Letters 21-27 Summary
Clarissa has asked her mother to allow her to speak. Her mother agrees because Mr. Harlowe and Clarissa's uncles have gone out for supper, thus leaving Mrs. Harlowe with her two daughters.
Arabella is in the room with Mrs. Harlowe when Clarissa arrives. As Clarissa once again pleads her case for not marrying Solmes, there is a knock on the parlor door. It is Solmes, who asks to be allowed to join them.
Solmes enters the room, acknowledging Mrs. Harlowe and Arabella before he greets Clarissa. Clarissa claims that this is the social custom that a husband usually plays out, leaving his wife to be the last one he greets.
Clarissa is annoyed by Solmes' arrogance and his assumption that she will marry him. She makes a point of being rude to him. She also continues her discussion with her mother, admitting the reasons why she is so appalled by the idea of marrying Solmes while Solmes listens.
Mrs. Harlowe and Arabella are shocked that Clarissa is acting so rude. However, Clarissa points out that as soon as her father returns home, he has promised to confine her to her room and disallow any conversation with her mother. This is her last time to appeal to her mother. So she has been forced to do so in front of Solmes.
Mrs. Harlowe, although she has a little empathy for her daughter's predicament, continues to remind Clarissa that there is nothing for her to do but obey her father's will. Mrs. Harlowe has no power in this decision. If Clarissa does not comply, Mrs. Harlowe repeats, she will bring discordance upon the entire family.
Returning home, Mr. Harlowe hears the news that Clarissa will not give in to his will. The first thing he does to punish her is to take away every house key from her. Upon discovering that Clarissa's maid has been instrumental in delivering Clarissa's letter, he dismisses the maid. From now on, Clarissa will share a maid who has proven her allegiance to the parents. Clarissa is to go nowhere without this maid accompanying her.
The other restrictions imposed include Clarissa being prohibited from being in the same room or in any garden outside with her parents. She must wait until her parents have left before she may enter. Any communications that she wants to make with her parents must first be approved by her brother.
Although correspondences have been banned, Clarissa continues to manage to send out and receive letters both from Anna and from Mr. Lovelace. In Mr. Lovelace's most recent letter, he has told her that he has heard about the restrictions put upon her. He asks that she arrange a meeting between him and her father so that he might propose a marriage deal that will more than compete with whatever Mr. Solmes has promised. He also tells Clarissa that Solmes has been making statements around the town that he will be marrying Clarissa within weeks. Lovelace hopes this is not true.