Jane Austen
Samuel Richardson - Sir Charles Grandison
Volume VII - lettere 31/40
traduzione di Giuseppe Ierolli

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Volume VII - Letter 31


Sat. Feb. 24.

The arrival of the Leghorn-frigate is every day expected. The merchants have intelligence, that it put in at Antibes. If the journey by land from thence to Paris, and so to Calais, could be made favourable to my dear friend Jeronymo, I have no doubt but our expected guests landed there, at this season of the year, so unpropitious to tender passengers.

The house in Grosvenor-square is now, thanks to good Lord G. quite ready for their reception. There will be room, I believe, as they propose to be here incognito, and with only necessary attendants, for the Marquis and his Lady, for Mrs. Beaumont (who will be both their comforter and interpreter) for the two Brothers, and Father Marescotti. Saunders has already procured handsome lodgings for the Count of Belvedere. I wish with you, my Love, that the Count were not to accompany them. The poor Lady must not know it, if it can be avoided. The two young Lords, whom I invited when I was in Italy, must be more immediately our own guests, if my dearest Life has no objection.

Assure yourself, my generous Harriet, that the Lady shall not be either compelled, or too urgently persuaded, if I have weight with the family when they arrive. They shall not know where she is, nor see her, but by her own consent, and as I see their disposition to receive her as I wish. Excellent creature! what a noble solicitude is yours for her tranquillity of mind!

I have not yet been able to break to her the daily expectation I have of seeing in England her parents and brothers: Yet am uneasy, that she knows it not. I want courage, my Harriet, to acquaint her with it. I have more than once essayed to do it. Dear creature! she looks with so much innocence, and so much reliance upon me; and is, at times, so apprehensive!—I know not how to break it to her.

She depends upon my mediation. She urges me to begin a treaty of reconciliation with them. I defer writing, I tell her, till I have seen Mrs. Beaumont.

Little does she think they are upon their journey, and that I know not where to direct to them. She longs for Mrs. Beaumont's arrival; and hopes, she says, she will bring with her the poor Camilla, that she may have an opportunity to obtain her excuse for the harsh treatment she gave her: And yet Camilla, said she, was a teasing woman.

Were you ever sensible, my Harriet, of the tender pain that an open heart (yours is an open and an enlarged one) feels; longing, yet, for its friend's sake, afraid, to reveal unwelcome tidings, which, however, it imports the concerned to know? How loth to disturb the tranquillity which is built upon ignorance of the event! Yet that every tranquillity (contemplated upon) adding to the pain of the compassionating friend; who reflects, that when the unhappy news shall be revealed, Time, and Christian philosophy, only, will ever restore it to the heart of the sufferer!

Lord and Lady L. are endeavouring to divert their too thoughtful guest by carrying her to see what they think will either entertain or amuse her. To-morrow (Lady L. contributing to the dear Lady's proper appearance there) they purpose to attend her to the drawing-room. But hitherto she seems not to have a very high opinion of the country. If her heart could be easy, every thing would have a different appearance to her.

* *

I have this moment the favour of yours of yesterday. If our kind friends will stay no longer with you at the Hall, do you, my dearest Love, as you propose, accompany them up. They are extremely obliging in proposing to give me here two or three days of their company, before they return to Northhamptonshire.

My consent, my Harriet!—Why, if you have a choice of your own, do you ask it? I must approve of whatever you wish to do. Could I have been certain, I would have met my Love. But you will have many dear friends with you.

Tell my Emily, that I have had a visit from her Mother and Mr. O’Hara; and was so much pleased with them, that I propose on Monday to return their visit at their own lodgings.

Now I know I am to be soon blessed with the presence of my Harriet, I have given way to all my wishes: One of them is, Never to be separated from the joy of my heart. Such, I trust, will she ever be, to

Her grateful, ever-faithful,


Volume VII - lettera 31

Volume VII - Letter 32


London, Friday, March 2.

Again, my ever-honoured grandmamma, does your Harriet resume the pen. Lucy and my aunt, between them, have given you an account of every-thing that passed since my last.

We arrived last night. With what tenderness did the best of men, and of husbands, receive his Harriet, and her friends!

This afternoon, at tea, I am to be presented to Lady Clementina at Lord L's. Don't you believe my heart throbs with expectation? Indeed it does. Sir Charles says, her emotions are as great on the occasion.

What honour does my dear Sir Charles do to his Harriet! He consults her, as if he doubted his own judgment, and wanted to have it confirmed by hers. What happiness is hers, who marries a good man! Such a one will do obliging things for principle's sake: He will pity involuntary failings: He will do justice to good intentions, and give importance to all his fellow-creatures; because he knows they and he are equally creatures of the almighty. What woman, who thinks, but will prefer a good man to all others, however distinguished by rank, fortune, or person? But my Sir Charles is a good man, and distinguished by all those advantages. What a creature should I be, blessed with a husband of a heart so faithful, and so well-principled, if I were not able to let my Love and compassion flow to a Clementina, tho' once (and indeed for that very reason) the only beloved of his heart!—Why are not real calls made upon me, to convince such a man, that I have a mind emulative of his own, at least of Clementina's? The woman who, from motives of Religion, having the heart of a Sir Charles Grandison in her hand, loving him above all earthly creatures, and all her friends consenting, could refuse him her vows, must be, in that act, the greatest, the most magnanimous, of women. But could the noble Lady have thus acted, my dear grandmamma, had not she been stimulated by that glorious Enthusiasm, of which her disturbed imagination had shown some previous tokens; and which, rightly directed, has heretofore given the palm of martyrdom to Saints?

* *

We have just now been welcomed to town by Sir Edward Beauchamp. Sir Charles, on presenting him to me, thus expressed himself: You remember, my dearest Life, what I wrote to you of the last part of the conversation between Sir Edward and me, in relation to my Emily. Your prudence, my Harriet, and love of the good girl; your discretion and generosity, Sir Edward; will join you together as counsellors and advisers of your Grandison. My Wife and my Friend cannot err in this instance, because you will both consider what belongs to the characters of a Guardian, and a Ward so beloved by you both; and, if you doubt, have Dr. Bartlett at hand.

My uncle, aunt, and Lucy, are determined to set out next Wednesday for Northamptonshire. Sir Edward desired to know of Sir Charles, If he had any objection to his attending them down? None at all, surely, was Sir Charles's answer.

Mr. Deane accompanies them, in order to adjust some matters at Peterborough, preparative to the favour he does us of settling with us or near us, for the remainder of his days. May that remainder be long and happy!

Sir Charles asked Emily just now, If she held her mind, as to going down? Indeed she did, she said: Her heart was in it; and she would go that instant to acquaint her mother with her intention, and to buy some things preparatory to her journey: She should take it for a great favour, she told Lucy, if she would go with her on both occasions.

Lucy has made to herself a great interest in Emily's heart. They are both sure they shall be happy in each other. My aunt loves her: So does my uncle. Who does not? I am sure you will, my dear grandmamma, and pity her too. Dear pretty soul! She costs me now and then a tear. But had I not been in her way, it would have been worse. She could have no hope: I am sure she knows she could not. But what a sad gradation is there in that Love, which, tho' begun in hopelessness of succeeding, rises by self-flattery, to a possibility, then to probability, to hope; and, sinking again to hopelessness, ends in despair!—But how coolly I write on, for one who is by-and-by to see a Clementina!

* *

I am waiting Sir Charles's kind leisure to carry me to Lady L's. He has Mr. Lowther with him just now; who, however, finding us engaged, will not stay.

Sir Charles approved my dress, as he passed by me to go to Mr. Lowther in the study. He snatched my hand, and pressed it with his lips: My ever-lovely, my ever-considerate Harriet, you want no ornaments: But I was sure you would not give yourself any but those that flowed from a compassionate and generous heart, when you were to visit a Lady who at present is not in happy circumstances; yet is entitled by merit, as well as rank, to be in the happiest.

My aunt and Lucy long for my return, to have an account of the Lady, and what passes between us. How my heart—What is the matter with my heart?

Volume VII - lettera 32

Volume VII - Letter 33


Sat. March 3.

Lady Clementina, my dearest grandmamma, must not, shall not, be compelled. If I admired, if I loved her before now that I have seen her, that I have conversed with her, I love, I admire her, if possible, ten times more. She is really, in her person, a lovely woman, of middle stature; extremely genteel: An air of dignity, even of grandeur, appears in her aspect, and in all she says and does: Her complexion is fine without art: Indeed she is a lovely woman! She has the finest black eye, hair, eyebrows of the same colour, I ever saw; yet has sometimes a wildish cast with her eye, sometimes a languor, that, when one knows her story, reminds one that her head has been disturbed. Why, taking advantage of her Sex, is such a person to be controlled, and treated as if she were not to have a will; when she has an understanding, perhaps, superior to that of either of her wilful brothers?

When we alighted at Lady L's, I begged Sir Charles to conduct me into any apartment but that where she was. I sat down on the first seat. Lady L. hastened to me—My dearest sister, you seem disordered—Fie!—Lady Grandison, and want spirits!

Sir Charles (not observing my emotion) had left me; and went to attend Lady Clementina. She, it seems, was in some disorder. My Harriet (said he to her, as he told me afterwards) attends the commands of her Sister-excellence.

Call me not Excellence! Call me not her Sister! Am I not a fugitive in her eye, in every-body's eye?—I think, Chevalier, I cannot see her. She will look down upon me. I think I am as much afraid to see her, as I was at first to see you. Is there severity in her virtue?

She is all goodness, all sweetness, madam. Did I not tell you, that she is the Clementina of England?

Well, Sir, you are very good. Don't let me be unpolite. I am but a guest in this hospitable house—Else I would have attended her at the first door. Is she not Lady Grandison? Happy, happy woman!

Tears were in her eyes. She turned away to hide them. Then stepping forward; I am now prepared to receive her: Pray, Sir, introduce me.

She is not without her emotions, madam—She is preparing herself to see you. Love, compassion, for Lady Clementina, fills her bosom—I will present her to you.

Lady L. went to her. Sir Charles came to me.—My dearest Love, why this concern? You will see a woman you cannot fear, but must love. She has been in the like agitations—Favour me with your hand.

No, Sir—That would be to insult her.

My dearest Life! forget not your own dignity [I started]; nor give me too much consequence with a Lady, who, like yourself, is all Soul. I glory in my wife: I cannot desert myself.

I was a little awed at the time; but the moment I got home, and was alone with him, I acknowledged his goodness and greatness, both in one.

He led me in. Lady L. only (at Sir Charles's request, for both our sakes) was present. The noble Lady approached me. I hastened to meet her, with trembling feet. Sir Charles, kissing a hand of each, joined them together. Sister-excellencies, I have often called you! Dearest of women, love each other, as I admire you both.

She threw her arms about my neck: Receive, O receive, to your Love, to your Friendship, a poor desolate! Till within these few days, a desolate indeed! a fugitive! a rebellious! an ingrate to the best of parents!

I embraced her—Mistaken parents, I have called them, madam—I have pitied them; but most I have pitied you—Honour me with your sisterly love. This best of men had before given me two Sisters. Let us be four.

Be it so, my dear Lady L. said Sir Charles, bringing her to us: And, clasping his arms about the three; You answer for the absent Charlotte and yourself; a fourfold cord that never shall be broken.

Sir Charles led us to one settee, again putting a hand of each together, and sitting down over-against us; Lady L. on the other hand of him. We were both silent for a few moments, each struggling with her tears.

My Harriet, madam, said Sir Charles, as I have told you, knows your whole story. You two are of long acquaintance. Your minds are kindred minds. Your griefs are hers: Your pleasures she will rejoice in as her own.—My Harriet, you now see, you now know by person, the admirable Clementina, whose magnanimity you so much admired, whose character, you have so often said, is the first among women.

We both wept: But her tears seemed tears of kindness and esteem. I put the hand which was not in hers, on her arm. I wanted courage; my reverence for her would not allow me to be so free, or it had again embraced the too conscious Lady. Believe me, madam (excuse my broken Italian) I have ever revered you. I have said often, very often, that your happiness, happy as I am, is necessary to complete mine, as well as Sir Charles Grandison's.

This goodness to me, a fugitive, an alien to your country; not a lover of your religion! O Lady Grandison, you must be as much all I have heard of you in your mind, as I see you are in your person. Receive my thank for making happy the man I wished to be the happiest of men; for well does he deserve to be made so. We were Brother and Sister, madam, before he knew you. Let me be his Sister still, and let me be yours.

Kindred minds, Sir Charles Grandison calls ours, madam. He does me honour. May I, on further knowledge, appear to as much advantage in your eye, as you, from what I know of you, do in mine; and I shall be a very happy creature!

Then you will be happy. I was prepared to love you. I love you already, methinks, with a passion that wants not further knowledge of your goodness to augment it. But can you, madam, look upon me with a true sisterly eye? Can you pity me for the step I have taken, so seemingly derogatory to my glory? Can you believe me unhappy, but not wicked, for taking it? O madam! my reason has been disturbed—Do you know that?—You must attribute to that, some of my perversenesses.

Heaven, dearest Lady Clementina, only knows how many tears your calamity has cost me! In the most arduous cases, I have preferred your happiness to my own. You shall know all of me, and of my heart. Not a secret of it, tho' yet uncommunicated to this dearest of men, will I conceal from you. I hope we shall be true Sisters, and true Friends, to the end of our lives.

My noble Harriet! said the generous man—Frankness of heart, my dear Clementina, is her characteristic. She means all she says; and will perform more than she promises. I need not tell you, my Love, what our Clementina is: You know her to be the noblest of women: Give her the promised proofs of your confidence in her; and, whatever they be, they must draw close the knot which never will be untied.

Already, thus encouraged, said the noble Lady, let me apply to you, madam, to strengthen for me the interest I presume to have in the friendship of Sir Charles Grandison. Let me not, Sir, let me not, I intreat you all three, be compelled to give my vows to any man in marriage. All of you promise me; and I shall with more delight look before me, than for a long, long time past, I thought would fall to my Lot.

You, madam, must concede a little, perhaps: Your parents must a little relax. Their reason, if you will not be too unconceding, shall not, if I am referred to, be mine, unless it is reason in every other impartial judgment. Would to Heaven they were at hand to be consulted!

What a wish! Then you would give me up! You are a good man: Will a good man resist the authority of parents, in favour of a run-away child? Dear, dear madam, clasping her arms about me, prevail upon your Chevalier Grandison to protect me, to plead for me: He can deny you nothing: He will then protect me, tho' my father, my mother, my brothers, should all join to demand me of him.

My dear Lady Clementina, said I, you may depend on your own interest with Sir Charles Grandison. He has your happiness at heart, and will have, as much as I wish him to have mine.

Generous, noble, good Lady Grandison! how I admire you! May the Almighty shower upon you his choicest blessings! If you allow me an interest in his services, I demand it of you, Chevalier.

Demand it, expect it, be assured of it, my dear Lady Clementina. I want to talk with you upon your expectations, your wishes. As much as is practicable, whatever they are, they shall be mine.

Well, Sir, when then shall we talk?—To-morrow will be too soon for my spirits.

Do my Harriet then the honour of passing the day on Monday with her. The dear friends we have for our guests will choose to pass it with Lord and Lady G.—Yourself, Lady L. my Harriet, and I, will be all the company: You shall declare your pleasure, and that shall be a Law to me. At present, this affecting interview has discomposed us all; and we will retire.

Kindly considered! said she: You are in England what you were in Italy—I am discomposed. I have discomposed you, madam! to me. I was born to give trouble to my friends. Forgive me! I once was happy—I may hope, madam, to Lady L. your supporting presence at your brother's on Monday?

Lady L. bowed her assent. She understands Italian; but speaks it not.

The Lady stood up, yet trembling. I will withdraw, Ladies, Sir, if you please. My head seems as if bound round by a tight cord (putting her hand to her forehead). Then clasping her arms round me, thus in a high strain spoke she—Angel of a woman, gracious as the blessed Virgin Mother, benign, all that is good and great, I attend you on Monday. Adieu!—She kissed my cheek, I clasped my arms about her. Revered Lady Clementina!—I could say no more. Tears, and tenderness of accent, interrupted my speech. Lady L. conducted her to her own apartment, and left her to her Laura.

We sat down, admiring, praising, praying for her. Dear, dear Sir. said I, taking Sir Charles's hand, Lady Clementina must not be persuaded. Persuasion is Compulsion. Why comes over the Count of Belvedere? If she knows it, I will not answer for her right mind.

My Uncle and Aunt, Lucy, Emily, were very curious after particulars, when we came home, as we did to supper.

Sir Charles left it to Lady L. to manage with Lady G. who he knew expected a day of our beloved guests; and he himself apologised to them for the freedom he had taken of so disposing of them. They had the goodness to thank him for his freedom with them. But yet they long to see the admirable Lady, who could renounce the man of her choice from religious motives; yet love him still; fly to him for protection; yet be able to congratulate him on his marriage; and love his wife. She is great indeed! said my aunt—Lucy praised my generosity—But what is that which is called generosity in me, who am in full possession of all my wishes, to that of Clementina?

Join, my dear grandmamma, in prayers for her happiness; the rather, as in it, from true affection, is concluded that of


Volume VII - lettera 33

Volume VII - Letter 34


Monday, March 5.

Lady L. and Lady Clementina came, just as we were preparing for breakfast.

Lady L. had given her such an account of my friends, that she was desirous to see them, and, as she was pleased to say, to bespeak their favour to the poor fugitive. After the first salutations, she addressed my aunt Selby in French, being told that she spoke not Italian: You are happy, madam, said she, in a niece, who may challenge the world to show her equal; and still more happy in her being blessed with such a husband. Merit is not always so well rewarded.—My aunt was struck with the manner as well as with the words.

She made a very pretty compliment to my uncle; who, having forgot his French, could only bow, and seem pleased. When Lucy was presented to her, as my uncle's niece, and my favourite correspondent, You must not, mademoiselle, said she, be angry with me, if I envy you.

To Emily, Happy, happy, young Lady! said she. I have heard of you in Italy. Mrs. Beaumont spoke honourably of you to me, more than once. We both called you happy in such a guardian.

She made polite compliments to Mr. Deane; and bespoke all their favour to her. How does everybody admire her!

I hope, my dear grandmamma, you don't think I forget my cousin Reeves's, tho' I mentioned them not before. I have already called in upon them twice: And they have, with the kind freedom of relations, dropped in upon us several times. They are invited guests at Lord G's: I won't say Lady G's, tho' everybody else does.

This is what I stole time to write, while Sir Charles is engaged in discourse with the Lady, and our guests are preparing to be gone to Lord G's, Lady G. requesting my aunt's company early. She is the veriest coward! These brave spirits, she has said, are but flash. Indeed the very delicate, as well as very serious, and even solemn, circumstances, which attend her case, must make the liveliest woman, when the time approaches, think!—The inclosed note of hers to my aunt, brought late last night, is, however, in her usual style:

You and Lucy must be here early To-morrow morning.

What wretched simpletons are we women! Daughters of gewgaw, folly, ostentation, trifle!—First, we show our sorry fellow, when not disapproved, to our friends and relations; and take all their judgments upon him. If he has their opinion in his favour, every-body, be he what he will, will praise him; and give him riches, sense, ancestry, and I cannot tell what of qualities that perhaps we shall never find out. Then we show our presents, our jewels, our laces; and a smile spreads the mouth, and a sparkle gladdens the eye, of every maiden that hangs admiring over them. Ah, silly maidens! if you could look three yards from your noses, you would pity, instead of envying, the milk-white heifer dressed in ribands, and just ready to be led to sacrifice.

Well, then, what comes next? Why, the poor soul, in a few months, by the time perhaps her gratulatory visits are half paid her, begins to find apprehension take place of security. Then are she and all her virgins employed in the wretchedest trifles—If I thought you had forgot them, I would give you a list of them—And the poor fools, wrapping up their jewels in cotton, with sighs that perhaps they have worn them for the last time, and doubtful whom they may next adorn, cover the decked-out milk-white bed with their baby-things. See here! and, See here! and, What is the use of this, and of that? asks the curious, and perhaps too fearless maiden. "Why, this is for—" and "That is for—" answer the matrons who have passed the Rubicon.

And to this is your Charlotte reduced!—Aunt Selby, Lucy, come early, that I may show you my baby-things!—O dear! O dear! O dear!—and that you may be able to testify, that I had no design to overlay the little Marmouset. Adieu till ten tomorrow morning.

C. G.

* *

The moment our guests were gone, Sir Charles came to me; and, leading me into my drawing-room, where the Lady was, Comfort, my Love, said he, your Sister.

I hastened to her (poor Lady! she was in tears, and even sobbing); and clasping my arms about her, Be comforted, be consoled, my dearest Lady Clementina.

O madam! my Father, my Mother, my Jeronymo, are every day expected; who beside, I know not: How shall I look my Father, my Mother, in the face!

Sir Charles withdrew. He was troubled for her. He sent in Lady L.

Your dear friend, madam, said I, and my dear friend, will protect you. Your father and mother would not have had the thoughts of taking so long and troublesome a voyage, had they not resolved to do every thing in their power to restore you to peace, and to them.

So the Chevalier tells me.

At this time of the year, madam, such a voyage! your mamma so tender in her health! Such a dislike to the sea! Her whole motive is tenderness and love. She prefers your health, your tranquillity, to her own.

And is not this consideration enough to distress a grateful spirit?—Unworthy Clementina! To every relation, in every action, of late unworthy! What trouble hast thou given thy parents! I cannot, cannot bear to see them!—O my Lady Grandison, I was ever a perverse creature! Whatever I set my heart upon, I was uneasy, till I had compassed it. My pride, and my perverseness, have cost me dear. But of late I have been more perverse than ever. My heart ran upon coming to England. I could think of nothing till I came. I have tried that experiment. I am sick of it. I do not like England, now I see I cannot be unmolested here. But my favourite for years, was another project. That filled my mind, and helped me to make the sacrifice I did.—and here I am come to almost the only country in Europe, which could render my darling wish impracticable.

Why went I not to France? I had with me sufficient to have obtained my admission into any order of nuns: And had I been once professed!—I will get away still, I think. Befriend me, my sister! I cannot, cannot, see my mother!

Sir Charles came in just then. I heard what you last said, madam, said he: Compose yourself, I beseech you. I dreaded to acquaint you with the expected arrival of your parents. But are they not the most indulgent of parents? You have nothing, you shall have nothing to fear, and you will have everything to hope, from their presence.

Will you engage for their allowing of a divine dedication, Sir? Will you plead that cause for me?

I cannot say what will, what can, be done, till I see them. But confide in my zeal to serve you, madam. Lord L's house, I repeat, shall be your asylum, till you shall consent to see them. I cannot be guilty of a prevarication: I will own to them, that I know where you are; but, till you give leave, you shall be as much concealed from their knowledge, as if you were still at your first lodgings, and I myself ignorant of your abode.

A man of honour, said she, her hands lifted up, is more valuable to a woman in trouble, than all the riches of the East! But tell me now, tell me upon your never-forfeited honour, whom, besides my Father, Mother, and your Jeronymo, do you expect?

My Lord the Bishop, madam—

Oh! Oh! said she, clapping her hands together, with an inimitable grace and eagerness—I am afraid—But whom else?

Father Marescotti—

The good man! will he think it worth his while—But for my father and mother's sake he will—Whom else?

Mrs. Beaumont, madam, never intended to set her foot on English ground again: But she has broken thro' her resolution, to oblige your mother.

Good Mrs. Beaumont!—But I am half afraid of her. Well, Sir?

Camilla, your poor Camilla, madam.

Poor Camilla! I used her hardly: But teasing never yet did good with me. Remember, Sir, they are not to know were I am. Your house, madam, to Lady L. is to be my asylum.—Then seeing me affected, Gentlest of human hearts, said she, what right have I thus to pain you! Well, Sir, drying her eyes, with looks too earnest for her health of mind; tell me, is any-body else expected?

Your cousins Sebastiano and Juliano, madam; but not the General.

Thank Heaven for that!—I love my brother Giacomo: But he is so determined a man!—His own Lady only can soften his heart.

Sir Charles, by his admirable address, made her tolerably easy by dinner-time, on the subject of her friends expected arrival: And she once owned, that she should be transported with joy to see her Father, Mother, and Jeronymo, could she assure herself, that she could see them with forgiveness in their countenances.

Sir Charles would only be attended at table by Saunders, whom she had seen in Italy. She was much pleased to have it so; but desired Laura might be permitted to attend at the back of her own chair.

I addressed myself to Laura three of four times, as she stood. The Lady was pleased: And Laura seemed proud of my notice.

Now-and-then an involuntary tear filled the Lady's eye, as she sat. It was easy to enter into her thoughts, poor Lady! on her situation. She was grieved, she said, at the trouble she gave me; and frequently sought to suppress a sigh. Once, after a reverie of? few minutes; And am I here? said she; In England? At the house of the Chevalier Grandison? Can it be a—

After dinner, Lady L. and she and I, retiring to my drawing-room; What a generous Lady, said she, are you! I was afraid to see you, before I saw you: But the moment I beheld you, I embraced a Sister. You will allow of my esteem of your Grandison?

Of your Love, dear Lady Clementina, and thank you for it. A good man has an Interest in every good person's affections.

Such generosity, snatching my hand with both hers, would confirm a doubtful goodness. But indeed my esteem for him always soared above person. You know I am a zealous Catholic. You know our doctrine of merits. I would have laid down my life to save his soul. But surely God will be merciful to such a man, and no less so to such a woman, as (putting her Arms about me) I have now the honour to embrace.

Mercy, madam, said I, is the darling attribute of the Almighty. He is the God of all men.

True—But—And was going to say something further; but stopped on Sir Charles's entrance.

Sir Charles, after sitting with us a little while, asked leave of absence for an hour, to look on his friends at Lord G's. We had a charming conversation in the mean time. Our subjects were various. The customs of Italian Ladies, and their surprising illiterateness in general, were parts of it. A woman there, it seems, who knew more than her own tongue, was a miracle till within these few years, that the French customs seem prevailing there. Why, madam, the Ladies of Italy, with genius's as fine as that classic climate ever produced, are immersed in the pleasures of sense: Singing, dancing, and conversation-gallantry, take up their whole time. One would imagine, that their husbands and fathers thought them only children of this world, and not heirs of a better hope, by the little care taken in improving their understanding: And were it not for the religion of the country, which we call superstition, half the Italian world of women would be looked upon merely as temporary idols for men to worship for temporary gratifications only. Yet in their conversation-assemblies, men see what they are capable of. But their country, it seems, is in the same uncultivated state, as the minds of their women. The garden of the world, as Italy is called, is over-run with weeds: And, for want of cultivation, the very richness of its soil becomes its disease. But these reflexions I draw rather by deduction from what Lady Clementia said, than from any direct confession of hers. She is fond of her country in its present state: But sensible English travellers speak of it as I have written.

Sir Charles returned within his time. He is kind to be every-where; for he is the life of every company, and of every individual.

We passed a sweet evening together, and till near eleven o'clock. Were Lady Clementina happy, how happy should we all be!

Sir Charles waited on the Ladies home. Lord L. was by that time returned from Lord G's; but was the first of the friendly company that withdrew. Lady G. it seems, was all alive in every part of the entertainment. My uncle Selby and she spared not each other. Her Lord, I fancy, fared the better for the presence of the Earl and Lady Gertrude, and for her having my Uncle to shoot at.

God preserve my grandmamma, and all my dear friends in her neighbourhood, prays

Her ever dutiful,

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Volume VII - Letter 35


Wednesday, March 7.

Our grief will be your joy, my dearest grandmamma! My Uncle, my Aunt Lucy, Emily, Mr. Deane!—They are just gone: Just left me.

What a parting!—But Emily! Dear creature! what was her grief, her noble struggle with herself, to conceal her anguish from her guardian!

She will now be yours, and my aunt Selby's; and, when once settled, will, must, be happy; for she is good, and you all love her, and will love her the more for this great instance of her nobleness of mind.

About half an hour before we parted, she begged to speak a few words to me in my closet. I led her thither. When we entered it, she shut the door, and dropped down on her knees. I would have raised her; but she would not be raised. I clasped my arms about her neck. I have revealed all my folly to you, said she. Forgive the weakness of a poor girl. A thousand, thousand thanks to you, madam, for your indulgent goodness to me. I longed to live with you and my guardian. I placed my whole happiness in the grant. You gave me an opportunity to try the experiment. What I little expected happened: I was more unhappy than before. I revere your grandmamma: She is a blessed Lady! How good was she on your wedding-day, to wish me, poor me! to supply to her the loss of her Harriet! Her goodness, her condescension, that of all your family, overcame me: It would not, perhaps, had I not tried the other experiment. All that I have now to beg of you, is, to pardon me for the trouble I must have given to your noble heart: It is a noble heart, or it could not have borne with me as it has done. But promise to write a Letter to me once a fortnight—and permit me to write to you once a week; and I shall think myself a happy creature. Not a thought of my heart but I will reveal to you.

I do promise, my Love, my Emily. The correspondence between us will delight me. Nobody shall see any of our Letters, but at your choice.

Lady L. Lady G. may, madam: They love the poor Emily. Nobody else may, I believe; I shall write so poorly!—But I shall improve as I have more years, and more sense. But my present concern is more for Lady Clementina than for myself. Poor Lady! Pray write something of her friends behaviour to her, and hers to them, to me particularly, besides what you write to your grandmamma: I shall take it for such a favour! And it will make me look so important! You don't know how proud it will make me; and it will induce your Lucy, and every-body, to show me every-thing you write to them; and I shall have it in my power to read out of your Letters to me something in return; which will look like an acquittal of obligation.

All that she wished me to do, and still more, as occasions offered, I promised.

She arose from her knees, called me by many tender names; kissed one cheek, then the other; then one hand, then the other. I folded her to my fond heart: My Sister, my Friend, my Emily, I called her. We wetted each other's Bosom with our tears; and both went down with red eyes.

Extremely tender, but delicate, was the leave she took of her guardian. The Brother, the affectionate Friend, and Father, I may say, appeared in his unreserved tenderness to her. She hurried into my uncle's coach, which stood ready, when she parted with him, that her emotion might not be too visible. I hastening in after her, lest she should be too much affected; while my Aunt, Lucy, and my Uncle, were taking their leaves in the hall.

My dearest Emily, I admire you! said I. Do you, do you!—Best of wives, of women, of friends, of sisters, do you say so?—I behaved not amiss, then?

Amiss! No, my dear: Charmingly, my Love! You are great as ever woman was.

How you comfort me!

Adieu, adieu! my best Love! said I.—My best Lady Grandison! said she: Both in a breath, as from one heart, embracing; and quitting each other with regret; her arms folded about herself, when I left her; as if I were still within them.

I gave my hand to Sir Edward Beauchamp, on stepping out of the coach; for he was ready to attend them; and hurrying into the hall, threw myself into the arms of my aunt. My Love, said she, take care of yourself: Emily shall not need to be your concern: She will be our Harriet.

Indeed she shall, said Lucy. Dear girl, she shall be mine: And, thank God, I now have two Harriets instead of one.

My uncle wept like a child at parting with me. He would have carried it off, smiling in his tears. What, what, sobbed he, shall I do for my girl! I shall miss, I shall miss, your sau-sau-sauciness sometimes—Was I ever angry with you in my Life?

Mr. Deane comforted himself, that he should but settle his affairs at Peterborough, and then would make our residence his, wherever we should be.

All of them departed blessing us, and we them; hoping for a speedy meeting in Northamptonshire. Every one express'd their solicitude for the happiness of Lady Clementina, as well for her own sake, as for Sir Charles's and mine.

God give you, and my dearest, dearest friends, now on their journey to you, a happy meeting, with every felicity that on this earth can fall to the lot of persons so dear to the heart of

Your ever-dutiful

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Dover, Monday night, March 12. O. S.

Here we are, my Grandison; my father and mother so indifferent in their healths, that we shall have time to wait for your direction. My mother was so incommoded, that we put in at Antibes; and by slow journeys, stopping a few days at Paris, proceeded to Calais, where we hired a vessel to bring us hither. My Brother, and Father Marescotti, are indisposed. Camilla is not well. Mrs. Beaumont, to whom we owe infinite obligations, is the life of us all.

Have you heard of the dear fugitive, who has given us all so much disturbance, and, at this season of the year, so much fatigue? God grant that she may be safe in your protection, and in her right mind! Had she been so at the time, she had never meditated such a wild, such a disgraceful flight. The heart of the Count of Belvedere is torn in pieces by his impatience. He will soon follow the man and horse whom we dispatch with this. Signor Sebastiano will accompany him. Juliano will stay with us. The fatigue has been rather too much for your Jeronymo: But he rejoices, that he has his foot on English ground; the country that gave birth to his Grandison; and in his hopes of seeing his kind and skilful Lowther. God grant us a happy meeting; and that no interruption may have been given to your nuptial happiness, by the extravagance of a young creature, which can only be accounted for in her, by the unhappy disorder of her mind! Adieu, Adieu, my Grandison!


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Tuesday morning, Eleven, March 13.

About two hours ago, Sir Charles received a Letter from Signor Jeronymo. The man had rode all night. They are all at Dover.

Sir Charles is already set out; gone, with four coaches and six, of our own and friends, for them, and their attendants; Mr. Lowther with him. Richard Saunders is left to attend the Count of Belvedere to the lodgings taken for him.

The house in Grosvenor-square is ready for the reception of the illustrious guests.

As soon as I can get quieter spirits, I will attend Lady Clementina, in order to re-assure her, if I find she has presence of mind enough to hear the news. Sir Charles has already induced her to wish the crisis over. It is a crisis. I am almost as much affected for her, as she can be for herself. Yet she has not cruel friends to meet. May the dear Lady keep in her right mind!

In what a hurry of spirits I write! You will not wonder. I have not my grandmamma's steadiness of mind. Never, never, shall I be like my grandmamma.

Tuesday, two o'clock.

In Lady L's closet.] I have, as gently as I could, broken the news of their safe arrival at Dover, to Lady Clementina. She began the subject; and said, She had been praying for the safety of her friends. What will become of me, said she, should mishap befall any one of them? Should the fatigue be too much for either my father or mother, their healths so precarious; or for my Jeronymo, so lately ill?

After proper prefacings, I hoped, I said, her cares on that subject would soon be over. Sir Charles had some intimation of the likelihood of their arrival at a particular port; and was actually set out with coaches, in hopes of accommodating them, when they did arrive, and to bring them to the house which had been (as she knew before) got ready for their reception.

She looked by turns on me, and on Lady L. in speechless terror: At last, Then I am sure, said she, you know they are come. Tell me, tell me, are they indeed arrived? And are they all well?

I owned they were, and at Dover; and waited there to refresh themselves, and to be informed of her health and safety before they would proceed further.

She wept, even to sobbing; inveighed against herself: Her tears were tears of duty and tenderness. She comforted herself, that Sir Charles would be able to soften their resentments against her; and she was sure he would make the best conditions for her, that could be obtained.

Lord L. is all goodness, all compassion, to her. He greatly admires her. But we observe, that there are some little traces of wildness now-and-then in her talk, which carries her into high language and exclamation. May her mind be quieted! May her intellects be preserved entire, in the affecting scenes before her!—I am sent for home in haste.

Tuesday night.

Methinks I am half afraid of telling even you, my grandmamma, at this distance, to whom I was sent for. It was to the Count of Belvedere. Signor Sebastiano was with him. Lord G. happened to call in at St. James's Square, when they arrived; and sending for me, entertained them till I came.

I asked Lord G. half out of breath with fear, at my first alighting, If he had said any-thing of the Lady? Not a syllable, said he: I avoided answering questions. The gentlemen were full of impatience to know something about her: And this made me send for you: For, tho' cautioned, I was afraid of blundering.—Honest, modest, worthy Lord G!—I prevailed on them to stay supper with me. Lord G. was so obliging, as to send home to excuse himself to his Lady, at my request.

They are both fine young gentlemen; extremely polite. We have been told, that the Count is a handsome man. Indeed he is. Any Lady, with such a character as he has, if she were not prepossessed, might like him. He is certainly a gentle-dispositioned and good-natured man. He looks the man of quality. He seems not to be above five or six-and-twenty: Has a foreign aspect, and a complexion a sallowish brown; yet has a healthy look. His eyes, however, as I knew his case, appeared to me to have a cast like those of a man whose mind is disturbed.

I behaved to them with the greatest frankness I could show. I told them, that Sir Charles set out in the morning, on the receipt of a letter from Dover, for that port, and with what equipages. They gave but a poor account of the health of the Marchioness: But if she could but hear good tidings, he said, and stopped—

Sir Charles, I answered, would do his utmost to set their hearts at ease.

May I not ask a question, madam? said the Count. I find your Ladyship knows every-thing of us, and our affairs. We heard in Italy, that you were all goodness; and find you to be an angel. I make no compliment, said he, laying his spread hand on his heart.

Lord G. with kind officiousness, said, that was the universal voice.

I answered in French, the language in which he spoke to me—That I had the pleasure of informing him, that Letters had passed between Lady Clementina and Sir Charles. The account she gives of herself, said I, makes us not quite unhappy.

Makes Us! said the Count to Signor Sebastiano, in Italian, his hands lifted up: Heavenly goodness!

I imagined that he thought I understood not that tongue; and that I might not mislead them into undue compliments: I said, in my broken-accented Italian, We all here, Signors, are as much interested in the health and happiness of Lady Clementina, as any of her friends in Italy can be.

They applauded all of us, who were, as they said, so generously interested in the happiness of one of the most excellent of women.

I told the Count, that Sir Charles had, as desired, provided lodgings for him. I hoped he would find them convenient, tho' Sir Charles thought them not befitting his quality. He said, before he set out this morning (hearing that their Lordships were then probably on their journey from Dover to London) ordered his gentleman to attend him to them: You, Signor, said I, are, if you please, with Signor Juliano, to be Sir Charles's own guests. We have another house which will be honoured with the residence of the Marquis and Marchioness, their Sons, the good Father Marescotti, and their other friends.

Good Father Marescotti! repeated the Count—Excellent Lady Grandison!—But you say well: Father Marescotti is indeed a good man.

I have by heart, my Lord, said I, the characters of all my dear Sir Charles's good friends.

Again the two Lords looked upon each other, as admiring me.

Pity, my dear grandmamma, that different nations of the world, tho' of different persuasions, did not, more than they do, consider themselves as the creatures of one God, the Sovereign of a thousand worlds!

The Count expressed great impatience to know some particulars of Lady Clementina. I took this opportunity to say, that as I had been informed of the transcendent piety of the Lady, and of her great earnestness, from her earliest youth, to take the veil, I presumed it would forward the good understanding hoped for, if it were not at present known, that his Lordship was arrived; and the rather, as several tender scenes might be expected to pass between her and her other friends, which perhaps her present (easily to be supposed) weak spirits, and turn of mind, might with difficulty enable her to support.

The Count sighed: But, bowing, said, He came with a very small retinue, because he would be as private as possible. He had been for many months determined to visit England: The family della Porretta, Signor Jeronymo, in particular, had promised to visit Sir Charles in it likewise: They should indeed have chosen a better season for it, had not their care and concern for one of the most excellent of women induced them to anticipate their intentions. He was entirely of my opinion, he added, that his arrival in England should not at present be known by Lady Clementina.

He then, in a very gallant, but modest manner, owned to my Lord G. and me his passion for her; and said, that on the issue of this adventure of the dear Lady hung his destiny.

I told him, I had been the more free in giving my humble advice, as to the keeping secret his Lordship's arrival, as, but for that reason, I could assure him Sir Charles would not have permitted his Lordship, or any of his train, to go into his lodgings: And I mentioned the high regard which I knew Sir Charles had for the Count of Belvedere.

I ordered supper to be got early, as I supposed the two Lords would be glad to retire soon, after the fatigue of their journey; for they had set out early in the morning. I sent a note begging the favour of my cousin Reeves's company to supper; apologising, by the occasion, for the short notice. They were so kind as to come. They admire the two young noblemen: for Signor Sebastiano, as well as the Count, is a sensible modest young man. Mr. Reeves and they entered into free conversation in French, which we all understood, on their country, voyage, and journey by land. Both gentlemen spoke of Sir Charles, and his behaviour in Italy, in raptures.

My cousin Reeves, attended by Saunders, was so good as to conduct the Count to his lodgings, in his coach; Sir Charles having all our equipages with him.

You will soon have another Letter, my dearest grandmamma, from

Your ever-dutiful

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Volume VII - Letter 38


Wedn. morn. March 14.

Mr. and Mrs. Reeves were so kind as to breakfast, and intend to dine, with me.

They brought with them, as agreed upon overnight, the Count of Belvedere, who has assumed the name of Signor Marfigli. After breakfast, Mr. Reeves, dropping my cousin at Lady G's, carried the two noblemen thro' several of the great streets and squares of this vast town: To Westminster-hall; the houses of parliament, &c.

I went in my chair, mean time, to pay my sincerest compliments to Lady Clementina: I assured her, that she was, and should be, the subject of our choicest cares.

Poor Lady! She is full of apprehensions. I owned to her the arrival of Signor Sebastiano, and his prayers for her safety and health; and told her what I had answered to his enquiries after her.

She was for removing to some distance from town, where she thought she could be more private. Lord and Lady L. both assured her, it was impossible she could be any-where so private as in this great town; nor so happily situated (should she think fit, on a reconciliation, to own where she had been) as in the protection, and at the house, of Sir Charles Grandison's brother and sister.

God be praised for the happy meeting you all have had. Lucy is very good to be so particular about my Emily (Note: This letter of Miss Lucy Selby appears not). Dear girl! She is an example to all young Ladies! Let Clementina be made easy, and who will be so happy as your Harriet?

Thursday, March 15.

Sir Charles has been so good as to let me know, that he and Mr. Lowther arrived yesterday morning at Dover. He found the Marchioness, Signor Jeronymo, and the good Camilla, as he calls her, very much indisposed from the fatigues they had undergone both in mind and body. The whole noble family received him with inexpressible joy. Jeronymo told him, that his arrival, and Mr. Lowther's with him, had given them all spirits; and health must follow to those who were indisposed.

Sir Charles supposes, that they will be obliged to continue at Dover all this day. To-morrow if the Marchioness is able to bear the journey, they propose to set out, and proceed as far on their way to London as her health will permit; and to get to town as early on Saturday as possible.

The dear man thought his Harriet would be uneasy, if he had not written to her, as he shall be two days longer out than he had hoped. To be sure she should. If he had not thought so justly of her, as she knows no other method of valuing herself than by his value of her, she must have been extremely sunk in her own opinion.

He bids me assure Lady Clementina that she will find every one of her friends determined to do all in their power to make her happy. Resentment, he says, has no place in their bosoms: They breathe nothing but reconciliation and Love.

I will not, my dear grandmamma, dispatch this Letter to you, till I can inform you that this worthy family are settled with us, and at Grosvenor-Square.

Sat. Evening, March 17.

I have just received the following billet from Sir Charles.

Grosvenor-Square, Sat. 4 o'clock.

My dearest Love will rejoice to know by this, that our friends are all arrived here in safety. The Marchioness bore the journey better than we expected. My Jeronymo is in fine spirits. I thought it would give my Harriet as well as them less fatigue, if I put them into immediate possession of this house, than if I brought them to pay their compliments to her, as they were very desirous to do, at St. James's Square. Mrs. Beaumont has allotted to them their respective apartment. There is room enough, and they are pleased to say, handsome room. Signor Juliano will attend my Love with me. What an admirable forecast in my dearest life! A repast so elegant, prepared (as your Murray informs me) by your personal direction, to attend their hour. She tells me you have borrowed a female servant of each of our sisters, and one of Mrs. Reeves, to join with two of your own, in the service of this house. In everything, on every occasion, you delight by your goodness and greatness of mind

Your ever-devoted


I shall stay supper with them. But shall break away as soon as I can, to attend the joy of my heart.

Am I not a happy creature, my dear grandmamma? By what little offices, if done with tolerable grace, may one make a great and noble spirit think itself under obligation to one!—But had I known they would not have called first in St. James's Square. I would not have contented myself, as I did, with a visit to the other house in the middle of the day, to see everything was in order, against they came: They should have found me there to receive and welcome them.

Signor Sebastiano is flown to them. I should have told you, that the Count, at my request, dined and supped with me and Signor Sebastiano (they choosing to comply with our English customs) every day of this week from that of his arrival. They are really good young men. They improve upon me every hour. How do they admire Lady Clementina! The Count yesterday complimented me, that for piety, reading, understanding, sweetness of manners, frankness of heart, she could only be equally in England. Italy knew not, he said, nor had known of modern times, her mother excepted, such another woman. If I knew Lady Clementina, he added, I would not wonder at his perseverance, he having besides the honour of all her family's good opinion.

How I long to see every individual of this noble family!—I know how sincerely I love them all, by this one instance—I have not now, for near a week that my dearest friend has been absent from me, in their service, wished once for his company; tho' had he not written to me on Thursday, I should have been anxious for his health and theirs.

May they be indulgently, and not ungraciously, forgiving!—Then will I dearly love them.—Poor Lady Clementina! How full of apprehensions has she been all this week! She has not stirred out of her chamber since Wednesday morning, nor designs it for a week or two to come.


My dearest Friend, my Lover, my Husband, every tender word in one, left his noble guests for their sakes early last night; and he was pleased to tell me, for his own sake, longing to see, to thank, to applaud his Harriet. He brought with him the two young noblemen, who are our own immediate guests.

He gave me, last night and this morning, an account of what passed between the family and himself, from his arrival at Dover, to their coming to town last night.

They confessed the highest obligations to him for attending them in person; and for bringing Mr. Lowther with him. But when, on their eager questions to him after their Clementina, he told them, that he had heard from her, and that she had owned herself to be in honourable and tender hands, the Marquis lifted up his eyes in thankful rapture: The Marchioness, with clasped hands, seemed to praise God; but her lips only moved: All the rest expressed their joy in words dictated by truly affectionate hearts.

Sir Charles found them all most cordially disposed to forgive the dear fugitive, as the Bishop called her: But, depend upon it, added the Prelate, nothing will secure her head, but our yielding to her in her long wished-for hope of the convent, or on prevailing on her to marry: And if you, Grandison, join with us, I question not, but the latter may be effected.

Sir Charles blamed them for having precipitated her as they had done.

That, said the Bishop, was partly the fault of our well meaning Giacomo; and partly her own; for more than once she gave us hope that she would comply with our wishes.

I besought Sir Charles, that he would not be prevailed upon to take part with them, if she continued averse to a change of condition.

I waved the subject, my dearest Life, replied he, at the time. I have continued to do so ever since, I want only to see them settled, and Lady Clementina composed, and then I shall know what can be done. Till then, arguments on either side, will rather strengthen than remove difficulties.

The Bishop, with great concern, told Sir Charles, that when the first news of Clementina's flight was brought to Bologna, her poor mother was for two days as unhappy in her mind, as ever her daughter had been; and when it was found likely that Clementina was gone to England, she insisted so vehemently on following her, that they had no other way to pacify her, but by promising that they would out of hand, pay to Sir Charles the visit they intended, and some of them had engaged to make him. Nor would she, when she grew better on their promise, acquit them of it. This determined them to this winter excursion, sorely against the will of some of them: And it was in compassion to this unhappy state of the poor mother's mind, that Mrs. Beaumont consented to accompany her.

Sir Charles is gone to attend Lady Clementina. He then proposes to welcome the Count of Belvedere into England; and afterwards to wait on the noble family, and know when I shall be permitted to pay my devoirs to them.

Sunday, Two o'clock.

Sir Charles has found it very difficult to quiet the apprehensions of Lady Clementina. He is grieved for her. God grant, he prays, that she keep in her right mind. Lady L. thinks the poor Lady is already disturbed.

Sir Charles was joyfully received by Signor Marsigli. He owned to that Lord, that he knew where to send Letters to Lady Clementina. He is to introduce me by-and-by to his guests at Grosvenor-Square.

Sunday night.

Sir Charles presented me to this expecting family. I admire them all.

The Marquis and Marchioness are a fine couple. There is dignity in their aspects and behaviour. A fixed kind of melancholy sits upon the features of each. The Bishop has the man of quality in his appearance; but he has something more solemn in his countenance than even Father Marescotti; who, at a glance, is not unlike our Dr. Bartlett: The more like, as goodness and humility both shine in his countenance.

But Signor Jeronymo is an amiable young man: I could, almost at first sight (and his winning grace confirmed me) have called him Brother. With signal kindness did my Sir Charles present me to this his dear friend: and with equal kindness did Signor Jeronymo receive me, and congratulate Sir Charles: They all joined in the congratulation.

The amiable Mrs. Beaumont!—She embraced me! She felicitated me, with such a grace, as made her manner surpass even her words.

The good Camilla was presented to me. She has the look of a gentlewoman. How many scenes did the sight of this good woman revive in my memory! Some of them painful ones!

Signior Marsigli, as he is called, and the two young Lords, dined with them. This being a first visit on my part, we made it a short one. We went from them to Lady G's, and drank tea with her and her Lord. Sir Charles could not bear, he said, to go immediately from the sighing parents to the sorrowing daughter; they not knowing, nor being at present to know, she was so near them.

Lady G. was so petulant, so whimsical, when her brother's back was turned, that I could not forbear blaming her: But I let her go her own way: She stopped my mouth—"So you think you shall behave more patiently, more thankfully, in the same circumstance!—Look to it, Harriet!"

Here, my dearest grandmamma, I will conclude this Letter. Pray for the poor Clementina; for a happy reconciliation; and that the result may be tranquillity of mind restored to this whole noble family; so necessary to that of your dear Sir Charles, and

His and Your

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Volume VII - Letter 39


Thursday, March 22.

Nothing decisive yet, my dear grandmamma.

There have been some generous contentions between the family and Sir Charles. He has besought them to make their hearts easy, and he will comply with all their reasonable desires.

They think not of dining with, or visiting us, till they can hear some tidings of their beloved daughter.

Lord G. Lord L. and Lady L. as also Mrs. Eleanor Grandison, have been presented to them.

Sir Charles has begun to enter into a treaty, as I may call it, with the Lady on one part, her Family on the second, and the Count of Belvedere on the third. Lady Clementina, it seems, insists upon being allowed to take the veil; and that in a manner that sometimes carries wildness with it. The Bishop, Sir Charles thinks, seems less fervent in his opposition to it, than formerly. Father Marescotti, in his heart, he believes, favours her wishes. But the Marquis and Marchioness, and Signor Jeronymo, plead their own inclinations, their Son the General's unabated fervour, in behalf of the marriage, were it but to secure the performance of the grandfather's will, and to be an effectual disappointment of the interested hopes of Lady Sforza and her daughter Laurana. The Count of Belvedere's passion for the Lady (notwithstanding her unhappy malady past, and apprehended) makes a great merit for him with the family; and the two young Lords think so highly of him for his perseverance, that they are attached to his interest; and declare, that the Conte della Porretta their father is as strongly on the same side as the General himself.

In the mean time, the fond mother is so impatient to see her daughter, that they are afraid of the consequences, as to health both of mind and body, if a speedy determination be not come to: On the other hand, the young Lady grieves to find herself, as she says, in such a situation, as to be obliged to insist on conditions with her parents, before she can throw herself at their feet; which she longs to do, tho' she dreads to see them. Sometimes (and they are when she is calmest) she blames herself for the step she has taken; at others, she endeavours to find excuses for it.

Sunday morning, Mar. 25.

Sir Charles has drawn up a paper at the request of all parties. He last night gave a copy of it to the Lady; another to the Count: a third to the Bishop; for them all to consider of the contents; and he will attend them to-morrow for their answer. He has been pleased to give me also a copy of it; which is as follows:

I. That Lady Clementina, in obedience to the will of her two deceased grandfathers, in duty to her parents and uncle, and in compliance with the earnest supplications of the most affectionate of brothers, shall engage her honour to give up all thoughts of withdrawing from the world, not only for the present, but for all future time, so long as she shall remain in her maiden state.

II. She shall be at liberty to choose her way of Life; and shall be allowed, at her own pleasure, to visit her Brother and his Lady at Naples; her Uncle at Urbino; Mrs. Beaumont at Florence; and be put into the immediate perception of the profits of the estate bequeathed to her, if she chooses it; that she may be enabled to do that extensive good with the produce, that she could not do, were she to renounce the world; in which case, that estate would devolve to one, who, it is but too probable, would make a very different use of it.

III. She shall have the liberty of nominating her own attendants; and in case of death, or removal by promotion, of Father Marescotti (whose merits must at last render him conspicuous) to choose her own confessor: But that her Father and Mother shall have their negative preserved to them, in either case, while she continues in their palace: Nor will the dear Lady think this a hardship; for she wishes not to be independent on parents, of whose indulgent goodness to her she is most dutifully sensible; and it is reasonable, that they should be judges of the conduct of every one who is to be a domestic in their family.

IV. As Lady Clementina, from some late unhappy circumstances, thinks she cannot marry any man; and as a late extraordinary step taken by her, has shown, that there is at present too much reason to attend to the weight of her plea; it is hoped, that the Count of Belvedere, for his own sake; for the sake of the composure of mind of the Lady, so dear to all who have the honour of knowing her; will resolve to discontinue his addresses to her, and engage never to think of resuming them, unless some hopes should arise, in course of time, of his succeeding in her favour by her own consent.

V. Her ever-honoured parents, for themselves and for their absent brother the Count of Porretta; her right reverend brother for himself, and, as far as he may, for his elder brother; Signor Jeronymo for himself; will be so good as to promise, that they will never with earnestness endeavour to persuade, much less to compel, Lady Clementina to marry any man whatever; nor encourage her Camilla, or any other friend or confident, to endeavour to prevail upon her to change her condition: Her parents, however, reserving to themselves the right of proposing, as they shall think fit, but not of urging; because the young Lady, who is by nature sweet-tempered, gentle, obliging, dutiful, thinks herself (however determined by inclination) less able to withstand the persuasions of indulgent friends, than she should be to resist the most despotic commands.

VI. These terms conceded to, on all sides, it is humbly proposed, that the young Lady shall throw herself (as she is impatient to do) at the feet of her indulgent parents; and that all acts of disobligation shall be buried in everlasting oblivion.

The proposer of the above six articles takes the liberty to add, on the presumption that they may be carried into effect, that his noble guests will allow him to rejoice with them on their mutual happiness restored, for months to come, in his native country.

He hopes that they will accept of his endeavours to make England as agreeable to them, as they heretofore made Italy to him.

He begs that they will consider their family and his, as one family, ever to be united by the indissoluble ties of true friendly Love.

He hopes for their company at his country seat.

He will seek for opportunities to oblige and accommodate them in every article, whether devotional or domestic.

And when they will be no longer prevailed upon to stay in England, he will (no accidents, no events, preventing, of which themselves shall be judges) attend them to Italy; and if his beloved Wife and Sisters, and their Lords, shall have made to themselves, as he hopes they will, an interest in their affections, he questions not to prevail on them to be of the party.


Monday morn. ten o'clock.

Sir Charles is gone to attend the Count at his Lodgings, in pursuance of his request signified by a note last night.

Two o'clock.

The following Billet is just now brought me.

My dearest Love will have the goodness to excuse my dining with her this day. Signor Marsigli, and her Ever-devoted, are hastening to Grosvenor-Square, where we shall dine. This worthy nobleman deserves pity. Adieu, my dearest Life!


I am all impatience for the issue of these conferences: But I will not dine by myself, when I can sit down at table with Lady L. and Lady Clementina at Lord L's—and with my Lord himself, so much my brother and friend. Here therefore will I close this Letter. Forgive, my ever-honoured grandmamma, the abruptness of

Your ever-dutiful

Volume VII - lettera 39

Volume VII - Letter 40


Monday, March 26.

Lady L. when I was set down at her house, told me, that Lady Clementina had been in great agitations on the contents of the proposals left with her. She kept her chamber all day yesterday, and this morning. Lady L. had then but just left her. I sent up my compliments to her. She desired me to walk up. She met me on the stair-head in tears; and led me into her dressing-room—Have you seen the Chevalier's proposals, madam?—I owned I had.

—Give up for ever, said she, my scheme, my darling scheme, for the sake of which, I—There she stopped.

It was easy to guess what the poor Lady was going to say. The subject was too delicate for me to help her out.

Dearest Lady Clementina, said I, be pleased to consider the good it will be in your power to do to hundreds, according to the second article, if you can comply. How much has our dear Friend consulted your beneficent spirit! All my fear is, that your parents will not subscribe to their part of it. If they will, what a favourite scheme of their own will they give up!

She paused—Then breaking silence—And is it your opinion, Lady Grandison? Your opinion, joined to the Chevalier's—Let me consider—

She took two or three turns about the room: Then, thinking of Sir Charles's intimation of a tour to Italy—With what soothing, what consoling hope, said she, does the next-to-divine man almost conciliate my mind to his measures!—And could you, would you, madam, think of going with us to Italy? O how flattering are these hints!

I should rejoice in such a tour, replied I: Love me but in your Italy, if I should be allowed to go, as I do you in our England, and I shall be happy in so fine a country, as I am told it is. But, dearest Lady, what shall we do to obtain your friends compliance with these articles? Shall I cast myself on my knees before your father and mother to beg theirs? You in my hand, I in yours?

Ever good, ever noble Lady Grandison!—But how first shall I pacify my own heart on yielding to my part of them?

Let it not stick there, madam. Will not Lady Clementina meet them one fourth of the way? It is not more.

Well, I will consider of it. I shall hear what they will do. Your advice, my dear Lady Grandison, shall have all the weight with me, that a Sister's ought.

I attended the summon to dinner. She excused herself. I took leave of her for the day, declaring my intention of going home as soon as I had dined.

Monday night.

Sir Charles returned with a benevolent joy brightening his countenance. He hopes to bring this affair to an issue not unhappy.

He was first with the Count of Belvedere, who received him with great emotion. I apprehended, said he, that I was to be the sacrifice. O Grandison, did you but know the hopes, the assurances, given me by the General, by every-body!

Sir Charles expatiated on every argument that could compose his mind.

Will she promise, will she engage, that if ever she marry, it will be the man before you, Chevalier? Why did you not make that a stipulation in my favour?

I think such a stipulation would be of disadvantage to your Lordship: You would be kept by it in suspense, whatever had offered, whether in Italy or Spain; in both which countries you have considerable connexions. If Lady Clementina can be brought to give up the veil, it may not be impracticable to induce her in time (but time must be given her) to favour with her hand a man of your Lordship's merit and consequence. If otherwise, your Lordship (unfettered either by hope or obligation) will be free to make another choice.

Another choice, Sir!—This to a man, who has so long adored her; and, thro' the various turns of her unhappy malady, still preserved for her a Love that never any other woman shared in!—But, if you please, we will hear what her father, her mother, and other friends, say to the articles you have drawn up.

They went to them. After dinner the important subject had a full and solemn consideration.

Signor Jeronymo and Mrs. Beaumont only at first espoused the proposed plan in all its articles; but every-body came into it at last. God be praised! Now surely the dear Lady must be happy. But the poor Count of Belvedere! He has not, in giving up his inclination, such a noble triumph of self-conquering duty as she had to support her in the same arduous trial. But then he cherishes a hope, that there remains a possibility; the Lady still unmarried.

Noblest of women! Is Harriet a bar?—No! She is what you generously wished her to be.

Tuesday, Mar. 27.

Sir Charles excused himself to Lady Clementina by a few lines last night, for not waiting on her yesterday; and just as he was setting out to attend her this morning, the following note was brought him from Signor Jeronymo; the contents designed to strengthen his endeavours to prevail on the Lady to accept his plan.

Tuesday morn.

My dearest Grandison,

You will make us all happy, if you can prevail upon our beloved Clementina to accept, and subscribe to, your generous plan, as we all most cheerfully are ready to do.

"Restore yourself, my dearest Sister, this day, or to-morrow at furthest, to the arms of the most indulgent of parents, and to those of the most affectionate of brothers, two of us, who will answer for our third. How impatiently shall we number the hours, till the happy one arrives, that we all shall receive from the hand of the dearest of friends, and best of men, a Sister so much beloved!"—Ever, ever, my dear Grandison,

Your grateful JERONYMO.

O my dearest Lady Clementina! noblest of women! let your Sister Harriet prevail upon you not to refuse the offered olive branch!

Tuesday two o'clock.

Sir Charles has just now acquainted me, that he has prevailed with Lady Clementina. To-morrow afternoon she will throw herself at the feet of her father and mother. Rejoice with me, my dear grandmamma! All my friends, rejoice with me! congratulate me!—Is it not I myself that am going to be restored to the most indulgent parents, brothers, friends!

Let me gratefully add, from the information of his aunt Grandison, whom he brought home with him, that he was so good as to resist entreaty to dine at Lord L's. And why? Because, as he was pleased to give the reason (and was generously commended for it, by Lady Clementina) that I was alone. Lord L. proposed to send to request my company: He was sure his Sister Grandison would oblige them. And I, my Lord, said Sir Charles, am sure she would too: But the time is so short, that it is not giving one of the most obliging women in the world an option—Tenderest of husbands! Kindest and most considerate of men!—He will not subject a woman to the danger of being a refusing Vashti; nor yet will give her reason to tremble with a too-meanly mortified Esther.

Tuesday evening.

As Sir Charles and I were sitting at supper, sweetly alone; the whole world, as it seemed, to each other (for Mrs. Grandison chooses to be at present at Lord L's, and was gone thither); the following Billet was brought me, written in Italian; which thus I English:

"To-morrow, my dearest Lady Grandison, as the Chevalier has no doubt told you, the poor fugitive is to be introduced to her parents. Pray for her. But if I am to have the honour of being looked upon as indeed your Sister, you must do more than pray for me. Was you in earnest yesterday, when you offered your comforting hand to sustain me, if I consented to cast myself at the feet of my Father and Mother? Lady L. is so good as to consent in person to acknowledge the protection she has given me. Will you, my Sister, be my Sister on this awful occasion?—Will you lend me your supporting hand?—If you, as well as Lady L. credit the run-away penitent with your appearance in her favour, then will she, with more courage than can otherwise fall to her share, look up to those parents, and to those brothers, whose indulgent bosoms she has filled with so much anguish. Till to-morrow is over, she dare not sign the respectable addition to the name of


Tuesday evening.

Will I! repeated I, as soon as I had read it: Was I in earnest yesterday!—Indeed I was: Indeed I will. Read it, my dearest Sir, and give me leave to answer its contents, as my amiable Sister wishes.

He had looked benignly at his servants, and at the door; and they withdrew, as soon as the billet was brought, on my saying, From my Lady!

Scenes that may be expected to be tender, said he, will not, I hope, affect too much the spirits of my angel—But it is a request as kindly made by Clementina, as generously complied with by you. I will tell you, my dear, how, if the Lady please, we will order it. After dinner you shall call upon your worthily adopted Sister, and take her and Lady L. to Grosvenor-square. I will be there to receive her, and present her to her friends, tho' I doubt not but she will meet with a joyful welcome. I will acquaint her with this to-morrow morning.

Wednesday morn. March 28.

Lady Clementina approves of my calling upon her and Lady L. and of Sir Charles's being at Grosvenor-Square, ready to receive her. I am to attend her about five in the afternoon. She is, it seems, full of apprehensions.

Wednesday night, Ten o'clock.

We are just returned from Grosvenor-Square—Dear Sir, I obey you. Sir Charles, in tenderness to me, insists upon my deferring writing till to-morrow. The first command he has laid upon me.

Volume VII - lettera 40

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