Jane Austen
Samuel Richardson - Sir Charles Grandison
Volume II - lettere 31/39
traduzione di Giuseppe Ierolli

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Volume II - Letter 31


Lord L. came to town from Scotland within two or three months of Sir Charles's arrival in England. His first visit was to the young Baronet; who, on my Lord's avowing his passion for his sister, and her acknowledging her esteem for him, introduced him to her, and put their hands together, holding them between both his: With pleasure, said he, I join hands where hearts so worthy are united. Do me, my Lord, the honour, from this moment, to look upon me as your brother. My father, I find, was a little embarrassed in his affairs. He loved his daughters, and perhaps was loth that they should too early claim another protection: But had he lived to make himself easy, I have no doubt, but he would have made them happy. He has left that duty upon me—And I will perform it.

His sister was unable to speak for joy. My Lord's tears were ready to start.

My father, proceeded Sir Charles, in one of his Letters to me, acquainted me with the state of your Lordship's affairs. Reckon upon my best services: Promise, engage, undertake. The brother, my Lord, hopes to make you easy: The sister, will make you happy.

Miss Charlotte was affected with this scene; and she pray'd, with her hands and eyes lifted up, that God would make his power as large as his heart: The whole world would then, she said, be benefited either by his bounty, or his example.

Do you wonder now, my dear Mr. Reeves, that Miss Grandison, Lady L. and Lord L. know not how to contain their gratitude, when this beneficent-minded brother is spoken of?

And has not my Charlotte, said he, turning towards her, and looking at Miss Caroline, some happy man, that she can distinguish by her Love? You are equally dear to me, my sisters. Make me your confident, Charlotte. Your inclinations shall be my choice.

Dear Miss Grandison, why did you mislead me by your boasts of unreservedness? What room was there for reserve to such a brother?—And yet it is plain, you have not let him know all your heart; and he seems to think so too. And now you are uneasy at an hint he has thrown out of that nature.

Two months before the marriage, Sir Charles put into his sister's hands a paper sealed up. Receive these, my Caroline, said he, as from your father's bounty, in compliance with what your mother would have wish'd, had we been bless'd with her life. When you oblige Lord L. with one hand, make him, with the other, this present: And entitle yourself to all the gratitude, with which I know his worthy heart will overflow, on both occasions. I have done but my duty. I have performed only an article of the will, which I have made in my mind for my father, as time was not lent him to make one for himself.

He saluted her, and withdrew, before she broke the seal: And when she did, she found in it bank notes for 10,000 l.

She threw herself into a chair, and was unable for some time to stir; but recovering herself, hurried out to find her brother. She was told, he was in her sister's apartment. She found him not there, but Charlotte in tears. Sir Charles had just left her. What ails my Charlotte?

O this brother, my Caroline!—There is no bearing his generous goodness. See that deed. See that paper that lies upon it. She took it up; and these were the contents of the paper:

"I have just now paid my sister Caroline the sum that I think she would have been entitled to expect from my father's bounty, and the family circumstances, had life been lent him to settle his affairs, and make a will. I have an entire confidence in the discretion of my Charlotte: And have, by the inclosed deed, establish'd for her, beyond the power of revocation, that independency as to fortune, to which, from my father's death, I think her entitled. And for this, having acted but as an executor, I claim no merit, but that of having fulfilled the supposed will of either of our parents, as either had survived the other. Cherish, therefore, in your grateful heart, their memory. Remember, that when you marry, you change the name of Grandison. Yet, with all my pride, what is name?—Let the man be worthy of you: And be he who he will that you entitle to your vows, I will embrace him, as the brother of"

Your affectionate


The deed was for the same sum, as he had given her sister, and to carry interest.

The two sisters congratulated, and wept over, each other, as if distressed.—To be sure they were distressed.

Caroline found out her brother: But when she approached him, could not utter one word of what she had meditated to say: But, dropping down on one knee, blessed him, as she owned, in her heart, both for Lord L. and herself; but could only express her gratitude by her lifted up hands and eyes.

Just as he had raised and seated her, enter'd to them the equally grateful Charlotte. He placed her next her sister, and drawing a chair for himself, taking an hand of each, he thus addressed himself to them:

My dear sisters, you are too sensible of these but due instances of my brotherly love. It has pleased God to take from us our father and mother. We are more than brothers and sisters; and must supply to each other the wanting relations. Look upon me only as an executor of a will, that ought to have been made, and perhaps would, had time been given, My circumstances are greater than I expected; greater, I dare say, than my father thought they would be. Less than I have done, could not be done, by a brother who had power to do this. You don't know how much you will oblige me, if you never say one word more on this subject. You will act with less dignity, than becomes my sisters, if you look upon what I have done in any other light than as your due.

O my aunt! Be so good, as to let the servants prepare my apartment at Selby-house. There is no living within the blazing glory of this man! But, for one's comfort, he seems to have one fault; and he owns it—And yet does not acknowledgment annihilate that fault?—O no! for he thinks not of correcting it. This fault is pride. Do you mind what a stress he lays now-and-then on the Family-name? and, as above, Dignity, says he, that becomes my sisters!—Proud mortal!—O my Lucy! he is proud, too proud, I doubt, as well as too considerable in his fortunes—What would I say?—Yet, I know who would study to make him the happiest of men—Spare me, spare me here, my uncle; or rather skip over this passage, Lucy.

Sir Charles, at the end of eight months from his father's death, gave Caroline, with his own hand, to Lord L.

Charlotte had two humble servants, Lord G. and Sir Walter Watkyns, as you have seen in my former Letters; but likes not either of them.

Lord L. carried his Lady down to Scotland, where she was greatly admired and caressed by all his relations. How happy for your Harriet was their critically-proposed return, which carried down Sir Charles and Miss Charlotte to prepare every-thing at Colnebrooke for their reception!

Sir Charles accompanied my Lord and Lady L. as far on their way to Scotland as York; where he made a visit to Mrs. Eleanor Grandison, his father's maiden sister, who resides there. She, having heard of his goodness to his sisters, and to every-body else with whom he had concerns, longed to see him; and on this occasion rejoiced in the opportunity he gave her to congratulate, to bless, and applaud, her nephew.

What multitudes of things have I farther to tell you, relating to this strange man! Let me call him names.

I enquired after the history of the good Dr. Bartlett: But the Ladies said, As they knew not the whole of it, they would refer me to the Doctor himself. They knew however enough, they said, to reverence him as one of the most worthy and most pious of men. They believed, that he knew all the secrets of their brother's heart.

Strange, methinks, that these secrets lie so deep!

Yet there does not seem any thing so very forbidding, either in Sir Charles or the Doctor, but that one might ask them a few innocent questions. And yet I did not use to be so very curious neither. Why should I be more so than his sisters?—Yet persons coming strangers into a family of extraordinary merit, are apt, I believe, to be more inquisitive about the affairs and particularities of that family, than those who make a part of it: And when they have no other motive for their curiosity, than a desire to applaud and imitate, I see not any great harm in it.

I was also very anxious to know, what, at so early an age (for Sir Charles was not then eighteen) were the faults he found with the governor appointed for him. It seems, the man was not only profligate himself, but, in order to keep himself in countenance, laid snares for the young gentleman's virtue; which, however, he had the happiness to escape; tho' at an age in which youth is generally unguarded. This man was also contentious, quarrelsome, and a drinker; and yet (as Sir Charles at the time acknowledged to his sisters) it had so very indifferent an appearance, for a young man to find fault with his governor, that, as well for the appearance-sake, as for the man's, he was very loth to complain, till he became insupportable. It was mentioned, as it ought, greatly to the honour of the young gentleman's frankness and magnanimity, that when, at last, he found himself obliged to complain of this wicked man to his father, he gave him a copy of the letter he wrote, as soon as he sent it away. You may make, Sir, said he, what use you please of the step I have taken. You see my charge. I have not aggravated it. Only, let me caution you, that, as I have not given you by my own misconduct any advantage over me, you do not make a still worse figure in my reply, if you give me occasion to justify my charge. My father loves his son. I must be his son. An altercation cannot end in your favour.

But, on enquiry into the behaviour of this bad man (who might have tainted the morals of one of the finest youths on earth), which the son besought the father to make before he paid any regard to his complaints, Sir Thomas dismissed him, and made a compliment to his son, that he should have no other governor, for the future, than his own discretion.

Miss Jervois's history is briefly this:

She had one of the best of fathers: Her mother is one of the worst of women. A termagant, a swearer, a drinker, unchaste—Poor Mr. Jervois!—I have told you, that he (a meek man) was obliged to abandon his country, to avoid her. Yet she wants to have her daughter under her own tuition—Terrible!—Sir Charles has had trouble with her. He expects to have more—Poor Miss Jervois!

Miss Emily's fortune is very great. The Ladies say, Not less than 50,000 l. Her father was an Italian and Turkey merchant; and Sir Charles, by his management, has augmented it to that sum, by the recovery of some thousands of pounds, which Mr. Jervois had thought desperate.

* *

And thus have I brought down, as briefly as I was able, tho' writing almost night and day (and greatly indulged in the latter by the Ladies, who saw my heart was in the task,) the history of this family, to the time when I had the happiness (by means, however, most shockingly undesirable) to be first acquainted with it.

And now a word or two to present situations.

Sir Charles is not yet come down, Lucy. And this is Monday!—Very well!—He has made excuses by his cousin Grandison, who came down with my cousin Reeves on Sunday morning; and both went up together yesterday—Vastly busy, no doubt!—He will be here to-morrow, I think, he says. His excuses were to his sisters and Lord L. I am glad he did not give himself the importance with your Harriet, to make any to her on his absence.

Miss Grandison complains, that I open not my heart to her. She wants, she says, to open hers to me; but as she has intricacies that I cannot have, I must begin. She knows not how, she pretends. What her secrets may be, I presume not to guess: But surely I cannot tell a sister, who, with her sister, favours another woman, that I have a regard for her brother; and that before I can be sure he has any for me.

She will play me a trick, she just now told me, if I will not let her know who the happy man in Northamptonshire is, whom I prefer to all others. That there is such a one somewhere, she says, she has no doubt: And if she find it out, before I tell her, she will give me no quarter, speaking in the military phrase; which sometimes she is apt to do. Lady L. smiles, and eyes me with great attention, when her sister is raillying me, as if she, also, wanted to find out some reason for my refusing Lord D. I told them an hour ago, that I am beset with their eyes, and Lord L.'s; for Lady L. keeps no one secret of her heart, nor, I believe, any body's else that she is mistress of, from her Lord. Him, I think, of all the men I know (my uncle not excepted) I could soonest intrust with a secret. But, have I, Lucy, any to reveal? It is, I hope, a secret to myself, that never will be unfolded, even to myself, that I love a man, who has not made professions of Love to me. As to Sir Charles Grandison—But have done, Harriet! Thou hast named a name, that will lead thee—Whither will it lead me?—More than I am at present my own, I am, and will be ever, my dear Lucy.

Your affectionate HARRIET BYRON.


Volume II - lettera 31

Volume II - Letter 32


Monday, Mar. 13.

I will now tell you, who the Lady is, to whom the two sisters have given their interest.

It is Lady Anne S. the only daughter of the Earl of S. A vast fortune, it seems, independent of her father; and yet certain of a very great one from him. She is to be here this very afternoon, on a visit to the two Ladies. With all my heart. I hope she is a very agreeable Lady. I hope she has a capacious mind. I hope—I don't know what to hope—And why? Because I find myself out to be a selfish wretch, and don't wish her to be so fine and so good a woman, as I say I do. Is Love, if I must own Love, a narrower of the Heart?—I don't know whether, while it is in suspense, and is only on one side, it be not the parent of jealousy, envy, dissimulation; making the person pretend generosity, disinterestedness, and I cannot tell what; but secretly wishing, that her rival may not be so worthy, so lovely, as she pretends to wish her to be.—Ah! Lucy, were one sure, one could afford to be generous: One might then look down with pity upon a rival, instead of being mortified with apprehensions of being looked down upon.

But I will be just to the education given me, and the examples set me. Whatever I shall be able to do, or to wish, while I am in suspense; when any happy woman becomes the wife of Sir Charles Grandison, I will revere her; and wish her, for his sake as well as her own, all the felicities that this world can afford; and if I cannot do this from my heart, I will disown that heart.

The two Ladies set upon Mr. Grandison on Sunday, to get out of him the business that carried Sir Charles so often of late to Canterbury. But tho' he owned, that he was not enjoined secrecy, he affected to amuse them, and strangely to romance; hinting to them a story of a fine woman in love with him, and he with her; yet neither of them thinking of marriage: Mr. Grandison valued not truth, nor scrupled solemn words, tho' ludicrously uttered, to make the most improbable stuff perplexing and teasing; and then the wretch laughed immoderately at the suspense he supposed he had caused.

What witless creatures, what mere nothings, are these beaux, fine fellows, and laughers, of men!—how silly must they think us women!—And how silly indeed are such of us, as can keep in countenance, at our own expense, their folly!

He was left alone with me for half an hour last night; and, in a very serious manner, besought me to receive his addresses. I was greatly displeased with the two sisters; for I thought they intended to give him this opportunity, by their manner of withdrawing. Surely, thought I, I am not sunk so low in the eyes of the Ladies of such a family as this, as to be thought by them a fit wife to the only worthless person in it, because I have not the fortune of Lady Anne S. I will hear, thought I, what Miss Grandison says to this; and, altho' I had made excuses to my cousin Reeves's, at their request, for staying here longer than I had intended, I will get away to town as fast as I can. Proud as they are of the name of Grandison, thought I, the name only won't do with Harriet Byron. I am as proud as they.

I said nothing of my resentment: But told both Ladies, the moment I saw them, of Mr. Grandison's declaration. They expressed themselves highly displeased with him for it; and said, they would talk to him. Miss Grandison said, She wondered at his presumption. His fortune was indeed very considerable, she said, notwithstanding the extravagance of his youth: But it was an high degree of confidence, in a man of such free principles, to think himself entitled to countenance from—in short, from such a Lady, as your Harriet, Lucy; whatever you may think of her in these days of her humiliation.

She added the goodness of my heart to her compliment. I hope it is not a bad one. Then it was that I told them of my thoughts of going to town on the occasion: And the two Ladies instantly went to their cousin, and talked to him in such a manner, that he promised, if no more notice were taken of the matter, never again to give occasion for them to reprimand him on this subject. He had indeed, he owned, no very strong aspirations after matrimony; and had balanced about it a good while, before he could allow himself to declare his passion so seriously: But only, as it was probable, that he might at one time or other enter the pale, he thought he never in his life saw a woman with whom he could be so happy, as with me.

But you see, Lucy, by this address of Mr. Grandison, that nothing is thought of in the family of another nature. What makes me a little more affected than otherwise I believe I should be, is, That all you, my dear friends, are so much in love with this really great, because good, man. It is a very happy circumstance for a young woman, to look forward to a change of condition with a man, of whom every one of her relations highly approves. But what can't be, can't. I shall see what merit Lady Anne has by-and-by. But if fortune—Indeed, my dear, were I the first princess on earth, I would have no other man, if I might have him. And so I say, that am but poor Harriet Byron. By this time Lady D. will have taken such measures, I hope, as will not disturb me in my resolution. It is fixed, my dear. I cannot help it. I must not, I ought not, I therefore will not, give my hand, whatever has passed between that Lady and my aunt, to any man living, and leave a preference in my heart against that man. Gratitude, Justice, Virtue, Decency, all forbid it.

And yet, as I see no hope, nor trace for hope, I have begun to attempt the conquest of my hopeless—What shall I call it?—Passion?—Well, if I must call it so, I must. A child in love-matters, if I did not, would find me out, you know. Nor will I, however hopeless, be ashamed of owning it, if I can help it. Is not reason, is not purity, is not delicacy, with me? Is it person that I am in love with, if I am in love? No: It is virtue, it is goodness, it is generosity, it is true politeness, that I am captivated by; all centred in this one good man. What then have I to be ashamed of?—And yet I am a little ashamed now-and-then, for all that.

After all, that Love, which is founded on fancy, or exterior advantages, is a Love, I should think, that may, and oftentimes ought to be overcome: But that which is founded on interior worth; that blazes out when charity, beneficence, piety, fortitude, are signally exerted by the object beloved; how can such a Love as that be restrained, damped, suppress'd? How can it, without damping every spark of generous goodness, in what my partial grandmamma calls a fellow-heart, admiring and longing to promote and share in such glorious philantropy?

Philantropy!—Yes, my uncle: Why should women, in compliance with the petulance of narrow-minded men, forbear to use words that some seem to think above them, when no other single word will equally express their sense? It will be said, They need not write. Well then, don't let them read: And carry it a little farther, and they may be forbidden to speak. And every lordly man will then be a Grand Signor, and have his mute attendant.

But won't you think my heart a little at ease, that I can thus trifle? I would fain have it be at ease; and that makes me give way to any cheerful idea that rises to my mind.

The Ladies here have made me read to them several passages out of my Letters to you before I send them. They are more generous than I think I wish them to be, in allowing me to skip and pass over sentences and paragraphs as I please: For is not this allowing that I have something to write, or have written something, that they think I ought to keep from their knowledge; and which they do not desire to know? With all my heart. I will not be mean, Lucy.

* *

Well, Lucy, Lady Anne has been here, and is gone. She is an agreeable woman. I can't say but she is very agreeable. And were she actually Lady Grandison, I think I could respect her. I think I could—But O, my dear friends, what an happy creature was I, before I came to London!

There was a good deal of discourse about Sir Charles. She owned, that she thought him the handsomest man she ever saw in her life. She was in love with his great character, she said. She could go no-where, but he was the subject. She had heard of the affair between him and Sir Hargrave; and made me an hundred compliments on the occasion; and said, That her having heard, that I was at Clonebrooke, was one inducement to her, to make this visit.

It seems, she told Miss Grandison, That she thought me the prettiest creature she ever beheld.—Creature was her word—We are all creatures, 'tis true: But I think I never was more displeased with the sound of the word Creature, than I was from Lady Anne.

* *

My aunt's Letter relating to what passed between her and Lady D. is just brought me.

And so Lady D. was greatly chagrined!—I am sorry for it. But, my dear aunt, you say, that she is not displeased with me in the main, and commends my sincerity. That, I hope, is but doing me justice. I am very glad to find, that she knew not how to get over my prepossession in favour of another man. It was worthy of herself, and of my Lord D.'s character. I shall always respect her. I hope this affair is quite over.

My grandmamma regrets the uncertainty I am in: But did she not say herself, that Sir Charles Grandison was too considerable in his fortune; in his merit? That we were but as the private, he the public, in this particular? What room is there then for regret? Why is the word uncertainty used? We may be certain—And there's an end of it. His sisters can railly me; "Some happy man in Northamptonshire!"—As much as to say, "You must not think of our brother." "Lady Anne S. has a vast fortune." Is not that saying, "What hope can you have, Harriet Byron?"—Well, I don't care: This life is but a passage, a short passage, to a better: And let one jostle, and another elbow; another push me, because they know the weakest must give way; yet I will endeavour steadily to pursue my course, till I get thro' it, and into broad and open day.

One word only more on this subject—There is but one man in the world, whom I can honestly marry, my mind continuing what it is. His I cannot expect to be: I must then of necessity be a single woman as long as I live. Well! And where is the great evil of that? Shall I not have less cares, less anxieties?—I shall. And let me beg of my dear friends, that none of you will ever again mention marriage to


Volume II - lettera 32

Volume II - Letter 33


Tuesday, March 14.

Sir Charles is come at last! He came time enough to breakfast, and with him the good Dr. Bartlett. My philosophy, I doubt, is gone again, quite gone; for one while at least. I must take sanctuary, and that very soon, at Selby-house.

Every word that passes now, seems to me worth repeating. There is no describing how the presence of this man animates every one in company. But take only part of what passed.

We were in hopes, Sir Charles, said Lord L. that we should have had the pleasure of seeing you before now.

My heart was with you, my Lord: And (taking my hand; for he sat next me, and bowing) the more ardently, I must own, for the pleasure I should have shared with you all, in the company of this your lovely guest.

[What business had he to take my hand? But indeed, the character of brother might warrant the freedom.]

I was engaged most part of last week in a very melancholy attendance, as Mr. Grandison could have informed you.

But not a word of the matter, said Mr. Grandison, did I tell the Ladies; looking at his two cousins. I amused them, as they love to do all mankind, when they have power.

The Ladies, I hope, cousin, will punish you for this reflexion.

I came not to town till Saturday, proceeded Sir Charles; and found a billet from Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, inviting himself, Mr. Merceda, Mr. Bagenhall, and Mr. Jordan, to pass the Sunday evening with me at St. James's-square. The company was not suitable to the day, nor the day to the purposed meeting. I made my excuses, and desired them to favour me at breakfast on Monday morning. They came. And when we were all in good humour with one another, I proposed, and was seconded by Mr. Jordan, that we would make a visit—You will hardly guess to whom, Miss Byron—It was to the widow Awberry at Paddington.

I started, and even trembled. What I suffered there, was all in my mind.

He proceeded then to tell me, that he had, tho' not without some difficulty on Sir Hargrave's part, engaged him to draw upon his banker for the 100l. he had promised Wilson; on Mr. Merceda on his banker for 50 l. and he himself generously added 50 l. more; and, giving, as he said, the air of a frolic to the performance of a promise, they all of them went to Paddington. There satisfying themselves of the girl's love for Wilson, and of the widow's opinion of Wilson's good intentions by the girl; they let them know, that the sum of 200 l. was deposited in Sir Charles's hands to be paid on the day of marriage, as a portion for the young woman; and bid them demand it as soon as they thought fit. Neither Wilson nor the widow's son was there. The widow and her daughters were overjoy'd at this unexpected good news.

They afterwards show'd Sir Charles, it seems, every scene of my distress; and told him, and the gentlemen, all but Sir Hargrave (who had not patience to hear it, and went into another room) my whole sad story. Sir Charles was pleased to say, That he was so much affected with it, that he had some little difficulty, on joining Sir Hargrave, to be as civil to him as he was before he heard the relation.

To one condition, it seems, the gentlemen insisted Sir Charles should consent, as an inducement for them to comply with his proposal. It was, that Sir Charles should dine with Sir Hargrave and the company at his house on the forest, some one day in the next week, of which they would give him notice. They all insisted upon it; and Sir Charles said, he came the more readily into the proposal, as they declared, it would be the last time they should see him, for at least a twelvemonth to come; they being determined to prosecute their intended tour.

Wilson and young Awberry waited on Sir Charles the same evening. The marriage is to be celebrated in a few days. Wilson says, that his widow-sister in Smithfield will, he is sure, admit him into a partnership with her, now that he shall have something to carry into the stock; for she loves his wife-elect; and the saving both of body and soul, will be owing, he declared (with transport that left him speechless) to Sir Charles Grandison.

Every-body was delighted with the relation he gave. Dear Sir Charles, said Mr. Grandison, let me be allowed to believe the Roman Catholic doctrine of Supererogation; and let me express my hope, that I your kinsman may be the better for your good works. If all you do, is but necessary, the Lord have mercy upon me!

Miss Grandison said, if I had written to my friends the account of what I suffered from the vile attempt of Sir Hargrave, as she doubted not but I had, Lady L. as well as herself, would take it for a particular mark of my confidence, if they might be allowed to peruse it,

When I am favoured, reply'd I, with the return of my Letters, I will very cheerfully communicate to you, my dear Ladies, my relation of this shocking affair.

They all expressed a pleasure in my frankness. Sir Charles said, he admired me beyond expression, for that noble criterion of Innocence and goodness.

There, Lucy!

I think there is nothing in that part, but what they may see.

Volume II - lettera 33

Volume II - Letter 34


The two sisters and Lord L. were then solicitous to know what was the occasion, which he called melancholy, that had engaged his attendance so many days at Canterbury.

It is really a melancholy occasion, reply'd he. You must not be surprised, my Lord; nor you, my sisters, if you see me in mourning in a few days. His sisters started. And so, truly, must I. But I am his third sister, you know. He seemed in haste to explain himself, left he should keep us in painful suspense. My journeyings to Canterbury have been occasioned by the melancholy necessity of visiting a sick friend, who is now no more.

You had all such an opinion, said Mr. Grandison, that I could keep no secret, that—

You were resolved, interrupted Miss Grandison, to say any-thing but the truth. Indeed, cousin, you had better have been silent at this time—Is there a necessity, brother, for us to go into mourning?

There is not. I had a true value for the departed. But custom will oblige me to mourn outwardly, as an executor only. And I have given orders about that, and other necessary matters.

Did we know the deceased gentleman, brother? said Lady L.

No. His name was Danby. He was an eminent merchant; an Englishman; but, from his youth, settled in France. He had for months been in a languishing state of health; and at last, finding his recovery desperate, was desirous to die in his native country. He landed at Dover about two months ago: But his malady so greatly increased, that he was obliged to stop at Canterbury in his way to town; and there at last he yielded to the common destiny. The body was to be brought to town as this night. I have order'd it to an undertaker's. I must lock myself up for a day or two, when I go to town. His concerns are large; but he told me, not intricate. He desired, that his will might not be opened 'till after his interment; and that that might be private. He has two nephews, and a niece. I would have had him join them in the trust with me: But he refused to do so. An attempt once had been made upon his life, by villains set at work by a wicked brother, father of those nephews, and that niece, of which they were innocent: They are worthy young people. I had the happiness to save his life: But had no merit in it; for my own safety was involved in his. I am afraid he has been too grateful.

But, my good brother, said Miss Grandison, were you not a little reserved on this occasion? You went and returned, and went and returned, to Canterbury, and never said one word to us of the call you had to go thither. For my part, I thought there was a Lady in the case, I do assure you.

My reserve, as you call it, Charlotte, was rather accidental, than designed; and yet I do now-and-then treat your agreeable curiosity as mariners are said to do a whale; I throw out a tub. But this was too melancholy an occasion to be sported with. I was affected by it. Had the gentleman lived to come to town, you would all have been acquainted with him. I love to communicate pleasure, but not pain; when, especially, no good end can be answered by the communication. I go to different places, and return, and hardly think it worth troubling my sisters with every movement. Had I thought you had any curiosity about my little journeyings to Canterbury, you should have had it answered. And yet I know my sister Charlotte loves to puzzle, and find out secrets where none are intended.

She blush'd; and so did I. Your servant, Sir, was all she said.

But, Charlotte, proceeded he, you thought it was a Lady that I visited: You know not your brother. I never will keep a secret of that nature from you, my good Lord, nor from you, my sisters, when I find myself either encouraged or inclined to make a second visit. It is for your Sex, Charlotte to be very chary of such secrets; and reason good, if you have any doubt, either of the man's worthiness, or of your own consequence with him.

He looked very earnestly at her, but smiled.

So, my brother! I thank you, humorously rubbing one side of her face (tho' she needed not to do so, to make both cheeks glow) this is another box on the same ear. I have been uneasy, I can tell you, Sir, at an hint you threw out before you last went to Canterbury, as if I kept you from something that it behoved you to know. Now, pray, Sir, will you be pleased to explain yourself?

And, since you put it so strongly to me, Charlotte, let me ask you, Have you not?

And let me ask you, Sir—Do you think I have?

Perhaps, Charlotte, your solicitude on this subject, now, and the alarm you took at the time, on a very slight hint, might warrant—

No warrants, brother!—Pray be so good as to speak all that lies on your mind.

Ah, Charlotte! and looked, tho' smilingly, with meaning.

I will not bear this Ah, Charlotte! and that meaning look.

And are you willing, my dear, to try this cause?

I demand my trial.

Charming innocence! thought I, at the time—Now shall I find some fault, I hope, in this almost perfect brother. I triumphed in my mind, for my Charlotte.

Who shall be your judge?

Yourself, Sir.

God grant you may be found guilty, cousin, said Mr. Grandison, for your plaguing of me.

Has that wretch, looking at Mr. Grandison, insinuated anything?—She stopped.

Are you afraid, my sister?

I would not give that creature any advantage over me.

Sir Ch. I think I would, if there were fair room—You have too often all the game in your own hands. You should allow Mr. Grandison his chance.

Miss Gr. Not to arise from such an observing bystander, as my brother.

Sir Ch. Conscious, Charlotte!

Miss Gr. May be not—

Sir Ch. May be, is doubtful: May be No, implies May be Yes.

Lady L. You have made Charlotte uneasy. Indeed, brother, you have. The poor girl has been harping upon this string, ever since you have been gone.

Sir. Ch. I am sorry what I said pressed so hard—Do you, Lady L. if this delinquency comes to trial, offer yourself as an advocate for Charlotte?

Lady L. I know not an act of delinquency she has committed.

Sir Ch. The act of delinquency is this—Shall I, Charlotte, explain myself?—

Miss Gr. Teasing man! How can you—

Mr. Grandison rubbed his hands, and rejoiced. Miss Grandison was nettled. She gave Mr. Grandison such a look—I never saw such a contemptuous one—Pray, Sir, do you withdraw, if you please.

Mr. Gr. Not I, by the Mass! Are you afraid of a trial in open Court? O-ho, cousin Charlotte!—

Miss Gr. Have I not a cruel brother, Miss Byron?

Lord L. Our sister Charlotte really suffers, Sir Charles.

Sir Ch. I am sorry for it. The innocent should not suffer. We will drop the cause.

Lady L. Worse and worse, brother.

Sir Ch. How so, Lady L.? Is not Charlotte innocent?

Dr. Bartlett. If an advocate be required, and you, Sir Charles, are judge, and not a pleader in this cause, I offer myself to Miss Grandison.

Sir Ch. A very powerful one she will then have, You think her cause a just one, Doctor, by your offer. Will you, Charlotte, give Dr. Bartlett a brief? Or have you given him one?

Dr. Bart. I have no doubt of the justice of the cause.

Sir Ch. Nor of the justice of the accuser, I hope. I cannot be a judge in it.

Lady L. Nay, then!—Poor Charlotte!

Miss Gr. I wish, cousin Grandison, you would withdraw.

Mr. Gr. I wish, cousin Charlotte, you would not wish it.

Miss Gr. But are you serious, brother?

Sir Ch. Let us call another cause, sister, if you please. Pray, my Lord, what visitors have you had since I had the honour to attend you?

Miss Gr. Nay, brother—Don't think—

Sir Ch. BE QUIET, Charlotte.

Lady L. Your own words, sister!—But we had a visit from Lady Anne S. yesterday.

I was glad to hear Lady L. say this. But nothing came of it.

Sir Ch. You have seen Lady Anne more than once, my Emily: How do you like Lady Anne?

Miss Emily. Very well, Sir. She is a very agreeable Lady. Don't you think so, Sir?

Sir Ch. I do—But, Charlotte (and looked tenderly upon her) I must not have you uneasy.

She sat vexed—her complexion raised, and playing with a lump of sugar; and sometimes twirling round and round a tea-cup; for the tea-things, thro' earnestness of talking, were not taken away, tho' the servants were withdrawn.

Mr. Gr. Well, I will leave you together, I think. Poor cousin Charlotte!—[Rising, he tapped her shoulder.] Poor cousin Charlotte! Ha, ha, ha, hah!

Miss Gr. Impertinence! with a look, the fellow to that she gave him before.

Miss Emily. I will withdraw, if you please, madam; rising, and curtsying.

Miss Grandison nodded her assent. And Emily withdrew likewise.

Dr. Bartlett offer'd to do so. Miss Grandison seem'd not to disapprove of his motion: But Sir Charles said, The Doctor is retained on your part, Charlotte: He must hear the charge. Shall Miss Byron be judge?

I begged to be excused. The matter began to look like earnest.

Miss Gr. (whispering me) I wish, Harriet, I had opened my whole heart to you. Your nasty scribbling! Eternally at your pen, or I had.

Then I began to be afraid for her. Dear Miss Grandison! re-whisper'd I, it was not for me to obtrude—Dear Miss Grandison, my pen should never have interfered, if—

Miss Gr. (still whispering) One should be courted out of some sort of secrets. One is not very forward to begin some sort of discourses—Yet the subjects most in our hearts, perhaps. But don't despise me. You see what an accuser I have. And so generous a one too, that one must half condemn one's self at setting out.

Harriet. (whispering) Fear nothing, my Charlotte. You are in brother's hands.

Miss Gr. Well, Sir Charles; and now, if you please, for the charge. But you say, you cannot be judge and accuser: Who shall be judge?

Sir Ch. Your own heart, Charlotte. I desire all present to be your advocates, if their judgment be with you: And if it be not, that they will pity you in silence.

He looked smilingly serious. Good Heaven! thought I.

Miss. Gr. Pity me!—Nay, then—But, pray, Sir, your charge.

Sir Ch. The matter is too serious to be spoken of in metaphor.

Miss Gr. Good God!—Hem!—and twice more she hemm'd—Pray, Sir, begin. Begin while I have breath.

Lord and Lady L. and Dr. Bartlett, and I look'd very grave; and Miss Grandison look'd, in general, fretfully humble, if I may so express myself: And every-thing being removed, but the table, she play'd with her diamond ring; sometimes pulling it off, and putting it on; sometimes putting the tip of her finger in it, as it lay upon the table, and turning it round and round, swifter or slower, and stopping thro' downcast vexation, or earnest attention, as she found herself more or less affected—What a sweet confusion!

Sir Ch. You know, my dear Charlotte, that I very early after my arrival, enquired after the state of your heart. You told me it was absolutely free.

Miss Gr. Well Sir.

Sir Ch. Not satisfied with your own acknowledgement; as I knew that young Ladies [I know not why, when proper persons make enquiries, and for motives not ungenerous] are too apt to make secrets of a passion that is not in itself illaudable; I asked your elder sister, who scrupled not to own hers, whether there was any one man, whom you preferred to another?—She assured me, that she knew not of any one.

Lady L. My sister knows that I said truth.

Miss Gr. Well, well, Lady L. nobody doubts your veracity.

Sir Ch. Dear Charlotte, keep your temper.

Miss Gr. Pray, Sir, proceed—And the ring turn'd round very fast.

Sir Ch. On several occasions I put the same question, and had the same assurances. My reason for repeating my question, was owing to an early intelligence—Of which more by-and-by.

Miss Gr. Sir!

Sir Ch. And that I might either provide the money that I thought due to her as my sister, or take time to pay it, according to the circumstances of her engagement; and take from her all apprehensions of control, in a case that might affect the happiness of her life—These, and brotherly Love, were the motives of my enquiry.

Miss Gr. Your generosity, Sir, was without example.

Sir Ch. Not so, I hope, My sisters had an equitable, if not a legal right to what has been done. I found, on looking into my affairs, that, by a moderate calculation of the family-circumstances, no man should think of addressing a daughter of Sir Thomas Grandison, without supposing himself entitled, either by his merits or fortune, to expect 10,000 l. with her—And this, even allowing to the Son the customary preferences given to men as men; tho' given for the sake of pride, perhaps, rather than natural justice. For does not tyrant custom make a daughter change her name in marriage, and give to a son, for the sake of name only, the estate of the common ancestor of both?

This generous hint affected me. It was nearly my own case, you know. I might otherwise have been a rich heiress, and might have had as strong pretensions to be distinguished by the Grandisons for my fortune, as any Lady S. in the kingdom. But worthless as those are, to whom, for the sake of the name, my father's estate is passed, I never grudged it to them till I came acquainted with these Grandisons.

Lord L. But who, Sir Charles, but you—

Sir Ch. Pray, my Lord, let not your generosity mislead you to think that a favour, which is but a due. We shall not be judged by comparison. The Laws of Truth and Justice are always the same. What others would not have done in the like situation, that let them look to: But what is the mortal man, who should make an unjust advantage of mortality?

Miss Grandison pulled out her handkerchief, put it to her eyes, and then in her lap; and putting half on, and half off, by turns, her ring, looked now-and-then at me, as if she wished me to pity her.

Indeed, Lucy, I did pity her: Every one did; and so did her judge, I dare say, in his heart. But justice, my Lucy, is a severe thing. Who can bear a trial, if the integrity and greatness of this man's heart is to be the rule, by which their actions are to be examined? Yet you shall hear how generous he was.

Sir Ch. Allow me, for Miss Byron's sake, who has been but lately restored to our family, to be a little more particular, than otherwise I need to be. I had not been long in England, before Sir Walter Watkyns desired my interest with my sister. I told him, That she was entirely her own mistress; and that I should not offer to lead her choice. Lord G. made his court to her likewise; and applying to me, received the same answer.

I enter'd, however, into serious talk with my sister upon this subject. She ask'd me what I thought of each gentleman. I told her frankly.

Miss Gr. And pray, brother be so good as to repeat what you said of them. Let Miss Byron be judge whether either of the portraits was very inviting.

Sir Ch. I told her, Miss Byron, that Sir Walter would, I presumed, be thought the handsomer man of the two. He was gay, lively, genteel; and had that courage in his air and manner, that Ladies were seldom displeased with. I had not, however, discovered any great depth in him. My sister, I imagined, if she married him, would have the superiority in good sense: But I question'd whether Sir Walter would easily find that out; or allow it, if he did. He was a brisk man for an hour, and might have wit and sense too; but indeed I hardly ever saw him out of Ladies company; and he seemed to be of opinion, that flash rather than fire, was what would recommend him to them. Sometimes I have thought, I told her, that women of sense should punish such men with their contempt, and not reward them with their approbation, for thus indirectly affronting their understandings: But that I had known women of sense approve a man of that character; and each woman must determine for herself, what appeared most agreeable to her.

Miss Gr. (whispering) Well, Harriet—

Har. (whispering) Don't interrupt him.

Sir Ch. You remember, my dear Charlotte, that it was in this kind of way I spoke about Sir Walter Watkyns; and added, That he was independent; in possession of the family-estate, which I believed was a good one; and that he talked handsomely to me of settlements.

I do remember this, said Miss Grandison; and whispering me, I am afraid, said she, he knows too much; but the person he cannot know.—Well, Sir, and pray be pleased to repeat what you said of Lord G.

Sir Ch. Lord G. told you, was a gay-dressing man, but of a graver cast than the other. The fashion, rather than his inclination, seemed to govern his outward appearance. He was a modest man, and I feared had too much doubt of himself to appear with that dignity in the eye of a lively woman, which should give him a first consequence with her.

Miss Gr. Your servant, Sir.

Sir Ch. I believed he would make a good husband: So perhaps might Sir Walter: But the one would bear, and the other perhaps must be borne with. Ladies, as well as men, I presumed, had some foibles, that they would not care to part with. As to fortune, I added, that Lord G. was dependent on his father's pleasure. He had, indeed, his father's entire approbation, I found, in his address: And I hoped that a sister of mine would not wish for any man's death, for the sake of either title or fortune. You have seen Lord G. Miss Byron?

Har. What, Sir Charles, was Miss Grandison's answer?

I did not care to give any opinion, that might either hurt or humour my Charlotte.

Sir Ch. Charlotte told me, in so many words, That she did not approve of either. Each gentleman, said I, has besought me to be his advocate: A task that I have not undertaken. I only told them, That I would talk to my sister upon the subject: But did not think a brother ought to expect an influence over a sister, where the gentlemen suspected their own. You will remember, said I to my sister, that women cannot choose where they will; and that the same man cannot be every-thing—She desired me to tell her, which of the two I would prefer?—First, said I, let me repeat the question I have more than once put to you—Have you any the least shadow of a preference in your heart, to any third person?—What was my sister's answer? She said, She had not. And yet, had I not had the private intelligence I hinted at, I should have been apt to imagine, that I had some reason to repeat the question, from the warmth, both of manner and accent, with which she declared, that she approved of neither. Women, I believe, do not, with earnestness, reject a man who is not quite disagreeable, and to whose quality and fortune there can be no objection, if they are absolutely unprejudiced in another's favour.

We women look'd upon one another. I have no doubt, thought I, but Sir Charles came honestly by his knowledge of us. The dear Charlotte sat uneasy. He proceeded.

However, I now made no question but my sister's affections were absolutely disengaged. My dear Charlotte, said I, I would rather be excused telling you, which gentleman's suit I should incline to favour, lest my opinion should not have your inclination with it; and your mind, by that means, should suffer any embarrassment. She desired to know it.

Miss Gr. You were very generous, Sir; I owned you were, in this point, as well as in all others.

Sir Ch. I then declared in favour of Lord G. as the man who would be most likely to make her happy; who would think himself most obliged to her for her favour: And I took the liberty to hint, that tho' I admired her for her vivacity, and even, when her wit carried its keenest edge, loved to be awakened by it, and wished it never to lose that edge; yet I imagined that it would hurt such a man as Sir Walter. Lord G. it would enliven: And I hoped, if she took pleasure in her innocent sallies, that she would think it something, so to choose, as that she should not be under a necessity of repressing those sprightly powers, that very seldom were to be wished to be reined in.

Miss Gr. True, Sir. You said, very seldom. I remember.

Sir Ch. I never will flatter either a prince, or a Lady; yet should be sorry to treat either of them rudely. She then asked me after my own inclinations. I took this for a desire to avoid the subject we were upon; and would have withdrawn; but not in ill-humour. There was no reason for it. My sister was not obliged to follow me in a subject that was not agreeable to her: But I took care to let her know that her question was not a disagreeable one to me: But would be more properly answered on some other occasion. She would have had me to stay.—For the sake of the former subject, do you ask me to stay, Charlotte? No, said she.

Well then, my dear, take time to consider of it; and at some other opportunity we will resume it. Thus tender did I intend to be, with regard to my sister's inclinations.

Miss Grandison wiped her eyes—And said, but with an accent that had a little peevishness in it, You wanted not, Sir, all this preparation. Nobody has the shadow of belief, that you could be wrong.

Sir Ch. If this, Charlotte, be well said; if, in that accent, it be generously said; I have done—And from my heart acquit you, and as cordially condemn myself, if I have appeared in your eye to intend to raise my own character, at the expense of yours. Believe me, Charlotte, I had much rather, in a point of delicacy, that the brother should be found faulty than the sister: And let it pass, that I am so.—And only tell me, in what way you would with me to serve you.

Miss Gr. Pardon me, brother. You can add forgiveness to the other obligations under which I labour. I was petulant.

Sir Ch. I do; most cordially I do.

Miss Gr. (wiping her eyes) But won't you proceed, Sir?

Sir Ch. At another opportunity, madam.

Miss Gr. MADAM!—Nay, now you are indeed angry with me. Pray, proceed.

Cir. Ch. I am not: But you shall allow me an hour's conversation with you in your dressing-room, when you please.

Miss Gr. No!—Pray, proceed. Every one here is dear to me. Every one present must hear either my acquittal or condemnation. Pray, Sir, proceed—Miss Byron, pray sit still—Pray (for we were all rising to go out) keep your seats. I believe I have been wrong. My brother said, you must pity me in silence, if you found me faulty. Perhaps I shall be obliged to you for your pity.—Pray, Sir, be pleased to acquaint me with what you know of my faults.

Sir Ch. My dear Charlotte, I have said enough to point your fault to your own heart. If you know it, that, I hope, is sufficient.—Do not imagine, my dear, that I want to control you—But—He stopped.

Miss Gr. BUT what, Sir?—Pray, Sir—And she trembled with eagerness.

Sir Ch. But it was not right to—And yet, O that I were mistaken in this point, and my sister not wrong!

Miss Gr. Well, Sir, you have reason, I suppose, to think—there she stopped—

Sir Ch. That there is a man whom you can approve of—notwithstanding—

Miss Gr. All I have said to the contrary. Well, Sir, if there be, it is a great fault to have denied it.

Sir Ch. That is all I mean—It is no fault in you to prefer one man to another. It is no fault in you to give this preference to any man, without consulting your brother. I proposed that you should be entirely mistress of your own conduct and actions. It would have been ungenerous in me, to have supposed you accountable to me, who had done no more than my duty by you. Dear Charlotte, do not imagine me capable of laying such a load on your free will: But I should not have been made to pronounce to Lord G. and even to the Earl his father (on their enquiries, whether your affections were or were not engaged) in such a manner as gave them hopes of succeeding.

Miss Gr. Are you sure, Sir?

Sir Ch. O my sister, how hard fought (now must I say?) is this battle!—I can urge it no farther. For your sake, I can urge it no farther.

Miss Gr. Name your man, Sir!—

Sir Ch. Not my man, Charlotte—Captain Anderson is not my man.

He arose; and, taking her motionless hand, pressed it with his lips:—Be not too much disturbed, said he I am distress'd, my sister, for your distress—I think, more than I am for the error: And, saying this, bowing to her, he withdrew.

He saw and pitied her confusion. She was quite confounded. It was very good of him to withdraw, to give her time to recover herself. Lady L. gave her her salts. Miss Grandison hardly ever wanted salts before.

O what a poor creature am I, said she, even in my own eyes! Don't despise me, Harriet—Dr. Bartlett, can you excuse me for so sturdy a perseverance?—My Lord, forgive me;—Lady L. be indulgent to a sister's fault. But my brother will always see me in this depreciating light! "A battle hard fought," indeed! How one error, persisted in, produces another!

When Sir Charles heard her voice, as talking, every one soothing, and pitying her, he returned. She would have risen, with a disposition seemingly, as if she would have humbled herself at his feet: But he took her folded hands in one of his, and with the other drew a chair close to her, and sat down: With what sweet majesty, and mingled compassion in his countenance! Miss Grandison's consciousness made it terrible only to her—Forgive me, Sir! were her words.

Dear Charlotte, I do. We have all something to be forgiven for. We pity others then most cordially, when we want pity ourselves. Remember only, in the cases of other persons, to soften the severity of your virtue.

He had Mrs. Oldham in his thoughts, as we all afterwards concluded.

We know not, said he, to what inconveniencies a small departure from principle will lead: And now let us look forward. But first, Had you rather show me into your dressing-room?

Miss Gr. I have now no wish to conceal anything from the persons present. I will only withdraw for a few moments.

She went out. I followed her. And then, wanting some-body to divide her fault with the dear Charlotte blamed my nasty scribbling again: But for that, said she, I should have told you all.

And what, my dear, would that have done, returned I?—That would not have prevented—

No: But yet you might have given me your advice: I should have had the benefit of that; and my confessions would have been, then, perhaps, aforehand with his accusations.—But, forgive me, Harriet—

O my Charlotte, thought I to myself, could you but rein-in your charming spirit, a little, a very little, you would not have had two forgivenesses to ask instead of one.

Volume II - lettera 34

Volume II - Letter 35


Miss Grandison desired me to return to the company. I did. She soon followed me; took her seat; and, with an air of mingled dignity and concern, deliver'd herself after this manner.

If it be not too late, after a perseverance in error so obstinate, to reinstate myself in my brother's good opinion, dearer to me than that of the whole world besides, my ingenuousness shall make atonement for that error.

Sir. Ch. I would spare my sister the—

Miss. Gr. I will not be spared, Sir—Pray hear me—I would not, in order to extenuate my own faults (I hope I have not many) seek to throw blame upon the absent; much less upon the everlastingly absent: And yet my brother's piety must not be offended, if I am obliged to say something that may seem to cast a shade on a memory—Be not hurt, Sir—I will be favourable to that memory, and just to my own fault. You, Harriet, would no more excuse me, than my brother, if I failed in either.

I bowed, and blushed. Sir Charles look'd at me with a benign aspect.

My father, proceeded she, thought fit to be, or to seem to be, displeased with something that passed between him and Lord L. on the application made by my Lord to him for my sister.

Sir Ch. He was not willing, perhaps that a treaty of marriage should be begun but at his own first motion, however unexceptionable the man, or the proposal.

Miss Gr. Every one knows that my father had great abilities; and they were adorned with vivacity and spirit, that, wherever pointed, there was no resisting. He took his two daughters to task upon this occasion; and, being desirous to discourage in them, at that time, any thoughts of marriage, he exerted, besides his authority, on this occasion (which I can truly say, had due weight with us both) that vein of humour and raillery for which he was noted; insomuch that his poor girls were confounded, and unable to hold up their heads. My sister, in particular, was made to be ashamed of a passion, that surely no young woman, the object so worthy, ought to be ashamed of. My father also thought fit (perhaps for wise reason) to acquaint us, that he designed for us but small fortunes: And this depreciated me with myself. My sister had a stronger mind, and had better prospects. I could not but apprehend from what my sister suffer'd, what must be my sufferings in turn; and I thought I could be induced to take any step, however rash, where virtue was not to be wounded, rather than undergo what she underwent from the raillery of a man so lively, and so humorous, and who stood in so venerable a degree of relation to me. While these impressions were strong in my mind, Captain Anderson, who was quarter'd near us, had an opportunity to fall into my company at an assembly. He is a sprightly man, and was well received by everybody; and particularly a favourite of three young ladies, who could hardly be civil to each other, on his account: And this, I own, when he made assiduous court to me, in preference to them, and to every other woman, gave him some consequence with me: And then being the principal officer in that part of the country, he was caressed, as if he were a general. A daughter of Sir Thomas Grandison was deemed a prize worthy of his ambition, by every-body, as well as by himself: While this poor daughter, dreading the difficulties that her sister had met with, and being led to think, by what her father declared to both sisters, that two or three thousand pounds would be the height of her fortune, had only to apprehend, that a captain either of horse or foot, who had been perhaps for years a frequenter of public places, both in town and country, in hopes of raising his fortune, would think himself but poorly paid for his pains (were she even to obtain her father's pardon) should she engage without waiting for his consent; as she was urged to do, by letter, which he found ways unsuspectedly to send her.—I hope, Sir, I hope, my Lord, and you, my two sisters, that you will now, from what I have said, acquit me of insincerity, tho' you cannot of past indiscretion.

Nevertheless, my pride at times was piqued: Sometimes I declared off; at other times was prevailed upon by arts which men are masters of, to go on again; till I found myself entangled, and at a loss to know how to go either backward or forward. The gentleman was indeed of a genteel family: But the object of my sister's regard had so much to be said for him; stood so well with my brother; and even with my father; was so much the man of quality, in every respect, that a rash step in me would be look'd upon as the more disgraceful, on that account: And I could not but apprehend, that if I married Captain Anderson, I must be pitied, rejected, scorned, for one while, if not for ever.

And what title, often thought I, when I permitted myself seriously to think, have I to give my father a son, my brother, my sister, my Lord L. (should he and my sister marry) a brother, whom they would not have chosen, nor will probably own?—Have they not a right to reject him, as their relation? And shall Charlotte Grandison, the daughter of the most prudent of mothers, take a step that shall make her be looked upon as the disgrace of her family? Shall she be obliged to follow a soldier's fortune into different quarters, and perhaps to distant regions?

Such as these were, at times, my reasonings; and perhaps they would have had the less force with me, had I, in giving myself an husband, had none of these relations living, on whom to obtrude a new one, to their dislike, by my marriage.

Hence I could not bear to reveal the matter to my sister, who, in her choice, had so much advantage over me. I thought within these few weeks past, I could reveal it to my new-found sister: and it was one of my motives to come hither, at your invitation, Lord and Lady L. when you told me she was so obliging as to accompany you down: But she was everlastingly writing; and I was shy of forcing an opportunity, as none agreeably offer'd.

Sir Ch. I would not interrupt you, Charlotte.—But may I ask, if this whole affair was carried on by letter? Did you not sometimes see each other?

Miss Gr. We did. But our meetings were not frequent, because he was at one time quarter'd in Scotland; at another, was sent to Ireland; where he stayed six or seven months; at others, in distant parts of the kingdom.

Sir Ch. In what part of the king's dominions is the Captain now?

Miss Gr. Dear Sir, could not the person who acquainted you with the affair, inform you of that?

Sir Ch. (smiling) The person could, madam; and did. He is in London.

Miss Gr. I hope, my brother, after the freedom of my confession, and an ingenuousness that is not often found in such cases as this, will not be so unkind as to imagine, that I ought to have traps laid for me, as if I were not now at last frank and unreserved.

Sir Ch. Exceedingly just, Charlotte! exceedingly just!—I beg your pardon. I said, we had all something to be forgiven for. I am not however questioning you, with intent to cast a stone; but to lend you a hand.

Miss Gr. O that we had had liberty granted to us, having such a brother, to correspond with him!—Happy shall I be, if I can atone—

There she stopped.

Sir Ch. Proceed with your story, my dear Charlotte.—Greatly does the atonement overbalance the fault!

Miss Gr. (bowing to her brother) Captain Anderson is in town. I have seen him twice. I was to have seen him at the play, had I not come down to Colnebrooke. Not a tittle of the truth will I hide from you. Now I have recover'd the right path, not one wry step will I again willingly take. I have suffer'd enough by those I had taken, tho' I endeavour'd to carry it off as well as I could (even sometimes by a spirit of bravery) when it lay heavy here—putting her hand to her heart.

Sir Charles rose from his seat; and taking one of his sister's hands between both his, Worthy sister! Amiable Charlotte! After this noble frankness, I must not permit you to accuse yourself. An error gracefully acknowledged, is a victory won. If you think Captain Anderson worthy of your heart, he shall have a place in mine; and I will use my interest with Lord and Lady L. to allow of his relation to them. Miss Byron and Dr. Bartlett will look upon him as their friend.

He sat down again; his countenance shining with brotherly love.

Miss Gr. O Sir, what shall I say? You add to my difficulties by your goodness. I have told you how I had entangled myself. Captain Anderson's address began with hopes of a great fortune, which he imagined a daughter of Sir Thomas Grandison could not fail, first or last, to have. That this was his principal motive, has been, on many occasions (on too many for his advantage) visible to me. My allowance of his address, as I have hinted, was owing to my apprehensions, that I should not be a fortune worthy of a more generous man. At that time, our life was a confined one; and I girlishly wished for Liberty—MATRIMONY and LIBERTY—Girlish connexion! as I have since thought.

We could none of us help smiling at this lively sally: But she went on more seriously.

I thought at first, that I could break with him when I would: But he holds me to it; and the more, since he has heard of your goodness to me; and builds great hopes of future preferment on the alliance.

Sir Ch. But do you not love Captain Anderson, my sister?

Miss Gr. I believe I love him as well as he loves me. His principal view, as I have said, has come out, avowedly, to be my fortune. If I regulate my esteem for him by his for me, I ought not, for the very reason that he likes me, to approve of him.

Sir Ch. I do not wonder that the Captain is serious to hold you to it, to use your words: But, my dear Charlotte, answer me, Have you had less liking to Captain Anderson since your fortune is ascertained, and absolutely in your own power, than you had before?

Miss. Gr. Not on that account, if I know my heart: But he has been a much more earnest suitor since your goodness to me was generally known, than before. When public report had made me absolutely dependent on my brother; and diminished (beyond the truth, as it has proved) the circumstances of the family; and when my sister and I were unhappy between our fears and our hopes; I then heard but little from Captain Anderson; and that little was so prudent, and so cold—But I had found out the man before.

Lord and Lady L. with warmth of voice, called him unworthy man. I thought him so; and so, by his looks, did Dr. Bartlett.

Sir. Ch. Poor man!—He seems to have been too prudent, to trust even to providence. But what, my sister, are now your difficulties?

Miss Gr. They proceed from my folly. Captain Anderson appeared to me at first, a man of sense, as well as an agreeable man in his person and air. He had a lively and easy elocution. He spoke without doubt; and I had therefore the less doubt of his understanding. The man who knows how to say agreeable things to a woman, in an agreeable manner, has her vanity on his side; since, to doubt his veracity, would be to question her own merit. When he came to write, my judgment was even still more engaged in his favour than before. But when he thought himself on a safe footing with me, he then lost his handwriting, and his style, and even his orthography. I blush to say it; and I then blushed to see it.

Sir Ch. Men will be men. It is natural for us, when we find out our imperfections, to endeavour to supply them, or to gloss them over to those, whose good opinion of us we wish to engage. I have known men who are not so ready as the Captain seems to have been, to find out their own defects. Captain Anderson, perhaps, lost his letter-writer, by the shifting of quarters. But it is strange that a man of family, as the Captain is, should be so very illiterate.

Miss Gr. His early wildnesses, as I afterwards heard, made him run from school, before he had acquired common school-learning. His friends bought him a pair of colours. That was all they would ever do for him: And his father marrying a second wife, by whom he had children, considered not him as one. This came out to be his story. But he displayed himself to me in very different lights. He pretended to have a pretty estate, which, tho' not large, was well-conditioned, and capable of improvement; besides very considerable expectations. A mind that would not impose on another, must least bear to be imposed upon himself: But I could not help despising him, when I found myself so grossly imposed upon, by the letters he had procured to be written for him; and that he was not either the man of sense, or learning, that he would have had me think him.

Sir Ch. But what was the safe footing, my sister, that he thought he was upon with you?

Miss Gr. O Sir! while all these good appearances held in his favour, he had teased me into a promise. And when he had gained that point, then it was, or soon after, that he wrote to me with his own hand. And yet, tho' he convinced me by doing so, that he had before employed another, it was a point agreed upon, that our intercourse was to be an absolute secret; and I trembled to find myself exposed to his scribe, a man I knew not; and who must certainly despise the lover whom he helped to all his agreeable flourishes, and, in despising him, must probably despise me. Yet I will say, that my letter were such as I can submit to the severest eye. It was indeed giving him encouragement enough, that I answered him by pen and ink; and he presumed enough upon it, or he had never dared to tease me, for a promise, as he did for months before I made him one.

Sir Ch. Women should never be drawn-in to fetter themselves by promises. On the contrary, they ought always to despise, and directly to break with the man, who offers to exact a promise from them. To what end is a promise of this kind endeavoured to be obtained, if the urger suspects not the fitness of his addresses in the eyes of those who have a right to be consulted; and if he did not doubt either his own merit, or the lady's honour and discretion?—Therefore wanted to put it out of her own power to be dutiful; or (if she had begun to swerve, by listening to a clandestine address) to recover herself? Your father, my dear (but you might not know that) could have absolved you from this promise. You have not now, however, any-body to control you: You are absolutely your own mistress: And I see not but a promise—But, pray, of what nature was this promise?

Miss Gr. O my folly!—I declared, that I never would marry any other man without his consent, while he was single. By this means (to my confusion) I own, that I made him my father, my guardian, my brother; at least, I made the influences over me, of such of them as had been living, of no avail, in the most material article of my life; teased, as I told you, into it; and against my judgment.

Soon after, he let me know, as I said, in his own hand-writing, what an illiterate, what a mere superficial man I had entered into treaty with. And ever since I have been endeavouring by pen, as well as in person, to get him to absolve me from my rash promise: And this was my view and endeavour before I had a title to the independence, in which, Sir, you was so good as to establish me.

I once thought, proceeded she, that he would easily have complied, and have look'd out elsewhere for a wife; for I sought not to fetter him, as you justly call it: He was not of so much consequence with me; and this renders me, perhaps, the less excusable:—But you held me not long enough in suspense, as to the great things you intended to do for me, to enable me to obtain that release from Captain Anderson, which I was meditating to procure, before he knew what those were.

All this time I kept my own secret. I had not confidence enough in the steps I had so rashly taken (indeed had not humility enough) to make any living creature acquainted with my situation: And this was the reason, I suppose, that I never was guessed at, or found out. The proverb says, Two can keep a secret, when one is away: But my Harriet knows [I bowed] that I very early, in my knowledge of her, dropped hints of an entanglement, as I ludicrously called it; for I could not, with justice, say Love.

Sir. Ch. Charming frankness! How do your virtues shine thro' your very mistakes!—But there are many women who have suffer'd themselves to be worse entangled, even beyond recovery, when they have not had to plead the apprehensions which you had at entering into this affair.

Miss Gr. You are Sir Charles Grandison, Sir: I need not say more. We often dread, in rash encounters, to make those communications, which only can be means to extricate us from the difficulties into which we have plunged ourselves. Had I, for the last six or seven years of my life, known my brother as I now know him; had I been indulged in a correspondence with him in his absence; not a step would I have taken, but with his approbation.

Sir Ch. Perhaps I was too implicit on this occasion: But I always thought it more safe in a disputable case, to check than to give way, to an inclination. My father knew the world. He was not an ill-natured man.

He loved his daughters. I had not the vanity to imagine, that my sisters, the youngest near as old as myself, would want my advice, in material articles: And to break thro' a father's commands, for the sake merely of gratifying myself—I don't know how—But I could not do it: And as a considerate person, when he has lost a dear friend, and more particularly a parent, is apt to recollect with pleasure those instances in which he has given joy to the departed, and with pain the contrary; methinks I am the more satisfied with myself, for having obeyed a command, that however, at the time, I knew not how to account for.

Miss Gr. You are happy, brother, in this recollection. I should be more unhappy than I am (on your principles) had I vexed my father in this affair. Thank God, he knew nothing of it. But now, Sir, I have told you the whole truth. I have not aggravated the failings of Captain Anderson; nor wish to do so; for the man that once I had but the shadow of a thought to make one day my nearest relation, is entitled, I think, to my good wishes, tho' he prove not quite so worthy, as I once believed him.

Permit me, however, to add, that Captain Anderson is passionate, overbearing: I have never of late met him, but with great reluctance: Had I not come to Colnebrooke, I should have seen him, as I confessed; but it was with the resolution that I had for a considerable time past avowed to him, Never to be his; and to be a single woman all my life, if he would not disengage me of my rash, my foolish promise. And now be pleased (looking round her to every one present) to advise me what to do.

Lord. L. I think the man utterly unworthy of you, sister Charlotte. I think you are right to resolve never to have him.

Lady L. Without waiting for my brother's opinion, I must say, That he acts most ungenerously and unworthily, to hold you to an unequal promise: A promise, the like of which you offered not to bind him by. I cannot, Charlotte, think you bound by such a promise: And the poor trick of getting another person to write his letters for him, and exposing my sister to a stranger, and against stipulation—How I should hate him!—What say you, sister Harriet?

Harriet. I should be unworthy of this kind confidence, if, thus called upon, I did not say something, tho' it came out to be next to nothing—There seems not to have been any strong affection, any sympathy of soul, if I may so express myself, at any time, Miss Grandison, between you and Captain Anderson, I think?

Sir Ch. A very proper question.

Miss Gr. There was not, on either side, I believe. I have hinted at my motives, and at his. In every letter of his he gave me cause to confirm what I have said of his self-interestedness: And now his principal plea to hold me to my promise, is, his interest. I would not to him, I never did, plead mine; tho' his example would excuse me, if I did.

Lord L. Was the promise given in writing, sister?

Miss Gr. Indeed it was. She looked down.

Harriet. May I be pardon'd, madam?—The substance of your promise was, That you would never marry any other man without his consent, while he remained unmarried—Did you promise, that if ever you did marry at all, it should be to him?

Miss Gr. No. He wanted me to promise that; but I refused. And now, my Harriet, what is your advice?

Harriet. I beg to hear Dr. Bartlett's opinion; and yours, Sir (to Sir Charles) before I presume to give mine.

Sir Charles looked at the Doctor. The Doctor referred himself to him.

Sir Ch. Then, Doctor, you must set me right, if I am wrong. You are a Casuist.

As to what Lord L. has said, I think with his Lordship, that Captain Anderson appears not, in any of his conduct, to be worthy of Miss Grandison: And in truth, I don't know many who are. If I am partial excuse the brother.

She bowed. Every one was pleased, that Miss Grandison was enabled to hold up her head, as she did, on this compliment from her brother.

Sir Ch. I think also, if my sister esteems him not, she is in the right to resolve never to be his. But what shall we say, as to her promise, Never to be the wife of any other man without his consent, while he remains unmarried? It was made, I apprehend, while her father was living; who might, I believe, Doctor, you will allow, have absolved her from it: But then, her very treating with him since to dispense with it, shows, that in her own conscience she thinks herself bound by it.

Every one being silent, he proceeded.

Lady L. is of opinion, that he acts ungenerously and unworthily, to endeavour to hold her to an unequal promise. But what man, except a very generous one indeed, having obtained an advantage over such a woman as Charlotte [She redden'd] would not try to hold it? Must he not, by giving up this advantage, vote against himself? Women should be sure of the men in whom they place a confidence that concerns them highly. Can you think, that the man who engages a woman to make a promise, does not intend to hold her to it? When he teases her to make it, he as good as tells her he does, let what will happen to make her wish she had not.

Miss Gr. O my brother! The repetition of that word teases!—Are you not raillying me?—Indeed I deserve it.

Sir Ch. Men gain all their advantages by teasing, by promises, by importunities—Be not concerned, my Charlotte, that I use your word.

Miss Gr. O my brother, what shall I do, if you railly me on my folly?

Sir Ch. I mean not to railly you. But I know something of my own sex; and must have been very negligent of my opportunities, if I know not something of the world [I thought, Lucy, he would here have used the word other instead of the word world]. We have heard her reason for not binding the Captain by a like promise; which was, That she did not value him enough to exact it: And was not that his misfortune?

She is apprehensive of blame on this head: But her situation will be consider'd: I must not repeat the circumstances. I was grieved to hear that my sisters had been in such circumstances! What pity, that those who believe they best know the Sex, think themselves entitled to treat it with least respect! (How we women looked upon one another!] I should hope in charity. [In charity, Lucy!] and for the true value I bear it, as I think a good woman one of the greatest glories of the creation, that the fault is not generally in the Sex.

As to the Captain's artifice to obtain a footing by letters of another man's writing; that was enough indeed to make a woman, who herself writes finely, despise him when she knew it. But to what will not persons stoop to gain a point, on which their hearts are fixed?—This is no new method. One signal instance I will mention. Madam Maintenon, it is reported, was employed in this way, by a favourite mistress of Louis XIV. And this was said to be the means of introducing her to the monarch's favour, on the ruins of her employer. Let me repeat, that women should be sure of their men, before they embark with them in the voyage of Love. Hate the man, says Lady L. for exposing her to the letter writer!—Exposing!—Let me say, That women, who would not be exposed, should not put themselves out of their own power. O Miss Byron! (turning, to my confusion, to me, who was too ready to apply the first part of the caution) be so good as to tell my Emily, that she never love a man, of whose Love she is not well assured: That she never permit a man to know his consequence with her, 'till she is sure he is grateful, just, and generous: And that she despise him as a mean and interested man, the first moment he seeks to engage her in a promise. Forgive me Charlotte: You so generously blame yourself, that you will not scruple to have your experience pleaded for an example to a young creature, who may not be able, if entangled, to behave with your magnanimity.

Seasonably did he say this last part, so immediately after his reference to me; for I made Miss Grandison's confusion a half-cover for my own; and I fear but a half-cover.

I find I must not allow myself to be long from you, my dear friends; at least, in this company. Miss Cantillon, Miss Barnevelt, and half a dozen more Misses and Masters, with whose characters and descriptions I first paraded; Where are you? Where can I find you? My heart, when I saw you at Lady Betty Williams's, was easy and unapprehensive: I could then throw my little squibs about me at pleasure; and not fear, by their return upon me, the singeing of my own cloths!

Volume II - lettera 35

Volume II - Letter 36


But now what remains to be done for our sister? ask'd Lady L. Charlotte looked round her, as seconding the question. Every one referr'd to Sir Charles.

In the first place, let me assure you, my dear Charlotte, resumed he, that if you have but the shadow of a preference for Captain Anderson; and if you believe, from what has passed between you, and from the suspense you have kept him in (which may have been a hindrance to his fortune or preferment) that you ought to be his, whether in justice, or by inclination; I will amicably meet him, in order to make and to receive proposals. If we do not find him grateful or generous, we will make him so, by our example; and I will begin to set it.

Every one was affected: Dr. Bartlett as much as any-body. Miss Grandison could hardly sit still. Her chair was uneasy to her. While her brother looked like one who was too much accustomed to acts of beneficence, to suppose he had said any-thing extraordinary.

Miss Grandison, after some hesitation, replied, Indeed, Sir, Captain Anderson is not worthy of being called your brother. I will not enter into the particulars of his unworthiness; because I am determined not to have him. He knows I am: Nor does my promise engage me to be his. Had he virtue, had he generosity—But indeed he has not either, in the degree that would make me respect him, as a woman should respect her husband.

Sir Ch. Well then, Charlotte, I would have you excuse yourself, if you have given him hope of meeting him; let him know, that you have acquainted me with all that has passed between you; and that you refer yourself wholly to me; but with a resolution (if such be your resolution) never to be his.

Miss. Gr. I shall dread his violent temper.

Sir Ch. Dread nothing! Men who are violent to a woman, when they have a point to carry by being so, are not always violent to men. But I shall treat him civilly. If the man ever hoped to call you his, he will be unhappy enough in losing such a prize. You may tell him, that I will give him a meeting wherever he pleases. Mean time, it may not be amiss, if you have no objection, to show me some of the letters that have passed between you; of those particularly, in which you have declared your resolution not to be his; the farther backward, the better, if from the date of such you have always been of the same mind.

Miss Gr. You shall see the copies of all my letters; and all his, if you please. And you will gather from both, Sir, that it was owing to the unhappy situation I thought myself in, from the unkind treatment my sister met with, and to the being forbidden to expect a fortune that would entitle me to look up to a man of figure in the world, that I was ever approachable by Captain Anderson.

Sir. Ch. Unhappy! But let us look forward. I will meet Captain Anderson. If there are any letters, in which he has treated my sister unhandsomely, you must not let me see them. My motive for looking into any of them, is service to you, Charlotte, and not curiosity. But let me, nevertheless, see all that is necessary to the question, that I may not, when I meet him, hear any-thing from him, that I have not heard from you; and which may make for him, and against you. I do assure you, that I will allow in his favour, all that shall appear favourable to him, tho' against my sister. I may meet him prejudiced, but not determined: And I hope you see by my behaviour to you, Charlotte, that were you and he to have been fond Lovers in your letters, you need not be afraid of my eye. I never am severe on Lovers foibles. Our passions may be made subservient to excellent purposes. Don't think you have a supercilious brother. A susceptibility of the passion called Love, I condemn not as a fault; but the contrary. Your brother, Ladies (looking upon all three) is no Stoic.

And have you been in love, Sir Charles Grandison? thought I to myself—Shall I, Lucy, be sorry, or shall I be glad, if he has?—But after all, is it not strange, that in all this time one knows so little of his history while he was abroad?—And yet, he said, That he was not angry at his sister for questioning him on the subject. Had I been his sister, questions of that sort would not have been to be now asked.

But here is a new task for her brother. I shall long to know how this affair will end.

The trial of Miss Grandison, as she called it, being thus happily over, and Miss Emily and Mr. Grandison desired to walk in, Sir Charles took notice, with some severity on our sex, on the general liking, which he said women have for military men. He did not know he said, whether the army were not beholden to this approbation, and to the gay appearance officers were expected to make, rather than to a true martial spirit, for many a gallant man.

What say you, Emily? said he: Do not a cockade and a scarlet coat, become a fine gentleman, and help to make him so, in your eyes?

Be pleased, Sir, to tell me how such a one should look in my eyes, and I will endeavour to make them conform to your lessons.

He bowed to the happy girl: For my part, said he, I cannot but say, that I dislike the life of a soldier in general; whose trade is in blood; who must be as much a slave to the will of his superiors in command, as he is almost obliged to be a tyrant to those under him.

But as to the Sex, if it were not, that Ladies, where Love and their own happiness interfere, are the most incompetent judges of all others for themselves—Pardon me—

Your servant, Sir, said Lady L.—And we all bowed to him.

How can a woman, proceeded he, who really loves her husband, subject herself of choice, to the necessary absences, to the continual apprehensions, which she must be under for his safety, when he is in the height of what is emphatically called his DUTY? He stopped. No answer being made, Perhaps, resumed he, it may be thus accounted for: Women are the most delicate part of the creation. Conscious of the weakness of their sex, and that they stand in need of protection (for apprehensiveness the child of prudence, is as characteristic in them, as courage in a man) they naturally love brave men—And are not all military men supposed to be brave?

But how are they mistaken in their main end, supposing this to be it!

I honour a good, a generous, a brave, and humane soldier: But were such an one to be the bravest of men, how can his wife expect constant protection from the husband who is less his own, and consequently less hers, than almost any other man can be (a sailor excepted); and who must therefore, oftener, than any other man, leave her exposed to those insults, from which she seems to think he can best defend her?

Lady L. (smiling) But may it not be said, Sir, that those women who make soldiers their choice, deserve in some degree, a rank with heroes; when they can part with their husbands for the sake of their country's glory?

Sir Ch. Change your word glory for safety, Lady L. and your question will be strengthen'd. The word and thing called Glory, what mischief has it not occasioned!—As to the question itself, were you serious, let every one, I answer, who can plead the motive, be entitled to the praise that is due to it.

Miss Gr. There is so much weight in what my brother has said, that I thank Heaven, I am not in danger of being the wife of a soldier.

We, who knew what she alluded to, smiled at it; and Mr. Grandison looked about him, as if he wanted to find more in the words, than they could import to him: And then was very earnest to know how his cousin had come off.

Sir Ch. Triumphantly, cousin. Charlotte's supposed fault has brought to light additional excellencies.

Mr. Gr. I am sorry for that with all my soul—There was no bearing her before—And now what will become of me?

Miss Gr. You have nothing new to fear, Mr. Grandison, I assure you. I have been detected in real faults. I have been generously treated; and repent of my fault. Let me have an instance of like ingenuousness in you; and I will say, there are hopes of us both.

Mr. Gr. Your servant, cousin. Either way I must have it. But were you to follow the example by which you own yourself amended, I might have the better chance, perhaps, of coming up to you in ingenuousness.

Lord L. Upon my word, sister Charlotte, Mr. Grandison has said a good thing.

Miss Gr. I think so too, my Lord. I will put it down. And if you are wise, Sir (to him) ask me to sew up your lips 'till to-morrow dinner-time.

Mr. Grandison looked offended.

Sir. Ch. Fie, Charlotte!

I am glad, thought I, my good Miss Grandison, that you have not lost much spirit by your trial!

* *

Miss Grandison has showed me some of the letters that passed between Captain Anderson and her. How must she have despised him, had she been drawn in to give him her hand! And the more for the poor figure he would have made as a brother to her brother! How must she have blushed at every civility paid him in such a family! Yet from passages in his letters, I dare say, he would have had the higher opinion of himself; first for his success with her, and for every civility paid him afterwards by her relations.

And thus had Sir Thomas Grandison, with all his pride, like to have thrown his daughter, a woman of high character, fine understanding, and an exalted mind, into the arms of a man, who had neither fortune, nor education, nor yet good sense, nor generosity of heart, to countenance his pretensions to such a Lady, or her for marrying beneath herself.

This is a copy of what Miss Grandison has written to send to Captain Anderson.


Had I had a generous man to deal with, I needed not to have exposed myself to the apprehended censures of a brother, whose virtues made a sister, less perfect than himself, afraid that he would think her unworthy of that tender relation to him, from the occasion. But he is the noblest of brothers. He pities me; and undertakes to talk with you, in the most friendly manner, at your own appointment, upon a subject that has long greatly distressed me, as well you know. I will not recriminate, as I might: But this assurance I must, for the hundredth time, repeat, That I never can, never will be to you, any other than


She is dissatisfied with what she has written: But I tell her, I think it will do very well.

Volume II - lettera 36

Volume II - Letter 37


Thursday, Mar. 16.

Sir Charles has already left us. He went to town this morning on the affairs of his executorship. He breakfasted with us first.

Dr. Bartlett, with whom already I have made myself very intimate, and who, I find, knows his whole heart, tells me he is always fully employed. That we knew before—No wonder then, that he is not in love. He has not had leisure, I suppose to attend to the calls of such an idle passion.

You will do me the justice to own, that in the round of employments I was engaged in at Selby-house, I never knew any-thing of the matter: But indeed there was no Sir Charles Grandison; first to engage my gratitude; and then, my heart. So it is: I must not, it seems, deny it. If I did, "a child in Love-matters would detect me,"

* *

O my Lucy! I have been hard set by these sisters. They have found me out; or rather, let me know, that they long ago found me out. I will tell you all as it passed.

I had been so busy with my pen, that tho' accustomed to be first dressed, wherever I was, I was now the last. They entered my dressing-room arm in arm; and I have since recollected, that they looked as if they had mischief in their hearts; Miss Grandison especially. She had said, She would play me a trick.

I was in some little hurry, to be so much behindhand, when I saw them dressed.

Miss Grandison would do me the honour of assisting me, and dismissed Jenny, who had but just come in to offer her service.

She called me charming creature twice, as she was obligingly busy about me; and the second time said, Well may my brother, Lady L. say what he did of this girl!

With too great eagerness, What, what, said I—I was going to add—did he say?—But catching myself up, in a tone of less surprise—designing to turn it off—WHAT honour you do me, madam, in this your kind assistance!

Miss Grandison leered archly at me; then turning to Lady L. This Harriet of ours, said she, is more than half a rogue.

Punish her then, Charlotte, said Lady L. You have, tho' with much ado, been brought to speak out yourself; and so have acquired a kind of right to punish those who affect disguises to their best friends.

Lord bless me, Ladies! And down I sat—What, what—I was going to say, do you mean? But stopped, and I felt my face glow.

What, what! repeated Miss Grandison—My sweet girl can say nothing but What, what!—One of my fellows, Sir Walter Watkyns, is in her head, I suppose—Did you ever see Wat—Watkyns, Harriett?

My handkerchief was in my hand, as I was going to put it on. I was unable to throw it round my neck. O how the fool throbbed, and trembled!

Miss Gr. Confirmation, Lady L.! Confirmation!

Lady L. I think so, truly—But it wanted none to me.

Har. I am surprised! Pray, Ladies, what can you mean by this sudden attack?

Miss. Gr. And what, Harriet, can you mean by these What, what's, and this sudden emotion?—Give me your handkerchief!—What doings are here!

She snatch'd it out of my trembling hand, and put it round my neck—Why this sudden palpitation?—Ah! Harriet! Why won't you make confidents of your two sisters? Do you think we have not found you out before this?

Har. Found me out! How found me out!—Dear Miss Grandison, you are the most alarming Lady that ever lived!—

I stood up, trembling.

Miss Gr. Am I so? But, to cut the matter short—[Sit down, Harriet. You can hardly stand.] Is it such a disgraceful thing for a fine girl to be in Love?

Har. Who I, I, in Love?

Miss Gr. (laughing) So, Lady L. you see that Harriet has found herself out to be a fine girl!— Disqualify now; can't you, my dear? Tell fibs. Be affected. Say you are not a fine girl, and-so-forth.

Har. Dear Miss Grandison—It was your turn the day before yesterday. How can you forget—

Miss Gr. Spiteful too! My life to a farthing, you pay for this, Harriet!—But, child, I was not in Love—Ah! Harriet! That gentleman in Northhamptonshire—Did you think we should not find you out?

This hearten'd me a little.

Har. O Madam, do you think to come at anything by such methods as this? I ought to have been aware of Miss Grandison's alarming ways.

Miss Gr. You pay for this, also, Harriet. Did you not say, that I should take the reins, Lady L.! I will have no mercy on our younger sister for this abominable affectation and reserve.

Har. And so, Ladies, you think, I warrant, that Mr. Orme—

Lord L. Take the reins, Charlotte; making a motion, with a sweet pretty air, with her handkerchief, as if she tossed her something—I myself, Harriet, am against you now. I wanted a trial of that frankness of heart, for which I have heard you so much commended: And, surely, you might have showed it, if to any persons living, to your two sisters.

Miss Gr. No more, no more, Lady L. Have you not left her to me? I will punish her. You will have too much lenity.—And now tell me, Harriet—Don't you love Mr. Orme better than any Man you ever yet saw?

Har. Indeed I do not.

Miss Gr. Whom do you love better, Harriet?

Har. Pray, Miss Grandison!

Miss Gr. And pray, Miss Byron!

Har. Resume the reins, Lady L.—Pray do!—

Miss Grandison has no mercy! Yet met with a great deal the day before yester—

Miss Gr. The day before yesterday?—Very well!—But then I was ingenuous—

Har. And am not I?—Pray, Lady L.

Lady L. I think, not.—

And she seemed a little too cruelly to enjoy the flutter I was in.

Miss Gr. And you say that there is no one gentleman in Northamptonshire—

Har. What is the meaning of this, Ladies? But I do assure you, there is not—

Miss Gr. See, Lady L. there are some questions that the girl can answer readily enough.

I believe I looked serious. I was silent. Indeed my very soul was vexed.

Miss Gr. Ay, Harriet, be sullen: Don't answer any questions at all. That's your only way, now—And then we go no further, you know. But tell me—Don't you repent, that you have given a denial to Lady D.?

Har. I won't be sullen, Ladies. Yet I am not pleased to be thus—

Miss Gr. Then own yourself a woman, Harriet; and that, in some certain instances, you have both affectation, and reserve. There are some cases, my dear, in which it is impossible but a woman must be guilty of affectation.

Har. Well then, suppose I am. I never pretended to be clear of the foibles which you impute to the Sex. I am a weak, a very weak creature: You see I am—

And I put my hand in my pocket for my handkerchief.

Miss Gr. Ay, weep, love. My sister has heard me say, that I never in my life saw a girl so lovely in tears.

Har. What have I done to deserve—

Miss Gr. Such a compliment!—Hay?—But you sha'n't weep neither.—Why, why, is this subject so affecting, Harriet?

Har. You surprise me!—Parted with you but an hour or two ago—And nothing of these reproaches, And now, all at once, both Ladies—

Miss Gr. Reproaches, Harriet!—

Har. I believe so. I don't know what else to call them.

Miss Gr. What! Is it a reproach to be taxed with Love—

Har. But the manner, madam—

Miss Gr. The manner you are taxed with it, is the thing then—Well, putting on a grave look, and assuming a softer accent—You are in Love, however: But with whom? is the question—Are we, your sisters, entitled to know with whom?

Surely, Ladies, thought I, you have something to say, that will make me amends for all this intolerable teasing: And yet my proud heart, whatever it were to be, swelled a little, that they should think that would be such high amends, which, however, I by myself, communing only with my own heart, would have thought so.

Lady L. (coming to me, and taking my hand) Let me tell you, our dearest Harriet, that you are the most insensible girl in the world, if you are not in Love—And now what say you?

Har. Perhaps I do know, Ladies, enough of the Passion, to wish to be less alarmingly treated.

They then sitting down, one on either side of me; each took a hand of the trembling fool.

I think I will resume the reins, Charlotte, said the Countess. We are both cruel. But tell us, my lovely sister, in one word tell your Caroline, tell your Charlotte, if you have any confidence in our love (and indeed we love you, or we would not have teased you as we have done) if there be not one man in the world, whom you love above all men in it?

I was silent. I looked down. I had, in the same moment, an ague, in its cold, and in its hot fit. They vouchsafed, each, to press with her lips the passive hand each held.

Be not afraid to speak out, my dear, said Miss Grandison. Assure yourself of my love; my true sisterly love. I once intended to lay the way to the opening of your heart by the discovery of my own, before my brother, as I hoped, could have found me out—But nothing can be hid—

Madam! Ladies! said I, and stood up in a hurry, and, in as great a discomposure, sat down again—Your brother has not, could not—I would die before—

Miss. Gr. Amiable delicacy!—He has not—But say you, Harriet, he could not?—If you would not be teased, don't aim at reserves—But think you, that we could not see, on an hundred occasions, your heart at your eyes?—That we could not affix a proper meaning to those sudden throbs just here, patting my neck; those half-suppressed, but always involuntary sighs—[I sighed]—Ay, just such as that—[I was confounded]—But, to be serious, we do assure you, Harriet, that had we not thought ourselves under some little obligation to Lady Anne S. we should have talked to you before on this subject. The friends of that Lady have been very solicitous with us—And Lady Anne is not averse—

Har. Dear Ladies! withdrawing the hand that Miss Grandison held, and taking out my handkerchief; you say, you love me!—Won't you despise whom you love?—I do own—

There I stopped; and dried my eyes.

Lady L. What does my Harriet own?—

Har. O madam, had I a greater opinion of my own merit, than I have reason to have (and I never had so little an one, as since I have known you two) I could open to you, without reserve, my whole heart—But one request I have to make you—You must grant it.

They both in a breath asked what that was.

Har. It is, That you will permit your chariot to carry me to town this very afternoon—And long shall not that town hold your Harriet—Indeed, indeed, Ladies, I cannot now ever look your brother in the face—And you will also both despise me! I know you will!

Sweet, and as seasonable as sweet (for I was very much affected) were the assurances they gave me of their continued love.

Miss Gr. We have talked with our brother this morning—

Har. About me! I hope he has not a notion, that—There I stopped.

Lady L. You were mentioned: But we intend not to alarm you farther. We will tell you what passed. Lady Anne was our subject.

I was all attention.

Miss Gr. We asked him if he had any thoughts of marriage? The question came in properly enough, from the subject that preceded it. He was silent: But sighed, and looked grave [Why did Sir Charles Grandison sigh, Lucy?] We repeated the question. You told us, brother, said I, that you do not intend to resume the treaty begun by my father for Lady Frances N. What think you of Lady Anne S.? We need not mention to you how considerable her fortune is; what an enlargement it would give to your power of doing good; nor what her disposition and qualities are: Her person is far from being disagreeable: And she has a great esteem for you.

I think Lady Anne a very agreeable woman, replied he: But if she honours me with a preferable esteem, she gives me regret: because it is not in my power to return it.

Not in your power, brother?

It is not in my power to return it.

O Lucy! how my heart flutter'd! The ague-fit came on again; and I was hot and cold as before, almost in the same Moment.

They told me, they would not tease me further. But there are subjects, that cannot be touch'd upon without raising emotion in the bosom of a person who hopes, and is uncertain. O the cruelty of suspense! How every new instance of it tears in pieces my before almost bursting heart!

Miss Gr. My brother went on—You have often hinted to me at a distance this subject. I will not, as I might, answer your question, now so directly put, by saying, that it is my wish to see you, Charlotte, happily married, before I engage myself. But, perhaps, I shall be better enabled some time hence, than I am at present, to return such an answer as you may expect from a brother.

Now, my Harriet, we are afraid, by the words, Not in his power; and by the hint that he cannot at present answer our question as he may be enabled to do some time hence; we are afraid, that some foreign Lady—

They had raised my hopes; and now, exciting my fears by so well-grounded an apprehension, they were obliged for their pains to hold Lady L's salts to my nose. I could not help exposing myself, my heart having been weaken'd too by their teasings before. My head dropped on the shoulder of Miss Grandison. Tears relieved me.

I desired their pity. They assured me of their love; and called upon me, as I valued their friendship, to open my whole heart to them.

I paused. I hesitated. For words did not immediately offer themselves. But at last, I said, Could I have thought myself entitled to your excuse, Ladies, your Harriet, honoured, as she was, from the first, with the appellation of sister, would have had no reserve to her sisters: But a just consciousness of my own unworthiness, overcame a temper that I will say, is naturally frank and unreserved. Now, however—

There I stopped and held down my head.

Lady L. Speak out, my dear,—What Now—

Miss Gr. What Now, however—

Harriet. Thus called upon; thus encouraged—And I lifted up my head as boldly as I could (but it was not, I believe, very boldly) I will own, that the man, who by so signal an instance of his bravery and goodness engaged my gratitude, has possession of my whole heart.

And then, almost unknowing what I did, I threw one of my arms, as I sat between them, round Lady L's neck, the other round Miss Grandison's; my glowing face seeking to hide itself in Lady L.'s bosom.

They both embraced me, and assured me of their united interest. They said, They knew I had also Dr. Bartlett's high regard: But that they had in vain sought to procure new lights from him; he constantly, in every-thing that related to their brother, referring himself to him: And they assured me, that I had likewise the best wishes and Interest of Lord L. to the fullest extent.

This, Lucy, is some—consolation—must I say?—some ease to my pride, as to what the family think of me: But yet, how is that pride mortified, to be thus obliged to rejoice at this strengthening of hope to obtain an interest in the heart of a man, of whose engagements none of us know any-thing! But if, at last, it shall prove, that that worthiest of hearts is disengaged; and if I can obtain an interest in it, be pride out of the question! The man, as my aunt wrote, is Sir Charles Grandison.

I was very earnest to know, since my eyes had been such tell-tales, if their brother had any suspicion of my regard for him.

They could not, they said, either from his words or behaviour, gather that he had. He had not been so much with me, as they had been. Nor would they wish that he should suspect me. The best of men, they said, loved to have difficulties to conquer. Their brother, generous as he was, was a man.

Yet, Lucy, I thought at the time of what he said at Sir Hargrave Pollexfen's, as recited by the shorthand writer—That he would not marry the greatest princess on earth, if he were not assured, that she loved him above all the men in it.

I fancy, my dear, that we women, when we love, and are doubtful, suffer a great deal in the apprehension, at one time, of disgusting the object of our passion, by too forward a Love; and, at another, of disobliging him by too great a reserve. Don't you think so?

The Ladies said, They were extremely solicitous to see their brother married. They wished it were to me, rather than to any other woman; and kindly added, That I had their hearts, even at the time when Lady Anne, by a kind of previous engagement had their voices.

And then they told me what their brother said of me, with the hint of which they began this alarming conversation.

When my brother had let us know, said Miss Grandison, that it was not in his power to return a preferable esteem for a like esteem, if Lady Anne honoured him with it; I said—Had Lady Anne as many advantages to boast of, as Miss Byron has, could you then, brother, like Lady Anne?

Miss Byron, replied he, is a charming woman.

Lady L. (slyly enough, continued Miss Grandison) said, Miss Byron is one of the prettiest women I ever beheld. I never saw in any face, youth, and dignity, and sweetness of aspect, so happily blended:

On this occasion, Lucy, my vanity may, I hope, revive, so long as I repeat only, and repeat justly.

"Forgive me, Lady L. replied my brother—But as Alexander would be drawn only by Apelles; so would I say to all those who leave mind out of the description of Miss Byron, That they are not to "describe her. This young Lady" [You may look proud, Harriet!] "has united in her face, feature, complexion, grace, and expression, which very few women, even of those who are most celebrated for beauty, have singly in equal degree: But, what is infinitely more valuable, she has an heart that is equally pure and open. She has a fine mind: And it is legible in her face. Have you not observed, Charlotte, added he, what intelligence her very silence promises? And yet, when she speaks, she never disappoints the most raised expectations."

I was speechless, Lucy.

Well, brother, continued Miss Grandison—If there is not every-thing you say in Miss Byron's face and mind, there seems to me little less than the warmth of Love in the description—You are another Apelles, Sir, if his colours were the most glowing of those of all painters.

My eyes had the assurance to ask Miss Grandison, What answer he returned to this? She saw they had.

Ah! Harriet! smiling—That's a meaning look, with all its bashfulness. This was my brother's answer—

"Every-body must love Miss Byron—You know, Charlotte, that I presented her to you, and you to her, as a third sister: And what man better loves his sisters, than your brother?"

We both looked down, Harriet; but not quite so silly, and so disappointed a you now look—

Dear Miss Grandison!—

Well, then another time don't let your eyes ask questions, instead of your lips.

Third sister! my Lucy! Indeed I believe I looked silly enough. To say the truth, I was disappointed.

Har. And this was all that passed? You hear by my question, Ladies, that my lips will keep my eyes in countenance.

Miss Gr. It was; for he retired as soon as he had said this.

Har. How retired, madam?—Any discompo—You laugh at my folly; at my presumption perhaps—

They both smiled. No, I can't say that there seemed to be either in his word or manner, any distinguishing emotion; any great discompo—He was about to retire before.

Well, Ladies, I will only say, That the best thing I can do, is, to borrow a chariot-and-six, and drive away to Northamptonshire.

But why, o, Harriet?

Because it is impossible but I must suffer in your brother's opinion, every time he sees me, and that whether I am silent or speaking.

They made me fine compliments: But they would indeed have been fine ones, could they have made them from their brother.

Well, but, Lucy, don't you think, that had Sir Charles Grandison meant any-thing, he would have expressed himself to his sisters in such high terms, before he had said one very distinguishing thing to me? Let me judge by myself—Men and women, I believe, are so much alike, that, put custom, tyrant-custom, out of the question, the meaning of the one may be generally guessed at by that of the other, in cases where the heart is concerned. What civil, what polite things, could I allow myself to say to and of Mr. Orme, and Mr. Fowler! How could I praise the honesty and goodness of their hearts, and declare my pity for them! And why? Because I meant nothing more by it all, than a warmer kind of civility; that I was not afraid to let go, as their merits pulled.—And now, methinks, I can better guess, than I could till now, at what Mr. Greville meant, when he wished me to declare, that I hated him. Sly wretch!—since the woman who uses a man insolently in courtship, certainly makes that man of more importance to her, than she would wish him to think himself.—

But why am I studious to torment myself? What will be, must. "Who knows what Providence has designed for Sir Charles Grandison?"—May he be happy! But indeed, my Lucy, your Harriet is much otherwise, at this time.

Volume II - lettera 37

Volume II - Letter 38


Wednesday, March 15.

I will not let you lose the substance of a very agreeable conversation, which we had last night after supper. You may be sure I thought it the more agreeable, as Sir Charles was drawn in to bear a considerable part in it. It would be impossible to give you more than passages, because the subjects were various, and the transitions so quick, by one person asking this question, another that, that I could not, were I to try, connect them as I endeavour generally to do.

Of one subject, Lucy, I particularly owe you some account. Miss Grandison, in her lively way (and lively she was, notwithstanding her trial so lately over) led me into talking of the detested masquerade. She put me upon recollecting the giddy scene, which those dreadfully interesting ones that followed it, had made me wish to blot out of my memory.

I spared you at the time, Harriet, said she. I asked you no questions about the masquerade, when you flew to us first, poor frighted bird! with all your gay plumage about you.

I coloured a deep crimson, I believe. What were Sir Charles's first thoughts of me, Lucy, in that fantastic, that hated dress? The simile of the bird too, was his, you know; and Charlotte looked very archly.

My dear Miss Grandison, spare me still. Let me forget, that ever I presumptuously ventured into such a scene of folly.

Do not call it by harsh names, Miss Byron, said Sir Charles. We are too much obliged to it.

Can I, Sir Charles, call it by too harsh a name, when I think, how fatal, in numberless ways, the event might have proved? But I do not speak only with reference to that. Don't think, my dear Miss Grandison, that my dislike to myself, and to this foolish diversion, springs altogether from what befell me: The same shocking villainy might have been attempted by the same vile man from a more laudable and reasonable diversion. I had on the spot the same contempts, the same disdain of myself, the dislike of all those who seemed capable of joy on the light, the foolish occasion.

My good Charlotte, said Sir Charles smiling, is less timorous than her younger sister. She might be persuaded, I fancy, to venture—

Under your conduct, Sir Charles. You know, Lady L. and I, who have not yet had an opportunity of this sort, were trying to engage you against the next subscription-ball.

Indeed, said Lady L. our Harriet's distress has led me into reflexions I never made before on this kind of diversion; and I fancy her account of it, will perfectly satisfy my curiosity.

Sir Ch. Proceed, good Miss Byron. I am as curious as your sisters, to hear what you say of it. The scene was quite new to you. You probably expected entertainment from it. Forget for a while the accidental consequences, and tell us how you were at the time amused.

Amused! Sir Charles!—Indeed I had no opinion of the diversion, even before I went. I knew I should despise it. I knew I should often wish myself at home before the evening were over. And so indeed I did. I whispered my cousin Reeves more than once, O madam! this is sad! This is intolerable stuff! This place is one great bedlam! Good Heaven! Could there be in this one town so many creatures devoid of reason, as are here got together? I hope we are all here.

Yet you see, said Miss Grandison, however Lady L. is, or seems to be, instantaneously informed, there were two, who would gladly have been there: The more, you may be sure, for its having been a diversion prohibited to us, at our first coming to town. Sir Charles lived long in the land of masquerades—Oh, my dear! we used to please ourselves with hopes, that when he was permitted to come over to England, we should see golden days under his auspices.

Sir Ch. (smiling) Will you accompany us to the next subscription-ball, Miss Byron?

I, Sir Charles, should be inexcusable, if I thought—

Miss Gr. (interrupting, and looking archly) Not under our brother's conduct, Harriet?

Indeed, my dear Miss Grandison, had the diversion not been prohibited, had you once seen the wild, the senseless confusion, you would think just as I do: And you would have one stronger reason against countenancing it by your presence; for who, at this rate, shall make the stand of virtue and decorum, if such Ladies as Miss Grandison and Lady L. do not?—But I speak of the common masquerades, which I believe are more disorderly. I was disgusted at the freedoms taken with me, tho' but the common freedoms of the place, by persons who singled me from the throng, hurried me round the rooms, and engaged me in fifty idle conversations; and to whom, by the privilege of the place, I was obliged to be bold, pert, saucy, and to aim at repartee and smartness; the current wit of that witless place. They once got me into a country-dance. No prude could come, or if she came, could be a prude, there.

Sir Ch. Were you not pleased, Miss Byron, with the first coup d'oeil of that gay apartment?

A momentary pleasure: but when I came to reflect, the bright light, striking on my tinsel dress, made me seem to myself the more conspicuous fool. Let me be kept in countenance as I might, by scores of still more ridiculous figures, what, thought I, are other people's follies to me? Am I to make an appearance that shall want the countenance of the vainest, if not the silliest part of the creation? What would my good grandfather have thought, could he have seen his Harriet, the girl whose mind he took pains to form and enlarge, mingling in a habit so preposterously rich and gaudy, with a crowd of Satyrs, Harlequins, Scaramouches, Fauns, and Dryads; nay, of Witches and Devils; the graver habits striving which should most disgrace the characters they assumed, and every one endeavouring to be thought the direct contrary of what they appeared to be.

Miss Gr. Well, then, the Devils, at least, must have been charming creatures!

Lady L. But, Sir Charles, might not a masquerade, if decorum were observed, and every one would support with wit and spirit the assumed character—

Mr. Gr. Devils and all, Lady L.?

Lady L. It is contrary to decorum for such shocking characters to be assumed at all: But might it not, Sir Charles, so regulated, be a rational and an almost instructive entertainment?

Sir Ch. You would scarcely be able, my dear sister, to collect eight or nine hundred people, all wits, and all observant of decorum. And if you could, does not the example reach down to those who are capable of taking only the bad and dangerous part of a diversion; which you may see by every common news-paper is become dreadfully general?

Mr. Gr. Well, Sir Charles, and why should not the poor devils in low life divert themselves as well as their betters? For my part, I rejoice when I see advertised an eighteen-penny masquerade, for all the pretty 'prentice souls, who will that evening be Arcadian Shepherdesses, Goddesses, and Queens.

I blushed at the word Arcadian; yet Mr. Grandison did not seem to have my masquerade dress in his thoughts.

Miss Gr. What low profligate scenes couldst thou expatiate upon, good man! if thou wert in proper company! I warrant those Goddesses have not wanted an adorer in our cousin Everard.

Mr. Gr. Dear Miss Charlotte, take care! I protest, you begin to talk with the spite of an old maid.

Miss Gr. There, brother! Do you hear the wretch? Will not you, knight-errand like, defend the cause of a whole class of distressed damsels, with our good Yorkshire aunt at the head of them?

Sir Ch. Those general prejudices and aspersions, Charlotte, are indeed unjust and cruel. Yet I am for having every-body marry. Bachelors, cousin Everard, and maids, when long single, are looked upon as houses long empty, which no-body cares to take. As the houses in time, by long disuse, will be thought by the vulgar haunted by evil spirits, so will the other, by the many, be thought possessed by no good ones.

The transition was some-how made from hence to the equitableness that ought to be in our judgements of one another. We must in these cases, said Sir Charles, throw merit in one scale, demerit in the other; and if the former weigh down the latter, we must in charity pronounce to the person's advantage. So it is humbly hoped we shall finally be judged ourselves: For who is faultless?

Yet, said he, for my own part, that I may not be wanting to prudence, I have sometimes where the merit is not very striking, allowed persons, at first acquaintance, a short lease only in my good opinion; some for three, some for six, some for nine, others for twelve months, renewable or not, as they answer expectation. And by this means I leave it to every one to make his own character with me; I preserve my charity, and my complacency; and enter directly, with frankness, into conversation with him; and generally continue that freedom to the end of the respective person's lease.

Miss Gr. I wonder how many of your leases, brother, have been granted to Ladies?

Sir Ch. Many, Charlotte, of the friendly sort: But the kind you archly mean, are out of the question at present. We were talking of esteem.

They insensibly led the conversation to Love and Courtship; and he said [What do you think he said, Lucy?] That he should not, perhaps, were he in Love, be over-forward to declare his passion by words; but rather show it by his assiduities and veneration, unless he saw, that the suspense was painful to the object; and in this case it would be equally mean and insolent not to break silence, and put himself in the power of her, whose honour and delicacy ought to be dearer to him than his own.

What say you to this, Lucy?

Some think, proceeded he, that the days of courtship are the happiest days of life. But the man, who, as a Lover, thinks so, is not to be forgiven. Yet it must be confessed, that hope gives an ardour which subsides in certainty.

Being called upon by Lord L. to be more explicit:

I am not endeavouring, said he, to set up my particular humour for a general rule. For my own sake, I would not, by a too early declaration, drive a Lady into reserves; since that would be to rob myself of those innocent freedoms, and of that complacency, to which an honourable Lover might think himself entitled; and which might help him (Don't be affrighted, Ladies!) to develop the plaits and folds of the female heart.

This development stuck with us women a little. We talked of it afterwards. And Miss Grandison then said, It was well her cousin Everard said not that. And he answered, Sir Charles may with more safety steal an horse, than I look over the hedge.

Miss Gr. Ay, cousin Grandison, that is because you are a Rake. A name, believe me, of at least as much reproach, as that of an Old Maid.

Mr. Gr. Aspersing a whole class at once, Miss Charlotte! 'Tis contrary to your own maxim; And a class too (this of the Rakes) that many a generous-spirited girl chooses out of, when she would dispose of herself and her fortune.

Miss Gr. How malapert this Everard!

What Sir Charles next said, made him own the character more decently by his blushes.

The woman who chooses a Rake, said he, does not consider, that all the sprightly airs for which she preferred him to a better man, either vanish in matrimony, or are shown to others, to her mortal disquiet. The agreeable will be carried abroad: The disagreeable will be brought home. If he reform (and yet bad habits are very difficult to shake off) he will probably, from the reflexions on his past guilty life, be an unsociable companion, should deep and true contrition have laid hold on him: If not, what has she chosen? He married not from honest principles: A Rake despises matrimony: If still a Rake, what hold will she have of him? A Rake in Passion is not a Rake in Love. Such a one can seldom be in Love: From a laudable passion he cannot. He has no delicacy. His Love deserves a vile name: And if so, it will be strange, if in his eyes a common woman excel not his modest wife,

What he said, was openly approved by the Gentlemen: tacitly by the Ladies.

The subject changing to marriages of persons of unequal years; I knew, said Lord L. a woman of character, and not reckoned to want sense, who married at twenty a man of more than fifty in hopes of burying him; but who lived with her upwards of twenty years; and then dying, she is now in treaty with a young Rake of twenty-two. She is rich! and, poor woman! hopes to be happy. Pity, Sir Charles, she could not see the picture you have been drawing.

Retribution, said Sir Charles, will frequently take its course. The Lady, keeping in view one steady purpose; which was, That she would marry a young man, whenever death removed the old one, forgot, when she lost her husband, that she had been growing older for the last twenty years; and will now very probably be the despised mate to the young husband, that her late husband was to her. Thirty years hence, the now young man will perhaps fall into the error of his predecessor, if he outlive the wife he is going to take, and be punished in the same way. These are what may be called punishments in kind. The violators of the social duties are frequently punished by the success of their own wishes. Don't you think, my Lord, that it is suitable to the divine benignity, as well as justice, to lend its sanctions and punishments in aid of those duties which bind man to man?

Lord L. said some very good things. Your Harriet was not a mute: But you know, that my point is, to let you into the character and sentiments of Sir Charles Grandison: And whenever I can do them tolerable justice, I shall keep to that point. You will promise for me, you say, Lucy—I know you will.

But one might have expected that Dr. Bartlett would have said more than he did, on some of the subjects: Yet Mr. Grandison, and he, and Miss Emily, were almost equally, and attentively, silent, till the last scene: And then the Doctor said, I must show you a little translation of Miss Emily's from the Italian. She blushed, and looked as if she knew not whether she should stay or go. I shall be glad to see any-thing of my Emily's, said Sir Charles. I know she is a mistress of that language, and elegant in her own. Pray, my dear, (to her) let us be obliged, if it will not pain you.

She blushed, and bowed.

I must first tell you, said the Doctor, that I was the occasion of her choosing so grave a subject, as you will find that of the sonnet from which hers is taken.

A sonnet! said Miss Grandison. My dear little POETESS, you must set it, and sing it to us.

No indeed, madam, said Miss Jervois, blushing still more, Dr. Bartlett would by no means have me a Poetess, I am sure: And did you not, dear madam, speak that word, as if you meant to call me a name?

I think she did, my dear, said Sir Charles: Nor would I have had my Emily distinguished by any name, but that of a discreet, an ingenious, and an amiable young woman. The title of Wit and Poetess, has been disgraced too often by Sappho's and Corrinna's ancient and modern. Was not this in your head, sister? But do not be disturbed, my Emily [the poor girl's eyes glistened]. I mean no check to liveliness and modest ingenuity. The easy productions of a fine fancy, not made the business of life, or its boast, confer no denomination that is disgraceful, but very much the contrary.

I am very glad, for all that, said Miss Jervois, that my little translation is in plain prose: Had it not, I should have been very much afraid to have it seen.

Even in that case, you need not to have been afraid, my dear Miss Jervois, said the good Dr. Bartlett: Sir Charles is an admirer of good poetry: And Miss Grandison would have recollected the Philomelas, the Orinadas, and other excellent names among her own sex, whose fine genius does it honour.

Your diffidence and sweet humility, my dear Emily, said Lady L. would, in you, make the most envied accomplishments amiable.

I am sure, said the lovely girl, hanging down her head, tears ready to start, I have reason to be affected with the subject—The indulgent mother is described with so much sweet tenderness—O what pleasures do mothers lose, who want tenderness.

We all, either by eyes or voices, called for the Sonnet, and her translation. Dr. Bartlett showed them to us; and I sent copies of both.



Vincenzio da Filicaja.

Qua madre ì figli con pietoso affetto

Mira, e d'amor si strugge a lor davante;

E un bacia in fronte, ed un si stringe al petto,

Uno tien su i ginocchi, un sulle piante,

E mentre agli atti, a i gemiti, all' aspetto

Lor voglie intende si diverse, e tante,

A questi un guardo, a quei dispensa un detto,

E se ride, o s'adira è sempre amante:

Tal per noi Provvidenza alta infinita

Veglia, e questi conforta, e quei provvede,

E tutti ascolta, e porge a tutti aita.

E se niega talor grazia, a mercede,

O niega sol, perchè a pregar ne invita;

O negar finge, e nel negar concede.

"See a fond mother encircled by her children: With pious tenderness she looks around, and her soul even melts with maternal Love. One she kisses on the forehead; and clasps another to her bosom. One she sets upon her knees; and finds a seat upon her foot for another. And while, by their actions, their lisping words, and asking eyes, she understands their various numberless little wishes, to these she dispenses a look; a word to those; and whether she smiles or frowns, 'tis all in tender Love.

"Such to us, tho' infinitely high and awful, is PROVIDENCE: So it watches over us; comforting these; providing for those; listening to all; assisting every one: And if sometimes it denies the favour we implore, it denies but to invite our more earnest prayers; or, seeming to deny a blessing, grants one in that refusal."

When the translation was read aloud, the tears that before were starting, trickled down the sweet girl's cheeks. But the commendations every one joined in, and especially the praises given her by her guardian, drove away every cloud from her face.

Volume II - lettera 38

Volume II - Letter 39


Friday March 17.

My dear Charlotte,

I have already seen Captain Anderson. Richard Saunder, whom I sent with your Letter, as soon as I came to town, found him at his lodgings near Whitehall. He expressed himself, on reading it before the servant, with indifferent warmth. I would not make minute enquiries after his words, because I intended an amicable meeting with him.

We met at four yesterday afternoon, at the Cocoa-tree in Pall-mall: Lieut. Col. Mackenzie, and Major Dillon, two of his friends, with whom I had no acquaintance, were with him. The Captain and I withdrew to a private room. The two gentlemen enter'd it with us.

You will on this occasion, I know, expect me to be particular: Yet must allow, that I had no good cause to manage; since those points that had most weight (and which were the ground of your objections to him, when you saw him in a near light) could not be pleaded without affronting him; and if they were, would hardly meet with his allowance; and could therefore have no force in the argument.

On the two gentlemen entering the room with us, without apology or objection, I ask'd the Captain, If they were acquainted with the affair we met upon? He said, They were his dear and inseparable friends, and knew every secret of his heart. Perhaps in this case, Captain Anderson, returned I, it were as well they did not.

We are men of honour, Sir Charles Grandison, said the Major briskly.

I don't doubt it, Sir. But where the delicacy of a Lady is concern'd, the hearts of the principals should be the whole world to each other. But what is done, is done. I am ready to enter upon the affair before these gentlemen, if you choose it, Captain.

You will find us to be gentlemen, Sir Charles, said the Colonel.

The Captain then began, with warmth, his own story: Indeed he told it very well. I was pleased, for my sister's sake (pardon me, Charlotte) that he did. He is not contemptible, either in person or understanding. He may be said, perhaps, to be an illiterate, but he is not an ignorant man; tho' not the person whom the friends of Charlotte Grandison would think worthy of the first place in her heart.

After he had told his story (which I need not repeat to you) he insisted upon your promise. And his two friends declared in his favour, with airs, each man, a little too peremptory. I told them so; and that they must do me the justice to consider me as a man of some spirit, as well as themselves. I came hither with a friendly intention, gentlemen said I. I do not love to follow the lead of hasty spirits. But if you expect to carry any point with me, it must not be either by raised voices, or heightened complexions.

Their features were all at once changed. And they said, they meant not to be warm.

I told the Captain, That I would not enter into a minute defence of the Lady, tho' my sister; I owned, that there had appeared a precipitation in her conduct. Her treatment at home, as she apprehended, was not answerable to her merits. She was young, and knew nothing of the world. Young Ladies were often struck by appearances. You, Captain Anderson, said I, have advantages in person and manner, that might obtain for you a young Lady's attention. And as she believed herself circumstanced in her family, I wonder not that she lent an air to the address of a gallant man; whose command in that neighbourhood, and, I doubt not, whose behaviour in that command, added to his consequence. But I take it for granted, Sir, that you met with difficulties from her, when she came to reflect upon the disreputation of a young woman's carrying on clandestinely a correspondence with a man, of whose address her father, then living, was not likely to approve. There was none of that violent passion on either side, that precludes reason, discretion, duty. It is no wonder then, that a woman of Charlotte Grandison's known good sense, should reflect, should consider: And perhaps the less, that you should therefore seek to engage her by promise. But what was the promise? It was not the promise that, it seems, you sought to engage her to make; To be absolutely yours, and no other man's: But it was, That she would not marry any other man without your consent, while you remained single. An unreasonable promise, however, I will presume to say, either to be proposed, or submitted to.

Sir! said the Captain; and looked the Soldier.

I repeated what I last said.

Sir! again said the Captain; and looked upon his friends, who pointed each his head at the other, and at him, by turns—as if they had said, Very free language!

For, Sir, proceeded I, did it not give room to think, that you had either some doubts of your own merit with the Lady, or of her affection and steadiness.

And in either case, ought it to have been proposed? ought it to have been made? For my part, I should disdain to think of any woman for a wife who gave me reason to imagine, that she was likely to balance a moment, as to her choice of me, or any other man.

Something in that! said the Colonel.

As you explain yourself, Sir Charles, said the Major—

The Captain, however, sat swelling. He was not so easily satisfied.

Your motive, we are not to question, Captain, was Love. Miss Grandison is a young woman whom any man may love. By the way, where a man is assured of a return in Love, there is no occasion for a promise. But a promise was made. My sister is a woman of honour. She thinks herself bound by it; and she is content to lead a single life to the end of it, if you will not acquit her of this promise. Yet she leaves, and at the time did leave, you free. You will have the justice, Sir, to allow, that there is generosity in her conduct to you, which remains for you to show to her, since a promise should not be made but on equal terms. Would you hold her to it, and be not held yourself? She desires not to hold you. Let me tell you, Captain, that if I had been in your situation, and had been able to prevail upon myself to endeavour to bring a Lady to make me such a promise, I should have doubted her love of me, had she not sought to bind me to her by an equal tie. What! should I have said to myself, Is this Lady dearer to me than all the women upon earth? Do I seek to bind her to me by a solemn promise, which shall give me a power over her? And has she so little regard for me, as not to value, whether I marry any other woman?

The Gentlemen looked upon one another; but were silent. I proceeded.

Let us set this matter in its true light. Here is a young woman, who had suffered herself to be embarrassed in a treaty, that her whole heart, she assures me, was never in, This was her fault. But know we not how inextricable are the entanglements of Love, as it is called, when young women are brought to enter into correspondence with men? Our Sex have opportunities of knowing the world, which the other have not. Experience, gentlemen, engaging with inexperience, and perhaps to the difference of twice the number of years [Sir! said the Captain!] the combat must be too unequal. How artfully do men endeavour to draw in the women whom they think it worth their while to pursue!—But would any man here wish to marry a woman, who declares that she was insensibly drawn in beyond her purpose? Who showed, when she refused to promise that she would be his, in preference to all other men, that she did not love him above all other men? Who, when she was prevailed on to fetter herself, made him not of consequence enough to herself to bind him? And, in a word, who has long ago declared to him, and steadily persists in the declaration, That she never will be his?—You seem, gentlemen, to be men of spirit. Would you wish to marry the first woman on earth on these terms, if you could obtain her?—which, however, is not the case; since Miss Grandison's promise extends not so far as to oblige her to marry Captain Anderson.

The Captain did not, he told me, like some part of what I had said, and still less some of the words I had used;—And seemed to be disposing his features to take a livelier turn than became the occasion. I interrupted him therefore: I meet you not, Captain, said I, either to hear, or to obviate, cavils upon words. When I have told you, that I came with an amicable intention, I expect to be believed. I intend not offence. But let us be men. I am perhaps a younger man by ten years, than any one present; but I have seen the world, as much as any man of my age; and know what is due to the character of a Gentleman, whether it be captain Anderson's, or my own: And expect not wilful misconstructions.

All I mean is, Sir, said the Captain, that I will not be treated contemptuously, no, not even by the brother of Miss Grandison.

The brother of Miss Grandison, Sir, is not accustomed to treat any man contemptuously. Don't treat yourself so, and you are safe from unworthy treatment from me. Let me add, Sir, that I permit every man to fix his character with me, as he pleases. I will venture to say, I have a large charity; but I extend it not to tameness: But yet will always allow a third person to decide upon the justice of my intentions and actions.

The Captain said, That he ascribed a great deal of my sister's positiveness in her denial of him (those were his words) to the time of my arrival in England; and he doubted not, that I had encouraged the proposals, either of Sir Walter Watkyns, or of Lord G. because of their quality and fortunes: And hence his difficulties were increased.

And then up he rose, slapped one hand upon the table, put the other on his sword, and was going to say some very fierce things, prefacing them with damning his blood, when I stood up: Hold, Captain; be calm, if possible—Hear from me the naked truth; I will make you a fair representation; and, when I have done, do you resume, if you think it necessary, that angry air you got up with, and see what you'll make of it.

His friends interposed. He sat down, half out of breath with anger. His swelled features went down by degrees.

The truth of the matter is strictly and briefly this. All my sister's difficulties (which, perhaps, were greater in apprehension than in fact) ended with my father's life. I made it my business, on my arrival, as soon as possible, to ascertain my sister's fortunes. Lord L. married the elder. The two gentlemen you have mentioned, made their addresses to the younger. I knew nothing of you, Captain Anderson. My sister had wholly kept the affair between you and her, in her own breast. She had not revealed it, even to her sister. The reason she gives, and to which you, Sir, could be no stranger, was, That she was determined never to be yours. The subject requires explicitness, Captain Anderson: And I am not accustomed to palliate, whenever it does. She hoped to prevail upon you to leave her as generously free, as she had left you. I do assure you, upon my honour, that she favours not either of the gentlemen. I know not the man she does favour. It is I, her brother, not herself, that am solicitous for her marrying. And, upon the indifference she expressed to change her condition, on terms to which no objection could be made, I supposed she must have a secret preference to some other man. I was afterwards informed, that letters had passed between her and you, by a Lady, who had it from a Gentleman of your acquaintance. You have shown me, Sir, by the presence of these Gentlemen, that you were not so careful of the secret, as my sister had been.

I charged my sister, upon this discovery, with reserve to me: But offered her my service in her own way; assuring her, that if her heart were engaged, the want of quality, title, and fortune, should not be of weight with me; and that whomsoever she accepted for her husband, him would I receive for my brother.

The colonel and the Major extravagantly applauded a behaviour on this occasion, which deserved no more than a common approbation.

She solemnly assured me, proceeded I, that altho' she held herself bound by the promise which youth, inexperience, and solicitation, had drawn her in to make, she resolved to perform it by a perpetual single life, if it were insisted upon. And thus, Sir, you see, that it depends upon you to keep Charlotte Grandison a single woman, till you marry some other Lady (A power let me tell you, that no man ought to seek to obtain over any young woman) or, generously to acquit her of it, and leave her as free as she has left you.—And now, gentlemen (to the Major and Colonel) if you come hither not so much parties as judges, I leave this matter upon your consideration; and will withdraw for a few moments.

I left every mouth ready to burst into words; and walked into the public room. There I met with Colonel Martin, whom I had seen abroad: and who had just asked after Major Dillon. He, to my great surprise, took notice to me of the business that brought me thither.

You see, my sister, the consequences you were of to Captain Anderson. He had not been able to forbear boasting of the honour which a daughter of Sir Thomas Grandison had done him, and of his enlarged prospects, by her interest. Dear Charlotte—How unhappy was the man, that your pride should make you think yourself concern'd to keep secret an affair that he thought a glory to him to make known to many! For we see (shall I not say, to the advantage of this gentleman's character) that he has many dear and inseparable friends, from whom he concealed not any secret of his heart.

Colonel Mackenzie came out soon after, and we withdrew to the corner of the room. He talked a great deal of the strength of the captain's passion; of the hopes he had conceived of making his fortune, thro' the interest of a family to which he imputed consideration: He made me a great many compliments. He talk'd of the great detriment this long-suspended affair had been to his friend; and told me, with a grave countenance, that the Captain was grown as many years older, as it had been in hand; and was ready to rate very highly so much time lost in the prime of life. In short, he ascribed to the Captain the views and the disappointments of a military fortune-hunter too plainly for his honour in my eye; had I been disposed to take proper notice of the meaning of what he said.

After having heard him out, I desired the Colonel to let me know what all this meant, and what were the Captain's expectations.

He paraded on again, a long time; and asked me, at last, If there were no hopes that the Lady—

None at all, interrupted I. She has steadily declared as much. Charlotte Grandison is a woman of fine sense. She had great qualities. She has insuperable objections to the Captain, which are founded on a more perfect knowledge of the man, and of her own heart, than she could have at first. It is not my intention to depreciate him with his friend: I shall not, therefore, enter into particulars. Let me know, Colonel, what the gentleman pretends to. He is passionate, I see: I am not a tame man. But God forbid, that Captain Anderson, who hoped to be benefited by an alliance with the daughter of Sir Thomas Grandison, should receive hurt, or hard treatment, from her brother!

Here Colonel Martin, who had heard something of what was said, desired to speak with Colonel Mackenzie. They were not so distant, but my ear unavoidably caught part of their subject. Colonel Martin expatiated, in a very high manner, on my character, when I was abroad. He imputed bravery to me (a great article among military men, and with you Ladies) and I know not how many good qualities—And Colonel Mackenzie took him in with him to the other two gentlemen: Where, I suppose, everything that had passed was repeated.

After a while, I was desired by Colonel Martin. in the name of the gentlemen, to walk in; he himself sitting down in the public room.

They received me with respect. I was obliged to hear and say a great many things, that I had said and heard before: But at last two proposals were made me; either of which, they said, if complied with, would be taken as laying the Captain under very high obligation.

Poor man! I had compassion for him, and closed with one of them; declining the other for a reason which I did not give to them. To say truth, Charlotte, I did not choose to promise my interest in behalf of a man, of whose merit I was not assured, had I been able to challenge any, as perhaps I might by Lord W.'s means; who stands well with proper persons. A man ought to think himself, in some measure, accountable for warm recommendations; especially where the public is concerned: And could I give my promise, and be cool as to the performance? And I should think myself also answerable to a worthy man, and to every one connected with him, if I were a means of lifting one less worthy over his head. I chose therefore to do that service to him, for which I am responsible only to myself. After I have said this, my sister must ask me no questions,

I gave a rough draught, at the Captain's request, of the manner in which I would have releases drawn. Colonel Martin was desired to walk in. And all the gentlemen promised to bury in silence and all that had ever come to their knowledge, of what had passed between Charlotte Grandison, and Captain Anderson.

Let not the mentioning to you these measures, hurt you, my sister. Many young Ladies of sense and family have been drawn into still greater inconveniencies than you have suffered. Persons of eminent abilities (I have a very high opinion of my Charlotte's) seldom err in small points. Most young women who begin a correspondence with our designing Sex, think they can stop when they will. But it is not so. We, and the dark spirit that sets us at work, which we sometimes mis-call Love, will not permit you to do so. Men and Women are Devils to one another. They need no other tempter.

All will be completed to morrow; and your written promise, of consequence, given up. I congratulate my sister on the happy conclusion of this affair. You are now your own mistress, and free to choose for yourself. I should never forgive myself, were I, who have been the means of freeing you from one control, to endeavour to lay you under another. Think not either of Sir Walter or of Lord G. if your heart declare not in favour of either. You have sometimes thought me earnest in behalf of Lord G. But I have never spoken in his favour, but when you have put me upon answering objections to him, which I have thought insufficient: And indeed, Charlotte, some of your objections have been so slight, that I was ready to believe, you put them for the pleasure of having them answered.

My Charlotte need not doubt of admirers, wherever she sets her foot, And I repeat, that whoever be the man she inclines to favour, she may depend upon the approbation and good offices of

Her ever-affectionate brother,

Volume II - lettera 39

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