Tag Archives: contrivance

Anna Meets Lovelace at a Party (L367)

And let me leave you to do so, while I give you the occasion of the flutter I mentioned at the beginning of this letter; in the conclusion of which you will find the obligation I have consented to lay myself under, to refer this important point once more to your discussion, before I give, in your name, the negative that cannot, when given, be with honour to yourself repented of or recalled.
Know, then, my dear, that I accompanied my mother to Colonel Ambrose’s on the occasion I mentioned to you in my former. Many ladies and gentlemen were there whom you know; particularly Miss Kitty D’Oily, Miss Lloyd, Miss Biddy D’Ollyffe, Miss Biddulph, and their respective admirers, with the Colonel’s two nieces; fine women both; besides many whom you know not; for they were strangers to me but by name. A splendid company, and all pleased with one another, till Colonel Ambrose introduced one, who, the moment he was brought into the great hall, set the whole assembly into a kind of agitation.
It was your villain. . . .
O Mr. Lovelace, said she, what have you to answer for on that young lady’s account, if all be true that I have heard.
I have a great deal to answer for, said the unblushing villain: but that dear lady has so many excellencies, and so much delicacy, that little sins are great ones in her eye.
Little sins! replied Miss D’Oily: Mr. Lovelace’s character is so well known, that nobody believes he can commit little sins.
You are very good to me, Miss D’Oily.
Indeed I am not.
Then I am the only person to whom you are not very good: and so I am the less obliged to you.
He turned, with an unconcerned air, to Miss Playford, and made her some genteel compliments. I believe you know her not. She visits his cousins Montague. Indeed he had something in his specious manner to say to every body: and this too soon quieted the disgust each person had at his entrance. ,. . .
I retired to one corner of the hall, my mother following me, and he, taking Mr. Hickman under his arm, following her—Well, Sir, said I, what have you to say?—Tell me here.
I have been telling Mr. Hickman, said he, how much I am concerned for the injuries I have done to the most excellent woman in the world: and yet, that she obtained such a glorious triumph over me the last time I had the honour to see her, as, with my penitence, ought to have abated her former resentments: but that I will, with all my soul, enter into any measures to obtain her forgiveness of me. My cousins Montague have told you this. Lady Betty and Lady Sarah and my Lord M. are engaged for my honour. I know your power with the dear creature. My cousins told me you gave them hopes you would use it in my behalf. My Lord M. and his two sisters are impatiently expecting the fruits of it. You must have heard from her before now: I hope you have. And will you be so good as to tell me, if I may have any hopes?
If I must speak on this subject, let me tell you that you have broken her heart. You know not the value of the lady you have injured. You deserve her not. And she despises you, as she ought.
Dear Miss Howe, mingle not passion with denunciations so severe. I must know my fate. I will go abroad once more, if I find her absolutely irreconcileable. But I hope she will give me leave to attend upon her, to know my doom from her own mouth.
It would be death immediate for her to see you. And what must you be, to be able to look her in the face?
I then reproached him (with vehemence enough you may believe) on his baseness, and the evils he had made you suffer: the distress he had reduced you to; all your friends made your enemies: the vile house he had carried you to; hinted at his villanous arts; the dreadful arrest: and told him of your present deplorable illness, and resolution to die rather than to have him.
He vindicated not any part of his conduct, but that of the arrest; and so solemnly protested his sorrow for his usage of you, accusing himself in the freest manner, and by deserved appellations, that I promised to lay before you this part of our conversation. And now you have it.
My mother, as well as Mr. Hickman, believes, from what passed on this occasion, that he is touched in conscience for the wrongs he has done you: but, by his whole behaviour, I must own, it seems to me that nothing can touch him for half an hour together. Yet I have no doubt that he would willingly marry you; and it piques his pride, I could see, that he should be denied; as it did mine, that such a wretch had dared to think it in his power to have such a woman whenever he pleased; and that it must be accounted a condescension, and matter of obligation (by all his own family at least) that he would vouchsafe to think of marriage.

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!

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

Having so good a copy to imitate, I wrote (L240.)

The lady gave Will’s sweetheart a letter last night to be carried to the post-house, as this morning, directed for Miss Howe, under cover to Hickman. I dare say neither cover nor letter will be seen to have been opened. The contents but eight lines—To own—’The receipt of her double-dated letter in safety; and referring to a longer letter, which she intends to write, when she shall have a quieter heart, and less trembling fingers. But mentions something to have happened [My detecting her she means] which has given her very great flutters, confusions, and apprehensions: but which she will wait the issue of [Some hopes for me hence, Jack!] before she gives her fresh perturbation or concern on her account.—She tells her how impatient she shall be for her next,’ &c.
Now, Belford, I thought it would be but kind in me to save Miss Howe’s concern on these alarming hints; since the curiosity of such a spirit must have been prodigiously excited by them. Having therefore so good a copy to imitate, I wrote; and, taking out that of my beloved, put under the same cover the following short billet; inscriptive and conclusive parts of it in her own words.

[LETTER 240.1 ‘Clarissa Harlowe’ to Anna Howe]

A few lines only, till calmer spirits and quieter fingers be granted me, and till I can get over the shock which your intelligence has given me— to acquaint you—that your kind long letter of Wednesday, and, as I may say, of Thursday morning, is come safe to my hands. On receipt of your’s by my messenger to you, I sent for it from Wilson’s. There, thank heaven! it lay. May that Heaven reward you for all your past, and for all your intended goodness to […]
I took great pains in writing this. It cannot, I hope, be suspected. Her hand is so very delicate. Yet her’s is written less beautifully than she usually writes: and I hope Miss Howe will allow somewhat for hurry of spirits, and >unsteady fingers. 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

False clues and what is true about them (L90)

When I first read my cousin’s letter, I was half inclined to resume my former intention; especially as my countermanding letter was not taken away; and as my heart ached at the thoughts of the conflict I must expect to have with him on my refusal. For see him for a few moments I doubt I must, lest he should take some rash resolutions; especially as he has reason to expect I will see him. But here your words, that all punctilio is at an end the moment I am out of my father’s house, added to the still more cogent considerations of duty and reputation, determined me once more against the rash step. And it will be very hard (although no seasonable fainting, or wished-for fit, should stand my friend) if I cannot gain one month, or fortnight, or week. And I have still more hopes that I shall prevail for some delay, from my cousin’s intimation that the good Dr. Lewen refuses to give his assistance to their projects, if they have not my consent, and thinks me cruelly used: since, without taking notice that I am apprized of this, I can plead a scruple of conscience, and insist upon having that worthy divine’s opinion upon it: in which, enforced as I shall enforce it, my mother will surely second me: my aunt Hervey, and Mrs. Norton, will support her: the suspension must follow: and I can but get away afterwards.
But, if they will compel me: if they will give me no time: if nobody will be moved: if it be resolved that the ceremony should be read over my constrained hand—why then—Alas! What then!—I can but—But what? O my dear! this Solmes shall never have my vows I am resolved! and I will say nothing but no, as long as I shall be able to speak. And who will presume to look upon such an act of violence as a marriage?—It is impossible, surely, that a father and mother can see such a dreadful compulsion offered to their child—but if mine should withdraw, and leave the task to my brother and sister, they will have no mercy.
I am grieved to be driven to have recourse to the following artifices.
I have given them a clue, by the feather of a pen sticking out, where they will find such of my hidden stories, as I intend they shall find. Continue reading

A poor low trick (L77)

The day is come!—I wish it were happily over. I have had a wretched night. Hardly a wink have I slept, ruminating upon the approaching interview. The very distance of time to which they consented, has added solemnity to the meeting, which otherwise it would not have had.
A thoughtful mind is not a blessing to be coveted, unless it had such a happy vivacity with it as yours: a vivacity, which enables a person to enjoy the present, without being over-anxious about the future.
I have had a visit from my aunt Hervey. Betty, in her alarming way, told me, I should have a lady to breakfast with me, whom I little expected; giving me to believe it was my mother. This fluttered me so much, on hearing a lady coming up-stairs, supposing it was she, (and not knowing how to account for her motives in such a visit, after I had been so long banished from her presence,) that my aunt, at her entrance, took notice of my disorder; and, after her first salutation,
Why, Miss, said she, you seem surprised.—Upon my word, you thoughtful young ladies have strange apprehensions about nothing at all. What, taking my hand, can be the matter with you?—Why, my dear, tremble, tremble, tremble, at this rate? You’ll not be fit to be seen by any body. Come, my love, kissing my cheek, pluck up a courage. By this needless flutter on the approaching interview, when it is over you will judge of your other antipathies, and laugh at yourself for giving way to so apprehensive an imagination.
I said, that whatever we strongly imagined, was in its effect at the time more than imaginary, although to others it might not appear so: that I had not rested one hour all night: that the impertinent set over me, by giving me room to think my mother was coming up, had so much disconcerted me, that I should be very little qualified to see any body I disliked to see.
See, my dear, the low cunning of that Sunday-management, which then so much surprised me! And see the reason why Dr. Lewen was admitted to visit me, yet forbore to enter upon a subject about which I thought he came to talk to me!—For it seems there was no occasion to dispute with me on the point I was to be supposed to have conceded to.—See, also, how unfairly my brother and sister must have represented their pretended kindness, when (though the had an end to answer by appearing kind) their antipathy to me seems to have been so strong, that they could not help insulting me by their arm-in-arm lover-like behaviour to each other; as my sister afterwards likewise did, when she came to borrow my Kempis.
I lifted up my hands and eyes! I cannot, said I, give this treatment a name! The end so unlikely to be answered by means so low! I know whose the whole is! He that could get my uncle Harlowe to contribute his part, and to procure the acquiescence of the rest of my friends to it, must have the power to do any thing with them against me.
Again my aunt told me, that talking and invective, now I had given the expectation, would signify nothing. She hoped I would not shew every one, that they had been too forward in their constructions of my desire to oblige them. She could assure me, that it would be worse for me, if now I receded, than if I had never advanced.
Advanced, Madam! How can you say advanced? Why, this is a trick upon me! A poor low trick! Pardon me, Madam, I don’t say you have a hand in it.—But, my dearest Aunt, tell me, Will not my mother be present at this dreaded interview? Will she not so far favour me? Were it but to qualify— Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Honest Indignation? (62)

I have another letter from Mr. Lovelace. I opened it with the expectation of its being filled with bold and free complaints, on my not writing to prevent his two nights watching, in weather not extremely agreeable. But, instead of complaints, he is ‘full of tender concern lest I may have been prevented by indisposition, or by the closer confinement which he has frequently cautioned me that I may expect.’
He says, ‘He had been in different disguises loitering about our garden and park wall, all the day on Sunday last; and all Sunday night was wandering about the coppice, and near the back door. It rained; and he has got a great cold, attended with feverishness, and so hoarse, that he has almost lost his voice.’
Why did he not flame out in his letter?—Treated as I am treated by my friends, it is dangerous to be laid under the sense of an obligation to an addresser’s patience; especially when such a one suffers in health for my sake.
‘He had no shelter, he says, but under the great overgrown ivy, which spreads wildly round the heads of two or three oaklings; and that was soon wet through.’
You remember the spot. You and I, my dear, once thought ourselves obliged to the natural shade which those ivy-covered oaklings afforded us, in a sultry day.
I can’t help saying, I am sorry he has suffered for my sake; but ’tis his own seeking.
His letter is dated last night at eight: ‘And, indisposed as he is, he tells me that he will watch till ten, in hopes of my giving him the meeting he so earnestly request. And after that, he has a mile to walk to his horse and servant; and four miles then to ride to his inn.’
He owns, ‘That he has an intelligencer in our family; who has failed him for a day or two past: and not knowing how I do, or how I may be treated, his anxiety is increased.’ Continue reading

But the devil’s in this sex! (L34)

I receive, with great pleasure, the early and cheerful assurances of your loyalty and love. And let our principal and most trusty friends named in my last know that I do.
I would have thee, Jack, come down, as soon as thou canst. I believe I shall not want the others so soon. Yet they may come down to Lord M.’s. I will be there, if not to receive them, to satisfy my lord, that there is no new mischief in hand, which will require his second intervention.
For thyself, thou must be constantly with me: not for my security: the family dare do nothing but bully: they bark only at a distance: but for my entertainment: that thou mayest, from the Latin and the English classics, keep my lovesick soul from drooping.
Thou hadst best come to me here, in thy old corporal’s coat: thy servant out of livery; and to be upon a familiar footing with me, as a distant relation, to be provided for by thy interest above—I mean not in Heaven, thou mayest be sure. Thou wilt find me at a little alehouse, they call it an inn; the White Hart, most terribly wounded, (but by the weather only,) the sign: in a sorry village, within five miles from Harlowe-place. Every body knows Harlowe-place, for, like Versailles, it is sprung up from a dunghill, within every elderly person’s remembrance. Every poor body, particularly, knows it: but that only for a few years past, since a certain angel has appeared there among the sons and daughters of men.
The people here at the Hart are poor, but honest; and have gotten it into their heads, that I am a man of quality in disguise; and there is no reining-in their officious respect. Here is a pretty little smirking daughter, seventeen six days ago. I call her my Rose-bud. Her grandmother (for there is no mother), a good neat old woman, as ever filled a wicker chair in a chimney-corner, has besought me to be merciful to her.
This is the right way with me. Many and many a pretty rogue had I spared, whom I did not spare, had my power been acknowledged, and my mercy in time implored. But the debellare superbos should be my motto, were I to have a new one.
This simple chit (for there is a simplicity in her thou wouldst be highly pleased with: all humble; all officious; all innocent—I love her for her humility, her officiousness, and even for her innocence) will be pretty amusement to thee; while I combat with the weather, and dodge and creep about the walls and purlieus of Harlowe-place. Thou wilt see in her mind, all that her superiors have been taught to conceal, in order to render themselves less natural, and of consequence less pleasing.
But I charge thee, that thou do not (what I would not permit myself to do for the world—I charge thee, that thou do not) crop my Rose-bud. She is the only flower of fragrance, that has blown in this vicinage for ten years past, or will for ten years to come: for I have looked backward to the have-been’s, and forward to the will-be’s; having but too much leisure upon my hands in my present waiting. Continue reading