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THE HISTORY OF
Volume VII - Letter 21
LADY GRANDISON TO LADY L. AND G.
Wedn. Febr. 14.
Let me now give you the promised particulars.
As we, and our beloved guests, were at dinner on Monday, all harmony, all love; the dear Emily laying out the happy days she hoped to see in Northhamptonshire; Sir Charles using generous arguments to prevail on my uncle and aunt to stay a little longer with him; the Letter, the affecting Letter, was given into Sir Charles's hands: "From my Jeronymo!" said he, looking at the superscription. Asking excuse, he broke it open, and, casting his eye upon the first lines, he started; and bowing to his guests, and to me, he arose from table, and withdrew to his Study.
We had not half dined. I urged our friends, but could not set them the example; and we arose by consent, and went into the adjoining drawing-room.
Sir Charles soon joined us there: His face was in a glow: He seemed to have struggled for a composure, for our sakes, which, however, he had not obtained.
I looked upon him with eyes, I suppose, that had speech in them, by his taking my hand, and saying, Be not surprised, my Love: You will soon have guests.
From Italy! From Italy, Sir!—"Yes, my life"—Who? Who, Sir?
Dr. Bartlett was with us. He besought him to give a translation of that Letter. The Doctor retired to do it: And Sir Charles said, It is not impossible but Clementina may be soon in England: Perhaps before the rest of her family. Be not surprised (for we all looked upon one another): Dr. Bartlett will give you the contents of the Letter. Oblige me, my dearest Love, with your hand.
He led me into his Study; and there, in the most tender and affectionate manner, acquainted me with the contents of the Letter.
My dearest Harriet, said he, his arms encircling my waist, will not, cannot doubt the continuance of my tenderest Love. I am equally surprised and disturbed at the step taken. God preserve the dear Clementina! Join your prayers with mine for her safety. You can pity the unhappy Lady: She is, I am afraid, desolate and unprotected: You can pity her equally unhappy friends. They are following her: They are all good: They mean well. Yet over-persuasion, as you lately observed, in such a case a hers, is a degree of persecution. In the unhappy circumstances she had been in, she should have had time given her. Time subdues all things.
Let me beseech you, Sir, said I, to give the unhappy Lady your instant protection. Consider me as a strengthener, not a weakener, of your hands, in her service. I have no concern but for her safety and honour, and for your concern on the affecting occasion. Dear Sir, let me by participation lessen it.
Soul of my Soul, said he, clasping me more ardently to his bosom, I had no doubt of your generous goodness. It would be doing injustice to the unhappy absent, and to the knowledge I have of my own heart, as well as to you, the absolute mistress of it, did I think it necessary to make professions of my unalterable, my inviolable Love to you. I will acquaint you with every step I take in this arduous affair. You must advise me as I go along. Minds so delicate as your and Clementina's, must be allied. I shall be sure of my measures when I have the approbation of my Harriet. All our friends (They have discretion) shall be made acquainted with my proceedings. I will not leave a doubt upon the mind of any one of them, that my Harriet is not, as far as it is in my power to make her, the happiest of women.
What, Sir, is the date of the Letter?—He looked; It has no date, my dear, Jeronymo's grief—The Lady, Sir, said I, may be arrived. Leave me here at Grandison-hall, with my friends: I will endeavour to engage their stay a little longer than they had designed; and do you hasten up to town: If you can do service to the unhappy Lady, destitute as you apprehend she is at present of protection, and exposed to difficulties and dangers, your Letters shall be, if possible, more acceptable to me, than even the presence of the man who is as dear to me as my own soul.
I was raised. It was making me great, my dear Ladies, to have it in my power, as I may say, to convince Sir Charles Grandison, that my compassion, my love, my admiration of the noblest of women, was a sincere admiration and love.
How happy a man am I! said he. You have anticipated me by your goodness. I will hasten up to town. You will engage your friends. The man whose Love is fixed on the mind, all loveliness as is the admirable person that thus I again press to my fond bosom, must be as happy as a mortal man can be!
He led me back to the expecting company: Who all stood up, as by an involuntary motion, at our entrance; each person looking eager to know our sentiments. The Doctor had not finished the translation: But Sir Charles sent up for the Letter; and begged of the Doctor, who brought it down himself, to read it in English to us all. He did so.
What, my dear Ladies, was there of Peculiarity in my generosity, as your brother was pleased to call it?—My uncle, my aunt, my Lucy, Mr. Deane, all, before Sir Charles could well speak, besought him not to suffer their being here to be one moment's hindrance to his setting out for London.
He generously applauded me to them for what had passed between us in his Study, and told them, he would set out early in the morning, if they would promise to keep me company here.
They said, they would stay as long as their convenience would permit; and the longer, that he might be the easier on such a generous call to town.
One thing, dear Sir, said I, let me beg; Let not the sweet fugitive be compelled, if you can help it, to marry. Let not advantage be taken, as they seem, by a hint in this Letter, inclined to take it, of this seeming rash step, to make her compliance the condition of their forgiveness and reconciliation.
He called me his generous, his noble Harriet; repeated, that he would be governed by my advice, and that then he should be sure of his footing.
Your brother set out early this morning for London: Join your prayers, my dear Ladies, with his and mine, and with those of all our friends here, for a happy issue to the present afflictions of the dear Clementina. How I long, yet half-fear, to see her! Shall I, do you think, be able to see her, without being apprehensive, that she will look upon me as the invader of her right? She was undoubtedly his first Love.
Your brother communicated to me his intention of completing the furnishing of the new-taken house in Grosvenor-square, which was before in great forwardness, and to have it well aired for the reception of his noble friends. He will acquaint his sisters with his further intentions, as occasions arise. God succeed to him his own wishes!—He may be trusted with them.
Adieu, my dearest Sisters! How proud am I, that I can indeed call you so, by the name of
LA STORIA DI
Volume VII - lettera 21
Volume VII - Letter 22
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO LADY GRANDISON.
St. James's Square, Thursday Feb. 15.
My dearest Life,
On my arrival here last Night I found a long Letter, dated Sunday last, from the unhappy Lady, whom we both so much admire and pity. The contents too well confirm her wandering state of mind, and account for the steps she has taken. I will send you the Letter itself as soon as I have seen her, and can prevail upon her to put herself into my protection. Till the hope of a happier state of mind shall dawn upon us, the contents of it will afflict you.
She has been ten days in England: I wrote to her last night, to beg her to admit me to her presence.
She expresses in her Letter a generous joy in our happiness, and in the excellent character which she has heard of the beloved of my heart; of every heart. In the midst of her affecting wanderings, she preserves the greatness of mind that ever distinguished her. She wishes to see you; but unknown to us both.
It would not be difficult perhaps to find out the place of her abode; but she depends on my honour, that I will not attempt it: Clementina loves to be punctiliously observed. In the way she is in, she must be soothed, and as little opposed as possible. She thinks too highly of my character, and apprehends that the step she has taken, has lowered her own. She has great sensibility, and only sometimes wanders into minutenesses that her circumstances, which I find are not happy, oblige her to attend to. I have great hopes, that I shall be able to sooth, conciliate, and restore her; her mind seems not to he deeply wounded. God enable me to quiet the heart of the noblest of your Sisters! Forgive me for my two beloved Sisters. They will, if you do.
I hope our dear friends will make themselves and you happy, at Grandison-hall. This cloud passed away, if God preserve us to each other, and our friends to us, all our future days must be serene: At least as far as it is in my power, they shall be so to my Harriet. Professions would disgrace my Love, and your merits. All that your own heart can wish me to be, that, if I know it, will I be; for am I not the happy husband of the best and most generous of women; and, as such,
Volume VII - lettera 22
Volume VII - Letter 23
LADY CLEMENTINA TO SIR CHARLES GRANDISON.
[Mentioned in the preceding.]
Tuesday. Febr. 13. O. S.
By this time, it is very probable, you have heard of the rashest step that the writer of these presents (chequer'd and unhappy, as the last years of her life have been) ever took. She knows it to be rash: She condemns herself for taking it. She doubts not but she shall be condemned by every-body for it: Nor is she sure, that she shall have the better opinion of your justice, if you are not one of the severest of her censurers: For you are a good man. Your goodness, I hear, fills every mouth in this your own country; and it is not one of your least praises, that you did your duty in the strictest manner, to a Father, who was wanting in his to his whole family. It is, it seems, your principle, that where a duty is reciprocal, the failure in it of the one, acquits not the other for a failure in his. How then can I appear before you? I am cover'd with blushes at the thoughts of it—I, who am a runaway from the kindest, the most indulgent, of parents—God forgive me!—Yet, can I say, I repent?—I think, I can.—But at best, it is a conditional repentance only, that I boast.
I am here in your England; I cannot, cannot, tell you where; in a low condition; my fortune scanty; my lodgings not very convenient; two servants only my attendants; Laura (you remember her) one; weeping every hour after her friends, and our Italy: My other you know not—My page he was called in the days of my state, as I may, comparatively, call them; but now my every thing: Poor youth! But he is honest, he is faithful. God reward him!—I cannot.
Yet in all this my depression of circumstances, if I may so express myself, and sometimes (too often indeed) of spirits; I think I am happy in the thought that I am a single woman.
Well, Sir!—And what can I say further? A thousand things I have to say: Too many, to know which to say first. I had better say no more: I am not, however, sure, I shall send you this, or any other Letter.
I have been ten days in this great, and, as it seems to me, ugly city: A vastly populous one: People very busy. I thought your London people were all rich—But what is this to write to you about?
I have been out but once, and that for a morning in one of your parks. I can't say, I like England, nor its people, much: But I have seen nothing of the one, or the other.
I live a very melancholy life: But that befits me best.
They tell me, that your churches are poor, plain things. You bestow more upon yourselves than you do upon your God: But perhaps you trust more to the heart, than to the eye, in the plainness of your places of devotion. But, again, what is all this stuff to you?—Yet, I am apt to ramble too-too much!
The truth is, I am not very well: So excuse me.
But do you know how it comes about, that having the best of fathers, the best of mothers, the most affectionate of brothers, I should yet think them persecutors? How it comes about, that I, who love them, who honour them, as much as daughter ever honoured parents, or sister ever loved brothers, should run away from them all, into a strange land, a land of heretics; yet once be thought a pious kind of creature? Do you know how this comes about?
Once there was a man—But him I renounced—But I had a good reason for it. And do you think I repent it? By my truth, Chevalier, I do not: I never did. Yet I think of nobody half so often, nor with half the pleasure: For, tho' a Heretic, he is a good man.
But hush! Dare I, in this country, say he is a Heretic? Perhaps, we Catholics are looked upon as Heretics here. Idolaters I know we are said to be—I grant that I had like to have been an idolater once—But let that pass. I believe we Catholics think worse of you Protestants, and you Protestants think worse of us Catholics, than either deserve: It may be so. But, to me, you seem to be a strange people, for all that.
Of one thing, my good Chevalier, methinks I should be glad.—Here I am told you are married: That I knew before I left Italy: Else, let me tell you, I never would have come hither: Yet I should have got away rather than be married myself, I believe: But then perhaps it would have been to a Catholic country.
What was I going to say?—One thing I should be glad of: It is to see your Lady; but not if she were to see me. I came with very few clothes, and they were not the best I had at Florence: My best of all are at Bologna. My father and mother loved to see me dressed. I dressed many a time to please them more than to please myself. For I am not a proud creature: Do you think I am? You knew me once better than I knew myself: But you know little of me now. I am a runaway: And I know you won't forgive me. I can't help it. However, I should be glad to see your Lady. She dresses richly, I suppose. Well she may!
I am told, she is one of the loveliest women in England: And as to her goodness—there is nobody so good. Thank God! You know, Chevalier, I always prayed, that the best of women might be called by your name.
But Olivia, it seems, praises her; and Olivia saw her when she was a rambler to England, as, God help me! I am now.
But Olivia's motive and mine were very different. Olivia went to England in hopes of a husband—Poor woman! I pity her.
But, Chevalier, cannot I see your Lady, and she not see me? I need not be in disguise to see her. If you were with her, handing her, suppose, to church, (I would not scruple to crowd myself into some unobserved corner of your church on such an occasion) you would be too proud of her to mind me: And you would not know me, if you saw me; for I would stoop in my shoulders, and look down; and the clothes I should have on would be only an English linen gown and petticoat, unadorned by ribands or gew-gaw—Not half so well dressed as your Lady's woman.
But yet I should thank God, that you had not disgraced the regard I had once for you: I had a great deal of pride, you know, in that hope. Thank you, Sir, that you have married so lovely and so deserving a woman. She is of a good family, I hope.
It was a great disappointment to me when I came first to London, to find, that you were not there. I thought, some how or other, to catch a sight of you and your Lady, were it but as you stepped into your coach; and I to have been in a chair, near, or even on foot. For, when I heard what a character you bore, for every kind of goodness; I, a poor fugitive, was afraid to see you. So many good lessons as you taught me, and all to come to this! Unhappy Clementina!
Where will your Ladyship (but I have forbidden that style) choose to take up your residence? said Anthony when we first landed (My servant's name is Anthony; but you shall not know his other name). We landed among a parcel of guns, at the Tower, they called it, in a boat.
Laura answered for me; for he spoke in Italian; Somewhere near the Chevalier Grandison's, won't you, madam? I won't tell you what was my answer; for perhaps I am near the Thames—I don't want you to find me out. I beseech you, Chevalier, don't give yourself pain for me. I am a fugitive. Don't disgrace yourself in acknowledging any acquaintance with a creature who is poor and low; and who deserves to be poor and low; for is she not a runaway from the best of parents? But it is to avoid, not to get, a husband; you'll be pleased to remember that, Sir.
But, poor Laura—I am sorry for Laura; more sorry than for myself—My brother Giacomo would kill the poor creature, I believe, if ever she were to come in his way. But she is in no fault. It was with great reluctance she obeyed her mistress. She was several times as impertinent as Camilla. Poor Camilla! I used her hardly. She is a good creature. I used her hardly against my own nature, to make her the easier to part with me. I love her. I hope she is well. It is not worth her while to pine after me; I was an ungrateful creature to her.
My Anthony is a good young man, as I told you. I think to save half his wages, and give the other half to raise Laura's, to keep her a little in heart. The poor young man hoped preferment in my service; and I can do nothing for him. It will behove me to be a good manager. But I will sell the few jewels I have left, rather than part with him, till he can get a better service. What little things do I trouble you with! Little things to you; but not quite so little to me now, as I have managed it. But so as I can do justice to this poor youth, and poor Laura, I matter not myself. What I have done is my choice: They had no option. I over-persuaded Laura, as my friends would have done me. I feel that sting: It was not doing as I would be done by. Very, very wicked in me! I dare say, you would tell me so, were you to find me out.
But, Chevalier, shall I send you, yes, or no, this scrawl, written to divert me in a pensive mood? I would not, if I thought it would trouble you. God forbid that your pupil Clementina should give you discomposure, now especially in the early part of your nuptials! Yet if I could so manage, as that you would permit your secretary (I would not ask the favour of your own pen) to send a few lines to some particular place, where my servant could fetch them unknown to you or any body, only to let me know, If you have heard from Bologna, or Naples, or Florence (I was very ungrateful to good Mrs. Beaumont and the Ladies her friends) and how they all do; my father, mother (my heart at times bleeds for them) my dear Jeronymo, my two other brothers, and good Father Marescotti, and my sister-in-law whom I have so much reason to love; it will be a great ease to my heart; provided the account be not a very melancholy one: If it should, poor Clementina's days would be number'd upon twice five fingers.
I am put in a way—This shall be sent to your palace in town. You will order your secretary to direct his Letter, to George Trumbull, Esq to be left till called for, at White's Chocolate-house in St. James's-street. I depend upon your honour, Chevalier, that you will acquiesce with my desire to remain incognito, till I shall consent to reveal to you the place of my abode, or to see you elsewhere. I sign only
Volume VII - lettera 23
Volume VII - Letter 24
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO LADY GRANDISON
Saturday, Feb. 17.
All day yesterday I was in pain that I heard not from Clementina. But I made myself as easy as I could in visiting my sisters, and their Lords, and my aunt Grandison. What blessings do they all pour forth on my Harriet! What compassion do they express for the dear fugitive! How do they long to see her!
Yesterday I received a Letter from her.
The copy of that to which hers is an answer; of hers; and of my reply; and her return to that; I inclose. You will read them to our friends in English.
You will find by the last of the four, that I am to be admitted to her presence. I would not miss a post, or I should have delayed, till the interview be over, the sending this to my Harriet. Hope the best, my dearest Love. The purity of your heart, and of Clementina's, and the integrity of my own, if I know my heart, bid us humbly hope for a happy dissipation of the present cloud, which, hanging over the heads of a family I revere, engages our compassion, and mingles a sigh with our joys.
Adieu, my best, my dearest Love. Answer for me to all my friends.
Volume VII - lettera 24
Volume VII - Letter 25
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO LADY CLEMENTINA.
[Under Cover, To George Trumbull, Esq &c.
St. James's Square, Wedn. night, Febr. 14.
Ten days the noble Clementina in England, the native place of her fourth brother, her equally admiring and faithful friend; yet not honour him with the knowledge of her arrival!—Forgive me, if I call you cruel.—It is in your power, madam, to make one of the happiest men in the world a very unhappy one; and you will effectually do it, if you keep from him the opportunity of throwing himself at your feet, and welcoming you to a country always dear to him, but which will be made still dearer by your arrival in it.
I have a Letter from your and my Jeronymo. I have a great deal to say to you of its contents; of your father, mother, brothers—But it must be said, not written. For God's sake, madam, permit me to attend you in company of one of my sisters, or otherwise, as you shall think best. You have in me a faithful, an indulgent friend. I am no severe man: Need I tell you that I am not? If you do not choose that any-body else shall know the place of your abode, I will faithfully keep your secret. You shall be as much the mistress of your own will, of your own actions, as if I knew not where to address myself to you. If ever you had a kind thought of your fourth brother, if you ever wished him happy, grant him the favour of attending you; for his happiness, I repeat, depends upon it.
I received our Jeronymo's Letter but yesterday. Tender and affectionate are the contents.
I have ridden post, to get hither this night, in hopes of being favoured with intelligence of you. In the morning I should have made enquiries at the proper places: But little did I think my Sister could have been so many days in town. Let not an hour pass after this comes to your hand, before you relieve the anxious heart of,
Dearest Lady Clementina,
Your most affectionate Brother, and faithful humble Servant,
Volume VII - lettera 25
Volume VII - Letter 26
LADY CLEMENTINA TO SIR CHARLES GRANDISON.
Friday morning, Feb. 16. O. S.
I received yours but this moment. What can I say to the contents? I wish to see you; but dare not. Your happiness, you say, depends upon an interview with me. Why do you tell me it does? I wish you happy. Yet, if you wished me so, you would have told me how my dear friends in Italy do. This omission was designed. It was not generous in the Chevalier Grandison. It was made to extort from me a favour, which you thought I should otherwise be unwilling to grant.
But can you forgive the rash Clementina? God is merciful as well as just. You imitate him. But how can Clementina, humbled as she is, be sunk so low, as to appear a delinquent, before the man she respects for a character which, great as she thought it before, has risen upon her since her arrival in England?
But, Sir, can you, will you engage, that my friends will allow me to continue single? Can you answer, in particular, for the discontinuance of the Count of Belvedere's addresses? Can you procure forgiveness, not only for me, but my poor Laura? Will you take into your service, or recommend him effectually to that of some one of your friends, in some manner that is not altogether servile, the honest youth who has behaved unexceptionably in mine? For he wishes not to return to Italy.
Answer me these few easy and plain questions; and you shall hear further from
Volume VII - lettera 26
Volume VII - Letter 27
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO LADY CLEMENTINA.
[Under Cover, directed as before.]
Friday morn. Febr. 16.
To the questions of dear Lady Clementina I answer thus—I will endeavour to prevail upon your parents, and other friends, to leave you absolutely free to choose your own state without using either compulsion, or over-earnest persuasion.
Who, madam, can forbid the Count of Belvedere to hope? Leave him hope. if he has not the over-earnest entreaties of your own relations to give weight to his addresses, it will be in your power to give him either encouragement or despair.
I will engage for the joyful reconciliation to her of all the dear Clementina's friends. I am sure I can.
Laura shall be forgiven, and provided for by an annuity equal to her wages, if the continuance of her service be not accepted.
I will myself entertain your young man; and place and reward him according to his merits.
And now, madam, admit to the honour of your presence,
Your Brother, your Friend, your ever-grateful
Volume VII - lettera 27
Volume VII - Letter 28
LADY CLEMENTINA TO SIR CHARLES GRANDISON.
Sat. morn. Febr. 17.
I depend upon your honour, Sir, for the performance of the prescribed conditions: Yet, on meditating my appearance before you, I am more and more ashamed to see you. It was a great disappointment to me at my first arrival, that you were at your country-seat. At that time my heart was full. I had much to say, and I could have seen you then with more fortitude than now falls to my share. However, I will see you. To-morrow, Sir, about five in the evening, you will find at one of the doors on the higher ground, on the left hand going up St. James's street, from the Palace, as it is called, the expecting Laura, who will conduct you to
Volume VII - lettera 28
Volume VII - Letter 29
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO LADY GRANDISON.
Monday, Febr. 19.
You requested me, my dearest Harriet, to write minutely to you. Now I have been admitted to the presence of Clementina, and have hopes that she will soon recover her peace of mind, I can the more cheerfully obey you.
I was exactly at the hour at the appointed place. Laura guessed at my chair, and my servants, as they crossed the way; and stood out on the pavement, that I might see her. When she found she had caught my eye, she ran into the house, wringing her clasped hands—God be praised! God be praised! were her words, as I followed her in, in her own language. Laura can speak no other. Show me, show me, to your Lady, good Laura! said I, with emotion.
She ran up one pair of stairs before me. She entered the dining-room, as it is called. I stopped at the stairs head till I had Clementina's commands. Laura soon came out. She held open the door for me, curtsying in silence.
The drawn window-curtains darkened the room: But the dignity of Clementina's air and motion left me not in doubt. She stood up, supporting herself on the back of an elbow chair.
On one knee, taking her trembling hand; Welcome, thrice welcome to England, dearest Lady Clementina! I pressed her hand with my lips; and rising, seated her: For she trembled; she sobbed; she endeavoured to speak, but could not for some moments.
I called to Laura, fearing she was fainting.
O that well-known voice! said she. And do you, can you, bid me welcome?—Me, a fugitive, an ingrate, undutiful!—O Chevalier, lower not your unsullied character, by approving so unnatural a step as that which I have taken!
I do bid you welcome, madam! Your brother, your friend, from his soul, welcomes you to England.
Let me know, Chevalier, before another word passes, Whether I have a Father, whether I have a Mother?
Blessed be God, madam, you have both.
She lifted up her clasped hand: Thank God! God, I thank thee! Distraction would have been my portion, if I had not! I was afraid to ask after them. I should have thought myself the most detestable of parricides, if either of them had been no more.
They are in the utmost distress for your safety. They will think themselves happy, when they know you are well, and in the protection of your brother Grandison.
Will they, Sir? O what a paradox! They so indulgent, yet so cruel—I, so dutiful, yet a fugitive! But tell me, Sir; determined as I was against entering into a state I too much honour to enter into it with a reluctant heart, could I take any other step than that I have taken, to free myself from the cruelty of persuasion? O that I might have been permitted to take the veil!—But answer my question, Chevalier?
Surely, madam, they would not have compelled you. They always declared to me they would not.
Not compelled me, Sir! Did not my father kneel to me? My mother's eyes spoke more than her lips could have uttered. The Bishop had influenced good Father Marescotti (against the interests of Religion, I had almost said) to oppose the wish of my heart. Jeronymo, your Jeronymo, gave into their measures: What refuge had I?—Our Giacomo was inexorable. I was to be met on my return from Florence to Bologna, by the Count of Belvedere, and all those of his house; the General was to be in his company: I had secret intelligence of all this: And I was to be received as an actual bride at Bologna, or made to promise I would be so within a few days after my arrival. My Sister-in-law, my only advocate among my Italian friends, pitied me, it is true: But, for that reason, she was not to be allowed to come to Bologna. I was at other times denied to go to Urbino, to Rome, to Naples—Could I do otherwise than I have done, if I would avoid profaning a Sacrament?
My dearest sister Clementina sometimes accuses herself of rashness, for taking a step so extraordinary. At this moment, does she not receive her brother in darkness? Whence this sweet consciousness? But what is done is done. Your Conscience is a Law to you, who shall condemn?—Let us look forward, madam. I approve not of the vehemence of your friends persuasions. Yet what parents ever meant a child more indulgence; what brothers, a sister more disinterested affection?
I own, sir, that my heart at times misgives me. But answer me this: Are you of opinion that I ought, at the instance of my parents and brothers, however affectionate, however indulgent in all other instances, to marry against inclination, against justice, against conscience?
Against any one of these you ought not.
Well, Sir, then I will endeavour to make myself easy as to this article. But will you undertake, Sir, (A woman wants a protector) to maintain this argument for me?
I will, madam, and shall hope for the more success, if you will promise to lay aside all thoughts of the veil.
Will my dearest Sister answer me one question? Is it not your hope, that by resisting their wishes, you may tire out opposition, and at last bring your friends to consent to a measure to which they have always been extremely averse?
Ah, Chevalier!—But if I could get them to consent—
Dear madam! is not their reasoning the same—If they could get you to consent?
May not this be a contention for months, for years? And—
I know, Sir, your inference: You think that in a contention between parents and child, the child should yield. Is not that your inference?
Not against reason, against justice, against conscience. But there may be cases, in which neither ought to be their own judge.
Well, Sir, you that have yielded to a plea of conscience (God has blessed you, and may God continue to bless you, for it!)
—Are fit to be a judge between us—You shall be mine, if ever the debate be brought on.
No consideration, in that case, shall bias me!—But may I not hope, that the dear Lady I stand before, will permit me to behold a person, whose mind I ever revered?
Laura, said she, let the tea be got ready: I have been taught to drink tea, Sir, since my arrival. The gentlewoman of the house is very obliging. Permit me, Sir, to withdraw for a few moments.
She sighed as she went out, leaning upon Laura.
Laura returned soon after with lights. She set them on the table; and giving way to a violent emotion, O my lord Grandison, said the poor girl, falling down, and embracing my knees: For the blessed Virgin's sake, prevail on my Lady to return to dear, dear Bologna!
Have patience, Laura: All will be well.
I, the unhappy Laura, shall be the sacrifice. The General will kill me—O that I had never accompanied my Lady in this expedition!
Have patience, Laura! If you have behaved well to your Lady, I will take you into my protection. Had you a good voyage? Was the master of the vessel, were his officers, obliging?
They were, Sir; or neither my Lady or I should have been now living. O Sir, we were in a dying way all the voyage; except the three last days of it. The master was the civilest of men.
I asked after her fellow-servant, naming him from Jeronymo's Letters. Gone out, was the answer, to buy some necessaries! O Sir, we live a sad life! Strangers to the language, to the customs of the country, all our dependence is upon this young man.
I asked her after the behaviour and character of the people of the house (a widow and her three daughters) that if I heard but an indifferent account of them, I might enforce by it my intended plea to get her to Lady L's. Laura spoke well of them. The Captain of the vessel who brought them over, is related to them, and recommended them, when he knew what part of the town her Lady chose.
What risks did the poor Lady run! Such different people as she had to deal with, in the contrivance and prosecution of her wild scheme; yet all to prove honest! how happy! Poor Lady! how ready was she to fly from what she apprehended to be the nearest evil! But she could not be in a capacity to weigh the dangers to which she exposed herself.
Often and often, said Laura, have I, on my knees, besought my Lady to write to you. But she was not always well enough to resolve what to do; and when she was sedate, she would plead, that she was afraid to see you: You would be very angry with her: You would condemn her as a rash creature: And she could not bear your displeasure: She was conscious that the act she had done, bore a rash, and even a romantic, appearance: Had you been in town, Antony should have made enquiries at distance, and she might have yielded to see you: But for several days her thoughts were not enough composed to write to you. At last, being impatient to hear of the health of her father and mother, she did write.
Why stays she so long from me, Laura? Attend your Lady, and tell her, that I beg the honour of her presence.
Laura went to her. Her Lady presented herself with an air of bashful dignity. I met her at her entrance—My Sister, my Friend, my dearest Lady Clementina, kissing her hand, welcome, welcome, I repeat, to England. Behold your fourth Brother, your Protector: Honour me with your confidence: Acknowledge my protection. Your honour, your happiness, is dear to me as my life.
I led her trembling, sighing, but at the moment speechless, to a seat, and sat down by her, holding both her hands in mine: She struggled for speech: Compose yourself, madam: Assure yourself of my tenderest regard, of my truest brotherly affection.
Generous Grandison! Can you forgive me? Can you from your heart bid me welcome? I will endeavour to compose myself. You told me I was conscious: Conscious indeed I am: The step I have taken has a disgraceful appearance: But yet will I not condemn, nor consent that you should, my motive.
I condemn not your motive, madam. All will, all must, be happy! Rely on my brotherly advice and protection. My Sisters, and their lords, every one I love, admires you. You are come to families of Lovers, who will think themselves honoured by your confidence.
You pour balm into the wounds of my mind. What is woman when difficulties surround her! When it was too late, and the ship that I embarked in was under sail, then began my terror: That took away from me all power of countermanding the orders I had given; till the winds that favoured my voyage, opposed my return. Then was I afraid to trust myself with my own reflexions, lest, if I gave way to them, my former malady should find me out. But let me not make you unhappy. Yet, permit me to observe, that when you mentioned the kind reception I might expect to meet with, among your friends, you forbore to mention the principal person—What will SHE think of the poor Clementina? But be assured, and assure her, That I would not have set my foot on the English shore, had you not been married. O Chevalier! if I make you and her unhappy, no creature on earth can hate me so much as I shall hate myself.
Generous, noble Clementina!—Your happiness is indeed essential to that of us both. My Harriet is another Clementina! You are another Harriet! Sister-excellencies I have called you to her, to all her relations. In the Letter you favoured me with, you wished to know her: You must know her; and I am sure you will love her. Your wishes that she would accept of my vows, were motives with her to make me happy. She knows our whole history. She is prepared to receive you, as the dearest of her sisters.
Generous Lady Grandison! I have heard her character. I congratulate you, Sir. You have reason to think, that I should have been grieved, had you not met with a woman who deserved you. To know you are happy in a wife, and think yourself so, that no blame lies upon me for declining your addresses, will contribute more than I can express, to my peace of mind. When I have more courage, and my heart is eased of some part of its anguish, you shall present me to her. Tell her, mean time, that I will love her; and that I shall hold myself everlastingly bound to her in gratitude, for making happy the man, whom once, but for a superior motive, I had the vanity to think I could have made so.
She turned away her glowing face, tears on her cheek. My admiration of her greatness of mind, so similar to that of my own Harriet, would not allow me to pour out my heart in words. I arose; and, taking both her hands, bowed upon them. Tears more plentifully flowed from her averted eyes; and we were both for one moment speechless.
It would be injurious to a mind equally great and noble as that which informs the person of this your Sister-excellence, to offer to apologise for faithfully relating to you those tender emotions of hearts, one of them not less pure than my Harriet's, the other all your own.
I broke silence, and urged her to accept of apartments at Lady L's. Let me acquaint the gentlewoman of the house, I beseech you, madam, that to-morrow morning the sister I have named, and I, will attend you to her house. We will thank her for you, as you have almost forgotten your English, for the civilities which she and her daughters have shown you: And I will make it my business to find out the honest Captain, who, Laura tells me, has been very civil to you also, and thank him too in the names of all our common friends, for his care of you.
I will think myself honoured, now you have encouraged me to look up, by a visit from either or both your sisters. But let me advise with you, Sir, is the kind offer you make me, a proper offer for me to accept of? I shall be ready to take your advice—Little regard as I may seem, by the step I have taken, to have had for my own honour; I would avoid, if possible, suffering a first error to draw me into a second. Do you Sir, as my brother and friend, take care of that honour in every step you shall advise me to take.
Your honour, madam, shall be my first care. I sincerely think this is the rightest measure you can now pursue.
This argument admitted of a short debate. She was scrupulous from motives too narrow for a Clementina to mention. I made her blush for mentioning them; and, in short, had the happiness to convince her, that the protection of the sister of her fourth brother was the most proper she could choose.
I went down, and talked to the gentlewomen below. They were pleased with what I said to them. They prayed for the Lady and her family, and for a happy reconciliation between them; for Antony had given them briefly her story.
I requested them to make my compliments to her relation Captain Henderson, and desire him to give me an opportunity to thank him in person for his civility to a Lady beloved by all who have the honour of knowing her.
I went up again to the Lady; and sat with her most of the evening, Laura only attending us.
I talked to Clementina of Mrs. Beaumont, and the Ladies at Florence; and intimated, that her mother had prevailed on that Lady to come to England, in hopes, as she is an English woman, that her company would be highly acceptable to her. She blessed her mother! What an instance of forgiving goodness was this! she said, with tears of gratitude; and blessed Mrs. Beaumont for her goodness to her; and the Ladies at Florence for parting with one so dear to them.
I was happy throughout this latter conversation in her serenity; not one instance of wandering did I observe.
I chose not, however, so early, to acquaint her, with the intention of the dearest and nearest of her friends, to come over with Mrs. Beaumont; tho' I expressed my earnest hope, that if we could make England agreeable to her, I should have the honour of the promised visit from some of the principals of her family, before she left it.
This, my dearest Life, is a minute account of our interview. One of the greatest Pleasures I can know is to obey the gentle, the generous commands of my Harriet.
This morning I attended Lady L. to breakfast with the excellent Lady, as proposed. My Sister and her Lord are charmed with their guest: Their guest she is: And Lady Clementina is as much pleased with them. She is every hour more and more sensible of the danger she has run; and censures herself very freely for the rash step, as she calls it herself.
She longs, yet is ashamed to see you, my dearest life; and listens with delight to the praises my Lord and Lady L. so justly give to my Harriet.
I have introduced Lord and Lady G. to Lady Clementina, at her own request; being assured, she said, that the place of her refuge would be kept secret by all my friends. Both sister, occasionally joining in praising my angel; How happy, said she, are those marriages which give as much joy to the relations on both sides as to the parties themselves!
Adieu, my dearest Love. With the tenderest affection I am, and ever will be,
Your most faithful and obliged
Volume VII - lettera 29
Volume VII - Letter 30
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON. IN CONTINUATION.
Thursday, Feb. 22.
We are as happy here, as we can expect to be; Lady Clementina in her state of suspense and apprehension; I without my Harriet.
You hinted to me once, my Love, something of our Beauchamp's regard for Emily. He just now, after more hesitations than I expected from my friend, opened his heart to me, and asked me to countenance his addresses to her. I chid him for his hesitation—and then said, Is my Beauchamp in this proposition so right as he generally is?—Emily, tho' tall and womanly, is very young. I am not a friend to very early marriages. You know as well as any man, my dear friend, the reasons that may be urged against such. Methinks I would give Emily an opportunity, as well for her husband's sake, whoever shall be the man, as for her own, to look round her, and make her own choice. The merit of Sir Edward Beauchamp, his personal accomplishments, and character, to say nothing of his now ample fortune, must make his addresses to any woman acceptable. You would not, I presume, think of marrying her, if you might, till she is eighteen or twenty: And would my Beauchamp fetter himself, by engagements to a girl; and leave her who at present can hardly give him the preference he deserves, no chance of choosing for herself, when at woman's estate?
He waved the discourse; and left me without resuming it. I am grieved, on recollection; for I am afraid he is not satisfied with me, for what I said.
My dearest Life, you must advise me. I will not take any important step, whether relative to myself or friends, but by your advice, and, if you please, Dr. Bartlett's. Whenever heretofore I have had time to take that good man's, I have been sure of the ground I stood upon. His has been of infinite service to me, as you have heard me often acknowledge. Yours and his, will establish my judgment in every case: But in this of Emily's, yours, my dear, for obvious reasons, I must prefer even to his. In the mean time I will seek Beauchamp. He shall not be angry with his Grandison!—But, good young man! Can it be, that he is really in love with such a girl as to years?
This I dare say; Beauchamp's principal regard cannot be to her fortune: His estate is unencumbered. I should think myself, as well as Emily, happy, and that I had performed all my duty by her, were I to marry her to such a man. But, methinks I want him to be sooner married, than I should wish my Emily to be a wife. I think you told me, that Emily at present has not thoughts of him—But you, my dear, must advise me.
Sir Edward has just left me. He asked my excuse for having mentioned the above subject to me. It is at present in your power, Sir Charles, said he, to silence me upon it for ever. It might not have been so some time hence. I thought, therefore, on examining the state of my heart, it was but honourable to open it to you. Forbid me this moment to think of her, and I will endeavour to obey her guardian.
My dear friend! You know Emily's Age—Would you willingly—I stopped that he might speak.
Stay for her? I would, Sir Charles, till you and she—He passed—Then resuming: My Love for her is not an interested Love. I would, if I might have your permission to make my addresses to her (and that should be by honest assiduities, before declaration) be wholly determined by your advice for the good of both I would make your conduct to Lady Clementina, when you last went over, my pattern. I would be bound, she should be free. I never would be so mean as to endeavour to engage her by promises to me. My pride will set her free, whenever I perceive she balances in favour of another man.
But what, my excellent friend, shall we do? Can you condescend to court two women, Emily so young, for her distant consent?
What means Sir Charles Grandison?
I will read to you without reserve, what I had just written to my Harriet, on this topic; reciting to her, what passed in the conversation between you and me, a little while ago.
I read to him accordingly, what I wrote to you, my dearest Love. He heard me with great attention, not interrupting me once (nor did I interrupt myself); no not by apologies for the freedom of my thoughts, on the subject. And when I had done, he wrung my hand, and thanked me for my unreservedness, in terms worthy of our mutual friendship.
You see, my dear Sir Edward, said I, how I am circumstanced: What I have promised to my wife, is a Law to me, prudence and after-events not controlling. She loves Emily: She has a high regard for you. Women know women. Go hand in hand with her. I will save you the trouble of referring to me, in the progress of your application to my wife and Emily. My Harriet will acquaint me with what is necessary for me, as Emily's guardian, to know. I build on your hint of assiduities, in preference to an early declaration. You, my Beauchamp, need not be afraid of giving time to a young creature to look round her. Let me add, that Emily shall give signs of preferring you to all men, as I expect from you demonstrations of your preferring her to all women; or I shall make a difficulty, for both your sakes, of giving a guardian's consent: And remember also, that Emily has a mother; who, tho' she has not greatly merited consideration, is her mother. We must do our duty you know, my Beauchamp, in the common relations of life, whether others do theirs or not. But the address of a man of your credit and consequence cannot give you any difficulty there, when that of Miss Jervois's tender years is got over.
He was pleased with what I said. I asked him, if he approved of her motion to go down with Mrs. Selby and Lucy? Highly, he said; and as it came from herself, he thought it an instance of prudence in her, that few young creatures would have been able to show.
Instance of prudence! my Love! How so! When, wise as our Northamptonshire relations are, Emily would have wanted to benefit that her choice can give her, were she to remain with us, in the instructions and example of my Harriet.—But, my dear Life, does Emily hold her mind to attend Mrs. Selby and Lucy into Northamptonshire? Let it be with her whole heart.
My cousin Grandison believes himself to be very happy. His wife, he says, thinks herself the happiest of women I am glad of it. She has a greater opinion of his understanding, than she has of her own: This seems to be necessary to the happiness of common minds in wedlock. He is gay, fluttering, debonnaire; and she thinks those qualities appendages of family. He has presented her with a genealogical table of his ancestors, drawn up and blazoned by heraldry art. It is framed, glazed, and hung up in her drawing-room. She shows it to every one. Perhaps she thinks it necessary to apologise, by that means, to all her visitors, for bestowing her person and fortune on a ruined man. But what, in a nation, the glory and strength of which are trade and commerce, is gentility! What even nobility, where descendants depart from the virtue of the first ennobling ancestor!
Lord and Lady G. have invited Lady Clementina to dinner to-morrow. She has had the goodness to accept of the Invitation. Lord and Lady L. and my aunt Grandison, will attend her.
What, my dear, makes Charlotte so impatient (so petulant I had almost said) under a circumstance, which, if attended with a happy issue, will lay all us, her friends, under obligation to her? I asked once my Harriet, if Lord G. were as happy in a wife, as Charlotte is in a husband? You returned me not a direct answer. I was afraid of repeating my question, because I knew you would have cheerfully answered it, could you have done it to my wishes. I see in my Lord's behaviour to her, respect and affection even to fondness; but not the polite familiarity that becomes a wedded Love. Let her present circumstance be happily over, and she will find her brother's eye a more observant one, than hitherto she has found it. But be not, my dear over-solicitous for the friend you so greatly value: True brotherly Love shall ever hold the principal seat in my heart, when I sit in judgment upon a sister's conduct.
My fond heart throbs in expectation of soon presenting a Sister to each of the two noblest women on earth. Allow for the perplexity of Clementina's mind; and for the impolitic urgency of her friends; and you will not, when you see her, scruple to hold out to a Sister-excellence, not happily situated, the hand that blessed
Volume VII - lettera 30
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