Study Guide

Clarissa - Letters 521-537 dated September 28th through December 18th Summary & Analysis

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Letters 521-537 dated September 28th through December 18th Summary

Mr. Belford chides Miss Howe for not marrying Mr. Hickman according to Clarissa's will and informs her of Widow Sinclair and M'Donald's deaths. The deaths cause Miss Howe to hope that Mr. Lovelace suffers the same fate. She addresses the charge against her concerning Mr. Hickman by listing her faults and claiming that she believes she should live single. She admits that Mrs. Howe and Clarissa did not approve of her favorite beau and she agreed to Mr. Hickman, since she does not value another man more. She needs Clarissa's help to adjust to being a wife and feels Mr. Hickman will be punished for his choice once they are married. She plans to marry Mr. Hickman once her sorrow and grief mellow, but she fears she will never be happy without Clarissa. She reminds Mr. Belford that Clarissa also desired his reformation. John Belford thanks Miss Howe for her hints about his reformation and her explanation of her preference of a single life.

Mr. Lovelace travels to London with Mowbray and Tourville. Lord M begs Mr. Belford to keep them from Colonel Morden. John Belford goes to a tavern with the other three varlets, where he and Mr. Lovelace argue about much concerning Clarissa before the four men settle down to have fun together. Mr. Lovelace hears about Colonel Morden's threats and wants to meet up with him before going abroad, but Mr. Belford convinces him to adhere to Clarissa's requests against violence and go abroad peacefully. John Belford accompanies Mr. Lovelace to his departure and learns that Mr. Lovelace intends to wean himself from his libertine habits on the tour and reform when he returns to England, though he never means to marry.

Mr. Belford meets with Colonel Morden later that night, who announces that he is going to Italy to settle some accounts before returning to settle on his estate in Kent. Mr. Belford expresses concern that Colonel Morden will fight Mr. Lovelace, but Colonel Morden assures him that he does not intend to or he would already have killed him. John Belford and Colonel Morden discuss the part of Clarissa's will that is not yet completed and agree to be each others' executors. Colonel Morden leaves for Italy.

John Belford asks Miss Howe to give Clarissa's character in writing, but she declares that she is unable to do Clarissa justice. She provides information for Mr. Belford to give Clarissa's character. She insists that Clarissa has been wonderful since infancy and describes her beauty before Mr. Lovelace ruined her health. Clarissa was sincere and never unjustly severe. She was more dissatisfied with every encounter she had with Mr. Lovelace and insisted that he was not the man for her. Clarissa acknowledged all her errors, wrote excellently, read French and Italian and was learning Latin. Miss Howe praises Clarissa's virtues and her attributes. She explains Clarissa's dedication of time and her manner of keeping track of her time and accounting for it. Miss Howe laments the loss of such a perfect guide and prays for God to avenge Miss Howe, not Clarissa, because hers is the loss.

Mr. Lovelace's conscience bothers him while he reads Clarissa's will, which demonstrates her generosity. He receives a letter from Joseph advising him that Colonel Morden is after his blood. He plans to write to Colonel Morden and is willing to duel regardless of his own guilt in the matter. Mr. Belford assures him that Colonel Morden has taken no resolutions for revenge and urges Mr. Lovelace to avoid him per Clarissa's request. Mr. Lovelace scorns the advice and writes to Colonel Morden stating that he will duel if desired. Afterwards he repents his decision but it is too late. Colonel Morden defends his words by stating that Mr. Lovelace deserves his condemnation and provides a location to find him. They set a date and place for their appointment. Mr. Lovelace resents that anyone can avenge Clarissa against him. He asks Mr. Belford to be his executor. Mr. Lovelace and Colonel Morden meet and ride out to find a place to duel. They agree to duel the next day because Mr. Lovelace's friend, De La Tour, wants to have a surgeon present. They choose swords as their weapons. Mr. Lovelace reflects that the next day either he or Colonel Morden will join Clarissa.

De La Tour sends Mr. Belford sad news. With a surgeon and his assistant on hand, Colonel Morden and Mr. Lovelace meet and repeat their agreements. They charge their servants to assist the survivor. At first, the duel appears equal. Mr. Lovelace draws first blood, but Colonel Morden returns the blow quickly and more effectively. Colonel Morden offers that Mr. Lovelace has had enough, but Mr. Lovelace refuses and sweeps at Colonel Morden, who runs Mr. Lovelace through. Mr. Lovelace cries out to Clarissa and ignores Colonel Morden's urging that he call out to God for mercy. The surgeons and Colonel Morden dress Mr. Lovelace's wounds, while Mr. Lovelace faints and vomits blood. Colonel Morden regrets the provocation, urges Mr. Lovelace to commend himself to God and goes to Venice. Mr. Lovelace asks De La Tour to send Mr. Belford his thanks for their friendship and an account of his last hours. He is delirious in his last two hours, praising Clarissa and shouting "take her away!" His last words show composure: "blessed-let this expatiate" before he sinks and dies. His body is embalmed and waiting in a vault pending directions, since Mr. Lovelace refused the Sacrament.

Letters 521-537 dated September 28th through December 18th Analysis

The chiding to Miss Howe is repetitious and her explanation foreshadows her marriage to Mr. Hickman. Mr. Lovelace's complaints about Colonel Morden's threats, Mr. Belford's concern and the constant repetition of the idea of Colonel Morden and Mr. Lovelace dueling foreshadow the duel and Mr. Lovelace's death, which is fulfilled in the last letter. Miss Howe's statement that she cannot do Clarissa justice is ironic, since no one knows Clarissa better than she does. Mr. Lovelace's refusal to receive sacrament indicates his belief that he is going to hell anyway, along with his refusal to beg God for mercy.

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