Tag Archives: III

Lovelace’s impulsive proposal (L138)

I gave way to her angry struggle; but, absolutely overcome by so charming a display of innocent confusion, I caught hold of her hand as she was flying from me, and kneeling at her fee, O my angel, said I, (quite destitute of reserve, and hardly knowing the tenor of my own speech; and had a parson been there, I had certainly been a gone man,) receive the vows of your faithful Lovelace. Make him yours, and only yours, for ever. This will answer every end. Who will dare to form plots and stratagems against my wife? That you are not so is the ground of all their foolish attempts, and of their insolent hopes in Solmes’s favour.—O be mine!—I beseech you (thus on my knee I beseech you) to be mine. We shall then have all the world with us. And every body will applaud an event that every body expects.
Was the devil in me! I no more intended all this ecstatic nonsense, than I thought the same moment of flying in the air! All power is with this charming creature. It is I, not she, at this rate, that must fail in the arduous trial.
Didst thou ever before hear of a man uttering solemn things by an involuntary impulse, in defiance of premeditation, and of all his proud schemes? But this sweet creature is able to make a man forego every purpose of his heart that is not favourable to her. And I verily think I should be inclined to spare her all further trial (and yet what trial has she had?) were it not for the contention that her vigilance has set on foot, which shall overcome the other. Thou knowest my generosity to my uncontending Rosebud—and sometimes do I qualify my ardent aspirations after even this very fine creature, by this reflection:—That the most charming woman on earth, were she an empress, can excel the meanest in the customary visibles only. Such is the equality of the dispensation, to the prince and the peasant, in this prime gift WOMAN.
Well, but what was the result of this involuntary impulse on my part?—Wouldst thou not think; I was taken at my offer?—An offer so solemnly made, and on one knee too?
No such thing! The pretty trifler let me off as easily as I could have wished.

Set vs Malleable Female Identities (L136)

But that you so think with respect to me is the effect of your gentleness of temper, with a little sketch of implied reflection on the warmth of mine. Gentleness in a woman you hold to be no fault: nor do I a little due or provoked warmth—But what is this, but praising on both sides what what neither of us can help, nor perhaps wish to help? You can no more go out of your road, than I can go out of mine. It would be a pain to either to do so: What then is it in either’s approving of her own natural bias, but making a virtue of necessity?
But one observation I will add, that were your character, and my character, to be truly drawn, mine would be allowed to be the most natural. Shades and lights are equally necessary in a fine picture. Yours would be surrounded with such a flood of brightness, with such a glory, that it would indeed dazzle; but leave one heartless to imitate it.

Lovelace as a hungry hound (L115)

Soon will the fair one hear how high their foolish resentments run against her: and then will she, it is to be hoped, have a little more confidence in me. Then will I be jealous that she loves me not with the preference my heart builds upon: then will I bring her to confessions of grateful love: and then will I kiss her when I please; and not stand trembling, as now, like a hungry hound, who sees a delicious morsel within his reach, (the froth hanging upon his vermilion jaws,) yet dares not leap at it for his life.
But I was originally a bashful mortal. Indeed I am bashful still with regard to this lady—Bashful, yet know the sex so well!—But that indeed is the reason that I know it so well:—For, Jack, I have had abundant cause, when I have looked into myself, by way of comparison with the other sex, to conclude that a bashful man has a good deal of the soul of a woman; and so, like Tiresias, can tell what they think, and what they drive at, as well as themselves.
The modest ones and I, particularly, are pretty much upon a par. The difference between us is only, what they think, I act. But the immodest ones out-do the worst of us by a bar’s length, both in thinking and acting.

Clarissa “Must Write On” (135)

I am a very bad casuist; and the pleasure I take in writing to you, who are the only one to whom I can disburden my mind, may make me, as I have hinted, very partial to my own wishes: else, if it were not an artful evasion beneath an open and frank heart to wish to be complied with, I would be glad methinks to be permitted still to write to you; and only to have such occasional returns by Mr. Hickman’s pen, as well as cover, as might set me right when I am wrong; confirm me, when right, and guide me where I doubt. This would enable me to proceed in the difficult path before me with more assuredness. For whatever I suffer from the censure of others, if I can preserve your good opinion, I shall not be altogether unhappy, let what will befall me. And indeed, my dear, I know not how to forbear writing. I have now no other employment or diversion. And I must write on, although I were not to send it to any body. You have often heard me own the advantages I have found from writing down every thing of moment that befalls me; and of all I think, and of all I do, that may be of future use to me; for, besides that this helps to form one to a style, and opens and expands the ductile mind, every one will find that many a good thought evaporates in thinking; many a good resolution goes off, driven out of memory perhaps by some other not so good. But when I set down what I will do, or what I have done, on this or that occasion; the resolution or action is before me either to be adhered to, withdrawn, or amended; and I have entered into compact with myself, as I may say; having given it under my own hand to improve, rather than to go backward, as I live longer.
I would willingly, therefore, write to you, if I might; the rather as it would be the more inspiriting to have some end in view in what I write; some friend to please; besides merely seeking to gratify my passion for scribbling.

Non-verbal Deception (L125)

As he had several times proposed London to me, I expected that he would eagerly have embraced that motion from me. But he took not ready hold of it: yet I thought his eye approved of it.
We are both great watchers of each other’s eyes; and, indeed, seem to be more than half afraid of each other.
He then made a grateful proposal to me: ‘that I would send for my Norton to attend me.
He saw by my eyes, he said, that he had at last been happy in an expedient, which would answer the wishes of us both. Why, says he, did I not think of it before?—And snatching my hand, Shall I write, Madam? Shall I send? Shall I go and fetch the worthy woman myself?

Richardson as Editor (L103)

Mr. Lovelace, in continuation of his last letter, (No. VII.)
     gives an account to his friend (pretty much to the same
     effect with the lady's) of all that passed between them at
     the inns, in the journey, and till their fixing at Mrs.
     Sorling's; to avoid repetition, those passages in his
     narrative are extracted, which will serve to embellish
     her's; to open his views; or to display the humourous talent
     he was noted for.

     At their alighting at the inn at St. Alban's on Monday
     night, thus he writes:
The people who came about us, as we alighted, seemed by their jaw-fallen faces, and goggling eyes, to wonder at beholding a charming young lady, majesty in her air and aspect, so composedly dressed, yet with features so discomposed, come off a journey which made the cattle smoke, and the servants sweat. I read their curiosity in their faces, and my beloved’s uneasiness in her’s. She cast a conscious glance, as she alighted, upon her habit, which was no habit; and repulsively, as I may say, quitting my assisting hand, hurried into the house.*****
Ovid was not a greater master of metamorphoses than thy friend. To the mistress of the house I instantly changed her into a sister, brought off by surprise from a near relation’s, (where she had wintered,) to prevent her marrying a confounded rake, [I love always to go as near the truth as I can,] whom her father and mother, her elder sister, and all her loving uncles, aunts, and cousins abhorred. This accounted for my charmer’s expected sullens; for her displeasure when she was to join me again, were it to hold; for her unsuitable dress upon the road; and, at the same time, gave her a proper and seasonable assurance of my honourable views.
Upon the debate between the lady and him, and particularly upon that
part   where she upbraids him with putting a young creature upon making a
   sacrifice of her duty and conscience, he writes:
All these, and still more mortifying things, she said.
I heard her in silence. But when it came to my turn, I pleaded, I argued, I answered her, as well as I could.—And when humility would not do, I raised my voice, and suffered my eyes to sparkle with anger; hoping to take advantage of that sweet cowardice which is so amiable in the sex, and to which my victory over this proud beauty is principally owing.
She was not intimidated, however, and was going to rise upon me in her temper; and would have broken in upon my defence. But when a man talks to a woman upon such subjects, let her be ever so much in alt, ’tis strange, if he cannot throw out a tub to the whale;—that is to say, if he cannot divert her from resenting one bold thing, by uttering two or three full as bold; but for which more favourable interpretations will lie. Continue reading

Clarissa flees her home with Lovelace (L94)

I was once more offering the key to the lock, when, starting from his knees, with a voice of affrightment, loudly whispering, and as if out of breath, they are at the door, my beloved creature! and taking the key from me, he fluttered with it, as if he would double lock it. And instantly a voice from within cried out, bursting against the door, as if to break it open, the person repeating his violent pushes, Are you there?—come up this moment!—this moment!—here they are—here they are both together!—your pistol this moment!—your gun!—Then another push, and another. He at the same moment drew his sword, and clapping it naked under his arm, took both my trembling hands in his; and drawing me swiftly after him, Fly, fly, my charmer; this moment is all you have for it, said he.—Your brother!—your uncles!—or this Solmes!—they will instantly burst the door—fly, my dearest life, if you would not be more cruelly used than ever—if you would not see two or three murders committed at your feet, fly, fly, I beseech you.
O Lord:—help, help, cried the fool, all in amaze and confusion, frighted beyond the power of controuling.
Now behind me, now before me, now on this side, now on that, turned I my affrighted face, in the same moment; expecting a furious brother here, armed servants there, an enraged sister screaming, and a father armed with terror in his countenance more dreadful than even the drawn sword which I saw, or those I apprehended. I ran as fast as he; yet knew not that I ran; my fears adding wings to my feet, at the same time that they took all power of thinking from me—my fears, which probably would not have suffered me to know what course to take, had I not had him to urge and draw me after him: especially as I beheld a man, who must have come out of the door, keeping us in his eye, running now towards us; then back to the garden; beckoning and calling to others, whom I supposed he saw, although the turning of the wall hindered me from seeing them; and whom I imagined to be my brother, my father, and their servants. Continue reading

Anna’s view on marriage and authority (L93)

I write, because you enjoin me to do so. Love you still!—How can I help it, if I would? You may believe how I stand aghast, your letter communicating the first news—Good God of Heaven and Earth!—But what shall I say?—I am all impatient for particulars.
Lord have mercy upon me!—But can it be?
My mother will indeed be astonished!—How can I tell it her!—It was but last night (upon some jealousies put into her head by your foolish uncle) that I assured her, and this upon the strength of your own assurances, that neither man nor devil would be able to induce you to take a step that was in the least derogatory to the most punctilious honour.
But, once more, can it be? What woman at this rate!—But, God preserve you!
Let nothing escape you in your letters. Direct them for me, however, to Mrs. Knolly’s, till further notice.

Observe, my dear, that I don’t blame you by all this—Your relations only are in fault!—Yet how you came to change your mind is the surprising thing.
How to break it to my mother, I know not. Yet if she hear it first from any other, and find I knew it before, she will believe it to be my connivance!—Yet, as I hope to live, I know not how to break it to her.
But this is teasing you.—I am sure, without intention.
Let me now repeat my former advice—If you are not married by this time, be sure delay not the ceremony. Since things are as they are, I wish it were thought that you were privately married before you went away. If these men plead AUTHORITY to our pain, when we are theirs—Why should we not, in such a case as this, make some good out of the hated word, for our reputation, when we are induced to violate a more natural one? Continue reading