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Letter to Clarissa

Updated: Jan 3, 2023

This is a prompt-inspired essay I created for my Women's Literature class. The verbiage is modeled after Samuel Richardson's Clarissa Harlowe: Or, The History of a Young Lady. I find this to be an appropriate follow-up to my "Sexual Tension" blog. Please enjoy!

Prompt: Write a letter to Clarissa. This can be in response to any point in the novel

Miss Elizabeth Bloom, To Miss Clarissa Harlowe FEB 21.

I beg your pardon for my delay. The libertine Mr. Haley has succeeded in his persistent invitations. Behind the groves of a nearby park, our correspondence produced a meeting. I thought it in good will (though I cannot deny my curiosity); misfortune was it, that I discovered the coup upon my sex. Dare I indulge you. Such injury remains too fresh!

I was extremely surprised by the Apprehension, Mr. Haley fashioned a frightening grasp disparaging every aspect of esteem. I quiver to imagine my late protest. He threw himself upon me, beholding the product of false reform. I intoned him, he might be assured, that the Severity I met with would be far affecting any further manner of intrigue and indulgence: that although I could, with great naturalness, declare a release—

He pressed I would pardon him for it; but he could not resist pronouncing his great alarm, that, after so many instances of his imposing Devotion—

Alas! I am a regrettable one!

I know well enough, my sweet friend, you share in this regard the sweeping of such virtue. Is not our affection so marked?

Forgive: I shall not disregard your intriguing account of home. Alarming news presents itself with rare confidence, such a blatant mass of complexity: Shall it breed more expectation to further our quandaries?

Patience, I shall address them all.

You ask of my advice in regards to your brother and sister’s exceeding views. My dear, I suffer with you. Such violent spirits you contend with! You ask, Why your brother will not cease these ill inflations upon your dignity. Your brother, he tells me, reigning an estate of confidence that your forbidden correspondence with Mr. Lovelace endures injury to the family. I stake such black tongues to be stained in Arrogance.

I am reaching. Please endure, I may reach further - Be so good to speak one word.

The operations of your family, and their Absolute decree regarding the secession of Mr. Lovelace – no flattery to the public talk – has approved your brother’s incessant desire to rule in a chair of Absolute. Ache not to these truths, Miss, I’m fully aware. To procure your happiness – the desire itself pose a threat to our contending sex; for such desires to ever exist begs the question of gliding through life unnoted.

There are many that indulge in the disturbing circumstances of your family. Some do not love your Brother; dare I add to display his temperament, I must whisper in writing in order to cloak myself from his insufferable furies [Behold this proof, Miss, many know of his late arrival to composition and clarity] Pray, do not mistake my spoken injuries to confess notions of fear. An anger of Arrogance fails to possess the same tier as the wrath of Society, nay, the wrath of God. Which is worse to man than to woman?

Such cruelty, I witness; cruelty indeed. Austerity of household kingdoms, such gates and choirs among large estate should only be held in Paradise! Your confessions in faith are of love and virtue, which, we can note, blind gentry call prudence.

Your Brother’s hands are full of pride, they cannot possess love or loyalty; for you, my dearest subject, he cannot remove his crown.

The duty we share as daughters are trifled with young gentry of crude aspirations. Dare your brother point his finger and command that you ignore the responsibility of his own injury caused by the Mr. Lovelace? Do not despair. The duty to yourself implores your utmost attention, rather it be the so-called duty your family charged upon your maturity.

My love, you reign mastery of pride and prudence. I mean this, of course, of the highest compliments: Forgive the rash delivery. I am in haste, for I am summoned. Anticipate, I shall answer your questions swiftly.

Miss Elizabeth Bloom, To Miss Clarissa Harlowe FEB 21 & 22.

Such industrious parents, you speak of! Less, there’s of course no speak at all, their vow of silence is a poorly processed prig. I’m being vulgar. I cannot help but hurt for you, are we not sisters of the same heart? They seek your only audience to be of that foul Mr. Solmes. Your mention of him imply a terrible growth of disdain: How could you not, for of course this is a paradigm of James and Bella – They dare smile and claim credit and reward for their schemes!

Do consider that our allegiance to family can be severed by lack of sympathy, I do speak of your mother here, of course I sympathize for both of you. Lest be it a lesson that our will is our own, it is not our mothers’.

What of the sweet, Howe? She lives far closer to you, I can expect she is as concerned as I am, perhaps even more, dear friend. She has written me on two occasions following your brother’s injury; informed me of your visit and also, the lack of visits, the letters of course are an issue.

What vulgarity, for such men to trifle the countenance of manner; Of course, in the events of incentive, dilute that virtue Mr. Solmes to conjure before the family, intrusive of ritual and in shameless ardor for my Clary! Such imperious air this figure seizes in your narrative. He thrust claim of you love, such a coy matter to expect you hold it for him. The putrid pleasure they take to call him friend. How dispiriting toward Howe and I! What friend indeed may impugn your dignity and apprehend your decency, your heart? Dare we be called friends in the rank of that Solmes. In such definition would we be but strangers! Naught for my crippling distance, allow I to penetrate the Harlowe estate and summon the beautiful Clarissa in my superior agency. What beacon of intrigue to compete with a man of no virtue. Beyond reform, my dear, to cure that incriminating amalgamation of vagrancy, the forceful marriage of quality and meddling.

Your father- should it be repeated – has taken pleasure in this development, that he says: Clary is to receive his Love. That they shall adore you, was your Bella’s expression: Dare I add the Harlowe pride – My Dear! I hold a tremendous response! As for your mother: In your siblings, they inspire her manner. I’m displeased by the perverseness of her indulgence over your brother and sisters acts of confining you; more so, politically, that of course is justified in a man’s will.

Your uncle Antony reigns too much pride for a vulgar. If Solmes be a friend and in your uncle’s praises: A gentleman, then dash me with insult! What favourable friendship of a family to breed under signs of jealousy and abuse.

To glance for pity, only places one in a position of further neglect. My love, do not implore your mother any longer for the love of our sex. Write not in charity or duty. The labour of your love cannot be met by such a family! Alas! I am in pain for you. My Passionate friend, if you must glance, seek the mighty hand of God and glance outside the garden gates. Beyond the falsely cultivated Paradise of Harlowe and toward the emerald rearing of happiness. Please seek Miss Bloom in her humble abode, in her distant sanctuary that desires to provide a patient host and freedoms to wander and cultivate fervent qualities; any that may beg pointed brows or crude judgments. Do not make me beg against your silence, however you are a friend; we both share the same doubts of goodwill, I hold great concern for you!

Anticipate, I do, that Mr. Lovelace may offer the same under false reform like that of my Mr. Harley.

Nevertheless, let them believe what they wish. Such a man like Mr. Lovelace is worthy of fear, I do not trust him, allow me to blame the character of his behavior. Such actions are not worthy of your delicate and precious value. Whether you do or not should only be determined by matters of your heart, dearest. Write what you may albeit, I cannot approve of him. It is by resign, I will hold such judgment in theses past words and will not hold you against the manner of any correspondence you share with Mr. Lovelace. Adore you, I shall, no matter what desires you; indulge. This insistent Mr. Lovelace is an imitation of a gentry, and a more intriguing version of complexity; a protest to the virtue of reform in both matters of a women’s warm inspiration and a man’s ability to resist his confidences. A slayer of false prudency, he seems to be convinced.

However, you do choose, I pray your aunt Harvey does convivence Mrs. Harlowe of your brother’s stay in the Yorkshire estate. That, I truly believe, could glimmer this terrible condition you’re in.

I ask of you to return the progress of your endeavors and will anticipate your reply. Until then, I beg only a short matter of time will prevent our next meeting.

Your ever devoted and affectionate


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