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Walter, or of Lord G, if your heart declare not in favour of either. You have sometimes thought me earnest in behalf of Lord G But I have never spoken in his favour, but when you have put me upon answering objections to him, which I have thought insufficient; and indeed, Charlotte, some of your objections have been so slight, that I was ready to believe, you put them for the pleasure of having them answered.
My Charlotte need not doubt of admirers, wherever she sets her foot. And I repeat, that whoever be the man she inclines to favour, she may depend upon the approbation and good offices of Her ever affectionate brother,
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Friday, March 17.
I SEND you enclosed, (to be returned by the first opportunity,) Sir Charles's letter to his sister, acquainting her with the happy conclusion of the affair between Captain Anderson and her. Her brother, as you will see, acquits her not of precipitation. If he did, it would have been an impeachment of his justice. O the dear Charlotte! how her pride is piqued at the meanness of the man!-But no more of this subject, as the letter is before you.
And now, my dear and honoured friends, let me return you a thousand thanks for the great packet of my letters, just sent me, with a most indulgent one from my aunt, and another from my uncle.
I have already put into the two ladies' hands, and my lord's, without reserve, all the letters that reach to the masquerade affair, from the time of my setting out for London; and when they have read those, I have promised them more. This confidence has greatly obliged them ; and they are employed, with no small earnestness, in perusing them.
This gives me an opportunity of pursuing my own devices-And what, besides scribbling, do you think one of them is?—A kind of persecution of Dr Bartlett; by which, however, I suspect, that I myself am the greatest sufferer. He is an excellent man; and I make no difficulty of going to him in his closet, encouraged by his assurances of welcome.
Let me stop to say, my Lucy, that when I approach this good man in his retirement, surrounded by his books, his table generally covered with those on pious subjects, I, in my heart, congratulate the saint, and inheritor of future
glory; and, in that great view, am the more desirous to cultivate his friendship.
And what do you think is our subject? Sir Charles, I suppose, you guess-And so it is, either in the middle or latter end of the few conversations we have yet had time to hold; but, I do assure you, we begin with the sublimest; though I must say, to my shame, that it has not so much of my heart, at present, as once it had, and I hope again will one day have. The great and glorious truths of Christianity are this subject; which yet, from this good Dr Bartlett, warms my heart, as often as he enters into it. But this very subject, sublime as it is, brings on the other, as of consequence; for Sir Charles Grandison, without making any ostentatious pretension to religion, is the very Christian in practice, that these doctrines teach a man to be. Must not then the doctrines introduce the mention of a man, who endeavours humbly to imitate the divine example? It was upon good grounds, he once said, that, as he must one day die, it was matter of no moment to him, whether it were to-morrow, or forty years hence.
The ladies had referred me to the Doctor himself for a more satisfactory account than they had given me, how Sir Charles and he first came acquainted. I told him so, and asked his indulgence to me in this inquiry.
He took it kindly. He had, he said, the history of it written down. His nephew, whom he often employs as his amanuensis, should make me out, from that little history, an account of it, which I might shew, he was pleased to say, to such of my select friends as I entrusted with the knowledge of my own heart.
I shall impatiently expect the abstract of this little history; and the more, as the Doctor tells me, there will be included some particulars of Sir Charles's behaviour abroad in his younger life, and of Mr Beauchamp, whom the Doctor speaks of with love, as his patron's dearest friend, and whom he calls a second Sir Charles Grandison.
SEE, my Lucy, the reward of frankness of heart. My communicativeness has been already encouraged with the perusal of two letters from the same excellent man to Dr Bartlett; to whom, from early days, (as I shall be soon more particularly informed,) he has given an account
of all his conduct and movements.
The Doctor drew himself in, however, by reading to Lord L—— and the ladies, and me, a paragraph or two out of one of them; and he has even allowed me to give my grandmamma and aunt a sight of them. Return them, Lucy, with the other letter, by the very next post. He says, he can deny me nothing. I wish I may not be too bold with him. As for Miss Grandison, she vows, that she will not let the good
man rest till she gets him to communicate what he shall not absolutely declare to be a secret, to us three sisters, and my Lord L. If the first man, she says, could not resist one woman, how will the Doctor deal with three, not one of them behind hand with the first in curiosity, and all loving him, and whom he professes to esteem? You see, Lucy, that Miss Grandison has pretty well got up her spirits again.
JUST now, Miss Grandison has related to me a conversation that passed between my Lord and Lady L, herself, and Dr Bartlett; in which the subject was their brother and I. The ladies and my lord are entirely in my interests, and regardful of my punctilio. They roundly told the Doctor, that, being extremely earnest to have their brother marry, they knew not the person living, whom they wished to call his wife preferably to Miss Byron, could they be sure that I were absolutely disengaged. Now, Doctor, said Miss Grandison, tell us frankly, what is your opinion of our choice for a more than nominal sister?
I will make no apologies, Lucy, for repeating all that was repeated to me of this conversation. Lord L. Ay, my good Dr Bartlett, let us have your free opinion.
Dr B. Miss Byron (I pronounce upon knowledge, for she has more than once, since I have been down, done me the honour of entering into very free and serious conversations with me) is
one of the most excellent of women.
And then he went on, praising me for ingenuousness, seriousness, cheerfulness, and for other good qualities, which his partiality found out in me; and added, Would to Heaven that she were neither more nor less than Lady Grandison!
God bless him! thought I. Don't you join, my Lucy, to say at this place, you, who love me so dearly, God bless you, Dr Bartlett?
Lady L. Well, but Doctor, you say that Miss Byron talks freely with you; cannot you gather from her, whether she is inclined to marriage? Whether she is absolutely disengaged? Lady D made a proposal to her for Lord Dand insisted on an answer to this very question: that matter is gone off. As our guest, we would not have Miss Byron think us impertinent. She is very delicate. And as she is so amiably frankhearted, those things she chooses not to mention of her own accord, one would not, you know, officiously put to her.
This was a little too much affected. Don't you think so, Lucy? The Doctor, it is evident by his answer, did.
Dr B. It is not likely that such a subject can arise between Miss Byron and me: and it is strange, methinks, that ladies calling each other sisters, should not be absolutely mistresses of this question.
Lord L. Very right, Dr Bartlett. But ladies will, in these points, take a compass before they explain themselves. A man of Dr Bartlett's penetration and uprightness, ladies, should not be treated with distance. We are of opinion, Doctor, that Miss Byron, supposing that she is absolutely disengaged, could make no difficulty to prefer my brother to all the men in the world. What think you?
Dr B. I have no doubt of it: She thinks herself under obligation to him. She is goodness itself. She must love goodness. Sir Charles's person, his vivacity, his address, his understanding-What woman would not prefer him to all the men she ever saw? He has met with admirers among the sex in every nation in which he has set his foot: [Ah, Lucy! You, ladies, must have seen, forgive me, (bowing to each,) that Miss Byron has a more than grateful respect for your brother.
Miss Gr. We think so, Doctor; and wanted to know if you did: and so, as my lord says, fetched a little compass about, which we should not have done to you. But you say, that my brother has had numbers of admirers. Pray, Doctor, is there any one lady, (we imagine there is,) that he has preferred to another, in the different nations he has travelled through?
Lord L. Ay, Doctor, we want to know this; and if you thought there were not, we should make no scruple to explain ourselves, as well to Miss Byron, as to my brother.
Don't you long to know what answer the Doctor returned to this, Lucy? I was out of breath with impatience, when Miss Grandison repeated it to me.
The Doctor hesitated-and at last said, I wish, with all my heart, Miss Byron could be Lady Grandison.
Miss Gr. COULD be?-Could be, said each. And, COULD be? said the fool to Miss Grandison, when she repeated it, her heart quite sunk.
Dr B. Smiling. You hinted, ladies, that you are not sure that Miss Byron is absolutely disengaged. But, to be open, and above-board, I have reason to believe, that your brother would be concerned, if he knew it, that you should think of putting such a question as this to anybody but himself. Why don't you? He once complained to me that he was afraid his sisters looked upon him as a reserved man, and condescended to call upon me to put him right, if I thought his appearance such as would give you grounds for the surmise. There are two or three affairs of intricacy that he is engaged in, and particularly one, that hangs in suspense'; and he would not be fond, I believe, of mentioning it, till he can do it with certainty; but else, ladies, there is not a more frank-hearted man in the world, than your brother.
See, Lucy, how cautious we ought to be in passing judgment on the actions of others, espe
cially on those of good men, when we want to fasten blame upon them; perhaps with a low view, (envying their superior worth,) to bring them down to our own level!-For are we not all apt to measure the merits of others by our own standard, and to give praise or dispraise to actions or sentiments, as they square with our own?
Lord L. Perhaps, Dr Bartlett, you don't think yourself at liberty to answer whether these particular affairs are of such a nature as will interfere with the hopes we have of bringing to effect a marriage between my brother and Miss Byron ?
Dr B. I had rather refer to Sir Charles himself on this subject. If any man in the world deserves, from prudence and integrity of heart, to be happy in this life, that man is Sir Charles Grandison. But he is not quite happy.
Ah, Lucy!-The Doctor proceeded. Your brother, ladies, has often said to me, that there was hardly a man living who had a more sincere value for the sex than he had; who had been more distinguished by the favour of worthy women, yet, who had paid dearer for that distinc tion than he had done.
Lady L. Paid dearer! Good Heaven!
Lord L. I always abroad heard the ladies reckon upon Sir Charles as their own man. His vivacity, his personal accomplishments, his politeness, his generosity, his bravery! Every woman who spoke of him, put him down for a man of gallantry. And is he not a truly gallant man? -I never mentioned it before; but a Lady Olivia, of Florence, was much talked of, when I was in that city, as being in love with the handsome Englishman, as our brother was commonly called there
Lady Olivia! Lady Olivia! repeated each sister; and why did not your lordship?.
Why? Because, though she was in love with him, he had no thoughts of her; and, as the Doctor says, she is but one of those who, whereever he set his foot, admired him.
Bless me, thought I, what a black swan is a good man!-Why, as I have often thought, (to the credit of our sex,) will not all the men be good?
Lady L. My lord, you must tell us more of this Lady Olivia.
Lord L. I know very little more of her. She was reputed to be a woman of high quality and fortune, and great spirit. I once saw her. She is a fine figure of a woman. Dr Bartlett can, no doubt, give you an account of her.
Miss Gr. Ah, Doctor! What a history could you give us of our brother, if you pleased! But as there is no likelihood that this lady will be anything to my brother, let us return to our first subject.
Lady L. By all means. Pray, Dr Bartlett,
do you know what my brother's opinion is of Miss Byron ?
Dr B. The highest that man can have of wo
Lady L. As we are so very desirous to see my brother happily married, and think he never could have a woman so likely to make him happy, would you advise us to propose the alliance to him? We would not to her, unless we thought there were room to hope for his approbation, and that in a very high degree.
Dr B. I am under some concern, my dear ladies, to be thought to know more of your brother's heart than sisters do, whom he loves so dearly, and who equally love him. I beseech you, give me not so much more consequence with him than you imagine you have yourselves. I shall be afraid, if you do, that the favour I wish to stand in with you, is owing more to your brother's distinction of me, than to your own hearts.
Lord L. I see not why we may not talk to my brother directly on this head. Whence is it, that we are all three insensibly drawn in, by each other's example, to this distance between him and us?-It is not his fault. Did we ever ask him a question that he did not directly answer, and that without shewing the least affectation or reserve?
Miss Gr. He came over to us all at once so perfect, after an eight or nine years' absence, with so much power, and such a will to do us good, that we were awed into a kind of reverence for him.
Lady L. Too great obligations from one side, will, indeed, create distance on the other. Grateful hearts will always retain a sense of favours heaped upon them.
Dr B. You would give pain to his noble heart, did he think that you put such a value upon what he has done. I do assure you, that he thinks he has hardly performed his duty by his sisters, and, as occasions may still offer, you will find he thinks so. But let me beg of you to treat him without reserve or diffidence; and that you would put to him all those questions which you would wish to be answered. You will find him, I dare say, very candid, and very explicit.
Miss Gr. That shall be my task, when I next see him. But, dear Dr Bartlett, if you love us, communicate to us all that is proper for us to see, of the correspondence that between him and you.
The Doctor, it seems, bowed; but answered
So you see, Lucy, upon the whole, that I have no great reason to build so much, as my uncle, in his last letter, imagines I do, on the interest of these ladies, and my Lord Lwith their brother. Two or three intricate affairs on his hands; one of them still in sus
pense; of which, for that reason, he makes a secret; he is not quite happy; greatly distinguished by the favour of worthy women. Who would wonder at that?—But has paid dear for the distinction!-What can one say? What can one think? He once said himself, that his life was a various life, and that some unhappy things had befallen him. If the prudence of such a man could not shield him from misfortune, who can be exempted from it?-And from worthy women, too!That's the wonder!-But is this Olivia one of the worthy women?-I fancy he must despise us all. I fancy he will never think of encumbering himself with one of a sex that has made him pay so dear for the general distinction he has met with from it. As to his politeness to us, a man may afford to shew politeness to those he has resolved to keep at distance from his heart.
But ah, Lucy! there must be one happy woman, whom he wishes not to keep at distance. This is the affair that hangs in suspense; and of which, therefore, he chooses to say nothing.
I HAVE had the pleasure of a visit from my godfather Deane. He dined with us this day in his way to town. The ladies, Dr Bartlett, and my Lord L- -, are charmed with him. Yet I had pain mingled with my pleasure. He took me aside, and charged me so home-He was too inquisitive. I never knew him to be so very urgent to know my heart. But I was frank, very frank; I should hardly have been excusable if I had not, to so good a man, and so dear a friend. Yet he scarce knew how to be satisfied with my frankness.
He will have it that I look thinner and paler than I used to do. That may very well be. My very soul, at times-I know not how I am-Sir Charles is in suspense too, from somebody abroad. From my heart I pity him. Had he but some faults, some great blemishes, I fancy I should be easier about him. But to hear nothing of him but what is so greatly praiseworthy, and my heart so delighted with acts of beneficence -And now my godfather Deane, at this visit, running on in his praises, and commending, instead of blaming me, for my presumptuous thoughts; nay, exalting me, and telling me, that I deserve him-that I deserve Sir Charles Grandison! Why did he not chide me? Why did he not dissuade me?-Neither fortune nor merit answerable?-A man who knows so well what to do with fortune !-The Indias, my dear, ought to be his! What a king would he make! Power could not corrupt such a mind as his. Cæsar, said Dr Bartlett, speaking of him before Mr Deane and all of us, was not quicker to destroy, than Sir Charles Grandison is to relieve. Emily's eyes, at the time, ran over with
joy at the expression; and, drying them, she looked proudly round on us all, as if she had said, This is my guardian!
But what do you think, Lucy? My godfather will have it, that he sees a young passion in Miss Jervois for her guardian !-God forbid ! -A young love may be conquered, I believe; but who shall caution the innocent girl? She must have a sweet pleasure in it, creeping, stealing, upon her. How can so inexperienced a heart, the object so meritorious, resist or reject the indulgence? But, O my Emily! sweet girl! do not let your love get the better of your gratitude, lest it make you unhappy! and, what would be still more affecting to a worthy heart, make the generous object of a passion that cannot be gratified, unhappy; and for that very reason, because he cannot reward it! See you not already, that, with all his goodness, he is not quite happy? He is a sufferer from worthy women!-0, my Emily, do not you add to the infelicity of a man who can make but one woman happy, yet wishes to befriend all the world. -But hush! selfish adviser! Should not Harriet Byron have thought of this in time?-Yet she knew not that he had any previous engagements; and may Death lay his cold hand upon her heart, before she become an additional disturbance to his! He knows not, I hope, he guesses not, though Dr Bartlett has found me out as well as the sisters, that I am captivated, heart and soul, by his merits. May he never know it, if the knowledge of it would give him the shadow of uneasiness!
I owned to Mr Deane, that my Lord Land the ladies were warmly interested in my favour. Thank God for that! he said. All must happen to his wish. Nay, he would have it, that Sir Charles's goodness would be rewarded in having such a wife; but what wife can do more than her duty to any husband who is not absolutely a savage? How then can all I could do, reward such a man as this?
But, Lucy, don't you blush for me, on reading this last passage of my writing? You may, since I blush myself on re-perusing it. For shame, Harriet Byron, put a period to this letter!-I will; nor subscribe to it so much as the initials of my name.
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR BARTLETT.
[Enclosed in the preceding.]
Friday, March 17.
LAST night I saw interred the remains of my worthy friend Mr Danby. I had caused his two nephews and his niece to be invited; but they did not attend.
As the will was not to be opened till the funeral was over, about which the good man had given me verbal directions; apprehending, I believe, expostulations from me, had I known the contents; I sent to them this morning to be present at the opening.
Their attorney, Mr Sylvester, a man of character and good behaviour, brought me a letter, signed by all three, excusing themselves on very slight pretences, and desiring that he might be present for them. I took notice to him, that the behaviour of his principals, over-night and now, was neither respectful to the memory of their uncle, nor civil, with regard to me. He honestly owned, that Mr Danby having acquainted his two nephews, a little before he died, that he had made his will, and that they had very little to expect from him, they, who had been educated by his direction, and made merchants at his expense, with hopes given them, that he would, at his death, do very handsomely for them, and had never disobliged him, could not be present at the opening of a will, the contents of which they expected to be so mortifying to them.
I opened it in presence of this gentleman. The preamble was an angry one, giving reasons for his resentment against the father of these young persons, who (though his brother) had once, as I hinted to you at Colnebrook, made a very shocking attempt upon his life. I was hurt, however, to find a resentment carried so far as against the innocent children of the offender, and into the last will of so good a man; that will so lately made, as within three weeks of his death; and he given over for three months before.
Will the tenderness due to the memory of a friend permit me to ask, Where would that resentment have stopt, had the private man been a monarch, which he could carry into his last will?
But see we not, on the other hand, that these children, had they power, would have punished their uncle for disposing, as he thought fit, of his own fortune; no part of which came to him by inheritance?
They had been educated, as I have said, at his expense; and, in the phrase of business, well put out; expenses their careless father would not have been at ; he is, in every light, a bad man. How much better had these children's title been to a more considerable part of their uncle's estate than he has bequeathed to them, had they been thankful for the benefits they had actually received! benefits, which are of such a nature, that they cannot be taken from them.
Mr Danby has bequeathed to each of the three, one thousand pounds; but, on express condition, that they signify to his executor, within two months after his demise, their acceptance of it, in full of all demands upon his estate. If they do not, (tender being duly made,) the three
thousand pounds are to be carried to the uses of the will.
He then appoints his executor, and makes him residuary legatee; giving for reason, that he had been the principal instrument, in the hand of Providence, of saving his life.
He bequeaths some generous remembrances to three of his friends in France; and requests his executor to dispose of three thousand pounds to charitable uses, either in France or England, as he thinks fit, and to what particular objects he pleases.
And by an inventory annexed to the will, his effects in money, bills, actions, and jewels, are made to amount to upwards of thirty thousand pounds sterling.
Mr Sylvester complimented me on this great windfall, as he called it; and assured me, that it should be his advice to his clients, that each take his and her legacy, and sit down contented with it; and he believed, that they the rather would, as, from what their uncle had hinted, they apprehended, that the sum of a hundred pounds each was all they had to hope for.
I inquired into the inclinations and views of the three; and received a very good general account of them; with a hint, that the girl was engaged in a love affair.
Their father, after his vile attempt upon his brother's life, was detested by all his friends and relations, and went abroad; and the last news they heard of him was, that he was in a very ill state of health, and in unhappy circumstances, in Barbadoes; and very probably by this time is no more.
I desired Mr Sylvester to advise the young people to recollect themselves; and said, that I had a disposition to be kind to them; and as he could give me only general accounts of their views, prospects, and engagements, I wished they would, with marks of confidence in me, give me particular ones; but that, whether they complimented me as I wished, or not, I was determined, for the sake of their uncle's memory, to do all reasonable services to them. Tell them, in a word, Mr Sylvester, and do you forgive the seeming vanity, that I am not accustomed to suffer the narrowness of other people's hearts to contract mine.
The man went away very much pleased with what I had said; and, in about two hours, sent me a note, in the names of all his clients, expressing gratitude and obligation; and requesting me to allow him to introduce them all three to me this afternoon.
I have some necessary things to do, and persons to see, in relation to my deceased friend, which will be dispatched over a dish of tea. And, therefore, I have invited the honest attorney, and his three clients, to sup with me.
I will not send this to Colnebrook, where I hope you are all happy, [all must; for are they not all good? and are not you with them? till