TO THE EVER-HONOURED JAS. HARLOWE, SEN. ESQ.
MOST DEAR SIR,
With exulting confidence now does your emboldened daughter come into your awful presence by these lines, who dared not, but upon this occasion, to look up to you with hopes of favour and forgiveness; since, when this comes to your hands, it will be out of her power ever to offend you more.
Still on her knees, let your poor penitent implore your forgiveness of all her faults and follies; more especially of that fatal error which threw her out of your protection.
TO THE EVER-HONOURED MRS. HARLOWE
The last time I had the boldness to write to you, it was with all the consciousness of a self-convicted criminal, supplicating her offended judge for mercy and pardon. I now, by these lines, approach you with more assurance; but nevertheless with the highest degree of reverence, gratitude, and duty. The reason of my assurance, my letter to my papa will give; and as I humbly on my knees implored his pardon, so now, in the same dutiful manner, do I supplicate your’s, for the grief and trouble I have given you.
But HE, I presume to hope, has forgiven me; and, at the instant this will reach your hands, I humbly trust, I shall be rejoicing in the blessed fruits of his forgiveness. And be this your comfort, my ever-honoured Mamma, that the principal end of your pious care for me is attained, though not in the way so much hoped for.…
TO JAMES HARLOWE, JUN. ESQ.
There was but one time, but one occasion, after the rash step I was precipitated upon, that I would hope to be excused looking up to you in the character of a brother and friend. And NOW is that time, and THIS the occasion. NOW, at reading this, will you pity your late unhappy sister! NOW will you forgive her faults, both supposed and real! And NOW will you afford to her memory that kind concern which you refused to her before!
I write, my Brother, in the first place, to beg your pardon for the offence my unhappy step gave to you, and to the rest of a family so dear to me.
TO MISS HARLOWE
Now may you, my dear Arabella, unrestrained by the severity of your virtue, let fall a pitying tear on the past faults and sufferings of your late unhappy sister; since, now, she can never offend you more.
Thus already, even while she writes, in imagination purified and exalted, she the more fearlessly writes to her sister; and now is assured of pardon for all those little occasions of displeasure which her forwarder youth might give you; and for the disgrace which her fall has fastened upon you, and upon her family.
TO JOHN AND ANTONY HARLOWE, ESQRS.
When these lines reach your hands, your late unhappy niece will have known the end of all her troubles; and, as she humbly hopes, will be rejoicing in the mercies of a gracious God, who has declared, that he will forgive the truly penitent of heart.
At the same time I write to thank you both for all your kind indulgence to me, and to beg your forgiveness of my last, my only great fault to you and to my family.
Rejoice with me, then, dear Sirs, that I have weathered so great a storm. Nor let it be matter of concern, that I am cut off in the bloom of youth. ‘There is no inquisition in the grave,’ says the wise man, ‘whether we lived ten or a hundred years; and the day of death is better than the day of our birth.’
Once more, dear Sirs, accept my grateful thanks for all your goodness to me, from my early childhood to the day, the unhappy day, of my error! Forgive that error!—And God give us a happy meeting in a blessed eternity…
The posthumous letters to Mr. LOVELACE and Mr. MORDEN will be inserted hereafter: as will also the substance of that written to Mrs. Norton.