Tag Archives: VI

Clarissa to Anna, “quite sick of life” (L317)

I thank you, my dear, for the draughts of your two letters which were intercepted by this horrid man. I see the great advantage they were of to him, in the prosecution of his villanous designs against the poor wretch whom he had so long made the sport of his abhorred inventions.
Let me repeat, that I am quite sick of life; and of an earth, in which innocent and benevolent spirits are sure to be considered as aliens, and to be made sufferers by the genuine sons and daughters of that earth.
How unhappy, that those letters only which could have acquainted me with his horrid views, and armed me against them, and against the vileness of the base women, should fall into his hands!—Unhappier still, in that my very escape to Hampstead gave him the opportunity of receiving them.
Nevertheless, I cannot but still wonder, how it was possible for that Tomlinson to know what passed between Mr. Hickman and my uncle Harlowe:* a circumstance which gave the vile impostor most of his credit with me.
How the wicked wretch himself could find me out at Hampstead, must also remain wholly a mystery to me. He may glory in his contrivances—he, who has more wickedness than wit, may glory in his contrivances!—
But, after all, I shall, I humbly presume to hope, be happy, when he, poor wretch, will be—alas!—who can say what!——
Adieu, my dearest friend!—May you be happy!—And then your Clarissa cannot be wholly miserable!

Anna’s First Judgmental Response to Clarissa (L310)

Need I to remind you, Miss Clarissa Harlowe, of three letters I wrote to you, to none of which I had any answer; except to the first, and that of a few lines only, promising a letter at large, though you were well enough, the day after you received my second, to go joyfully back again with him to the vile house? But more of these by-and-by. I must hasten to take notice of your letter of Wednesday last week; which you could contrive should fall into my mother’s hands.
Let me tell you, that that letter has almost broken my heart. Good God! —What have you brought yourself to, Miss Clarissa Harlowe?—Could I have believed, that after you had escaped from the miscreant, (with such mighty pains and earnestness escaped,) and after such an attempt as he had made, you would have been prevailed upon not only to forgive him, but (without being married too) to return with him to that horrid house!—A house I had given you such an account of!—Surprising!——What an intoxicating thing is this love?—I always feared, that you, even you, were not proof against its inconsistent effects.
You your best self have not escaped!—Indeed I see not how you could expect to escape.
What a tale have you to unfold!—You need not unfold it, my dear: I would have engaged to prognosticate all that has happened, had you but told me that you would once more have put yourself in his power, after you had taken such pains to get out of it.
Your peace is destroyed!—I wonder not at it: since now you must reproach yourself for a credulity so ill-placed.
Your intellect is touched!—I am sure my heart bleeds for you! But, excuse me, my dear, I doubt your intellect was touched before you left Hampstead: or you would never have let him find you out there; or, when he did, suffer him to prevail upon you to return to the horrid brothel.

Clarissa to Anna, after escape (L295)

Once more have I escaped—But, alas! I, my best self, have not escaped! —Oh! your poor Clarissa Harlowe! you also will hate me, I fear!——
Yet you won’t, when you know all!
But no more of my self! my lost self. You that can rise in a morning to be blest, and to bless; and go to rest delighted with your own reflections, and in your unbroken, unstarting slumbers, conversing with saints and angels, the former only more pure than yourself, as they have shaken off the incumbrance of body; you shall be my subject, as you have long, long, been my only pleasure. And let me, at awful distance, revere my beloved Anna Howe, and in her reflect upon what her Clarissa Harlowe once was!
***
Forgive, O forgive my rambling. My peace is destroyed. My intellects are touched. And what flighty nonsense must you read, if you now will vouchsafe to correspond with me, as formerly!
O my best, my dearest, my only friend! what a tale have I to unfold!— But still upon self, this vile, this hated self!—I will shake it off, if possible; and why should I not, since I think, except one wretch, I hate nothing so much? Self, then, be banished from self one moment (for I doubt it will be for no longer) to inquire after a dearer object, my beloved Anna Howe!—whose mind, all robed in spotless white, charms and irradiates—But what would I say?——

Belford on Clarissa’s escape, Lovelace’s culpability (L293)

Where, Lovelace, can the poor lady be gone? And who can describe the distress she must be in?
By thy former letters, it may be supposed, that she can have very little money: nor, by the suddenness of her flight, more clothes than those she has on. And thou knowest who once said, ‘Her parents will not receive her. Her uncles will not entertain her. Her Norton is in their direction, and cannot. Miss Howe dare not. She has not one friend or intimate in town—entirely a stranger to it.’ And, let me add, has been despoiled of her honour by the man for whom she had made all these sacrifices; and who stood bound to her by a thousand oaths and vows, to be her husband, her protector, and friend!
How strong must be her resentment of the barbarous treatment she has received! how worthy of herself, that it has made her hate the man she once loved! and, rather than marry him, choose to expose her disgrace to the whole world: to forego the reconciliation with her friends which her heart was so set upon: and to hazard a thousand evils to which her youth and her sex may too probably expose an indigent and friendly beauty!
Rememberest thou not that home push upon thee, in one of the papers written in her delirium; of which, however it savours not?——
I will assure thee, that I have very often since most seriously reflected upon it: and as thy intended second outrage convinces me that it made no impression upon thee then, and perhaps thou hast never thought of it since, I will transcribe the sentence. ‘If, as religion teaches us, God will judge us, in a great measure! by our benevolent or evil actions to one another—O wretch! bethink thee, in time bethink thee, how great must be thy condemnation.’

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!

Lovelace’s new plot to keep Clarissa a prisoner (L279)

And yet I have promised, as thou seest, that she shall set out to Hampstead as soon as she pleases in the morning, and that without condition on her side.
Dost thou ask, What I meant by this promise?
No new cause arising, was the proviso on my side, thou’lt remember. But there will be a new cause.
Suppose Dorcas should drop the promissory note given her by her lady? Servants, especially those who cannot read or write, are the most careless people in the world of written papers. Suppose I take it up?— at a time, too, that I was determined that the dear creature should be her own mistress?—Will not this detection be a new cause?—A cause that will carry with it against her the appearance of ingratitude!
That she designed it a secret to me, argues a fear of detection, and indirectly a sense of guilt. I wanted a pretence. Can I have a better? —If I am in a violent passion upon the detection, is not passion an universally-allowed extenuator of violence? Is not every man and woman obliged to excuse that fault in another, which at times they find attended with such ungovernable effects in themselves? Continue reading

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.

A true rake: schemer and sexist (L271)

Tired with a succession of fatiguing days and sleepless nights, and with contemplating the precarious situation I stand in with my beloved, I fell into a profound reverie; which brought on sleep; and that produced a dream; a fortunate dream; which, as I imagine, will afford my working mind the means to effect the obliging double purpose my heart is now once more set upon.
What, as I have often contemplated, is the enjoyment of the finest woman in the world, to the contrivance, the bustle, the surprises, and at last the happy conclusion of a well-laid plot!—The charming round-abouts, to come to the nearest way home;—the doubts; the apprehensions; the heart-achings; the meditated triumphs—these are the joys that make the blessing dear.—For all the rest, what is it?—What but to find an angel in imagination dwindled down to a woman in fact?——But to my dream——

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?

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