Jane Austen
Samuel Richardson - Sir Charles Grandison
Volume IV - lettere 31/41
traduzione di Giuseppe Ierolli

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Volume IV - Letter 31


Monday Night.

My cousins and I, by invitation, supp'd with Lady G. this afternoon. Lord and Lady L. were there; Lady Olivia also, and Lady Maffei.

I have set them all into a consternation, as they expressed themselves, by my declaration of leaving London on my return home early on Friday morning next. I knew, that were I to pass the whole summer here, I must be peremptory at last. The two sisters vow, that I shall not go so soon. They say, that I have seen so few of the town-diversions—Town-diversions, Lucy!—I have had diversion enough of one sort!—But in your arms, my dear friends, I shall have consolation—And I want it.

I have great regrets, and shall have hourly more, as the day approaches, on the leaving of such dear and obliging friends: But I am determined.

My cousin's coach will convey me to Dunstable; and there, I know, I shall meet with my indulgent uncle, or your brother. I would not have it publicly known, because of the officious gentlemen in the neighbourhood.

Dr. Bartlett intended to set out for Grandison-hall to-morrow: But from the natural kindness of his heart he has suspended his journey to Thursday next. No consideration, therefore, shall detain me, if I am well.

My cousins are grieved: They did not expect that I would be a word and a blow, as they phrase it.

Lady Olivia expressed herself concerned, that she, in particular, was to lose me. She had proposed great pleasure, she said, in the parties she should make in my company. But, after what Emily told me, she appears to me as a Medusa; and were I to be thought by her a formidable rival, I might have as much reason to be afraid of the potion, as the man she loves of the poniard. Emily has kept the secret from every-body but me. And I rely on the inviolable secrecy of all you, my friends.

Lord and Lady L. had designed to go to Colnebrooke to-morrow, or at my day, having hopes of getting me with them: But now, they say, they will stay in town till they can see whether I am to be prevailed upon, or will be obdurate.

Lady Olivia enquired after the distance of Northamptonshire. She will make the tour of England, she says, and visit me there. I was obliged to say I should take her visit as an honour.

Wicked Politeness! Of how many falsehoods dost thou make the people, who are called polite, guilty!

But there is one man in the world, who is remarkable for his truth, yet is unquestionably polite. He censures not others for complying with fashions established by custom; but he gives not in to them. He never perverts the meaning of words. He never, for instance, suffers his servants to deny him, when he is at home. If he is busy, he just finds time to say he is, to unexpected visitors; and if they will stay, he turns them over to his Sisters, to Dr. Bartlett, to Emily, till he can attend them. But then he has always done so. Every one knows that he lives to his own heart, and they expect it of him; and when they can have his company, they have double joy in the ease and cheerfulness that attend his leisure: They then have him wholly. And he can be the more polite, as the company then is all his business.

Sir Charles might the better do so, as he came over so few months ago, after so long an absence; and his reputation for politeness was so well established, that people rather looked for rules from him, than a conformity to theirs.

His denials of complimenting Lady Olivia (tho' she was but just arrived in his native country, where she never was before) with the suspending of his departure for one week, or but for one day—Who but he could have given them? But he was convinced, that it was right to hasten away, for the sake of Clementina and his Jeronymo; and that it would have been wrong to show Olivia, even for her own sake, that in such a competition she had consequence with him; and all her entreaties, all her menaces, the detested poniard in her hand, could not shake his steady soul, and make him delay his well-settled purpose.


Volume IV - lettera 31

Volume IV - Letter 32


Tuesday Morning, April 18.

This naughty Lady G.—She is excessively to blame. Lord L. is out of patience with her. So is Lady L. Emily says, she loves her dearly; but she does not love her ways. Lord G. as Emily tells me, talks of coming to me; the cause of quarrel supposed to be not great: But trifles, insisted upon, make frequently the widest breaches. Whatever it be, it is between themselves; and neither cares to tell: But Lord and Lady L. are angry with her, for the ludicrous manner in which she treats him.

The misunderstanding happened after my cousin and I left them last night. I was not in spirits, and declined staying to cards. Lady Olivia and her aunt went away at the same time. Whist was the game. Lord and Lady L. Dr. Bartlett and Emily, were cast in. In the midst of their play, Lady G. came hurrying down stairs to them, warbling an air: Lord G. followed her, much disturbed. Madam, I must tell you, said he—Why MUST, my Lord? I don't bid you.

Sit still, child, said she to Emily; and took her seat behind her—Who wins? Who loses?

Lord G. walked about the room—Lord and Lady L. were unwilling to take notice, hoping it would go off; for there had been a few livelinesses on her side at dinner-time, tho' all was serene at supper.

Dr. Bartlett offered her his cards. She refused them.—No, doctor, said she, I will play my own cards: I shall have enough to do to play them well.

As you manage it, so you will, madam, said Lord G.

Don't expose yourself, my Lord: We are before company. Lady L. you have nothing but trumps in your hand.

Let me say a word or two to you, madam, said Lord G. to her.

I am all obedience, my Lord.

She arose. He would have taken her hand: She put it behind her.

Not your hand, madam?

I can't spare it.

He slung from her, and went out of the room.

Lord bless me, said she, returning to the card-table with a gay unconcern, What strange passionate creatures are these men!

Charlotte, said Lady L. I wonder at you.

Then I give you joy—

What do you mean, sister?—

We women love wonder, and the wonder-ful!

Surely, Lady G. said Lord L. you are wrong.

I give your Lordship joy, too.

On what?

That my sister is always right.

Indeed, madam, were I Lord G. I should have no patience.

A good hint for you, Lady L. I hope you will take this for a warning, and be good.

When I behave as you do, Charlotte—

I understand you, Lady L. you need not speak out—Every one in their way.

You would not behave thus, were my brother—

Perhaps not.

Dear Charlotte, you are excessively wrong.

So I think, returned she.

Why then do you not—

Mend, Lady L.? All in good time.

Her woman came in with a message, expressing her Lord's desire to see her.—The deuce is in these men! They will neither be satisfied with us, nor without us. But I am all obedience: No vow will I break—And out she went.

Lord G. not returning presently, and Lord and Lady L.'s chariot being come, they both took this opportunity, in order to show their displeasure, to go away without taking leave of their sister. Dr. Bartlett retired to his apartment. And when Lady G. came down, she was surprised, and a little vexed, to find only Emily there. Lord G. came in at another door—Upon my word, my Lord, this is strange behaviour in you: You fright away, with your husband like airs, all one's company.

Good God!—I am astonished at you, madam.

What signifies your astonishment?—When you have scared every-body out of the house.

I, madam!

You, Sir! Yes, You!—Did you not lord it over me in my dressing-room?—To be easy and quiet, Did I not fly to our company in the drawing-room? Did you not follow me there—with looks—Very pretty looks for a new-married man, I assure you! Then did you not want to take me aside—Would not anybody have supposed it was to express your sorrow for your odd behaviour? Was I not all obedience?—Did you not, with very mannish airs, slight me for my compliance, and fly out of the room? All the company could witness the calmness with which I returned to them, that they might not be grieved for me; nor think our misunderstanding a deep one. Well, then, when your stomach came down, as I supposed, you sent for me out: No doubt, thought I, to express his concern now.—I was all obedience again.

And did I not beseech you, madam—

Beseech me, my Lord!—Yes—But with such looks!—I married, Sir, let me tell you, a man with another face—See, see, Emily—He is gone again.—

My Lord flew out of the room in a rage—O these men, my dear! said she to Emily.

I know, said Emily, what I could have answered if I dared: But it is ill meddling, as I have heard say, between man and wife.

Emily says, the quarrel was not made up; but was carried higher still in the morning.

She had but just finished her tale, when the following billet was brought me, from Lady G.

Tuesday Morning.


If you love me, if you pity me, come hither this instant: I have great need of your counsel. I am resolved to be unmarried; and therefore subscribe myself by the beloved name of


I instantly dispatched the following:

I know no such person as Charlotte Grandison. I love Lady G. but can pity only her Lord. I will not come near you. I have no counsel to give you, but that you will not jest away your own happiness.


In half an hour after, came a servant from Lady G. with the following Letter:

So, then, I have made a blessed hand of wedlock, My brother gone: My man excessive unruly: Lord and Lady L. on his side, without enquiring into merits, or demerits: Lectured by Dr. Bartlett's grave face: Emily standing aloof; her finger in her eye: And now my Harriet renouncing me: And all in one week!

What can I do?—War seems to be declared: And will you not turn mediatrix?—You won't, you say. Let it alone. Nevertheless, I will lay the whole matter before you.

It was last night, the week from the wedding-day not completed, that Lord G. thought fit to break into my retirement without my leave—By the way, he was a little impertinent at dinner-time; but that I passed over.—

What boldness is this, said I!—Pray, Sir, begone—Why leave you your company below?

I come, my dearest life, to make a request to you.

The man began with civility enough, had he had a little less of his odious rapture; for he flung his arms about me, Jenny in presence. A husband's fondness is enough to ruin these girls. Don't you think, Harriet, that there is an immorality in it, before them?

I refuse your request, be it what it will. How dare you invade me in my retirement?—You may believe, that I intended not to stay long above, my sister below. Does the ceremony, so lately past, authorise want of breeding?

Want of breeding, madam!—And he did so stare!

Leave me, this instant—I looked good-natured, I suppose, in my anger; for he declared he would not; and again throwing his arms about me as I sat, joined his sharp face to mine, and presumed to kiss me; Jenny still in the room.

Now, Harriet, you never will desert me in a point of delicacy, I am sure. You cannot defend these odious freedoms in a matrimony so young, unless you would be willing to be served so yourself.

You may suppose, that then I let loose my indignation upon him. And he stole out, daring to mutter, and be displeased. The word devil was in his mouth.

Did he call me devil, Jenny?

No, indeed, madam, said the wench—And, Harriet, see the ill example of such a free behaviour before her: She presumed to prate in favour of the man's fit of fondness; yet, at other times, is a prude of a girl.

Before my anger was gone down, in again [It is truth, Harriet] came the bold wretch. I will not, said he, as you are not particularly employed, leave you—Upon my soul, madam, you don't use me well. But if you will oblige me with your company to-morrow morning—

No-where, Sir—

Only to breakfast with Miss Byron, my dear—As a mark of your obligingness, I request it.

His dear!—Now I hate a hypocrite, of all things. I knew that he had a design to make a show of his bride, as his property, at another place; and seeing me angry, thought he would name a visit agreeable to me, and which at the same time would give him a merit with you, and preserve to himself the consequence of being obliged by his obedient wife, at the word of authority.

From this foolish beginning arose our mighty quarrel. What vexed me was, the art of the man, and the evident design he had to get you of his side. He, in the course of it, threatened me with appealing to you.—To intend to ruin me in the Love of my dearest friend! Who, that valued that friend, could forgive it? You may believe, that if he had not proposed it, and after such accumulated offences, it was the very visit that I should have been delighted with.

Indeed, Sir—Upon my word, my Lord—I do assure you, Sir,—with a moderate degree of haughtiness—was what the quarrel arose to, on my side—And, at last, to a declaration of rebellion—I won't.

On his side, Upon my soul, madam—Let me perish, if—and then hesitating—You use me ill, madam. I have not deserved—And give me leave to say—I insist upon being obliged, madam.

There was no bearing of this, Harriet.—It was a cool evening; but I took up my fan—Hey-day! said I, what language is this?—You insist upon it, my Lord!—I think I am married; Am I not?—And I took my watch, Half an hour after ten on Monday night—the—What day of the month is this?—Please the Lord, I will note down this beginning moment of your authoritative demeanour.

My dear Lady G. [The wretch called me by his own name, perhaps farther to insult me] if I could bear this treatment, it is impossible for me to love you as I do.

So it is in Love to me, that you are to put on already all the husband!—Jenny! [Do you see, my Lord, affecting a whisper how you dash the poor wench? How like a fool she looks at our folly!] Remember, Jenny, that to-morrow morning you carry my wedding-suits to Mrs. Arnold; and tell her, she has forgot the hanging-sleeves to the gowns. Let her put them on out of hand.

I was proceeding—But he rudely, gravely, and even with an air of scorn [There was no bearing that, you know] admonished me; A little less wit, madam, and a little more discretion, would perhaps better become you.

This was too true to be forgiven. You'll say it, Harriet, if I don't. And to come from a man that was not overburdened with either—But I had too great a command of myself to say so. My dependence, my Lord [This I did say] is upon your judgment: That will always be a balance to my wit; and, with the assistance of your reproving Love, will in time teach me discretion.

Now, my dear, was not this a high compliment to him? Ought he not to have taken it as such? Especially as I looked grave, and dropped him a very fine curtsy. But either his conscience or his ill-nature (perhaps you'll say both) made him take it as a reflexion [True as you are alive, Harriet!]. He bit his lip. Jenny, begone, said he—Jenny, don't go, said I—Jenny knew not which to obey. Upon my word, Harriet, I began to think the man would have cuff'd me.—And while he was in his ails of mock-majesty, I stepped to the door, and whipped down to my company.

As married people are not to expose themselves to their friends (who I once heard you sagely remark, would remember disagreeable things, when the honest pair had forgot them) I was determined to be prudent. You would have been charmed with me, my dear, for my discretion. I will cheat by-standers, thought I; I will make my Lord and Lady L. Dr. Bartlett, and Emily, whom I had before set in at cards, think we are egregiously happy—And down I sat, intending, with a lamblike peaceableness, to make observations on the play. But soon after, in whipped my indiscreet Lord, his colour heightened, his features working: And tho' I cautioned him not to expose himself, yet he assumed airs that were the occasion, as you shall hear, of frighting away my company. He withdrew, in consequence of those airs; and, after a little while (repenting, as I hoped) he sent for me out. Some wives would have played the queen Vashti on their tyrant, and refused to go: But I, all obedience (my vow, so recently made, in my head) obeyed, at the very first word: Yet you must think that I (meek as I am naturally) could not help recriminating. He was too lordly to be expostulated with.—There was, 'I tell you, madam,' and 'I won't be told, Sir;' and when I broke from the passionate creature, and hoped to find my company, behold! they were all gone! None but Emily left. And thus might poor Lady L. be sent home, weeping, perhaps, for such an early marriage-tyranny exerted on her meek sister.

Well, and don't you think that we looked like a couple of fools at each other, when we saw ourselves left alone, as I may say, to fight it out? I did expostulate with him as mildly as I could: He would have made it up with me afterwards; but, no! there was no doing that, as a girl of your nice notions may believe, after he had, by his violent airs, exposed us both before so many witnesses. In decency, therefore, I was obliged to keep it up: And now our misunderstanding blazes, and is at such a comfortable height, that if we meet by accident, we run away from each other by design. We have already made two breakfast-tables: Yet I am meek; he is sullen: I make curtsies; he returns not bows.—Sullen creature, and a rustic!—I go to my harpsichord; melody enrages him. He is worse than Saul; for Saul could be gloomily pleased with the music even of the man he hated.

I would have got you to come to us: That I thought was tending to a compliance; for it would have been condescending too much, as he is so very perverse, if I had accompanied him to you. He has a great mind to appeal to you; but I have half-raillied him out of his purpose. I sent to you. What an answer did you return me!—Cruel Harriet! to deny your requested mediation in a difference that has arisen between man and wife.—But let the fire glow. If it spares the house, and only blazes in the chimney, I can bear it.

Cross creature, adieu! If you know not such a woman as Grandison, Heaven grant that I may; and that my wishes may be answered as to the person; and then I will not know a Byron.

See, Lucy, how high this dear flighty creature bribes! But I will not be influenced, by her bribery, to take her part.

Volume IV - lettera 32

Volume IV - Letter 33


Tuesday Night.

I am just returned from St. James's Square.

But, first, I should tell you, that I had a visit from Lady Olivia and Lady Maffei. Our conversation was in Italian and French. Lady Olivia and I had a quarter of an hour's discourse in private: You may guess at our subject. She is not without that tenderness of heart which is the indispensable characteristic of a woman. She lamented the violence of her temper, in a manner so affecting, that I cannot help pitying her, tho' at the instant I had in my head a certain attempt that makes me shudder whenever I think of it. She regrets my going to Northamptonshire so soon. I have promised to return her visit to-morrow in the afternoon.

She sets out on Friday next for Oxford. She wished I could accompany her. She resolves to see all that is worth seeing in the western circuit, as I may call it. She observes, she says, that Sir Charles Grandison's sisters, and their Lords, are very particularly engaged at present; and are in expectation of a call to Windsor, to attend Lord W's nuptials: She will therefore, having attendants enough, and two men of consideration in her train, one of whom is not unacquainted with England, take cursory tours over the kingdom; having a taste for travelling, and finding it a great relief to her spirits: And when Lady L. and Lady G. are more disengaged, will review the seats and places which she shall think worthy of a second visit, in their company.

She professed to like the people here, and the face of the country; and talked favourably of the religion of it: But, poor woman! she likes all those the better, I doubt not, for the sake of one Englishman. Love, Lucy, gilds every object which bears a relation to the person beloved.

Lady Maffei was very free in blaming her niece for this excursion. She took her chiding patiently; but yet, like a person that thought it too much in her power to gratify the person blaming her, to pay much regard to what she said.

I took a chair to Lady G's. Emily ran to meet me in the hall. She threw her arms about me: I rejoice you are come, said she. Did you not meet the house in the square?—What means my Emily?—Why, it has been flung out of the windows, as the saying is. Ah madam! we are all to pieces. One so careless, the other so passionate!—But hush!—Here comes Lady G.—

Take, Lucy, in the dialogue-way, particulars.

Lady G. Then you are come, at last, Harriet. You wrote, that you would not come near me.

Harriet. I did; but I could not stay away. Ah, Lady G. you will destroy your own happiness!

Lady G. So you wrote. Not one word, on the subject you hint at, that you have ever said or written before. I hate repetitions, child.

Harriet. Then I must be silent upon it.

Lady G. Not of necessity. You can say new things upon old subjects.—But hush! Here comes the man!—She ran to her harpsichord—Is this it, Harriet? and touched the keys—repeating.

Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,

Soon she sooth'd—

Enter Lord G.

Lord G. Miss Byron, I am your most obedient servant. The sight of you rejoices my soul.—Madam (to his Lady) you have not been long enough together to begin a tune. I know what this is for—

Lady G. Harmony! harmony! is a charming thing! But I, poor I! know not any but what this simple instrument affords me.

Lord G. lifting up his hands. Harmony, madam! God is my witness—But I will lay every-thing before Miss Byron.

Lady G. You need not, my Lord: She knows as much as she can know, already; except the fine colourings be added to the woeful tale, that your unbridled spirit can give it.—Have you my long Letter about you, Harriet?

Lord G. And could you, madam, have the heart to write—

Lady G. Why, my Lord, do you mince the matter? For Heart, read Courage. You may speak as plain in Miss Byron's presence, as you did before she came: I know what you mean.

Lord G. Let it be Courage, then.

Harriet. Fie, fie, Lord G. Fie, fie, Lady G. What Lengths do you run! If I understand the matter right, you have both, like children, been at play, till you have fallen out.

Lord G. If, Miss Byron, you know the truth, and can blame me—

Harriet. I blame you only, my Lord, for being in a passion. You see, my Lady is serene: She keeps her temper: She looks as if she wanted to be friends with you.

Lord G. O that cursed Serenity!—When a soul is torn by a whirlwind—

Lady G. A good tragedy rant!—But, Harriet, you are mistaken: My Lord G. is a very passionate man. So humble, so—what shall I call it? before marriage—Did not the man see what a creature I was?—To bear with me, when he had no obligation to me; and not now, when he has the highest—A miserable sinking!—O Harriet! Harriet! Never, never marry!

Harriet. Dear Lady G. you know in your own heart you are wrong—Indeed you are wrong—

Lord G. God for ever reward you, madam!—I will tell you how it began—

Lady G. 'Began!' She knows that already, I tell you, my Lord. But what has passed within these four hours, she knows not: You may entertain her with that, if you please—It was just about the time this day is a week, that we were all together, mighty comfortably, at St. George's Hanover-Square—

Lord G. Every tittle of what you promised there, madam—

Lady G. And I, my Lord, could be your echo in this, were I not resolved to keep my temper, as you cannot but say I have done, all along.

Lord G. You could not, madam, if you did not despise me.

Lady G. You are wrong, my Lord, to think so: But you don't believe yourself: If you did, the pride of your heart ought not to permit you to own it.

Lord G. Miss Byron, give me leave—

Lady G. Lord bless me! that people are so fond of exposing themselves! Had you taken my advice, when you pursued me out of my dressing-room into company—My Lord, said I, as mildly as I now speak, Don't expose yourself. But he was not at all the wiser for my advice.

Lord G. Miss Byron, you see—But I had not come down but to make my compliments to you.

He bowed, and was about to withdraw.

I took him by the sleeve—My Lord, you must not go. Lady G. if your own heart justifies you for your part in this misunderstanding, say so; I challenge you to say so—She was silent.

Harriet. If otherwise, own your fault, promise amendment—Ask excuse.

Lady G. Hey-day!

Harriet. And my Lord will ask yours, for mistaking you—For being too easily provoked—

Lord G. Too easily, madam—

Harriet. What generous man would not smile at the foibles of a woman whose heart is only gay with prosperity and lively youth; but has not the least malice in it? Has not she made choice of your Lordship in preference of any other man? She raillies every one; she can't help it: She is to blame.—Indeed, Lady G. you are. Your brother felt your edge; he once smarted by it, and was angry with you.—But afterwards, observing that it was her way, my Lord, that it was a kind of constitutional gaiety of heart, and exercised on those she loved best; he forgave, railled her again, and turned her own weapons upon her; and every one in company was delighted with the spirit of both.—You love her, my Lord.—

Lord G. Never man more loved a woman. I am not an ill-natured man—

Lady G. But a captious, a passionate one, Lord G.—Who'd have thought it?

Lord G. Never was there, my dear Miss Byron, such a strangely-aggravating creature! She could not be so, if she did not despise me.

Lady G. Fiddle-faddle, silly man! and so you said before. If you thought so, you take the way (don't you?) to mend the matter, by dancing and capering about, and putting yourself into all manner of disagreeable attitudes; and even sometimes being ready to foam at the mouth?—I told him, Miss Byron, There he stands, let him deny it, if he can; that I married a man with another face. Would not any other man have taken this for a compliment to his natural undistorted face, and instantly have pulled off the ugly Mask of passion, and shown his own?—

Lord G. You see, you see, the air, Miss Byron!—How ludicrously does she now, even now—

Lady G. See, Miss Byron!—How captious!—Lord G. ought to have a termagant wife: One who could return rage for rage. Meekness is my crime.—I cannot be put out of temper.—Meekness was never before attributed to woman as a fault.

Lord G. Good God!—Meekness!—Good God!

Lady G. But, Harriet, do you judge on which side the grievance lies.—Lord G. presents me with a face for his, that I never saw him wear before marriage: He has cheated me, therefore. I show him the same face that I ever wore, and treat him pretty much in the same manner, (or I am mistaken) that I ever did: And what reason can he give, that will not demonstrate him to be the most ungrateful of men, for the airs he gives himself? Airs that he would not have presumed to put on eight days ago. Who then, Harriet, has reason to complain of grievance; my Lord, or I?

Lord G. You see, Miss Byron—Can there be any arguing with a woman who knows herself to be in jest, in all she says?

Harriet. Why then, my Lord, make a jest of it. What will not bear an Argument, will not be worth one's anger.

Lord G. I leave it to Miss Byron, Lady G. to decide between us, as she pleases.

Lady G. You'd better leave it to me, Sir.

Harriet. Do, my Lord.

Lord G. Well, madam!—And what is your decree?

Lady G. You, Miss Byron, had best be Lady Chancellor, after all. I should not bear to have my decree disputed, after it is pronounced.

Harriet. If I must, my decree is this:—You, Lady G. shall own yourself in fault; and promise amendment. My Lord shall forgive you; and promise that he will, for the future, endeavour to distinguish between your good and your ill-nature: That he will sit down to jest with your jest, and never be disturbed at what you say, when he sees it accompanied with that archness of eye and lip which you put on to your brother, and to every one whom you best love, when you are disposed to be teasingly facetious.

Lady G. Why, Harriet, you have given Lord G. a clue to find me out, and spoil all my sport.

Harriet. What say you, my Lord?

Lord G. Will Lady G. own herself in fault, as you propose?

Lady G. Odious recrimination!—I leave you together. I never was in fault in my life. Am I not a woman? If my Lord will ask pardon for his froppishness, as we say of children.—

She stopped, and pretended to be going—

Harriet. That my Lord shall not do, Charlotte, You have carried the jest too far already. My Lord shall preserve his dignity for his wife's sake. My Lord, you will not permit Lady G. to leave us, however?

He took her hand, and pressed it with his lips: For God's sake, madam, let us be happy: It is in your power to make us both so: It ever shall be in your power. If I have been in fault, impute it to my Love. I cannot bear your contempt; and I never will deserve it.

Lady G. Why could not this have been said some hours ago?—Why, slighting my early caution, would you expose yourself?

I took her aside. Be generous, Lady G. Let not your husband be the only person to whom you are not so.

Lady G. (whispering) Our quarrel has not run half its length. If we make up here, we shall make up clumsily. One of the silliest things in the world is, a quarrel that ends not, as a coachman after a journey comes in, with spirit. We shall certainly renew it.

Harriet. Take the caution you gave to my Lord: Don't expose yourself. And another; That you cannot more effectually do so, than by exposing your husband. I am more than half-ashamed of you. You are not the Charlotte I once thought you were. Let me see, if you have any regard to my good opinion of you, that you can own an error with some grace.

Lady G. I am a meek, humble, docible creature. She turned to me, and made me a rustic curtsy, her hands before her: I'll try for it; tell me, if I am right. Then stepping towards my Lord, who was with his back to us looking out at the window—and he turning about to her bowing—My Lord, said she, Miss Byron has been telling me more than I knew before of my duty. She proposes herself one day to make a won-der-ful obedient wife. It would have been well for you, perhaps, had I had her example to walk by. She seems to say, that, now I am married, I must be grave, sage, and passive: That smiles will hardly become me: That I must be prim and formal, and reverence my husband.—If you think this behaviour will become a married woman, and expect it from me, pray, my Lord, put me right by your frowns, whenever I shall be wrong. For the future, if I ever find myself disposed to be very light-hearted, I will ask your leave before I give way to it. And now, what is next to be done? humorously curtsying, her hands before her.

He clasped her in his arms: Dear provoking creature! This, this is next to be done—I ask you but to love me half as much as I love you, and I shall be the happiest man on earth.

My Lord, said I, you ruin all by this condescension on a speech and air so ungracious. If this is all you get by it, never, never, my Lord, fall out again. O Charlotte! If you are not generous, you come off much, much too easily.

Well now, my Lord, said she, holding out her hand, as if threatening me, let you and me, man and wife like, join against the interposer in our quarrels.—Harriet, I will not forgive you, for this last part of your lecture.

And thus was this idle quarrel made up. All that vexes me on the occasion is, that it was not made up with dignity on my Lord's part. His honest heart so overflowed with joy at his lips, that the naughty creature, by her arch leers, every now-and-then, showed, that she was sensible of her consequence to his happiness. But, Lucy, don't let her sink too low in your esteem: She has many fine qualities.

They prevailed on me to stay supper. Emily rejoiced in the reconciliation: Her heart was, as I may say, visible in her joy. Can I love her better than I do? If I could, she would every time I see her, give me reason for it.

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Volume IV - Letter 34


Wedn. Noon, Apr. 19.

It would puzzle you to guess at a visitor I had this morning—Honest Mr. Fowler. I was very glad to see him. He brought me a Letter from his worthy uncle. Good Sir Rowland! I had a joy that I thought I should not have had while I stay'd in London, on its being put in my hand, tho' the contents gave me sensible pain. I inclose it. It is dated from Caermarthen. Be pleased to read it here.

Caermarthen, April 11.

How shall I, in fit manner, inscribe my Letter to the loveliest of women! I don't mean because of your loveliness; but whether as daughter or not, as you did me the honour to call yourself. Really, and truly, I must say, that I had rather call you by another name, tho' a little more remote as to consanguinity. Lord have mercy upon me, how have I talked of you! How many of our fine Caermarthen girls have I filled with envy of your peerless perfections.

Here am I settled to my heart's content, could I but obtain—You know whom I mean.—A town of gentry: A fine country round us—A fine estate of our own. Esteemed, nay, for that matter, beloved, by all our neighbours and tenants. Who so happy as Rowland Meredith, if his poor boy could be happy!—Ah, madam!—And can't it be so? I am afraid of asking. Yet I understand, that, notwithstanding all the Jack-a-dandies that have been fluttering about you, you are what you were when I left town. Some whispers have gone out of a fine gentleman, indeed, who had a great kindness for you; but yet that something was in the way between you. The Lord bless and prosper my dear daughter, as I must then call you, and not niece, if you have any kindness for him. And if as now you have, it would be wonderfully gracious if you would but give half a hint of it to my nephew, or if so be you will not to him, to me, your father you know, under your own precious hand. The Lord be good unto me! But I shall never see the She that will strike my fancy, as you have done. But what a dreadful thing would it be, if you, who are so much courted and admired by many fine gallants, should at last be taken with a man who could not be yours! God forbid that such a disastrous thing should happen! I profess to you, madam, that a tear or two have strayed down my cheeks at the thoughts of it. For why? Because you play'd no tricks with any man: You never were a coquet, as they call 'em. You dealt plainly, sincerely, and tenderly too, to all men; of which my nephew and I can bear witness.

Well, but what now is the end of my writing?—Lord love you, cannot, cannot you at last give comfort to two honest hearts? Honester you never knew! And yet if you could, I dare say you would. Well, then, and if you can't, we must sit down as contented as we can; that's all we have for it.—But, poor young man! Look at him, if you read this before him. Strangely altered! Poor young man!—And if as how you cannot, why then, God bless my daughter; that's all. And I do assure you, that you have our prayers every Lord's day, from the bottom of our hearts.

And now, if you will keep a secret, I will tell it you; and yet, when I began, I did not intend it: The poor youth must not know it. It is done in the singleness of our hearts; and if you think we mean to gain your Love for us by it, I do assure you, that you wrong us. My nephew declares, that he never will marry, if it be not Somebody: And he has made his will, and so have I his uncle; and, let me tell you, that if as how I cannot have a niece, my daughter shall be the better for having known, and treated as kindly, as power was lent her,

Her true Friend, loving Father,

and obedient Servant,


Love and Service to Mr. and Mrs. Reeves, and all friends who enquire after me. Farewell. God bless you! Amen.

Have you, could you, Lucy, read this Letter with dry eyes? Generous, worthy, honest men! I read but half way before Mr. Fowler—Glad I was, that I read no further. I should not have been able to have kept his uncle's secret, if I had; had it been but to disclaim the acceptance of the generous purpose. The carrying it into effect would exceedingly distress me, besides the pain the demise of the honest man would give me; and the more, as I bespoke the fatherly relation from him myself. If such a thing were to be, Sir Charles Grandison's generosity to the Danby's should be my example.

Do you know, Mr. Fowler, said I, the contents of the Letter you have put into my hand?

No farther than that my uncle told me, it contained professions of fatherly love; and with wishes only—But without so much as expressing his hopes.

Sir Rowland is a good man, said I: I have not read above half his Letter. There seems to be too much of the father in it, for me to read further, before my brother. God bless my brother Fowler, and reward the fatherly love of Sir Rowland to his daughter Byron! I must write to him.

Mr. Fowler, poor man! profoundly sighed; bowed; with such a look of respectful acquiescence—Bless me, my dear, how am I to be distressed on all sides! by good men too; as Sir Charles could say by good women.

Is there nothing less than giving myself to either, that I can do to show Mr. Orme and Mr. Fowler my true value for them.

Poor Mr. Fowler!—Indeed he looks to be, as Sir Rowland hints, not well.—Such a modest, such an humble, such a silent Lover!—He cost me tears at parting: I could not hide them. He heaped praises and blessings upon me, and hurried away at last, to hide his emotion, with a sentence unfinished—God preserve you, dear and worthy Sir! was all I could try to say. The last words stuck in my throat, till he was out of hearing; and then I prayed for blessings upon him and his uncle: And repeated them, with fresh tears, on reading the rest of the affecting Letter.

Mr. Fowler told Mr. Reeves, before I saw him, that he is to go to Caermarthen for the benefit of his native air, in a week. He let him know where he lodged in town. He had been riding for his health and diversion about the country, ever since his uncle went; and has not been yet at Caermarthen.

I wish Mr. Fowler had once, if but once, called me sister: It would have been such a kind acquiescence, as would have given me some little pleasure on recollection. Methinks I don't know how to have done writing of Sir Rowland and Mr. Fowler.

I sat down, however, while the uncle and nephew filled my thoughts, and wrote to the former, I have enclosed the copy of my Letter. Adieu, my Lucy.

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Volume IV - Letter 35


Wednesday, April 19.

It was with great pleasure that I received, this day, the kindest Letter that ever was written by a real Father to his dearest Child. I was resolved that I would not go to rest till I had acknowledged the favour.

How sweet is the name of father to a young person who, out of near one-and-twenty years of life, has for more than half the time been bereaved of hers; and who was also one of the best of men!

You gave me an additional pleasure in causing this remembrance of your promised paternal goodness to be given me by Mr. Fowler in person. Till I knew you and him, I had no father, no brother.

How good you are in your apprehensions that there may be a man on whom your daughter has cast her eye, and who cannot look upon her with the same distinction—O that I had been near you when you wrote that sweetly compassionating, that indulgent passage! I would have wiped the tears from your eyes myself, and reverenced you as my true father.

You demand of me, as my father, a hint, or half a hint, as you call it, to be given to my brother Fowler; or if not to him, to you. To him, whom I call father, I mean all the duty of a child. I call him not father nominally only: I will, irksome as the subject is, own, without reserve, the truth to you (In tenderness to my brother, how could I to him?)—There is a man whom, and whom only, I could love as a good wife ought to love her husband. He is the best of men. O my good Sir Rowland Meredith! if you knew him, you would love him yourself, and own him for your son. I will not conceal his name from my father: Sir Charles Grandison is the man. Enquire about him. His character will rise upon you from every mouth. He engaged first all your daughter's gratitude, by rescuing her from a great danger and oppression; for he is as brave as he is good: And how could she help suffering a tenderness to spring up from her gratitude, of which she was never before sensible to any man in the world? There is something in the way, my good Sir; but not that proceeds from his slights or contempts. Your daughter could not live, if it were so. A glorious creature is in the way! who has suffered for him, who does suffer for him: He ought to be hers, and only hers; and if she can be recovered from a fearful malady that has seized her mind, he probably will. My daily prayers are, that God will restore her!

But yet, my dear Sir, my Friend, my Father! my esteem for this noblest of men is of such a nature, that I cannot give my hand to any other: My Father Meredith would not wish me to give a hand without a heart.

This, Sir, is the case. Let it, I beseech you, rest within your own breast, and my brother Fowler's. How few minds are there delicate and candid enough to see circumstances of this kind in the light they ought to appear in! And pray for me, my good Sir Rowland; not that the way may be smoothed to what once would have crowned my wishes as to this life; but that Sir Charles Grandison may be happy with the Lady that is, and ought to be, dearest to his heart; and that your daughter may be enabled to rejoice in their felicity. What, my good Sir, is this span of life, that a passenger through it should seek to overturn the interests of others to establish her own? And can the single life be a grievance? Can it be destitute of the noblest tendernesses? No, Sir. You that have lived to an advanced age, in a fair fame, surrounded with comforts, and as tender to a worthy nephew, as the most indulgent father could be to the worthiest of sons, can testify for me, that it is not.

But now, Sir, one word—I disclaim, but yet in all thankfulness, the acceptance of the favour signified to be intended me in the latter part of the paternal Letter before me. Our acquaintance began with a hope, on your side, that I could not encourage. As I could not, Shall I accept of the benefit from you, to which I could only have been entitled (and that as I had behaved) had I been able to oblige you?—No, Sir! I will not, in this case, be benefited, when I cannot benefit. Put me not therefore, I beseech you, Sir, if such an event (deplored by me, as it would be;) should happen, upon the necessity of enquiring after your other relations and friends. Sir Rowland Meredith my father, and Mr. Fowler my brother, are all to me of the family they distinguish by their relation, that I know at present. Let me not be made known to the rest by a distinction that would be unjust to them, and to yourself, as it must deprive you of the grace of obliging those who have more than a stranger's claim; and must, in the event, lay them under the appearance of an obligation to that stranger for doing them common justice.

I use the word stranger with reference to those of your family and friends to whom I must really appear in that light. But, laying these considerations aside, in which I am determined not to interfere with them, I am, with the tenderest regard, dear and good Sir,

Your ever-dutiful and affectionate Daughter,

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Volume IV - Letter 36


Wedn. April 19.

I shall dispatch this by your Gibson early in the morning. It was kind in you to bid him call, in his way down; for now I shall be almost sure of meeting (if not my uncle) your brother, and who knows, but my Lucy herself, at Dunstable? Where, barring accidents, I shall be on Friday night.

You will see some of the worthiest people in the world, my dear, if you come, all prepared to love you; but let not any-body be put to inconvenience to meet me at Dunstable. My noble friends here will proceed with me to Stratford, or even to Northampton, they say; but they will see me safe in the protection of Somebody I love, and whom they must love for my sake.

I don't wonder that Sir Charles Grandison loves Mr. Beauchamp: He is a very worthy and sensible man. He, as every body else, idolises Sir Charles. It is some pleasure to me, Lucy, that I stand high in his esteem. To be respected by the worthy, is one of the greatest felicities in this life; for it is to be ranked as one of them. Sir Harry and his Lady are come to town. All, it seems, is harmony in that family. They cannot bear Mr. Beauchamp's absence from them for three days together. All the neighbouring gentlemen are in love with him. His manners are so gentle; his temper so even; so desirous to oblige; so genteel in his person; so pleasing in his address; he must undoubtedly make a good woman very happy.

But Emily, poor girl! sees only Sir Charles Grandison with eyes of Love. Mr. Beauchamp is, however, greatly pleased with Emily. He told Lady G. that he thought her a fine young creature; and that her mind was still more amiable than her person. But his behaviour to her is extremely prudent. He says finer things of her, than to her: Yet surely I am mistaken if he meditates not in her, his future wife. Mr. Beauchamp will be one of my escorte.

Emily, at her own request, is to go to Colnebrooke with Lady L. after I am gone.

Mr. Reeves will ride. Lord L. and Lord G. will also oblige me with their company on horseback.

In my cousin's coach will be Lady L. Lady G. Emily, and I. My cousin Reeves is forbidden to venture.

I shall take leave of Lady Olivia and Lady Maffei to-morrow morning; when they will set out for their projected tour. To-morrow we and the whole Grandison family are to dine together at Lord L's, for the last time. It will be a mournful dining-time on that account.

Lady Betty Williams, her daughter, and Miss Clements, supp'd with us this night, and took leave of me in the tenderest manner. They greatly regret my going down so soon, as they call it.

As to the public diversions, which they wish me to stay and give into, to be sure I should have been glad to have been better qualified to have entertained you with the performances of this or that actor, this or that musician, and the like: But, frighted by the vile plot upon me at a masquerade, I was thrown out of that course of diversion, and indeed into more affecting, more interesting engagements; into the knowledge of a family that had no need to look out of itself for entertainments: And, besides, Are not all the company we see as visitors or guests, full of these things! I have seen the principal performers, in every way, often enough to give me a notion of their performances, tho' I have not troubled you with such common things as revolve every season.

You know I am far from slighting the innocent pleasures in which others delight—It would have been happier for me, perhaps had I had more leisure to attend those amusements, than I have found. Yet I am not sure, neither: For methinks, with all the pangs that my suspenses have cost me, I would not but have known Sir Charles Grandison, his sisters, his Emily, and Dr. Bartlett.

I could only have wished to have been spared Sir Hargrave Pollexfen's vile attempt: Then, if I had come acquainted with this family, it would have been as I come acquainted with others: My gratitude had not been engaged so deeply.

Well—But what signify all these If's?—What has been, has; what must be, must. Only love me, my dear friends, as you used to love me. If I was a good girl when I left you, I hope I am not a bad one now, that I am returning to you. My morals, I bless God, are unhurt: My heart is not corrupted by the vanities of the great town: I have a little more experience than I had: And if I have severely paid for it, it is not at the price of my reputation. And I hope, if nobody has benefited by me, since I have been in town, that no one has suffered by me. Poor Mr. Fowler!—I could not help it, you know. Had I, by little snares, follies, coquetries, sought to draw him on, and entangle him, his future welfare would with reason, be more the subject of my solicitude, than it is now necessary it should be; tho' indeed I cannot help making it a good deal so.

Thursday Morning.

Dr. Bartlett has just now taken leave of me, in my own dressing-room. The parting scene between us was tender.

I have not given you my opinion of Miss Williams. Had I seen her at my first coming to town, I should have taken as much notice of her, in my Letters to you, as I did of the two Miss Brambers, Miss Darlington, Miss Cantillon, Miss Allestree, and others of my own Sex; and of Mr. Somner, Mr. Allestree, Mr. Walden, of the other; who took my first notice, as they fell early in my way, and with whom it is possible, as well as with the town-diversions, I had been more intimate, had not Sir Hargrave's vile attempt carried me out of their acquaintance into a much higher; which of necessity, as well as choice, entirely engrossed my attention. But now how insipid would any new characters appear to you, if they were but of a like cast with those I have mentioned, were I to make such the subjects of my pen, and had I time before me; which I cannot have, to write again, before I embrace you all, my dear, my ever-dear and indulgent friends!

I will only say, that Miss Williams is a genteel girl; but will hardly be more than one of the better sort of modern women of condition; and that she is to be classed so high, will be owing more to Miss Clements's lesson's, than, I am afraid, to her mother's example.

Is it, Lucy, that I have more experience and discernment now, or less charity and good-nature, than when I first came town? for then I thought well, in the main, of Lady Betty Williams. But tho' she is a good-natur'd, obliging woman; she is so immersed in the love of public diversions! so fond of routs, drums, hurricanes—Bless me, my dear! how learned should I have been in all the gaieties of the modern life; what a fine Lady, possibly; had I not been carried into more rational (however to me they have been more painful) scenes; and had I followed the lead of this Lady, as she (kindly, as to her intention) had designed I should!

In the afternoon Mr. Beauchamp is to introduce Sir Harry and Lady Beauchamp, on their first visit to the two sisters.

I had almost forgot to tell you, that my cousins and I are to attend the good Countess of D. for one half hour, after we have taken leave of Lady Olivia and her aunt.

And now, my Lucy, do I shut up my correspondence with you from London. My heart beats high with the hope of being as indulgently received by all you, my dearest friends, as I used to be after a shorter absence: For I am, and ever will be,

The grateful, dutiful, and affectionate

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Volume IV - Letter 37


Selby-house, Monday April 24.

Tho' the kind friends with whom I parted at Dunstable were pleased, one and all, to allow, that the correspondence which is to pass between my dear Lady G. and their Harriet, should answer the just expectations of each upon her, in the writing way; and tho' (at your motion, remember, not at mine) they promised to be contented with hearing read to them such parts of my Letters as you should think proper to communicate; yet cannot I dispense with my duty to Lady L. my Emily, my cousin Reeves, and Dr. Bartlett. Accordingly I write to them by this post; and I charge you, my dear, with my sincere and thankful compliments to your Lord, and to Mr. Beauchamp, for their favours.

What an agreeable night, in the main, was Friday night! Had we not been to separate next morning, it would have been an agreeable one indeed!

Is not my aunt Selby an excellent woman? But you all admired her. She admires you all. I will tell you another time, what she said of you, my dear, in particular.

My cousin Lucy, too—is she not an amiable creature?—Indeed you all were delighted with her. But I take pleasure in recollecting your approbations of one I so dearly love. She is as prudent as Lady L. and, now our Nancy is so well recovered, as cheerful as Lady G. You said, you would provide a good husband for her: Don't forget. The man, whoever he be, cannot be too good for my Lucy. Nancy is such another good girl: But so I told you.

Well, and pray, Did you ever meet with so pleasant a man as my uncle Selby? What should we have done, when we talked of your brother, when we talked of our parting, had it not been for him? You looked upon me every now-and-then, when he returned your smartness upon him, as if you thought I had let him know some of your perversenesses to Lord G.—And do you think I did not? Indeed I did. Can you imagine that your frank-hearted Harriet, who hides not from her friends her own faults, should conceal yours?—But what a particular character is yours! Every-body blames you, that knows of your over-livelinesses; yet every-body loves you—I think, for your very faults. Had it not been so, do you imagine I could ever have loved you, after you had led Lady L. to join with you, on a certain teasing occasion?—My uncle dotes upon you!

But don't tell Emily that my cousin James Selby is in Love with her. That he may not, on the score of the dear girl's fortune, be thought presumptuous, let me tell you, that he is almost of age; and, when he is, comes into possession of an handsome estate. He has many good qualities. I have, in short, a very great value for him; but not enough, tho' he is my relation, to wish him my still more beloved Emily. Dear creature! methinks I still feel her parting tears on my cheek!

You charge me to be as minute, in the Letters I write to you, as I used to be to my friends here: And you promised to be as circumstantial in yours. I will set you the example: Do you be sure to follow it.

We baited at Stony-Stratford. I was afraid how it would be: There were the two bold creatures, Mr. Greville, and Mr. Fenwick, ready to receive us. A handsome collation as at our setting out, so now, bespoke by them, was set on the table. How they came by their intelligence, nobody knows: We were all concerned to see them. They seemed half-mad for joy. My cousin James had alighted to hand us out; but Mr. Greville was so earnest to offer his hand, that tho' my cousin was equally ready, I thought I could not deny to his solicitude for the poor favour, such a mark of civility. Besides, if I had, it would have been distinguishing him for more than a common neighbour, you know. Mr. Fenwick took the other hand, when I had stepped out of the coach, and then (with so much pride, as made me ashamed of myself) they hurried me between them, thro' the inn-yard, and into the room they had engaged for us; blessing themselves, all the way, for my coming down Harriet Byron.

I looked about as if for the dear friends I had parted with at Dunstable. This is not, thought I, so delightful an inn as they made that—Now they, thought I, are just got to Barnet, in their way to London, as we are here in ours to Northampton.—But ah! where, where is Sir Charles Grandison at this time? And I sighed! But don't read this, and such strokes as this, to any body but Lord and Lady L.—You won't, you say—Thank you, Charlotte.—I will call you Charlotte, when I think of it, as you commanded me.

The joy we had at Dunstable, was easy, serene, deep, full, as I may say; it was the joy of sensible people: But the joy here was made by the two gentlemen, mad, loud, and even noisy. They hardly were able to contain themselves; and my uncle, and cousin James, were forced to be loud, to be heard.

Mr. Orme, good Mr. Orme, when we came near his park, was on the highway-side, perhaps near the very spot where he stood to see me pass to London so many weeks ago—Poor man!—When I first saw him (which was before the coach came near, for I looked out only, as thinking I would mark the place where I last beheld him) he looked with so disconsolate an air, and so fixed, that I compassionately said to myself, Surely the worthy man has not been there ever since.

I twitched the string just in time: The coach stopped. Mr. Orme, said I, How do you? Well, I hope?—How does Miss Orme?

I had my hand on the coach-door. He snatched it. It was not an unwilling hand. He pressed it with his lips. God be praised, said he (with a countenance, O how altered for the better!) for permitting me once more to behold that face—that angelic face, he said.

God bless you, Mr. Orme! said I: I am glad to see you. Adieu.

The coach drove on. Poor Mr. Orme! said my aunt.

Mr. Orme, Lucy, said I, don't look so ill as you wrote he was.

His joy to see you, said she—But Mr. Orme is in a declining way.

Mr. Greville, on the coach stopping, rode back just as it was going on again—And with a loud laugh—How the d—l came Orme to know of your coming, madam!—Poor fellow! It was very kind of you to stop your coach to speak to the statue. And he laughed again.—Nonsensical! At what?

My grandmamma Shirley, dearest of parents! her youth, as she was pleased to say, renewed by the expectation of so soon seeing her darling child, came (as my aunt told us, you know) on Thursday night to Selby-house, to charge her and Lucy with her blessing to me; and resolving to stay there to receive me. Our beloved Nancy was also to be there; so were two other cousins, Kitty and Patty Holles, good young creatures; who, in my absence, had attended my grandmamma at every convenient opportunity, and whom I also found here.

When we came within sight of this house, Now, Harriet, said Lucy, I see the same kind of emotions beginning to arise in your face and bosom, as Lady G. told us you showed when you first saw your aunt at Dunstable. My grandmamma! said I, I am in sight of the dear house that holds her: I hope she is here. But I will not surprise her with my joy to see her. Lie still, throbbing impatience! speaking to my heart.

But when the coach (attended by many neighbours and friends, who, like a gathering snowball, had got together, within a few miles of Selby-house) set us down at the inner-gate, there, in the outward-hall, sat my blessed grandmamma. The moment I beheld her, my intended caution forsook me: I sprang by my aunt, and, before the foot step could be put down, flew, as it were, out of the coach, and threw myself at her feet, wrapping my arms about her: Bless, bless, said I, your Harriet! I could not at the moment, say another word.

Great God! said the pious parent, her hands and eyes lifted up, Great God! I thank thee! Then folding her arms about my neck, she kissed my forehead, my check, my lips—God bless my Love! Pride of my life! the most precious of a hundred daughters! How does my Child—My Harriet—O my Love!—After such dangers, such trials, such harassings—Once more, God be praised that I clasp to my fond heart, my Harriet!

Separate them, separate them, said my facetious uncle (yet he had tears in his eyes) before they grow together!—Madam, to my grandmamma, she is our Harriet, as well as yours: Let us welcome the saucy girl, on her re-entrance into these doors!—Saucy, I suppose, I shall soon find her.

My grandmamma withdrew her fond arms: Take her, take her, said she, each in turn: But I think I never can part with her again.

My uncle saluted me, and bid me very kindly welcome home: So did my aunt: So did Lucy—My equally-beloved Nancy—So did every one.

How can I return the obligations which the love of all my friends lays upon me? To be good, to be grateful, is not enough; since that one ought to be for one's own sake. What a sweet thing is it to be beloved by worthy neighbours! I had several visitors last night, and compliments without number, on my arrival:—Compliments, for what? For having lost the better half of my heart? Don't you think I look silly to myself? You bid me be free in my confessions. You promise to look my Letters over before you read them to any-body; and to mark passages proper to be kept to yourself—Pray do.

Mr. Greville and Mr. Fenwick were here separately, an hour ago: I thanked them for their civility on the road, and not ungraciously, as Mr. Greville told my uncle, as to him. He was not, he said, without hopes, yet; since I knew not how to be ungrateful. Mr. Greville builds, as he always did, a merit on his civility; and by that means sinks, in the narrower Lover, the claim he might otherwise make to the title of the generous neighbour.

* *

Miss Orme has just been here. She could not help throwing in a word for her brother.

You will guess, my dear Lady G. at the subject of our conversations here, and what they will be, morning, noon, and night, for a week to come. My grandmamma is better in health than I have known her for a year or two past. The health of people in years can mend but slowly; and they are slow to acknowledge it in their own favour. My grandmamma, however, allows that she is better within these few days past; but attributes the amendment to her Harriet's return.

How do they all bless, revere, extol, your noble brother!—How do they wish—And how do they regret—You know what—Yet how ready are they to applaud your Harriet, if she can hold her magnanimity, in preferring the happiness of Clementina to her own!—My grandmamma and aunt are of opinion, that I should; and they praise me for the generosity of my effort, whether the superior merits of the man will or will not allow me to succeed in it. But my uncle, my Lucy, and my Nancy, from their unbounded love of me, think a little, and but a little, narrower; and, believing it will go hard with me, say, It is hard. My uncle, in particular, says the very pretension is slight and nonsense: But, however, if the girl, added he, can parade away her passion for an object so worthy; with all my heart: It will be but just, that the romancing elevations, which so often drive headstrong girls into difficulties, should now-and-then help a more discreet one out of them.

Adieu, my beloved Lady G. Repeated compliments, love, thanks, to my Lord and Lady L. to my Emily, to Dr. Bartlett, to Mr. Beauchamp, and particularly to my Lord G. Dear, dear Charlotte, be good! Let me beseech you be good! If you are not, you will have every one of my friends who met you at Dunstable, and, from their report, my grandmamma and Nancy, against you; for they find but one fault in my Lord: It is, that he seems too fond of a Lady, who, by her archness of looks, and half-saucy turns upon him, even before them, evidently showed—Shall I say what? But I stand up for you, my dear. Your gratitude, your generosity, your honour, I say, (and why should I not add your duty?) will certainly make you one of the most obliging of wives, to the most affectionate of husbands.

My uncle says, He hopes so: But tho' he adores you for a friend, and the companion of a lively hour; yet he does not know but his Dame Selby is still the woman whom a man should prefer for a wife: And she, said he, is full as saucy as a wife need to be; tho' I think, Harriet, that she has not been the less dutiful of late for your absence.

Once more, adieu, my dear Lady G. and continue to love your


Volume IV - lettera 37

Volume IV - Letter 38


Thursday, April 27.

Every one of the Dunstable party say, that you are a grateful and good girl. Beauchamp can talk of nobody else of our Sex: I believe in my conscience he is in Love with you. I think all the unprovided for young women wherever you come must hate you. Was you never by surprise carried into the chamber of a friend labouring with the Smallpox, in the infectious stage of it?—O but I think you once said you had had that distemper. But your mind, Harriet, were your face to be ruined, would make you admirers. The fellows who could think of preferring even such a face to such a heart, may be turned over to the class of insignificants.

Is not your aunt Selby, you ask, an excellent woman?—She is. I admire her. But I am very angry with you for deferring to another time, acquainting me with what she said of me. When we are taken with any-body, we love they should be taken with us. Teasing Harriet! You know what an immoderate quantity of curiosity I have. Never serve me so again!

I am in Love with your cousin Lucy. Were either Fenwick or Greville good enough—But they are not. I think she shall have Mr. Orme. Nancy, you say, is such another good girl. I don't doubt it. Is she not your cousin, and Lucy's sister? But I cannot undertake for every good girl who wants a husband. I wish I had seen Lucy a fortnight ago: Then Nancy might have had Mr. Orme, and Lucy should have had Lord G. He admires her greatly. And do you think that a man who at that time professed for me so much Love and Service, and all that, would have scrupled to oblige me, had I (as I easily should) proved to him, that he would have been a much happier man than he could hope to be with Somebody else?

Your uncle is a pleasant man: But tell him I say, that the man would be out of his wits, that did not make the preference he does in favour of his Dame Selby, as he calls her. Tell him also, if you please, in return for his plain dealing, that I say, he studies too much for his pleasantries: He is continually hunting for occasions to be smart. I have heard my father say, that this was the fault of some wits of his acquaintance, whom he ranked among the wit-lings for it. If you think it will mortify him more, you may tell him (for I am very revengeful when I think myself affronted) that were I at liberty, which, God help me, I am not! I would sooner choose for a husband the man I have (poor soul, as I now and then think him) than such a teasing creature as himself, were both in my power, and both of an age. And I should have this good reason for my preference: Your uncle and I should have been too much alike, and so been jealous of each other's wit; whereas I can make my honest Lord G. look about him, and admire me strangely, whenever I please.

But I am, it seems, a person of a particular character. Every one, you say, loves me, yet blames me. Odd characters, my dear, are needful to make even characters shine. You good girls would not be valued as you are, if there were not bad ones. Have you not heard it said, That all human excellence is but comparative? Pray allow of the contrast. You, I am sure, ought. You are an ungrateful creature, if, whenever you think of my over-livelinesses, as you call 'em, you don't drop a curtsy, and say, You are obliged to me.

But still the attack made upon you in your dressing-room at Colnebrooke, by my sister and me, sticks in your stomach—And why so? We were willing to show you, that we were not the silly people you must have thought us, had we not been able to distinguish light from darkness. You, who ever were, I believe, one of the frankest-hearted girls in Britain, and admired for the ease and dignity given you by that frankness, were growing awkward, nay dishonest. Your gratitude! your gratitude! was the dust you wanted to throw into our eyes, that we might not see that you were governed by a stronger motive. You called us your friends, your sisters, but treated us not as either; and this man, and that, and t'other, you could refuse; and why? No reason given for it; and we were to be popped off with your gratitude, truly!—We were to believe just what you said, and no more; nay, not so much as you said. But we were not so implicit. Nor would you, in our case, have been so.

But 'you, perhaps, would not have violently broken in upon a poor thing, who thought we were blind, because she was not willing we should see.'—May be not: But then, in that case, we were honester than you would have been; that's all. Here, said I, Lady L. is this poor girl awkwardly struggling to conceal what every body sees; and, seeing, applauds her for, the man considered (Yes, Harriet, the man considered; be pleased to take that in): Let us, in pity, relieve her. She is though to be frank, open-hearted, communicative; nay, she passes herself upon us in those characters: She sees we keep nothing from her. She has been acquainted with your Love before wedlock; with my folly, in relation to Anderson: She has carried her head above a score or two of men not contemptible. She sits enthroned among us, while we make but common figures at her footstool: She calls us sisters, friends, and twenty pretty names. Let us acquaint her, that we see into her heart; and why Lord D. and others are so indifferent with her. If she is ingenuous, let us spare her; if not, leave me to punish her—Yet we will keep up her punctilio as to our brother; we will leave him to make his own discoveries. She may confide in his politeness; and the result will be happier for her; because she will then be under no restraint to us, and her native freedom of heart may again take its course.

Agreed, agreed, said Lady L.—And arm in arm, we entered your dressing-room, dismissed the maid, and began the attack—And, O Harriet! how you hesitated, paraded, fooled on with us, before you came to confession! Indeed you deserved not the mercy we showed you—So, child, you had better to have let this part of your story sleep in peace.

You bid me not tell Emily that your cousin is in Love with her: But I think I will. Girls begin very early to look out for admirers. It is better, in order to stay her stomach, to find out one for her, than that she should find out one for herself; especially when the man is among ourselves, as I may say, and both are in our own management, and at distance from each other. Emily is a good girl; but she has susceptibilities already: And tho' I would not encourage her, as yet, to look out of herself for happiness; yet I would give her consequence with herself, and at the same time let her see, that there could be no mention made of any thing that related to her, but what she should be acquainted with. Dear girl! I love her as well as you; and I pity her too: I or she, as well as Somebody else, will have difficulties to contend with, which she will not know easily how to get over; tho' she can, in a flame so young, generously prefer the interest of a more excellent woman to her own.—There, Harriet, is a grave paragraph: You'll like me for it.

You are a very reflecting girl, in mentioning to me so particularly, your behaviour to your Grevilles, Fenwicks, and Ormes. What is that but saying, See, Charlotte! I am a much more complaisant creature to the men, no one of which I intend to have, than you are to your husband!

What a pious woman, indeed, must be your grandmamma, that she could suspend her joy, her long-absent darling at her feet, till she had first thank'd God for restoring her to her arms! But, in this instance, we see the force of habitual piety. Tho' not so good as I should be myself, I revere those who are so; and that I hope you will own is no bad sign.

Well, but now for ourselves, and those about us.

Lady Olivia has written Lady L. a Letter from Windsor. It is in French; extremely polite. She promises to write to me from Oxford.

Lady Anne S. made me a visit this morning. She was more concerned than I wished to see her, on my confirming the report she had heard of my brother's being gone abroad. I railled her a little too freely, as it was before Lord G. and Lord L. I never was better rebuked than by her; for she took out her pencil, and on the cover of a letter wrote these lines from Shakespeare, and slid them into my hand:

And will you rend our ancient Love asunder,

To join with Men, in scorning your poor friend?

It is not friendly; 'tis not maidenly:

Our Sex, as well as I, may chide you for it,

Tho' I alone do feel the injury.

I never, my dear, told you how freely this Lady and I had talked of Love: But freely as we had talked, I was not aware that the matter lay so deep in her heart. I knew not how to tell her that my brother had said, It could not be. I could have wept over her when I read this paper; and I owned myself by a whisper justly rebuked. She charged me not to let any man see this; particularly not either of those present: And do you, Harriet, keep what I have written of Lady Anne to yourself.

My aunt Eleanor has written a congratulatory Letter to me from York. Sir Charles, it seems, had acquainted her with Lord G's day [Not my day, Harriet! that is not the phrase, I hope!] as soon as he knew it himself; and she writes, supposing that I was actually offered on it. Women are victims on these occasions: I hope you'll allow me that. My brother has made it a point of duty to acquaint his father's sister with every matter of consequence to the family; and now, she says, that both her nieces are so well disposed of, she will come to town very quickly to see her new relations and us; and desires we will make room for her. And yet she owns, that my brother has informed her of his being obliged to go abroad; and she supposes him gone. As he is the beloved of her heart, I wonder she thinks of making this visit now he is absent: But we shall all be glad to see my aunt Nell. She is a good creature, tho' an old maid. I hope the old Lady has not utterly lost either her invention, or memory; and then, between both, I shall be entertained with a great number of Love-stories of the last age; and perhaps of some dangers and escapes; which may serve for warnings for Emily. Alas! alas! they will come too late for your Charlotte!

I have written already the longest Letter that I ever wrote in my life: Yet it is prating; and to you, to whom I love to prate. I have not near done.

You bid me be good; and you threaten me, if I am not, with the ill opinion of all your friends: But I have such an unaccountable bias for roguery, or what shall I call it? that I believe it is impossible for me to take your advice. I have been examining myself. What a duce is the matter with me, that I cannot see my honest man in the same advantageous light in which he appears to every body else? Yet I do not, in my heart, dislike him. On the contrary, I know not, were I to look about me, far and wide, the man I would have wished to have called mine, rather than him. But he is so important about trifles; so nimble, yet so slow: He is so sensible of his own intention to please, and has so many antic motions in his obligingness; that I cannot forbear laughing at the very time that I ought perhaps to reward him with a gracious approbation.

I must fool on a little while longer, I believe: Permit me, Harriet, so to do, as occasions arise.

* *

An instance, an instance in point, Harriet. Let me laugh as I write. I did it at the time.—What do you laugh at, Charlotte?—Why this poor man, or, as I should rather say, this Lord and Master of mine, has just left me. He has been making me both a compliment, and a present. And what do you think the compliment is? Why, if I please, he will give away to a virtuoso friend, his collection of Moths and Butterflies: I once, he remember'd, raillied him upon them. And by what study, thought I, wilt thou, honest man, supply their place? If thou hast a talent this way, pursue it; since perhaps thou wilt not shine in any other. And the best any-thing, you know, Harriet, carries with it the appearance of excellence. Nay, he would also part with his collection of Shells, if I had no objection.

To whom, my Lord?—He had not resolved.—Why then, only as Emily is too little of a child, or you might give them to her. 'Too little of a child, madam?' and a great deal of bustle and importance took possession of his features—Let me tell you, madam—I won't let you, my Lord; and I laughed.

Well, madam, I hope here is something coming up that you will not disdain to accept of yourself.

Up came groaning under the weight, or rather under the care, two servants with baskets: A fine set of old Japan China with brown edges, believe me. They sat down their baskets, and withdrew.

Would you not have been delighted, Harriet, to see my Lord busying himself with taking out, and putting in the windows, one at a time, the cups, plates, jars, and saucers, rejoicing and parading over them, and showing his connoisseurship to his motionless admiring wife, in commending this and the other piece as a beauty? And, when he had done, taking the liberty, as he phrased it, half fearful, half resolute, to salute his bride for his reward; and then pacing backwards several steps with such a strut and a crow—I see him yet!—Indulge me, Harriet!—I burst into a hearty laugh; I could not help it: And he, reddening, looked round himself, and round himself, to see if any thing was amiss in his garb. The man, the man! honest friend, I could have said, but had too much reverence for my husband, is the oddity! Nothing amiss in the garb.

O Harriet! Why did you beseech me to be good? I think in my heart I have the stronger inclination to be bad for it! You call me perverse; if you think me so, bid me be saucy, bid me be bad; and I may then, like other good wives, take the contrary course for the sake of dear contradiction.

Show not, however, (I in turn beseech you) to your grandmamma and aunt, such parts of this Letter as would make them despise me. You say, you stand up for me; I have need of your advocateship: Never let me want it. And do I not, after all, do a greater credit to my good man, when I can so heartily laugh in the wedded state, than if I were to sit down with my finger in my eye?

I have taken your advice, and presented my sister with my half of the jewels. I desired her to accept them, as they were my mother's, and for her sake. This gave them a value with her, more than equal with their worth: But Lord L. is uneasy, and declares he will not suffer Lady L. long to lie under the obligation. Were every one of family in South Britain and North Britain to be as generous and disinterested as Lord L. and our family, the union of the two parts of the island would be complete.

* *

Lord help this poor obliging man! I wish I don't love him at last. He has taken my hint, and has presented his collection of Shells (a very fine one, he says, it is) to Emily; and they two are actually busied (and will be for an hour or two, I doubt not) in admiring them; the one strutting over the beauties, in order to enhance the value of the present; the other curtsying ten times in a minute, to show her gratitude. Poor man! When his virtuoso friend has got his Butterflies and Moths, I am afraid he must set up a turner's shop for employment. If he loved reading, I could, when our visiting hours are over, set him to read to me the new things that come out, while I knot or work; and, is he loved writing, to copy the Letters which pass between you and me, and those for you which I expect with so much impatience from my brother by means of Dr Bartlett. I think he spells pretty well, for a Lord.

I have no more to say, at present, but compliments, without number or measure, to all you so deservedly love and honour; as well those I have not seen, as those I have.

One thing: Reveal to me all the secrets of your heart, and how that heart is from time to time affected; that I may know whether you are capable of that greatness of mind in a love-case, that you show in all others. We will all allow you to love Sir Charles Grandison. Those who do, give honour to themselves, if their eyes stop not at person, his having so many advantages. For the same reason, I make no apologies, and never did, for praising my brother, as any other lover of him might do.

Let me know every thing how and about your fellows, too. Ah! Harriet, you make not the use of power that I would have done in your situation. I was half-sorry when my hurrying brother made me dismiss Sir Walter; and yet, to have but two danglers after one, are poor doings for a fine Lady. Poorer still, to have but one!

Here's a Letter as long as my arm. Adieu. I was loth to come to the name: But defer it ever so long, I must subscribe, at last,


Volume IV - lettera 38

Volume IV - Letter 39


The letter to which this is an answer, as well as those written by Miss Byron to her cousin Reeves, Lady L. &c. and theirs in return; are omitted.

Monday, May 1.

O my dearest, my honoured Miss Byron, how you have shamed your Emily by sending a Letter to her; such a sweet Letter too! before I have paid my duty to you, in a Letter of thanks for all your love to me, and for all your kind instructions. But I began once, twice, and thrice, and wrote a great deal each time, but could not please myself: You, madam, are such a writer, and I am such a poor thing at my pen!—But I know you will accept the heart. And so my very diffidence shows pride; since it cannot be expected from me to be a fine writer: And yet this very Letter, I foresee, will be the worse for my diffidence, and not the better: For I don't like this beginning, neither.—But come, it shall go. Am I not used to your goodness? And do you not bid me prattle to you, in my Letters, as I used to do in your dressing-room? O what sweet advice have you, and do you return for my silly prate! And so I will begin.

And was you grieved at parting with your Emily on Saturday morning? I am sure I was very much concerned at parting with you. I could not help crying all the way to town; and Lady G. shed tears as well as I, and so did Lady L. several times; and said, You were the loveliest, best young Lady in the world. And we all praised likewise your aunt, your cousin Lucy, and young Mr. Selby. How good are all your relations! They must be good! And Lord L. and Lord G. for men, were as much concerned as we, at parting with you. Mr. Reeves was so dull all the way! poor Mr. Reeves, he was very dull. And Mr. Beauchamp, he praised you to the very skies; and in such a pretty manner too! Next to my guardian, I think Mr. Beauchamp is a very agreeable man. I fancy these noble sisters, if the truth were known, don't like him so well as their brother does: Perhaps that may be the reason, out of jealousy, as I may say, if there be any thing in my observation. But they are vastly civil to him, nevertheless; yet they never praise him when his back is turned, as they do others, who can't say half the good things that he says.

Well, but enough of Mr. Beauchamp. My guardian! my gracious, my kind, my indulgent guardian! who, that thinks of him, can praise any body else!

O madam! Where is he now? God protect and guide my guardian, wherever he goes! This is my prayer, first and last, and I can't tell how often in the day. I look for him in every place I have seen him in (And pray tell me, madam, Did not you do so when he had left us?); and when I can't find him, I do so sigh!—What a pleasure, yet what a pain, is there in sighing, when I think of him! Yet I know I am an innocent girl. And this I am sure of, that I wish him to be the husband of but one woman in the whole world; and that is you. But then my next wish is—You know what—Ah my Miss Byron! you must let me live with you and my guardian, if you should ever be Lady Grandison.

But here, madam, are sad doings sometimes, between Lord and Lady G. I am very angry at her often in my heart; yet I cannot help laughing, now and then, at her out-of-the-way sayings. Is not her character a very new one? Or are there more such young wives? I could not do as she does, were I to be queen of the globe. Every-body blames her. She will make my Lord not love her at last. Don't you think so? And then what will she get by her wit?

* *

Just this moment she came into my closet—Writing, Emily? said she: To whom?—I told her.—Don't tell tales out of school, Emily.—I was so afraid that she would have asked to see what I had written: But she did not. To be sure she is very polite, and knows what belongs to herself, and every-body else: To be ungenerous, as you once said, to her husband only, that is a very sad thing to think of.

Well, and I would give any-thing to know if you think what I have written tolerable, before I go any farther: But I will go on in this way, since I cannot do better. Bad is my best; but you shall have quantity, I warrant, since you bid me write long Letters.

But I have seen my mother: It was but yesterday. She was in a mercer's shop in Covent-Garden. I was in Lord L.'s chariot; only Anne was with me. Anne saw her first. I alighted, and asked her blessing in the shop: I am sure I did right. She blessed me, and called me dear love. I stay'd till she had bought what she wanted, and then I slid down the money, as if it were her own doing; and glad I was I had so much about me: It came but to four guineas. I begged her, speaking low, to forgive me for so doing: And finding she was to go home as far as Soho, and had thoughts of having a hackney-coach called; I gave Anne money for a coach for herself, and waited on my mother to her own lodgings; and it being Lord L.'s chariot, she was so good as to dispense with my alighting.

She blessed my guardian all the way, and blessed me. She said, she would not ask me to come to see her, because it might not be thought proper, as my guardian was abroad: But she hoped, she might be allowed to come and see me sometimes.—Was she not very good, madam? But my guardian's goodness makes every-body good.—O that my mamma had been always the same! I should have been but too happy!

God bless my guardian, for putting me on enlarging her power to live handsomely. Only as a coach brings on other charges, and people must live accordingly, or be discredited, instead of credited, by it; or I should hope the additional Two hundred a year might afford them one. Yet one does not know but Mr. O'Hara may have been in debt before he married her; and I fancy he has people who hang upon him. But if it pleases God, I will not, when I am at age, and have a coach of my own, suffer my mother to walk on foot. What a blessing is it, to have a guardian that will second every good purpose of one's heart!

Lady Olivia is rambling about; and I suppose she will wait here in England till Sir Charles's return: But I am sure he never will have her. A wicked wretch, with her poniards! Yet it is pity! She is a fine woman. But I hate her for her expectation, as well as for her poniard. And a woman to leave her own country, to seek for a husband! I could die before I could do so; tho' to such a man as my guardian. Yet once I thought I could have liked to have lived with her at Florence. She has some good qualities, and is very generous, and in the main well esteemed in her own country; every-body knew she loved my guardian: But I don't know how it is; nobody blamed her for it, vast as the difference in fortune then was. But that is the glory of being a virtuous man; to love him is a credit, instead of a shame. O madam! Who would not be virtuous? And that not only for their own, but for their friends sakes, if they loved their friends, and wished them to be well thought of?

Lord W. is very desirous to hasten his wedding.

Mr. Beauchamp says, that all the Mansfields (He knows them) bless my guardian every day of their lives; and their enemies tremble. He has commissions from my guardian to enquire and act in their cause, that no time may be lost to do them service, against his return.

We have had another visit from Lady Beauchamp, and have returned it. She is very much pleased with us: You see I say us. Indeed my two dear Ladies are very good to me; but I have no merit: It is all for their brother's sake.

Mr. Beauchamp tells us, just now, that his mother-in-law has joined with his father, at her own motion, to settle 1000 l. a year upon him. I am glad of it, with all my heart: Are not you? He is all gratitude upon it. He says, that he will redouble his endeavours to oblige her; and that his gratitude to her, as well as his duty to his father, will engage his utmost regard for her.

Mr. Beauchamp, Sir Harry himself, and my Lady, are continually blessing my guardian: Every-body, in short, blesses him.—But, ah! madam, Where is he, at this moment? O that I were a bird! that I might hover over his head, and sometimes bring tidings to his friends of his motions and good deeds. I would often flap my wings, dear Miss Byron, at your chamber-window, as a signal of his welfare, and then fly back again, and perch as near him as I could.

I am very happy, as I said before, in the favour of Lady and Lord L. and Lady and Lord G.; but I never shall be so happy, as when I had the addition of your charming company. I miss you and my guardian: O how I miss you both! But, dearest Miss Byron, love me not the less, tho' now I have put pen to paper, and you see what a poor creature I am in my writing. Many a one, I believe, may be thought tolerable in conversation; but when they are so silly as to put pen to paper, they expose themselves; as I have done, in this long piece of scribble. But accept it, nevertheless, for the true love I bear you; and truer love never flamed in any bosom, to any one the most dearly beloved, than does in mine for you.

I am afraid I have written arrant nonsense, because I knew not how to express half the love that is in the heart of

Your ever-obliged and affectionate

Volume IV - lettera 39

Volume IV - Letter 40


Tuesday, May 2.

I have no patience with you, Lady G. You are ungenerously playful! Thank Heaven, if this be wit, that I have none of it. But what signifies expostulating with one who knows herself to be faulty, and will not amend? How many stripes, Charlotte, do you deserve?—But you never spared any-body, not even your brother, when the humour was upon you. So make haste; and since you will lay in stores for repentance, fill up your measure as fast as you can.

'Reveal to you the state of my heart!'—Ah, my dear! it is an unmanageable one. 'Greatness of mind!'—I don't know what it is!—All his excellencies, his greatness, his goodness, his modesty, his cheerfulness under such afflictions as would weigh down every other heart that had but half the compassion in it with which his overflows—Must not all other men appear little, and, less than little, nothing, in my eyes?—It is an instance of patience in me, that I can endure any of them who pretend to regard me out of my own family.

I thought, that when I got down to my dear friends here, I should be better enabled, by their prudent counsels, to attain the desirable frame of mind which I had promised myself: But I find myself mistaken. My grandmamma and aunt are such admirers of him, take such a share in the disappointment, that their advice has not the effect I had hoped it would have. Lucy, Nancy, are perpetually calling upon me to tell them something of Sir Charles Grandison; and when I begin, I know not how to leave off. My uncle raillies me, laughs at me, sometimes reminds me of what he calls my former brags. I did not brag, my dear: I only hoped, that respecting as I did every man according to his merit, I should never be greatly taken with any one, before duty added force to the inclination. Methinks the company of the friends I am with, does not satisfy me; yet they never were dearer to me than they now are. I want to have Lord and Lady L. Lord and Lady G. Dr. Bartlett, my Emily, with me. To lose you all at once!—is hard! There seems to be a stranger void in my heart—And so much, at present, for the state of that heart.

I always had reason to think myself greatly obliged to my friends and neighbours all around us; but never, till my return, after these few months absence, knew how much. So many kind visitors; such unaffected expressions of joy on my return; that had I not a very great counterbalance on my heart, would be enough to make me proud.

My grandmamma went to Shirley manor on Saturday; on Monday I was with her all day: But she would have it that I should be melancholy if I stayed with her. And she is so self-denyingly careful of her Harriet! There never was a more noble heart in woman. But her solitary moments, as my uncle calls them, are her Moments of joy. And why? Because she then divests herself of all that is either painful or pleasurable to her in this life: For she says, that her cares for her Harriet, and especially now, are at least a balance for the delights she takes in her.

You command me to acquaint you with what passes between me and the gentlemen in my neighbourhood; in your style, my fellows.

Mr. Fenwick invited himself to breakfast with my aunt Selby yesterday morning. I would not avoid him.

I will not trouble you with the particulars: You know well enough what men will say on the subject upon which you will suppose he wanted to talk to me. He was extremely earnest. I besought him to accept my thanks for his good opinion of me, as all the return I could make him for it; and this in so very serious a manner, that my heart was fretted, when he declared, with warmth his determined perseverance.

Mr. Greville made us a tea-visit in the afternoon. My uncle and he joined to railly us poor women, as usual. I left the defence of the Sex to my aunt and Lucy. How poor appears to me every conversation now with these men!—But hold, saucy Harriet, was not your Uncle Selby one of the railliers?—But he does not believe all he says; and therefore cannot wish to be so much regarded, on this topic, as he ought to be by me, on others.

After the run of raillery was over, in which Mr. Greville made exceptions favourable to the women present, he applied to every one for their interest with me, and to me to countenance his address. He set forth his pretensions very pompously, and mentioned a very considerable increase of his fortune; which before was a very handsome one. He offered our own terms. He declared his love for me above all women, and made his happiness in the next world, as well as in this, depend upon my favour to him.

It was easy to answer all he said; and is equally so for you to guess in what manner I answered him: And he, finding me determined, began to grow vehement, and even affrontive. He hinted to me, that he knew what had made me so very resolute. He threw out threatenings against the man, be he whom he would, that should stand in the way of his success with me; at the same time intimating saucily, as I may say (for his manner had insult in it) that it was impossible a certain event could ever take place.

My uncle was angry with him; so was my aunt: Lucy was still more angry than they: But I, standing up, said, Pray, my dear friends, take nothing amiss that Mr. Greville has said.—He once told me, that he would set spies upon my conduct in town. If, Sir, your spies have been just, I fear nothing they can say. But the hints you have thrown out, show such a total want of all delicacy of mind, that you must not wonder if my heart rejects you. Yet I am not angry: I reproach you not: every one has his peculiar way. All that is left me to say or to do, is to thank you for your favourable opinion of me, as I have thanked Mr. Fenwick; and to desire that you will allow me to look upon you as my neighbour, and only as my neighbour.

I curtsied to him and withdrew.

But my great difficulty had been before with Mr. Orme. His sister had desired that I would see her brother. He and she were invited by my aunt to dinner on Tuesday. They came. Poor man! He is not well! I am sorry for it. Poor Mr. Orme is not well! He made me such honest compliments, as I may say: His heart was too much in his civilities to raise them above the civilities that justice and truth might warrant in favour of a person highly esteemed. Mine was filled with compassion for him; and that compassion would have shown itself in tokens of tenderness, more than once, had I not restrained myself for his sake. How you, my dear Lady G. can delight in giving pain to an honest heart, I cannot imagine. I would make all God Almighty's creatures happy, if I could; and so would your noble brother. Is he not crossing dangerous seas, and ascending through almost perpetual snows, those dreadful Alps which I have heard described with such terror, for the generous end of relieving distress?

I made Mr. Orme sit next me. I was assiduous to help him, and to do him all the little offices which I thought would light up pleasure in his modest countenance; and he was quite another man. It gave delight to his sister, and to all my friends, to see him smile, and look happy.

I think, my dear Lady G. that when Mr. Orme looks pleasant, and at ease, he resembles a little the good-natured Lord G.—O that you would take half the pains to oblige him, that I do to relieve Mr. Orme!—Half the pains, did I say? That you would not take pains to dis-oblige him; and he would be, of course, obliged. Don't be afraid, my dear, that in such a world as this, things will not happen to make you uneasy, without your studying for them. Excuse my seriousness: I am indeed too serious at times.

But when Mr. Orme requested a few minutes audience of me, as he called it, and I walked with him into the cedar parlour, which you have heard me mention, and with which I hope you will be one day acquainted; he paid, poor man! for his too transient pleasure. Why would he urge a denial that he could not but know I must give?

His sister and I had afterwards a conference. She pleaded too strongly her brother's health, and even his life; both which, she would have it, depended on my favour to him. I was greatly affected; and at last besought her, if she valued my friendship as I did hers, never more to mention to me a subject which gave me a pain too sensible for my peace.

She requested me to assure her, that neither Mr. Greville, nor Mr. Fenwick, might be the man. They both took upon them, she said, to ridicule her brother for the profound respect, even to reverence, that he bore me; which, if he knew, might be attended with consequences: For that her brother, mild and gentle as was his passion for me, had courage to resent any indignities that might be cast upon him by spirits boisterous as were those of the two gentlemen she had named. She never, therefore, told her brother of their scoffs. But it would go to her heart, if either of them should succeed, or have reason but for a distant hope.

I made her heart easy on that score.

I have just now heard that Sir Hargrave Pollexfen is come from abroad already. What can be the meaning of it? He is so low-minded, so malicious a man, and I have suffered so much from him—What can be the meaning of his sudden return? I am told, that he is actually in London. Pray, my dear Lady G. inform yourself about him; and whether he thinks of coming into these parts.

Mr. Greville, when he met us at Stony-Stratford, threw out menaces against Sir Hargrave, on my account; and said, It was well he was gone abroad. I told him then, that he had no business, even were Sir Hargrave present, to engage himself in my quarrels.

Mr. Greville is an impetuous man; a man of rough manners; and makes many people afraid of him. He has, I believe, indeed, had his spies about me; for he seems to know every-thing that has befallen me in my absence from Selby-house.

He has dared also to threaten Somebody else. Insolent wretch! But he hinted to me yesterday, that he was exceedingly pleased with the news, that a certain gentleman was gone abroad, in order to prosecute a former amour, was the light wretch's as light expression. If my indignant eyes could have killed him, he would have fallen dead at my feet.

Let the constant and true respects of all my friends to you and yours, and to my beloved Emily, be always, for the future, considered as very affectionately expressed, whether the variety of other subjects leaves room for a particular expression of them, or not, by, my dearest Lady G.

Your faithful and ever-obliged

Volume IV - lettera 40

Volume IV - Letter 41


Saturday, May 6.

I thank you, Harriet, for yours. What must your fellows think of you? In this gross age, your delicacy must astonish them. There used to be more of it formerly. But how should men know any-thing of it, when women have forgot it? Lord be thanked, we females, since we have been admitted into so constant a share of the public diversions, want not courage. We can give the men stare for stare wherever we meet them. The next age, nay, the rising generation, must surely be all heroes and heroines. But whither has this word delicacy carried me? Me, who, it seems, have faults to be corrected for of another sort; and who want not the courage for which I congratulate others?

But to other subjects. I could write a vast deal of stuff about my Lord and Self, and Lord and Lady L. who assume parts which I know not how to allow them: And sometimes they threaten me with my brother's resentments, sometimes with my Harriet's; so that I must really have leading-strings fastened to my shoulders. O my dear! a fond husband is a surfeiting thing; and yet I believe most women love to be made monkeys of.

* *

But all other subjects must now give way. We have heard of, tho' not from, my brother. A particular friend of Mr. Lowther was here with a Letter from that gentleman, acquainting us, that Sir Charles and he were arrived at Paris.

Mr. Beauchamp was with us when Mr. Lowther's friend came. He borrowed the Letter on account of the extraordinary adventure mentioned in it.

Make your heart easy, in the first place, about Sir Hargrave. He is indeed in town; but very ill. He was frighted into England, and intends not ever again to quit it. In all probability, he owes it to my brother that he exists.

Mr. Beauchamp went directly to Cavendish Square, and informed himself there of other particulars relating to the affair, from the very servant who was present and acting in it; and from those particulars and Mr. Lowther's Letter, wrote one for Dr. Bartlett. Mr. Beauchamp obliged me with the perusal of what he wrote; whence I have extracted the following account: For his Letter is long and circumstantial; and I did not ask his leave to take a copy, as he seemed desirous to hasten it to the doctor.

On Wednesday the 19/30 of April, in the evening, as my brother was pursuing his journey to Paris, and was within two miles of that capital, a servant-man rode up, in visible terror, to his post-chaise, in which were Mr. Lowther and himself, and besought them to hear his dreadful tale. The gentlemen stopped, and he told them, that his master, who was an Englishman, and his friend of the same nation, had been but a little while before attacked, and forced out of the road in their post-chaise, as he doubted not, to be murdered, by no less than seven armed horsemen; and he pointed to a hill, at distance, called Mont Martre, behind which they were, at that moment, perpetrating their bloody purpose. He had just before, he said, addressed himself to two other gentlemen, and their retinue, who drove on the faster for it.

The servant's great coat was open; and Sir Charles observing his livery, asked him, If he were not a servant of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen? and was answered in the affirmative.

There are, it seems, trees planted on each side the road from St. Denis to Paris, but which, as France is an open and uninclosed country, would not, but for the hill, have hindered the seeing a great way off, the scuffling of so many men on horseback. There is also a ditch on either hand; but places left for owners to come at their grounds, with their carts, and other carriages. Sir Charles ordered the post-boy to drive to one of those passages; saying, He could not forgive himself, if he did not endeavour to save Sir Hargrave, and his friend, whose name the man told him was Merceda.

His own servants were three in number, besides one of Mr. Lowther. My brother made Mr. Lowther's servant dismount; and, getting himself on his horse, ordered the others to follow him. He begged Mr. Lowther to continue in the chaise, bidding the dismounted servant stay, and attend his master, and galloped a way towards the hill. His ears were soon pierced with the cries of the poor wretches; and presently he saw two men on horseback holding the horses of four others, who had under them the two gentlemen, struggling, groaning, and crying out for mercy.

On the approach of Sir Charles, who was a good way a-head of his servants, he calling out to spare the gentlemen, and bending his course to relieve the prostrate sufferers, two of the four quitted their prey, and mounting, joined the other two horsemen, and advanced to meet Sir Charles, with a show of supporting the two men on foot in their violence; who continued laying on the wretches, with the but-ends of their whips, unmercifully.

As the assailants offered not to fly, and as they had more than time enough to execute their purpose, had it been robbery and murder; Sir Charles concluded, it was likely that these men were actuated by a private revenge. He was confirmed in this surmise, when the four men on horseback, tho' each had his pistol ready drawn, as Sir Charles also had his, demanded a conference; warning Sir Charles how he provoked his fate by his rashness; and declaring, that he was a dead man if he fired.

Forbear, then, said Sir Charles, all further violences to the gentlemen, and I will hear what you have to say.

He then put his pistol into his holster; and one of his servants being come up, and the two others at hand (to whom he called out, not to fire till they had his orders), he gave him his horse's reins; bidding him have an eye to the holsters of both, and leapt down; and, drawing his sword, made towards the two men who were so cruelly exercising their whips; and who, on his approach, retired to some little distance, drawing their hangers.

The four men on horseback joined the two on foot, just as they were quitting the objects of their fury; and one of them said, Forbear, for the present, further violence, brother; the gentleman, shall be told the cause of all this.—Murder, Sir, said he, is not intended; nor are we robbers: The men whom you are solicitous to save from our vengeance, are villains.

Be the cause what it will, answered Sir Charles, you are in a country noted for doing speedy justice, upon proper application to the magistrates. In the same instant he raised first one groaning man, then the other. Their heads were all over bloody, and they were so much bruised, that they could not extend their arms to reach their wigs and hats, which lay near them; nor put them on without Sir Charles's help.

The men on foot by this time had mounted their horses, and all six stood upon their defence; but one of them was so furious, crying out, that his vengeance should be yet more complete, that two of the others could hardly restrain him.

Sir Charles asked Sir Hargrave and Mr. Merceda, Whether they had reason to look upon themselves as injured men, or injurers? One of the assailants answered, That they both knew themselves to be villains.

Either from consciousness, or terror, perhaps from both, they could not speak for themselves, but by groans; nor could either of them stand or sit upright.

Just then came up, in the chaise, Mr. Lowther and his servant, each a pistol in his hand. He quitted the chaise, when he came near the suffering men; and Sir Charles desired him instantly to examine whether the gentlemen were dangerously hurt, or not.

The most enraged of the assailants, having slipped by the two who were earnest to restrain him, would again have attacked Mr. Merceda; offering a stroke at him with his hanger: But Sir Charles (his drawn sword still in his hand) caught hold of his hand and, turning his horse's head aside, diverted a stroke which, in all probability, would otherwise have been a finishing one.

They all came about Sir Charles, bidding him, at his peril, use his sword upon their friend: And Sir Charles's servants were coming up to their master's support, had there been occasion. At that instant Mr. Lowther, assisted by his own servant, was examining the wounds and bruises of the two terrified men, who had yet no reason to think themselves safe from further violence.

Sir Charles repeatedly commanded his servants not to fire, nor approach nearer, without his orders. The persons, said he, to the assailants, whom you have so cruelly used, are Englishmen of condition I will protect them. Be the provocation what it will, you must know that your attempt upon them is a criminal one; and if my friend last come up, who is a very skilful surgeon, shall pronounce them in danger, you shall find it so.

Still he held the horse of the furious one; and three of them, who seemed to be principals, were beginning to express some resentment at this cavalier treatment, when Mr. Lowther gave his opinion, that there was no apparent danger of death: And then Sir Charles, quitting the man's bridle, and putting himself between the assailants and sufferers, said, That as they had not either offered to fly, or to be guilty of violence to himself, his friend, or servants; he was afraid they had some reason to think themselves ill used by the gentlemen. But, however, as they could not suppose they were at liberty, in a civilised country, to take their revenge on the persons of those who were entitled to the protection of that country; he should expect, that they would hold themselves to be personally answerable for their conduct at a proper tribunal.

The villains, one of the men said, knew who they were, and what the provocation was; which had merited a worse treatment than they had hitherto met with. You, Sir, proceeded he, seem to be a man of honour, and temper: We are men of honour, as well as you. Our design, as we told you, was not to kill the miscreants; but to give them reason to remember their villainy as long as they lived; and to put it out of their power ever to be guilty of the like. They have made a vile attempt, continued he, on a Lady's honour at Abbeville; and, finding themselves detected, and in danger, had taken round-about ways, and shifted from one vehicle to another, to escape the vengeance of her friends. The gentleman whose horse you held, and who has reason to be in a passion, is the husband of the Lady. [A Spanish husband, surely, Harriet; not a French one, according to our notions]. That gentleman, and that, are her brothers. We have been in pursuit of them two days; for they gave out, in order, no doubt, to put us on a wrong scent, that they were to go to Antwerp.

And it seems, my dear, that Sir Hargrave, and his colleague had actually sent some of their servants that way; which was the reason that they were themselves attended but by one.

The gentleman told Sir Charles that there was a third villain in their plot. They had hopes, he said, that he would not escape the close pursuit of a manufacturer at Abbeville, whose daughter, a lovely young creature, he had seduced, under promises of marriage. Their government, he observed, were great countenancers of the manufacturers at Abbeville; and he would have reason, if he were laid hold of, to think himself happy, if he came off with being obliged to perform his promises.

This third wretch must be Mr. Bagenhall. The Lord grant, say I, that he may be laid hold of; and obliged to make a ruined girl an honest woman, as they phrase it in LANCASHIRE. Don't you wish so, my dear? and let me add, that had the relations of the injured Lady completed their intended vengeance on those two Libertines (A very proper punishment, I ween, for all Libertines), it might have helped them to pass the rest of their lives with great tranquillity; and honest girls might, for any contrivances of theirs, have passed to and from masquerades without molestation.

Sir Hargrave and his companion intended, it seems, at first, to make some resistance; four only, of the seven, stopping the chaise: But when the other three came up, and they saw who they were, and knew their own guilt, their courage failed them.

The seventh man was set over the post-boy, whom he had led about half a mile from the spot they had chosen as a convenient one for their purpose.

Sir Hargrave's servant was secured by them at their first attack; but after they had disarmed him and his masters, he found an opportunity to slip from them, and made the best of his way to the road, in hopes of procuring assistance for them.

While Sir Charles was busy in helping the bruised wretches on their feet, the seventh man came up to the others, followed by Sir Hargrave's chaise. The assailants had retired to some distance, and, after a consultation together, they all advanced towards Sir Charles; who, bidding his servants be on their guard, leapt on his horse, with that agility and presence of mind, for which, Mr. Beauchamp says, he excels most men: and leading towards them, Do you advance, gentlemen, said he, as friends, or otherwise?—Mr. Lowther took a pistol in each hand, and held himself ready to support him; and the servants disposed themselves to obey their master's orders.

Our enmity, answered one of them, is only to these two inhospitable villains: Murder, as we told you, was not our design. They know where we are to be found; and that they are the vilest of men, and have not been punished equal to their demerits. Let them on their knees asks this gentleman's pardon; pointing to the husband of the insulted Lady. We insist upon this satisfaction; and upon their promise, that they never more will come within two leagues of Abbeville; and we will leave them to your protection.

I fancy, Harriet, that these women-frightening heroes needed not to have been urged to make this promise.

Sir Charles, turning towards them, said, If you have done wrong, gentlemen, you ought not to scruple asking pardon. If you know yourselves to be innocent, tho' I should be loth to risk the lives of my friend and servants, yet shall not my countrymen make so undue a submission.

The wretches kneeled; and the seven men, civilly saluting Sir Charles and Mr. Lowther, rode off; to the joy of the two delinquents, who kneeled again to their deliverer, and poured forth blessings upon the man whose life, so lately, one of them sought; and whose preservation he had now so much reason to rejoice in, for the sake of his own safety.

My brother himself could not but be well pleased that he was not obliged to come to extremities, which might have ended fatally on both sides.

By this time Sir Hargrave's post-chaise was come up. He and his colleague were with difficulty lifted into it. My brother and Mr. Lowther went into theirs; and being but a small distance from Paris, they proceeded thither in company; the poor wretches blessing them all the way; and at Paris found their other servants waiting for them.

Sir Charles and Mr. Lowther saw them in bed in the lodgings that had been taken for them. They were so stiff with the bastinado they had met with, that they were unable to help themselves. Mr. Merceda had been more severely (I cannot call it more cruelly) treated than the other; for he, it seems, was the greatest malefactor in the attempt made upon the Lady: And he had, besides, two or three gashes, which, but for his struggles, would have been but one.

As you, my dear, always turn pale when the word Masquerade is mentioned; so, I warrant, will ABBEVILLE be a word of terror to these wretches, as long as they live.

Their enemies, it seems, carried off their arms; perhaps, in the true spirit of French chivalry, with a view to lay them, as so many trophies, at the feet of the insulted Lady.

Mr. Lowther writes, that my brother and he are lodged in the Hôtel of a man of quality, a dear friend of the late Mr. Danby, and one of the three whom he has remembered in his will; and that Sir Charles is extremely busy in relation to the executorship; and, having not a moment to spare, desired Mr. Lowther to engage his friend, to whom he wrote, to let us know as much; and that he was hastening every-thing for his journey onwards.

Mr. Beauchamp's narrative of this affair, is, as I told you, very circumstantial. I thought to have shortened it more than I have done. I wish I have not made my abstract confused, in several material places: But I have not time to clear it up. Adieu, my dear.


Volume IV - lettera 41

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