Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 230-239 dated June 8th through June 9th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 230-239 dated June 8th through June 9th Summary

Clarissa informs Miss Howe of her escape from Mr. Lovelace due to his attempt to ravish her. She blames the ladies of the house for disregarding her screams. She requests Miss Howe's help in obtaining Mrs. Townsend's assistance in hiding Clarissa until the heat of Mr. Lovelace's search is over. Then, Clarissa plans to relocate overseas to avoid Mr. Lovelace, since she has no friends except Miss Howe. She is willing to give up her estate under the condition that her father provides an annuity for Mrs. Norton and fifty pounds each year for "her poor."

Clarissa descends from the coach in Hampstead where the other two passengers end their journey. She stops in a tea shop and says she is meeting a chariot to take her to Hendon. The shop owner is curious about Clarissa, since she seems so genteel and has a spy follow her. Clarissa walks toward Hendon crying and then returns to Hampstead to obtain lodgings at Mrs. Moore's house.

Will speaks to the coachman and finds Clarissa in Hampstead. He tells the townspeople that Clarissa is Mr. Lovelace's jealous wife who ran away in a fit of jealousy. He waits outside her lodgings while he sends a note to Mr. Lovelace telling him where Clarissa is and includes the two letters she sent him out with directly before she ran away. The letter to Miss Howe simply says it is a feint and will be explained as soon as possible while the letter to Mr. Lovelace refuses to see him for a week and suggests that he go to Lord M's. Mr. Lovelace reads the letter Clarissa left in her room, which states that he has ruined her and she will never marry him. Mr. Lovelace and Captain Tomlinson travel to Hampstead. Mr. Lovelace disguises himself as an elderly, gouty gentleman and enters Mrs. Moore's dwelling to obtain lodgings for his wife, who is meeting him in Hampstead. He desires more space and Mrs. Moore suggests that Clarissa, who is leaving in a few days, has the best room in the house. While Clarissa hides in the closet, the gentleman surveys the room with Mrs. Moore. He converses with Clarissa about when she will leave and she exits the closet to continue the conversation. In his rapture at seeing her, Mr. Lovelace forgets to disguise his voice causing Clarissa to faint. After the ensuing confusion, Clarissa verbally abuses Mr. Lovelace and begs him to leave her alone, while he pleads for forgiveness. Mr. Lovelace tells the women that Clarissa sometimes has these fits and asks Clarissa to peruse some letters he has brought before he leaves. The ladies and Mr. Lovelace leave Clarissa with the letters and retire to Mr. Lovelace's room. Lovelace acquaints the ladies with a near-accurate account of their story, softening his faults and avowing that they are married. He shares parts of the letters that he brought for Clarissa with the ladies. Captain Tomlinson's letter urges that they marry in haste to promote the reconciliation with Clarissa's family, while letters from Mr. Lovelace's relatives chide him for not informing them sooner of his marriage to the wonderful Clarissa, expressing a desire to see her and announcing a visit to town for that purpose. Mr. Lovelace expresses a desire to have children with Clarissa and threatens to leave the country if she will not forgive him. The ladies embrace Mr. Lovelace's story and encourage him to pursue his wife. They agree to intercede with Clarissa to convince her to see Mr. Lovelace.

Mr. Lovelace eavesdrops on the ladies' conversation with Clarissa, while they try to convince her to at least listen to what he has to say. They question Clarissa about points in Mr. Lovelace's story, trying to determine if he is lying. Clarissa tries to solicit their help in her escape. When Clarissa sends Mrs. Moore to Mr. Lovelace with the letter, he enters the room, afraid of what he may miss while Clarissa talks with Miss Rawlins, Mrs. Moore's friend. He exasperates Clarissa by begging her to reconsider, since Captain Tomlinson is on his way to hasten the reconciliation. He evades Clarissa's demand to acknowledge that they are not married. While he attempts to restore the ladies' confidence in him, Clarissa begs to speak with Mrs. Moore in the dining room causing Mr. Lovelace to call Will from fear that she will escape. Clarissa is outraged by his attempts to detain her, and declares she will go where she wants and do what she wants. She attempts to leave but Mr. Lovelace kneels and begs her to talk to Captain Tomlinson before she goes. The ladies help persuade her and then leave the room when Mr. Lovelace and Clarissa appear to speak more calmly. Clarissa will not yield to Mr. Lovelace's entreaties for forgiveness nor will she believe that he did not contrive the fire. She agrees to see Captain Tomlinson if he arrives before she leaves. Mrs. Moore comes in to announce dinner, and when Clarissa discovers that Mr. Lovelace plans to lodge there, she refuses to stay overnight in the same house as he. Mr. Lovelace agrees to change his lodging but, unknown to Clarissa, Will is sleeping in the house to monitor her.

Mr. Lovelace convinces the ladies that Miss Howe is devious and causes problems between Clarissa and him because she is half in love with him herself. He tells them that Clarissa cannot bear to hear anything bad said about her friend, though. Mr. Lovelace is especially confident in the trust that Widow Bevis, Mrs. Moore's niece, has in him. When Captain Tomlinson arrives, he validates Mr. Lovelace's assertions of marriage and Miss Howe's mischief. Clarissa refuses an audience with Captain Tomlinson, so he agrees to return the next morning.

Will returns from the tavern with a letter from Miss Howe that he borrows from the messenger. The letter congratulates Clarissa's escape and inquires about the last letter she sent detailing Mr. Lovelace's contrivances. Will returns the letter to the carrier and it is brought to Clarissa. Clarissa sends the messenger to town for the last letter, but Mr. Lovelace is not worried because he is sure Captain Tomlinson will arrive in town before the messenger with Mr. Lovelace's forged letter. The letter is similar to Miss Howe's original but describes the house as genteel, asserts that Mr. Lovelace used to but no longer means Clarissa any dishonor, and refers to Mr. Lovelace's implements as assurance of Mr. Lovelace's reformation.

Letters 230-239 dated June 8th through June 9th Analysis

Clarissa's plan to obtain Mrs. Townsend's help to avoid Mr. Lovelace demonstrates her knowledge that he will pursue her and foreshadows his finding her. Her plan to relocate overseas shows her desperation to escape him as well as parallels his escape abroad after Clarissa's death. Clarissa's charity is seen through her willingness to give up her estate under the condition of providing money for Mrs. Norton and her poor. Clarissa's descent from the coach where the only other passengers descend demonstrates her avoidance of being alone with and her distrust of men. It is extremely ironic that when Clarissa tries so hard to escape notice, she generates interest against her will by her genteel appearance.

Will's story about Clarissa being Mr. Lovelace's jealous wife is ironic, since Clarissa is not jealous but Mr. Lovelace is jealous. Clarissa's letter to Miss Howe is a feint to remove Will shows Clarissa's intelligence and cunning. Captain Tomlinson's accompanying Mr. Lovelace to Hampstead shows that Mr. Lovelace has already conceived that Clarissa trusts Captain Tomlinson but not Mr. Lovelace, and Mr. Lovelace intends to use Captain Tomlinson to generate Clarissa's forgiveness. Mr. Lovelace's disguise as an elderly, gouty gentleman parallels Lord M's true form. Mr. Lovelace's story that he wants to obtain lodgings for his wife is ironic, since it is partially true according to his larger lie that Clarissa is his wife.

Mr. Lovelace acquaints Mrs. Moore, Miss Rawlins and Widow Bevis with an altered version of his and Clarissa's story as a means of manipulating them to his interest. The ladies exhibit their distrust by cross-examining Clarissa to determine if Mr. Lovelace is lying. Mr. Lovelace prevents Clarissa's communication with Miss Howe by convincing the ladies that Miss Howe causes problems between him and his wife. Mr. Lovelace's confidence in Widow Bevis foreshadows her later help. Mr. Lovelace's threats to go abroad if Clarissa does not forgive him parallels Clarissa's desires to go abroad to escape him, and also foreshadows Lovelace's going abroad after Clarissa's death. The letters from Mr. Lovelace's relatives expressing a desire to see Clarissa foreshadows the arrival of the fake Lady Betty Lawrence and the fake Charlotte.

When Clarissa demands Mr. Lovelace to state whether or not they are married, his evasions parallel his earlier discussion with Captain Tomlinson. Clarissa's outrage at Mr. Lovelace's attempts to detain her parallels the earlier scene at Widow Sinclair's house and foreshadows a repetitious scene at Widow Sinclair's house. Clarissa's distrust of Mr. Lovelace is seen by her refusal to stay overnight in the same house. This refusal also foreshadows her rape on the next night that she does stay the night under the same roof as her aggressor. Mr. Lovelace's forgery of Miss Howe's last letter foreshadows his future forgeries between the ladies. It is also ironic that as familiar as Clarissa and Miss Howe are with each other that neither recognizes any discrepancy in the handwriting of the forgeries.

This section contains 1,602 words
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