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THE HISTORY OF
Volume VII - Letter 1
LADY G. IN CONTINUATION.
Emily, Lucy, and I, went to pay our morning-congratulations as soon as we arose, which was not very early, to my brother, being told that he was in the Cedar parlour, writing. He received us like himself. I am writing, said he, a few very short Letters. They are to demand the felicitations, one, of our beloved Caroline; one of our aunt Grandison; one of the Earl of G. and one of our dear Dr. Bartlett. There is another; you may read it, Charlotte.
That also was a short one; to signify, according to promise, as I found, to Signor Jeronymo della Porretta, the actual celebration of his Nuptials. I returned it—'Like my brother,' was all I said. It concluded with a caution, given in the most ardent terms, against precipitating the admirable Clementina.
We went up to the Bride. She was dressing. Her aunt was with her, and her two cousin Holles's, who went not home the preceding night.
The moment we entered, she ran to us; and, clasping her arms about my neck, hid her blushing face in my bosom—My dearest, dearest Lady G. murmured she—Am I indeed your Sister, your Sister Grandison? And will you love me as well as ever?
My dearest, lovely Sister! My own Sister Grandison! My Brother's Wife! Most sincerely do I repeat, Joy, Joy, Joy, to my Harriet!
O Lady G! How you raise me! Your goodness is a seasonable goodness to me! I never, never, but by yours and your sister's example, shall be worthy of your brother!
Then disengaging herself from my arms; Yesterday, Lucy, said she, was a happy, happy Day! I have but one, one regret—There is a Lady in the world that deserves the best of men better than your Harriet—And, lifting up her hands and eyes, God preserve and protect her!—She shall be the subject of my prayers, as often as I pray for myself, and for him who is dearer to me than myself.
Then embracing Emily; Wish me Joy, my Love! In my Joy shall you find your own!
Emily wept, and even sobbed—You must, you must, treat me less kindly, madam. I cannot, cannot bear your good—your goodness. On my knees I acknowledge my other Guardian. God bless my dear, dear Lady Grandison!
At that moment, as they were folded in each other's arms, entered my brother—He clasped his round his sweet Bride; pardon this intrusion, said he—Excellent creature, continue to love my Emily!—Continue, my dear Emily, to deserve the sisterly love of my Harriet!
Then turning to me, saluting me, My Charlotte loves my Harriet; so does our Caroline. She fondly loves you both. God continue your love to each other! What Sisters has Yesterday's happy event given to each other!—What a Wife to me!—We will endeavour, my Love (to her) to deserve our happiness; and, I humbly trust, it will be continued to us.
He saluted Mrs. Selby—My own Aunt Selby! What obligations am I under to you, and to our venerable Mrs. Shirley, for giving to an Angel an Angel's education, and conferring on me the blessing!
Congratulate me, my dear Cousin Holles's, saluting each. May you both be as happy, whenever you alter your single state, as I will endeavour to make your lovely Cousin!
He withdrew, bowing to us, and with so much respectfulness to the happy Harriet, as delighted us all.
Lucy went down with him, to pay her morning compliments to the two Grandmamma's.
Sister, said Kitty Holles, after he was gone—we never, never, can think of marrying, after we have seen Sir Charles Grandison, and his behaviour.
Lucy came up with Nancy. They embraced their cousin. Your grandmamma and my grandmamma, my dearest cousin, are impatient to see you, in your grandmamma's chamber; and the gentlemen are crying out for their breakfasts in the great parlour. We hurried down. The Bride threw herself at her grandmamma's feet, for her blessing. It was given in such a tender and pious manner, that we were all affected by it. The best of Sons, of Men, said she, afterwards, has but just left me. What a blessing to all around him, is a good man! Sir Charles Grandison is every-thing. But, my dear Loves, to the younger Ladies, Let a good man, let life, let manners, be the principal motive of your choice: In goodness will you have every sanction; and your Fathers, Mothers, Relations, Friends, every joy! My dearest Love, my Harriet, taking her hand, there was a time that I thought no man on earth could deserve you: Now it is my prayer, and will be, that you may deserve this man. But let us join the gentlemen. Fear not, my Harriet—Sir Charles's character will preserve with every one its dignity, and give a sanction to the solemnity that has united you to him. My dearest Love! be proud, and look assured: You may, or who can? Yesterday's transaction is your Glory; glory in it, my Harriet!
We attended the two elder Ladies down. Harriet, as bashful people ever do, increased her own difficulties, by staying behind with her Lucy. We were all seated at the breakfast-tables, and stayed for them: Mr. Selby grew impatient; every one having declared themselves ready for breakfast. At last, down came the blushing Bride, with her Lucy. Sir Charles seeing Mr. Selby's countenance turning peevishly arch; just as he had begun 'Let me tell you, Niece,' and was coming out with something, he arose, and taking his Bride's hand, led her to her seat. Hush, my dear Mr. Selby, said he; Nobody must call to account my Wife, and I present.—How, Sir! How, Sir! Already have I lost my Niece?
Not so, Mr. Selby. All her duties will have strength given them by the happy event of yesterday: But you must not let a new-married man see how much easier it is to find fault than to be faultless.
Your servant, Sir! replied Mr. Selby—You'll one day pay for your complaisance, or my Niece is not a woman. But I was ready primed. You have robbed me of a jest; and that, let me tell you, would have been more to me than my breakfast.
After breakfast, Lucy gave us a lesson on the harpsichord. Sir Charles accompanied her finger, at the desire of the company.
Lord and Lady W. excused themselves to breakfast, but came to dinner. We entertained one another with reports of what passed yesterday; what people said; how the tenants feast was managed; how the populace behaved at the houses which were kept open. The Churchwardens List was produced of the Poor recommended by them: It amounted to upwards of 140, divided into two classes; one of the acknowledged poor, the other of poor housekeepers and labouring people who were ashamed to apply; but to whom the Churchwardens knew bounty would be acceptable. There were above thirty of these, to whom Sir Charles gave very handsomely, but we knew not what. The Churchwardens, who are known to be good men, went away blessing him, with hearts running over at their lips, as if they themselves were to find their account in his goodness.
We have had a smart debate this morning, on the natural independency of our Sex, and the usurpation of the other. Particulars by-and-by.
My brother is an irresistible man. To-morrow he has carried it to make his appearance at Church, against all their first intentions, and that by their own consents. He had considered every-thing: They had not. Mr. Beauchamp has Letters which require him to go up to town: Lord and Lady W. are desirous to get thither; my Lord having some gouty warnings: I am obliged to go up; having hated to set about anything preparatory to your case, Caroline! [If the wretch were to come in my way just now, I should throw my standish at him, I believe.] The Earl and Lady Gertrude are in town; and I am afraid of another reprimand. The Earl never jests but he means the same as if he were serious. I shall take Emily with me, when I go. Mrs. Reeves wants to be with her little boy. Yet all these people are desirous to credit the appearance.—I had like to have forgot your good man—He longs to see his Caroline; and hopes to engage my brother to stand in person as his urchin's sponsor. So you see that there is a necessity to consent to make the appearance to-morrow, or the Bride will lose the flower of her company.
On Monday it stands determined, that Mr. and Mrs. Reeves, Mr. Beauchamp, Emily, Lord L. Lord and Lady W. myself, and Lord G. will set out for London.
God continue the happiness of this charming Pair! Their behaviour to each other is just what I would wish it to be; tender, affectionate, without fulsome fondness, He cannot be more respectful to the dear creature now, than he was before marriage: But from his present behaviour, I dare answer for him, that he will not be less so: And yet he is so lively, that he has all the young man in his behaviour, whenever occasions call for relaxation; even when subjects require seriousness, as they do sometimes, in conversations between Mrs. Shirley, Mrs. Selby, Mr. Deane, and him; his seriousness, as Mrs. Shirley herself finely observed in his absence, is attended with such vivacity, and intermingled with such entertaining illustrations, all naturally arising from and falling into the subject, that he is sure of every one's attention and admiration. The features of his manly face, and the turn of his fine eye, observed she, on another occasion, are cast for pity, and not for censure. And let me add a speech of his, when he was called upon to censure a person, on a slight representation of facts.
'The whole matter is not before us, said he: We know not what motives he may have to plead by way of extenuation, tho' he may not be able entirely to excuse himself. But, as it appears to me, I would not have done so.'
But what, my dear, am I about? Are they not my brother's praises that I am expatiating upon? Was I ever to be trusted with that subject? Is there no man, I have been asked, that is like your brother?—He, I have answered, is most likely to resemble him, who has an unbounded charity, and universal benevolence, to men of all professions; and who imitating the Divinity, regards the heart, rather than the head, and much more than either rank or fortune, tho' it were princely; and yet is not a leveller, but thinks that rank or degree entitles a man who is not utterly unworthy of both, to respect.
I will write one more Letter, and then give way to other affairs. I never thought I should have been such a scribbler. But the correspondence between my Brother and Dr. Bartlett, into which we were all so eager to peep; that of this dear creature with her Lucy, which so much entertained us, and which led us, in her absence, to wish to continue the series of it; the story of Clementina so interesting; all our suspenses so affecting, and the state of this our lovely friend's heart so peculiar; and the task removed from you to me, of promoting and contributing to the correspondence: All these, together, led me on. But now one Letter more shall conclude my task.
Lord L. has just now mentioned to my brother his wishes that he would stand Godfather to the little Lord. My brother caught his hand, and besought his pardon for not offering himself. You do me, my dear Lord, said he, both honour and pleasure. Where was my thought? But this dear creature, turning to his Bride, will be so good as to remind me of all my imperfections. I am in a way to mend; for the duties inseparable from my delightful new engagement will strengthen all my other duties.
I have taken upon me, Sir, said she, to request the favour of my Lord and Lady L's acceptance of me for a Godmother.
To which I have objections, said I. I have a prior claim. Aunt Eleanor has put in hers, Lady W. hers, and this before Miss Byron was Lady Grandison.
Your circumstance, my dear Lady G. according to a general observation of our Sex, is prohibitory.
Will you, my brother, appealed I, allow of superstitious observances, prognostics, omens, dreams?
O no! My Harriet has been telling me how much she suffered lately from a dream, which she permitted to give strength and terror to her apprehensions from Mr. Greville. Guard, my dear Ladies, against these imbecilities of tender minds. In these instances, if in no other, will you give a superiority to our Sex, which, in the debate of this morning, my Charlotte would not allow of.
I will begin my next Letter with an account of this debate; and if I cannot comprise it in the compass I intend to bring it into, my one more Letter may perhaps stretch into two.
LA STORIA DI
Volume VII - lettera 1
Volume VII - Letter 2
LADY G. IN CONTINUATION.
The debate I mentioned, began on Friday morning at breakfast-time; brought on by some of uncle Selby's good-natured particularities; for he will always have something to say against women. I bespoke my brother's neutrality, and declared I would enter the lists with Mr. Selby, and allow all the other men present to be of his side. I had a flow of spirits. Man's usurpation, and woman's natural independency, was the topic. I carried on my argument very triumphantly: Now-and-then a sly hint, popped out by my brother, half-disconcerted me; but I called him to order, and he was silent: Yet once he had like to have put me out—Wrapping his arms about himself, with inimitable humour—O my Charlotte, said he, how I love my country; ENGLAND is the only spot in the world, in which this argument can be properly debated!—Very sly—Was it not? I made nothing of Mr. Selby. I called him the tyrant of the family. And as little of Mr. Deane, Lord L. and still less of my own Lord, who was as eager in the debate as if it concerned him more than any-body to resist me; and this before my brother; who by his eyes, more than once, seemed to challenge me, because of the sorry creature's earnestness. All those, however, were men of straw with me; and I thought myself very near making Mr. Selby ask pardon of his Dame for his thirty years usurpation. In short, I had half-established our Sex's superiority on the ruin of that of the sorry fellows, when the debate was closed, and referred to Mrs. Shirley, as moderatrix; my brother still excluded any share in it.—She indeed obliged me to lower my topsails a little. 'I think, said the venerable Lady, women are generally too much considered as a species apart. To be sure, in the duties and affairs of life, where they have different or opposite shares allotted them by Providence, they ought not to go out of their own sphere, or invade the men's province, any more than the men theirs. Nay, I am so much of this opinion, that tho' I think the confidence which some men place in their wives, in committing all their affairs to their care, very flattering to the opinion both of their integrity and capacity; yet I should not choose (and that not out of laziness to avoid the trouble) to interfere with the management without doors, which I think more properly the man's province, unless in some particular cases. 'But in common intercourse and conversation, why are we to be perpetually considering the Sex of the person we are talking to? Why must women always be addressed in an appropriated language; and not treated on the common footing of reasonable creatures? And why must they, from a false notion of modesty, be afraid of showing themselves to be such,and affect a childish ignorance? 'I do not mean, that I would have women enter into learned disputes, for which they are rarely qualified: But I think there is a degree of knowledge very compatible with their duties; therefore not unbecoming them, and necessary to make them fit companions for men of sense: A character in which they will always be found more useful than that of a plaything, the amusement of an idle hour. 'No person of sense, man or woman, will venture to launch out on a subject with which they are not well acquainted. The lesser degree of knowledge will give place to the greater. This will secure subordination enough. For the advantages of education which men must necessarily have over women, if they have made the proper use of them, will have set them so forward on the race, that we can never overtake them. But then don't let them despise us for this, as if their superiority were entirely founded on a natural difference of capacity! Despise us as women, and value themselves merely as men: For it is not the hat or cap which covers the head, that decides of the merit of it. 'In the general course of the things of this world, women have not opportunities of sounding the depths of science, or of acquainting themselves perfectly with polite literature: But this want of opportunity is not entirely confined to them. There are professions among the men no more favourable to these studies, than the common avocations of women. For example; merchants, whose attention is (and perhaps more usefully, as to public utility) chained down to their accounts. Officers, both of land and sea, are seldom much better instructed, tho' they may perhaps, pass through a few more forms: And as for knowledge of the world, women of a certain rank have an equal title to it with some of them. A learned man, as he is called, who should despise a sensible one of these professions, and disdain to converse with him, would pass for a pedant; and why not for despising or undervaluing a woman of sense, who may be put on the same footing? Men, in common conversation, have laid it down for a rule of good breeding, not to talk before women of things they don't understand; by which means, an opportunity of improvement is lost; a very good one too; one that has been approved by the ablest persons who have written on the education of children, because it is a means of learning insensibly, without the appearance of a task. Common subjects afford only commonplace, and are soon exhausted: Why, then, should conversation be confined to such narrow limits, and be liable to continual repetition; when, if people would start less beaten subjects, many doubts and difficulties concerning them might be cleared up, and they would acquire a more settled opinion of things (which is what the generality much want, from an indolence that hinders them from examining) at the same time that they would be better entertained, than with talking of the weather, and such kind of insipidities.' Lady W. applauding Mrs. Shirley's sentiments, Apropos, said she; let me read you the speech (taking it out of her Pocket-book) of an East-India officer, to a pedant, who had been displaying his talents, and running over with terms of art, and scraps of Latin, mingled with a profusion of hard words, that hardly any of the company understood; and which, at the same time that it diverted all present, cured the pretended scholar of his affectation for ever after. My Lady read it as follows: 'I am charmed with this opportunity, said the officer, of discoursing with a gentleman of so much wit and learning; and hope I shall have his decision in a point which is pretty nice, and concerns some Eastern manufactures, of ancient and reverend etymology. Modern critics are undetermined about them; but, for my part, I have always maintained, that Chints, Bullbulls, Morees, and Ponabaguzzy's, are of nobler and more generous uses than Doorguzzees or Nourfurmannys: Not but I hold against Byrampauts in favour of Niccannees and Boralchauders. Only I wish, that so accurate a judge would instruct me, why Tapzils and Sallampores have given place to Neganepauts? And why Bejatapoutz should be more esteemed than the finer fabric of Blue Chelloes (Note: Transcribed from a collection of papers, entitled, The plain-dealer, in two Vols., Vol. I, No. 37)? A very good rebuke of affectation, said Sir Charles (and your Ladyship hints it was an efficacious one). It serves to show, that men, in their different attainments, may be equally useful; in other words, that the knowledge of polite literature leads not to every part of useful science. I remember, that my Harriet distinguishes very properly, in some of her Letters to her Lucy, between Language and Science; and that poor Mr. Walden (that I think was his name) was pretty much disconcerted, as a pedant may sometimes be, when (and he bowed to his Harriet) he has a natural genius to contend with. She blushed, and bowed as she sat—And I remember, Sir, said she, you promised to give me your animadversions on the Letters I consented you should see: Will you be pleased to correct me, now? Correct you, my dearest Life!—What a word is that? I remember, that, in the conversation in which you were obliged, against your will, to bear so considerable a part, you demonstrated, that genius, without deep learning, made a much more shining figure in conversation, than learning without genius: But, upon the whole, I was a little apprehensive, that true learning might suffer, if languages were too slightly treated. Mr. Walden made one good observation, or rather remembered it, for it was long ago made, and will be always of weight, that the knowledge of languages, any more than the advantage of birth, was never thought lightly of by those who had pretensions to either. The knowledge of the Latin language, in particular, let me say, is of singular use in the mastery of every science. There are who aver, that men of parts have no occasion for learning: But, surely, our Shakespeare himself, one of the greatest genius's of any country or age (who, however, is an adept in the superior learning, the knowledge of nature) would not have been a sufferer, had he had that greater share of human learning which is denied him by some critics. But, Sir Charles, said Mr. Deane, don't you think that Shakespeare, who lived before the great Milton, has an easier, pleasanter, and more intelligible manner of writing, than Milton? If so, may it not be owing to Milton's greater learning, that Shakespeare has the advantage of that immortal poet in perspicuity? Is the fact certain, my dear Mr. Deane, that Milton wants perspicuity? I have been bold enough sometimes to think, that he makes a greater display of his reading, than was quite necessary to his unbounded subject. But the age in which Shakespeare flourished, might be called, The age of English Learning, as well as of English Bravery. The Queen and her court, the very Ladies of it, were more learned than any court of our English Sovereigns was before, or hath been since. What a prodigy of learning, in the short reign of Edward the VIth, was the Lady Jane Grey!—Greek, as well as Latin, was familiar to her: So it was to Queen Elizabeth. And can it be supposed, that the natural genius's of those Ladies were more confined, or limited, for their knowledge of Latin and Greek? Milton, tho' a little nearer us, lived in harsher and more tumultuous times. O, Sir! said Harriet, then I find I was a very impertinent creature in the conversation to which you refer. Not so, my dearest Love!—Mr. Walden, I remember, says, that learning in that assembly was not brought before a fair tribunal. He should have known, that it had not a competent advocate in him. But, Sir Charles, said Mr. Beachamp, I cannot but observe, that too much stress is laid upon Learning, as it is called, by those who have pretensions to it. You will not always find, that a scholar is a more happy man than an unlearned one. He has not generally more prudence, more wisdom, in the management of his affairs. What, my dear Beauchamp, is this saying, but that there is great difference between theory and practice? This observation comes very generously, and, with regard to the Ladies, very gallantly, from you, who are a learned man: But as you are also a very prudent man, let me ask you, Do you think you have the less prudence for your learning? If not, Is not learning a valuable addition? But pray, Sir Charles, said Mrs. Selby, let me ask your opinion: Do you think, that if women had the same opportunities, the same education, as men, they would not equal them, in their attainments? Women, my dear Mrs. Selby, are women sooner than men are men. They have not, therefore, generally, the learning-time that men have, if they had equal genius's. 'If they had equal genius's,' brother. Very well. My dear Sister Harriet, you see you have given your hand to one of the Lords of the creation!—Vassal! bow to your Sovereign. Sir Ch. My dearest Love, take not the advice without the example. Lady G. Your servant, Sir. Well, but let me ask you, Do you think that there is a natural inferiority in the faculties of the one Sex? A natural superiority in those of the other? Sir Ch. Who will answer this question for me? Not I, said Lord L. Not I, said Mr. Deane. Not I, said Mr. Beauchamp. Then I have fairly taken you in—You would, if you could, answer it in the Ladies favour: This is the same as a confession. I may therefore the more boldly pronounce, that, generally speaking, I have no doubt but there is. Help me, dear Ladies, said I, to fight this battle out. You say, Sr, you have no doubt that there is a natural inferiority in the faculties of us, poor women; a natural superiority in you, imperial men. Generally speaking, Charlotte. Not individually you Ladies, and us men: I believe all we who are present, shall be ready to subscribe to your superiority, Ladies. I believe, brother, you fib: But let that pass. Thank you, madam. It is for my advantage that it should; and perhaps for yours, smiling—There is a difference, pardon me, Ladies, we are speaking generally, in the constitution, in the temperament, of the two Sexes, that gives to the one advantages which it denies to the other: But we may not too closely pursue this subject; tho' the result, I am apt to believe, would put the matter out of dispute. Let us be more at large: Why has nature made a difference in the beauty, proportion, and symmetry, in the persons of the two Sexes? Why gave it delicacy, softness, grace, to that of the woman—as in the Ladies before me; strength, firmness, to men; a capacity to bear labour and fatigue; and courage, to protect the other? Why gave it a distinction, both in qualities and plumage, to the different sexes of the feathered race? Why in the courage of the male and female animals?—The surly bull, the meek, the beneficent, cow, for one instance? We looked upon one another. There are exceptions to general rules, proceeded he. Mrs. Shirley surpasses all the men I ever knew, in wisdom—Mrs. Selby and Lady G.— What of us, brother! What of us—to the advantage of your argument? Heroic Charlotte!—You are both very happily married—The men the women, the women the men, you can mutually assist and improve each other. But still— Your servant, brother, interrupted I.—Your servant, Sir Charles, said Mrs. Selby—And I say, Your servant too, said Mr. Selby. Who sees not that my sister Charlotte is ready to disclaim the competition in fact, tho' not in words? Can there be characters more odious than those of a masculine woman, and an effeminate man? What are the distinguishing characteristics of the two Sexes? And whence this odiousness? There are, indeed, men, whose minds, if I may be allowed the expression, seem to be cast in a Female mould; whence the fops, foplings, and pretty fellows, who buzz about your Sex at public places; women, whose minds seem to be cast in a masculine one; whence your Barnevelts, my dear, and most of the women who, at such places, give the men stare for stare, swing their arms, look jolly; and those married women who are so kind as to take the reins out of their husbands hands, in order to save the honest men trouble. Your servant, Sir—Your servant, Sir—And some of them looked as if they had said, You cannot mean me, I hope; and those who spoke not, bowed and smiled thanks for his compliment to one fourth of the Sex. My Lord insultingly rubbed his hands for joy; Mr. Selby crowed; the other men slyly smiled, tho' they were afraid of giving a more open approbation. O my Sister! said I, taking Harriet's hand, we women are mere Nothings—We are nothing at all! How, my Charlotte! Make you no difference between being Every-thing and Nothing? Were it not, my dear Ladies, proceeded he, for male protectors, to what insults, to what outrages, would not your Sex be subject? Pardon me, my dearest Love, if I strengthen my argument by your excellencies, bowing to his Harriet. Is not the dear creature our good Mrs. Shirley's own Daughter? All the feminine graces are here. She is, in my notion, what all women should be—But wants she not a protector? Even a dream, a reverie— O Sir, spare me, spare me! sweetly blushing, said the lovely Harriet. I own I should have made a very silly, a very pusillanimous man! It is not long since, you know, Lady G. that I brought this very argument in favour of— Hush, Harriet! You will give up the Female cause. That is not fair, Charlotte, rejoined my brother; you should not intercept the convictions of an ingenuous mind—But I will spare my Harriet, if she will endeavour, for her own sake, to let nothing disturb her for the future but realities, and not any of these long, if they are inevitable ones. But pray, Sir, said I, proceed in your argument, if you have any more to say. O Charlotte! I have enough to say, to silence all your opposition, were I to give this subject its due weight. But we are only, for pleasantry-sake, skimming over the surface of the argument. Weaker powers are given generally for weaker purposes, in the economy of Providence. I, for my part, however, disapprove not of our venerable Mrs. Shirley's observation; That we are apt to consider the Sex too much as a species apart: Yet it is my opinion that both God and Nature have designed a very apparent difference in the minds of both, as well as in the peculiar beauties of their persons. Were it not so, their offices would be confounded, and the women would not perhaps so readily submit to those domestic ones in which it is their province to shine, and the men would be allotted the distaff, or the needle; and you yourselves, Ladies, would be the first to despise such. I, for my part, would only contend, that we men should have power and right given us to protect and serve your Sex; that we should purchase and build for them; travel and toil for them; run through, at the call of Providence, or of our King and Country, dangers and difficulties; and, at last, lay all our trophies, all our acquirements, at your feet; enough rewarded in the conscience of duty done, and your favourable acceptance. We were all of us again his humble servants. It was in vain to argue the tyranny of some husbands, when he could turn upon us the follies of some wives; and that wives and daughters were never more faulty, more undomestic, than at present; and when we were before a judge, that, tho' he could not be absolutely unpolite, would not flatter us, nor spare our foibles. However, if stuck a little with Harriet, that she had given Cause to Sir Charles, in the dispute which she formerly bore a part in, relating to learning and languages, to think her more lively than she ought to be, and had spoken too lightly of languages. She sweetly blushing, like a young wife solicitous for the good opinion of the Beloved of her heart, revived that cause. He spoke very highly in her praise, upon the occasion; owned, that the Letters he had been favoured with the sight of, had given him deeper impressions in her favour, than even her Beauty: Hoped for farther communications; applauded her for her principles, and her inoffensive vivacity—That sweet, that innocent vivacity, and noble frankness of heart, said he, taking her hand, which I hope you will never think of restraining. As to the conversation you speak of, proceeded he, I repeat, that I was apprehensive, when I read it, that languages were spoken of in it slightly; and yet, perhaps, I am mistaken. You, my Beauchamp, I think, if my dearest Life will oblige us both by the communication, and chooses to do so (for that must be the condition on which all her goodness to us must be expected) shall be judge between us: You know, better than I, what stories of unexhausted knowledge lie in the works of those great Ancients, which suffered in the hands of poor Mr. Walden: You know what the past and present ages have owed, and what all future will owe, to Homer, Aristotle, Virgil, Cicero: You can take in the necessity there is of restraining innovation, and preserving old rules and institutions, and of employing the youth of our Sex, who would otherwise be much worse employed (as we see in those who neglect their studies) in the attainment of languages that can convey to them such lights in every science: Tho' it were to be wished, that morals should take up more of the learner's attention than they generally do. You know, that the truest parts of learning are to be found in the Roman and Greek writers; and you know, that translation (were everything worthy our notice translated) cannot convey those beauties which scholars only can relish; and which learned foreigners, if a man travels, will expect should not have escaped his observation. As to the Ladies, Mrs. Shirley, has admirably observed, that there is a degree of knowledge very compatible with their duties (Condescending excellence! bowing to Mrs. Shirley) and highly becoming them; such as will make them rejoice, and, I will add, improve a man of sense, sweeten his manners, and render him a much more sociable, a much more amiable creature, and, of consequence, greatly more happy in himself, than otherwise he would be from books and solitude. Well but, brother, you said just now, that we were only, for pleasantry-sake, skimming over the surface of the argument; and that you had enough to say to silence all my opposition, were you to give the subject its due weight. I do assure you, that, to silence all my opposition, you must have a vast deal more to say, than you have said hitherto; and yet you have thrown in some hints which stick with me, tho' you have concluded with some magnificent intimations of superiority over us—Power and right to protect, travel, toil for us, and lay your trophies at our feet, and-so-forth—Surely, surely, this is diminishing us, and exalting yourselves, by laying us under high obligations to your generosity. Pray, Sir, let us have, if you please, one or two intimations of those weightier arguments, that could, as you fancy, silence your Charlotte's opposition. I say, that we women, were our education the same—You know what I would be at—Your weightier arguments, if you please—or a specimen only on passant. Supposing, my Charlotte, that all human souls are, in themselves, equal; yet the very design of the different machines in which they are inclosed, is to superinduce a temporary difference on their original equality; a difference adapted to the different purposes for which they are designed by Providence in the present transitory state. When those purposes are at an end, this difference will be at an end too. When Sex ceases, inequality of Souls will cease; and women will certainly be on a foot with men, as to intellectuals, in Heaven. There, indeed, will you no longer have Lords over you: neither will you have Admirers: Which, in your present estimate of things, will perhaps balance the account. In the mean time, if you can see any occasions that may call for stronger understandings in male life, than in your own; you, at the same time, see an argument to acquiesce in a persuasion of a present inequality between the two Sexes. You know, I have allowed exceptions. Will you, Charlotte, compliment yourself with being one? Now, brother, I feel, methinks, that you are a little hard upon Charlotte: But, Ladies, you see how the matter stands.—You are all silent.—But, Sir, you graciously allow, that there is a degree of knowledge which is very compatible with the DUTIES of us women, and highly becoming us: will you have the goodness to point out to us what this compatible learning is, that we may not mistake—and so become eccentric, as I may say, burst out orb, and do more mischief than ever we could do good? Could I point out the boundaries, Charlotte, it might not to some spirits be so proper: The limit might be treated as the one prohibited tree in the garden. But let me say, That genius, whether in man or woman, will push itself into light. If it has a laudable tendency, let it, as a ray of the Divinity, be encouraged, as well in the one Sex as in the other: I would not, by any means, have it limited: A little knowledge leads to vanity and conceit. I would only, methinks, have a Parent, a Governor, a Preceptor, bend his strength to restrain its foibles; but not throw so much cold water upon the sacred flame as should quench it; since, if he did, stupidity, at least dejection, might take place of the emanation, and the person might be miserable for life. Well, then, we must compromise, I think, said I: But, on recollection, I thought I had enjoined you, Sir Charles, to the observance of neutrality. Harriet, whispered I, we are only, after all, to be allowed, as far as I can find, in this temporary state, like tame doves, to go about house, and-se-forth, as Biddy says, in the play. Harriet, could she have found time (But, by mutual consent, they are hardly ever asunder) would have given you a better account of this conversation than I have done; so would Lucy: But take it, as it offers, from
Volume VII - lettera 2
Volume VII - Letter 3
MISS LUCY SELBY TO LADY L.
Sunday, Nov. 19.
My dear Lady G. insists upon my writing to your Ladyship an account of the appearance which the loveliest Couple in England made this day at Church.
We all thought nothing could have added to the charms of our Harriet's person; but yet her dress and jewels did. I sighed, from pride for the honour of Female Beauty, to think they did. Can my dear Harriet, thought I, exquisitely lovely as she is in any dress, be ornamented by richer silks than common, by costly laces, by jewels? Can dress add grace to that admirable proportion, and those fine features, to which no painter yet has ever done justice, tho' every family related to her has a picture of her, drawn by a different hand of eminence?
We admired the Bridegroom as much as we did her, when, (before we could have thought he had been half ready) he joined Mrs. Shirley, my Aunt Selby, and me, in the great Parlour, completely dressed. But what we most admired in him was, that native dignity and ease, and that inattentiveness to his own figure and appearance, which demonstrate the truly fine gentleman, accustomed, as he is, to be always elegant.
When his Lady presented herself to him, and to us, in all her glory, how did the dear creature dazzle us! We involuntarily arose, as if to pay our homage to her. Sir Charles approached her with rather an air of greater freedom than usual, as if he considered not the dress, as having added to the value he has for her: Yet, Loveliest of women, he called her; and taking her hand, presented her to her grandmamma: Receive, and again bless, my Angel, said he, best of Parents!—How lovely! But what is even all this amazing loveliness to the graces of her mind? They rise upon me every hour. She hardly opens her lips, but I find reason to bless God, and bless you both, my dear Ladies: For God and you have given her goodness.—My dearest Life, allow me to say, that this sweet person, which will be your first perfection in every stranger's eye, is but a second in mine.
Instruct me, Sir, said she, bashfully, bowing her face upon his hand, as he held hers, to deserve your Love, by improving the mind you have the goodness to prefer; and no creature was ever on earth so happy as I shall be.
My dear Daughter, said her delighted grandmother, you see, can hardly bare your goodness, Sir. You must blame her for something, to keep down her pride.
My Harriet, replied he, cannot be proud of what the silkworm can do for her, or of the jeweller's polish: But now you call upon me, madam, I will tax her with a real fault. I open all my heart to her, as subjects occasionally offer: I want her to have a will, and to let me know it. The frankest of all Female hearts will not treat me with that sweet familiarity which banishes distance. You see, my dearest Love, that I chide you before your parental friends, and your Lucy.
It is your own fault, Sir: Indeed it is. You prevent me in all my wishes. Awe will mingle with the Love of persons who are under perpetual obligation.
My dear two mamma's, you must not blame me; you must blame Sir Charles: He takes away, by his goodness, even the power of making suitable acknowledgements, and then complains I do not speak.
My uncle Selby came in. He stood looking upon my cousin, for a few moments, in silence; then broke out, Sir Charles Grandison, you may indeed boast, that you have for a Wife the Flower of the British world, as you once called her: And, let me tell you, Niece, you have for a Husband the noblest and gallantest of men. Happy, happy Pair! say I. My dear Mr. Deane, said he, who just then entered, if you will keep me in countenance, I will venture to salute that charming creature.
Sir Charles presented his Bride to them both. With a bent knee she received their salutes. At that moment came in the three Lords, who followed the example. Lord W. called her Angel—Sir Charles looked delighted with the praises of his Bride.
The rest of the company being come, we proceeded to church.
We were early; but the Church was crowded. How were the charming Couple admired on their alighting, and as they walked to their pew! Never did my Cousin herself look so lovely! How charmingly looked the Bridegroom! But he forgot not that humble deportment, full of reverence for the place, and the Divine Offices, which seemed to make him absent for the time to that splendour and beauty which took every eye out of our own pew. His example was enough to give a proper behaviour, had it been needful, to every one in it.
I should have told your Ladyship, that Mr. Greville had sent, ever-night, a sullenly-complaisant request to my aunt, in writing, importing, that as he heard the Bride would make her appearance on the morrow, the Bride-men and maids, if it broke not into our Ceremonial, would accept of his pew, which is over-against ours, for the look of the thing, he said; tho' he could not promise but he should all the day curse the occasion. By this we found, he was not gone to Lady Frampton's, as he had designed. His offer was thankfully accepted.
There was a great concourse of the genteelest people there. Every-body, men and women, looked delighted on the occasion. The humility of the Bride was tried, by the respects paid her between the offices, by all who had ever been in her company. They should have reined in their own pride; for it was to that, as much as to respect to her, I doubt not, that their notice was owing. She looked conscious, bashful; sly, I told her afterwards. She hates the word: But, as I said, she should not have given the idea, that made no other word so proper to express it, and which must be more observable in her generally open free countenance, than in that of any other. She more than once saw devoirs paid her by a leer, when her sweet face was so disposed, that, had she not returned the compliment, it might have passed that she had not seen them. But what an Insensible must have been my cousin, had she not been proud of being Lady Grandison! She is not quite an Angel, yet: She has a few Femalities, as my uncle whimsically calls our little foibles. So, perhaps, she should. But nobody saw the least defect in your brother. His dress most charmingly became him; and when he looked upon his Bride, his eyes were fixed on her eyes, with such a sweet benignity and complaisance, as if he saw her mind through them, and could not spare a glance to her ornaments: Yet by his own dress he showed, that he was not Stoical non-conformist to the fashion of the world. But the politeness and respect with which he treated her, did them both credit, and credit (as Lady G. observed) to the whole Sex, Such unaffected tenderness in his respect; and known to be so brave, so good a man!—O my dear Lady L. what an admirable man is your brother! What a happy creature is my Harriet!
When Divine Service was over, I was afraid our Procession, as I may call it, would have been interrupted by the compliments of some of the gentry of our acquaintance, whose opened pew-doors showed their readiness to address them: But all passed in silent respects from Gentlemen and Ladies. My cousin, when she came home, rejoiced that one of her parading times was over: But when, my dearest Love, said Sir Charles, will the time be past, that all who see you will admire you?
The Church in the afternoon was still more crowded than before. How were Sir Charles and my uncle blessed by the poor, and people of low degree, for their well-dispensed bounty to them!
My cousin has delighted Mrs. Shirley, by telling her, that Sir Charles had said there would be a Rite wanting, till he and she had communicated, according to the order of the Church, at the Altar, on this particular occasion.
Just now is every-thing settled that Sir Charles wished to be settled. Lady G. will acquaint you with particulars, I doubt not.
Permit me to commend myself to your Ladyship's favours, as one of the
Humblest and sincerest of your Servants,
P. S. Lady G. has half broke my heart.
On perusal of what I have written, she says, I have not done my best: I have not given half particulars enough.—In short, she finds a multitude of faults with me—Even calls me names, Sorry girl, lazy, and I can't tell what.
But do you, madam, acquit me, and I shall be easy.
I told her, that I thought I had been very minute.
What! to a lying-in-woman, she says, who has no variety before her! All one dull chamber-scene, hourly acted over again—The subject so rich!
I answered, It should then have had the richest pen!—Why did she not write herself? If it was not for laziness-sake, it was for self-sake, that she did not. As I knew Lady L. would have been a gainer by the change of pen, I had much rather have been in the company for which she quitted the task, than grubbing pens in my closet; and all to get nothing but discommendation.
I have shown her this my Postcript. She raves: But I am hardened. She will soon have an opportunity to supply all my defects, in person.
Volume VII - lettera 3
Volume VII - Letter 4
MISS LUCY SELBY TO LADY G.
Saturday, Nov. 25.
You enjoined me, my dear Lady G. at parting on Monday last, to write to you; and to be very particular in what I wrote. I will, because I love and fear you. Otherwise I would not write at all; first, because I had not the good fortune to please you, in mine to Lady L.; and next, because I shall so soon have the honour to attend you in town. Well then, I begin.
On Tuesday we women were employed in preparations for the tenants jubilee, next day. Sir Charles, attended by my brother, paid a morning visit to Mr. Greville, whom he found moody, reserved, and indisposed. My brother James says, that he never saw such a manly, yet tender treatment, from one man to another, as Sir Charles gave him; and that he absolutely subdued him, and left him acknowledging the favour of his visit, and begging a repetition of it, as often as he could, while he stayed in these parts; and that, he said, as well for his credit, as for his comfort. But when, Sir Charles, said he, do you carry from us the Siren? I will call her names. I hate her. The sooner the better. Curse me, if I shall be able to creep out of the house, while she is visible on Northamptonshire ground—Tho' I was a friend to the match—Do you mind that, young man (to my brother James): O Love! Love! added he, of what contradictions art thou the cause! Tho' I hate her, I almost long to see her. You'll allow me to visit you both, I hope when I have got over these plaguy megrims?
The same day Sir Charles making a friendly visit, as going by Sir John Holles's seat, to that family, found Miss Orme there, expecting her brother to call for her in his post-chaise.
Great civilities passed between Sir Charles and Miss Orme. She was doubtful whether her brother had, at that time, best see Sir Charles, as he was weak in health and Spirits: But just as Sir Charles was at the gate, going to his chariot, attended by Sir John and the young Ladies, poor Mr. Orme came.
The Liveries would not allow Mr. Orme to doubt who it was. He turned pale. Sir Charles addressed himself to him with his usual polite freedom. Knowing, Sir, said he, that Mr. Orme was expected by one of the best of Sisters, I presume to salute you, as the Mr. Orme to whom I have been desirous, ever since I have been in Northamptonshire, to pay my compliments.
Sir Charles Grandison, Sir—
At your service, Mr. Orme; taking his hand.
The happiest man in the world, replied Mr. Orme, with some emotion. The best, the loveliest woman on earth calls you hers.
I am, I think myself, the happiest of men. But it will add to my joy, to have it wished me by so good a man as Mr. Orme.
Ah, Sir!—Could I wish joy to any man on this occasion, it would be to you, because of your character; and in the reflection, that the most excellent of women must be happier with you, than any other man could have made her. But Self, Self, Sir! He is indeed a hero, who, with such a fervent attachment as mine, can divest himself of Self. I loved her, Sir, from her early infancy, and never knew another Love.
The man, Mr. Orme, who loved Miss Byron, gave distinction to himself. Permit me to present her to you, and you to her, as dear friends; and allow me a third place in your friendship. You have a sister who justly claims a second. I dare engage for the dear creature, from what I know of her value for Mr. Orme, that she will allow of this friendship, on the foot of his own merits, were my recommendation out of the question.
O Sir Charles! you are, you ought to be, the man. And will you allow me on these terms to visit you, and visit her?—But, alas! I fear, I fear, I cannot soon—
At your own time, my dear Mr. Orme.—At Mr. Selby's; at her house in London; in Hampshire; wherever she is, and whether I am present or absent, Mr. Orme will be received as her brother and my brother, as her friend and my friend.
Good God! Good God!—He gushed into tears. He ran into the house to hide his emotion; but in vain; for when he went in, he wept like a child!—Forgive me, forgive me, Sir John! (who just then came in from taking leave of his noble guest) but there is no bearing this man's magnanimity!—He is all I have heard of him. Happy, happy Miss Byron!—No man but this could deserve her. But where is he? rising: I will ask his pardon for my abrupt departure from him.
He is gone, answered Sir John. I saw him in his chariot! Good Mr. Orme! he called you, and sighed for you. Poor Mr. Orme declared, that he would wait upon Sir Charles, and tell him, how acceptable to his heart, and what balm to his mind, would be the tender he had the goodness to make him. Sister, said he, you were at the gate, as well as the young Ladies; did he not hint, did he not say, that Miss Byron spoke of me with tenderness?
Miss Kitty Holles supplied to us afterwards my brother's account of what passed in this accidental interview. These dear girls know not how to keep from Selby-house. They are good girls; how then can they help admiring Sir Charles Grandison?
I begin to fancy I am in a way to please you, Lady G.: Of which, at taking up my pen, I had little hopes, and therefore intended not to take much pains about it. But the subject must warm the coldest genius. Is it not of your brother, and my cousin?
In the afternoon, a Letter was brought from Sir Rowland Meredith. My cousin intends to show it to you in town. Such a mix are in it, of joy and sadness; of condolement and congratulation; I believe was never seen in one sheet of paper. It is dated from Windsor. The good man was there in his way to town; resolving to pay a visit to the wonderful man, as he calls him, of whom he had heard so great a character; and who was probably to be the husband of his daughter Byron; and there he heard (from Lord W's domestics I suppose) that Sir Charles was in Northamptonshire, and that the marriage was actually solemnised. He therefore intended to set out directly for Bath, where Mr. Fowler was, or at the Hot-well at Bristol, pursuing measures for his health; with a view to console his poor boy.
This is a good old man. Methinks I am half ready to wish, that some of my cousin's admirers would dry up their tears, and come among us: Yet we are nice and dainty girls, some of us, let me tell you.—Tis foolish, however, to suggest leavings, and such sort of stuff; the Lady such as but one man could deserve; his merit allowed universally.
Sir Charles acquainted his Lady with all that had passed between him and Mr. Orme. She received his account with joy and thankfulness.
You are enter'd, Sir, said she, into a numerous family. I have called Sir Rowland Meredith my Father; Mr. Fowler my Brother. Be pleased to read this Letter.
I remember the relation, my dear, returned Sir Charles, and acknowledge it. Mr. Fowler is another Mr. Orme. Sir Rowland is a very worthy man.
He read it—What an excellent heart has Sir Rowland! My dearest Love! cultivate their friendship, as I will Mr. Orme's. My pity for these worthy objects, joining with yours, and the frankness of our mutual behaviour to them, will strengthen their hearts. We owe it to them, my dearest Life, as much as it is in our power, to soften their disappointment.—Could they have a greater?
O my Lady G! Who can think of a man after this—Except one might hope, from the personal knowledge of his charming behaviour, that the men who addressed us, might be improved by such an example?
The Tenants Jubilee, as they called it, was on Wednesday. It was a much more orderly day than we expected. Sir Charles was all condescension and cheerful goodness: My cousin all graciousness, was the word for her. Mrs. Shirley was of the company
How was she reverenced! She ever was! Once when the bride was withdrawn, and Sir Charles was engaged in talk with Mr. Deane, she whispered two or three of her tenants to tell the rest, that it was great joy to her, to be assured, that after her departure, the tenants of her dear Mr. Shirley would be treated with as much kindness (perhaps with more) as he, and as she, after his example, had ever treated them. Yet one caution, I give, said she: My dear son will see with his own eyes: He will dispense with his own hands. He will not be imposed upon.
Thursday and Friday the Bride saw company. There was as little both days of the impertinence that attends form, as, I believe, was ever known on the like occasion; but more of sincere admiration. We had a vast number of people. Some of them persons of fashion, with whom we had but slender acquaintance; but who wished to see the happy pair.
We shall be this day at Shirley-manor in a family way: In that, my dear Lady G. (after all the bustle and parade that we can make) lies the true, because the untumultuous joy.
To-morrow we shall serve God in our usual way.
Adieu, my dear L
No end of duty, love, compliments, &c. I begin again to doubt I shan't please you:—So am (allowably) tired.
Volume VII - lettera 4
Volume VII - Letter 5
LADY G. TO MISS SELBY.
Monday, Nov. 27.
Come, come, Lucy, you do pretty well. Don't be disheartened, child. Yet you are not quite the clever girl I once thought you. You, that held such a part in the correspondence of our Harriet.—But you say, you can't help it. Poor girl! I am sorry for it. Your talents lie in speech, not in writing.—Your account of the interview between Orme and my brother, shows you can't write at all. No, not you—Poor Lucy! But write one Letter more before you come to town. Do! my dear! You have charming subjects before you, yet.
I, you see, have a talent to make subjects out of nothing: You, poor soul! can't follow them when made to your hand. I'll tell you a story of my good man and his good woman. A short one. The poor man is very sensible of slight ailments. Happy, as he is, in a wife, no wonder he is afraid of dying. He was complaining to me just now [To whom but to a pitying wife should a man complain when he ails any-thing?] that he had a troublesome disorder in the inside of his mouth. I looked very grave; shook my careful head. I am afraid, my Lord, something is breeding there, that should not. He started, and looked concerned. The man will never know me. God forbid! said he—afraid of nothing less than a cancer. Have I not told you a thousand times, my Lord, of your gaping? As sure as you are alive, your mouth is fly-blown.
Expecting compassion, he found a jest, and never was man so angry. I was forced to take his hand, and stroke his cheeks with mine, to be friends.
But, Lucy, let not any of these flippancies meet my brother's eye, or invade his ear: I shall be undone if they do.
Caroline is pure well. Her Lord is never out either of her chamber, or the nursery.
Aunt Nell makes an admirable nurse. Her parrot and her squirrel are now neglected for a little marmouset. Every-body but the real nurse likes aunt Nell. The good creature is so understanding, so directing! I protest, these old maids think they know every-thing. The nurse, I see, can't endure her.
I interfere not. The boy is robust, and they leave him the free exercise of his limbs, and he has a fine pipe, and makes the nursery ring whenever he pleases; so will do well enough.
But high-ho, Lucy! all these nursery memento's, how do they sadden and mortify me! The word mother, what a solemn sound has it to me now; Caroline's situation before me!—But, come, the evil day is at distance: Who's afraid?
Beauchamp sighs for Emily: Emily for somebody else. Sir Hargrave is still miserable. Poor Sir Harry! He still lives! But can life be life, when there is no hope?
Write me one more Letter before you come up: If it be ever so short a one. Don't be proud and saucy: You imagine, I suppose, that you can't write as well as Harriet and I. Granted. Attempt it not therefore. But write as well as you can; and that, till Harriet can find herself at leisure to resume her pen, shall content
Your true friend, and humble servant,
No end of your compliments to us in town, you say.—No end of ours to you in the country, were I to begin them: Therefore will not say a word about them. You know my meaning by my gapi
Volume VII - lettera 5
Volume VII - Letter 6
MISS SELBY TO LADY G.
Thursday Night, No. 30.
And must I write your Ladyship one more Letter?
And will a short one content you?
Well then, I'll try for it.
On Sunday last, we hoped to be quiet and good: But the church was as much crowded as it was the Sunday before.
Monday and Tuesday the Bride and Bridegroom returned the visits made them. At one, they met Miss Orme, and accompanied her to their seat called The Park, at her request. You did not seem to like my account of Sir Charles's interview with Mr. Orme in my last: So I will not tell you what passed on occasion of this visit to that worthy man. I will be as perverse as you are difficult. I don't care. Yet, as your new sister described the meeting and parting to me, you would have been pleased with what I could have told you.
Yesterday we had a Ball given by Mrs. Shirley. Were I able to write to please you, how I could expatiate on this occasion! How did the Bridegroom shine! Every-body was in raptures with him, on his charming behaviour to his Bride. The notice he took of her was neither too little, nor too much, for the most delicate observers. Every young Lady envied her; and how coldly did some of them look on their own humble servants! They indeed were as regardful of him as their mistresses; so bore the preference the better. My uncle Selby was all, and more than all, he used to be. How happy, that he is a sober man! His joy, raised by wine, would have made him mad.
This day we have been all happy together. A calm, serene day; at Shirley-manor! And thus is the matter settled among us—Your brother and new sister; my uncle and aunt Selby; Mr. Deane, and your Ladyship's humble servant; are to set out early to-morrow morning for London. My brother James would fain accompany us; Sir Charles kindly inviting him: But I withstood it; so did my aunt; the private reason because of Miss Jervois.
Sir Charles thinks to stay in town till the Friday following; and then proposes to carry his Bride and all of us, to Grandison-hall.
A motion was made to Sir Charles by my grandmamma Selby; whether he would not choose to be presented with his Lady to the King on their nuptials. Sir Charles answered, that he was ready to comply with every proposal that should show his duty to his Sovereign, and the grateful sense he had of the honour done him by his Harriet.
We are to call on Lord and Lady W. at Windsor; and take them with us.
My cousin and I are to write constantly to our two grandmamma's. My sister Nancy devotes herself to our grandmother Selby. Miss Holles's will constantly visit Mrs. Shirley. Sir Charles is to bring down his Lady twice a year, or oftener, if conveniency permit.
He hoped, he said, after a while, to induce his Harriet to take a trip with him to Ireland, to inspect the improvements making in his estate there. He will find no difficulty, I believe, to prevail upon her to accompany him thither; nor even, were he disposed to it, to the world's end.
He hopes for a visit from the Italian family, so deservedly dear to him; by which he is to regulate many of his future motions.
His new-taken house in Grosvenor-square being, as you know, nearly ready, he proposes to compliment with it those noble guests, for the time of their residence in England; for he, will not, it seems, be so soon obliged to quit his present London-house, as he had thought he must.
And thus, my dear Lady G. have I obeyed your commands. I know you will not be satisfied with me. Had I been able to follow a subject that was made to my hand, I should have attempted the parting scene between my cousin and her grandmamma. Could I have borrowed your pen, I would have display'd the tender, yet magnanimous parent, not once, tho' tottering with age and infirmities, hinting that she might never again see the darling of her heart. She saddened not hope; but encouraged it. All she said, demonstrated Love of her Harriet, divested of Self, and a soul above the weaker passions; and well might she, since she has already one foot among the stars, and can look down with pity, unmixed with envy, on all those who by their youth, are doomed to toil through the rugged road of life, in search of a happiness that is not to be met with in it; and at the highest, can be compounded for, only by the blessing of a contented mind. With the same pen, before I had resigned it, would I have described the lovely grandchild embracing the knees of the indulgent parent, not satisfied with one, two, three blessings; and, less generously in the purport, tho' not in the intent (judging from her own present happiness, that there is still something worth wishing for to be met with in this world) praying to God to preserve the over-ripened fruit still on the withered tree: In which we all joined. But O how much less generously, as I hinted, because it was altogether for our own sakes!—But I know not whose pen I must have borrowed, to have done justice to Sir Charles Grandison's behaviour on this occasion!
Excuse this serious conclusion, my dear Lady G. My cousin shall not see it. May she know nothing but felicity! In hers is bound up that of Sir Charles Grandison; and in his that of hundreds. I long, tho' we parted so lately, to throw myself at your feet, and to assure you, that whatever defects there are in my pen, there are none in the Love borne you, by
Your Ladyship's Most sincere admirer,
Volume VII - lettera 6
Volume VII - Letter 7
LADY GRANDISON TO MRS. SHIRLEY.
Thursday, December 7.
Lucy (my ever honoured grandmamma) has given you the particulars of the rapturous reception I met with on Saturday, from my dear Lady L. on the visit we made her in her chamber. She, as well as her Lord, welcomed and congratulated us, and herself, with such a grace!—They are a charming pair!—We all rejoiced with her, on the addition she had made to two families so worthy.
Mrs. Eleanor Grandison received us also in raptures.
How did the tenderly kind notice which Sir Charles took of the lovely little infant (It is a fine child!) delight the happy mother, and every-body!
Lord and Lady G. met us at Lady L's; Emily, and the Earl of G. and Lady Gertrude, with them. How affectionately did the dear girl welcome us, after a few tears, which she endeavoured to hide, and which we passed over as tears of joy! But Lucy has given you all particulars (Note: This letter of Miss Selby does not appear); and the noble manner also, in which Sir Charles gave me possession of his house, on our first arrival. Every-body was charmed with it. It cost my aunt some tears.
The Christening was delayed till Monday; because Sir Charles was desirous it should be performed at church. He had some few difficulties to get over, before he carried his point; and this was the substance of his reasonings on the subject: People of fashion, he said, should consider themselves as examples to the lower orders of people. They should show a conformity to the laws of their country, both ecclesiastical and civil, where they can do it with a good conscience. In the present case, Baptism, said he, is one of our two sacraments; and shall it not be performed, when it can, as the church directs; the child in full health?
I will give you, my dear grandmamma, journal-wise, I think, an account of our proceedings; still referring myself to my Lucy for such particulars as now I shall not have time to give. For you know, my dear grandmamma, that my time is not now my own, as it used to be; tho' I shall think myself very ungrateful, and undutiful too, if I permit my new duties so wholly to engross me, as to furnish an excuse for the neglect of those which from my very birth I owe to you.
I think Lucy has not mentioned to you the lively conversations that passed in the evening, after the christening, between Sir Charles and Lady G. she choosing to single out her brother (as she had threatened, unknown to him, to do) in order to try once more her strength with him, in vivacity and raillery. She delighted every-body with her wit: For it was not so rapid and so unguarded as sometimes it is. He condescended, was Lucy's just observation, to return wit for her wit, in order to follow her lead, as he saw the company was delighted with their conversation; and was exceedingly brilliant. She complimented herself on the merit of having drawn him out, tho' to her own disadvantage. Finding herself overmatched, she shifted her attacks, and made one upon me; but with so much decorum and complaisance, as showed she intended to do me honour, rather than herself.
Tuesday evening.] Sir Charles is just returned from visiting Sir Harry Beauchamp. The poor man numbers his hours, and owned, that the three the best of men gave him, as by his own watch (tho' Sir Charles intended to be back in one) were more happy ones than he had promised himself in this life. O madam! How easy sits my Sir Charles's piety upon him! He can pity a dying friend, without saddening his own heart; for he lives the life of duty as he goes along, and fears not the inevitable lot!
Wednesday.] He is just returned from a visit to Sir Hargrave. Sir Hargrave, it seems, complimented him, but with tears in his eyes, on his marriage. Great God! said he, how are you rewarded! How am I punished! Is there not hope that I have all my punishment in this life? I am sure, it is very, very heavy.
He visited the same day Mrs. Oldham, and her children.
He drank tea this afternoon with the Danby family in full assembly, at the house of the elder brother; and came to my cousin Reeves's to supper. My uncle, aunt, Mr. Deane, and Lucy, accompanied me thither to tea and supper, where, as by promise, we were joined by Lord and Lady G. Lord L. Mrs. Eleanor Grandison, my Emily, and Mr. Beauchamp. Mr. Reeves had also invited Lady Betty Williams. What felicitations did she pour on me! She sighed, poor Lady! for the unhappy step her daughter had taken: And I sighed for the mother; who, tho' she had not given her daughter a bad example, had not set her a good one.
Lucy will tell you what a charming evening we had.
On Thursday,] Mr. Grandison presented his new-married Lady to Sir Charles and me, on account of our marriage, and dined with us. Sir Charles received the Lady, as well as his cousin, with the utmost politeness. She is far from being a disagreeable woman: But, at first, the awe she had of the people of rank in company, particularly of Lady G. as she owned to me, gave her an air of awkwardness. But Sir Charles's polite notice of her soon made her easy.
Mr. Grandison found an opportunity to praise to me her good sense and fine qualities; but in such a way, as if he were making apologies for having given the honour of his name to a woman under his own rank (ungrateful!) who yet had re-established him: He concluded his panegyric with letting me know, that she had already presented him with 25,000 pounds: He looked as if he thought he deserved it all: and actually called her a very discerning woman. I questioned not, I told him, his gratitude to a Lady so deserving; and he as good as promised to reward her by his Love; whispering, with an air of self-sufficiency, sticking his hand in his side, and surveying himself to the right and left, Her former Husband, madam, was a very plain, but an honest man. But I do assure you she has taste!—O dear! O dear! thought I to myself.
Sir Charles invited them both to Grandison-hall, and she seemed not a little proud on his calling her, as he did several times, Cousin.
Lord L. and Lord and Lady G. dined with us, as did Mrs. Eleanor Grandison and Emily. Lady G. in the main, behaved prettily enough to Mr. Grandison and his Bride. But once a little forgetting herself, and putting on a supercilious air, I whispered her, Dear Lady G. consider, you can give pride to others by your condescension: You must not yourself condescend to be proud.
Be you, my Harriet, re-whispered she, always my monitress. It is the sorry fellow, not his wife, that I look down upon, She, a widow Cit, might have done still worse.
Cit! Lady G. And in a trading kingdom?
Ay, Cit, child! Have you not heard my brother say, that even in the republic of Venice, there are young nobility and old nobility: Distinctions in blood every-where but at Amsterdam!
Who, and what, at first, made the distinction, my dear? asked I.
Be quiet, Harriet!—I think I am very good—
And at the height of your goodness, Charlotte?
Be quiet, when I bid you; aloud.
Sir Charles a little jealous of our whispering, for the sake of his cousins, turning to Mr. Grandison, Your cousin Charlotte, you know, Sir, is always hard pressed, when she calls out, Be quiet.
I was always rejoiced, replied he, when my cousin was brought to that.
Sir Charles has been twice at the Drawing-room, since we have been in town. He admires the integrity of heart of his Sovereign, as much as he reveres his royal dignity. Once I remember, he wished that his Majesty would take a summer's progress thro' his British, another into his Irish, dominions; but expressly with this proviso, That every gentleman and woman of condition should be welcome at his court, who came not in new dresses to pay their duty to him; and this left the gentry's vying with each other in appearance, should hurt their private circumstances; and for the same reason, that he would graciously treat, but not be treated by, any of the nobility at their houses.
To-morrow morning, Sir Charles, his grateful Harriet, happy creature! my uncle and aunt Selby, Mr. Deane, and Emily, are to set out by the way of Windsor for Grandison-hall. We are to take an early dinner there with Lord and Lady W.; who, on that condition, have promised to attend their beloved nephew, and his friends, to the Hall.
Lord G. is allowed to stay a week with us, and no more. He is then to attend his now but half-saucy Lady, at one of the Earl of G's seats in Hertfordshire; where, by promise of long-standing, she is to keep her Christmas: At which she mutters not a little; because she would fain have been with us; and because she imagines, it will be proper for her to confine herself at home, by the time they will part with her.
My aunt Selby, and even my uncle, will write.
He must, he says, the overflowings of his joy. Lucy loves to describe houses, furniture, gardens, and such like. She says, she will sometimes give conversations too, at which I shall not be present; but will leave to my pen persons, characters, and what passes of the more tender sort in conversations where I am by. But as well Lucy's Letters, as mine, are to be sent to Lady G. unsealed; and she, after showing them to her sister, will hasten them to Northamptonshire. Referring therefore to Lucy for more particular accounts, I subscribe myself, with all duty and grateful love to my grandmamma, as well as with kindest remembrances to all my dear friends,
Your happy, thrice happy,
Volume VII - lettera 7
Volume VII - Letter 8
LADY GRANDISON TO MRS. SHIRLEY.
Grandison-hall, Saturday 12 o'clock, Dec. 9.
O my dearest, dearest grandmamma! Here I am! The declared mistress of this spacious house, and the happiest of human creatures! This is all at this instant I can write.
Lord and Lady W. honoured us, as they had promised, with their company; but detained us so long, that we were obliged to lie one night on the road. But by eleven this morning we arrived here.
At our alighting, Sir Charles clasping me in his arms, I congratulate you, my dearest life, said he, on your entrance into your own house. The last Lady Grandison, and the present, might challenge the whole British nation to produce their equals. Then turning to every one of his guests, those of my family first, as they were strangers to the place, he said the kindest, the politest things that ever proceeded from the mouth of man. I wept for joy. I would have spoken, but could not. Every-body congratulated the happy Harriet.
Dr. Bartlett was approaching to welcome us, but drew back till our mutual congratulations were over. He then appeared. I present to you, my dear Dr. Bartlett, said the best of men, the lovely friend, whom you have so long wished to see mistress of this house. He then offered my hand to the Doctor.
God bless you, madam! tears in his eyes.—God bless you both! Then kissed, instead of my hand, which I withdrew, my offered cheek. He could say no more: I could not speak distinctly.
My dear Sir Charles led me, followed by all our rejoicing friends, thro' a noble dining-room to the drawing-room, called, The Lady's: The whole house, my dear, said he, and every person and thing belonging to it, is yours: But this apartment is more particularly so. Let what is amiss in it, be altered as you would have it.
O Sir! grasping his presenting hand between both mine, was all I could say.
This room is elegantly furnished. It is hung with a light green velvet, delicately ornamented; the chairs of the same; the frames of them gilt; as is the frame of a noble cabinet in it.—My mother's, my dearest life, whispered he. It will be always fashionable: And you, I know, will value it on her account.—Indeed I shall.—He presented me with the keys. Here perhaps will you deposit your letters and correspondences; some of which (the continuation of those I have had the honour to see) you will allow me to peruse. But of choice, remember, madam. For your whole heart must be in the grant of the favours you will confer upon me of this kind.
Dear Sir, said I, leave me power of speech; my will shall be yours, in every-thing. But you will find a strange, strange heart, laid open to you, if you command from me a sight of the papers, that probably will be reposited here, when all my matters are brought from Northamptonshire.
You shall have all the Letters you ever wrote to me, and the venerable circle, said Lucy; a loan, not a gift; if you will show them to Sir Charles.
Courage, Lucy, not inclination, will be only wanting.
Thank you, Lucy, said he. Thank you, my Love, to me. You must make marks against the passages in the Letters you shall have the goodness to communicate, which you would not have me read. I will give you my honour that I will not pass the bounds you prescribe.
I will snatch another opportunity to proceed.—My dear Sir Charles indulges me. I have told him, that if he now-and-then misses, he must conclude that I am doubling my joy, by communicating it as I have opportunity, to my dear Grandmamma.
Every-body admires the elegance of this drawing-room. The finest japan china, that I ever saw, except that of Lady G's, which she so whimsically received at the hands of her Lord, took particularly every female eye.
Sir Charles led me into a closet adjoining—Your Oratory, your Library, my Love, when you shall have furnished it, as you desired you might, by your chosen collection from Northamptonshire.
It is a sweet little apartment, my dear grandmamma; elegant book-cases, unfurnished. Every other ornament complete. How had he been at work to oblige me, by Dr. Bartlett's good offices, while my heart perhaps was torn, part of the time, with uncertainty!
The house-keeper, a middle-aged woman, who is noted, as you have heard her master say, for prudence, integrity, and obligingness, a gentlewoman (born) appearing; Sir Charles presented her to me. Receive, my Love, a faithful, a discreet gentlewoman, who will think herself honoured with your commands. Mrs. Curzon (to her) you will be happy in a mistress who is equally beloved and reverenced by all who have the honour of her countenance, if she approve of your services, and if you choose to continue with us.
I took her hand: I hope Mrs. Curzon, there is no doubt but you will. You may depend upon every-thing that is in my power to make you easy and happy.
She looked pleased; but answered only with a respectful curtsy.
Sir Charles led the gentleman out to show them his Study. We just looked into a fine suite of rooms on the same floor, and joined them there.
We found my uncle and Mr. Deane admiring the disposition of every-thing, as well as the furniture. The glass-cases are neat, and, as Dr. Bartlett told us, stored with well-chosen books in all sciences. Mr. Deane praised the globes, the orrery, and the instruments of all sorts, for geographical, astronomical, and other scientifical observations. It is ornamented with pictures, some, as Dr. Bartlett told us, of the best masters of the Italian and Flemish schools, statues, bustoes, bronzes: And there also, placed in a distinguished manner, were the two rich cabinets of medals, gems, and other curiosities, presented to him by Lady Olivia. He mentioned what they contained, and by whom presented; and said, he would show us at leisure the contents. They are not mine, added he: I only give them a place till the generous owner shall make some worthy man happy. His they must be. It would be a kind of robbery to take them from a family, that, for near a century past, have been collecting them.
Lucy says, she will be very particular in her Letters. This will take up time; especially as Lady G. and Lady L. must see them in their way to Northamptonshire; tho' they will not detain them. I shall have an opportunity to send this to London on Monday. This makes me intent to snatch every opportunity of writing. It will otherwise be too long before you will hear from us by my hand.
I do not intend to invade this slow girl's province; yet I will give you a slight sketch of the house and apartments, as I go along.
The situation is delightful. The house is very spacious. It is built in the form of an H; both fronts pretty much alike. The hall, the dining-parlour, two drawing-rooms, one adjoining to the study, the other to the dining-parlour (which with the study, mentioned already, and other rooms, that I shall leave to Lucy to describe, make the ground-floor) are handsome, and furnished in an elegant, but not sumptuous taste; the hangings of some them beautiful paper only. There is adjoining to the study, a room called The Music-parlour, so called in Sir Thomas's time, and furnished with several fine musical instruments: Sir Thomas was as great an admirer of music as his son; and a performer.
It is no news to you, madam, that Sir Charles shows a great regard to every thing, place, and disposition, that was his father's; and not absolutely inconvenient, and inconsistent with the alterations he has thought necessary to make: And which Dr. Bartlett praises highly, and promises to particularise to me. We are to be shown this Music-parlour by-and-by.
The dining-room is noble and well proportioned: It goes over the hall and dining-parlour. It is hung with crimson-damask, adorned with valuable pictures. The furniture is rich, but less ornamented than that of the Lady's drawing-room.
The best bed chamber adjoining, is hung with fine tapestry. The bed is of crimson velvet, lined with white silk; chairs and curtains of the same. Two fine pictures drawn by Sir Godfrey, one of Sir Thomas, the other of Lady Grandson, whole lengths, took my eye: O with what reverence, that of my Lady!—Lady L. Lady G. as girls, and Sir Charles as a boy of about ten years of age, made three other fine whole lengths. I must contemplate them, when I have more leisure.
The suit of rooms on the first floor which we just stepped into, are each denominated from the colour of the hangings, which are generally of damask.
Mrs. Curzon tells us, that, on occasion, they make fifteen beds, within the house, in which the best Lord in the land need not disdain to repose.—You remember, madam, that Sir Charles, in his invitation to the Italian family, tells them, he has room to receive them. The offices are said to be exceedingly convenient.
The gardens and lawn seem from the windows of this spacious house to be as boundless as the mind of the owner, and as free and open as his countenance.
[Miss Lucy Selby thus describes the situation of the house, and the park, gardens, orchard, &c. in one of her Letters which does not appear.]
"This large and convenient house is situated in a spacious park; which has several fine avenues leading to it.
"On the north side of the park, flows a winding stream, that may well be called a river, abounding with trout and other fish; the current quickened by a noble cascade, which tumbles down its foaming waters from a rock, which is continued to some extent, in a kind of ledge of rock-work rudely disposed.
"The park itself is remarkable for its prospects, lawns, and rich-appearing clumps of trees of large growth; which must therefore have been planted by the ancestors of the excellent owner; who, contenting himself to open and enlarge many fine prospects, delights to preserve, as much as possible, the plantations of his ancestors; and particularly thinks it a kind of impiety to fell a tree, that was planted by his father.
"On the south side of the river, on a natural and easy ascent, is a neat, but plain villa, in the rustic taste, erected by Sir Thomas; the flat roof of which presents a noble prospect. This villa contains convenient lodging-rooms; and one large room in which he used sometimes to entertain his friends.
"The gardener's house is a pretty little building. The man is a sober diligent man, he is in years: Has a housewifely good creature of a wife. Content is in the countenances of both: How happy must they be!
"The gardens, vineyard, &c. are beautifully laid out. The orangery is flourishing; every-thing indeed is, that belongs to Sir Charles Grandison; alcoves, little temples, seats, are erected at different points of view: The orchard, lawns, and grass-walks, have sheep for gardeners; and the whole being bounded only by sunk fences, the eye is carried to views that have no bounds.
"The orchard, which takes up near three acres of ground, is planted in a peculiar taste. A neat stone bridge in the centre of it, is thrown over the river: It is planted in a natural stope; the higher fruit-trees, as pears, in a semicircular row, first; apples at further distances next; cherries, plumbs, standard apricots, &c. all which in the season of blossoming, one row gradually lower than another, must make a charming variety of blooming sweets to the eye, from the top of the rustic villa, which commands the whole.
"The outside of this orchard, next the north, is planted with three rows of trees, at proper distances from each other; one of pines; one of cedars; one of Scotch firs, in the like semicircular order; which at the same time that they afford a perpetual verdure to the eye, and shady walks in the summer, defend the orchard from the cold and blighting winds.
"This plantation was made by direction of Sir Thomas, in his days of fancy. We have heard that he had a poetical, and consequently, a fanciful taste."
[Thus far from Miss Selby. Lady Grandison thus proceeds.]
My uncle, once took my aunt out from the company, in a kind of hurry. I saw his eyes glisten, and was curious on her return, to know the occasion. This was his speech to her, unable to check his emotion; What a man is this, dame Selby! We were surely wanting in respect to him when he was among us. To send such a one to an inn!—Fie upon us!—Lord be good unto me! how are things come about!—Who would have thought it?—Sometimes I wonder the girl is not as proud as Lucifer; at other times, that she is able to look him in the face!
To this convenient house belongs an elegant little chapel, neatly decorated. But Sir Charles, when down, generally goes to the parish-church, of which he is patron.
The gallery I have not yet seen—Dr. Bartlett tells me, it is adorned with a long line of ancestors.
After dinner, which was sumptuous and well-ordered, Sir Charles led us into the Music-parlour. O, madam, you shall hear what honour was done me there.—I will lead to it.
Several of the neighbouring gentlemen, he told us, are performers; and he hopes to engage them as opportunities shall offer. My dear Dr. Bartlett, said he, your soul is harmony: I doubt not but all these are in order—"May I ask you, my Harriet?" pointing to the harpsichord. I instantly sat down to it. It is a fine Instrument. Lord G. took up a violin; Lord L. a German flute; Mr. Deane a bass-viol; and we had a little concert of about half an hour.
Here is a noble organ: When the little concert was over, he was so good himself, on my aunt's referring to him with asking eyes, to show us it was in tune.
We all seated ourselves round him, on his preparing to oblige us; I between my aunt and Lucy; and he with a voice admirably suited to the instrument (but the words, if I may be allowed to say so, still more admirably to the occasion) at once delighted and surprised us all, by the following Lines:
Accept, great SOURCE of ev'ry bliss,
The fulness of my heart,
Pour'd out in tuneful ecstasies,
By this celestial art.
My soul, with gratitude profound,
Receive a Form so bright!
And yet, I boast a bliss beyond
This angel to the sight.
When charms of mind and person meet,
How rich our raptures rise!
The Fair that renders earth so sweet,
Prepares me for the skies!
How did our friends look upon one another, as the excellent man proceeded!—I was astonished. It was happy I sat between my aunt and Lucy!—They each took one of my hands. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks. Every one's eyes congratulated me.
Every tongue but mine, encored him. I was speechless. Again he obliged us. I thought at the time, I had a foretaste of the joys of heaven!—How sweet the incense of praise from a husband! That husband a good man!—My surrounding friends enjoying it!—How will you, madam, rejoice in such an instance of a Love so pure, and so grateful! Long, long may it be, for the sake of his Harriet, his and her friends, for the world's sake, before his native skies reclaim him!
He approached me with tender modesty; as if abashed by the applause he met with. But seeing me affected, he was concerned. I withdrew with my aunt and Lucy. He followed me. I then threw myself at his feet; embraced his knees; and had speech been lent me, would have offered him the fervent vows of a heart overflowing with Love and Gratitude.
Volume VII - lettera 8
Volume VII - Letter 9
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
The Music-parlour [I can hardly mention it without breaking into raptures] is adorned with a variety of fine carvings, on subjects that do honour to poetry and music. Be it Lucy's task to describe them. Let me mention other instances of his tender goodness to one of the happiest creatures on earth.
You know, madam, Sir Charles, when in Northamptonshire, offered me my choice of servants of both sexes; and when I told him, that I chose not to take with me any one of either but my Sally, he said, that when I came to Grandison-hall, where they would be all together, I should choose which of the men-servants I would more particularly call my own. He gave me just now the names and qualities of each. Frederic I had seen at Selby-house, an observant, sensible-looking young man (but are not all his servants so?): I choose him. He called him in (my aunt Selby present): All my servants, Frederic, said he, are as much your Lady's as mine: But you will devote yourself more particularly to her commands. I mean not, however, any distinction in your favour, where you all equally merit distinction. The power, madam, of change or dismission thro' the house is entirely yours.
To-morrow, I am to go over all the bridal ostentation again at the parish-church. On Monday Lady Mansfield and her family are to be here.—Your guests, my dear, said Sir Charles, to me, before all our friends, I hope, for a week at least. This was the first notice he gave of it to Lord and Lady W. What joy and gratitude appeared in her countenance upon it.
Tuesday, by general approbation (Sir Charles submitting the choice of the day to his guests) we are to have the neighbouring gentry here to dinner, and for the rest of the day. Sir Charles has been long wished by them all to reside among them. He breaks thro' the usual forms, and chose this way, at once, to receive the visits of all his neighbours, and in both our names gave the invitation. He showed us a list of the persons invited. It is a very large one. My dearest life, said he, we shall be all half-familiarised to them, they to us, even to-morrow, by the freedom of this invitation for the Tuesday following.
Mrs. Curzon came to me for directions about the bedchambers. I took that opportunity to tell her, that I should add to the number of female servants, only my Sally, of whose discretion I had no doubt. You must introduce to me, said I, at a proper time, the female servants. If you, Mrs. Curzon, approve of them, I shall make no changes. I am, myself, the happiest of women: Every one who deserves it, shall find her happiness in mine.
You will rejoice all their hearts, madam, by this early declaration of your good to them. I can truly say, that the best of masters has not the worst of servants: But Dr. Bartlett would make bad servants good.
I shall want no other proof, said I, of their goodness, than their love and respect to Dr. Bartlett.
In company of my aunt, Lady W. Lucy, Miss Jervois, attended by Mrs. Curzon, we went to choose our rooms; and those for our expected guests of Monday. We soon fixed on them. My aunt with her usual goodness, and Lady W. with that condescension that is natural to her, took great notice of Mrs. Curzon, who seemed delighted with us all; and said, that she should be the happier in the performance of her duty, as she had been informed, we were managing Ladies. It was a pleasure, she said, to receive commands from persons who knew when things were properly done. You, my dearest grandmamma, from my earliest youth, have told me, that to be respected even by servants, it is necessary to be able to direct them, and not be thought ignorant in those matters that it becomes a mistress of a family to be acquainted with. They shall not find me pragmatical, however, in the little knowledge I have in family-matters.
Will nothing happen, my dear grandmamma—But no more of this kind—Shall I by my diffidences lessen the enjoyments of which I am in full possession? My joy may not be sufficient to banish fear; but I hope it will be a prudent one, which will serve to increase my thankfulness to heaven, and my gratitude to the man so justly dear to me.
But do you, my grandmamma, whenever you pray for the continuance of your Harriet's happiness, pray also for that of Lady Clementina: That only can be wanting in my present situation, to complete the felicity of
Your ever-grateful, ever-dutiful,
Volume VII - lettera 9
Volume VII - Letter 10
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
What a crowded church-yard and church had I to pass thro' to the handsome seat, which belongs to the excellent patron of it!—How much exalted was I to hear his whispered praises! How did my Northamptonshire friends rejoice in the respectful approbation paid to the happy creature, to whom they are more immediately related! I am always a little mortified by praises of my figure. What a transitory thing is outward form!—May I make to myself a more solid and permanent foundation for that respect, which is generally more pleasing to a female heart than it ought to be.
Sir Charles was not unhappy in his invitation for next Tuesday. It took off, I imagine, some particular addresses to him. Yet several gentlemen at his coach-side acknowledged the favour done them in it.
My uncle, who, you know, madam, loves every-thing that promotes good neighbourhood, is greatly delighted with the thoughts of the day. How proud is he of his Harriet! How much more proud of his relation to the best of men!
I have looked upon what Lucy has written. I see there will be but little room for me to say any-thing. She is delighted with the task. It employs all her faculties; displays her fine taste in architecture, paintings, needle-works, shell-works. She will give you a description of several charming performances in the two latter arts, of the late Lady Grandison!—How does the character of that admirable Lady rise upon us! With what emulation does it fire me! On twenty accounts, it was a very bold thing, my grandmamma, for your Harriet to aspire to be Lady Grandison!—Yet how does Sir Charles's goodness, his kind acceptance of all my humble endeavours, encourage me!—O, madam! he said truth, when in courtship he told me, that I parted with power to have it returned me with augmentation. I don't know how it is, but his freedom of behaviour to me is increased; yet his respectfulness is not diminished.—And, tender as he was before to me, his tenderness is still greater than it was: Yet so much unaffected dignity in it, that my reverence for him is augmented, but without any abatement of my Love. Then his cheerfulness, his more than cheerfulness, his vivacity, shows, that he is at heart pleased with his Harriet. Happy Harriet!—Yet I cannot forbear now-and-then, when my joy and my gratitude are at the highest, a sigh to the merits of Lady Clementina!—What I am now, should she have been, think I often!—The general admiration paid me as the wife of Sir Charles Grandison, should have been paid to her!—Lady L. Lady G. should have been, her sisters! She should have been the mistress of this house, the co-guardian of Emily, the successor of the late excellent Lady Grandison!—Hapless Clementina!—What a strange thing, that a love of religion in two persons so pious, so good, each in their way, should sunder, for ever sunder, persons whose minds were so closely united!
Sir Charles, by Lucy, invites me, till dinner is ready, to walk with them, at her request, in the gallery. Lucy wants, in describing that gallery, to give you, my dearest grandmamma (in whom every other of my friends is included) a brief history of the ancestors of Sir Charles, whose pictures adorn it. I come! Lord of my heart! I attend you!—
How, madam, would you have been delighted, could you have sat in this truly noble gallery, and seen the dear man, one arm round my waist, holding my opposite hand in the hand of the same surrounding arm, pointing sometimes with the other, sometimes putting that other arm round my Lucy's, and giving short histories of the persons whose pictures we saw!
Some of the pictures are really fine. One of Sir Charles's, which is drawn when he was about sixteen, is on horseback. The horse a managed, curvetting, proud beast.—His seat, spirit, courage, admirably expressed: He must have been, as his sisters say he was, the loveliest, and the most undaunted, yet most modest-looking, of youths. He passed his own picture so slightly, that I had not time to take in half the beauties of it. You will not doubt, madam, but I shall be often in this gallery, were only this one picture there.
What pleasure had I in hearing the history of this ancient family, from this unbroken series of the pictures of it, for so many generations past! And will mine, one day, thought I, be allowed a place among them, near to that of the most amiable of them all, both as to mind and figure? How my heart exulted! What were my meditations as I traced the imagined footsteps of dear Lady Grandison, her picture and Sir Thomas's in my eye! as finely executed, as those in the best bedchamber. May I, thought I, with a happier lot, be but half as deserving! But, madam, did not Lady Grandison shine the more for the hardships she passed through?—And is it necessary for virtue to be called forth by trials, in order to be justified by its fortitude under them? What trials can I be called to with Sir Charles Grandison? But may I not take my place on the footstep of her throne, yet make no contemptible figure in the family of her beloved son? I will humbly endeavour to deserve my good fortune, and leave the rest to Providence.
There are in different apartments of this seat, besides two in the house in the town, no less than six pictures of Sir Thomas: But then two of them were brought from his seat in Essex. Sir Thomas was fond of his person: They are drawn in different attitudes.
He appears to be, as I have always heard he was, a fine figure of a man. But neither Lucy nor I, tho' we made not the compliment to Sir Charles, you may suppose (who always speaks with reverence and unaffected Love of his father) thought him comparable in figure, dignity, intelligence, to his son.
We were called to dinner, before we had gone half-way thro' the gallery.
We had a crowded church again in the afternoon.
Sunday night.] This excellent Dr. Bartlett! And, this excellent Sir Charles Grandison! I may say.—Sir Charles having enquired of the Doctor, when alone with him, after the rules observed by him before we came down, the Doctor told him, that he had every morning and night the few servants attending him in his antechamber to prayers, which he had selected out of the Church Service. Sir Charles desired him by all means to continue so laudable a custom; for he was sure master and servants would both find their account in it.
Sir Charles sent for Richard Saunders and Mrs. Curzon. He applauded to them the Doctor's goodness, and desired they would signify, the one to the men-servants, the other to the women, that he should take it well of them, if they cheerfully attended the Doctor; promising to give them opportunity, as often as was possible. Half an hour after ten, Doctor, I believe is a good time in the evening?
That, Sir, is about my time, and eight in the morning, as an hour the least likely to interfere with their business. Whenever it does, they are in their duty, and I do not then expect them.
About a quarter after ten, the Doctor slipped away. Soon after Sir Charles withdrew, unperceived by any of us. The Doctor and his little church were assembled. Sir Charles joined them, and afterwards returned to company, with that cheerfulness that always beams in his aspect. The Doctor followed him, with a countenance as serene. I took the Doctor aside, tho' in the same apartment, supposing the matter. Sir Charles joining us—O Sir, said I, why was I not whispered to withdraw with you? Think you, that your Harriet—
The company, my dearest Love, interrupted he, was not now to be broken up. When we are settled, we can make a custom for ourselves, that will be allowed for by every-body, when it is seen we persevere, and are in every other respect, uniform: Joshua's resolution, Doctor, was an excellent one (Note: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord, Josh. 25,15). The chapel, now our congregation is large, will be the properest place; and there, perhaps, the friends we may happen to have with us, will sometimes join us.
Monday morning.] Sir Charles has just now presented to me, in Doctor Bartlett's presence, Mr. Daniel Bartlett, the Doctor's nephew, and his only care in this world; a young gentleman of about eighteen, well educated, and a fine accomptant, a master of his pen, and particularly of the art of short-hand writing. The Doctor insisted on the specification of a salary, which he named himself to be 40l. a year, and to be within the house, that he might always be at hand. He could not trust, he said, to his patron's assurances, that his bountiful spirit would allow him to have a regard, in the reward, only to the merit of the service.
Monday noon.] Lady Mansfield, Miss Mansfield, and the three Brothers, are arrived. What excellent women, what agreeable young gentlemen, what grateful hearts, what joy to Lady W. on their arrival, what pleasure to Lord W. who, on every occasion, shows his delight in his nephew!—All these things, with their compliments to your happy Harriet, let Lucy tell. I have not time.
What, my dear grandmamma, shall we do with Lord and Lady W.?—Such a rich service of gilt plate! Just arrived! A present to me!—It is a noble present!—And so gracefully presented! And I so gracefully permitted to accept of it, by my best, my tenderest friend!—Let Lucy describe this too.
Tuesday morning] A vast company we shall have. Gentlemen and their Ladies are invited: Your Harriet is to be dressed: She is already dressed. How kindly am I complimented, by every one of my friends!—Let Lucy, let my aunt (she promises to assist Lucy) relate all that shall pass, describe the persons, and give the characters of our visitors; our managements, our entertainments, the Ball, that is to conclude the day and night. I shall not be able, I suppose, to write a line.
Wednesday noon.] Our company left us not till six this morning. My uncle was transported with the day; with the night.
I will only say, that all was happy; and decency, good order, mirth, and jollity, went thro' the whole space. Sir Charles was every-where, and with every-body. He was almost as much every Lady's as mine. O how he charmed them all! Sir William Turner said once, behind his back, Of what transports did my late friend Sir Thomas, who doted upon his son, deprive himself by keeping him so long abroad!
I could not but think of what my dear Lady G. once wrote, that women are not so soon tired as men, with these diversions, with dancing particularly. By three, all but Sir Charles and my uncle seemed quite fatigued: But recovered themselves. My Emily delighted every-body. She was the whole night what I wished her to be—Dear madam, be not uneasy. We shall be very happy in each other.
O that you were with us, my dearest grandmamma! But you, from your cheerful piety, and joyful expectation of happiness supreme, are already, tho' on earth, in heaven!—Yet it is my wish, my aunt's, my uncle's, Lucy's, twenty times a day, that you were present, and saw him, The Domestic man, The cheerful Friend, The kind Master, The enlivening Companion, The polite Neighbour, The tender Husband! Let nobody who sees Sir Charles Grandison at home, say, that the private station is not that of true happiness.
How charmingly respectful is he to my uncle, aunt, and good Mr. Deane! To Lucy, he is an affectionate brother. Emily, dear girl, how she enjoys his tenderness to her!
My uncle is writing to you, madam, a Letter. He says, it will be as long as his arm. My aunt will dispatch this day a very long one. Theirs will supply my defects. Lucy is not quite ready with her first Letter. If there were not so much of your Harriet in it, I would highly praise what she has hitherto written.
Thursday morning.] I leave to my uncle the account of the gentlemen's diversions in the gardens and fields. They are all extremely happy. But Lord G. already pines after his Charlotte. He will not be prevailed on to stay out his week, I doubt, sweet-temper'd man! as I see him in a thousand little amiable instances. If Lady G. did not love him, I would not love her. Lord W. is afraid of a gouty attack. He is never quite free. He and his admirable Lady will leave us to-morrow.
I think, my dear Lady G. with you, that discretion and gratitude are the corner-stones of the matrimonial fabric. Lady W. had no prepossessions in any other man's favour. My Lord loves her. What must be that woman's heart, that Gratitude and Love cannot engage? But she loves my Lord. Surely she does. Is not real and unaffected tenderness for the infirmities of another, the very essence of Love; What is wanting where there is that? My Sir Charles is delighted with Lady W's goodness to his uncle. He tells her often, how much he reveres her for it.
In our retired hours, we have sometimes the excellent Lady abroad for our Subject. I always begin it.
He never declines it. He speaks of her with such manly tenderness! He thanks me, at such times, for allowing him, as he calls it, to love her. He regrets very much the precipitating of her: Yet pities her parents and brothers. How warmly does he speak of his Jeronymo! He has a sigh for Olivia. But of whom, except Lady Sforza and her Laurana, does he not speak kindly!—And them he pities. Never, never, was there a more expanded heart!
Ah, madam, a cloud has just brushed by us! Its skirts have affected us with sadness, and carried us from our sunshine prospects home; that is to say, to thoughts of the general destiny!—Poor Sir Harry Beauchamp is no more! A Letter from his Beauchamp! Sir Charles showed it to me, for the honour of the writer, now Sir Edward. We admired this excellent young man together, over his Letter. What fine things did Sir Charles say on this occasion, both by way of self-consolation, and on the inevitable destiny! But he dwelt not on the subject. He has written to Lady Beauchamp, and to the young Baronet. How charmingly consolatory!—What admirable—But Sir Charles, madam, is a CHRISTIAN!
This event has not at all influenced his temper. He is the same cheerful man to his guests; to his Harriet; to every-body. I am afraid it will be the cause of his first absence from me: How shall I part with him, tho' it were but for two days?
Friday noon.] What a vacancy! Lady Mansfield, and her sons, Lord G. and Lord and Lady W. have left us. Miss Mansfield is allowed to stay with me some time longer. Emily is very fond of her. No wonder: She is a good young woman.
We are busied in returning the visits of our neighbours, which Sir Charles promised to do, as if they were individually made to us. We have a very agreeable neighbourhood. But I want these visitings to be over. Sir Charles and his relations and mine, are the world to me. These obligations of ceremony, tho' unavoidable, are drawbacks upon the true domestic felicity. One happiness, however, results from the hurry and bustle they put us in: Emily's mind (tho' she not always accompanies us) seems to be engaged: When we are not quite happy in our own thoughts, it is a relief to carry them out of ourselves.
Sir Charles and I have just now had a short conversation about this dear girl. We both joined in praising her; and then I said, I thought, that some time hence Mr. Beauchamp and she would make a very happy pair.
I have, said he, a Love for both. But as the one is my own very particular friend, and as the other is my ward, I would rather he found for himself, and she for herself, another Lover, and that for obvious reasons.
But, suppose, Sir, they should like each the other?
So as they made it not a compliment to me, but gave me reason to believe, that they would have preferred each the other to every one else, were they strangers to me, I would not stand in their way. But the man, who hopes for my consent for Emily, must give me reason to think, that he would have preferred her to any other woman, tho' she had a much less fortune than she is mistress of.
I am much mistaken, Sir, if that may not be the case of your friend.
Tell me, my nobly frank, and ever-amiable Harriet, what you know of this subject. Has Beauchamp any thoughts of Emily?—
Ah, Sir, thought I, I dare not tell you all my thoughts; but what I do tell you, shall be truth.
I really, Sir, don't imagine Emily has a thought of your Beauchamp—
Nor of any other person? Has she?—
Lady G. Lady L. and myself, are of opinion, that Beauchamp loves Emily.
I am glad, my dear, if any thing were to come of it, that the man loved first.
I was conscious. A tear unawares dropped from my eye—He saw it. He folded his arm about me, and kissed it from my check. Why, my Love! my dearest Love! why this? and seemed surprised.
I must tell you, Sir, that you may not be surprised. I fear, I fear—
What fears my Love?
That the happiest of all women cannot say, that her dear man loved her first!—
He folded me in his kind arms. How sweetly engaging! said he: I will presume to hope, that my Harriet, by the happiest of all women, means herself—You say not no! I will not insult your goodness so much, as to ask you to say yes. But, this I say, that the happiest of all men loved his Harriet, before she could love him; and, but for the honour he owed to another admirable woman, tho' then he had no hopes of ever calling her his, would have convinced her of it, by a very early declaration. Let me add, that the moment I saw you first (distressed and terrified as you were, too much to think of favour to any man) I loved you: And you know not the struggle it cost me (my destiny with our dear Clementina so uncertain) to conceal my Love—Cost me, who ever was punctiliously studious to avoid engaging a young Lady's affections, lest I should not be able to be just to her; and always thought what is called Platonic Love an insidious pretension.
O Sir! And I flung my fond arms about his neck, and, hiding my glowing face in his bosom, called him, murmuringly, the most just, the most generous, of men.
He pressed me still to his heart; and when I raised my conscious face, tho' my eye could not bear his, Now, Sir, said I, after this kind, this encouraging acknowledgement, I can consent, I think I can, that the Lord of my heart shall see, as he has more than once wished to see, long before he declared himself, all that was in that forward, that aspiring heart.—
Lucy had furnished me with the opportunity before. I instantly arose, and took out of a drawer a parcel of my Letters, which I had sorted ready, on occasion, to oblige him, which, from what he had seen before, down to the dreadful masquerade affair, carried me to my setting out with his sisters to Colnebrook.
I think not to show him farther, by my own consent, because of the recapitulation of his family story, which immediately follows; particularly including the affecting accounts of his mother's death; his father's unkindness to the two young Ladies; Mrs. Oldham's story; the sisters conduct to her; which might have revived disagreeable subjects.
Be pleased, Sir, said I, putting them into his hands, to judge me favourably. In these papers is my heart laid open.
Precious trust! said he, and put the papers to his lips: You will not find your generous confidence misplaced.
An opportunity offering to send away what I have written, here, my dearest grandmamma, concludes
Volume VII - lettera 10
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