In these three letters (9-11, Mon, Tues, Wed, Feb 26th, Feb 27th, Mar 1st) the epistolary narrative begins (becomes genuine dialogue). Letter IX tells us how they will manage it: letters will be left under rocks and servants will go between. Also a correspondence between Lovelace and Clarissa is hypothesized, a correspondence, we never see. I wonder if Richardson originally thought he might write letters between Lovelace & Clarissa, and changed his mind? Does anyone have any ideas why? is there any evidence he really considered it? In the case of Mrs Beaumont from Sir Charles Grandison there exists a letter by Richardson which could have become the kernel of a fourth novel. Clarissa's earlier correspondence with Lovelace (over his travels) which she shows to the family is also never given us.
In the last 2 the drumbeat question begins, is Clarissa attracted, and sexually attracted, will she nill she, to Lovelace? This time round Anna's first letter to Clarissa seems ungracious at times, though she is warning her friend about things about herself her friend cannot see, and Clarissa says Anna's letters will "hold a looking glass before me to let me see my imperfections," the modern reader would say, myself.
How many agree that Richardson's exploration of sexuality in Clarissa and Lovelace is at the center of the book? And by this I don't mean gender roles (anything social or invented or cultural), but, as Richardson sees it, an exploration of primal animal instinct in both Lovelace & Clarissa.
It's sort of fun that the days of 1732 (which John Dussinger suggests) cohere with the days of 1995. Ellen Moody