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He would now and then, by way of excursion, and to surprise the young ladies, visit Grandison-Hall; but, though it was once the seat he most delighted in, neither gave, nor seemed to receive, much pleasure there; hurrying away on a sudden, as if he had escaped from it; though never father had more reason to be pleased with the conduct and duty of daughters: and this he often declared, boasting of them in their absence; but snubbing, chiding, and study ing to find fault with them, when present.
But what equally surprised and affected them, was, that his son had been a year abroad, when he prohibited them to write to, or correspond with, him; and, by their brother's discontinuing to write to them, from about the same time, they supposed that he was under the same prohibition; and so, it seems, he was.
They presumed their father's reason for this unkind prohibition was, his fear that his gaieties would have been one of the subjects of the correspondence; and the rather, as those gaieties were so likely to affect all three in their fortunes.
The young ladies, however, for some time, continued writing to their brother. Miss Grandison, in mentioning this, said, in her usual sprightly manner, that she never had any notion of obeying unreasonable commands; commands so evidently unreasonable as to be unnatural and she called upon me to justify her in her notion. The Countess also desired me to speak my mind on this subject.
I am apprehensive, said I, of children's partiality in this respect: if they make themselves their own judges in the performance or nonperformance of a duty, inclination, I am afraid, will too often be their guide, rather than right reason. They will be too apt, perhaps, to call those commands unnatural, which are not so unnatural as this seems to be.
But, Harriet, said Miss Grandison, would not you have written on, in the like circumstances?
I believe not, replied I; and partly for this reason; because I should have had no doubt but my brother would have the same prohibition; and I should only have shewn my brother, as well as my father, (were my father to know it,) an instance of my refractoriness, without obtaining the desired end; or, if my brother had written, I should have made him a partaker in my fault.
Your answer regards the policy of the thing, Harriet, said Miss Grandison; but ought an unnatural command
There she stopt; yet, by her looks, expected me to speak.
I should have thought it hard; but that it was more meritorious to submit, than the contrary. I believe I should have supposed, that my father might have reasons which might not appear to me. But, pray, ladies, how did your brother
O, he was implicit
Will you forgive me, ladies?—I should have been concerned, I think, that my brother, in a point of duty, though it were one that might be disputable, should be more nice, more delicate, than his sister.
Miss Emily looked as if she were pleased with
Well, you are a good girl, a very good girl, said Miss Grandison; that, whether your doctrine be just or not, is out of dispute.
This prohibition gave the sisters the more sensible concern, as they were afraid it would lay a foundation for distance and indifference in their brother to them; on whom, as their mother had presaged, they were likely, if he survived their father, to have a too great dependence; but more particularly at that time, as their brother had promised, at his taking leave of them, to write a regular account of all that befel him, and of all that was curious, and worthy of notice, in the courts and places he visited; and had actually begun to do so; and as he had asked their advice in relation to his governor, who proved not so proper a person for that employment as was expected; and to which they had answered, without knowing for some time,
what was the resolution he took.
They asked their father, from time to time, after the welfare of their brother. He would answer them with pleasure, and sometimes with tears in his eyes, he is all that is dutiful, brave, pious, worthy; and would sometimes add, God reward him! I cannot. But when he mentioned the word dutiful, he would look at them, as if he had in his thoughts their resisting him in his intention of reinstating their governess; the only time they could recollect, that they had given him the shadow of displeasure.
The ladies went on, and said, that Sir Thomas, in all companies, gloried in his son. And once Lord W- who himself, on his lady's death, openly indulged himself in liberties which before he was only suspected to take, [0, my Lucy! how rare a character, in this age, is that of a virtuous man!] told some gentlemen, who wondered that Sir Thomas Grandison could permit a son so beloved to be absent from him so many years, that the reason Sir Thomas gave was, that his son's morals and his own were so different, that he should not be able to bear his own consciousness, if he consented to his return to England. The unhappy man was so habituated to vice, that he could talk familiarly of his gaieties to his intimates, seeming to think them too well known for him to endeavour to conceal them; but, however, would add sometimes, I intend to set about altering my course of life; and then will I send for my son. But, alas! Sir Thomas went on, from year to year, only intending; he lived not to begin the promised alteration, nor to see his son.
Yet one awakener he had, that made him talk of beginning the alteration of his way of li
ving out of hand, and of sending for his son; which last act was to be the forerunner of his reformation.
It happened that Mrs Farnborough, the woman he lived with when in town, was struck with the small-pox, in the height of her gaiety and pleasure; for she was taken ill at the opera, on seeing a lady of her acquaintance there, whose face bore too strongly the marks of the distemper, and who, it seems, had made her first visit to that place, rather than to a better. The malady, aided by her terror, proved mortal; and Sir Thomas was so much affected with the warning, that he left town, and, in pursuance of his temporary good resolutions, went down to his daughters; talked of sending for his son; and, for some few months, lived like the man of sense and understanding he was known to be.
LORD L returned from his travels about the time that Mrs Farnborough was taken ill. He had brought some presents to Sir Thomas from his son, who took all opportunities to send him over curiosities, some of considerable value; which served at the same time to shew his economy and his duty. He forgot not, in his way, his sisters, though his accompanying letters were short, and merely polite, and such as required no other answer than thanks; only they could discover by them, that he had warm wishes to be allowed to return to England; but such a submission to his father's pleasure, as entirely to give up his own.
; and Sir Thomas seemed fond of Lord Lsetting out, on Mrs Farnborough's death, for Grandison Hall, gave him an invitation to visit him there; for he would listen with pleasure an hour together, to him, or to any one, who would talk, and give him some account of his son. How predominant must those passions, those habits, be in his heart, which could take place of a love so laudably paternal !
In pursuance of his invitation, Lord L attended him at the Hall; and there fell in love with the eldest of the young ladies. He revealed his passion to her. She referred herself wholly to her father. Sir Thomas could not be blind to their mutual affection. Everybody saw it. Lord L's passion was of the ardent kind; and he was too honest to wish to conceal it. But yet Sir Thomas would not see it. He behaved, how ever, with great freedom and civility to my lord; so that the heart of the young lady was insensibly engaged; but Sir Thomas avoided several opportunities which the lover had lain in wait for, to open his mind, and make proposals.
At last, my lord desired an audience of Sir Thomas, as upon a subject of the last importance. The Baronet, after some little delays, and not without some inauspicious reluctance, granted it; and then my lord revealed his passion to him.
Sir Thomas asked him, if he had made it known to his daughter? And yet must have seen, on an hundred occasions, at breakfast, at dinner, at tea, at supper, how matters stood with both the lovers, if Miss Grandison's pleasant account of the matter may be depended upon.
Lord Lowned he had ; and that he had asked her leave to make proposals to her father, to whom she wholly referred herself.
Sir Thomas seemed uneasy; and oddly answered, he was sorry for it: he wished his lordship had not put such notions in the girl's head. Both his daughters would now be set a romancing, he supposed. They were, till now, modest young creatures, he said. Young women should not too soon be set to look out of themselves for happiness-He had known many quiet and orderly girls set a madding by the notice of men. He did not know what business young fellows had to find out qualifications in other men's daughters, that the parents of those daughters had not given themselves leisure to discover. A daughter of his, he hoped, had not encouraged such discoveries. It was to him but as yesterday, when they were crowing in the arms of their nurses; and now, he supposed, they would be set a-crowing after wedlock.
What an odd father was Sir Thomas, my Lucy! His own life, it is evident, had passed away very pleasantly.
Indeed he could hardly bear to think, he added, of either of his daughters as marriageable yet. They have not been nursed in the town hot-beds, my lord. They are sober country girls, and good housewives. I love not that girls should marry before they have done growing. A young wife makes a vapourish mother. I forget their age-But twenty-six, or twenty-eight, is time enough for a woman, either for the sake of modesty or discretion, to marry.
We may like gay men for husbands, Lucy; some of us do; but, at this rate, those daughters must be very good girls, who can make their best courtesies to their mothers, and thank them for their fancies; or the fathers must be more attentive to their growth than Sir Thomas was to that of his daughters.-What have I said?— I am here afraid of my uncle.
My lord was surprised; and well he might. observed, was not too Sir Thomas had forgot, as Lady Lthat he himself thought Miss Wyoung at seventeen to be Lady Grandison.
My lord was a modest man; he was begging (as it may be called) the young woman, whom of all the women in the world he loved best, of her father, who was a man that knew the world, and had long made a considerable figure in it ;
and who, for reasons which would have held with him had he lived to see her forty, had no mind to part with her. Yet my lord pleaded his passion, her great and good qualities, as acknowledged by himself; and modestly hinted at the unexceptionableness of his own character, and the favour he stood in with his son; not saying the least word of his birth and alliances, which some lovers of his rank would not have forgot: and, it seems, he was right in forbearing to make these accidents a plea; for Sir Thomas valued himself upon his ancestry; and used to say, that his progenitor, in James the First's time, disgraced it by accepting of the title of
Sir Thomas allowed something to the plea of his standing well with his son. Let me tell you, my lord, said he, that I shall take no step in a family affair of this consequence, without consulting with my son; and the rather, as he is far from expecting so much of my consideration for him. He is the pride of my life.
My lord desired that his suit might be put upon the issue of his son's approbation.
But, pray, my lord, what fortune do you expect with my girl? Well as you love her, I suppose the return of her love for yours, which you seem not to doubt, will not be enough. Can the poor girl be a countess without a confounded parcel of dross fastened to her petticoat, to make her weight in the other scale?
My circumstances, said my honest Lord L- -, permit me not, in discretion, to make that compliment to my love, which my heart would with transport make, were they better; but I will lay them faithfully before you, and be determined by your generosity.
I could not but expect from a young man of your lordship's good sense, such an answer as this; and yet I must tell you, that we fathers, who know the world, expect to make some advantage of a knowledge that has cost us so much. I should not dislike a little more romancing in love, from a man that asks for my daughter, though I care not how little of it is shewn by my son to another man's. Every father thinks thus, my lord; but is not so honest as to own it. I am sure, Sir Thomas, that you would not think a man worthy of your daughter, who had no regard to anything, but the gratification of his own wishes; who could think, for the sake of that, of involving a young lady in difficulties, which she never knew in her father's house.
Why, this, my lord, is well said. You and I may afford to make handsome compliments to one another, while compliments are only expected. I have a good share of health; I have not quitted the world so entirely, nor think I ought, as to look upon myself as the necessary tool of my children, to promote their happiness at the expense of my own. My lord, I have still a strong relish for the pleasures of this world. My daughters may be women grown; your lordship scems to have found out, that they are;
and has persuaded one of them, that she is ; and the other will be ready to think she is not three years behind her. This is an inconvenience which you have brought upon me. And as I would be glad to live a little longer for myself, I wish you to withdraw your suit; and leave me to do as well as I can with my daughters. I propose to carry them to town next winter. They shall there look about them, and see whom they could like, and who could like them, that they may not be liable to after-repentance, for having taken the first man that offered.
My lord told Sir Thomas, that he hoped there could not be reason to imagine, that anything could possibly arise from his address that should be incompatible with the happiness of a father and was going on in the same reasonable strain; but Sir Thomas interrupted him
You must not, my lord, suppose I can be a stranger to whatever may be urged by a young man on this subject. You say you are in love: Caroline is a girl that anybody may love; but I have not a mind she should marry so soon. I know the inconvenience of early marriages. A man's children treading upon his heels, and shouldering him with their shoulders. In short, my lord, I have an aversion to be called a grandfather, before I am a gray father. [Sir Thomas was not put to it to try to overcome this aversion. Girls will start up, and look up, and parents cannot help it; but what father, in the vigour of his days, would not wish to help it? I am not fond of their partnership in my substance. Why should I divide my fortune with novices, when, making the handsome allowances to them, that I do make, it is not too much for myself? My son should be their example. He is within a year as old as my eldest girl. On his future alliances I build, and hope to add by them to the consequence of all my family. [Ah, Lucy! Girls are said to be sooner women than boys are men. Let us see that they are so by their discretion, as well as by stature.-Let them stay.
And here Sir Thomas abruptly broke off the conversation for that time; to the great distress of Lord L-, who had reason to regret, that he had a man of wit, rather than a man of reason, to contend with.
Sir Thomas went directly into his closet, and sent for his two daughters; and, though not illnaturedly, rallied them both so much on their own discoveries, as he wickedly phrased it, and on admitting Lord L- into the secret, that neither of them could hold up her head, for two or three days, in his presence; but, out of it, Miss Caroline Grandison found that she was in love; and the more for Lord L-'s generous attachment, and Sir Thomas's not so generous discouragement.
My lord wrote over to young Mr Grandison, to favour his address. Lady L permitted me to copy the following answer to his application :
I HAVE the honour of your lordship's letter of the 17th. Never brother loved sisters better than I do mine. As the natural effects of that love, I receive with pleasure the notification of your great regard for my elder sister. As to myself I cannot have one objection: But what am I in this case? She is wholly my father's. I also am his. The consideration he gives me in this instance, confounds me; it binds me to him in double duty. It would look like taking advantage of it, were I so much as to offer my humble opinion, unless he were pleased to command it from me. If he does, assure yourself, my lord, that (my sister's inclination in your lordship's favour presupposed) my voice shall be warmly given, as you wish. I am, my lord, with equal affection and esteem,
Your lordship's faithful and
BOTH sisters rejoiced at the perusal of this affectionate letter; for they were afraid that the unnatural prohibition of correspondence between them and their brother had estranged his affections from them.
The particulars of one more conversation I will give you, between my lord and Sir Thomas, on this important subject; for you must believe that Lord L could not permit a matter of such consequence to his own happiness to go easily off; especially as neither of the two daughters was able to stand her father's continual raillery, which had banished from the cautious eyes, and apprehensive countenances of both ladies, all indications of love, though it reigned with the more absolute power in the heart of Miss Caroline, for that concealment.
In this conversation, my lord began with a little more spirit than he finished the former. The Countess lent me my lord's minutes of it; which he took for her to see, and to judge of all that passed at the time.
On my lord's lively, but respectful address to Sir Thomas on the occasion, the Baronet went directly into the circumstances of my lord, and his expectations.
Lord L told him frankly that he paid interest for 15,000l. for sisters' fortunes; three of whom were living, and single; that he believed two of them would soon be advantageously married; and he should wish to pay them their portions on the day; and was contriving to do so, by decreasing the incumbrance that his father had left upon the finest part of his estate, to the amount of 5000l.; which, and his sisters' fortunes, were all that lay upon a clear estate of 5000l. a-year. After he had thus opened himself, he referred the whole to Sir Thomas's consideration.
My advice, my lord, is this, said the Baronet; that you should by no means think of marriage
till you are clear of the world. You will have 10,000l. to pay directly; you will have the interest of 10,000l. more to pay; and you men of title, on your marriages, whether you like ostentation or not, must be ostentatious. Your equipages, your houses, your furniture-A certain increase of expense-By no means, my Lord L-, think of marriage, till you are quite clear of the world, unless you could meet with some rich widow or heiress, who could do the busi
Afterwards he told Sir Thomas, that he would accept the lady upon his own terms. He besought his consent to their nuptials. He would wait his own time and pleasure. He would be content if he gave not Miss Caroline a single shilling.
Sir Thomas was fretful-And so, lover-like, you would involve the girl you profess to love, in difficulties? I will ask her if she wants for anything with me, that a modest girl can wish for. But, to be serious, it is a plaguy thing for a man to be obliged, by the officious love, as it is called, of a pretender to his daughters, to open his affairs, and expose his circumstances to strangers. I wish, my lord, that you had let my girls alone. I wish you had not found them out in their country retirement. I should have carried them to town, as I told you, in a few months. Women so brought up, so qualified, and handsome girls, are such rarities in this age, and men worth having are so affrighted at the luxury and expensiveness of the modern women, that I doubted not but the characters of my girls would have made their fortunes with very little of my help. They have family, my lord, to value themselves upon, though but spinsters. And let me tell you, since I shall be thought a more unnatural man than I am, if I do not obey the present demand upon me to open my circumstances, I owe my son a great deal more than 30,000l. I don't understand you, Sir Thomas.
Why, thus, my lord, I explain myself: My father left me what is called rich. I lessened the ready money, which he had got together for a purchase he lived not to complete, a great deal. That I looked upon as a deodand; so was not answerable for it; and as I was not married, my son had no right in it. When I was married, and he was given me
Forgive me, Sir Thomas; your son a rightand had not your other children
No, my lord; they were girls-and as to them, had I increased my fortune by penuriousness, instead of living like a man, I was determined as to their fortunes
But, as I was saying, when Lady Grandison
died, I think (though every father does not; nor should I, were he not the best of sons, and did he expect it) the produce of her jointure, which is very considerable, should have been my son's. As to what I annually allowed him, that it was my duty to allow him, as my son, and for my own credit, had his mother not brought me a shilling. Then, my lord, I have been obliged to take up money upon my Irish estate; which, being a family estate, my son ought to have had come clear to him. You see, my lord, how I expose myself.
You have a generous way of thinking, Sir Thomas, as to your son; but a man of your spirit would despise me, if I did not say, that
I have not so generous a way of thinking for my daughters-I will save your lordship the trouble of speaking out, because it is more agreeable from myself than it would be for any other man to do it. But to this I answer, that the late Earl of L, your lordship's father, had one son and three daughters-I have one son, and two. He was an Earl-I am but a simple Baronet. If 5000l. a-piece is enough for an Earl's daughters, half the sum ought to do for a Ba
Your fortune, Sir Thomas-and in England, where estates
And where living, my lord, will be five times more expensive to you than it need to be, if you can content yourself to live where your estate lies-As for me, I have lived nobly-But had I been as rich as my father left me, 5000l. should have done with a daughter, I assure you. You, my lord, have your notions; I have mine. Money and a girl you expect from me; I ask nothing of you. As matters stand, if my girls will keep, (and I hope they will,) I intend to make as good a bargain for them, and with them, as I can. Not near 5000l. a-piece must they expect from me. I will not rob my son more than I have done.-See, here is a letter from him. It is an answer to one I had written, on the refusal of a wretch to lend me, upon my Irish estate, a sum that I wanted to answer a debt of honour, which I had contracted at Newmarket, unless my son (though it is an estate in fee) would join in the security. Does not such a son as this deserve everything?
I obtained a sight of this letter; and here is a copy :
I COULD almost say I am sorry that so superior a spirit as yours should vouchsafe to comply with Mr O's disagreeable and unnecessary demand. But, at least, let me ask, Why, sir, did you condescend to write to me on the occasion, as if for my consent? Why did you not send me the deeds, ready to sign? Let me beg of you, ever dear and ever honoured sir,
that you will not suffer any difficulties, that I can join to remove, to oppress your heart with doubts for one moment. Are you not my father?-And did you not give me a mother, whose memory is my glory? That I am, under God, is owing to you. That I am what I am, to your indulgence. Leave me not anything! You have given me an education, and I derive from you a spirit, that, by God's blessing on my duty to you, will enable me to make my own fortune; and, in that case, the foundation of it will be yours; and you will be entitled, for that foundation, to my warmest gratitude. Permit me, sir, to add, that, be my income ever so small, I am resolved to live within it. And let me beseech you to remit me but one half of your present bounty. My reputation is established; and I will engage not to discredit my father. All I have ever aimed at, is, to be in condition rather to lay, than to receive, an obligation. That your goodness has always enabled me to do; and I am rich, through your munificence; richer, in your favour.
Have you any thoughts, sir, of commanding me to attend you at Paris, or at the Hague; according to the hopes you gave me in your last? -I will not, if you do me this honour, press for a return with you to my native country; but I long to throw myself at your feet; and, whereever the opportunity of that happiness shall be given me, to assure you personally of the inviolable duty of your
MUST not such a letter as this, Lucy, have stung to the heart a man of Sir Thomas Grandison's 's pride? If not, what was his pride ?—Sir Thomas had as good an education as his son ; yet could not live within the compass of an income of upwards of 7000l. a-year. His son called himself rich with 8007. or 1000l. a-year; and though abroad, in foreign countries, desired but half that allowance, that he might contribute, by the other half, to lessen the difficulties in which his father had involved himself by his extravagance.
His father, Lady L-says, was affected with it. He wept; he blessed his son; and resolved, for his sake, to be more cautious in his wagerings than he had hitherto been. Policy, therefore, would have justified the young gentleman's cheerful compliance, had he not been guided by superior motives. Sir Charles would not, I think one may be sure, have sacrificed to the unreasonable desires even of a father, the fortune to which he had an unquestionable right; an excess of ge→ nerosity, amiable indeed, but pitiable, as contrary to the justice that every man owes to himself, and to those who may hereafter depend upon him; and what I have often heard my grandmamma lament in the instance of the worthy Mr M―, whose family has suffered from an acquiescence with a father's extravagance, for which that father was only the more wretched.