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be from pride? Pride is a vice that always produces mortification: and proud you all made me of your favour-Yet I thought it was grateful to be proud of it.
[I wish I were with you, Lucy. I should ask you abundance of questions; and repose my anxious heart on your faithful bosom; and, at the same time, from your answers, arm it against too great a sensibility before it is too late.
But, pray, don't I remember, that you said, you found sighing a relief to you, on a certain occasion?-I am serious, my dear. That there was a sort of you know not what of pleasure in sighing? Yet that it was involuntary?-Did you not say, that you were ready to quarrel with yourself, you knew not why?-And, pray, had you not a fretting gnawing pain in your stomach, that made you-I can't tell how to describe it; yet were humble, meek, as if looking out for pity from everybody, and ready to pity everybody? -Were you not attentive to stories of people, young women especially, labouring under doubts and difficulties?-Was not your humanity raised? your self-consequence lowered? But did you not think suspense the greatest of all torments?-I think, my dear, you lived without eating or drinking; yet looked not pining, but fresh. Your rest-I remember it was broken. In your sleep you seemed to be disturbed. You' were continually rolling down mountains, or tumbling from precipices-or were borne down by tempests, carried away with sudden inundations; or sinking in deep waters; or flying from fires, thieves, robbers
How apt are we to recollect, or to try to recollect, when we are apprehensive that a case may possibly be our own, all those circumstances, of which, while another's, (however dear that other might be to us,) we had not any clear or adequate ideas!-But I know, that such of these as I recollect not from you, must be owing to the danger, to the terror, I was in from the violence of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen. Often and often do I dream over again what I suffered from him. I am now imploring mercy from him; and meet with nothing but upbraidings and menaces. He is now stopping my mouth with his handkerchief; his horrible clergyman, if a clergyman he was, is reading the service quite through and I am contending against the legality of the asserted marriage. At other times, I have escaped; and he is pursuing me: he gains upon my flying feet; and I wake myself with endeavouring in vain to cry out for help.
But when fancy is more propitious to me, then comes my rescuer, my deliverer: and he is sometimes a mighty prince, (dreams then make me a perfect romancer,) and I am a damsel in distress. The milk-white palfrey once came in. All the marvellous takes place; and lions and tigers are slain, and armies are routed, by the puissance of his single arm.
Now, do not these reveries convince you, that I owe all my uneasiness to what I suffered from Sir Hargrave's barbarity? I think I must take my aunt's advice; leave London; and then I shall better find out, whether, as all my friends suspect, and as, to be ingenuous, I myself now begin sometimes to fear, a passion stronger than gratitude has not taken hold of my heart. Of this I am sure; my reasoning faculties are weakened. Miss Grandison says, that, in my illness at Colnebrook, I was delirious; and that the doctor they called in was afraid of my head: and should I suffer myself to be entangled in a hopeless passion, there will want no farther proof, that my reason has suffered.]
Adieu, my Lucy! What a letter have I written! The conclusion of it, I doubt, will, of it-. self, be a sufficient evidence of the weakness I have mentioned, both of head and heart of your HARRIET.
On perusal of the latter part of this letter, [which I have enclosed in hooks,] if you can avoid it, Lucy, read it not before my uncle.
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO MISS LUCY SELBY.
Saturday, March 4.
THIS morning Sir Hargrave Pollexfen made Mr Reeves a visit. He said it was to him; but I was unluckily below; and forced to hear all he had to say, or to appear unpolite.
He proposed visiting my grandmamma, and aunt Selby, in order to implore their forgiveness. But Mr Reeves diverted him from thinking of that.
He had not sought me, he said, at Lady Betty Williams's, but from his desire, (on the character he had heard of me,) to pay his addresses to me in preference to every other woman. He had laid out for several opportunities to get into my company, before he heard I was to dine there. Particularly, he once resolved to pay a visit in form to my uncle Selby, in Northamptonshire, and had got all his equipage in readiness to set out; but heard that I was come to town with Mr and Mrs Reeves. He actually then set out, he said, for Peterborough, with intent to propose the affair to my godfather Deane : but found that he was gone to Cambridge; and then being resolved to try his fate with me, he came to town; and hardly questioned succeeding, when he understood that my friends left me to my own choice: and knowing that he could offer such proposals as none of the gentlemen who had made pretensions to me, were able to make. His intentions, therefore, were not sudden, and such as arose upon what he saw of
me at Lady Betty Williams's; though the part I supported in the conversation there, precipitated his declaration.
He was very unhappy, he said, to have so mortally disobliged me; and repeated all his former pleas; his love, [rough love, I am sure, compassion, sufferings, and I cannot tell what; insisting, that he had forgiven much greater injuries, as was but too apparent.
I told him, that I had suffered more than he could have done, though his hurt was more visible than mine; that, nevertheless, I forgave him, as no bad consequences had followed between him and my protector-Protector! muttered he-But that he knew my mind before he made that barbarous attempt: and I besought him never more to think of me; and he must excuse me to say, that this must be the very last time I ever would see him.
A great deal was said on both sides; my cousins remaining attentively silent all the time; and at last he insisted that I would declare, that I never would be the wife either of Mr Greville or Mr Fenwick; assuring me that the rash step he had taken to make me his, was owing principally to his apprehension, that Mr Greville was more likely to succeed with me than any other man.
I owed him, I told him, no such declaration. But Mr Reeves, to get rid of his importunity, gave it as his opinion, that there was no ground for his apprehensions that I would give my hand to either; and I did not contradict him.
Mr Bagenhall and Mr Jordan, before I could get away from this importunate man, came to inquire for him. He then owned, that they came in hope of seeing me; and besought me to favour him and them for one quarter of an hour only.
I was resolved to withdraw; but, at Sir Hargrave's command, as impertinently given as officiously obeyed, Mr Reeves's servant led them (his master indeed not contradicting) into the parlour where we were.
The two strangers behaved with great respect. Never did men run praises higher, than both these gentleman gave to Sir Charles Grandison. And indeed the subject made me easier in their company than I should otherwise have been.
It is not possible, I believe, for the vainest mind to hear itself profusely praised, without some pain; but it is surely one of the sweetest pleasures in the world, to hear a whole company join in applauding the absent person who stands high in our opinion; and especially if he be one to whose unexceptionable goodness we owe, and are not ashamed to own, obligation.
What farther pleased me, was to hear Mr Bagenhall declare, which he did in a very serious manner, that Sir Charles Grandison's great behaviour, as he justly called it, had made such impressions not only upon him, but upon Mr Merceda, that they were both determined to turn
over a new leaf, was his phrase; and to live very different lives from what they had lived; though they were far, they blessed God, from being before the worst of men.
These gentlemen, with Mr Merceda and Sir Hargrave, are to dine with Sir Charles to-day. They both mentioned it with great pleasure; but Sir Hargrave did not seem so well pleased, and doubted of his being able to persuade himself to go.
The invitation was given at Mr Jordan's motion, who took hold of a slight invitation of Sir Charles's; Mr Jordan declaring, that he resolved not to let slip any opportunity of improving an acquaintance with so extraordinary a man.
Sir Hargrave talked of soon leaving the town, and retiring to one of his country-seats; or of going abroad, for a year or two, if he must have no hopes-Hopes! a wretch!
Yet he shewed so much dejection, and is so really mortified with the damage done to a face that he used to take pleasure to see reflected in the glass, (never once looking into either of those in the parlour he was in, all the time he staid,) that I could once or twice have been concerned for him; but when I seriously reflect, I do not know whether his mortification is not the happiest thing that could have befallen him. It wants only to be attended with patience.-He is not now an ugly man in his person. His estate will always give him consequence. He will now think the better of others; and the worse of himself; he may, much worse; and not want as much vanity as comes to his share.
But say you, my uncle, (as I fancy you do,) that I also may spare some of my vanity, and not be the worse girl?-Ah! no! I am now very sensible of my own defects. I am poor, low, silly, weak-Was I ever insolent? Was I ever saucy? Was I ever-O my uncle, hide my faults! I am mortified. Let me not reproach myself with having deserved mortification. If I did, I knew it not. I intended not to be saucy, vain, insolent-And if I was so, lay it to a flow of health, and good spirits; to time of life; young, gay, and priding myself in every one's love; yet most in the love, in the fond indulgence, of all you, my good friends; and then you will have some of my faults to lay at your own doors; nor will you, even you, my uncle, be clear of reproach, because your correction was always mingled with so much praise, that I thought you were but at play with your niece, and that you levelled your blame more at the sex than at your Harriet.
BUT what have I written against myself! I believe I am not such a low, silly, weak creature, as I had thought myself. For just as I had laid down my pen with a pensive air, and to look into the state of my own heart, in order
either to lighten, or to confirm, the self-blame I had so glibly written down, Lady L, in her chair, made us a visit. She came up directly to me; I am come to dine with your cousins and you, Miss Byron, said she. Shall I be welcome? But don't answer me. I know I shall.
Mrs Reeves entered; and acknowledged the favour.
Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, and some of his brethren, are to dine with my brother, said my lady; and I, not being obliged to do the honours of the table, with my lord's consent, made my escape. I cannot endure the wretch, who could make such a vile attempt upon you, and who might have murdered my brother.-Come, will you let me see what you are writing? You can forgive Charlotte's freedom; will you excuse her sister's?
I cannot shew your ladyship all I have written; but I will read you some passages of the long letter before me.
I told her my subject, and read to her such as I thought I could read. She raved at Sir Hargrave; wondered he had the confidence to approach me, especially with hope. She praised me. Yet said to my cousin Reeves, that he ought to have been denied the house; and the rather, as I was myself very unwilling to see
I own, I thought so too. Both my cousins are too good-natured.
We had a great deal of talk about the duel that was so happily prevented. Lady L- gave us an account of that which her father fought; and to the issue of which they owed the loss of the best of mothers; and at and after dinner she piously expatiated on the excellencies of that mother; and demonstrated, what I have often thought of great consequence, (my grandmamma's and aunt Selby's examples before me affording the noblest proofs,) that the conduct of women in their families is of high importance; and that they need not look out of them so often as they do, to employ themselves; and that not only in the most useful, but in the most delightful manner.
My Lord L having broke from the company at Sir Charles's, did us the honour to drink tea with us. Every thing, he said, passed very agreeably among the gentlemen he had left; and it was his opinion, that his brother's noble behaviour, and the conversation that passed at table, and in which he left him and them engaged, would make more than one convert among them.
He told Lady L that Sir Charles was to set out on Monday for Canterbury; [for Canterbury, Lucy; and that he should take it for a favour, if she would give him her company for a few days to Colnebrook. Their new house, he said, would be ready to receive them in a week's time it wanted nothing but a thorough
airing. And if, said he, you could prevail upon Miss Grandison to be with us till her brother returns, and both sisters could induce Miss Byron to make a fourth, we shall be the happiest party in the world; and perhaps may get Sir Charles among us, on his return, for a day or two. I bowed.
I must tell you, my lord, that Charlotte and I thought to offer our attendance on Miss Byron to some of the public entertainments; but your lordship's pleasure shall determine me; and if we could be so happy as to have Miss Byron for our guest, I am sure of my sister; and it would be my preferable wish. Mr Reeves, Mrs Reeves, will you spare Miss Byron to me?
I looked as if for their leave. They gave a smiling assent. My lord and lady both expressed themselves overjoyed.
This Canterbury ran in my head. It was brought in naturally enough; and Mr Reeves wondered, that Sir Charles kept secret the motive of his journeying thither backward and forward. The godlike man, said Mr Reeves, in the words of a great poet, has nothing to conceal.— For my part, replied my lord, I conclude the motive is rather a painful than a pleasurable one. Charlotte accuses her brother of reserves. I never found him reserved; but he loves to play with her curiosity, and amuse her; for she is very curious, yet has her secret.- Has she not, Lady L-?
Indeed she has, replied my lady-Perhaps you, my dear, will be intrusted with it, when you are at Colnebrook together.
Pray, madam, said I to Lady L, may I ask?-Does Sir Charles give Lord G- his interest in his addresses to Miss Grandison?
Lady L. My brother wishes Charlotte married. He is a great friend to the married state; especially with regard to our sex.
Mr Reeves could not miss this opportunity. It is a wonder, said he, that Sir Charles himself does not think of marriage!
Lady L. That is a string that we but just touch sometimes, and away. There is a ladyThere she stopt. Had she looked with earnestness at me, I had been undone, I believe.
[ Let me ask you, Lucy: you have passed the fiery ordeal-Did you ever find in yourself a kind of impatience, next to petulance; and in your heart, (only for fear of exposing yourself,) that you were ready to quarrel, or to be short, with anybody that came upon you of a sudden; yet have no business of consequence to engage either your fingers or your thoughts?—Of late, my dear, I have been very often troubled with this odd sensation. But my whole temper is altering, I believe. I shall grow peevish, perverse, and gloomy, I doubt. O this wicked Sir Hargrave!]
Pray, my dear, attend for the future to those indexes or hands; and forbear to read out the passages enclosed by them, if you can-But if
you come upon them before you are aware, why, then read on-with all my heart.
But to return to Lady L's alarming hint -"There is a lady”.
Mrs Reeves. That Sir Charles loves, I suppose?
Lady L. That loves Sir Charles; and she has -But for the lady's sake-Yet, if it be allowable for any woman to be in love with any man, upon an uncertainty of return, it is for one that is in love with my brother.
Har. And cannot Sir Charles make a return? -Poor lady!
My cousin afterwards told me, that my upper-lip then quivered like an aspin-leaf. I did not know that it did. I felt not a trembling at my heart; and when the lip trembles, the heart, I think, should be affected. There used to be
a close connexion between mine.
Mr Reeves. Miss Grandison told me, that, if her brother married, half a score women would break their hearts.
Lady L. The words half a score run as glibly off the tongue as half a dozen: but I believe, let the envious, the censorious, malign our sex, and charge us with the love of rakes and libertines, as they will, if all men were like my brother, there would not be a single woman, and hardly a bad one, in the kingdom. What say you, my lord?
Lord L. My dear life, you know I am all attention, whenever you, or iny sister Charlotte, make our brother the subject of your panegyric. If, Miss Byron, you do not choose to hear so much said of this best of men, you will, I doubt, have an ill time of it in the favour you will do us at Colnebrook.
Har. My lord, I should be very ungrateful, if I did not hear with pleasure everything that shall be said in praise of Sir Charles Grandi
Lord L. When I am out of conceit with men, as too often they give me cause to be, I think of my brother, and forgive them.
I wonder, Lucy, what everybody means by praising Sir Charles Grandison so much in my hearing!—Shall I fly from town, to avoid hearing his praises?-Yes, say you?—But whither? It must not be to Selby-house. Well, then, I may as well go to Colnebrook. I shall there be informed of the reasons for all those general applauses; for hitherto I know nothing of his history, to what they tell me I am to know.
These general praises carried us away from a subject that I thought we should once have made more of-That one lady-And I wanted to know, but had no opportunity to inform myself, whether that lady's relations, or herself, live at Canterbury. On Monday, it seems, Sir Charles sets out for that Canterbury!
Our noble guests would not stay supper. They had not been gone two hours before I had an VOL. VIII.
humourous letter from Miss Grandison. I enclose it.
Sat. Night, 10 o'clock. LORD and Lady L rejoice me, by telling me, you will accompany them to Colnebrook on Monday. That's my good girl!-I will go with them, for the sake of your company. Yet I had half-denied them; and why? Because, if you must know-but hush-and catch a mouseBecause, a certain impertinent proposes a visit there; and I had thoughts to take the opportunity of being alone in town, to rid my hands for ever, if possible, of another silly fellow, of whom, for one month, a great while ago, I thought tolerably.
You and I, Harriet, will open to each other all our hearts. There is one chamber that has two beds in it. We will have that. Our dressing-room shall be common to both. Lady Lis a morning killer; she always loved her bed; so we shall have charming opportunities for tête-à-tête conversation.
I will drink tea with you to-morrow—No, but I won't: you and your cousins shall drink tea with us-Do you hear? I won't be denied. And then we'll settle how it shall be. I'll tell you what, my dear-If, on my brother's return from Canterbury, he comes to us at Colnebrook, we will call him to account for all his reserves. Here is this affair of Pollexfen's; how might it have ended! I tremble to think of it-You'll stand by me; won't you? I cannot make Lord and Lady L of my party, or I would have rebelled before now-But you and I, my dear, I warrant you-Yet you are so grave. Were you always such a grave, such a wise, such a very wise girl, Harriet? Was your grandfather a very sententious man? Was his name Solomon Shirley?
I love wisdom as well as anybody; but wisdom, out of its place, is a prude, my dear. How I ramble!—You'll come to-morrow-I designed but two lines. Adieu. Believe me ever yours,
I HOPE, Lucy, I was not wrong in so readily consenting to go to Colnebrook. My own inclination, indeed, was in my compliance; and I begin to mistrust myself, wherever that strongly leads. Yet why should I undervalue myself? I know my heart to be good. In that I will not yield to anybody. I have no littleness in my mind; naturally I have not. Guard me, O my friends! by your prayers, that no littleness, that is not natural to my heart, may depreciate it, and make me unworthy of the love you have ever shewn to your HARRIET BYRON.
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO MISS LUCY SELBY.
Sunday, March 5. My cousins will have it, that I am far gone in a certain passion, [they speak quite out;] and with a man that has given no encouragement Encouragement! how meanly sounds that word! But I hope they are mistaken. I cannot say, but I might prefer, if I were to have my choice -one man to another-But that is a different thing from being run away with by so vehement a folly as they are ready to ascribe to me.
Well, but, under this notion, they are solicitous that I should not neglect any opportunity [what a poor creature do they think me!] of ingratiating myself with the sisters; and therefore I must, by all means, accept of Miss Grandison's invitation to tea.
I insisted, however, that they should accompany me, as they likewise were invited; and they obliged me I may say themselves too; for they admire the brother and sisters as much as I do.
We found together Lord and Lady LMiss Grandison, Miss Jervois, Dr Bartlett, and Mr Grandison. Sir Charles was in his drawing-room adjoining to the study; a lady with him, they said. What business had I to wish to know whether it was an elderly or a young lady? But I must tell you all my follies. When we alighted, a very genteel chair made way for our coach.
Mr Grandison made up to me; and, as heretofore, said very silly things, but with an air, as if he were accustomed to say such, and to have them received as gallant things, by those to whom he addressed them. How painful it is to a mind not quite at ease, to be obliged to be civil, when the ear is invaded by contemptible speeches, from a man who must think as highly of himself for uttering them, as meanly of the understanding of the person he is speaking
Miss Grandison saw me a little uneasy, and came up to us. Mr Grandison, said she, I thought you had known Miss Byron's character by this time. She is something more than a pretty woman. She has a soul, sir; the man who makes a compliment to her on her beauty, depreciates her understanding.
She then led me to her seat, and sat down
Mr Grandison was in the midst of a fine speech, and was not well pleased. He sat down, threw one leg over the knee of the other, hemmed three or four times, took out his snuffbox, tapped it, let the snuff drop through his fingers, then broke the lumps, then shut it, and
twirled it round with the fore-finger of his right hand, as he held it between the thumb and forefinger of the other; and was quite like a sullen boy; yet, after a while, tried to recover himself, by forcing a laugh at a slight thing or two said in company, that was not intended to raise
I think, my dear, I could have allowed a little more for him, had not his name been Grandison.
We soon adjusted everything for the little journey. Mr Grandison told Miss Grandison, that if she would make him amends for her treatment of him just now, she should put Lord Lupon inviting him. Lord and Lady Ljoined to do so. But Miss Grandison would not admit of his going; and I was glad of it.
But, not to affront you, cousin, said she, Miss Byron and I want to have a good deal of particular conversation; so shall not be able to spare you an hour of our company at Colnebrook. But one thing, sir; my brother sets out for Canterbury to-morrow; tell him that we won't be troubled with your company; ask him, if he will.
Not in those words neither, cousin Charlotte; but I will offer attendance; and, if he accepts of it, I shall be half as happy as if I went to Colnebrook; and only half, bowing to me.
Why, now, you are a good docible kind of a man! I want to hear what will be my brother's answer; for we know not one syllable, nor can guess at his business at Canterbury.
The tea-equipage being brought in, we heard. Sir Charles's voice, complimenting a lady to her chair; and who pleaded engagement for declining to drink tea with his sister. And then he entered the parlour to us. He addressed my cousins, who were next him, with his usual politeness. He then came to me: How does my good Miss Byron? Not discomposed, I hope, by your yesterday's visitors. They are all of them in love with you. But you must have been pained -I was pained for you, when I heard they had visited you. But extraordinary merit has some forfeitures to pay.
I am sure then, thought I, you must have a great many. Every time I see him, I think he rises upon me in the gracefulness of his behaviour.
I have one agreeable piece of news to tell you, madam. Sir Hargrave will go abroad for a twelvemonth. He says, he cannot be in the same kingdom with you, and not see you. He hopes, therefore, to lessen the torment, by flying from the temptation. Mr Bagenhall and Mr Merceda will go with him.
Then whispering me, he said, From a hint in the letter of the penitent Wilson, that Mr Bagenhall's circumstances are not happy, and that he is too much in the power of Sir Hargrave; I have prevailed on the latter, in consideration