Jane Austen
Samuel Richardson - Sir Charles Grandison
Volume V - lettere 41/53
traduzione di Giuseppe Ierolli

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Volume V - Letter 41


Bologna, Aug. 19. N. S.

And do you, best of men, consent to be governed by my wishes? But are you convinced (You do not say you are) by my reasonings?—Alas! my reasoning powers are weakened: My head has received an incurable wound: My memory, indeed, seems returned, but its return only serves to make me more sensible of my past unhappiness; and to dread a relapse.

But what is it I hear? Olivia is come back to Florence; and you are at Florence! Fly from Florence, and from Olivia—But whither will you go, to avoid a woman who could follow you to England?—Whither, but to England?—We are all of us apprehensive for the safety of your person, if you refuse to be the husband of that violent woman. Yet cannot I bear the thoughts of her being yours. But that, you have told me, she never can be—Yet, if you could be happy with her, why should I be an enemy to her happiness?—But to your own magnanimity I will leave this subject.

Let me advise with my tutor, my friend, my brother, on a point that is now much more my concern than Olivia, and her hopes—Fain, very fain, would I take the veil. My heart is in it. My friends, my dearest friends, urge against my plea, the dying request, as well as the wishes while living, of my grandfathers on both sides. I am distressed; I am greatly distressed; for well do I know what were the views of the two good men, now with God, in wishing me not to assume the veil. But could they foresee the calamity that was to befall their Clementina? They could not. I need not dwell upon the subject, and upon the force of their pleas and mine, to a man whose mind is capacious enough to take in the whole strength of both at once. But you will add an obligation to the many you have already conferred upon me, if you can join your weight to my pleas; and make it your request, that I may be obliged in this momentous article. Let me expect that you can, that you will. They all languish for opportunities to oblige the man, who has laid them under obligations not to be returned. Need I to suggest a plea to you, the force of which must be allowed from you, if you ever with fervour loved Clementina?

If I know my own heart, and I have given it a strict examination, two things granted me would make me as happy as I now can be in this life: The one, that my request to be allowed to sequester myself from the world, and to dedicate myself to God, be complied with: The other, to be assured of your happiness in marriage with an English, at least not to an Italian, woman. I am obliged to own, tho' I am sensible that I expose to you my weakness, by the acknowledgement, that the last is but too necessary to the tranquillity of my mind, in the situation in which the grant of my first wish will please me. Let me know, Chevalier, when I have set my hand to the plough, that there is no looking back; and that the only man I ever thought of with tenderness is another's, and, were I not professed, never could be mine. Answer, as I wish; and I shall be able to follow you, Sir, with my prayers, to the country that has the honour of producing such an ornament to human nature.

It must not be known, you will readily suppose, that I have sought to interest you in my plea. For this reason, I have not shown this Letter to any-body. Father Marescotti, I have hopes, as a Religious, will declare himself in my favour, if you do. My brother, the Bishop, surely will strengthen your hand and his, tho' he appears as the Brother, not as the Prelate, in support of the family reasons.

I am not ashamed to say, I long to see you, Sir. I can the more readily allow myself to tell you so, as I can declare that I am unalterably determined in my adherence to my written resolution, never to trust to my own strength in an article in which my everlasting welfare is concerned. O, Sir, what struggles, what conflicts, did this resolution cost me, before I could make it!—But once made, and upon such deliberation, and after I had begged of God his direction, which I imagine he has graciously given me, I have never wished to alter it. Forgive me, Sir. You will; you are a good man:—My God only have I preferred to you.



Volume V - lettera 41

Volume V - Letter 42


Florence, Aug. 23. N. S.

My dear correspondent asks, If I am convinced by her reasonings—I repeat, That I resign to your will every hope, every wish, respecting myself. In a case where conscience can be pleaded, no other reasonings are necessary.

But what can I say, most excellent of women, to the request you make, that I will support you in your solicitude to take the veil? I hope you only propose this to me, by way of asking my advice—"Let me, say you, advise with my tutor, my friend, my brother"—I have given the highest instance that man could give, of my disinterestedness; and I will now, as you require, suppose myself a Catholic in the humble advice I shall offer to my sisterly friend; and this will the rather appear as I should, as a Protestant, argue against any one's binding him or herself, by vows of perpetual celibacy.

"Need I, asks my dear correspondent, suggest a plea for you to make, the force of which must be allowed, if ever you fervently loved Clementina?" At what plea does the excellent Clementina hint? Is it not at an Herodian one (Note: Herod directed, that his Marianne should be put to death, that she might not be the wife of any other man if he returned not alive from the court of Augustus Caesar, before whom he was cited to answered for his conduct, which had been obnoxious to that prince, in the contest between him and Antony for the empire of the world)? Why, if ever she honoured her Grandison with her esteem, does she not enforce the same plea with regard to him? Can she, avowing the esteem, be so generous as to wish him to enter into the married state, and even to insist upon it, as a step that would contribute to her future peace of mind, yet hope to prevail upon him to make it his request, that she may be secluded from a possibility of ever enjoying the same liberty? Were I married, and capable of wishing to fetter and restrain thus my wife, in case of her surviving me, I should think she ought to despise me for the narrowness of my heart. What then is the plea that a young Lady, in the bloom of beauty, would put me upon making?—And to whom?—To her own relations, who all languish, as she expresses herself, for opportunities to oblige him; and who are extremely earnest to dissuade her from entering upon the measure she wishes him to promote? Can he, madam, to use your own words in the solemn paper you give me, think of taking such advantage of their generosity to him?

But can Clementina della Porretta, who is blest with the tenderest and most indulgent of parents, and who has always gloried in her duty to them; whose brothers love her with a disinterestedness that hardly any brothers before them have been able to show; can she, in opposition to the will of her grandfathers, wish to enter into a measure, that must frustrate all their hopes from her for ever?—Dear Lady! consider.

You, my beloved correspondent, who hold marriage as a sacrament, surely cannot doubt but you may serve God in it with much greater efficacy, than were you to sequester yourself from a world that wants such an example as you are able to give it. But, madam, your parents propose not marriage to you: They, only, at present, beseech, not command you (they know the generosity of your heart) not to take a step that must entirely frustrate all their hopes, and put an option out of your own power, should you change your mind. Let me advise you, madam, disclaiming all interested views, and from motives of a Love merely fraternal (for such is your expectation from the man you honour with your correspondence) to set the hearts of relations, so justly dear to you, at ease; and to leave to Providence the issue. They never, madam, will compel you. And give me leave to say, that piety requires this of you. Does not the Almighty, everywhere in his word, sanctify the reasonable commands of parents? Does he not interest himself, if I may so express myself, in the performance of the filial duty? May it not be justly said, that to obey your parents, is serve God? Would the generous, the noble-minded Clementina della Porretta, narrow, as I may say, her piety, by limiting it (I speak now as if I were a Catholic, and as if I thought there were some merit in secluding one's self from the world) when she could, at least, equally serve God, and benefit her own soul, by obeying her parents, by fulfilling the will of her deceased grandfathers, and by obliging all her other near and dear relations? Lady Clementina cannot resolve all the world into herself. Shall I say, there is often cowardice, there is selfishness, and perhaps, in the world's eye, a too strong confession of disappointment, in such seclusions?

There are about you persons who can give this argument its full force—I cannot do it. O my Clementina, my sister, my friend, I cannot be so great, so disinterested, in this instance, as you can be!—But I can be just: I presume to say, I cannot be ungenerous. I tell you not what I hope to be enabled by your noble example, in time, to do, because of the present tenderness of your health. But you must not, madam, expect from me a conduct, that you think it would become you to disavow. Delicate as the female mind is, and as is most particularly my dear correspondent's that of the man, on such an occasion as this, should show at least an equal delicacy: For has he not her honour, as a woman, to protect, as well as his own, as a man, to regard?

Distress me not, my dear Clementina; add not, I should rather say, to my distress, by the declaration of yours. I repeat, that your parents will not compel you. Put it not out of your power to be prevailed upon to do an act of duty. God requires not that you should be dead to your friends, in order to live to Him. Their hope is laudable. Will Lady Clementina della Porretta put it out even of the Almighty's power, to bless their hope? Will she think herself unhappy, if she cannot punish them, instead of rewarding them, for all their tender and indulgent goodness to her?—It cannot be. God Almighty perfect his own work, so happily begun, in the full restoration of your health! This blessing, I have no doubt, will attend your filial obedience. But can you, my dear correspondent, expect it, if you make yourself uneasy, and keep your mind in suspense, as to your duty, and indulge yourself in supposing, that the will of God, and the will of your parents, are opposite, when theirs is solely designed for your good, spiritual and temporal? A great deal now depends upon yourself. O, madam, will you not in a smaller instance, were your heart ever so much engaged to the cloistered life, practise that self-denial, which in the highest you enforce upon me? All your temporal duties, against you; and your spiritual not favouring, much less impelling, you?

But once more, I quit a subject, that may, and, no doubt, will, be enforced in a much stronger manner, than I can enforce it. I will soon, very soon, pay my duty to you, and all yours. You own your wishes to see me, because you are fortified by your invincible adherence to your resolution. I will acknowledge anguish of heart. I cannot, as I told you above, be so great as you. But if you will permit your sisterly Love to have its full operation, and if you wish me peace of mind, and a cordial resignation to your will, let me see you, madam, on the next visit I shall have the honour to make you, cheerful, serene, and determined to resign your will to the reasonable will of parents, who, I am confident, I again repeat it, will never compel you to marry—Have they not already given you a very strong instance, that they will not?—In a word, let me hear you declare, that you will resign yourself to their will, in this article of the veil; and I shall then, with the more cheerfulness, endeavour to resign to yours, so strongly and repeatedly declared, in the Letter before me, to, dear Lady,

Your fraternal Friend, and ever-obliged Servant,

Lady Olivia, madam, arrived this day at her own palace. It is impossible that any-thing but civility can pass between her and your greatly-favoured correspondent.

Volume V - lettera 42

Volume V - Letter 43


Bologna, Thursday, Aug. 17-28.

I shall hereafter have a pretty large supplement to give you to my literary journal; having found it necessary, as much as possible, in the past month, to amuse myself with subjects without myself. And I shall send you now the copies of three Letters of mine, written in Italian to Lady Clementina; and two of hers, in answer to the first and second of them.

I arrived here yesterday. But before I proceed to acquaint you with my reception, I should mention, that Lady Olivia arrived at her own place at Florence, on Friday last. I was then in that city, but newly returned from Naples and Rome. She sent one of her gentlemen to me the night of her arrival, to acquaint me with it, and to desire me to attend her next morning. I went.

Her first reception of me was polite and agreeable. But the moment her aunt Maffei withdrew, and we were alone, her eyes darting a fiercer ray, Wretch, said she, what disturbance, what anxieties, hast thou given me!—But it is well, that thy ingratitude to the creature who has risked so much for thee, has been rewarded, as it ought to be, by a repulse from a still prouder heart, if possible than thy own!

You, Lady Olivia, answered I, have reason to impute pride to me. You have given me many opportunities to show you, that I, a man, can keep my temper; when you, a woman, have not been able to keep yours; yet, in me, never met with an aggressor.

Not an aggressor, Sir!—To say nothing of the contempts you cast upon me here in my own Italy, what was your treatment of me in your England—Paltry island! I despise it!—To resolve to leave me there! To refuse to compliment me with a day, an hour! [O my detested weakness! What a figure did I make among your friends!] And declaredly to attend the motions of the haughtiest woman in Europe! Thank God, for your own sake; yes, Sir, I have the charity to say, for your own sake; that you are disappointed!

I pity you, Lady Olivia: From my soul I pity you! And should abhor myself, were I capable of mingling insult with my pity. But I leave you.

Forgive me, Chevalier, catching my arm as I was going. I am more displeased with myself than with you. A creature, that has rendered herself so cheap to you (but, Sir, it is only to you) cannot but be uneasy to herself; and when she is, she must misbehave to every-body else. Say you forgive me—

She held out her hand to me. But immediately, on Lady Maffei's coming in, followed by servants, withdrew it.

Her behaviour afterwards was that of the true passionate woman; now ready to rave, now in tears. I. cannot, Dr. Bartlett, descend to particulars. A man, who loves the Sex; who has more compassion than vanity in his nature; who can value (even generally faulty) persons for the qualities that are laudable in them, must be desirous to draw a veil over the weaknesses of such. I left her distressed? There may be cases in which sincerity cannot be separated from unpoliteness. I was obliged to be unpolite, or I could not have been sincere; and must have given such answers, as would, perhaps, in some measure, have entitled the Lady to think herself amused. Poor woman! She threatened to have me overtaken by her vengeance. But now, on the disappointment I had met with at Bologna, it became absolutely necessary for me to encourage, or to discourage, this unhappy Lady—I could not have been just to her, had I not been just to myself.

A very extraordinary attempt was made, next day, on my person; I am apt to believe, from this quarter. It succeeded not: And as I was on the Tuesday to set out for Bologna, I let it pass off without complaint or enquiry.

I paid the Count of Belvedere a visit, as I had promised. The General at Naples, and the Count at Parma, received me with the highest civilities; and both from the same motive. The Count will hope. The General accompanied me, with his Lady, part of my way to Florence. The motive of his journey is to rejoice personally with his friends at Urbino and Bologna, on the resolution his sister has taken; and to congratulate her upon it; as he has already done by Letter; the copy of which he showed me. There were high compliments made me in it. We may speak handsomely of the man whom we neither envy nor fear. He would have loaded me with presents; but I declined accepting any; in such a manner, however, as he could not be dissatisfied with me for my refusal.

I paid also my respects at Urbino to the Altieri family, and the Conte della Porretta, in my way to Rome and Naples, and met with a very polite reception from both. For the rest of the time of my absence from Bologna, my literary journal will account.

On Wednesday afternoon I went to the palace of Porretta. I hastened up to my Jeronymo, with whom, as also with Mr. Lowther, I had held a correspondence, in my absence, and received favourable intelligences from them.

Jeronymo rejoiced to see me. I was inexpressibly delighted to find him so much recovered. His appetite, he told me, was restored. His rest was balmy and refreshing. He sat up several hours in the day; and his sister and he gave joy to each other, and to all their friends. But he hinted to me his wishes still, to call me brother; and begged of God, in a very earnest manner, snatching my hand, and wetting it with his tears, that it still might be so.

The Marquis, the Marchioness, the Bishop, and Father Marescotti, joined to thank and applaud me for my part of the correspondence with their beloved daughter; for, on my declining to support her in her wishes to be allowed to take the veil, she had showed them the copy of her second Letter, as well as my reply, to it. The blessings which they poured out upon me, were mingled with their tears; and Father Marescotti and the Bishop declared, that they would, in every prayer they put up to Heaven for themselves and the Family, remember me, and beg of God to supply to me, by another, and even, they said, a better Clementina, the disappointment I had so unexpectedly met with from theirs. The General and his Lady, and the Count, arrived the day before: But they were not present.

While they were all complimenting and applauding the almost silent man (for in so critical a situation what could I say?) Camilla came in, and whispering the Marchioness, Clementina, said the Marchioness, is impatient to see her friend. Chevalier, I will introduce you. I followed her.

The young Lady, the moment she beheld me, flew to me with open arms, as to her brother, her fourth brother, as she called me; and thanked me, she said, a thousand thousand times, for my Letters to her. My mamma, said she, has seen them all. But, ah, Sir, your third!—I did not think you would have refused me your interest with my friends. I cannot, cannot give up that point. It was always my wish, madam (turning to her mother) to be God's child; that does not make me less yours and my papa's. O, Chevalier! you have not quieted, you have not convinced, my heart!

I promise myself, that I could have left you without a plea, my dear correspondent, returned I, had my heart been at ease, and the argument less affecting to myself. And surely, if Lady Clementina had been convinced, she would have acted up to her conviction.

O, Sir, you are a dangerous man! I see, if a certain event had taken place, I should have been a lost creature!—Are not you, Sir, convinced, that I should, in my notions of a lost creature? If you are, I hope you will act up to your conviction.

Was this necessary to be said to me? I think, on recollection, she half-smiled when she said it.

My dear Dr. Bartlett, you see Clementina could be pleasant on an occasion so solemn!—But perhaps she saw me only affectedly cheerful. Little, at present, as she imagines it, I think it not impossible that she may in time be brought to yield to the sense of her duty, laid down by such powerful advocates as she has in her own family. Whatever happens, may it be happy to her and this family, and then I cannot be wholly joyless! What is there in this Life, worth—But let me not be too abstracted! This world, if we can enjoy it with innocent cheerfulness, and be serviceable to our fellow-creatures, is not to be despised, even by a Philosopher.

I hope, madam, said I, to her, that at least you suspend your wishes after the sequestered life. She allowed the force of one or two of my arguments, but I could perceive, that she gave not up her hope of being complied with in her wishes to assume the veil.

The General, and his Lady, and the Count, being come in, hastened up to pay their compliments to me. How profuse were the two Gentlemen in theirs!

At the Marchioness's motion, we went to Jeronymo, and found the Marquis, the Bishop, and Father Marescotti, coming to us. And then, every one joining in their acknowledgements of obligation to me, and wishing it in their power to make me as happy as they declared I had made them, I said, It was in their power, I hoped, to do me an unspeakable pleasure.

They called upon me, as with one voice; It is, answered I, that my dear friend Jeronymo may be prevailed upon to accompany me to England. Mr. Lowther would think himself very happy in his attendance on him there, rather than to stay here; and yet, if my request should not be granted, he is determined not to leave him till he is supposed to be out of danger.

They looked upon one another with eyes of pleasure and surprise. Jeronymo wept. I cannot, cannot bear, said he, such a weight of obligation. Grandison, we can do nothing for you: And you have brought me your Lowther to heal me, that you might have the killing of me yourself.

Clementina's eyes were filled with tears. She went from us with some little precipitation.

O Chevalier, said the Marchioness, my Clementina's heart is too susceptible for its own ease, to impressions of gratitude. You will quite kill the poor child—or make her repent her resolution.

What is there but favour to me, replied I, if my request can be complied with? I hope my dear Jeronymo will not be unattended by others of his friends: I have had the promises of the two young Lords. Our baths are restorative. I will attend you to them, my dear Jeronymo. The difference of air, of climate, may, probably, be tried with advantage. Let me have the honour of entertaining you in England, looking all round me; and that I will consider, as a full return of the obligations you think so highly of, and are so solicitous to discharge.

They looked upon one another, in silence.

Would to God, proceeded I, that you, my Lord, and you, madam (directing myself to the father and mother) would honour me, as my guests, for one season—You once had thoughts of it, had a certain happy event taken place—I dare promise you both, after the fatigues you have undergone, a renewal of health, from our salutary springs. I should be but too happy, if, in such company, a sister might be allowed to visit a brother!—But if this be thought too great a favour, that sister, in your absence, cannot but give and receive pleasure, sometimes in visiting Mrs. Beaumont at Florence; sometimes her Brother and his Lady at Naples. And I will engage my two Sisters and their Lords to accompany me in my attendance on you back to Bologna. My Sisters will be delighted with the opportunity of visiting Italy, and of paying their respects to a young Lady whose character they revere, and to whom once their brother had hoped to give them the honour of a relation.

They still continuing silent, but none of them seeming displeased; You will, by such a favour, my dear Lords, and you, madam, to the Marchioness, do me credit with myself, as I may say. I shall return to my native country, if I go alone, after the hopes you had all given me, like a disappointed and rejected man. My pride, as well as my pleasure, is concerned on this occasion. My house in the country, my house in London, shall be yours. I will be either inmate or visitor, at your pleasure. No man loves his country better than I do: But you will induce me to love it still better, if by your compliance with my earnest request, you shall be able to obtain either health or pleasure from a twelvemonth's residence in it. Oblige me, my dear Lords; oblige me, madam; were it but to give yourselves a new relish to your own country and palace on your return. Our summers have not your fervid sun: Our commerce gives us, in the highest perfection, all your justly boasted autumnal fruits: Nor are our winters so cold as yours. Oblige me, for the approaching winter only; and stay longer, as you shall find inclination.

Dearest Grandison, said Jeronymo, I will accept of your invitation the moment I am told that I may undertake the journey—

The journey, my Lord, interrupted I!—Your cabin shall be made near as convenient to you, as your chamber. You shall be set ashore within half a league of my house in London. God give us a pleasant voyage; and in a few days time, you will not know, except by amended health and spirits, that you are not in this your own chamber.

Surely, said the General, my sister was right in her apprehensions, that she should not be able to continue a Catholic, had she been this man's. I wish you, my Lord, you, madam, and Jeronymo, would go. You have had a long course of fatigues and troubles. You love the Chevalier. Winter with him, however. I have heard much of the efficacy of the English baths. Clementina must not go. My wife and I will make her as happy as possible in your absence: And take Grandison at his word. Bring him, and his sisters, back with you. Their Lords, I understand, have been among us. They will not be sorry to visit Italy a second time, as, no doubt, they are men of taste—But when, Chevalier, do you think of going?

The sooner the better, were it but to take advantage of the fine season: It will be but what mariners call a trip to England. You will make me very happy. You can have no other way of discharging the obligations you are so solicitous about. I will return with you: The health of Lady Clementina, I flatter myself, will be quite confirmed by that time. Signor Jeronymo, I hope, will be restored likewise: What joy shall we be enabled to give one another:—

They took only till the morning to consult, and give me an answer.

Volume V - lettera 43

Volume V - Letter 44


Mr. Lowther and his colleagues, having been consulted, gave it as their opinion, that Jeronymo might be removed by litter to the nearest sea-port, and there embark for England; but that it is most eligible to stay till the next spring, by which time they hope the two old wounds may be safely cicatrised, and the new one only kept open.

But they all engaged, that then not only Jeronymo, and the two young Lords, but some others of the family, will be my guests in England; and, in the mean time, that the Bishop and Father Marescotti will in turn correspond with me, and acquaint me with all that passes here.

Clementina drank chocolate with us. She had been made acquainted with their determination, and approved of the promises of a visit to be made me next year, by some of the principals of the family. What a hard circumstance is it, whispered she, as she sat next me, that the person who would be most willing to go, and I flatter myself, would not be the least welcome, must not be of the company! I should have been glad to have made one visit to the country where the Chevalier Grandison was born.

And what a perverseness, thought I, is there in custom; that would not permit this kind explicitness in Lady Clementina, were she not determined to consider the brother, in the man before her, rather than a still nearer relation! By how many ways, my dear Dr. Bartlett, may delicate minds express a denial!—Negatives need not to be frowningly given, nor affirmatives blushingly pronounced.

Jeronymo and I being left alone, he challenged me on the visible concern which he, and every one, as he said, saw in my countenance, on the turn his sister had taken: Had it not been in my heart, he was sure it would not have been there.

Can you wonder at it, my dear friend? said I: When I came over, greatly as I thought of your sister, I did not think she had been so great, as she has shown herself. I admired her ever; but I now more than admire her. Taught to hope, as I was, and so unexpectedly disappointed, as I have been, I must have been more than man, were I not very much affected.

No doubt but you must; and I am cordially concerned for your concern. But, my dear Grandison, it is only God that she prefers to you. She suffers more than you can do. She has no other way, she assures me, to comfort herself, but by indulging her hopes, that she shall not live long—Dear creature! She flatters herself, that her reason is restored, in answer to her fervent supplications, which, she says, she put up to Heaven, in all her lucid intervals, that for the sake of her parents and brothers, it might be restored, and that then she might be taken to the arms of mercy. But if your heart be deeply affected, my Grandison—

It is, Jeronymo. I am not an insensible man. But should now our dear Clementina be prevailed upon to descend from the height to which she has soared, however my wishes might be gratified by the condescension: yet, while she believed her conscience would be wounded by it, I could not but think it would be some diminution to her glory. And how, as she has hinted in one of her letters to me, would it be possible, were I to see my beloved wife unhappy with her scruples, to forbear endeavouring to quiet her mind by removing them? And could this be effected, without giving her an opinion of the religion I profess, in opposition to hers? And would not that subject me to a breach of articles? O my dear Jeronymo! Matters must stand just as they do, except she could think more favourably of my religion, and less favourably of her own.

He began to talk of their obligations to me. I declared, that they could no other way give me pain. Do not, said I, let this subject ever be again mentioned, by you, or any of the family. Every one, my dear Jeronymo, is not called upon by the occasion, as I have had the happiness to be. Would my friend envy me this happiness?

I wish, Dr. Bartlett, with all my heart, that I could think of any thing that I could accept of, to make such grateful spirits easy. It pains me, to be placed by them in such a superior light, as must give them pain. What, my dear Dr. Bartlett, can I do, consistent with my notions of friendship, to make their hearts easy?

He was afraid, he said, that I should now soon think of leaving them.

I told him, that having no doubt of Lady Clementina's perseverance in her resolution, and of her leave to return to my native country, I should be glad, for my own sake, as well as the Lady's, to be allowed to depart in a few days. Mr. Lowther, as it would make Jeronymo, as he had declared, more easy, would stay behind me. But dismiss him, my friend, said I, as soon as you can. He had obtained abroad a happy competency, and was returned to England, when I first knew him, with intent to enjoy it. He is as rich as he wants to be; and can gratify only the natural benevolence of his heart, by attending my dear friend. I hope to get him to accept of apartments with me, in my London house; and to fix his retirement, if not with me in my paternal seat, in its neighbourhood at least. He has merit that is not confined to his profession: But for what he has done for my Jeronymo, he will always hold a prime place in my heart.

It is true, Dr. Bartlett; and I please myself, that he will be found as worthy of your friendly love, and my Beauchamp's, as of mine. If I can at last be indulged in my long, long hoped-for wish, of settling in my native country, with some tolerable tranquillity of mind, I shall endeavour to draw around me such a collection of worthies, as shall make my neighbourhood one of the happiest spots in Britain.

The Marchioness came up to us. Clementina, said she, is apprehensive that you soon will leave us. Her father and brothers are walking with her in the garden: They will, I dare say, be glad of your company.

I left Jeronymo and his mother together; and joined the Marquis, the General, the Bishop, and Clementina. The General's Lady and Father Marescotti were in another ally, in earnest conversation.

The Marquis made me a high compliment; and after a few turns, the Prelate led off his father and brother, and left Clementina and me alone together.

Were you not cruel, Chevalier, said she, in your last Letter to me, not only to deny me your weight in the request my heart was, and is still, set upon; but to strengthen their arguments against me? Great use have some of my friends made of what you wrote. O Sir, you have won the heart of Giacomo: but you have contributed to oppress that of his sister. Indeed, indeed, I cannot be easy, if I am denied the veil.

Dear Lady Clementina, remember, that the full establishment of your health depends, under God, upon the quiet of your own mind. Give not way, I beseech you, to uneasy apprehensions. What daughter may rely upon the indulgence of a father and mother, what sister upon the affection of brothers, if you may not upon yours? You have seen how much their happiness depends upon your health. Would you doubt the efficacy of that piety, while you are in the world, of which you have already (Shall I say to my cost?) given an instance so glorious to yourself, that the sufferer by it cannot help applauding you for it?

O Chevalier! Say not at your cost, if you wish me to be easy.

With the utmost difficulty have I restrained, and do I restrain, myself on these occasions. I must, however, add, on this, a few words: You have obliged me, madam, to give one of the greatest instances of self-denial, that ever was given by man: Let me beseech you, dearest Lady Clementina, for your own sake, for the sake of your duty, as well to the departed, as to the living (and, may I add, for my, sake?) that you would decline this now favourite wish of your heart.

She paused; and at last said, Well, Sir, I see I must not expect any favour from you, on this subject. Let us turn into that shaded ally. And now, Sir, as to the other part of my request to you, in my last Letter—It was not a request made on undeliberate motives.

What is that, madam?

How shall I say it?—Yet I will—If, Chevalier, you would banish from my heart—Again she stopped. I thought not, at that moment, of what she meant.

If you would make me easy—


You must marry!—Then, Sir, shall I not doubt of my adhering to my resolution. But, say not a word till I have told you, that the Lady must be an English woman. She must not be an Italian. Olivia would not scruple to change her religion for you. But Olivia must not be yours. You could not be happy, I persuade myself, with Olivia. Do you think you could?

I bowed, in confirmation of her opinion.

I thought you could not. Let not Clementina be disgraced in your choice of a wife. I have a proud heart. Let it not be said, that the man, of whom Clementina della Porretta thought with distinction, undervalued himself in marriage.

This, Dr. Bartlett, was a request of the same generous import, that she mentioned in her reverie, before I left Italy. How consistently delicate! She had tears in her eyes, as she spoke. I was too much affected with her generosity, to interrupt her.

If you marry, Sir, I shall, perhaps, be allowed to be one in the party, that will make you a visit in England: My sister-in-law has, within this hour, wished to be one. She will endeavour to prevail upon her Lord (He can deny her nothing) to accompany her. You will be able to induce Mrs. Beaumont once more to visit her native country. You and your Lady, and perhaps your Sisters and their Lords, will return with us. Thus shall we be as one family. If I am not to be obliged in another wish, I must in this: And this must be in your power. And will you not make me easy?

Admirable Clementina! Who can be so great as you? Such tenderness as I read in your eyes, such magnanimity, never before met in woman! You can do every-thing that is noble—But that very greatness of soul attaches me to you; and makes it, at least while I am an admiring witness of your excellence—

Hush, Chevalier! Not a word more on this subject. It affects me more than I wish it did. I am afraid I am chargeable with affectation—But you must, however, marry. I shall not be easy, while you are unmarried—When I know it is not possible to be—But no more of this subject now—How long is it, that we are to have you among us?

If I have no hopes, madam—

Dear Chevalier, speak not in this strain—She turned her face from me.

The sooner, the better—But your pleasure, madam—

I thank you, Sir—But did I not tell you, that I have pride, Chevalier?—Ah, Sir, you have long ago found it out! Pride will do greater things for women, than Reason can—Let us walk to that seat, and I will tell you more of my pride.

She sat down; and making me sit by her—I will talk to these myrtles, fancifully said she, turning her head from me. "Shall the Chevalier Grandison, be acquainted with the weakness of thy heart, Clementina?—Shall he, in compassion to thy weakness, leave his native country, and come over to thee?—Shall the success that has attended his generous effort, show his power to the confirmation of thy weakness?—Shalt thou, enabled by the divine goodness to take a resolution becoming thy character, be doubtful whether thou canst adhere to it; and give him room to think thee doubtful?—Shall he, in consequence of this doubtfulness, make officious absences, to try thy strength of mind?—And shalt thou fail in the trial his compassionate generosity puts thee to?"—No, Clementina!

Then turning to me, with a downcast eye—I thank you, Sir, for all the instances of generous compassion you have shown me. My unhappy disorder had entitled me, in some measure, to it. It was the hand of God. Perhaps a punishment for my pride; and I submit to it. Nor am I ashamed to acknowledge the kindness of your compassion to me. I will retain a grateful sense of it, to the last hour of my life. I wish to be remembered by you with tenderness to the last hour of yours. I may not live long: I will therefore yield to your request, so earnestly made, and to the wishes of my dearest friends, in suspending, at least, my own. I will hope to see you (in the happy state I have hinted at) in England, and afterwards in Italy. I will suppose you of my family. I will suppose myself of yours. On these suppositions, in these hopes, I can part with you; as, if I live, it will be a temporary parting only; an absence of a few months. And have I not behaved well for the whole last month, and several days over, tho' I reckoned to myself the time as it passed, more than once every day, as so much elapsed, and nearer to the time of your return?—I own it (blushing)—And now, Sir, I return to you the option you offered me. Be the day, the solemn day, at your nomination—Your Sister Clementina will surrender you up to her Sisters and yours—O Sir! listing up her eyes to me, and beholding an emotion in me which I tried to conceal, but could not, how good, how compassionate, how affectionate, you are!—But name to me now your day! This seat, when you are far, far distant from me, shall be a seat consecrated to the remembrance of your tenderness. I will visit it every day; nor shall the summer's sun, nor the winter's frost, keep me from it.

It will be best, taking her hand, admirable Lady! it will be best for us both, for me I am sure it will, that the solemn day be early. Next Monday morning let me set out—Sunday evening—The day, on my part, shall be a day passed in imploring health, happiness, and every blessing, on my dearest Clementina, on our Jeronymo, and their whole family; and for a happy meeting to us all in England—SUNDAY EVENING, if you please, I will—I could not speak out the sentence.

She burst into tears; reclined her face on my shoulder—her bosom heaved—and she sobbed out—Oh, Chevalier!—Must, must—But be it—Be it so!—And God Almighty strengthen the minds of both!

The Marchioness, who was coming towards us, saw at distance the emotion of her beloved daughter and fearing she was fainting, hastened to her, and clasping her arms about her—My child, my Clementina, said she—Why these streaming eyes? Look upon me, Love.

Ah, madam! The day, the day is set!—Next Monday!—The Chevalier will leave Bologna!

God forbid—Chevalier, you will not so soon leave us? My dear, we will prevail upon the Chevalier—

I arose, and walked into a cross alley from them. I was greatly affected!—O Dr. Bartlett! These good women!—Why have I a heart so susceptible; yet such demands upon it for fortitude?

The General, the Bishop, and Father Marescotti, came to me. I briefly recounted to them, the substance of the conversation that had passed between Lady Clementina and me. The Marquis joined his Lady and daughter; and Clementina, in her tender way, gave her father and mother an account of the same.

The Marquis and his Lady, leaving her to her Camilla, joined us: O Chevalier! said the Marquis, how can we think of parting with you?—And so soon?—You will not so suddenly leave us?

Not if Lady Clementina commands the contrary. If she do not, the sooner, the better it will be for me. I cannot bear her generous excellence. She is the most exalted of women.—See! the dear Lady before us, leaning on her Camilla, as if she wanted support!

My sister and you, Chevalier, said the General, will no doubt correspond. We shall none of us deny her that liberty. As she has already expressed to you her wishes that you would marry; may we not hope, that you will try your influence over her, upon the same subject, in your future Letters? The marriage of either will answer the end she proposes to herself, by urging yours.

Good Heaven! thought I—Do they believe me absolutely divested of human passions?—I have been at continual war, as you know, Dr. Bartlett, with the most ungovernable of mine; but without wishing to overcome the tender susceptibilities, which, properly directed, are the glory of the human nature.

This is too much to be asked, said the young Marchioness. How can this be expected?

You know not, madam, said the Bishop, supporting his brother's wishes, what the Chevalier Grandison can do, to make a whole family happy, tho' against himself.

Lady Clementina, said the equally unfeeling, tho' good, Father Marescotti, thinks she is under the divine direction, in the resolution she has taken. This world, and all its glories, are but of second consideration with her. Were it to cost her her life, I am confident, she would not alter it. As therefore the Chevalier can have no hopes—

I cannot ask this, said the Marquis. You see how hard a task (referring to me)—O that the great obstacle could be removed! My dear Grandison, taking my hand, cannot, cannot—But I dare not ask—If it could, my own sons would not be more dear to me, than you.

My Lord, you honour me. You engage my utmost gratitude. It is with difficulty that I am able to adhere to my engagement, not to press her to be mine, when I have the honour to be with her. I have wished her to resign her will to that of her father and mother, as you have seen, knowing the consequence. I am persuaded, that if either were to marry, the other would be more easy in mind; and I had much rather follow her example, than set her one—You will see what my return to my native country will do for us both. But she must not be precipitated. If she is, her wishes to take the veil may be resumed. Punctilio will join with her piety; and, if not complied with, she may then again be unhappy.

They agreed to follow my advice; to have patience; and leave the issue to time.

I left them, and went to Jeronymo. I communicated to him what had passed, and the early day I had named for setting out on my return to England. This I did, with as much tenderness as possible. Yet his concern was so great upon it, that it added much to mine; and I was forced, with some precipitation, to quit his chamber, and the house; and to retire to my lodgings, in order to compose myself.

And thus, my dear Dr. Bartlett, is the day of my setting out fixed. I hope I shall not be induced to alter it. Mrs. Beaumont, I know, will excuse me going back to Florence. Olivia must. I hope she will. I shall write to both.

I shall take my route thro' Modena, Parma, Placentia. Lady Sforza has desired an interview with me. I hope she will meet me at Pavia, or Turin. If not, I will attend her at Milan. I promised to pay her a visit before I quitted Italy: But as her request to see me was made while it was thought there might have been a relation between us, I suppose the interview now can mean nothing but civility. I hope, if I see her, her cruel daughter will not be present.

Volume V - lettera 44

Volume V - Letter 45


Parma, Monday Night, Aug. 21 & Monday Night, Sept. 1.

Here I am, my dear Dr. Bartlett. Just arrived.

The Count of Belvedere allows me to be alone. I am not fit for company.

The whole family, Jeronymo and Clementina excepted, dined with me on Saturday. Clementina was not well enough to leave her chamber. She would endeavour, she said, on Sunday night, when I was to take my leave of them all, to behave with as much presence of mind as she did on a former occasion. All the intervenient time, she said, was necessary to fortify her heart. But, alas! the circumstances between us, then and now, were not the same. We had, for some time past, been allowedly too dear to each other, to appear, either of us, so politely distant, as we did then.

She never once asked me to suspend the day of my departure. Every one else repeatedly did. We both thought it best, as the separation was necessary, that it should not be suspended.

I had many things to do; many Letters to write; much to say to Mr. Lowther, and he to me. I declined therefore their invitation to attend them home in the evening, as well as to dine with them next day. The solemn visit was to be made yesterday in the evening; and every visit near the time, would have been as so many farewells. My own heart, at least, told me so, and forbad me more than one parting scene. The time so near, they themselves wished it past.

The Count had come from Urbino on purpose, with the two young Lords, to take leave of me: What blessings did that nobleman, and the Marquis and Marchioness, invoke upon me! The General had more than once tears in his eyes: He besought me to forgive him for every-thing, in his behaviour, that had been disagreeable to me. His Lady permitted me to take leave of her in the most affectionate manner; and said, that she hoped to prevail on her Lord to visit me himself, and to allow her to bear him company, in my own country. The Bishop supplicated Heaven to reward me, for what he called my goodness to their family. Father Marescotti joined in his supplications, with a bent knee. The Marquis and Marchioness both wept; and called me by very endearing names, vowing everlasting love and gratitude to me. Jeronymo! my dear Jeronymo! one of the most amiable of men! how precious to my soul will ever be the remembrance of his friendly Love! His only consolation was, and it is mine, that, in a few months, we shall meet in England. They wanted to load me with presents. They pained me with their importunities, that I would accept of some very valuable ones. They saw my pain; and, in pity to me, declined their generous solicitations.

Clementina was not present at this parting scene. She had shut herself up for the greatest part of the day. Her mother, and her sister-in-law, had been her only visitors: And she having declared that she was afraid of seeing me, it was proposed to me, whether it were not best for me to depart, without seeing her. I can well spare to myself, said I, the emotions which, already so great, will, on taking leave of her, be too powerful for my heart, if you think, that, when I am gone, she will not wish (as once she was so earnest, even to discomposure, for a farewell visit) that she had allowed herself to see me.

They all were then of opinion, that she should be prevailed upon. Camilla at that instant came down with her Lady's desire, that I would attend her. In what way, Camilla, is my Clementina? asked the Marchioness: Every-one attending the answer. In great grief, madam: Almost in agonies. She was sending me down with her warmest wishes to the Chevalier, and with her excuses; but called me back, saying, she would subdue herself: She would see him: And bid me hasten for fear he should be gone.

The two Marchionesses went up directly. I was in tremors. Surely, thought I, I am the weakest of men!—The Bishop and General took notice of my emotion, and pitied me. They all joined in the wish so often repeated, that I could yet be theirs.

I followed Camilla. Lady Clementina, when I entered, sat between the mother and sister; an arm round each of their necks: Her face was reclined, as if she were ready to faint, on the bosom of her mother, who held her salts to her. I was half-way in the room, before either mother or daughter saw me, The Chevalier Grandison, my best sister! said the young Marchioness: Look up, my Love.

She raised her head. Then stood up, curtsied; and, gushing into tears, turned her face from me.

I approached her: Her mother gave me the hand of her Clementina—Comfort her, comfort my Clementina, good Chevalier—You only can—Sit down, my Love. Take my seat, Sir.

The young Lady trembled. She sat down. Her mother seated herself; tears in her eyes. I sat down by Clementina. The dear Lady sobbed; and the more, as she endeavoured to suppress her emotion.

I addressed myself to her sister-in-law, who had kept her seat—Your Ladyship, said I, gives me a very high pleasure, in the hope of seeing you, and your Lord, a few months hence, in company with my Jeronymo. What a blessing is it to us all, that that dear friend is so well recovered? I have no doubt but change of climate, and our salutary springs, will do wonders for him. Let us, by our patience and resignation, entitle ourselves to greater blessings; the consequence, as I hope, of those we have already received.

Please God, I will see you in England, Chevalier, said the young Marchioness, if my Lord is in the least favourable to my wishes: And I hope my beloved sister may be of the party. You, madam, and the Marquis, I hope—looking at her mother-in-law.

I hope you will not go without us, my dear, replied the Marchionss. If our dear Clementina shall be well, we will not leave her behind us.

Ah, madam!—Ah, Sir!—said Clementina, how you flatter me! But this, this night, if the Chevalier goes early in the morning, is the last time I shall ever see him.

God forbid! replied I—I hope that we may, many, many years rejoice, in each other's friendship. Let us look forward with what pleasure we may. My heart, madam, wants your comfortings. I have a greater opinion of your magnanimity, than I have reason to have of my own. I depart not, but in consequence of your will—Enable me, by your example, to sustain that consequence. In every-thing you must be an example to me. I could not have done, as you have done: Bid me support my spirits in the hope of seeing you again, and seeing you happy. Tell me, that your endeavours shall not be wanting to be so: And I shall then be so too: Dear Lady Clementina, my happiness is bound up with yours.

Ah, Sir, I am not greater than you: And I am less than myself. I was afraid when I came to the trial—But is your happiness bound up with mine? O that I may be happy for your sake! I will endeavour to make myself so. You have given me a motive. Best of men! How much am I obliged to you! Will you cherish my remembrance? Will you forgive all my foibles?—The trouble I have given you?—I know you depart in consequence of my—Perverseness—perhaps you think it, tho' you will not call so—What shall I do, if you think me either perverse or ungrateful?

I do not, I cannot, think you either. May I be assured of your correspondence, madam? Your Ladyship, turning to her mother, will give it your countenance—

By all means, answered the Marchioness. We shall all correspond with you. We shall pray for you and bless you, every day that we live. You will be to me, as you have always been, a fourth son—My dearest Clementina, say, if your mind is changed, if it be likely to change, if you think that you shall not be happy, if the Chevalier—

O madam, permit me to withdraw for one moment.

She hurried to her closet. She shut the door, and poured out her soul in prayer; and soon returning—It must be so—with an air of assumed greatness. Let thy steadiness, O Grandison, excuse and keep mine in countenance—Bear witness, my sister; forgive me, my mamma: But never did one mortal love another, as I do the man before us. But you both, and you, my dear Chevalier, know the competition; and shall not the UNSEEN (casting up her eyes surcharged with tears) be greater with me than the seen? Be you my brother, my friend, and the lover of my soul. This person is unworthy of you. The mind that animates it, is broken, disturbed—Pray for me, as I will for you—

Then dropping down on one knee, God preserve and convert thee, best of Protestants, and worthiest of men! Guide thy footsteps, and bless thee in thy future and better lot! But if the woman, whom thou shalt distinguish by thy choice, loves thee not, person and mind, as well as she before thee, she deserves thee not.

I would have raised her; but she would not be raised—seeming full of some other great sentiments. I kneeled to her, clasping my arms about her: May you, madam, be ever, ever happy!—I resign to your will—And equally admire and reverence you for it, though a sufferer by it. Lasting, as fervent, be our friendship!—And may we know each other hereafter, in a place where all is harmony and love; where no difference in opinion can sunder, as now, persons otherwise formed to promote each other's happiness!

I raised her, and arose; and kissing first one hand, then the other, and bowing to the two Marchionesses, was hastening from her.

She clapt her hands together—He is gone!—O stay, stay, Chevalier—And will you go?—

I was in too much emotion to wish to be seen—She hastened after me to the stairs—O stay, stay! I have not said half I had to say—

I returned, and, taking her hand, bowed upon it, to conceal my sensibility—What further commands with a faltering voice, has Lady Clementina for her Grandison?

I don't know—But will you, must you, will you go?

I go; I stay; I have no will but yours, madam.

The two Marchionesses stood together, rapt in silent attention, leaning on each other.

Clementina sighed, sobbed, wept; then turning from me, then towards me; but not withdrawing her hand; I thought, said she, I had a thousand things to say—But I have lost them all!—Go thou, in peace; and be happy! And God Almighty make me so! Adieu, dearest of men!

She condescendingly inclined her cheek to me: I saluted her; but could not utter to her what yet was upon my lips to speak.

She withdrew her hand. She seemed to want support. Her mother and sister hastened to her. I stopped at the door. Her eyes pursued my motions. By her uplifted hands she seemed praying for me. I was apprehensive of her fainting. I hastened towards her; but restraining myself, just as I had reached her, again hurried to the door: And on my knees, with clasped hands, audibly there besought God to sustain, support, preserve, the noble Clementina: And seeing her seated in the arms of both Ladies, I withdrew to Mr. Lowther's apartment; and shut myself in for a few moments. When a little recovered, I could not but step in to my Jeronyme. He was alone; drying his eyes as he sat: But seeing me enter, he burst out into fresh tears.

Once more, my Jeronymo—I would have comforted him; but wanted comfort myself.

O my Grandison! embracing me, as I did him—

CLEMENTINA! The angel CLEMENTINA! Ah, my Jeronymo!—Grief again denied me further speech for a moment. I saw that my emotion increased his—Love, love, said I, the dear—I would have added CLEMENTINA; but my trembling lips refused distinct utterance to the word.—I tore myself from his embrace, and with precipitation left the tenderest of friends.

About eleven, according to the English numbering of the hours, I sent to know how the whole family did. Father Marescotti returned with my servant. He told me, that the Lady fainted away after I was gone: But went to rest as soon as recovered. They all were in grief, he said. He was charged with the best wishes, and with the blessings, of every one; with those of the two Marchionesses in particular. Signor Jeronymo was so ill, that one of his Italian surgeons proposed to sit up with him all night; for Mr. Lowther had desired to accompany me as far as Modena: And him I charged with my compliments to each person of the family; and with my remembrances to servants, who well deserved kindness from me; and who, Father Marescotti told me, were all in tears on my departure. I prevailed on the Father himself to make my acknowledgements to the good Camilla. He offered, and I thankfully accepted of, his prayers for my health and happiness, which he put up in the most fervent manner, on his knees; and then embracing me, with a tenderness truly paternal, we parted, blessing each other.

This morning early, I set out. The Count of Belvedere rejoiced to see me; and called me kind, for being his guest, though but for one night; for I shall pursue my journey in the morning. He assures me, that he will make me a visit in England.

You will hardly, till I arrive at Paris, have another Letter, my dear Dr. Bartlett, from

Your ever-affectionate

Volume V - lettera 45

Volume V - Letter 46


Paris, Aug. 31. & Paris, Sept. 11.

I set out from Parma early on Tuesday morning, as I intended. The Count of Belvedere was so obliging, as to accompany me to Pavia, where we parted with mutual civilities.

I paid my respects to Lady Sforza at Milan, as I had promised. She received me with great politeness. Our conversation chiefly turned on the differences between the other branches of her family, on one part; and herself, and Lady Laurana, on the other. She owned, that when she sent to desire a visit from me, she had supposed, that the alliance between them and me was a thing concluded upon; and that she intended, by my mediation, to reconcile herself to the family, if they would meet her half-way.

She was so indiscreet, as they lay general blame on her noble niece, as a person given up to a zeal that wanted government: She threw out hints, injurious to the sincerity of the three brothers, as well as to that of the father and mother, with regard to me: All which I discountenanced.

I have hardly ever conversed with a woman so artful as Lady Sforza. I wonder not, that she had the address to fire the Count of Belvedere with impatience, and to set him on seeking to provoke me to an act of rashness, which, after what had happened between me and the young Count Altieri, some years ago, at Verona, might have been fatal to one, if not to both; and, by that means, rid Italy, if not the world, of me, and, at the same time, revenged herself on the Count, for rejecting her daughter, who, as I have told you before, has a passion for him, in a manner that she called too contemptuous to be passed over.

She told me, that she doubted not now, that I had been circumvented, by (what even she, an Italian, called) Italian finesse, but her niece would be prevailed upon to marry the Count; and bid me mind her words. Ah, my poor Laurana! added she—But I will renounce her, if she can be so mean, as to retain Love for a man who despises her.

A convent, she said, after such a malady as Clementina had been afflicted with, would be the fittest place for her. She ascribed to hers and Laurana's treatment of her (with great vehemence, on my disallowing her assertion) the foundation of her cure. She wished that, were Clementina to marry, it might have been me, preferably to any other man; since the Love she bore me, was most likely to complete her recovery; which was not to be expected, were she to marry a man to whom she was indifferent—But, added she, they must take their own way.

Lady Laurana was on a visit at the Borromean palace: Her mother sent for her, unknown to me. I could very well have excused the compliment. I was civil, however: I could be no more than civil: And, after a stay of two hours, pursued my route.

Nothing remarkable happened in my journey. I wrote to Jeronymo, and his beloved Sister, from Lyons.

At the post-house there, I found a servant of Lady Olivia, with a Letter. He was ordered to overtake, and give it into my own hands, were he to travel with it to Paris, or even to England. Lady Olivia will be obeyed. The man missed me, by my going to visit Lady Sforza at Milan. I inclosed the Letter; as also a copy of mine, to which it is an answer. When you read them, you will be of opinion, that they ought not to pass your own hands. Perhaps you will choose to read them in this place.

Volume V - lettera 46

Volume V - Letter 47


Bologna, Saturday, Aug. 19-30.

Now, at last, is the day approaching, that the writer of this will be allowed to consider himself wholly as an Englishman. He is preparing to take, perhaps, an everlasting leave of Italy. But could he do this, and not first bid adieu to two Ladies at Florence, whose welfare will be ever dear to him—Lady Olivia, and Mrs. Beaumont? It must be to both by Letter.

I told you, madam, when I last attended you, that possibly I should never see you more. If I told you so in anger, pardon me. Now, in a farewell Letter, I would not upbraid you. I will be all in fault, if you please. I never incurred the displeasure of Olivia, but I was more concerned for her, than for what I suffered from it; and yet her displeasure was not a matter of indifference to me.

I wish not, madam, for my own happiness, with more sincerity than I do for yours. Would to Heaven it were in my power to promote it! I will flatter myself, that my true regard for your honour, daughter as you are of a house next to princely, and of fortune more than princely, will give me an influence, which will awaken you to your glory. Allow, madam, the friendly, the brotherly expostulation—Let me think, let me speak, of Olivia, in absence, as a fond brother would of a sister most dear to him. I will so speak, so think of you, madam, when far distant from you. When I remember my Italian friends, it will always be with tender blessings, and the most affectionate gratitude. Allow me, Olivia, to number you with the dearest of those friends. Your honour, your welfare, present and future, is, and ever will be, the object of my vows.

God and nature have done their parts by you. Let not your own be wanting. To what purpose live we, if not to grow wiser, and to subdue our passions? Dear Lady! Illustrious woman! How often have you been subdued by the violence of yours; and to what submissions has your generous repentance subjected you, even to your inferiors! Let me not be thought a boaster—But I will presume to say, that I am the rather entitled to advise, as I have made it my endeavour (and, I bless God, have not been always unsuccessful) to curb my passions. They are naturally violent. What do I owe to the advice of an excellent man, whom I early set up as my monitor? Let me, in this Letter, be yours.

Your situation in life, your high birth, your illustrious line of ancestors, are so many calls upon you, in whom the riches and the consequence of so many noble progenitors centre, to act worthy of their names, of their dignities, of your own; and of the dignity of your Sex. The world looks up to you (your education, too, so greatly beyond that of most Italian Ladies) with the expectation of an example—Yet have not evil reports already gone out upon your last excursion? The world will not see with our eyes, nor judge as we would have it, and as we sometimes know it ought to judge. My visit to Italy, when you were absent from it, and in England, was of service to your fame. The malignant world, at present, holds itself suspended in its censures; and expects, from your future conduct, either a confutation or a confirmation of them. It is, therefore, still in your power (rejoice, madam, that it is!) for ever to establish, or for ever to depreciate, your character, in the judgment both of friends and enemies.

How often have I seen passion, and even rage, deform features that are really lovely! Shall it be said, that your great fortune, your abundance, has been a snare to you? That you would have been a happier, nay a better woman, had not God so bountifully blessed you?

Can your natural generosity of temper allow you to bear such an imputation, as that the want of power only can keep you within the limits (Pardon, Olivia, the lover of your fame!) which the gentleness of your Sex, which true honour, prescribe?

You are a young Lady. Three fourths of your natural life (Heaven permitting) are yet to come. You have noble qualities, shining accomplishments. You will probably, in a very few years, perhaps in a few months, be able to establish yourself with the world. So far only as you have gone, the inconsideration of youth will be allowed an excuse for your conduct. Blest with means, as you are, you still have it in your power, let me repeat, to be an honour to your Sex, to your country, to your splendid house, and to the age to which you are given.

The monitor I mentioned (You know him by person, by manners) from my earlier youth, born as he knew me to be, the heir of a considerable fortune, suggested to me an address to Heaven, which my heart has had no repugnance to make a daily one; "That the Almighty will, in mercy, withhold from me wealth and affluence, and make my proud heart a dependant one, even for my daily bread, were riches to be a snare to me; and, if I found not my inclinations to do good, as occasions offered, enlarge with my power."—O that you, Olivia, were poor and low, if the being so, and nothing else, would make you know yourself, and act accordingly!—And that it were given to me, by acts of fraternal love, to restore you, as you could bear it, to an independence, large as your own wishes!

What an uncontrollable MAN would Lady Olivia have made, had she been a man, with but the same passions, that now diminish the grandeur of her soul, and so large a power to gratify them!—What a Sovereign!—Look into the characters of absolute princes, and see whose, of all those who have sullied royalty, by the violence of their wills, you would have wished to copy, or to have been compared with.

How has the unhappy Olivia, though but a subject dared!—How often has that tender bosom, whose glory it would have been to melt at another's woe, and to rejoice in acts of kindness and benevolence to her fellow-creatures, been armed by herself (not the mistress, but the slave, of her passions) not with defensive, but offensive, steel (Note: Alluding to the poinard she carried in her bosom)! Hitherto Providence has averted any remediless mischief; but Providence will not be tempted.

Believe me, still believe me, madam, I mean not to upbraid you. My dear Olivia, I will call you, how often has my heart bled for you! How paternally, tho' but of years to be your brother, have I lamented for you in secret! I will own to you, that, but for the withholding prudence, and withholding honour, that I owned to both our characters, because of a situation which would not allow me to express my tenderness for you, I had folded you, in your contrite moments, to my bosom; and, on my knees, besought you to act up to your own knowledge, and to render yourself worthy of your illustrious ancestry. And what but your glory could have been, what but that is now, my motive?

With what joy do I reflect, that I took not (God be praised for his restraining goodness!) advantage of the favour I stood in, with a most lovely, and princely-spirited woman; an advantage that would have given me cause to charge myself with baseness to her, in the hour wherein I should have wanted most consolation! With what apprehension (dreading for myself, because of the great, the sometimes almost irresistible, temptation) have I looked upon myself to be (shall I say ?) the sole guardian of Olivia's honour! More than once, most generous and confiding of women, have I, from your unmerited favour for me, besought you to spare me my pride; and as often to permit me to spare you yours—Not the odious vice generally known by that name (the fault of fallen angels) but that which may be called a prop, a support, to an imperfect goodness which, properly directed, may, in time, grow into virtue!—That friendly pride, let me add, which has ever warmed my heart with wishes for your temporal and eternal welfare.

I call upon you once more, my FRIEND! How unreproachingly may we call each other by that sacred name! The Friend of your Fame, the Friend of your Soul, calls upon you once more, to rejoice with him, that you have it still in your power to tread the path of honour. Again I glory, and let us both, that we have nothing to reproach each other with. I leave Italy, a country that ever will have a title to my grateful regard, without one self-upbraiding sigh; though not without many sighs. I own it to Olivia. Justice requires it. Justice to a Lady Olivia loves not; but who deserves, not only hers, but the love of every woman; for she is an ornament to her Sex, and to human nature. Yet, be it known to Olivia, that I am a sufferer by that very magnanimity, for which I revere her—A rejected man!—Will Olivia rejoice that I am?—She will. What inequalities are there in the greatest minds? But subdue them in yours. For your own sake, not for mine, subdue them. The conquest will be more glorious to you, than the acquisition of an empire could be.

Let me conclude, with an humble, but earnest, wish, that you will cultivate, as once you promised me, the friendship of one of the best of women, Mrs. Beaumont, disposed as she, your neighbour, is to cultivate yours. I shall then hear often from you, by the pen of that excellent woman. Your compliance with this humble advice will give me, madam, for your own sake, and for the pleasure I know Mrs. Beaumont will have in it, the greatest joy that is possible for you to give to a heart, that overflows with sincere wishes for your happiness: A heart that will rejoice in every opportunity that shall be granted to promote it: For I am, and ever will be,

The Friend of your Fame, of your true Glory,
and your devoted Servant,

Volume V - lettera 47

Volume V - Letter 48


(Translated by Dr. Bartlett.)

Florence, Sept. 4. N. S.

I am to take it kindly, that you have thought fit to write to the unhappy Olivia before you leave Italy. I could not have expected even this poor favour, after the parting it was your pleasure to call everlasting. Cruel man!—Can I still call you so?—I did, before I had this Letter; and was determined, that you should have reason to repent your cruelty: But this Letter has almost reconciled me to you; so far reconciled me, however, as to oblige me to lay aside the intended vengeance that was rolling towards you from slighted Love. You have awakened me to my glory, by your dispassionate, your tender reasonings. Your Letter (for I have erased one officious passage in it) is in my bosom all day. It is on my pillow at night. The last thing, and the first thing, do I read it. The contents make my rest balmy, my up-rising serene. But it was not till I had read it the seventh time, and after I had erased that obnoxious passage, that it began to have that happy effect upon me. I was above advice for the first day. I could not relish your reasonings. Resolutions of vengeance had possessed me wholly. What a charm could there be in a Letter, that should make a slighted woman lay aside her meditated vengeance? A woman too, that had fallen beneath herself in the object of that despised Love.

Allow me, Grandison, to say so. In the account of worldly reckoning, it was so. And when I thought I hated you, it was so in my own account. Yet could you have returned my Love, I would have gloried in my choice: and attributed to envy all the insolent censures of maligners.

But even at the seventh perusal, when my indignation began to give way, would it have given way, had you not, in the same Letter, hinted, that the proud Bologna had given up all thoughts of a husband in the man to whom my heart had been so long attached?—Allow me to call her by the name of her city. I love not her, nor her family. I hate them by their own proud names. It is an hereditary hatred, augmented by rivalry, a rivalry that had like to have been a successful one: And is she not proud, who, whatever be her motive, can refuse the man, who has rejected a nobler woman? Yet I think I ought to forgive her; for has she not avenged me? If you are grieved, that she has refused you. I am rejoiced. Be the pangs she has so often given me, if possible, forgotten!

What a miserable wretch, however, from my own reflexions, did this intelligence make me! Intelligence that I received before your Letter blessed my hands. Let me so express myself; the contents, I hope, will be the means of blessings, by purifying my heart!—And why a miserable wretch?—O this man, of sentiments the most delicate, of life and manners the most unblameable; yet of air and behaviour so truly gallant, had it not been for thy forwardness, Olivia; had it not been for proposals, shame to thyself! shame to thy sex! too plainly intimated to him; proposals that owed their existence to inconsiderate Love; a Love mingled, I will now confess, with passions of the darkest hue—Envy, malice—and those aggravated by despair—would, on this disappointment from the Bologna, have offered his hand to the Florentine!—But now do I own, that it cannot, that it ought not to be. For what, Olivia, is there in the glitter of thy fortune, thy greatest dependence, to attract a man, whom worldly grandeur cannot influence? Who has a fortune of his own so ample, that hundreds are the better for it?—A man, whose economy is regulated by prudence? Who cannot be in such difficulties as would give some little merit to the person who was so happy as to extricate him from them?—A man, in short, who takes pleasure in conferring obligations yet never lays himself under the necessity of receiving returns? Prince of a man! What Prince, King, Emperor, is so truly great as this man? And is he not likewise surrounded by his nobles?—What a number of people of high interior worth, make up the circle of his acquaintance!

And is there not, cannot there yet be hope; the proud Bologna now (as she is) out of the question?—The Florentine wants not pride; but betrayed by the violence of her temper, she has not had the caution to confine herself within the bounds of female (shall I say) hypocrisy? What she could not hide from herself, she revealed to the man she loved: But never, however, was there any other man whom she loved. Upon whom but one man, the haughty object of her passion, did she ever condescend to look down? Who but he was ever encouraged to look up to her?—And did not his gentle, his humane, his unreproaching heart, seem to pity rather than despise her, till she was too far engaged? At the time that she first cast her eyes upon him, his fortune was not high: His father, a man of expense, was living, and likely to live: His sisters, whom he loved as himself, were hopeless of obtaining from their father fortunes equal to their rank and education. Olivia knew all this from unerring intelligence. His friends, his Bartlett, his Beauchamp, and others, were not in circumstances, that set them above owing obligations to him, slender as were his own appointments—Then it was that thou, Olivia, valuedst thyself for being blest with means to make the power of the man thou lovedst, as large as his heart. Thou wouldest have vested it all in him. Thou wouldest have conditioned with him, that this he should do for one sister; this for the other; this for one friend; this for another; and still another, to the extent of his wishes: And with him, and the remainder, thou wouldest have been happy.

Surely there was some merit in Olivia's Love.

But, alas! she was not prudent: Her temper, supposed to be naturally haughty and violent, hurried her into measures too impetuous. The soul of the man she loved, too great to be attracted by riches, by worldly glory, and capable of being happy in a mere competence, was (how can I say it? I blush while I write it!) disgusted by a violence that had not been used to be restrained by the accustomed reserve. It was all open day, no dark machinating night, in the heart of the undissembling Olivia. She persecuted the object of her passion with her Love, because she thought she could lay him under obligation to it. By hoping to prove herself more, she made herself appear less than woman. She despised that affectation, that hypocrisy, in her Sex, which unpenetrating eyes attribute to modesty and shame—Shame of what! of a natural passion?

But you, Grandison, were too delicate, to be taken with her sincerity. If you had penetration to distinguish between reserve and openness of heart, you had not greatness of mind enough to break thro' the low restraints of custom; and to reward the latter in preference to the former. Yet who, better than you, knows, that women in Love are actuated by one view, and differ only in outward appearance? Will bars, bolts, walls, rivers, seas, any more withhold the supercilious, than the less reserved? That passion which made the Florentine compass earth and seas, in hopes of obtaining its end, made, perhaps, the prouder Bologna (and from pride) a more pitiable object—Yet, who ever imputed immodesty to Olivia? Who ever dared to harbour a thought injurious to her virtue? You only (custom her judge) have the power, but not, I hope, the will, to upbraid her. You can. The creature, who, conscious of having alarmed you by the violence of her temper, would have lived with you on terms of probation, and left it to your honour, on full consideration and experience of that temper, to reward her with the celebration, or punish her with rejection (her whole fortune devoted to you) had subjected herself to your challenges. But no-body else could harbour a thought inglorious to her.

And must she yield to the consciousness of her own unworthiness, from a proposal made by herself, which tyrant custom only can condemn?

O yes, she must. There is, among your countrywomen, one who seems born for you, and you for her. If she can abate of a dignity, that a first and only Love alone can gratify, and accept of a second-placed Love a widower-bachelor, as I may call you, she, I know, must, will, be the happy-woman. To her the slighted Florentine can resign, which, with patience, she never could to the proud Bologna; and the sooner, because of the immortal hatred she bears to that woman of Bologna. You, Grandison, have been accustomed to be distinguished by women who in degree and fortune might claim rank with princesses. Degree and fortune captivate you not—This humbler fair-one is more suitable to your own degree: And in the beauties of person and mind (at least, in those beauties of the latter, which you most admire) she is superior either to your Bolognese or Florentine. Let my pen praise her, tho' malice to Clementina, and despair of obtaining my own wishes, mingle with my ink—She is mild, tho' sparkling: She is humble, yet has dignity: She is reserved, yet is frank and openhearted: Nobody can impute to her either dissimulation or licence of behaviour. We read her heart in her countenance; and have no thought of looking further for it: Wisdom has its seat on her lips; modesty, on her brow: Her eyes avows the secrets of her soul; and demonstrate, that she has no one, that she need to be ashamed of: She can blush for others; for the unhappy Olivia she did more than once: But for herself she need not blush. I loved, yet feared her, the moment I saw her. I dared not to try myself by her judgment. It was easy for me to see, that she loved you; yet such were your engagements, your supposed engagements, that I pitied her: And can we be alarmed by, or angry at, her whom we pity?—Unworthy Grandison! Unworthy I will call you; because you cannot merit the Love of such a spotless heart. You who could leave her, and, under colour of honour, when there was no pre-engagement, and when the proud family had rejected you, prefer to such a fine young creature, a romantic Enthusiast—O may the sweet maiden, who wants not due consciousness of interior worth, assert herself; and, by refusing your second-placed addresses, vindicate the dignity of beauty and innocence unequalled!

If you, Grandison, cannot forgive Olivia for loving you too well, for rendering herself too cheap to you; if you cannot repair in her own eyes, the honour of one, who, in that case must be sunk in yours beyond the power of restoration, if you cannot forgive attempts of the hand, in which the heart had no share, but resisted; in a word, if you cannot forgive the fervour of a Love, that, at times, combating my pride, had nearly overturned my reason also—Then, let this virgin goodness be yours, and Olivia will endeavour to forgive you—Yet—O that yet—Ah, Grandison!—But how can a woman bear that refusal, which, however superior she may be in rank, in fortune, gives her an inferiority to the man of her wishes, in the very article in which it should be a woman's glory to retain dignity, even were the man superior to her in birth, and in all other outward advantages? I disdain thee, Grandison, in this light. I will tear thy proud image from my heart, or die.

One request only, let me make, and permit your pride to comply with it. Return not to me, but accept (accept as a token of Love) the cabinets which perhaps will be in England before you. They will be thought by you of too great value; but they are not too great for the grandeur of my fortune, and the magnificence of my spirit. The medals alone, make a collection that would do credit to the cabinet of a sovereign Prince. These are in your taste. They are nothing to Olivia, but for your sake. Accept of these cabinets, as some atonement for the trouble I have given you; for the attempts I have made upon your liberty, and more than once (but Oh! with how feeble a hand!) upon your life! How easy had it been to take the latter, your soul so fearless, braving menace and danger, had I been resolved to take it! How many ministers of vengeance, in my country, had I been determined to execute it, would my fortune have procured me! How easy would it have been for me to conceal my guilt from all but myself, had the slow-working bowl, or even the sharp-pointed poniard, given thee up to my great revenge!—'Tis happy for us both however, that the proud Bigot rejected you! Your death and my distraction, had probably, been the consequence of her acceptance of you—Yet, how I rave!—The moment I had seen you, my vengeance would have been arrested, as more than once it was. O Grandison! How dear are you (were you now, I will endeavour to say) to the soul of Olivia! Dearer than same, than glory, and whatever the world deems valuable.

All that I ask of you now, that the Bologna, in disappointing you, has disappointed herself (great revenge!) is within your own power to grant, without detriment to yourself, and, I hope, without regret. It consists of two or three articles: The first is, to resolve within yourself, that you will not now, should that heat of the zealot's imagination, which has seemed to carry her above herself, subside (as I have no doubt but it will;) and should she even follow you to your native place, as a still nobler woman ignobly did; that you will not now receive her offered hand!—O Grandison! If you do—

Next, that you will (thus fairly, tho' foolishly, dismissed, and the whole family rejoicing in your dismission, well as they pretend to love you) put it out of your own power, since the Florentine can have no hope, to give the Bolognese any. My soul thirsts to see her in a Nunnery: I could myself assume the veil in the same convent, I think I could, for the pleasure of exulting over her for the pangs she has occasioned me. But for her, Olivia would have been mistress of her own wishes.

Preach not to me, Grandison, against that spirit of revenge, which ever did, and ever must, actuate my heart. Slighted Love will warrant it, or nothing can! Have I not lost the man I loved by it? Can I regain him, if I conquer that not ignoble vehemence of a great mind?—No!—Forbear then the unavailing precept. I am not of Bologna. I am no zealot! While the warm blood flows in my veins, I pretend not to be above human nature. When I can divest myself of that, then, perhaps, I may follow your advice: I may seek to cultivate the friendship of Mrs. Beaumont: But till then, she would not accept of mine.

O Grandison! born to distinction! princely in your munificence! amiable in your person! great in your mind, in your sentiments! you have conquered your ambition—You may therefore unite yourself to the politest country maid, and the loveliest, that ever adorned your various climate: Yet, O that in the same hour, the Bolognese might assume the veil, and the lovely English maid refuse your offered hand!

My third request is (as before requested) that you will not refuse the cabinets which will be soon embarked for you. Be not afraid of me, Grandison; I form no pretensions upon you from this present; valuable as you, perhaps, may think it. Your simple acceptance is all the return I hope for. Write only these words with your own hand—"Olivia. I accept your present, and thank you for it." Receive it only as a token of my past Love, for a man whose virtues I admire, and, by degrees, shall hope to imitate. That, Sir, when a certain event was most my wish, was not the least motive for that wish: But now, what will be the destiny of the bewildered creature, who is left at large to her own will, who can tell? A will, that only one man in the world could have subjugated. His control would have been freedom.

I would not have you imagine, that a correspondence, by Letter, is hoped for, as a return for the Present of which I entreat your acceptance: But when I can assure you, that your advice will probably be of great service to me, in the conduct of my future life, as I have no doubt it will, from the calm effects that the Letter, which has now a place in my bosom, has already produced there, I am ready to flatter myself, that a wish so ardent, and so justifiable, will be granted to the repeated request of


Continuation of Sir Charles Grandison's Letter. No. 46.

Olivia, you see, my dear Dr. Bartlett, concludes her Letter, with a desire of corresponding with me. As she has put it, I cannot refuse her request. How happy should I think myself, if I could be a means effectually to serve her in the conduct of her future life!

I have written to her, that I shall think an intercourse by Letters an honour done me, if she will allow me to treat her with the freedom and the singleness of heart of an affectionate brother.

As to her particular recommendation of a third person, I tell her, that must be the subject of the future correspondence to which she is pleased to invite me.

Olivia may be in earnest, in her warm commendations of a Lady, of whose excellencies nobody can write or speak with indifference: But I have no doubt, that she is very earnest to know my sentiments on the subject. But what must be the mind of the bachelor-widower, as she calls me, if already I can enter into the subject with any-body, with Lady Olivia especially? The most sensible, I will not say subtle creature on earth, is certainly a woman in Love. What can escape her penetration? What can bound her curiosity.

I tell her, that I can neither decline nor accept of her present, till I see the contents of the cabinets she is pleased to mention. It will give me pain, I say, to refuse any favour from Lady Olivia, by which she intends to show her esteem of me: But favours of so high a price, will, and ought to, give scruples to one who would not be thought ungenerous.

I had always admired, I tell her, her collection of medals: But they are a family collection, of two or three generations: And I should not allow myself to accept of such a treasure, unless I could have an opportunity given me to show, if not my merit, my gratitude; and that I saw no possibility of being blessed with, in any manner, that could make the acceptance tolerably easy to myself. I cannot, my dear Dr. Bartlett, receive from this munificent Lady a present that is of such high intrinsic worth. Had she offered me any-thing that would have had its value from the giver, or to the receiver, for its own sake, and not equally to any-body else; for instance, had she desired me to accept of her picture, since the original could not me mine; I would not have refused it, tho' it had been incircled with jewels of price. But, circumstanced as this unhappy Lady and I are, could I have asked her for a favour of that nature?

I think, I have broken thro' one delicacy, in consenting to correspond with this Lady. She should not have asked it. I never knew a pain of so particular a nature as this Lady (a not ungenerous, tho' a rash one) has given me. My very heart recoils, Dr. Bartlett, at the thought of a denial of marriage to a woman expecting the offer, whom delicacy has not quite forsaken.

But a word or two more on this subject of Presents. When the whole family at Bologna were so earnestly solicitous to show their gratitude to me by some permanent token, I had once the thought of asking for their Clementina's picture in miniature: But as I was never to think of her as mine, and as, probably, my picture, if but for politeness sake, would have been asked for in exchange, I was afraid of cherishing, by that means, in her mind, the tender ideas of our past friendship, and thereby of making the work of her parents difficult. And do they not the more excusably hope to succeed in their views, as they think their success will be a means to secure health of mind to their child? But if they visit me in England, I will then request the pictures of the whole family, in one large piece, for the principal ornament of Grandison-hall.

By what Olivia says, of designs on my liberty, I believe she means to include the attempt made upon me at Florence; which I hinted at in my last, and supposed to come from that quarter. What she would have done with me, had the attempt succeeded, I cannot imagine. I should not have wished to have been the subject of so romantic an adventure—A prisoner to a Lady in her castle!—She is certainly one of the most enterprising women in Italy; and her temper is too well seconded by her power. She would not, however, in that case, have had recourse to fatal acts of violence. Once, you know, she had thoughts of exciting against me the Holy Tribunal: But I was upon such a foot, as a traveller, and as an English Protestant, tho' avowed, not behaving indiscreetly, that I had friends enow, even in the Sacred College, to have rendered ineffectual any steps of that sort. And after all, her machinations were but transitory ones, and, the moment she saw me, given over.

My first enquiry, after my arrival here, was after my poor cousin Grandison. My poor cousin, indeed! What a spiritless figure does he make! I remember you once said, That it was more difficult for a man to behave well in prosperity, than in adversity: But the man who will prove the observation to be true, must not be one, who, by his own extravagance and vice, has reduced himself, from an affluence to which he was born, to penury, at least to a state of obligation and dependence. Good God! that a man should be so infatuated, as to put on the cast of a dye, the estate of which he is in unquestioned possession from his ancestors! Yet who will say, that he who hopes to win what belongs to another, does not deserve to lose his own?

I soothed my cousin in the best manner I could, consistently with justice: Yet I told him, that his repentance must arise from his judgment, as well as from his sufferings; and that he would have less reason for regretting the unhappy situation to which he had reduced himself, if the latter brought him to a right sense of his errors. I was solicitous, Dr. Bartlett, for the sake of his own peace of mind, that he should fall into a proper train of thinking: But I told him, that preachment was no more my intention, than recrimination.

I have two hands to one tongue, my cousin, said I; and the latter I use not but to tell you, that both the former are cordially at your service. You have considered this matter well, no doubt, added I: Can you propose to me any means of retrieving your affairs?

There is, said he, one way. It would do everything for me: But I am afraid of mentioning it to you.

If it be a just way, fear not. If it be any-thing I can do for you, out of my own single purse, without asking any second or third person to contribute to it, command me—He hesitated.

If it be any-thing, my cousin, said I, that you think I ought not, in justice, in honour, to comply with, do not, for your own sake, mention it. Let me see that your calamity has had a proper effect upon you. Let not the just man be sunk in the man in adversity; and then open your mind freely to me.

He could not, he said, trust the mention of the expedient to me, till he had given it a further consideration.

Well, Sir, be pleased to remember, that I will never ask you to mention it; because I cannot doubt but you will, if, on consideration, you think it a proper expedient.

When some friends, who came to visit me on my arrival, were gone, my cousin resumed the former subject: But he offered not to mention his expedient. I hope it was not, that he had a view to my Emily. I am very jealous for my Emily. If I thought poor Everard had but an imagination of retrieving his affairs by her fortune, nothing but his present calamity should hinder me from renouncing for ever my cousin.

I enquired particularly into the situation he was in; and if there were a likelihood of doing any-thing with the gamesters. But he could not give me room for such an expectation. I find he has lost all his estate to them, Dunton-farm excepted; which, having been much out of repair, is now fitting up for a new tenant; and will not, for three or four years to come, bring him in a clear fifty pounds a year.

I have known more men than one, who could not live upon fifteen hundred a year, bring themselves to be contented with fifty. But Mr. Grandison is so fallen in spirit, that he never will be able to survive such a change of fortune, if I do not befriend him. Poor man! he is but the shadow of what he was. The first formerly in the fashion: In body and face so erect; his steps so firm, gait so assured, air so genteel, eye so lively—But now, in so few months, gaunt sides; his half-worn tarnish'd-laced coat, big enough to lap over him; hollow cheeks, puling voice, sighing heart, creeping feet—O my Dr. Bartlett, how much does it behove men so little able to bear distress, to avoid falling into it by their own extravagance! But for a man to fall into indigence thro' avarice (for what is a spirit of gaming, but a spirit of avarice, and that of the worst sort?) How can such a one support his own reflexions?

I had supposed, that he had no reason, in this shattered state of his affairs, to apprehend any-thing from the prosecution set on foot by the woman who claimed him on promise of marriage; but I was mistaken; she has, or pretends to have, he told me, witnesses of the promise. Poor shameful man! What witnesses needed she, if he knows he made it, and received the profligate consideration?

I am not happy, my dear friend, in my mind. I hope to be tolerably so, if my next Letters from Bologna are favourable, as to the state of health of the beloved brother and sister there.

It would have been no disagreeable amusement to me, at this time, to have proceeded directly to Ireland; the rather, as I hope a visit to my estate there is become almost necessary, by the forwardness the works are in which I set on foot when I was on that more than agreeable spot. But the unhappy situation of Mr. Grandison's affairs, and my hopes of bringing those of Lady Mansfield to an issue, together with the impatience I have to see my English friends, determine me to the contrary. To-morrow will be the last day of my stay in this city; and the day after, my cousin and I shall set out for Calais—Very quickly, therefore, after the receipt of this Letter, which shuts up the account of my foreign excursions, will you, by your paternal goodness, if in London, help to calm the disturbed heart of


Volume V - lettera 48

Volume V - Letter 49


London, Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Congratulate us, my dearest Miss Byron, on the arrival of my brother. He came last night. It was late. And he sent to us this morning; and to others of his friends. My Lord and I hurried away to breakfast with him. Ah, my dear! we see too plainly that he has been very much disturbed in mind. He looks more wan, and is thinner, than he was: But he is the same kind brother, friend, and good man.

I expected a little hint or two from him on my past vivacities; but not a word of that nature. He felicitated my good man and me; and when he spoke of Lord and Lady L. and his joy in their happiness, he put two sisters and their good men together, as two of the happiest pairs in England. Politic enough; for as we sat at breakfast, two or three toy-some things were said by my Lord (no ape was ever so fond!) and I could hardly forbear him: But the reputation my brother gave me, was a restraint upon me. I see, one may be flattered, by underserved compliments, into good behaviour, when we have a regard to the complimenter.

Aunt Nell was all joy and gladness: She was in raptures last night, it seems, at her nephew's first arrival. He rejoiced to see her; and was so thankful to her for letting him find her in town, and at his house, that she resolves she will not leave him till he is married. The good old soul imagines she is of importance to him, in the direction of the family matters, now I have left him—I, Harriet! there's self-importance!—But, good creatures, these old virgins! they do so love to be thought useful—Well, and is not that a good sign, on aunt Nell's part? Does it not look as if she would have been an useful creature in the days of nightrail and notableness, had she been a wife in good time? I always think, when I see those badgerly virgins fond of a parrot, a squirrel, a monkey, or a lap-dog, that their imagination makes our husband and children in the animals—Poor things!—But as to her care, I dare say, that will only serve to make bustle and confusion, where else would be order and regularity; for my brother has the best of servants.

I wished her in in Berkshire fifty times, as we sat at breakfast: For when I wanted to ask my brother twenty thousand questions, and to set him on talking, we were entertained with her dreams of the night before his arrival, and last night—Seas crossed, rivers forded—Dangers escaped by the help of angels and saints, for the reveries of the former night; and for the last, the music of the spheres, heaven, and joy, and festivity—The plump creature loves good cheer, Harriet.—In short, hardly a word could we say, but what put her upon recollecting a part of one of her dreams: Yet, some excuse lies good, for an old soul, whose whole life has been but one dream, a little fal-lalishly varied—And, would you think it? (yes, I believe you would) My odd creature was once or twice put upon endeavouring to recollect two or three dreams of his own, of the week past; and would have gone on, if I had not silenced him by a frown, as he looked upon me for his cue, as a tender husband ought.

Beauchamp came in, and I thought would have relieved us: But he put my aunt in mind of an almost forgotten part of her dream; for just such a joyful meeting, just such expressions of gladness, did she dream of, as she now beheld, and heard, between my brother and him felicitating each other. Duce take these dreaming souls, to remember their reveries, when realities infinitely more affecting are before them! But Reflexion and Prognostic are ever inspiriting parts of the pretension of people who have lived long; dead to the Present; the Past and the Future filling their minds: And why should not they be indulged in the thought that they know something more than those who are less abstracted; and who are contented with looking no further than the Present?

Sir Charles enquired after Sir Harry's health. Mr. Beauchamp, with a concern that did him credit, lamented his declining way; and he spoke so respectfully of Lady Beauchamp, and of her tenderness to his father, as made my brother's eyes glisten with pleasure.

Lord and Lady L. Dr. Bartlett, and Emily, were at Colnebrook: But as they had left orders to be sent for, the moment my brother arrived (for you need not doubt but his last Letter prepared us to expect him soon) they came time enough to dine with us. There was a renewal of joy among us.

Emily, the dear Emily fainted away, embracing the knees of her guardian, as she, unawares to him, threw herself at his feet, with joy that laboured for expression, but could not obtain it. He was affected. So was Beauchamp. So were we all. She was carried out, just as she was recovering to a shame and confusion of face, for which only her own modesty could reproach her.

There are susceptibilities which will show themselves in outward acts; and there are others which cannot burst out into speech. Lady L's joy was of the former, mine of the latter, sort. But she is used to tenderness of heart. Mine are ready to burst my heart, but never hardly can rise to my lips—My eyes, however, are great talkers.

The pleasure that Sir Charles, Lord L. and Dr. Bartlett, mutually expressed to see each other, was great, tender, and manly. My bustling nimble Lord enjoyed over again his joy, at that of every other person; and he was ready, good-naturedly, to sing and dance—That's his way, poor man, to show his joy; but he is honest, for all that. Don't despise him, Harriet! He was brought up as an only son, and to know that he was a Lord, or else he would have made a better figure in your eyes. The man wants not sense, I assure you. You may think me partial; but I believe the most foolish thing he ever did in his life, was at church, and that at St. George's, Hanover-square. Poor soul! He might have had a wife better suited to his taste, and then his very foibles would have made him shine. But, Harriet, it is not always given to us to know what is best for ourselves. Black women, I have heard remarked, like fair men; fair men, black women; and tempers suit best with contraries. Were we all to like the same person or thing equally, we should be for-ever engaged in broils: As it is, human nature (vile rogue! as I have heard it called) is quarrelsome enough: So my Lord, being a lost man, fell in love, if it please you, with a saucy woman. He ought to be meek and humble, you know. He would not let me be quiet, till I was his. We are often to be punished by our own choice. But I am very good to him now. I don't know, Harriet, whether it is best for me to break him of his trifling, or not: Unless one were sure, that he could creditably support the alteration. Now can I laugh at him; and, if the baby is froppish, can coax him into good humour. A sugar-plumb, and a curtsy, will do at any time; and, by setting him into a broad grin, I can laugh away his anger. But should I endeavour to make him wise, as the man has not been used to it, and as his education has not given him a turn to significance, don't you think he would he would be awkward; and, what is worse, assuming? Well, I'll consider of this, before I attempt to new-cast him. Mean time, I repeat—Don't you, my dear, for my sake, think meanly of Lord G.—Ha, ha, ha, hah!—What do I laugh at, do you ask me, Harriet?—Something so highly ridiculous—I have—I have—sent him away from me, so much ashamed of himself—He bears any-thing from me now, that he knows I am only in play with him, and have so very right a heart—I must lay down my pen—Poor soul! Hah, hah, hah, hah!—I do love him for his simplicity!

* *

Well, I won't tell you what I laughed at just now, for fear you should laugh at us both. My brother's arrival has tuned every string of my heart to joy. The holding up of a straw will throw me into titteration—I can hardly forbear laughing again, to think of the shame the poor soul showed, when he slunk away from me. After all, he ill brooks to be laughed at. Does not that look as if he were conscious?—But what, Harriet (will you ask) mean I, by thus trifling with you, and at this time particularly?—Why, I would be glad to make you smile, either with me, or at me: I am indifferent which, so that you do but smile—You do!—I protest you do!—Well! now that I have obtained my wishes, I will be serious.

We congratulated my brother on the happy turn in the healths of his Italian friends, without naming names, or saying a word of the sister we had like to have had. He looked earnestly at each of us; bowed to our congratulations; but was silent. Dr. Bartlett had told us, that he never, in his Letters to my brother, mentioned your being not well; because he knew it would disturb him. He had many things to order and do; so that, except at breakfast, when aunt Nell invaded us with her dreams, and at dinner, when the servants attendance made our discourse general, we had hardly any opportunity of talking to him. But in the space between tea-time and supper, he came and told us, that he was devoted to us for the remainder of the day. Persons present were, Lord and Lady L. myself, and my good man, Dr. Bartlett, Mr. Beauchamp, and Emily, good girl! quite recovered, and blithe as a bird, attentive to every word that passed the lips of her guardian—O, but aunt Nell was also present!—Poor soul! I had like to have forgot her!

In the first place, you must take it for granted, that we all owned, we had seen most of what he had written to Dr. Bartlett.

What troubles, what anguish of mind, what a strange variety of conflicts, has your heart had to contend with, my dear Sir Charles, began Mr. Beauchamp; and, at last, What a strange disappointment, from one of the noblest of women!

Very true, my Beauchamp. He then said great and glorious things of Lady Clementina. We all joined in admiring her. He seemed to have great pleasure in hearing us praise her—Very true, Harriet?—But you have generosity enough to be pleased with him for that.

Aunt Eleanor (I won't call her aunt Nell any more if I can help it) asked him, If he thought it were possible for the Lady to hold her resolution? Now you have actually left Italy, nephew, and are at such a distance, don't you think her love will return?

Good soul! She has substantial notions still left, I find, of ideal Love! Those notions, I fancy, last a long time, with those who have not had the opportunity of gratifying the silly passion!—Be angry, if you will, Harriet, I don't care.

Well, but, thus gravely, as became the question, answered my brother—The favour which this incomparable Lady honoured me with, was never disowned: On the contrary, it was always avowed, and to the very last. She had therefore no uncertainty to contend with: She had no balancings in her mind. Her contention, as she supposed, was altogether in favour of her duty to Heaven. She is exemplarily pious. While she remains a zealous Roman Catholic, she must persevere; and I dare say she will.

I don't know what to make of these Papists, said our old Protestant aunt Nell—(Aunt Nell, did I say? Cry mercy!)—Thank God you are come home safe and sound, and without a papistical wife!—It is very hard, if England cannot find a wife for you, nephew.

We all smiled at aunt Nell—The duce is in me, I believe!—Aunt Nell again!—But let it go.

When, Lady G. (asked Lady L.) saw you or heard you from, the dowager Countess of D.?

Is there any other Countess of D. Lady L.? said Sir Charles: A fine glow taking possession of his cheeks.

Your servant, brother, thought I; I am not sorry for your charming apprehensiveness.

No, Sir, replied Lady L.

Would you, brother, said Boldface (You know who that is, Harriet) that there should be another Countess of D.?

I wish my Lord D. happy, Charlotte. I hear him as well spoken of as any of our young nobility.

You don't know what I mean, I warrant, Sir Charles! resumed, with an intentional archness, your saucy friend.

I believe I do, Lady G. I wish Miss Byron to be one of the happiest women in the world, because she is one of the best—My dear, to Emily, I hope you have had nothing to disturb or vex you, from your mother's husband—

Nor from my mother, Sir—All is good, and as it should be. You have overcome—

That's well, my dear—Would not the Bath-waters be good for Sir Harry? my dear Beauchamp.

A second remove, thought I! But I'll catch you, brother, I'll warrant (as rustics sometimes, in their play, do a ball) on the rebound.

Now you will be piqued, I warrant, Harriet. Your delicacy will be offended, because I urged the question. I see a blush of disdain arising in your lovely cheek, and conscious eye, restoring the roses to the one, and its natural brilliancy to the other. Indeed we all began to be afraid of a little affectation in my brother. But we needed not. He would not suffer us to put him upon the subject again. After a few other general questions and answers, of who and who; and how and how; and what, and when, and-so-forth; he turned to Dr. Bartlett.

My dear friend, said he, you gave me pain a little while ago, when I asked you after the health of Miss Byron, and her friends: You evaded my question, I thought, and your looks alarmed me. I am afraid poor Mrs. Shirley—Miss Byron spoke of her always as in an infirm state: How, Charlotte, would our dear Miss Byron grieve, were she to lose so good a relation!

I intended not, answered the Doctor, that you should see I was concerned: But I think it impossible, that a father can love a daughter better than I love Miss Byron.

You would alarm me indeed, my dear friend, if Lady G. had not, by her usual liveliness just now, put me out of all apprehensions for the health of Miss Byron. I hope Miss Byron is well.

Indeed she is not, said I, with a gravity becoming the occasion.

God forbid! said he; with an emotion that pleased every-body—Not for your sake, Harriet—Be not affectedly nice now; but for our own—

His face was in a glow—What, Lady L. what, Charlotte, said he, ails Miss Byron?

She is not well, brother, replied I; but the most charming sick woman that ever lived. She is cheerful, that she may give no uneasiness to her friends. She joins in all their conversations, diversions, amusements. She would fain be well; and likes not to be thought ill. Were it not for her faded cheeks, her pale lips, and her changed complexion, we should not know from herself that she ailed any-thing. Some people reach perfection sooner than others; and are as swift in their decay—Poor Miss Byron seems not to be built for duration.

But should I write these things to you, my dear? Yet I know that Lady Clementina and You are sisters in magnanimity.

My brother was quite angry with me—Dear Dr. Bartlett, said he, explain this speech of Charlotte. She loves to amuse—Miss Byron is blessed with a good constitution: She is hardly yet in the perfection of her bloom. Set my heart at rest. I love not either of my Sisters, more than I do Miss Byron. Dear Charlotte, I am really angry with you.

My good-natured Lord reddened up to his naked ears, at hearing my brother say he was angry with me. Sir Charles, said he, I am sorry you are so soon angry with your sister. It is too true, Miss Byron is ill: She is, I fear in a declining way—

Pardon me, my dear Lord G.—Yet I am ready to be angry with any-body that shall tell me, Miss Byron is in a declining way—Dr. Bartlett—Pray—

Indeed, Sir, Miss Byron is not well—Lady G. has mingled her fears with her Love, in the description. Miss Byron cannot but be lovely: Her complexion is still fine. She is cheerful, serene, resigned—

Resigned, Dr. Bartlett!—Miss Byron is a saint. She cannot but be resigned, in the solemn sense of the word—Resignation implies hopelessness. If she is so ill, would not you, my dear Dr. Bartlett, have informed me of it—Or was it from tenderness—You must be kind in all you do.

I did not apprehend, said Lady L. that Miss Byron was so very much indisposed. Did you my Lord? (to Lord L.) Upon my word, Doctor, Sister, it was unkind, if so, that you made me not acquainted—

And then her good-natured eye dropped a tear of Love for her Harriet.

I was sorry this went so far. My brother was very uneasy. So was Mr. Beauchamp, for him, and for you, my dear.

That she is, and endeavours to be, so cheerful, said Beauchamp, shows, that nothing lies upon her mind—My father's illness only can more affect me, than Miss Byron's.

Emily wept for her Miss Byron. She has always been afraid, that her illness would be attended with ill consequences.

My dear Love, my Harriet, you must be well. See how every-body loves you. I told my brother, that I expected a Letter from Northamptonshire, by the next post; and I would inform him truly of the state of your health, from the contents of it.

I would not for the world have you think, my Harriet, that I meant to excite my brother's attention to you, by what I said. Your honour is the honour of the Sex. For are you not one of the most delicate-minded, as well as frankest, of it? It is no news to say, that my brother dearly loves you. I did not want to know his solicitude for your health. Where he once loves, he always loves. Did you not observe, that I supposed it a natural decline? God grant that it may not be so. And thus am I imprudently discouraging you, in mentioning my apprehensions of your all health, in order to show my regard for your punctilio: But you shall, you will, be well; and the wife of—the best of men—God grant it may be so!—But, however that is to be, we have all laid our heads together, and are determined, for your delicacy-sake, to let this matter take its course; since, after an opening so undesignedly warm, you might otherwise imagine our solicitude in the affair capable of being thought too urgent. I tell you, my dear, that, worthy as Sir Charles Grandison is of a princess, he shall not call you by his name, but with all his soul.

As my brother laid it out to us this evening, I find we shall lose him for some days. The gamesters whom Mr. Grandison permitted to ruin him, are at Winchester; dividing, I suppose, and rejoicing over, their spoils of the last season. Whether my brother intends to see them or not, I cannot tell. He expects not to do any-thing with them. They, no doubt, will show the foolish fellow, that they can keep what he could not: And Sir Charles aims only at practicable and legal, not at romantic, redresses.

Sir Charles intends to pay his respects to Lord and Lady W. at Windsor; and to the Earl of G. and Lady Gertrude, who are at their Berkshire seat. My honest Lord has obtained my leave, at the first asking, to attend him thither.—My brother will wait on Sir Harry, and Lady Beauchamp, in his way to Lady Mansfield's—Beauchamp will accompany him thither. Poor Grandison, as humble as a mouse, tho' my brother does all he can to raise him, desires to be in his train, as he calls it, all the way, and never to be from under his wing. My brother intends to make a short visit to Grandison-hall, when he is so near as at Lady Mansfield's: Dr. Bartlett will accompany him thither, as all the way; and hopes he will approve of every-thing he has done there, and in that neighbourhood, in his absence. The good man has promised to write to me. Emily is sometimes to be with me, sometimes with aunt Eleanor, at the Ancient's request; tho' Lord and Lady L. mutter at it. My brother's trusty Saunders is to be left behind, in order to dispatch to his master, by man and horse, any Letters that may come from abroad; and I have promised to send him an account of the healths, and-so-forth, of our Northamptonshire friends. I think it would be a right thing in him to take a turn to Selby-house. I hope you think so too. Don't fib, Harriet.

Adieu, my dear. For God's sake be well, prays your Sister, your Friend, and the Friend of all your Friends, ever-affectionate and obliged,


Volume V - lettera 49

Volume V - Letter 50


Thursday, Sept. 7.

I will write to your Letter as it lies before me. I do most heartily congratulate you, my dear Lady G. on the arrival of your brother. I do not wonder that his fatigues, and his disappointment, have made an alteration in his person and countenance. Sir Charles Grandison would not be the man he is, if he had not sensibility.

You could not know your brother, my dear, if you expected from him recriminations on your past odd behaviour to Lord G. I hope he does not yet know a tenth part of it: But if he did, as he hoped you saw your error, and would be good for the future, he was right surely to forget, what you ought not, but with contrition, to remember. You are very naughty in the Letter before me; and I love you too well to spare you.

What can you mean, my dear, by exulting so much over your aunt, for living, to an advanced age, a single woman? However ineffectual, let me add to my former expostulatory chidings on this subject: Would you have one think you are overjoyed, that you have so soon put it out of any one's power to reproach you on the like account? If so, you ought to be more thankful than you seem to be, to Lord G. who has extended his generosity to you, and kept you from the odium. Upon my word, my dear Lady G. I think it looks like a want of decency in women, to cast reflexions on others of their Sex, possibly for their prudence and virtue. Do you consider, how you exalt, by your ludicrous freedoms, the men whom sometimes you affect to despise? No wonder if they ridicule old maids. It is their interest to do so. Lords of the Creation, sometimes you deridingly call the insulters; Lords of the Creation, indeed you make them!—And pray, do you think, that the same weakness which made your aunt Grandison tell her dreams, in the joy of her heart, as an old maid, might not have made her guilty of the same foible, had she been an old wife? Joy is the parent of many a silly thing. Don't you own, that the arrival of your brother, which made your aunt break out into dream-telling, made you break into laughter (even in a Letter) of which you were ashamed to tell the cause?—Wives, my dear, should not fall into the mistakes, for which they would make maids the subject of their ridicule. You know better; and therefore should be above joining the foolish multitude, in a general cry to hunt down (as you reckon them) an unfortunate class of people of your own Sex. Your aunt Grandison's dreams, let me add, were more innocent than your waking mirth—You must excuse me—I could say a great deal more upon the subject; but if I have not said enough to make you sorry for your fault, a great deal more would be ineffectual—So much therefore for this subject.

Poor dear Emily!—I wonder not at the effect the arrival, and first sight, of her guardian, had upon her tender heart.

But how wickedly do you treat your Lord!—Fie upon you, Charlotte!—And fie upon you again, for writing what I cannot, for your credit-sake, read out to my friends. I wish, my dear, I could bring you to think, that there cannot be wit without justice; nor humour without decorum: My Lord has some few foibles: But shall a wife be the first to discover them, and expose him for them? Cannot you cure him of them, without treating him with a ridicule which borders upon contempt?—O my dear, you show us much greater foibles in yourself, than my Lord ever yet had, when you make so bad an use of talents that were given you for better purposes? One word only more on this subject—You cannot make me smile, my dear, when you are thus unseasonable in your mirth. Henceforth, then, remember, that your excursiveness (allow me the word, I had a harsher in my head) upon old maids, and your Lord, can only please yourself; and I will not accept of your compliment. Why? Because I will not be a partaker in your fault; as I should be, if I could countenance your levity.

Levity, Harriet!

Yes, levity, Charlotte—I will not spare you. Whom do you spare?

But do you really think me so ill as you represented me to be, to your brother? I don't think I am. If I did, I am sure I should endeavour to put my thoughts in an absolutely new train: Nor would I quit the hold which at proper times, I do let go, to re-enter the world, as an individual, who imagines herself of some little use in it; and who is therefore obliged to perform, with cheerfulness, her allotted offices, however generally insignificant I may comparatively be.

You say, you had no thoughts of exciting your brother's attention, by your strong colouring, when you described the effects of my indisposition to him. Attention!—Compassion you might as well have said—I hope not. And I am obliged to Mr. Beauchamp for his inference, from the cheerfulness, that nothing lay upon my mind. Now, tho' that inference seemed to imply, that he thought, if he had not made the observation, something might have been supposed to lie upon my mind, I am much better satisfied that he made it, than if Sir Charles had.

Upon the whole, I cannot but be pleased at two things in your Letter: The one, that Sir Charles expressed so great a concern for my health: The other, that you have all promised, and that voluntarily, and from a sense of the fitness of the measure, that everything be left to its natural course—For my sake, and for goodness-sake, pray let it be so. I think the opening, as you call it, was much, very much, too warm. Bless me, my dear, how I trembled as I read that part!—I am not, methinks, quite satisfied with it, tho' I am with your intention.

Consider, my dear, Half a heart—A preferred Lady!—For quality, fortune, and every merit, so greatly preferable—O my Charlotte! I cannot, were the best to happen that can now happen, take such exceeding joy, as I once could have done, in the prospect of that best.—I have pride—But let us hear what the next Letters from Italy say; and it will be then time enough (if the truly admirable Lady shall adhere to her resolution) to come with my scruples and drawbacks. Your aunt Grandison is of opinion, that she will not adhere. Who can tell what to say? Imagination, unnaturally heightened, may change into one altitude from another. I myself sincerely think (and have so often said it, that an uncharitable mind would perhaps charge me with affectation for it) that Lady Clementina, and no other woman, can deserve Sir Charles Grandison.

Adieu, my dear. Pray tell your brother that I never thought myself so ill as your friendly love made you apprehend me to be: And that I congratulate you with all my heart, and him also (it would be an affectation to forbear it, which would imply too much) on his safe arrival in England. But be sure remember, that I look upon you and your Lord, upon my Lord and Lady L. and upon my sweet Emily, if she sees what I write, as guardians of the honour (of the punctilio, if you please, since no dis-honour can be apprehended from Sir Charles Grandison) of

Your and Their

Volume V - lettera 50

Volume V - Letter 51


Monday, Sept. 11.

In obedience to your Ladyship's commands, I write, but it must be briefly, an account of our motions.

Sir Charles would not go out of town, till he had made a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Reeves, and enquired after Miss Byron's health, of which he received an account less alarming, than we, from our love and our fears, had given him.

We arrived at Windsor on Wednesday evening. My Lord and Lady W. expected him not till the next day.

I cannot find words to express the joy with which they received him. My Lord acknowledged, before us all, that he owed it to God, and to him, that he was the happiest man in the world. My Lady called herself, with tears of joy, a happy woman: And Sir Charles told me, that when he was led by her to her closet, to talk about the affairs of her family, she exceedingly abashed him, by expressing her gratitude to him for his goodness to them all, on her knees; while he was almost ready, on his, he said, to acknowledge the aunt, that had done so much honour to his recommendation, and made his uncle so happy.

Sir Charles, in order to have leave to depart next morning, as soon as he had breakfasted, promised to pass several days with them, when he could think himself a settled Englishman.

You, madam, and Lady L. equally love and admire Lady W.: I will not, therefore, enlarge to you on her excellencies. Every-body loves her. Her servants, as they attend, look at their Lady, with the same delight, mingled with reverence, as those of my patron look upon him.

Poor Mr. Grandison could not help taking notice to me, with tears, on the joint acknowledgements of my Lord and Lady made to my patron, that goodness and beneficence brought with them their own rewards. Saw you not, my good Dr. Bartlett, said he, how my cousin's eyes glistened with modest joy, as my Lord and Lady ran over with their gratitude? I thought of him, as an angel among men—What a wretch have I been! How can I sit at table with him! Yet how he overwhelms me with his goodness!

My patron having heard, that Sir Hargrave Pollexfen was at his house on the forest, he rode to make him a visit, tho' some few miles out of his way. I attended him.

Sir Hargrave is one of the most miserable of men. He is not yet fully recovered of the bruises and rough treatment he met with near Paris: But he is so miserably sunk in his spirits, that my patron could not but be concerned for him. He received him with grateful acknowledgements, and was thankful for his visit: But he told him, that he was so miserable in himself, that he could hardly thank him for saving a life so wretched.

Mr. Merceda, it seems, died about a fortnight ago.

That poor man was thought to be pretty well recovered; and rode out several times: But was taken on his return from one of his rides, with a vomiting of blood; the consequence, as imagined, of some inward bruises; and died miserably. His death, and the manner of it, have greatly affected Sir Hargrave.—And poor Bagenhall, Sir Charles, said he, is as miserable a dog as I am!

Sir Hargrave, understanding, as he said, that I was a parson, begged me to give him one prayer—

He was so importunate, and for Sir Charles to join in it, that we both kneeled with him.

Sir Hargrave wept. He called himself a hardened dog.

Strange man!—But I think I was still more affected (Sir Hargrave shocked me!) by your noble brother's humanity, than by Sir Hargrave's wretchedness; tears of compassion for the poor man, stealing down his manly cheek—God comfort you, Sir Hargrave, said he, wringing his hand—Dr. Bartlett is a good man. You shall have the prayers of us both.

He left him. He could stay no longer; followed by the unhappy man's blessings, interrupted by violent sobbings.

We were both so moved, that we broke not silence, as we rode, till we joined our company at my Lord's.

I recounted what passed at this interview to Mr. Grandison. Your Ladyship will not want me to be very particular in relating what were his applications to, and reflexions on, himself, when I tell you that he could not have been more concerned, had he been present on the occasion.

Mr. Beauchamp was with us when I gave this relation to Mr. Grandison. He was affected at it, and with Mr. Grandison's sensibility: But how happy for himself was it, that his concern had in it no mixture of self reproach! It was a generous and humane concern, like that of his dear friend.

Sir Charles's next visit was to the good Earl of G. And here we left my Lord G.; the best natured, and one of the most virtuous and prudent young noblemen in the Kingdom. Your Ladyship will not accuse me of flattery, when you read this; but you will, perhaps, of another view—Yet, as long as I know that you love to have justice done to my Lord; and in your heart are sensible of the truth of what I say, and I am sure rejoice in it; I give cheerful way to the justice; and the rather, as you look upon my Lord as so much yourself, that if you receive his praises with some little reluctance, it is with such a modest reluctance as you would receive your own; glad, at the same time, that you were so justly complimented.

My Lord will acquaint your Ladyship with all that passed at the good Earl's; and how much overjoyed he and Lady Gertrude were at the favour they thought your brother did them in dining with them. His Lordship will tell you also, how much they wish for you; for they propose to winter there, and not in Hertfordshire, as once they thought to do.

Here Sir Charles enquired after their neighbour, Mr. Bagenhall.

He is become a very melancholy man. His wife is as obliging as he will let her be; but he hates her; and the less wonder, for he hates himself.

Poor woman! she could not expect a better fate. To yield up her chastity; to be forced upon him afterwards, by way of doing her poor justice; what affiance can he have in her virtue, were she to meet with a trial?

But that is not all; for though nobody questions her fidelity, yet what weight with him can her arguments have, were she to endeavour to enforce upon his mind those doctrines, which, were they to have proceeded from a pure heart, might, now-and-then, have let in a ray of light on his benighted soul? A gloomy mind must occasionally receive great consolation from the interposal and soothing of a companionable Love, when we know it comes from an untainted heart!

Poor Mr. Grandison found in this case also great room for self-application and regret, without my being so officious as to remind him of the similitude; tho' the woman who is endeavoured to be imposed on him for a wife, is a more guilty creature than ever Mrs. Bagenhall was.

And here, madam, allow me to observe, that there is such a Sameness in the lives, the actions, the pursuits of libertines, and such a likeness in the accidents, punishments, and occasions for remorse, which attend them, that I wonder they will not be warned by the beacons that are lighted up by every brother libertine whom they know; and that they will so generally be driven on the same rock, overspread and surrounded as it is, in their very sight, by a thousand wrecks!—Did such know your brother, and learn from his example and history, what a variety there is in goodness, as he passes on from object to object, exercising, not officiously, but as opportunity offers, his noble talents to the benefit of his fellow-creatures, surely they would, like honest Mr. Sylvester, the attorney, endeavour to give themselves solid joy, by following what that gentleman justly called so self-rewarding an example.

Forgive me, madam, if sometimes I am ready to preach: It is my province. Who but your brother can make every province his, and accommodate himself to every subject?

We reached Sir Harry Beauchamp's that night; and there took up our lodgings.

Sir Harry seems to be in a swift decay; and he is very sensible of it. He rejoiced to see your brother. I was afraid, Sir Charles Grandison, said he, that our next meeting would have been in another world. May it be in the same world, and I shall be happy!

This was a wish, a thought, not to be discouraged in a dying man. Sir Charles was affected with it. You know, madam, that your brother has a heart the most tender, and, at the same time, the most intrepid, of human hearts. I have learned much from him. He preaches by action. Till I knew him, young man as he then was, and still is, my preaching was by words; I was contented, that my actions disgraced not my words.

Lady Beauchamp, as my patron afterwards told me, confessed, in tears, that she should owe to him all the tranquillity of mind that she can hope for, if she survive Sir Harry. O Sir, said she, till I knew you, I was a narrow selfish creature. I was jealous of a father's Love to a worthy son; whose worthiness I knew not, as a son, and as a friend: That was the happiest day of our Beauchamp's life, which introduced him to an intimacy with you.

Here, on Friday morning, we left Mr. Beauchamp, sorrowing for his father's illness, and endeavouring, by every tender act of duty, to comfort his mother-in-law on a deprivation, with which, I am afraid, she will soon be tried.

My Beauchamp loves you, Sir Charles, said Sir Harry, at parting in the morning after breakfast; and so he ought. Wherever you are, he wants to be; but spare him to his mother and me for a few days: He is her comforter, and mine. Fain, very fain, would I have longer rejoiced, if God had seen fit, in the Love of both. But I resign to the Divine Will. Pray for me: You also, Dr. Bartlett, pray for me. My son tells me what a good man you are—And may we meet in heaven! I am afraid, Sir Charles, that I never shall see you again in this world—But why should I oppress your noble heart? God be your Guide and Protector! Take care of your precious health. You have a great deal to do, before you finish your glorious course, and come to this last period of human vanity.

My patron was both grieved and rejoiced—Rejoiced to see Sir Harry in a frame of mind so different from that to which he had been a witness in Sir Hargrave Pollexfen; and grieved to find him past all hopes of recovery.

Sir Charles pursued his journey, cross the country, to Lady Mansfield's. We found no convenient place for dining, and arrived at Mansfield-house about five on Friday afternoon.

My Lady Mansfield, her daughter and sons, were overjoyed to see my patron. Mr. Grandison told me, that he never, from infancy to this time, shed so many tears as he has shed on this short tour, sometimes from joy, sometimes from grief. I don't know, madam, whether one should wish him re-established in his fortune, if it could be done; since calamity, rightly supported, is a blessing.

Here I left my patron, and proceeded on Saturday morning with Mr. Grandison to the Hall. If Sir Charles finds matters ripened for a treaty between the Mansfields and their adversaries, as he has been put in hopes, he will go near to stay at Mansfield-house, and only visit us at the Hall incognito, to avoid neighbourly congratulations, till he can bring things to bear.

Mr. Grandison just now told me, that Sir Charles, before he left town, gave him a 400 l. bank note, to enable him to pay off his debts to tradesmen; of which, at his desire, he had given him in a list; amounting to 360 l.

He owes, he says, 100 l. more to the widow of a wine-merchant; but being resolved to pay it the moment money comes into his hands, he would not acquaint Sir Charles with it.

I have the honour to be

Your Ladyship's Most faithful and obedient Servant,

Volume V - lettera 51

Volume V - Letter 52


Mansfield-house, Thursday, Sept. 14.

You will be so good, my dear friend, as to let my neighbours, particularly the gentlemen you mention, know, that the only reason I forbear paying my compliments to them, now I am so near, is, because I cannot as yet enjoy their company with that freedom and ease which I hope in a little while to do. Tell them, that I purpose, after some particular affairs are determined (which will for a little while longer engross me) to devote the greatest part of my time to my native place; and that then I will endeavour to make myself as good a neighbour, and as social a friend, as they can wish me to be.

On Sunday I had a visit from the two Hartleys.

They gave me very satisfactory proofs of what they were able to do, as well as willing, in support of the right of the Mansfields to the estate of which they have been despoiled; and showed me a paper, which nobody thought was in being, of the utmost consequence in the cause.

On Monday, by appointment, I attended Sir John Lambton. Two lawyers of the Keelings were with him. They produced their demands. I had mine ready; but theirs were so extravagant, that I would not produce them: But, taking Sir John aside, I love not, said I, to affront men of a profession; but I am convinced, that we never shall come to an understanding, if we consider ourselves as Lawyers and Clients. I am no lawyer; but I know the strength of my friends cause, and will risk half my estate upon the justice of it. The Mansfields will commission me, if the Keelings will you; and we perhaps may do something: If not, let the Law take its course. I am now come to reside in England. I will do nothing for myself, till I have done what can be done to make all my friends easy.

Sir John owned, that he thought the Mansfields had hardships done them. Mr. Keeling senior, he said, had heard of the paper in the Hartley's hands; and, praising his honesty, told me in confidence, that he had declared, that if such a paper could have been produced in time, he would not have prosecuted the suit, which he had carried. But Sir John said, that the younger Keeling was a furious young man, and would oppose a compromise on the terms he supposed the Mansfields would expect to be complied with. But what are your proposals, Sir?

These, Sir John: The Law is expensive; delays may be meditated; appeals may be brought, if we gain our point.—What I think it may cost us to establish the right of the injured, which cannot be a small sum, that will I prevail upon the Mansfields to give up to the Keelings. I will trust you, if you give me your honour, with our proofs; and if you and your friends are satisfied with them, and will consent to establish our right by the form only of a new trial; then may we be agreed: Otherwise, not. And I leave you and them to consider of it. I shall hear from you within two or three days. Sir John promised I should; but hoped to have some talk first with the Hartleys, with whom, as well as with me, he declared he would be upon honour.

Wednesday Evening.

I had a message from Sir John last night, requesting me to dine with him and the elder Mr. Keeling this day; and to bring with me the two Mr. Hartleys, and the proofs I had hinted at.

Those gentlemen were so obliging, as to go with me; and took the important paper with them, which had been deposited with their grandfather, as a common friend, and contained a recognition of the Mansfields right to the estates in question, upon an amicable reference to persons long since departed: An attested copy of which was once in the Mansfields possession, as by a memorandum that came to hand, but which never could be found. The younger Keeling was not intended to be there; but he forced himself upon us. He behaved very rudely. I had once like to have forgot myself. This meeting produced nothing: But as the father is a reasonable man; as we have obtained a re-hearing of the cause; as he is much influenced by Sir John Lambton, who seems convinced; and to whose honour I have submitted an abstract of our proofs; I am in hopes that we shall be able to accommodate.

I have Bolton's proposals before me. The first child is dead; the second cannot live many months. He trembles at the proofs he knows we have of his villainy. He offers, on the death of this second child, to give us possession of the estate, and a large sum of money (but thought not to be half of what the superannuated Calvert left) if we will give him general releases. The wretch is not, we believe, married to the relict of Calvert.

I am loth, methinks, to let him escape the justice which his crimes call for: But such are the delays and chicaneries of the law, when practisers are found who know how to perplex an honest pursuer; and as we must have recourse to low and dirty people to establish our proofs; the vile fellow shall take with him the proposed spoils: They may not be much more than would be the lawyers part of the estate, were we to push the litigation.

As to our poor Everard, nothing, I fear, can be done for him, with the men who are revelling on his spoils. I have seen one of them. The unhappy man has signed and sealed to his own ruin. He regrets, that a part of the estate which has been so long in the family and name, should go out of it. What an empty pride is that of name! The general tenor of his life was not a credit to it; tho' he felt not that, till he felt distress. The disgrace is actually incurred. Does not all the world know his loss, and the winner's triumph? And if the world did not, can he conceal from himself those vices, the consequences of which have reduced him to what he is? But perhaps the unhappy man puts a value upon the name, in compliment to me.

Mention not to him what I write. The poor man is sensible enough of his folly, to engage pity: Whether from a right sense, or not, must be left to his own heart.

As to the woman's claim: What in honour can I do, against a promise that he owns may be proved upon him? He did not condition with her, that she was to be a spotless woman. If he thought she was so when he solicited her to yield to his desires, he is the less to be excused: Vile as she comes out to be, he had proposed to make her as vile, if he had found her not so. He promised her marriage: Meant he only a promise? She is punished in being what she is: His punishment cannot be condign, but by his being obliged to perform his promise. Yet I cannot bear to think that my cousin Grandison should be made, for life, the dupe of a successful and premeditated villainy; and the less, as, in all likelihood, the profligate Lord B. would continue to himself, from the merit with her of having vindicated her claim, an interest in the bad woman's favour, were she to be the wife of our poor Everard.

But certainly this claim must be prosecuted with a view only to extort money from my cousin; and they know him to be of a family jealous of its honour. I think she must be treated with for releases. I could not bear to appear in such a cause as this, in open court, in support of my cousin, against a promise made by him. He is of age, and thought to be no novice in the ways of the town. I am mistaken in Mr. Grandison's spirit, if it did not lead him to think himself very severely punished, were he to have no other punishment, for those vices, which were to be expensive to me.

But if I should be able to extricate the unhappy man from this difficulty, what can next be done for him? The poor remains of his fortune will not support one who has always lived more than genteelly. Will he be able, think you, to endure the thoughts of living in a constant state of dependence, however easy and genteel I should endeavour to make it to him? There may be many ways (in the public offices, for example) of providing for a broken tradesman: But for a man who calls himself, and is, a gentleman; who will expect as such to rank with his employer, who knows nothing of figures, or business of any kind; who has been brought up in idleness, and hardly knows the meaning of the word diligence; and never could bear confinement; what can be done for such a one in the public offices, or by any other employment that requires punctual attendance?

But to quit this subject, for a more agreeable one.

I have for some time had it in my thoughts to ask you, my dear friend, Whether your nephew is provided for to your liking and his own? If not, and he would put it in my power to serve him, by serving myself, I should be obliged to you for permitting him so to do, and to him, for his consent. I would not affront him, by the offer of a salary: My presents to him shall be such as befit the services done:—Sometimes as my amanuensis; sometimes as a transcriber and methodiser of Papers and Letters; sometimes in adjusting servants accounts, and fitting them for my inspection. You need not fear my regard to myself in my acknowledgements to be made to him (that, I know, will be all your fear); for I have always considered profusion and parsimony as two extremes, equally to be avoided. You, my dear Dr. Bartlett, have often enforced this lesson on my mind. Can it then ever be forgotten by

Your affectionate Friend and Servant,

Volume V - lettera 52

Volume V - Letter 53


Bologna, Monday, Sept. 15. N. S.

Your kind Letters from Lyons, my dearest friend, rejoiced us extremely. Clementina languished to hear from you. How was it possible for you to write with so much warmth of affection to her, yet with so much delicacy, that a rival could not take exceptions at it?

She writes to you. It is not for me, it is not for any of us, I think, to say one word to the principal subject of her Letter. She showed it to me, and to her mother, only.

Dear creature! Could she be prevailed upon!—But how can you be asked to support the family-wishes? Yet if you think them just, I know you will. You know not Self, when justice and the service of your friend stand in opposition to it. All that I am afraid of is, that we shall be too precipitate for the dear creature's head.

Would to God, you could have been my Brother! That was the first desire of my heart!—But you will see by her Letter (the least flighty that she has written of a long time) that she has no thought of that: And she declares to us, that she wishes you happily married to an Englishwoman. Would to Heaven, we might plead your example to her!

I will certainly attend you in your England!—If one thing, that we all wish, could happen, you would have the whole family, as far as I know. We think, we talk, of nobody but you. We look out for Englishmen, to do them honour for your sake.

Mrs. Beaumont is with us. Surely she is your near relation! She advises caution; but thinks that our present measures are not wrong ones, as we never can give into my sister's wishes to quit the world. Dear Grandison! love not Mrs. Beaumont the less for her opinion in our favour.

Mr. Lowther writes to you: I say nothing, therefore, of that worthy man.

I am wished to write more enforcingly to you, on a certain important subject: But I say, I cannot, dare not, will not.

Dear Grandison, love still your Jeronymo! Your friendship makes life worthy of my wish. It has been a consolation to me, when every other failed, and all around me was darkness, and the shadow of death. You will often be troubled with Letters from me. My beloved, my dearest friend, my Grandison, adieu!


Volume V - lettera 53

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