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The dear girl rejoiced in my assurances, and promised grateful love to the latest hour of her life.
Indeed, madam, I have a grateful heart, said she, for all I am so unhappy in a certain relation. I have none of those sort of faults that give me a resemblance in any way to my poor mother. But how shall I make out what I say? You will mistrust me, I fear: you will be apt to doubt my principles. But will you promise to take my heart in your hand, and guide it as you please?-Indeed it is an honest one. I wish you saw it through and through.-If ever I do a wrong thing, mistrust my head, if you please, but not my heart. But in everything I will be directed by you; and then my head will be as right as my heart.
I told her that good often resulted from evil. It was a happy thing, perhaps, for both, that her mother's visit had been made. Look upon me, my dear Emily, as your entire friend: we will have but one heart between us.
Let me add, Lucy, that if you find me capable of drawing this sweet girl into confessions of her infant love, and of making ungenerous advantage of them, though the event were to be fatal to my peace if I did not; I now call upon all you, my dear friends, to despise and renounce the treacherous friend in Harriet Byron.
She besought me to let her write to me; to let her come to me for advice, as often as she wanted it, whether here, in my dressing-room or chamber, or at Mr Reeves's, when I went from Colnebrook.
I consented very cheerfully, and, at her request, (for indeed, said she, I would not be an intruder for the world,) promised, by a nod at her entrance, to let her know, if she came when I was busy, that she must retire, and come another time.
You are too young a lady, added she, to be called my mamma-Alas! I have never a mamma, you know: but I will love you and obey you, on the holding up of your finger, as I would my mother, were she as good as you.
Does not the beautiful simplicity of this charming girl affect you, Lucy? But her eyes swimming in tears, her earnest looks, her throbbing bosom, her hands now clasped about me, now in one another, added such graces to what she said, that it is impossible to do justice to it: and yet I am affected as I write; but not so much, you may believe, as at the time she told her tender tale.
Indeed her calamity has given her an absolute possession of my heart. I, who had such good parents, and have had my loss of them so happily alleviated, and even supplied, by a grandmamma and an aunt so truly maternal, as well as by the love of every one to whom I have the happiness to be related; how unworthy of such blessings should I be, if I did not know how to
pity a poor girl, who must reckon a living mother as her heaviest misfortune!
Sir Charles, from the time of the disturbance which this unhappy woman made in Mrs Lane's neighbourhood, and of her violence to his Emily, not only threatened to take from her that moiety of the annuity which he is at liberty to withdraw; but gave orders that she should never again be allowed to see his ward but in his presence: and she has been quiet till of late, only threatening and demanding. But now she seems, on this her marriage with Major O'Hara, to have meditated new schemes, or is aiming, perhaps, at new methods to bring to bear an old one; of which Sir Charles had private intimation given him by one of the persons to whom, in her cups, she once boasted of it: which was, that as soon as Miss Emily was marriageable, she would endeavour, either by fair means or foul, to get her into her hands: and if she did, but for one week, she should the next come out the wife of a man she had in view, who would think half the fortune more than sufficient for himself, and make over the other half to her; and then she should come into her right, which she deems to be half of the fortune which her husband died possessed of.
This that follows is a copy of the letter left for Emily by this mother; which, though not well spelled, might have been written by a better woman, who had hardships to complain of which might have entitled her to pity:
MY DEAR EMILY,
IF you have any love, any duty, left for an unhappy mother, whose faults have been barbarously aggravated, to justify the ill usage of a husband who was not faultless; I conjure you to insist upon making me a visit, either at my new lodgings in Dean-street, Soho; or that you will send me word where I can see you, supposing I am not permitted to see you as this day, or that you should not be at Colnebrook, where, it seems, you have been some days. I cannot believe that your guardian, for his own reputation's sake, as well as for justice-sake, as he is supposed to be a good man, will deny you, if you insist upon it; as you ought to do, if you have half the love for me, that I have for
Can I doubt that you will insist upon it? I cannot. I long to see you: I long to lay you in my bosom. And I have given hopes to Major O'Hara, a man of one of the best families in Ireland, and a very worthy man, and a brave man too, who knows how to right an injured wife, if he is put to it, but who wishes to proceed amicably, that you will not scruple, as my husband, to call him father.
I hear a very good account of your improvements, Emily; and I am told, that you are
grown very tall and pretty. O my Emily!→→ What a grievous thing is it to say, that I am told these things; and not to have been allowed to see you; and to behold your growth, and those improvements, which must rejoice my heart, and do, though I am so basely belied as I have been! Do not you, Emily, despise her that bore you. It is a dreadful thing, with such fortunes as your father left, that I must be made poor and dependent; and then be despised for being so.
But if you, my child, are taught to be, and will be one of those; what, though I have such happy prospects in my present marriage, will be my fate, but a bitter death, which your want of duty will hasten? For what mother can bear the contempts of her child? And, in that case, your great fortune will not set you above God's judgments. But better things are hoped of my Emily, by her indulgent, though heretofore unhappy, mother,
My lord thought fit to open this letter: he is sorry that he did; because the poor girl is so low-spirited, that he does not choose to let her see it; but will leave it to her guardian to give it to her, or not, as he pleases.
Miss Grandison lifted up her hands and eyes as she read it. Such a wretch as this, she said, to remind Emily of God's judgments; and that line written as even as the rest! How was it possible, if her wicked heart could suggest such words, that her fingers could steadily write them? But, indeed, she verifies the words of the wise man; There is no wickedness like the wickedness of a woman.
We all long to see Sir Charles. Poor Emily, in particular, will be unhappy till he comes.
While we expect a favoured person, though rich in the company of the friends we are with, what a diminution does it give to enjoyments that would be complete were it not for that expectation! The mind is uneasy, not content with itself, and always looking out for the person wanted.
Emily was told that her mother left a letter for her; but is advised not to be solicitous to see it till her guardian comes. My lord owned to her that he had opened it; and pleaded tenderness, as he justly might, in excuse of having taken that liberty. She thanked his lordship, and said, it was for such girls as she to be directed by such good and kind friends.
She has just now left me. I was writing, and wanted to close. I gave her a nod, with a smile, as agreed upon a little before. Thank you, thank you, dear madam, said she, for this freedom. She stopped at the door, and with it in her hand, in a whispering accent, bending forwards, Only tell me, that you love me as well as you did in the chariot.
Indeed, my dear, I do; and better, I think, if possible: because I have been putting part of our conversation upon paper, and so have fas tened your merits on my memory.
God bless you, madam, I am gone. And away she tript.
But I will make her amends, before I go to rest; and confirm all that I said to her in the chariot; for most cordially I can.
I am, my dear Lucy, and will be,
MR DEANE TO MRS SELBY.
London, Friday Night, March 17. You wished me, my dear Mrs Selby, as I was obliged to go to London on my own affairs, to call at Colnebrook, and to give you my observations on the state of matters there; and whether there were any likelihood of the event we are all so desirous should be brought about; and particularly, if an opportunity offered, that I would at distance sound Sir Charles himself on the subject. I told you, that you need not be afraid of my regard to our dear child's delicacy; and that she herself should not have reason to mistrust me on this nice subject.
It seems his great engagements in town, and some he has had in Kent, have hindered him from giving Lord L- and his sisters much of his company, though your Harriet is there; which they all extremely regret.
I dined at Colnebrook. Lord L is a very worthy and agreeable man. Lady Land Miss Grandison are charming women. Miss Jervois is a pretty young lady.-But more of her by and by. The cousin Grandison you spoke of, is gone down to Grandison-Hall: whither Sir Charles himself thinks shortly of going-But this and other distant matters I refer to our Har riet's own account.
My visit to Sir Charles is most in my head, and I will mention that, and give place to other observations afterwards.
After dinner I pursued my journey to London. As my own business was likely to engage me for the whole time I had to stay in town, I alighted at his house in St James's Square; and was immediately, on sending my name, introduced to him.
Let me stop to say, he is indeed a very fine gentleman. Majesty and sweetness are mingled in every feature of his face; and the latter, rather than the former, predominates in his whole behaviour. Well may Harriet love him.
I told him, that I hoped, on my coming to town on particular affairs, he would excuse the intrusion of a man who was personally a stranger
to him; but who had long wished for an opportunity to thank him for the relief he had given to a young lady in whom I claimed an interest that was truly paternal. At the same time I congratulated him on the noble manner in which he had extricated himself, to the confusion of men, whom he had taught to find out, and to be ashamed, that they were savages.
He received my compliments as a man might be supposed to do, to whom praise is not a new thing; and made me very handsome ones, declaring himself acquainted with my character, with my connections with your family, and with one of the most excellent of young ladies. This naturally introduced the praises of our Harriet; in which he joined in so high and so just a strain, that I saw his heart was touched. I am sure it is so set yours at rest. It must do. Everything is moving, and that not slowly, to the event so desirable. I led to the graces of her person: he to those of her mind: he allowed her to be, for both, one of the most perfect beauties he had ever seen. In short, Mrs Selby, I am convinced, that the important affair will ripen of itself. His sisters, Lord L —, Dr Bartlett, all avowedly in our lovely girl's favour, and her merit so extraordinary; it must do. Don't you remember what the old song says?
When Phabus does his beams display, To tell men gravely, that 'tis day,
Is to suppose them blind.
All I want, methinks, is to have them oftener together. Idleness, I believe, is a great friend to love. I wish his affairs would let him be a little idle. They must be dispatched soon, be they what they will; for Lord L- said, that when he is master of a subject, his execution is as swift as thought. Sir Charles hinted, that he shall soon be obliged to go to France. Seas are nothing to him. Dr Bartlett said, that he considers all nations as joined on the same continent; and doubted not, but if he had a call, he would undertake a journey to Constantinople or Pekin, with as little difficulty as some others would (he might have named me for one) to the Land'send. Indeed he appears to be just that kind of man. Yet he seems not to have any of that sort of fire in his constitution, that goes off with a bounce, and leaves nothing but vapour and smoke behind it.
You are in doubt about our girl's fortune. It is not a despicable one. He may, no question, have a woman with a much greater; and so may she a man. What say you to Lady D's proposal, rejected for his sake; at hap-hazard too, as the saying is? But let it once come to that question, and leave it to me to answer it.
You bid me remark how Harriet looks. She is as lovely as ever; but I think not quite so lively, and somewhat paler; but it is a clear and healthy, not a sickly paleness: and there is a
languor in her fine eyes, that I never saw in them before. She never was a pert girl; but she has more meekness and humility in her countenance, than, methinks, I would wish her to have; because it gives to Miss Grandison, who has fine spirits, some advantages in conversation over Harriet, that, if she had, methinks she would not take. But they perfectly understand one another.
But now for a word or two about Miss Jervois. I could not but take notice to our Miss Byron, of the greediness with which she eats and drinks the praises given her guardian; of the glow that overspreads her cheeks, and of a sigh that now and then seems to escape even her own observation, when he is spoken of; [so like a niece of mine, who drew herself in, and was afterwards unhappy; and by these symptoms I conclude, that this young creature is certainly giving way to love. She has a very great fortune, is a pretty girl, and an improving beauty. She is tall and womanly. I thought her sixteen or seventeen; but, it seems, she is hardly fourteen. There is as much difference in girls, as in fruits, as to their maturing, as I may say. My mother, I remember, once said, of an early bloom in a niece of hers, that such were born to woe. I hope it won't be so with this; for she certainly is a good young creature, but has not had great opportunities of knowing either the world, or herself. Brought up in a confined manner in her father's house at Leghorn, till twelve or thirteen; what opportunities could she have? No mother's wings to be sheltered under; her mother's wickedness giving occasion the more to straiten her education, and at a time of life so young, and in so restraining a country as Italy, for girls and young maidens: and since brought over, put to board with a retired country gentlewoman-What can she know, poor thing? She has been but a little while with Miss Grandison, and that but as a guest: so that the world before her is all new to her: and, indeed, there seems to be in her pretty wonder, and honest declarations of her whole heart, a simplicity that sometimes borders upon childishness, though at other times a kind of womanly prudence. I am not afraid of her on our Harriet's account; and yet Harriet (lover-like, perhaps!) was alarmed at my hinting it to her; but I am on her own. I wish, as I said before, Sir Charles was more among them: he would soon discover whose love is fit to be discountenanced, and whose to be encouraged; and, by that means, give ease to twenty hearts. For I cannot believe that such a man as this would be guilty (I will call it) of reserve to such a young lady as ours, were he but to have the shadow of a thought that he has an interest in her heart.
My affairs are more untoward than I expected: but on my return to Peterborough I will call at Shirley-House and Selby-Manor-and then (as I hope to see Sir Charles again, either in London, or at Colnebrook,) I will talk to
you of all these matters. Meantime, believe it will; and says, I must break myself of it. me to be
You must then let your Anne go to bed, said I; else, as her time is not her own, I shall shorten my visit. I will assist you in any little services myself. I have dismissed Jenny.
God bless you, madam, said she; you consider everybody. Anne tells me, that the servants throughout the house adore you: and I am sure their principals do.-Anne, you may go to your rest.
Jenny, who attends me here, has more than once hinted to me, that Miss Jervois loves to sit up late, either reading, or being read to, by Anne; who, though she reads well, is not fond of the task.
Servants, said I, are as sensible as their masters and mistresses. They speak to their feelings. I question not but they love Miss Jervois as well as they do me. I should as soon choose to take my measures of the goodness of principals by their servants' love of them, as by any other rule. Don't you see, by the silent veneration and assiduities of the servants of Sir Charles Grandison, how much they adore their master?
I am very fond of being esteemed by servants, said she, from that very observation of my guardian's goodness, and his servants' worthiness, as well as from what my maid tells me, all of them say of you. But you and my guardian are so much alike in everything, that you seem to be born for one another.
And then she sighed, involuntarily; yet seemed not to endeavour to restrain or recal her sigh.
Why sighs my dear young friend? Why sighs my Emily?
That's good of you to call me your Emily. My guardian calls me his Emily. I am always proud when he calls me so-I don't know why I sigh: but I have lately got a trick of sighing, I think. Will it do me harm? Anne tells me
She says, it is not pretty in a young lady to sigh: but where is the unprettiness of it?
Sighing is said to be a sign of being in love; and young ladies—
Ah! madam! And yet you sigh very of
I felt myself blush.
I often catch myself sighing, my dear, said I. It is a trick, as you call it, which I would not have you learn.
But I have reason for sighing, madam; which you have not-Such a mother! A mother that I wanted to be good, not so much to me, as to herself: a mother so unhappy, that one must be glad to run away from her. My poor papa! so good as he was to everybody, and even to her, yet had his heart broken-O madam !— (flinging her arms about me, and hiding her face in my bosom,) have I not cause to sigh?
I wept on her neck; I could not help it: so dutifully sensible of her calamity! and for such a calamity, who could forbear?
Such a disgrace too! said she, raising her head. Poor woman!-Yet she has the worst of it. Do you think that that is not enough to make one sigh?
Amiable goodness! (kissing her cheek,) I shall love you too well.
You are too good to me: you must not be so good to me that, even that, will make me sigh. My guardian's goodness to me gives me pain; and I think verily, I sigh more since last I left Mrs Lane, and have seen more of his goodness, and how everybody admires, and owns obligation to him, than I did before.-To have a stranger, as one may say, and so very fine a gentleman, to be so good to one, and to have such an unhappy mother-who gives him so much trouble-how can one help sighing for both reasons?
Dear girl! said I, my heart overflowing with compassion for her, you and I are bound equally, by the tie of gratitude, to esteem him.
Ab, madam! you will one day be the happiest of all women-And so you deserve to be. What means my Emily?
Don't I see, don't I hear, what is designed to be brought about by Lord and Lady L and Miss Grandison? And don't I hear from my Anne, what everybody expects and wishes for?
And does everybody expect and wish, my Emily
I stopped. She went on.-And don't I see that my guardian himself loves you? Do you think so, Emily?
O how he dwells upon your words, when you speak!
You fancy so, my dear.
You have not observed his eyes so much as I have done, when he is in your company. I have watched your eyes too; but have not seen that
you mind him quite so much as he does you. Indeed he loves you dearly.-And then she sighed again.
But why that sigh, my Emily? Were I so happy as you think, in the esteem of this good man, would you envy me, my dear?
Envy you!-I, such a simple girl as I, envy you! No, indeed. Why should I envy you? But tell me now, dear madam, tell me ; don't you love my guardian?
Everybody does. You, my Emily, love him. And so I do: but you love him, madam, with a hope that no one else will have reason to entertain-Dear now, place a little confidence in your Emily: my guardian shall never know it from me, by the least hint. I beg you will own it. You can't think how you will oblige me. Your confidence in me will give me importance with myself.
Will you, Emily, be as frank-hearted with me, as you would have me be with you? Indeed I will.
I do, my dear, greatly esteem your guardian. Esteem! Is that the word? Is that the ladies' word for love? And is not the word love a pretty word for women? I mean no harm by it, I am sure.
And I am sure you cannot mean harm. I will be sincere with my Emily; but you must not let any one living know what I say to you of this nature. I would prefer your guardian, my dear, to a king, in all his glory.
And so, madam, would I, if I were you. should be glad to be thought like you in everything.
Amiable innocence! But tell me, Miss Jervois, would you not have me esteem your guardian? You know he was my guardian too, and that at an exigence when I most wanted one.
Indeed I would. Would you have me wish such a good young lady as Miss Byron to be ungrateful? No, indeed-And again she sighed. Why then sighed my Emily? You said you would be frank-hearted.
So I will, madam. But I really can't tell why I sighed then. I wish my guardian to be the happiest man in the world: I wish you, madam, to be the happiest woman: and how can either be so, but in one another?-But I am grieved, I believe, that there seems to be something in the way of your mutual happiness.-I don't know whether that is all, neither-I don't know what it is-If I did, I would tell you-But I have such throbs sometimes at my heart, as make me fetch my breath hard-I don't know what it is-Such a weight here, as makes me sigh; and I have a pleasure, I think, because I have an ease in sighing-What can it be?
Go on, my dear: you are a pretty describer. Why now, if anybody, as Anne did last time my guardian came hither, were to run up stairs in a hurry; and to say, Miss, miss, miss, your
guardian is come! I should be in such a flutter! my heart would seem to be too big for my bosom! I should sit down as much out of breath as if I had run down a high hill.-And, for half an hour, maybe, so tremble, that I should not be able to see the dear guardian that perhaps I had wanted to see. And to hear him with a voice of gentleness, as if he pitied me for having so unhappy a mother, call me his Emily.-Don't you think he has a sweet voice? And your voice, too, madam, is also so sweet— Everybody says, that even in your common speech your voice is melody.-Now Anne saysO my agreeable little flatterer!
I don't flatter, madam. Don't call me a flatterer. I am a very sincere girl: indeed I am.
I dare say you are: but you raise my vanity, my dear. It is not your fault to tell me what people say of me; but it is mine to be proud of their commendations-But you were going to tell me what Anne says, on your being so much affected, when she tells you in a hurry, that your guardian is come.
Why Anne says, that all those are signs of love. Foolish creature!-And yet so they may; but not of such love as she means.-Such a love as she as good as owns she had in her days of flutteration, as she whimsically calls them; which, as she explains it, were when she was two or three years older than I am. In the first place, I am very young, you know, madam; a mere girl: and such a simple thing!—I never had a mother, nor sister neither; nor a companion of my own sex.--Mrs Lane's daughters, what were they?-They looked upon me as a child, as I was. In the next place, I do love my guardian, that's true; but with as much reverence, as if he were my father. I never had a thought that had not that deep, that profound reverence for him, as I remember I had for my father.
But you had not, my dear, any of those flutters, those throbs that you spoke of, on any returns of your father, after little absences?"
Why, no; I can't say I had. Nor, though I always rejoiced when my guardian came to see me at Mrs Lane's, had I, as I remember, any such violent emotions as I have had of late. I don't know how it is-Can you tell me?
Do you not, Lucy, both love and pity this sweet girl?
My dear Emily!-These are symptoms, I doubt
Symptoms of what, madam ?-Pray tell me sincerely. I will not hide a thought of my heart from you.
If encouraged, my dear-
It would be love, I doubt-That sort of love that would make you uneasy
No; that cannot be, surely. Why, madam, at that rate, I should never dare to stand in your