Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Punctilio is out of doors the moment you are out of your father's house

I will now take up the grave matter of advising young maidens who are most susceptible to seductions from vile libertines, namely, those virtuous and comely daughters who chose to rebel against their father's authority, and who in the same hour have leapt from a parent's window to a libertine's bed--for in such words does Clarissa Harlowe's friend, Miss Howe, pertly chid Clarissa two days before Clarissa flew her father's house, thus precipitating the general catastrophe of my famous history. 

Let this suffice for a brief summary of the early sections of my history---Clarissa rejected her parent's choice for husband in the person of Mr.Solmes; although he is unmistakably a man of probity and is without any vices, he is repeatedly described by Clarissa as the odious Solmes. But what is surely most important, is that the family has given their sanction to a marriage with Solmes, superadding a most solemn duty for Clarissa to obey. Her running away with the wretch Lovelace invariably sets their hearts a-bleeding, for they incorrectly make the construction that she actually prefers Lovelace to Solmes. 

But instead of marrying the man with whom she thus escaped, and heeding her friend's counsel (though Clarissa could not have known at the time what capacity for glorious mischief Lovelace had) Clarissa pursues a most dangerous path instead. Throughout the course of her many trials Clarissa remains at the mercy of Lovelace and his wretched friends, surrounded by deceitful creatures everywhere, without any friends of her own or family to whom she can appeal.

My advice upon such matters is of a double nature---I would first like to solicit parents in the strongest possible terms to choose only those prospective husbands for their daughters who would not inflame very strong aversions in the daughter's breasts, at least not those aversions which can not be duly surmounted in a reasonable amount of time. Is my reader still following me?

My second advice is of a more practical nature---for those comely young maidens who should find themselves thus forsaken in the cruel world, sadly bereft of family and friends, those fair and buxom maidens may be restored to spirit and health in the knowledge that they are most welcome to take sanctuary in my private lodgings, where I shall take upon myself the great duty of reforming their wanton hearts. You beauteous lasses and fair damsels receive thus consolation! For in addition to benefiting from regular doses of my moral instructions, you shall enjoy all the physical amenities of modern life while residing in my lodgings. You shall, for instance, be provided with a dresser for storing all your dainty underthings, as well as a sleeping chamber closely but unobtrusively guarded through a key-hole by a most trustworthy gentleman, and a bed that can accommodate at least three people, including one plumpish middle-aged man. 

I shall be most happy to provide any such fair damsel with more information about my lodgings. And remember, ladies, all punctilio is out of doors once you leave your father’s house!

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