Study Guide

Clarissa Letters 242-272

By Samuel Richardson

Letters 242-272

  • Lovelace is still trying to do his best to get Clarissa away from Mrs. Moore's.
  • He tries to calm her down with false promises that his female cousins will pay her a visit, but Clarissa sees right through that charade.
  • Lovelace calls in the big guns again. Since Clarissa never figured out that Captain Tomlinson was a false character, he gets his buddy to pay a visit to Mrs. Moore's.
  • Even Captain Tomlinson is pretty torn up about tricking Clarissa. The dude can't even play his part without crying.
  • While Clarissa is with Mrs. Moore at church, a letter from her beloved Anna comes in.
  • Uh-oh. Lovelace intercepts it by convincing one of his new lady friends at Mrs. Moore's to pretend she's Clarissa.
  • Mrs. Beavis gets the letter and passes it right onto Lovelace, as easy as pie.
  • The letter has some important info about the next steps in Clarissa's escape plan.
  • Anna fills in her BFF on the deets: Mrs. Townsend can receive her the following Wednesday or Thursday, but no sooner.
  • That should give Lovelace plenty of time to work his evil plans. Muahahaha.
  • On the plus side, Lovelace finally receives the marriage license. He pokes fun at all the legal language in a letter to Belford, because there isn't anything funnier than a good wedding.
  • Clarissa confides in Lovelace that she hopes to use her grandfather's inheritance to live on a secluded estate, with only Mrs. Norton as her companion. That is, if he ever lets her leave.
  • Well, at least Lovelace's cousins are coming to visit! Except that they're actually prostitutes dressed up as Lovelace's cousins. Sigh.
  • Clarissa figures out that they're impostors, but not before they trick her into going into town. Of course, they take her right to Mrs. Sinclair's place.
  • Lovelace writes a one-line letter to Belford, letting him know the affair is complete. Yeah, that's kind of abrupt.
  • We don't get any details, but it soon becomes clear that Lovelace raped Clarissa after Mrs. Sinclair drugged her asleep.
  • Belford is seriously hopping mad. He calls Lovelace a bunch of names and tells him to make it right ASAP.
  • Lovelace isn't totally repentant, though he does seem sad. He basically says that Clarissa paid the price for setting such a high price on her virginity. Not cool at all, Lovelace.
  • In the meantime, Clarissa is going crazy. Literally. She's writing up a storm, but none of it seems to make sense.
  • We get some examples of her mad ramblings, which go all over the page. There's some cool eighteenth-century typography if you're into that.
  • (Brain Snack: scholar-type folk call these the "Mad Papers.")
  • Clarissa asks Lovelace to take her to the madhouse, but he refuses.
  • Clarissa pulls it together enough to accuse Lovelace of her rape, and he seems totally repentant.
  • He says he'll marry her right away, but Clarissa's the one stalling now.
  • Lovelace gets the news from one of Lord M.'s stewards that his Lordship is really sick.
  • Lovelace hopes he'll at least get a good inheritance from Lord M. That might help him make some headway with Clarissa.
  • All the ladies of the night at the brothel are feeling sorry for Clarissa. That, or they're sick of hearing her complain.
  • Clarissa makes friends with Dorcas and promises her a big-time payoff if she'll help her escape.
  • Unfortunately, Dorcas has deep pockets and knows who pays her bills. She lets Lovelace in on the secret.
  • Before Clarissa can try to bolt, she comes down with a bad fever. She'll only let Dorcas in the door.
  • Lovelace gets his old buddy, "Captain Tomlinson," to write recommending that Lovelace and Clarissa get married the following week.
  • Even though she's super sick, Clarissa doesn't buy it. Also, she just doesn't want to marry that dude anymore.