Richardon really does seem to be working letter by
letter. Each letter is one thread which he weaves
into his discourse, and there may be threads wound
around threads. He is not so much writing real
letters as writing chapters of a book by different
first-person narrators, and in each there is a
central focus of action or revelation of psychology
which enables him to shape his narrative. I also
suggest we have another bit of evidence for the
theory that the novel takes place in a leapyear.
For example, the next two letters focus on Clary and
Let XII, Sun, 3/5: Clary delivered over to brother.
Inset letter of Clary to brother. The reference
to 2 Sundays in a row in which Clary has
missed church would seem to confirm this
is indeed a leapyear.
Let XIII, Mon, 3/6: Hannah dismissed, further
isolation of Clary, under power of her brother.
Inset letter of brother in response to Clary.
Also, we are beginning to get letter within letters.
The man (meaning Richardson) is just
flowing with letters. 3/5: Lovelace's letters quoted;
Clary's distrustful interpretation,
the reader though can interpret Lovelace more
generously than Clary; for example, he is
trying to set up a conventional marriage
negotiation in which his offer is superior
to Solmes. To the reader who has
not seen Clary's letters Lovelace's
desire to meet her in the garden, "attended
by whom I please," might well have been
a natural response to Clary's letters.
There is also an interlace and mirroring
of Hannah & Clary, the contrast of Betty
& Clary; this modern reader Clary has
unexpectedly unidealistic response to
Hannah's "love" for her: "We are all apt, you know,
my dear, to praise our benefactors because they _are_
our benefactors." Clary knows she lives
in a hard word, and shows she knows
the limits of servants' loyalties. She's sharp
and has chosen not to be ambitious, and
then she gives her servant
10 guineas when she owed her only 4 pounds;
the likeness to Lovelace's treatment of the
servants is clear.