Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 247-257 dated June 11th through June 13th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 247-257 dated June 11th through June 13th Summary

Mr. Lovelace and Clarissa take a walk in the garden and discuss everything. Mr. Lovelace begs for forgiveness, but Clarissa insists that she must hear from Miss Howe before agreeing to forgive him. She admits her prior love for him, but he is unworthy of it and she would prefer to live unmarried on the estate her grandfather left her. Clarissa asks Mr. Lovelace to excuse her to Lady Betty and Charlotte because she does not feel it is proper for her to meet them. Clarissa is discomposed and refuses to eat with everyone but goes to church with the ladies, refusing Mr. Lovelace's company.

Mr. Lovelace debates with himself about revenge versus love. He argues with the god of Love about Clarissa, and even the god of Love gives up on her.

Clarissa goes to church Sunday evening with Mrs. Moore and Miss Rawlins. While she is gone, a messenger arrives with a letter from Miss Howe. Mr. Lovelace convinces Widow Bevis to impersonate Clarissa and obtain the letter, sending the messenger away without a response since "Clarissa" is quite ill. Miss Howe congratulations Clarissa on her escape from Mr. Lovelace with her virtue intact. She denounces Mr. Lovelace and his friends and affirms that the house Mr. Lovelace is supposed to rent is a fabrication. She hopes Clarissa will not quit the country but offers to go with Clarissa if Clarissa insists. Miss Townsend will attend Clarissa on Wednesday or Thursday, but Mr. Hickman offers Clarissa his protection. Miss Howe advises Clarissa to hide until the search is abandoned and then to obtain lodgings near Miss Howe, who is willing to marry sooner in order to receive Clarissa with less reserve. The letter fixes Mr. Lovelace's determination to ruin both girls. Mr. Lovelace determines that Miss Howe would not be so delicate and virtuous without Clarissa's influence.

Clarissa and Mr. Lovelace walk in the garden again, and Clarissa tells him that she is sure they cannot make each other happy. Mr. Lovelace assumes that if Clarissa will mourn half of her reputation after their marriage, she may as well live single and mourn her whole reputation. The license is finally ready, but Mr. Lovelace feels he met Clarissa at a bad time in his life—after his innocence but before he is ready to settle down.

Lady Bab Wallis and Johanetta Golding arrive in Hampstead to impersonate Lady Betty and Charlotte, and Mr. Lovelace coaches them on how to behave properly in front of Clarissa. The fake ladies visit Clarissa and dote on her. They determine to convince her to forgive Mr. Lovelace and marry immediately, and they convince her to return to London to pack her clothes. They return to their lodgings to pack and are late returning. Clarissa fears she will be stuck at Widow Sinclair's house all night. She sends to Lady Betty and Charlotte to discover the delay and is told that Charlotte is sick and must rest overnight. Clarissa sinks to the floor, faint and overcome. She is sure she is ruined and begs to stay anywhere else for the night. She doubts the authenticity of Mr. Lovelace's relations and insists upon returning to Hampstead immediately. Mr. Lovelace sends Will to find a coach, but they are unable to obtain one. Clarissa begs to go to Lady Betty and Charlotte's lodgings to escape the vile house she is staying in. Widow Sinclair overhears Clarissa's opinion of her house and enters angrily, causing Clarissa to faint.

Mr. Lovelace writes Mr. Belford to inform him that the affair is over and Clarissa lives.

Letters 247-257 dated June 11th through June 13th Analysis

Clarissa's continual refusal to forgive Mr. Lovelace parallels her family's obstinacy in refusing to forgive Clarissa. Mr. Lovelace's discussion with the god of Love is an allegory that he uses to defend his violation of Clarissa and foreshadows her ruin. Widow Bevis' impersonation of Clarissa parallels the impersonation of Lady Betty and Charlotte as well as foreshadows Clarissa's ruin, since so many forces are combining to overthrow her chastity. Mr. Lovelace's decision that Clarissa may as well live single and mourn her whole reputation combined with his declaration that he met her at a bad point in his life foreshadows and hastens her ruin. The impersonated ladies from Mr. Lovelace's family provide an example of the deceit that Clarissa has encountered to lead to her ruin. Their late arrival foreshadows Clarissa's ruin, as does her fainting fits and her fear of being ruined. Mr. Lovelace's letter to John Belford states that Clarissa lives, which provides the information that Mr. Lovelace was not sure if Clarissa would survive the outrage against her person, but the fact that he did it anyway proves his horrid character.

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