Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
 
Miss Clarissa Harlowe to Miss Howe
By Samuel Richardson (1689–1761)
 
From Clarissa

Friday, three o’clock.    
… MY sister is but this moment gone from me. She came up all in a flame; which obliged me abruptly to lay down my pen; she ran to me—
  1
  O Spirit! said she, tapping my neck a little too hard. And is it come to this at last!  2
  Do you beat me, Bella?  3
  Do you call this beating you? only tapping your shoulder thus, said she, tapping again more gently—this is what we expected it would come to—you want to be independent—my father has lived too long for you!  4
  I was going to speak with vehemence; but she put her handkerchief before my mouth, very rudely—You have done enough with your pen, mean listener, as you are! But know that neither your independent scheme, nor any of your visiting ones, will be granted you. Take your course, perverse one! Call in your rake to help you to an independence upon your parents, and a dependence upon him!—Do so!—Prepare this moment—resolve what you will take with you—to-morrow you go—depend upon it to-morrow you go!—No longer shall you stay here, watching and creeping about to hearken to what people say.—’Tis determined, child!—You go to-morrow—my brother would have come up to tell you so; but I persuaded him to the contrary—for I know not what had become of you if he had.—Such a letter! such an insolent, such a conceited challenger! Oh thou vain creature! But prepare yourself, I say—to-morrow you go—my brother will accept of your bold challenge; but it must be personal: and at my uncle Antony’s—or perhaps at Mr. Solmes’s—  5
  Thus she ran on, almost foaming with passion; till, quite out of patience, I said, No more of your violence, Bella.—Had I known in what way you designed to come up, you should not have found my chamber-door open—talk to your servant in this manner. Unlike you, as I bless God I am, I am nevertheless your sister—and let me tell you that I won’t go to-morrow, nor the next day, nor next day to that—except I am dragged away by violence.  6
  What! not if your father or your mother command it—Girl! said she, intending another word, by her pause and manner before it came out.  7
  Let it come to that, Bella; then I shall know what to say. But it shall be from their own mouths, if I do—not from yours, nor your Betty’s.—And say another word to me, in this manner, and be the consequence what it may, I will force myself into their presence; and demand what I have done to be used thus!  8
  Come along child! Come along, Meekness—taking my hand, and leading me towards the door—Demand it of them now—you’ll find both your despised parents together!—What! does your heart fail you?—for I resisted being thus insolently offered to be led, and pulled my hand from her.  9
  I want not to be led, said I; and since I can plead your invitation, I will go: and was posting to the stairs accordingly in my passion—but she got between me and the door, and shut it—.  10
  Let me first, bold one, said she, apprise them of your visit—for your own sake let me—for my brother is with them. But yet opening it again, seeing me shrink back—Go, if you will!—Why don’t you go?—Why don’t you go, Miss?—following me to my closet, whither I retired, with my heart full, and pulled the sash-door after me; and could no longer hold in my tears.  11
  Nor would I answer one word to her repeated aggravations, nor to her demands upon me to open the door (for the key was on the inside); nor so much as turn my head towards her, as she looked through the glass at me. And at last, which vexed her to the heart, I drew the silk curtain that she should not see me, and down she went muttering all the way.  12
  Is not this usage enough to provoke a rashness never before thought of?  13
  As it is but too probable that I may be hurried away to uncle’s without being able to give you previous notice of it; I beg you that as soon as you shall hear of such a violence, you would send to the usual place, to take back such of your letters as may not have reached my hands, or to fetch any of mine that may be there.—May you, my dear, be always happy, prays your
CLARISSA HARLOWE.    
  14
 
 
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