Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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.

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