« السابقةمتابعة »
for all is hush and still, the family retired, but not one of them, and least of all her poor cousin, I dare say, to rest. At four o'clock, as I mentioned in my last, I was sent for down, and as thou usedst to like my descriptions, I will give thee the woful scene that presented itself to me as I approached the bed. The Colonel was the first that took my attention, kneeling on the side of the bed, the lady's right hand in both his, which his face covered, bathing it with his tears; although she had been comforting him, as the women since told me, in elevated strains but broken
On the other side of the bed sat the good widow, her face overwhelmed with tears, leaning her head against the bed's head in a most disconsolate manner; and, turning her face to me as soon as she saw me, "O Mr. Belford!" cried she, with folded hands, "the dear lady- -"A heavy sob permitted her not to say more. Mrs. Smith, with clasped fingers and uplifted eyes, as if imploring help from the only Power which could give it, was kneeling down at the bed's feet, tears in large drops trickling down her cheeks. Her nurse was kneeling between the widow and Mrs. Smith, her arms extended. In one hand she held an ineffectual cordial, which she had just been offering to her dying mistress. Her face was swollen with weeping, though used to such scenes as this, and she turned her eyes towards me, as if she called upon me by them to join in the helpless sorrow, — a fresh stream bursting from them as I approached the bed.
The maid of the house, with her face upon her folded arms, as she stood leaning against the wainscot, more audibly expressed her grief than any of the others. The lady had been silent a few minutes, and speechless, as they thought, moving her lips without uttering a word; one hand, as I said, in her cousin's. But when Mrs. Lovick, on my approach, pronounced my name, "O Mr. Belford!" said she, with a faint inward voice, but very distinct nevertheless, "now - now" (in broken periods she spoke) "I bless God for his mercies to his poor creature. All will soon be over- a few-a very few moments will end this strife - and I shall be happy! Comfort here, sir" (turning her head to the Colonel), "comfort my cousin - see! the blame-able kindness- he would not wish me to be happy so soon!" Here she stopped for two or three minutes, earnestly looking upon him. Then, resuming, "My dearest
cousin," said she, "be comforted. What is dying but the common lot? The mortal frame may seem to labor but that is all! It is not so hard to die as I believed it to be! The preparation is the difficulty - I bless God I have had time for that the rest is worse to beholders than to me - I am all blessed hope-hope itself." She looked what she said, a sweet smile beaming over her countenance.
After a short silence, "Once more, my dear cousin," said she, but still in broken accents, "commend me most dutifully to my father and mother." There she stopped; and then, proceeding, "To my sister, to my brother, to my uncles; and tell them I bless them with my parting breath — for all their goodness to me - even for their displeasure, I bless them-most happy has been to me my punishment here! Happy indeed!" She was silent for a few moments, lifting up her eyes, and the hand her cousin held not between his. Then "O Death," said she, "where is thy sting!" (the words I remember to have heard in the burial service read over my uncle and poor Belton); and, after a pause, "It is good for me that I was afflicted!" Words of Scripture, I suppose. Then, turning towards us, who were lost in speechless sorrow, "O dear, dear gentlemen," said she, “you know not what foretastes what assurances And there she again stopped, and looked up, as if in a thankful rapture, sweetly smiling. Then, turning her head towards me, "Do you, sir, tell your friend that I forgive him! And I pray God to forgive him!" Again pausing, and lifting up her eyes, as if praying that He would. "Let him know how happily I die; and that such as my own, I wish to be his last hour." She was again silent for a few moments; and then, resuming, "My sight fails me! Your voices only" (for we both applauded her Christian, her divine frame, though in accents as broken as her own)" and the voice of grief is alike in all. Is not this Mr. Morden's hand?"-pressing one of his with that he had just let go. "Which is Mr. Belford's?" - holding out the other. I gave her mine. "God Almighty bless you both!" said she, "and make you both in your last hour for you must come to this happy as I am."
She paused again, her breath growing shorter, and after a few minutes, "And now, my dearest cousin, give me your hand— still nearer" drawing it towards her; and she
and tell my dear Miss Howe
pressed it with her dying lips. "God protect you, dear, dear sir and once more receive my best and most grateful thanks and vouchsafe to see and to tell my worthy Norton - she will be one day, I fear not, though now lowly in her fortunes, a saint in heaven-tell them both that I remember them with thankful blessings in my last moments! and pray God to give them happiness here for many, many years, for the sake of their friends and lovers, and a heavenly crown hereafter; and such assurances of it as I have, through the all-satisfying merits of my blessed Redeemer."
Her sweet voice and broken periods methinks still fill my ears, and never will be out of my memory. After a short silence, in a more broken and faint accent-"And you, Mr. Belford," -pressing my hand, "may God preserve you, and make you sensible of all your errors. You see, in me, how all ends; may you be " And down sank her head upon the pillow, she fainting away, and drawing from us her hands. We thought she was then gone, and each gave way to a violent burst of grief. But, soon showing signs of returning life, our attention was again engaged; and I besought her, when a little recovered, to complete in my favor her half-pronounced blessing. She waved her hand to us both, and bowed her head six several times, as we have since recollected, as if distinguishing every person present, not forgetting the nurse and the maid-servant, the latter having approached the bed, weeping, as if crowding in for the divine lady's last blessing; and she spoke faltering and inwardly "Bless- bless - bless you all - and now — and now" (holding up her almost lifeless hands for the last time) come-oh come - blessed Lord Jesus!" And with these words, the last but half pronounced, expired; — such a smile, such a charming serenity overspreading her sweet face at the instant, as seemed to manifest her eternal happiness already begun. O Lovelace! But I can write no more.
I resume my pen to add a few lines.
While warm, though pulseless, we pressed each her hand with our lips, and then retired into the next room. We looked at each other, with intent to speak, but as if one motion governed, as one cause affected both, we turned away silent. The Colonel sighed as if his heart would burst; at last, his face and hands
uplifted, his back towards me, "Good heaven!" said he to himself. "Support me! And is it thus, O flower of nature!" Then, pausing, "And must we no more never more! - My blessed, blessed cousin!" uttering some other words, which his sighs made inarticulate. And then, as if recollecting himself, "Forgive me, sir! Excuse me, Mr. Belford!" And, sliding by me, "Anon I hope to see you, sir." And down stairs he went, and out of the house, leaving me a statue. When I recovered, I was ready to repine at what I then called an unequal dispensation, forgetting her happy preparation, and still happier departure, and that she had but drawn a common lot, triumphing in it, and leaving behind her every one less assured of happiness, though equally certain that the lot would one day be their own. She departed exactly at forty minutes after six o'clock, as by her watch on the table.
And thus died Miss Clarissa Harlowe, in the blossom of her youth and beauty; and who, her tender years considered, has not left behind her her superior in extensive knowledge and watchful prudence, nor hardly her equal for unblemished virtue, exemplary piety, sweetness of manners, discreet generosity, and true Christian charity; and these all set off by the most graceful modesty and humility, yet on all proper occasions manifesting a noble presence of mind, and true magnanimity, so that she may be said to have been not only an ornament to her sex, but to human nature.
THE HISTORY OF SIR CHARLES GRANDISON, BART. 1753
THE editor of the following letters takes leave to observe that he has now, in this publication, completed the plan that was the object of his wishes, rather than of his hopes, to accomplish.
The first collection which he published, entitled Pamela, exhibited the beauty and superiority of virtue in an innocent and unpolished mind, with the reward which often, even in this life, a protecting Providence bestows on goodness. A young woman of low degree, relating to her honest parents the severe trials she met with from a master who ought to have been the protector,
not the assailer of her honor, shows the character of a libertine in its truly contemptible light. This libertine, however, from the foundation of good principles laid in his early years by an excellent mother, by his passion for a virtuous young woman, and by her amiable example and unwearied patience when she became his wife, is, after a length of time, perfectly reclaimed.
The second collection, published under the title of Clarissa, displayed a more melancholy scene. A young lady of higher fortune, and born to happier hopes, is seen involved in such a variety of deep distresses as lead her to an untimely death; affording a warning to parents against forcing the inclinations of their children in the most important article of their lives, and to children against hoping too far from the fairest assurances of a man void of principle. The heroine, however, as a truly Christian heroine, proves superior to her trials, and her heart, always excellent, refined, and exalted by every one of them, rejoices in the approach of a happy eternity. Her cruel destroyer appears wretched and disappointed, even in the boasted success of his vile machinations; but still, buoyed up with self-conceit and vain presumption, he goes on, after every short fit of imperfect, yet terrifying conviction, hardening himself more and more, till, unreclaimed by the most affecting warnings and repeated admonitions, he perishes miserably in the bloom of life, and sinks into the grave, oppressed with guilt, remorse, and horror. His letters, it is hoped, afford many useful lessons to the gay part of mankind, against that misuse of wit and youth, of rank and fortune, and of every outward accomplishment, which turns them into a curse to the miserable possessor as well as to all around him.
Here the editor apprehended he should be obliged to stop, by reason of his precarious state of health, and a variety of avocations which claimed his first attention; but it was insisted on by several of his friends, who were well assured he had the materials in his power, that he should produce into public view the character and actions of a man of true honor. He has been enabled to obey these his friends, and to complete his first design; and now, therefore, presents to the public, in Sir Charles Grandison, the example of a man acting uniformly well through a variety of trying scenes, because all his actions are regulated by one steady principle. A man of religion and virtue, of liveliness and