentleness of manners, which he could assume or lay aside whenever he pleased.
·The second Masquerade, which was no more than their third meeting abroad, completed her ruin, from so practised, tho' so young a deceiver; and that before she well knew she was in danger: For, having prevailed on her to go off with him about Twelve o'clock to his Aunt Forbes's, a lady of honour and fortune, to whom he had given reason to expect her future Niece [the only hint of Marriage he ever gave her], he carried her to the house of the wicked woman, who bears the name of Sinclair in these Papers: And there, by promises, which she understood in the favourable sense (for where a woman loves, she seldom doubts enough for her own safety) obtained an easy conquest over a virtue that was little more than nominal.
·He found it not difficult to induce her to proceed in the guilty commerce, till the effects of it became too apparent to be hid. Her Parents then (in the first fury of their disappointment, and vexation for being deprived of all hopes of such a Son-in-law) turned her out of doors.
·Her disgrace thus published, she became hardened; and, protected by her seducer, whose favourite Mistress she then was, she was so incensed against her Parents for an indignity so little suiting with her pride, and the head they had always given her, that she refused to return to them, when, repenting of their passionate treatment of her, they would have been reconciled to her: And, becoming the favourite Daughter of her Mother Sinclair, at the persuasions of that abandoned woman, she practised to bring on an abortion, which she effected, tho' she was so far gone, that it had like to have cost her her life.
·Thus, unchastity her first crime, murder her next, her conscience became seared; and, young as she was, and fond of her deceiver, soon grew indelicate enough, having so thorough-placed a Schoolmistress, to do all she could to promote the pleasures of the man who had ruined her; scrupling not, with a spirit truly diabolical, to endeavour to draw in others to follow her example. And it is hardly to be believed what mischiefs of this sort she was the means of effecting; woman confiding in, and daring woman; and she a creature of specious appearance, and great art.
·A still viler wickedness, if possible, remains to be said of Sally Martin.
·Her Father dying, her Mother, in hopes to reclaim her, as she called it, proposed to her to quit the house of the infamous Sinclair, and to retire with her into the country, where her disgrace, and her then wicked way of life, would not be known; and there so to live, as to save appearances; the only virtue she
had ever taught her; besides that of endeavouring rather to delude than to be deluded.
·To this Sally consented; but with no other intention, as she often owned (and gloried in it) than to cheat her Mother of the greatest part of her substance, in revenge for consenting to her being turned out of doors long before, and by way of reprisal for having persuaded her Father, as she would have it, to cut her off, in his last Will, from any share in his fortune.
·This unnatural wickedness, in half a year's time, she brought about; and then the Serpent retired to her obscene den with her spoils, laughing at what she had done; even after it had broken her Mother's heart, as it did in a few months time: A severe, but just punishment for the unprincipled education she had given her.
·It ought to be added, that this was an iniquity, of which neither Mr. Lovelace, nor any of his friends, could bear to hear her boast; and always check'd her for it whenever she did; condemning it with one voice: And it is certain, that this and other instances of her complicated wickedness, turned early Lovelace's heart against her; and, had she not been subservient to him in his other pursuits, he would not have endured her: For, speaking of her, he would say, Let not any one reproach us, Jack: There is no wickedness like the wickedness of a woman (a) [Footnote a: 1Kb] .
·A bad education was the preparative, it must be confessed: And for this Sally Martin had reason to thank her Parents: As they had reason to thank themselves, for what followed: But, had she not met with a Lovelace, she had avoided a Sinclair; and might have gone on at the common rate of wives so educated; and been the Mother of children turned out to take their chance in the world, as she was; so many lumps of soft wax, fit to take any impression
that the first accident gave them; neither happy, nor making happy; every-thing but useful; and well off, if not extremely miserable.
·Polly Horton was the daughter of a gentlewoman well descended; whose Husband, a man of family, and of honour, was a Captain in the Guards.
·He died when Polly was about Nine years of age, leaving her to the care of her Mother, a lively young Lady of about Twenty-six; with a genteel provision for both.
·Her Mother was extremely fond of her Polly; but had it not in herself to manifest the true, the genuine fondness of a Parent, by a strict and guarded education; dressing out, and visiting, and being visited by the gay of her own Sex, and casting out her eye abroad, as one very ready to try her fortune again in the married state.
·This induced those airs, and a love to those diversions, which make a young widow, of so lively a turn, the unfittest Tutress in the world, even to her own daughter.
·Mrs. Horton herself having had an early turn to Music, and that sort of Reading, which is but an earlier debauchery for young minds, preparative to the grosser at riper years, to wit, Romances and Novels, Songs and Plays, and those without distinction, moral or immoral, she indulged her daughter in the same taste; and at those hours, when they could not take part in the more active and lively amusements and Kill-times, as some call them, used to employ Miss to read to her; happy enough in her own imagination, that, while she was diverting her own ears, and sometimes, as the piece was, corrupting her own heart, and her child's too, she was teaching Miss to read, and improve her mind; for it was the boast of every tea-table half-hour, That Miss Horton, in propriety, accent, and emphasis, surpassed all the young Ladies of her age: And, at other times, complimenting
the pleased Mother---Bless me, Madam, with what a surprising grace Miss Horton reads! ---She enters into the very spirit of her subject---This she could have from nobody but you! An intended praise; but, as the subjects were, would have been a severe satire in the mouth of an enemy! ---While the fond, the inconsiderate Mother, with a delighted air, would cry, Why, I cannot but say, Miss Horton does credit to her Tutress! And then a Come-hither, my best Love! And, with a kiss of approbation, What a pleasure to your dear Papa, had he lived to see your improvements, my Charmer! ---Concluding with a sigh of satisfaction; her eyes turning round upon the circle, to take in all the silent applauses of theirs! But little thought the fond, the foolish Mother, what the plant would be, which was springing up from these seeds! Little imagined she, that her own ruin, as well as her child's, was to be the consequence of this fine education; and that, in the same ill-fated hour, the honour both of Mother and Daughter was to become a sacrifice to the intriguing Invader.
·This the laughing girl, when abandoned to her evil destiny, and in company with her Sister Sally, and others, each recounting their settings-out, their progress, and their fall, frequently related to be her education and manner of training-up.
·This, and to see a succession of Humble Servants buzzing about a Mother, who took too much pride in addresses of that kind, what a beginning, what an example, to a constitution of tinder, so prepared to receive the spark struck from the steely forehead, and flinty heart, of such a Libertine, as at last it was their fortune to be encountered by!
·In short, as Miss grew up under the influences of such a Directress, and of books so light and frothy, with the inflaming additions of Music, Concerts, Opera's, Plays, Assemblies, Balls, and the rest of the rabble of amusements of the modern
life, it is no wonder, that, like early fruit, she was soon ripened to the hand of the insidious gatherer.
·At Fifteen, she own'd, she was ready to fansy herself the Heroine of every Novel, and of every Comedy she read, so well did she enter into the spirit of her subject: She glowed to become the object of some Hero's flame; and perfectly longed to begin an intrigue, and even to be run away with by some enterprising Lover: Yet had neither Confinement nor Check to apprehend from her indiscreet Mother: Which she thought absolutely necessary to constitute a Parthenissa!
·Nevertheless, with all these fine modern qualities, did she complete her Nineteenth year, before she met with any address of consequence: One half of her admirers being afraid, because of her gay turn, and but middling fortune, to make serious applications for her favour; while others were kept at distance, by the superior airs she assumed; and a third sort, not sufficiently penetrating the foibles either of Mother or Daughter, were kept off by the supposed watchful care of the former.
·But when the man of intrepidity and intrigue was found, never was Heroine so soon subdued, never Goddess so early stript of her celestials! For, at the Opera, a diversion at which neither she nor her Mother ever missed to be present, she beheld the specious Lovelace; beheld him invested with all the airs of heroic insult, resenting a slight affront offered to his Sally Martin, by Two gentlemen who had known her in her more hopeful state, one of whom Mr. Lovelace obliged to sneak away with a broken head, given with the pommel of his sword, the other with a bloody nose; neither of them well supporting that readiness of offence, which, it seems, was a part of their known characters to be guilty of.
·The gallantry of this action drawing every bystander on the side of the Hero, O the brave man!
cried Polly Horton aloud, to her Mother, in a kind of rapture, How needful the protection of the Brave to the Fair! with a softness in her voice, which she had taught herself, to suit her fansied high condition of life.
·A speech so much in his favour, could not but take the notice of a man who was but too sensible of the advantages which his fine person, and noble air, gave him over the gentler hearts, who was always watching every female eye, and who had his ear continually turned to every affected voice; for that was one of his indications of a proper subject to be attempted ---Affectation of every sort, he used to say, is a certain sign of a wrong-turned head; of a faulty judgment: And upon such a basis I seldom build in vain.
·He instantly resolved to be acquainted with a young creature, who seemed so strongly prejudiced in his favour. Never man had a readier invention for all sorts of mischief. He gave his Sally her Cue. He called her Sister in their hearing. And Sally whisperingly gave the young Lady, and her Mother, in her own way, the particulars of the affront she had received; making herself an Angel of Light, to cast the brighter ray upon the character of her heroic Brother. She particularly praised his known and approved courage; and mingled with her praises of him, such circumstances relating to his birth, his fortune and endowments, as left him nothing to do but to fall in love with the enamoured Polly.
·Mr. Lovelace presently saw what turn to give to his professions: So brave a man! yet of manners so gentle! hit the young Lady's taste: Nor could she suspect the heart, that such an aspect cover'd. This was the man! the very man! she whispered to her Mother: And, when the Opera was over, his servant procuring a coach, he undertook, with his specious Sister, to set them down at their own to his own seat.
·They promised her, and named their evening.
·A splendid entertainment was provided. The guests came, having in the interim found all that was said of his name, and family, and fortune, to be true. Persons of so little strictness in their own morals, took it not into their heads to be very inquisitive after his.
·Music and dancing had their share in the entertainment: These opened their hearts, already half-opened by Love: The Aunt Forbes, and the Lover's Sister, kept them open by their own example: The Hero sung, vowed, promised: Their gratitude was moved, their delights were augmented, their hopes increased; their confidence was engaged; all their appetites up in ar Mother by Sally, soon fell a sacrifice to the successful Intriguer.
·The widow herself, half intoxicated, and raised as she was with artful mixtures, and inflamed by Love unexpectedly tendered by one of the libertines his constant companions (to whom an Opportunity was contrived to be given to be alone with her, and that closely followed by Importunity) fell into her Daughter's error. The consequences of which, in length of time, becoming apparent, grief, shame, remorse, seized her heart (her own indiscretion not allowing her to arraign her Daughter's); and she survived not her delivery; leaving Polly with child likewise: Who, when delivered, being too fond of the gay Deluder to renounce his company, even when she found herself deluded, fell into a course of e0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; "> and, as an high preferment, at last, with Sally, was admitted a quarter-partner with the detestable Sinclair.
·All that is necessary to add to the History of these unhappy women, will be comprised in a very little compass.·
After the death of the profligate Sinclair, they kept on the infamous trade with too much success; till an accident happened in thcompelled, for subsistence-sake, to enter themselves as under-managers at such another house as their own had been. In which service, soon after, Sally died of a fever and surfeit got by a debauch: And the other, about a month after, by a violent cold, occasioned thro' carelessness in a Salivation.
Happier Scenes open for the remaining characters; for it might be descending too low to mention the untimely Ends of Dorcas, and of William, Mr. Lovelace's wicked servant; and the pining and consumptive ones of Betty Barnes and Joseph Leman, unmarried both, and in less than a year after the happy death of their excellent young Lady.
The good Mrs. Norton passed the small remainder of her life, as happily as she wished, in her beloved foster-daughter's dairy-house, as it used to be called: As she wished, we repea strong aspirations after Another life, to be greatly attached to This.
She laid out the greatest part of her time in doing good by her advice, and by the prudent management of the Fund committed to her direction. Having lived an exemplary life from her youth upwards; and seen her Son happily settled in the world; she departed with ease and calmness, without pang or agony, like a tired traveller, falling into a sweet slumber: Her last words expressing her hope of being restored to the Child of her Bosom; and to her own excellent Father and Mother,ich was committed to her care, she resigned, a week before her death, into the hands of Mrs. Hickman, according to the direction of the Will, and all the accounts and disbursements with it; which she had kept with such an exactness, that that Lady declares, that she will follow her method, and only wishes to discharge the trust as well.
Miss Howe was not to be persuaded to quit her mourning for her dear friend, until Six months were fully expired: And then she made Mr. Hickman one of the happiest men in the world. A woman of her fine sense andher.
She has allotted to Mr. Hickman, who takes delight in doing good (and that as much for its own sake, as to oblige her) his part of the management of the Poors Fund; to be accountable for it, as she pleasantly says, to her. She has appropriated every Thursday morning for her part of that management; and takes so much delight in the task, that she declares it to be one of the most agreeable of her amusements. And the more
agreeable, as she teaches every one whom she benefits, to bless the Memory of her departed Friendtribute annually to it. And Mr. Hickman has appropriated twenty pounds a year to the same. In consideration of which she allows him to recommend four objects yearly to partake of it. ---Allows, is her style; for she assumes the whole prerogative of dispensing this charity; the only prerogative she does or has occasion to assume. In every other case, there is but one will between them; and that is generally his or hers, as either speaks first, upon any subject, be it what it will. Mrs. Hickman, she sometimes as pleasantly as generously tells him, must not quite forget that she was once Miss Howe, because if he had not loved her as such, and with all her foibles, she had never been Mrs. Hickman. Nevertheless she seriously, on all occasions, and that to others, as well as to himself, confesses, that she owes him unreturnable obligations for his patience with her in HER Day, and for his generous Behaviour to her in HIS.
And still the more highly does she esteem and love him, as she reflects upon his past kindness to her beloved Friend; and on that dear Friend's good opinion of him. Nor is it less grateful to her, that the worthy man joins most sincerely with her in all those respectful and affectionate recollections, which make the memory of the Departed precious to Survivors.
Mr. Belford was not so destitute of humanity and affection, as to be unconcerned at the unhappy fate of his most intimate friend. But when he reflects upon the untimely Ends of several of his companions, but just mentioned in the preceding history (a) [Footnote a: 1Kb] ---On the shocking
despondency and death of his poor friend Belton---On the signal justice which overtook the wicked Tomlinson ---On the dreadful exit of the infamous Sinclair---On the deep remorses of his more valued friend---And, on the other hand, on the Example set him by the most excellent of her Sex---and on her blessed preparation, and happy departure---And when he considers, as he often does with awe and terror, that his wicked habits were so rooted in his depraved heart, that all these Warnings, and this lovely Example, seemed to be but necessary to enable him to subdue them, and to reform; and that such awakening Calls are hardly ever afforded to men of his cast, or (if they are) but seldom attended with such happy effects in the Prime of Youth, and in the full Vigour of Constitution: ---When he reflects upon all these things, he adores the Mercy, which thro' these Calls has snatched him as a brand out of the fire: And thinks himself obliged to make it his endeavour to find out, and to reform, any of those who may have been endangered by his means; as well as to repair, to the utmost of his power, any damage or mischiefs which he may have occasioned to others.
With regard to the Trust with which he was honoured by the inimitable Lady, he had the pleasure of acquitting himself of it in a very few months, to every-body's satisfaction; even to that of the unhappy family; who sent him their thanks on the occasion. Nor was he, at delivering up his accounts, contented with resigning the Legacy bequeathed to him, to the Uses of the Will. So that the Poors Fund, as it is called, is become a very considerable Sum; and will be a lasting bank for relief of objects who best deserve relief.
There was but one Earthly Blessing which remained for Mr. Belford to wish for, in order, morally speaking, to secure to him all his other blessings; and that was, the greatest of all worldly ones, a virtuous and prudent Wife. So free a liver as he had been, he did not think that he could be worthy of such a one, till, upon an
impartial examination of himself, he found the pleasure he had in his new resolutions so great, and his abhorrence of his former courses so sincere, that he was the less apprehensive of a deviation.
Upon this presumption, having also kept in his mind some encouraging hints from Mr. Lovelace; and haveing been so happy as to have it in his power to oblige Lord M. and that whole noble family, by some services grateful to them (the request for which from his unhappy friend was brought over, among other papers, with the dead body, by De la Tour); he besought that Nobleman's Leave to make his addresses to Miss Charlotte Montague, the eldest of his Lordship's two Nieces: And making at the same time such proposals of Settlements as were not objected to, his Lordship was pleased to use his powerful interest in his favour. And his worthy Niece having no engagement, she had the goodness to honour Mr. Belford with her hand; and thereby made him as completely happy as a man can be, who has enormities to reflect upon, which are out of his power to atone for, by reason of the death of some of the injured parties, and the irreclaimableness of others.
'Happy is the man who, in time of health and strength, sees and reforms the error of his ways! --- But how much more happy is he, who has no capital and wilful errors to repent of! ---How unmixed and sincere must the joys of such a one come to him!'
Lord M. added bountifully in his life-time, as did also the two Ladies his Sisters, to the fortune of their worthy Niece. And as Mr. Belford has been blessed with a Son by her, his Lordship at his death [which happened just three years after the untimely one of his unhappy Nephew] was pleased to devise to that Son, and to his descendents for ever (and in case of his death unmarried, to any other children of his Niece) his Hertfordshire Estate (designed for Mr. Lovelace) which he made up to the value of a moiety of his real Estates; bequeathing also a moiety of his personal to the same Lady.
Miss Patty Montague, a fine young Lady [to whom her Noble Uncle, at his death, devised the other moiety of his real and personal Estates, including his Seat in Berkshire] lives at present with her excellent Sister Mrs. Belford; to whom she removed upon Lord M's death: But, in all probability, will soon be the Lady of a worthy Baronet, of antient family, fine qualities, and ample fortunes, just returned from his Travels, with a character superior to the very good one he set out with: A case that very seldom happens, altho' the End of Travel is Improvement.
Colonel Morden, who, with so many virtues and accomplishments, cannot be unhappy, in several Letters to the Executor, with whom he corresponds from Florence [having, since his unhappy affair with Mr. Lovelace, changed his purpose of coming so soon to reside in England as he had intended] declares, That altho' he thought himself obliged either to accept of what he took to be a challenge, as such; or tamely to acknowlege, that he gave up all resentment of his Cousin's wrongs; and in a manner to beg pardon for having spoken freely of Mr. Lovelace behind his back; and altho' at the time he owns he was not sorry to be called upon, as he was, to take either the one course or the other; yet now, coolly reflecting upon his beloved Cousin's reasonings against Duelling; and upon the price it had too probably cost the unhappy man; he wishes he had more fully considered those words in his Cousin's posthumous Letter ---"If God will allow him Time for Repentance, why should you deny it him?" (a) [Footnote a: 1Kb] .
To conclude---The worthy Widow Lovick continues to live with Mr. Belford; and by her prudent behaviour, piety, and usefulness, has endeared herself to her Lady, and to the whole Family.