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THE HISTORY OF
Volume III - Letter 1
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Friday, Mar. 17.
I send you inclosed (to be returned by the first opportunity) Sir Charles's Letter to his sister, acquainting her with the happy conclusion of the affair between Captain Anderson and her. Her brother, as you will see, acquits her not of precipitation. If he did, it would have been an impeachment of this justice, O the dear Charlotte! how her pride is piqued at the meanness of the man! But no more of this subject, as the Letter is before you.
And now, my dear and honoured friends, let me return you a thousand thanks for the great packet of my Letters, just sent me, with a most indulgent one from my aunt, and another from my uncle.
I have already put into the two Ladies, and my Lord's, without reserve, all the Letters that reach to the masquerade affair, from the time of my setting out for London, and when they have heard those, I have promised them more. This confidence has greatly obliged them; and they are employed, with no small earnestness, in perusing them.
This gives me an opportunity of pursuing my own devices—And what, besides scribbling, do you think one of them is—A kind of persecution of Dr. Bartlett; by which, however, I suspect, that I myself am the greatest sufferer. He is an excellent man; and I make no difficulty of going to him in his closet; encouraged by his assurances of welcome.
Let me stop to say, my Lucy, that when I approach this good man in his retirement, surrounded by his books, his table generally covered with those on pious subjects, I, in my heart, congratulate the saint, and inheritor of future glory; and in that great view am the more desirous to cultivate his friendship.
And what do you think is our subject? Sir Charles, I suppose, you guess—And so it is, either in the middle or latter end of the few conversations we have yet had time to hold: But, I do assure you, we begin with the sublimest; tho' I must say, to my shame, that it has not so much of my heart, at present, as once it had, and I hope again it will one day have—The great and glorious truths of Christianity, are this subject; which yet, from this good Dr. Bartlett, warms my heart, as often as he enters into it. But this very subject, sublime as it is, brings on the other, as of consequence: For Sir Charles Grandison, without making an ostentatious pretension to religion, is the very Christian in practice, that these doctrines teach a man to be. Must not then the doctrines introduce the mention of a man who endeavours humbly to imitate the Divine example? It was upon good grounds he once said, That as he must one day die, it was matter of no moment to him, whether it were to-morrow, or forty years hence.
The Ladies had referred me to the Doctor himself for a more satisfactory account than they had given me, how Sir Charles and he first came acquainted. I told him so, and asked his indulgence to me in this enquiry.
He took it kindly. He had, he said, the history of it written down. His nephew, whom he often employs as his amanuensis, should make me out, from that little history an account of it, which I might show, he was pleased to say, to such of my select friends, as I entrusted with the knowledge of my own heart.
I shall impatiently expect the abstract of this little history; and the more, as the Doctor tells me, there will be included some particulars of Sir Charles's behaviour abroad in his younger life, and of Mr. Beauchamp, whom the Doctor speaks of with love, as his patron's dearest friend, and whom he calls a second Sir Charles Grandison.
See, my Lucy, the reward of frankness of heart. My communicativeness has been already encouraged with the perusal of two Letters from the same excellent man to Doctor Bartlett; to whom, from early days (as I shall be soon more particularly informed) he has given an account of all his conduct and movements.
The Doctor drew himself in, however, by reading to Lord L. and the Ladies, and me, a paragraph or two out of one of them: And he has even allowed me to give my grandmamma and aunt a sight of them. Return them, Lucy, with the other Letter, by the very next post. He says, he can deny me nothing. I wish I may not be too bold with him—As for Miss Grandison, she vows, that she will not let the good man rest till she gets him to communicate what he shall not absolutely declare to be a secret, to as three sisters, and my Lord L. If the first man, she says, could not resist one woman, how will the Doctor deal with three, not one of them behind-hand with the first in curiosity? And all loving him, and whom he professes to esteem? You see, Lucy, that Miss Grandison has pretty well got up her spirits again.
Just now Miss Grandison has related to me a conversation that passed between my Lord and Lady L. herself, and Doctor Bartlett: In which the subject was their brother and me. The Ladies and my Lord are entirely in my interests, and regardful of my punctilio. They roundly told the Doctor, That, being extremely earnest to have their brother marry, they knew not the person living, whom they wished to call his wife preferably to Miss Byron; could they be sure, that I was absolutely disengaged. Now, Doctor, said Miss Grandison, tell us frankly, What is your opinion of our choice for a more than nominal sister?
I will make no apologies, Lucy, for repeating all that was repeated to me of this conversation.
Lord L. Ay, my good Doctor Bartlett, let us have your free opinion.
Dr. B. Miss Byron (I pronounce upon knowledge, for she has more than once since I have been down, done me the honour of entering into very free and serious conversations with me) is one of the most excellent of women.
And then he went on, praising me for ingenuousness, seriousness, cheerfulness, and for other good qualities, which his partiality found out in me: And added, Would to heaven that she were neither more nor less than Lady Grandison!
God bless him! thought I—Don't you join, my Lucy, to say, at this place, you who love me so dearly, God bless you, Doctor Bartlett?
Lady L. Well, but, Doctor, you say that Miss Byron talks freely with you; cannot you gather from her, whether she is inclined to marriage? Whether she is absolutely disengaged? Lady D. made a proposal to her for Lord D.; and insisted on an answer to this very question: That matter is gone off. As our guest, we would not have Miss Byron think us impertinent. She is very delicate. And as she is so amiably frank-hearted, those things she chooses not to mention of her own accord, one would not, you know, officiously put to her.
This was a little too much affected. Don't you think so, Lucy? The Doctor, it is evident by his answer, did.
Dr. B. It is not likely that such a subject can arise between Miss Byron and me: And it is strange, methinks that Ladies calling each other sisters, should not be absolutely mistresses of this question.
Lord L Very right, Doctor Bartlett. But Ladies will, in these points, take a compass before they explain themselves. A man of Doctor Bartlett's penetration and uprightness, Ladies, should not be treated with distance. We are of opinion, Doctor, that Miss Byron, supposing that she is absolutely disengaged, could make no difficulty to prefer my brother to all the men in the world. What think you?
Dr. B. I have no doubt of it: She thinks herself under obligations to him. She is goodness itself. She must love goodness. Sir Charles's person, his vivacity, his address, his understanding—What woman would not prefer him to all the men she ever saw? He has met with admirers among the Sex in every nation in which he has set his foot [Ah! Lucy!]. You, Ladies, must have seen, forgive me (bowing to each) that Miss Byron has a more than grateful respect for your brother.
Miss Gr. We think so, Doctor; and wanted to know if you did: And so, as my Lord says, fetched a little compass about; which we should not have done to you. But you say, That my brother has had numbers of admirers—Pray, Doctor, is there any one Lady (We imagine there is) that he has preferred to another, in the different nations he has travelled through?
Lord L. Ay, Doctor, we want to know this; and if you thought there were not, we should make no scruple to explain ourselves, as well to Miss Byron, as to my brother.
Don't you long to know what answer the Doctor returned to this, Lucy? I was out of breath with impatience, when Miss Grandison repeated it to me.
The Doctor hesitated—And at last said; I wish with all my heart, Miss Byron could be Lady Grandison.
Miss Gr. COULD be?—Could be, said each.
And COULD be? said the fool to Miss Grandison, when she repeated it, her heart quite sunk.
Dr. B. (smiling) You hinted, Ladies, that you are not sure that Miss Byron is absolutely disengaged. But, to be open and above-board, I have reason to believe, that your brother would be concerned, if he knew it, that you should think of putting such a question as this to any-body but himself. Why don't you? He once complained to me, that he was afraid his sisters looked upon him as a reserved man; and condescended to call upon me to put him right, if I thought his appearance such as would give you grounds for the surmise. There are two or three affairs of intricacy that he engaged in, and particularly one, that hangs in suspense; and he would not be fond, I believe, of mentioning it, till he can do it with certainty: But else, Ladies, there is not a more frank-hearted man in the world, than your brother.
See, Lucy, how cautious we ought to be in passing judgment on the actions of others, especially on those of good men, when we want to fasten blame upon them; perhaps with a low view (envying their superior worth) to bring them down to our own level!—For are we not all apt to measure the merits of others by our own standard, to give praise or dispraise to actions or sentiments, as they square with their own?
Lord L. Perhaps, Doctor Bartlett, you don't think yourself at liberty to answer, whether these particular affairs are of such a nature, as will interfere with the hopes we have of bringing to effect a marriage between my brother and Miss Byron?
Dr. B. I had rather refer to Sir Charles himself on this subject. If any man in the world deserves from prudence and integrity of heart to be happy in this life, that man is Sir Charles Grandison. But he is not quite happy.
Ah, Lucy!—The Doctor proceeded. Your brother, Ladies, has often said to me, That there was hardly a man living who had a more sincere value for the Sex than he had; who had been more distinguished by the favour of worthy women; yet who had paid dearer for that distinction than he had done.
Lady L. Paid dearer! Good Heaven!
Miss Gr. How could that be?
Lord L. I always abroad heard the Ladies reckon upon Sir Charles, as their own man. His vivacity, his personal accomplishments, his politeness, his generosity, his bravery!—Every woman who spoke of him, put him down for a man of gallantry. And is he not a truly gallant man?—I never mentioned it before—But a Lady Olivia, of Florence was much talked of, when I was in that city, as being in love with the handsome Englishman, as our brother was commonly called there—
Lady Olivia! Lady Olivia! repeated each sister; and why did not your Lordship?—
Why? Because, tho' she was in love with him, he had no thoughts of her. And, as the Doctor says, she is but one of those who admired him wherever he set his foot.
Bless me, thought I, what a black swan is a good man!—Why (as I have often thought, to the credit of our Sex) will not all the men be good?
Lady L. My Lord, you must tell us more of this Lady Olivia.
Lord L. I know very little more of her. She was reputed to be a woman of high quality and fortune, and great spirit. I once saw her. She is a fine figure of a woman. Dr. Bartlett can, no doubt, give you an account of her.
Miss Gr. Ah, Doctor! What an history could you give us of our brother, if you pleased!—But as there is no likelihood that this Lady will be anything to my brother, let us return to our first subject.
Lady L. By all means. Pray Dr. Bartlett, do you know what my brother's opinion is of Miss Byron?
Dr. B. The highest that man can have of woman.
Lady L. As we are so very desirous to see my brother happily married, and think he never could have a woman so likely to make him happy, would you advise us to propose the alliance to him? We would not to her, unless we thought there were room to hope for his approbation, and that in a very high degree.
Dr. B. I am under some concern, my dear Ladies, to be thought to know more of your brother's heart, than sisters do whom he loves so dearly, and who equally love him. I beseech you, give me not so much more consequence with him than you imagine you have yourselves. I shall be afraid, if you do, that the favour I wish to stand in with you, is owing more to your brother's distinction of me, than to your own hearts.
Lord L. I see not why we may not talk to my brother directly on this head. Whence is it that we are all three insensibly drawn in, by each other's example, to this distance between him and us?—It is not his fault. Did we ever ask him a question, that he did not directly answer, and that without showing the least affectation or reserve?
Miss Gr. He came over to us all at once so perfect, after an eight or nine years absence, with so much power, and such a will, to do us good, that we were awed into a kind of reverence for him.
Lady L. Too great obligations from one side, will indeed create distance on the other. Grateful hearts will always retain a sense of favours heaped upon them.
Dr. B. You would give pain to his noble heart, did he think, that you put such a value upon what he has done. I do assure you, that he thinks he has hardly performed his duty, by his sisters. And, as occasions may still offer, you will find he thinks so. But let me beg of you to treat him without reserve or diffidence; and that you would put to him all those questions which you would wish to be answered. You will find him, I dare say, very candid, and very explicit.
Miss Gr. That shall be my task, when I next see him. But, dear Doctor Bartlett, if you love us, communicate to us all that is proper for us to see, of the correspondence that passes between him and you.
The Doctor, it seems, bowed; but answered not.
So you see, Lucy, upon the whole, that I have no great reason to build so much, as my uncle, in his last Letter, imagines I do, on the interest of these Ladies and my Lord L. with their brother. Two or three intricate affairs on his hands: One of them still in suspense; of which for that reason he makes a secret: He is not quite happy: Greatly distinguished by the favour of worthy women: Who would wonder at that?—But has paid dear for the distinction!—What can one say? What can one think? He once said himself, That his life was a various life; and that some unhappy things had befallen him. If the prudence of such a man could not shield him from misfortune, who can be exempted from it?—And from worthy women too!—That's the wonder!—But is this Olivia one of the worthy women!—I fancy he must despise us all. I fancy he will never think of encumbering himself with one of a Sex, that has made him pay so dear for the general distinction he has met with from it. As to his politeness to us; a man may afford to show politeness to those he has resolved to keep at distance.
But, ah, Lucy,—There must be one happy woman, whom he wishes not to keep at distance. This is the affair, that hangs in suspense; and of which, therefore, he chooses to say nothing.
I have had the pleasure of a visit from my godfather Deane. He dined with us this day in his way to town. The Ladies, Doctor Bartlett, and my Lord L. are charmed with him. Yet I had pain mingled with my pleasure. He took me aside, and charged me so home—He was too inquisitive. I never knew him to be so very urgent to know my heart. But I was frank: Very frank: I should hardly have been excusable, if I had not, to so good a man, and so dear a friend. Yet he scarce knew how to be satisfied with my frankness.
He will have it, that I look thinner and paler than I used to do. That may very well be. My very soul, at times—I know not how I am—Sir Charles is in suspense too, from somebody abroad. From my heart I pity him. Had he but some faults; some great blemishes; I fancy I should be easier about him. But to hear nothing of him, but what is so greatly praiseworthy, and my heart so delighted with acts of beneficence—And now, my godfather Deane, at this visit, running on in his praises, and commending, instead of blaming me, for my presumptuous thoughts; nay, exalting me, and telling me, That I deserve him—that I deserve Sir Charles Grandison!—Why did he not chide me? Why did he not dissuade me?—Neither fortune nor merit answerable!—A man who knows so well what to do with fortune!—The Indies, my dear, ought to be his! What a king would he make! Power could not corrupt such a mind as his. Caesar, said Dr. Bartlett, speaking of him before Mr. Deane and all of us, was not quicker to destroy, than Sir Charles Grandison is to relieve. Emily's eye, at the time, ran over with joy at the expression; and, drying them, she looked proudly round on us all, as if she had said, This is my guardian!
But what do you think, Lucy? My godfather will have it, that he sees a young passion in Miss Jervois for her guardian!—God forbid!—A young Love may be conquered, I believe; but who shall caution the innocent girl? She must have a sweet pleasure in it, creeping, stealing, upon her. How can so unexperienced an heart, the object so meritorious, resist or reject the indulgence? But, O my Emily! sweet girl! do not let your Love get the better of your gratitude, lest it make you unhappy! and, what would be still more affecting to a worthy heart, make the generous object of a passion that cannot be gratified, unhappy; and for that very reason; because he cannot reward it! See you not already, that, with all his goodness, he is not quite happy? He is a sufferer from worthy women!—O my Emily, do not you add to the infelicity of a man, who can make but one woman happy; yet wishes to befriend all the world—But, hush! selfish adviser! Should not Harriet Byron have thought of this in time?—Yet she knew not, that he had any previous engagements: And may death lay his cold hand upon her heart, before she become an additional disturbance to his! He knows not, I hope he guesses not, tho' Dr. Bartlett has found me out as well as the sisters, that I am captivated, heart and soul, by his merits. May he never know it, if the knowledge of it would give him the shadow of uneasiness!
I owned to Mr. Deane, that my Lord L. and the Ladies were warmly interested in my favour. Thank God for that! he said. All must happen to his wish. Nay, he would have it, that Sir Charles's goodness would be rewarded in having such a wife: But what wife can do more than her duty to any husband who is not absolutely a savage? How then can all I could do, reward such a man as this?
But, Lucy, don't you blush for me, on reading this last page of my writing? You may, since I blush myself on re-perusing it. For shame, Harriet Byron, put a period to this Letter!—I will; nor subscribe to it so much as the initials of my name.
LA STORIA DI
Volume III - lettera 1
Volume III - Letter 2
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR. BARTLETT.
Friday, Mar. 17.
Last night I saw interred the remains of my worthy friend Dr. Danby. I had caused his two nephews and his niece to be invited: But they did not attend.
As the will was not to be opened till the funeral was over, about which the good man had given me verbal directions; apprehending, I believe, expostulations from me, had I known the contents; I sent to them this morning to be present at the opening.
Their Attorney, Mr. Sylvester, a man of character, and good behaviour, brought me a Letter, signed by all three, excusing themselves on very slight pretences, and desiring that he might be present for them. I took notice to him, that the behaviour of his principals over-night and now, was neither respectful to the memory of their uncle, nor civil, with regard to me. He honestly owned, that Mr. Danby having acquainted his two nephews, a little before he died, that he had made his will, and that they had very little to expect from him, they, who had been educated by his direction, and made merchants, at his expense, with hopes given them, that he would, at his death, do very handsomely for them, and had never disobliged him, could not be present at the opening of a will, the contents of which they expected to be so mortifying to them.
I opened it in presence of this gentleman. The preamble was an angry one; giving reasons for his resentment against the father of these young persons, who (tho' his brother) had once, as I hinted to you at Colnebrooke, made a very shocking attempt upon his life. I was hurt, however, to find a resentment carried so far as against the innocent children of the offender, and into the last will of so good a man; that will so lately made, as within three weeks of his death; and he given over for three months before.
Will the tenderness due to the memory of a friend permit me to ask, where would that resentment have stopped, had the private man been a monarch, which he could carry into his last will?
But see we not, on the other hand, that these children, had they power, would have punished their uncle, for disposing, as he thought fit, of his own fortune; no part of which came to him by inheritance?
They had been educated, as I have said, at his expense; and, in the phrase of business, well put out. Expenses their careless father would not have been at: He is, in every light, a bad man. How much better had these children's title been to a more considerable part of their uncle's estate than he has bequeathed to them, had they been thankful for the benefits they had actually received! Benefits, which are of such a nature, that they cannot be taken from them.
Mr. Danby has bequeathed to each of the three, one thousand pounds; but on express condition, that they signify to his executor, within two months after his demise, their acceptance of it, in full of all demands upon his estate. If they do not (tender being duly made) the three thousand pounds are to be carried to the uses of the will.
He then appoints his executor; and makes him residuary legatee; giving for reason, that he had been the principal instrument in the hand of Providence, of saving his life.
He bequeaths some generous remembrances to three of his friends in France; and requests his executor to dispose of three thousand pounds to charitable uses, either in France or England, as he thinks fit, and to what particular objects he pleases.
And, by an inventory annexed to the will, his effects in money, bills, actions, and jewels, are made to amount to upwards of thirty thousand pounds sterling.
Mr. Sylvester complimented me on this great windfall, as he called it; and assured me, that it should be his advice to his clients, that each take his and her legacy, and sit down contented with it: And he believed, that they the rather would, as, from what their uncle had hinted, they apprehended, that the sum of an hundred pounds each, was all they had to hope for.
I enquired into the inclinations and views of the three; and received a very good general account of them; with an hint, that the girl was engaged in a Love-affair.
Their father, after his vile attempt upon his brother's life, was detested by all his friends and relations, and went abroad; and the last news they heard of him, was, that he was in a very ill state of health, and in unhappy circumstances, in Barbadoes: And very probably by this time is no more.
I desired Mr. Sylvester to advise the young people to recollect themselves; and said, That I had a disposition to be kind to them: And as he could give me only general accounts of their views, prospects, and engagements, I wish'd they would, with marks of confidence in me, give me particular ones: But that, whether they complimented me as I wished, or not, I was determined, for the sake of their uncle's memory, to do all reasonable services to them. Tell them, in a word, Mr. Sylvester, and do you forgive the seeming vanity, That I am not accustomed to suffer the narrowness of other people's hearts to contract mine.
The man went away, very much pleased with what I had said; and in about two hours, sent me a note, in the names of all his clients, expressing gratitude and obligation; and requesting me to allow him to introduce them all three to me this afternoon.
I have some necessary things to do, and persons to see, in relation to my deceased friend, which will be dispatched over a dish of tea. And therefore I have invited the honest attorney, and his three clients, to sup with me.
I will not send this to Colnebrooke, where I hope you are all happy (All must; for are they not all good? And are not you with them?) till I accompany it with the result of this evening's conversation. Yet I am too fond of every occasion that offers to tell you, what; however, you cannot doubt, how much I am yours, not to sign to that truth the name of
Volume III - lettera 2
Volume III - Letter 3
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Friday night, March 17.
Mr. Sylvester, an honest pleasure shining in his countenance, presented to me, first, Miss Danby; then, each of her brothers; who all received my welcome with a little consciousness, as if they had something to reproach themselves with, and were generously ashamed to be overcome. The sister had the least of it: And I saw by that, that she was the least blameable, not the least modest; since I dare say she had but followed her brothers lead; while they looked down and bashful, as having all that was done amiss to answer for.
Miss Danby is a very pretty, and very genteel young woman. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Edward Danby, are agreeable in their persons and manners, and want not sense.
In the first moment I dissipated all their uneasiness; and we sat down together with confidence in each other. The honest attorney had prepared them to be easy after the first introduction.
I offer not to read to you, said I, the will of your uncle. It is sufficient to repeat what Mr. Sylvester has no doubt, told you; That you are each of you entitled by it to a thousand pounds.
They all bowed; and the elder brother signified their united consent to accept it upon the terms of the will.
Three thousand pounds more are to be disposed of to charitable uses, at the discretion of the executor: Three other legacies are left to three different gentlemen in France: And the large remainder, which will not be less than four-and-twenty thousand pounds, falls to the executor, as residuary legatee, equally unexpected and undesired.
The elder brother said, God bless you with it, Sir. The second said, It could not have fallen to a worthier man. The young Lady's lips moved: But words proceeded not from them. Yet her eyes showed that her lips made me a compliment:
It is ungenerous, Dr. Bartlett, to keep expecting minds in suspense, tho' with a view of obliging in the end. The surprise intended to be raised on such an occasion, carries in its appearance an air of insult. I have, said I, a great desire to do you service. Now let me know, gentlemen (I will talk to the young Lady singly, perhaps) what your expectations were upon your uncle; what will do for each of you, to enable you to enter the world with advantage, in the way you have been brought up; and, as I told your worthy friend, Mr, Sylvester, I will be ready to do you all reasonable service.—But, hold, Sir; for Mr. Thomas Danby was going to speak; you shall consider before you answer me. The matter is of importance. Be explicit. I love openness and sincerity. I will withdraw, till you have consulted together. Command me in when you have determined.
I withdrew to my study: And, in about a quarter of an hour, they let me know, that they were ready to attend me. I went in to them. They looked upon one another. Come, gentlemen don't fear to speak: Consider me, for your uncle's sake, as your brother.
The elder brother was going to speak; but, hesitating, Come, said I, let me lead you into the matter—Pray, Sir, what is your present situation? What are your present circumstances?
My father, Sir, was unhappy—My father—
Well, Sir, no more of your father—He could do nothing for you. Your whole dependence, I presume, was upon your uncle.
My uncle, Sir, gave us all our education—My uncle gave each brother a thousand guineas for putting out each to a merchant; five hundred only of which sums were so employed; and the other five hundred guineas, are in safe hands.
Your uncle, Sir, all reverence to his memory, was an excellent man.
Indeed, Sir, he was.
And what, Sir, is the business you were brought up to?
My master is a West-India merchant.
And what, Mr. Danby, are your prospects in that way?
Exceeding hopeful, Sir, they would have been—My master intended to propose to my uncle, had he lived to come to town, to take me in a quarter-partner with him directly; and, in a twelvemonth's time, an half-partner.
A very good sign in your favour, Sir. You must have behaved yourself well. And will he now do it?
Ah! Sir—And was silent.
Upon what terms, Mr. Danby, would he have proposed to your uncle to take you in a quarter-partner?
Sir—he talked of—
Four thousand pounds, Sir. But my uncle never gave us hopes of more than three thousand guineas each, besides the thousand he had given: And when he had so much reason to resent the unhappy steps of my father, he let us know, that he would not do my-thing for us: And, to say truth, the thousand pounds left us in the will, is more than we expected.
Very ingenuous. I love you for your sincerity. But, pray, tell me, Will four thousand pounds be well laid out in a quarter-partnership?
To say truth, Sir, my master had a view, at the year's end, if nothing unexpected happened to prevent it, to give me his niece in marriage; and then to admit me into a half of the business, which would be equivalent to a fortune of as much more.
And do you love the young woman?
Indeed I do.
And does she countenance your address?
If her uncle—I don't doubt if her uncle could have prevailed upon my uncle—
Well, Sir, I am your uncle's executor. Now, Sir, (to Mr. Edward Danby) let me know your Situation; your prospects.
Sir, I was put to a French wine-merchant. My master is in years. I am the sole manager of his business; and he would leave off to me, I believe, and to his nephew, who knows not so much of it as I do, nor has the acquaintance, either in France or England, that I have; could I raise money to purchase half the stock.
And what, Sir, is necessary for that purpose?
O Sir! at least six thousand pounds. But had my uncle left me the three thousand we once hoped for, I could have got the other half at an easy interest; for I am well beloved, and have always borne a good character.
What did you suppose your uncle would do with the bulk of his fortune (you judged it, I suppose, to be large) if you expected no more than three thousand guineas each at the most, besides what he had given you?
We all thought, Sir, said Mr. Edward Danby, it would be yours, from the time that he owed his life to your courage and conduct. We never entertained hopes of being his heirs general: And he several times told me, when I was in France, that you should be his heir.
He never hinted that to me. What I did was as necessary to be done for my own Safety, as for his. He much over-rated my services. But what are your prospects, Mr. Edward Danby, in the French wine-trade?
O Sir, very great!
And will your master leave off to you and his nephew, think you?
I dare say he would, and be glad of retiring to Enfield, where he has a house he is so fond of, that he would be continually there, by his good-will.
And have you, Sir, any prospect of adding to your circumstances by marriage?
Women are a drug, Sir. I have no doubt of offers, if once I were my own master.
I started. His sister looked angry. His brother was not pleased: Mr. Sylvester, who, it seems, is an old bachelor, laughed—
A true merchant this already! thought I.
Well, now, shall I have your consents, gentlemen, to take your sister aside?—Will you trust yourself with me, Miss Danby? Or had you rather answer my question in company?
Sir, your character, your goodness, is so well known, I scruple not to attend you.
I took her hand, and led her to my study, leaving the door open, to the drawing-room in which they were. I seated her. Then sat down, but still held her hand.
Now, my dear Miss Danby, you are to suppose me, as the executor of your uncle, his representative. If you had that good uncle before you, and he was urging you to tell him what would make you happy, with an assurance, that he would do all in his power towards it; and if you would open your mind freely to him; with equal freedom open it to me. There was only this difference between us: He had resentments against your father, which he carried too far, when he extended them to his innocent children [But it was an atrocious attempt, that embitter'd his otherwise benevolent spirit]: I have no resentment; and am armed with his power, and have all the will he ever could have, to serve you. And now, let me know, what will effectually do it?
The worthy girl wept. She looked down. She seemed as if she were pulling threads out of her handkerchief. But was unable to return any other answer, than what her eyes, once cast up, as if to Heaven, made for her.
Give me, my good Miss Danby (I would not distress you) give me, as your brothers did of their Situation, some account of yours. Do you live with either of your brothers?
No, Sir. I live with an aunt: My mother's sister.
Is she good to you?
Yes, Sir, very good. But she has children; and cannot be so good as she would be to me. Yet she has always been kind; and has made the best of my uncle's allowance for my education: And my fortune, which is unbroken, is the same sum that he gave my brothers: And it is in good hands: And the interest of it, with my aunt's additional goodness and management, enables me to make a genteel figure: And, with my own housewifery, I never have wanted some little matters for my pocket.
Good girl, thought I!—Mercantile carle! thy brother Edward, pretty one! How dared he to say, that women are drugs?—Who, in their economy, short as their power is, are generally superior to men!
Your uncle was very good to put you upon a foot with your brothers, in his bounty to them; as now he has also done in his will: And assure yourself, that his representative, will be equally kind to you as to your brothers. But shall I ask you, as your uncle would have done—Is there any one man in the world, whom you prefer to another?
She was silent; looked down; and again picked her handkerchief.
I called in her elder brother (not the drug-merchant) and asked him, What he knew of his sister's affections?
Why, my good Dr. Bartlett, are these women ashamed of owning a laudable passion? Surely there is nothing shameful in discreet Love.
Her brother acquainted me with the story of her Love; the good girl blushing, and looking down all the while, with the consciousness of a sweet thief, who had stolen a heart, and being required to restore it, had been guilty of a new cheat, and given her own instead of it.
The son of Mr. Galliard, an eminent Turkey merchant, is the man with whom she has made this exchange. His father, who lives in the neighbourhood of her aunt, had sent him abroad, in the way of his traffic; partly with a view to prevent his marrying Miss Danby, till it should be seen whether her uncle would do any-thing considerable for her: And he was but just returned; and, in order to be allowed to stay at home, had promised his father never to marry without his consent: But nevertheless loved his sister, Mr. Danby said, above all women; and declared that he never would be the husband of any other.
I asked, whether the father had any objections, but those of fortune, to his son's choice; and was answered, No. He could have no other, the young man, like a brother, said: There was not a more virtuous and discreet young woman in the kingdom than his sister, tho' he said it, that should not say it.
Tho' you say it, that should say it. Is not our relation entitled to the same justice that we would do to another?
We must not blame indiscriminately, continued I, all fathers who expect a fortune to be brought into their family, in some measure equivalent to the benefit the new-comer hopes to receive from it; especially in mercantile families, if the young man is to be admitted into a share with his father; who, by the way, may have other children—
Something by way of equivalent for the part he gives up, should be done. Love is a selfish Deity. He puts two persons upon preferring their own interests, nay, a gratification of their passion often against their interests, to those of every-body else; and reason, discretion, duty, are frequently given up in a competition with it. But Love, nevertheless, will not do every-thing for the ardent pair. Parents know this: And ought not to pay for the rashness they wish to prevent, but cannot.
They were attentive. I proceeded, addressing myself to both in the mercantile style.
Is a father, who by his prudence, has weathered many a storm, and got safe into port, obliged to reembark in the voyage of Life, with the young folks, who perhaps in a little while, will consider him as an incumbrance, and grudge him his cabin? Parents (tho' a young man, I have always thought in this manner) should be indulgent; but children, when they put themselves into one scale, should allow the parent his due weight in the other. You are angry at this father, are you not, my dear Miss Danby?
I said this, to hear what answer she would return.
Indeed I am not. Mr. Galliard knows best his own affairs, and what they require. I have said so twenty and twenty times: And young Mr. Galliard is convinced, that his father is not to be blamed, having other children. And, to own the truth (looking on the floor) we both sit down, and wish together, now-and-then: But what signifies wishing?
My sister will now have two thousand pounds: Perhaps when old Mr. Galliard sees, that his son's affections—
Old Mr. Galliard, interrupted I, shall be asked to do nothing inconvenient to himself, or that is not strictly right by his other children: Nor shall the niece of my late worthy friend enter into his family, with discredit to herself.
Notice being given, that supper was ready, I took the brother and sister each by the hand; and, entering the drawing-room with them, Enjoy, said I, the little repast that will be set before you. If it be in my power to make you all three happy, happy you shall be.
It must give great pleasure, my dear Dr. Bartlett, you will believe, to a man of my lively sensations, to see three very different faces in the same persons, from those they had entered with. I imagined more than once, as the grateful eyes of the sister, and tongues of the brothers, expressed their joy, that I saw my late worthy friend looking down upon us, delighted, and not with disapprobation, upon his choice of an executor, who was determined to supply the defects, which the frailty of human nature, by an ever-strong resentment on one hand, and an overflowing gratitude on the other, had occasioned.
I told Mr. Thomas Danby, that besides his legacy, he might reckon upon five thousand pounds, and enter accordingly into treaty for and with his master's niece.
Mr. Edward Danby, I commissioned, on the strength of the like additional sum, to treat with the gentleman he had served.
And you, my good Miss Danby, said I, shall acquaint your favoured Mr. Galliard, That, besides the two thousand pounds already yours, you will have five thousand pounds more at his service. And if these sums answer not your full purposes, I expect you will let me know; since, whether they do or not, my respect to the memory of your worthy uncle shall be shown to the value of more than these three sums to his relations. I never will be a richer man than I ought to be: And you must inform me, what other relations you have, and of their different situations in life, that I may be enabled to amend a will, made in a long and painful sickness, which might four a disposition that was naturally all benevolence.
They wept; looked at one another; dried their eyes; and wept again. Mr. Sylvester also wept for joy. I thought my presence painful to them; and withdrew to my Study; and shut the door, that I might not add to their pain.
At my return—Do you—Do you, referred each brother to the other: And Mr. Thomas Danby getting up to speak, I see, my friends, said I, your grateful hearts in your countenances. Do you think my pleasure is not, at least, equal to yours? I am more than rewarded in the consciousness of having endeavoured to make a right use of the power entrusted to me. You will each of you, I hope (thus set forward) be eminent in his particular business. The merchants of Great Britain are the most useful members of the community. If I have obliged you, let me recommend to you, each in his several way, according to his ability, and as opportunity may offer, to raise those worthy hearts, that inevitable calamities shall make spiritless. Look upon what is done for you, not as the reward of any particular merits in yourselves, but as your debt to that Providence, which makes it a principal part of your religion, To do good to your fellow-creatures. In a word, let me enjoin you, in all your transactions, to remember mercy, as well as justice.
The brothers with folded hands, declared, that their hearts were opened by the example set them; and, they hoped, would never be shut. The sister looked the same declaration.
Mr. Sylvester, raised with this scene of gratitude, tears in his honest eyes, said, That he should be impatient till he had looked into his affairs, and thro' his acquaintance, in order to qualify himself to do some little good, after such a self-rewarding example.
If a private man, my dear Dr. Bartlett, could be a means of expanding thus the hearts of four persons, none of them unworthy, what good might not princes, and those who have princely fortunes, do?—Yet, you see, I have done nothing but mere justice. I have not given up any-thing that was my own, before this Will gave me a power, that perhaps was put into my hands, as a new trial of the integrity of my heart.
But what poor creatures are we, my dear friend, that the very avoiding the occasion of a wrong action, should gladden our hearts, as with the consciousness of something meritorious?
At parting, I told the nephews, That I expected to hear from them the moment any-thing should be brought to effect; and let their masters and them agree, or not, I would take the speediest methods that could be fallen upon, to transfer to them, and to their sister, such actions and stocks, as would put them in full possession of what they were entitled to, as well by my promise, as by their uncle's will.
I was obliged to enjoin them silence.
Their sister wept; and when I pressed her hand at taking leave of her, gratefully returned the pressure; but in a manner so modest (recollecting herself into some little confusion) that showed gratitude had possession of her whole heart, and set her above the forms of her sex.
The good attorney, as much raised, as if he were one of the persons benefited, joined with the two brothers in invoking blessings upon me.
So much, my dear Dr. Bartlett, for this night. The past day is a day that I am not displeased with.
Volume III - lettera 3
Volume III - Letter 4
DR. BARTLETT TO MISS BYRON.
I present to you, madam, the account you desired to see, as extracted by my kinsman from my papers. You seemed to wish it to be hastened for you: It is not what it might have been; but more facts, I presume, will answer your intention. Be pleased, therefore, to accept it with your usual goodness.
"Dr. Bartlett went abroad as governor of a young man of quality; Mr. Lorimer, I am to call him, to conceal his real name. He was the very reverse of young Mr. Grandison. He was not only rude and ungovernable; but proud, ill-natured, malicious, even base.
"The Doctor was exceedingly averse to take upon him the charge of the wicked youth abroad; having had too many instances of the badness of his nature while in England: But he was prevailed upon by the solicitations of his father (who represented it as an act of the greatest charity to him and his family) as well as by the solemn promises of good behaviour from the young man; for he was known to regard the advice of Dr. Bartlett more than that of any other person.
"The Doctor and Mr. Lorimer were at Turin, when young Mr. Grandison (who had been some months in France) for the first time arrived in that city; then in the eighteenth year of his age.
"Dr. Bartlett had not a more profligate pupil, than Mr. Grandison had a governor; tho' recommended by General W. his uncle by the mother's side. It used to be observed in places where they made but a few days residence, that the young gentleman ought to have been the governor, Monsieur Creutzer the governed. Mr. Grandison had, in short, the happiness, by his prudence, to escape several snares laid for his virtue, by a wretch, who hoped, if he could betray him into them, to silence the remonstrances of the young man, upon his evil conduct; and to hinder him from complaining of him to his father.
"Mr. Grandison became acquainted with Dr. Bartlett at Turin: Monsieur Creutzer, at the same time, commenced an intimacy with Mr. Lorimer; and the two former were not more united from good qualities, than the two latter were from bad.
"Several riotous things were done by Creutzer and Lorimer, who, whatever the Doctor could do to separate them, were hardly ever asunder. One of their enormities fell under the cognisance of the civil magistrate; and was not made easy to Lorimer without great interest and expense: While Creutzer fled to Rome, to avoid condign punishment; and wrote to Mr. Grandison to join him there.
"Then it was, that Mr. Grandison wrote (as he had often ineffectually threatened to do) to represent to his father the profligacy of the man; and to request him to appoint him another governor; or to permit him to return to England till he had made choice of one for him; begging of Dr. Bartlett, that he would allow him, 'till he had an answer from his father, to apply to him for advice and instruction.
"The answer of his father was, That he heard of his prudence from every mouth: That he was at liberty to choose what companion he pleased: But that he gave him no governor but his own discretion.
"Mr. Grandison then, more earnestly than before, and with an humility and diffidence, suited to his natural generosity of temper, that never grew upon indulgence, besought the Doctor's direction: And when they were obliged to separate, they established a correspondence which never will end but with the life of one of them.
"Mr. Grandison laid before the Doctor all his plans; submitting his conduct to him, as well with regard to the prosecution of his studies, as to his travels: But they had not long corresponded in this manner, when the Doctor let him know, that it was needless to consult him aforehand; and the more so, as it often occasioned a suspension of excellent resolutions: But he besought him to continue to him, an account of all he undertook, of all he performed, and of every material incident of his life; not only as his narrations would be matter of the highest entertainment to him; but as they would furnish him with lessons from example, that might be of greater force upon the unhappy Lorimer, than his own precepts.
"While the Doctor was passing thro' but a few of the cities in Lombardy, Mr. Grandison made almost the tour of Europe; and yet gave himself time to make such remarks upon persons, places, and things, as could hardly be believed to be the observations of so young a man. Lorimer, mean time, was engaged in shows, spectacles, and in the diversions of the places in which he lived, as it might be said, rather, than thro' which he passed.
"The Doctor, at one time, was the more patient with these delays, as he was willing that the carnival at Venice should be over, before he suffered his pupil to go to that city. But Lorimer, suspecting his intention, slipped thither unknown to his governor, at the very beginning of it; and the Doctor was forced to follow him. And when there, had the mortification of hearing of him (for the young man avoided his governor as much as possible) as one of the most riotous persons there.
"In vain did the Doctor, when he saw his pupil, set before him the example of Mr. Grandison; a younger man. All the effect the Letters he used to read to him had upon him, was, to make him hate the more both his Governor and Mr. Grandison. By one Letter only did he do himself temporary credit. It was written some months before it was shown him, in which Mr. Grandison described some places of note, thro' which he had passed, and thro' which the Doctor and his charge had also more lately passed. The mean creature contrived to steal it; and his father having often urged for a specimen of his son's observations on his travels, he copied it almost verbatim, and transmitted it as his own to his father; only letting the Doctor know, after he had sent it away; that he had written.
"The Doctor doubted not, but Lorimer had exposed himself; but was very much surprised, when he received a congratulatory Letter from the father on his son's improvements, mingled with some little asperity on the Doctor, for having set out his son to his disadvantage: "I could not doubt," said the fond father, "that a son of mine had genius: He wanted nothing but to apply,"—And then he gave orders for doubling the value of his next remittance.
"The Doctor took the young gentleman to task about it. He owned what he had done, and gloried in his contrivance. But his governor thought it incumbent upon him to undeceive the father, and to save him the extraordinary part of his remittance.
"The young man was enraged at the Doctor, for exposing him, as he called it, to his father, and for the check he was continually giving to his lawless appetites; and falling into acquaintance with a courtesan, who was infamous for ruining many young travellers by her subtle and dangerous contrivances, they joined in a resolution to revenge themselves on the Doctor, whom they considered as their greatest enemy.
"Several projects they fell upon; One, in particular, was, to accuse him, by a third hand, as concerning himself with affairs of state in Venice; A crime, which in that jealous republic, is never overlooked, and generally ends fatally for the accused; who, if seized, is hardly ever heard of afterwards. From this danger he narrowly escaped, by means of his general good character, and remarkable inoffensiveness, and the profligateness of his accusers: Nor knew he his danger till many months afterwards. The Doctor believes, that he fared the better for being an Englishman, and a governor to the son of a British nobleman, who made so considerable a figure in England; because the Italians in general reap so much advantage from the travellers of this nation, that they are ready to favour and encourage them above those of any other.
"The Doctor had been very solicitous to be acquitted of his ungracious charge. In every Letter he wrote to England, this was one of his prayers: But still the father, who knew not what to do with his son at home, had besought his patience; and wrote to his son in the strongest terms, after reproaching him for his ungraciousness, to pay an implicit obedience to the Doctor.
"The father was a learned man. Great pains had been taken with Lorimer, to make him know something of the ancient Greek and Roman histories. The father was very desirous, that his son should see the famous places of old Greece, of which he himself had read so much: And with great difficulty, the Doctor got the young man to leave Venice, where the vile woman, and the diversions of the place, had taken scandalous hold of him.
"Athens was the city, at which the father had desired they would make some stay; and from thence visit other parts of the Morea. And there the young man found his woman got before him, according to private agreement between them.
"It was some time before the Doctor found out that the very woman who had acted so abandoned a part with Lorimer at Venice, was his mistress at Athens: And when he did, he applied, on some fresh enormities committed by Lorimer, to the tribunal which the Christians have there, consisting of eight venerable men chosen out of the eight quarters of the city, to determine causes among Christians; and they taking cognisance of the facts, the wicked woman suborned wretches to accuse the Doctor to the Cadi, who is the Turkish judge of the place, as a dangerous and disaffected person; and the Cadi being, as it was supposed, corrupted by presents, got the Vayvode, or Governor, to interfere; and the Doctor was seized, and thrown into prison: His Christian friends in the place were forbidden to interpose in his favour; and pen and ink, and all access to him were prohibited.
"The vile woman, having concerted measures with the persons she had suborned, for continuing the Doctor in his severe confinement, set out with her paramour for Venice; and there they rioted as before.
"Mr. Beauchamp, a young man of learning and fine parts, happened to make an acquaintance with Mr. Grandison in the island of Candia, where they met as countrymen, which, from a sympathy of minds, grew immediately into an intimacy that will hardly ever end. This young gentleman, in the course of his travels, visiting Athens, about this time, was informed of the Doctor's misfortune, by one of the eight Christians, who constituted the tribunal above-mentioned, and who was an affectionate friend of the Doctor, tho' forbidden to busy himself in his cause: And Mr. Beauchamp (who had heard Mr. Grandison speak of the Doctor with an uncommon affection) knowing that Mr. Grandison was then at Constantinople, dispatched a man on purpose, to acquaint him with the affair, and with all the particulars he could get of the case, authenticated as much as the nature of the thing would admit.
"Mr. Grandison was equally grieved and astonished at the information. He instantly applied to the English ambassador at the Porte, as also to the French minister there, with whom he had made an acquaintance: They to the Grand Vizir: And an order was issued for setting the Doctor at liberty. Mr. Grandison, in order to urge the dispatch of the Chiaux, who carried it, accompanied him, and arrived at Athens, just as the Vayvode had determined to get rid of the whole affair in a private manner (the Doctor's finances being exhausted) by the bowstring. The danger endeared the Doctor to Mr. Grandison; a relief so seasonable endeared Mr. Grandison to the Doctor; to them both Mr. Beauchamp, who would not stir from Athens, till he had seen him delivered; having busied himself in the interim, in the best manner he could (tho' he was obliged to use caution and secrecy) to do him service, and to suspend the fatal blow.
"Here was a cement to a friendship (that had been begun between the young gentlemen from likeness of manners) between them and the Doctor, whom they have had the goodness ever since to regard, as their father: And to this day it is one of the Doctor's delights to write to his worthy son Beauchamp all that he can come at, relating to the life and actions of a man, whom the one regards as an example; the other as an honour to the human race.
"It was some time before the Doctor knew for certain, that the ungracious Lorimer had been consenting to the shocking treatment he had met with; for the wretches whom the vile woman had suborned, had made their escape from Athens before the arrival of Mr. Grandison and the Chiaux; the flagitious youth had written to his father, in terms of the deepest sorrow, an account of what had befallen his governor; and his father had taken the best measures that could be fallen upon at so great a distance, for the Doctor's succour and liberty: But in all probability, he would have been lost before those measures could have taken effect.
"Lorimer's father, little thinking that his son had connived at the plot formed against his governor, besought him, when he had obtained his liberty, not to leave his son to his own devices. The Doctor, as little thinking then, that Lorimer had been capable of a baseness so very villainous, in compassion both to father and son, went to Venice, and got him out of the hands of the vile women; and then to Rome: But there, the unhappy wretch continuing his profligate courses, became at last a sacrifice to his dissoluteness; and his death was a deliverance to his Family, to the Doctor, and to the Earth.
"On his death-bed he confessed the plot, which the infamous courtesan had meditated against the Doctor at Venice, as well as his connivance at that which she had carried into execution at Athens. He died in horror not to be described; begging for longer life, and promising reformation on that condition. The manner of his death, and the crimes he confessed himself guilty of, by the instigation of the most abandoned of women, beside those committed against his governor, so shocked and grieved the Doctor, that he fell ill, and his Recovery was long doubted of.
"Mean time Mr. Grandison visited some parts of Asia and Africa, Egypt particularly; corresponding all the time with Dr. Bartlett, and allowing the correspondence to pass into the hands of Mr. Beauchamp; as he did that which he held with Mr. Beauchamp, to be communicated to the Doctor.
"When Mr. Grandison returned to Italy, finding there his two friends, he engaged the Doctor to accompany Mr. Beauchamp in that part of his tour into some of the Eastern regions, which he himself had been particularly pleased with, and, as he said, wanted to be more particularly informed of: And therefore insisted, that it should be taken at his own expense. He knew that Mr. Beauchamp had a stepmother, who had prevailed on his father to take off two-thirds of the allowance he made him on his travels.
"Mr. Beauchamp very reluctantly complied with the condition so generously imposed on him by his beloved friend; another of whose arguments was, That such a tour would be the most likely means to establish the health of a Man equally dear to both.
"Mr. Grandison never was at a loss for arguments to keep in countenance the persons whom he benefited; and to make their acceptance of his favours appear not only to be their duty, but an obligation laid on himself.
"Mr. Grandison himself, when the two gentlemen set out on their tour, was engaged in some affairs at Bologna and Florence, which gave him great embarrassment.
"Dr. Bartlett and Mr. Beauchamp, visited the principal islands of the Archipelago: After which, the Doctor left the young gentleman pursuing his course to Constantinople, with intention to visit some parts of Asia, and took the opportunity of a vessel that was bound for Leghorn, to return thither.
"His health was happily established: And, knowing that Mr. Grandison expected the long-desired call from his father to return to England, and that it was likely that he could be of use to his ward Miss Jervois, and her affairs, in her guardian's absence, he was the more desirous to return to Italy.
"Mr. Grandison rejoiced at his arrival: And soon after set out for Paris, in order to attend there the expected call; leaving Emily, in the interim, to his care.
"Lorimer's father did not long survive his son. He expressed himself in his last hours highly sensible of the Doctor's care of his unhappy boy; and earnestly desired his Lady to see him handsomely rewarded for his trouble. But not making a will: and the Lady having, by her early over-indulgence, ruined the morals of her child (never suffering him to be either corrected or chidden, were his enormities ever so flagrant) she bore a sacred grudge to the Doctor for his honest representations to her Lord of the young man's immoralities: And not even the interposition of a Sir Charles Grandison has hitherto been able to procure the least acknowledgment to the Doctor; though the loss as well, of his reputation, as life, might have been the consequence of the faithful services he had endeavoured to render to the profligate youth, and in him to the whole family."
Volume III - lettera 4
Volume III - Letter 5
DR. BARTLETT. IN CONTINUATION.
Thus far, dear Miss Byron (delight of every one who is so happy as to know you!) reach my kinsman's extracts from my papers. I will add some particulars in answer to your enquiries about Mr. Beauchamp, if writing of a man I so greatly love, I can write but a few.
Mr. Beauchamp is a fine young man in his person: When I call him a second Sir Charles Grandison, you and the Ladies, and my Lord L. will conceive a very high idea of his understanding, politeness, and other amiable qualities. He is of an ancient family. His father, Sir Harry Beauchamp, tenderly loves him, and keeps him abroad equally against both their wills; especially against Mr. Beauchamp's, now his beloved friend is in England. This is done to humour an imperious, vindictive woman, who, when a widow, had cast her eyes upon the young gentleman for a husband; imagining, that her great wealth (her person not disagreeable) would have been a temptation to him. This, however, was unknown to the father; who made his addresses to her much about the time that Mr. Beauchamp had given an absolute denial (perhaps with too little ceremony) to an overture made to him by a friend of hers. This enraged her. She was resolved to be revenged on him; and knowing him to be absolutely in his father's power, as to fortune, gave way to Sir Harry's addresses; and on her obtaining such terms as, in a great measure, put both father and son in her power, she married Sir Harry.
She soon gained an absolute ascendant over her husband. The son, when his father first made his addresses to her, was allowed to set out on his travels with an appointment of 600 l. a year. She never rested till she had got 400 l, a year to be struck off; and the remaining 200 were so ill remitted, that the young gentleman would have been put to the greatest difficulties, had it not been for the truly friendly assistance of Mr. Grandison.
Yet it is said, that this Lady is not destitute of some good qualities, and in cases where the son is not the subject, behaves very commendably to Sir Harry: But being a managing woman, and Sir Harry loving his ease, she has made herself his receiver and treasurer; and by that means has put it out of his power, to act as paternally by his son as he is inclined to do, without her knowing it.
The Lady and Sir Harry both, however, profess to admire the character of Sir Charles Grandison, from the Letters Mr. Beauchamp has written from time to time to his father; and from the general report in his favour: And on this, as well I, as Mr. Beauchamp, found our hope, that if Sir Charles, by some unsuspected way, can make himself personally acquainted with the Lady, he will be able to induce her to consent to her son-in-law's recall; and to be reconciled to him; the rather, as there is no issue by this marriage; whose interests might strengthen the Lady's animosity.
Mr. Beauchamp, in this hope, writes to Sir Charles, that he can, and will, pay all the due respect to his father's wife, and, as such, treat her as his mother, if she will consent to his return to his native country: But declares, that he would stay abroad all his life, rather than his father should be made unhappy, by allowing of his coming over against the consent of so high-spirited a woman. In the mean time he proposes to set out from Vienna, where he now is, for Paris, to be near, if Sir Charles, who he thinks can manage any point he undertakes (and who in this, will be seconded by his father's love) can prevail with his mother-in-law.
I long, Ladies, to have you all acquainted with this other excellent young man. You, Miss Byron, I am sure, in particular, will admire Sir Charles Grandison's, and my Beauchamp: Of spirit so manly, yet of manners so delicate—I end as I began; He is a second Sir Charles Grandison.
I shall think myself, Ladies, very happy, if I can find it in my power to oblige you, by any communications you would wish to be made you. But let me once more recommend it to you, Lady L. Lord L. and Miss Grandison, to throw off all reserves to the most affectionate of brothers. He will have none to you, in cases which he knows will give you pleasure. And if he forbears of his own accord to acquaint you with some certain affairs, it is, because the issue of them is yet hidden from himself.
As to Lady Olivia, mentioned to you by good Lord L. she never can be more to my patron than she now is.
Allow me to be, my good Miss Byron, with a true paternal affection,
Your admirer and humble servant,
Subjoined in a separate paper,
How is this Lucy? Let me collect some of the contents of these Letters. "If Sir Charles forbear, of his own accord, to acquaint his sisters with some certain affairs—"Issue hidden from himself." "Engaged in some affairs at Bologna and Florence, that embarrass him"—[Is, or was so engaged, means the Doctor?] "Sir Charles not reserved; yet reserved."—How is all this, Lucy?
But does the Doctor say, "That I shall particularly admire Mr. Beauchamp?"—What means the Doctor by that?—But he cannot affront me so much as to mean any-thing but to show his own love to the worthy young man. The Doctor longs for us to see him: If I do see him, he must come quickly: For shall I not soon return to my last, my best refuge, the arms of my indulgent grandmamma and aunt?—I shall.
But, dear Lucy, have you any spite in you? Are you capable of malice—deadly malice?—If you are, sit down, and wish the person you hate, to be in Love with a man (I must, it seems, speak out) whom she think, and every-body knows, to be superior to herself, in every quality, in every endowment, both of mind and fortune; and be doubtful (far, far worse is doubtful than sure!) among some faint glimmerings of hope, whether his affections are engaged; and if they are not, whether he can return—Ah, Lucy! you know what I mean—Don't let me speak out.
But one word more—Don't you think the Doctor's compliment at the beginning of his Letter, a little particular?
"Delight of EVERY-ONE who is so happy as to know you." Charming words!—But are they, or are they not officiously inserted?— Am I the delight of Sir Charles Grandison's heart? Does he not know me?—Weak, silly, vain, humble, low, yet proud Harriet Byron!—Begone, paper—mean confession of my conjecturing folly—Ah, Lucy, I tore the paper half thro', as you'll see, in anger at myself; but I will stitch it to the Doctor's Letter, to be taken off by you, and to be seen by no body else.
Volume III - lettera 5
Volume III - Letter 6
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO MISS LUCY SELBY.
Saturday, March 18.
Self, my dear Lucy, is a very wicked thing; a sanctifier, if one would give way to its partialities, of actions, which, in others, we should have no doubt to condemn. DELICACY, too, is often a misleader; an idol at whose shrine we sometimes offer up our Sincerity; but, in that case, it should be called Indelicacy.
Nothing, surely, can be delicate, that is not true, or that gives birth to equivocation: Yet how was I pleased with Lord and Lady L. and Miss Grandison, for endeavouring to pass me off to good Dr. Bartlett in the light I had no title to appear in!—As if my mind, in a certain point, remained to be known; and would so remain, till the gentleman had discovered his.
And are there some situations, in which a woman must conceal her true sentiments? In which it would be thought immodesty to speak out?—Why was I born with an heart so open and sincere? But why, indeed, as Sir Charles has said in his Letter relating to the Danby's, should women be blamed, for owning modestly a passion for a worthy and suitable object? Is it, that they will not speak out, lest, if their wishes should not be crowned with success by one man, they should deprive themselves of a chance to succeed with another? Do they not propose to make the man they love, happy?—And is it a crime to acknowledge, that they are so well disposed to a worthy object? A worthy object, I repeat; for that is what will warrant the open heart. What a littleness is there in the custom that compels us to be insincere? And suppose we do not succeed with a first object, shall we cheat a future Lover with the notion that he was the first?
Hitherto I had acted with some self-approbation: I told Mr. Greville, Mr. Fenwick, Mr. Orme, Mr. Fowler, that I had not seen the man to whom I could wish to give my hand at the altar: But when I found my heart engaged, I was desirous Lady D. should know that it was. But yet, misled by this same notion of delicacy, I could think myself obliged to the two sisters, and my Lord, that they endeavoured to throw a blind over the eyes of good Dr. Bartlett: When the right measure, I now think, would have been, not to have endeavoured to obtain lights from him, that we all thought he was not commissioned to give; or, if we had, to have related to him the whole truth, and not have put on disguises to him; but to have left him wholly a judge of the fit, and the unfit.
And this is LOVE, is it? that puts an honest girl upon approving of such tricks?—Begone, Love! I banish thee if thou wouldst corrupt the simplicity of that heart, which was taught to glory in truth.
And yet, I had like to have been drawn into a greater fault: For, What do you think?—Miss Grandison had (by some means or other; she would not tell me how) in Dr. Bartlett's absence on a visit to one of the Canons of Windsor, got at a letter brought early this morning from her brother to that good man, and which he had left opened on his desk.
Here, Harriet, said she, is the letter so lately brought, not perhaps quite honestly come at, from my brother to Dr. Bartlett (holding it out to me). You are warmly mentioned in it. Shall I put it where I had it? Or will you so far partake of my fault as to read it first?
O Miss Grandison! said I: And am I warmly mentioned in it? Pray oblige me with the perusal of it. And I held out my more than half guilty hand, and took it: But (immediately recollecting myself) did you not hint that you came at it by means not honest?—Take it again; I will not partake of your fault.—But, cruel Charlotte! how could you tempt me so? And I laid it on a chair.
Read the first paragraph, Harriet. She took it up, unfolded it, and pointed to the first paragraph.
Tempter! said I, how can you wish me to imitate our first pattern! And down I sat, and put both my hands before my eyes. Take it away, take it away, while yet I am innocent! Dear Miss Grandison, don't give me cause for self-reproach. I will not partake of your acknowledged fault.
She read a line or two; and then said, Shall I read farther, Harriet? The very next word is your name. I will—
No, no, no, said I, putting my fingers in my ears.—Yet, had you come honestly by it, I should have longed to read it—By what means—Why, if people will leave their closet-doors open, let them take the consequence.
If people will do so—But was it so?—And yet, if it was, would you be willing to have your letters looked into?
Well then, I will carry it back—Shall I? (holding it out to me) Shall I, Harriet?—I will put it where I had it—Shall I? And twice or thrice went from me, and came back to me with a provoking archness in her looks.
Only tell me, Miss Grandison, is there any-thing in it that you think your brother would not have us see?—But I am sure there is, or the obliging Dr. Bartlett, who has shown us others, would have favoured us with communicating the contents of this.
I would not but have seen this letter for half I am worth! O Harriet! there are such things in it.—Bologna! Paris! Grandison-hall!
Be gone, Siren: Letters are sacred things. Replace it—Don't you own, that you came not honestly by it?—And yet—
Ah! Lucy, I was ready to yield to the curiosity she had raised: But, recollecting myself, Be gone, said I: Carry back the letter: I am afraid of myself.
Why, Harriet, here is one passage, the contents of which you must be acquainted with in a very little while—
I will not be tempted, Miss Grandison. I will stay till it is communicated to me, be it what it will.
But you may be surprised, Harriet, at the time, and know not what answer to give to it.—You had as good read it—Here, take it—Was there ever such a scrupulous creature?—It is about you and Emily—
About me and Emily! O Miss Grandison, What can there be about me and Emily?
And where's the difference, Harriet, between asking me a out the contents, and reading them?—But I'll tell you—
No, you shall not: I will not hear the contents. I never will ask you. Can nobody act greatly but your brother? Let you and I, Charlotte, be the better for his example. You shall neither read them, nor tell me of them. I would not be so used myself.
Such praises did I never hear of woman!—Oh, Harriet!—Such praises—
Praises, Charlotte!—From your brother?—O this curiosity! the first fault of our first parent! But I will not be tempted. If you provoke me to ask questions, laugh at me, and welcome: But I beseech you, answer me not. Dear creature, if you love me, replace the letter; and do not seek to make me mean in my own eyes.
How you reflect upon me, Harriet!—But let me ask you, Are you willing, as a third sister, to take Emily into your guardianship, and carry her down with you into Northamptonshire?—Answer me that.
Ah! Miss Grandison! And is there such a proposal as that mentioned?—But answer me not, I beseech you. Whatever proposal is intended to be made me, let it be made: It will be too soon, whenever that is, if it be a disagreeable one.
But let me say, madam (and tears were in my eyes) that I will not be treated with indignity by the best man on earth. And while I can refuse to yield to a thing that I think unworthy of myself (you are a sister, madam, and have nothing either to hope or fear) I have a title to act with spirit, when occasions call for it.
My dear, you are serious—Twice madam, in one breath! I will not forgive you. You ought now to hear that passage read, which relates to you and Emily, if you will not read it yourself.
And she was looking for it; I suppose intending to read it to me.
No, Miss Grandison, said I, laying my spread hand upon the letter; I will neither read it, nor hear it read. I begin to apprehend, that there will be occasion for me to exert all my fortitude; and while it is yet in my power to do a right or wrong thing, I will not deprive myself of the consciousness of having merited well, whatever may be my lot—Excuse me, madam.
I went to the door and was opening it—when she ran to me—Dear creature! you are angry with me: But how that pride becomes you! There is a dignity in it that awes me. O Harriet! how infinitely does it become the only woman in the world, that is worthy of the best man in it! Only say, you are not angry with me. Say that you can and do forgive me.
Forgive you, my Charlotte I—I do. But can you say, that you came not honestly by that letter, and yet forgive yourself? But, my dear Miss Grandison, instantly replace it; and do you watch over me, like a true friend, if in a future hour of weakness you should find me desirous to know any of the contents of a paper so naughtily come at. I own that I had like to have been overcome: And if I had, all the information it would have given me, could never have recompensed me for what I should have suffered in my own opinion, when I reflected on the means by which I had obtained it.
Superior creature! how you shame me! I will replace the letter. And I promise you, that if I cannot forget the contents of it myself (and yet they are glorious to my brother) I will never mention any of them to you; unless the letter be fairly communicated to you, and to us all.
I threw my arms about her neck. She fervently returned the sisterly embrace. We separated; she retiring at one door, in order to go up to replace the letter; I at the other, to re-consider all that had passed on the occasion. And I hope I shall love her the better for taking so kindly a behaviour so contrary to what her own had been.
Well, but, don't you congratulate me, my dear, on my escape from my curiosity? I am sure my grandmamma, and my aunt, will be pleased with their girl. Yet it was an hard struggle, I own: In the suspense I am in; a very hard struggle. But tho' wishes will play about my heart, that I knew such of the contents as it might concern me to know; yet I am infinitely better pleased that I yielded not to the temptation, than I should have been, if I had. And then, methinks, my pride is gratified in the superiority this lady ascribes to me over herself, whom so lately I thought greatly my superior.
Yet what merit have I in this? Since if I had considered only rules of policy, I should have been utterly wrong, had I yielded to the temptation: For what use could I have made of any knowledge I might have obtained by this means? If any proposal is to be made me, of what nature soever, it must, in that case, have appeared to be quite new to me: And what an affectation must that have occasioned, what dissimulation, in your Harriet?—And how would a creature, educated as I have been, have behaved under such trials as might have arisen from a knowledge so faultily obtained?
And had I been discovered; had I given cause of suspicion, either to Dr. Bartlett, or Sir Charles; I should have appeared as the principal in the fact: It would have been mean to accuse Miss Grandison, as the tempter, in a temptation yielded to with my eyes open. And should I not have cast a slur upon that curiosity which Dr. Bartlett before had not refused to gratify, as well as shut myself out from all future communications and confidence?
It is very possible, besides, that, unused as I have been to artifice and disguise, I should have betrayed myself; especially had I found any of the contents of the letter very affecting.
Thus you see, Lucy, that policy, as well as rectitude of manners, justify me: And in this particular I am an happy girl.
Miss Grandison has just now told her sister what passed between us. Lady L. says, she would not have been Miss Grandison, in taking the letter, by what means soever come at; for how, said she, did I know what secrets there might be in it, before I read it? But I think verily, when it had been got at, and offered me, I could not have been Miss Byron.
And she threw her arms about me, and hugged me to her. Dear creature, said she, you must be Lady Grandison—Must! said Miss Grandison: She shall.
Who, Lucy, whether that may ever come to pass, or not, would not, on reflection (thus approved by both sisters) rejoice that she conquered her curiosity, and acted as she did?
Miss Grandison talked to Lady L. of its being likely that her brother would go to Bologna: Of a visit he is soon to make to Grandison-hall; and she to go with him: Of his going to Paris, in order to settle some matters relating to the Will of his late friend Mr. Danby—
Well, Lucy, my time in town is hastening to its period. Why am I not reminded, that my three allotted months are near expired? Will you receive the poor girl, who perhaps will not be able to carry down with her the heart she brought up? And yet, to go down to such dear friends without it, what an ungrateful sound has that!
Miss Grandison began to talk of other subjects relating to her brother, and those greatly to his praise. I could have heard all she had to say with infinite pleasure. I do love to hear him praised. But, as I doubted not but these subjects arose from the letter so surreptitiously obtained, I restrained myself, and withdrew.
Of what an happy temper is Miss Grandison! She was much affected with the scene that passed between us, but all is over with her already. One lesson upon her harpsichord sets every-thing right with her. She has been raillying Lord L. with as much life and spirit, as if she had done nothing to be vexed at. Had I been induced by her to read the letter which she got at dishonestly, as she owned, what a poor figure should I have made in my own eyes, for a month to come!
But did she not as soon overcome the mortification given her by her brother, on the detection of captain Anderson's affair? How unmercifully did she railly me, within a few hours after!—Yet, she has fine qualities. One cannot help loving her. I do love her. But is it not a weakness to look without abatement of affection on those faults in one person, which we should hold utterly inexcusable in another? In Miss Grandison's case, however, don't say it is, Lucy. O what a partiality! Yet she has within these few minutes owned, that she thought the step she had taken a faulty one, before she came to me with the letter; and hoped to induce me to countenance her in what she had done.
I called her a little Satan on this occasion. But, after all, what if the dear Charlotte's curiosity was more for my sake than her own? No motive of friendship, you will say, can justify a wrong action—Why no, Lucy; that is very true; but if you knew Miss Grandison, you would love her dearly.
Volume III - lettera 6
Volume III - Letter 7
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR. BARTLETT.
Friday Night, Mar. 17.
I hope my Lord L. and my sisters will be able to make Colnebrooke so agreeable to Miss Byron that I may have the pleasure of finding her there in the beginning of the week.
My Lord W. is in town. He has invited me to dine with him to-morrow; and must not be denied, was a part of his message, brought me by Halden his steward, who says, That his lordship has something of consequence to consult me upon.
When, my dear friend, shall I find time for myself? Pray make my compliments to my Lord L. and to my three sisters; and tell them from me, that when I have the happiness of being in their company, then it is that I think I give time to myself.
I have a letter from Bologna: From the faithful Camilla. The contents of it give me great concern. She urges me to make one more visit there. She tells me, that the Bishop said in her hearing, it would be kind if I would. Were such a visit to be requested generally; and it were likely to be of service; you may believe that I would cheerfully make it.
I should go, for a fortnight at least, to Grandison-hall. Burgess has let me know, that the workmen have gone almost as far as they can go without my further orders. And the churchwardens have signified to me, that the church is completely beautified, according to my directions; so that it will be ready to be opened on the Sunday after next, at farthest; and intreat my presence, both as patron, and benefactor. I will now hasten my designed alterations at the Hall.
I had rather not be present at the opening. Yet the propriety of my being there will probably prevail upon me to comply with the entreaties of the churchwardens; who in their letter signify the expectations of Sir Samuel Clarke, Sir William Turner, and Mr. Barnham, of seeing me, and my sister Charlotte. You will be pleased to mention this to her.
I wish, without putting a slight upon good Mr. Dobson, that you, my dear friend, could oblige us with the first sermon. All then would be decent, and worthy of the occasion; and the praise would be given properly, and not to the agent. But as it would be a little mortifying to Mr. Dobson (of whose praise only I am apprehensive) so much as to hint such a wish, I will write to him, that he will oblige me if he say not one word, that shall carry the eyes of the audience to my seat.
The execution of the orders I gave, that five other pews should be equally distinguished and ornamented with mine, carries not with it the appearance of affectation; does it, my good Dr. Bartlett? especially as so many considerable families have seats there? I would not seem guilty of a false modesty, which, breaking out into singularity, would give the suspicion of a wrong direction, in cases where it may be of use to suppose a right one.
What can I do in relation to my Emily? She is of the stature of woman. She ought, according to the present taste, to be introduced into public life. I am not fond of that life. And what knowledge she will gain by the introduction, she had better be without. Yet I think we should conform something to the taste of the times in which we live. Women's minds have generally a lighter turn than those of men. They should be innocently indulged. And on this principle it was, that last winter I attended her, and my sisters, very often to the places of public entertainment; that she, having seen every-thing that was the general subject of polite conversation, might judge of such entertainments as they deserve; and not add expectation (which runs very high in young minds, and is seldom answered) to the ideal scenes. This indulgence answered as I wish. Emily can now hear talk of the emulation of actors and managers, and of the other public diversions, with tranquillity; and be satisfied, as she reads, with representing over again to herself the parts in which the particular actors excelled. And thus a boundary is set to her imagination; and that by her own choice; for she thinks lightly of them, when she can be obliged by the company of my two sisters and Lord L.
But new scenes will arise, in an age so studious as this, to gratify the eye and the ear. From these a young woman of fortune must not be totally excluded. I am a young man; and as Emily is so well grown for her years, I think I cannot so properly be her introducer to them, as I might, were I fifteen or twenty years older.
I live to my own heart; and I know (I think I do) that it is not a bad one: But as I cannot intend anything with regard to my Emily, I must, for her sake, be more observant of the world's opinion, than I hope I need to be for my own. You have taught me, that it is not good manners to despise the world's opinion, tho' we should regard it only in the second place.
Emily has too large a fortune. I have an high opinion of her discretion. But she is but a girl. Women's eyes are wanderers: And too often bring home guests that are very troublesome to them, and whom once introduced, they cannot get out of the house.
I wish she had only ten thousand pounds. She would then stand a better chance for happiness, than she can do, I doubt, with five times ten; and would have five persons, to one that she has now, to choose out of: For how few are there who can make proposals to the father or guardian of a girl who has 50, 000 l.?
Indeed there are not wanting in our sex forward spirits, who will think that sum not too much for their merits, tho' they may not deserve 5000 l. nor even one. And hence arises the danger of a woman of great fortune from those who will not dare to make proposals to a guardian. After an introduction (and how easy is that now made, at public places!) a woman of the greatest fortune is but a woman, and is to be attacked, and prevailed upon, by the same methods which succeed with a person of the slenderest; and perhaps is won with equal, if not with greater ease; since, if the lady has a little romance in her head, and her Lover a great deal of art and flattery, she will call that romantic turn generosity, and, thinking she can lay the man who has obtained her attention, under obligation, she will meet him her full halfway.
Emily is desirous to be constantly with us. My sister is very obliging. I know she will comply with whatever I shall request of her, in relation to Emily. But where the reputation of a lady is concerned, a man should not depend too much upon his own character, especially a young man, be it ever so unexceptionable. Her mother has already given out foolish hints. She demands her daughter. The unhappy woman has no regard to truth. Her own character lost, and so deservedly, will she have any tenderness for that of Emily? Who will scruple to believe, what a mother, tho' ever so wicked, will report of her daughter under twenty, and her guardian under thirty, if they live constantly together? Her guardian, at the same time, carrying his heart in his countenance, and loving the girl; though with as much innocence as if she were his sister. Once I had thoughts of craving the assistance of the Court of Chancery for the protection of her person and fortune: But an hint of this nature distressed her for many days, unknown to me. Had I been acquainted that she took it so heavily, I would not have made her unhappy for one day.
I have looked out among the quality for a future husband for her: But, where can I find one with whom I think she will be happy? There are many who would be glad of her fortune. As I said, her fortune is too large. It is enough to render every man's address to her suspected; and to make a guardian apprehensive, that her person, agreeable as it is, and every day improving, and her mind opening to advantage every hour of her life, would be but the second, if the second, view of a man professing to love her. And were she to marry, what a damp would the slights of an husband give to the genius of a young lady, whose native modesty would always make her want encouragement!
I have also cast an eye over the gentry within my knowledge: But have not met with one whom I could wish to be the husband of my Emily. So tender, so gentle, so ductile, as she is, a fierce, a rash, an indelicate, even a careless or indifferent man, would either harden her heart, or shorten her life: And as the latter would be much more easy to be effected than the former, what must she suffer before she could return indifference for disrespect; and reach the quiet end of it!
See what a man Sir Walter Watkyns is! My sister only could deal with such an one. A superiority in her so visible, he must fear her: Yet a generosity so great, and a dignity so conspicuous, in her whole behaviour, as well as countenance, he must love her: Every-body's respect to her, would oblige love and reverence from him. But my weak-hearted, diffident Emily, what would she do with such a man?
What would she do with a Sir Hargrave Pollexfen? What with such a man, as Mr. Greville, as Sir Hargrave describes him? I mention these men; for are not there many such?
I am not apt to run into grave declamations against the times: And yet, by what I have seen abroad, and now lately since my arrival, at home, and have heard from men of greater observation, and who have lived longer in the world, than I have, I cannot but think, that Englishmen are not what they were. A wretched effeminacy seems to prevail among them. Marriage itself is every day more and more out of fashion; and even virtuous women give not the institution so much of their countenance, as to discourage by their contempt the free-livers. A good woman, as such, has therefore but few chances for happiness in marriage. Yet shall I not endeavour, the more endeavour, to save and serve my Emily?
I have one encouragement, since my happy acquaintance with Miss Byron, to think that the age is not entirely lost to a sense of virtue and goodness. See we not how every-body reveres her? Even a Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, a Greville, a Fenwick, men of free lives, adore her. And at the same time she meets with the love of all good men, and the respect of women, whether gay or serious. But I am afraid, that the first attraction with men, is her beauty. I am afraid, that few see in that admirable young lady what I see in her: A mind great and noble: A sincerity beyond that of women: A goodness unaffected, and which shows itself in action, and not merely in words, and outward appearance: A wit lively and inoffensive: And an understanding solid and useful: All which render her a fit companion, either in the social or contemplative hour: And yet she thinks herself not above the knowledge of those duties, the performance of which makes an essential of the female character.
But I am not giving a character of Miss Byron to you, my good Dr. Bartlett, who admire her as much as I do.
Do you think it impossible for me to procure for my Emily such a guardian and companion as Miss Byron, on her return to Northamptonshire, would make her?—Such worthy relations as she would introduce her to, would be a further happiness to my ward.
I am far from undervaluing my sister's good qualities: But if Emily lives with her, she must live also with me. Indeed the affairs in which I am engaged for other people (if I may call those who have a claim upon me for every instance of my friendship, other people) will occasion me to be often absent.
But still, while Grandison-hall, and St. James's Square, are the visible places of residence equally of the guardian and ward, Emily's mother will tell the world, that we live together.
Miss Jervois does not choose to return to Mrs. Lane; and indeed I don't think, she would be safe there in a family of women, tho' very worthy ones, from the attempts of one of the sex, who, having brought her into the world, calls herself her mother; and especially now that the unhappy woman has begun to be troublesome there. I beg of you, therefore, my dear Dr. Bartlett, who know more of my heart and situation than any one living (my dear Beauchamp excepted) to consider what I have written, and give me your opinion of that part of it, which relates to Miss Byron and Emily.
I was insensibly drawing myself in to enumerate the engagements, which at present press most upon me. Let me add to the subject—I must soon go to Paris, in order finally to settle such of the affairs of my late worthy friend, as cannot be so well done by any other hand. The three thousand pounds, which he has directed to be disposed of to charitable uses, in France as well as in England, at the discretion of his executor, is one of them.
Perhaps equity will allow me to add to this limited sum from what will remain in my hands after the establishment of the nephews and niece. As they are young, and brought up with a hope that they will make a figure in the world by their diligence, I would not, by any means, make them independent on that. The whole estate, divided among them, would not be sufficient to answer that purpose happily, tho' it might be enough to abate the edge of their industry.
The charity that I am most intent upon promoting in France, and in England too, is, that of giving little fortunes to young maidens in marriage with honest men of their own degree, who might, from such an outsetting, begin the world, as it is called, with some hope of success.
By this time, my dear Dr. Bartlett, you will guess that I have a design upon you. It is, that you will assist me in executing the Will of my late friend. Make enquiries after, and recommend to me, objects worthy of relief. You was very desirous, some time ago, to retire to the Hall: But I knew not how to spare you; and I hoped to attend you thither. You shall now set out for that place as soon as you please. And that neither may be (or as little as possible) losers by the separation, every-thing that we would say to each other, were we together, that, as we used to do, we will say by pen and ink. We will be joint executors, in the first place, for this sum of 3000 l.
Make enquiries then, as soon as you get down, for worthy objects—The industrious poor, of all persuasions, reduced either by age, infirmity, or accident; Those who labour under incurable maladies; Youth, of either sex, capable of beginning the world to advantage, but destitute of the means; These, in particular, are the objects we both think worthy of assistance. You shall take 500 l. down with you, for a beginning.
It is my pride, it is my glory, that I can say, Dr. Bartlett and Charles Grandison, on all benevolent occasions, are actuated by one soul. My dear friend, adieu.
Volume III - lettera 7
Volume III - Letter 8
MISS BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Sat. Night, March 18.
I have furnished the Ladies, and my Lord, with more letters. And so they have all my heart before them!—I don't care. The man is Sir Charles Grandison; and they railly me not so much as before, while they thought I affected reserves to them. Indeed it would be cruel, if they did; and I should have run away from them.
I am glad you all think, that the two sisters used me severely. They really did. But I have this gratification of my pride in reflecting upon their treatment of me—I would not have done so by them, had situations been exchanged. And I think myself nearer an equality with them, than I had thought myself before.—But they are good ladies, and my sincere friends and well-wishers; and I forgive them: And so must my dear grandmamma.
I am sorry, methinks, that her delicacy has been offended on the occasion. And did she weep at the hearing read my account of that attack made upon her girl by the over-lively Charlotte?—O the dear, the indulgent, parent! How tender was it of my aunt too, to be concerned for the poor Harriet's delicacy, so hard put to it as she was! It did indeed (as she distinguishes in her usual charming manner) look, as if they put a great price upon their intended friendship to me, with regard to my interest in their brother's heart: As if the favour done to the humbled girl, if they could jointly procure for her their brother's countenance, might well allow of their raillery. —Don't, pray don't, my dear grandmamma, call it by a severer name. They did not, I am sure they did not, mean to hurt me so much, as I really was hurt. So let it pass. Humour and raillery are very difficult things to rein in. They are ever curveting like a prancing horse; and they will often throw the rider who depends more upon his skill in managing them, than he has reason to do.
My uncle was charmed with the scene; and thinks the two ladies did just as he would have done. He means it a compliment to their delicacy, I presume. But I am of my aunt Selby's opinion, that their generous brother would not have given them thanks for their raillery to the poor frighted Harriet. I am very happy, however, that my behaviour and frankness on the occasion are not disapproved at Selby-house, and Shirley-manor, and by you, my Lucy. And here let that matter rest.
Should I not begin to think of going back to you all, my Lucy? I believe I blush ten times a day, when alone, to find myself waiting and waiting as if for the gracious motion; yet apprehending that it never will, never can, be made; and all you, my friends, indulging an absence, that your goodness makes painful to you, in the same hope. It looks—Don't it, Lucy?—so like a design upon—I don't know how it looks!—But at times, I can't endure myself. And yet while the love of virtue (a little too personal, perhaps) is the foundation of these designs, these waitings, these emotions, I think, I am not wholly inexcusable.
I am sure I should not esteem him, were he not the good man he is.—Pray, let me ask you—Do you think he could not be put upon saying something affronting to me; upon doing something unworthy of his character?—O then I am sure I should hate him: All the other instances of his goodness would then be as nothing. I will be captious, I think: and study to be affronted, whether he intends to affront me, or not.—But what a multitude of foolish notions comes into the head of a silly girl, who, little as she knows, knows more of any-thing, or of any-body, than she knows of herself!
I wish my godfather had not put it in my head, that Emily is cherishing (perhaps unknown to herself) a flame that will devour her peace. For to be sure this young creature can have no hope that—Yet 50,000l. is a vast fortune. But it can never buy her guardian. Do you think such a man as Sir Charles Grandison has a price?—I am sure he has not.
I watch the countenance, the words, the air of the girl, when he is spoken of. And with pity I see, that he cannot be named, but her eyes sparkle. Her eye is taken off her work or book, as she happens to be engaged in either, and she seems as if she would look the person through who is praising her guardian. For the life of her, she cannot work and hear. And then she sighs—Upon my word, Lucy, there is no such thing as proceeding with his praises before her—the girl so sighs—So young a creature!—Yet how can one caution the poor thing?
But what makes me a little more observant of her, than I should otherwise perhaps have been (additional to my godfather's observation) is an hint given me by Lady L. which perhaps she has from Miss Grandison, and she not unlikely from the stolen letter: For Miss Grandison hinted at it, but I thought it was only to excite my curiosity [When one is not in good humour, how one's very style is encumbered!]: The hint is this, That it is more than probable, it will be actually proposed to me, to take down with me to Northamptonshire this young lady—I, who want a governess myself, to be—But let it be proposed.
In a conversation that passed just now, between us women, on the subject of Love (a favourite topic with all girls), this poor thing gave her opinion unasked; and, for a young girl, was quite alert, I thought. She used to be more attentive than talkative.
I whispered Miss Grandison once, Don't you think Miss Jervois talks more than she used to do, madam?
I think she does, madam, re-whispered the arch lady.
I beg your pardon—Charlotte, then.
You have it, Harriet, then.—But let her prate. She is not often in the humour.
Nay, with all my heart; I love Miss Jervois: But I can't but watch when habits begin to change. And I am always afraid of young creatures exposing themselves when they are between girls and women.
I don't love whispering, said Miss Jervois, more pertly than ever: But my guardian loves me; and you, ladies, love me; and so my heart is easy.
Her heart easy!—Who thought of her heart? Her guardian loves her!—Emily sha'n't go down with me, Lucy.
Sunday Monday, March 10.
O but, Lucy, we are alarmed here on Miss Jervois's account, by a letter which Dr. Bartlett received a little late last night from Sir Charles; so showed it us not till this morning as we were at breakfast. The unhappy woman, her mother, has made him a visit. Poor Emily! Dear child! what a mother she has!
I have so much obliged the doctor by delivering into his hands the papers that our other friends have just perused (and, let me say, with high approbation) that he made no scruple of allowing me to send this letter to you. I asked the favour, as I know you will all now be very attentive to whatever relates to Emily. Return every-thing the doctor shall intrust me with by the first opportunity.
By the latter part of this letter you will find, that the doctor has acquainted Sir Charles with his sister's wishes of a correspondence with him by letter. He consents to it, you will all see; but upon terms that are not likely to be complied with by any of his three sisters; for he puts me in. Three sisters! His third sister!—The repetition has such an officiousness in it. He is a good man; but he can be severe upon our sex—It is not in woman to be unreserved. —You'll find that one of the reflections upon us: He adds; And to be impartial, perhaps they should not. Why so?—But is not this a piece of advice given to myself, to make me more reserved than I am? But he gives not himself opportunity to see whether I am or am not reserved. I won't be mean, Lucy, I repeat for the twentieth time. I won't deserve to be despised by him—No! tho' he were the sovereign of the greatest empire on earth. In this believe
Your HARRIET BYRON.
Volume III - lettera 8
Volume III - Letter 9
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR. BARTLETT.
I have had a visit, my dear and reverend friend, from Emily's mother. She will very probably make one also at Colnebrooke, before I can be so happy as to get thither. I dispatch this therefore, to apprise you and Lord L. of such a probability; which is the greater, as she knows Emily to be there, thro' the inadvertence of Saunders, and finds me to be in town. I will give you the particulars of what passed between us, for your better information, if she goes to Colnebrooke.
I was preparing to attend Lord W. as by appointment, when she sent in her name to me.
I received her civilly. She had the assurance to make up to me with a full expectation that I would salute her; but I took, or rather received, her ready hand, and led her to a chair by the fire-side. You have never seen her. She thinks herself still handsome; and, did not her vices make her odious, and her whole aspect show her heart, she would not be much mistaken.
How does Emily, Sir? gallanting her fan: Is the girl here? Bid her come to me. I will see her.
She is not here, madam.
Where is she then? She has not been at Mrs. Lane's for some time.
She is in the best protection: She is with my two sisters.
And pray, Sir Charles Grandison, What do you intend to do with her? The girl begins to be womanly.
She laughed; and her heart spoke out at her eyes.
Tell me what you propose to do with her? You know, added she, affecting a serious air, that she is my child.
If, madam, you deserve to be thought her mother, you will be satisfied with the hands she is in.
Pish!—I never loved you good men: Where a fine girl comes in their way, I know what I know—
She looked wantonly, and laughed again.
I am not to talk seriously with you, Mrs. Jervois: But what have you to say to my ward?
Say! —Why, you know, Sir, I am her mother: And I have a mind to have the care of her person myself. You must (so her father directed) have the care of her fortune. But I have a mind, for her reputation's sake, to take the girl out of the hands of so young a guardian. I hope you will not oppose me.
If this be all your business, madam, I must be excused. I am preparing, as you see, to dress.
Where is Emily? I will see the girl.
If your motive be motherly love, little, madam, as you have acted the mother by her, you shall see her when she is in town. But her person, and reputation, as well as fortune, must be my care.
I am married, Sir: And my husband is a man of honour.
Your marriage, madam, gives a new reason why Emily must not be in your care.
Let me tell you, Sir, that my husband is a man of honour, and as brave a man as yourself; and he will see me righted.
Be he who he will, he can have no business with Emily. Did you come to tell me you are married, madam?
I did, Sir, Don't you wish me joy?—
Joy, madam! I wish you to deserve joy, and you will then perhaps have it. You'll excuse me—I shall make my friends wait.
I could not restrain my indignation. This woman marries, as she calls it, twice or thrice a year.
Well, Sir, then you will find time, perhaps, to talk with Major O’Hara. He is of one of the best families in Ireland. And he will not let me be robbed of my daughter.
Major O’Hara, madam, has nothing to do with the daughter of my late unhappy friend. Nor have I any-thing to say to him. Emily is in my protection; and I am sorry to say, that she never had been so, were not the woman who calls herself her mother, the person least fit to be entrusted with her daughter. Permit me the favour of leading you to your chair.
She then broke out into the language in which she always concludes these visits. She threatened me with the resentments of Major O’Hara; and told me, He had been a conqueror in half a dozen duels.
I offered my hand. She refused it not. I led her to her chair.
I will call again to-morrow afternoon, said she (threatening with her head), perhaps with the major, Sir. And I expect you will produce the little harlotry—
I withdrew in silent contempt. Vile woman!
But let nothing of this escape you to my Emily. I think she should not see her but in my presence. The poor girl will be terrified into fits, as she was the last time she saw her, if she comes, and I am not there. But possibly I may hear no more of this wicked woman for a month or two. Having a power to make her annuity either one or two hundred pounds, according to her behaviour, at my own discretion, the man she has married, who could have no inducement, but the annuity, if he has married her, will not suffer her to incur such a reduction of it; for, you know, I have always hitherto paid her two hundred pounds a year. Her threatening to see me to-morrow may be to amuse me while she goes. The woman is a foolish woman; but, being accustomed to intrigue, she aims at cunning and contrivance.
I am now hastening to Lord W. I hope his woman will not be admitted to his table, as the generally is, let who will be present; yet, it seems, knows not how to be silent, whatever be the subject. I have never chosen either to dine or sup with my Lord, that I might not be under a necessity of objecting to her company: And were I not to object to it, as I am a near kinsman to my Lord, and know the situation she is in with him, my complaisance might be imputed to motives altogether unworthy of a man of spirit.
Yours of this morning was brought me, just as I was concluding. There is one paragraph in it, that greatly interests me.
You hint to me, that my sisters, tho' my absences are short, would be glad to receive now-and-then a letter from me. You, my dear friend, have engaged me into a kind of habit, which makes me write to you with ease and pleasure.—To you, and to our Beauchamp, methinks, I can write any-thing. Use, it is true, would make it equally agreeable to me to write to my sisters. I would not have them think that there is a brother in the world, that better loves his sisters than I do mine: And now, you know, I have three. But why have they not signified as much to me? Could I give pleasure to any whom I love, without giving great pain to myself, it would be unpardonable not to do it.
I could easily carry on a correspondence with my sisters, were they to be very earnest about it: But then it must be a correspondence: The writing must not be all of one side. Do they think I should not be equally pleased to hear what they are about, from time to time; and what, occasionally, their sentiments are, upon persons and things? If it fall in your way, and you think it not a mere temporary wish (for young Ladies often wish, and think no more of the matter); then propose the condition.—But caution them, that the moment I discover, that they are less frank, and more reserved, than I am, there will be an end of the correspondence. My three sisters are most amiably frank, for women—But, thus challenged, dare they enter the lists, upon honour, with a man, a brother, upon equal terms?—O no! They dare not. It is not in woman to be unreserved in some points; and (to be impartial) perhaps they should not: Yet, surely, there is now-and-then a man, a brother, to be met with, who would be the more grateful for the confidence reposed in him.
Were this proposal to be accepted, I could write to them many of the things that I communicate to you. I have but few secrets. I only wish to keep from relations so dear to me, things that could not possibly yield them pleasure. I am sure I could trust to your judgment, the passages that might be read to them from my letters to you.
Sometimes, indeed, I love to divert myself with Charlotte's humorous curiosity; for she seems, as I told her lately, to love to suppose secrets, where there are none, for a compliment to her own sagacity, when she thinks she has found them out; and I love at such times to see her puzzled, and at a fault, as a punishment for her declining to speak out.
You have told me heretofore, in excuse for the distance, which my two elder sisters observe to their brother, when I have complained of it to you, that it proceeded from awe, from reverence for him. But why should there be that awe, that reverence? Surely, my dear friend, if this is spontaneous, and invincible, in them, there must be some fault in my behaviour, some seeming want of freedom in my manner, with which you will not acquaint me: It is otherwise impossible, that between brothers and sisters, where the love is not doubted on either side, such a distance should subsist. You must consult them upon it, and get them to explain themselves on this subject to you; and when they have done so, tell me of my fault, and I will endeavour to render myself more agreeable (more familiar, shall I say?) to them. But I will not by any means excuse them, if they give me cause to think, that the distance is owing to the will and the power I have been blessed with to do my duty by them. What would this be, but indirectly to declare, that once they expected not justice from their brother? But no more of this subject at present. I am impatient to be with you all at Colnebrooke; you cannot think how impatient. Self-denial is a very hard doctrine to be learned, my good Dr. Bartlett. So, in some cases, is it found to be, by
Your CHARLES GRANDISON.
Volume III - lettera 9
Volume III - Letter 10
MISS BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Colnebrooke, Sunday Evening.
Poor Emily! her heart is almost broken. This ignoble passion, what a mean-spirited creature had it like to have made me!—Be quiet, be quiet, Lucy!—I will call it ignoble. Did you ever know me before so little?—And had it not like to have put me upon being hard-hearted, envious, and I can't tell what, to a poor fatherless girl, just starting into woman, and therefore into more danger than she ever was in before; wanting to be protected—from whom? From a mother. —Dreadful circumstance!—Yet I am ready to grudge the poor girl her guardian, and her innocent prattle!—But let me be despised by the man I love, if I do not conquer this new-discovered envy, jealousy, littleness, at least with regard to this unhappy girl, whose calamity endears her to me.
Dear child! sweet Emily! You shall go down with me, if it be proposed. My grandmamma, and uncle, and aunt, will permit me to carry you with me. They are generous: They have no little passion to mislead their beneficence: They are what I hope to be, now I have found myself out—And what if her gratitude shall make her heart overflow into Love, has she not excuse for it, if Harriet has any?
Well, but to the occasion of the poor Emily's distress.—About twelve this day, soon after Lord L. and the two sisters and I, came from church (for Emily happened not to go), a coach and four stopped at the gate, and a servant in a sorry livery, alighting from behind it, enquired for Lord L. Two gentlemen, who by their dress and appearance were military men, and one Lady, were in it.
My Lord ordered them to be invited to alight, and received them with his usual politeness.
Don't let me call this unhappy woman Emily's mother; O’Hara is the name she owns.
She addressed herself to my Lord: I am the mother of Emily Jervois, my Lord: This gentleman, Major O’Hara is my husband.
The Major bowed, strutted, and acknowledged her for his wife: And this gentleman, my Lord, said he, is Captain Salmeret; a very brave man: He is in foreign service. His Lady is my own sister.
My Lord took notice of each.
I understand, my Lord, that my daughter is here. I desire to see her.
One of my Lord's servants, at that time, passing by the door, which was open, Pray Sir, said she to him, let Miss Jervois know, that her mamma is come to see her. Desire her to come to me.
Major. I long to see my new daughter: I hear she is a charming young Lady. She may depend upon the kindness of a father from me.
Capt. De man of honour and good nature be my broder's general cha-ract -er, I do assure your Lordship.
He spoke English as a Frenchman, my Lord says; but pronounced the word character as an Irishman.
Major (bowing). No need of this, my dear friend. My Lord has the cha-ract -er of a fine gentleman himself, and knows how to receive a gentleman who waits upon him with due respect.
Lord L. I hope I do. But, madam, you know whose protection the Lady is in.
Mrs. O’Hara. I do, my Lord. Sir Charles Grandison is a very fine gentleman.
Capt. De vinest cha-ract -er in de vorld. By my salvation, every-body say so.
Mrs. O’Hara. But Sir Charles, my Lord, is a very young gentleman to be guardian to so young a creature; especially now that she is growing into woman. I have had some few faults, I own. Who lives, that has not? But I have been basely scandalised. My first husband had his; and much greater than I had. He was set against me by some of his own relations: Vile creatures!—He left me, and went abroad; but he has answered for all by this time; and for the scanty allowance he made me, his great fortune considered: But as long as my child will be the better for it, that I can forgive.—Emily, my dear!—
She stepped to the door on hearing the rustling of silks, supposing her at hand; but it was Miss Grandison, followed by a servant with chocolate, to afford her pretence to see the visitors; and at the same time having a mind to hint to them, that they were not to expect to be asked to stay to dinner.
It is to Miss Grandison that I owe the description of each, the account of what passed, and the broken dialect.
Mrs. O’Hara has been an handsome woman; but well might Sir Charles be disgusted with her aspect. She has a leering, sly, yet confident eye; and a very bold countenance. She is not ungenteel; yet her very dress denotes her turn of mind. Her complexion, sallowish, streaked with red, makes her face (which is not so plump as it once has been) look like a withering John-apple that never ripened kindly.
Miss Grandison has a way of saying ill-natured things in such a good-natured manner, that one cannot forbear smiling, tho' one should not altogether approve of them; and yet sometimes one would be ready to wonder how she came by her images.
The Major is pert, bold, vain, and seemed particularly fond of his new scarlet coat and laced waistcoat. He is certainly, Miss Grandison says, a low man, tho' a soldier. Anderson, added she, is worth fifty of him. His face, fiery and highly pimpled, is set off to advantage by an enormous solitaire. His bad and straggling teeth are shown continually by an affected laugh, and his empty discourse is interlarded with oaths; which, with my uncle's leave, I shall omit.
Captain Salmonet, she says, appeared to her in a middle way between a beau and a Dutch boor; aiming at gentility, with a person and shape uncommonly clumsy.
They both assumed military airs, which not sitting naturally, gave them what Miss Grandison called, The swagger of soldierly importance.
Emily was in her own apartment, almost fainting with terror: For the servant, to whom Mrs. O’Hara had spoken, to bid her daughter come to her, had officiously carried up the message.
To what Mrs. O’Hara had said in defence of her own character, my Lord answered, Mr. Jervois had a right, madam, to do what he pleased with a fortune acquired by his own industry. A disagreement in marriage is very unhappy; but in this case, as in a duel, the survivor is hardly ever in fault. I have nothing to do in this matter. Miss Jervois is very happy in Sir Charles Grandison's protection. She thinks so; and so does every-body that knows her. It is your misfortune if you do not.
Mrs. O Hara. My Lord, I make no dispute of Sir Charles's being the guardian of her fortune; but no father can give away the authority a mother has, as well as himself, over her child.
Major. That child a daughter too, my Lord.
Lord L. To all this I have nothing to say. You will not be able, I believe, to persuade my brother Grandison to give up his ward's person to you, madam.
Mrs. O’Hara. Chancery may, my Lord—
Lord L. I have nothing to say to this, madam. No man in England knows better what is to be done, in this case, than Sir Charles Grandison; and no man will be readier to do what is just and fitting, without law: But I enter not into the case; you must not talk to me on this subject.
Miss Gr. Do you think, madam, that your marriage entitles you the rather to have the care of Miss Jervois?
Major (with great quickness). I hope, madam, that my honour and my cha-ract -er—
Miss Gr. Be they ever so unquestionable, will not entitle you, Sir, to the guardianship of Miss Jervois's person.
Major. I do not pretend to it, madam. But I hope that no father's will, no guardian's power, is to set aside the natural authority which a mother has over her child.
Lord L. This is not my affair. I am not inclined to enter into a dispute with you, madam, on this subject.
Mrs. O’Hara. Let Emily be called down to her mother. I hope I may see my child. She is in this house, my Lord. I hope, I may see my child.
Major. Your Lordship, and you, madam, will allow, that it would be the greatest hardship in the world, to deny to a mother the sight of her child.
Capt. De very greatest hardship of all hardships. Your Lordship will not refuse to let de daughter come to her moder.
Lord L. Her guardian perhaps will not deny it. You must apply to him. He is in town. Miss Jervois is here but as a guest. She will be soon in town. I must not have her alarmed. She has very weak spirits.
Mrs. O’Hara. Weak spirits, my Lord!—A child to have spirits too weak to see her mother!—And she felt for her handkerchief.
Miss Gr. It sounds a little harshly, I own, to deny to a mother the sight of her daughter: But unless my brother were present, I think, my Lord, it cannot be allowed.
Major. Not allowed, madam!
Capt. A moder to be denied to see her daughter! Jesu! And he crossed himself.
Mrs. O’Hara. (putting her handkerchief to hide her eyes, for it seems she wept not). I am a very unhappy mother indeed—
Major (embracing her). My dearest life! My best love! I must not bear these tears—Would to God Sir Charles were here, and thought fit—But I came not here to threaten—You, my Lord, are a man of the greatest honour; so is Sir Charles.—But whatever were the misunderstandings between husband and wife, they should not be kept up and propagated between mother and child. My wife at present desires only to see her child: That's all, my Lord. Were your brother present, madam, he would not deny her this. Then again embracing his wife, my dear soul, be comforted. You will be allowed to see your daughter; no doubt of it. I am able to protect and right you. My dear soul, be comforted.
She sobbed, Miss Grandison says; and the goodnatured Lord L. was moved—Let Miss Jervois be asked, said he, If she chooses to come down.
I will go to her myself, said Miss Grandison.
She came down presently again—
Miss Byron and Miss Jervois, said she, are gone out together in the chariot.
Major. Nay, madam—
Capt. Upon my salvation this must not pass—And he swaggered about the room.
Mrs. O’Hara looked with an air of incredulity.
It was true, however: For the poor girl being ready to faint, I was called in to her. Lady L. had been making a visit in the chariot; and it had just brought her back. O save me, save me, dear madam, said Miss Emily, to me, wringing her hands. I cannot, I cannot see my mother out of my guardian's, presence: And the will make me own her new husband. I beseech you, save me; hide me!
I saw the chariot from the window, and, without asking any questions, I hurried Miss Emily down stairs, and conducted the trembling dear into it; and whipping in after her, ordered the coachman to drive any-where, except towards London: And then the poor girl threw her arms about my neck, smothering me with her kisses, and calling me by all the tender names that terror and mingled gratitude could suggest to her.
Miss Grandison told the circumstances pretty near as above; adding, I think, my Lord, that Miss Emily wants not apology for her terror on this occasion. That Lady, in her own heart, knows that the poor girl has reason for it.
Madam, said the Major, my wife is cruelly used. Your brother—But I shall talk to him upon the subject. He is said to be a man of conscience and honour: I hope I shall find him so. I know how to protect and right my wife. And I will stand by my broder and his lady, said the Captain, to de very last drop of my blood.—He looked fierce, and put his hand on his sword.
Lord L. You don't by these airs mean to insult me, gentlemen—If you do—
Major. No, no, my Lord. But we must seek our remedy elsewhere. Surprising! that a mother is denied the sight of her daughter! Very surprising!
Capt. Very surprising, indeed!—Ver dis to be done in my country—In France—English liberty! Begar ver pretty liberty!—A daughter to be supported against her moder—Whew! Ver pretty liberty, by my salvation!—
Mrs. O Hara. And is indeed my vile child run away to avoid seeing her mother?—Strange! Does she always intend to do thus?—She must see me—And dearly shall she repent it!
And she looked fierce, and particularly spiteful; and then declared, that she would stay there till Emily came back, were it midnight.
Lord L. You will have my leave for that, madam?
Major. Had we not best go into our coach, and let that drive in quest of her?—She cannot be far off. It will be easy to trace a chariot.
Lord L. Since this matter is carried so far, let me tell you, that, in the absence of her guardian, I will protect her. Since Miss Jervois is thus averse, she shall be indulged in it. If you see her, madam, it must be by the consent, and in the presence, of her guardian.
Major. Well, my dear, since the matter stands thus; since your child is taught to shun you thus: let us see what Sir Charles Grandison will say to it. He is the principal in this affair, and is not privileged. If he thinks fit—And there he stopped, and blustered; and offered his hand to his bride.—I am able both to protect and right you, madam; and I will. But you have a letter for the girl, written on a supposition that she was not here.—Little did you think, or I think, that she was in the house when we came; and that she should be spirited away to avoid paying her duty to her mother.
Very true. Very true. And, Very true, said each; and Mrs. O’Hara pulled out the letter, laying it on one of the chairs; and desired it might be given to her daughter. And then they all went away, very much dissatisfied; the two men muttering and threatening, and resolving, as they said, to make a visit to Sir Charles.
I hope we shall see him here very soon. I hope these wretches will not insult him, or endanger a life so precious. Poor Emily! I pity her from my heart. She is as much grieved on this occasion, as I was, in dread of the resentment of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen.
Let me give you some account of what passed between Emily and me: You will be charmed with her beautiful simplicity.
When we were in the chariot, she told me, that the last time she saw her mother, it was at Mrs. Lane's: The bad woman made a pretence of private business with her daughter, and withdrew with her into another room, and then insisted that she should go off with her, unknown to any-body. And because I desired to be excused, said she, my mother laid her hands upon me, and said she would trample me under her foot. It is true, (unhappy woman!) she was—[Then the dear girl whispered me, tho' nobody was near us—sweet modest creature, loth to reveal this part of her mother's shame even to me aloud, and blushed as she spoke—] she was in her cups.—My mamma is as naughty as some men in that respect: And I believe she would have been as good as her word; but on my screaming (for I was very much frighted) Mrs. Lane, who had an eye upon us, ran in with two servants, and one of her daughters, and rescued me. She had torn my cap—Yet it was a sad thing, you know, madam, to see one's mother put out of the house against her will. And then she raised the neighbourhood. Lord bless me, I thought I should have died. I did fall into fits. Then was Mrs. Lane forced to tell every one what a sad woman my mother was! It was such a disgrace to me!—It was a month before I could go to church, or look any-body in the face. But Mrs. Lane's character was of her side; and my guardian's goodness was a help—Shall I say a help against my mother?—Poor woman! we heard afterwards, she was dead; but my guardian would not believe it. If it would please God to take me, I should rejoice. Many a tear does my poor mother, and the trouble I give to the best of men, cost me, when nobody sees me; and many a time do I cry myself to sleep, when I think it impossible I should get such a kind relief.
I was moved at the dear girl's melancholy tale. I clasped my arms about her, and wept on her gentle bosom. Her calamity, which was the greatest that could happen to a good child, I told her, had endeared her to me: I would love her as my sister.
And so I will: Dear child, I will for ever love her. And I am ready to hate myself for some passages in my last letter. O how deceitful is the heart! I could not have thought it possible that mine could have been so narrow.
The dear girl rejoiced in my assurances, and promised grateful love to the latest hour of her life.
Indeed, madam, I have a grateful heart, said she, for all I am so unhappy in a certain relation. I have none of those sort of faults that give me a resemblance in any way to my poor mother. But how shall I make out what I say? You will mistrust me, I fear: You will be apt to doubt my principles. But will you promise to take my heart in your hand, and guide it as you please?—Indeed it is an honest one. I wish you saw it thro' and thro'.—If ever I do a wrong thing, mistrust my head, if you please, but not my heart. But in every-thing I will be directed by you; and then my head will be as right as my heart.
I told her, that good often resulted from evil. It was an happy thing perhaps for both, that her mother's visit had been made. Look upon me, my dear Emily, as your entire friend: We will have but one heart between us.
Let me add, Lucy, that if you find me capable of drawing this sweet girl into confessions of her infant love, and of making ungenerous advantage of them, tho' the event were to be fatal to my peace if I did not; I now call upon all you, my dear friends, to despise and renounce the treacherous friend in Harriet Byron.
She besought me to let her write to me; to let her come to me for advice, as often as she wanted it, whether here, in my dressing-room or chamber, or at Mr. Reeves's, when I went from Colnebrooke.
I consented very cheerfully, and at her request (for indeed, said she, I would not be an intruder for the world) promised by a nod at her entrance, to let her know, if she came when I was busy, that she must retire, and come another time.
You are too young a Lady, added she, to be called my mamma—Alas! I have never a mamma, you know: But I will love you, and obey you, on the holding up of your finger, as I would my mother, were she as good as you.
Does not the beautiful simplicity of this charming girl affect you, Lucy? But her eyes swimming in tears, her earnest looks, her throbbing bosom, her hands now clasped about me, now in one another, added such graces to what she said, that it is impossible to do justice to it: And yet I am affected as I write; but not so much, you may believe, as at the time she told her tender tale.
Indeed her calamity has given her an absolute possession of my heart. I, who had such good parents, and have had my loss of them so happily alleviated, and even supplied, by a grandmamma and an aunt so truly maternal, as well as by the love of every one to whom I have the happiness to be related; how unworthy of such blessings should I be, if I did not know how to pity a poor girl who must reckon a living mother as her heaviest misfortune!
Sir Charles, from the time of the disturbance which this unhappy woman made in Mrs. Lane's neighbourhood, and of her violence to his Emily, not only threatened to take from her that moiety of the annuity which he is at liberty to withdraw; but gave orders that she should never again be allowed to see his ward but in his presence: And she has been quiet till of late, only threatening and demanding. But now she seems, on this her marriage with Major O’Hara, to have meditated new schemes, or is aiming, perhaps, at new methods to bring to bear an old one; of which Sir Charles had private intimation given him by one of the persons to whom, in her cups, she once boasted of it: Which was, that as soon as Miss Emily was marriageable, she would endeavour, either by fair means, or foul, to get her into her hands: And if she did, but for one week, she should the next come out the wife of a man she had in view, who would think half the fortune more than sufficient for himself, and make over the other half to her; and then she should come into her right, which she deems to be half of the fortune of which her husband died possessed.
This that follows is a copy of the letter left for Emily by this mother; which, tho' not well spelled, might have been written by a better woman, who had hardships to complain of which might have entitled her to pity:
My dear Emily,
If you have any love, any duty, left, for an unhappy mother whose faults have been barbarously aggravated, to justify the ill usage of a husband who was not faultless; I conjure you to insist upon making me a visit, either at my new lodgings in Dean-street Soho; or that you will send me word where I can see you, supposing I am not permitted to see you as this day, or that you should not be at Colnebrooke, where, it seems, you have been some days. I cannot believe that your guardian, for his own reputation-sake, as well as for justice-sake, as he is supposed to be a good man, will deny you, if you insist upon it; as you ought to do, if you have half the love for me, that I have for you.
Can I doubt that you will insist upon it; I cannot. I long to see you: I long to lay you in my bosom. And I have given hopes to Major O’Hara, a man of one of the best families in Ireland, and a very worthy man, and a brave man too, who knows how to right an injured wife, if he is put to it, but who wishes to proceed amicably, that you will not scruple, as my husband, to call him father.
I hear a very good account of your improvements, Emily; and I am told, that you are grown very tall, and pretty. O my Emily!—What a grievous thing is it to say, that I am told these things; and not to have been allowed to see you; and to behold your growth, and those improvements, which must rejoice my heart, and do, tho' I am so basely belied as I have been! Do not you, Emily, despise her that bore you. It is a dreadful thing, with such fortunes as your father left, that I must be made poor and dependent; and then be despised for being so.
But if you, my child, are taught to be, and will be, one of those; what, tho' I have such happy prospects in my present marriage, will be my fate but a bitter death, which your want of duty will hasten? For what mother can bear the contempts of her child? And in that case your great fortune will not set you above God's judgments. But better things are hoped of my Emily, by her
Indulgent, tho' heretofore unhappy Mother,
Saturday, March 18.
My Lord thought fit to open this letter: He is sorry that he did; because the poor girl is so low-spirited, that he does not choose to let her see it; but will leave it to her guardian to give it to her, or not, as he pleases.
Miss Grandison lifted up her hands and eyes as she read it. Such a wretch as this, said she, to remind Emily of God's judgments; and that line written as even as the rest! How was it possible, if her wicked heart could suggest such words, that her fingers could steadily write them? But indeed she verifies the words of the wise man; There is no wickedness like the wickedness of a woman.
We all long to see Sir Charles. Poor Emily, in particular, will be unhappy till he comes.
While we expect a favoured person, tho' rich in the company of the friends we are with, what a diminution does it give to enjoyments that would be complete were it not for that expectation? The mind is uneasy, not content with itself, and always looking out for the person wanted.
Emily was told, that her mother left a letter for her; but is advised not to be solicitous to see it till her guardian comes. My Lord owned to her, that he had opened it; and pleased tenderness, as he justly might, in excuse of having taken that liberty. She thanked his Lordship, and said, It was for such girls as she to be directed by such good and kind friends.
She has just now left me. I was writing, and wanted to close. I gave her a nod, with a smile, as agreed upon a little before. Thank you, thank you, dear madam, said she, for this freedom. She stopped at the door, and, with it in her hand, in a whispering accent, bending forwards, Only tell me, that you love me as well as you did in the chariot.
Indeed, my dear, I do; and better, I think, if possible: Because I have been putting part of our conversation upon paper, and so have fastened your merits on my memory.
God bless you, madam, I am gone. And away she tripped.
But I will make her amends, before I go to rest; and confirm all that I said to her in the chariot; for most cordially I can.
I am, my dear Lucy, and will be,
Volume III - lettera 10
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