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We had several charming conversations. Sir Charles was extremely entertaining. So unassuming, so lively, so modest! It was also delightful to see the attention paid to him by the servants as they waited at table. They watched every look of his. I never saw love and reverence so agreeably mingled in servants' faces in my life. And his commands were delivered to them with so much gentleness of voice and aspect, that one could not but conclude, in favour of both, that they were the best of servants to the best of
Mr Grandison was very gallant in his speeches to me; but very uncivil with his eyes.
Lord L said but little ; but what he did say, deservedly gained attention.
Everybody reverenced Dr Bartlett, and was attentive when he spoke; and would, I dare say, on his own account, had not the master of the house, by the regard he paid him, engaged every one's veneration for him. Many of the questions which Sir Charles put to him, as if to inform himself, it was evident he could himself have answered; yet he put them with an air of teachableness, if I may so express myself; and recei⚫ved the Doctor's answers to them with as much
satisfaction, as if he were then newly enlightened by them.-Ah, my Lucy! you imagine, I dare say, that this admirable man lost nothing in my eyes, by this his polite condescension. Reserve, and a politeness that had dignity in it, shewed that the fine gentleman and the clergyman were not separated in Dr Bartlett.-Pity they should be in any of the function !
Sir Charles gave Lord G an opportunity to shine, by leading the discourse into circumstances and details, which Lord G― could best recount. My lord has been a traveller. He is a connoisseur in antiquities, and in those parts of nice knowledge, as I, a woman, call it, with which the Royal Society here, and the learned and polite of other nations, entertain themselves.
Lord G appeared to advantage, as Sir Charles managed it, under the awful eye of Miss Grandison. Upon my word, Lucy, she makes very free with him. I whispered her, that she did-A very Miss Howe, said I.
To a very Mr Hickman, re-whispered she. But here's the difference; I am not determined to have Lord G. Miss Howe yielded to her mother's recommendation, and intended to marry Mr Hickman, even when she used him worst. One time or other (archly continued she the whisper, holding up her spread hand, and with a countenance of admiration,) my Lord G——— is to shew us his collection of butterflies, and other gaudy insects; will you make one?
Of the gaudy insects? whispered I.
Fie, Harriet!-One of the party, you know, I must mean. Let me tell you, I never saw a collection of these various insects, that I did not the more admire the Maker of them, and of all us insects, whatever I thought of the collectors of the minute ones.-Another word with you, Harriet These little playful studies may do well enough with persons who do not want to be more than indifferent to us; but do you think a lover ought to take high delight in the painted wings of a butterfly, when a fine lady has made herself all over butterfly to attract him?-Eyes off, Sir Charles !-for he looked, though smilingly, yet earnestly, at us, as we whispered behind the Countess's chair; who heard what was said, and was pleased with it.
Thursday Morn. March 2. I SHOULD have told you that Miss Grandison did the honours of the table; and I will go round it; for I know you expect I should. But I have not yet done with Lord G. Poor
of the fashion, as it seems he thinks; but, however, is one of the first in it, be it what it will. He is a great frequenter of the drawingroom; of all manner of public spectacles; a leader of the taste at a new play, or opera. He dances, he sings, he laughs; and values himself on all three qualifications; and yet certainly has sense; but is not likely to improve it much; since he seems to be so much afraid of suffering in the consequence he thinks himself of, that whenever Sir Charles applies himself to him, upon any of his levities, though but by the eye, his consciousness, however mild the look, makes him shew an uneasiness at the instant. He reddens, sits in pain; calls for favour by his eyes and his quivering lips; and has, notwithstanding, a smile ready to turn into a laugh, in order to lessen his own sensibility, should he be likely to suffer in the opinion of the company; but every motion shews his consciousness of inferiority to the man, of whose smiles or animadversions he is so very apprehensive.
What a captious, what a supercilious husband, to a woman who should happen to have a stronger mind than his, would Mr Grandison make! But he values himself upon his having preserved his liberty.
I believe there are more bachelors now in England by many thousands, than were a few years ago; and, probably, the numbers of them (and of single women, of course) will every year increase. The luxury of the age will account a good deal for this; and the turn our sex take in un-domesticating themselves, for a good deal more. But let not those worthy young women, who may think themselves destined to a single life, repine over-much at their lot; since, possibly, if they have had no lovers, or having had one, two, or three, have not found a husband, they have had rather a miss than a loss, as men go. And let me here add, that I think, as matters stand in this age, or indeed ever did stand, that those women who have joined with the men in their insolent ridicule of old maids, ought never to be forgiven; no, though Miss Grandison should be one of the ridiculers. An old maid may be an odious character, if they will tell us, that the bad qualities of the persons, not the maiden state, are what they mean to expose; but then they must allow, that there are old maids of twenty; and even that there are widows and wives of all ages and complexions, who, in the abusive sense of the words, are as much old maids, as the most particular of that class of females.
man! he is excessively in love, I see that. Well he may. What man would not with Miss Grandison? Yet is she too superior, I think.
What can a woman do, who is addressed by a man of talents inferior to her own? Must she throw away her talents? Must she hide her light under a bushel, purely to do credit to the man? She cannot pick and choose, as men can. She has only her negative; and, if she is desirous to oblige her friends, not always that. Yet it is said, women must not encourage fops and fools. They must encourage men of sense only. it is well said. But what will they do, if their lot be cast only among foplings? If the men of sense do not offer themselves? And pray, may I not ask, if the taste of the age, among the men, is not dress, equipage, and foppery? Is the cultivation of the mind any part of their study? The men, in short, are sunk, my dear, and the women but barely swim.
Lord G seems a little too finical in his dress. And yet I am told, that Sir Walter Watkins outdoes him in foppery. What can they mean by it, when Sir Charles Grandison is before them? He scruples not to modernize a little; but then you see, that it is in compliance with the fashion, and to avoid singularity; a fault to which great minds are perhaps too often subject, though he is so much above it.
I want to know, methinks, whether Sir Charles is very much in earnest in his favour to Lord G—— with regard to Miss Grandison. I doubt not, if he be, but he has good reasons for it.
Were this vile Sir Hargrave out of my head, I could satisfy myself about twenty and twenty things, that now and then I want to know. Miss Jervois behaved very discreetly. what pleasure did she hang on every word that fell from the lips of her guardian! I thought more than once of Swift's Cadenus and Vanessa. Poor girl! how I should pity her, were she insensibly to suffer her gratitude to lead her to be in love with her benefactor! Indeed, I pity everybody who is hopelessly in love.
Now don't shake your head, my uncle! Did I not always pity Mr Orne and Mr Fowler ?— You know I did, Lucy.
Miss Jervois had a smile ready for every one; but it was not an implicit, a childish smile. It had distinction in it; and shewed intelligence. Upon the whole, she said little; and heard all that was said with attention; and hence I pronounce her a very discreet young lady.
But I thought to have done with the men first; and here is Mr Grandison hardly mentioned; who, yet, in his own opinion, was not the last of the men at table.
Mr Grandison is a man of middling stature; not handsome in my eyes; but so near being handsome, that he may be excused, when one knows him, for thinking himself so; because he is liable to make greater mistakes than that.
He dresses very gaily too. He is at the head
But a word or two more concerning Mr Grandison.
He is about thirty-two. He has had the glory of ruining two or three women. Sir Charles has restored him to a sense of shame; [all men, I hope, are born with it; which a few months ago, he had got above. And he does not now entertain ladies with instances of the frailty of in
dividuals of their sex; which many are too apt, encouragingly, to smile at; when, I am very much mistaken, if every woman would not find her account, if she wishes herself to be thought well of, in discouraging every reflection that may have a tendency to debase or expose the sex in general. How can a man be suffered to boast of his vileness to one woman in the presence of another, without a rebuke, that should put it to the proof, whether the boaster was, or was not, past blushing!
Mr Grandison is thought to have hurt his fortune, which was very considerable, by his free living, and an itch of gaming; to cure him of which, Sir Charles encourages him to give him his company at all opportunities. He certainly has understanding enough to know how to value the favour; for he owns to Miss Grandison, that he both loves and fears him; and now and then tells her, that he would give the world, if he had it, to be able to be just what Sir Charles is. Good God! at other times he has broke out, what an odious creature is a rake! How I hate myself, when I contemplate the excellencies of this divine brother of yours!
I shall say nothing of Sir Charles in this place. You, I know, my Lucy, will admire me for my forbearance. Lady L- and Miss Grandison were the Graces of the table. So lively, so sensible, so frank, so polite, so good-humoured, what honour do they and their brother reflect back on the memory of their mother! Lady Grandison, it seems, was an excellent woman. Sir Thomas was not, I have heard, quite unexceptionable. How useful, if so, are the women in the greater, as well as in the lesser, parts of domestic duty, where they perform their duty! And what have those, who do not, to answer for, to God, to their children, and even to their whole sex, for the contempts they bring upon it by their uselessness, and perhaps extravagance; since, if the the human mind is not actively good, it will generally be actively evil.
Dr Bartlett I have already spoken of. How did he enliven the conversation, whenever he bore a part in it! So happy an elocution, so clear, so just, so solid, his reasoning! I wish I could remember every word he said.
Sir Charles observed to us, before we saw him, that he was not forward to speak; but, as I hinted, he threw the occasions in his way, on purpose to draw him out; and, at such times, what he said was easy, free, and unaffected; and whenever a subject was concluded, he had done with it. His modesty, in short, made him always follow rather than lead a subject, as he very well might do, be it what it would.
I was charmed with the Brachman's prayer; which he, occasionally, gave us, on the ancient Persians being talked of. Looking up to the rising sun, which it was
supposed they worshipped, these were the words of the Brachman:
"O THOU (meaning the ALMIGHTY) by whom Thou (meaning the sun) art enlightened, illuminate my mind, that my actions may be agreeable to THY Will!"
And this I will think of, my Lucy, as often as my early hour, for the future, shall be irradiated by that glorious orb.
Everybody was pleased with Mr and Mrs Reeves. Their modesty, good sense, and amiable tempers, and the kind, yet not ostentatious regard which they expressed to each other, (a regard so creditable to the married state,) cause them to be always treated and spoken of with distinction.
But I believe, as I am in a scribbling vein, I must give you the particulars of one conversation; in which farther honour was done to Dr Bartlett.
After dinner, the Countess, drawing me on one side, by both my hands, said; Well, our other sister, our new found sister, let me know how you like us; I am in pain lest you should not love us as well as you do our Northamptonshire relations.
You overcome me, madam, with your good
Miss Grandison then coming towards us, Dear Miss Grandison, said I, help me to words
No, indeed, I'll help you to nothing. I am jealous. Lady L-, don't think to rob me of my Harriet's preferable love, as you have of Sir Charles's. I will be best sister here. But what was your subject?-Yet I will answer my own question. Some pretty compliment, I suppose; women to women. Women hunger and thirst after compliments. Rather than to be without them, if no men are at hand to flatter us, we love to say handsome things to one another; and so teach the men to find us out.
You need not be jealous, Charlotte, said the Countess; you may be sure. This saucy girl, Miss Byron, is ever frustrating her own pretensions. Can flattery, Charlotte, say what we will, have place here?-Lut tell me, Miss Byron, how you like Dr Bartlett?
Ay, tell us, Harriet, said Miss Grandison, how you like Dr Bartlett? Pray, Lady L―, don't anticipate me; I propose to give our new sister the history of us all; and is not Dr Bartlett one of us? She has already given me the history of all her friends, and of herself; and I have communicated to you, like a good sister, all she has told me.
I considered Dr Bartlett, I said, as a saint; and, at the same time, as a man of true polite
He is indeed, said the Countess, all that is worthy and amiable in man. Don't you see how Sir Charles admires him?
Pray, Lady L——, keep clear of my province.
Here is Sir Charles. He will not let us break into parties.
Sir Charles heard this last sentence-Yet I wonder not, said he, joining us, that three such women get together; goodness to goodness is a natural attraction. We men, however, will not be excluded.-Dr Bartlett, if you please
The Doctor approached in a most graceful manner-Let me again, Miss Byron, present Dr Bartlett to you, as a man that is an honour to his cloth; and that is the same thing, as if I said, to human nature; [the good man bowed in silence; and Miss Byron to you, my good Doctor, (taking my hand,) as a lady most worthy your distinguished regard.
You do me too much honour, sir, said I. I shall hope, good Dr Bartlett, by your instructions, to be enabled to deserve such a recommendation.
I have great hopes of Mr Grandison, said the Doctor. But, ladies, you must not, as Mr Grandison observed, exclude from the benefit of your conversation, the man whom you wish to be good.
Well, well, said Mr Grandison, I will be good, as fast as I can: but, Doctor, what say you?-Rome was not built in a day.
What! Not till he is good? said Miss Grandison. Did I not say, we should delight to honour him when he was?
But, what, Sir Charles? (come, I had rather take my cue from you, than anybody;) what are the signs which I am to give to be allowed
Only these, my cousin-When you can be serious on serious subjects; yet so cheerful in your seriousness, as if it sat easy upon you; when you can, at times, prefer the company and conversation of Dr Bartlett, who is not a solemn or severe man, to any other; and, in general, had rather stand well in his opinion, than in that of the gayest man or woman in the world.
Provided yours, Sir Charles, may be added to the Doctor's
Command me, Mr Grandison, whenever you two are together. We will not oppress you with our subjects. Our conversation shall be that of men, of cheerful men. You shall lead them and change them at pleasure. The first moment (and I will watch for it) that I shall imagine you to be tired or uneasy, I will break off the conversation; and you shall leave us, and pursue your own diversions, without a question.
You were always indulgent to me, Sir Charles, said Mr Grandison; and I have retired, and blushed to myself, sometimes, for wanting your indulgence.
Tea was preparing. Sir Charles took his own seat next Lord L, whom he set in to talk of Scotland. He enjoyed the account my lord gave of the pleasure which the Countess, on that her first journey into those parts, gave to all his family and friends; as Lady L on her part acknowledged she had a grateful sense of their goodness to her.
I rejoice, said Sir Charles, that the sea divides us not from such worthy people, as you, my lord, have given us a relation to. Next visit you make, (Charlotte, I hope, will accompany me,) I intend to make one in your train, as I have told your lordship before.
You will add to our pleasure, Sir Charles. All my relations are prepared to do you honour.
But, my lord, did not the ladies think a little hardly of your lordship's engagement? that a man of your merit should go from Scotland for a wife? I do assure you, my lord, that, in all the countries I have been in, I never saw finer women than I have seen in Scotland; and, in very few nations, though six times as large, greater numbers of them.
I was to be the happiest of men, Sir Charles, in a Grandison-I thank you, bowing.
It is one of my felicities, my lord, that my sister calls herself yours.
My sister Harriet, applied Sir Charles to me, you need not, I hope, be told, that I am a great admirer of fine women.
I had like to have bowed-I should not have been able to recover myself, had I so seemed apply his compliment.
I the less wonder that you are, Sir Charles, because, in the word fine, you include mind as well as person.
That's my good girl! said Miss Grandison, as she poured out the tea and so he does.
My dear Charlotte, whispered I-Pray, say something encouraging to Lord G—. He is pleased with everybody; but nobody says anything to him; and he, I see, both loves and fears
Hush, child, whispered she again. The man's best when he is silent. If it be his day to love, it is his day to fear. What a deuce! shall a woman's time be never?
Then it must be of three, Lady L—. You know my reverence for my elder sister.
Indeed but I don't. I know only, that nobody can better tell what she should do, than my Charlotte: but I have always taken too much delight in your vivacity, either to wish or expect you to rein it in.
You acted by me like an indolent parent, Lady L-, who miscalls herself indulgent. You gave me my head for your own pleasure; and when I had got it, though you found the inconvenience, you chose rather to bear it, than to take the pains to restrain me-But Sir Charles, whatever faults he might have had when he was from us, came over to us finished. He grew not up with us from year to year: his blaze dazzled me; and I have tried over and over, but cannot yet get the better of my reverence for him.
If I have not my sister's love, rather than what she pleasantly calls her reverence, I shall have a much worse opinion of my own outward behaviour, than of her merit.
Your outward behaviour, Sir Charles, cannot be in fault, said Lord L-: but I join with my sister Charlotte, in her opinion of what is.
And I too, said the Countess-for I am a party -This is it, Sir Charles-Who that lies under obligations which they cannot return, can view the obliger but with the most delicate sensibility?
Give me leave, said Miss Emily, her face crimsoned over with modest gratitude, to say, that I am one, that shall ever have a reverence, superior to my love, for the best of guardians.
Blushes overspread my face, and gave a tacit acknowledgment, on my part, of the same sensibility, from the same motives.
Who is it, joined in Dr Bartlett, that knows my patron, but must acknowledge
My dear Dr Bartlett, interrupted Sir Charles, from you, and from my good Lord L-, these fine things are not to be borne. From my three sisters, looking at me for one, and from my dear ward, I cannot be so uneasy, when they will not be restrained from acknowledging, that I have succeeded in my endeavours to perform my duty to them.