Sivut kuvina

presence. Upon my word, I wish no one in the world, but you, to be Lady Grandison. I have but one fear

And what's that?

That my guardian won't love me so well, when he marries, as he does now.

Are you afraid that the woman he marries will endeavour to narrow so large a heart as his?

No; not if that woman were you.-But, for give my folly! (and she looked down ;) he would not take my hand so kindly as now he does: he would not look in my face with pleasure, and with pity on my mother's account, as he does now: he would not call me his Emily: he would not bespeak every one's regard for his ward.

My dear, you are now almost a woman. He will, if he remain a single man, soon draw back into his heart that kindness and love for you, which, while you are a girl, he suffers to dwell upon his lips. You must expect this change of behaviour soon, from his prudence. You yourself, my love, will set him the example: you will grow more reserved in your outward behaviour, than hitherto there was reason to be.

O, madam! never tell me that! I should break my heart, were I twenty, and he did not treat me with the tenderness that he has always treated me with. If, indeed, he find me an encroacher; if he find me forward, and indiscreet, and troublesome; then let him call me anybody's Emily, rather than his.

You will have different notions, my dear, before that time

Then, I think, I shan't desire to live to see the time. Why, madam, all the comfort I have to set against my unhappiness from my mother, is, that so good, so virtuous, and so prudent a man as Sir Charles Grandison, calls me his Emily, and loves me as his child. Would you, madam, were you Lady Grandison, (now, tell me, would you,) grudge me these instances of his favour and affection?

Indeed, my dear, I would not: if I know my own heart, I would not.

And would you permit me to live with you? -Now it is out-Will you permit me to live with my guardian and you ?-This is a question I wanted to put to you; but was both ashamed and afraid, till you thus kindly emboldened me.

Indeed I would, if your guardian had no objection.

That don't satisfy me, madam. Would you be my earnest, my sincere advocate, and plead for me? He would not deny you anything. And would you (come, madam, I will put you to it-Would you) say, "Look you here, Sir Charles Grandison; this girl, this Emily, is a good sort of girl she has a great fortune: snares may be laid for her; she has no papa but you: she has, poor thing!" [I hope you

[ocr errors]

would call me by names of pity, to move him,] no mamma; or is more unhappy than if she had none. Where can you dispose of her so properly, as to let her be with us? I will be her protectress, her friend, her mamma"[Yes, do, madam, let me choose a mamma! Don't let the poor girl be without a mamma, if you can give her one. I am sure I will study to give you pleasure, and not pain] "I insist upon it, Sir Charles. It will make the poor girl's heart easy. She is told of the arts and tricks of men, where girls have great fortunes; and she is always in dread about them, and about her unhappy mother. Who will form plots against her, if she is with us?”—Dear, dear madam! you are moved in my favour[Who, Lucy, could have forborne being affected by her tender prattle? She threw her arms about me; I see you are moved in my favour!-And I will be your attendant: I will be your waiting-maid: I will help to adorn you, and to make you more and more lovely in the eyes of my guardian.

I could not bear this-No more, no more, my lovely girl, my innocent, my generous, my irresistible girl!-Were it to come to that, [It became me to be unreserved, for more reasons than one, to this sweet child-Not one request should my Emily make, that heart and mind I would not comply with not one wish that I would not endeavour to promote and ac complish for her.

I folded her to my heart, as she hung about my neck.

I grieve you-I would not, for the world, grieve my young mamma, said she-Henceforth let me call you my mamma.-Mamma, as I have heard the word explained, is a more tender name even than mother-The unhappy Mrs Jervois shall be Mrs O'Hara, if she pleases; and only mother: a child must not renounce her mother, though the mother should renounce, or worse than renounce, her child. I must leave you, Emily. Say then my Emily.

I must leave you, my, and more than my Emily.-You have cured me of sleepiness for this night!

O then I am sorry

No; don't be sorry. You have given me pain, 'tis true; but I think it is the sweetest pain that ever entered into a human heart. Such goodness! such innocence! such generosity-I thank God, my love, that there is in my knowledge so worthy a young heart as yours.

Now, how good this is! (and again she wrapped her arms about me.) And will you go?

I must, I must, my dear!-I can stay no longer.-But take this assurance, that my Emily shall have a first place in my heart for ever. I will study to promote your happiness; and your wishes shall be the leaders of mine.

Then I am sure I shall live with my guar

dian and you for ever, as I may say: and God grant, and down on her knees she dropped, with her arms wrapped about mine, that you may be the happiest of women, and that soon, for my sake, as well as your own, in marriage with the best of men, my guardian! (exultingly, said she:) and say, Amen-Do, God bless you, madam, say Amen to my prayer.

I struggled from her.-O my sweet girl! I cannot bear you!—I hastened out at the door to go to my chamber.

You are not angry, madam? following me, and taking my hand, and kissing it with eagerness. Say you are not displeased with me. I will not leave you till do. you

Angry! my love! Who can be angry? How you have distressed me by your sweet goodness of heart!

Thank God, I have not offended you. And now say, once more, my Emily-Say, good rest to you, my Emily-my love-and all those tender names-and say, God bless you, my child, as if you were my mamma; and I will leave you, and I shall in fancy go to sleep with the angels.

Angels only are fit company for my EmilyGod bless my Emily! Good night! Be your slumbers happy!

I kissed her once, twice, thrice, with fervour; and away she tript; but stopt at the door, curtseying low, as I, delighted, yet painfully delighted, looked after her.

Ruminating, in my retirement, on all the dear girl had said, and on what might be my fate; so many different thoughts came into my head, that I could not close my eyes: I therefore arose before day; and while my thoughts were agitated with the affecting subject, had recourse to my pen.

Do, my Lucy, and do you, my grandmamma, my aunt, my uncle, more than give me leave, bid me, command me, if it shall be proposed, to bring down with me my Emily and yet she shall not come, if you don't all promise to love her as well as you do

Your for ever obliged


[blocks in formation]

cle: does not that sound strange? But he is to be the obliger of everybody.

The Doctor said, that since Miss Grandison had claimed the benefit of her brother's permission for him to use his own discretion in communicating to us such of the letters as he was favoured with by Sir Charles, he believed he could not more unexceptionably oblige Lord Land the sisters, than by reading to them those two letters, as they were a kind of family subject.

After the Doctor had done reading, he withdrew to his closet. I stole up after him, and obtained his leave to transmit them to you. Lucy, be chary of them, and return them when perused.

There is no such thing as pointing out particular passages of generosity, justice, prudence, disinterestedness, beneficence, that strike one in those letters, without transcribing every paragraph in them. And, ah, Lucy! there are other observations to be made; mortifying ones, I fear.

Only let me say, that I think, if Sir Charles Grandison could and would tender himself to my acceptance, I ought to decline his hand. Do you think, if I were his, I should not live in continual dread of a separation from him, even by that inevitable stroke which, alone, could be the means of completing his existence?



Sat. Night, March 18. As soon as I had seen Mrs Jervois to her chair, I went to attend Lord W

He received me with great expressions of esteem and affection.

He commanded his attendants to withdraw, and told me, taking my hand, that my character rose upon him from every mouth. He was in love with me, he said. I was my mother's


He commended me for my economy, and complimented into generosity the justice I had done to some of my friends.

I frankly own, said he, that at your first arrival, and even till now, (that I am determined to be the man, you, cousin, would wish me to be,) I had thought it but prudent to hold back: for I imagined, that your father had lived at such a rate, that you would have applied to me, to extricate you from difficulties; and particularly, for money, to marry your eldest sister. At least, I took notice, young man, proceeded he, and I heard others observe, that you had not eyes to see any of your father's faults; either when he was living or departed; and this gave

me reason to apprehend, that you had your father's extravagant turn: and I was resolved, if I were applied to, to wrap myself close about in a general denial. Else, all I had been gathering together for so many years past, might soon have been dissipated; and I should only have taken a thorn out of the foot of another, and put it into my own.

And then he threw out some disagreeable reflections on my father's spirit.

To these I answered, that every man had a right to judge for himself, in those articles for which he himself is only accountable. My father, and your lordship, continued I, had very different ways of thinking. Magnificence was his taste: prudence (so your lordship must account it,) is yours. There are people in the world, who would give different names to both tastes but would not your lordship think it very presumptuous in any man to arraign you at the bar of his judgment, as mistaken in the measures of your prudence?

Look you, nephew, I don't well know what to make of your speech; but I judge, that you mean not to affront me.

I do not, my lord. While you were apprehensive, that you might be a sufferer by me, you acted with your usual prudence to discourage an application. My father had, in your lordship's judgment, but one fault; and he was the principal sufferer by it himself: had he looked into his affairs, he would have avoided the necessity of doing several things that were disagreeable to him, and must ever be to a man of spirit. His very timber, that required, as I may say, the axe, would have furnished him with all he wanted: and he paid interest for a less sum of money than actually was in the hands of his stewards, unaccounted for.

But what a glory to you, cousin

No compliment to me, my lord, I pray you, to the discredit of my father's memory. He had a right to do what he did. Your lordship does what you think fit. I too, now I am my own master, do as I please. My taste is different from both. I pursue mine, as he did his. If I should happen to be more right than my father in some things, he might have the advantage of me in others; and in those I happen to do, that are generally thought laudable, what merit have I? since all this time (directed by a natural bias) I am pursuing my own predominant passion; and that, perhaps, with as much ardour, and as little power to resist it, as my father had to restrain his.

Bravo! bravo! said my lord.-Let me ask you, nephew-May all young men, if they will, improve by travelling, as you have done?-If they may, by my troth, nine parts in ten of those who go abroad ought to be hanged up at their fathers' doors on their return.

Very severe, my lord. But thinking minds


will be thoughtful, whether abroad, or at home:
unthinking ones call for our pity.

Well, sir, I do assure you, that I am proud
of my nephew, whatever you are of your uncle;
and there are two or three things that I want to
talk to you about; and one or two that I would
consult you upon.

He rang, and asked, what time dinner would be ready?

In half an hour was the answer.

Mrs Giffard came in. Her face glowed with passion. My lord seemed affected at her entrance. It was easy to see, that they were upon ill terms with each other; and that my lord was more afraid of her, than she was of him.

She endeavoured to assume a complaisant air to me; but it was so visibly struggled for, that it sat very awkwardly on her countenance; and her lips trembled when she broke silence, to ask sister Charlotte. officiously, as she did, after the health of my

I would be alone with my nephew, said my lord, in a passionate tone.

You shall be alone, my lord, impertinently replied she, with an air that looked as if they had quarrelled more than once before, and that she had made it up on her own terms. She pulled the door after her with a rudeness that he only could take, and deserve, who was conscious of having degraded himself.


Foolish woman! Why came she in when I was there, except to shew her supposed consequence, at the expense of his honour? knew my opinion of her. She would by a third hand, once, have made overtures to me of her interest with my lord; but I should have thought meanly of myself, had I not, with disdain, rejected the tender of her services.

A damned woman! said my lord; but looked, first, as if he would be sure she was out of hearing.

This woman, nephew, and her behaviour, is one of the subjects I wanted to consult you upon.

Defer this subject, my lord, till you have recovered your temper. You did not design to begin with it. You are discomposed.

And so I am; and he puffed and panted, as if out of breath.

I asked him some indifferent questions: to have followed him upon the subject at that time, whatever resolutions he had taken, they would probably have gone off, when the passion to which they would have owed their vigour, had subsided.

When he had answered them, his colour and his wrath went down together.

He then ran out into my praises again, and particularly for my behaviour to Mrs Oldham ; who, he said, lived now very happily, and very exemplarily; and never opened her lips, when she was led to mention me, but with blessings heaped upon me.

That woman, my lord, said I, was once good. A recovery, where a person is not totally abandoned, is more to be hoped for, than the reformation of one who never was well-principled. All that is wished for, in the latter, is, that she may be made unhurtful. Her highest good was never more than harmlessness. She that was once good, cannot be easy, when she is in a state of true penitence, till she is restored to that from which she was induced to depart.

You understand these matters, cousin; I don't. But if you will favour me with more of your company, I shall, I believe, be the better for your notions. But I must talk about this woman, nephew. I am calm now. I must talk of this woman now-I am resolved to part with her; I can bear her no longer. Did you not mind how she pulled the door after her, though you were present?

I did, my lord. But it was plain, that something disagreeable had passed before; or she could not so totally have forgotten herself. But, my lord, we will postpone this subject, if you please. If you yourself lead to it after dinner, 'I will attend to it, with all my heart.

Well, then, be it so. But now tell me, have you, nephew, any thoughts of marriage?

I have great honour for the state; and hope to be one day happy in it.

Well said—and are you at liberty, kinsman, to receive a proposal of that nature?

And then, without waiting for any answer, he proposed Lady Frances N- and said, he had been spoken to on this subject.

Lady Frances, answered I, is a very deserving young lady. My father set on foot a treaty with her family. But it has been long broken off; it cannot be resumed.


Well, what think you of Lady Anne SI am told that she is likely to be the lady. She has a noble fortune. Your sisters, I hear, are friends to Lady Anne.

My sisters wish me happily married. I have such an opinion of both those ladies, that it would give me some little pain, to imagine each would not, in her turn, refuse me, were I offered to her, as I cannot, myself, make the offer. I cannot bear, my lord, to think of returning slight for respect, to my own sex; but as to ladies, how can we expect that delicacy and dignity from them, which are the bulwarks of their virtue, if we do not treat them with dignity?

Charming notions! If you had not them abroad, you had them from your mother; she was all that was excellent in woman.

Indeed she was. Excellent woman! She is always before my eyes.

And excellent kinsman too! Now I know your reverence for your mother, I will allow of all you say of your father, because I see it is all from principle. I have known some men who

have spoken with reverence of their mothers, to give themselves dignity; that is to say, for bringing creatures so important as themselves into the world; and who have exacted respect to the good old women, who were merely good old women, as we call them, in order to take the incense offered the parent, into their own nostrils. This was duty in parade.

The observation, my good Dr Bartlett, I thought above my Lord W. I think I have heard one like it, made by my father, who saw very far into men; but was sometimes led, by his wit, into saying a severe thing; and yet, whenever I hear a man praised highly for the performance of common duties; as for being a good husband, a good son, or a kind father; though each is comparatively praiseworthy, I conclude, that there is nothing extraordinary to be said of him. To call a man a good FRIEND, is indeed comprising all the duties in one word; for friendship is the balm, as well as seasoning, of life; and a man cannot be defective in any of the social duties, who is capable of it, when the term is rightly understood.

Well, cousin, since you cannot think of either of those ladies, how should you like the rich and beautiful Countess of R-? You know what an excellent character she bears.

I do. But, my lord, I should not choose to marry a widow; and yet, generally, I do not disrespect widows, nor imagine those men to blame who marry them. But as my circumstances are not unhappy, and as riches will never be my principal inducement in the choice of a wife, I may be allowed to indulge my peculiarities; especially as I shall hope (and I should not deserve a good wife if I did not,) that, when once married, I shall be married for my whole life.

The Countess once declared, said my lord, before half a score in company, two of them her particular admirers, that she never would marry any man in the world, except he were just such another, in mind and manners, as Sir Charles Grandison.

Ladies, my lord, who in absence speak favourably of a man who forms not pretensions upon them, nor is likely to be troublesome to them, would soon convince that man of his mistake, were his presumption to rise upon their declared good opinion of him.

I wonder, proceeded my lord, that every young man is not good. I have heard you, cousin, praised in all the circles where you have been mentioned. It was certainly an advantage to you to come back to us a stranger, as I may say. Many youthful follies may perhaps be overpassed, that we shall never know anything of; but, be that as it will, I can tell you, sir, that I have heard such praises of you, as have made my eyes glisten, because of my relation to you. I was told, within this month past, that no fewer

than five ladies, out of one circle, declared, that they would stand out by consent, and let you pick and choose a wife froin among them.

What your lordship has heard of this nature, let me say, without affecting to disclaim a compliment apparently too high for my merits, is much more to the honour of the one sex, than of the other. I should be glad, that policy, if not principle, (principle might take root, and grow from it,) would mend us men.

So should I, nephew; but I [Poor man! he hung down his head! have not been a better man than I ought to be. Do you not despise me, in your heart, cousin ?-You must have heard that cursed woman-but I begin to repent! And the truly good, I believe, cannot be either censorious or uncharitable. Tell me, how ever, do you not despise me?

Despise my mother's brother! No, my lord. Yet were a sovereign to warrant my freedom, and there were a likelihood that he would be the better for it; I would, with decency, tell him my whole mind. I am sorry to say it; but your lordship, if you have not had virtue to make you worthy of being imitated, have too many examples among the great, as well as among the middling, to cause you to be censured for singularity. But your lordship adds, to a confession that is not an ungenerous one, that you begin to repent.

Indeed I do. And your character, cousin, has made me half ashamed of myself.

I am not accustomed, my lord, to harangue on these subjects to men who know their duty; but let me say, that your lordship's good resolutions, to be efficacious, must be built upon a bet⚫ter foundation than occasional disgust or disobligation. But here, again, we are verging to a subject that we are both agreed to defer till after dinner.

I am charmed with your treatment of me, cousin. I shall, for my own sake, adore my sister's son. Had I consulted my chaplain, who is a good man too, he would have too roughly treated me.

Divines, my lord, must do their duty.

He then introduced the affair between Sir Hargrave Pollexfen and me, of which, I found, he was more particularly informed, than I could have imagined; and after he had launched out upon that, and upon my refusal of a duel, he, by a transition that was very natural, mentioned the rescued lady, as he called her. I have heard, cousin, said he, that she is the most beautiful woman in England.

I think her so, my lord, replied I; and she has one excellence, that I never before met with in a beauty. She is not proud of it.

I then gave my opinion of Miss Byron in such terms, as made my lord challenge me, as my sisters once did, on the warmth of my description and praises of her.

And does your lordship think, that I cannot do justice to the merits of such a lady as Miss

Byron, but with an interested view? I do assure you, that what I have said, is short of what I think of her. But I can praise a lady, without meaning a compliment to myself. I look upon it, however, as one of the most fortunate accidents of my life, that I have been able to serve her, and save her from a forced marriage with a man whom she disliked, and who could not deserve her. There is hardly anything gives me more pain, than when I see a worthy woman very unequally yoked, if her own choice has not been at first consulted; and who yet, though deeply sensible of her misfortune, irreproachably supports her part of the yoke.

You are a great friend to the sex, kinsman. I am. I think the man who is not, must have fallen into bad company; and deserves not to have been favoured with better. Yet, to unwomanly faults, to want of morals, and even to want of delicacy, no man is more quick-sighted. I don't know how it is; but I have not, at this rate, fallen into the best company; but perhaps it is for want of that delicacy, in my own mind, which you are speaking of.

Were we men, my lord, to value women (and to let it be known that we do) for those quali ties which are principally valuable in the sex; the less estimable, if they would not be reformed, would shrink out of our company, into company more suitable to their taste; and we should never want objects worthy of our knowledge, and even of our admiration, to associate with. There is a kind of magnetism in goodness. Bad people will indeed find out bad people, to ac company with, in order to keep one another in countenance; but they are bound together by a rope of sand; whilst trust, confidence, love, sympathy, twist a cord, by a reciprocation of beneficent offices, which ties good men to good men, and cannot easily be broken.

I have never had these notions, cousin ; and yet they are good ones. I took people as I found them; and, to own the truth, meaning to serve myself, rather than anybody else, I never took pains to look out for worthy attachments. The people I had to do with, had the same views upon me, as I had upon them; and thus I went on in a state of hostility with all men; mistrusting and guarding, as well as I could, and not doubting that every man I had to do with would impose upon me, if I placed confidence in him.-But as to this Miss Byron, nephew, I shall never rest till I see her-Pray, what is her fortune? They tell me, it is not above 15,000l.-What is that, to the offers you have had made you?

Just then we were told, dinner was on the table. I am wishing for an inclination to rest; but it flies me. The last letter from Beauchamp, dated from Bologna, as well as those from the Bishop, afflict me. Why have I such a feeling heart? Were the unhappy situation of affairs there owing to my own enterprizing spirit, I should deserve the pain it gives me. But I should be too happy, had I not these without door per

« EdellinenJatka »