"O Jack! what a difficulty must a man be allowed to have, to conquer a predominant passion, be it what it will, when the gratifying of it is in his power, however wrong he knows it to be to resolve to gratify it!"
— Richardson, Samuel (bap. 1689, d. 1761)
O Jack! what a difficulty must a man be allowed to have, to conquer a predominant passion, be it what it will, when the gratifying of it is in his power, however wrong he knows it to be to resolve to gratify it! Reflect upon this; and then wilt thou be able to account for, if not to excuse, a projected crime, which has habit to plead for it, in a breast as stormy, as uncontroulable!--
This my new argument--
Should she fail in the trial; should I succeed; and should she refuse to go on with me; and even to marry me; which I can have no notion of--And should she disdain to be obliged to me for the handsome provision I should be proud to make for her, even to the half of my estate; yet cannot she be altogether unhappy--Is she not intitled to an independent fortune? Will not Col. Morden, as her trustee, put her in possession of it? And did she not, in our former conference, point out the way of life, that she always preferred to the married life? --"'To take her good Norton for her directress and guide, and to live upon her own estate in the manner her grandfather desired she should live (a)?"
It is moreover to be considered, that she cannot, according to her own notions, recover above one half of her fame, were we now to intermarry; so much does she think she has suffered by her going off with me. And will she not be always repining and mourning for the loss of the other half? --And if she must live a life of such uneasiness and regret for half, may she not as well repine and mourn for the whole?
Nor, let me tell thee, will her own scheme of penitence, in this case, be half so perfect, if she donot fall, as if she does: For what a foolish penitent will she make, who has nothing to repent of? -- She piques herself, thou knowest, and makes it matter of reproach to me, that she went not off with me by her own consent; but was tricked out of herself.
See Samuel Richardson, Clarissa. Or, the History of a Young Lady: Comprehending the Most Important Concerns of Private Life, 7 vols. (London: Printed for S. Richardson, 1748). <Link to ECCO>
Some text drawn from ECCO-TCP <Link to vol. I in ECCO-TCP><Link to vol. II><Link to vol. III><Link to vol. IV><Link to vol. V><Link to vol. VI><Link to vol. VII>
Reading Samuel Richardson, Clarissa; or, the History of a Young Lady, ed. Angus Ross (London: Penguin Books, 1985). <Link to LION>