Tag Archives: Clarissa’s feelings for Lovelace

Clarissa’s last letter to Lovelace (L510)

I told you, in the letter I wrote to you on Tuesday last, that you should have another sent you when I had got into my father’s house.
I presume to say, that I am now, at your receiving of this, arrived there; and I invite you to follow me, as soon as you are prepared for so great a journey.
Not to allegorize farther—my fate is now, at your perusal of this, accomplished. My doom is unalterably fixed; and I am either a miserable or happy being to all eternity. If happy, I owe it solely to the Divine mercy; if miserable, to your undeserved cruelty.—And consider not, for your own sake, gay, cruel, fluttering, unhappy man! consider, whether the barbarous and perfidious treatment I have met with from you was worthy the hazard of your immortal soul…
In time then, once more, I wish you to consider your ways. Your golden dream cannot long last. Your present course can yield you pleasure no longer than you can keep off thought or reflection. A hardened insensibility is the only foundation on which your inward tranquillity is built…
Reflect, Sir, that I can have no other motive, in what I write, than your good, and the safety of other innocent creatures, who may be drawn in by your wicked arts and perjuries. You have not, in my wishes for future welfare, the wishes of a suppliant wife, endeavouring for her own sake, as well as for yours, to induce you to reform those ways. They are wholly as disinterested as undeserved. But I should mistrust my own penitence, were I capable of wishing to recompense evil for evil—if, black as your offences have been against me, I could not forgive, as I wish to be forgiven.
I repeat, therefore, that I do forgive you. And may the Almighty forgive you too! Nor have I, at the writing of this, any other essential regrets than what are occasioned by the grief I have given to parents, who, till I knew you, were the most indulgent of parents; by the scandal given to the other branches of my family; by the disreputation brought upon my sex; and by the offence given to virtue in my fall. Continue reading

Clarissa (Yet Again) Refuses to Marry Lovelace (L359)

What pain, my dearest friend, does your kind solicitude for my welfare give me! How much more binding and tender are the ties of pure friendship, and the union of like minds, than the ties of nature! Well might the sweet-singer of Israel, when he was carrying to the utmost extent the praises of the friendship between him and his beloved friend, say, that the love of Jonathan to him was wonderful; that it surpassed the love of women! What an exalted idea does it give of the soul of Jonathan, sweetly attempered for the sacred band, if we may suppose it but equal to that of my Anna Howe for her fallen Clarissa?—But, although I can glory in your kind love for me, think, my dear, what concern must fill a mind, not ungenerous, when the obligation lies all on one side. And when, at the same time that your light is the brighter for my darkness, I must give pain to a dear friend, to whom I delighted to give pleasure; and not pain only, but discredit, for supporting my blighted fame against the busy tongues of uncharitable censures!
This is that makes me, in the words of my admired exclaimer, very little altered, often repeat: ‘Oh! that I were as in months past! as in the days when God preserved me! when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness! As I was in the days of my childhood—when the Almighty was yet with me: when I was in my father’s house: when I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil.’
You set before me your reasons, enforced by the opinion of your honoured mother, why I should think of Mr. Lovelace for a husband.

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.

He is Proved a Villain (L230)

After my last, so full of other hopes, the contents of this will surprise you. Oh my dearest friend, the man has at last proved himself to be a villain! It was with the utmost difficulty last night, that I preserved myself from the vilest dishonour. He extorted from me a promise of forgiveness, and that I would see him next day, as if nothing had happened: but if it were possible to escape from a wretch, who, as I have too much reason to believe, formed a plot to fire the house, to frighten me, almost naked, into his arms, how could I see him next day? Continue reading

Lovelace discover’s Clarissa’s location (L231)

Io Triumphe!—Io Clarissa, sing!—Once more, what a happy man thy friend!—A silly dear novice, to be heard to tell the coachman where to carry her!—And to go to Hampstead, of all the villages about London!— The place where we had been together more than once! Continue reading

Clarissa worries about the “sick” Lovelace (L212)

Mr. Lovelace, my dear, has been very ill. Suddenly taken. With a vomiting of blood in great quantities. Some vessel broken. He complained of a disorder in his stomach over night. I was the affected with it, as I am afraid it was occasioned by the violent contentions between us—But was I in fault?
How lately did I think I hated him!—But hatred and anger, I see, are but temporary passions with me. One cannot, my dear, hate people in danger of death, or who are in distress or affliction. My heart, I find, is not proof against kindness, and acknowledgements of errors committed.
He took great care to have his illness concealed from me as long as he could. So tender in the violence of his disorder!—So desirous to make the best of it!—I wish he had not been ill in my sight. I was too much affected—every body alarming me with his danger. The poor man, from such high health, so suddenly taken!—And so unprepared!—
He is gone out in a chair. I advised him to do so. I fear that my advice was wrong; since quiet in such a disorder must needs be best. We are apt to be so ready, in cases of emergency, to give our advice, without judgment, or waiting for it!—I proposed a physician indeed; but he would not hear of one. I have great honour for the faculty; and the greater, as I have always observed that those who treat the professors of the art of healing contemptuously, too generally treat higher institutions in the same manner.
I am really very uneasy. For I have, I doubt, exposed myself to him, and to the women below. They indeed will excuse me, as they think us married. But if he be not generous, I shall have cause to regret this surprise; which (as I had reason to think myself unaccountably treated by him) has taught me more than I knew of myself.  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

Anna Pushes for Marriage (L188)

I have neither time nor patience, my dear friend, to answer every material article in your last letters just now received. Mr. Lovelace’s proposals are all I like of him. And yet (as you do) I think, that he concludes them not with the warmth and earnestness which we might naturally have expected from him. Never in my life did I hear or read of so patient a man, with such a blessing in his reach. But wretches of his cast, between you and me, my dear, have not, I fancy, the ardors that honest men have. Who knows, as your Bell once spitefully said, but he may have half a dozen creatures to quit his hands of before he engages for life?—Yet I believe you must not expect him to be honest on this side of his grand climacteric.
He, to suggest delay from a compliment to be made to Lord M. and to give time for settlements! He, a part of whose character it is, not to know what complaisance to his relations is—I have no patience with him! You did indeed want an interposing friend on the affecting occasion which you mention in yours of yesterday morning. But, upon my word, were I to have been that moment in your situation, and been so treated, I would have torn his eyes out, and left it to his own heart, when I had done, to furnish the reason for it. 
Would to Heaven to-morrow, without complimenting any body, might be his happy day!—Villain! After he had himself suggested the compliment!—And I think he accuses YOU of delaying!—Fellow, that he is!—How my heart is wrung— Continue reading