Sivut kuvina

for the gentlemen. I was ordered to shew it to Mr Bagenhall, before you had it; but for this reason I shall excuse myself, as having not remembered that command.

This, therefore, is a true copy of all that passed, taken to the best of the ability of, sir, give me leave to subscribe,

Your very great admirer,

And most humble servant,


WHAT a packet, including the short-hand writer's paper, transcribed by my cousin Reeves, shall I send you this time! I will not swell it by reflections on that paper, (that would be endless) but hasten to give you some account of the visitors I mentioned.

Sir Hargrave Pollexfen came, without any previous notice, about nine o'clock.

My heart sunk, when his chair stopt at the door, and I was told who was in it.

He was shewn into the great parlour. My cousin Reeves soon attended him. He made great apologies to them, (and so Mr Reeves said he ought,) for the disturbance he had given them.

He laid all to love-Prostituted name! made a cover to all acts of violence, indiscretion, and folly, in both sexes !

I was in my own apartment. Mrs Reeves came up to me. She found me in terror; and went down and told him so; and begged, that he would not insist upon seeing me.

The whole intent of this visit, he said, was to beg me to forgive him. It was probable, that I should have the same emotion upon his first visit at any other time; and he intreated the favour of seeing me. He had a right, he said, to see me; he was a sufferer for my sake. They saw, he told them, that he was not the man he had been; and as he had been denied, and been brought to deny himself, the satisfaction due to a gentleman, from a man whom he had never offended, he insisted on having the opportunity given him of seeing me, and receiving my forgiveness, as what would consolidate his reconciliation with Sir Charles Grandison.

There was no resisting this plea. And down I trembled; I can hardly say walked.

Notwithstanding all my little reasoning with myself, to behave with the dignity of an injured person; yet the moment I saw him approach me at my entrance into the parlour, I ran to Mr Reeves, and caught hold of his arm, with looks, I doubt not, of terror. Had Sir Charles Grandison been there, I suppose I should have run to him in the same manner.

Ever dear and adorable goodness! (were his words, coming to me ;) how sweet is this terror, and how just! I have forgiven worse injuries, pointing to his mouth. I meant nothing but honour to you.

Honour, sir! cruelty, sir! barbarity, sir! How can you wish to see the creature whom you so wickedly treated?

I appeal to yourself, madam, if I offered the least indecency!-For all I have suffered by my mad enterprize, what but disgrace

Disgrace, sir, was your portion, sir-(half out of breath)-What would you, sir?—Why this visit? What am I to do?

I hardly knew what I said; and still I held Mr Reeves's arm.

Forgive me, madam; that is what you are to do; pardon me; on my knee I beg your pardon. And he dropt down on one knee.

Kneel not to me, sir-Pray do not kneelYou bruised, you hurt, you terrified me, sirAnd, Lord bless me! I was in danger of being your wife, sir!

Was not this last part of my answer a very odd one? But the memory of what I suffered at the time, and of the narrow escape I had, left me not the least presence of mind, on his address to me kneeling.

He arose. In danger of being my wife, madam! Only that the method I took was wrong, madam!

Miss Byron, you see, is in terror, Sir Hargrave. Sit down, my love. [Taking my hand, and leading me to the fire-side.] How you tremble, my dear!-You see, Sir Hargrave, the terror my cousin is in-You see

I do I do; and am sorry for the occasion. We will all sit down. Compose yourself, dear Miss Byron-And, (holding up his clasped hands to me,) I beseech you, forgive me.

Well, sir, Í forgive you-I forgive you, sir. Were you not in so much disorder, madamwere it to be seasonable now-I will tell you what I have farther to beg. I would

Speak, sir, now; and never let me

Suffer an interruption, madam-I am too apprehensive of that word never. You must allow of my address. I ask you not any favour, but as I shall behave myself in future.

Yes, yes, sir, your behaviour-But, sir, were you to become the best man in the world, this, this, is the last time that I ever

Dear Miss Byron! And then he pleaded his passion; his fortune; his sufferings.-A wretch! Yet I had now and then a little pity for his disfigured mouth and lip]-His resolutions to be governed by me in every act of his life—The settlement of one half of his estate upon me.The odious wretch mentioned children, my dear -younger children. He ran on in such a manner, as if he had been drawing up marriage-articles all the way hither.

Upon my absolutely renouncing him, he asked me, if Sir Charles Grandison had not made an impression on my heart?

What, Lucy, could make me inwardly fret at this question? I could hardly have patience to reply. I now see, my dear, that I have indeed a great deal of pride.

Surely, Sir Hargrave, I am not accountable to you

You are not, madam; but I must insist upon an answer to this question. If Sir Charles Grandison has made an application to you for favour, I can have no hope.

Sir Charles Grandison, sir, is absolutely disinterested. Sir Charles Grandison has made There I stopt; I could not help it.

No application to my cousin, I assure you, Sir Hargrave, said Mr Reeves. He is the noblest of men. Had he any such thoughts, I dare say he would be under difficulties to break his mind, lest such a declaration should be thought to lessen the merit of his protection.

A good thought of Mr Reeves. And who knows, my Lucy, but there may be some foundation for it?

Protection! D-n it !—But I am the easier upon this assurance. Let me tell you, Mr Reeves, that had I not found him to be a wonder of a man, matters should not have ended as they seem at present to have done.

But Sir Hargrave, said Mrs Reeves, permit me to say, as I know Miss Byron's mind, that there cannot be the least room to imagine that Miss Byron

Dear Mrs Reeves, forgive me. But I cannot receive a denial from any other mouth than hers. Is there no room for a sincere penitent to hope for mercy from a sweetness so angelic, and who is absolutely disengaged?

You have had mine already, Sir Hargrave, said I. I am amazed, that, knowing my mind before your wicked insult upon me, you should have any expectation of this kind after it.

He again vowed his passion, and such stuff. I think, Lucy, I never shall be able, for the future, to hear with patience any man talk of love, of passion, and such nonsense.

Let me summarily add, for I am tired of the subject, that he said a hundred impertinent things, sillier than any of those said by Mr Grandison, in my praise-Indeed everything of this nature now appears silly to me]-He insisted upon a preference to Mr Greville, Mr Fenwick, Mr Orme. He resolved not to despair, as his sufferings for my sake had given him (as he said he presumed to tell me) some merit in his own opinion, if not in mine; and as his forgiveness of the man who had injured him, ought, he thought, to have some weight in his favour. He took leave of my cousins and me in a very respectful manner. I wish him no harm. But I hope I shall never see him again.

And now, Lucy, with the end of this very

disagreeable visit, I will conclude my letter; and shall have another long one ready for the next post.



March 3.

I HAD not recovered myself after Sir Hargrave's visit, when Lady L- and Miss Grandison called, as they said, for a moment; however, this agreeable moment lasted two hours. Miss Grandison, the instant she saw me, challenged me-Hey-day! What's the matter with our Harriet, Mrs Reeves? And, patting my neck, Why these flutters, child?-Perturbations delightful, or undelightful, Harriet, whether?

I told her who had been there, and but just left me; and, by the help of my cousins, gave them the particulars of what had passed.

They were greatly pleased; and the more, they said, as their brother, on seeing them uneasy, had acquainted them, that all matters between him and Sir Hargrave were accommodated; but had not had opportunity to tell them


Let me reckon with you, Harriet, said Miss Grandison, (taking my hand with a schooling air): I am half jealous of you: Lady Lhas got the start of me in my brother's affections; but she is my elder sister; first come first served; I can bear that; but I will not be cut out by a younger sister.

What is now to follow? thought I ; and I fluttered like a fool; the more for her arch look, as if she would read my heart in my eyes.

Increased palpitation (O the fool!) made it look as if I took her jest for earnest. What a situation am I in!

Dear Charlotte, said Lady L-, smiling, you shall not thus perplex cur sweet sister.My dear, don't mind her. You'll know her better in time.

Be quiet, Lady L

All what out? said I. how you love to alarm!

I shall have it all out. O Miss Grandison,

Well, well, I'll examine farther into these perturbations another time. I have beat the bush, before now, for one hare, and out have popt two. But all I mean is, a paper, a letter, (my brother called it a paper,) was brought to him sealed up. He rewarded the bringer; but sent it directly away unopened (that we found out) to you, Harriet. Now, child, if I allow of his reserves, I will not allow of yours. Pray, answer me fairly and truly; What are the contents of that paper?

They give the particulars of the conversation that passed in the alarming interview between Sir Charles

And Sir Hargrave. That's my good girl.You see, Lady L, how this young thief will steal away the affections of our brother from us both. He has shewed us nothing of this. But, if you would not have me jealous, Harriet, be sure keep no one secret of your heart from me

That relates merely to myself; I think I will


Then you'll be a good girl; and I'll give my love for you the reins, without a pull back.

Just then a servant came in with a card.

"Lady D's compliments to Mrs Reeves and Miss Byron ; and if it would be agreeable, she will wait on them presently, for one quarter of an hour. She is obliged to go out of town early in the morning.”

What shall I do now? said I. I was in a flutter, not being fully recovered from that into which Sir Hargrave's visit had thrown me.

What now?-What now? said Miss Grandison. Ah! Harriet, we shall find you out by degrees.

By the way, Lucy, you are fond of plays; and it is come into my head, that, to avoid all says-I's and says-she's, I will henceforth, in all dialogues, write names in the margin. So fancy, my dear, that you are reading in one of your favourite volumes.

Har. Do you know Lady D


Miss Gr. Very well; but I did not know that you did, Harriet.

Lady L. And I know she has a son; and I know she wants him to marry.

Har. That I may keep no secrets from my two sisters, my aunt Selby has written to meMiss Gr. Lately?

Har. Very lately.

Miss Gr. O! because you had not told me of that.

Mrs Reeves. And pray, ladies, what is Lady D's character ?

Lady L. She is a very sensible and prudent

[blocks in formation]

-And none of them the man!-Depend upon it, girl, pride will have a fall.

What could she mean by that?-Sir Charles Grandison's sisters, I hope, will not—but I believe she meant nothing.

Have I pride, Miss Grandison? coldly and gravely asked I, as my cousin observed to me afterwards.

Miss Gr. Have you pride?-Yes, that you have, or you have worse.

What could this mad lady mean by this ?— And what could I mean? For I had tears in my eyes. I was very low-spirited at that mo


Lady L. Well, but Miss Byron, shall we be impertinent, if we stay to see the lady?—I have a great value for her. She has been an admirable executrix and trustee for her son, and was as good a wife. I was just going; but, as she goes out of town to-morrow, will stay to pay my compliments to her. We can withdraw till you have had your talk.

Miss Gr. Does she come to persuade you; Harriet, to retract your refusal?

Har. I know not her business. I wrote my mind to my aunt Selby. But I believe my aunt could not have written, and the Countess received what she wrote, by this time. But do not go; we can have no private talk.

Miss Gr. Well, but now I will tell you, without punishing your curiosity farther, what Lord D- -'s character is. He is as sober a man as most of the young nobility. His fortune is great. In sense he neither abounds, nor is wanting; and that class of men, take my word for it, are the best qualified of all others to make good husbands to women of superior talents. They know just enough to induce them to admire in her, what they have not in themselves. If a woman has prudence enough to give consequence to such a one before folks, and will behave as if she thought him her superior in understanding, she will be able to make her own will a law to him; by the way of I will, shall I?—Or, If you please, my dear, I will do -what I think fit. But a fool and a wit are the extreme points, and equally unmanageable. And now tell me, Harriet, what can be your motive for refusing such a man as this?

Har. I wish, my dear, you would not talk to me of these men. I am sick of them all-Sir Hargrave has cured me

Miss Gr. You fib, my dear-But did you ever see Lord D- ?

[blocks in formation]

in love over head and ears, and could not help it!


Miss Gr. And wish you me that for spite, or to please me?—I am in love, my dear ; and nothing keeps me in countenance, but having company among the grave ones. Dearly do I love to find girls out. Why, I found out Lady L before she would own a tittle of the matter. So prim !—“ And how can you think 80, Charlotte? Who, I in love! No, indeed! No man has a place in my heart !"-Then I was resolved to have her secret out. I began with my roundabouts, and my supposes — A leer thus-I was both vexed and pleased with her archness-And then a suppose-Then came a blush- Why, Charlotte, I cannot but say, that if I were obliged to have the one man or the other" Then came a sigh, endeavoured in haste to be returned to the heart whence it came; and when it could not find its way back, to be cut into three halves, as the Irishman said; that is, into two half sighs, and a hem; and a "Get you gone, for an impertinent."As much as to say, "You have it!"-And when I found I had, and she owned it, why then I put my mad head to her grave one, and we had but one heart betwixt us.

Lady L. Laughing.]-Out of breath, Charlotte, I hope.

Miss Gr. Not yet-How often have I kept watch and ward for her! Sometimes have I lent her my dressing-room for their love-meetings; yet, for the world, she would not marry without her papa's consent: no, but like the rest of us, she would suffer her affections to be engaged, without letting him know a syllable of the matter. Very true, Lady L, what signifies looking serious?

Lady L. Strange creature!

Miss Gr. Once or twice did I change dresses with her. In short, I was a perfect Abigail to her in the affair. And let me tell you, two sisters, agreed to manage a love affair, have advantages over even a lady and her woman.

Lady L. Mad creature!

Miss Gr. All this I did for her without fee or reward; only from the dear delight of promoting the good work, and upon the Christian principle of, Do as you would be done by. Is not all this true, Lady L-? Deny it if you


Lady L. And have you done, Charlotte? Ah! my dear Miss Byron, you'll never do anything with this girl, except you hear all she has to say. And if you have a secret, 'tis better to let her know it at first. Charlotte is a generous girl, after all; but sometimes, as now, a very impertinent one

What could these ladies mean by this, I wonder? If they suspect me to love somebody, surely this is not the way that two such ladies, in generosity, should take; when they think Í have no engagement; and know that the doubt

must lie on their brother's side, whom with all their roundabouts, as they call them, they cannot fathom.

I would give anything, methinks, to know if Sir Charles was ever in love.

Just then a rapping at the door made us suppose it was the Countess. It was. After compliments to Mrs Reeves and me, she embraced Lady L- very affectionately, and Miss Grandison kindly; asking the first after Lord L's health, and the other after her brother; he is the man of all men, Miss Grandison, said she, that I want to see. We shall be in town soon, for a month or two; and then you must make me known to one, whom everybody calls the best of men; as here, said she, coming up again to me, I have longed to be acquainted with one of the best of women.

Lady L. Miss Byron is, indeed, an excellent young woman. We do ourselves the honour of calling her sister.

Lady D. What an encouragement is that to be good! Even in this age, bad as it is, true merit will never want admirers. And let me say, that where beauty and goodness meet, as here, they adorn each other.

Agreeable Lady D--! thought I; my heart will not suggest a thought in favour of your son; but I shall easily be in love with you. The heart hardly deserves praise, my Lucy, that is not fond of it from the worthy.

Her ladyship took Lady L aside, and said something to her. Lady L answered with a No, as I suppose, to which Lady Dreplied, I am glad of that; adding, I am not afraid of saying anything to a person of Lady L's known prudence.


Ah! my Lucy! she asked Lady L dare say, whether the acknowledged sisterhood extended to the brother, as a brother, or assomething else—And by her cheerful and condescending court to me afterwards, and to Mrs Reeves, was satisfied by Lady L-'s answer, I make no doubt, that there is room for Lord D- -'s address, for anything on Sir Charles's


I will not be mean, Lucy! Greatly as I admire somebody, these excellent sisters shall not find me entangled in a hopeless passion.

Her ladyship took my hand, and led me to the window. I was brought to town, said she, on an extraordinary occasion, two days ago, and must set out on my return in the morning. I thought I would not miss the opportunity of paying my compliments to a young lady, of whom I had heard everybody speak with great commendation. I make no doubt but your good aunt Selby has-There she stopt.

My aunt has sent me up two of your ladyship's letters, and copies of her answers.

I am pleased with your frankness, my dear. It was that part of your character that engaged me. Young women, in these cases, are gene

rally either so affected, so starched, (as if they thought there were something shameful in a treaty of this kind,) or they are so awkward, that I have not patience with them. You have all the modesty-Indeed, my dear, your goodness of heart shines out in every feature of your face.

Your ladyship does me high honour.

I am pleased even with that acknowledgment. The discretion of a person is often most seen in minutenesses. Another would have made disqualifying speeches-But compliments made to the heart by one who is not accustomed to flatter; such compliments, I mean, as it would be culpable for a person not to be able to verify, should not be disclaimed. To say truth, my dear, I did not intend to mention one word of the matter to you, on this first visit. I only wanted to see you, and to converse with you a little, that I might make report accordingly to my son; who, however, knows not that I should pay my compliments to you: but the moment I saw you, your aspect confirmed all that I had heard said in your favour; and seeing you also so much caressed by two ladies of character so established; and no less pleased with what I observed of Mr and Mrs Reeves you are a family of good people] I was resolved to be as frank as you are, and as your aunt Selby has been-She is a good woman

Indeed, madam, she is

Accordingly, I have singled you out, in the face of everybody present.-You will have the discretion to caution them on this subject, till you have seen my son, (I am sure there can be no doubt on his side)—and till you know whether you shall approve of our proposals or not: and, without hesitation, I bespeak your good opinion of me till then. I am sure, my dear, we shall be very happy in each other. If you and my lord are happy, you and I must be so. But, when the knot is tied, I will be only your visitor, and that at your own invitation. I am thought to be a managing woman; managing women are not always the best to live with. You, I understand, are an excellent economist: [A glorious character in this age for a young woman! Persons of the highest quality ought not to think themselves above it. One person's methods may differ from another's, yet both may

be equally good, and reach the same end. My son has found the benefit of my economy; nevertheless, his wife shall not have cause to think, that, where she means well, I will prefer my methods to hers. If ever I give advice, it shall only be when you ask it; and then, if you do not take it, I will not be angry, but allow that, having weighed the matter well, you prefer your own judgment, on the best convictions. People who are to act for themselves, should be always left to judge for themselves, because they only are answerable for their own actions. You blush, my dear! I hope I don't oppress

you. I would not oppress a modesty so happily blended with frankness.

I was affected with her goodness. What an amiable frankness! O that all husbands' mothers were like your ladyship! said I.—What numbers of happy daughters-in-law would there then be, that now are not so!

Charming creature! said she. Proceed. I am glad I don't oppress you with my prate.

Oppress me, madam! You delight me ! Talk of a bad world!-I ought, I am sure, to think it a good one!-In every matronly lady I have met with a mother; in many young ladies, as those before us, sisters; in their brother, a protector. If your ladyship has not heard on what occasion, I shall be ready to acquaint you with it.

Sweet child! Charming frankness! I have seen, I have heard enough of you for my present purpose.-We will return to company.Such company as I find you in, is not to be had at all times. I will restore you to them.

But, madam, declining her leading hand-
But what, my dear?

Have you not, madam!-But your ladyship could not have received any letter from my aunt Selby-I wrote

I have not, my dear. I could not, as you say. But I shall find a letter from her, perhaps, on my return. You approve, I hope, of the proposal, if you shall have no objection to my son? My aunt, madam, will let you knowI will not have it otherwise than I wish it to be-Remember that I value you for the frankness you are praised for-A little female trifling to my son, if you will, in order to be assured of his value for you, (and men love not all halcyon courtships,) but none to me, my love. I'll assist you, and keep your counsel, in the first case, if it be necessary. He shall love you above all the women on earth, and convince you that he does, or he shall not call you his-But no female trifling to his mother, child! We women should always understand one another.

Because I would not be thought to be an insincere creature, a trifler, I think I ought to mention to your ladyship, that it would be a great, a very great, part of my happiness, to be deemed worthy of your friendship-without

Without what?-You do well, perhaps, to blush! Without what?

Without the relation-if you please.

I was confounded with her goodness, Lucy. Here, my dear, is another superior character— I fancy her maiden-name was Grandison.

But I don't please. So no more of this. Let us join company. And, taking my hand with the goodness of a real mother; yet her brow a little overclouded; she made apologies to them for taking me aside; and said, she could trust to their prudence, she was sure, as they must needs guess at her view; and therefore she offered not to put a limit to their conjectures; since

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« EdellinenJatka »