Author Archives: ahowe673

Anna’s letter as eulogy & beyond (L529)

I am incapable of doing justice to the character of my beloved friend; and that not only from want of talents, but from grief; which, I think, rather increases than diminishes by time; and which will not let me sit down to a task that requires so much thought, and a greater degree of accuracy than I ever believed myself mistress of. And yet I so well approve of your motion, that I will throw into your hands a few materials, that may serve by way of supplement, as I may say, to those you will be able to collect from the papers themselves… She was a wonderful creature from her infancy: but I suppose you intend to give a character of her at those years when she was qualified to be an example to other young ladies, rather than a history of her life.
You may, if you touch upon this subject, throw in these sentences of her, spoken at different times, and on different occasions:
‘Who can be better, or more worthy, than they should be? And, who shall be proud of talents they give not to themselves?’
‘The darkest and most contemptible ignorance is that of not knowing one’s self; and that all we have, and all we excel in, is the gift of God.’
‘There is but one pride pardonable; that of being above doing a base or dishonourable action.’ Continue reading

Anna Meets Lovelace at a Party (L367)

And let me leave you to do so, while I give you the occasion of the flutter I mentioned at the beginning of this letter; in the conclusion of which you will find the obligation I have consented to lay myself under, to refer this important point once more to your discussion, before I give, in your name, the negative that cannot, when given, be with honour to yourself repented of or recalled.
Know, then, my dear, that I accompanied my mother to Colonel Ambrose’s on the occasion I mentioned to you in my former. Many ladies and gentlemen were there whom you know; particularly Miss Kitty D’Oily, Miss Lloyd, Miss Biddy D’Ollyffe, Miss Biddulph, and their respective admirers, with the Colonel’s two nieces; fine women both; besides many whom you know not; for they were strangers to me but by name. A splendid company, and all pleased with one another, till Colonel Ambrose introduced one, who, the moment he was brought into the great hall, set the whole assembly into a kind of agitation.
It was your villain. . . .
O Mr. Lovelace, said she, what have you to answer for on that young lady’s account, if all be true that I have heard.
I have a great deal to answer for, said the unblushing villain: but that dear lady has so many excellencies, and so much delicacy, that little sins are great ones in her eye.
Little sins! replied Miss D’Oily: Mr. Lovelace’s character is so well known, that nobody believes he can commit little sins.
You are very good to me, Miss D’Oily.
Indeed I am not.
Then I am the only person to whom you are not very good: and so I am the less obliged to you.
He turned, with an unconcerned air, to Miss Playford, and made her some genteel compliments. I believe you know her not. She visits his cousins Montague. Indeed he had something in his specious manner to say to every body: and this too soon quieted the disgust each person had at his entrance. ,. . .
I retired to one corner of the hall, my mother following me, and he, taking Mr. Hickman under his arm, following her—Well, Sir, said I, what have you to say?—Tell me here.
I have been telling Mr. Hickman, said he, how much I am concerned for the injuries I have done to the most excellent woman in the world: and yet, that she obtained such a glorious triumph over me the last time I had the honour to see her, as, with my penitence, ought to have abated her former resentments: but that I will, with all my soul, enter into any measures to obtain her forgiveness of me. My cousins Montague have told you this. Lady Betty and Lady Sarah and my Lord M. are engaged for my honour. I know your power with the dear creature. My cousins told me you gave them hopes you would use it in my behalf. My Lord M. and his two sisters are impatiently expecting the fruits of it. You must have heard from her before now: I hope you have. And will you be so good as to tell me, if I may have any hopes?
If I must speak on this subject, let me tell you that you have broken her heart. You know not the value of the lady you have injured. You deserve her not. And she despises you, as she ought.
Dear Miss Howe, mingle not passion with denunciations so severe. I must know my fate. I will go abroad once more, if I find her absolutely irreconcileable. But I hope she will give me leave to attend upon her, to know my doom from her own mouth.
It would be death immediate for her to see you. And what must you be, to be able to look her in the face?
I then reproached him (with vehemence enough you may believe) on his baseness, and the evils he had made you suffer: the distress he had reduced you to; all your friends made your enemies: the vile house he had carried you to; hinted at his villanous arts; the dreadful arrest: and told him of your present deplorable illness, and resolution to die rather than to have him.
He vindicated not any part of his conduct, but that of the arrest; and so solemnly protested his sorrow for his usage of you, accusing himself in the freest manner, and by deserved appellations, that I promised to lay before you this part of our conversation. And now you have it.
My mother, as well as Mr. Hickman, believes, from what passed on this occasion, that he is touched in conscience for the wrongs he has done you: but, by his whole behaviour, I must own, it seems to me that nothing can touch him for half an hour together. Yet I have no doubt that he would willingly marry you; and it piques his pride, I could see, that he should be denied; as it did mine, that such a wretch had dared to think it in his power to have such a woman whenever he pleased; and that it must be accounted a condescension, and matter of obligation (by all his own family at least) that he would vouchsafe to think of marriage.

Anna’s First Judgmental Response to Clarissa (L310)

Need I to remind you, Miss Clarissa Harlowe, of three letters I wrote to you, to none of which I had any answer; except to the first, and that of a few lines only, promising a letter at large, though you were well enough, the day after you received my second, to go joyfully back again with him to the vile house? But more of these by-and-by. I must hasten to take notice of your letter of Wednesday last week; which you could contrive should fall into my mother’s hands.
Let me tell you, that that letter has almost broken my heart. Good God! —What have you brought yourself to, Miss Clarissa Harlowe?—Could I have believed, that after you had escaped from the miscreant, (with such mighty pains and earnestness escaped,) and after such an attempt as he had made, you would have been prevailed upon not only to forgive him, but (without being married too) to return with him to that horrid house!—A house I had given you such an account of!—Surprising!——What an intoxicating thing is this love?—I always feared, that you, even you, were not proof against its inconsistent effects.
You your best self have not escaped!—Indeed I see not how you could expect to escape.
What a tale have you to unfold!—You need not unfold it, my dear: I would have engaged to prognosticate all that has happened, had you but told me that you would once more have put yourself in his power, after you had taken such pains to get out of it.
Your peace is destroyed!—I wonder not at it: since now you must reproach yourself for a credulity so ill-placed.
Your intellect is touched!—I am sure my heart bleeds for you! But, excuse me, my dear, I doubt your intellect was touched before you left Hampstead: or you would never have let him find you out there; or, when he did, suffer him to prevail upon you to return to the horrid brothel.

Anna Pushes for Marriage (L188)

I have neither time nor patience, my dear friend, to answer every material article in your last letters just now received. Mr. Lovelace’s proposals are all I like of him. And yet (as you do) I think, that he concludes them not with the warmth and earnestness which we might naturally have expected from him. Never in my life did I hear or read of so patient a man, with such a blessing in his reach. But wretches of his cast, between you and me, my dear, have not, I fancy, the ardors that honest men have. Who knows, as your Bell once spitefully said, but he may have half a dozen creatures to quit his hands of before he engages for life?—Yet I believe you must not expect him to be honest on this side of his grand climacteric.
He, to suggest delay from a compliment to be made to Lord M. and to give time for settlements! He, a part of whose character it is, not to know what complaisance to his relations is—I have no patience with him! You did indeed want an interposing friend on the affecting occasion which you mention in yours of yesterday morning. But, upon my word, were I to have been that moment in your situation, and been so treated, I would have torn his eyes out, and left it to his own heart, when I had done, to furnish the reason for it. 
Would to Heaven to-morrow, without complimenting any body, might be his happy day!—Villain! After he had himself suggested the compliment!—And I think he accuses YOU of delaying!—Fellow, that he is!—How my heart is wrung— Continue reading

“ADVERSITY is your SHINING time” (L177)

And lastly, to all who will know your story, you will be an excellent example of watchfulness, and of that caution and reserve by which a prudent person, who has been supposed to be a little misled, endeavours to mend her error; and, never once losing sight of her duty, does all in her power to recover the path she has been rather driven out of than chosen to swerve from.
Come, come, my dearest friend, consider but these things; and steadily, without desponding, pursue your earnest purposes to amend what you think has been amiss; and it may not be a misfortune in the end that you have erred; especially as so little of your will was in your error.
And indeed I must say that I use the words misled, and error, and such- like, only in compliment to your own too-ready self-accusations, and to the opinion of one to whom I owe duty: for I think in my conscience, that every part of your conduct is defensible: and that those only are blamable who have no other way to clear themselves but by condemning you.
I expect, however, that such melancholy reflections as drop from your pen but too often will mingle with all your future pleasures, were you to marry Lovelace, and were he to make the best of husbands. Continue reading

Set vs Malleable Female Identities (L136)

But that you so think with respect to me is the effect of your gentleness of temper, with a little sketch of implied reflection on the warmth of mine. Gentleness in a woman you hold to be no fault: nor do I a little due or provoked warmth—But what is this, but praising on both sides what what neither of us can help, nor perhaps wish to help? You can no more go out of your road, than I can go out of mine. It would be a pain to either to do so: What then is it in either’s approving of her own natural bias, but making a virtue of necessity?
But one observation I will add, that were your character, and my character, to be truly drawn, mine would be allowed to be the most natural. Shades and lights are equally necessary in a fine picture. Yours would be surrounded with such a flood of brightness, with such a glory, that it would indeed dazzle; but leave one heartless to imitate it.

Anna’s view on marriage and authority (L93)

I write, because you enjoin me to do so. Love you still!—How can I help it, if I would? You may believe how I stand aghast, your letter communicating the first news—Good God of Heaven and Earth!—But what shall I say?—I am all impatient for particulars.
Lord have mercy upon me!—But can it be?
My mother will indeed be astonished!—How can I tell it her!—It was but last night (upon some jealousies put into her head by your foolish uncle) that I assured her, and this upon the strength of your own assurances, that neither man nor devil would be able to induce you to take a step that was in the least derogatory to the most punctilious honour.
But, once more, can it be? What woman at this rate!—But, God preserve you!
Let nothing escape you in your letters. Direct them for me, however, to Mrs. Knolly’s, till further notice.

Observe, my dear, that I don’t blame you by all this—Your relations only are in fault!—Yet how you came to change your mind is the surprising thing.
How to break it to my mother, I know not. Yet if she hear it first from any other, and find I knew it before, she will believe it to be my connivance!—Yet, as I hope to live, I know not how to break it to her.
But this is teasing you.—I am sure, without intention.
Let me now repeat my former advice—If you are not married by this time, be sure delay not the ceremony. Since things are as they are, I wish it were thought that you were privately married before you went away. If these men plead AUTHORITY to our pain, when we are theirs—Why should we not, in such a case as this, make some good out of the hated word, for our reputation, when we are induced to violate a more natural one? Continue reading

The fruits of inquiry (L70)

The fruits of my inquiry after your abominable wretch’s behaviour and baseness at the paltry alehouse, which he calls an inn, prepare to hear.
Wrens and sparrows are not too ignoble a quarry for this villainous gos-hawk!—His assiduities; his watchings; his nightly risques; the inclement weather he journeys in; must not be all placed to your account. He has opportunities of making every thing light to him of that sort. A sweet pretty girl, I am told—innocent till he went thither—Now! (Ah! poor girl!) who knows what?
But just turned of seventeen!—His friend and brother-rake (a man of humour and intrigue) as I am told, to share the social bottle with. And sometimes another disguised rake or two. No sorrow comes near their hearts. Be not disturbed, my dear, at his hoarsenesses! his pretty, Betsey, his Rosebud, as the vile wretch calls her, can hear all he says. Continue reading

if you would clearly and explicitly tell me how far Lovelace has, or has not, a hold in your affections (L37)

I beg your pardon, my dearest friend, for having given you occasion to remind me of the date of my last. I was willing to have before me as much of the workings of your wise relations as possible; being verily persuaded, that one side or the other would have yielded by this time: and then I should have had some degree of certainty to found my observations upon. And indeed what can I write that I have not already written?—You know, that I can do nothing but rave at your stupid persecutors: and that you don’t like. I have advised you to resume your own estate: that you won’t do. You cannot bear the thoughts of having their Solmes: and Lovelace is resolved you shall be his, let who will say to the contrary. I think you must be either the one man’s or the other’s. Let us see what their next step will be.As to Lovelace, while he tells his own story (having also behaved so handsomely on his intrusion in the wood-house, and intended so well at church) who can say, that the man is in the least blameworthy?—Wicked people! to combine against so innocent a man!—But, as I said, let us see what their next step will be, and what course you will take upon it; and then we may be the more enlightened.As to your change of style to your uncles, and brother and sister, since they were so fond of attributing to you a regard for Lovelace, and would not be persuaded to the contrary; and since you only strengthened their arguments against yourself by denying it; you did but just as I would have done, in giving way to their suspicions, and trying what that would do—But if—but if—Pray, my dear, indulge me a little—you yourself think it was necessary to apologize to me for that change of style to them—and till you will speak out like a friend to her unquestionable friend, I must tease you a little—let it run therefore; for it will run—If, then, there be not a reason for this change of style, which you have not thought fit to give me, be so good as to watch, as I once before advised you, how the cause for it will come on—Why should it be permitted to steal upon you, and you know nothing of the matter? Continue reading

It is no manner of argument that because you would not be in love, you therefore are not (L12)

Indeed you would not be in love with him for the world!—Your servant, my dear. Nor would I have you. For, I think, with all the advantages of person, fortune, and family, he is not by any means worthy of you. And this opinion I give as well from the reasons you mention (which I cannot but confirm) as from what I have heard of him but a few hours ago from Mrs. Fortescue, a favourite of Lady Betty Lawrance, who knows him well—but let me congratulate you, however, on your being the first of our sex that ever I heard of, who has been able to turn that lion, Love, at her own pleasure, into a lap-dog.Well but, if you have not the throbs and the glows, you have not: and are not in love; good reason why—because you would not be in love; and there’s no more to be said.—Only, my dear, I shall keep a good look-out upon you; and so I hope you will be upon yourself; for it is no manner of argument that because you would not be in love, you therefore are not.—But before I part entirely with this subject, a word in your ear, my charming friend—’tis only by way of caution, and in pursuance of the general observation, that a stander-by is often a better judge of the game than those that play.—May it not be, that you have had, and have, such cross creatures and such odd heads to deal with, as have not allowed you to attend to the throbs?—Or, if you had them a little now and then, whether, having had two accounts to place them to, you have not by mistake put them to the wrong one?But whether you have a value for Lovelace or not, I know you will be impatient to hear what Mrs. Fortescue has said of him. Nor will I keep you longer in suspense. . . Continue reading