'The Blow is given--'

I wonder if we supposed to interpret the lack of letters by Clarissa and their brevity as deep depression, and loss of will power and that is why Clarissa is silent. Anna's letter for July 12th suggests this in her strongly worded comforting words; Clarissa's letters for July 11th and 13th are not quite at a level of Hemingway's narrator who is so glad for "a clean well-lighted place," but are not far off. She is convincingly distressed at the idea of turning up to court: again we find Anna and her mother demanding that Clary go to court. I wish I could believe that Richardson presents this request again because he realizes such a request can only come out of a sheer inability to understand anything of the reality Clarissa has gone through in any deep sense. Alas. I think we are back on the more shallow level of the world's conventions coming at Clarissa.

Again she refuses. Of course. Again I would like to suggest it is not at all certain that she would have won. In a way she does not know what to do next, but go to church. She says she is dressed very plain; mob cap; the Clarissa of the diamond snaps in her ears is gone.

She writes with incisive poignancy that says it all for me about the kind of blows that one can have, be they sexual or otherwise. Sometimes, as I have said, there is no going back. It's not retrievable; the axe comes down, the board remains but its inner fibres are weakened, and susceptible to cracking again at a much lesser blow forever:

the blow is given... (Ross Penguin Let 318, p 1018)

Two neat rooms, with plain, but clean furniture, on the first floor, are mine; one, they call the dining-room. I love Clarissa at this point; I cannot understand how people can say she "doesn't work" for them as a heroine. Is it that they cannot see they too can be brought to this?

She also writes infrequently because each letter is an occasion for being found out. She is terrified by this man. He is kept away by Lord M's sickness but she cannot know this. She hasn't witnessed that much of his humanity or yielding to conventions of late.

Another less interesting reason the letters have now decreased in numbers and are very few per day is that Richardson, the intense excitement now over, is back to trying to obey the requirements of verisimilitude.

When Lovelace's letters apear, I feel Richardson is a bit tired. It's as if Richardson has to get himself into harness once again, get into this character who has so exhausted him, having dropped him for the quiet soul of Clary. He must "personate" this active presence first, so as to make more plot.


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