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so kindly a behaviour so contrary to what her own had been.
Well, but don't you congratulate me, my dear, on my escape from my curiosity? I am sure my grandmamma, and my aunt, will be pleased with their girl. Yet it was a hard struggle, I own in the suspense I am in, a very hard struggle. But though wishes will play about my heart, that I knew such of the contents as it might concern me to know, yet I am infinitely better pleased that I yielded not to the temptation, than I should have been, if I had. And then, methinks, my pride is gratified in the superiority this lady ascribes to me over herself, whom so lately I thought greatly my superior.
Yet what merit have I in this? Since, if I had considered only rules of policy, I should have been utterly wrong, had I yielded to the temptation; for what use could I have made of any knowledge I might have obtained by this means? If any proposal is to be made me, of what nature soever, it must, in that case, have appeared to be quite new to me; and what an affectation must that have occasioned, what dissimulation, in your Harriet !—And how would a creature, educated as I have been, have behaved under such trials as might have arisen from a knowledge so faultily obtained?
And had I been discovered; had I given cause of suspicion either to Dr Bartlett, or Sir Charles; I should have appeared as the principal in the fact. It would have been mean to accuse Miss Grandison, as the tempter, in a temptation yielded to with my eyes open. And should I not have cast a slur upon that curiosity which Dr Bartlett before had not refused to gratify, as well as shut myself out from all future communications and confidence?
It is very possible, besides, that, unused as I have been to artifice and disguise, I should have betrayed myself; especially had I found any of the contents of the letter very affecting.
Thus you see, Lucy, that policy, as well as rectitude of manners, justifies me; and in this particular I am a happy girl.
Miss Grandison has just now told her sister what passed between us. Lady L says, she would not have been Miss Grandison, in taking the letter, by what means soever come at; for how, said she, did I know what secrets there might be in it, before I read it? But I think verily, when it had been got at, and offered me, I could not have been Miss Byron.
And she threw her arms about me. Dear creature, said she, you must be Lady Grandi
Well, Lucy, my time in town is hastening to its period. Why am I not reminded that my three allotted months are near expired? Will you receive the poor girl, who, perhaps, will not be able to carry down with her the heart she brought up? And yet, to go down to such dear friends without it, what an ungrateful sound has that!
Miss Grandison began to talk of other subjects relating to her brother, and that greatly to his praise. I could have heard all she had to say with infinite pleasure. I do love to hear him praised. But, as I doubted not but these subjects arose from the letter so surreptitiously obtained, I restrained myself, and withdrew.
Or what a happy temper is Miss Grandison ! She was much affected with the scene that passed between us; but all is over with her already. One lesson upon her harpsichord sets everything right with her. She has been rallying Lord Lwith as much life and spirit, as if she had done nothing to be vexed at. Had I been induced by her to read the letter which she got at dishonestly, as she owned, what a poor figure should I have made in my own eyes, for a month to come!
But did she not as soon overcome the mortification given her by her brother, on the detection of Captain Anderson's affair? How unmercifully did she rally me within a few hours after ! Yet, she has fine qualities. One cannot help loving her. I do love her. But is it not a weakness to look without abatement of affection on those faults in one person which we should hold utterly inexcusable in another? In Miss Grandison's case, however, don't say it is, Lucy. O what a partiality! Yet she has within these few minutes owned, that she thought the step she had taken a faulty one, before she came to me with the letter; and hoped to induce me to countenance her in what she had done.
I called her a little Satan on this occasion. But, after all, what if the dear Charlotte's curiosity was more for my sake than her own? No motive of friendship, you will say, can justify a wrong action-Why no, Lucy; that is very true; but if you knew Miss Grandison, you would love her dearly.
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR BARTLETT.
of its [The Letter which Miss Byron refused to read, or hear read.]
Must! said Miss Grandison; she shall. Miss Grandison talked to Lady L being likely that her brother would go to Bologna; of a visit he is soon to make to Grandison-Hall; and she to go with him on a tour to Paris, in order to settle some matters relating to the will of his late friend Mr Danby.
Friday Night, March 17.
I HOPE my Lord L and my sisters will be able to make Colnebrook so agreeable to Miss
Byron, that I may have the pleasure of finding her there in the beginning of the week.
My Lord Wis in town. He has invited me to dine with him to-morrow; and must not be denied, was a part of his message, brought me by Halden his steward, who says, that his lordship has something of consequence to consult
When, my dear friend, shall I find time for myself? Pray make my compliments to my Lord L, and to my three sisters; and tell them from me, that when I have the happiness of being in their company, then it is that I think I give time to myself.
I have a letter from Bologna; from the faithful Camilla. The contents of it give me great concern. She urges me to make one more visit there. She tells me, that the Bishop said, in her hearing, it would be kind, if I would. Were such a visit to be requested generally, and it were likely to be of service, you may believe that I would cheerfully make it.
I should go for a fortnight at least to Grandison-Hall. Burgess has let me know, that the workmen have gone almost as far as they can go without my farther orders. And the churchwardens have signified to me, that the church is completely beautified, according to my directions; so that it will be ready to be opened on the Sunday after next, at farthest; and entreat my presence, both as patron and benefactor. I would now hasten my designed alterations at the Hall.
I had rather not be present at the opening. Yet the propriety of my being there will probably prevail upon me to comply with the entreaties of the churchwardens; who, in their letter, signify the expectations of Sir Samuel Clarke, Sir William Turner, and Mr Barnham, of seeing me, and my sister Charlotte. You will be pleased to mention this to her.
I wish, without putting a slight upon good Mr Dobson, that you, my dear friend, could oblige us with the first sermon. All then would be decent, and worthy of the occasion; and the praise would be given properly, and not to the agent. But as it would be a little mortifying to Mr Dobson (of whose praise only I am apprehensive) so much as to hint such a wish, I will write to him, that he will oblige me if he say not one word, that shall carry the eyes of the audience to my seat.
The execution of the orders I gave, that five other pews should be equally distinguished and ornamented with mine, carries not with it the appearance of affectation, does it, my good Dr Bartlett? especially as so many considerable families have seats there? I would not seem guilty of a false modesty, which, breaking out into singularity, would give the suspicion of a wrong direction, in cases where it may be of use to support a right one.
What can I do in relation to my Emily? she
is of the stature of a woman. She ought, according to the present taste, to be introduced into public life. I am not fond of that life; and what knowledge she will gain by the introduction, she had better be without. Yet I think we should conform something to the taste of the times in which we live. Women's minds have generally a lighter turn than those of men. They should be innocently indulged. And on this principle it was, that last winter I attended her, and my sisters, very often to the places of public entertainment; that she, having seen everything that was the general subject of polite conversation, might judge of such entertainments as they deserve; and not add expectation (which runs very high in young minds, and is seldom answered) to the ideal scenes. This indulgence answered as I wished. Emily can now hear talk of the emulation of actors and managers, and of the other public diversions, with tranquillity; and be satisfied, as she reads, with representing over again to herself the parts in which the particular actors excelled. And thus a boundary is set to her imagination; and that by her own choice; for she thinks lightly of them, when she can be obliged by the company of my two sisters and Lord L
But new scenes will arise in an age so studious as this, to gratify the eye and the ear. these a young woman of fortune must not be totally excluded. I am a young man; and as Emily is so well grown for her years, I think I cannot so properly be her introducer to them, as I might, were I fifteen or twenty years older.
I live to my own heart; and I know (I think I do) that it is not a bad one; but as I cannot intend anything with regard to my Emily, I must, for her sake, be more observing of the world's opinion, than I hope I need to be for my own. You have taught me, that it is not good manners to despise the world's opinion, though we should regard it only in the second place.
Emily has too large a fortune. I have a high opinion of her discretion. But she is but a girl. Women's eyes are wanderers; and too often bring home guests that are very troublesome to them; and whom, once introduced, they cannot get out of the house.
I wish she had only ten thousand pounds. She would then stand a better chance for happiness, than she can do, I doubt, with five times ten; and would have five persons, to one that she has now, to choose out of; for how few are there who can make proposals to the father or guardian of a girl who has 50,0001. ?
Indeed there are not wanting in our sex forward spirits, who will think that sum not too much for their merits, though they may not deserve 5000l., nor even one. And hence arises the danger of a woman of great fortune from those who will not dare to make proposals to a guardian. After an introduction, (and how easy is that now made, at public places!) a woman of
the greatest fortune is but a woman, and is to be attacked, and prevailed upon, by the same methods which succeed with a person of the slenderest; and, perhaps, is won with equal, if not with greater ease; since, if the lady has a little romance in her head, and her lover a great deal of art and flattery, she will call that romantic turn generosity, and, thinking she can lay the man who has obtained her attention under obligation, she will meet him her full half way. Emily is desirous to be constantly with us. My sister is very obliging. I know she will comply with whatever I shall request of her in relation to Emily. But where the reputation of a lady is concerned, a man should not depend too much upon his own character, especially a young man, be it ever so unexceptionable. Her mother has already given out foolish hints. She demands her daughter. The unhappy woman has no regard to truth. Her own character lost, and so deservedly, will she have any tenderness for that of Emily? Who will scruple to believe what a mother, though ever so wicked, will report of her daughter under twenty, and her guardian under thirty, if they live constantly together? Her guardian, at the same time, carrying his heart in his countenance, and loving the girl; though with as much innocence, as if she were his sister. Once I had thoughts of craving the assistance of the Court of Chancery, for the protection of her person and fortune; but a hint of this nature distressed her for many days, unknown to me. Had I been acquainted that she took it so heavily, I would not have made her unhappy for one day.
I have looked out among the quality for a future husband for her; but where can I find one with whom I think she will be happy? There are many who would be glad of her fortune. As I said, her fortune is too large. It is enough to render every man's address to her suspected; and to make a guardian apprehensive, that her person, agreeable as it is, and every day improving, and her mind opening to advantage every hour of her life, would be but the second, if the second, view of a man professing to love her. And were she to marry, what a damp would the slights of a husband give to the genius of a young woman, whose native modesty would always make her want encouragement!
I have also cast an eye over the gentry within my knowledge; but have not met with one whom I could wish to be the husband of my Emily. So tender, so gentle, so ductile, as she is; a fierce, a rash, an indelicate, even a careless or indifferent man, would either harden her heart, or shorten her life; and as the latter would be much more easy to be effected than the former, what must she suffer before she could return indifference for disrespect; and reach the quiet end of it!
See what a man Sir Walter Watkyns is! sister only could deal with such a one.
periority in her so visible, he must fear her; yet a generosity so great, and a dignity so conspicuous, in her whole behaviour, as well as countenance, he must love her: everybody's respect to her, would oblige love and reverence from him. But my weak-hearted, diffident Emily, what would she do with such a man?
What would she do with a Sir Hargrave Pollexfen? What with such a man as Mr Greville, as Sir Hargrave describes him? I mention these men, for are there not many such?
I am not apt to run into grave declamations against the times; and yet, by what I have seen abroad, and now lately, since my arrival, at home, and have heard from men of greater observation, and who have lived longer in the world than I have, I cannot but think that Englishmen are not what they were. A wretched effeminacy seems to prevails among them. Marriage itself is every day more and more out of fashion; and even virtuous women give not the institution so much of their countenance, as to discourage, by their contempt, the free-livers. A good woman, as such, has therefore but few chances for happiness in marriage. Yet shall I not endeavour, the more endeavour, to save and serve my Emily? I have one encouragement, since my happy acquaintance with Miss Byron, to think that the age is not entirely lost to a sense of virtue and goodness. See we not how everybody reveres her? Even a Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, a Greville, a Fenwick, men of free lives, adore her. And at the same time she meets with the love of all good men, and the respect of women, whether gay or serious. But I am afraid, that the first attraction with men is her beauty. I am afraid, that few see in that admirable young lady what I see in her; a mind great and noble; a sincerity beyond that of women; a goodness unaffected, and which shews itself in action, and not merely in words, and outward appearance; a wit lively and inoffensive; and an understanding solid and useful; all which render her a fit companion, either in the social or contemplative hour; and yet she thinks herself not above the knowledge of those duties, the performance of which makes an essential of the female character.
But I am not giving a character of Miss Byron to you, my good Dr Bartlett, who admire her as much as I do.
Do you think it impossible for me to procure for my Emily such a guardian and companion as Miss Byron, on her return to Northamptonshire, would make her?-Such worthy relations as she would introduce her to, would be a farther happiness to my ward.
I am far from undervaluing my sister's good qualities; but if Emily lives with her, she must live also with me. Indeed the affairs in which I am engaged for other people, (if I may call those who have a claim upon me for every instance of my friendship, other people,) will oc
casion me to be often absent. But still, while Grandison-Hall, and St James's Square, are the visible places of residence equally of the guardian and ward, Emily's mother will tell the world, that we live together.
Miss Jervois does not choose to return to Mrs Lane; and indeed I don't think she would be safe there in a family of women, though very worthy ones, from the attempts of one of the sex, who having brought her into the world, calls herself her mother; and especially now that the unhappy woman has begun to be troublesome there. I beg of you, therefore, my dear Dr Bartlett, who know more of my heart and situation than any one living, (my dear Beauchamp excepted,) to consider what I have written, and give me your opinion of that part of it, which relates to Miss Byron and Emily.
I was insensibly drawing myself in to enumerate the engagements, which at present press most upon me. Let me add to the subject.I must soon go to Paris, in order finally to settle such of the affairs of my late worthy friend, as cannot be so well done by any other hand. The three thousand pounds, which he has directed to be disposed of to charitable uses, in France as well as in England, at the discretion of his executor, is one of them.
Perhaps equity will allow me to add to this limited surn from what will remain in my hands after the establishment of the nephews and niece. As they are young, and brought up with the hope, that they will make a figure in the world by their diligence, I would not, by any means, make them independent on that. The whole estate, divided among them, would not be sufficient to answer that purpose happily, though it might be enough to abate the edge of their industry.
The charity that I am most intent upon promoting, in France and in England too, is, that of giving little fortunes to young maidens in marriage with honest men of their own degree, who might, from such an outsetting, begin the world, as it is called, with some hopes of suc
By this time, my dear Dr Bartlett, you will guess that I have a design upon you. It is, that you will assist me in executing the will of my late friend. Make inquiries after, and recommend to me, objects worthy of relief. You were very desirous, some time ago, to retire to the Hall; but I knew not how to spare you; and I hoped to attend you thither. You shall now set out for that place as soon as you please. And that neither may be (or as little as possible) losers by the separation, everything that we would say to each other, were we together, that, as we used to do, we will say by pen and ink. We will be joint executors, in the first place, for this sum of 30007.
Make inquiries, then, as soon as you get down, for worthy objects-The industrious poor, of all
persuasions, reduced either by age, infirmity, or accident; those who labour under incurable maladies; youth, of either sex, capable of beginning the world to advantage, but destitute of the means; these, in particular, are the objects we both think worthy of assistance. You shall take 500l. down with you, for a beginning.
It is my pride, it is my glory, that I can say, Dr Bartlett and Charles Grandison, on all benevolent occasions, are actuated by one soul. My dear friend, adieu.
MISS BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Saturday Night, March 18. I HAVE furnished the ladies, and my lord, with more letters. And so they have all my heart before them!-I don't care, the man is Sir Charles Grandison; and they rally me not so much as before, while they thought I affected reserves to them. Indeed it would be cruel, if they did; and I should have run away from them.
I am glad you all think, that the two sisters used me severely. They really did. But I have this gratification of my pride in reflecting upon their treatment of me I would not have done so by them, had situations been exchanged; and I think myself nearer an equality with them, than I had thought myself before.-But they are good women, and my sincere friends and well-wishers; and I forgive them; and so must my grandmamma.
I am sorry, methinks, that her delicacy has been offended on the occasion. And did she weep at the hearing read my account of that attack made upon her girl by the over-lively Charlotte?-O the dear, the indulgent parent! -How tender was it of my aunt too, to be concerned for the poor Harriet's delicacy, so hard put to it as she was! It did indeed (as she distinguishes in her usual charming manner) look, as if they put a great price upon their intended friendship to me, with regard to my interest in their brother's heart; as if the favour done to the humbled girl, if they could jointly procure for her their brother's countenance, might well allow of their raillery.-Don't, pray don't, my dear grandmamma, call it by a severer name. They did not, I am sure they did not, mean to hurt me so much, as I really was hurt. So let it pass. Humour and raillery are very difficult things to rein in. They are ever curvetting like a prancing horse; and they will often throw the rider who depends more upon his skill in managing than he has reason to do.
My uncle was charmed with the scene; and thinks the two ladies did just as he would have
done. He means it a compliment to their delicacy, I presume; but I am of my aunt Selby's opinion, that their generous brother would not have given them thanks for their raillery to the poor frightened Harriet. I am very happy, however, that my behaviour and frankness on the occasion are not disapproved at Selby-House, and Shirley-Manor, and by you, my Lucy. And here let that matter rest.
Should I not begin to think of going back to you all, my Lucy? I believe I blush ten times a-day, when alone, to find myself waiting and waiting as if for the gracious motion; yet apprehending that it never will, never can, be made; and all you, my friends, indulging an absence, that your goodness makes painful to you, in the same hope. It looks-Don't it, Lucy?-so like a design upon-I don't know how it looks!-But, at times, I can't endure myself. And yet while the love of virtue (perhaps a little too personal) is the foundation of these designs, these waitings, these emotions, I think I am not wholly inexcusable.
I am sure I should not esteem him, were he not the good man he is.-Pray let me ask you -Do you think he can always go on thus triumphantly? So young a man-So admired, so applauded-Will he never be led into doing something unworthy of his character?-If he could, 'do you think I should then be partial to him?-O no! I am sure I should not !-I should
disdain him—I might grieve, I might pity-But what a multitude of foolish notions comes into the head of a silly girl, who, little as she knows, knows more of anything, or of anybody, than she knows of herself.
I WISH my godfather had not put it in my head, that Emily is cherishing (perhaps unknown to herself) a flame that will devour her peace. For, to be sure, this young creature can have no hope that-Yet 50,000l. is a vast fortune. But it can never buy her guardian. Do you think such a man as Sir Charles Grandison has a price?-I am sure he has not.
I watch the countenance, the words, the air of the girl, when he is spoken of; and with pity I see, that he cannot be named, but her eyes sparkle. Her eye is taken off her work or book, as she happens to be engaged in either, and she seems as if she would look the person through who is praising her guardian. For the life of her she cannot work and hear. And then she sighs-Upon my word, Lucy, there is no such thing as proceeding with his praises before her -the girl so sighs-So young a creature!-Yet how can one caution the poor thing?
But what makes me a little more observant of her, than I should otherwise perhaps have been, (additional to my godfather's observation,) is a hint given me by Lady L, which
perhaps she has from Miss Grandison, and she, not unlikely, from the stolen letter; for Miss Grandison hinted at it, but I thought it was only to excite my curiosity: When one is not in good humour, how one's very style is encumbered!]-The hint is this, that it is more than probable, it will actually be proposed to me, to take down with me to Northamptonshire this young lady-I, who want a governess myself, to be-But let it be proposed.
In a conversation that passed just now be tween us women, on the subject of love, (a favourite topic with all girls,) this poor thing gave her opinion unasked; and, for a young girl, was quite alert, I thought. She used to be more attentive than talkative.
I whispered Miss Grandison once, Don't you think Miss Jervois talks more than she used to do, madam?
I think she does, madam, re-whispered the arch lady.
I beg your pardon,-Charlotte, then. You have it, Harriet, then.-But let her prate. She is not often in the humour.
Nay, with all my heart; I love Miss Jervois; but I can't but watch when habits begin to change. And I am always afraid of young creatures exposing themselves when they are between girls and women.
I don't love whispering, said Miss Jervois, more pertly than ever; but my guardian loves me; and you, ladies, love me, and so my heart is easy.
Her heart easy!-Who thought of her heart? Her guardian loves her!-Emily shan't go down with me, Lucy.
Sunday Morning, March 19. OBUT, Lucy, we are alarmed here on Miss Jervois's account, by a letter which Dr Bartlett received a little late last night from Sir Charles; so shewed it us not till this morning as we were at breakfast. The unhappy woman, her mother, has made him a visit. Poor Emily! Dear child! what a mother she has!
I have so much obliged the Doctor by delivering into his hands the papers that our other friends have just perused, (and, let me say, with high approbation,) that he made no scruple of allowing me to send this letter to you. I asked the favour, as I know you will all now be very attentive to whatever relates to Emily. Return everything the Doctor shall entrust me with by the first opportunity.
By the latter part of this letter you will find, that the Doctor has acquainted Sir Charles with his sisters' wishes of a correspondence with him by letter. He consents to it, you will all see; but upon terms that are not likely to be complied with by any of his three sisters; for he puts me in. Three sisters! His third sister!The repetition has such an officiousness in it.