The Quarrelsome Lovers

Today's letter, No 175, Tuesday, May 9 (Ross, Penguin, pp 571-3) is meant to and did amuse and entertain the reader. It is merry in its way, and this charming merriment (merriment is charming) is all due to Lovelace. After all, there is nothing so disarming as a character who can step back and laugh at him or herself; two interesting aspects I thought I might remark upon to see what others thought:

1) again the literary allusions which suggest that Richardson read a great deal and meant us to interpret his narrative through the use of allusion; and

2) this is the first scene where Clarissa herself gets physical; it delights Lovelace; she does not hestitate to thrust her hands into his shirt, to persist in opening the fingers of a clenched fist; to push him strongly from the door. She's fiercely protecting her privacy in a way she did not in the Harlowe household; there she allowed her aunt to body search her, and gave up letters meekly. One could also suggest she's not in awe of Lovelace; they meet on an equal plane in a way she never seems to meet the members of her family. The passion, "for God's sake," and the physicality are refreshing. Did anyone else think what a shame almost. The pillow fights they could have had if she could have condescended to it. Had they married she might have been physically stronger in the relationship than either she or her cousin Morden imagine.


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