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truth; and of his modesty, courage, benevolence, steadiness of mind, docility, and other great and amiable qualities, by which he gives a moral assurance of making A GOOD MAN-GOD grant it! Amen!"
THE ladies immediately carried this purse, thus labelled, to their brother. He took it; read the label, turning his face from his sisters, as he read :-Excellent woman! said he, when he had read it, being dead, she speaks. May her pious prayer be answered! looking up. Then opening the purse, he found five coronation medals of different princes in it, and several others of value; a gold snuff-box, in which, wrapt in cotton, were three diamond rings; one signified to be his grandfather's; the two others, an uncle's and brother's of Lady Grandison; but what was more valuable to him than all the rest, the ladies said, was a miniature picture of his mother, set in gold; an admirable likeness, they told me; and they would get their brother to let me see it.
Neglecting all the rest, he eagerly took it out of the shagreen case; gazed at it in silence; kissed it; a tear falling from his eye. He then put it to his heart; withdrew for a few moments; and returned with a cheerful aspect.
The ladies told him what was in the other two purses. They said they made no scruple of accepting the jewels; but the bonds, the notes, and the money, they offered to him.
He asked, if there were no particular direction upon either? They answered, No.
He took them; and emptying them upon the table, mingled the contents of both together; There may be a difference in the value of each; thus mingled, you, my sisters, will equally divide them between you. This picture (putting his hand on his bosom, where it yet was) is of infinitely more value than all the three purses contained besides.
You will excuse these particularities, my dear friends; but if you do not, I can't help it. We are all apt, I believe, to pursue the subjects that most delight us. Don't grudge me my pleasure! Perhaps I shall pay for it. I admire this man more than I can express.
Saturday night-and no Sir Charles GrandiWith all my heart!
WHEN Sir Charles and his sisters looked over every other place in his father's apartment, they followed Mrs Oldham to hers.
A very handsome apartment, upon my word! How could Miss Grandison-she knew the
situation the unhappy woman had been in; mistress of that house.
Her brother looked at her.
Mrs Oldham shewed them which of the furniture and pictures (some of the latter valuable ones) she had brought into the house, saved, as she said, from the wreck of her husband's fortune-but, said she, with the consent of creditors. I, for my part, did not wrong anybody.
In that closet, sir, continued she, pointing to it, is all that I account myself worth in the world. Mr Grandison was pleased to put his seal upon the door. I besought him to let me take 501. out of it, having but very little money about me, but he would not; his refusal, besides the disgrace, has put me to some shifts. But, weeping, I throw myself upon your mercy, sir.
The sisters frankly owned, that they hardened each other by fault finding. They whispered, that she expected no mercy from them, it was plain. O what a glory belongs to goodness, as well in its influences, as in itself! Not even these two amiable sisters, as Miss Charlotte once acknowledged, were so noble in themselves before their brother's arrival, as they are
Assure yourself of justice, madam, said Sir Charles. Mr Grandison is hasty; but he would have done you justice, I dare say. He thought he was acting for a trust.-You may have letters, you may have things, here in this closet, that we have no business with.-Then, breaking the seal; I leave it to you, to shew us anything proper for us to take account of. The rest I wish not to see.
My ladies, sir-they will be pleased to
YES, Mrs Oldham, said Caroline; and was putting herself before her brother, and so was her sister, while Sir Charles was withdrawing from the closet; but he took each by her hand, interrupting Caroline
NO, Mrs Oldham-Do you lay out things as you please; we will step into the next apart
He accordingly led them both out.
You are very generous, sir, said Miss Grandison.
I would be so, Charlotte. Ought not the private drawers of women to be sacred?
But such a creature, sir!-said Miss Caroline
Every creature is entitled to justice-Can ladies forget decorum? You see she was surprised by Mr Grandison. She has suffered disgrace; has been put to difficulties.
Well, sir, if she will do justice
Remember (with looks of meaning) whose housekeeper she was.
They owned they were daunted, [and so, dear ladies, you ought to have been, but not convinced at that instant. It is generous to own
this, ladies; because the behaviour makes not for your honour.
Mrs Oldham, with tears in her eyes, came curtseying to the ladies and their brother, offering to conduct them into her closet. They found, that she had spread on her table in it, and in the two windows, and in the chairs, letters, papers, laces, fine linen, &c.
These papers, sir, said she, belong to you. I was bid to keep them safe. Poor woman! she knew not how to say, by whom bid.] You will see, sir, the seals are whole.
Perhaps a will, said he.
No, sir, I believe not. I was told they belonged to the Irish estate. Alas! and she wiped her eyes, I have reason to think there was not time for a will
I suppose, Mrs Oldham, you urged for a will -said Miss Charlotte.
Indeed, ladies, I often did; I own it. I don't doubt it, said Miss Caroline. And very prudently, said Sir Charles. I myself have always had a will by me. I should think it a kind of presumption to be a week without one.
In this drawer, sir, are the money, and notes, and securities that I have been getting together; I do assure you, sir, very honestly-pulling out a drawer in the cabinet.
To what amount, Mrs Oldham, if I may be so bold? asked Caroline.
No matter, sister Caroline, to what amount, said Sir Charles. You hear Mrs Oldham say, they are honestly got together. I dare say, that my father's bounty enabled even his meanest servants to save money. I would not keep one, that I thought did not. I make no comparisons, Mrs Oldham; you are a gentlewoman.
The two ladies only whispered to each other, as they owned, so we think !-Were there ever such perverse girls? I am afraid my uncle will think himself justified by them on this occasion, when he asserts, that it is one of the most difficult things in the world to put a woman right, when she sets out wrong. If it be generally so with us, I am sure we ought to be very careful of prepossession.-And has he not said, Lucy, that the best women, when wrong, are most tenacious? It may be so; but then, I hope, he will allow, that at the time they think themselves right.
I believe there is near 12007. said Mrs Oldham, and looked, the ladies observed, as if she was afraid of their censures.
Near 12007., Mrs Oldham! said Miss Charlotte.-Lord, sister, how glad would we have been sometimes of as many shillings between us!
And what, Caroline, what Charlotte, young ladies as you were, only growing up into women, and in your father's house, would you have done with more than current money? Now you
have a claim to independency, I hope that 12007. will not be the sum of either of your stores.
They curtseyed, they said; but yet thought 1200l. a great saving.-Dear ladies! how could you forget, and what a pain would it have been for your brother to have reminded you, that Mrs Oldham had two children; to say nothing of a third!
Trembling, as they owned, Here, said she, in this private drawer, are some presents—I disclaim them. If you believe me, ladies, I never wished for them. I never was seen in them but once. I never shall wear them-offering to pull out the drawer.
Forbear, Mrs Oldham. Presents are yours. The money in that drawer is yours. Never will I either disparage or diminish my father's bounty. He had a right to do as he pleased. Have not we, to do as we please? Had he made a will, would they not have been yours?—If you, Mrs Oldham, if you, my sisters, can tell me of anything he but intended or inclined to do by any one of his people, that intention will I execute with as much exactness, as if he had made a will, and it was part of it. Shall we do nothing but legal justice ?-The law was not made for a man of conscience.
Lord bless me, my Lucy! what shall I do about this man?
HERE (would you believe it?) I laid down my pen; pondered, and wept for joy; I think, it was for joy, that there is such a young man in the world; for what else could it be?—And now, with a watery eye, twinkle, twinkle, do I resume it.
His sisters owned, they were confounded; but that still the time was to come when they were to approve, from their hearts, of what he said and did.
Mrs Oldham wept at his goodness. She wept, I make no doubt also, as a penitent.-If my la dies, said she, will be pleased to-and seemed to be about making an offer to them-of the jewels, as I suppose.
My sisters, Mrs Oldham, said Sir Charles, interrupting her, are Grandisons. Pray, madam holding in her hand, which was extended to the drawer
She took out of another drawer, 40l. and some silver. This, sir, is money that belongs to you. I received it in Sir Thomas's illness. I have some other monies; and my accounts wanted but a few hours of being perfected, when I was dismissed. They shall be completed, and laid before you.
Let this money, Mrs Oldham, be a part of those accounts; declining, then, to take it.
There are letters, sir, said she. I would withhold nothing from you. I know not if, among
some things, that I wish not anybody to see, there are not concerns, that you ought to be made acquainted with, relating to persons and things, particularly to Mr Bever and Mr Filmer, and their accounts. I hope they are good men.-You must see these letters, I believe.
Let me desire you, Mrs Oldham, to make such extracts from those letters, or any others, as you think will concern me; and as soon as you can; for those gentlemen have written to me to sign their accounts; which, they hint, had my father's approbation.
She then told Sir Charles (as I have already related) how earnest Mr Bever was to get to the speech of Sir Thomas; and how mortified Mr Filmer was to find him incapable of writing his name which both said was all that was wanted.
An honest man, said Sir Charles, fears not inspection. They shall want no favour from I hope nothing but justice from them. She then shewed him some other papers; and, while he was turning them over, the ladies and she withdrew to another apartment, in which, in two mahogany chests, was her wardrobe. They owned they were curious to inspect it, as she had always made a great figure.
She was intending to oblige them; and had actually opened one of the chests, and, though reluctantly, taken out a gown, when Sir Charles entered.
He seemed displeased; and taking his sisters aside, Tell me, said he, can what this poor woman seems to be about, proceed from her own motion? I beg of you to say, you put her upon it. I would not have reason to imagine, that any woman, in such circumstances, could make a display of her apparel.
Why, the motion is partly mine, I must needs say, answered Charlotte.
Wholly, I hope; and the compliance owing to the poor woman's mortified situation. You are young women. You may not have considered this matter. Do you imagine, that your curiosity will yield you pleasure? Don't you know what to expect from the magnificent and bountiful spirit of him, to whose memory you owe duty?
They recollected themselves, blushed, and desired Mrs Oldham to lock up the chest. She did; and seemed pleased to be excused from the mortifying task.
Ah, my Lucy! one thing I am afraid of; and that is, that Sir Charles Grandison, politely as he behaves to us all, thinks us women in general very contemptible creatures. I wish I knew that he did; and that for two reasons; that I might have something to think him blameable for; and to have the pride of assuring myself, that he would be convinced of that fault, were he to be acquainted with my grandmamma, and
But, do you wonder, that the sisters, whose minds were thus opened and enlarged by the example of such a brother, blazing upon them all at once, as I may say, in manly goodness, on his return from abroad, whither he set out a stripling, should, on all occasions, break out into raptures, whenever they mention THEIR brother?-Well may Miss Grandison despise her lovers, when she thinks of him and of them at the same time.
Sunday. Sir Charles is in town, we hear; came thither but last night-Nay, for that matter, his sisters are more vexed at him than I am.-But what pretence have I to be disturbed? But I say of him as I do of Lady D he is so good, that one would be willing to stand well with him.-Then is he my brother, you know.
AFTER Sir Charles had inspected into everything in this house, and taken minutes of papers, letters, writings, &c. and locked up the plate, and other valuables, in one room, he ordered his servants to carry into Mrs Oldham's apartment all that belonged to her; and gave her the key of that; and directed the housekeeper to be assisting to her in the removal of them, at her own time and pleasure, and to suffer her to come and go, at all times, with freedom and civility, as if she had never left the house, were his words.
How the poor woman curtseyed and wept! The dear girls, I am afraid, then envied herand perhaps expressed a grudging spirit; for they said, this was their brother's address to them at the time :
You may look upon the justice I aim at doing to persons who can claim only justice from me, as an earnest, that I will do more than justice to my beloved sisters; and you should have been the first to have found the fruits of the love I bear you, had I not been afraid, that prudence would have narrowed my intentions. The moment I know what I can do, I will do it; and I request you to hope largely; if I have ability, I will exceed your hopes.
My dear sisters, continued he, and took one hand of each, I am sorry, for your spirits' sake, that you are left in my power. The best of women was always afraid it would be so. But the moment I can, I will give you an absolute independence on your brother, that your actions and conduct may be all your own.
Surely, sir, said Caroline, (and they both wept,) we must think it the highest felicity,
that we are in the power of such a brother. As to our spirits, sir
She would have said more; but could not; and Charlotte took it up where her sister left off. Best of brothers! said she-our spirits shall, as much as possible, (I can answer for both,) be guided hereafter by yours. Forgive what you have seen amiss in us-But we desire to depend upon our good behaviour. We cannot, we will not, be independent of you.
We will talk of these matters, replied he, when we can do more than talk. I will ask you, Caroline, after your inclinations; and you, Charlotte, after yours, in the same hour that I know what I can do for you both, in the way of promoting them. Enter, meantime, upon your measures; reckon upon my best assistance; banish suspense. One of my first pleasures will be, to see you both happily married.
They did not say, when they related this to me, that they threw themselves at his feet, as to their better father, as well as brother: but I fancy they did.
He afterwards, at parting with Mrs Oldham, said, I would be glad to know, madam, how you dispose of yourself: every unhappy person has a right to the good offices of those who are less embarrassed. When you are settled, pray let me know the manner : and if you acquaint me with the state of your affairs, and what you propose to do for and with those who are entitled to your first care, your confidence in me will not be misplaced.
And pray, and pray, asked I of the ladies, what said Mrs Oldham? How did she behave upon this?
Our Harriet is strangely taken with Mrs Oldham's story, said Miss Grandison-Why, she wept plentifully, you may be sure. She clasped her hands, and kneeled to pray to God to bless him, and all that-She could not do otherwise.
See, Lucy!-But am I, my grandmamma, am I, my aunt, to blame? Is it inconsistent with the strictest virtue to be charmed with such a story?-May not virtue itself pity the lapsed? -O yes, it may! I am sure, you, and Sir Charles Grandison, will say it may. A while ago, I thought myself a poor creature, compared to these two ladies; but now I believe I am as good as they in some things.-But they had not such a grandmamma and aunt as I am blessed with: they lost their excellent mother, while they were young; and their brother is but lately come over and his superior excellence, like sunshine, breaking out on a sudden, finds out, and brings to sight, those spots and freckles, that were hardly before discoverable.
Sir Charles desired Mrs Oldham would give in writing what she proposed to do for herself, and for those who were under her care. She did, at her first opportunity. It was, that she purposed going to London, for the sake of the young
people's education: of turning into money what jewels, clothes, and plate, she should think above her then situation in life: of living retired in a little genteel house: and she gave in an estimate of her worth; to what amount the ladies knew not but this they know, that their brother allows her an annuity, for the sake of her sons by his father: and they doubt not but he will be still kinder to them, when they are old enough to be put into the world.
This the ladies think an encouragement to a guilty life. I will not dare to pronounce upon it, because I may be thought partial to the generous man; but should be glad of my uncle's opinion. This, however, may be said, that Sir Charles Grandison has no vices of his own to cover by the extensiveness of his charity and beneficence; and if it be not goodness in him to do thus, it is greatness; and this, if it be not praiseworthy, is the first instance that I have known goodness and greatness of soul separable.
The brother and sisters went down, after this, to Grandison-Hall; and Sir Charles had reason to be pleased with the good order in which he found everything there.
THE next thing the ladies mentioned was, Sir Charles's management with the two stewards.
I will not aim at being very particular in this part of the family history.
When Sir Charles found that his father had
left the inspection of each steward's account to the other, he entered into the examination of the whole himself; and though he allowed them several disputable and unproved charges, he brought them to acknowledge a much greater balance in his favour, than they had made themselves debtors for. This was the use he made of detecting them, to his sisters.-You see, sisters, that my father was not so profuse as some people thought him. He had partners in his estate; and I have reason to think that he often paid interest for his own money.
On his settling with Filmer, the treaty with Miss Obrien came out. Mr Filmer had, by surprise, brought that beautiful girl into Sir Charles's presence; and he owned to his sisters, that she was a very lovely creature.
But when the mother and aunt found, that he only admired her as a man would a fine picture, they insisted that Sir Thomas had promised to marry Miss Obrien privately; and produced two of his letters to her, that seemed to give ground for such an expectation. Sir Charles was grieved, for the sake of his father's memory, at this trans
action; and much more, on finding that the unhappy man went down to his seat in Essex, his head and heart full of this scheme, when he was struck with his last illness.
A meeting was proposed by Filmer, between Sir Charles, the mother, the aunt, and himself, at the aunt's house in Pall Mall. Sir Charles was very desirous to conceal his father's frailty from the world. He met them: but, before he entered into discourse, made it his request to be allowed half an hour's conversation with Miss Obrien by herself; at the same time, praising, as it deserved, her beauty.
They were in hopes, that she would be able to make an impression on the heart of so young and so lively a man, and complied. Under pre- · tence of preparing her for so unexpected a visit, her aunt gave her her cue: but, instead of her captivating him, he brought her to such confessions, as sufficiently let him into the baseness of their views.
He returned to company, the young woman in his hand. He represented to the mother the wickedness of the part she had come over to act, in such strong terms, that she fell into a fit. The aunt was terrified. The young creature wept; and vowed that she would be honest.
Sir Charles told them, that if they would give him up his father's two letters, and make a solemn promise never to open their lips on the affair, and would procure for her an honest husband, he would give her 1000%. on the day of marriage; and, if she made a good wife, would be farther kind to her.
Filmer was very desirous to clear himself of having any hand in the blacker part of this plot. Sir Charles did not seem solicitous to detect and expose him; but left the whole upon his conscience. And, having made before several objections to his accounts, which could not be so well obviated in England, he went over to Ireland with Filmer; and there very speedily settled everything to his own satisfaction; and, dismissing him more genteelly than he deserved, took upon himself the management of that estate, directing several obvious improvements to be made; which are likely to turn to great
On his return, he heard that Miss Obrien was ill of the small-pox. He was not, for her own sake, sorry for it. She suffered in her face, but still was pretty and genteel: and she is now the honest and happy wife of a tradesman near Golden-square, who is very fond of her. Sir Charles gave with her the promised sum, and 1007. more for wedding-clothes.
One part of her happiness and her husband's, is, that her aunt, supposing she had disgraced herself by this match, never comes near her: and her mother is returned to Ireland to her husband, greatly dissatisfied with her daughter on the same account.
While these matters were agitating, Sir Charles forgot not to inquire what steps had been taken with regard to the alliance proposed between himself and Lady Frances N
He paid his first visit to the father and brother of that lady.
All that the sisters know of the matter, is, that the treaty was, on this first visit, entirely broken off. Their brother, however, speaks of the lady, and of the whole family, with great respect. The lady is known to esteem him highly. Her father, her brother, speak of him everywhere with great regard: Lord N-calls him the finest young gentleman in England. And so, Lucy, I believe he is. Sir Charles Grandison, Lord N- once said, knows better by non-compliance, how to create friendships, than most men do by compliance.
Lady L― and Miss Grandison, who, as I have before intimated, favour another lady, once said to him, that the Earl and his son Lord Nwere so constantly speaking in his praise, that they could not but think that it would at last be a match between him and Lady Frances. His answer was, The lady is infinitely deserving: but it cannot be.
I am ready to wish, he would say, what can be, that we need not-Ah, Lucy!-I know not what I would say; but so it will always be with silly girls, that distinguish not between the would and the should: one of which, is your HARRIET BYRON.
I WILL proceed with the family history.
Sir Charles forgot not, on his arrival in England, to pay an early visit to Lord W—, his mother's brother, who was then at his house near Windsor.
I have told you, that my lord had conceived a dislike to him; and that for no other reason but because his father loved him. Lord Wwas laid up with the gout when he came; but he was instantly admitted to his stately presence. The first salutations, on one side, were respectful; on the other, coldly civil. My lord often surveyed his kinsman from head to foot, as he sat; as if he were loath to like him, I suppose; yet knew not how to help it. He found fault with Sir Thomas. Sir Charles told him, that it was a very ungrateful thing to him to hear his father spoken slightly of. He desired his lordship to forbear reflections of that sort. My father, said he, is no more. I desire not to be made a party in any disputes that may have happened between him and your lordship. I come