Haywood's re-appropriation of the amatory heroine in Betsy Thoughtless.
The importance of Pamela to understanding the domestic novel at large tests on Richardson's insistence that sexual virtue is paramount in realizing a coherent female identity. Haywood, however, provides an alternative construction of female subjectivity based on sexual desire and the ways in which the experiences of seduction, rape, and sexual intrigue shape rather than degrade women's experience. Reading Betsy Thoughtless in the context of Haywood's amatory novellas of the 1720s challenges Richardson's aesthetic and moral ideology of virtue. Betsy Thoughtless thus exemplifies the ways in which the mid-century novel incorporates both the amatory and domestic forms. (7) Betsy is herself a transitional character in the history of the novel. Possessing the daring and vain, if flawed, qualities of an amatory protagonist, she also has the characteristics of later, domestic heroines; she is eventually thoughtful, always generous, and always virtuous. Her task is to negotiate the dangers of potential amatory plots--and to explore her sexual desires--in order to attain subjectivity. By contrasting their heroines to characters who fail to learn the authorial lessons they promote, Richardson and Haywood offer radically different versions of the domestic narrative and the novelistic heroine. In this regard, Haywood's strength lies in her crafting several foils for the heroine--a method that showcases her successful techniques as an amatory author in the 1720s--in order to develop a subjectivity for Betsy that resists a Richardsonian ideology of passive virtue.
Haywood's amatory narratives do not consider seduction as an end point, but rather as the beginning of the heroine's history. (8) Resistance to illicit sexuality remains the stated goal of much of Haywood's early fiction and clearly the objective of her later writing, especially in The Female Spectator (1744-46). But Haywood also deals with the possibility that such restraint will prove ineffective. She not only offers strategies for life after seduction, but also proposes that the path from attraction to abandonment is complicated and offers many chances for redemption, provided the woman is smart enough to understand the situation and take advantage of its lessons. By re-appropriating Richardson's ideology of virtue, Haywood offers a domestic heroine in Betsy Thoughtless, who is an inheritor of her early amatory work. In their different uses of the tropes of amatory fiction, both Haywood and Richardson explore young women's responses to the threat of seduction in amatory subplots. This strategy allows their heroines (and the reader) to experience the titillation of seduction scenes and "learn" from the mistakes of fallen women without tarnishing their heroines' chances of marriage. By displacing actual tales of seduction onto foils, Richardson and Haywood appropriate amatory means for these domestic ends. My reading builds on Warner's thesis that Richardson "overwrites" the amatory form, or appropriates amatory tropes in order to use them for his rhetoric of virtue, resulting in cultural elevation. (9) While Warner's theory works in terms of Richardson's Pamela--especially through the key figure of Sally Godfrey, an example that Warner does not explore--it does not seem to work in quite the same way for Haywood's domestic fiction, notably Betsy Thoughtless. If Richardson appropriates Haywood's amatory style for his conception of virtue, Haywood goes a step further and re-appropriates Richardson's rhetoric to rewrite a domestic heroine whose subjectivity is not based on absolute virtue. In Haywood's amatory ideology, sexuality must be shaped and integrated into the self, creating a subjectivity based on the experience and understanding of sexual desire.
APPROPRIATING AMATORY FICTION
The history of Sally Godfrey--Pamela's predecessor in Mr. B's affections--is a plot lifted from amatory fiction. The climax of Pamela occurs in the middle of the novel; while the first half is concerned with the ways in which the heroine ardently resists and then eventually accepts Mr. B's sexual advances, the second hall has been referred to as a novelistic conduct book, both by Richardson himself as well as by modern critics such as Armstrong and Spencer. However, it is difficult to write a compelling narrative when the eighteenth-century conduct book is one's inspiration. Samuel Johnson's infamous remark about Clarissa could be applied to the second half of Pamela: if one reads it for the plot, one would hang oneself. But Richardson enlivens the narrative by including an account of Mr. B's cast off mistress, Sally. By delaying the story of Sally Godfrey until after Pamela has married Mr. B, Richardson underscores the importance of Pamela's maintaining her virginity. Critics, from Fielding and Haywood to the present day, have commented on the ways in which Pamela's refusal of Mr. B's addresses has an erotic effect, but Richardson was outraged by such readings. (10)
To argue that Pamela lacks sexual desire for Mr. B seems to challenge important readings of her subjectivity and significance, beginning with the anti-Pamelists in the 1740s and stretching into the influential twentieth-century work of critics such as McKeon and Margaret Doody. (11) Helene Moglen and Helen Thompson argue it is important to question the assumption that Pamela has an unconscious, an assumption that underlies all arguments regarding her virtuous subjectivity. (12) Richardson's anger at the erotic and manipulative readings of Pamela's desire by Fielding and Haywood, among others, demonstrates that he did hot want Pamela's character to be understood in a sexualized way. (13) The text seems to belie this at moments, especially when Pamela feels love for Mr. B that she does not understand: she rejoices he does not die in a hunting accident, she wonders at her inability to leave him when he sends her home from Lincolnshire. Such moments, however, emphasize a virtuous and wifely "love" rather than the eroticism or sexual desire that marks Sally's early obsessions with Mr. B. Nearly all scenes of physical intimacy between Mr. B and Pamela are tarnished by her intense fear of him. In an early seduction scene where Mr. B tries to rape Pamela, she writes: "I found his hand in my bosom; and when my fright let me know it, I was ready to die." (14) Repeatedly, Pamela connects sexual discovery with deathly fear. Her desire for Mr. B is defined by her proper wish--even when it is only implicit--to become his virtuous wife.
The resolution of the Godfrey plot shows Richardson's purpose in appropriating this story of fallen virtue; in essence, Richardson makes virtue erotic and overt sexuality undesirable by contrasting Pamela and Sally. Virtue becomes the normative reading for female attractiveness in subsequent domestic novels, despite amatory echoes in later fiction. (15) As much as Richardson claimed his book was an entirely new species of writing, he clearly understood the compelling qualifies of the cautionary tale of sexual misadventure and so included his own amatory plot in his moral narrative. Each time he introduces Sally in Pamela, the domestic narrative is interrupted by an amatory one. Sally, a character reared by greedy and unscrupulous guardians, becomes undesirable as a wife, though very desirable as a lover. Pamela is fascinated by Sally's story, constantly revisiting it in the midst of her domestic education in the second half of the book. What happens to Sally becomes an obsession for Pamela, though one rarely voiced out loud to Mr. B, because, as a proper wife, she should not do so. Mr. B's ease in seducing Sally and her subsequent pregnancy and exile echo as an alternate narrative that might have featured Pamela, had she not withstood Mr. B's frequent advances. (16) In contrast, Haywood implies that despite her heroines' having sex outside of marriage, there are possibilities for positive reformative conclusions. The heroines of amatory fiction tend to have morally ambiguous endings. Haywood's early fictions do not necessarily punish the seduced heroines with deportation or death, but rather allow them to reclaim virtuous reputations on their home soil, such as Lasselia, who "became an Example of Piety even to those who never had swerved from it" (80), and Glicera in The City Jilt, of whom Haywood claims "few Persons continue to live in greater Reputation" (103). Such endings neither anticipate nor reinscribe a Richardsonian ideology of virtue but explore an alternate female subjectivity based on the heroines' exploration of sexual desire.
Significantly, Richardson's narrator endorses Pamela's reading of Sally's story--redemption is only possible through repentance, banishment, and marriage--and underscores what readers are supposed to learn from her tale:
The poor deluded female, who, like the once unhappy Miss Godfrey, has given up her honour, and yielded to the allurements of her designing lover, may learn from her story, to stop at the first fault; and, by resolving to repent and amend, see the pardon and blessing which await her penitence, and a kind Providence ready to extend the arms of its mercy to receive and reward her returning duty: While the prostitute, pursuing the wicked courses, into which, perhaps, she was at first inadvertently drawn, hurries herself into filthy diseases, and an untimely death; and, too probably, into everlasting perdition, (531)
There are two alternatives for seduced women according to Richardson: repentance and banishment or prostitution. Richardson easily moves from seduction to prostitution, as if they were the same thing, yet he does not make Sally a prostitute. Since she stops "at the first fault" and leaves the country, her story models the possibility of redemption for the fallen woman within the ideological limits of the domestic novel. But Richardson also states that the only alternative to exile and redemption is prostitution, a moral and physical descent illustrated by Hogarth's "A Harlot' Progress," exactly the kind of black-and-white binary that Haywood's conclusions resist. (17) In Richardson's ideology, virtue is paramount and only virtue can be rewarded; there is no wiggle room for moral recovery within the domestic sphere. A woman is virtuous or she is not, a binary exemplified by Pamela and Sally.
Sally's history echoes the amatory tropes employed by Haywood. Mr. B claims Sally's mother contrived to get them together in order "to draw me into marriage with her, for the sake of the fortune I was heir to; and contrived many opportunities to bring us and leave us together." Sally, like many of Haywood's amatory heroines, is under the authority of an ineffectual guardian, in this case her mother, who is too greedy and too conniving to instruct her daughter in proper feminine behavior. Rather than following the strict rules of courtship, Sally's mother allows an intimacy between Mr. B and Sally to develop outside of social and moral boundaries; she turns her head from clandestine meetings, for example. Nevertheless, Mr. B describes Sally as "a deserving good girl" (Pamela, 458); they are of similar rank and a decent match, and the mother's plan initially works when Mr. B and Sally become intimate. After her relatives discover their sexual relationship, but cannot force him to propose marriage, Sally and Mr. B continue their affair while he is at Oxford: he is too much of a libertine to give up their intimacy and she is too fond of him to resist. She first comes to Oxford to clear herself from the charges that her intent is to trick him into marriage. In the process, "she was there obliged, naughty creature as he was! to make herself quite guilty of a worse fault, in order to clear herself of a lighter ... till, at last, the effect of their frequent interviews grew too obvious to be concealed" (Pamela, 511). As in Lasselia, Fantomina, and The City Jilt, the woman wants affection and love, the male wants sex. Mr. B's sister, Lady Davers, eventually discovers the intrigue and pays for Sally's removal, lying in, and her niece's education. Presented in this way, the story echoes the kinds of situations in which Haywood's heroines find themselves: the young lady, the wealthy young man, the passions of both, and the ease with which the man extricates himself. As Melladore in The City Jilt concludes, so does Mr. B: the seduced woman's "ease" in giving up her virtue makes her an unworthy wife, a struggle in which Pamela, as we know, "triumphs." But the parallels between amatory tales such as The City Jilt and Sally's story diverge in important ways.
One of the differences between Pamela and Haywood's early fiction manifests in the kinds of incidents that occur after the woman's seduction which imply punishment (as in Richardson) or the possibility of redemption (as offered in The City Jilt). Pamela is intrigued by Sally's story and wants to know more. She writes: "Yet I wonder what became of her! Whether she be living? And whether any thing came of it?--May be I shall hear full soon enough!--But I hope not to any bad purpose" (Pamela, 464). Readers of Haywood's amatory fiction know full well that, of course, something of "bad purpose" did come of Sally's amatory tale. This is the stuff of amatory plots, a "bad" ending to the history of a girl who cannot keep her desire under control (in part because parents and suitor are acting badly). Haywood's amatory heroines triumph by surviving their ordeals and actively redeeming their virtue after their seductions. Sally's reputation does not survive her seduction; she does not enjoy a full return to reputation on her home soil as does Haywood's Glicera in The City Jilt, for instance. Her redemption must take the form of banishment and marriage, strategies that Glicera does not find necessary. Amatory protagonists typically weep or rant, and then strategize a way out of sexual indiscretions, such as the seduced women in The British Recluse who turn to one another and are "happy in the real Friendship of each other" (224), instead of looking for masculine love and protection. This is impossible for Sally because she is the counterexample of what could have happened to Pamela; in order to highlight Pamela's successful story of "virtue rewarded," Sally must stand in for the ways in which Pamela could have gone wrong. Therefore, Richardson has Sally chastise and banish herself.
Sally's redemption comes about through self-banishment and marriage; supposedly unable to contain her sexual desires, she effectively shuts them down. "She suffered so much in child-bed, that nobody expected her life," and the trauma to her body and mind effects such a change in her that "she dreaded nothing so much as the thought of returning to her former fault" (Pamela, 512). Pregnancy and childbirth take on the burden of punishment for sexual desire. The classic costs of womanhood are invoked: Eve's "curse" of a painful childbirth does its job and prompts the reform of the lustful Sally. Haywood's amatory heroines, such as Glicera, tend to be more concerned with revenge or how to make a living when they cannot marry; their children are often stillborn, die in early infancy, or (as in Aphra Behn's amatory tales) are never referred to again. Labor and delivery exist as the punitive, personality-altering moment for amatory heroines; the child itself serves as a symbol of broken vows and false love rather than the mother's extraordinary sin. (18) Sally survives, though her reputation does not, only because she has cut all former ties to home, country, and family. Her child becomes the link to and symbol of Sally's guilty past.
Sally goes to Jamaica, "where she is since well and happily married, passing to her husband for a young widow, with one daughter, which her husband's friends take care of, and provide for," because she worries she will be seduced again. Richardson, through Pamela, tells us how we should read Sally's story: she must repress sexual desire, reform her past mistake by banishment, and hope for redemption, for Sally "feared nothing else could save her." According to Pamela, Sally's leaving England "shewed she was much in earnest to be good, that she could leave her native country, leave all her relations, leave you [Mr. B], whom she so well loved, leave her dear baby, and try a new fortune, in a new world, among quite strangers, and hazard the seas; and all to preserve herself from further guiltiness." Her exile to Jamaica is ambiguously coded as both punishment and deliverance. (19) While her attraction to Mr. B persists, and while his desire for her does too (he tries to prevent her from leaving the country), Sally believes that exile from everything she knows is best for her, her child, and Mr. B, a decision that Pamela lauds as evidence of Sally's sacrifice and moral reformation. For Pamela, Sally's decision redeems her morally lax youth. The heroine claims that she honors Sally's "resolution [to leave Mr. B and the country]; and would rank such a returning dear lady in the class of those who are most virtuous; and doubt not God Almighty's mercy to her; and that her present happiness is the result of his gracious providence, blessing her penitence and reformation" (Pamela, 513-14). Sally's self-punishment becomes the means for Richardson to appropriate the amatory heroine's plot into one that Pamela can comment on and triumph over. Pamela is sure that God himself would agree with her in praising the now reformed Sally, and would happily accept her as one of "those who are most virtuous," though Richardson does not test Pamela's resolution by bringing Sally back to England. Through his depiction of Sally's sin and redemption, he remakes the amatory plot to ensure that women's sexual desire requires guilt, shame, and self-punishment, thus solidifying his reading of the amatory novel as indecent, lusfful, and corrupting.
Significantly, despite Sally's efforts, her self-imposed banishment and reform do not convert Mr. B. Despite knowing the details of his former lover's fate, Mr. B continues his libertine life--only the absolute sexual virtue of Pamela is enough to convert him. Readers of amatory novellas know that the heroine's reforming male libertinism by being virtuous is a fiction--amatory tales such as Fantomina demonstrate the opposite. (20) By having Pamela convert Mr. B, Richardson emphasizes that Mr. B's virtue is really at stake in the novel because he undergoes the moral reformation that Pamela does not need. She is denied the powerful amatory experience of discovering her sexuality, learning from her mistakes, and creating her own means of reform. In the end, Sally can only shut down her sexual desires, sit in Jamaica, and send gifts to a daughter she will never see.
RE-APPROPRIATING THE DOMESTIC
If Richardson appropriates the amatory form to insist that virtue, above all else, determines a woman's subjectivity, Haywood in The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless re-appropriates domestic ideology to demonstrate that female virtue is far from absolute. She implies that there are gradations of behavior, nuances of seduction, chances at redemption, and corresponding degrees of punishment or reward. Set against the behavior of other female characters, Betsy can vicariously experience the various amatory situations offered to her and modify her behavior so that she eventually can negotiate proper conduct. The range of Betsy's foils--Miss Forward, Miss Flora, Miss Mabel, and Miss Harriot--allows her to learn from others' experience. (21) Miss Forward allows Betsy to flirt with the extremes of erotic love and learn to recognize and reject decisions that would be devastating to her future. Through Flora, the heroine learns not to be coquettish, to be honest in her dealings
with others, and to avoid the kinds of scheming that could corrupt her. Conversely, the domestic plots of Mabel and Harriot show Betsy how she should behave, with respect, reserve, and honesty. By setting Betsy against these foils, Haywood creates a character who exemplifies the interplay of the amatory and domestic forms; she not only possesses the passions and flaws of an amatory heroine, but also the temperate and thoughtful qualities of the domestic exemplar. In this respect, Haywood recasts the values and assumptions of much eighteenth-century domestic fiction by resisting the insistence that virtue is the only basis for female subjectivity, thereby critiquing Richardson's reading of her earlier amatory fiction.
The first of Betsy's foils is her school friend, Miss Forward, whose forays into sexual experience prove that character as well as circumstance dictate a woman's path. While she makes many mistakes, she forfeits opportunities for redemption and reform, demonstrating that a woman's fall from virtue is more nuanced than Richardson would have his readers believe. As her name suggests, Miss Forward is sexually aggressive: she "had a great deal of the coquette in her nature:--she knew how to play at fast-and-loose with her lover," Mr. Sparkish, a young man with whom she carries on clandestine meetings. (22) Miss Forward's tale begins Betsy's education "into the mystery of courtship, [so that] it is not to be wondered at, that when she came to the practice, she was so little at a loss" (Betsy Thoughtless, 30). While the affair between Forward and Sparkish is discovered and ended, her behavior in a second affair leads her to a life of prostitution and eventual incarceration.
Under the tutelage of a Mademoiselle Grenouille, a young French teacher at the school hired after Betsy moves to London, Miss Forward finds herself entangled with an unscrupulous suitor, Mr. Wildly. She describes her seduction in a manner that sounds as if it were excerpted from the confessional conversations of The British Recluse:
What could I do?--how resist his pressures? ... His strength was far superior to mine;--there was no creature to come to my assistance;--the time,--the place,--all joined to aid his wishes;--and, with the bitterest regret and shame I now confess it, my own fond heart too much consented.
In a word, my dear Miss Betsy, from one liberty he proceeded to another, till at last there was nothing left for him to ask, or me to grant. (Betsy Thoughtless, 110)
The tone of this passage mirrors the amatory seduction story: "the time, the place" are contrived to seduce the young woman, the seducer is powerful, and the seduced is "too much consenting." While Miss Forward regrets the aftermath of the affair--her pregnancy, a stillborn baby, and a fleeing lover--she clearly enjoys the sexual experience, another echo from amatory tales. There are even "amatory dashes" which structurally mimic erotic rhythms. (23) Here Haywood uses the amatory form in the Miss Forward subplot as a way of allowing Betsy to hear about and experience the excitement of sexual passions and the worst throes of pain and misfortune without having to go through them herself.
The ultimate lesson provided by the worst kind of seduced woman, the one who cannot reclaim her character, is brought home in an incident in London. Not realizing that Miss Forward has become a kept mistress, Betsy visits her and even willingly goes to a play with her and two young gentleman, an adventure that nearly ends in Betsy's rape. The gentleman, thinking she is a prostitute, takes her to a bagnio rather than to her home, where Betsy, finally realizing the danger she is in, panics, nearly faints, and marriages to convince the gentleman of both her social standing and virtue. Safely home, she "looked back with horror on the precipice she had fallen into, and considered it as a kind of miracle, that she had recovered from it unhurt." She then writes a scathing letter to Miss Forward, chastising her recklessness in unthinkingly involving her in the lifestyle of a kept woman: "But, for heaven's sake, what could induce you to desire a continuation of a correspondence with me?--What did you take me for?--Did you imagine me so blind as not to see into the shameful means by which you are supported ...?" Finally understanding what her friendship with Miss Forward implies, Betsy learns one of her most important lessons about reputation and honor through her friend's mistakes and her own close call. Though she is unaware of it, the incident also solidifies Mr. Trueworth's falling opinion of her character and conduct, and ensures that he ends his suit to her. After cutting off all further communication with Miss Forward, Betsy "could not reflect, that what she had done might call [her reputation] in question, and how near she had been to having [her honor] irrecoverably lost" (Betsy Thoughtless, 242-44). Miss Forward's situation clearly stands as an example of the path that Betsy could have followed had she not understood the previous lessons about inappropriate situations. For instance, the incident at Oxford, in which Betsy unwittingly finds herself alone with an amorous university student, foreshadows the scene of Miss Forward's seduction. However, whereas Miss Forward is "blind" to her folly and madness, Betsy instantly recognizes the embarrassments and dangers of her situation and wishes to be conducted away from "that worst of men" (111, 73).
Miss Forward represents the worst possible example for a young, vain girl--seduction, abandonment, and a life of prostitution--because she embodies the lost chances for reform. Rather than learn from her mistakes with Sparkish and Wildly and take opportunities to reconcile with her parents or regain her reputation, she supports a lavish lifestyle in London as a courtesan and eventually lands in debtors' prison. Far from stopping at the first fault, Miss Forward tries to support herself by sexual labor; she does not remove herself from society as do the heroines of The British Recluse; she does not redeem herself or her reputation as does the heroine of The City Jilt; she is not even banished to Jamaica as Sally Godfrey is. In the last that we hear of her, Betsy has sent her four guineas in response to a pathetic letter from debtors' prison, in which Miss Forward has promised to reform as long as she can get the money to pay off her debts.
If Miss Forward represents an extreme, the other options for Betsy are personified by her opposing guardians' wives: Lady Trusty, "a woman of great prudence, piety, and virtue," and Lady Mellasin, whose conduct made her "a very unfit person to have the care of youth, especially those of her own sex" (35-36). Betsy lives with Lady Mellasin, learns inappropriate behavior, and makes the mistakes that will eventually lead to her first disastrous marriage. While she survives her education under Lady Mellasin and learns how not to behave, Lady Mellasin's daughter, Miss Flora, falls victim to the lessons of her unfit mother. Flora represents the second amatory plot possibility for Betsy, one that parodies Sally Godfrey's story: intrigue, abandonment, and banishment to Jamaica. (24)
Early on, Haywood stages scenes that exemplify what bad companions Flora and Lady Mellasin are. During her initiation into formal courtship, Betsy receives from these two an education in coquetry and unsuitable behavior. They encourage teasing and rude manners for the sake of delight and diversion; they prod Betsy to mock and taunt one of her less-desirable suitors, Captain Hysom, and they encourage her to flirt with several suitors at once. Flora is frequently compared to Betsy: she is less attractive, less witty, and less charming, her fortune is almost non-existent, her behavior is mean spirited and underhanded. Flora shows off Betsy's naturally sympathetic qualities: where Flora's conduct "did not promise much sincerity," Betsy "had a certain softness in her disposition, which rendered her incapable of knowing the distress of anyone, without affording all the relief was in her power to give" (43, 142). Betsy therefore must learn to guard herself against Flora's tricks and schemes.
Flora tries to thwart the relationship between Betsy and Trueworth for a number of reasons, including her own affection for him, her financial instability, and her jealousy. She seduces Trueworth by sending him an anonymous letter signed "Incognita," a strategy familiar from Haywood's Fantomina. When he first receives the anonymous letter from Flora, Trueworth is "a good deal surprized, but had no occasion to consult long with himself in what manner it would become a man of his years to behave in such an adventure." He is curious and excited by the possibility of this plot which "he had not only heard of, but also experienced, when on his travels abroad" (306). An affair between Trueworth and Flora ensues until he abandons her to marry Harriot. (25) While Betsy is never privy to his affair with Flora, this subplot acts as another example, this time to the readers, of how Betsy should not behave. Flora, rejected by Trueworth in favor of the pristine and therefore marriageable Harriot, is left as an "unhappy and abandoned creature, too much deserving of the fate she met with" (398). Just as Mr. B in Pamela abandons Sally Godfrey, Trueworth abandons Flora, and like Sally, she is exiled to Jamaica. Haywood parodies Richardson's treatment of Sally's situation in Flora: the titillating indiscretion of the affair appeals to the reader who can enjoy the clandestine nature of the tryst while being allowed to condemn Flora's inappropriate behavior. Whereas Flora's affair embodies bad decision making and inconvenient exile, Sally's is a sin requiring repentance and reformation to avoid damnation.
Flora Mellasin proves to be a negative example of the overly emotional amatory heroine; once rejected by Trueworth, she writes passionate letters and schemes unsuccessfully to regain his affection and protection. Although this is the way Glicera, the heroine of The City Jilt, acts, such behavior typifies the fallen woman in the 1750s. Haywood always makes it clear in her amatory fiction that impassioned, scolding letters are no way to win back the affection of a man who has thrown a woman over. (26) However, the end of the Flora-Trueworth affair differs from amatory plots like that of The City Jilt because Haywood banishes Flora from London society, frustrating any hope she has of regaining Trueworth or playing out her revenge against him. Aggressive sexual behavior in women is never fully condoned by Haywood, but because sexual experience is not coded as sin, punishments for women's indiscretions vary. In the comparatively short form of the amatory novella, the heroine only has time for one major mistake. However, in the longer domestic novel Flora has many chances to repent and fails to do so. Betsy, on the other hand, uses each incident in the novel to reflect on her behavior, to understand how her acts effect her reputation, and to alter her manners. Flora, too passionate, too jealous, too desperate, never fully learns how to behave properly. Haywood crafts a situation in which Flora cannot remain in England.
Because Flora's mother, Lady Mellasin, has been supporting a man with her husband's money, Betsy's guardian, Mr. Goodman, throws Lady Mellasin and Flora out of his home. Though he eventually dies as a result of his wife's nefarious deeds, his heir provides her with a small stipend, as long as she agrees to "retire forthwith, and pass the whole remainder of your days in some remote part of the kingdom." Lady Mellasin
had heard much talk of Jamaica,--that it was a rich and opulent place,--that the inhabitants thought of little else, but how to divert themselves in the best manner the country afforded; and that they were not too strict in their notions, either as to honor or religion;--that reputation was a thing little regarded among them;--so that in case the occasion that had brought her thither should happen to be discovered, she would not find herself in the less estimation. (522-23)
Sally Godfrey also "voluntarily" heads to Jamaica "where she is since well and happily married" (Pamela, 513). But these three women's exiles carry with them deeply ambivalent meanings. Sally's exile is understood by Pamela as evidence of her penitence, yet in the eighteenth century, such a fate seems more appropriate for scheming characters like Lady Mellasin and Flora.
The Apology for the Conduct of Mrs. T. C. Phillips, published in the 1740s, provides an example of contemporary cultural perceptions of Jamaica, especially for fallen women. (27) In eighteenth-century texts, the prospect of transportation to the Americas was two-fold. At the ends of the empire, one was far from the civility and the comforts of home. Life expectancies in the Caribbean colonies were low; hurricanes often swept through and routinely destroyed settlements, crops, and fortunes; tropical diseases ran rampant. Anxieties about Jamaica, especially for fallen women, recur in the eighteenth century. For instance, Corinna, the "Beautiful Young Nymph" of Swift's poem, has nightmares where she "to Jamaica seems transported, / Alone, and by no Planter courted." (28) Flora, to a greater extent than Sally Godfrey, regards Jamaica as a hell on earth. She is "all distraction at this event ... fain she would have stayed behind; but what could she do?--without reputation,--without friends,--without money,--there was no remedy but to share her mother's fortune" (Betsy Thoughtless, 523). While Flora is dubious about sharing her mother's fate--she does not get "caught" in her affair with Trueworth, and therefore believes she should not share in her mother's banishment to the colonies--she does understand that Jamaica is about banishment from her home, about punishment for failing to regulate her desires.
Haywood calls attention, through Flora's anxieties, to Jamaica as a place of unbounded possibilities for wealth and prosperity, where the past lives of its inhabitants seem less important than their present good fortune. (29) Despite the fact that Flora is without friends, money or reputation, she presumably can make something of herself once there. Wilson notes that "the island by mid-century had become the richest British colony." Rising in social prominence through a "Marry and Bury" system was common for both displaced women and plantation-owning men. Wilson claims that "such an environment could be a fertile one for a socially ambitious, witty and beautiful woman determined to acquire the recognition, status and financial security that she felt had been unfairly denied her in her native land." Accounts of the luxuriousness and moral depravity of Jamaica abound in Charles Leslie's A New and Exact Account of Jamaica (1740), which offers a portrait of Jamaican colonial women: "Some of the Ladies read, they all dance a great deal, coquette much, [and] dress for Admirers." (30) Such a list exemplifies the activities that Flora and Betsy indulge in under Lady Mellasin's care while in London: what is questionable in England becomes the norm in the colony. For Haywood marking Jamaica as a place where the opulent, unthinking, and indulgent Lady Mellasin and the morally loose Flora could disappear and prosper is a logical choice.
In Jamaica, race trumped social indiscretions, and Wilson notes that "white women on the island were idealized as fragile, maternal, pristine and inviolable to attempted improprieties." (31) By virtue of their being white, women such as Lady Mellasin, Flora, and Sally Godfrey appear virtuous (or virtuous enough) and are at a premium for marrying well. Their social value rises by simply being well-born Englishwomen, despite their pasts. Their banishment represents the possibility of social rebirth because all three characters, in theory, have the opportunity in Jamaica to remake themselves. While Haywood provides no clue to the fortunes of Lady Mellasin and Flora, Richardson does provide a husband for Sally, and she is wealthy enough to send gifts to her daughter. As Felicity Nussbaum notes, geography and female virtue were linked and "contrasts between torrid, temperate, and frigid zones of the globe were formative in imagining that a sexualized woman of empire was distinct from domestic English womanhood." (32) The idea of linking sexual virtue to geography is at work for Sally and Flora; their lack of sexual propriety in their own "torrid" or sexualized zones, requires them to go to the torrid zones of the globe. While Sally may be happily married and a virtuous wife, she is still sentenced to a geographical and metaphorical banishment, outside of the zone of "domestic English womanhood." As a literary convention, then, Jamaica operates as place for fallen women to remake their identities and indulge in tropical luxuries even as it remains as a site of punishment and uncertain dangers. In a departure from her amatory narratives, in which her heroines often can regain their reputations by acting with the utmost discretion, as the endings of Haywood's Lasselia and The City Jilt demonstrate, in Betsy Thoughtless Haywood implies that sexually experienced women are unable to remain in England and redeem themselves. By sending Flora to Jamaica, Haywood suggests that by mid-century the imagined ability of fallen women to redeem themselves on their native soil was disappearing.
While inset narratives of Miss Forward and Flora play a significant role in Betsy's maturation, Haywood includes positive examples of female behavior, characters who have more in common with the heroines who populate the domestic novel. As women who conform to the letter of conduct-book behavior, these characters encourage Betsy to behave like a heroine of domestic fiction. (33) Miss Mabel is Betsy's dear friend, and a thoughtful, graceful, yet lively young Londoner. Miss Harriot, Trueworth's first wife, is a retired, cultured woman who Betsy might have become (so it is implied) had she lived with Lady Trusty in the country. Yet, while these women are models for ideal behavior, Haywood does not make either of them the heroine of her novel. As Haywood's later work in The Female Spectator and indeed Betsy Thoughtless itself underscores, conduct book behavior, often prescribed by male authors, was not always a reasonable expectation. Haywood emphasizes that the perfection of the domestic heroine depends on her living in nearly ideal circumstances. Mabel and Harriot have exceptional domestic situations; they are well provided for, well protected, and are not subject to seductive amatory machinations. Likewise, they marry well, to men who respect and love them and do not abuse them; Betsy is not so lucky in her marriage to Mr. Munden, and her attempts at using conduct book behavior (under the tutelage of Lady Trusty) seem only to highlight the impossibility of acting submissively and obediently in the face of blatant disrespect and cruelty. Mabel and Harriot, in this respect, highlight the problematic, often futile, ideal Betsy should aim for, but cannot seem to attain. Through these characters, Haywood criticizes the impracticality of conduct-book values.
Miss Mabel (later Lady Loveit) remains on the periphery of the narrative as Betsy makes mistake after mistake while under the guardianship of Lady Mellasin. Figured as the sort of young woman with whom Betsy should spend her time, Mabel manages to combine worldly and correct behavior; she is "not only in effect the most valuable of all the young ladies she [Betsy] conversed with, but was also the most esteemed and loved by her." Betsy and Mabel engage in age-appropriate activities for London ladies, namely charity--they undertake the care of an orphan baby girl together--in contrast to the flirtations, card parties, and assemblies that Betsy indulges in under the guardianship of Lady Mellasin. In contrast to the tumultuous love-lives of Betsy's other foils, Mabel's love plot is nearly unencumbered; despite a parsimonious father, she and Sir Bazil Loveit are "extremely well suited to make each other happy," and their courtship, marriage settlements, and marriage are uneventful. Her love affair serves to model the prudent and decent match Betsy should have found in Mr. Trueworth. Just as Flora and Lady Mellasin bring out the coquettishness in Betsy, Mabel brings out her better qualities. Indeed Mabel is a kind of alternate Betsy, because the "two ladies perfectly agreed in their sentiments of virtue and reputation, yet their dispositions and behavior in the affairs of love, were as widely different, as any two persons possibly could be." Similar in beauty, fortune, rank, and sentiment, they differ only in the fact that Betsy herself prevents Mabel's influence from affecting her too deeply because she enjoys her faults of coquetry and vanity, and "as she could not as yet resolve to alter her mode of behavior, was never quite easy in the presence of any one, who acted with a prudence she would not be at the pains to imitate" (Betsy Thoughtless, 294, 365, 293, 294). Betsy knows that Mabel is the better version of herself, and at times avoids her acquaintance, instead choosing more frivolous companions who do not encourage her to reconsider her behavior. Yet Mabel is the reason that Trueworth and Betsy can marry, as she serves to correct his misconceptions about Betsy. After Flora convinces Trueworth that the adopted baby is actually Betsy's illegitimate child, Mabel reveals the truth, that Betsy is acting selflessly to care for an orphan, as a proper upper-class woman should. After Trueworth's first wife dies, Mabel provides a way for Trueworth and Betsy to renew their addresses to each other. Because she is an exemplary model for women's courtship and marriage, she becomes the only person who can help Betsy identify, attract, and eventually marry the right man.
Miss Harriot provides an example of how Betsy's first courtship with Trueworth should have progressed according to conduct books. Equals on almost every other footing, the two women are divided by Harriot's love of the country, delight in educated pastimes, and lack of vanity. Harriot has all the wit, beauty, and fortune of Betsy, though she possesses far more discretion. Like the heroine, she has "no inclination to marry." Her prudent social behavior makes her desirable, mostly because when Trueworth meets her, he is still smarting from Betsy's independence and disregard for her reputation. He feels that Harriot's country breeding and indifference to superficial things makes her the ideal wife. Harriot hates London: the court is "a place I would always choose to avoid," she says, and masquerades earn only her "utter detestation." Only the plays and opera of London receive "not only my approbation.., but my applause." The fact that "all she said discovered a delicacy of sentiment, and a judgment far above her years" encourages Trueworth to carry "with him such an idea of the lovely Harriot's perfections, that scarce any consideration would have been powerful enough to have made him quit the town, while she continued in it" (Betsy Thoughtless, 371, 316-18). The courtship between Trueworth and Harriot is subtle, slow, and fraught with secret anxieties for him because she conceals her feelings, as a proper young lady should--Harriot is the conduct book model incarnate.
Their love has none of the passion and excitement that Betsy's and Trueworth's courtship does; nor does it elicit the same interest. The relationship between Harriot and Trueworth is decidedly proper and a little dull.
Harriot's narrative, in this regard, has little in common with Haywood's earlier amatory fiction. While Betsy smarts over her misunderstanding in the Miss Forward affair, Trueworth quietly and subtly woos Harriot. Her difference from Betsy lies in her disdain for affectation, an art that Betsy has carefully crafted while in London. Because of Harriot's familial attachments and her dislike for showy entertainments, Trueworth realizes "that it behooved him to be very cautious how he proceeded" with his proposal (357). Brought together with the help of friends, their affair moves forward in prose that anticipates a Burney or an Austen novel:
she had a great share of solid understanding, was an enemy to all sorts of affectation, and as she knew the end proposed by his courtship was marriage, saw no reason why he should be fearful of mentioning it to her;--and though her modesty would not permit her to take much part in a conversation of this nature, yet she was too artless, and indeed too sincere, to counterfeit a displeasure, which she did not feel. (376)
The tension in their courtship lies in the idea that neither of them is supposed to talk about his or her attraction, nor their impending marriage. She can only modestly and silently think he is attractive; he can only smile and hint, as the text implies any outright declaration of his affection would chase her out of London.
And yet, there is a certain irony to Harriot's character. Her courtship and marriage at first seem to imply that this is the model that Betsy should have followed to secure Trueworth as her husband, and seems to follow once Munden has died. While Harriot is privileged, so the text implies, to be Trueworth's first wife, the necessity of Haywood's killing her off calls attention to her role as an uninteresting, non-desiring woman, and in a way the artificiality of such "proper" behavior. The plot is contrived so that once Trueworth and Betsy fully understand their affection for one another, both of their marriages conveniently end so that they can marry each other. Deborah Nestor claims the artificiality of the plot line "subverts the ideology of virtue rewarded," (34) and I think such subversions can also be extended as Haywood's ironic comment on domestic characters such as Harriot. She is the perfect potential wife, as her gentle courtship and swift marriage to Trueworth demonstrate. But she is not the perfect wife; Haywood swiftly disposes of her within the first year of marriage. Harriot, disgusted by society and fearful of London, cannot last as Trueworth's wife because she is unsuitable for him, a worldly man who immediately loves Betsy's cleverness, sociability, and energy. Harriot is attractive to him only after he believes the worst of Betsy; even if Betsy is not a kept woman, her lack of concern about her reputation leads him to find Harriot's shyness and retirement attractive. And her convenient death implies that they were not the best match; Trueworth falls into courting Betsy (now Mrs. Munden) as soon as is possible; their passion for each other ignites even before Mr. Munden dies. This pairing, Haywood seems to emphasize, is the true love match and the real marriage. Harriot simply fails to have the potential for excitement and desire that Betsy naturally possesses--she may be the perfect conduct book or domestic novel heroine, but she is not the perfect wife for Trueworth.
While it appears that Betsy's deserving Trueworth as a husband is contingent on her acting like Harriot (Betsy retires to Lady Trusty's in the country for her period of mourning, now "cleansed" of her former coquettish habits), Haywood again emphasizes that passion and interest are necessary in the "perfect" marriage. Having exchanged love letters toward the end of her mourning, Betsy and Trueworth instantaneously revert to amatory heroine and hero. Their first meeting, which secures their engagement, is painted as almost inappropriately passionate:
all her presence of mind was not sufficient to enable her to stand the sudden rush of joy which on sight of him burst in upon her heart;--nor was he less overcome,--he sprang into her arms, which of themselves opened to receive him, and while he kissed away the tears that trickled from her eyes, his own bedewed her cheeks.--"Oh have I lived to see you thus!"--cried he,--"thus ravishingly kind!" (630)
Their meeting is reminiscent of the amatory seduction scenes--there are amatory dashes, exclamations, bursting hearts, tears of joy, her arms open of their own accord--rather than the cool joy of Harriot's acceptance of Trueworth's proposal. This is the real romantic couple, not characterized by the domestic propriety of the Harriot/ Trueworth match, but the tire of an amatory one. Haywood kills off the ideal Richardsonian heroine because she recognizes the need to make virtue hard-earned, educational, and interesting.
Despite the fact that Mabel's and Harriot's characters mark a departure from amatory heroines, their construction calls attention to the ways in which the domestic novel and the amatory novel are interdependent. As virtuous exemplars, their roles imply that passion and desire, while it can be harmful to a woman such as Betsy, are valuable assets nonetheless. Mabel and Harriot are idealized but not ideal characters, according to Haywood, because Mabel is too proper to pursue questionable behavior and Harriot is too disgusted by London to venture outdoors. Betsy is not quite an amatory heroine because she never compromises her virginity and she is also not quite a domestic novel heroine because she often is inattentive to her virtuous reputation; instead she is a hybrid character who exemplifies the amatory exploration of desire and anticipates the domestic repression of desire. She stands as an alternative to masculine fantasies of amatory and domestic heroines, embodying Haywood's recognition that passion tempered by proper outward behavior is the best way for women to negotiate the demands of patriarchal ideology.
If Betsy's character exemplifies the dialogical possibilities between amatory and domestic fiction, Haywood's novel resists the theory that domestic fiction overwrote amatory narratives and eventually drove them out of existence. By using the tropes of amatory fiction, both Richardson and Haywood gesture to the many ways in which female virtue can be rewarded or punished. Yet Haywood's multiple use of narrative possibilities in the figures of Miss Forward, Flora, Mabel, and Harriot gestures toward a complex understanding of women's alternatives in the eighteenth century. While Richardson reinforces a model of absolute virtue by contrasting Pamela's behavior and fate to Sally Godfrey's, Haywood's range of female characters implies that there are opportunities for women to redeem indiscreet behavior and prevent the swift slide from seduction to banishment or prostitution. Haywood expects her readers to identify with her heroine, and therefore to recognize that a range of sexual experience is tolerable, even necessary, in order to be rewarded for virtuous behavior. Such an interplay between amatory and domestic modes extends into the novels of the later eighteenth century. In order to protect the virtue of the heroine, other characters experience the worst throes of amatory narratives in later novels: Lydia runs off with Wickham so that Elizabeth and Darcy might marry; Belinda helps to reform Lady Delacour so that she might deserve Hervey. Such examples reinforce the idea that the amatory narrative is necessary in order to secure the proper reward for virtue: a moral identity for women in a patriarchal society. This amatory "residue" in later eighteenth-century domestic novels gestures, however indirectly, toward alternate ideological possibilities for female subjectivity through both the exercise of virtue and the exploration of sexual desire.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(1) Catherine Ingrassia claims that Haywood's marketing strategies in particular help us to understand canonical authors such as Richardson: see Authorship, Commerce, and Gender in Early Eighteenth-Century England: A Culture of Paper Credit ( Cambridge U. Press, 1998). Patrick Spedding notes that while she was supposedly "reforming" her style, Haywood was actually publishing and translating pornography: see "Shameless Scribbler or Votary of Virtue?: Eliza Haywood, Writing (and) Pornography in 1742" in Women's Writing 1550-1750 (2001): 237-51. Kathryn King, "The Afterlife and Strange Startling Adventures of Eliza Haywood's Amatories," paper presented at the annual conference for ASECS at Atlanta, March 22-25, 2007, identifies several passages in later eighteenth-century works lifted directly from Haywood's early amatory fiction.
(2) Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel ( Oxford U. Press, 1987); Michael McKeon The Origins of the English Nove1 1600-1740 (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1987); William B. Warner, Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684-1750 (U. of California Press, 1998).
(3) Jane Spencer, The Rise of the Woman Novelist: From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986); Janet Todd, The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction, 1660-1800 (London: Virago, 1989); Ros Ballaster, Seductive Forms: Women 's Amatory Fiction from 1684-1740 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992);John J. Richetti, Popular Fiction Before Richardson: Narrative Patterns 1700-1739 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969).
(4) William Merit Sale, Jr., Samuel Richardson: A Bibliographic Record of His Literary Career with Historical Notes (Yale U. Press, 1936), 13. While there were rive editions in the first year, subsequent editions appear to have been repackaged versions of earlier editions. These figures do not take translations or adaptations into account. Patrick Spedding, A Bibliography of Eliza Haywood (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2004), 775. By the end of the eighteenth century, Pamela's publication rates had begun to outstrip those of Betsy Thoughtless, reaching thirteen editions by 1792, but their mid-century publications rates appear to be comparable. These figures do not take translations or adaptations into account.
(5) "The Story" of Haywood, as Paula Backscheider describes it, claims that she wrote titillating works in the 1720s, was shamed into silence by Pope's Dunciad (1729), and eventually repented and wrote conduct literature (1740s-50s): see Backscheider's "The Story of Eliza Haywood's Novels: Caveats and Questions," The Passionate Fictions of Eliza Haywood: Essays on Her Life and Work, ed. Kirsten T. Saxton and Rebecca P. Bocchicchio (Lexington: U. of Kentucky Press, 2000), 19. The Story was central to critical evaluations of her until the 1990s, but has since been debunked by critics such as Spedding and King.
(6) For an approach to Haywood's amatory works that reads her domestic fiction in terms of performativity, see Emily Hodgson Anderson, "Performing the Passions in Eliza Haywood's Fantomina and Miss Betsy Thoughtless," Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 46 (2005): 1-15.
(7) By "domestic fiction," I follow Armstrong in referring to later eighteenth-century novels by women authors such as Frances Burney, Maria Edgeworth, and Austen, novels based on the Richardsonian ideal of passive virtue, in which the heroine's virtue is the basis of her identity. By "amatory fiction," I refer to short fiction by Aphra Behn, Delarivier Manley, and Haywood, narratives that almost always begin with seduction and do not necessarily require the strict virtue of the heroine.
(8) The amatory works I refer to all by Haywood, are The British Recluse; or, The Secret History of Cleomira, Suppos'd Dead (1722) in Popular Fiction by Women, 1660-1730, ed. Paula R. Backscheider and John J. Richetti (Oxford U. Press, 1996); Lasselia; or, The Self-Abandon'd (London, 1723); Fantomina; or, Love in a Maze (1724) in Fantomina and Other Works, ed. Alexander Pettit, Margaret Case Croskery, and Ann C. Patchias (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2004); and The Cityjilt; or, The Alderman Turn 'd Beau (1726) in Three Novellas, ed. Earla A. Wilputte (East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1995). The plotlines are intricate, but essentially all follow the story of a young woman who is willingly, if naively, seduced, and who must negotiate the social (and sometimes physical) fallout of her premarital sexual affair.
(9) Warner, Licensing Entertainment, 192-99.
(10) Shamela and Anti-Pamela address the sexiness of refusal directly by writing alternate versions in which eroticism is ironically highlighted and some Victorian adaptations of the plot are blatantly pornographic.
(11) Margaret Ann Doody, A Natural Passion: A Study of the Novels of Samuel Richardson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974).
(12) Helene Moglen, The Trauma of Gender: A Feminist Theory of the English Novel (U. of California Press, 2001); Helen Thompson, Ingenuous Subjection: Compliance and Power in the Eighteenth-Century Domestic Novel (U. of Pennsylvania Press, 2005).
(13) Indeed, his need to keep writing Pamela as virtuous, as the two Pamela sequels attest, is a strong bit of evidence for his frustration with the anti-Pamelists' readings of Pamela's manipulative sexuality.
(14) Samuel Richardson, Pamela, or, Virtue Rewarded, ed. William Sale (New York: Norton, 1958), 60. Subsequent references appear parenthetically.
(15) For instance, all of Jane Austen's works have hints of amatory subplots: the story of Colonel Brandon's two Elizas in Sense and Sensibility, Lydia and Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, Maria and Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park, the whispers about Jane in Emma, the possibilities between Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay in Persuasion. Such subplots are hinted at in Victorian fiction as well: one example is Jane Eyre's momentary consideration of Rochester's offer to take her to France to be his mistress.
(16) Charlotte Sussman has defined Sally's story as the "nasty vision of the fate of single women" in "'I wonder whether poor Miss Sally Godfrey be living or dead': The Married Woman and the Rise of the Novel," Diacritics 20 (1990): 97. Sussman makes this remark in order to evaluate critically McKeon's and Armstrong's willingness "to accept the marriage plot as the limit of novelistic representation of women's social space" (90).
(17) For the intricacies and cultural meaning of prostitution in eighteenth-century Britain, see Laura Rosenthal's Infamous Commerce: Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture (Connell U. Press, 2006). Of particular interest here is the fact that the prominent female figure in Hogarth's plate "Morning" (1783) is thought to be Miss Betsy (or Betty) Careless, an actress/prostitute and neighbor of Haywood's, who has been suggested as a source for the character of Betsy Thoughtless. While historical evidence for the connection has yet to be researched, the echo of Haywood's "virtuous" heroine's name in a famous actress/prostitute's name further complicates assumptions about absolute notions of virtue in Betsy Thoughtless.
(18) Glicera, for instance reacts so violently to Melladore's jilting that her soul is described as a "Hurricane" which "threw her into a Mother's Pangs long before the time prefix'd by Nature... and by that means the Consequence of her too easy Love proved no more than an Abortion" (City Jilt, 77), a rhetoric directly linking dead love and the dead child.
(19) Jamaican exiles and fears of Jamaican exiles repeat throughout eighteenth-century texts, and are especially common for women who bear children outside the con fines of marriage or ruin good marriages with desire-based mistakes. The cultural implications of a Jamaican exile is discussed below.
(20) Deciding the only way to keep her lover interested is to dress up as different women and continually re-seduce him, Fantomina underscores both the impossibility of reforming the libertine and the delight in enjoying libertine behavior.
(21) While there are other women to whom Betsy is compared--perhaps most notably her brother's and husband's mistress, Mademoiselle de Roquelair--I have chosen to concentrate on these four because of their close proximity in age, rank, and fortune. All rive are entering the courtship "scene," are genteel, and have questionable or absent parental figures, and all rive determine their futures through their choices of lovers, suitors, and husbands. Haywood emphasizes that behavior and reputation determine vastly different outcomes for women, despite comparable socioeconomic beginnings.
(22) Eliza Haywood. The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless, ed. Christina Blouch (Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 1998), 29. Subsequent citations appear parenthetically.
(23) John Richetti argues that Haywood's amatory writing style itself "has the logic of mathematical demonstration ... The construction matches the erotic tension of guilty and illegal lovers on dangerous grounds" (Popular Fiction before Richardson, 1700-1739 [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969], 188). Such a style, Richetti argues, mimics the sexual act and "signals her audience to imagine a blocked erotic intensity that can only be evoked rather than named." Stylistically, these amatory dashes recreate the rhythms, feelings, and interruptions of sexual experience. Richetti offers his opinion that as specific as the prose style is, it is also "in a real sense unreadable" (The English Novel in History, 1700-1780 [London: Routledge, 1999], 41).
(24) For a detailed evaluation of parody in Betsy Thoughtless, see Andrea Austin, "Shooting Blanks: Potency, Parody, and Eliza Haywood's The History of Miss Betsy Thoughtless," Saxton and Bocchicchio, Passionate Fictions, 259-82.
(25) Haywood repeats incidents of the double-standard of sexual behavior in Betsy Thoughtless, having even her hero indulge in morally questionable but socially acceptable sexual affairs. In addition to Trueworth's behavior, Sir Bazil Loveit, Mr. Thomas Thoughtless (Betsy's elder brother), and Mr. Munden (Betsy's first husband) all participate in morally suspect affairs.
(26) Glicera in The City Jilt, 76, is scolded by the narrator for sending a bitter, scolding letter to Melladore ("a letter of this sort would have but little effect on the Person to whom it was sent"); and Fantomina, when she realizes that her lover will be unfaithful to her, decides that "Complaints, Tears, Swoonings, and all the Extravagancies which Women make use of in such Cases have little Prevailance over a Heart inclin'd to rove" (51).
(27) Kathleen Wilson, The Island Race: Englishness, Empire, and Gender in the Eighteenth Century (London: Routledge, 2003), 129-68, devotes a chapter to this notorious courtesan, who lived in Jamaica in the mid-eighteenth century, was known for sexual liaisons with important men, and eventually became Mistress of the Revels in Jamaica.
(28) Jonathan Swift, "A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed," The Complete Poems, ed. Pat Rogers (Yale U. Press, 1983). The crux of Corinna's nightmare seems to be that she has no admirer once she reaches Jamaica. The admirer-turned-husband is, of course, the thing that keeps Sally from further disgrace, but despite the wealth of the planters and the dearth of white women, there was no guarantee that men would provide for every woman who went to the West Indies.
(29) Impressions about the women of the West Indies are varied. According to Janet Schaw, a Scotswoman who traveled to Antigua in the mid 1700s, the Creole women (that is, white women born on the islands) "are modest, genteel, reserved and temperate" as opposed to their men whom the sun makes "gay, luxurious and amorous" (Janet Schaw, Journal of a Lady of Quality: Being the Narrative of a Journey from Scotland to the West Indies, North Carolina, and Portugal, ed. Evangeline Walker Andrews and Charles McLean Andrews [2d ed., Yale U. Press, 1934], 113). This is in contrast to the report in 1789 made by John Luffman, who claims that certain customs of the native-born white women are less than perfect: "their dress is slight and inclined to tawdry, and their conversation languid" (A Brief Account of the Island of Antigua [London, 1789?], 36). These do not account for the habits of white women who emigrated or were transported to the West Indies, but it does provide the idea that the characters of women in the West Indies, as in London, were varied and subject to several "readings" by outsiders.
(30) Wilson, Island Race, 146, 155, 129.
(31) Wilson, Island Race, 155.
(32) Felicity Nussbaum, Torrid Zones: Maternity, Sexuality, and Empire in Eighteenth-Century English Narratives (Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1995), 7.
(33) They are the kind of heroines who Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction, refers to when she talks of how "the conduct book made the female the overseer of gender formation" (108), Pamela being the prime example.
(34) Deborah Nestor, "Virtue Rarely Rewarded: Ideological Subversion and Narrative Form in Haywood's Later Fiction," SEL 34 (1994): 588.
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|Title Annotation:||Eliza Haywood|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2006|
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