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Grandison. O sir! how you wound me!-Do woman, especially on certain points, in which all fathers-Forgive me, sir
I saw his brow begin to lower.
Sir Tho. I bear not impertinence. I bear not -There he stopt in wrath.-But why, Caroline, do you evade my question? You know it. Answer it.
Car. I should be unworthy of the affection of such a man as Lord L- is, if I disowned my esteem for him. Indeed, sir, I have an esteem for Lord Labove any man I ever saw. You, sir, did not always disesteem him-My brother
Sir Tho. So! Now all is out!-You have the forwardness-What shall I call it ?—But I did, and I do, esteem Lord L. But as what?Not as a son-in-law. He came to me as my son's friend. I invited him down in that character: he, at that time, knew nothing of you. But no sooner came a single man into a single woman's company, but you both wanted to make a match of it. You were dutiful; and he was prudent: prudent for himself. I think you talked of his prudence a while ago. He made his application to you, or you to him, I know not which [Then how poor Caroline wept! And I, said Miss Charlotte, could hardly forbear saying barbarous! And when he found himself sure of you, then was the fool of the father to be consulted and for what? Only to know what he would do for two people, who had left him no option in the case. And this is the trick of you all: and the poor father is to be passive, or else to be accounted a tyrant.
Car. Sir, I admitted not Lord L-'s address, but conditionally, as you should approve of it. Lord L- desired not my approbation upon other terms.
Sir Tho. What nonsense is this?-Have you left me any way to help myself?-Come, Caroline, let me try you. I intend to carry you up to town: a young man of quality has made overtures to me. I believe I shall approve of his proposals. I am sure you will, if you are not prepossessed. Tell me, are you, have you left yourself at liberty to give way to my recommendation?—Why don't you answer me? -You know, that you received Lord L's addresses but conditionally, as I should approve of them. And your spark desired not your approbation upon other terms. Come, what say you to this -What! are you confounded?— Well you may, if you cannot answer me as I wish! If you can, why don't you?—You see I put you but to your own test.
Car. Sir, it is not for me to argue with my father. Surely, I have not intended to be undutiful. Surely, I have not disgraced my family, by admitting Lord L's conditional
Sir Tho. Conditional!-Fool!-How conditional? Is it not absolute, as to the exclusion of me, or of my option? But I have ever found, that the man who condescends to argue with a
nature, and not reason, is concerned, must follow her through a thousand windings, and find himself farthest off when he imagines himself nearest; and at last must content himself, panting for breath, to sit down where he set out; while she gambols about, and is ready to lead him a new course. Car. I hope
Sir Tho. None of your hopes-I will have certainty. May I-Come, I'll bring you to a point, if I can, woman as you are-May I receive proposals for you from any other man? Answer me, yes or no. Don't deal with me, as girls do with common fathers-Don't be disobedient, and then depend upon my weakness to forgive you. I am no common father. I know the world. I know your sex. I have found more fools in it than I have made.-Indeed, no man makes, or needs to make, you fools. You have folly deep-rooted within you. That weed is a native of the soil. A very little watering will make it sprout, and choke the noble flowers that education has planted. I never knew a woman in my life, that was wise by the experience of other people. But answer me: Say-Can you receive a new proposal? or can you not?
Caroline answered only by her tears.
Sir Tho. Damnably constant, I suppose !— So you give up real virtue, give up duty to a father, for fidelity, for constancy, for a fictitious virtue, to a lover! Come hither to me, girlWhy don't you come to me when I bid you?
MISS CAROLINE arose: four creeping steps, her handkerchief at her eyes, brought her within her father's reach. He snatched her hand, quickened her pace, and brought her close to his knees. Poor sister Caroline! thought I: O the ty-And I had like, at the time, to have added the syllable rant to myself. He pulled the other hand from her eye. The handkerchief dropt: he might see that it was wet and heavy with her tears. Fain would she have turned her blubbered eyes from him. He held both her hands, and burst out into a laugh
And what cries the girl for? Why, Caroline, you shall have a husband, I tell you. I will hasten with you to the London market. Will you be offered at Ranelagh market first? the concert or breakfasting?-Or shall I shew you at the opera, or at the play? Ha, ha, ha!— Hold up your head, my amorous girl! You shall stick some of your mother's jewels in your hair, and in your bosom, to draw the eyes of fellows. You must strike at once, while your
face is new; or you will be mingled with the herd of women, who prostitute their faces at every polite place. Sweet impatient soul-Look at me, Caroline. Then he laughed again.
Car. Indeed, sir, if you were not my father Well said, Caroline! thought I; and trod on her toe.
Sir Tho. Hey-day! But what then? Car. I would say you are very cruel. Sir Tho. And is that all you would say, poor soft thing in such circumstances, to any other man? Well, but, all this time, you don't tell me (still holding her hands) whether any other man will not do as well as your Scotsman?
Car. I am not kindly used. Indeed, sir, you don't use me kindly. I hope I am not an amorous creature, as you call me. I am not in haste to be married. I am willing to wait your time, your pleasure: but, as I presume that there can be no objection to Lord L- I wish not to be
carried to any London market.
Sir Tho. Gravely. If I am disposed to rally you, Caroline; if I am willing to pass off, in a pleasant manner, a forwardness that I did not expect in my daughter; and for which, in my heart, I have despised the daughters of other men, though I have not told the wenches so: I will not be answered pertly. I will not have you forget yourself.
Car. [Curtseying.] Good sir, permit me to withdraw. I will recollect myself, and be
Sir Tho. And is it necessary for you to withdraw, to recollect your duty?-But you shall answer my question-How stand you and Lord L? Are you resolved to have him, and none other?-Will you wait for him, will he wait for you, till death has numbered me with my ancestors?
Car. O sir! And she looked down after her dropt handkerchief. She wanted it; and would have withdrawn one of her hands to reach it; and when she could not, the big tears running down her cheeks, [yet she looked pretty, down she dropt on her knees-Forgive me, sir-I dread your displeasure-But must say, that I am not an amorous girl: and, to convince you that I am not, I never will marry any man living, if it be
not Lord L
I all this time was in agitations for my poor sister. I tired three chairs; and now looked at her; now from her; then at my fingers' ends, wishing them claws, and the man a husband, instead of a father. Indeed, Miss Byron, I could not but make Caroline's treatment my own; and, in fancy, not so very remote as you imagined, Lady L - Once I said to myself, if some Lord Ltenders himself to me, and I like him, I will not stand all this. The first moonlight night, if he urge me heartily, and if I am sure the parson is ready, I will be under another protection, despicably as I have always
thought of runaway daughters!-Should I have done right, Miss Byron?
The example, Miss Grandison! replied ISuch a mother as you were blessed with! The world that would have sat in judgment upon the flight of the daughter, would not have known the cruel treatment of the father. I believe, my dear, you are glad you had not the trial: and you see how Lady L- is rewarded for her patient duty.
That's my good Harriet! said Lady L———. I love you for your answer. But, sister, you leave me in too much distress. You must release me from my knees, and send me up to my chamber, as fast as you can.
A little patience, Lady L. But what say my minutes?-Miss Byron seems all attention. This is a new subject to her. She never had anybody to control her.
I think I could have borne anything from a father or mother, said I, had it pleased God to continue to me so dear a blessing.
Fine talking, Harriet! said Miss Grandison. But let me say, that a witty father is not a desirable character-By the way, ours was as cruel [shall I say it, Lady L- ? You are upon your knees, you know to two very worthy sisters of his own: one of them ran away from him to a relation in Yorkshire, where she lives still, and as worthy an old maid she is as any in the county: the other died before she could get her fortune paid, or she would have been married to a man she loved, and who loved her: but she left every shilling of her fortune to her maiden sister, and nothing to my father.
It is well my brother is not in hearing, said Lady L. He would not have borne the hundredth part of what we have said. But sufferers will complain. Remember, however, Charlotte, that I am still upon my knees.
See, my Lucy! Rakish men make not either good husbands, or good fathers; nor yet good brothers-But, no wonder! The narrow-hearted creatures centre all their delight in themselves.
Finely do women choose, who, taken in by their specious airs, vows, protestations, become the abject properties of such wretches! Yet a reformed rake, they say, makes the best husband
Against general experience this is said-But by whom? By the vulgar and the inconsiderate only, surely!
Miss Grandison proceeded.
Sir Tho. You will never marry any other man living!-And this is declared, in order to convince me that you are not amorous !-Quibbling nonsense!-Had you not been amorous, you had not put yourself into a situation, that should give you courage to say this to me. Bold fool! be gone!
Yet you shall not go, holding both her hands. And dare you thus declare yourself?-What
option, I again ask you, is left me?-And yet Lord L- and you, as you pretended just now, were determined only on a conditional courtship, as I should, or should not, approve of it! Confound your sex! This ever was, and ever will be, the case. The blind god sets you out, where you mean the best, on a pacing beast; you amble, prance, parade, till your giddy heads turn round; and then you gallop over hedge and ditch; leap fences; and duty, decency, and discretion, are trodden under foot !
Poor_Miss Caroline ! said I, Lucy, to them both-I expected this cruel retort.
I foresaw it, replied Lady L. And this kept me off so long from declaring my preference of Lord L― to all the men in the world; as, in justice to his merit, my heart several times bid me do without scruple.
Be gone from my presence, said Sir Thomas, proceeded Miss Grandison-Yet he still held her hands-That little witch! I have been watching her eyes, and every working muscle of her saucy face : [meaning poor me, said Miss Grandison: she takes part with you in all your distresses-You are sorely distressed, are you not? Am I not a tyrant with you both? You want to be gone, both of you: then shall I be the subject of your free discourses. All the resentment, that now you endeavour to confine, will then burst out: I shall be entitled to no more of your duty than is consistent with your narrow interest: Lord L will be consulted in preference to me, and have the whole confidence of my daughters against me. I am now, from this hour, to be looked upon as your enemy, and not your father. But I will renounce you both; and permit your brother, the joy of my life, and the hope of my better days, to come over: and he shall renounce you, as I do, or I will renounce him : and, in that case, I shall be a father without a child; yet three living by the best of women. How would she
I broke out here, said Miss Grandison, with an emotion that I could not suppress. O my dear mamma! how much do we miss you? Were you to have become an angel when we were infants, should we have missed you as we do now?-O my dear mamma! This, this is the time that girls most want a mother!
I was about to fly for it. I trembled at the sternness of my father's looks, on this apostrophe to my mother. He arose. Caroline, don't stir, said he; I have something more to say to you. Come hither, Charlotte! and held out both his hands-You have burst out at last. I saw your assurance swelling to your throat
I threw myself at his feet, and besought him to forgive me!
But taking both my hands in one of his, as I held them up folded-Curse me if I do! said he. I was willing you should be present, in hopes to make you take warning by your sister's folly and inconsistency. Lord L
. has been
a thief in my house. He has stolen my elder daughter's affections from me: yet has drawn her in, as pretending that he desired not her favour, but as I approved of his addresses. I do not approve of them. I hope I may be allowed to be my own judge in this case. She, however, declares, she will have nobody else. And have I brought up my children till the years that they should be of use and comfort to me; and con− tinued a widower myself for their sakes; [so my father was pleased to say, said Miss Grandison; and all for a man I approve not And do you, Charlotte, call your blessed mother from her peaceful tomb, to relieve you and your sister against a tyrant father?-What comfort have I in prospect before me, from such daughters?-But leave me: leave my house. Seek your fortunes where you will. Take your clothes: take all that belongs to you: but nothing that was your mother's. I will give you each a draft on my banker for 500l. When that is gone, according to what I shall hear of your behaviour, you shall, or shall not, have more.
Dear sir, said Caroline, flinging herself on her knees by me, forgive my sister!-Dear, good sir! whatever become of me, forgive your Charlotte!
You are fearless of your destiny, Caroline. You will throw yourself into the arms of Lord L-, I doubt not.-I will send for your brother. But you shall both leave this house. I will shut it up the moment you are gone. It shall never again be opened while I live. When my ashes are mingled with those of your mother,, then may you keep open house in it, and trample under foot the ashes of both.
I sobbed out, Dear sir, forgive me! I meant not to reflect upon my father, when I wished for my mother. I wished for her for your sake, sir, as well as for ours. She would have mediated-She would have softened
Sir Tho. My hard heart-I know what you mean, Charlotte!
And flung from us a few paces, walking about in wrath, leaving us kneeling at his vacant chair.
He then, ringing the bell, the door in his hand, ordered in the housekeeper. She entered. A very good woman she was. She trembled for her kneeling ladies.
Sir Tho. Beckford, do you assist these girls in getting up everything that belongs to them. Give me an inventory of what they take. Their father's authority is grievous to them. They want to shake it off. They find themselves women grown. They want husbands
Indeed, indeed, Beckford, we don't, said Caroline; interrupted by my father.
Do you give me the lie, bold face?
Pray your honour-Good your honour-entreated honest Beckford: never were modester young ladies. They are noted all over the county for their modesty and goodness
Woman, woman, argue not with me.
desty never forgets duty. Caroline loves not her father. Lord L— has stolen away her affections from me. Charlotte is of her party: and so are you, I find. But take my commands in silence-A week longer they stay not in this house
Beckford, throwing herself on her knees, repeated-Good your honour
We both arose and threw ourselves at his feet
Forgive us! I beseech you, forgive us!-For my mamma's sake, forgive us!-said CarolineFor my mamma's sake, for my brother's sake, dear sir, forgive your daughters! cried I, in as rueful an accent.
And we each of us took hold of his opened coat, both in tears; and Beckford keeping us company.
Unmoved he went on-I intend you a plea sure, girls. I know you want to be freed from my authority. You are women grown. The man who has daughters knows not discomfort with them, till busy fellows bid them look out of their father's house for that happiness, which they hardly ever find but in it.
We are yours, my papa, said I-We are nobody's else-Do not, do not expose your children to the censures of the world.-Hitherto our reputations are unsullied
Dear sir, cried Caroline, throw us not upon the world, the wide world! Dear sir, continue us in your protection. We want not to be in any other.
You shall try the experiment, girls-I am not fit to be your counsellor. Lord L has distanced me with the one: the other calls upon her departed mother to appear, to shield her from the cruelty of an unnatural father. And Lord L- has the insolence to tell me to my face, that I am too young a father to take upon me the management of women-grown daughters. And so I find it. Blubber not, Beckford; assist your young ladies for their departure. A week is the longest time they have to stay in this house. I want to shut it up: never more to enter its gates.
We continued our pleadings.
O sir! said Caroline, turn not your children out of doors. We are daughters. We never more wanted a father's protection than now.
What have we done, sir, cried I, to deserve being turned out of your doors?-For every of fensive word we beg your pardon. You shall always have dutiful children of us. Permit me to write to my brother
So, so! You mend the matter. You want to interest your brother in your favour-You want to appeal to him, do you? and to make a son sit in judgment upon his father?-Prate not, girls! Entreat not!-Get ready to be gone. I will shut up this house
Wherever you are, sir, entreated I, there let
us be-Renounce not your children, your penitent children. will as
He proceeded. I suppose Lord L soon find out your person, Caroline, as he has your inclination; so contrary to my liking. As to you, Charlotte, you may go down to your old aunt Prue, in Yorkshire-He calls their aunt Eleanor so from the word prude-Yet we have seen, Lucy, it was owing to him that this lady did not marry-she will be able to instruct you, that patience is a virtue; and that you ought not to be in haste to take a first offer, for fear you should not have a second.
Poor sister Caroline! He looked disdainfully at her.
You are my father, sir, said she. All is welcome from you: but you shall have no cause to reproach me. I will not be in haste. And here on my knees I promise, that I will never be Lord L- -'s, without your consent. I only beg of you, sir, not to propose to me any other
My father partly relented; [partly, Harriet:] I take you at your word, girl, said he; and I insist that you shall not correspond with him, nor see him-You answer not to that. But you know my will. And once more, answer or not, I require your obedience.-Beckford, you may go. -Rise, Caroline.
And am I forgiven, sir? said I-Dear sir, forgive your Charlotte-[Yet, Miss Byron, what was my crime?]
Make the best use of the example before you, Charlotte: not to imitate Caroline, in engaging your affections unknown to me.—) -Remember that. She has her plagues in giving me plague. It is fit she should. Where you cannot in duty follow the example, take the warning.
Beckford was withdrawn. He graciously saluted each girl: and thus triumphantly made them express sorrow for-Do you know for what, Harriet?
I wish, thought I to myself, Lucy, that these boisterous spirits, either fathers or husbands, were not generally most observed.
But were Miss Grandison's spirits so easily subdued? thought I.
You smile, Harriet. What do you smile at ?
I depend on your good nature-I smiled to think, Lady L, how finely Miss Grandison has got up since that time.
Miss Gr. O the sly girl!-Remember you not, that I was before your debtor?
A good hit, I protest! said Lady L. Yet Charlotte was always a pert girl out of her father's presence. But I will add a word or two to my sister's narrative.
My father kept us with him till he read Lord L's letter, which he opened not till then, and plainly, as I saw, to find some new fault
with him and me on the occasion: but I came off better than I apprehended I should at the time; for I had not seen it. Here is a copy of it. Lady L allowed me, Lucy, to take it up with me, when we parted for the night.
PERMIT me, sir, by pen and ink, rather than in person, as I think it will be most acceptable to you, to thank you, as I most cordially do, for the kind and generous treatment I have received at your hands, during a whole month's residence at Grandison Hall, whither I came with intent to stay but three days.
I am afraid I suffered myself to be surprised into an undue warmth of expression, when I last went from your presence. I ask your pardon, if so. You have a right in your own child. God forbid that I should ever attempt to invade it! But what a happy man should I be, if my love for Miss Grandison, and that right, could be made to coincide! I may have appeared to have acted wrong in your apprehension, in applying myself first to Miss Grandison: I beg, sir, your pardon for that also.
But, perhaps, I have a still greater fault to atone for. I need not, indeed, acquaint you with it; but I had rather entitle myself, by my ingenuousness, to your forgiveness, than to wish to conceal anything from you in an article of this high importance, whether you grant it me or not.
I own then, that when I last departed from your angry presence, I directly went to Miss Grandison, and on my knees implored her hand. I presumed that an alliance with me was not a disgraceful one to her; and assured her, that my estate should work itself clear without any expectation from you; as it will, I hope, in a few years, by good management, to which I was sure she would contribute. But she refused me, and resolved to await the good pleasure of her father; yet giving me, I must honestly add, condescending hopes of her favour, could consent be obtained.
Thus is the important affair circumstanced. I will never marry any other woman, while there is the least shadow of hope, that she can be mine. The conversation of the best of young men, your son, for two months, in Italy, and one before that in some of the German courts, has made me ambitious of following such an example in every duty of life: and if I might obtain, by your favour, so dear a wife, and so worthy a brother, the happiest man in the world would then be,
Your obliged and faithful servant, L
YET my father, said Lady L, called it an artful letter; and observed, that Lord Lwas very sure of me, or he had not offered to
make a proposal to me that deserved not to be excused. You were aiming at prudence, girl, in your refusal, I see that, said my father. You had no reason to doubt but Lord L- would hereafter like you the better for declining marriage in that clandestine manner, because the refusal would give him an opportunity to make things more convenient to himself. One half of a woman's virtue is pride, continued he; [I hope not truly, said Lady L; the other half, policy. If they were sure the man would not think the worse of them for it, they would not wait for a second question. Had you an independent fortune, Caroline, what would you have done?-But go; you are a weak, and yet a cunning girl. Cunning is the wisdom of women. Women's weakness is man's strength. I am sorry that my daughters are not compounded of less brittle materials. I wonder that any man, who knows the sex, marries.
Thus spoke the rakish, the keeping father, Lucy, endeavouring to justify his private vices by general reflections on the sex. And thus are wickedness and libertinism called a knowledge of the world, a knowledge of human nature. Swift, for often painting a dunghill, and for his abominable Yahoo story, was complimented with this knowledge: but I hope, that the character of human nature, the character of creatures made in the image of the Deity, is not to be taken from the overflowings of such dirty imaginations.
What company, my dear, must these men be supposed to have generally kept? How are we authorized to wish, (only that good is often produced out of evil, as is instanced in two such daughters, and such a son,) that a man of this cast had never had the honour to call a Lady Grandison by his name! And yet Sir Thomas's vices called forth, if they did not establish, her virtues. What shall we say?
I thought, my Lucy, that the conversation I have attempted to give, would not, though long, appear tedious to you; being upon a new subject, the behaviour of a free-liver of a father to his grown-up daughters, when they came to have expectations upon him, which he was not disposed to answer; and the rather, as it might serve to strengthen us, who have had in our family none but good men, (though we have neighbours of a different character, who have wanted to be acquainted with us,) in our resolution to reject the suits of libertine men, by a stronger motive even than for our own sakes: and I therefore was glad of the opportunity of procuring it for you, and for our Nancy, now her re