What a cursed piece of work hast thou made of it, with the most excellent of women! Thou mayest be in earnest, or in jest, as thou wilt; but the poor lady will not be long either thy sport, or the sport of fortune!
I will give thee an account of a scene that wants but her affecting pen to represent it justly; and it would wring all the black blood out of thy callous heart.
Thou only, who art the author of her calamities, shouldst have attended her in her prison. I am unequal to such a task: nor know I any other man but would.
This last act, however unintended by thee, yet a consequence of thy general orders, and too likely to be thought agreeable to thee, by those who know thy other villanies by her, has finished thy barbarous work. And I advise thee to trumpet forth every where, how much in earnest thou art to marry her, whether true or not.
Thou mayest safely do it. She will not live to put thee to the trial; and it will a little palliate for thy enormous usage of her, and be a mean to make mankind, who know not what I know of the matter, herd a little longer with thee, and forbear to hunt thee to thy fellow-savages in the Lybian wilds and deserts . . .
Looking about her, and seeing the three passages, to wit, that leading to Henrietta-street, that to King-street, and the fore-right one, to Bedford-street, crowded, she started—Any where—any where, said she, but to the woman’s! And stepping into the chair, threw herself on the seat, in the utmost distress and confusion—Carry me, carry me out of sight— cover me—cover me up—for ever—were her words.
Thy villain drew the curtain: she had not power: and they went away with her through a vast crowd of people.
Here I must rest. I can write no more at present.
Only, Lovelace, remember, all this was to a Clarissa!!! . . .
Then who can write of good persons, and of good subjects, and be capable of admiring them, and not be made serious for the time? And hence may we gather what a benefit to the morals of men the keeping of good company must be; while those who keep only bad, must necessarily more and more harden, and be hardened . . .
‘Tis twelve of the clock, Sunday night—I can think of nothing but this excellent creature. Her distresses fill my head and my heart. I was drowsy for a quarter of an hour; but the fit is gone off. And I will continue the melancholy subject from the information of these wretches. Enough, I dare say, will arise in the visit I shall make, if admitted to-morrow, to send by thy servant, as to the way I am likely to find her in.
After the women had left her, she complained of her head and her heart; and seemed terrified with apprehensions of being carried once more to Sinclair’s.
Refusing any thing for breakfast, Mrs. Rowland came up to her, and told her, (as these wretches owned they had ordered her, for fear she should starve herself,) that she must and should have tea, and bread and butter: and that, as she had friends who could support her, if she wrote to them, it was a wrong thing, both for herself and them, to starve herself thus.
If it be for your own sakes, said she, that is another thing: let coffee, or tea, or chocolate, or what you will, be got: and put down a chicken to my account every day, if you please, and eat it yourselves. I will taste it, if I can. I would do nothing to hinder you. I have friends will pay you liberally, when they know I am gone.
They wondered, they told her, at her strange composure in such distresses.
They were nothing, she said, to what she had suffered already from the vilest of all men. The disgrace of seizing her in the street; multitudes of people about her; shocking imputations wounding her ears; had indeed been very affecting to her. But that was over.—Every thing soon would! —And she should be still more composed, were it not for the apprehensions of seeing one man, and one woman; and being tricked or forced back to the vilest house in the world.