Uncle Tony: A Mind like a Sewer

What an awful character. What a ugly mind. "Mind that." Oh, yes, a brilliant tour de force especially when compared with the troublingly apparently austere Uncle Harlowe. What a pair. I mentioned in my longer posting that lots of readers accuse Richardson of having a dirty mind. As I reread this one, I thought, "what a foul sewer of a mind this man has," particularly when he threatens "Miss Clary" with unexplained horrors of physical violence & punishment from Solmes once she marries him, as in:

Mr Solmes will therefore find something to instruct you in. I will not show him this letter of yours, though you seem to desire it, lest it should provoke him to be too severe a schoolmaster when you are his'n (Ross Penguin Let 32.4, p 155)

And again, though maybe this time the threat is from the Harlowes' displeasure:

he told her [Solmes's sister whom he has cast off] was as good as his word; and so an honest man ought; offences against warning ought to be smarted for. Take care this be not your case, Mind that (p 156).

(I fear some people are beginning to think I too have a dirty mind.) It makes me cringe as I read; flesh creeps. I want to hurry out and help her pack. And yet there are people are out there just like this though they don't usually give themselves away so blatantly.

How about the idea that Richardson learned this "personating" technique from Defoe's brand of satire? I am thinking especially of his notoriously misread The Shortest Way with Dissenters. Richardson read Defoe; he printed and revised The Tour lots of connections in mindset and other ways between the two as pointed out by one of my favorite older authors on Richardson, Alan McKillop. Just a thought thrown out.

Ellen Moody

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