Tag Archives: honor

Clarissa’s irrevocable resolution against marriage (L276)

It is easy for me, Mr. Lovelace, to see that further violences are intended me, if I comply not with your purposes, whatever they are, I will suppose them to be what you solemnly profess they are. But I have told you as solemnly my mind, that I never will, that I never can be yours; nor, if so, any man’s upon earth. All vengeance, nevertheless, for the wrongs you have done me, I disclaim. I want but to slide into some obscure corner, to hide myself from you and from every one who once loved me. The desire lately so near my heart, of a reconciliation with my friends, is much abated. They shall not receive me now, if they would. Sunk in mine own eyes, I now think myself unworthy of their favour. In the anguish of my soul, therefore, I conjure you, Lovelace, [tears in her eyes,] to leave me to my fate. In doing so, you will give me a pleasure the highest I now can know.
Where, my dearest life——
No matter where. I will leave to Providence, when I am out of this house, the direction of my future steps. I am sensible enough of my destitute condition. I know that I have not now a friend in the world. Even Miss Howe has given me up—or you are—But I would fain keep my temper!—By your means I have lost them all—and you have been a barbarous enemy to me. You know you have.

Clarissa confronts Lovelace with his family history (L267)

Will you give me your honour, Madam, if I consent to your quitting a house so disagreeable to you?—
My honour, Sir! said the dear creature—Alas!—And turned weeping from me with inimitable grace—as if she had said—Alas!—you have robbed me of my honour!
I hoped then, that her angry passions were subsiding; but I was mistaken; for, urging her warmly for the day; and that for the sake of our mutual honour, and the honour of both our families; in this high-flown and high-souled strain she answered me:
And canst thou, Lovelace, be so mean—as to wish to make a wife of the creature thou hast insulted, dishonoured, and abused, as thou hast me? Was it necessary to humble me down to the low level of thy baseness, before I could be a wife meet for thee? Thou hadst a father, who was a man of honour: a mother, who deserved a better son. Thou hast an uncle, who is no dishonour to the Peerage of a kingdom, whose peers are more respectable than the nobility of any other country. Thou hast other relations also, who may be thy boast, though thou canst not be theirs— and canst thou not imagine, that thou hearest them calling upon thee; the dead from their monuments; the living from their laudable pride; not to dishonour thy ancient and splendid house, by entering into wedlock with a creature whom thou hast levelled with the dirt of the street, and classed with the vilest of her sex?