Clarissa Harlowe LETTERS OF VOLUME I

LETTER I. Miss Howe to Miss Clarissa Harlowe.—Desires from her the particulars of the rencounter between Mr. Lovelace and her brother; and of the usage she receives upon it: also the whole of her story from the time Lovelace was introduced as a suitor to her sister Arabella. Admires her great qualities, and glories in the friendship between them.

LETTER II. III. IV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Gives the requested particulars. Together with the grounds of her brother’s and sister’s ill-will to her; and of the animosity between her brother and Lovelace.—Her mother connives at the private correspondence between her and Lovelace, for the sake of preventing greater evils. Character of Lovelace, from an enemy.—Copy of the preamble to her grandfather’s will.

LETTER V. From the same.—Her father, mother, brother, briefly characterized. Her brother’s consequence in the family. Wishes Miss Howe had encouraged her brother’s address. Endeavors to find excuses for her father’s ill temper, and for her mother’s passiveness.

LETTER VI. From the same.—Mr. Symmes, Mr. Mullins, Mr. Wyerley, in return, proposed to her, in malice to Lovelace; and, on their being rejected, Mr. Solmes. Leave given her to visit Miss Howe for a few days. Her brother’s insolent behaviour upon it.

LETTER VII. From the same.—The harsh reception she meets with on her return from Miss Howe. Solmes’s first visit.

LETTER VIII. From the same.—All her family determined in Solmes’s favour. Her aversion to him. She rejects him, and is forbid going to church, visiting, receiving visits, or writing to any body out of the house.

LETTER IX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Her expedient to carry on a private correspondence with Miss Howe. Regrets the necessity she is laid under to take such a clandestine step.

LETTER X. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Inveighs against the Harlowe family for proposing such a man as Solmes. Characterizes them. Is jealous of Antony Harlowe’s visits to her mother. Rallies her friend on her supposed regard to Lovelace.

LETTER XI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Is nettled and alarmed at her raillery. Her reasons for not giving way to a passion for Lovelace.

LETTER XII. Miss Howe in reply.—Continues her raillery. Gives Lovelace’s character from Mrs. Fortescue.

LETTER XIII. XIV. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—The views of her family in favouring the address of Solmes. Her brother’s and sister’s triumph upon the difficulties into which they have plunged her.

LETTER XV. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—She accounts for Arabella’s malice. Blames her for having given up the power over the estate left her by her grandfather.

LETTER XVI. XVII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Offends her father by her behaviour to Solmes in his presence. Tender conversation between her mother and her.—Offers to give up all thoughts of Lovelace, if she may be freed from Solmes’s address. Substance of one of Lovelace’s letters, of her answer, and of his reply. Makes a proposal. Her mother goes down with it.

LETTER XVIII. From the same.—The proposal rejected. Her mother affects severity to her. Another interesting conversation between them.

LETTER XIX. From the same.—Her dutiful motives for putting her estate into her father’s power. Why she thinks she ought not to have Solmes. Afflicted on her mother’s account.

LETTER XX. XXI. From the same.—Another conference with her mother, who leaves her in anger.—She goes down to beg her favour. Solmes comes in. She offers to withdraw; but is forbid. What follows upon it.

LETTER XXII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Substance of a letter from Lovelace. She desires leave to go to church. Is referred to her brother, and insultingly refused by him. Her letter to him. His answer.

LETTER XXIII. XXIV. XXV. From the same.—Her faithful Hannah disgracefully dismissed. Betty Barnes, her sister’s maid, set over her. A letter from her brother forbidding her to appear in the presence of any of her relations without leave. Her answer. Writes to her mother. Her mother’s answer. Writes to her father. His answer.

LETTER XXVI. From the same.—Is desirous to know the opinion Lord M.’s family have of her. Substance of a letter from Lovelace, resenting the indignities he receives from her relations. She freely acquaints him that he has nothing to expect from her contrary to her duty. Insists that his next letter shall be his last.

LETTER XXVII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—Advises her to resume her estate. Her satirical description of Solmes. Rallies her on her curiosity to know what opinion Lord M. and his family have of her. Ascribes to the difference in each of their tempers their mutual love. Gives particulars of a conversation between her mother and her on Clarissa’s case. Reflects on the Harlowe family, and particularly on Mrs. Harlowe, for her passiveness.

LETTER XXVIII. Clarissa. In answer.—Chides her for the liberties she takes with her relations. Particularly defends her mother. Chides her also for her lively airs to her own mother. Desires her to treat her freely; but wishes not that she should impute love to her; and why.

LETTER XXIX. From the same.—Her expostulatory letter to her brother and sister. Their answers.

LETTER XXX. From the same.—Exceedingly angry with Lovelace, on his coming to their church. Reflections on pride, &c.

LETTER XXXI. Mr. Lovelace to John Belford, Esq.—Pride, revenge, love, ambition, or a desire of conquest, his avowedly predominant passions. His early vow to ruin as many of the fair sex as he can get into his power. His pretences for it. Breathes revenge against the Harlowe family. Glories in his contrivances. Is passionately in love with Clarissa. His high notions of her beauty and merit. Yet is incensed against her for preferring her own relations to him. Clears her, however, of intentional pride, scorn, haughtiness, or want of sensibility. What a triumph over the sex, and over her whole family, if he can carry off a lady so watchful and so prudent! Is resolved, if he cannot have the sister, to carry off the brother. Libertine as he is, can have no thoughts of any other woman but Clarissa. Warns Belford, Mowbray, Tourville, and Belton, to hold themselves in readiness to obey his summons, on the likelihood there is of room for what he calls glorious mischief.

LETTER XXXII. XXXIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Copies of her letters to her two uncles; and of their characteristic answer.—Her expostulatory letter to Solmes. His answer.—An insolent letter from her brother, on her writing to Solmes.

LETTER XXXIV. Lovelace to Belford.—He directs him to come down to him. For what end. Description of the poor inn he puts up at in disguise; and of the innocent daughter there, whom he calls his Rosebud. He resolves to spare her. Pride and policy his motives, and not principle. Ingenuous reflections on his own vicious disposition. He had been a rogue, he says, had he been a plough-boy. Resolves on an act of generosity for his Rosebud, by way of atonement, as he calls it, for some of his bad actions; and for other reasons which appear in the sequel.

LETTER XXXV. From the same.—His artful contrivances and dealings with Joseph Leman. His revenge and his love uppermost by turns. If the latter succeeds not, he vows that the Harlowes shall feel the former, although for it he become an exile from his country forever. He will throw himself into Clarissa’s presence in the woodhouse. If he thought he had no prospect of her favour, he would attempt to carry her off: that, he says, would be a rape worthy of a Jupiter. The arts he is resolved to practise when he sees her, in order to engage her future reliance upon his honour.

LETTER XXXVI. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Lovelace, in disguise, surprises her in the woodhouse. Her terrors on first seeing him. He greatly engages her confidence (as he had designed) by his respectful behaviour.

LETTER XXXVII. Miss Howe to Clarissa.—After rallying her on her not readily owning the passion which she supposes she has for Lovelace, she desires to know how far she thinks him eligible for his best qualities, how far rejectable for his worst.

LETTER XXXVIII. XXXIX. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—She disclaims tyranny to a man who respects her. Her unhappy situation to be considered, in which the imputed love is held by her parents to be an undutiful, and therefore a criminal passion, and where the supposed object of it is a man of faulty morals. Is interrupted by a visit from Mrs. Norton, who is sent up to her to influence her in Solmes’s favour. An affecting conversation between them. What passes upon it, and after it.

LETTER XL. From the same.—Resumes the requested subject. What sort of man she could have preferred to Mr. Lovelace. Arguments she has used to herself in his favour, and in his disfavour. Frankly owns that were he now a moral man, she would prefer him to all the men she ever saw. Yet is persuaded, that she could freely give up the one man to get rid of the other, as she had offered to her friends. Her delicacy affected by Miss Howe’s raillery; and why. Gives her opinion of the force which figure or person may be allowed to have upon her sex.

LETTER XLI. From the same.—A letter from her mother (with patterns of rich silks) in which she entreats her to comply with all their wishes. What ought to be the principal view of a good wife in adorning her person. Her distress. Begs leave to wait upon her mother alone. Her father’s angry letter, ordering her to prepare for her wedding-day. Solmes requests to see her. She refuses. All in tumults below upon it. Her brother and her sister desire that she may be left to their management.

LETTER XLII. From the same.—A very warm dialogue between her sister and her. Her sister’s envy, unnatural behaviour, and violence. Clarissa sends down proposals in writing to her friends, and a letter to her brother. His insolent answer; in which he tells her, that her proposal will be considered in full assembly next morning; but that, if they shall be complied with, he will retire to Scotland, and never more return to Harlowe-place.

LETTER XLIII. Clarissa to Miss Howe.—Hardly doubts but her proposals will be accepted. Paints to herself, as her relations arrive one by one, what their deliberations, and the result of them will be, when they are all assembled. Her proposals rejected. Her sister’s cruel insults on the occasion produce another warm dialogue between them. Her sister leaves her in a fury. She is greatly disturbed at the contents of a letter from Lovelace.

LETTER XLIV. From the same.—Her aunt Hervey, accompanied by her sister, makes her a visit. Farther insults from her sister. Her aunt’s fruitless pleas in Solmes’s favour.