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plexities, as I may call them, to torment me. Thank God that they arise not from within, though they make themselves too easy a passage to my heart!
My paper is written out. If I am likely to find a drowsy moment, I shall welcome its approach: if not, I will rise, and continue my subject.
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR BARTLETT.
Sunday, March 19.
I HAVE had two happy hours of forgetfulness. I could not, though I tried for it, prevail for more; and I will continue my subject.
After dinner, every attendant being dismissed, my lord, making me first see that nobody was listening in the passages, began as follows:
I am determined, nephew, to part with this Giffard. She is the plague of my life. I would have done it half a year ago, on an occasion that I will not mention to you, because you would despise me, if I did, for my weakness; and now she wants to bring in upon me a sister of hers, and her husband, and to part with two other worthy folks, that I know love me; but of whom, for that reason, she is jealous; and then they would divide me among them; for this man and his wife have six children; all of whom, of late, make an appearance that cannot be honestly supported.
And have you any difficulty, my lord, in parting with her, but what arises from your own want of resolution?
The most insolent devil that ever was about a man at one time, and the most whining at another. Don't despise me, nephew; you know I have taken her as-You know what I mean
My pity, my lord, where I see compunction, is stronger than my censure.
That is well said.-Now I agreed with this woman, in a weak moment, and she has held me to it, to give her an annuity of 150l. for life; which was to be made up 2501. if I parted with her, without her consent; and here we have been, for several months, plaguing one another, whether I shall turn her out of the house, or she will leave me; for she has told me, that she will not stay, unless I take in her sister and brother; yet will not go, because she will then have no more than the 150l. a-year; and that is too much for her deserts for these two years past.
Your lordship sees the inconveniencies of this way of life; and I need not mention to you, how
much happier that state is, which binds a man and woman together by interest, as well as by affection, if discretion be not forgotten in their choice. But let me express my surprise, that your lordship, who have so ample an estate, and no child, should seem to value your peace of mind at so low a rate as 1007. a-year.
I will not let her go away with such a triumph. She has not deserved from me
Pray, my lord, was she of reputation when you took her?
She was a widow
But was her character tolerable in the eye of the world? She might be a greater object of pity for being a widow.
My gouty disorders made me want a woman about me. I hated men fellows
Well, my lord, this regards your motive. But have you any previous or later incontinence to charge her with ?
I can't say I have. Her cursed temper would frighten, rather than invite, lovers. I heard it was no good one; but it broke not out to me till within these two years.
Your lordship, surely, must not dispute the matter with her. If you are determined to part with her, give her the 250l. a-year, and let her go.
To reward a cursed woman for misbehaviour? I cannot do it.
Give me leave to say, that your lordship has deserved some punishment. Give her the annuity, not as a reward to her, but as a punishment to yourself.
You hurt my sore place, nephew.
Consider, my lord, that 2507. a-year for life, or even for ever, is a poor price, for the reputa-" tion of a woman with whom a man of your quality and fortune condescended to enter into treaty. Every quarterly payment must strike her to the heart, if she lives to have compunction seize her, when she thinks that she is receiving, for subsistence, the wages of her shame. Be that her punishment. You intimate, that she has so behaved herself, that she has but few friends. Part with her, without giving her cause of complaint, that may engage pity for her, if not friends, at your expense. A woman who has lost her reputation, will not be regardful of yours. Suppose she sue you for non-performance of covenants, would your lordship appear to such a prosecution? You cannot be capable of pleading your privilege on a prosecution that would otherwise go against you. You cannot be in earnest to part with this woman. She cannot have offended you beyond forgiveness, if you scruple 100l. a-year to get rid of her.
He fervently swore, that he was in earnest ; and added, I am resolved, nephew, to marry, and live honest.
He looked at me, as if he expected I should be surprised.
I believe I could not change countenance on such a hint as this. You have come to a good
resolution, my lord; and, if you marry a prudent woman, your lordship will find the difference in your own reflections, as well as in your reputation and interest. And shall the difference of a 100l. a-year-Don't let me say, that I am ashamed for my Lord W
I knew that you would despise me, Sir Charles. I know that I should despise myself, were I not to deal freely with your lordship in this respect. Indeed, my lord, you have not had so good reason (forgive me!) to think hardly of my father's spirit, as you had to correct your own. I cannot bear this, nephew. He looked displeased.
You must not be angry, my lord. I will not bear anger from any man breathing, and keep him company, who, consulting me, shall be displeased with me for speaking my mind with freedom and sincerity.
What a man am I talking to !-Well, rid me of this torment, [you have spirit, nephew ; and nobody can reproach you with acting contrary to your own principles, and I will for ever love you. But talk to her: I hardly dare. She whimpers and sobs, and threatens, by turns, and I cannot bear it.-Once she was going to tie herself up-Would to God I had not prevented her! -And then (O my folly!) we went on again.
My good Dr Bartlett, I was ashamed of my uncle. But you see what an artful, as well as insolent, woman this is. What folly is there in wickedness! Folly encounters with folly, or how could it succeed so often as it does?-Yet my mother's brother to wish he had suffered a creature, with whom he had been familiar, to destroy herself!-I could hardly bear him. Only that I thought it would be serving both wretches, and giving both a chance for repentance; or I should not have kept my seat.-But we see in my mother, and in her brother, how habitual wickedness debases, and how habitual goodness exalts, the human mind. In their youth they were supposed nearer an equality in their understandings and attainments, than in their maturity, when occasion called out into action their respective talents. But, perhaps, the brother was not the better man for the uninterrupted prosperity that attended him, and for having never met with check or control; whereas the most happily married woman in the world must have a will to which she must sometimes resign her own. What a glory to a good woman must it be, who can not only resign her will, but make so happy an use of her resignation, as my mother did!
My lord repeated his request, that I would talk with the woman; and that directly. * I withdrew, and sent for her, accordingly.
She came to me, out of breath with passion; and, as I thought, partly with apprehension for what her own behaviour might be before me.
I see, Mrs Giffard, said I, that you are in great emotion. I am desired to talk with you; a task
I am not very fond of: but you will find nothing but civility, such as is due to you, for your sex's sake, from me. Calm, therefore, your mind; I will see you again, in a few moments.
I took a turn, and soon came back. Her face looked not quite so bloated; and she burst into tears. She began to make a merit of her services; her care; her honesty; and then inveighed against my lord for the narrowness of his spirit. She paid some compliments to me; and talked of being ashamed to appear before me as a guilty creature ; introductory to what she was prepared to say of her sacrifices, the loss of her good name, and the like; on which, with respect to my lord, and his ingratitude to her, as she called it, she laid great stress.
I am never displeased, my dear friend, with the testimony which the most profligate women bear to the honour of virtue, when they come to set a value upon their departure from it.
You have it not to say, Mrs Giffard, that my lord betrayed, seduced, or deceived you. I say not this so much for reproach, as for justicesake; and not to suffer you to deceive yourself; and to load him with greater faults than he has been guilty of. You were your own mistress ; you had no father, mother, husband, to question you, or to be offended with you. You knew your duty. You were treated with as a sole and independent person. One hundred and fifty pounds a-year, Mrs Giffard, though a small price for the virtue of a good woman, which is, indeed, above all price, is, nevertheless, greatly above the price of common service. I never seek to palliate faults of a flagrant nature; though it is not my meaning to affront, a woman especially, and one who supposes herself in distress. You must know, madam, the frail tenure by which you were likely to hold: you stipulated, therefore, for a provision, accordingly. woman who never hoped to be a wife, can have no hardship, to take the stipulation, and once more give herself the opportunity to recover her lost fame. This independence, my lord is desirous to give you
What independence, sir?
Two hundred and fifty, sir, if you please—if my lord thinks fit to dismiss me.
My lord has told me, that that was indeed the stipulation; but he pleads misbeha
I was willing to make a little difficulty of the 100l. a-year, though I thought my lord ought not And as to misbehaviour, Dr Bartlett, I hardly know how to punish a woman for that, to her keeper. Does she not first misbehave to herself, and to the laws of God and man? And ought a man, that brings her to violate her first duties, to expect from her a regard to a mere discretionary obligation? I would have all these moralists, as they affect to call themselves, suffer by such libertine principles, as cannot be
pursued, but in violation of the very first laws of morality.
Misbehaviour! sir. He makes this plea to cover his own baseness of heart. I never misbehaved, as he calls it, till I saw
Well, madam, this may lead to a debate that can answer no end. I presume you are as willing to leave my lord, as he is to part with you. It must be a wretchedness beyond what I can well imagine, to live a life of guilt, (I must not palliate in this case,) and yet of hatred and animosity, with the person who is a partaker in that guilt.
I am put upon a very unequal task, sir, to talk with you on this subject. My lord will not refuse to see me, I hope. I know what to say to him.
He has requested me to talk with you, ma dam. As I told you, I am not fond of the task. We have all our faults. God knows what he will pardon, and what he will punish. His pardon, however, in a great measure, depends upon yourself. You have health and time, to all appearance, before you: your future life may be a life of penitence. I am no divine, madam; I would not be thought to preach to you: but you have now a prospect opened of future happiness, through your mutual misunderstandings, that you never otherwise might have had. And let me make an observation to you; that where hatred or dislike have once taken place of liking, the first separation, in such a case as this, is always the best. Affection or esteem between man and woman, once forfeited, hardly ever is recovered. Tell me truth-Don't you as heartily dislike my lord, as he does you?
I do, sir-He is
I will not hear what he is, from the mouth of declared prejudice. He has his faults. One great fault is, that in which you have been joint partakers-But if you might, would you choose to live together to be torments to each other?
I can torment him more than he can meDiabolical temper!-Woman! (and I stood up, and looked sternly,) can you forget to whom you say this-and of whom?-Is not Lord my uncle?
This (as I intended it should) startled her. She asked my pardon.
What a fine hand, proceeded I, has a peer of the realm made of it! to have this said of him, and perhaps, had you been in his presence, to him, by a woman whose courage is founded in his weakness?-Let me tell you, madam
She held up her clasped hands-For God's sake forgive me, sir! and stand my friend.
A hundred and fifty pounds a-year, madam, is rich payment for any consideration that a woman could give, who has more spirit than virtue. Had you kept that, madam, you would, though the daughter of cottagers, have been superior to the greatest man on earth, who wanted
to corrupt you. But thus far, and as a punishment to my lord for his wilful weakness, I will be your friend-Retire from my lord; you shall have 250l. a-year; and as you were not brought up to the expectation of one-half of the fortune, bestow the hundred a-year that was in debate, upon young creatures of your sex, as an encouragement to them to preserve that chastity, which you, with your eyes open, gave up; and with the rest live a life suitable to that disposition; and then, as my fellow-creature, I will wish you happy.
She begged leave to withdraw; she could not, she said, stand in my presence.
I had, indeed, spoken with warmth. She withdrew trembling, curtseying, mortified; and I returned to my lord.
He was very earnest to hear my report. I again put it to him, whether he adhered to his resolution of parting with his woman? He declared in the affirmative, with greater earnestness than before; and begged to know, if I could manage it that she should go, and that without seeing him. I cannot bear to see her, said he.
Bravoes of the law, cowards and cullies to their paramours, are these keepers, generally. I have ever suspected the courage (to magnanimity they must be strangers) of men who can defy the laws of society. I pitied him ; and believing that it would not be difficult to manage this heroine, who had made her weak lord afraid of her, I said, Have you a mind, my lord, that she shall quit the house this night, and before I leave it? If you have, I think I can undertake that she shall.
And can you do this for me? If you can, you shall be my great Apollo. That will, indeed, make me happy; for the moment you are gone, she will force herself into my presence, and will throw the gout, perhaps, into my stomach. She reproaches me, as if she had been an innocent woman, and I the most ungrateful of men. For God's sake, nephew, release me from her, and I shall be happy. I would have left her behind me in the country, proceeded he; but she would come with me. She was afraid that I would appeal to you; she stands in awe of nobody else. You will be my guardian angel, if you will rid me of this plague.
Well, then, my lord, you will leave it to me to do the best I can with her; but it cannot be the best on your side, for your honour's sake, if we do her not that justice that the law would, or ought to do her. In a word, my lord, you must forgive me for saying, that you shall not resume that dignity to distress this woman, which you laid aside when you entered into treaty with her.
Well, well, I refer myself to your management; only this 100%. a-year-Once again, I say, it would hurt me to reward a woman for plaguing me; and 1501. a-year is two-thirds more
than ever she, or any of her family, were entitled to.
The worst and meanest are entitled to justice, my lord; and I hope your lordship will not refuse to perform engagements that you entered into with your eyes open: you must not, if I take any concern in this affair.
Just then, the woman sent in to beg the favour of an audience, as she called it, of me.
She addressed me in terms above her education. There is something, said she, in your countenance, sir, so terrible, and yet so sweet, that one must fear your anger, and yet hope for your forgiveness, when one has offended. I was too free in speaking of my lord to his nephew And then she made a compliment to my character, and told me she would be determined by my pleasure, be it what it would.
How seldom are violent spirits true spirits! When overawed, how tame are they, generally, in their submission! Yet this woman was not without art in hers. She saw, that displeased as she apprehended I was with her, I had given her hopes of the payment of the hundred pounds a-year penalty; and this made her so acquiescent. I was indeed displeased with you, Mrs Giffard; and could not, from what you said, but conclude in your dis-favour, in justification of my lord's complaints against you.
Will you give me leave, sir, to lay before you the true state of everything between my lord and me?—Indeed, sir, you don't know
When two persons, who have lived in familiarity, differ, the fault is seldom wholly on one side; but thus far I judge between you, and desire not to hear particulars; the man who dispenses with a known duty, in such a case as this before us, must render himself despicable in the eyes of the very person whom he raises into consequence, by sinking his own. Chastity is the crown and glory of a woman. The most profligate of the men love modesty in the sex, at the very time they are forming plots to destroy it in a particular object. When a woman has submitted to put a price upon her honour, she must appear at times, despicable in the eyes even of her seducer; and when these two break out into animosity, ought either to wish to live with the other?
Indeed, indeed, sir, I am struck with remorse; I see my error. And she put her handkerchief to her eyes, and seemed to weep.
I proceeded. You, Mrs Giffard, doubted the continuance of my lord's passion; you made your terms, therefore, and proposed a penalty besides. My lord submitted to the terms, and by that means secured his right of dismissing you, at his pleasure; the only convenience that a man dishonouring himself, by despising marriage, can think he has. Between him and you, what remains to be said, (though you are both answerable at a tribunal higher than your own,) but that you should have been separated long ago? Yet
you would not consent to it; you would not leave him at liberty to assert the right he had reserved to himself. Strange weakness in him, that he would suffer that to depend upon you! -But one weakness is the parent of another. She then visibly wept.
You found out, that you could torment your lord in a higher degree, than he could torment you; and how, acting upon such principles, you have lived together for some time past, you have let every one see.
She, on her knees, besought my pardon for the freedom of that expression.-Not from motives of contrition, as I apprehend; but from those of policy.
She was strong enough to raise herself, without my assistance. She did, unbidden, on seeing me step backward a pace or two, to give her an opportunity to do so; and looked very silly; and the more, for having missed my assisting hand; by which I supposed, that she had usually better success with my lord, whenever she had prevailed on herself to kneel to him.
It is easy, my good Dr Bartlett, from small crevices, to discover day in an artful woman's heart. Nothing can be weaker, in the eye of an observer, who himself disdains artifice, than a woman who makes artifice her study. In a departure from honest nature, there will be such curvings, as that the eyes, the countenance, will generally betray the heart; and if she either breaks out into uncalled-for apologies, or affects undue reserve, she gives room to confirm the suspicion, that all is not right in her mind.
I excuse you, Mrs Giffard, said I; my has deservedly brought much of what has distressed him, upon himself; but now it is best for you to part. My lord chooses not to see you. I would advise you to remove this very after
What, sir, and not have my 250l. a-year! Will you leave the house this night, if I give you my word?
For the whole sum, sir-Two hundred and fifty pounds a-year, sir?
Yes, for the whole sum.
I will, sir, with all my heart and soul. Most of my things are in the country. My lord came up in a passion, to talk with you, sir. Two or three band-boxes are all I have here. Mr Halden (he is my lord's favourite) shall go down, and see I take nothing but my own-I will trust to your word of honour, sir-and leave, for ever, the most ungrateful
Hush, Mrs Giffard, these tears are tears of passion. There is not a female feature, at this instant, in your face-What a command of countenance! it cleared up in a moment. expected it from her]-A penitent spirit is an humble, a broken spirit; you shew, at present, no sign of it.
She dropt me a curtsey, with such an air, (though not designed, I believe,) as shewed that
the benefit she was to reap from the advice, would not be sudden, if ever; and immediately repeated her question, if she had my honour for the payment of the entire sum-And you don't insist, sir, (I have poor relations,) that I shall pay out the hundred a-year, as you mentioned ?
You are to do with the whole annuity as you please. If your relations are worthy, you cannot do better than to relieve their necessities. But, remember, Mrs Giffard, that every quarter brings you the wages of iniquity, and endeavour
at some atonement.
The woman could too well bear this severity. Had a finger been sufficient to have made her feel, I would not have laid upon her the weight of my whole hand.
She assured me, that she would leave the house in two hours' time. I returned to my lord, and told him so.
He arose from his seat, embraced me, and called me his good angel. I advised him to give his orders to Halden, or to whom he thought fit, to do her and himself justice, as to what belonged to her in the country.
But the terms! the terms! cried my lord. If you have brought me off for 150l. I will adore you.
These are the terms: (you promised to leave them to me :) you pay no more than 150l. ayear for her life, till you assure me, upon your honour, that you cheerfully, and on mature consideration, make it up 2507.
How is that! how is that, nephew? Then I never shall pay more, depend upon it.
Nor will I ever ask you.
He rubbed his hands, forgetting the gout; but was remembered by the pain, and cried, Oh!
But how did you manage it, kinsman?-I never should have brought her to anythingHow did you manage it?
Your lordship does not repent her going? He swore, that it was the happiest event that could have befallen him. I hope, said he, she will go without wishing to see me Whether she would whine, or curse, it would be impossible for me to see her, and be myself.
I believe she will go without desiring to see you; perhaps while I am here.
Thank God! a fair riddance! Thank God! -But is it possible, kinsman, that you could bring me off for 150l. a-year? Tell me, truly. It is: and I tell your lordship, that it shall cost you no more, till you shall know how to value the comfort and happiness of your future life at more than 100%. a-year: till then, the respect I pay to my mother's brother, and the regard I have for his honour, will make me cheerfully pay the 1007. a-year in dispute, out of my own pocket.
He looked around him, his head turning as if on a pivot; and, at last, bursting out into tears and speech together-And is it thus, is it thus,
you subdue me? is it thus you convince me of my shameful littleness? I cannot bear it: all that this woman has done to me, is nothing to this. I can neither leave you, nor stay in your presence. Leave me, leave me, for six minutes only-Jesus! how shall I bear my own littleness?
I arose. One word only, my lord. When I re-enter, say not a syllable more on this subject; let it pass as I put it. I would part with a greater sum than a hundred a-year, for the satisfaction of giving to my uncle the tranquillity he has so long wanted in his own house, rather than that a person, who has had a dependence upon him, should think herself entitled to complain of injustice from him.
He caught my hand, and would have met it with his lips. I withdrew it hastily, and retired; leaving him to recollect himself.
When I returned, he thrust into my hand a paper, and held it there, and swore that I should take it. If the wretch live ten years, nephew, said he, that will reimburse you; if she dies sooner, the difference is yours: and, for God's sake, for the sake of your mother's memory, don't despise me; that is all the favour I ask of you: no man on earth was ever so nobly overcome. By all that's good, you shall chalk me out my path! Blessed be my sister's memory, for giving me such a kinsman! The name of Grandison, that I ever disliked till now, is the first of names: and may it be perpetuated to the end of time!
He held the paper in my hand till he had done speaking. I then opened it, and found it to be a bank-note of 1000l. I was earnest to return it; but he swore so vehemently, that he would have it so, that I, at last, acquiesced; but declared, that I would pay the whole annuity, as far as the sum went; and this, as well in justice to him, as to save him the pain of attending to an affair that must be grievous to him. And I insisted upon giving him an acknowledgment under my hand, for that sum; and to be accountable to him for it, as his banker would, in the like case.
And thus ended this affair. The woman went away before me. She begged the favour, at the door, of one word with me. My lord started up, at her voice: his complexion varied: he whipt as nimbly behind the door, as if he had no gout in his foot. I will not see her, said he.
I stepped out. She complimented, thanked me, and wept; yet, in the height of her concern, would have uttered bitter things against my lord; but I stopped her mouth, by telling her, that I was to be her paymaster, quarterly, of the 2507. a-year; and she turned her execrations against her lord, into blessings on me: but, after all, departed with reluctance.
Pride, and not tenderness, was visibly the occasion. Could she have secured her whole annuity, I have no doubt but she would have gra