Belford goes to the prison and is appalled by the situation. Clarissa had been accosted in the street on her way out of church and, despite her fear of the strange men, is forced to go with them into a carriage. Sally Martin had been waiting at the officer’s house that serves as a prison, and she accuses Clarissa of trying to cheat Mrs. Sinclair out of £150 she owed for her lodging. She mocks Clarissa, frequently calling her “Miss” and pointing out that she is not married. Clarissa refuses any food or drink and also refuses to write to any of her friends for the money. She insists that she will not see any man.
Polly and Sally offer to bring her back to Mrs. Sinclair’s and, while Clarissa is at their mercy, she will not treat them politely, and they are rude to her in return. She at first refuses to see Belford because he is a man, but the jailers let him into her room. Belford writes an extremely detailed description of the squalid, run-down room, with Clarissa, all in white, kneeling in a corner of it with her Bible. He notes that somehow her linen is as white as ever even though she would not have been able to change it. Belford eventually gains her trust and she goes with him back to her lodgings. She is very ill and weak.
Dr. H., recommended by Belford, visits Clarissa. She has no money but insists on paying him, so she gives her landlady a diamond ring in exchange for a loan. Unable to write, she dictates a letter to be sent to Anna. Belford visits Clarissa at her lodgings and pleads for Lovelace. She convinces him that she does not hate Lovelace, and sincerely wishes for his reformation, but she maintains that she will never see him again. Belford calls her an angel and asks Lovelace how he could have treated her as he did. Clarissa begins to feel better and is grateful for her comfortable, safe situation and for the paternal treatment of Dr. H. Belford goes to visit Belton, who is dying, and he reflects again upon the folly of the rakish life, resolving to reform and marry if he can, and attributing the resolution to Clarissa’s influence on him. Clarissa sells some of her clothes so that she can pay for her expenses.
Hickman visits Lovelace in order to ascertain his earnestness about marrying Clarissa. Lovelace mocks his formality and seriousness, and he shocks Hickman by saying that Clarissa has in fact left him for another suitor. Lovelace then reveals that the suitor is Death. Hickman leaves disconcerted but convinced that Lovelace is serious.
Mrs. Smith, the owner of Clarissa’s new accommodation, asks Clarissa and Belford to join her and her husband in celebrating their anniversary. Clarissa will not, and she takes the occasion to relate her story to the people of the house. Everyone is convinced that she is an angel.
Clarissa writes to Arabella to ask her to intercede with their father. Unbeknownst to Clarissa, Anna also writes to Arabella to tell her of Clarissa’s dangerous condition. An exchange of insulting letters between the two follows. Arabella shows the offensive letters to Mrs. Harlowe, who in turn sends them to Mrs. Howe, who writes back in apology. Anna writes to encourage Clarissa to marry Lovelace, now that she is convinced of his earnestness and his innocence of the arrest. Clarissa writes that she believes in both his earnestness and innocence, but she will still not marry Lovelace, saying she has more pleasure in thinking of death than of a husband. Mrs. Norton writes and tells Clarissa that the Harlowes would have extended favor to her before Anna’s letters angered them. Clarissa chides Anna for taking such freedoms with her family. She writes again to Arabella to reconcile.