Clarissa, 1748 (2)

Richardson, Samuel
Francis Hayman, Robert Lovelace Preparing to Abduct Clarissa Harlowe, 1753. Southampton City Art Gallery.


"[...] Do you call this beating? you? Only tapping your shoulder thus, said she; tapping again more gently ."

Friday, Three o’Clock.

As soon as I had transcribed it, I sent it down to my brother by Mrs. Betty.

The wench came up soon after, all aghast, with her LordMiss! What have you done? - What' have you written? For you have set them all in a joyful uproar!

My Sister is but this moment gone from me: She came up, all in a flame, which obliged me abruptly to lay down my pen: She run to me-

0 Spirit! said she; tapping: my neck a little too hard. And is it come to this at last! -

Do you beat me, Bella?

Do you call this beating? you? Only tapping your shoulder thus, said she; tapping again more gently-This is what we expected it would come to -You want to be independent - My papa has lived too long for you!

I was going to speak with vehemence; but she put her handkerchief before my mouth, very rudely- You have done enough with your pen, mean listener as you are! But know, that neither your independent scheme, nor any of your visiting ones, will be granted you. Take your course, perverse one; call in your Rake to help you to an in-dependence upon your parents, and a dependence upon him! -Do I so! Prepare this moment- Resolve what you will take with you ! -To-morrow you go !-Depend upon it, tomorrow you go !-No longer shall you tarry here, watching, and creeping about to hearken to what people say !-'Tis determin'd, child !-You go tomorrow !- My brother would have come up to tell you so !-But I persuaded him to the contrary- For I know not, what had become of you, if he had - Such a letter !- Such an insolent, such a conceited challenger !-O thou vain creature !-But prepare yourself, I say -Tomorrow you go - My brother will accept your bold challenge; but it must be personal; and at my uncle Antony's- Or perhaps at Mr. Solmes's.-

Thus the ran on, almost foaming with passion, till, quite out of patience, I said, - No more of your violence, Bella- Had I known in what a way you would come up, you should not have found my chamber-door open !- Talk to your servant in this manner: Unlike you, as I bless God I am, I am nevertheless your sister-And let me tell you, that I won't go tomorrow, nor next day, nor next day to that- except I am dragg'd away by violence.

What! not if your papa, or your mamma commands it-Girl? said she; intending another word, by her pause, and manner, before it came out.

Let it come to that Bella - Then I shall know what to say- But it shall be from either of their own mouths, if I do. -Not from yours, nor your Betty's-And say another word to me, in this manner, and be the consequence what it may, I will force myself into their presence; and demand what I have done to be used thus!

Come along, child! -Come along, meekness-, taking my hand, and leaning me towards the door- Demand it of them now- You'll find both your despised parents, together! - What! does your heart fail you? - [for I resisted being thus insolently led, and| pulled my hand from her.]

I want not to be led, said; and since I can plead your invitation I will go: And was posting to the flairs, accordingly, in my passion - But he got between me and the door, and shut it-

Let me first, bold one, apprise them of your visit : For your own fake, let me - For my brother is with them. But yet opening it again, feeing me shrink back - Go if you will! - Why don't you go! - Why don't you go! Miss-following me to my closet, whither I retired, with my heart full, and pulled the sash-door after me; and could no longer hold in my tears.

Nor would I answer one word to her repeated aggravations, and demands upon me to open my door| (for the key was on the inside) nor so much as turn my head towards her, as. he looked thro’ the glass at me. And at last, which vex'd her to the heart, I drew the silk curtain, that she should not see me, and down she went muttering all the way.

Is not this usage enough to provoke one to a rashness one had never thought of committing?

As it is but too probable, that I may be hurry'd away to my uncle's, without being able to give you previous notice of it, I beg, that as soon as you shall hear of such a violence, you will send to the usual place, to take back such of your letters, as may not have, reached my hands, or to fetch any of mine, that may be there. May you, my dear, be always happy, prays yours, 



Samuel Richardson, Clarissa. Or, the History of a Young Lady: Comprehending the Most Important Concerns of Private Life (3 vols, 1748), iii, p. 42-4.