Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Gentle Echo on Woman

I present here an amusing poem by my contemporary, Mr.Jonathan Swift, a celebrated writer of Irish descent, and a great wit---

A Gentle Echo on Woman
(In the Doric Manner)

Shepherd: Echo, I ween, will in the woods reply,
And quaintly answer questions: shall I try?
        Echo: Try,
What must we do our passion to express? 
What most moves women when we them address?
        A dress.
Say, what can keep her chaste whom I adore? 
        A door.
If music softens rocks, love tunes my lyre.
Then teach me, Echo, how shall I come by her?
        Buy her.
But what can glad me when she's laid on bier?
What must I do when women will be kind?
        Be kind.
What must I do when women will be cross?
        Be cross.
Lord, what is she that can so turn and wind?
If she be wind, what stills her when she blows?
Is there no way to moderate her anger?
        Hang her.
Thanks, gentle Echo! right thy answers tell
What woman is and how to guard her well.
        Guard her well.

Friday, September 21, 2012

In which the author of "Clarissa" praises his own book

Dear reader,

I enclose within this posting a letter which I wrote to a certain frothy French gentleman, named Mr. La Bonnet. You can read my previous postings on this subject, and learn more about this creature, and about his rather indiscreet marriage to Mrs. Polly La Bonnet. 

Polly personally requested that I write to her new husband and give him some instruction on how he may improve his frivolous nature. My suggestion to him, as you shall see, is that he read my novel Clarissa.  He will surely find planted within my book the seeds for his own reformation.
Dear Mr. La Bonnet,

The great respect I have for Polly, now Mrs. La Bonnet, obliges me to take the freedom to write you this letter. While you are reading it, it would be wise for you to keep in mind that I intend nothing more in doing so than to make Polly happy; and because I desire to serve her father, who is a most kind and charitable gentleman. Anyway, I hope that my letter inflames not any violent passions within you.

To say the truth, Polly has complained to me about your recent behavior. She has expressed great concern over your numerous indiscretions, such as your impertinence towards her father, the wild life you have in town on the weekends, and your gay behavior that you have insufficiently cleansed yourself of since the end of your bachelor days, which, as she says, were yet even more licentious. You persist in your frivolous lifestyle and continue in your Gallic manners. One last grave charge she lays against you is that you spend excessive amount of time tapping away on your I-Phone, or Me-Phone, or whatever it is called.

So concerned did I become in hearing about the final charge against you, that I decided to send you this scribbling right away. My advice to you is simple, Mr.La Bonnet. For there is no better way for a 21st century individual to become more responsible, serious, and honorable in his behavior than by investing long hours in solitary reading of my novel Clarissa; And when you complete reading Clarissa, you will see that it will cause you to forbear touching any such electronic gewgaws ever again. This, I hope, you will be kind enough to do, if only to please our dear Polly.

This is not the place to explain to you the greatness of my Clarissa, which would be an especially difficult task for me to accomplish, considering that your generation is altogether disdainful of the notions of greatness and grandness. And surely if our society is to survive, it will be on the strength of our Clarissas, not our I-Phones.  Remember, too, that an electronic gewgaw is likely to kill you right away if you should drop it into the bathtub with you in the water. A book will do no such thing.

Be pleased also to consider the following: it is very unlikely that any creature on earth will read my novel Clarissa (200,000 words more than the Bible) on an iPhone, or on any electronic reader, for reasons too obvious to relate. And if no one is able to read my Clarissa at all, then is not the world deprived of the greatest, not to mention the longest novel in the English language? Does it not follow that if you spend so much time dallying on your iPhone, your life will also likely be deprived of this greatest of all novels?

Finally, let me remind you, that you are not getting any younger, Mr.La Bonnet. Reading Clarissa is one of the most time-consuming things you can do in the 21st century---one for which, however, you will not be paid. And though time is running out, you are still young and have time enough to start and finish my book. I urge you to begin this project as soon as possible, for this is the only way that you will prove yourself a worthy husband of Mrs. Polly. I hope you'll excuse this liberty, which no other motive than Polly's happiness and concern for your moral education has occasioned. And believe me to be

                                                                                                      Your faithful friend,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Old is the new new

I welcome my good readers to these new online lodgings of mine. I hereby introduce my blog to all the visitors at Blogger, no doubt the finest gewgaw of its kind on the internet. 

Indeed, my readers should be prepared, in these new online lodgings, to hear more of such railings against our modern technological world. And don't be surprised if, in the course of my scribblings, I venture to nominate myself the pioneer of a certain new-found socio-cultural movement, which I shall call Post-Modern Luddism. Yet more on that later.

Now that you are here, you will be pleased to find that I have prepared for you a hearty meal containing most enlightening quotations (having nothing to do with Luddism) from Monsieur Hippolyte Taine's 1872, "History of English Literature." Yet I went even further in my desire to please my readers, for I decided to select only those quotations that come from the footnotes of that dusty tome. 

And here you have the fruits of my labors. This first footnote quotation is about the inferior moral values contained in an earlier style of literature---

What is the character of most of these novels which were to correct follies and regulate morality ? Of a great many of them, and especially those of Fielding and Smollett, the prevailing features are grossness and licentiousness. Love degenerates into a mere animal passion. . . . The language of the characters abounds in oaths and gross expressions. . . . The heroines allow themselves to take part in conversations which no modest woman would have heard without a blush. And yet these novels were the delight of a bygone generation, and were greedily devoured by women as well as men. Are we therefore to conclude that our great-great-grandmothers . . . were less chaste and moral than their female posterity ? I answer, certainly not ; but we must infer that they were inferior to them in delicacy and refinement. They were accustomed to hear a spade called a spade, and words which would shock the more fastidious ear in the reign of Queen Victoria were then in common and daily use.

Remember, I read these wee footnotes so that you don't have to. The second quotation presents the idea of the "voice of the people"--
Sterne, Goldsmith, Burke, Sheridan, Moore, have a tone of theirown, which comes from their blood, or from their proximate or distantparentage--the Irish tone. So Hume, Robertson, Smollett, Scott,Burns, Beattie, Reid, D. Stewart, and others, have the Scottish tone.In the Irish or Celtic tone we find an excess of chivalry, sensuality,expansion; in short, a mind less equally balanced, more sympatheticand less practical. The Scotsman, on the other hand, is an English-man, either slightly refined or narrowed, because he has suffered moreand fasted more.

Forsooth, the "voice of the people," as it is called by Mr.Taine. What is the voice of your people? What would you sound like if your voice could represent theirs? Meditate on these questions before going to sleep.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A father's letter to his daughter, complaining of her frothy French husband

Dear Polly,

This is to let you know that there has been some conflict between me and your recent French husband, Mr. La Bonnet. You no doubt are already familiar with my feelings towards Arnaud La Bonnet, in that I’ve always regarded him as having a frothy and most frivolous disposition, rather unsuited to the state of marriage. Yet up until now I resigned myself to your husband---for I respect your claim to love him exceedingly; even though you admit that he has certain flaws, which result from his general frothiness.

So I inform you of a certain vexatious development that has dissolved the uneasy truce that existed between us. It turns out that lately my Gallic son-in-law has refused to communicate in the English language, insisting on speaking only French with me. He excuses his behavior by saying that he is merely trying to help me improve my own French. Indeed my French has always been rather imperfect, and I struggle mightily both in understanding Mr. La Bonnet and in communicating my ideas to him in his native language. I know that your own French is superior to mine, so you are better prepared, if I may say so, to put up with his rudeness.

I want to relate to you one recent conversation that I had with Mr. La Bonnet---and you will immediately see how stupefying it is. I will relate this conversation in my imperfect French, for which I must heartily beg your pardon in advance, but I do this in order that you may more convincingly perceive the real nature of this painful affair.

Last Saturday, Mr. La Bonnet entered the kitchen, where I had been peacefully reading the New York Times, and he uttered the following harsh sounds—

“Vieil homme, tu ne vois pas qu'il y ait un fou sans-abri dans le hall de notre immeuble? Vite, aidez-moi le virer. " 

Ruffled though I was, I responded to his barbarity in the following manner, "Laissez-moi tranquille, il ne dérange personne. Tu es la plus grande nuisance dans ma vie." 

"Fils de pute diable, vous êtes laid comme ta femme," and Arnaud stormed out the door. 

Perhaps you can see, my daughter, why I can only provide you with a short sample of this conversation; lest I say something that is inappropriate for a lady’s ears. Yet surely you can understand the purport of the conversation. Mr. La Bonnet has clearly forgotten what belongs to him, for he has ventured to insult my honor. And still he continues to communicate to me in his native language. 

You must again excuse the imperfect way in which I render our conversations in French. I realize that, no matter how much I desire to preserve your ears from shock, I still risk the chance of mortifying your sensibilities in continuing to relate these conversations to you. But you are a grown woman, and I trust that you can handle hearing about this crudeness. And here you have a similar conversation that occurred between me and Arnaud yesterday. 

Again Mr. Bonnet came in and disturbed my rest, “Hé, le gros, avez-vous vu la poêle à frire? Je dis, je ne peux pas trouver la fichue chose partout." 

"Je n'ai pas vu votre poêle à frire. Laissez-moi tranquille et obtenir une coupe de cheveux, vous hippie."

"L'homme dont vous avez besoin pour se détendre," this being the last thing he said before storming out.

And there you have another outburst from Mr. La Bonnet, which indeed shocked my sensibilities. I command, therefore, that you to speak to your husband immediately, and, using your feminine charm, instill in him the need to speak the Queen’s English, at least when in my company. I simply refuse to put up with anything less. I am no fool---I know that Mr. Bonnet can both speak and write Her Majesty’s English. And if it turns out that he is not confident in his ability to communicate in our language, I pray that you suggest to him that he enroll in an English language class at a community college. And until my wishes are satisfied, I will remain 

                                                                                                       Your injured father

A father's letter to a daughter, on hearing of her Master’s attempting her Virtue

My dear Betsy,

I understand with great grief of heart, that your Master has made some attempts on your virtue, and yet you stay with him. God grant that you have not already yielded to his base desires. Reading your last letter sent my heart a-bleeding. And how your dear mother suffered—for she is now bed ridden on account of all your trials and vexations. I daresay that the man under whose roof you are living is not worthy of the name gentleman. 

You claim that this vile creature is, from time to time, to be found a-peeping on you through the key-hole when you are in a state of dishabille, or performing your morning ablutions, or even when you are simply playing the harpsichord. You say that he paces outside your room before taking his afternoon tea and in the early dinner hours. Egad, once a person has so far forgotten what belongs to himself, or to his character as to make such an attempt, the very continuance with him, and in his power, and under the same roof, is an encouragement to him to prosecute his graver designs.

And when you have your buxom friends staying overnight with you, you say you hear soft noises outside your door, as if the house had mice. And in the morning the maids report to you that the Master was indeed spotted by them sneaking between your doorway and his room almost all night long. How I felt my temples pounding when you related to me those rumors of the Master dilly-dallying inside the buck basket in the maid’s room where you and that saucy servant, Betty Barnes, hold your soiled underthings. You will excuse me, my Betsy, but I must lie down right now, for I do feel a headache coming on.

But now I feel better (three hours and four vinegar compresses later), so I shall continue. Yet you claim that he is rather sheepish in your presence, and is likely to adopt an attitude of extreme waggishness, and will make many attempts at vulgar witticisms (which are neither vulgar nor witty, as you say) in order to impress you. And you go on to say, that, when not a-peeping on you, he spends much of his time in scholarly study of the classics, engaged in writing some kind of a book. If he carries himself so civilly in your presence, be assured, Betsy, it is only the more certainly to undo you when he tries to attack you. If he is indeed writing a book, I pray to God that he is not committing even graver atrocities upon your honor in his imagination, as one of the principal persons in his story may well be Miss Betsy Shanka herself.

Therefore I command that you fly his house immediately. You can stay with the widow Lowick until I can come and bring you to the home of your still loving mother, and to 

                                                                            Your grieved and indulgent father

Pamela setting out for her Father's house

The following scene from my "Pamela" occurs about half-way through the first volume. Pamela Andrews is about to depart the Bedfordshire estate, where she already had so many trials and vexations, in a chariot with four horses. She is grateful that she may finally be allowed to see her dear mother and father on their farm; but little does she realize that her coachman was secretly instructed to drop her off at a certain estate in Lincolnshire instead, which estate, as it happens, is owned by Pamela's wretched tormentor and master, Mr.B. 

Notice Mr.B. sulking in the window above the coachman--he never even asked to see her off, but Pamela did curtsey three times to him very low, and prayed for him with her hands lifted up. And he bowed his head to her in return. Notice the good housekeeper, Mrs. Jervis, and the other maids, in the doorway bidding my poor Pamela adieu.

And in I stepped, and was ready to burst with grief; and could only, till Robin began to drive, wave my white handkerchief to them, wet with my tears: and, at last, away he drove, Jehu-like, as they say, out of the court-yard. And I too soon found I had cause for greater and deeper grief.
Here  is the painting of the scene done by Mr.Joseph Highmore. 

Pamela Setting out for her Father's House

A gentleman to his Mistress, resenting her Fondness of a Monkey and Indifference to himself


I must be under the less regret, for the contempt with which you receive my addresses, when your favour is wholly engrossed by so wretched a rival: For ought a rational man to wonder he is received with neglect and slight by a lady who can be taken up with a chattering monkey? Do not you remember what happened when I visited your house upon a certain unfortunate occasion, and you greeted me with that monkey on your shoulders? How Mr. Pug had the audacity to snatch off my wig (that is, my hat), scratch my face, and to slobber upon my hair, this is all beyond me. But harshest mortification was suffered by my sense of pride when your mother burst forth into a volley of laughs upon seeing me thus discomposed and ruffled.

I would ask you then, By what extraordinary endowment this happy monkey creature has found means to engross your favour? Condescend to view us in the same light: What valuable qualifications is Mr. Pug endowed with, which I am destitute of? Is it a recommendation in him that he wears no breeches? For my part, I will most willingly surrender mine at your feet. Is it a censure of me and of my personal conduct, that I occasionally forget to lower the toilet seat, or that I smother with ketchup everything I eat?

Place us together before you: View our faces, our airs, our shapes, and our language. If he be handsomer than I, which, on a strict scrutiny, I hope will not be allowed him neither, pray try our wits: However acute he may be, I can assure you I reckon myself no fool; for if I was, I should less resent the preference you give against me. I am thoroughly convinced that I can out-perform him in any contest, even those involving behaviors associated more with monkey nature than human nature.

I pray you end this despicable monkey business, as it is called by the people. Turn him loose to me, I will fight him, if that be necessary to obtain your favour; or do anything in the world to show you how much I am, and shall ever be, if you’ll permit it,
Your very humble Admirer.

A father's letter to a daughter, against a frothy French lover

Dear Polly,

I cannot say I look upon Mr. La Bonnet in the same favourable light that you seem to do. His frothy behavior may divert well enough as an acquaintance, but is very unsuitable, I think, to the character of a husband, especially an American husband, which I take to be a graver character than a French one.

This kind of gay gentleman has a very capricious and frivolous disposition; he is likely to be found tapping away at his electronic device day and night, in public or in private, during polite conversation or during casual tête-à-têtes. He strives to avoid serious meditation on the classics, and in all general manner refuses the cultivation of the intellect; in other words, he prefers watching Rachel Maddow on MSNBC to reading Horace, Quintillian, or Dryden. He knows nothing of the art of writing letters, but instead he scrawls out emails in which he uses the most hideous language, with expressions like “LOL,” or “OMG,” or “How’s it hanging?” or some equally monstrous French equivalent therof, which I shall not name here as being completely inappropriate for a lady’s hearing.

He dances well; writes very indifferently. He is an artist at cards; but cannot cast accompts: Understands all the laws of chance; but not one of the land; Is very gallant; but may not be over affectionate: And is so tender of himself, that he will have little time to indulge anybody else. 

And one last charge, which is perhaps graver than any other charge I can lay against Mr. La Bonnet, that he or his family may well be secret socialists.

These, child, are my sentiments of him. If my description of this creature gives you an incoherent impression of him, it is because he is most incoherent in his own personality, as he lacks the basic principles that would fasten the diverse aspects of his personality together into a unified whole. Send him away from your life bag and baggage. You are not wholly ignorant of the world: I desire to guide not to force, your inclinations; and hope your calm reason will banish all farther thoughts of this gentleman, who, however you may like him for a partner at a Backstreet Boys concert, seems not so well qualified for a journey through the various trials, from which no station can exempt the married state. I am
                                                                                              Your affectionate father,

In which the author gives ladies instructions on proper suffering

I shall now endeavor to give my female readership certain advice that may become useful to them in difficult times of trouble; that is, when they suffer any kind of terrible shock resulting from a broken heart, like when they are held in captivity by a wretched libertine who refuses to marry them. For there is nothing more sublime, nothing more powerful, or more instructive, than the sight of a beautiful and noble lady dying for a righteous cause(namely herself); and though the doctors may end up saving her (for miracles most appear in adversity)her example will continue to affect people. Yet, she must also display the kind of glorious suffering that would become a noble lady such as herself, lest she prevent others from learning by her example. 

For the rest of this scribble, therefore, ladies, I will attempt to direct your conduct towards achieving this noble end. Be pleased to take careful notes, and know that I would be most happy to answer any questions you may have afterwards.
Now, to know how to suffer properly requires that you look to the classic and ancient examples of suffering. I firmly believe that the most useful example of suffering for those ladies living in the 21st century is that of my own Miss Clarissa Harlowe, who was the finest of her sex, in both her living and dying. Therefore, I instruct you to imitate Clarissa’s suffering as example in how you may do so yourselves when the opportunity comes.

Here are some major principles of the Clarissa Harlowe method of suffering.

1.---Lament heavily over the damage done to your honor and your virtue. If you can speak of yourself as honorable, then in your suffering you must wail about your loss of virtue to the wretch who broke your heart.

2.---Make amends with all your friends and family. Let them know that your suffering has taught you about the need to seek forgiveness.

3.---Attempt not too many escapes if you are in captivity; lest people think that you are trying to escape your destiny, and so your obligation to instruct everyone through your death.

4.---Write a lot of long letters to people, or to newspapers, during your suffering, so that your examples may be preserved for posterity; and when your suffering disables you from writing, ask that whoever is visiting your bedside be taking notes.

5.---Bequeath a portion of your riches in your will to the servants. And make sure that all your closest friends also receive a lock of your hair. Make sure that you have hair enough for this purpose.

6.---Draft a design for your coffin, send out the design to carpenters, and have them deliver the coffin to your room upon its completion. Have it placed near the window, like a harpsichord, though covered over to the ground: and when you are so ill that you cannot well go to your closet, write and read upon it, as others would upon a desk or table.

7.---Use your tears wisely. Reflect on how an excess of tears may suggest an over-eagerness for praise; and a want of tears may not be enough to inspire the cold-souled around you.

I hope that my female readership find these major principles of the Clarissa Harlowe method of suffering to be most instructive. I will be happy to offer one further service to you, ladies, in which I arrive in person at your house and give you private lessons in suffering. You will be pleased to discover that I charge a very fair amount for this service.

A Father’s letter, in Answer to his Son’s complaining of Hardships in his University

Dear Billy,

I am sorry you should have any misunderstanding with your professors and with your fellow students at the University. For my part, I have a good opinion of your University, and I’m unwilling to entertain a bad one of you. 

You say that your University is but a collection of fools and knaves. You say that your fellow students are buffoonish; you charge that they spit where they walk and that they make incomprehensible gibberish when trying to communicate during class sessions. Oh, son. Reading your letter sent my heart a-bleeding. But you reserve your harshest attack upon the faculty. For you claim that your professors are intent on beguiling the youth, being the wretched ideologues they are, all of whom, as you charge, are either “feminist rakes, post-colonialist dandies, or Marxist beaus.” You claim that they subscribe to the latest fashions, and they have no regard for tradition and custom, which, as you say, is of great importance to all decent people. It is no wonder then that some of the students who go about on campus are imitating their professor’s conduct. Gadzooks, my dear, Billy. How you do go on. 

Nevertheless, I think it would be proper to observe one particular fault which you yourself have always carried, which ought to have some bearing in my consideration of your letter, namely your excessive itch for talking, which discovers itself alike on all occasions. I have always flattered myself, that you do not want sense; and am willing to hope I have not been deceived. The art of rendering yourself agreeable in conversation is worth your serious study.

I am rather frightened at the changes you’ve undergone since you left home two years ago. Be pleased to answer, Billy, the following question with minimum equivocation: are you becoming a Tory? Or a Republican? Or are you merely being incorrigible, as we all know you love to be? You have always been a difficult child. We should not have allowed you to listen to so much Radio growing up. Your mother has been bed-ridden on account of all your troubles. Be pleased to change your reactionary attitudes, my boy, and return to embracing the progressive views espoused by your loving parents. The dog gave a mighty whelping. If you become a right-winger, son, you will disgrace the reputation of your family, and especially your still affectionate father. 

PS. Do you need any more money?

O, love's best habit is in seeming trust

I endeavor in the following scribble to resolve one of the most vexing situations that can ever befall a young romantic couple. What is this little pickle if not the longest lasting puzzle that has ever plagued all entanglements of amour? Yet here I offer my solution to this conflict: 

It will often occur that a lady may forbid her suitor from taking certain innocent liberties with her, even though it may be expected from her who is bound to tie the knot soon anyway. Her gentleman suitor may consequently construct her distance as coldness towards him and start to resent the treatment. The lady, for her part, believes that her lover’s affections are like gasses that need to be bottled up in a tight-proof container, lest, perhaps with time they dissipate into the air. She may think that the gentleman also needs to demonstrate patience in all his affairs and actions of life, but especially towards her person, before he can be worthy of her everlasting company. But although the lady may wear a cold demeanor upon her surface, on the inside she may still be bursting with passion towards him. 

Despite the force of her arguments, the gentleman believes that injustice is done to him. Had she not denied him those innocent liberties which his sex, from step to step, aspire to, and could he but gain access to her in her hours of heedlessnesss and dishabille (for full dress creates dignity, augments consciousness, and compels distance), they would have become familiarized to each other long ago and seen their love fully grow. But keep her up ever so late; meet her ever so early; and by breakfasttime she is dressed for the day; and at her earliest hour, as nice as others dressed. All her forms thus kept up, he complains that he made little progress in his love for her.

As his advances become more violent, her pride becomes more stubborn. One pushes from one end while the other pushes from the opposite, like a silly pair of donkeys. While the lady and her suitor are surely in love with each other, they differ in their conception of the ideal state of love. Oh, how vapourish I become when I contemplate the number of relationships destroyed under the weight of this pickle.

Fortunately, I have the solution that shall satisfy both the lady and her future husband. It seems to me that the truth has been lying in plain sight. You see, my solution consists in the lady’s doing nothing but continuing the policy of keeping her distance; and the gentleman needs but to locate a key-hole through which he may secretly a-peep on his beloved in her hours of heedlessness and dishabille; such as when she is performing her daily ablutions. The gentleman is thus satisfied in seeing his beloved in such a natural state, taking great liberties upon her person, while the lady is none the wiser for his a-peepings. She is, in fact, the more grateful to him for his demonstrating patience. If my solution be put to use, no one need sacrifice or compromise on any matter. 

If the gentleman still desires more satisfaction from his beloved he need only to contrive the following scheme: he must invite two or three of his lady’s closest female friends over the house; he must, at the same time, instruct his serving-man to spring himself upon the company after all the lady friends are assembled together in the living room with a fake excuse concerning some urgent business in Derbyshire that unfortunately will require the master’s immediate attention; the gentleman must express his sincere regrets to everyone for having to leave such charming creatures to themselves, bid them all adieu, and finally sneak out unobservedly to the garden behind the house and wait there until the lady and her lady friends have poured some libations down their throats and are seen frolicking together wearing only their petticoats. 

He may then sneak back into the house and locate a key-hole through which he may a-peep on these activities. The ladies will likely end up in bed together soon, or, if the bed be not large enough, they may decide to romp on the floor instead. Either way, the gentleman is guaranteed a delightful entertainment, from which he may also take the consolation that he is indeed strengthening his marriage bond.

My direct advice to the ladies is simple, try to ignore the strange yelping noises you may sometimes hear outside your bedroom door. 'Tis merely the wind and some floorboards creaking, shall we say? 

Pamela Planning to Escape from Mrs.Jewkes

Dear readers, consider the following picture that I present here for your amusement and instruction. It is a scene from my "Pamela," as drawn by the honorable Mr.Joseph Highmore. It depicts my heroine Pamela confined inside her master, Mr. B's, estate. She is inside the garden, being supervised by her keeper Mrs.Jewkes (the pursy fat thing tending the garden) who seems unsuspicious of the fact that Pamela and Pastor Williams are scheming a way for Pamela to pass letters to him by hiding them under yonder sunflower, and then to be secretly picked-up by him.

Let that be advice to you, ladies---for whenever you find yourself in a similar situation, being held captive by some vile wretch, make sure that you be not so over scrupulous that you refuse to plan for some contrivance in order to do you justice, like Pamela is doing with Mr.Williams in the picture. Just find someone like Pastor Williams to lend you a hand.

However, it may also befall, as it occurred with Pastor Williams, that your agent in the contrivance may also fall in love with you. For by granting him the honor of helping you, you do become greatly indebted to him, and which you can only repay, as he might think, by marrying him. Therefore if you don't desire to marry your agent, make sure that he understands that you have no intention to marry the wretch that captured you, and that, in fact, you desire to remain single the rest of your life.

Mr. Williams came to see us, and took a walk with us once; and while her back was just turned, (encouraged by the hint he had before given me,) I said, Sir, I see two tiles upon that parsley-bed; might not one cover them with mould, with a note between them, on occasion?—A good hint, said he; let that sunflower by the back-door of the garden be the place; I have a key to the door; for it is my nearest way to the town.

Pamela Planning to Escape from Mrs.Jewkes

Designed for more than transitory amusement

Dear reader, there is no more efficient way for me to bestow upon you the value of the instruction and the entertainment contained in my "Clarissa" than by relating to you the contents table at the end of each volume of the book verbatim et litteratim . I designed the contents in such a way for more than transitory amusement.



The summary of Letter XIV, XV. Clarissa to Miss Howe:

Clarissa calls upon Lovelace to give her a faithful account of the noises and voices she heard at the garden door, which frighten her away with him. His confession and daring hints in relation to Solmes, and her brother, and Betty Barnes. She is terrified.


Wit may be likened to a sharpened tool

I receive many letters from the husbands of the women who belong to my vast group of lady friends. In these letters, I am very often asked for advice on one special matter, a matter that also happens directly to affect their wives, my friends, especially those wives who are known for their natural pertness and their uncontrollable wit. Many of these gentlemen complain to me about these wives having very sharp tongues and vile habits of finger-snapping when discomposed; or the wives have saucy tempers which they excuse by claiming to be speaking truth. In other words, the gentleman is married to an Anna Howe, not to the glorious Clarissa Harlowe. And he is afraid that he shall be thought tame, not manly enough.

My advice to these gentleman is simple, that they must resign to their hard fates. For a separation is much too despicable for a real gentleman to bear. And in any case, I comfort them by allegorizing that they cannot have the convenience without the inconvenience. What workman, I tell them, loves not a sharp tool to work with? What workman will throw away a sharp tool, because it may cut his fingers? For wit may be likened to a sharpened tool. And there is something very pretty in wit let me tell you. And who, after all, can say that they are so blessed as to be married to a Clarissa, who is the finest of her sex.

Indeed there is something pretty in wit, and I often smile when a saucy wit-cracker prevails upon me with her arch turns; for I've been known to take some pleasure in the company of such hearty wenches. Yet I would not marry them at any cost, not even those with the highest fortunes. Nevertheless, is there any vision in the world more delightful than that of two such skittish creatures a-frolicking in bedtogether, or giving sponge baths to each other, or breakfasting in dishabille together. They often have a great deal of very lively, finger-snapping conversation upon such occasions. And how those conversations glisten, how their firm breasts provoke, and how my eyes do sparkle a-peeping on them through the key-hole.

If any two such wenches read this scribble, they are most welcome to respond with a joint scribbling---and then, ladies, be so pleased as to give me intelligence concerning the size of your chemise and and an account of your thigh measurements, as well as a picture of you straddling a bicycle in a state of dishabille. Depend upon it, it shall be most appreciated.

In which the author refutes more malicious slander

It has come to my attention that a certain illness, which is currently spreading among the public, is being attributed to my book "Clarissa," as the chief agent of that infection. It has been charged by that group of cranky men who go about at work wearing petticoats on the outside of their clothes, and who in the vulgar are known as a scientific community, they claim that my book "Clarissa" is having strange and harmful effects upon a particular group of people, namely every reader who finishes my book. 

But what is this being truly spread here if not villainous slander?

These supposed scientists warn us that those people who succeed in finishing my book to the end risk suffering an unheard-of, and most shocking, condition, that of losing their sense of self-identity, their personal writing style, and their sense of fashion; and so consequently these readers end up impersonating me, Mr.Richardson. The scientists, damn their eyes, are now urging the authorities to lock up all the copies of my book, because they say that this condition represents a most unnatural reaction

Indeed I have personally observed many people on the New York City subway riding in breeches and silk stockings with powdered hair, reading my "Clarissa," and making dramatic movements with their hands. And it is true that my book is the longest English novel ever written, equaling four heavy volumes. 

But be pleased to reflect upon the following question, my dear reader---would not the reader who finished my "Clarissa" be regarded as insane if he never did experience this very condition? For I would then be truly concerned for such cases. Show me the man who has finished my "Clarissa" and never did become a writer, and I will show you an ape in a king's livery.

In which the author comments on gaiety and laughter

It is inevitable that a man of true genius such as I myself will sooner or later be misunderstood, if not slandered, by the majority of his fellow creatures, by which I mean those who were both his contemporaries and his latter-day successors. So I myself have been grossly misunderstood in this way by the critics. For there is one nasty misconception about me out there, namely that I lack what is commonly known as a sense of humor. Rest assured, reader, however, that this is nothing but vile slander.

It may behoove Mr.Richardson to defend himself against the charge. Very well. In this scribbling, I shall prove to everyone’s satisfaction that I do indeed have a great sense of humor.

To begin, it is a matter of undisputed truth that my sense of humor descends from a very noble line, one that may be traced back to Edward III in the 14th century, indeed the earliest record in the history books of anyone displaying my sense of humor. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what exactly the King did that was so funny. Maybe it had something to do with invading the tribal barbarians in Lothian.

But as the reader may find it a bit tedious for me relate my long humorous genealogy in toto, I shall limit myself to my own example.

The earliest recorded instance of Mr.Richardson bringing great mirth to the world occurred when he was a child of five years, still living in Derbyshire. Thus it occurred that one day I accidentally fouled my britches in my father’s living room, and in his presence too. Happily, my father did release a volley of laughs upon seeing me thus, as I did too; but my outburst did not last nearly as long as his. His immoderate fit of laughter lasted him many happy hours, eventually prompting my mother to stop him by over-turning a bucket of water on his head. Oh, what an amusing picture my family made than day! That was my first recorded use of my sense of humor, though it must be admitted that I was not a fully active agent in eliciting that laughter.

I shall now present another instance of my sense of humor. The next time I managed to bestow so much mirth on my parents occurred when I was a 13 year-old child, a shifty-eyed rascal, now living in London, and having achieved that dominance over my stomach which is known in the vulgar as bowel control. One morning after coming down from my room, I walked up to my father and made the following request:

“Pappa, would you be so kind as to get for Mr. Richardson, the younger, a cup of tea?” I requested most sheepishly.

Again, my pappa burst into a volley of laughs, and I did join him too. “Oh, look how our child has grown,” was the expression on my father’s lips, which he repeated over and over for my mother’s benefit the rest of that day. “Look how MY boy has grown,” he would say, with an exaggerated change in emphasis.

One final proof of my sense of humor should suffice for now. This time I was a fresher in the university. Some of my fellow students and I were enjoying a hearty evening in the pub on Queen’s Lane, wherein we had libations in many bottles of wine. Looking over all my fellow schoolmates as they were enjoying their wondrous revelry, and being myself in the highest spirits, I jumped upon the table and struck a mighty pose:

“Naturam expellas furca licet, usque recurret,” I released in a potent shriek. Incidentally, I normally say this when in high spirits.

Everyone turned their eyes upon me, and the room room went a-hush. And when few seconds later someone flung a bottle at me, thus knocking me down from the table, they all burst into a volley of laughs. In due time, I joined them in laughing at myself, and I was the last in the room to finish laughing too. 'Fore Gad, does that not fully demonstrate my sense of humor? That lively anecdote was indeed on my lips for many years afterwards; in fact, everyone was talking about it, in the following words:

“Zounds, man, it’s Richardson coming. Look alive! He’s probably going to relate that old story about how someone in a pub tossed a bottle of wine at him when he climbed on the table and tried to recite Horace. Make sure to look merry.”

So, reader, my message to you is quite simple: always look merry when I am around. It highly becomes your faces.