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Miss Gr. Spiteful too! My life to a farthing, you pay for this, Harriet !-But, child, I was not in love-Ah! Harriet! That gentleman in Northamptonshire-Did you think we should

not find you out?

This heartened me a little.

Har. O, madam! do you think to come at anything by such methods as this? I ought to have been aware of Miss Grandison's alarming ways.

Miss Gr. You pay for this, also, Harriet. Did you not say, that I should take the reins, Lady L-? I will have no mercy on our younger sister for this abominable affectation and reserve.

Har. And so, ladies, I suppose you think, that Mr Orme

Lady L. Take the reins, Charlotte, (making a motion, with a sweet pretty air, with her handkerchief, as if she tossed her something,) I myself, Harriet, am against you now. I wanted a trial of that frankness of heart, for which I have heard you so much commended; and, surely, you might have shewed it, if to any persons living, to your two sisters.

Miss Gr. No more, no more, Lady L. Have you not left her to me? I will punish her. You will have too much lenity.--And now, tell me, Harriet-Don't you love Mr Orme better than any man you ever yet saw?

Har. Indeed I do not.

Miss Gr. Whom do you love better, Harriet?
Har. Pray, Miss Grandison !

Miss Gr. And pray, Miss Byron ! Har. Resume the reins, Lady L- Pray do!-Miss Grandison has no mercy!-Yet met with a great deal yester

Miss Gr. Yesterday?-Very well!-But then I was ingenuous

Har. And am not I?-Pray, Lady L-.
Lady L. I think not-

And she seemed a little too cruelly to enjoy the flutter I was in.

Miss Gr. And you say, that there is no one gentleman in Northamptonshire

Har. What is the meaning of this, ladies? But I do assure you there is not

Miss Gr. See, Lady L, there are some questions that the girl can answer readily enough. I believe I looked serious. I was silent. Indeed my very soul was vexed.

Miss Gr. Ay, Harriet, be sullen-Don't answer any questions at all. That's your only way, now; and then we go no farther, you know. But tell me-Don't you repent, that you have given a denial to Lady D-?

Har. I won't be sullen, ladies. Yet I am not pleased to be thus

Miss Gr. Then own yourself a woman, Harriet; and that, in some certain instances, you have both affectation and reserve. There are some cases, my dear, in which it is impossible but a woman must be guilty of affectation.


Har. Well, then, suppose I am. I never pretended to be clear of the foibles which you impute to the sex. I am a weak, a very weak creature; you see I am

And I put my hand in my pocket for my handkerchief.

Miss Gr. Ay, weep, love. My sister has heard me say, that I never in my life saw a girl so lovely in tears.

Har. What have I done to deserve Miss Gr. Such a compliment!-Hay?-But you shan't weep neither.-Why, why, is this subject so affecting, Harriet?

Har. You surprise me !-Parted with you but an hour or two ago—and nothing of these reproaches. And now, all at once, both ladiesMiss Gr. Reproaches, Harriet!

Har. I believe so. I don't know what else to call them.

Miss Gr. What is it a reproach to be taxed with love?

Har. But the manner, madam

Miss Gr. The manner you are taxed with it, is the thing then ?-Well, putting on a grave look, and assuming a softer accent-You are in love, however; but with whom? is the question Are we, your sisters, entitled to know with whom?


Surely, ladies, thought I, you have something to say, that will make me amends for all this intolerable teazing; and yet my proud heart, whatever it were to be, swelled a little, that they should think that would be such high amends, which, however, I by myself, communing only with my own heart, would have thought so.

Lady L. Coming to me, and taking my hand. Let me tell you, our dearest Harriet, that you are the most insensible girl in the world, if you are not in love-And now what say you?

Har. Perhaps I do know, ladies, enough of the passion, to wish to be less alarmingly treated. They then sitting down, on either side of me ; each took a hand of the trembling fool.

I think I will resume the reins, Charlotte, said the Countess. We are both cruel. But tell us, my lovely sister, in one word tell your Caroline, tell your Charlotte, if you have any confidence in our love, (and indeed we love you, or we would not have teazed you as we have done,) if there be not one man in the world whom you love above all men in it?

I was silent. I looked down. I had, in the same moment, an ague, in its cold, and its hot fit. They vouchsafed, each, to press with her lips the passive hand each held.

Be not afraid to speak out, my dear, said Miss Grandison. Assure yourself of my love; my true sisterly love. I once intended to lead the way to the opening of your heart by the discovery of my own, before my brother, as I hoped, could have found me out-but nothing can be hid

Madam! ladies! said I, and stood up in a

hurry, and, in as great a discomposure, sat down again-your brother has not, could not-I would die before.

Miss Gr. Amiable delicacy !-He has notbut say you, Harriet, he could not?-If you would not be teazed, don't aim at reserves-but think you, that we could not see, on an hundred occasions, your heart at your eyes?—That we could not affix a proper meaning to those sudden throbs just here, patting my neck; those half-suppressed, but always involuntary sighs[I sighed]-Ay, just such as that-[I was confounded-But, to be serious, we do assure you, Harriet, that had we not thought ourselves under some little obligation to Lady Anne Swe should have talked to you before on this subject. The friends of that lady have been very solicitous with us—and Lady Anne is not


Har. Dear ladies! withdrawing the hand that Miss Grandison held, and taking out my handkerchief; you say, you love me!-Won't you despise whom you love?—I do own

There I stopt; and dried my eyes. Lady L. What does my Harriet own? Har. O madam! had I a greater opinion of my own merit, than I have reason to have, (and I never had so little a one, as since I have known you two,) I could open to you, without reserve, my whole heart-but one request I have to make you you must grant it.

They both in a breath asked what that was. Har. It is, that you will permit your chariot to carry me to town this very afternoon-and long shall not that town hold your Harriet-Indeed, indeed, ladies, I cannot now ever look your brother in the face—and you will also both despise me! I know you will!

Sweet, and as seasonable as sweet, (for I was very much affected,) were the assurances they gave me of their continued love.

Miss Gr. We have talked with our brother this morning

Har. About me! I hope he has not a notion, that-There I stopt.

Lady L. You were mentioned; but we intend not to alarm you farther. We will tell you what passed. Lady Anne was our subject. I was all attention.

Miss Gr. We asked him if he had any thoughts of marriage? The question came in properly. enough from the subject that preceded it. He was silent; but sighed, and looked grave.[Why did Sir Charles Grandison sigh, Lucy?

We repeated the question. You told us, brother, said I, that you do not intend to resume the treaty begun by my father for Lady Frances N. What think you of Lady Anne S-? We need not mention to you how considerable her fortune is; what an enlargement it would give to your power of doing good; nor what her disposition and qualities are; her person is far from being disagreeable; and she has a great esteem for you.

I think Lady Anne a very agreeable woman, replied he; but if she honours me with a preferable esteem, she gives me a regret; because it is not in my power to return it. Not in your power, brother?

It is not in my power to return it.

O Lucy! how my heart fluttered! The ague fit came on again; and I was hot and cold, as before, almost in the same moment.

They told me, they would not teaze me farther. But these are subjects that cannot be touched upon without raising emotion in the bosom of a person who hopes, and is uncertain. O the cruelty of suspense! How every new instance of it tears in pieces my before almost bursting heart!

Miss Gr. My brother went on-You have often hinted to me at distance this subject. I will not, as I might, answer your question, now so directly put, by saying, that it is my wish to see you, Charlotte, happily married, before I engage myself. But, perhaps, I shall be better enabled some time hence, than I am at present, to return such an answer as you may expect from a brother.

Now, my Harriet, we are afraid, by the words, not in his power; and by the hint, that he cannot at present answer our question as he may be enabled to do some time hence; we are afraid, that some foreign lady

They had raised my hopes; and now, exciting my fears by so well-grounded an apprehension, they were obliged for their pains to hold Lady L's salts to my nose. I could not help exposing myself; my heart having been weakened too by their teazings before. My head dropt on the shoulder of Miss Grandison. Tears relieved


I desired their pity. They assured me of their love; and called upon me, as I valued their friendship, to open my whole heart to them.

I paused. I hesitated. Words did not immediately offer themselves. But, at last, I said, Could I have thought myself entitled to your excuse, ladies, your Harriet, honoured as she was, from the first, with the appellation of sister, would have had no reserve to her sisters; but a just consciousness of my own unworthiness overcame a temper, that, I will say, is naturally frank and unreserved. Now, however

There I stopt, and held down my head. Lady L. Speak out, my dear-What nowMiss Gr. What now, however— Har. Thus called upon; thus encouraged and I lifted up my head as boldly as I could, (but it was not, I believe, very boldly,) I will own, that the man, who by so signal an instance of his bravery and goodness engaged my gratitude, has possession of my whole heart.

And then, almost unknowing what I did, I threw one of my arms, as I sat between them, round Lady L- -'s neck, the other round Miss Grandison's; my glowing face seeking to hide itself in Lady L's bosom.

They both embraced me, and assured me of their united interest. They said, they knew I had also Dr Bartlett's high regard; but that they had in vain sought to procure new lights from him; he constantly, in everything that related to their brother, referring himself to him: and they assured me, that I had likewise the best wishes and interest of Lord L-to the fullest


This, Lucy, is some-consolation-must I say?-some ease to my pride, as to what the family think of me: but yet, how is that pride mortified, to be thus obliged to rejoice at the strengthening of hope to obtain an interest in the heart of a man, of whose engagements none of us know anything! but if, at last, it shall prove, that that worthiest of hearts is disengaged; and if I can obtain an interest in it; be pride out of the question! The man, as my aunt wrote, is Sir Charles Grandison.

I was very earnest to know, since my eyes had been such tell-tales, if their brother had any suspicion of my regard for him.

They could not, they said, either from his words or behaviour, gather that he had. He had not been so much with me as they had been. Nor would they wish that he should suspect me. The best of men, they said, loved to have difficulties to conquer. Their brother, generous as he was, was a man.

Yet, Lucy, I thought at the time of what he said at Sir Hargrave Pollexfen's, as recited by the short-hand writer-That he would not marry the greatest princess on earth, if he were not assured, that she loved him above all the men

in it.

I fancy, my dear, that we women, when we love, and are doubtful, suffer a great deal in the apprehension, at one time, of disgusting the object of our passion by too forward a love; and, at another, of disobliging him by too great a reserve. Don't you think so?

The ladies said, they were extremely solicitous to see their brother married. They wished it were to me, rather than to any other woman; and kindly added, that I had their hearts, even at the time when Lady Anne, by a kind of previous engagement, had their voices.

And then they told me, what their brother said of me, with the hint of which they began this alarming conversation.

When my brother had let us know, said Miss Grandison, that it was not in his power to return a preferable esteem for a like esteem, if Lady Anne honoured him with it: I said-if Lady Anne had as many advantages to boast of, as Miss Byron has, could you then, brother, like Lady Anne?

Miss Byron, replied he, is a charming wo


Lady L (slily enough, continued Miss Grandison,) said, Miss Byron is one of the prettiest women I ever beheld. I never saw in any

face, youth and dignity, and sweetness of aspect, so happily blended.

On this occasion, Lucy, my vanity may, I hope, revive, so long as I repeat only, and repeat justly.


Forgive me, Lady L, replied my brother-But as Alexander would be drawn only by Apelles; so would I say to all those who leave mind out of the description of Miss Byron, that they are not to describe her. This young lady" [you may look proud, Harriet!" has united in her face, feature, complexion, grace, and expression, which very few women, even of those who are most celebrated for beauty, have singly in equal degree; but, what is infinitely more valuable, she has a heart that is equally pure and open. She has a fine mind: and it is legible in her face. Have you not observed, Charlotte, added he, what intelligence her very silence promises? And yet, when she speaks, she never disappoints the most raised expectation." I was speechless, Lucy.

Well, brother, continued Miss GrandisonIf there is not everything you say in Miss Byron's face and mind, there seems to me little less than the warmth of love in the descriptionYou are another Apelles, sir, if his colours were the most glowing of those of all painters.

My eyes had the assurance to ask Miss Grandison, what answer he returned to this? She saw they had.

Åh, Harriet! smiling-That's a meaning look, with all its bashfulness. This was my brother's answer-" Everybody must love Miss Byron-You know, Charlotte, that I presented her to you, and you to her, as a third sister: and what man better loves his sisters, than your brother?"

We both looked down, Harriet; but not quite so silly and so disappointed, as you now lookDear Miss Grandison !

Well, then, another time, don't let your eyes ask questions, instead of your lips.

Third sister! my Lucy. Indeed I believe I looked silly enough. To say the truth, I was disappointed.

Har. And this was all that passed? You hear by my questions, ladies, that my lips will keep my eyes in countenance.

Miss Gr. It was; for he retired as soon as he had said this.

Har. How retired, madam ?-Any discompo-You laugh at my folly; at my presumption, perhaps.

They both smiled. No, I can't say that there seemed to be, either in his words or manner, any distinguishing emotion; any great discompo-He was about to retire before.

Well, ladies, I will only say, that the best thing I can do, is to borrow a chariot and six, and drive away to Northamptonshire.

But why so, Harriet?

Because it is impossible but I must suffer in

your brother's opinion, every time he sees me, and that whether I am silent or speaking.

They made me fine compliments: but they would indeed have been fine ones, could they have made them from their brother.

Well, but, Lucy, don't you think, that, had Sir Charles Grandison meant anything, he would not have expressed himself to his sisters in such high terms, before he had said one very distinguishing thing to me? Let me judge by myself -Men and women, I believe, are so much alike, that, put custom, tyrant custom, out of the question, the meaning of the one may be generally guessed at by that of the other, in cases where the heart is concerned. What civil, what polite things could I allow myself to say to and of Mr Orme, and Mr Fowler! How could I praise the honesty and goodness of their hearts, and declare my pity for them! And why? Because I meant nothing more by it all, than a warmer kind of civility; that I was not afraid to let go, as their merits pulled-And now, methinks, I can better guess, than I could till now, at what Mr Greville meant, when he wished me to declare, that I hated him-Sly wretch!-since the woman who uses a man insolently in courtship, certainly makes that man of more importance to her than she would wish him to think himself.

But why am I studious to torment myself? What will be, must. "Who knows, what Providence has designed for Sir Charles Grandison?" -May he be happy!-But indeed, my Lucy, your Harriet is much otherwise at this time.



I WILL not let you lose the substance of a very agreeable conversation, which we had on Tues day night after supper. You may be sure, Lucy, I thought it the more agreeable, as Sir Charles was drawn in to bear a considerable part in it. It would be impossible to give you more than passages, because the subjects were various, and the transitions so quick, by one person asking this question, another that, that I could not, were I to try, connect them as I endeavour generally to do.

Of one subject, Lucy, I particularly owe you

some account.

Miss Grandison, in her lively way, (and lively she was, notwithstanding her trial so lately over,) led me into talking of the detested masquerade. She put me upon recollecting the giddy scene, which those dreadfully interesting ones that followed it, had made me wish to blot out of my memory.

I spared you at the time, Harriet, said she. I asked you no questions about the masquerade,

when you flew to us first, poor frighted bird! with all your gay plumage about you.

I coloured a deep crimson, I believe. What were Sir Charles's first thoughts of me, Lucy, in that fantastic, that hated dress? The simile of the bird too, was his, you know; and Charlotte looked very archly.

My dear Miss Grandison, spare me still. Let me forget, that ever I presumptuously ventured into such a scene of folly.

Do not call it by harsh names, Miss Byron, said Sir Charles. We are too much obliged to it.

Can I, Sir Charles, call it by too harsh a name, when I think, how fatal, in numberless ways, the event might have proved! But I do not speak only with reference to that. Don't think, my dear Miss Grandison, that my dislike to myself, and to this foolish diversion, springs altogether from what befel me. I had on the spot the same contempts, the same disdain of myself, the same dislike of all those who seemed capable of joy on the light, the foolish occasion.

My good Charlotte, said Sir Charles, smiling, is less timorous than her younger sister. She might be persuaded, I fancy, to venture

Under your conduct, Sir Charles, smiling. You know, Lady L and I, who have not yet had an opportunity of this sort, were trying to engage you against the next subscriptionball.

Indeed, said Lady L, our Harriet's distress has led me into reflections I never made before on this kind of diversion; and I fancy her account of it will perfectly satisfy my curiosity.

Sir Ch. Proceed, good Miss Byron. I am as curious as your sisters, to hear what you say of it. The scene was quite new to you. You probably expected entertainment from it. Forget for a while the accidental consequences, and tell us how you were at the time amused.

Amused, Sir Charles !-Indeed I had no opinion of the diversion, even before I went. I knew I should despise it. I knew I should often wish myself at home before the evening were over. And so indeed I did; I whispered my cousin Reeves more than once, O madam! this is sad, this is intolerable, stuff! This place is one great Bedlam! Good Heaven! Could there be in this one town so many creatures devoid of reason, as are here got together? I hope we are all here.

Yet you see, said Miss Grandison, however Lady L is, or seems to be, instantaneously reformed, there were two, who would gladly have been there: the more, you may be sure, for its having been a diversion prohibited to us, at our first coming to town. Sir Charles lived long in the land of masquerades-O my dear! we used to please ourselves with hopes, that when he was permitted to come over to England, we should see golden days under his auspices.

Sir Ch. [Smiling.] Will you accompany us to the next subscription-ball, Miss Byron ?

I, Sir Charles, should be inexcusable, if I thought

Miss Gr. [Interrupting, and looking archly. Not under our brother's conduct, Harriet.

Indeed, my dear Miss Grandison, had the diversion not been prohibited, had you once seen the wild, the senseless confusion, you would think just as I do: and you will have one stronger reason against countenancing it by your presence; for who, at this rate, shall make the stand of virtue and decorum, if such ladies as Miss Grandison and Lady L- do not?But I speak of the common masquerades, which I believe are more disorderly. I was disgusted at the freedoms taken with me, though but the common freedoms of the place, by persons who singled me from the throng, hurried me round the rooms, and engaged me in fifty idle conversations; and to whom, by the privilege of the place, I was obliged to be bold, pert, saucy, and to aim at repartee and smartness; the current wit of that witless place. They once got me into a country dance. No prude could come, or if she came, could be a prude there.

Sir Ch. Were you not pleased, Miss Byron, with the first coup d'œil of that gay apart


A momentary pleasure; but when I came to reflect, the bright light, striking on my tinsel dress, made me seem to myself the more conspicuous fool. Let me be kept in countenance as I might, by scores of still more ridiculous figures, what, thought I, are other people's follies to me? Am I to make an appearance that shall want the countenance of the vainest, if not the silliest, part of the creation? What would my good grandfather have thought, could he have seen his Harriet, the girl (excuse me; they were my thoughts at the time) whose mind he took pains to form and enlarge, mingling, in a habit so preposterously rich and gaudy, with a crowd of satyrs, harlequins, scaramouches, fawns, and dryads: nay, of witches and devils; the graver habits striving which should most disgrace the characters they assumed, and every one endeavouring to be thought the direct contrary of what he or she appeared to be!

Miss Gr. Well then, the devils, at least, must have been charming creatures!

Lady L. But, Sir Charles, might not a masquerade, if decorum were observed, and every one would support with wit and spirit the as

sumed character

Mr Gr. Devils and all, Lady L——— ? Lady L. It is contrary to decorum for such shocking characters to be assumed at all: but might it not, Sir Charles, so regulated, be a rational, and an almost instructive, entertainment?

Sir Ch. You would scarcely be able, my dear sister, to collect eight or nine hundred peo

ple, all wits, and all observant of decorum. And if you could, does not the example reach down to those who are capable of taking only the bad and dangerous part of a diversion: which you may see, by every common newspaper, is become dreadfully general?

Mr Gr. Well, Sir Charles, and why should not the poor devils in low life divert themselves as well as their betters? For my part, I rejoice when I see advertised an eighteen-penny masquerade, for all the pretty 'prentice souls, who will that evening be Arcadian shepherdesses, goddesses, and queens.

Miss Gr. What low profligate scenes couldst thou expatiate upon, good man! if thou wert in proper company! I warrant those goddesses have not wanted an adorer in our cousin Everard.

Mr Gr. Dear Miss Charlotte, take care! I protest you begin to talk with the spite of an old maid.

Miss Gr. There, brother! Do you hear the wretch? Will not you, knight-errant like, defend the cause of a whole class of distressed damsels, with our good Yorkshire aunt at the head of them?

Sir. Ch. Those general prejudices and aspersions, Charlotte, are indeed unjust and cruel. Yet I am for having everybody marry, Bachelors, cousin Everard, and maids, when long single, are looked upon as houses long empty, which nobody cares to take. As the house in time, by long disuse, will be thought by the vulgar haunted by evil spirits, so will the others, by the many, be thought possessed by no good ones.

The transition was somehow made from hence to the equitableness that ought to be in our judgments of one another. We must in these cases, said Sir Charles, throw merit in one scale, demerit in the other; and if the former weigh down the latter, we must in charity pronounce to the person's advantage. So it is humbly hoped we shall finally be judged ourselves: for who is faultless?

Yet, said he, for my own part, that I may not be wanting to prudence, I have sometimes, where the merit is not very striking, allowed persons, at first acquaintance, a short lease only in my good opinion; some for three, some for six, some for nine, others for twelve months, renewable or not, as they answer expectation. And by this means, I leave it to every one to make his own character with me; I preserve my charity, and my complacency; and enter directly, with frankness, into conversation with him; and generally continue that freedom to the end of the respective person's lease.

Miss Gr. I wonder how many of your leases, brother, have been granted to ladies?

Sir Ch. Many, Charlotte, of the friendly sort: but the kind you archly mean, are out of the question at present. We were talking of esteem.

This insensibly led the conversation to love

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