The fruits of inquiry (L70)

The fruits of my inquiry after your abominable wretch’s behaviour and baseness at the paltry alehouse, which he calls an inn, prepare to hear.
Wrens and sparrows are not too ignoble a quarry for this villainous gos-hawk!—His assiduities; his watchings; his nightly risques; the inclement weather he journeys in; must not be all placed to your account. He has opportunities of making every thing light to him of that sort. A sweet pretty girl, I am told—innocent till he went thither—Now! (Ah! poor girl!) who knows what?
But just turned of seventeen!—His friend and brother-rake (a man of humour and intrigue) as I am told, to share the social bottle with. And sometimes another disguised rake or two. No sorrow comes near their hearts. Be not disturbed, my dear, at his hoarsenesses! his pretty, Betsey, his Rosebud, as the vile wretch calls her, can hear all he says.
He is very fond of her. They say she is innocent even yet—her father, her grandmother, believe her to be so. He is to fortune her out to a young lover!—Ah! the poor young lover!—Ah! the poor simple girl!
Mr. Hickman tells me, that he heard in town, that he used to be often at plays, and at the opera, with women; and every time with a different one—Ah! my sweet friend!—But I hope he is nothing to you, if all this were truth.—But this intelligence, in relation to this poor girl, will do his business, if you had been ever so good friends before.
A vile wretch! Cannot such purity in pursuit, in view, restrain him? but I leave him to you!—There can be no hope of him. More of a fool, than of such a man. Yet I wish I may be able to snatch the poor young creature out of his villainous paws. I have laid a scheme to do so; if indeed she be hitherto innocent and heart-free.
He appears to the people as a military man, in disguise, secreting himself on account of a duel fought in town; the adversary’s life in suspense. They believe he is a great man. His friend passes for an inferior officer; upon a footing of freedom with him. He, accompanied by a third man, who is a sort of subordinate companion to the second. The wretch himself with but one servant.
O my dear! how pleasantly can these devils, as I must call them, pass their time, while our gentle bosoms heave with pity for their supposed sufferings for us!

I have sent for this girl and her father; and am just now informed, that I shall see them. I will sift them thoroughly. I shall soon find out such a simple thing as this, if he has not corrupted her already—and if he has, I shall soon find out that too.—If more art than nature appears either in her or her father, I shall give them both up—but depend upon it, the girl’s undone.
He is said to be fond of her. He places her at the upper end of his table. He sets her a-prattling. He keeps his friends at a distance from her. She prates away. He admires for nature all she says. Once was heard to call her charming little creature! An hundred has he called so no doubt. He puts her upon singing. He praises her wild note—O my dear, the girl’s undone!—must be undone!—The man, you know, is LOVELACE.
Let ’em bring Wyerley to you, if they will have you married—any body but Solmes and Lovelace be yours!—So advises
My dearest friend, consider this alehouse as his garrison: him as an enemy: his brother-rakes as his assistants and abettors. Would not your brother, would not your uncles, tremble, if they knew how near them he is, as they pass to and fro?—I am told, he is resolved you shall not be carried to your uncle Antony’s.—What can you do, with or without such an enterprising—
Fill up the blank I leave.—I cannot find a word bad enough

4 thoughts on “The fruits of inquiry (L70)

  1. Steve

    *see the comment for letter 77These events turn out not to be true, but Anna turns out to be right about Lovelace anyway. More anxiety about reputation and how it can or cannot do the work of identifying the "true character" of the characters in the novel.

  2. Kendra

    One of the most endearing things about Anna is that she is constantly thinking of Clarissa and giving her advice or somehow going out of her way for Clarissa. Clarissa has essentially ignored the advice that Anna gives coming up with some reason why it wouldn't work or another. This letter highlights that even the spirited Anna sees that something is amiss with Lovelace. Even after Lovelace is found innocent of doing anything untoward Rosebud, she still warns Clarissa about him telling Clarissa to think of "him as an enemy." This letter and the following response from Clarissa are really interesting and quite a turning point (for me at least) for the way that Clarissa feels about Lovelace. Readers see that Clarissa does feel something for Lovelace whether she is fully aware of it or not. She's clearly jealous of the attention that Lovelace gives to Rosebud and even responds with her thoughts on the "sweet pretty girl" in response to this letter. She even comments that Lovelace's cold was probably gotten while he serenaded Rosebud beneath her window — which is hard not to read without a tone of bitterness. Later of course, Clarissa expresses a sense of joy at having found out that Lovelace's affections were because he just a generous gentleman. Granted she protested too much, it becomes clear that Clarissa is not being honest with herself. It even appears that her family has pushed her to this point of finding some acceptance in her heart for Lovelace.

  3. Debra

    Although the particular charge against Lovelace (that he has had or is planning to have sexual relations with the girl turns out to be false, there is nonetheless something embarrassing to Clarissa and Anna about the way he has "her at the upper end of the table," and done a number of other things that are inappropriate. The very name "Rosebud," and his plea to Belford not to "crop his Rosebud" is filled with sexual innuendo. In this case, reputation (his history) shapes Anna and Clarissa's interpretation of his present actions.

  4. Megan

    I really think this is an early example of what actions Anna will take throughout the novel. She is always trying to ascertain the reality of Clarissa's situation so that she can help her friend in whatever way she can. It is Anna who makes the move to try and figure out what good or bad Lovelace has already done, and she continues to try and understand the truth of Clarissa's situation throughout the novel (I'm thinking specifically of how she works to determine what is going on at Mrs. Sinclair's house). Anna has two pretty solid roles in this friendship – she writes to Clarissa, listens to her, and offers her advice, AND she takes action when Clarissa cannot or chooses not to.

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