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.