A novel by S. Richardson, published 1754. Richardson had been thinking of the portrayal of a ‘Good Man’ to balance his female creations in Pamela and Clarissa. The novel, again epistolary in form, is the only one set in aristocratic and wealthy society, of which Richardson had little personal knowledge.
The beautiful and accomplished Harriet Byron comes to London, where she attracts many admirers, among them the wealthy and unscrupulous Sir Hargreve Pollexfen. When she refuses his advances he has her abducted from a masquerade, then after the failure of a secret marriage ceremony, has her carried off into the country. Sir Charles, hearing her cries from the coach, rescues her and gives her into the care of his kindly married sister. He and Harriet fall in love, but on the day she learns of his love for her he has to set out for Italy. There, in the past, he has become involved with one of the noblest‐born women in Europe, Clementina Porretta, but religious differences have kept them apart. Clementina's unhappiness has deranged her mind, and her parents, now prepared to accept any terms for the cure of their daughter, summon Sir Charles to Italy. As she recovers, however, Clementina reaffirms that she cannot marry a heretic, and Sir Charles, released, returns to England to marry Harriet.