Study Guide

Clarissa Letters 211-241

By Samuel Richardson

Letters 211-241

  • Apparently, this random dude has been creeping around near Mrs. Sinclair's house slash brothel. Who is he?
  • Since we don't have enough spies yet, the dude is checking into Clarissa for her family.
  • His name is Captain Tomlinson, and he wants to know if Clarissa and Lovelace have tied the knot. If so, it's all good. If not, [insert the noise of menacing thunder].
  • Of course, Lovelace sees the opportunity for mischief. He wants Clarissa to lie to Captain Tomlinson.
  • But if we know our girl Clarissa, that's not gonna happen.
  • Even so, Captain Tomlinson tells Clarissa that he'll give a good report to her dad. That way, everyone will be buddies again.
  • Uh-oh. "Captain Tomlinson" is another one of Lovelace's tricks, designed to tempt Clarissa into wicked ways.
  • The guy's real name is Patrick McDonald, and he's friends with Lovelace. And that, ladies and gents, is why we don't trust guys who creep around in the bushes.
  • Lovelace is gearing up for some big-time revenge. He reads over the letters Dorcas copied for him in order to get amped up to be extra-mean to Clarissa.
  • Remember those marriage settlements? Turns out, they were sent off to a lawyer to approve and they're too legit to quit. But c'mon. This is Lovelace we're talking about. It's not going to be that easy.
  • Lovelace has a brilliant idea. He'll creep into Clarissa's bed and surprise her into sleeping with him. Sidenote, Shmoopers: this is one of Samuel Richardson's favorite plot devices. Check Pamela for a similar "trick" from the character Mr. B.
  • Unfortunately for Lovelace, there's a surprise fire that alarms the entire house.
  • Clarissa runs into her room half-naked and assumes that Lovelace is trying to trick her somehow. She catches on quickly, that one.
  • Even though the fire wasn't Lovelace's idea, Clarissa calls him a villain and banishes him from her sight. Atta girl.
  • Actually, she sticks to her guns for a pretty long time. For about a week, she refuses to see the guy.
  • But since this is Clarissa we're talking about, she's fine with writing him letters. (Richardson has a book to sell, after all.)
  • Finally, Clarissa pulls some tricks of her own. While Lovelace assumes she's locked in her room, she escapes.
  • Obviously, it's Dorcas's fault. Lovelace calls her a "sniveling toad," which is seams a little unfair.
  • Lovelace intercepts a letter from Anna telling Clarissa to get the heck out of Dodge. She's like, "You're staying in a brothel. Why aren't you halfway to the moon by now?"
  • Lovelace is madder than a hatter, but he puts his beloved servant Will on it.
  • Unfortunately, Clarissa didn't run fast enough. Will finds her at a woman named Mrs. Moore's lodgings, and lets Lovelace know what's up.
  • Lovelace pulls a Mrs. Doubtfire and dresses himself up like an old man to take lodgings at Mrs. Moore's.
  • Then, he dramatically throws off his disguise in front of a group of the boarders. Clarissa is understandably terrified.
  • He pretends she's his wife in order to get public opinion on his side. Unfortunately for Clarissa, it works.
  • All the ladies at Mrs. Moore's are practically batting their eyelashes at the handsome Lovelace.
  • Tricky Lovelace has rewritten Anna's last letter to Clarissa so it cleverly omits all of the brothel stuff.
  • He also finds a way to intercept all of the letters Clarissa and Anna send to each other. Apparently, the maid who helps out Clarissa is Will's sweetheart. Things aren't looking too great for poor Clarissa.