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son to rejoice in a living mother, as we had to remember affectionately the departed.
What I have written, and shall farther write, to the disadvantage of Sir Thomas Grandison, I gathered from what was dropt by one lady, and by the other, at different times; for it was beautiful to observe with what hesitation and reluctance they mentioned any of his failings, with what pleasure his good qualities; heightening the one, and extenuating the other. O, my Lucy! how would their hearts have overflowed in his praises, had they had such a faultless father, and excellent man, as was my father! Sweet is the remembrance of good parents to good children!
Lady Grandison brought a great fortune to Sir Thomas. He had a fine poetical vein, which he was fond of cultivating. Though his fortune was so ample, it was his person, and his verses, that won the lady from several competitors. He had not, however, her judgment. He was a poet; and I have heard my grandfather say, that to be a poet, requires a heated imagination, which often runs away with the judgment.
This lady took the consent of all her friends in her choice; but there seemed a hint to drop from Lady L- that they consented, because it was her choice; for Sir Thomas, from the day he entered upon his estate, set out in a way that everybody concluded would diminish it.
He made, however, a kind husband, as it is called. His good sense and his politeness, and the pride he took to be thought one of the best bred men in England, secured her complaisant treatment. But Lady Grandison had qualities that deserved one of the best and tenderest of men. Her eye and her ear had certainly misled her. I believe a woman, who chooses a man whom everybody admires, if the man be not good, must expect that he will have calls and inclinations that will make him think the character of a domestic man beneath him.
She endeavoured, at setting out, to engage his -companionableness-shall I call it? She was fond of her husband. He had reason to be, and was, proud of his wife. But when he had shewed her everywhere, and she began to find herself in circumstances, which ought to domesticate a wife of a much gayer turn than Lady Grandison pretended to have, he gave way to his predominant bias; and, after a while, leaving the whole family care to her, for her excellence in every branch of which he was continually praising her, (he did her that justice,) he was but little at home in the summer; and, in the winter, was generally engaged four months in the diversions of this great town; and was the common patron of all the performers, whether at plays, operas, or concerts.
At first setting out in this way, he was solicitous to carry his lady with him to town. She always cheerfully accepted of his invitation, when she saw he was urgent with her to go. She
would not give a pretence for so gay a man to throw off that regard to appearances, which pride made him willing to keep up. But afterwards his invitations growing fainter and fainter, and she finding that her presence lengthened the time of his stay in town, and added greatly to his expenses, (for he never would abate, when they were together, of that magnificence in which he delighted to live in the country,) she declined going up; and having by this time her three children, she found it was as agreeable to Sir Thomas, as to herself, that she should turn her thoughts wholly to the domestic duties. Lady Grandison, when she found that she could not bring Sir Thomas to lessen his great expenses, supposed it to be wisdom to endeavour, to the utmost of her power, to enable him to support them without discredit to himself, or visible hurt to his family. The children were young, and were not likely to make demands upon him for many years to come.
Here was a mother, my dear! Who will say, that mothers may not be the most useful persons in the family, when they do their duty, and their husbands are defective in theirs? Sir Thomas Grandison's delights centred in himself; Lady Grandison's in her husband and children. What a superiority! what an inferiority!
Yet had this lady, with the best economy, no narrowness in her heart. She was beloved for her generosity and benevolence. Her poor neighbours adored her. Her table was plenteous. She was hospitable, as well from the largeness of her own heart, as to give credit to her husband; and so far to accommodate herself to his taste, as that too great a difference might not be seen between his absence and presence. As occasions offered, she would confer benefits in the name of a husband, whom, perhaps, she had not seen of months, and knew not whether she might see for months to the come. She was satisfied, though hers was first merit, with the second merit reflected from that she gave him: "I am but Sir Thomas's almoner; I know I shall please Sir Thomas by doing this; Sir Thomas would have done thus. Perhaps he would have been more bountiful had he been present."
He had been once absent from this admirable wife six whole months, when he left her but for one; he designed only an excursion to Paris, when he set out; but when in company as gay as himself, while he was there, he extended his tour; and, what was still more inexcusable, he let his lady hear from him by second-hand only. He never wrote one line to her with his own; yet, on his return, affected to surprise her by a sudden appearance, when she knew not that he was in England.
Was not this intolerably vain in him? The moment he appeared, so secure was he of his lady's unmerited love, that he supposed the joy she would break out into, would banish from
THE HISTORY OF
her thoughts all memory of his past unkind- [it was at tea, and Lord L
He asked her, however, after the first emotions, (for she received him with real joy,) if she could easily forgive him?-Forgive you, sir?-Yes, if you can forgive yourself.
This he called severe. Well he might; for it was just. Lady Grandison's goodness was founded in principle; not in tameness or servility.
Be not serious, Sir Thomas, said my lady; and flung her arms about him. You know by your question, you were unkind. Not one line from your own hand neither-But the seeing you now safe and well, compensates me for all the anxieties you have given me in the past six tedious months-Can I say they were not anxious ones? But I pity you, sir, for the pleasure you have lost by so long an absence. Let me lead you to the nursery; or, let the dear prattlers come down to receive their father's blessing. How delightful is their dawning reason! Their improvements exceed my hopes; of what pleasure do you deprive yourself by these long absences!
My dear Miss Grandison, let me write on. I am upon a sweet subject. Why will you tear me from it? Who, Lucy, would not almost wish to be the wife, the half-slighted wife, of a gay Sir Thomas, to be a Lady Grandison?
One reflection, my dear Miss Grandison, let me make, before I attend you, lest I should lose it; what man who now, at one view, takes in the whole gay, fluttering life of Sir Thomas Grandison, though young, gay, and fluttering, himself, can propose to be more happy than Sir Thomas thought himself? What woman, who, in like manner, can take in the whole, useful, prudent, serene, benevolent, life of Lady Grandison, whatever turn to pleasure, less solid, and more airy, she may have, sees not, from this imperfect sketch, all that they should wish to be; and the transitory vanity of the one, and the solid happiness that must attend the other, as well here as hereafter?
Dear lady!-had you not hurried me so, how much better should I have expressed myself!
MISS GRANDISON has been making me read aloud some part of the letter I had just writ to you, Lucy. We know, said she, it is about us; but, we shall think what you have written, greatly to our disadvantage, if we cannot hear some of it. Then she insisted (she is an arbitrary dear creature) on my giving the company
histories as she should call for of my own fa present such mily. On this condition only, said she, will we shall, if I do not steal away your pen and ink, consent to be made fully known, as I find we to our grandmother Shirley, our aunt Selby, and even to our Lucy.
Do not you think, Lucy, I ran on with pleasure in describing the persons and tempers of tunes, loves, difficulties; as my grandmamma my father and mother, and relating their forand aunt had enabled me to do, from what they and in many a winter-evening, as we girls sat used to recount in many a long summer-day, at work-Happy memorials!-Ay, but do you believe she did not question me about later other histories. events? She did, indeed, call upon me for two
And of whom? methinks you ask.
I won't tell you, Lucy; but if my aunt should be solicitous to know, and should guess that my uncle's and hers (so entertaining and instructive) was one of them; and if you, Lucy, should guess that the history of a young lady, whose discretion got the better of her love, and who cannot be dearer to herself than she is to me, is the other-Why, perhaps, neither my aunt, nor you, my dear, may be much mistaken.
Methinks I would fain rise now and then to my former serene-pertness; [allow you of the words so connected? but my heart is heavy. ។
They were delighted with a certain gentleman's humorous character and courtship; with story; and, in the other, with the young lady's his lady's prudence and goodness, in the one sonally acquainted with each, and with my victorious discretion. They wish to be pergrandmamma. All the worthies in the world, my dear, are not in the Grandison family!
BEFORE I resume the continuation of the lathink, my dear, that God has blessed these hapdies' family-history, let me ask; Don't you py children, for the sake of their excellent mother? And who knows, but for their duty to their less deserving father? It is my notion, that one person's remissness in duty, where there is a reciprocal one, does not absolve the other party from the performance of his. difficult, indeed, to love so well a faulty or reIt is miss parent, as a kind and good one. duty is indispensable; and where it is paid, a But our blessing may the rather be expected, as the parent has not done his. If, when you do well and suffer for it, says the apostle, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.-Not to mention one consideration, which, however, ought not to be left out of the account; that a good child will be no less benefited by the warning, as Sir Charles no doubt is, from his father's from that of his excellent mother. unhappy turn; than by the example, as he is
Lady L referred to the paper given in by the short-hand writer, for the occasion (as mentioned by Sir Charles) to which these three worthy children owed the loss of such a mother. And this drew her into a melancholy relation of some very affecting particulars. Among other things, she said, her mother regretted, in her last hours, that she had no opportunity, that she could think just and honourable, to lay by anything considerable for her daughters. Her jewels, and some valuable trinkets, she hoped, would be theirs; but that would be at their father's pleasure. I wish, said she, that my dear girls were to have between them the tenth part of what I have saved-But I have done but my duty.
I have told you, Charlotte, said the Countess, what my mother said to me, a few hours before she died; and I will repeat it to Miss Byron. After having, upon general principles, recommended filial duty, and brotherly and sisterly love to us all; and after my brother and sister had withdrawn, My dear Caroline, said she, let me add to the general arguments of the duty I have been enforcing upon you all, one respecting your interest, and let your sister know it. I am afraid there will be but a slender provision made for my dear girls. Your papa has the notion rivetted in him, which is common to men of ancient families, that daughters are but incumbrances, and that the son is to be everything. He loves his girls; he loves you dearly: but he has often declared, that, were he to have entire all the fortune that descended to him from his father, he would not give to his daughters, marry whom they would, more than 5000l. a-piece. Your brother loves you: he loves me. It will be in his power, should he survive your father, to be a friend to you.-Love your brother.
At last, the moment, happy to her, long dreaded by us, the releasing moment, approached. One last long farewell she wished to take of the man, who had been ever dear to her; and who had cost her so dear. He was told of her desire to be lifted to his bed-side in her bed; for one of his wounds (too soon skinned over) was broken out, and he was confined to his bed. He ordered himself to be carried in a great chair to hers. But then followed such a scene!
All we three children were in the room, kneeling by the bed-side-praying-weeping-O how ineffectually!-Not even hope remaining-Best beloved of my soul! in faltering accents, said my mother, her head raised by pillows, so as that she sat upright-forgive the desire of my heart once more to see you! They would not bring me to you!-O how I distress you! For my father sobbed; every feature of his face seemed swelled almost to bursting, and working as if in mortal agonies-Charlotte, relieve me!
The sweet lady's eyes were drowned in
I cannot, said Miss Grandison; her handkerchief spread over her face.
Miss Emily sobbed. She held her hand before her eyes: her tears trickled through her fingers.
I was affected beyond measure-Yet besought her to proceed. She went on.
* See Letter XLIX.
bless them in my sight. I doubt not your goodness to them-But the blessing of a dying mother, joined with that of a surviving fathermust have efficacy!
My father looked earnestly to us all-He could not speak.
My brother, following my mother's dying eye, which was cast upon my father, arose from his knees, and, approaching my father's chair, cast himself at his feet. My father threw his arms about his neck-God bless-God bless my son, said he and make him a better man than his father. My mother, demanding the cheek of her beloved son, said, God bless my dearest child, and make you an honour to your father's family, and to your mother's memory!
We girls followed my brother's example. God bless my daughters!-God bless you, sweet loves, said my father; first kissing one, then the other, as we kneeled.-God make you as good women as your mother; then, then, will you deserve to be happy.
God bless you, my dear girls, God bless you both, said my mother, kissing each, as you are dutiful to your father, and as you love one another -I hope I have given you no bad example.
My father began to accuse himself. My brother, with the piety of the patriarch's two best sons, retired, that he might not hear his father's confessions. We followed him to the farther end of the room. The manly youth sat down between us, and held a hand of each between his: his noble heart was penetrated: he two or three times lifted the hand of each to his lips. But he could only once speak, his heart seeming ready to burst; and that was, as I remember, O my sisters!-Comfort yourselves!-But who can say comfort?-These tears are equally our duty and our relief.
My mother retained to the last that generosity of mind which had ever distinguished her. She would not permit my father to proceed with his self-accusation; Let us look forward, my dearest, my only love, said she. I have a blessed hope before me: I pity, as well as pray for, survivors: you are a man of sense, sir, and of enlarged sentiments: God direct you according to them, and comfort you! All my fear was, (and that more particularly for some of the last past months,) that I should have been the mournful survivor. In a very few moments, all my sufferings will be over; and God give you, when you come to this unavoidable period of all human vanity, the same happy prospects that are now opening to me! O, sir, believe me, all worldly joys are now nothing; less than nothing: even my love of you, and of the dear pledges of our mutual love, withholds not now my wishes after a happier state. There may we meet, and never be separated!--Forgive me only, my beloved husband, if I have ever made you for one hour unhappy or uneasy— Forgive the petulancies of my love!
Who can bear this goodness? said my father I have not deserved
Dear sir, no more- -Were you not the husband of my choice?-And now your grief affects me-Leave me, sir. You bring me back again to earth-God preserve you, watch over you, heal you, support you! Your hand, Sir Thomas Grandison, the name that ever was so pleasant in my ears! Your hand, sir! Your heart was my treasure: I have now, and only now, a better treasure, a diviner love, in view. Adieu! and in this world for ever adieu, my husband, my friend, my Grandison !
She turned her head from him, sunk upon her pillows, and fainted; and so saw not, had not the grief to see, the stronger heart of my father overcome; for he fainted away, and was carried out in his chair by the servants who brought him in. He was in a strong convulsion fit, between his not half-cured wounds and his grief; and recovered not till all was over with my blessed mother.
After my father was carried out, she came to herself. Her chaplain was once more admitted. The fatal moment approached. She was asked, if she would see her children again? No, she said: but bid her last blessing be repeated to them, and her charge, of loving one another, in the words of our Saviour, as she had loved us; and when the chaplain came to read a text which she had imperfectly pointed to, but so as to be understood, she repeated, in faltering accents, but with more strength of voice than she had had for an hour before, "I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith-There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness." And then her voice failing, she gave signs of satisfaction, in the hope of being entitled to that crown; and expired in an ejaculation that her ebbing life could not support.
O, my Lucy! may my latter end, and the latter end of all I love, be like hers! The two ladies were in speechless tears, so was Miss Jervois, so was I, for some minutes. And for an hour or two, all the joys of life were as nothing to me. Even the regard I had entertained for the excellent son of a lady so excellent, my protector, my deliverer, had, for some hours, subsided, and was as nothing to me. Even now, that I have concluded this moving recapitulation, it seems as nothing; and the whole world, my dear, is as a bit of dirt under my feet.
THE SON was inconsolable upon his mother's death. He loved his father, but next to adored his mother. His father, though he had given
so little attention to his education, was excessively fond of him; and no doubt but he the more easily satisfied himself on this head, as he knew his remissness was so well supplied by his lady's care, which mingled with the cares of the masters of the several sciences, who came home to him, at her desire.
A deep melancholy having seized the young gentleman on a loss so irreparable, his father, who himself was greatly grieved, and the more, as he could not but reproach himself as having at least hastened that loss, was alarmed for his son; and yielded to the entreaties of General W-, brother of Lord W, to permit him to travel. The general recommended for a governor to the young gentleman, an officer under him, who had been wounded, and obliged to quit the military service. Sir Thomas allowed his son 8007. a-year, from the day of his setting out on his travels, which he augmented afterwards to 1000l. Sir Charles was about seventeen when his mother died.
The two daughters were taken by Lady W—. But she dying in about twelve months after Lady Grandison, they returned to their father; who, by that time, had pretty well got over his grief for the loss of his lady, and was quite recovered of the wounds which he received in the duel that cost her her life.
He placed over his daughters, as governess, (though they both took exceptions at that title, supposing themselves of age to manage for themselves,) the widow of one of his gay friends, Oldham by name, whose fortune had not held out as Sir Thomas's had done. Men of strong health, I have heard my grandfather say, and of a riotous turn, should not, in mere compassion, keep company with men of feebler constitutions, and make them the companions of their riots. So may one say, I believe, that extravagant men, of great and small fortunes, are equally illsuited; since the expenses which will but shake the one, will quite demolish the other.
Mrs Oldham had fine qualities, and was an economist. She deserved a better husband than had fallen to her lot; and the young ladies, having had a foundation laid by a still more excellent manager, received no small advantage from her skill in family-affairs. But it was related to me with reluctance, and as what I must know on a farther acquaintance with their family, if they did not tell it to me, that Sir Thomas was grateful to this lady in a way that cost her her reputation. She was obliged, in short, in little more than a twelvemonth, to quit the country, and to come up to town. She had an indisposition, which kept her from going abroad for a month or two.
Lady L being then about nineteen, and Miss Grandison about sixteen, they had spirit enough to oppose the return of this lady to her charge. They undertook themselves to manage everything at the capital seat in Hampshire.
Sir Thomas had another seat in Essex. Thi ther, on the reluctance of the young ladies to receive again Mrs Oldham, he carried her; and they, as well as everybody else, for some time, apprehended they were actually married. She was handsome; well-descended; and though she became so unhappily sensible of the favours and presents by which Sir Thomas made way to her heart, she had an untainted character when he took her as a governess to the young ladies.
Was not Sir Thomas very, very faulty, with regard to this poor woman?-She had already suffered enough from a bad husband, to whom she remarkably well performed her duty.-Poor woman!-The example to his own daughters was an abominable one. She was the relict of his friend: she was under his protection: thrown into it by her unhappy circumstances.-Were not these great aggravations to his crime?— Happy for those parents who live not to see such catastrophes as attended this child! This darling, it seems: not undeservedly so: and whom they thought they had not unhappily married to Mr Oldham-And he, poor man! thought himself not unhappy in Sir Thomas Grandison's acquaintance; though it ended in his emulating him in his expenses, with a much less estate; in the ruin of his fortune, which indeed was his own fault; and in the ruin of his wife's virtue, which was more Sir Th than hers.-May I say so?-If I may not, (since women, whose glory is their chastity, must not yield to temptation,) had not the husband, however, something to answer for, who, with his eyes open, lived at such a rate, against his wife's dutiful remonstrances, and better example, as reduced her (after his death) to the necessity of dependence on another's favour, and such another!
Sir Thomas was greatly displeased with his daughters, for resisting him in the return of their governess. He had thought the reason of her withdrawing a secret, because he wished it to be one: and yet her disgrace was, at the time, everywhere talked of, but in his presence.
This woman is still living. She has two children by Sir Thomas, who are also living : and one by Mr Oldham. I shall be told more of her history when the ladies come to give me some account of their brother's.
Sir Thomas went on in the same gay, fluttering way, that he had done all his life. The love of pleasure, as it is called, was wrought into his habit. He was a slave to it, and to what he called freedom. He was deemed one of the best companions among men, and one of the gallantest men among women. His advantages of person and mind were snares to him. Mrs Oldham was not the only one of her sex with whom he was intimate: he had another mistress in town, who had a taste for all its gaieties, and who even assumed his name.