Sunday, October 16, 2005

Digging Out from Distress

Thanks to my Bookman, I now know who Montaigne's greatest of the great, Epaminondas is. I also feel better in regards to my reading distress of the other day. I have decided to make a plan and although every one of my reading plans fell through in the past and this one probably will too, it will have served its purpose. I made five columns on a piece of paper. Above each column I wrote a heading, Classic, Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, Free Choice. I placed all the books I am currently reading in their respective columns and below them I listed what book will follow it and so on. I did not list anything in the Free Choice column because, in theory, that will allow me spontaneity. I feel pretty good about it at the moment. The test will be when I finish one of the books I am in the middle of. Last night's reading in bed pleasure went to Clarissa. What fun this book continues to be. In last night's letters I learned the true motivations behind the maliciousness of Clarissa's brother and sister. The Harlowe family is very rich. Clarissa's grandfather died and left her his estate in his will. Clarissa's brother was outraged. He being the only grandson had expected the estate to go to him. But Clarissa actually loved her grandfather and he loved her and in return for her devotion willed her his estate. To pacify everyone Clarissa, instead of becoming independent, gave the estate into her father's hands to manage and remained at home. But then Lovelace came into the picture, saw how lovely Clarissa was, and switched his affections from from her sister to her. Lovelace's family began negotiations with the Harlowe family. The Harlowe's saw advantage in the union of two such rich families. And between the estates promised to Lovelace by his family, Clarissa's estate and the promise of her two bachelor uncles to will her their estates too, Lovelace would be able to become a peer and Clarissa a peeress. Meanwhile, Arabella, Clarissa's sister is still in love with Lovelace and thinks Clarissa stole him from her on purpose. So she gladly combines forces with their brother who is about to lose a big chunk of the fortune he considered his. Together they press the family into backing off from the Lovelace union and negotiate a union between Clarissa and Mr. Solmes. Mr. Solmes is odious to Clarissa not just because he is ugly. She found out that in the negotiations he promised to not give any piece of his estate to any of the members of his own family. Clarissa would come to the marriage with her estate and they would be very well off. However, if Clarissa died her estate goes back to the Harlowes. And if Mr. Solmes died without an heir, his entire estate would go to the Harlowe family. If Clarissa refuses to marry Mr. Solmes, her family will litigate and take away the estate willed to her by her grandfather. Clarissa finds herself in quite a pickle. She didn't want to marry Lovelace and she cannot marry Mr. Solmes. She insists that she doesn't want to marry anyone and will gladly move to her estate and she and her companion Mrs. Norton will live there alone. But no one wants an independent woman, too much of a loose canon. The family refuses and demands her obedience, she must do her duty. There I left Clarissa, in tears and begging her dear mamma to take her side. Delicious!