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THE HISTORY OF
Volume VII - Letter 11
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Saturday-morning, Dec. 16.
I will not trouble you, my dear grandmamma, with an account of the preparations we are making to benefit and regale our poorer neighbours, and Sir Charles's tenants, at this hospitable season. Not even Sir Charles Grandison himself can exceed you, either in bounty or management, on this annual Solemnity. Sir Charles has consulted with Dr. Bartlett, and every-thing will be left to the direction of that good man. My uncle and aunt have dispatched their directions to Selby-house, that their neighbours and tenants may not suffer by their absence.
The gentlemen are all rid out together, the Doctor with them, to reconnoitre the country, as my uncle calls it. Emily and Lucy are gone with them, on horseback. My aunt and I declined accompanying them; and took this opportunity, attended by Mrs. Curzon, to go thro' the Offices.
In the housekeeper's room, I received the maidservants, seven in number; and, after her, called each by her name, and spoke kindly to them all. I told them how handsomely Mrs. Curzon spoke of them, and assured them of my favour. I praised the cheerfulness with which Dr. Bartlett had told me they attended him every day in his antechamber. They should have the opportunity given them, I said, as often as possible. I hoped that my Sally behaved well among them.
They praised her.
Sally, said I, has a serious turn. Piety is the best security in man and woman for good behaviour. She will seldom fail of attending the Doctor with you. We shall all be happy, I hope. I am acquainting myself with the methods of the house. Nobody shall be put out of their good way by me. My aunt only said, My niece proposes to form herself on the example of the late excellent Lady Grandison.
They blessed me; tears in their eyes.
I made each of them a present for a pair of gloves.
We went thro' all the Offices, the lowest not excepted. The very servants live in paradise. There is room for every thing to be in order Every thing is in order. The Offices so distinct, yet so conveniently communicating—Charmingly contrived!—The low servants, men and women, have Laws, which at their own request, were drawn up, by Mrs. Curzon, for the observance of the minutest of their respective duties; with little mulcts, that at first only there was occasion to exact. It is a house of harmony, to my hand. Dear madam! What do good people leave to good people to do? Nothing! Every one knowing and doing his and her duty; and having, by means of their own diligence, time for themselves.
I was pleased with one piece of furniture in the housekeeper's room, which neither you, madam, nor my aunt, have in yours. My aunt says, Selby-house shall not be long after her return without it. It is a Servants Library, in three classes: One of books of divinity and morality: Another for housewifery: A third of history, true adventures, voyages, and innocent amusement. I, II, III. are marked on the cases, and the same on the back of each book, the more readily to place and re-place them, as a book is taken out for use. They are bound in buff for strength. A little fine is laid upon whoever puts not a book back in its place. As new books come out, the Doctor buys such as he thinks proper to range under these three classes.
I asked, if there were no books of gardening? I was answered, that the gardener had a little house in the garden, in which he had his own books. But her master, Mrs. Curzon said, was himself a Library of gardening, ordering the greater articles by his own taste.
Seeing a pretty glass-case in the housekeeper's apartment, filled with physical matters, I asked, If she dispensed any of those to the servants, or the poor? Here is, said she, a collection of all the useful drugs in medicine: But does not your Ladyship know the noble method that my master has fallen into since his last arrival in England? What is that? He gives a salary, madam, to a skilful apothecary; and pays him for his drugs besides (and these are his, tho' I have a key to it); and this gentleman dispenses physic to all his tenants, who are not able to pay for advice; nor are the poor who are not his tenants, refused, when recommended by Dr. Bartlett.
Blessings on his benevolence! said I. O my aunt! What a happy creature am I! God Almighty, if I disgrace not my husband's beneficence, will love me for his sake!—Dear creature, said my aunt—And for your own too, I hope.
There lives in an house, madam, continued Mrs. Curzon, within five miles of this, almost in the middle of the estate, and pays no rent, a very worthy young man; brought up, under an eminent surgeon of one of the London hospitals, who has orders likewise for attending his tenants in the way of his business—As also every casualty that happens within distance, and where another surgeon is not to be met with. And he, I understand, is paid on a cure actually performed, very handsomely. But if the patient die, his trouble and attendance are only considered according to the time taken up; except a particular case requires consideration.
And this surgeon, Mrs. Curzon, this apothecary—
Are noted, madam, for being good, as well as skilful men. My master's test is, that they are men of seriousness, and good livers: Their consciences, he says, are his security.
How must this excellent man be beloved, how respected, Mrs. Curzon!
Respected and beloved, madam!—Indeed he is—Mr. Richard Saunders, has often observed to me, that if my master either rides or walks in company, tho' of great Lords, people distinguish him by their respectful love: To the Lord, they will but seem to lift up their hats, as I may say; or if women, just drop the knee, and look grave, as if they paid respect to their quality only: But to my master, they pull off their hats to the ground, and bow their whole bodies: They look smilingly, and with pleasure and blessings, as I may say, in their faces: The good women curtsy also to the ground, turn about when he has passed them, and look after him—God bless your sweet face; and God bless your dear heart, will they say—And the servants who hear them are so delighted!—Don't your Ladyship see, how all his servants love him as they attend him at table? How they watch his eye in silent reverence—Indeed, madam, we all adore him; and have prayed morning, noon, and night for his coming hither, and settling among us. And now is the happy time: Forgive me, madam; I am no flatterer; But we all say, He has brought another angel to bless us.
I was forced to lean upon my aunt—Tears of joy trickled down my cheeks. O, madam, what a happy lot is mine!—
My uncle wonders I am not proud—Proud, madam!—Proud of my inferiority!
We visited Mr. Bartlett in his new office. He is a modest, ingenious young man. I asked him to give me at his leisure, a catalogue of the Servants Library, for my aunt.
O my dear, said my aunt, had your grandpapa, had your papa, your mamma, lived to this day!—
I will imagine, said I, that I see them looking down from their heaven. They bid me take care to deserve the lot I have drawn; and tell me, that I can only be more happy, when I am what and where they are.
Dr. Bartlett, attended by his servant, is returned without the gentlemen. I was afraid he was not very well. I followed him up, and told him my apprehensions.
He owned afterwards, that he was a little indisposed when he came in; but said, I had made him well.
I told him, what had passed between Mrs. Curzon and me. He confirmed all she said.
He told me, that Sir Charles was careful also in improving his estates. The minutest things, he said, any more than the greatest, escaped not his attention. He has, said he, a bricklayer, a carpenter, by the year; a sawyer, three months constantly in every year. Repairs are set about the moment they become necessary. By this means he is not imposed upon by encroaching or craving tenants. He will do any-thing that tends to improve the estate; so that it is the best conditioned estate in the county. His tenants grow into circumstance under him. Tho' absent, he gives such orders, as but few persons on the spot would think of. He has a discernment that goes to the bottom of every-thing. In a few years, improving only what he has in both kingdoms, he will be very rich, yet answer the generous demands of his own heart upon his benevolence: All the people he employs he takes upon character of seriousness and sobriety, as Mrs. Curzon told you; and then he makes them the more firmly his, by the confidence he reposes in them. He continually, in his written directions to his master-workmen, cautions them to do justice to the tenants as well as to him, and even to throw the turn of the scale in their favour. You are, says he, my friends, my workmen: You must not make me both judge and party. Only remember, that I bear not imposition. The man who imposes on me once, I will forgive: But he never shall have an opportunity to deceive me a second time: For I cannot act the part of a suspicious man, a watchman over people of doubtful honesty.
The Doctor says, he is a great planter, both here and in Ireland: And now he is come to settle here, he will set on foot several projects, which hitherto he had only talked of, or written about.
Sir Charles, I am sure, said he, will be the friend of every worthy man and woman. He will find out the sighing heart before it is overwhelmed with calamity.
He proposes, as soon as he is settled, to take a personal Survey of his whole estate. He will make himself acquainted with every tenant, and even cottager, and enquire into his circumstances, number of children, and prospects. When occasions call for it, he will forgive arrears of rent; and if the poor men have no prospect of success, he will buy his own farms of them, as I may say, by giving them money to quit: He will transplant one to a less, another to a larger farm, if the tenants consent, according as they have stock, or probability of success in the one or the other; and will set the poor tenants in a way of cultivating what they hold, as well by advice as money; for while he was abroad, he studied Husbandry and Law, in order, as he used to say, to be his father's steward; the one to qualify him to preserve, the other to manage, his estate. He was always prepared for, and aforehand with, probable events.
Dear, dear Dr. Bartlett, said I, we are on a charming subject; tell me more of my Sir Charles's management and intentions. Tell me all you know, that is proper for me to know.
Proper, madam! Every-thing he has done, does, and intends to do, is proper for you, and for all the world to know. I wish all the world were to know him, as I do; not for his sake, but for their own.
That moment (without any-body's letting me know the gentlemen were returned) into the Doctor's apartment came Sir Charles. My back was to the door, and he was in the room before I saw him. I started! Sir, Sir! said I, as if I thought excuses necessary.
He saw my confusion. That, and his sudden entrance, abashed the Doctor. Sir Charles reconciled us both to ourselves—He put one arm round my waist, with the other he lifted up my hand to his lips, and in the voice of Love, I congratulate you both, said he: Such company, my dearest Life! such company, my dearest friend! you cannot have every hour! May I, as often as there is opportunity, see you together! I knew not that you were! The Doctor and I, madam, stand not upon ceremony. Pardon me, Doctor. I insist upon leaving you as I found you—
I caught his hand, as he was going—Dear, dear Sir, I attend you. You shall take me with you; and, if you please, make my excuses to my aunt, for leaving her so long alone, before you came in.
Doctor, excuse us both; my Harriet has found, for the first time, a will. It is her own, we know, by its obligingness.
He received my offered hand, and led me into company: Where my aunt called me to account for leaving her, and begged Sir Charles would chide me.
She was with Dr. Bartlett, madam, said he: Had she been with any other person, man or woman, and Mrs. Selby, alone, I think we would have tried to chide her.
What obligation, what sweet politeness, my dear grandmamma!
Such, madam, is the happiness of your Harriet.
Lucy has a charming Letter to send you!—From that Letter, you will have a still higher notion of my happiness, of the dear man's unaffected tenderness to me, and of the approbation of a very genteel neighbourhood, than I myself could give you.
Lady G. and Lady L. have both made up for their supposed neglects. I had written to each to charge them with having not congratulated me on my arrival here. Two such charming Letters!—I have already answered them. The love as well as over (Thank heaven they do!)
Your HARRIET GRANDISON.
LA STORIA DI
Volume VII - lettera 11
Volume VII - Letter 12
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Monday, Dec. 18.
The dearest, best of men, has left me! Just now left me!—Did not every-body keep me in countenance, I should be very angry with myself for wishing that such a man should be always confined to my company! I must keep my fondness within equitable bounds. But, kind man! he seemed, and, if he seemed, he was, as loth to part with me. He is gone to London, madam: Poor Lady Beauchamp has besought his presence, not at Sir Harry's funeral (He was to be interred, it seems last night) but at the opening of the will: And his Beauchamp joined in the request.
He hopes to be down with us on Thursday. Miss Mansfield took the opportunity to return to her mother, who sent word, that she knew not how to live without her.
Sir Charles was pleased to give to me the keys of his Study, and of Lady Olivia's Cabinets. Lucy gave you, madam, an account of the invaluable contents. And now I will amuse myself there, and sit in every chair, where I have seen him sit, and tread over his imagined footsteps.
Tuesday.] My books are come, and all my trinkets with them. We have all been busy in classing the books. My closet will be now furnished as I wish it: And I shall look at these, my dear companions of Selby-house, and recollect the many, many happy hours they gave me there.
Was I ever, ever unhappy, my dear Grandmamma? If I was, I have forgot the time. I acquiesce cheerfully with your wishes not to dis-furnish your gallery, by sending to me our family pictures. Let those of my benevolent father and my excellent mother, of happy, happy memory, still continue there to smile upon you, as you are pleased to express yourself. Nobody but you and my aunt Selby have a right to each of those of mine, which are honoured with a place in your respective drawing-rooms. My dear Sir Charles, thank heaven! calls the original his. But why would you load me with the precious gold box, and its contents; less precious those, tho' of inestimable value, than my dear grandpapa's picture in the lid?—But I can tell you, madam, that Sir Charles is an ungrateful man: He will not thank you for it. A remembrance, madam (I know what he will say) "Does the best of women think my Harriet wants any-thing to remind her of the obligations she is under to parents so dear?"—He will be very jealous of the honour of his Harriet. Forgive, madam, the freedom of my expostulation, as if I were not your girl, as well as his.
What reasons have you found out (but this was always your happy, your instructive way) to be better pleased with your absence from us, than if you were present with us, as we all often wish you!
Here, Lady L. Lady G. sisters so dear to me, since these Letters will pass under your eye, let me account to you, by the following extract from my grandmamma's last Letters, for the meaning of what I have written to that indulgent parent, in the lines immediately preceding.
"You often, my dearest Harriet, wish me to be with you. In the first place I am here enjoying myself in my own way, my own servants about me; a trouble, a bar, a constraint, upon no one; but those to whom I make it worth while to bear with me. I should think I never could do enough to strangers: No, tho' I were sure they thought I did too much. In the next, were I to be with you at Grandison-hall, I could not be every-where: So that I should be deprived of half the delightful scenes and conversations, that you, your aunt, and Lucy, relate and describe to me by pen and ink: Nor should I be able perhaps to bear those grateful ones, to which I should be present. My heart, my dear, you know is very susceptible of joy; it has long been preparing itself for the sublimest. Grief touches it not so much. The Losses I sustained of your father, your mother, and my own dear Mr. Shirley; made all other sorrows light. Nothing could have been heavy, but the calamity of my gentle Harriet, had she been afflicted with it. Now, I take up the kind, the rapturous Letters, from my table, where I spread them. When the contents are too much for me, I lay them down; and resume them, as my subsided joy will allow. Then lay them down again, as I am affected by some new instance of your happiness; bless God, bless you, your dearest of men; bless every-body.—In every Letter I find a cordial that makes my heart light, and for the time, insensible of infirmity:—Can you, my Harriet, be happier than I?"
I am called upon by my aunt and Lucy. I will here, my dear grandmamma, conclude myself,
Your for-ever obliged, and dutiful,
Volume VII - lettera 12
Volume VII - Letter 13
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
A treasure, an invaluable treasure, my dear grandmamma!—On the table in Sir Charles's own closet, I took up a common-prayer-book, under which, on removing it, I saw a paper written in Sir Charles's largest hand, the three last Lines of which appearing to be very serious (the first side not containing them) I had the curiosity to unfold it: it contains Reflections, mingled and concluded with solemn addresses to the Almighty. I asked leave to transcribe them. On promise that a copy, as his, should not pass into any-body's hands but yours, I obtained it.
What a comfort is it, on reflection, that, at his own motion, I joined with him in the Sacramental Office, on occasion of our happy nuptials, the first opportunity that offered! A kind of renewal, in the most solemn manner, of our marriage vows; at least a confirmation of them. No wonder that the good man, who could draw up such reflections, should make such a motion.
What credit did he do (may not one say so?) To religion on that happy day! A man of sense, of dignity in his person, known to be no bigot, no superstitious man; yet not ashamed to join in the sacred office with the meanest. It was a glorious confession of his Christian principles. Whenever he attends on public worship, his seriousness, his modesty, his humility, all show that he believes himself in the presence of that God whose blessing he silently joins to invoke: And when all is over, his cheerfulness and vivacity demonstrate, that his heart is at ease in the consciousness of a duty performed. How does my mind sometimes exult in the prospects of happiness with the man of my choice, extending, through divine goodness, beyond this transitory life!
I will conclude this Letter with the copy of these reflections. What is sit to come after them, that can be written by
FIRMAYour HARRIET GRANDISON?
What, O my heart! overflowing with happiness! are the sentiments that ought to spring up in thee, when admitted either in the solemnities of public worship, or the retiredness of private devotion, into the more immediate presence of thy MAKER! Who does not govern, but to bless! Whose divine commands are sent to succour human reason in search of happiness!
Let thy Law, ALMIGHTY! be the rule, and thy glory the constant end, of all I do! Let me not build virtue on any notions of honour, but of honour to thy Name. Let me not sink piety in the boast of benevolence; my Love of God in the Love of my fellow-creatures. Can good be of human growth? No! It is thy gift, Almighty, And All-good! Let not thy bounties remove the Donor from my thought; nor the Love of pleasures make me forsake the Fountain from which they flow. When joys entice, let me ask their title to my heart. When evils threaten, let me see thy mercy shining thro' the cloud; and discern the great hazard of having all to my wish. In an age of such licence, let me not take comfort from an inauspicious omen, the number of those who do amiss: An omen rather of public ruin, than of private safety. Let the joys of the multitude less allure than alarm me; and their danger, not example, determine my choice. What weigh public example, passion, and the multitude, in one scale, against Reason, and the Almighty, in the other?
In this day of domineering pleasure, so lower my taste, as to make me relish the comforts of Life. And in this day of dissipation, O give me thought sufficient to preserve me from being so desperate, as in this perpetual flux of things, and as perpetual swarm of accidents, to depend on To-morrow: A dependence that is the ruin of To-day; as that is of Eternity. Let my whole existence be ever before me: Nor let the terrors of the grave turn back my survey. When temptations arise, and virtue staggers, let imagination sound the final trumpet, and judgment lay hold on eternal Life. In what is well begun, grant me to persevere; and to know, that none are wise, but they who determine to be wiser still.
And since, O Lord! the Fear of thee is the beginning of wisdom; and in its progress, its surest shield; turn the world entirely out of my heart, and place that guardian angel, thy blessed Fear, in its stead. Turn out a foolish world, which gives its money for what is not bread; which hews out broken cisterns that hold no water; a world in which even they whose hands are mighty, have found nothing. There is nothing, Lord God Almighty, in heaven, in earth, but thee. I will seek thy face, bless thy name, sing thy praises, love thy Law, do thy will, enjoy thy peace, hope thy glory, till my final hour! Thus shall I grasp all that can be grasped by man. This will heighten good, and soften evil in the present life! And when death summons, I shall sleep sweetly in the dust, till his mighty CONQUEROR bids the trumpet sound; and then shall I, through his merits, awake to eternal glory.
Volume VII - lettera 13
Volume VII - Letter 14
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Sir Charles, God be praised! arrived here in safety about two hours ago. He has settled every thing between Lady Beauchamp and the now Sir Edward, to the satisfaction of both; for they entirely referred themselves to him. This was the method he took.—As their interests were not naturally the same, he enquired of each separately, what were the wishes of each; and finding the Lady's not unreasonable, he referred it to Sir Edward, of his own generosity, to compliment her with more than she asked.
Particularly she had wished to Sir Charles, that she might not be obliged to remove under a twelvemonth from the house in Berkley-square: And when Sir Charles had brought them together, and pronounced between them, making that an article, Sir Edward, on one knee, thus bespoke her:
All that your Ladyship demands I most cheerfully comply with. Instead of the year you wish to remain in Berkley-square, let me beg of you, still to consider both houses as your own; and me your inmate only, as in the life-time of my father. I never will engage in marriage, but with your approbation: Let us, madam, be as little as possible separated: Be pleased only to distinguish, that I wish not this, but from pure and disinterested motives. I will be your servant as well as son. I will take all trouble from you that you shall think trouble; but never will offer so much as my humble advice to you in the conduct of your own affairs, unless you ask for it.
She wept. We will henceforth, said she, have but one interest. You shall be dear to me, for your father's sake. Let me, for the same dear sake, be regarded by you: Receive me, excellent pair of friends, proceeded she, as a third in your friendship. Should any misunderstanding arise, which, after so happy a setting out, I hope, cannot be, let Sir Charles Grandison determine between us. Justice and He are one.
Sir Charles invited down to us the Lady and his Beauchamp. He hopes they will come. The young Baronet, I dare say, will. Emily says, she wants to see how he will become his new dignity. Very well, I dare say, said I. Why yes; such an example before him, I don't doubt but he will.
Lucy was present. Near 4000l. a year, and a title, said she—I think you and I, my dear, were we nearer of an age, would contend for him.
Not I, Miss Selby: So that I have the Love of my Guardian and Lady Grandison, you may be Lady Beauchamp for me.—You will be of another mind, perhaps, some time hence, said Miss Selby—When I am, replied Emily, tell me of it.
Sir Charles, when he was in town, visited his two sisters. He gave me the pleasure of acquainting me, that we shall be favoured with the company of Lord and Lady L. as soon as her Ladyship's visits and visitings are over.
Mind, my dear Lady G. what follows:
Lady L. said he, is all joy, that her great event is happily over; she and my Lord rewarded with a dear pledge of their mutual Love. But is not Lady G. a little unaccountable, my dear?
As how, Sir?
She hardly seems to receive pleasure in her happy prospects. She appears to me peevish, even childishly so, to her Lord. I see it the more for her endeavours to check herself before me. She submits but ungraciously to the requisites of the circumstances, that lays him and me, and our several united families under obligation to her. I was unwilling to take notice of her particular behaviour, for two reasons; first, because she wants not understanding, and would see her own error before she went too far; and next, because she tacitly confessed herself to be wrong, by being evidently desirous to hide her fault from me. But is not our Charlotte a little unaccountable, my dear?
What, my dear Lady G. should I have answered? I hope you will allow me to be just. I should have been most sincerely glad to have spoken a good word for you: But to attempt to excuse or palliate an evident fault, looks like a claim put in for allowances for one's own.
"Indeed, Sir, she is a very unaccountable creature! She is afraid of you, and of nobody but you. You should, as she could not conceal from you her odd behaviour to one of the best of husbands, and sweetest-temper'd of men, who loves her more than he loves himself; and who is but too solicitous to oblige so unthankful a thing; have taken notice of it, and chidden her severely: I, for my part, take liberties of this kind with her in every Letter I write; but to no purpose. I wanted you, Sir, to find her out yourself; she will get a habit of doing wrong things; and make herself more unhappy than she will make any-body else; since it is possible for her to tire out her Lord. How insupportable to her of all women, would it be, were the tables to be turned; and were the man she treats so ungraciously, to be brought to slight her? The more insupportable, as she has a higher opinion of her own understanding than she has of his!"
Can't you form to yourself, my dear Lady, G. the attitude of astonishment, that your brother threw himself into?—
But, ah, my dear grandmamma, do you think I said this to Sir Charles?—No, indeed! For the world, I would not have said one syllable of it. But let Lady G. for a moment, as she reads my Letter, think I did. She loves to surprise; why should she not be surprised in turn? Her displeasure would affect me greatly: But if by incurring it I could do her good, and put her in a right train of thinking, I would incur it, and on my knees afterwards beg her to forgive me.
He did make the above observation. A thousand excellent qualities has my Charlotte. I particularised to her brother half a dozen, and those are more than fall to the share of most of our modern people of quality; and he was willing to be satisfied with them—Why? Because he loves her. But, as she now-and-then whispers her Harriet, in her Letters, let me whisper her, that she is under great obligation to her brother, and still greater to her Lord, for passing over so lightly her petulances.
Who, madam, do you think, is arrived? Arrived just as we sat down to dinner; and will stay with us this one night, but, he says, no more?—Sir Rowland Meredith! Good Man! and Mr. Fowler! The latter attended his uncle reluctantly, it seems; but, thank God, he is in pretty good health. How kindly, how affectionately, did Sir Charles receive them both! How has he already won the heart of honest Sir Rowland!
Let me, madam, acquaint you with something generously particular of this worthy man.
He desired Sir Charles to let him have me by himself for one quarter of an hour. So fine a young gentleman would not, he hoped, be jealous of such a poor old man as he.
We were in the dining-room; and he rising to attend me, I led him to my drawing-room adjoining. He looked round him, and was struck with the elegance of the room and furniture; disregarding me for a few moments—Why, ay! said he, at last; This is noble! This is fine! Stately, by mercy! And he bowed to me, poor man! the more respectfully, as I thought, for what he saw. And will you, madam, bowing again, and again, allow me to call you daughter? I can't part with my daughter: Nor would I, were you a queen.
You do me honour, Sir Rowland. Call me still your daughter.
Why then, you must allow me—Forgive me, madam!—And he saluted me. Joy, joy, tenfold joy, attend my daughter! I don't know what to make of the present fashions. Would Sir Charles have been affronted, had I taken this liberty before him? The duce is in the present age; they reserve themselves to holes and corners, I suppose. But I am sure no creature breathing could mean more respect than I do. I think only of myself as of your father.
You are a good man, Sir Rowland. Sir Charles Grandison was prepared to love you; he was prepared to value Mr. Fowler.
Prepared by your own respect for us, madam!—God love you, say yes.
Yes indeed, I ever shall respect you both. Have I not claimed a father in you? Have I not claimed a brother in your nephew? I never forget my relations.
Charming, charming, by mercy! And he stalked to the other end of the room, wiping his eyes: The very same good young Lady that you ever were! But, but, but, putting his hand in his pocket, and pulling out a little box, if you are my daughter, you shall wear these for your father's sake!—How now, madam! Refuse me! I command you on your obedience to accept of this—I will not be a Jack-straw father—
Indeed, indeed, Sir Rowland, you must excuse me; I thought I might have trusted myself with you alone. Your generosity, Sir, is painful to me.
I curtsied, and withdrew to the company in the dining-room. The good man followed me, tears upon his cheeks, the box in his hand: My face glowed.
She calls me father, Sir Charles; and refuses her obedience. Here I have brought a toy or two, to show my fatherly Love to my daughter. Not a soul, not my nephew there, knows a syllable of the matter; it was that made me call her aside.
Sir Charles rose from his seat. My dearest Life is not used, said he, to make light of a duty; taking my hand. You will excuse her from accepting the present, Sir Rowland; that would look as if you thought it necessary to bribe her to do her duty. She will always acknowledge her father: So will I mine. But you do us honour enough in the relation.
What, Sir Charles, not of a present from her father to his daughter, on her nuptials, and as a small token of his joy on the occasion; when I know not the man living, out of my own family—There he stopped.
My dearest Love, there is no resisting this plea: Your duty, your gratitude, is engaged.
Look you there now! Look you there now! God love you both everlastingly, Amen!—And there is the blessing of a father!
I took the box, curtsying low; but looked silly, I believe.
Forgive me, Sir Charles, said the Knight; but I must—He took my hand, and kissed it—and looked as if he wished to salute me—Fathers, my dear, must be reverenced, said Sir Charles, by their children.
I bent my knee, and, in compliance with a motion of Sir Charles, leaned forward my cheek, He saluted me; and again he blessed us both—My dear nephew, said he, hastening to Mr. Fowler, if you envy such a man as this his good fortune, by mercy I will renounce you.
I may envy you, Sir Charles, said Mr. Fowler, addressing himself to him in an agreeable manner; I don't know how it is possible to avoid it; but at the same time I revere you for your character and accomplishments. You are the only man in the world whom I could cordially congratulate, as I do you on your happiness.
True, nephew, true: I, any more than you, should never have enjoyed myself, had any of the feather-headed creatures I saw formerly endeavouring to make an interest in my daughter's favour, succeeded with her. But you, madam, have chosen a man that every-body must prefer to himself.
The Knight, after tea, moved to have the box opened. When Sir Charles saw the jewels, he was a little uneasy, because of the value of them. A costly diamond necklace and ear-rings, a ring of price, a repeating watch finely chased; the chain of which is richly ornamented; one of the appendages is a picture of Sir Rowland in enamel, adorned with brilliants; an admirable Likeness: This I told him was more valuable to me than all the rest: I spoke truth; for so rich a present has made me uneasy. He saw I was. He knew, he said, that I could not want any of these things: But he could not think of any other way to show his Love to his daughter. It was nothing to what he had intended to do in his Will; had I not intimated to him, that what he left me, should be given among his relations. I am rich, madam, I can tell you: And what, on your nuptials, could I do less for my daughter?
Sir Charles said, This must not end so, Sir Rowland: But I see you are an invincible man. Mr. Fowler, I wish you as happily married as you deserve to be: Your Lady will be entitled to a return of equal value.
Sir Rowland begged, that he might try on the ring himself. He was allowed to do so, and was pleased it was not much too big. He said I should not pull it off this night. I kept it on to humour the worthy man.
Supper over, and a cheerful glass going round with my uncle, Mr. Deane, and the Knight, Sir Rowland made it his odd request, that I would permit Sir Charles to put on the necklace for me. By all means, I said. But the Knight being very earnest, and my uncle seconding him (for there was particularity enough in the motion, to engage the dear odd man) and Sir Charles not discouraging it, my aunt and Lucy smiling all the time, I thought I had better comply, lest the Knight should take it into his head to request the putting it on himself. Yet I was the more reluctant, on poor Mr. Fowler's account; for his smiles were but essays to smile. Sir Charles, in his own graceful manner, put it on; bowing low to me, in the gallantest manner, when he had done. I curtsied to him, to Sir Rowland, and looked silly I am sure.
Sir Rowland and Mr. Fowler have left us. They would not stay to dinner. They have business to dispatch in town, that will take them up some days: But they were so well pleased with their reception, that they promise to see us before they set out for Caermarthen.
At parting, Sir Rowland drew me aside: Your cousin Lucy, as you call her, is a fine young Lady. They tell me, that she has a great fortune: But I matter not that of a straw—Would to God, my boy knew how to submit to his destiny like a man—Hem! You understand me, madam—Mercy! I want to be akin to you—You take me, madam.
We are akin. Sir Rowland Meredith is my father.
God bless you, madam! I love you dearly for that. And so we are: But you understand me: A word to the wise: She is not engaged; is she?—I love your uncle of all men—except the king of all men; your Lord and master—God bless him! With what good humour he eyes us—Sir Charles, one word with you, if you please.
I thought the Knight had his fingers ready to take hold of Sir Charles's button; for his hand was extended; but suddenly, as from recollection, withdrawn.
He led Sir Charles to me—And put the same question to him, as he had done to me.
Let me ask you, my dear Sir Rowland, Was this in your thought before you came hither?
No, by mercy!—It just now struck me. My nephew knew not a syllable of the matter. But why, you know, Sir Charles, should a man pine and die, because he cannot have the she that he loves?—Suppose, you know, six men love one woman, as has been the case here, for aught I know; what a duce, are five of them to hang, drown, or pistol themselves? Or are they to out-stay their time, as I have done, till they are fit for no-body?
Women must be treated with delicacy, Sir Rowland. Miss Selby is a young Lady of great merit. When questions are properly asked, you hardly need to doubt of a proper answer.
But, Sir Charles, is Miss Selby, bona fide, engaged, or is she not? that's the question I ask: If she be, I shall not say a word of the matter.
My dear? said Sir Charles to me.
I don't know that she is, answered I. But Lucy will never think of a man, be his qualifications ever so great, if he cannot give her proofs of loving her above all women.
I understand you, madam—Well, well, and I should be nice too, I can tell you, for my boy. But I'll sound him. I must have him married before I die, if possible. But no more of that for the present. And now God Almighty bless, preserve, and keep you both!—I will pray for the continuance of your happiness.
He kissed my hand: Wrung Sir Charles's: Wiped his eyes: Made his bow: And stepped into the chariot to his nephew, who had taken leave of us all before.
Lucy, with an air so like some of dear Lady G's, put up her saucy lip, when I told her of this; and bid me not write it to you: But I thought, were nothing to come of it, it would divert my grandmamma, as I am sure it will Lady G.
God preserve the most indulgent and pious of Parents, and my two Sisters and their Lords (including the honoured Lord and Lady you Lady G. are with) prays
Volume VII - lettera 14
Volume VII - Letter 15
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Tuesday, Jan. 9.
I have been obliged, by the just demands made upon us by the equally-solemn and joyful season, to be silent for many days. You, madam, and you, Ladies L. and G. have, I doubt not, been engaged in consequence of the same demand;—so will excuse me; especially as Lucy and my aunt have both written, and that very minutely, in the interim.
Mr. Deane, to our great joy, has signified to us his intention to live near us; and to present his house at Peterborough to one of his two nephews.
Sir Charles has besought him to consider Grandison-hall as his own house. He promises that he will. I hope, by my care of him, to be an humble means of prolonging his life, at least of making his latter days cheerful.
What a happy season has this been to scores of people in our neighbourhood! but most to ourselves, as the giver is more blessed than the receiver! Such admirable management! Such good order!—But I told you, that all was left to Dr. Bartlett's direction: What a blessing is he to us, and all around him!
Sir Charles has a Letter from Mr. Lowther, who is on his return from Bologna. By the date it should have arrived a fortnight ago: So that he may be every day expected.
Mr. Lowther lets him know, that the family at Bologna are all in spirits, on the prospect they have of carrying their point with Lady Clementina; who, however, for the present, declines the visits of the Count of Belvedere; and they humour her in that particular.
Mr. Lowther is afraid, he says, that all is not quite right as to her mind. Poor Lady! He judges so, from the very great earnestness she continues to express to make a visit to England.
She received, he says, with great intrepidity, the news of Sir Charles's marriage. She besought a blessing upon him and his bride: but since has been thoughtful, reserved, and sometimes is found in tears. When challenged, she ascribed, once, her grief to her apprehensions that her malady may possibly return.
The physicians have absolutely given their opinion, that she should marry.
The General is expected from Naples to urge the solemnity; and vows, that he will not return till she is actually Countess of Belvedere.
She begs, that she may be allowed again to pass the Apennines, and visit Mrs. Beaumont at Florence, in order to settle her mind.
She dreads to see the General.
How I am grieved for her!—Sir Charles must be afflicted too. Why, why, will they not leave to time, the pacifier of every woe, the issue of the event upon which they have set their hearts?
Mr. Lowther writes, that Signor Jeronymo is in a fine way.
Mr. Lowther in his Letter acquits Sir Charles of all obligation to himself. He returns him bills for the sum he had advanced; and declares, that he never will enter into his presence, if he refuses to accept of his acquittance. The family, he tells him, have nobly rewarded him.
Dr. Bartlett applauds Mr. Lowther's spirit on this occasion. As Sir Charles, he says, is not an ostentatious man, but judges of every thing, according to the rules of right and prudence, he has no doubt (tho' he might not expect this handsome treatment) but he will acquiesce with it. This, however, lessens not the comparative merit of Mr. Lowther. There are men, I believe, who having succeeded so well, would have accepted of a reward from both parties. Yet, on recollection, Sir Charles stipulated with Mr. Lowther, that he should receive no fee, but from himself: And his present to the worthy man was the ampler on that account.
I have two charming Letters from the Countess of D. By her permission, I have shown to Sir Charles the correspondence between that good Lady and me. He greatly admires her. She desires, that he will be acquainted with her son; and declares, she will always look upon me as her daughter, and call me so. Sir Charles bids me tell her, that he cannot consent to her calling me so, unless she will look upon him as her son, and unless my Lord will allow him to call him brother. He bid me express his wishes of a friendship with both, answerable to that desirable relation.
My uncle says, he knows not such a place as Selby-house. Shirley-manor indeed he loves for the sake of the dear mistress of it: But, as long as he has with him his Dame, his Harriet, Mr. Deane, and Sir Charles, he is happy. Yet my aunt now-and-then gets upon a rising ground in the park, and asks, pointing, Does not Northamptonshire lie off there?
Emily is very good in the main. Dear girl! I do pity her. Her young heart, so early to be tried and tormented by the stings of hopeless Love!—Her eyes just now were fixed for several minutes, so much Love in them! on the face of her guardian, that his modest eye fell under them.
I will give you, on this occasion, the particulars of a conversation, that passed between us; which, at the conclusion, let in a little dawn of hope, that the dear girl may be happy in time.
I had more than once been apprehensive, that her eyes would betray her to her guardian; who at present imputes all her reverence for him to gratitude; and as soon as he was withdrawn, with a true sisterly tenderness, Come hither, my Love, said I. I was busy with my needle—She came.
My dearest Emily, if you were to look with so much earnestness in the face of any other man, as you sometimes do, and just now did, in that of your guardian, and the man a single man, he would have hope of a wife.
High-ho! sighed she. Did my guardian mind me?—I hope he did not so much, madam, as you do.
So much as I do, my Love!
Yes, madam. When my guardian is present, you do look very hard at me: But I hope, I am not a confident girl.
You are serious, my Emily!
And so is my dear Lady Grandison!
I was a little surprised. The child abashed me. Her Love, thought I, will make her hardy, without intending to be so.
She was too innocent even for consciousness of having disconcerted me. She looked upon my work: What would I give, madam, to be so fine a work-woman as you?—But why that sigh, madam?
The poor Lady Clementina! said I: I was really thinking of her.
Do you sigh for every-body, madam, that loves my guardian?
There are different sorts of Love, Emily.
Why so I think. Nobody loves my guardian better than I myself do: But it is not the Love that Lady Clementina bears him. I love his goodness.
And does not Clemementina?
Yes, yes, but still the Love is different.
Explain, my dear, your kind of Love.
Why, now, sighs my Emily? You asked me why I sighed. I have answered it was from pity.
Why, madam, I can pity Lady Clementina, and I do: But I sigh not for her; because she might have had my guardian, and would not.
I sigh for her the more, for that very reason, Emily; her motive so great!
Pho, pho, her motive! When he would have allowed her to be of her own religion!
Then you sigh not now for Clementina, Emily?
I believe not.
For whom then?
I don't know. You must not ask. A habit, and nothing else.
Again sighs my Emily?
You must not mind me, madam. A habit, I tell you. But, believe me, Lady Grandison (hiding her blushing face in my bosom, her arms about my neck) I believe, if the truth were known—
She stopped, but continued there her glowing cheek—
What, my dear, if the truth were known?
I dare not tell you. You will be angry at me.
Indeed, my love, I will not.
O yes, but you will.
I thought we had been sisters, my dear. I thought we were to have no secrets. Tell me, what, if the truth were known?
Why, madam, for a trial of your forgivingness, tell me, Are you not apt to be a little jealous?
Jealous, my Emily! You surprise me! Why, of whom, of what, jealous? Jealousy is doubt; of whom should I doubt?
People have not always cause, I suppose, madam.
Explain yourself, my dear.
Are you not angry with me, madam?
I am not. But why do you think me jealous?
You need not, indeed! My guardian adores you. You deserve to be adored.—But you should allow a poor girl to look upon her guardian now-and-then, with eyes of gratitude. Your charming eye is so ready to take mine to task!—I am, if I know myself, a poor innocent girl. I do love my guardian, that's certain: So I ever did, you know, madam: And let me say, before he knew there was such a Lady in the world as yourself, madam.
I threw aside my work, and clasping my arms about her, And love him still, my Emily. You cannot love him so well as he deserves. You are indeed a dear innocent, but not a poor, girl. You are rich in the return of his Love. I will ever, ever, be a promoter of an affection so innocent, so pure on both sides. But jealousy, my dear! do you charge me with jealousy? Impossible I should deserve it! My only concern is, lest, as the heart is guessed at by the eyes (the hearts of young creatures especially, whose good minds are incapable of art or design) you should give room for the censorious, who know not as I do, that your Love is reverence next to filial, to attribute it to a beginning of the other sort of Love; which yet in you, were it kindled, would be as bright and as pure a flame as ever warmed a virgin heart.
O madam! how you express yourself! What words you have! They go to my heart!—I don't know how it is: But every day I reverence more and more my guardian: Reverence! Yes, that is the proper word! I thank you for it! Filial reverence! Just the thing! And let me say, that I never reverenced him so much as now, that I see what a polite, what a kind, what an affectionate husband he makes my dear Lady Grandison. Yet, let me tell you truth, madam, I should, I am afraid, be such a little-minded poor creature, that if I were married, and had not a husband that was very like him, I should envy you. I should be at least unhappy.
If you could be envious, my dear, you would be unhappy: But you must never encourage the addresses of a man, who you think loves you not better than any other woman: Who is not a good man upon principle: Who is not a man of sense: and that has seen something of the world.
And where, madam, can such a man be found?
Leave it to your guardian, my dear. He if anybody, will find you a man that you may be happy with, if your eye be not aforehand with your judgment.
That, madam, I hope it will not be: First, because the reverence I have for my guardian, and his great qualities, will make all other men look little in my eye; and next, as I have such a confidence in his judgment, that if he points his finger, and says, That's the man, Emily! I will endeavour to like him. But I believe I never now shall like any man on earth.
It is early days, my Love; but is there not some one man, that, were you of age to marry, you would think better of than of any other?
I don't know what to say to that. It is early days, as you say. I am but a girl. But girls have thoughts. I will tell you, madam, that the man who has passed some years in the company of Sir Charles Grandison; who is beloved by him, on proof, on experience (as I may say) of his good heart—She stopped.
Beauchamp, my dear?
Why yes Him, I mean: He is the most to be liked of any man but my guardian: But he now is a great man; and I suppose may have seen the woman he could love.
I fancy not, my dear.
Why do you fancy not, madam?
Because, if I must speak as freely to you, as I would have you do always to me, I think he shows great and uncommon respect to you, tho' you are so young a creature.
That's for my guardian's sake: But be that as it will; let me be secure of my guardian's Love and yours, and I shall have nothing to wish for.
Her guardian, my guardian, my friend, my Lover, my HUSBAND, every sweet word is one, coming in, put an end to the subject. I leave this conversation to your own reflexions, my dear grandmamma, Lady L. Lady G. But I have hopes from it.
Volume VII - lettera 15
Volume VII - Letter 16
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Saturday, Sunday, Jan. 20, 21.
Another long silence. Lucy will supply all my defects. She will tell you how much I have been engaged. She has sent you a charming Letter, filled with observations on the good order established here before our arrival by Dr. Bartlett and Mrs. Curzon; with accounts of some particular charities, both public and private, that deserve to be imitated by all who have ability; and of our visit made last Wednesday at Mansfield-house.
The Lady of it would not part with us, till Thursday, the days being short, and the weather unfavourable Mr. Dobson and his Lady were guests there. He is a credit to his cloth; his wife to him. They are greatly beloved by all who know them. Lady Mansfield and Miss Mansfield are all that is polite and good. The three brothers were there. The eldest, who was once a melancholy man, is now one of the cheerfullest. With what pleasure did I meditate, as I looked upon them, the restoration of such a worthy and ancient family to affluence! They were born to it: Yet when they were deprived of it, how glorious was the resignation of mother and daughters! And now, how easy sits the prosperity upon them! Never saw I eyes more expressive of gratitude to a benefactor, than those both of Ladies and Gentlemen, as they were often cast upon my dear Sir Charles.
I heartily wish Mr. Orme may find his expectations answered in the second voyage Nancy tells me he is preparing for to Lisbon. She will make known my best wishes for the restoration of his health. How good is his sister to accompany him!—I always loved her.
I received yesterday yours, madam, acquainting me with Mr. Greville's visit and proposal, and asking my opinion of the latter; and whether I would choose to mention it to Lucy and my aunt. What can I say? You once told me, madam, that you believed Lucy would not have refused Mr. Greville, had he first applied to her. Lucy's grandmother, you say, is not averse to the match; and you think my uncle would not refuse his consent, because of the contiguity of their respective estates, and in hopes, that he might resume with success, on such an event, his favourite project of exchange of lands. Yet I am sure this consideration would have no weight with him, if he thought Lucy could not be happy with Mr. Greville.
I have mentioned it to my aunt. She says, Mr. Greville is not a bashful man. He knows how to apply to Lucy himself. And she has no notion, in such a case, of that pride which withholds him till he thinks himself sure of the family-interest.
He will, if possible, he says, be related to me: Let that be mentioned to Lucy, as one of his principal motives, and his business with her is done for ever.
Lady G. would laugh at the notion of a difficulty from a first Love. First Love she calls first nonsense. Too frequently it is so. Lucy is a noble girl. She has overcome a first attachment; the more laudably, as it cost her some struggles to do it. Mr. Greville, I doubt, has had several first Loves: This transition, therefore, is nothing to him. So neither of them will be first Love to the other. It may therefore be a match of discretion. Yet his character! The reformation he boasts of!—I hope he is reformed: But I have no notion of a good young woman, as Lucy is, trusting her person, I may say her principles, to the arbitrary will of an impetuous man, who has been an a vowed Libertine, and pretend not to have reformed from proper convictions. A scoffer too! How came he by his new Lights?—You, madam, have told us young folks the difficulty of overcoming evil habits. I own that Lucy alway spoke of him with more favour than any-body else. She was inclined to think him a good-natured man; and was pleased with what she called humour in him. Humour! I never could call it so. Humour, I used to tell her, is a gentle, a decent, tho' a lively thing. Mr. Greville is boisterous, impetuous, rude, I had almost said: His courtship to me was either rant, or affront; the one to show his Plain-dealing, the other his Love. He knows not what respectful Love is. In short, his mirth, his good-nature, as it is called, has fierceness in it; it always gave me apprehension.
As to worldly matters, there can be no exception to him: But I cannot be of the opinion of Lucy's grandmother, that he is a generous man. He has only qualities that look like generosity. His start to me, when he resigned his pretensions to me, as they have been called (for I know not any he had) was only a start. He could not hold it. But be all these things as they may, how can I, who love Lucy as myself, propose to the dear girl a man, whom I could not think of for myself? Lucy has a fine fortune, and surely there are men enow in the world, who have never made pretensions to Lucy's cousin, who would think themselves honoured by her acceptance; otherwise, I should, after Sir Rowland's hint, and earnest wishes in his nephew's favour, much sooner recommend Mr. Fowler to her than Mr. Greville.
My aunt had said, that, for her part, she should choose to leave the above affair to its own workings: Yet could not forbear to acquaint Lucy with it. The dear girl came to me, to demand a sight of your Letter, and of what I had written upon it. I could not (tho' I had some little reluctance to show her the latter) deny her. I will give you, madam, the substance of a short dialogue that passed between us on the occasion; and leave it to you to draw such conclusions from it, as you shall judge proper, with regard to my Lucy's inclinations.
She did not know what I meant, she said, by writing to you, that she had always spoken of Mr. Greville with more favour than any-body else.
It is ungenerous, Lucy, if you are angry at what you would oblige me to show you against my will.
I am not angry. But—She stopped, and would not explain her half sullen BUT. O Lucy, thought I, you are a woman, my dear!
As to what you write, said she, of his desire of being related to you; who would not?—If that be not his principal motive—Very well, Lucy! thought I.
I know, said she, that my grandmamma Selby has often wished Mr. Greville would make his addresses to her grand-daughter!—So! So! So! Lucy, thought I.
His Libertinism indeed is an objection—But I have not heard lately of any enormities—
Go on, Lucy, thought I: Hitherto appears not any reason for Mr. Greville to despair.
He may have seen his folly.
No doubt but he has! thought I. He saw it all the time he was committing it: But, perhaps, he is the more determined bad man for that. Is not purity of heart, thought I, as well as of manners, an eligible thing?
If a woman is not to marry till she meet with a strictly virtuous man—
You have too often pleaded that argument, Lucy, to me—I am sorry—I stopped; willing to hear her quite out; for she held before her what I had written.
How came he, you ask, said she, by his new lights? I have nothing to do with how he came by them. I should rather indeed he had them from proper convictions—But if he has them, that's enough.
Is it, my dear, let him have been what he will?
I am for judging charitably—
Charming! thought I—judging charitably! So I have lost a virtue, and you, Lucy, have found it!
Mr. Greville is nothing to me: Nor ever will be.
Not quite so sure of that, thought I to myself.
You say, Harriet, you have no notion of a good young woman, trusting her principles to the arbitrary will of a man who has been a free Liver—Must the man be arbitrary?—Were a husband a free Liver, must a wife's own principles be endangered?
These questions from my Lucy! thought I.
A scoffer, you say, Harriet!—The man's a fool for that!—But what a poor soul must she be that could not silence a scoffer!
Silence a scoffer! Ah Lucy! said I: And would you marry a man with a hope to be able to silence him? Mr. Greville is a conceited man: My Lucy has six times his sense; but he will not be convinced of that. You will have the less influence upon him, if he is jealous of the superiority of your understanding. Mr. Greville is obstinate as well as conceited. Few men, I believe, will own conviction from a wife's arguments.
To be sure the man is not a Sir Charles Grandison. Who is?—Let him, as my aunt Selby says, apply to me; I shall give him his answer.
You would wish he should, Lucy?
I don't say so.
I fancy, Lucy, you would not be very cruel if he did.
You fancy I would not—But I can, as you always did, treat the man who professes to love me, with civility, yet not throw myself into his arms at the first word—
First word, Lucy! No! The second, or third, or fourth, is time enough; so the man is not mean time rendered quite hopeless.
Very well, Lady Grandison: But let me go on with what you have written—Good-natured man!—I do think he is not an ill-natured man.
So much the better for himself, and his future wife, Lucy.
That will not be I, Lady Grandison.
Perhaps not, Lucy.
—Humour! I do think he is a humorous good-natured man. A little too vehement perhaps in his mirth; a little too frolic: But who is faultless?
Proceed, my Lucy.
—Generous! "Not a generous man!—"Qualities that look like generous ones."—You are a nice distinguisher, Harriet; you always were—But here you tell your grandmamma, that you had rather I should have Mr. Fowler than Mr. Greville—
Well, my dear, and what say you to that?
Why, I say, I think you are not so nice for me, in this case, as you are in others.
How so! Why is there not a difference between the actual proposals made by Mr. Greville to Mrs. Shirley; and Sir Rowland's undertaking to try to prevail upon Mr. Fowler to make his addresses to me?
Granted, my dear!—I have not a word more to say in behalf of Mr. Fowler. Mr. Greville, Lucy—
Is a man I never will have—
No rash resolutions, my dear. And yet I believe a woman has seen the same man in a very different light, when he has offered himself to her acceptance, from what she did before.
I believe so—But I had a mind to sound you, Harriet; and to come at your opinion—
You were entitled to it, Lucy, without attempting to sound me for it.
True! But we women sometimes choose to come at a point, by the roundabouts, rather than by the fore-rights.
That is, Lucy, either when we think the fore-right way, as you call it, would not answer our wishes; or when we are not willing to open our own hearts.
Your servant, my dear: But the cap fits not. Whenever I speak to you, my heart is upon my Lips.
Let me try then, in this one doubtful instance, that I ever had from you of its being so. Do you think of encouraging Mr. Greville's proposal?
It is not a proposal, till it comes in a direct way to myself.
Very well, my dear—I say no more till it does.
Sir Charles has just now heard that Mr. Lowther, is arrived in London. He longs (so I am sure do I) to know, how affairs are situated in Italy. O for good news from thence! Then will my happiness in this Life be perfected.
Volume VII - lettera 16
Volume VII - Letter 17
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Grandison-hall, Thursday, Jan. 25.
Mr. Lowther arrived here last night. Sir Charles gave him a most welcome reception. He presented him to all our guests, with expressions of the warmest friendship; and then retired with him to his Study. He soon led him back to company, and seating him, drew a chair between my aunt, and me—You must have curiosity, my dearest Love, said he.
Behold the sister-excellence of Lady Clementina, Mr. Lowther! Not a person of her family is more concerned for the happiness of that Lady, than this dearest and most generous of women. Every one of my friends present (looking round him) is an admirer of her—We cannot my dear (applying to me) know for certainty, the destiny of that excellent Lady from Mr. Lowther. He passed a week at Lyons, a fortnight at Paris, on his return to England. But my Jeronymo is in a fine way, thank God, and resolves to visit us in the spring.
I hope, Sir, said my aunt, to Mr. Lowther, you left Lady Clementina well and happy in her mind.
She was at Florence, answered he, when I left Italy. She has been pretty much indisposed there. The General, the Bishop, and Father Marescotti, had been with her. She was expected at Bologna very soon. By this time I have no doubt, she is Countess of Belvedere.
By her own consent, I hope then, Mr. Lowther? said I eagerly.
He shook his head—As to that, said he, she has the most indulgent of parents—
They cannot be so, Mr. Lowther, if they would compel her to marry any man to whom she has an indifference.
They will not compel her, madam—
Persuasion, Sir, in the circumstances this excellent Lady is in, is compulsion.
I think it may be justly called so, said Sir Charles. Mr. Lowther, they should not have been so precipitating.
So you have always told them, Sir Charles. Signor Jeronymo is entirely of your opinion: Yet is earnest in the Count of Belvedere's favour. The Count adores her.
Adores her, Sir! said I. Adores himself! for so it should be said (pardon me, Sir!) of a man who prefers not the happiness of the object beloved, to his own. I felt my face glow.
Generous warmth! said Sir Charles—laying his hand on mine.
For my part, replied Mr. Lowther, I am only afraid of the return of her malady. If it do not return, and she can be prevailed on, her piety will reconcile her to a duty—
A duty, Mr. Lowther, interrupted I—So imposed!—A duty!—
I knew not what I said. I thought, at that instant, I did not like Mr. Lowther.
My uncle, aunt, and the rest of us, thought Sir Charles and Mr. Lowther would be glad to be left alone; and retired early.
My aunt, my Lucy, and I, had a good deal of discourse upon this interesting subject; Emily present.
We all foresaw, that the situation of this admirable Lady would overcloud a little (we hoped but a little) the happiest days that ever mortals knew. The sincere value, said my aunt, that you have for so deserving a woman, and your native generosity, will be your security for happiness, my dear; and will six on a durable base your mutual Love: But this Lady's trials will, however, be trials to you. God give her peace of mind! it is all we can hope for in her favour; To you, the continuance of your present happiness: greater, cannot fall to the lot of mortal.
She left me, I retired to my pen.
Thus far have I written. 'Tis late. Sir Charles is coming up—And I am here at my pen. I will compliment him with a place in my closet, while I retire.—Good-night, my dearest grandmamma. Pray for your Harriet, and pray for Clementina.
Sir Charles would have withdrawn to his Study, when he found me at my pen. I besought him to sit down in my closet.
Remove your papers then, my dear.
No need, Sir, These (putting what I had been just writing, and those I had written the day before, on one side of my desk) I would not, Sir, except you have a curiosity, wish you to see at present: These, Sir, you may, if you please, amuse yourself with.
I will take down one of your books, my Love. I will not look into any of your written papers.
Dear, generous Sir, look into them all—Look into both parcels. Something about Lucy; something of what Mr. Lowther has talked of, in that parcel—Read any of the written papers before you.
A generous mind, my Love, will not take all that is offered by a generous mind. Hasten, my Harriet: It is late. My mind is a little disturbed: Yours, I am afraid, is generously uneasy. In your faithful bosom, will I repose all my cares.
I pressed his hand between both mine, and would have pressed it with my lips: But, kissing my hands, first one, then the other—Condescending goodness! said he. God continue to me my Harriet's Love, and make Clementina not unhappy, and what can befall me, that will not add thankfulness to thankfulness?
With what soothing tenderness did he afterwards open his generous heart to his Harriet! He was indeed disturbed: For Mr. Lowther had told him, that the General (I don't love him) was quite cruel—At one time he threatened the excellent creature: He called her ungenerous, ungrateful, undutiful!—She fell down at his feet, in a fainting fit: He left her in anger—Stayed not to recover or sooth her—Yet returned in about two hours (his conscience stinging him) and on his knees besought her pardon—Received it—The dear saint forgave the soldierly man—Yet he persisted, and turned his threatenings into worse, if possible, than threatenings, into persuasion.
If I have an enemy, said the dear creature to her brothers, who has conceived a mortal antipathy to me, let him insinuate himself into the favour of those most dear to me, and prevail upon them to attack me with all the powers of persuading Love, in order to induce me to do the thing, whatever it be, most contrary to my heart: And then will the instigator wreak upon me his whole vengeance, and make me think death itself an eligible refuge.
Sir Charles sighed at repeating this. I wept. How happy, thought I, more than once, are you, best of men, in your own reflections, that a woman so excellent, who cannot be happy with any other man, herself refused you, and persisted in her refusal; though you sought all ways, and used all arguments, to bring her to a change of determination! What otherwise would have been your regret! And how unhappy should I have been in the consciousness of being in her place; and of having dispossessed her of a heart to which she had so much better pretensions! Now has he no room for remorse; but for friendly pity only, and for wishes to relieve her afflicted heart. Of what a blessing is that man possessed, who, when calamity assails him, can acquit himself, his intentions at least; and say,
"This I have not brought upon myself: It is an inevitable evil: A dispensation of Providence, I will call it, and submit to it, as such!"
Methinks, madam, I could spare this excellent woman some of my happiness. Have I not more than mortal ever knew before?
Sir Charles mentioned to me, that Lady Olivia, in her last Letter to him, intimated her desire to come over once more to England: But he hoped what he had written to dissuade her from it, would have weight with her. I told him, I wished that Lady the wife of some worthy man, whose gratitude and affection she, by her great fortune, might engage.
But, Sir, said I, I cannot, cannot wish (be the Count of Belvedere ever so good a man) that Lady Clementina were married.
What would my Harriet wish for Lady Clementina, circumstanced as she is?
I don't know. But the woman who has loved Sir Charles Grandison, with a heart so pure, can never be happy with any other man.
You are ever obliging, my Love. You judge of Clementina as she deserves to be judged of, as to the purity of her heart. But—He stopped.
But what, my dear Sir?—Alas! she says that you have strengthened the hands of her friends: Am I forgiven before I go any further?
Not, my Harriet, if you think it necessary to ask such a question. Blame me always, when you think me wrong: I shall doubt your Love, if you give me reason to question your freedom.
Dear Sir,—But answer me: Would you have Clementina, circumstanced as she is, marry?
What answer can I return to my Harriet's question; when sometimes I am ready to favour the parents pleas; at others, the daughter's? I would not have her either compelled, or over-earnestly persuaded, The family plead, "That their happiness, her health and peace, depend on her marriage: They cannot bear to think of rewarding Laurana for her cruelty, with an estate that never was designed for her; and to the cutting it off, as it may happen, from their Giacomo and his descendants for ever, in case Clementina assumes the veil. The healths of the father and mother are declining: They wish but to live to see the alliance with the Count of Belvedere take place. The noble Lady gave reasons that could be answered. She had, by her own magnanimity, got over a greater difficulty, if I may presume to say so, than they had required her to struggle with; how could I avoid advising her to yield to the supplications of parents, of brothers, of an uncle, who, however mistaken in the means by which they seek to obtain their wishes, love not their own souls, better than they love their Clementina?
"It was, besides, a measure by which only at the time, I could demonstrate (and the General, I know, considered it as a test) that I really gave up all hopes of her myself.—And when I had owned, that there was a woman, with whom I had no doubt of being happy, could I engage her to accept of me, they all besought me, for their sakes, for Clementina's, to court that acceptance, having hopes, that tho' she could not set me an example, she would follow mine."
This, my dearest Life, was the occasion, as I told your friends, of accelerating my declaration to you. I could not else, either for the sake of your delicacy or my own, so soon have made proposals, not even to Mrs. Shirley; for, situated as I was, I could not think of applying to you till I had strengthened myself, as I hoped to do, by her interest. Your generous acceptance, signified to me by that good Lady, has for ever obliged me. I regarded it, my Harriet, circumstanced as I had been, and shall ever regard it, as a condescension, which, as I told that Lady, at the time, laid me under an obligation that I never, by my utmost gratitude, shall be able to repay.
O Sir, well have you shown that you meant what you said. How poor a return, hiding my face in his generous bosom, is my Love for so much goodness, and kind consideration!
He clasped me to the faithfullest of human hearts.
But, dear Sir, I find, I find, on the whole, that you think Lady Clementina has not so much reason on her side, as her parents have on theirs.
My tenderness for her, my dear, because of her unhappy malady, and my apprehension of a return of it, together with my admiration of her noble qualities, prejudice me strongly in her favour. If she could be convinced by their motives, I should be ready to own my convictions in favour of these. But if she cannot, neither can I; so partial am I in the cause of a Lady I so sincerely admire, and who has been so much afflicted. But what, in the situation they and she were in, remain for me to do, but to advise the family to proceed with tenderness and patience; that their Clementina might have time to weigh, to consider, their reasons, their indulgence? You, my dear, shall see in the copies of the Letters I have written since I have been in England, my remonstrances to them on their precipitating her. But they were in a train: They presumed on the characteristic duty of their Clementina: They flattered themselves, that sometimes she seemed to relent: They conceived hopes from the expressions of compassion for the Count of Belvedere, which sometimes she let fall. The General, who, though a generous man, can do nothing moderately, would not be satisfied with cold measures, as he called them; and, not doubting his sister's acquiescence with her duty, if once she could be prevailed upon to think her compliance such, they were resolved to pursue the train they were in: But in order to avoid their importunities, how has the dear Clementina shifted the scene from Bologna to Florence from Florence to Bologna, and once, for that purpose wanted to go to Urbino, once to Naples, and even, as you have seen, to come to England!—But now, by this time, most probably, they have succeeded. God give happiness to the dear Clementina!
Most cordially did I join in the prayer.
The next Letters from Italy must acquaint us with the unwished-for success of the family; and the poor Lady's thraldom. Can, my dear grandmamma, the Count of Belvedere really be a good, a generous man, to solicit the favour of a hand, that he knows will not be accompanied by a heart? Can the man be said to know what true Love is, who prefers not the happiness of the beloved object to his own; who can, in short, think he can be happy, tho' the person he professes to love, shall be unhappy?
Thank God, this dreadful Lot has not been drawn by
Your HARRIET GRANDISON.
I am glad my dear Lady G. that you are returned to Grosvenor-square. Be easy, be patient, my Charlotte. We shall have, I hope, many happy days together at Grandison-hall, at Grosvenor-square; at every place where we shall be. You are a dear fretful creature!—But not half so petulant, I hope, in behaviour, as on paper to me. Let us think of nothing grievous, my Charlotte; but of the unhappy situation of poor Lady Clementina: And let us join to pray for her happiness.
Volume VII - lettera 17
Volume VII - Letter 18
LADY GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Saturday morning, Feb. 3.
Emily and I have had another conversation. She had been more grave and solemn than usual from the time of the last, of which I gave you an account.
Her Anne had taken notice to Sally of a change in the temper of her young mistress. She knew not how to please her, she said. From the best-natured young Lady in the world, she was grown one of the most peevish; and she had taken the Liberty to tell her, that she must quit her service, if she found her so hard to be pleased.
Do then, was her answer; I won't be threatened by you, Anne. You seem to have found out your consequence with me. Go, Anne, as soon as you will. I won't be threatened, Anne. I have enough to vex me, without being disturbed by you.
The honest maid, who dearly loves her, and has been with her ever since she was seven years old, and was much approved for her fidelity and good behaviour by her father, burst out into tears, and would, in a mild and humble manner, have expostulated with her. Let me beseech you, madam, said she, to permit me a word or two by way of dutiful expostulation. But she hurried from her—I won't hear you, Anne. You have begun at the wrong end. You should have expostulated, and not threatened, first. And then going up to her closet. She locked herself in.
I pitied the dear girl. Too well I thought I could account for this change of temper in her: So exceeding good her guardian to her, her gratitude augmented her Love [Don't I know how that might easily be?]: Yet, thought I, it would half break her heart, if he were to assume reserve—I would not for her sake have him imagine there was a necessity for a change of his behaviour to her. And indeed if he were to be more reserved, what would that do? So good a man; so uniform his goodness; the poor Emily must acquit him, and condemn herself; yet have no cure for her malady.
Sally offered Anne to acquaint me with what had passed: But the good young woman begged she would not. Her young Lady was so tenacious, she said (young Lady like) of her authority, that she would never forgive her if she were known to make an appeal to me, or to my aunt. And to complain without a probability of redress, the prudent creature observed, except to her, as one Lady's woman to another, would expose her beloved young mistress; when, perhaps, the present grievance might be cured by time, assiduity, and patience.
This was necessary to premise.
Sir Charles, my Uncle, and Mr. Deane, having rode out pretty early this morning to breakfast, at Sir William Turner's; and my aunt and Lucy retiring after breakfast to write; and I to my closet for the same purpose; Emily came and tapped at my door. I instantly opened it.
I intrude, madam.—No, my dear.
I had observed at supper last night, and at breakfast this morning, that she had been in tears; tho' nobody else did; for the above hints, privately given me by Sally, made me more observant of her motions.
I took her hand, and would have placed her by me—No, madam, said she, let me stand: I am not worthy of sitting down in your presence.
Her eyes were brimful of tears; but as she twinkled in hopes to disperse them, I would not take such full notice of them, as might make them run over, if they could be dispersed: Yet mine, I believe glistened sympathetically.
In my presence, my Emily! my friend! Why, why, this?
I stood up. Your elder sister, my Love, sits not, while her younger stands.
She threw her arms about me, and her tears ran over. This goodness, this goodness kills me!—I am, I am, a most unhappy creature!—Unhappy from the grant of my own wishes!—O that you would treat me severely! I cannot, cannot support myself, under the hourly instances which I receive of your goodness!
Whence, my dearest Emily, these acknowledgements? I do love my Emily: And should be either ungrateful or insensible to the merits of my beloved Sister, did I not do all in my power to make her happy. What can I do for her, that is not her due?
She struggled herself out of my embracing arms, withdrawing hers—Let me, let me go, madam!—
She hurried into the adjoining apartment. I followed her; and taking her hand, Leave me not, in this perplexity, my Emily! I cannot, part with you: If you love your Harriet, as she loves her Emily, you will put me in the way of alleviating this anguish of the most innocent, and most amiable of minds. Open your heart to me, my dear.
O Lady Grandison! the deserving wife of the best of men, you ought to hate me!
My dearest Emily! said I.
Indeed you ought.
Let us sit down on this Sofa, if you will not return to my closet.
I sat down. She sat by me, leaning her glowing face on my shoulder. I put one arm round her neck; with the other hand, I grasped one of hers. Now, my dear, I conjure you, by the friendship that is between us, the more than sisterly friendship, open your whole heart to me; and renounce me, if it be in my power to heal the wounds of your mind, and I do not pour into them the balm of friendly Love.
What can I say?—Yesterday, my dearest Lady Grandison, I received an answer to a case I put to Dr. Bartlett, of a young creature, who—I can't tell you—
She wept; raised her head; dried her eyes; again leaned her face on my shoulder; again I put my arm round her neck—Your case, my Love?
Ah, madam! My case—Did you say, My case?
I asked, my dear, not as for your case, any other than as for the case you put to the Doctor.
He has not told you, madam?
Indeed he has not said a word of your consulting him.
I had rather tell you myself. I am afraid he guesses who the young woman is. O the poor cunning!—I am a weak silly creature!—He certainly guesses—
May I, my Love, see the case?—May I see the answer to it?
I have burnt them both!—In a fit of anger at myself, that I should expose myself (for he certainly guesses who the young woman is) I threw them in the fire.
But you can tell me the case. You can give me the substance of the answer.
How can I? You of all women! You, madam, whom I best love of all women; but who ought to hate, to despise me!
Trust me, Love, with your secret. It shall never without your Leave pass this faithful bosom, if it be a secret that already I do not guess at.
She started—Guess at, madam!
Don't start at what I say, my Love.
O you cannot, cannot guess at it. If you did—
What if I did?
Then would you banish from your presence for ever the justly hated Emily: Then would you make my guardian renounce me!
Shall I, my dear, tell you what I guess?
Whisper me then, throwing about me the hand I held not: But whisper me that I may not hear.
You love your guardian, my Emily!—He loves you!
He will always love you; so will I.
Banish the criminal from your presence for ever; rising; yet again laying her face on my shoulder—and clasping her arms about me, Hide me, hide me from myself.
No need, my dear. Every-body loves your guardian. You cannot love him but with innocence. Your Love is founded in gratitude. So was mine. Don't I know how to allow for my Emily?
You will banish fear from my heart, madam, by this your goodness to me. I find I may own all my weakness, my folly, to you; and the rather, as I shall entitle myself by it to your advice. I wanted to do it; but was afraid you would hate me. In the same circumstances I doubt I should not be so generous as you are. O that I had not put my case to the Doctor!
The Doctor, my dear, is all goodness. He will keep your secret—
And not tell my guardian, madam, any thing about it? It would be worse than death to me, if my guardian should mistrust me. He would hate the poor Emily, if you did not.
He never shall know it, my dear. You have already engaged the Doctor to secrecy, I doubt not.
He will inviolably keep your secret, no fear; especially as your charming ingenuousness to me, will be a means of putting you and me, my Love, on finding expedients, that shall equally secure your honour, and your guardian's regard for you.
That, madam, is the very thing.
Open then to me your innocent heart, my dear. Regard me, as your friend, your sister, and as if I were not the happy wife of your beloved guardian—
And so I will.—I did not, madam, mistrust myself till the solemnity had passed, that made you and my guardian one. Then I began to be uneasy with myself; and the more, as I was for hiding myself from myself, as I may say; for I was afraid of looking into my heart: Why so? thought I. Am I not an innocent girl? What do I wish for? What can I hope for? Do I not love Lady Grandison? I do. Yet now-and-then—Don't hate me, madam! I will reveal to you all my heart, and all my weakness.
Proceed, my Emily. This is indeed a token of your love, of your confidence in me. What a compliment does my dearest younger sister make to her elder.
Yet now-and-then, something like Envy, I thought, arose in my heart: And can your countenance forbear to change, when I tell you of Envy?
If it did, it would be from compassionate Love to my Emily. You don't know, my dear, how my heart dilates on this your most agreeable confidence in me.
God bless that dear heart!—There never was such a heart as yours. Well, but I will go on if you please.
Do, my dear.
Here, thought I, once (that I was resolved to call myself to account) did I ask the favour of being allowed to live with my guardian and his Lady, when they were married: And what did I mean by it? Nothing but innocence, believe me. Well, and my request is granted! This was all that I thought was wanting to make me happy: But, said I to myself, am I happy? No. Do I love my guardian less? No. Do I love Lady Grandison more for granting me this favour? I admire her more, I think; and I have a grateful sense of her goodness to me: But, I don't know how it is—I think, tho' I dearly love her, yet I would be sometimes glad I did not, quite so well. Ungrateful Emily! And severely I took myself to task. Surely, pity, madam, is near akin to Love; for while your suspenses lasted, I thought I loved you better than I loved my own heart: But when you were happy, and there was no room for pity, wicked wretch that I was! I wanted, methought, sometimes to lower you.—Don't you hate me now?
No, no, my Emily; my Pity, as you say, increases my Love of you. Proceed, child, your mind is the unsullied book of nature: Turn to another Leaf. Depend upon my kindest allowances. I knew, before you knew it yourself, that you loved your guardian.
Before I knew it myself! Why that might be. So I went on reasoning with myself—"What, Emily, canst thou love thy guardian more; and Lady Grandison, with all her goodness to me, not more—And canst thou mingle envy with admiration of her?—Ah, silly, and worse that silly, girl, where may this end?—Lord bless me! If I suffer myself to go on thus, shall I not be the most ungrateful of creatures? Shall I not, instead of my guardian's love, incur his hatred? Will not all the world despise me?—And where may this stop?"—Yet I went on excusing myself; for I knew I had no vile meaning: I knew I only wanted my guardian to love me, and to be allowed to love him. But what! thought I, at last, can I allow myself in loving a married man, the husband of my friend? And sometimes I trembled at the thought; for I looked back; and said to myself, "Wouldst thou, Emily, a year ago, have allowed in thyself but the same lengths that thou hast now run?"—No; answered I my own question. "Is not this a fair warning of what may be a year hence?"—So I put a case, to Dr. Bartlett, as of three persons of my Anne's acquaintance, two young women, one young man, living in one house: The young man contracted to one of the young women; the other knowing it; and tho' a person incapable of a criminal thought, yet finding an increasing regard for the young man, tho' she dearly loved her friend, began to be afraid her heart was not quite as it should be: What, I asked, as for my Anne's friend, would he advise in the case?
And what, my dear, was the Doctor's advice?
I was a silly creature to put it to him. As I said, he certainly must guess. If you, madam, could without such a case put, he certainly must. We young girls think, if we put our hands before our eyes, nobody can see us. In short, the Doctor pronounced the increasing regard to be a beginning Love. The consequence would be, that the young woman would in time endeavour to supplant her friend; tho' at present she might probably shudder at the thought. He bid me tell Anne to warn her acquaintance against the growing flame. He said, she might entangle her own heart, and without gaining her end, render unhappy a couple, who, according to my representation from my Anne, deserved to be happy: And he advised, by all means, that she should leave the contracted couple to themselves, and for her own honour's, her own heart's sake, remove to as great distance from them as possible.
Believe me, madam, I was shocked, I was frighted at myself: I threw the papers in the fire; and have been, ever since I read them, more unhappy than usual. My dear Lady Grandison, then thought I, I will, if you give me encouragement, open my heart to you. You will hear of my folly, my weakness, one day or other.—And now, dear good madam, forgive me: Keep my secret; and advise me what to do.
What, my dearest creature, can I advise you? I love you. I ever will love you. I will be as careful of your honour as of my own. I will endeavour to cultivate your guardian's affection to you.
He never, madam, I hope, guessed at the poor Emily's folly.
He never mentioned you to me, but with love and tenderness.
Thank God!—But say, advise me, madam; my heart shall be in your hand; guide it, as you please.
What, my dear, did you think of doing yourself?
I must not think of living with you now, madam.
Why not? You shall find me ever your true friend.
But I am sure Dr. Bartlett's advice to Anne's acquaintance is right. I tell you, madam, that I must every day, and every hour of the day, that I see his tender behaviour to you; that I behold him employed in acts of beneficence; that I see every one adoring him; admire him more. I see that I am less my own mistress than I thought it was possible I could be: And if such a girl as I, have so little command of myself, and his merit every hour spreading itself out before me with increasing lustre, my weak eyes will not be able to bear his glory—O madam, I ought to fly; I am resolved, whatever it cost me to fly.
How I admired, how I pitied, how I loved, the dear creature! I clasped both my arms about her, and pressing her to my bosom—What can I say, my Emily? What can I say? Tell me, what would you wish me to say?
You are wise, madam: You have a tender and generous heart: O that I were half as good!—Advise me something—I see the folly of my wishing to live with you and my guardian.
And is it necessary, my dear, to a conquest of yourself, that we should not live together?
Absolutely so: I am convinced of it.
Suppose, my dear, you go to the London house, and put yourself under Mrs. Grandison's protection?
What, madam, my guardian's house still?
I hope a few weeks absence, by help of a discretion of which you have, in the present conversation, given shining proofs, will answer all we wish; since you never, my dear, could have thought but of admiring, and that at distance, the great qualities of your guardian.
I have, 'tis true, but just found myself out, I never could have hope of being looked upon in any other light, than as his daughter; and I hope, I have made the discovery in time. But I must not be with him in his own house. I must not be in the way of his constant conversation.
Admirable discretion! Amiable innocence!—Well then suppose you request Lady L. Lady G—
Ah, no, no! That would not do, neither. My guardian would be the continual subject of our conversation; and often, very often, his brotherly goodness would lead him to them; them to him.
Charming fortitude! Heroic Emily! How I admire you! I see you have thought attentively of this matter. What are your thoughts?
Can't you guess?
I know what I wish—But you must speak first.
Don't you remember what the blessed Mrs. Shirley (I must call her blessed!) said to me on your wedding-day, in the vestry?
I do, my dearest Emily! And are you inclined—
Shall I be received, madam, as a second Harriet in your family? It would be my ambition to tread in your steps at Selby-house and Shirley-manor; to hear from you; to write to you; to form myself by the model, by which you were formed; to be called by Mrs. Shirley, by Mrs. Selby, their Emily.
How you would rejoice them all, my Emily! and, if we must part, me, to have my Emily be to my dearest friends what their Harriet so happily was!
But, madam, will you undertake to procure my guardian's consent?
I will endeavour it.
Endeavour it! Then it is done. He will deny you nothing. Will good Mrs. Shirley consent?
I have no doubt but she will, if your guardian do.
Will Mrs. Selby, will Mr. Selby, be my uncle and aunt?
We will consult them: They are happily with us, you know.
But, madam, there is one objection; a very great one.
What is that, my Love?
Your cousin James Selby! I should respect him, as your cousin, and as the brother of the two Miss Selby's: But that is all.
I never, my dear, approved of any motion of that kind. Not one of my friends think of it: They wish it not. He has met with discouragement from every one of my family, and his own: He submits to the discouragement.
Then, madam, if you please to break the matter to Mr. and Mrs. Selby; and to Mrs. Shirley, without letting them know the poor girl flies to them as for refuge against herself; and satisfy Lady L. Lady G. and Mrs. Eleanor Grandison, that I mean nothing of slight to them; then will I attend Mr. and Mrs. Selby in their return home: And I shall be in a while a very happy girl, I doubt not. But still remember, madam, I must love my guardian: But it shall be with a Love that shall not exclude Lady Grandison from a large share of it; the largest, if I can. And now, clasping her arms about my neck, let me beg your pardon for all the strange things I have said. My heart will be the easier for having found a confident, such a confident, however, as no girl ever found before—But in this instance of goodness, you more than equal Lady Clementina herself; and a thousand, thousand thanks for your patience with me on such a subject!—Yet say, say, my dear Lady Grandison, you don't hate the poor girl, who has the vanity to emulate you and Lady Clementina!
I wept over her from joy, pity, tenderness.
Will you not, my dear grandmamma, love my Emily more than ever? Will you call her your Emily, and think of her, as your Harriet?
Lady L. Lady G. will you excuse the preference she has given to quiet Northamptonshire, against noisy London, and its gay scenes, at so young a time of Life?—Excuse it! I am sure you will think that the reason she has given for the preference, lifts her up above woman.
Monday, Feb. 5.
I have already obtained my uncle's and aunt's, and Lucy's, high approbation of Emily's proposal. They, at her request, asked Sir Charles's consent, as a favour. He desired to see her upon it. She came in, bashful, her steps unassured, looking down. He took her hand: My good Emily, said he, I am told that you have a desire to restore to Mrs. Shirley, Mrs. Selby, and Mr. Selby, the grand-daughter and niece I have robbed them of. They rejoice in your proposal. You will be exceedingly happy in their protection. My Harriet will be loth to part with you; but for their sakes, as well as yours, she will cheerfully acquiesce: And though we wanted it not, we shall have an additional pleasure in visiting Northamptonshire.—It is your deliberate choice, my dear?
It is, Sir: And I hope I may be allowed to accompany Mrs. Selby down.
Settle the matter, Ladies, among yourselves. I have but one thing to add on the subject. You have a Mother, my dear. We must not absolutely resolve till we have her consent. She is good now: You must make a compliment to my sisters, and their Lords also, and to my aunt Grandison: They love my ward: And she must preserve every worthy person's Love.
The dear girl curtsied; wept—You are all—all goodness, Sir.
If your mind should change, my dear, don't be afraid to signify the alteration. It will be the business of us all to make each other happy. You will be always dear to my Harriet. Recollect, mean time, if there be any-thing further in my power to oblige you.
O Sir! You must not (she ran to me, and in my bosom, weeping, spoke out her sentence) be too good to me!
I kissed the dear girl's forehead—Heroic Emily! whispered I, to confirm her in her heroism.
And thus already, my dearest grandmamma, is this material article settled. My aunt answers for your approbation; and Lucy for the pleasure that this acquisition, as I may call it, will give to Nancy, to Miss Holles's, and all our other kindred and acquaintance. But how, when the time comes, shall I part with her?
What, I wonder, will Sir Edward Beauchamp say to this?—He must get his dear friend's leave to visit with us Shirley-manor and Selby-house, which I hope we shall do twice a year at least.
My Uncle and Aunt, Lucy, and Mr. Deane, are exceedingly rejoiced on this occasion: How fond are they of Emily! She of them! This gives them a relation to each other, that I hope will produce a friendship which will last for ever.
My Aunt and Lucy have been asking my opinion, whether Sir Charles did not discover something of the good girl's growing affection for him; so undisguisedly sincere as she always was, and for some time not suspecting herself; he so penetrating a man? Of this, said Lucy, I am sure, he would have seen it with half an eye, had any other man been as much the object of her regard.
If any thing would induce me, said I, to think he did, it would be his ready acquiescence with her proposal, and from his being so little inquisitive after her motives for leaving us: The case, continued I, is of so nice a nature, that he never will say, even to me, what his thoughts are upon it, if such thoughts he has. And as to myself, it would be dealing with Emily less delicately than I was dealt with by the two noble sisters, should I presume to sound him on so nice a subject.
And indeed there never could be a man in the world that had a greater regard than he has to those real delicacies of our Sex, which border not upon what is called Prudery.
Mr. Lowther is gone to London: He has given into Sir Charles's wishes, to settle in this neighbourhood. He said, he liked the country: He had no particular attachment to any place; and made a fine compliment to Sir Charles on the occasion. I need not say, it was a just one.
My uncle, my aunt, write. Lucy has another long Letter almost ready. I have only further to say therefore, at this time, that I am and ever will be
Your most dutiful,
Sir Charles intends to write to you, madam, on Emily's proposal—My uncle, and aunt begin to be weary of us, as Sir Charles and I tell them; But they call us both unreasonable. God give us good news from Italy!
Volume VII - lettera 18
Volume VII - Letter 19
LADY GRANDISON TO LADIES L. AND G.
Grandison-hall, Tues. Feb. 13.
I write to my dearest sisters now.
Nor will I ask you to send my Letters to my grandmamma for the present.
Lucy shall be left to entertain my Northamptonshire friends.
The inclosed translation of a Letter written by Signor Jeronymo, will give you the surprising news—surprising indeed—Poor, poor Lady!
I must tell you in my next, how we were all affected on the receiving it: No more at present can I add, but that I am, my dear Ladies.
Your ever affectionate Sister,
Volume VII - lettera 19
Volume VII - Letter 20
JERONYMO DELLA PORRRETTA TO SIR CHARLES GRANDISON
You will be surprised—astonished—The dear Clementina! How has she tarnished all her glory! A young creature of her nice honour!—Good God!—And must I her brother, your Jeronymo, expose his sister?
We gave into almost every wish of her heart. The dear Scripturist had requested a month's time to travel from place to place on the other side of the Apennines, partly in imitation of the daughter of the famous Israelitish General (Note: Jephthah. See Judges 11); and partly on pretence of establishing her health; implying, that she considered the meditated marriage as a sacrifice: And we had hopes at the end of it, that she would be brought to give her hand, not uncheerfully, to the Count of Belvedere, for whom she owned pity and gratitude.
We had consented to several trifling delays of her return to us before. Yet besought her to excuse us from allowing her to visit Rome and Naples; and she acquiesced with the reasons we gave her. She desired leave to take into her service, as a page, an English youth, the nephew of a gentleman of the English factory at Leghorn, who was well recommended by his uncle, on the enquiry Mrs. Beaumont, at our desire, made into his character. We, supposing her motive to be merely an innocent and grateful regard to the country of a man whom we could allow her to respect, consented. She accordingly took him; and he attended her in her excursions to Pistoia, Prato, Pratolina, Pisa, Sienna, &c.; to some of which places she was accompanied by Mrs. Beaumont, and the Ladies her friends. But being desirous to see the sea-coast from Piombino to Lucca, according to a plan she showed; and talking of stretching to Genoa, when at Lucca; which was to conclude her excursions, and complete her month; she was left by those Ladies to be attended by her own servants: These, all but her page and Laura, she contrived (the high-soul'd Clementina stooped to art!) to send different ways, ordering them to meet her at Lucca; but, instead of going thither, took a short way to Leghorn; and there embarked on board an English ship ready cleared out, and bound for the port of London; and it had sailed three days, before it was known what was become of her. But then the contents of the following Letter, directed to Mrs. Beaumont, astonished that Lady, and her friends; as you will believe it did us, when it was transmitted to us in a Letter written by Mrs. Beaumont, acquainting us with the particulars of her excursions and flight; and the certainty, upon proper enquiries at Leghorn, that she was gone to England.
"Forgive me, my dearest Ladies; my dearest Mrs. Beaumont, particularly, forgive me! I am embarked in an enterprise, that will be enough my punishment. Pity me, therefore, as well as pardon me! The impending evil is always the most terrible. My heart is extremely averse to a married life. A fortnight of the month is expired, at the end of which I am expected to give my vows to a man not unworthy of them, could I think it in my power to make him happy, and could I be so myself in the prospects before me: But how can that be? Persuasion, cruel persuasion! A kneeling father, a sighing mother; generous, but entreating brothers; how, how can I resist you, if I go to dear, once most dear Bologna? All you, my friends, at Bologna, at Urbino, everywhere, forgive me! What have I not suffered before I came to the resolution that must be pursued, tho' repentance, when I have attained the proposed asylum, follow! My good Lord of B. forgive me also. Change your attachment. You deserve a better wife, than conscience, than honour, than justice (words that mean the same thing) tell me, can be made you, by the unhappy Clementina. She dare not add Della Porretta.—Ah my mother!"—
This Letter was left with a person at Leghorn, with orders, not to send it, till the vessel had sailed three days. We are all distracted; but most my mother.
For the sake of her peace of mind, we are come to a resolution to anticipate our summers visit to you; and, unpropitious as the season is for such a journey, we shall set out next week accordingly. God give my mother strength to bear the fatigue! Courage she has, on this occasion, who never before could be brought to go by sea any-where: No, not to Naples, to visit her Giacomo, and his Lady, tho' in a more propitious season.
It was a long-laid scheme, we imagine; for she had dismissed her faithful Camilla, on her urging her to a change of condition. I am afraid the good woman was too sedulous in obeying the orders given her by my brother, to make use of every opportunity to inspire her with tender sentiments, in favour of the Count of Belvedere. Laura has for some time been her only favourite servant.
This youth, by name Antony Dagley, no doubt has managed this affair for her.
Mrs. Beaumont now recollects several circumstances, which, could she have suspected Clementina to be capable of such an enterprise, might have given her suspicion.
The vessel she is in, is called The Scanderoon: Alexander Henderson master.
How can the dear creature on her arrival in England look You, your Lady, your Sisters, in the face? What may she suffer, in such a voyage, at such a season! To what insults may she be exposed! So little as she knows of the English tongue! Laura not a syllable of it! Depending on the fidelity of a stranger-boy! So few changes of apparel as she had the opportunity to take with her!—Whether provided with any considerable sums of money, we know not! England, in her opinion, a nation of heretics!—Good Heaven! could Clementina della Porretta be guilty of such a rashness?
But what an averseness must she have to marriage! We have certainly been too precipitating. You cautioned us: Yet, I dare say, could not have believed, that our Clementina could have taken such a step. But, alas! we conclude, that it is owing more to the effects of her late unhappy malady, than to any other cause. When once the mind is disordered, there is danger, it seems, of its showing itself, on extraordinary occasions, even after the cure is supposed to be perfected, capable of extravagance. Again I say, we have been too hasty.—Our brother Giacomo!—But he is the most disinterested of men. He would not otherwise be so urgent as he is for her marriage.
Dear, dear creature! How my heart bleeds for the distresses she may be thrown into!—But they cannot be equal to those which her mother feels for her. Clementina knows how much the lives of her father and mother are bound up in hers. But I repeat, she must be under the influences of her former malady, or never, never, could she have done an act, that she must know would wound our very souls.
From the lights I have held out, we hope you will be able to find her before she can have suffered more than the inconveniencies of the voyage; before she can have wanted money, or other conveniencies. If you do, your sisters will give the rash one countenance and protection till we can arrive.
Our company will be, my Father, Mother, the Bishop, your Jeronymo, Father Marescotti, and our two cousins Sebastiano and Juliano. Mrs. Beaumont has the goodness, purely from motives of charity, to accompany my mother. Poor Camilla, almost as inconsolable as my mother, attends her Lady.
We must give you the trouble of hiring for us as large a house as you can procure. The circumstances we are in, allow us not to think of any-thing more than common convenience, and to be incognito.
Our two cousins above-named may be in lodgings, if room be wanted.
We shall have no more than necessary attendants.
A lesser house, or handsome lodgings will content the Count of Belvedere.
These cares for us, my dear Grandison, we must throw upon you: Yet, if my Lowther be in England, he will be so kind as to ease you of part of them. You will have concern enough in sharing ours, for the occasion which carries us to you, so much sooner than we intended, and in an inconvenient season; circumstances that will sufficiently demonstrate the distress we are in.
The vessel we have hired, is called, The Leghorn Frigate. The master's name is Arthur Gunning. If we are favoured in our voyage, the master hopes to be in your river Thames in about three weeks from our embarking.
God give us, my Grandison, a meeting not unhappy! May we find the dear fugitive safe in your protection, or under the wings of one of your noble sisters!
I hope this unhappy affair will produce no uneasiness between your Lady and you. If it should, what an additional evil would the dear rash one have to answer for!
The General is too much incensed against the unhappy girl, to think of accompanying us, could he obtain permission of his sovereign.
The least reparation the dear creature can make us, the Bishop says, is, cheerfully to give her vows to the good Count of Belvedere, who looks forward to the issue of this affair, as the crisis of his fate.
I hardly know what I have written; nor how to leave off. It is to you, our dear friend, our consoler, our brother, and, let me add, our refuge, next to that Almighty, who we hope will guide us in safety to you, and give an issue not greatly derogatory to the glory of our sister, and family. Join, my Grandison, your prayers with ours, to this purpose. Noblest of friends, Adieu!
JERONYMO della PORRETTA.
Volume VII - lettera 20
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