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MISS BYRON TO MRS SELBY.
London, Feb. 28. INDEED, my dear, and ever indulgent aunt Selby, you have given me pain; and yet I am very ungrateful, I believe, to say so; but if I feel the pain, (though perhaps I ought not,) should I not own it?
What circumstances, what situation, am I in, madam, that I cannot be mistress of myself? that shall turn my uncle's half-feared, though always agreeable, raillery into pity for me? "Over head and ears in the passion"-"I to be on the hoping side; the gentleman on the triumphant"-" It is impossible for you, my friends, to be aforehand with my inclinations""A beginning love to be mentioned, in which one is willing to conceal one's self from one's self!" Fires, flames, blazes, to follow!-Gratitude and love to be spoken of as synonymous terms-Ah! my dear aunt, how could you let my uncle write such a letter, and then copy it, and send it to me as yours?
And yet some very tender strokes are in it, that no man, that hardly anybody but you among women, could write.
But what do you do, madam, when you tell your Harriet of your own prepossessions in favour of a man, who, as you thought, had before in my eye too many advantages? Indeed you should have taken care not to let me know, that his great qualities had impressed you all so deeply; and my grandmamma to be so very apprehensive, too, for the entangled girl!
Hopeless passion, said she? Entangled in a hopeless passion! O let me die before this shall be deserved to be said of your Harriet !
Then again rises to your pen, smothering and escaped sparks; and I am desired to hurry myself to get cold water to quench the flame-Dear, dear madam, what images are here? And applied-To whom?-And by whom?-Have I written anything so very blazing?-Surely I have not. But you should not say you will all forgive me, if this be my sad situation. You should not say, how much you are yourselves, all of you, in love with this excellent man; and talk of Mr Dawson, and of what he says of him; but you should have told me, that if I suffer my gratitude to grow into love, you will never forgive me ; then should I have had a call of duty to check or control a passion, that you were afraid could not be gratified.
Well, and there is no way left for me, it seems, but to fly for it! To hurry away to Northamptonshire, and either to begin a new treaty with Lord D, or to give hope to an old
lover. Poor Harriet Byron! And is it indeed so bad with thee? And does thy aunt Selby think it is?
But is there no hope, that the man will take pity of thee? When he sees thee so sadly entangled, will he not vouchsafe to lend an extricating hand?
Õh, no!-Too much obliged, as thou already art, how canst thou expect to be farther obliged? Obliged in the highest degree?
But let me try if I cannot play round this bright, this beamy taper, without singeing my wings! I fancy it is not yet quite so bad with me! At least, let me stand this one visit of tomorrow; and then if I find reason to think I cannot stand it, I will take the kind advice and fly for it; rather than add another hopeless girl to the half-score that perhaps have been long sighing for this best of men.
But even then, my aunt, that is to say, were I to fly, and take shelter under your protecting wings, I shall not, I hope, think it absolutely necessary to light up one flame, in order to extinguish another. I shall always value Mr Orme as a friend; but, indeed, I am less than ever inclined to think of him in a nearer light.
As to Lady D's proposal, it admits not with me of half a thought. You know, my dearest aunt, that I am not yet rejected by one with whom you are all in love-But this seriously I will own, (and yet I hope nothing but my gratitude is engaged, and that indeed is a very powerful tie,) that since I have seen and known Sir Charles Grandison, I have not only (as before) an indifference, but a dislike, to all other men. And I think, if I know my own heart, I had rather converse but an hour in a week with him, and with Miss Grandison, than be the wife of any man I have ever seen or known.
If this should end at last in love, and if I should be entangled in a hopeless passion, the object of it would be Sir Charles Grandison; he could not insult me; and mean as the word pity in some cases sounds, I had rather have his pity, than the love of any other man.
You will, upon the strength of what I have said, be so good, dear madam, as to let the Countess of D- know, that I think myself highly obliged to her, for her favourable opinion of me; that she has by it interested all my good wishes in her son's happiness; and that I was always of opinion, that equality of fortune and degree, though not absolutely necessary to matrimonial felicity, was, however, a circumstance not to be slighted; but you, madam, can put my meaning in better, in fitter words, when you are assured, that it is my meaning, to give an absolute, though grateful, negative to this proposal. And I do assure you that such is my meaning; and that I should despise myself were I capable of keeping one man in suspense, even
had I hope of your hope, while I was balancing in favour of another.
I believe, madam, I have been a little petulant, and very saucy, in what I have written; but my heart is not at ease; and I am vexed with these men, one after another, when Sir Hargrave has given me a surfeit of them; and only that the bad has brought me into the knowledge of the best, or I could resolve never more to hear a man talk to me, no not for one moment, upon a subject, that is become so justly painful to one who never took pleasure in their airy adulation.
I know you will, with your usual goodness, and so will my grandmamma, and so will my uncle Selby, pardon all the imperfections of, dearest madam,
Your and their ever dutiful
MISS BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Tuesday Evening, Feb. 28. MR REEVES, my dear, is just returned from a visit he made to St James's Square. I transcribe a paper giving an account of what passed between Mr Bagenhall and Sir Charles, in relation to the shocking affair which has filled me with so much apprehension; and which Sir Charles, at my cousin's request, allowed him to put in his pocket.
Mr Bagenhall came to Sir Charles yesterday evening with a message from Sir Hargrave, demanding a meeting with him, the next morning, at a particular hour, at Kensington Gravel-pits. Sir Charles took Mr Bagenhall with him into his study; and, asking him to sit down, Mr Bagenhall said, that he was once concerned in an affair of this nature which had been very much misrepresented afterwards'; and that he had been advised to take a step which Sir Charles might think extraordinary; which was, that he had brought with him a young gentleman, whom he hoped, for Sir Hargrave's satisfaction, as well as to do justice to what should pass between them, Sir Charles would permit to take minutes of their conversation: and that he was in the hall.
Let not a gentleman be left in the hall, said Sir Charles; and, ringing, directed him to be shewn into the study to them. Yet, Mr Bagenhall, said he, I see no occasion for this. Our conversation on the subject you came to talk of, can be but short.
Were it to hold but two minutes, Sir Charles.
The young gentleman entered; and pen and ink were set before him. He wrote in short hand; and read it to the gentlemen; and Sir
Charles, as it was to be transcribed for Sir Hargrave, desiring a copy of it, it was sent him the same night.
A CONFERENCE BETWEEN SIR C. GRANDISON,
Sir Ch. You have told me, Mr Bagenhall,
Sir Ch. And do you think there needs any other, or farther?
Mr B. It is not, Sir Charles, such an answer as a gentleman can sit down with.
Sir Ch. Do you give that as your own opinion, Mr Bagenhall? or, as Sir Hargrave's?
Mr B. As Sir Hargrave's, sir. And I believe it would be the opinion of every man of honour.
Sir Ch. Man of honour! Mr Bagenhall. A man of honour would not have given the occasion which has brought you and me, sir, into a personal knowledge of each other. I asked the question, supposing there could be but one principal in this debate.
Mr B. I beg pardon: I meant not that there should be two.
Sir Ch. Pray, sir, let me ask you, Do you know the particulars of Sir Hargrave's attempt, and of his violence to the lady?
Mr B. Sir Hargrave, I believe, has given me a very exact account of everything. He meant not dishonour to the lady.
Sir Ch. He must have a very high opinion of himself, if he thought the best he could do for her, would be to do her honour.-Sir, pray put that down-Repeating what he said to the writer, that he might not mistake.
Sir Ch. But do you, Mr Bagenhall, think Sir Hargrave was justifiable, was a man of honour in what he did ?
Mr B. I mean not, as I told you, Sir Charles, to make myself a principal in this affair. I pretend not to justify what Sir Hargrave did to the lady.
Sir Ch. I hope then you will allow me to refer to my answer to Sir Hargrave's letter. I shall send him no other. I beg your pardon, Mr Bagenhall, I mean not a disrespect to you. Mr B. No other, Sir Charles!
Sir Ch. Since he is to see what this gentleman writes, pray put down, sir, that I say, The answer I have written, is such a one as he ought to be satisfied with; such a one as becomes a man of honour to send, if he thought fit to send any; and such a one as a man who has acted as Sir Hargrave acted by a woman of virtue and honour, ought to be thankful for-Have you written that, sir?
Writer. I have, sir.
Sir Ch. Write farther, if you please; that I say, Sir Hargrave may be very glad, if he hear no more of this affair from the lady's natural friends; that, however, I shall rid him of all apprehensions of that nature; for that I still consider the lady as under my protection, with regard to any consequences that may naturally follow what happened on Hounslow-heath; that I say, I shall neglect no proper call to protect her farther; but that his call upon me to meet him, must be such a one as my own heart can justify; and that it is not my way to obey the insolent summons of any man breathing. And yet what is this, Mr Bagenhall, but repeating what I wrote ?
Mr B. You are warm, Sir Charles.
Sir Ch. Indeed I am not: I am only earnest. As Sir Hargrave is to be shewn what passes, I say more than otherwise I should choose to say.
Mr B. Will you name your own time and place, Sir Charles?
Sir C. To do what?
Mr B. To meet Sir Hargrave.
Sir Ch. To do him good-To do good to my bitterest enemy, I would meet him. Let him know, that I wrote a very long letter, because I would discharge my mind of all I thought necessary to say on the occasion.
Mr B. And you have no other answer to return?
Sir Ch. Only this-Let Sir Hargrave engage himself in a like unworthy enterprize; and let the lady, as this did, claim my protection; and I will endeavour to give it to her, although Sir Hargrave were surrounded by as many men armed, as he has in his service; that is to say, if a legal redress were not at hand: If it were, I hold it not to be a point of bravery to insult magistracy, and to take upon myself to be my own judge; and, as it might happen, another man's executioner.
Mr B. This is nobly said, Sir Charles; but still Sir Hargrave had not injured you, he says. And as I had heard you were a man of an excellent character, and know Sir Hargrave to be a man of courage, I took it into my head, for the prevention of mischief, to make a proposal in writing to the lady, whom Sir Hargrave loves as his own soul; and if she had come into it
Sir Ch. A strange proposal, Mr Bagenhall. Could you expect anything from it?
Mr B. Why not, Sir Charles? She is disengaged, it seems. I presume, sir, you do not intend to make court to her yourself?
Sir Ch. We are insensibly got into a parley, upon a subject that will not bear it, Mr Bagenhall. Tell Sir Hargrave-or write it down from my lips, sir, (speaking to the writer,) that I wish him to take time to inquire after my cha
racter, and after my motives in refusing to meet him on the terms he expects me to see him. Tell him, that I have, before now, shewn an insolent man, that I may be provoked; but that, when I have been so, I have had the happiness to chastise such a one without murdering him, and without giving any advantage over my own life, to his single arm.
Mr B. This is great talking, Sir Charles.
Sir Ch. It is, Mr Bagenhall. And I should be sorry to have been put upon it, were I not in hope, that it may lead Sir Hargrave to such inquiries as may be for his service, as much as for mine.
Mr B. I wish that two such spirits were better acquainted with each other, or that Sir Hargrave had not suffered so much as he has done, both in person and mind.
Sir Ch. What does all this tend to, Mr Bagenhall? I look upon you as a gentleman; and the more, for having said, you were solicitous to prevent farther mischief, or I should not have said so much to so little purpose. And, once more, I must refer to my letter.
Mr B. I own I admire you for your spirit, sir. But it is amazing to me, that a man of such spirit can refuse to a gentleman the satisfaction which is demanded of him.
Sir Ch. It is owing to my having some spirit, that I can, fearless of consequences, refuse what you call satisfaction to Sir Hargrave, and yet be fearless of insult upon my refusal. I consider myself as a mortal man: I can die but once: Once I must die; and, if the cause be such as will justify me to my own heart, I, for my own sake, care not whether my life be demanded of me to-morrow, or forty years hence: But, sir, (speaking to the writer,) let not this, that I have now said, be transcribed from your notes; it may to Sir Hargrave sound ostentatiously. Í want not, that anything should be read or shewn to him, that would appear like giving consequence to myself, except for Sir Hargrave's own sake.
Mr B. I beg that it may not be spared. If you are capable of acting as you speak; by what I have heard of you in the affair on Hounslowheath; and by what I have heard from you in this conversation; and see of you; I think you a wonder of a man; and should be glad it were in my power to reconcile you to each other.
Sir Ch. I could not hold friendship, Mr Bagenhall, with a man that has been capable of acting as Sir Hargrave has acted, by an innocent and helpless young lady. But I will name the terms on which I can take by the hand, wherever I meet him, a man to whom I can. have no malice: These are they ;-that he lay at the door of mad and violent passion, the illegal attempt he made on the best of women; that he express his sorrow for it; and, on his knees, if he pleases, (it is no disgrace to the proudest
man to kneel to an injured lady,) beg her pardon; and confess her clemency to be greater than he deserves, if she give it.
Mr B. Good God!-Shall that be transcribed, Sir Charles?
Sir Ch. By all means; and if Sir Hargrave is a man that has in his heart the least spark of true magnanimity, he will gladly embrace the opportunity of acting accordingly. And put down, sir, that sorrow, that contrition, is all the atonement that can be made for a perpetrated evil.
Does not your heart glow, my Lucy, now you have read (as I suppose you have) this paper? And do not the countenances of every one of my revered friends round you [Pray look shine with admiration of this excellent man? And yet you all loved him before; and so you think I did. Well, I can't help your thoughts!-But I hope I shall not be undone by a good man!
You will imagine, that my heart was a little agitated, when I came to read Mr Bagenhall's question, Whether Sir Charles intended to make court to me himself? I am sorry to tell you, Lucy, that I was a little more affected than I wished to be. Indeed, I shall keep a look-out, as you call it, upon myself. To say truth, I laid down the paper at that place, and was afraid to read the answer made to it. When I took it up, and read what followed, I might have spared, I saw, my foolish little tremors. See how frank I continue to be ; but, if you come not to this paragraph before you are aware, you need not read it to my uncle.
Mr Bagenhall went away so much pleased with Sir Charles, (as he owned,) that Mr Reeves encourages me to hope, some way may be found to prevent farther mischief. Yet the condition, which Sir Charles has proposed for my forgiving the wretch-Upon my word, my dear, I desire not to see Sir Hargrave either upon his knees, or upon his feet; I am sure I could not see him without very violent emotions. His barbarity, his malice, his cruelty, have impressed me strongly; nor can I be glad to see the wretch with his disfigured mouth and lip. His lip, it seems, has been sewed up, and he wears a great black silk patch upon the place.
I can't find that Sir Charles has heard from the exasperated man, since Mr Bagenhall left him yesterday.
I hope nothing will happen to overcloud tomorrow I propose to myself as happy a day, as, in the present situation of things, can be given to your
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO MISS LUCY SELBY.
Wednesday Night, March 1. MR FOWLER set out yesterday for Gloucestershire, where he has an estate. He proposes to go from thence to Caermarthen, to the worthy Sir Rowland. He paid a visit to Mr Reeves, and desired him to present to me his best wishes and respects. He declared, that he could not possibly take leave of me, though he doubted not but I would receive him with goodness, as he called it. But it was that which cut him to the heart: So kind, and so cruel, he said, he could not bear it.
I hope poor Mr Fowler will be more happy than I could make him. Methinks I could have been half glad to have seen him before he went ; and yet but half glad ; since, had he shewn much concern, I should have been pained.
Take now, my dear, an account of what passed this day in St James's Square.
There were at Sir Charles Grandison's, besides Lord and Lady L, the young Lord G-, one of Miss Grandison's humble servants; Mr Everard Grandison; Miss Emily Jervois, a young lady of about fourteen, a ward of Sir Charles; and Dr Bartlett, a divine; of whom more by and by.
Sir Charles conducted us into the drawingroom adjoining to the dining-room; where only were his two sisters. They received my cousins and me with looks of love.
I will tell you, said Sir Charles, your company, before I present them to you. Lord Lis a good man. I honour him as such; and love him as my sister's husband.
Lady L bowed, and looked round her, as if she took pride in her brother's approbation of her lord.
Mr Everard Grandison, proceeded he, is a sprightly man. He is prepared to admire you, Miss Byron. You will not believe, perhaps, half the handsome things he will say to you; but yet, will be the only person who hears them, that will not.
Lord G is a modest young man; he is genteel, well-bred; but is so much in love with a certain young lady, that he does not appear with that dignity in her eye [why blushes my Charlotte? that otherwise, perhaps, he might.
Are not you, Sir Charles, a modest man? No comparisons, Charlotte. Where there is a double prepossession; no comparisons!-But Lord G- Miss Byron, is a good kind of young man. You'll not dislike him, though my sister is pleased to think
No comparisons, Sir Charles.
That's fair, Charlotte. I will leave Lord
Gto the judgment of Miss Byron. Ladies can better account for the approbation and dislikes of ladies, than we men can.
Dr Bartlett you'll also see. He is learned, prudent, humble. You'll read his heart in his countenance, the moment he smiles upon you. Your grandpapa, madam, had fine curling silver hair, had he not? The moment I heard that you owed obligation to your grandfather's care and delight in you, I figure to myself, that he was just such a man, habit excepted: Your grandfather was not a clergyman, I think. When I have friends whom I have a strong desire to please, I always endeavour to treat them with Dr Bartlett's company. He has but one fault; he speaks too little; but were he to speak much, every one else would wish to be silent.
My ward, Emily Jervois, is an amiable girl. Her father was a good man; but not happy in his nuptials. He bequeathed to my care, on his death-bed, at Florence, this his only child. My sister loves her. I love her for her own sake, as well as for her father's. She has a great fortune; and I have had the happiness to recover large sums, which her father gave over for lost. He was an Italian merchant ; and driven out of England by the unhappy temper of his wife. I have had some trouble with her; and, if she be living, expect more.
Unhappy temper of his wife, Sir Charles! You are very mild in your account of one of the most abandoned of women.
Well, but, Charlotte, I am only giving brief hints of Emily's story, to procure for her an interest in Miss Byron's favour, and to make their first acquaintance easy to each other. Emily wants no prepossession in Miss Byron's favour. She will be very ready herself to tell her whole story to Miss Byron. Meantime, let us not say all that is just to say of the mother, when we are speaking of the daughter.
I stand corrected, Sir Charles.
Emily, madam, (turning to me,) is not constantly resident with us in town. She is fond of being everywhere with my Charlotte.
And where you are, Sir Charles, said Miss Grandison.
Mr Reeves whispered a question to Sir Charles, which was seconded by my eyes; for I guessed what it was: Whether he had heard anything farther of Sir Hargrave?
Don't be anxious, said Sir Charles. All must be well. People, long used to error, don't, without reluctance, submit to new methods of proceeding. All must be well.
Sir Charles, stepping out, brought in with him Miss Jervois. The gentlemen seemed engaged in conversation, said he. But I know the impatience of this young lady to pay her respects to Miss Byron.
He presented her to us: This dear girl is my Emily. Allow me, madam, whenever Miss Grandison shall be absent, to claim for her the VOL. VIII.
benefit of your instruction, and your general countenance, as she shall appear worthy of it.
There are not many men, my Lucy, who can make a compliment to one lady, without robbing, or, at least, depreciating, another. How often have you and I observed, that a polite brother is a black swan!
I saluted the young lady, and told her, I should be fond of embracing every opportunity that should offer, to commend myself to her fa
Miss Emily Jervois is a lovely girl. She is tall, genteel, and has a fine complexion; and, though pitted with the small-pox, is pretty. The sweetness of her manners, as expressed in her aspect, gives her great advantage. I was sure, the moment I saw her, that her greatest delight is to please.
She made me two or three pretty compliments, and, had not Sir Charles commended her to me, I should have been highly taken with her.
Mr Grandison entered. Upon my honour, Sir Charles, I can stay no longer, said he: to know that the finest woman in England is under the same roof with me, yet to be so long detained from paying my respects to her-I can't bear it.-And, in a very gallant manner, as he seemed to intend, he paid his compliments, first to me, and then to my two cousins:—and whispering, yet loud enough to be heard, to Miss Grandison, swore, by his soul, that report fell short of my perfections-and I can't tell what. Did I not tell you that you would say so, sir? said Miss Grandison.
I did not like the gentleman the better for what I had heard of him ; but, perhaps, should have been less indifferent to his compliment, had I not before been acquainted with Mr Greville, Mr Fenwick, and Sir Hargrave Pollexfen. The men of this cast, I think, seem all alike. Poor creatures! how from my heart-But, indeed, now that I have the honour to know these two sisters, I despise myself.
Sir Charles addressing himself to my cousins and me, Now, said he, that my cousin Grandison has found an opportunity to introduce himself; and that I have presented my ward to you; we will, if you please, see how Lord LLord G, and Dr Bartlett, are engaged. He led my cousin Reeves into the diningaddressed us with great polite
After Sir Charles had presented the Doctor to my cousins, he respectfully took my hand: Were there fifty ladies here, my good Dr Bartlett, whom you had never seen before, you would, I am sure, from the character you have had of Miss Byron, be under no difficulty of reading that character in this young lady's face.-Miss Byron, behold, in Dr Bartlett, another grandfather!
I reverence, said I, good Dr Bartlett. I bor