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Title: Remarks on Clarissa (1749)
Author: Fielding, Sarah, 1710-1768
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Remarks on Clarissa (1749)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



 [Transcriber's Note:

  The use of tildes (~) around a word signifies that it was spaced out in
  the original l i k e  t h i s.

  Spelling, grammar, and punctuation have been retained as in the original,
  with the exception of a few printer's errors. A full list of these can
  be found at the end of the text.]



                   ~REMARKS~
                     ~ON~
                 ~_CLARISSA_,~

             Addressed to the AUTHOR.

  Occasioned by some critical Conversations on the
        CHARACTERS and CONDUCT of that Work.

                    ~WITH~

  Some Reflections on the Character and Behaviour
               of PRIOR'S ~_EMMA_~.



                  ~_LONDON:_~
 Printed for _J. Robinson_ in _Ludgate-street_.

                  M,DCC,XLIX.

             [Price One Shilling.]



REMARKS ON _CLARISSA_, &c.


~_SIR_,~

Perhaps an Address of this Nature may appear very unaccountable, and
whimsical; when I assure you, my Design is fairly to lay before you all
the Criticisms, as far as I can remember them, that I have heard on your
History of _Clarissa_; from the Appearance of the two first Volumes, to
the Close of the Work. I have not willingly omitted any one Objection I
have heard made to your favourite Character, from her first Appearance
in the World; nor, on the contrary, have I either diminished or added to
the favourable Construction put on her Words or Actions. If the Grounds
for the Objections are found to be deducible from the Story, I would
have them remain in their full Force; but if the Answers her Admirers
have given to those Objections are found to result from an impartial and
attentive perusal of the Story, I would not have her deny'd the Justice
they have done her. But tho' I seem here to speak only of _Clarissa_, as
she is your principal Character, yet I intend as well to take notice of
what has been said relating to your whole Story, as to her in
particular.

In the first Conversation I heard on this Subject, the whole Book was
unanimously condemned, without the least Glimpse of Favour from any one
present who sat in judgment on it. It was tedious stuff!--low!--Letters
wrote between Misses about their Sweet-hearts!--There was an Uncle
_Anthony_--a Brother _James_!--a Goody _Norton_!--and a Servant
_Hannah_.--In short, _one_ had no Patience to read it, _another_ could
not bear it, a _third_ did not like it, _&c._ Such general Censurers, I
knew, could be very little worth attending to; and this Judgment I
should have formed had I been a Stranger to the Book thus unmercifully
treated; but as I had read _Clarissa_, and observed some Beauties in it,
yet heard not one of them mentioned, I was determined to say nothing,
and to make my Visit as short as possible.

From hence I went to spend the Evening with a Family in whose
Conversation I am always agreeably entertained. There happened, that
Night, to be a pretty large Assembly of mix'd Company. _Clarissa_
immediately became the Subject of our Conversation, when, after a few
general Remarks, one of the Gentlemen said, "His chief Objection was to
the Length of it, for that he was certain he could tell the whole Story
contained in the two first Volumes in a few Minutes; for Example,
(continued he) There is a Family who live in the Country, consisting of
an old, positive, gouty Gentleman, two old Batchelors as positive as
their gouty Brother, a meek Wife, an ambitious Son, an envious elder
Sister, and a handsome younger Sister; who, having refused many offered
Matches, engages the Attention and Liking of one Mr. _Lovelace_, a young
Gentleman of a noble Family; her Brother has an absolute Aversion to
him; a Rencounter follows between them; the Lady corresponds with
_Lovelace_ to prevent farther Mischief; a disagreeable Man is proposed
to her by all her Family; she will not consent; they all combine to
insist on her Compliance; she is lock'd up; forbid all Correspondence
out of the Family, but still persists in her Refusal; they call it
Obstinacy; she calls it Resolution; Mr. _Lovelace_ takes the Advantage
of her Friends cruel Usage of her, and presses her to throw herself on
his Protection: at last, for fear of being forced to marry the Man she
hates, she appoints to go off with _Lovelace_; but fearing the
Consequence of such a rash Step, and thinking it a Breach of her Duty to
leave her Father's House till urged by the last Necessity, she would
have retracted the Appointment, and waited yet a little longer, in hopes
her Friends might be influenced to change their Mind; Mr. _Lovelace_
does not take the Letter she puts in the usual Place for that purpose,
and we see by her last Letter to her Friend, dated at St. _Albans_, that
she is there with _Lovelace_. Now, how is it possible for this Story,
without being exceeding tedious, to be spun out to two Volumes,
containing each above 300 Pages?"

When the Gentleman ceased, a young Lady, whose Name was _Gibson_, took a
little Almanack out of her Pocket, and, turning to the Place where the
Births and Deaths of the Kings of _England_ were marked, gave it to the
Gentleman, and said, "that by his Rule of Writing, that was the best
History of _England_, and Almanack-makers were the best Historians".

Mr. _Johnson_, another of the Company, said, he would engage to relate
the _Roman_ History, in that manner, in as little time as had been
expended in the summing up the Story of _Clarissa_; and then, with a
Monotony in his Voice that expressed more Humour than I can describe, he
began as follows:

"_Romulus_ the Son of _Apulius_, as some say, tho' according to others
the Son of _Mars_ by one of the Vestal Virgins, built the City of
_Rome_, and reign'd there 37 Years; after him reigned six Kings
successively (their Names are of no Consequence) but the Wickedness of
the last King put an end to the regal State, and introduced the
Consular, which we may say lasted about the Space of 427 Years, tho' it
was retrenched in Power by the Tribunes of the People, and had many
Intermissions by the Creation of Dictators, the Decemviri, and the
military Tribuns; during all this time, sometimes there was War,
sometimes there was Peace, foreign Wars in abundance, great Civil Wars,
not a few Contentions for Power amongst all Degrees of Men, vast
Conquests, great Extent or Empire, till at last, in the famous Plains of
_Pharsalia_, was fought a decisive Battel for the Empire, between two
ambitious Men, namely, _Cæsar_ and _Pompey_; the latter fled, and was
treacherously slain on the _Egyptian_ Shore, whilst the former remain'd
Master of the Field, and almost of the Universe."

Here Mr. _Johnson_ changed the Tone of his Voice, and said, "I will
pursue this no farther, for to the Death of _Pompey_ makes twenty
Volumes in the History wrote by the Fathers _Catrou_ and _Rouillé_,
which is generally allowed to be a very good one, and, I think, one of
its chief Beauties depends on the Length; for to that we owe the
displaying so many various Characters, and the diving into the Motives
of those great Mens Actions, who guided that extensive, powerful, I had
almost said unmanagable Common-wealth.

Mr. _Singleton_ laugh'd, and said, "He was surprised to hear a Man of
Mr. _Johnson's_ Understanding display so much Eloquence to prove, (if he
intended to prove any thing by it) that the knowing the Particulars of
the Family at _Harlow-place_ was of as much Consequence, as the knowing
the Springs and Wheels on which turned the Affairs of the greatest
Commonwealth that was ever heard of since the Creation of the World.

"Indeed, Sir, replied the Lady of the House, (who has bred up three Sons
and three Daughters, who do Honour to her Education of them) I really
think the penetrating into the Motives that actuate the Persons in a
private Family, of much more general use to be known, than those
concerning the Management of any Kingdom or Empire whatsoever: The
latter, Princes, Governors, and Politicians only can be the better for,
whilst every Parent, every Child, every Sister, and every Brother, are
concerned in the former, and may take example by such who are in the
same Situation with themselves.

Mr. _Clark_ said, "that he believed the whole Account of the Mind of
Man, were we only to mention the primary Passions, might be comprised in
a few Words; but (continued he) from those Fountains to trace the
several Channels into which they flow, and to get a Clue to guide us
through all the winding Labyrinths into which they turn themselves, is
no such easy Matter; that

    _Life's but a walking Shadow, a poor Player,
    That struts and frets his Hour upon the Stage
    And then is heard no more,_

perhaps gives us as strong an Image as it is possible to receive, of all
the great Transactions perform'd by Mankind for these 6000 Years; and
yet the celebrated Author, who wrote those Words, has diversify'd and
display'd that strutting and fretting in as many various Lights as he
has drawn Characters throughout his immortal Writings.

"In these two Volumes of _Clarissa_, it plainly appears, the Author's
Intention is to impress deeply on the Reader's Mind, the peculiar
Character of each Person in that Family whence his Heroine is derived;
and in this I think he has succeeded so well, that for my own part I am
as intimately acquainted with all the _Harlows_, as if I had known them
from my Infancy; and if I was to receive a Letter from any one of them,
I am sure I should not want the Name to assist me in assigning it to the
proper Person. Tho', upon the whole, I don't know but there may be some
Exuberances that might have been spared, as they stop the Progress of
the Story, and keep us in anxious doubt concerning _Clarissa's_ Fate,
altho' the scattered Observations have generally the Recommendation of
Novelty to amuse the Curious, Depth to engage the Attention of the
Considerate, and Sprightliness to entertain the Lively; and Story is
considered by the Author, as he says in his Preface, but as the Vehicle
to convey the more necessary Instruction. And _Clarissa_ says to Miss
_How_;

    _You will always have me give you minute Descriptions, nor suffer
    me to pass by the Air and Manner in which Things are spoken, that
    are to be taken notice of; rightly observing, that Air and Manner
    often express more than the accompanying Words._

"If this Observation is just, and Air and Manner can be placed before a
Reader's View by writing, I am sure minute Descriptions are necessary;
and I could point out several Places in _Clarissa_, where we may see the
very Look of the Eyes, and Turn of the Countenance of the Persons
mentioned, and hear the Tone of the Voice of the Person speaking."

The next Objection was raised by Mr. _Dobson_, to Mrs. _Harlowe's_
Character, which he said, "It was plain you did not intend as a bad one,
by her Meekness, Submission to her Husband, and her hitherto truly
maternal Care of her Family; and yet, when she joins with violent
overbearing Spirits, to oppress and persecute such a Daughter as
_Clarissa_, because she steadily adhered to a Resolution of refusing
solemnly to vow at the Altar Love and Obedience to such a Wretch as
_Solmes_, what was this but Tameness and Folly instead of Meekness?"

Totally to justify Mrs. _Harlowe_ was not attempted; on the contrary, it
was unanimously agreed, that she was to blame: But Miss _Gibson_ desired
"Mrs. _Harlow's_ Faults might not be thrown on the Author, unless it
could be proved that he himself intended her Conduct should deserve no
Censure. However, (continued she) to preserve any Charity in censuring
her, I think it should be considered, how much a Woman must be
embarassed, who has for many Years accustomed herself to obey the very
Looks of another, where a Point is peremptorily insisted on, which, to
comply with, must gall her to the Heart. Mrs. _Harlowe_ might indeed
have suffered with _Clarissa_, but could not have preserved her from her
Father's Fury, irritated and inflamed by her ambitious violent Brother:
And perhaps she flatter'd herself, that she might gain more Influence by
seeming to comply, than if she had attempted absolutely to resist the
Storm gathering in her Family. And this I think, the many Hints she
gives, that if she was left to herself, it would be otherwise, is a full
Proof of."

A young Lady, who had hitherto been silent, looked pleased at Miss
_Gibson's_ Remarks, and said;

"I think _Clarissa_ herself has made very good Observations on her
Mamma's Meekness, and the Effects of it, in one of her Letters to Miss
_Howe_, where she says--In my Mamma's Case, your Observation is
verifyed, that those who will bear much, shall have much to bear. And
how true is her farther Observation, where she says, that she fears her
Mamma has lost that very Peace which she has sacrificed so much to
obtain."

"Your Remark, Madam, said Miss _Gibson_, is very just, and from this
Character of Mrs. _Harlowe_, we may draw a noble and most useful Moral;
for as in the Body, too rich Blood occasions many Diseases, so in the
Mind, the very Virtues themselves, if not carefully watched, may produce
very hurtful Maladies. Meekness therefore, and a long Habit of
Submission, is often accompanied by a want of Resolution, even where
Resolution is commendable. To be all Softness, Gentleness and Meekness,
and at the same time to be steadily fixed in every Point 'tis improper
to give up, is peculiar to _Clarissa_ herself, and a Disposition of Mind
judiciously reserved by the Author for his Heroine alone."

An old Gentleman who sat in the Corner, and often made wry Faces at the
sudden Attack of Rheumatick Pains, with which he was often afflicted,
objected strongly to Mr. _Harlowe's_ arbitrary Usage of such a Wife, as
being very unnatural. "Nay, Sir, (said Miss _Gibson_) I think _Clarissa_
gives a very good Account of Mr. _Harlowe's_ Behaviour, in a Letter to
her Friend, when she says;

    _But my Father was soured by the cruel Distemper I have named,
    which seized him all at once, in the very prime of Life, in so
    violent a Manner, as to take from the most active Mind, as HIS
    was, all Power of Activity, and that in all Appearance for
    Life.--It imprison'd, as I may say, his lively Spirits in himself
    and turned the Edge of them against his own Peace, his
    extraordinary Prosperity adding but to his Impatiency._

"And methinks, it is very easy to imagine, Mr. _Harlowe's_ Pains, and
Mrs. _Harlowe's_ tender Concern for these Pains increasing together: her
Attention to him, and earnest Endeavours to soften and alleviate the
Extremity of his Torments becoming all her Care; till, his Ill-temper
daily growing stronger by the Force of his bodily Disorders, he at last
habituated himself to vent it on the Person who most patiently
submitted, tho' her Heart was most nearly touched and affected by it.
And I appeal to the common Experience of any Persons who have accustomed
themselves to make Observations on the Scenes before them, if they have
not often seen heart-breaking Harshness burst forth on those who
strongest feel the Strokes, and yet submit to them without complaining;
and this practised even by Persons who would take it much amiss to be
thought peculiarly ill-natured."

The old Gentleman, without answering Miss _Gibson_, insisted on what he
had said before; and then turning to his Daughter, in a rough Voice,
accompanied with a fierce Look, bid her not sit so idly, but ring the
Bell, that the Servant might get a Coach, for he would go home. The
young Lady, who was as submissive a Daughter as Mrs. _Harlow_ was a
Wife, immediately obeyed his Commands, tho' it might be read in her
Countenance, that she could have wished that he would have injoined them
in a milder Manner; on which her Father observed, that the Girl was
always out of Humour and sullen when she was employed. Indeed, Sir,
said the young Lady, I love to be honoured with your Commands; I was
only afraid you was angry with me. A Tear stole without her Consent from
her Eyes, and at the same Time she looked at her Father with a
supplicating, instead of a sullen Countenance.

As soon as the Coach came, the old Gentleman, with great Roughness,
commanded his Daughter to attend him, and left us; and we could not help
remarking, how much the Gentleman's Behaviour had added Weight to the
Force of his Criticism.

The next Objection was raised by Mr. _Dellincourt_, who found great
Fault with the Liberties you have taken with the _English_ Language, and
said, you had coined new Words, and printed others as if you was writing
a Spelling-book, instead of relating a Story. We were all silent for a
few Moments, and then Miss _Gibson_ said;

"Indeed, Sir, I do not pretend to be any Judge of the Accuracy of Stile,
but I beg to know, if in the writing familiar Letters, many Liberties
are not allowable, which in other kinds of writing might perhaps be
justly condemned: And as to the printing some of the Words with Breaks
between the Syllables, it certainly makes the Painting the stronger;
however, I submit this entirely to the Judgment of others. But supposing
this to be a failing, surely it is a trifling one, to censure a Book
severely for, in which there are so many striking Beauties to be found.
But to illustrate my Thoughts on this Head, I will tell you a Story that
is really true.

"A Gentleman shewed a Friend of his a Picture of a favourite Horse,
drawn by the celebrated Mr. _Wooten_. The Horse was unexceptionably
beautiful, and the Picture excellently drawn. His Friend regarded it
for some Time with great Attention: When the Gentleman (who was a Lover
of Pictures, and who delighted to share his Pleasures with others)
earnestly asked his Friend's Opinion of the Piece he was viewing; who,
after much Consideration, with a significant Shrug of his Shoulders, and
a contemptuous Toss of his Hand, said, _I don't like the Skirts of the
Saddle_."

The Application of this Story was so very plain, that the whole Company
were diverted with it; and thus, Sir, I think I have sumed up all the
Critisism I heard either against or in favour of your _Clarissa_, on the
Publication of the two first Volumes.

The next Scene of Criticism (if I may so call it) on _Clarissa_ that I
was present at, was on the Publication of the two succeeding Volumes.

The same Company met, with the Addition only of one Gentleman, whom I
shall call _Bellario_; his known Taste and Impartiality made all those
who wished Reason instead of Prejudice might judge of the Subject before
them, rejoice at his Presence. The Objections now arose so fast, it was
impossible to guess where they would end. _Clarissa_ herself was a
Prude--a Coquet--all the Contradictions mentioned some Time ago in a
printed Paper, with the Addition of many more, were laid to her Charge.
She was an undutiful Daughter--too strict in her Principles of Obedience
to such Parents--too fond of a Rake and a Libertine--her Heart was as
impenitrable and unsusceptible of Affection, as the hardest Marble. In
short, the many contradictory Faults that she was at once accused of, is
almost incredible: So many, that those who had attended enough to her
Character, to have an Inclination to justify her, found it difficult to
know where to begin to answer such a complicated Charge. But after a
short Silence, Miss _Gibson_ with her usual Penetration, said;

"Whenever any Person is accused of a Variety of Faults, which are
plainly impossible to dwell in the same Mind, I am immediately convinced
the Person so accused is innocent of them all. A Prude cannot, by an
observing Eye, be taken for a Coquet, nor a Coquet for a Prude, but a
good Woman may be called either, or both, according to the Dispositions
of her resolved Censurers; and hence I believe we may trace the Cause,
why the Characters even of those Persons who do not endeavour to wear
any Disguise are so very liable to be mistaken; for Partiality or
Prejudice generally sit as Judges: If the former mount the
Judgment-seat, how many different Terms do we make use of to express
that Goodness in another, which our own fluctuating Imaginations only
have erected? If the latter, how do we vary Expressions to paint that
Wickedness which we are resolve to prove inhabits the Mind we think
proper to condemn?" "Nay, but (said Mr. _Dellincourt_) how are we
concerned either to justify or accuse _Clarissa_? we cannot be either
partial to, or prejudised against her." "I know not how it is, (replyed
Miss _Gibson_) but those who dread Censure, tho' Circumspection wait on
every Step, will be censured, till there no longer remains in the World
any of those Dispositions that delight in inflicting that Punishment on
others they see they most fear. Now, tho' _Clarissa_ was not so
blameably fearful of Censure, but that her first Care was to preserve
the Innocence of her own Mind, and do no wrong; yet it is plain, she
would very gladly have avoided incurring, as well as deserving,
Reproach; and that she is treated like an intimate Acquaintance by all
her Readers, the Author may thank himself for. I dare say, the Authors
of _Cassandra_, _Clelia_, with numberless others I could name, were
never in any Danger of having their Heroines thought on, or treated like
human Creatures."

_Bellario_, who had hitherto been silent, said, "He thought _Clarissa_
could not justly be accused of any material Fault, but that of wanting
Affection for her Lover; for that he was sure, a Woman whose Mind was
incapable of Love, could not be amiable, nor have any of those gentle
Qualities which chiefly adorn the female Character. And as to her
whining after her Papa and Mamma, who had used her so cruelly, (added
he) I think 'tis contemptible in her."

"But, Sir, (said Miss _Gibson_) please only to consider, first,
_Clarissa_ is accused of want of Love, and then in a Moment she is
condemned for not being able suddenly to tear from her Bosom an
Affection that had been daily growing and improving from the Time of her
Birth, and this built on the greatest paternal Indulgence imaginable.
Affections that have taken such deep Root, are little Treasures hoarded
up in the good Mind, and cannot be torn thence without causing the
strongest convulsive Pangs in the Heart, where they have been long
nourished: And when they are so very easily given up as you now, Sir,
seem to contend for, I confess I am very apt to suspect they have only
been talked of by the Persons who can part with them with so little
Pain, either from Hypocrisy, or from another very obvious Cause, namely,
the using Words we are accustomed to hear, without so much as thinking
of their Meaning. Such Hearts I think may be much more properly compared
to the Hardness of Marble, than could that of the gentle _Clarissa_.

"There is in her Behaviour, I own, a good deal of apparent Indifference
to _Lovelace_; but let her Situation and his manner of treating her be
considered, and I fancy the whole will be seen in a different Light from
what it may appear on the first View. She has confessed to Miss _Howe_,
that she could prefer him to all the Men she ever saw; and that Friend
of her Heart, to whom her very inmost Thoughts were laid open all along,
pronounces her to be in Love with him. It is not from Hypocrisy that she
does not confess the Charge, but from the Reason Miss _Howe_ gives, when
she says;

    _I believe you did not intend Reserve to me, for two Reasons, I
    believe you did not; first, because you say you did not: Next,
    because you have not as yet been able to convince yourself how it
    is to be with you; and, persecuted as you are, how so to separate
    the Effects that spring from the two Causes (Persecution and Love)
    as to give to each its particular Due._

"That _Clarissa_ positively did not intend to go off with _Lovelace_
when she met him, to me is very plain; nor could he have prevailed on
her, had not the Terrors raised in her Mind, by apprehended Murder,
almost robbed her of her Senses, and hurried her away, not knowing what
she did. For the Truth of this, I appeal to that charming painted Scene,
where the Reader's Mind shares _Clarissa's_ Terror, and is kept in one
continued Tumult til.

    [A]_The Steeds are smote, the rapid Chariot flies,
    The sudden Clouds of circuling Dust arise._


[A] _Pope's Homer._


"She was vexed to her soul afterwards to find she was tricked, as she
calls it, out of herself, when _Lovelace_, instead of comforting and
assuring her Mind, begins such a Train of shufling artful Tricks, as no
one but _Lovelace_ could have thought on: And altho' she did not know
all his Design, for if she had, she would certainly have left him, yet
she sees enough of his _crooked ways_, to be convinced that he acted
ungenerously by her, because she was in _his Power_. Does not
_Lovelace_, in a Letter to _Belford_, writ in four Days after she was
with him, say?

    _And do I not see, that I shall want nothing but Patience, in order
    to have all Power with me? For what shall we say, if all these
    Complaints of a Character Wounded, these Declarations of increasing
    Regrets of meeting me, of Resentments never to be got over for my
    seducing her away, these angry Commands to leave her,--what shall we
    say, if all were to mean nothing but Matrimony?--And what if my
    forbearing to enter upon that Subject comes out to be the true Cause of
    her Petulance and Uneasiness._

"And then he gives such an Account of his asking her Consent to marry
him, and at the same Time artfully confusing her, so as to prevent her
Consent, as perfectly paints his cunning vile Heart. How is her
Behaviour altered to him from the Time she can write Miss _Howe_ word
that her Prospects are mended, till his returning Shufling convinces her
there is no Confidence to be placed in him! But if, Sir, you cannot
think _Lovelace's_ Usage of _Clarissa_ a full Justification of her in
this Point, I think the Author has a just Right to be heard out before
his Heroine is condemned in so heavy a Charge, as that of being void of
all Affection. You know enough of my Sentiments, Sir, to be convinced
that I do think this the heaviest Charge a Woman can be accused of; for
Love is the only Passion I should wish to be harboured in the gentle
Bosom of a good Woman. Ambition, with all the Train of turbulent
Passions the World is infested with, I would leave to Men: And could I
make my whole Sex of my Opinion, they would be resigned without the
least Grudge or Envy; for Peace and Harmony dwell not with them, but on
the contrary, Discord, Perturbation and Misery are their constant
Companions. But tho' I speak thus with the utmost Sincerity of Love; yet
I cannot think a Woman greatly the Object of Esteem who, like _Serina_
in the _Orphan_, having such a Father as _Acasto_, and such Brothers,
affectionate to her, however blameable in other Respects; while she saw
her whole Family distressed and confused, and _Monimia_, the gentle
Companion of her Infancy, involved in that Confusion, her Lover too
behaving like a Mad-man, yet still, could cry out,

    Chamont's _the dearest thing I have on Earth;
    Give me_ Chamont, _and let the World forsake me._

"_Clarissa_ would have acted a different Part, I do confess; and yet, if
I can guess any Thing of the Author's Intention by what is already
published, I fancy, when we have read the Conclusion of this Story, we
shall be convinced that Love was the strongest Characteristic of
_Clarissa's_ Mind."

_Bellario_ answered, with that Candor, which is known to be one of the
most distinguishing Marks of his Character by all who have the Pleasure
of his Acquaintance, 'That if it proved so, he should have the greatest
Esteem and highest Veneration for _Clarissa_, and would suspend his
Judgment till he saw the remaining Part of the Story.'

But all the Company were not so candid, for Mr. _Dellincourt_ said, 'He
was sure _Clarissa_ could not in the remaining Part of the Story
convince him, that her Characteristic was Love; for nothing less than
the lovely _Emma's_ Passion for _Henry_ would be any Satisfaction to
him, if he was a Lover.'--Miss _Gibson_ said. 'She had often been sorry
that the Poem of _Henry_ and _Emma_ had not been long ago buried in
Oblivion; for (continued she) it is one of those Things which, by the
Dress and Ornaments of fine Language and smooth Poetry, has imposed on
Mankind so strong a Fallacy, as to make a Character in itself most
despicable, nay I may say most blameable, generally thought worthy
Admiration and Praise: For strip it of the dazzling Beauties of Poetry,
and thus fairly may the Story be told.

An old _English_ Baron retired in his Decline of Life to his
Country-seat, where one only Daughter (left him by a Wife he fondly
loved) was the Care, the Joy, the Comfort of his declining Years: No
sooner had the State of blooming Youth taken place of that of prattling
Infancy, than she became the Object of publick Admiration, and Lovers of
all Degrees with Emulation strove to gain the fair _Emma's_ Favour; but
as yet her Heart was free, and her Father's paternal tender Indulgence
never once endeavoured to force her Choice. At last the happy _Henry_ in
various Disguises found the means to obtain her Favour, and she becomes
passionately in Love with him: But not content with this, he resolves on
a Trial of her Constancy, and therefore tells her, that he is a
Murderer, must fly from Justice, and herd amongst the lowest and basest
of Mankind; that he despised her, and the fond Heart she had given him;
a younger and fairer Nymph now engaging his Pursuit, and that if she
would follow him, she also must herd with Outlaws his Companions, who
like himself were fled from Justice; where Impiety, Blasphemy and
Obscenity would be all the Language she could hear.

_Emma_ on this Trial, ignorant who _Henry_ was, or what Brothel had last
given him up, without one Enquiry whether the Murder he confessed was
not of the blackest Die, remorseless for all the Agonies with which she
must tear her Father's tender Bosom, resolves at all Events, as _Henry_
himself says,

    _Name, Habit, Parents, Woman, left behind_.

to follow him through the World; not admitted to share his Fate, but to
be scorned and insulted by him. Thus _victoriously_ she stood her Trial.
_Henry_ turns out a great Man; consequently his Wife is greatly admired;
Success crowns all, and both Grandeur and Love join to reward her
supposed heroic Virtue.

But had the Poet thought proper, that _Henry_ should have turned out the
Murderer, the Vagabond, the insolent and ungrateful Scorner of her Love
he represented himself to be; had her Father's Sorrow for her Fate
shortned his miserable Days; had she been abandoned by the Wretch she
had so much Reason to expect the worst of Treatment from, and, between
Rage, Despair, and a thousand conflicting Passions, been led by a
natural Gradation from one Vice to another, till she had been lost in
the most abandoned Profligacy; instead of being proposed for an Example,
her Name would have been only mentioned to deter others from the like
rash Steps. That this was the natural Consequence of her Actions is very
apparent: Nor do I think from her Behaviour, that _Henry_ had the least
Reason to be convinced that she would not leave him for the first Man
who would try to seduce her, provided the Colour of his Complexion
suited her Fancy.

All the Company were very inclineable to yield up _Emma's_ Cause, if
_Henry had_ indeed been a Villain and a Murderer; only great Part of
them were very apt to forget one Circumstance, namely, that it was
impossible for her to know, but that he was the Wretch he represented
himself to be; and Miss _Gibson_ seemed to be much more inclined to
compassionate her, if extreme Misery had been her Fate, than was the
Gentleman who first mentioned her as an Object of Admiration, only
because the Author of the Poem thought fit to reward her. Miss _Gibson_
then addressing herself to _Bellario_, said, 'Sir, you are a Father,--an
indulgent Father,--would you have your Daughter act in such a
Manner?--_Bellario_ honestly owned he would not. 'Why then, Sir,
(replyed she) please to consider a Moment, and you will see the
Injustice of wishing another Man's Daughter should act so.' _Bellario_
ingenuously confessed, that when he read the Poem of _Henry_ and _Emma_,
the Picture of his Mistress, and not that of his Daughter, was before
his Eyes, and he would have his Mistress _of all Mankind love but him
alone_.----'I wonder not at that, Sir, (said Miss _Gibson_) but then
you would not be the Man _Henry_ represented himself to be. Had _Henry_
had any Misfortunes by which his Heart had not been stained.

    [B]_Had it pleased Heav'n
    To try_ him _with Affliction, had he rain'd_
    _All kind of Sores and Shames on_ his _bare Head,
    Steep'd_ him _in Poverty to the very Lips,
    Given to Captivity_ him _and_ his _utmost Hopes,_


[B] OTHELLO.


no one would more have applauded _Emma's_ Resolution, _of loving of all
Mankind but him alone_, than I should have done: But yet when I see a
Woman seriously endeavour to conquer a Passion for a Man who proves
himself unworthy her Love, it will always be to me a strong Proof of her
steady Constancy to a Man she has Reason to esteem. I would have had
_Emma_ stood _Henry's_ shocking Tryal as _Macduff_ in the Tragedy of
_Macbeth_ does that of _Malcolm_, and when he had proved himself
unworthy her least Affection; I think, in the Words of _Macduff_ she
might have said,

    _----Fare thee well,
    These Evils thou repeat'st upon thyself,
    Have banish'd me from_ JOY.----_Oh! my Breast,
    Thy Hope ends here._

On such a Behaviour, I think the Reward she met with should have been
founded, and such I believe would have been the Behaviour of _Clarissa_
in the like Circumstances.

'The Love that is not judicious, must be as uncertain as its capricious
Foundation: But 'tis one of the distinguishing Marks of _Clarissa's_
Character, to watch her own Mind, that Prejudice may not get Possession
of it, nor her Imagination run away with her Judgment. With what a noble
Contempt does she treat the extravagant Offers _Solmes_ makes her, at
the Expence of Justice, and cruelly leaving his Family to starve? But
how very few People, like _Clarissa_, can poise the Scales with an even
Hand, where one Grain of Self is placed in either Scale?'

The Gentleman, who had at first started the Objection to _Clarissa_ of
her being incapable of any strong Affection, now said, 'that he could
not see any Proof of her Impartiality, in that she could view the
Actions of _Solmes_ in the proper Light: He did not know whether she
would have argued in the same manner With regard to _Lovelace_'. Miss
_Gibson_ said, 'Do you speak this, Sir, as a Proof of the Justice of
your first Objection to _Clarissa_, that her Heart was as impenetrable
as Marble; is it reasonable she should be condemned both ways?' The
Gentleman look'd very grave for a Moment, and then said, he was sure she
had no Affections in her, notwithstand what he had now said.

Mr. _Johnson_ on this, told the following Story.

"I remember (said he) I went some time ago with Mr. _Tonson_ to a
celebrated Painter's, to see a Picture he had drawn of a Gentleman we
were both intimately acquainted with; the Resemblance was very strong;
we were much pleased with the Picture, even to the very Drapery; the
Coat was a fine Crimson Cloth, but Mr. _Tonson_, at first View, took it
for Velvet; he was soon convinced of his Mistake, but yet could never
since mention the Picture, without talking of the Velvet Coat; and when
I have bid him remember it was Cloth, he has always acknowledged it, and
said, it's very true Sir; And yet such a strong Impression had his first
Idea of it made in his Mind, that in two Minutes he could talk again of
the Velvet Coat, with as much Ease as if he had been perfectly ignorant
of his Mistake."

A strong Objection was raised to Mr. _Lovelace's_ being so long without
any Attempt on the Lady's Honour, when she was under the same Roof with
him, and so much in his Power. Mr. _Johnson_ said he thought Mr.
_Belford_ had given a good Reason for this Delay in a Letter to
_Lovelace_, where he says,

    _Thou too a Man born for Intrigue, full of Invention, intrepid,
    remorseless, able patiently to watch for the Opportunity, not
    flurried, as most Men, by Gusts of violent Passion, which often nip
    a Project in the Bud, and make the Snail, which was just putting
    out its Horns to meet the Inviter, withdraw into its Shell._

So that it seems to be a Maxim, amongst _Lovelace_ and his Club of
Rakes, not to destroy their own Schemes by a too precipitate Pursuit;
and _Lovelace_ gives yet a stronger Reason for it in the following
Words.

    _O Virtue, Virtue_, says he, _what is there in thee, that can thus
    affect the Heart of such a Man as me against my Will!--Whence these
    involuntary Tremors, and fear of giving mortal Offence! What art
    thou that, acting in the Breast of a feeble Woman, canst strike so
    much awe into a Spirit so intrepid which never before, no, not in
    my first Attempt, young as I then was, and frighted at my own
    Boldness (till I found myself_ forgiven,) _had such an Effect on
    me._

But Quotations from _Lovelace's_ Words to this Purpose, and that he was
resolved to be slow in order to be sure, would be endless.

This, I think, was the last Objection raised; only _Bellario_ said, that
the Report that the Catastrophy was to be unhappy had made a deep
Impression on him; for that he could not avoid thinking that, if it was
true, it must be a great Error, and destroy all the Pleasure a
good-natur'd Reader might already have received: However, he said, he
would keep his Word in not absolutely giving his Judgment till he saw
the Conclusion.

And thus ended the second Scene of Criticism on _Clarissa_; only, as we
went down Stairs, a Lady, who had not spoke one Word the whole Evening,
mutter'd out a strong Dislike, that the agreeable Mr. _Lovelace_ should
not become a Husband.

And now, in the Month of _December_, appears the long expected, much
wished for Conclusion of _Clarissa's_ Story.

The Company we have already mentioned being again assembled, the Lady
who had before grieved that the agreeable Mr. _Lovelace_ should not
become a Husband, now lamented that Miss _Howe_ should be married to so
insipid a Man (that was the Epithet she chose for him) as Mr. _Hickman_.
This passed some little time without any Answer. Miss _Gibson_ was
silent; and I saw by her Looks that she thought there was some Weight in
her Objection. At last an old Lady, who had three Daughters marriagable,
said, she wondered to hear Mr. _Hickman_ called insipid; for she thought
there could be no Reason for giving him that Appellation, unless young
Women would confess what she should be very sorry to hear them confess,
namely, that, in their Opinion, Sobriety intitles a Man to the Character
of Insipidity. Pray remember, continued the Lady, that there is no
Ridicule cast upon Mr. _Hickman_ throughout the whole Story, but by
_Lovelace_ and Miss _Howe_. The former lov'd Ridicule so well, that he
could make Objects of it, by the Help of his gay Imagination, even where
he found none: Besides, he hated any Man should have a fine Woman but
himself; for, in his Opinion, he alone deserved them. And I think Miss
_Howe_ is very censurable for the Liberties she takes with a worthy Man,
whom also it is plain she intends to make her Husband.

Miss _Gibson_ agreed in censuring Miss _Howe_ for the Liberties she
takes with him; but at the same time said, she thought even his bearing
that Usage did lower his Character. Now you see, replied the Lady, how
you are taken in; that you can condemn Miss _Howe_ for her Contempt of
Mr. _Hickman_, and yet at the same time let the lively Strokes that fall
from her Pen have their full force against the abused worthy Man. Yet
Miss _Howe_ herself owns, as early as the second Volume, that Mr.
_Hickman_ is humane, benevolent, generous,--No Fox-hunter--No
Gamester--That he is sober, modest, and virtuous; and has Qualities that
Mothers would be fond of in a Husband for their Daughters; and for
which, perhaps, their Daughters would be the happier, could they judge
as well for themselves as Experience may teach them to judge for their
future Daughters. In other Places he is represented as charitable,
considerate to Inferiors, so obliging and respectful to his
Mother-in-law, that she leaves him at her Death, in Acknowledgment of
it, all that was in her Power: And Miss _Howe_ owns he never disobliged
her by Word or Look. What then is the Objection to Mr. _Hickman_? Why
truly, he has not _Lovelace's_ fine Person!--_Lovelace's_ fine
Address!--_Lovelace's_ impetuous Spirit; and yet he has shewn even
_Lovelace_, that he wants not Courage. He is plain in his Dress!--His
Gait shews him not to be so debonnaire in dancing a Minuit as
_Lovelace_.--But, indeed, I am afraid whoever prefers a _Lovelace_ to a
_Hickman_, will wish all her life-time she could have sooner found out,
that tho' _Lovelace_ was the best Partner at a Ball; yet, when a
Companion for Life was to be chose, that Mr. _Hickman's_ Goodness of
Heart rendered him in all respects more essential to Happiness; much
more eligible than all the gay, fluttering, and parading Spirit of a
_Lovelace_ could possibly have done. And your Favourite _Clarissa_, Miss
_Gibson_, says in a Letter to Miss _Howe_; 'Will you never, my Dear,
give the Weight which you, and all our Sex ought to give to the
Qualities of Sobriety and Regularity of Life and Manners in that
Sex?--Must bold Creatures and forward Spirits for ever, and by the
wisest and best of us, as well as by the indiscretest, be the most
kindly used?--be best thought of'?

Again, in her posthumous Letter--'Your Choice is fallen upon a sincere,
an honest, a virtuous, and what is more than all, a _pious Man_.--A Man
who altho' he admires your Person, is still more in love with the Graces
of your Mind; and as those Graces are improvable with every added Year
of Life, which will impair the transitory ones of Person, what a firm
Basis has Mr. _Hickman_ chosen to build his Love upon.'

The same Man cannot be every thing: A _Hickman_ in Heart, to a
_Lovelace_ in Vivacity and Address, perhaps, is almost impossible to be
met with; Time, Opportunities, and Inclinations are wanting.

Nay, Madam, says Miss _Gibson_, I do not dispute Mr. _Hickman's_ being
preferable for a Husband to Mr. _Lovelace_; the Heart is certainly the
first thing to be considered in a Man to whose Government a Woman
resigns herself; but I should not chuse either _Lovelace_ or _Hickman_.
I must confess I should desire Humour and Spirit in a Man. A married
Life, tho' it cannot be said to be miserable with an honest Husband; yet
it must be very dull, when a Man has not the Power of diversifying his
Ideas enough to display trifling Incidents in various Lights; and 'tis
impossible where this is wanting, but that a Man and his Wife must often
depend on other Company to keep them from sinking into Insipidity. And
for my part, I cannot paint to myself any thing more disagreeable, than
to sit with a Husband and wish some-body would come in and relieve us
from one another's Dulness. Trifles, Madam, become strong Entertainments
to sprightly Minds!--

Ah! Miss _Gibson_, replied the Lady, in every Word you speak, you prove
how necessary the Author's Moral is to be strongly inculcated; when even
_your_ serious and thoughtful Turn of Mind will not suffer you to see
through the Glare of what you call Humour and Spirit with that Clearness
which would enable you to distinguish how very seldom that Humour and
Spirit is bestowed on a Wife. Mr. _Hickman's_ whole Mind being at Home,
would enliven him into a chearful Companion with his Wife; whilst a
_Lovelace's_ Mind, engaged on foreign Objects, would often make him fall
into Peevishness and Ill-humour, instead of this so much dreaded
_Insipidity_.

Indeed, Madam, said Miss _Gibson_, I don't plead for Mr. _Lovelace_; for
I detest him of all the Men I ever read of.

That is true, replied the Lady; but that is because you have _read_ of
him, and know the Villanies he was capable of. But yet, I think, you
have plainly proved, if a _Lovelace_ and a _Hickman_ contended for your
Favour, which would have the best Chance of succeeding.

Miss _Gibson_ blushed, and was silent; when a sprightly Girl, of about
Sixteen, said, She loved Mr. _Hickman_ very much; he was a good, and a
gentle-hearted Man--But indeed she should not like him for her Husband.

The Gentlemen, during this Debate, had all sat silent; but they often
smiled to see how few Advocates Mr. _Hickman_ was likely to have amongst
the Ladies.

At last _Bellario_ said, If I had not thought so before, I should now be
convinced by this Conversation, how judicious the Author of _Clarissa_
was in setting forth so very strongly as he does, the Necessity of
Sobriety and Goodness in a Husband, in order to render a married State
happy. For you have shown clearly, Ladies, how difficult it is for a Man
to be esteemed by you who has those Qualities, since I can see no one
Objection to Mr. _Hickman_, but that he has not that Gaiety of
Disposition which from a vast Flow of animal Spirits, without Restraint
or Curb from either Principles of Religion or Good-nature, shines forth
in _Lovelace's_ wild Fancies. And this Man you find such a Reluctance to
speak well of; tho' a reforming _Belford_ esteems; Colonel _Morden_
highly values him; and says, he is respected by all the World!--And a
_Clarissa_ for ever acknowledges his Merit.--And, in one of the last
Actions of her Life, praises him as he deserves to be praised. And
earnestly recommends it to her best and dear Friend, to give both her
Hand and Heart to so worthy a Man. The steady Principles of Mr.
_Hickman_ was a firm Basis to depend on, for Protection and good Usage.

Miss _Gibson_ was so much pleased with seeing _Bellario_ enter so
heartily into the Design of the Author of _Clarissa_, that she dropp'd
the Argument, (tho' she did not seem quite convinc'd that Mr. _Hickman_
could be an agreeable Husband) and with some Earnestness desired
_Bellario_ to tell her, whether he was not now convinced that _Clarissa_
was capable of the strongest Affection, could she but have found the
least Foundation to have built that Affection on: Yes, replied
_Bellario_, I am convinced of it, and am surprised that I did not before
see how much _Lovelace's_ base unmanly Behaviour justifies her in this
Point; he himself, indeed, in the Letter he writes _Belford_ after he
left _England_, lays the whole Scene before us; to his own Condemnation,
and _Clarissa's_ eternal Honour: He owns her meek and gentle Spirit;
confesses he repeatedly, from the first, poured cold Water on her rising
Flame, by meanly and ingratefully turning upon her the Injunctions
which Virgin Delicacy, and filial Duty induced her to lay him under
before he got her into his Power; he quotes her own Words: _That she
could not be guilty of Affectation or Tyranny to the Man she intended to
marry_; that from the Time he had got her from her Father's House, _he
had a plain Path before him_; that _he had held her Soul in suspense an
Hundred times_; that _she would have had no Reserves, had he not given
her Cause of Doubt_; that she owned to _Belford_, that _once she could
have loved him; and could she have made him Good would have made him
Happy_.

To this Letter, continued _Bellario_, and numerous other Places in the
Book, would I refer all those, if any such there are, who yet doubt her
being capable of Love. Surely we may fairly conclude with _Lovelace_,
that well might she, who had been used to be courted and admired by
every desiring Eye, and worshipped by every respectful Heart--Well might
such a Woman be allowed to draw back, when she found herself kept in
suspence, as to the great Question of all, by a designing and intriguing
Spirit, pretending Awe and Distance, as Reasons for reining in a
Fervour, which, if real, cannot be reined in.

_Clarissa_ seems indeed, as Colonel _Morden_ says, (added the
now-admiring _Bellario_) to have been, as much as Mortal could be, LOVE
ITSELF.

Miss _Gibson_ was highly delighted with what _Bellario_ said, and added
to it, That she thought _Clarissa's_ frankness of Heart was very
apparent, from the manner in which she had treated those Gentlemen her
Heart had obliged her to refuse, and from the generous Advice she in so
many Places gives Miss _Howe_, in relation to her Treatment of Mr.
_Hickman_: And pray, Sir, continued Miss _Gibson_, pardon my asking you
one Question more, namely; whether you are not now satisfied with the
Conduct of the Author in the Management of his whole Story?

_Bellario_ answered, That he was not only satisfied with it, but highly
applauded all the material Parts of it; that the various distressful
Situations in which you had placed your Heroine, were noble beyond
Expression; that these three last Volumes contained many Scenes, each
singly arising to as high a Tragedy as can possibly be wrote; that the
Tears you had drawn from his Eyes were such Tears as flow'd from a Heart
at once filled with Admiration and Compassion, and labouring under
Sensations too strong for any Utterance in Words; and that for the Sake
of _Clarissa_, he would never form any Judgment of a Work again till the
whole was lain before him. This was noble! this was candid! this was
like _Bellario_! and Miss _Gibson_ could not forbear saying, that she
rejoyced in the Tears _he_ had shed for _Clarissa_. And, Sir, (continued
she) 'I am convinced, that those whose Eyes melt not at Scenes of
well-wrought Distress, cannot properly be said to laugh, from a liberal
and chearful Spirit, at the true Scenes of comic Humour.'

'The Beginning of this Season I went with a Lady, whose Acquaintance I
accidentally fell into, to _Drury-Lane_ Play-house, where Mr. _Garrick_
performed the Part of King _Lear_. I should have thought (tho' altered
and defaced as it is by Mr. _Tate_) that even Butchers must have wept;
but to my great Astonishment, my Companion sat unmoved: Silent indeed
she was, only now and then said, _she did not love Tragedy_; that, for
her part, _she had rather laugh than cry_, and liked a Comedy best. I
had a Curiosity to see in what manner comic Scenes would affect her; and
therefore proposed going to _Covent-Garden_ Play-house the next Night,
when Mr. _Quin_ was to play the Part of Sir _John Falstaff_, in _Harry_
the Fourth. Accordingly we went. The Lady did, indeed, now and then
catch the Laugh of those around her, enough to move about her Features a
little; but upon the whole, was pretty near as unmov'd as she had been
the Night before; and at last she confessed, that the Humours of Sir
_John Falstaff_ was not the Sort of Comedy that pleased her Fancy; but
that the merry Dialogues between _Tom_ and _Phillis_ in the _Conscious
Lovers_, and the comical Humours of _Ben_ and Miss _Prue_ in _Love for
Love_, were more suited to her Taste. I was not much surprised, because
I before suspected, that whoever could sit the Play of King _Lear_
without weeping, would see Sir _John Falstaff_ without laughing.'

Mr. _Dellincourt_ now raised a new Objection to _Clarissa_, in that she
talked so much of Religion, which he call'd Canting. Nay, Sir, said
_Bellario_, 'I cannot see how she can be said to cant; for her religious
Reflections are neither nonsensical or affected, but such as naturally
arise from a pious Mind in her several Situations; and if you are a
Christian, Sir, I am sure you cannot, on Consideration, dislike that
Part of her Character.' Mr. _Dellincourt_ said, 'Yes, he was a
Christian, and he did not dislike some of her Reflections, at least when
she was near Death; but he thought she talked too much of Religion at
the Beginning; for it was unnatural for a young Beauty to have such
grave Thoughts.' _Bellario_ smiled and said,

'You put me in mind, Sir, of Dame _Quickly_, who when Sir _John
Falstaff_, in his Illness, calls upon God, told him, to comfort him, she
hoped there was no Occasion yet to think of any such Matters; supposing,
that to think of God, except he was quite dying, was very unnecessary.
And, indeed, I have often known a professed Christian excuse introducing
a Word of Religion into Company, as if it would be indecent to mention
any such matters; but as to _Clarissa_, I think the Principles she had
imbibed from her Infancy from the good and pious Mrs. _Norton_, and
which were afterwards strengthned by her Conversation with Doctor
_Lewin_, renders it very natural for her to be early and steadily
religious.' Mr. _Dellincourt_ made no Answer, but dropped his Objection;
and Mr. _Barker_ said, 'that he thought there was one great Fault in the
Conduct of your Story; and that was, the Indelicacy of making _Clarissa_
seek _Lovelace_ after the Outrage; for that he was strongly of Opinion,
that she had better have escaped from Mrs. _Sinclair's_ and have avoided
the Sight of _Lovelace_.' 'Indeed, Sir, said Miss _Gibson_, I believe
she would have been very thankful for your Advice, if you could at the
same time have found out any Expedient to have put it in Execution; but
if you will please to recollect, you may remember the Difficulty she had
to escape once before, even when she was not suspected; and _Lovelace_
now could have no manner of doubt, but that she would fly that House, if
not prevented, as soon as her Strength would permit her to leave her
Bed.

As to the Indelicacy of _Clarissa's_ seeking _Lovelace_, said
_Bellario_, 'I confess I do not see it; however, I will leave that
matter to be decided by the Ladies', who all agreed, that they thought
it no Breach of the strictest Modesty to declare it was their Opinion,
that the whole Scene, as it now stands, is what it _should be_, and
would have admited of no Alteration, but for the worse; that the
picturesque Manner in which a young Woman, without Fear or Confusion,
beholds the Man who dared imagine his Guilt could baffle all her
Resolutions, and sink her Soul to Cowardice, most beautifully displays
the Power of conscious Innocence; and, on the other hand, that the
confused Mind, the flattering Speech, unavoidable even by a _Lovelace_
when his guilty Soul was awed by the Presence of an Object injured
beyond the Power of Reparation, displays the Deformity of Wickedness in
all its Force. In short, this Scene was allowed to be Virtue's Triumph,
and _Clarissa's_ Conduct to be a direct Opposition to that of all those
whining Women, who blubber out an humble Petition to be joined for Life
to the Men who have betrayed them.

Had not _Clarissa_ seen _Lovelace_, said Miss _Gibson_, her Triumph
could never have been so compleat; and as I think the Impossibility of
her Escape at that time, from Mrs. _Sinclair's_, is very apparent, had
she not sought him, the true Lovers of _Clarissa_ must have mourned the
Loss of seeing her Behaviour in such an uncommon Situation.

_Bellario_ gave these Sentiments a Sanction by his Approbation, and the
rest of the Company either concurr'd with his Opinion, or at least did
not contradict him; and the next Day Miss _Gibson_ received the
following Letter from _Bellario_.


~_MADAM_~,

You seem'd so pleased last Night with my Conversion, if I may be allowed
the Expression, to your Favourite _Clarissa_, that I could not seek any
Repose till I had thrown together my Thoughts on that Head, in order to
address them to you; nor am I ashamed to confess, that the Author's
Design is more noble, and his Execution of it much happier, than I even
suspected till I had seen the whole.

In a Series of familiar Letters to relate a compleat Story, where there
is such a Variety of Characters, every one conducing to the forming the
necessary Incidents to the Completion of that Story, is a Method so
intirely new, so much an Original manner of Writing, that the Author
seems to have a Right to make his own Laws; the painting Nature is
indeed his Aim, but the Vehicle by which he conveys his lively Portraits
to the Mind is so much his own Invention, that he may guide and direct
it according to his own Will and Pleasure. _Aristotle_ drew his Rules of
Epic Poetry from _Homer_, and not _Homer_ from _Aristotle_; tho' had
they been Cotemporaries, perhaps that had been a Point much disputed.

As to the Length of the Story, I fancy that Complaint arises from the
great Earnestness the Characters inspire the Reader with to know the
Event; and on a second Reading may vanish. _Clarissa_ is not intended as
a Dramatic, but as a real Picture of human Life, where Story can move
but slowly, where the Characters must open by degrees, and the Reader's
own Judgment form them from different Parts, as they display themselves
according to the Incidents that arise. As for Example; the Behaviour of
_Lovelace_ to his Rosebud must strike every one, at first View, with
Admiration and Esteem for him; but when his Character comes to blaze in
its full Light, it is very apparent that his Pride preserved his
Rosebud, as well as it destroyed _Clarissa_; like _Milton's Satan_, he
could for a Time cloath himself like an Angel of Light, even to the
Deception of _Uriel_.

    _For neither Man, nor Angel can discern
    Hypocrisie; the only Evil that walks
    Invisible, except to God alone,
    By his permissive Will, through Heaven and Earth:
    And oft, though Wisdom wake, Suspicion sleeps
    At Wisdom's Gate, and to Simplicity
    Resigns her Charge; while Goodness thinks no ill
    Where no Ill seems; which now, for once, beguiled_
    Uriel, _though Regent of the Sun, and held
    The sharpest-sighted Spirit of all in Heaven._

Proud Spirits, such as _Satan's_ and _Lovelace's_, require Objects of
their Envy, as Food for their Malice, to compleat their Triumph and
applaud their own Wickedness. From this Incident of the Rosebud, and the
subsequent Behaviour of _Lovelace_, arises a Moral which can never be
too often inculcated; namely, that Pride has the Art of putting on the
Mask of Virtue in so many Forms, that we must judge of a Man upon the
whole, and not from any one single Action.

A celebrated _French_ Critick says, that

'An indifferent Wit may form a vast Design in his Imagination; but it
must be an EXTRAORDINARY GENIUS that can work his Design, and fashion it
according to Justness and Proportion: For 'tis necessary that the same
Spirit _reign throughout_; that all contribute to the same _End_; and
that all the _Parts_ bear a secret _Relation_ to each other; all depend
on this Relation and Alliance.'

Let the nicest Critick examine the Story of _Clarissa_, and see if in
any Point it fails of coming up exactly to the before-mentioned Rule.
The Author had all Nature before him, and he has beautifully made use of
every Labyrinth, in the several Minds of his Characters, to lead him to
his purposed End.

The Obstinacy of old _Harlowe_, who never gave up a Point, unaccustomed
to Contradiction, and mad with the Thoughts of his own Authority; the
Pride of the two old Batchelors, who had lived single, in order to
aggrandize their Family; the overbearing impetuous _James Harlowe's_
Envy, arising from Ambition; the two-fold Envy of _Arabella Harlowe_,
springing from Rivalship in general Admiration, as well as in particular
liking; the former more rough, the latter more sly, tho' full as keen in
her Reproaches; the constant Submission of Mrs. _Harlowe_, and the mad
Vanity of _Lovelace_, all conspire to the grand End of distressing and
destroying the poor _Clarissa_; whose Misfortune it was to be placed
amongst a Set of Wretches, who were every one following the Bent of
their own peculiar Madness, without any Consideration for the innocent
Victim who was to fall a Sacrifice to their ungovernable Passions. And
here I must observe, how artfully the Author has conducted the opening
of his different Characters, as they became more interested in his
Story. The Correspondence between Miss _Howe_ and _Clarissa_, with some
characteristical Letters of each of the _Harlowes_, as these were then
his principal Actors, chiefly compose the two first Volumes.

In the third, fourth and fifth Volumes, _Lovelace_ comes prancing before
the Reader's Eye; gives an unrestrained Loose to his uncurbed
Imagination, and ripens into full-blown Baseness that Blackness of Mind,
which had hitherto only shot forth in Buds but barely visible. The
strong and lively Pen of _Lovelace_ was most proper to relate the most
active Scenes. But when his mischievous Heart and plotting Head had left
him no farther use for his wild Fancies, than to rave and curse his own
Folly, _Belford_ takes up the Pen, and carries on the Story; and in the
sixth and seventh Volumes, Colonel _Morden_ (who has hitherto made but a
small Appearance) is brought upon the Stage, and his Character, as he is
to be the Instrument of the Death of _Lovelace_, is as strongly painted,
and as necessary to the Completion of the Story, as are any of the
others. It is astonishing to me how much the different Stile of each
Writer is in every Particular preserved; indeed so characteristically
preserved, that when I read _Clarissa's_ Letters, where every Line
speaks the considerate and the pious Mind, I could almost think the
Author had studied nothing but her Character. When Miss _Howe's_ lively
Vein and flowing Wit entertains me, She appears to have been the
principal Person in his Thoughts. When Mrs. _Harlowe_ writes, her broken
half-utter'd Sentences are so many Pictures of the broken timorous
Spirit of Meekness tyrannised over, that dictates to her Pen. When Mr.
_Harlowe_ condescends to sign his much valued Name, the dictatorial
Spirit of an indulged tyrannic Disposition indites every arbitrary
Command. When _John Harlowe_ writes, the Desire of proving himself of
Consequence from his Fortune, and being infected with the Idea of his
Niece's Disobedience, (a Word which continually resounded through his
Family) plainly appear to be the only two Causes that make him insist on
her Compliance. In _Anthony Harlowe's_ Roughness and Reproaches, 'The
Sea prosper'd Gentleman, (as _Clarissa_ says) not used to any but
elemental Controul, and even ready to buffet that, blusters as violently
as the Winds he was accustomed to be angry at.' In _James Harlowe's_
Letters, we see how the Mind infected with the complicated Distemper of
Envy, Insolence and Malice, can blot the fair Paper, and poison it with
its Venom. In _Arabella Harlowe_, the sly Insinuations of feminine Envy
break forth in every taunting Word, and she could "speak Daggers, tho'
she dared not use them." But, to imitate our Author, in turning suddenly
from this detestable Picture, how does every Line of the good Mrs.
_Norton_ shew us a Mind inured to, and patiently submitting to
Adversity, looking on Contempt as the unavoidable Consequence of
Poverty, and fixed in a firm and pious Resolution of going through all
the Vicissitudes of this transitory Life without repining.

Nor does the Author fail more in the preserving the characteristical
Difference of Stile in the Writings of _Mowbray_, _Belford_ and
_Lovelace_.

_Mowbray_, tho' he writes but two Letters in the whole, yet do those two
so strongly fix his Character, that every Reader may see of what
Consequence he made himself to Society; namely, to act the blustring
Part in a Club of Rakes, to fill a Seat at the Table, and assist in
keeping up the Roar and Noise necessary to make the Life of such
Assemblies.

Mr. _Belford's_ Letters prove, that he acts the second Part under Mr.
_Lovelace_; he follows the Paths the other beats through the thorny
Labyrinths of wild Libertinism; he has not the lively Humour of
_Lovelace_, altho' in Understanding I think he has rather the Advantage;
and his not being quite so lively, is owing to his not giving such a
loose to every unbridled Fancy; but he has less Pride, and consequently
more Humanity: this appears in the many Arguments he makes use of to his
Friend in favour of _Clarissa_; but these Arguments, as they are only
the Produce of sudden Starts of Compassion, and have no fixed Principle
for their Basis, could have no Weight with _Lovelace_; and the
fluctuating of a Mind sometimes intruded upon by the Force of
Good-nature, and then again actuated by the Principles of Libertinism,
is finely set before us by _Belford's_ Writings. And as there is a great
Beauty throughout the whole of _Clarissa_, in the specific Difference of
Stile preserved by every Writer, so is there an inimitable Beauty in
_Belford_ differing from himself, when he changes the State of his Mind;
his Stile accompanies that Change, and he appears another Man. He was
always more of the true Gentleman in his Stile than _Lovelace_, because
his Will was not enough overbearing to break through all Bounds; but
when his Mind is softned by the many different Deaths he is witness of,
and he becomes animated by _Clarissa's_ Example to think in earned of
reforming his Life, the Gentleman and the Christian increase together,
till he becomes at once the Executor of _Clarissa's_ Will, and, if I may
be allowed the Expression, the Heir to her Principles.

In _Lovelace's_ Stile, his Humour, his Parts, his Pride, his wild Desire
of throwing Difficulties in his own way, in order to conquer them, and
exercise his own intriguing Spirit, break forth in every Line. His
impetuous Will, unrestrained from his Infancy, as he himself complains,
by his Mother, and long accustomed to bear down all before it, destroys
the Gentleman, and equally every other amiable Qualification: For tho' a
Knowledge of the Customs of the World may make a Man in Company, where
he stays but a little while, appear polite; yet when that Man indulges
himself in gratifying continually his own wild Humour, those who are
intimate with him, must often have Cause to complain of his
Unpoliteness; as _Clarissa_ does of _Lovelace_. And by such Complaints
of _Clarissa_, I think it is very apparent, that the Author designed
_Lovelace_ should be unpolite, notwithstanding his Station, in order to
prove that indulged overbearing Passions will trample under Foot every
Bar that would stop them in their raging Course. But now I am upon the
Subject of the different Stiles in _Clarissa_, I must observe how
strictly the Author has kept up in all the Writings of his Rakes to what
he says of _Lovelace_ in his Preface.

    'That they preserve a Decency, as well in their Images, as in their
    Language, which is not always to be found in the Works of some of
    the most celebrated modern Writers, whose Subjects and Characters
    have less warranted the Liberties they have taken.'

The various Stiles adapted to the many different Characters in
_Clarissa_ make so great a Variety, as would, it attended to, in a great
Measure, answer any Objection that might otherwise fairly be raised to
the Length of the Story.

There is one Thing has almost astonished me in the Criticisms I have
heard on _Clarissa's_ Character; namely, that they are in a Manner a
Counterpart to the Reproaches cast on her in her Lifetime.

She has been called perverse and obstinate by many of her Readers;
_James Harlowe_ called her so before them. Some say she was romantic; so
said _Bella_; disobedient; all the _Harlowes_ agree in that; a Prude; so
said _Salley Martin_; had a Mind incapable of Love; Mr. _Lovelace's_
Accusation; for he must found his Brutality on some Shadow of a
Pretence, tho' he confesses at last it was but a Shadow, for that he
knew the contrary the whole Time. Others say, she was artful and
cunning, had the Talent only to move the Passions; the haughty Brother
and spiteful Sister's Plea to banish her from her Parents Presence. I
verily think I have not heard _Clarissa_ condemned for any one Fault,
but the Author has made some of the _Harlowes_, or some of Mrs.
_Sinclair's_ Family accuse her of it before.

As I have, as concisely as I could, pointed out the Difference in the
chief Characters of _Clarissa_, all necessary to the same End; in the
same Manner could I go through the Scenes all as essentially different,
and rising in due Proportion one after another, till all the vast
Building centers in the pointed View of the Author's grand Design. Of
all the lively well-painted Scenes in the four first Volumes, and all
those in the fifth previous to the Night before the Outrage, mention but
any of the most trifling Circumstances, such as _Clarissa's_ torn
Rufles, and Remembrance places her before us in all the Agonies of the
strongest Distress; insulted over by the vilest of Women, and prostrate
on her Knees imploring Mercy at the Feet of her Destroyer. Her Madness
equals, (I had almost said exceeds) any Thing of the Kind that ever was
written: That hitherto so peculiar Beauty in King _Lear_, of preserving
the Character even in Madness, appears strongly in _Clarissa_: the same
self-accusing Spirit, the same humble Heart, the same pious Mind
breathes in her scattered Scrapes of Paper in the midst of her Frenzy;
and the Irregularity and sudden broken Starts of her Expressions alone
can prove that her Senses are disordered. Her Letter to _Lovelace_,
where, even in Madness, _galling_ Reproach drops not from her Pen, and
which contains only Supplications that she may not be farther
persecuted, speaks the very Soul of _Clarissa_, and by the Author of her
Story could have been wrote for no one but herself. Whoever can read her
earnest Request to _Lovelace_, that she may not be exposed in a public
Mad-house, on the Consideration that it might injure _him_, without
being overwhelmed in Tears, I am certain has not in himself the Concord
of sweet Sounds, and, must, as _Shakespear_ says, be fit for Treasons,
Stratagems and Spoils. And to close at once, all I will say of the
Author's Conduct in regard to the managing (what seems most
unmanageable) the Mind even when overcome by Madness, he has no where
made a stronger Contrast between _Clarissa_ and _Lovelace_, or kept the
Characters more distinct than in their Madness. I have already mentioned
how much _Clarissa's_ Thoughts in her Frenzy apparently flow from the
same Channel, tho' more disturbed and less clear than when her
uninterrupted Reason kept on its steady Course. _Lovelace's_ Character
is not less preserved: his Pen or Tongue indeed seldom uttered the Words
of Reason, but the same overbearing Passions, the same Pride of Heart
that had accustomed him to strut in his fancy'd Superiority, makes him
condemn all the World but himself; and rave that _Bedlam_ might be
enlarged, imagining, that a general Madness had seized Mankind, and he
alone was exempt from the dreadful Catastrophy.

In the Penknife Scene _Clarissa_ is firmly brave; her Soul abhorred
Self-murder, nor would she, as she told Miss _Howe_, willingly like a
Coward quit her Post; but in this Case, could she not have awed
_Lovelace_ into Distance, tho' _her_ Hand had pointed the Knife, yet
might _he_ properly have been said to have struck the Blow. The
picturesque Attitude of all present, when _Clarissa_ suddenly cries out,
'God's Eye is upon us' has an Effect upon the Mind that can only be
felt; and that it would be a weak and vain Effort for Language to
attempt to utter.

In the Prison Scene _Clarissa_ exerts a different kind of Bravery.
Insult and Distress, Cold and Hardships, to what she was accustomed to,
she bears almost in silence; and by her Suffering without repining,
without Fear of any thing but _Lovelace_, she is the strongest Proof of
what _Shakespear_ says, that

    _----where the greater Malady is fixt
    The Lesser is scarce felt----_

And let those who have accused _Clarissa_ of having a suspicious Temper,
from her being apt to suspect _Lovelace_, here confess, that it must be
the Person's Fault at whom her Suspicion is level'd, when she wants that
Companion of a great Mind, a generous Confidence; for how soon does
_Belford's_ honest Intentions breaking forth in the Manner in which he
addresses her, make her rely on the known Friend of her Destroyer, and
the publick Companion of all his Rakeries. Nor can I here pass by in
perfect Silence, the noble Simplicity with which _Clarissa_ sums up her
Story to Mrs. _Smith_ and Mrs. _Lovick_; for I think 'tis the strongest
Pattern that can be imagined of that Simplicity which strikes to the
Heart, and melts the Soul with all the softer Passions.

In Colonel _Morden's_ Account of the conveying the lifeless Remains of
the Divine _Clarissa_ to be interred in the Vault of her Ancestors, his
very Words keep solemn Pace with the Herse which incloses her once
animated, now lifeless, Form. Step by Step we still attend her; turn
with the Horses as they take the Bye-road to _Harlow-place_; start with
the wretched, guilty Family, at the first Stroke of the mournful tolling
Bell; are fixed in Amazement with the lumbering heavy Noise of the Herse
up the paved inner Court-yard: But when the Servant comes in to acquaint
the Family with its Arrival, and we read this Line, _He spoke not, he
could not speak; he looked, he bowed, and withdrew_, we catch the
Servant's silent Grief; our Words are choaked, and our Sensations grow
too strong for Utterance. The awful Respect paid to _Clarissa's_ Memory
by those Persons, who generally both rejoice and mourn in Noise and
Clamour, is inimitably beautiful. But even in this solemn Scene the
Author has not forgot the Characters of the principal Actors in it: For
the barbarous Wretches who could drive _Clarissa_ from her native Home,
and by their Cruelty hurl her to Destruction, could not shed Tears for
her Loss, without mingled Bitterness, and sharp-cutting Recriminations
on each other; every one striving to rid themselves of the painful Load,
and to throw it doubly on their former Companions in Guilt. The Mother
only, as she was the least guilty, deplores the heavy Loss with soft
melting Tears, and lets Self-accusations flow from her trembling Lips.

On the Arrival of Miss _Howe_, we turn from the slow moving Herse, to
the rapid Chariot-wheels that fly to bring the warm Friend, all glowing
with the most poignant lively Grief, to mourn her lost _Clarissa_. Here
again the Description equals the noble Subject. Miss _Howe_, at the
first striking Sight of _Clarissa_ in her Coffin, could only by frantic
Actions express the labouring Anguish that perturbed her Breast. And we
accompany her in Horror, when she first impatiently pushes aside the
Coffin Lid. In short, we sigh, we rave, and we weep with her.

What I felt at Colonel _Morden's_ Description at the Funeral, is exactly
painted in the Letter wrote by Mr. _Belford_ in Answer to that
Description, where he says,

    'You croud me Sir, methinks, into the silent, slow Procession--Now
    with the sacred Bier do I enter the Porch--'[C]


[C] See Vol. VII. Letter 74. Page 292. in _Clarissa_.


But it would be endless to mention all the moving tragic Scenes, that
are now crouding into my Mind, in _Clarissa_; all judiciously
interspersed with Scenes of comic Humour; such as the Behaviour of
_Lovelace_ at the Ball; the Meeting between him and Mr. _Hickman_;
_Lovelace's_ Description of what he calls his Tryal before Lord M--and
the Ladies; with some others equally calculated to relieve the Mind from
fixing too long on mournful melancholy Ideas.

Finely has the Author of _Clarissa_ set forth what is true, and what is
false Honour. When _Lovelace_ upbraids _Belford_ for not preserving
_Clarissa_, by betraying his own villainous Plots and Machinations to
destroy her; and says, 'I am sure now, that I would have thanked thee
for it with all my Heart, and thought thee more a Father and a Friend,
than my real Father and my best Friend.'

All false Shame has he exposed, by shewing the Beauties of an open and
frank Heart in _Clarissa's_ charming Simplicity, when she tells Mrs.
_Smith_, in a publick Shop, that she had been in Prison; and when in a
Letter to Lady _Betty Laurance_ she declares, that _the Disgrace she
cannot hide from herself, she is not sollicitous to conceal from the
World_.

True and false Friendship was never more beautifully displayed than in
this Work; the firm, the steady Flame that burns in the fixed Affection
between _Clarissa_ and Miss _Howe_, which, in _Clarissa's_ Words, _has
Virtue for its Base_, is both well described and accounted for by
Colonel _Morden_; and that Chaff and Stubble, as she well calls it, that
_has not Virtue for its Base_, is inimitably painted by _Belford_, in
his Account of _Mowbray's_ Behaviour to the dying _Belton_. 'It is such
a horrid thing (says he) to think of, that a Man who had lived in such
strict Terms of Amity with another (the Proof does not come out so as to
say Friendship) who had pretended so much Love for him, could not bear
to be out of his Company, would ride an hundred Miles an End to enjoy
it, and would fight for him, be the Cause right or wrong; yet now could
be so little moved to see him in such Misery of Body and Mind as to be
able to rebuke him, and rather ridicule than pity him; because he was
more affected by what he felt, than he had seen a Malefactor (hardened
perhaps by Liquor, and not softened by previous Sickness) on his going
to Execution.'

What Merit has _Clarissa_ in breaking up and dispersing this profligate
Knot of Friends, that, in the first Volume, are represented so
formidable as to terrify all the honest People in the Neighbourhood, who
rejoice when they go up to Town again. _She_ was to revenge on
_Lovelace_ his Miss _Betterton_, his _French_ Devotee, his _French_
Countess, the whole Hecatomb which he boasts that he had in different
Climes sacrificed to his _Nemesis_, and all this by the natural Effects
of his own vile Actions, and her honest noble Simplicity; whilst she
steadily pursues the bright Path of Innocence, and proposes to herself
no other End, no not even in Thought, but to preserve untainted her
spotless Mind, and diffuse Happiness to all around her.

I confess I was against the Story's ending unhappily, till I saw the
Conclusion; but I now think the different Deaths of the many Persons
(for in this Point also the Difference is as essentially preserved, as
in the Characters or Scenes) who fall in the winding up the Catastrophy
in the seventh Volume, produce as noble a Moral as can be invented by
the Wit of Man.

The broken Spirit, the dejected Heart that pursue poor _Belton_ through
his last Stage of Life (brought on by a lingering Illness, and ill Usage
from an artful Woman to whom Vice had attached him, and increased by his
Soul's being startled and awaked from that thoughtless Lethargy in which
Vice had so long lulled him) naturally break forth in those fearful
Tremors, those agonizing pannic Terrors of the Mind, which follow him to
the End, and make a strong and lively Picture of the Terrors of Death
first thought on, when Life was flying, and could no longer supply the
flowing Blood and vital Heat that animates the mortal Frame.

Mrs. _Sinclair's_ Death is very different; the Suddenness of her
Departure had not given Time for a regular Decay of her Strength, and
the same animal Spirits which used to support her in the noisy Roar of a
profligate Life, now like so many Vultures preyed on her own Bosom, and
assisted to express the dreadful Horrors of an unexpected Death.

_Lovelace_, when he comes to die, is full of Rage and Disappointment;
his uncontrouled Spirit, unused to be baffled, cannot quietly submit to
the great and universal Conqueror Death himself. On his Death-bed he is
a lively Picture of the End of that worldly Wisdom which is Foolishness
with God. His strong Imagination that assisted him to form and carry on
those _cunning_ Plots which he pursued to his own Destruction, now
assisted his Conscience to torment his Soul, and set before his Eyes the
injured Innocent who would have contributed to the utmost of her Power
that he might have spent all his Days in Peace and Joy. In short, he
fluttered like a gay Butterfly in the Sunshine of Prosperity; he
wandered from the Path that leads to Happiness: In the Bloom of Youth he
fell a Sacrifice to his own Folly: his Life was a Life of Violence, and
his Death was a Death of Rage.

Whilst the gentle _Clarissa's_ Death is the natural Consequence of her
innocent Life; her calm and prepared Spirit, like a soft smooth Stream,
flows gently on, till it slides from her Misfortunes, and she leaves the
World free from Fear, and animated only by a lively Hope.

She wished her closing Scene might be happy. _She had her Wish_, (says
the Author in his Postscript) _it was happy._

Nothing ever made so strong a Contrast as the Deaths of _Lovelace_ and
_Clarissa_. Wild was the Life of _Lovelace_, rapid was his Death; gentle
was _Clarissa's_ Life, softly flowed her latest Hours; the very Word
_Death_ seems too harsh to describe her leaving Life, and her last
Breath was like the soft playing of a western Breeze, all calm! all
Peace! all Quiet!

The true Difference between the Virtuous and the Vicious lies in the
Mind, where the Author of _Clarissa_ has placed it; _Lovelace_ says
well, when he views the persecuted _Clarissa_ a-sleep.

    'See the Difference in our Cases; she the charming Injured can sweetly
    sleep, whilst the varlet Injurer cannot close his Eyes, and has been
    trying to no purpose the whole Night to divert his Melancholy, and to
    fly from himself.'

Rightly I think in the Author's Postscript is it observed, that what is
called poetical Justice is chimerical, or rather anti-providential
Justice; for God makes his Sun to shine alike on the Just and the
Unjust. Why then should Man invent a kind of imaginary Justice, making
the common Accidents of Life turn out favourable to the Virtuous only?
Vain would be the Comforts spoken to the Virtuous in Affliction, in the
sacred Writings, if Affliction could not be their Lot.

But the Author of _Clarissa_ has in his Postscript quoted such undoubted
Authorities, and given so many Reasons on the Christian System for his
Catastrophy, that to say more on that Head would be but repeating his
Words. The Variety of Punishments also of those guilty Persons in this
Work who do not die, and the Rewards of those who are innocent, I could
go through; had not that Postscript, and the Conclusion supposed to be
writ by Mr. _Belford_, already done it to my Hands. Only one thing I
must say, that I don't believe the most revengeful Person upon Earth
could wish their worst Enemy in a more deplorable Situation, than if
_Lovelace_ in his Frenzy, in that charming picturesque Scene, where he
is riding between _Uxbridge_ and _London_, when his impatient Spirit is
in suspence; and also when he hears of _Clarissa's_ Death.

Thus have I just hinted at the Heads of the Characters, the Difference
of the chief Scenes, and the Variety of the several Deaths, all the
natural Consequences of the several Lives, and productive of the
designed noble Moral in _Clarissa_; and I think it may be fairly and
impartially said, The Web is wove so strongly, every Part so much
depending on and assisting each other, that to divide any of them, would
be to destroy the whole.

    [D]_That many Things having full References
    To one Consent, may work contrariously:
    As many Arrows, loosed several Ways,
    Come to one Mark, as many Ways meet in one Town,
    As many fresh Streams meet in one salt Sea,
    As many Lines close in the Dial's Center,
    So may a thousand Actions once afoot
    End in one Purpose, and be all well born
    Without Defeat._


[D] See _Shakespear's Henry_ the Vth.


If what I have here said can be any Amusement to you, as it concerns
your favourite _Clarissa_, my End will be answered. I am,

                                                      _Madam,_

                                                          _Your's,_ &c.

                                                                BELLARIO.


                    _Miss_ GIBSON _to_ BELLARIO.


~_SIR,_~

Your Good-nature in sending me your Thoughts on _Clarissa_, with a
Design to give me Pleasure, I assure you is not thrown away; may
you have equal Success in every generous Purpose that fills your Heart,
and greater Happiness in this World, I am sure I cannot wish you.

Most truly, Sir, do you remark, that a Story told in this Manner can
move but slowly, that the Characters can be seen only by such as attend
strictly to the Whole; yet this Advantage the Author gains by writing in
the present Tense, as he himself calls it, and in the first Person, that
his Strokes penetrate immediately to the Heart, and we feel all the
Distresses he paints; we not only weep for, but with _Clarissa_, and
accompany her, step by step, through all her Distresses.

I see her from the Beginning, in her happy State, beloved by all around
her, studying to deserve that Love; obedient to her Parents, dependant
on their Will by her own voluntary Act, when her Grandfather had put it
in her Power to be otherwise; respectful and tender to her Brother and
Sister; firm in her Friendship to Miss _Howe_; grateful to good Mrs.
_Norton_, who had carefully watched over her Infant Years, and delighted
to form and instruct her Mind; kind to her Inferiors; beneficent to all
the Poor, Miserable, and Indigent; and above all, cultivating and
cherishing in her Heart the true Spirit of Christianity, Meekness, and
Resignation; watchful over her own Conduct, and charitable to the
Failings of others; unwilling to condemn, and rejoicing in every
Opportunity to praise. But as the Laws of God and Man have placed a
Woman totally in the Power of her Husband, I believe it is utterly
impossible for any young Woman, who has any Reflection, not to form in
her Mind some kind of Picture of the Sort of Man in whose Power she
would chuse to place herself. That _Clarissa_ did so, I think, plainly
appears, from her steady Resolution to refuse any Man she could not
obey with the utmost Chearfulness; and to whose Will she could not
submit without Reluctance. She would have had her Husband a Man on whose
Principles she could entirely depend; one in whom she might have placed
such a Confidence, that she might have spoke her very Thoughts aloud;
one from whom she might have gained Instruction, and from whose
Superiority of Understanding she would have been pleased to have taken
the Rules of her own Actions. She desired no Reserves, no separate
Interest from her Husband; had no Plots, no Machinations to succeed in,
and therefore wanted not a Man who by artful Flattery she could have
cajoled madly to have worship'd her; a kind Indulgence, in what was
reasonable, was all her Desire, and that Indulgence to arise from her
own Endeavour to deserve it, and not from any Blindness cast before her
Husband's Eyes by dazzling Beauty, or cunning Dissimulation; but, from
her Infancy, having the Example daily before her of her Mother's being
tyrannized over, notwithstanding her great Humility and Meekness,
perhaps tyrannized over for that very Humility and Meekness. She thought
a single Life, in all Probability, would be for her the happiest;
cherishing in her Heart that Characteristic of a noble Mind, especially
in a Woman, of wishing, as Miss _Howe_ says she did, to pass through
Life unnoted.

In this State of Mind did _Lovelace_ first find _Clarissa_. She liked
him; his Person and Conversation were agreeable, but the Libertinism of
his Character terrified her; and her Disapprobation of him restrained
her from throwing the Reins over the Neck of a Passion she thought might
have hurried her into Ruin. But when by his Artifices, and the Cruelty
of her Friends, she was driven into his Power, had he not, to use her
own Words, treated her with an Insolence unbecoming a Man, and kept her
very Soul in suspence; fawning at her Feet to marry him, whilst, in the
same Instant, he tried to confuse her by a Behaviour that put it out of
her Power to comply with him; there was nothing that she would not have
done to oblige him. Then indeed she plainly saw that her Principles and
his Profligacy, her Simplicity and his Cunning, were not made to be
joined; and when she found such was the Man she liked best, no Wonder
her Desire of a single Life should return. She saw, indeed, her own
Superiority over _Lovelace_, but it was his Baseness that made her
behold it. And here I must observe, that in the very same Breath in
which she tells him, _Her Soul's above him_, she bids him _leave her_,
that Thought more than any other makes her resolve, at all Events, to
abandon him. Was this like exulting in her own Understanding, and
proudly (as I have heard it said) wanting to dictate to the Man she
intended for a Husband? Such a Woman, if I am not greatly mistaken,
would not desire the Man to leave her because she saw her Soul was above
him; but on the contrary, concealing from him, and disguising her
Thoughts, would have set Art against Art, and been the more delighted to
have drawn him in to have married her, that she might have deceived him,
and enjoyed the Thoughts of her own Superiority for Life. As I remember,
he never asks her fairly to marry him but once, and then she consents:
But how different in every Action is she from the sly and artful Woman,
who would have snatched at this Opportunity, and not have trusted him
with a Moment's Delay, whilst _Clarissa_, being then ill, consents, with
a Confidence that nothing but her Goodness and Simplicity could have had
in such a Man.

Tho' _Clarissa_ unfortunately met with _Lovelace_, yet I can imagine her
with a Lover whose honest Heart, assimulating with hers, would have
given her leave, as she herself wishes, to have shewn the Frankness of
her Disposition, and to have openly avowed her Love. But _Lovelace_, by
his own intriguing Spirit, made her Reserves, and then complained of
them; and as she was engaged with such a Man, I think the Catastrophe's
being what is called _Unhappy_, is but the natural Consequence of such
an Engagement; tho', I confess, I was not displeased that the Report of
this Catastrophe met with so many Objections, as it proved what an
Impression the Author's favourite Character had made on those Minds
which could not bear she should fall a Sacrifice to the Barbarity of her
Persecutors. And I hope that now all the Readers of _Clarissa_ are
convinced how rightly the Author has judged in this Point. If the Story
was not to have ended tragically, the grand Moral would have been lost,
as well as that grand Picture, if I may call it so, of human Life, of a
Man's giving up every thing that is valuable, only because every thing
that is valuable is in his Power. _Lovelace_ thought of the Substance,
whilst that was yet to be persued; but once within reach of it, his
plotting Head and roving Imagination would let him see only the Shadow,
and once enter'd into the Pursuit, his Pride, the predominant Passion of
his Soul, engaged him to fly after a visionary Gratification which his
own wild Fancy had painted, till, like one following an _Ignis fatuus_
through By-Paths and crooked Roads, he lost himself in the Eagerness of
his own Pursuit, and involved with him the innocent _Clarissa_, who,
persecuted, misunderstood, envied, and evil-treated as she had been, by
those from whom she had most Reason to hope Protection, I think could
not find a better Close to her Misfortunes than a triumphant Death.
Triumphant it may very well be called, when her Soul, fortified by a
truly Christian Philosophy, melted and softened in the School of
Affliction, had conquered every earthly Desire, baffled every uneasy
Passion, lost every disturbing Fear, while nothing remained in her
tender Bosom but a lively Hope of future Happiness. When her very Griefs
were in a manner forgot, the Impression of them as faint and languid as
a feverish Dream to one restored to Health, all calm and serene her
Mind, forgiving and praying for her worst Enemies, she retired from all
her Afflictions, to meet the Reward of her Christian Piety.

The Death of _Clarissa_ is, I believe, the only Death of the Kind in any
Story; and in her Character, the Author has thrown into Action (if I may
be allowed the Expression) the true Christian Philosophy, shewn its
Force to ennoble the human Mind, till it can look with Serenity on all
human Misfortunes, and take from Death itself its gloomy Horrors. Never
was any thing more judicious than the Author's bringing _Lovelace_ as
near as _Knight's-Bridge_ at the Time of _Clarissa's_ Death; for by that
means he has in a manner contrived to place in one View before our Eyes
the guilty Ravager of unprotected Innocence, the boasting Vaunter of his
own useless Parts, in all the Horrors of mad Despair, whilst the injured
Innocent, in a pious, in a divine Frame of Mind is peaceably breathing
her last. 'Such a Smile! such a charming Serenity (says Mr. _Belford_)
overspreading her sweet Face at the Instant, as seemed to manifest her
eternal Happiness already begun.'

Surely the Tears we shed for _Clarissa_ in her last Hours, must be Tears
of tender Joy! Whilst we seem to live, and daily converse with her
through her last Stage, our Hearts are at once rejoiced and amended, are
both soften'd and elevated, till our Sensations grow too strong for any
Vent, but that of Tears; nor am I ashamed to confess, that Tears without
Number have I shed, whilst Mr. _Belford_ by his Relation has kept me (as
I may say) with fixed Attention in her Apartment, and made me perfectly
present at her noble exalted Behaviour; nor can I hardly refrain from
crying out, 'Farewell, my dear _Clarissa_! may every Friend I love in
this World imitate you in their Lives, and thus joyfully quit all the
Cares and Troubles that disturb this mortal Being!'

May _Clarissa's_ Memory be as triumphant as was her Death! May all the
World, like _Lovelace_, bear Testimony to her Virtues, and acknowledge
her Triumph!

I am with many Thanks, Sir, for your obliging Letter,


                                         _Your most obedient_, &c.

                                                      HARRIOTE GIBSON.


These Letters were shewn me by Miss _Gibson_, and thus, Sir, have I
collected together all I have heard on your History of _Clarissa_; and
if every thing that Miss _Gibson_ and _Bellario_ has said, is fairly
deducible from the Story, then I am certain, by the candid and
good-natured Reader, this will be deemed a fair and impartial
Examination, tho' I avow myself the sincere Admirer of _Clarissa_, and


                                           _Your very humble Servant,_



                             ~_FINIS._~



 [Transcriber's Note:

  The following errors have been corrected:

  Page 6: "_Cartrou_" and "_Rouille_" changed to "_Catrou_" and "_Rouillé_"
  (by the Fathers _Catrou_ and _Rouillé_,)

  Page 12: "make" changed to "makes" (makes the Painting the stronger)

  Page 17: "_these angry Commands to to leave her,_" changed to "_these
  angry Commands to leave her,_"

  Page 22: "the the Tragedy of _Macbeth_" changed to "the Tragedy of
  _Macbeth_"

  Page 29: "acknowleges" changed to "acknowledges" (for ever acknowledges)

  Page 43: "fxt" changed to "fixt" (greater Malady is fixt)]





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