It is no manner of argument that because you would not be in love, you therefore are not (L12)

Indeed you would not be in love with him for the world!—Your servant, my dear. Nor would I have you. For, I think, with all the advantages of person, fortune, and family, he is not by any means worthy of you. And this opinion I give as well from the reasons you mention (which I cannot but confirm) as from what I have heard of him but a few hours ago from Mrs. Fortescue, a favourite of Lady Betty Lawrance, who knows him well—but let me congratulate you, however, on your being the first of our sex that ever I heard of, who has been able to turn that lion, Love, at her own pleasure, into a lap-dog.Well but, if you have not the throbs and the glows, you have not: and are not in love; good reason why—because you would not be in love; and there’s no more to be said.—Only, my dear, I shall keep a good look-out upon you; and so I hope you will be upon yourself; for it is no manner of argument that because you would not be in love, you therefore are not.—But before I part entirely with this subject, a word in your ear, my charming friend—’tis only by way of caution, and in pursuance of the general observation, that a stander-by is often a better judge of the game than those that play.—May it not be, that you have had, and have, such cross creatures and such odd heads to deal with, as have not allowed you to attend to the throbs?—Or, if you had them a little now and then, whether, having had two accounts to place them to, you have not by mistake put them to the wrong one?But whether you have a value for Lovelace or not, I know you will be impatient to hear what Mrs. Fortescue has said of him. Nor will I keep you longer in suspense. . . Mrs. Fortescue owns, what every body knows, ‘that he is notoriously, nay, avowedly, a man of pleasure; yet says, that in any thing he sets his heart upon or undertakes, he is the most industrious and persevering mortal under the sun. He rests it seems not above six hours in the twenty-four—any more than you. He delights in writing. Whether at Lord M.’s, or at Lady Betty’s, or Lady Sarah’s, he has always a pen in his fingers when he retires. One of his companions (confirming his love of writing) has told her, that his thoughts flow rapidly to his pen:’ And you and I, my dear, have observed, on more occasions than one, that though he writes even a fine hand, he is one of the readiest and quickest of writers. He must indeed have had early a very docile genius; since a person of his pleasurable turn and active spirit, could never have submitted to take long or great pains in attaining the qualifications he is master of; qualifications so seldom attained by youth of quality and fortune; by such especially of those of either, who, like him, have never known what it was to be controuled.. . .
But supposing it to be true that all his vacant nightly hours are employed in writing, what can be his subjects? If, like Caesar, his own actions, he must undoubtedly be a very enterprising and very wicked man; since nobody suspects him to have a serious turn; and, decent as he is in his conversation with us, his writings are not probably such as would redound either to his own honour, or to the benefit of others, were they to be read. He must be conscious of this, since Mrs. Fortescue says, ‘that in the great correspondence by letters which he holds, he is as secret and as careful as if it were of a treasonable nature;—yet troubles not his head with politics, though nobody knows the interests of princes and courts better than he is said to do.’
That you and I, my dear, should love to write, is no wonder. We have always, from the time each could hold a pen, delighted in epistolary correspondencies. Our employments are domestic and sedentary; and we can scribble upon twenty innocent subjects, and take delight in them because they are innocent; though were they to be seen, they might not much profit or please others. But that such a gay, lively young fellow as this, who rides, hunts, travels, frequents the public entertainments, and has means to pursue his pleasures, should be able to set himself down to write for hours together, as you and I have heard him say he frequently does, that is the strange thing.
Mrs. Fortescue says, ‘that he is a complete master of short-hand writing.’ By the way, what inducements could a swift writer as he have to learn short-hand!
She says (and we know it as well as she) ‘that he has a surprising memory, and a very lively imagination.’. . .

3 thoughts on “It is no manner of argument that because you would not be in love, you therefore are not (L12)

  1. Keri Mathis

    I think that Anna's character and role in the story really begin to emerge in this letter. She is not only a friend to whom Clarissa can write for advice, but she also serves as Clarissa's main source of public information since Clarissa is confined to her father's house. Here, for instance, Miss Howe delivers information about Lovelace that she has obtained from Mrs. Fortescue, summarizes the information, and then comments on it in a way to direct Clarissa's perceptions of Lovelace. Anna is also, in my opinion, a very likeable character because she seems so genuine in her responses to Clarissa and exercises an autonomy and agency that Clarissa cannot.

  2. Jessica

    “But whether you have a value for Lovelace or not, I know you will be impatient to hear what Mrs. Fortescue has said of him. Nor will I keep you longer in suspense.”The way Anna makes a turn in her letter toward new information about Lovelace makes me very curious about her role in the drama between them all. She relays information to Clarissa excitedly and doesn’t skimp on scandalous details. She also highlights positive things about him. She dwells more than once on how much he likes to write: “he delights in writing,” “he has always a pen in his fingers when he retires,” “all his vacant nightly hours are employed in writing.” These details appear to work in Lovelace’s favor and represent him as a thoughtful, introspective person. Anna forwards this interpretation that Lovelace might not be that horrible when she says that if he doesn’t actually possess all these bad qualities, his only fault is allowing his public reputation to get out of control. Finally, at the end of her letter, Anna explains that when Lovelace “ran into the highest professions of reverence and affection for [Clarissa],” the “reality of his professions” seemed honest. At this point, I want to tell Anna to stop. I worry about her reliability as a friend. She appears to be adding fuel to the fire, especially after she implied earlier that Clarissa might actually be secretly in love with Lovelace.

  3. Rachel Gramer

    I like both of these comments thus far put together: there is an autonomy that Anna has, which Clarissa does not, and yet we see her using her own freedom to push Clarissa a little farther down the path toward Lovelace rather than just watch her walk down it on her own.For my part, I like how much Anna seems to dislike the Harlowes due to their greed and selfishness; I find these moments in her analysis apt. And yet I, too, like Jessica, am uncomfortable with the ways in which she seems to find Lovelace acceptable–because I feel as if she simply likes the drama.But the problem is: she is not just watching the drama unfold–she is a full participant. Not physically present in body, she is fully present in writing, which Clarissa values highly.In another letter, Debra commented on Bakhtin and dialogism, and I see that here, too: Anna has a responsibility not just as a reader or observer, but also as a textual participant in Clarissa's reality, present and future. I think she is aware of this, but her interest in acting as Clarissa's advocate might still seem troubling to us since she is occupying several roles at once.

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