Tag Archives: IV

Lovelace feigns illness (L209)

And now, Belford, what dost think? 
That thou art a cursed fellow, if— 
If—no if’s—but I shall be very sick to-morrow. I shall, ‘faith.
Sick!—Why sick? What a-devil shouldst thou be sick for?
For more good reasons than one, Jack.
I should be glad to hear but one.—Sick, quotha! Of all thy roguish inventions I should not have thought of this.
Perhaps thou thinkest my view to be, to draw the lady to my bedside. That’s a trick of three or four thousand years old; and I should find it much more to my purpose, if I could get to her’s. However, I’ll condescend to make thee as wise as myself.
I am excessively disturbed about this smuggling scheme of Miss Howe. I have no doubt, that my fair-one, were I to make an attempt, and miscarry, will fly from me, if she can. I once believed she loved me: but now I doubt whether she does or not: at least, that it is with such an ardour, as Miss Howe calls it, as will make her overlook a premeditated fault, should I be guilty of one.

Religion and the Mind (L207)

A principal consolation arising from these favourable appearances, is, that I, who have now but one only friend, shall most probably, and if it be not my own fault, have as many new ones as there are persons in Mr. Lovelace’s family; and this whether Mr. Lovelace treat me kindly or not. And who knows, but that, by degrees, those new friends, by their rank and merit, may have weight enough to get me restored to the favour of my relations? till which can be effected, I shall not be tolerably easy. Happy I never expect to be. Mr. Lovelace’s mind and mine are vastly different; different in essentials. 
But as matters are at present circumstanced, I pray you, my dear friend, to keep to yourself every thing that might bring discredit to him, if revealed.—Better any body expose a man than a wife, if I am to be his; and what is said by you will be thought to come from me.
It shall be my constant prayer, that all the felicities which this world can afford may be your’s: and that the Almighty will never suffer you nor your’s, to the remotest posterity, to want such a friend as my Anna Howe has been to

Lovelace reading anew (L207)

She then told me, that she had put into writing her opinion of my general proposals; and there had expressed her mind as to clothes and jewels: but on my strange behaviour to her (for no cause that she knew of) on Sunday night, she had torn the paper in two.
I earnestly pressed her to let me be favoured with a sight of this paper, torn as it was. And, after some hesitation, she withdrew, and sent it to me by Dorcas.
I perused it again. It was in a manner new to me, though I had read it so lately: and, by my soul, I could hardly stand it. An hundred admirable creatures I called her to myself. But I charge thee, write not a word to me in her favour, if thou meanest her well; for, if I spare her, it must be all ex mero motu.

Lovelace steals Clarissa’s unsent letter (L202)

The original of this charming paper, as Dorcas tells me, was torn almost in two. In one of her pets, I suppose! What business have the sex, whose principal glory is meekness, and patience, and resignation, to be in a passion, I trow?—Will not she who allows herself such liberties as a maiden take greater when married?
And a wife to be in a passion!—Let me tell the ladies, it is an impudent thing, begging their pardon, and as imprudent as impudent, for a wife to be in a passion, if she mean not eternal separation, or wicked defiance, by it: For is it not rejecting at once all that expostulatory meekness, and gentle reasoning, mingled with sighs as gentle, and graced with bent knees, supplicating hands, and eyes lifted up to your imperial countenance, just running over, that you should make a reconciliation speedy, and as lasting as speedy? Even suppose the husband is in the wrong, will not this being so give the greater force to her expostulation?
Now I think of it, a man should be in the wrong now-and-then, to make his wife shine. Miss Howe tells my charmer, that adversity is her shining- time. ‘Tis a generous thing in a man to make his wife shine at his own expense: to give her leave to triumph over him by patient reasoning: for were he to be too imperial to acknowledge his fault on the spot, she will find the benefit of her duty and submission in future, and in the high opinion he will conceive of her prudence and obligingness—and so, by degrees, she will become her master’s master.

Lovelace and power–questioning the “test” for Clarissa (L201)

A strange apprehensive creature! Her terror is too great for the occasion. Evils are often greater in apprehension than in reality. Hast thou never observed, that the terrors of a bird caught, and actually in the hand, bear no comparison to what we might have supposed those terrors would be, were we to have formed a judgment of the same bird by its shyness before it was taken?
Dear creature!—Did she never romp? Did she never, from girlhood to now, hoyden? The innocent kinds of freedom taken and allowed on these occasions, would have familiarized her to greater. Sacrilege but to touch the hem of her garment!—Excess of delicacy!—O the consecrated beauty! How can she think to be a wife?
But how do I know till I try, whether she may not by a less alarming treatment be prevailed upon, or whether [day, I have done with thee!] she may not yield to nightly surprises? This is still the burden of my song, I can marry her when I will. And if I do, after prevailing (whether by surprise, or by reluctant consent) whom but myself shall I have injured?
O Mr. Lovelace, we have been long enough together to be tired of each other’s humours and ways; ways and humours so different, that perhaps you ought to dislike me, as much as I do you.—I think, I think, that I cannot make an answerable return to the value you profess for me. My temper is utterly ruined. You have given me an ill opinion of all mankind; of yourself in particular: and withal so bad a one of myself, that I shall never be able to look up, having utterly and for ever lost all that self-complacency, and conscious pride, which are so necessary to carry a woman through this life with tolerable satisfaction to herself.

Self as “Grand Misleader” (L200)

On my entering the dining-room, he took my hand in his, in such a humour, I saw plainly he was resolved to quarrel with me—And for what?—What had I done to him?—I never in my life beheld in any body such wild, such angry, such impatient airs. I was terrified; and instead of being as angry as I intended to be, I was forced to be all mildness. I can hardly remember what were his first words, I was so frighted. But you hate me, Madam! you hate me, Madam! were some of them—with such a fierceness—I wished myself a thousand miles distant from him. I hate nobody, said I: I thank God I hate nobody—You terrify me, Mr. Lovelace—let me leave you.—The man, my dear, looked quite ugly—I never saw a man look so ugly as passion made him look—and for what?—And so he grasped my hands!— fierce creature;—he so grasped my hands! In short, he seemed by his looks, and by his words (once putting his arms about me) to wish me to provoke him. So that I had nothing to do but to beg of him (which I did repeatedly) to permit me to withdraw: and to promise to meet him at his own time in the morning.
It was with a very ill grace that he complied, on that condition; and at parting he kissed my hand with such a savageness, that a redness remains upon it still. 
Do you not think, my dear, that I have reason to be incensed at him, my situation considered? Am I not under a necessity, as it were, of quarrelling with him; at least every other time I see him? No prudery, no coquetry, no tyranny in my heart, or in my behaviour to him, that I know of. No affected procrastination. Aiming at nothing but decorum. He as much concerned, and so he ought to think, as I, to have that observed. Too much in his power: cast upon him by the cruelty of my relations. No other protection to fly to but his. One plain path before us; yet such embarrasses, such difficulties, such subjects for doubt, for cavil, for uneasiness; as fast as one is obviated, another to be introduced, and not by myself—know not how introduced—What pleasure can I propose to myself in meeting such a wretch? Continue reading

Lovelace is ashamed (L199)

[As the Lady could not know what Mr. Lovelace's designs were, nor the
   cause of his ill humour, it will not be improper to pursue the subject
   from his letter.

Having described his angry manner of demanding, in person, her company at
   supper, he proceeds as follows:]


‘She struggled to disengage herself.—Pray, Mr. Lovelace, let me withdraw. I know not why this is. I know not what I have done to offend you. I see you are come with a design to quarrel with me. If you would not terrify me by the ill humour you are in, permit me to withdraw. I will hear all you have to say another time—to-morrow morning, as I sent you word.—But indeed you frighten me—I beseech you, if you have any value for me, permit me to withdraw.
Night, mid-night, is necessary, Belford. Surprise, terror, must be necessary to the ultimate trial of this charming creature, say the women below what they will. I could not hold my purposes. This was not the first time that I had intended to try if she could forgive.

Lovelace gains access to Clarissa’s letters (L198)

I am too much disturbed in my mind to think of any thing but revenge; or I did intend to give thee an account of Miss Harlowe’s observations on the play. Miss Harlowe’s I say. Thou knowest that I hate the name of Harlowe; and I am exceedingly out of humour with her, and with her saucy friend.
What’s the matter now? thou’lt ask.
Matter enough; for while we were at the play, Dorcas, who had her orders, and a key to her lady’s chamber, as well as a master-key to her drawers and mahogany chest, closet-key and all, found means to come at some of Miss Howe’s last-written letters. The vigilant wench was directed to them by seeing her lady take a letter out of her stays, and put it to the others, before she went out with me—afraid, as the women upbraidingly tell me, that I should find it there.
Dorcas no sooner found them, than she assembled three ready writers of the non-apparents; and Sally, and she, and they employed themselves with the utmost diligence, in making extracts, according to former directions, from these cursed letters, for my use. Cursed, may I well call them— Such abuses!—Such virulence!—O this little fury Miss Howe!—Well might her saucy friend (who has been equally free with me, or the occasion could not have been given) be so violent as she lately was, at my endeavouring to come at one of these letters.
I was sure, that this fair-one, at so early an age, with a constitution so firm, health so blooming, eyes so sparkling, expectations therefore so lively, and hope so predominating, could not be absolutely, and from her own vigilance, so guarded, and so apprehensive, as I have found her to be.

Lovelace responds to Belford’s disapproving letter (L191)

When I have opened my view to thee so amply as I have done in my former letters; and have told thee, that my principal design is but to bring virtue to a trial, that, if virtue, it need not be afraid of; and that the reward of it will be marriage (that is to say, if, after I have carried my point, I cannot prevail upon her to live with me the life of honour;* for that thou knowest is the wish of my heart); I am amazed at the repetition of thy wambling nonsense.

* See Vol. III. Letter XVIII.

I am of opinion with thee, that some time hence, when I am grown wiser, I shall conclude, that there is nothing but vanity, conceit, and nonsense, in my present wild schemes. But what is this saying, but that I must be first wiser?
I do not intend to let this matchless creature slide through my fingers.
Art thou able to say half the things in her praise, that I have said, and am continually saying or writing?

Anna Pushes for Marriage (L188)

I have neither time nor patience, my dear friend, to answer every material article in your last letters just now received. Mr. Lovelace’s proposals are all I like of him. And yet (as you do) I think, that he concludes them not with the warmth and earnestness which we might naturally have expected from him. Never in my life did I hear or read of so patient a man, with such a blessing in his reach. But wretches of his cast, between you and me, my dear, have not, I fancy, the ardors that honest men have. Who knows, as your Bell once spitefully said, but he may have half a dozen creatures to quit his hands of before he engages for life?—Yet I believe you must not expect him to be honest on this side of his grand climacteric.
He, to suggest delay from a compliment to be made to Lord M. and to give time for settlements! He, a part of whose character it is, not to know what complaisance to his relations is—I have no patience with him! You did indeed want an interposing friend on the affecting occasion which you mention in yours of yesterday morning. But, upon my word, were I to have been that moment in your situation, and been so treated, I would have torn his eyes out, and left it to his own heart, when I had done, to furnish the reason for it. 
Would to Heaven to-morrow, without complimenting any body, might be his happy day!—Villain! After he had himself suggested the compliment!—And I think he accuses YOU of delaying!—Fellow, that he is!—How my heart is wrung— Continue reading