Tag Archives: agency

Lovelace’s demands upon Clarissa’s death (L497)

I think it absolutely right that my ever-dear and beloved lady should be opened and embalmed. It must be done out of hand this very afternoon. Your acquaintance, Tomkins, and old Anderson of this place, I will bring with me, shall be the surgeons. I have talked to the latter about it.
I will see everything done with that decorum which the case, and the sacred person of my beloved require.
Everything that can be done to preserve the charmer from decay shall also be done. And when she will descend to her original dust, or cannot be kept longer, I will then have her laid in my family-vault, between my own father and mother. Myself, as I am in my soul, so in person, chief mourner. But her heart, to which I have such unquestionable pretensions, in which once I had so large a share, and which I will prize above my own, I will have. I will keep it in spirits. It shall never be out of my sight. And all the charges of sepulture too shall be mine.
Surely nobody will dispute my right to her. Whose was she living?—Whose is she dead but mine?—Her cursed parents, whose barbarity to her, no doubt, was the true cause of her death, have long since renounced her. She left them for me. She chose me therefore; and I was her husband. What though I treated her like a villain? Do I not pay for it now? Would she not have been mine had I not? Nobody will dispute but she would. And has she not forgiven me?—I am then in statu quo prius with her, am I not? as if I had never offended?—Whose then can she be but mine?
I will free you from your executorship, and all your cares.…

Report of Clarissa’s death (L481)

[Belford to Lovelace] I may as well try to write; since, were I to go to bed, I shall not sleep. I never had such a weight of grief upon my mind in my life, as upon the demise of this admirable woman; whose soul is now rejoicing in the regions of light.
You may be glad to know the particulars of her happy exit. I will try to proceed; 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.
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 stopt 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 labour—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 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 her head towards me—Do you, Sir, tell your friend that I forgive him!—And I pray to 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.

Clarissa Asks Belford to be the Executor of Her Will (L389)

I must own, in his favour, that he has observed some decency in his accounts to you of the most indecent and shocking actions. And if all his strangely-communicative narrations are equally decent, nothing will be rendered criminally odious by them, but the vile heart that could meditate such contrivances as were much stronger evidences of his inhumanity than of his wit: since men of very contemptible parts and understanding may succeed in the vilest attempts, if they can once bring themselves to trample on the sanctions which bind man to man; and sooner upon an innocent person than upon any other; because such a one is apt to judge of the integrity of others’ hearts by its own.
I find I have had great reason to think myself obliged to your intention in the whole progress of my sufferings. It is, however, impossible, Sir, to miss the natural inference on this occasion that lies against his predetermined baseness. But I say the less, because you shall not think I borrow, from what you have communicated, aggravations that are not needed. . . . Continue reading

Clarissa Describes a Happy Marriage (L320)

I am extremely concerned, my dear Miss Howe, for being primarily the occasion of the apprehensions you have of this wicked man’s vindictive attempts. What a wide-spreading error is mine!——
If I find that he has set foot on any machination against you, or against Mr. Hickman, I do assure you I will consent to prosecute him, although I were sure I could not survive my first appearance at the bar he should be arraigned at.
The man’s name at whose house I belong, is Smith—a glove maker, as well as seller. His wife is the shop-keeper. A dealer also in stockings, ribbands, snuff, and perfumes. A matron-like woman, plain-hearted, and prudent. The husband an honest, industrious man. And they live in good understanding with each other: a proof with me that their hearts are right; for where a married couple live together upon ill terms, it is a sign, I think, that each knows something amiss of the other, either with regard to temper or morals, which if the world knew as well as themselves, it would perhaps as little like them as such people like each other. Happy the marriage, where neither man nor wife has any wilful or premeditated evil in their general conduct to reproach the other with!— for even persons who have bad hearts will have a veneration for those who have good ones.

Clarissa confronts Lovelace and the women (L281)

Now, Belford, see us all sitting in judgment, resolved to punish the fair bribress—I, and the mother, the hitherto dreaded mother, the nieces Sally, Polly, the traitress Dorcas, and Mabell, a guard, as it were, over Dorcas, that she might not run away, and hide herself:—all pre-determined, and of necessity pre-determined, from the journey I was going to take, and my precarious situation with her—and hear her unbolt, unlock, unbar, the door; then, as it proved afterwards, put the key into the lock on the outside, lock the door, and put it in her pocket—Will. I knew, below, who would give me notice, if, while we were all above, she should mistake her way, and go down stairs, instead of coming into the dining-room: the street-door also doubly secured, and every shutter to the windows round the house fastened, that no noise or screaming should be heard—[such was the brutal preparation]—and then hear her step towards us, and instantly see her enter among us, confiding in her own innocence; and with a majesty in her person and manner, that is natural to her; but which then shone out in all its glory!—Every tongue silent, every eye awed, every heart quaking, mine, in a particular manner sunk, throbless, and twice below its usual region, to once at my throat:—a shameful recreant:—She silent too, looking round her, first on me; then on the mother, no longer fearing her; then on Sally, Polly, and the culprit Dorcas!—such the glorious power of innocence exerted at that awful moment!

Clarissa confronts Lovelace on her ruin (L266)

Pity me, Jack, for pity’s sake; since, if thou dost not, nobody else will: and yet never was there a man of my genius and lively temper that wanted it more. We are apt to attribute to the devil every thing happens to us, which we would not have happen: but here, being, (as perhaps thou’lt say,) the devil myself, my plagues arise from an angel. I suppose all mankind is to be plagued by its contrary.
She began with me like a true woman, [she in the fault, I to be blamed,] the moment I entered the dining-room: not the least apology, not the least excuse, for the uproar she had made, and the trouble she had given me.
I come, said she, into thy detested presence, because I cannot help it. But why am I to be imprisoned here?—Although to no purpose, I cannot help——
Dearest Madam, interrupted I, give not way to so much violence. You must know, that your detention is entirely owing to the desire I have to make you all the amends that is in my power to make you. And this, as well for your sake as my own. Surely there is still one way left to repair the wrongs you have suffered——
Canst thou blot out the past week! Several weeks past, I should say; ever since I have been with thee? Canst thou call back time?—If thou canst—— Continue reading

Religion and the Mind (L207)

A principal consolation arising from these favourable appearances, is, that I, who have now but one only friend, shall most probably, and if it be not my own fault, have as many new ones as there are persons in Mr. Lovelace’s family; and this whether Mr. Lovelace treat me kindly or not. And who knows, but that, by degrees, those new friends, by their rank and merit, may have weight enough to get me restored to the favour of my relations? till which can be effected, I shall not be tolerably easy. Happy I never expect to be. Mr. Lovelace’s mind and mine are vastly different; different in essentials. 
But as matters are at present circumstanced, I pray you, my dear friend, to keep to yourself every thing that might bring discredit to him, if revealed.—Better any body expose a man than a wife, if I am to be his; and what is said by you will be thought to come from me.
It shall be my constant prayer, that all the felicities which this world can afford may be your’s: and that the Almighty will never suffer you nor your’s, to the remotest posterity, to want such a friend as my Anna Howe has been to

Lovelace and power–questioning the “test” for Clarissa (L201)

A strange apprehensive creature! Her terror is too great for the occasion. Evils are often greater in apprehension than in reality. Hast thou never observed, that the terrors of a bird caught, and actually in the hand, bear no comparison to what we might have supposed those terrors would be, were we to have formed a judgment of the same bird by its shyness before it was taken?
Dear creature!—Did she never romp? Did she never, from girlhood to now, hoyden? The innocent kinds of freedom taken and allowed on these occasions, would have familiarized her to greater. Sacrilege but to touch the hem of her garment!—Excess of delicacy!—O the consecrated beauty! How can she think to be a wife?
But how do I know till I try, whether she may not by a less alarming treatment be prevailed upon, or whether [day, I have done with thee!] she may not yield to nightly surprises? This is still the burden of my song, I can marry her when I will. And if I do, after prevailing (whether by surprise, or by reluctant consent) whom but myself shall I have injured?
O Mr. Lovelace, we have been long enough together to be tired of each other’s humours and ways; ways and humours so different, that perhaps you ought to dislike me, as much as I do you.—I think, I think, that I cannot make an answerable return to the value you profess for me. My temper is utterly ruined. You have given me an ill opinion of all mankind; of yourself in particular: and withal so bad a one of myself, that I shall never be able to look up, having utterly and for ever lost all that self-complacency, and conscious pride, which are so necessary to carry a woman through this life with tolerable satisfaction to herself.

Self as “Grand Misleader” (L200)

On my entering the dining-room, he took my hand in his, in such a humour, I saw plainly he was resolved to quarrel with me—And for what?—What had I done to him?—I never in my life beheld in any body such wild, such angry, such impatient airs. I was terrified; and instead of being as angry as I intended to be, I was forced to be all mildness. I can hardly remember what were his first words, I was so frighted. But you hate me, Madam! you hate me, Madam! were some of them—with such a fierceness—I wished myself a thousand miles distant from him. I hate nobody, said I: I thank God I hate nobody—You terrify me, Mr. Lovelace—let me leave you.—The man, my dear, looked quite ugly—I never saw a man look so ugly as passion made him look—and for what?—And so he grasped my hands!— fierce creature;—he so grasped my hands! In short, he seemed by his looks, and by his words (once putting his arms about me) to wish me to provoke him. So that I had nothing to do but to beg of him (which I did repeatedly) to permit me to withdraw: and to promise to meet him at his own time in the morning.
It was with a very ill grace that he complied, on that condition; and at parting he kissed my hand with such a savageness, that a redness remains upon it still. 
Do you not think, my dear, that I have reason to be incensed at him, my situation considered? Am I not under a necessity, as it were, of quarrelling with him; at least every other time I see him? No prudery, no coquetry, no tyranny in my heart, or in my behaviour to him, that I know of. No affected procrastination. Aiming at nothing but decorum. He as much concerned, and so he ought to think, as I, to have that observed. Too much in his power: cast upon him by the cruelty of my relations. No other protection to fly to but his. One plain path before us; yet such embarrasses, such difficulties, such subjects for doubt, for cavil, for uneasiness; as fast as one is obviated, another to be introduced, and not by myself—know not how introduced—What pleasure can I propose to myself in meeting such a wretch? Continue reading

Lovelace is ashamed (L199)

[As the Lady could not know what Mr. Lovelace's designs were, nor the
   cause of his ill humour, it will not be improper to pursue the subject
   from his letter.

Having described his angry manner of demanding, in person, her company at
   supper, he proceeds as follows:]


‘She struggled to disengage herself.—Pray, Mr. Lovelace, let me withdraw. I know not why this is. I know not what I have done to offend you. I see you are come with a design to quarrel with me. If you would not terrify me by the ill humour you are in, permit me to withdraw. I will hear all you have to say another time—to-morrow morning, as I sent you word.—But indeed you frighten me—I beseech you, if you have any value for me, permit me to withdraw.
Night, mid-night, is necessary, Belford. Surprise, terror, must be necessary to the ultimate trial of this charming creature, say the women below what they will. I could not hold my purposes. This was not the first time that I had intended to try if she could forgive.