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so little attention to his education, was excessively fond of him; and no doubt but he the more easily satisfied himself on this head, as he knew his remissness was so well supplied by his lady's care, which mingled with the cares of the masters of the several sciences, who came home to him, at her desire.
A deep melancholy having seized the young gentleman on a loss so irreparable, his father, who himself was greatly grieved, and the more, as he could not but reproach himself as having at least hastened that loss, was alarmed for his son; and yielded to the entreaties of General W, brother of Lord W, to permit him to travel. The general recommended for a governor to the young gentleman, an officer under him, who had been wounded, and obliged to quit the military service. Sir Thomas allowed his son 8007. a-year, from the day of his setting out on his travels, which he augmented afterwards to 1000l. Sir Charles was about seventeen when his mother died.
The two daughters were taken by Lady W. But she dying in about twelve months after Lady Grandison, they returned to their father; who, by that time, had pretty well got over his grief for the loss of his lady, and was quite recovered of the wounds which he received in the duel that cost her her life.
He placed over his daughters, as governess, (though they both took exceptions at that title, supposing themselves of age to manage for themselves,) the widow of one of his gay friends, Oldham by name, whose fortune had not held out as Sir Thomas's had done. Men of strong health, I have heard my grandfather say, and of a riotous turn, should not, in mere compassion, keep company with men of feebler constitutions, and make them the companions of their riots. So may one say, I believe, that extravagant men, of great and small fortunes, are equally illsuited; since the expenses which will but shake the one, will quite demolish the other.
Mrs Oldham had fine qualities, and was an economist. She deserved a better husband than had fallen to her lot; and the young ladies, having had a foundation laid by a still more excellent manager, received no small advantage from her skill in family-affairs. But it was related to me with reluctance, and as what I must know on a farther acquaintance with their family, if they did not tell it to me, that Sir Thomas was grateful to this lady in a way that cost her her reputation. She was obliged, in short, in little more than a twelvemonth, to quit the country, and to come up to town. She had an indisposition, which kept her from going abroad for a month or two.
Lady L being then about nineteen, and Miss Grandison about sixteen, they had spirit enough to oppose the return of this lady to her charge. They undertook themselves to manage everything at the capital seat in Hampshire.
Sir Thomas had another seat in Essex. Thither, on the reluctance of the young ladies to receive again Mrs Oldham, he carried her; and they, as well as everybody else, for some time, apprehended they were actually married. She was handsome; well-descended; and though she became so unhappily sensible of the favours and presents by which Sir Thomas made way to her heart, she had an untainted character when he took her as a governess to the young ladies.
Was not Sir Thomas very, very faulty, with regard to this poor woman?-She had already suffered enough from a bad husband, to whom she remarkably well performed her duty.-Poor woman!-The example to his own daughters was an abominable one. She was the relict of his friend: she was under his protection: thrown into it by her unhappy circumstances.-Were not these great aggravations to his crime?— Happy for those parents who live not to see such catastrophes as attended this child! This darling, it seems: not undeservedly so: and whom they thought they had not unhappily married to Mr Oldham-And he, poor man! thought himself not unhappy in Sir Thomas Grandison's acquaintance; though it ended in his emulating him in his expenses, with a much less estate; in the ruin of his fortune, which indeed was his own fault; and in the ruin of his wife's virtue, which was more Sir Thomas's than hers.-May I say so?-If I may not, (since women, whose glory is their chastity, must not yield to temptation,) had not the husband, however, something to answer for, who, with his eyes open, lived at such a rate, against his wife's dutiful remonstrances, and better example, as reduced her (after his death) to the necessity of dependence on another's favour, and such another!
Sir Thomas was greatly displeased with his daughters, for resisting him in the return of their governess. He had thought the reason of her withdrawing a secret, because he wished it to be one: and yet her disgrace was, at the time, everywhere talked of, but in his presence.
This woman is still living. She has two children by Sir Thomas, who are also living: and one by Mr Oldham. I shall be told more of her history when the ladies come to give me some account of their brother's.
Sir Thomas went on in the same gay, fluttering way, that he had done all his life. The love of pleasure, as it is called, was wrought into his habit. He was a slave to it, and to what he called freedom. He was deemed one of the best companions among men, and one of the gallantest men among women. His advantages of person and mind were snares to him. Mrs Oldham was not the only one of her sex with whom he was intimate: he had another mistress in town, who had a taste for all its gaieties, and who even assumed his name.
He would now and then, by way of excursion, and to surprise the young ladies, visit Grandison-Hall; but, though it was once the seat he most delighted in, neither gave, nor seemed to receive, much pleasure there; hurrying away on a sudden, as if he had escaped from it; though never father had more reason to be pleased with the conduct and duty of daughters: and this he often declared, boasting of them in their absence; but snubbing, chiding, and studying to find fault with them, when present.
But what equally surprised and affected them, was, that his son had been a year abroad, when he prohibited them to write to, or correspond with, him; and, by their brother's discontinuing to write to them, from about the same time, they supposed that he was under the same prohibition; and so, it seems, he was.
They presumed their father's reason for this unkind prohibition was, his fear that his gaieties would have been one of the subjects of the correspondence; and the rather, as those gaieties were so likely to affect all three in their fortunes.
The young ladies, however, for some time, continued writing to their brother. Miss Grandison, in mentioning this, said, in her usual sprightly manner, that she never had any notion of obeying unreasonable commands; commands so evidently unreasonable as to be unnatural and she called upon me to justify her in her notion. The Countess also desired me to speak my mind on this subject.
I am apprehensive, said I, of children's partiality in this respect: if they make themselves their own judges in the performance or nonperformance of a duty, inclination, I am afraid, will too often be their guide, rather than right reason. They will be too apt, perhaps, to call those commands unnatural, which are not so unnatural as this seems to be.
But, Harriet, said Miss Grandison, would not you have written on, in the like circumstances? I believe not, replied I; and partly for this reason; because I should have had no doubt but my brother would have the same prohibi
and I should only have shewn my brother, as well as my father, (were my father to know it,) an instance of my refractoriness, without obtaining the desired end; or, if my brother had written, I should have made him a partaker in my fault.
Your answer regards the policy of the thing, Harriet, said Miss Grandison; but ought an unnatural command
There she stopt; yet, by her looks, expected me to speak.
I should have thought it hard; but that it
was more meritorious to submit, than the con
trary. I believe I should have supposed, that my father might have reasons which might not appear to me. But, pray, ladies, how did your brother
O, he was implicit
Will you forgive me, ladies?—I should have been concerned, I think, that my brother, in a point of duty, though it were one that might be disputable, should be more nice, more delicate, than his sister.
Miss Emily looked as if she were pleased with
Well, you are a good girl, a very good girl, said Miss Grandison; that, whether your doctrine be just or not, is out of dispute.
This prohibition gave the sisters the more sensible concern, as they were afraid it would lay a foundation for distance and indifference in their brother to them; on whom, as their mother had presaged, they were likely, if he survived their father, to have a too great dependence; but more particularly at that time, as their brother had promised, at his taking leave of them, to write a regular account of all that befel him, and of all that was curious, and worthy of notice, in the courts and places he visited; and had actually begun to do so; and as he had asked their advice in relation to his governor, who proved not so proper a person for that employment as was expected; and to which they had answered, without knowing for some time, what was the resolution he took.
They asked their father, from time to time, after the welfare of their brother. He would answer them with pleasure, and sometimes with tears in his eyes, he is all that is dutiful, brave, pious, worthy; and would sometimes add, God reward him! I cannot. But when he mentioned the word dutiful, he would look at them, as if he had in his thoughts their resisting him in his intention of reinstating their governess; the only time they could recollect, that they had given him the shadow of displeasure.
The ladies went on, and said, that Sir Thomas, in all companies, gloried in his son. And once Lord W- who himself, on his lady's death, openly indulged himself in liberties which before he was only suspected to take, [0, my Lucy! how rare a character, in this age, is that of a virtuous man! told some gentlemen, who wondered that Sir Thomas Grandison could permit a son so beloved to be absent from him so many years, that the reason Sir Thomas gave was, that his son's morals and his own were so different, that he should not be able to bear his own consciousness, if he consented to his return to England. The unhappy man was so habituated to vice, that he could talk familiarly of his gaieties to his intimates, seeming to think them too well known for him to endeavour to conceal them; but, however, would add sometimes, I intend to set about altering my course of life; and then will I send for my son. But, alas! Sir Thomas went on, from year to year, only intending; he lived not to begin the promised alteration, nor to see his son.
Yet one awakener he had, that made him talk of beginning the alteration of his way of li
ving out of hand, and of sending for his son; which last act was to be the forerunner of his reformation.
It happened that Mrs Farnborough, the woman he lived with when in town, was struck with the small-pox, in the height of her gaiety and pleasure; for she was taken ill at the opera, on seeing a lady of her acquaintance there, whose face bore too strongly the marks of the distemper, and who, it seems, had made her first visit to that place, rather than to a better. The malady, aided by her terror, proved mortal; and Sir Thomas was so much affected with the warning, that he left town, and, in pursuance of his temporary good resolutions, went down to his daughters; talked of sending for his son; and, for some few months, lived like the man of sense and understanding he was known to be.
LORD L-returned from his travels about the time that Mrs Farnborough was taken ill. He had brought some presents to Sir Thomas from his son, who took all opportunities to send him over curiosities, some of considerable value; which served at the same time to shew his economy and his duty. He forgot not, in his way, his sisters, though his accompanying letters were short, and merely polite, and such as required no other answer than thanks; only they could discover by them, that he had warm wishes to be allowed to return to England; but such a submission to his father's pleasure, as entirely to give up his own.
Sir Thomas seemed fond of Lord L; and setting out, on Mrs Farnborough's death, for Grandison Hall, gave him an invitation to visit him there; for he would listen with pleasure an hour together, to him, or to any one, who would talk, and give him some account of his son. How predominant must those passions, those habits, be in his heart, which could take place of a love so laudably paternal !
In pursuance of his invitation, Lord L attended him at the Hall; and there fell in love with the eldest of the young ladies. He revealed his passion to her. She referred herself wholly to her father. Sir Thomas could not be blind to their mutual affection. Everybody saw it. Lord L's passion was of the ardent kind; and he was too honest to wish to conceal it. But yet Sir Thomas would not see it. He behaved, however, with great freedom and civility to my lord; so that the heart of the young lady was insensibly engaged; but Sir Thomas avoided several opportunities which the lover had lain in wait for, to open his mind, and make proposals.
At last, my lord desired an audience of Sir Thomas, as upon a subject of the last importance. The Baronet, after some little delays, and not without some inauspicious reluctance, granted it ; and then my lord revealed his passion to him.
Sir Thomas asked him, if he had made it known to his daughter? And yet must have seen, on an hundred occasions, at breakfast, at dinner, at tea, at supper, how matters stood with both the lovers, if Miss Grandison's pleasant account of the matter may be depended upon.
Lord L-owned he had; and that he had asked her leave to make proposals to her father, to whom she wholly referred herself.
Sir Thomas seemed uneasy; and oddly answered, he was sorry for it: he wished his lordship had not put such notions in the girl's head. Both his daughters would now be set a romancing, he supposed. They were, till now, modest young creatures, he said. Young women should not too soon be set to look out of themselves for happiness-He had known many quiet and orderly girls set a madding by the notice of men. He did not know what business young fellows had to find out qualifications in other men's daughters, that the parents of those daughters had not given themselves leisure to discover. A daughter of his, he hoped, had not encouraged such discoveries. It was to him but as yesterday, when they were crowing in the arms of their nurses; and now, he supposed, they would be set a-crowing after wedlock.
What an odd father was Sir Thomas, my Lucy! His own life, it is evident, had passed away very pleasantly.
Indeed he could hardly bear to think, he added, of either of his daughters as marriageable yet. They have not been nursed in the town hot-beds, my lord. They are sober country girls, and good housewives. I love not that girls should marry before they have done growing. A young wife makes a vapourish mother. I forget their age-But twenty-six, or twenty-eight, is time enough for a woman, either for the sake of modesty or discretion, to marry.
We may like gay men for husbands, Lucy; some of us do; but, at this rate, those daughters must be very good girls, who can make their best courtesies to their mothers, and thank them for their fancies; or the fathers must be more attentive to their growth than Sir Thomas was to that of his daughters.-What have I said?— I am here afraid of my uncle.
My lord was surprised; and well he might. Sir Thomas had forgot, as Lady L observed, that he himself thought Miss W- was not too young at seventeen to be Lady Grandison.
My lord was a modest man; he was begging (as it may be called) the young woman, whom of all the women in the world he loved best, of her father, who was a man that knew the world, and had long made a considerable figure in it ;
and who, for reasons which would have held with him had he lived to see her forty, had no mind to part with her. Yet my lord pleaded his passion, her great and good qualities, as acknowfedged by himself; and modestly hinted at the unexceptionableness of his own character, and the favour he stood in with his son; not saying the least word of his birth and alliances, which some lovers of his rank would not have forgot: and, it seems, he was right in forbearing to make these accidents a plea; for Sir Thomas valued himself upon his ancestry; and used to say, that his progenitor, in James the First's time, disgraced it by accepting of the title of
Sir Thomas allowed something to the plea of his standing well with his son. Let me tell you, my lord, said he, that I shall take no step in a family affair of this consequence, without consulting with my son; and the rather, as he is far from expecting so much of my consideration for him. He is the pride of my life.
My lord desired that his suit might be put upon the issue of his son's approbation.
But, pray, my lord, what fortune do you expect with my girl? Well as you love her, I suppose the return of her love for yours, which you seem not to doubt, will not be enough. Can the poor girl be a countess without a confounded parcel of dross fastened to her petticoat, to make her weight in the other scale?
My circumstances, said my honest Lord L, permit me not, in discretion, to make that compliment to my love, which my heart would with transport make, were they better; but I will lay them faithfully before you, and be determined by your generosity.
I could not but expect from a young man of your lordship's good sense, such an answer as this; and yet I must tell you, that we fathers, who know the world, expect to make some advantage of a knowledge that has cost us so much. I should not dislike a little more romancing in love, from a man that asks for my daughter, though I care not how little of it is shewn by my son to another man's. Every father thinks thus, my lord; but is not so honest as to own it. I am sure, Sir Thomas, that you would not think a man worthy of your daughter, who had no regard to anything, but the gratification of his own wishes; who could think, for the sake of that, of involving a young lady in difficulties, which she never knew in her father's house.
Why, this, my lord, is well said. You and I may afford to make handsome compliments to one another, while compliments are only expected. I have a good share of health; I have not quitted the world so entirely, nor think I ought, as to look upon myself as the necessary tool of my children, to promote their happiness at the expense of my own. My lord, I have still a strong relish for the pleasures of this world. My daughters may be women grown; your lordship seems to have found out, that they are;
and has persuaded one of them, that she is ; and the other will be ready to think she is not three years behind her. This is an inconvenience which you have brought upon me. And as I would be glad to live a little longer for myself, I wish you to withdraw your suit; and leave me to do as well as I can with my daughters. I propose to carry them to town next winter. They shall there look about them, and see whom they could like, and who could like them, that they may not be liable to after-repentance, for having taken the first man that offered.
My lord told Sir Thomas, that he hoped there could not be reason to imagine, that anything could possibly arise from his address that should be incompatible with the happiness of a father and was going on in the same reasonable strain; but Sir Thomas interrupted him
You must not, my lord, suppose I can be a stranger to whatever may be urged by a young man on this subject. You say you are in love: Caroline is a girl that anybody may love; but I have not a mind she should marry so soon. know the inconvenience of early marriages. A man's children treading upon his heels, and shouldering him with their shoulders. In short, my lord, I have an aversion to be called a grandfather, before I am a gray father. [Sir Thomas was not put to it to try to overcome this aversion.] Girls will start up, and look up, and parents cannot help it; but what father, in the vigour of his days, would not wish to help it? I am not fond of their partnership in my substance. Why should I divide my fortune with novices, when, making the handsome allowances to them, that I do make, it is not too much for myself? My son should be their example. He is within a year as old as my eldest girl. On his future alliances I build, and hope to add by them to the consequence of all my family. [Ah, Lucy!] Girls are said to be sooner women than boys are men. Let us see that they are so by their discretion, as well as by stature.-Let them stay.
And here Sir Thomas abruptly broke off the conversation for that time; to the great distress of Lord L, who had reason to regret, that he had a man of wit, rather than a man of reason, to contend with.
Sir Thomas went directly into his closet, and sent for his two daughters; and, though not illnaturedly, rallied them both so much on their own discoveries, as he wickedly phrased it, and on admitting Lord L into the secret, that neither of them could hold up her head, for two or three days, in his presence; but, out of it, Miss Caroline Grandison found that she was in love; and the more for Lord L-'s generous attachment, and Sir Thomas's not so generous discouragement.
My lord wrote over to young Mr Grandison, to favour his address. Lady L- permitted me to copy the following answer to his application:
I HAVE the honour of your lordship's letter of the 17th. Never brother loved sisters better than I do mine. As the natural effects of that love, I receive with pleasure the notification of your great regard for my elder sister. As to myself I cannot have one objection: But what am I in this case? She is wholly my father's. I also am his. The consideration he gives me in this instance, confounds me; it binds me to him in double duty. It would look like taking advantage of it, were I so much as to offer my humble opinion, unless he were pleased to command it from me. If he does, assure yourself, my lord, that (my sister's inclination in your lordship's favour presupposed) my voice shall be warmly given, as you wish. I am, my lord, with equal affection and esteem,
Your lordship's faithful and
BOTH sisters rejoiced at the perusal of this affectionate letter; for they were afraid that the unnatural prohibition of correspondence between them and their brother had estranged his affections from them.
The particulars of one more conversation I will give you, between my lord and Sir Thomas, on this important subject; for you must believe that Lord L- could not permit a matter of such consequence to his own happiness to go easily off; especially as neither of the two daughters was able to stand her father's continual raillery, which had banished from the cautious eyes, and apprehensive countenances of both ladies, all indications of love, though it reigned with the more absolute power in the heart of Miss Caroline, for that concealment.
In this conversation, my lord began with a little more spirit than he finished the former. The Countess lent me my lord's minutes of it; which he took for her to see, and to judge of all that passed at the time.
On my lord's lively, but respectful address to Sir Thomas on the occasion, the Baronet went directly into the circumstances of my lord, and his expectations.
Lord L- told him frankly that he paid interest for 15,000l. for sisters' fortunes; three of whom were living, and single; that he believed two of them would soon be advantageously married; and he should wish to pay them their portions on the day; and was contriving to do so, by decreasing the incumbrance that his father had left upon the finest part of his estate, to the amount of 5000l.; which, and his sisters' fortunes, were all that lay upon a clear estate of 5000l. a-year. After he had thus opened himself, he referred the whole to Sir Thomas's consideration.
My advice, my lord, is this, said the Baronet; that you should by no means think of marriage
till you are clear of the world. You will have 10,000l. to pay directly you will have the interest of 10,000l. more to pay; and you men of title, on your marriages, whether you like ostentation or not, must be ostentatious. Your equipages, your houses, your furniture-A certain increase of expense-By no means, my Lord L-, think of marriage, till you are quite clear of the world, unless you could meet with some rich widow or heiress, who could do the busi
ness at once.
Lord L could only, at first, urge his passion: [he durst not his daughter's affection, and the happiness of both, which were at stake.] Sir Thomas opposed discretion to that plea. Poor passion, Lucy, would be ashamed to see the sun, if discretion were always to be attended to in treaties of this kind.
Afterwards he told Sir Thomas, that he would accept the lady upon his own terms. He besought his consent to their nuptials. He would wait his own time and pleasure. He would be content if he gave not Miss Caroline a single shilling.
Sir Thomas was fretful-And so, lover-like, you would involve the girl you profess to love, in difficulties? I will ask her if she wants for anything with me, that a modest girl can wish for. But, to be serious, it is a plaguy thing for a man to be obliged, by the officious love, as it is called, of a pretender to his daughters, to open his affairs, and expose his circumstances to strangers. I wish, my lord, that you had let my girls alone. I wish you had not found them out in their country retirement. I should have carried them to town, as I told you, in a few months. Women so brought up, so qualified, and handsome girls, are such rarities in this age, and men worth having are so affrighted at the luxury and expensiveness of the modern women, that I doubted not but the characters of my girls would have made their fortunes with very little of my help. They have family, my lord, to value themselves upon, though but spinsters. And let me tell you, since I shall be thought a more unnatural man than I am, if I do not obey the present demand upon me to open my circumstances, I owe my son a great deal more than 30,000. I don't understand you, Sir Thomas. Why, thus, my lord, I explain myself: My father left me what is called rich. I lessened the ready money, which he had got together for a purchase he lived not to complete, a great deal. That I looked upon as a deodand; so was not answerable for it; and as I was not married, my son had no right in it. When I was married, and he was given me―
Forgive me, Sir Thomas; your son a rightand had not your other children
No, my lord; they were girls-and as to them, had I increased my fortune by penuriousness, instead of living like a man, I was determined as to their fortunes
But, as I was saying, when Lady Grandison