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Sir Charles's is the true, the reasonable virtue, that keeps clear of every extreme.-O my dear! the Christian religion is a blessed religion! how does honest policy, as well as true greatness of mind, recommend that noble doctrine of returning good for evil!
My lord repeated his request, that he might have Sir Thomas's consent to his nuptials, upon his own terms; and promised never to expect a single shilling in dowery, but to leave the whole of that to time, and to his own convenience and pleasure.
We know, said Sir Thomas, what all this means. You talk, my lord, like a young man. You ought not to think (you once said it yourself) of involving a young woman you love, as well as yourself, in difficulties. I know the world, and what is best to be done, if you will think no more of my daughter. I hope she has discretion. First love is generally first folly. It is seldom fit to be encouraged. Your quality, my lord, to say nothing of your merit, will procure you a rich wife from the city. And the city now is as genteel, as polite, as the court was formerly. The wives and daughters of citizens, poor fellows! are apes of us gentry; and succeed pretty well, as to outward appearance, in the mimicry. You will, by this means, shake off all your father's sins. I speak in the language of young fellows, who expect a father to live solely for them, and not for himself. Some sober young men of quality and fortune, affrighted at the gaiety and extravagance of the modern women, will find out my girls; who, I hope, will have patience. If they have not, let them pursue their inclinations: let them take their fill of love, as Solomon says; and if they run their heads into a hedge, let them stick there by the horns, with all my heart!
See, my dear, what a man a rakish father is !O my good Lady Grandison, how might your choice have punished your children!
I pray to God, Sir Thomas, said my lord, bowing, but angry; I pray to God, to continue me in a different way of thinking from yours, if this be yours. Give me leave to say, you are too young a gentleman to be a father of grown-up children. But I must love Miss Grandison; and still, if possible, poor young lady! more than ever, for what has passed in this conversation. And saying this, he withdrew.
Sir Thomas was very angry at this spirited speech. He sent for his daughter, and forbade her to receive my lord's addresses. He ordered her never to think of him: and directing Miss
Charlotte to be called in, repeated his commands before her; and threatened to turn them both out of his house, if they presumed to encourage any address, but with his knowledge. And don't think, said he, of going on to engage your affections, as a sensual forwardness is called, and then hope to take advantage of my weakness, to countenance your own. I know the world; I know your sex.-Your sister, I see, Charlotte, is a whining fool: see how she whimpers !-Be gone from my presence, Caroline! And remember, Charlotte, (for I suppose this impertinent lord's address to your sister will go near to set you agog,) that I expect, whether absent or present, to know of any application that may be made to you, before your liking has taken root in love, as it is called, and while my advice may have the weight that the permission or dissent of a father ought to have.
They both wept, courtesied, and withdrew. At dinner Miss Caroline begged to be excused attending her gay and arbitrary father; being excessively grieved and unfit, as she desired her sister to say, to be seen. But he commanded her attendance.
Miss Charlotte Grandison told me what this wicked man [shall I call Sir Charles Grandison's father so? said on the occasion: Women's tears are but, as the poet says, the sweat of eyes. Caroline's eyes will not misbecome them. The more she is ashamed of herself, the less reason will she give me to be ashamed of her. Let me see how the fool looks, now she is conscious of her folly. Her bashful behaviour will be a half confession; and this is the first step to amendment. Tell her, that a woman's grief for not having been able to carry her point, has always been a pleasure to me. I will not be robbed of my pleasure. She owes it me for the pain she has given me.
Lord Land she had parted. He had, on his knees, implored her hand. He would not, he said, either ask or expect a shilling of her father; his estate would and should work itself clear, without injury to his sisters, or postponing their marriage. Her prudence and generosity he built upon; they would enable him to be just to every one, and to preserve his own credit. He would not, he generously said, for the beloved daughter's sake, utter one reflecting word upon her father, after he had laid naked facts before her. Those, however, would too well justify him, if he did. And he again urged for her hand, and for a private marriage. Can I bear to think with patience, my dearest Miss Grandison, added he, that you and your sister, according to Sir Thomas's scheme, shall be carried to town, with minds nobler than the minds of any women in it, as adventurers, as female fortune-hunters, to take the chance of attracting the eyes and hearts of men, whether worthy or unworthy, purely to save your father's pocket? No, madam; believe me, I love you not for my own sake merely,
though Heaven knows you are dearer to me than my life, but for yours as well; and my whole future conduct shall convince you that I do. My love, madani has friendship for its base; and your worthy brother, once, in an argument, convinced me, that love might be selfish; that friendship could not; and that in a pure flame they could not be disunited; and when they were, that love was a cover only to a baseness of heart, which taught the pretender to it to seek to gratify his own passion, at the expense of the happiness or duty of the object pretended to be beloved.
See, my Lucy!-Did we girls ever think of this nice, but just, distinction before? And is not friendship a nobler band than love?-But is not Lord L- a good man? Don't you love him, Lucy?-Why have I not met with these notions before in the men I have known?
But Miss Caroline was not less generous than my Lord L———. No scheme of my father's shall make me forget, said she, the merits of Lord L—. Your lordship's affairs will be made easier by time. I will not embarrass you. Think not yourself under any obligation to me. Whenever any opportunity offers to make you easy all at once, (for a mind so generous ought not to be laid under difficulties,) embrace it: only let me look upon you as my friend, till envy to a happier woman, or other unworthiness in Caroline Grandison, make me forfeit your good opinion.
Generous creature! said my lord. Never will I think of any other wife while you are single. Yet will I not fetter her, who would leave me free. May I, madam, hope, if you will not bless me with your hand now, that my letters will be received?-Your father, in forbidding my address to you, has forbidden me his house. He is, and ought to be, master in it.-May I hope, madam, a correspondence
I am unhappy, said she, that, having such a brother as sister never had, I cannot consult him. The dear Charlotte is too partial to me, and too apt to think of what may be her own case. But, my lord, I depend upon your honour, which you have never given me reason to doubt, that you will not put me upon doing a wrong thing, either with regard to my duty to my father, or to my own character. Try me not with a view to see the power you have over me. That would be ungenerous. I own you have some: indeed a great deal.
You may guess what were my lord's assurances on this generous confidence in him. They agreed upon a private correspondence by letters.
-Ah! Lady L―, was this quite right, though it came out happily in the event? Does not concealment always imply somewhat wrong? Ought you not to have done your duty, whether your father did his, or not? Were you not called upon, as I may say, to a trial of yours? and is not virtue to be proved by trial? Remember you not who says, "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.” -But you, Lady L- lost your excellent mother very early.
The worthy young lady would not, however, be prevailed upon to consent to a private marriage; and my lord took leave of her. Their parting was extremely tender; and the amiable Caroline, in the softness of heart, overcome by my lord's protestations of everlasting love to her in preference to all the women on earth, voluntarily assured him, that she never would receive any other proposal, while he was living and single.
Sir Thomas shewed himself so much displeased with Lord L, for the freedom of his last speech, that my lord chose not to desire another audience of him; and yet, being unwilling to widen the difference, he took polite leave of the angry Baronet in a letter, which was put into his hands just before he had commanded Miss Caroline to attend him at dinner, which she had begged to be excused doing.
Don't you pity the young lady, Lucy, in this situation? Lord L- having but a little before taken leave of her, and set out for London ?
Miss Charlotte told her sister, that, were it she, she should hardly have suffered Lord Lto go away by himself-were it but to avoid an interview with a father, who seemed to have been too much used to women's tears to be moved by them; and who had such a satirical vein, and such odd notions of love.
Wicked girl! interrupted Lady L-. I remember that was what she said.
I said it to make you smile, if I could, and take courage; but you know I was in tears for you notwithstanding.
You thought of what might befal yourself, Charlotte.
So I did. We never, I believe, properly feel for others, what does not touch ourselves.
A compassionate heart, said I, is a blessing, though a painful one; and yet there would be no supporting life, if we felt quite as poignantly for others as we do for ourselves. How happy was it for my Charlotte, that she could smile, when the father's apprehended lecture was intended for the use of both!
I thank you for this, Harriet. You will not be long my creditor-But I will proceed.
Caroline took my advice. She leaned upon me; and creep, creep, creep, down she crept. A fresh stream of tears fell from her eyes when she came to the dining-room door: her tremblings were increased; and down she dropt upon a windowseat in the passage: I can go no farther, said she. Instantly a voice, that we knew must be observed, alarmed our ears-Where are you, Caroline! Charlotte! Girls! where are you? The housekeeper was in hearing, and ran to us: Ladies! ladies! your papa calls!-And we, in spite of the weakness of the one, and the unwillingness of the other, recovered our feet; and, after half-a-dozen creeping motions more, found ourselves within the door, and in our father's sight, my sister leaning upon my arm.
What devil's in the wind now! What tragedymovements are here!-What measured steps! In some cases, all women are natural actresses. But come, Caroline, the play is over, and you mistake your cue.
Good sir!-Her hands held up-I wept for her; and for my own remoter case, if you will, Miss Byron.
The prologue is yours, Caroline. Charlotte, I doubt not, is ready with her epilogue. But come, come, it is time to close this farce-Take your places, girls! and don't be fools.-A pretty caution, thought I, said Miss Charlotte, when you make us both such !
other; and now and then an overclouded brow, adding to our awkwardness: yet still more apprehensive of dinner-time being over, and the withdrawing of the servants.
However, the servants entering with the dinner, we hemmed, handkerchiefed, twinkled, took up our knives and forks, laid them down, and took them up again when our father's eye was upon us; piddled, sipped; but were more busy with our elbows than with our teeth. As for poor sister Caroline, love stuck in her throat. She tried to swallow, as one in a quinsey; a wry face, and a strained neck, denoting her difficulty to get down but a lark's morsel-And what made her more awkward, (I am sure it did me,) was a pair of the sharpest eyes that ever were seen in a man's head, and the man a father, (the poor things having no mother, no aunt, to support their spirits,) cast first on the one, then on the
The servants loved their young ladies. They attended with very serious faces; and seemed glad when they were dismissed.
Then it was that Caroline arose from her seat, made her courtesy awkwardly enough; with the air of a boarding-school miss, her hands before her.
My father let her make her honours, and go to the door, I rising to attend her; but then called her back; I dare say on purpose to enjoy her awkwardness, and to punish her.
Who bid you go? Whither are you going, Caroline? Come back, Charlotte.-But it will be always thus: a father's company is despised, when a girl gets a lover into her head. Fine encouragement for a father, to countenance a passion that shall give himself but a second or third place, who once had a first, in his children's affections! But I shall have reason to think myself fortunate, perhaps, if my children do not look upon me as their enemy.-Come back when I bid you.
We crept back more awkwardly than we went from table.
Sit down-We crossed our hands, and stood like a couple of fools.
Sit down when I bid you. You are confoundedly humble. I want to talk with you.
Down sat the two simpletons on the edge of their chairs; their faces and necks averted.
Miss Grandison then gave the following dialogue. She humorously, by her voice, (an humble one for her sister, a less meek one for herself, an imperious one for Sir Thomas,) marked the speakers. I will prefix their names.
Sir Tho. What sort of leave has Lord L taken of you, Caroline? He has sent me a letHas he sent you one? I hope he did not think a personal leave due to the daughter, and not to the father.
Char. He thought you were angry with him, sir, said I poor Caroline's answer was not ready.]
Sir Tho. And supposed that your sister was not. Very well! What leave did he take of you, girl? woman? What do you call yourself?
Char. Sir, my Lord L- I dare say, intended no disrespect to
I might as well have been silent, Harriet. Sir Tho. I like not your preface, girl, interrupted he-Tell me not what you dare say. I spoke to your sister.-Come, sit upright. None of your averted faces, and wry necks. A little more innocence in your hearts, and you'll have less shame in your countenances. I see what a league there is between you. A promising prospect before me with you both! But tell me, Caroline, do you love Lord L? Have you given him hope that you will be his, when you can get
the cross father to change his mind; or, what is still better, out of your way for ever? All fathers are plaguy ill-natured, when they do not think of their girls' fellows, as their foolish girls think of them! Answer me, Caroline!
Car. Weeping at his severe speech.] What can I say, sir, and not displease you ? Sir Tho. What!-Why, that you are all obedience to your father. Cannot you say that? Sure you can say that.
Car. I hope, sir
Sir Tho. And I hope too. But it becomes you to be certain. Can't you answer for your own heart? Car. I believe you think, sir, that Lord L— is not an unworthy man.
Sir Tho. A man is not more worthy, for making my daughter forget herself, and behave like a fool to her father.
Char. Indeed, sir, I can answer for the goodness of my sister's heart, and her duty to you.
Sir Tho. Well said! Now, Caroline, do you speak up for Charlotte's heart: one good turn deserves another. But say what you will for each other, I will be my own judge of both your hearts; and facts shall be the test. Do you know, Caroline, whether Charlotte has any lover that is to keep you in countenance with yours?
Car. I dare say, sir, that my sister Charlotte will not disoblige you.
Sir Tho. I hope, Caroline, you can say as much for Charlotte's sister.
Car. I hope I can, sir.
Sir Tho. Then you know my will.
Car. I presume, sir, it is your pleasure, that I should always remain single.
Sir Tho. Hey-day !-But why, pray, does your ladyship suppose so?-Speak out.
Car. Because I think, forgive me to say it, that my Lord L -'s character and his quality are such, that a more creditable proposal cannot be expected.-Pray, sir, forgive me. And she held up her hands, pray-pray-fashion, thusWell said, Caroline! thought I-Pull up courage, my dear!-What a deuce
Sir Tho. His quality!-Gewgaw!-What is a Scottish peerage?-And does your silly heart beat after a coronet? You want to be a countess,
do you?-But let me tell you, that if you have a true value for Lord L- -, you will not, encumbered as he is with sisters' fortunes, wish him to marry you.
Car. As to title, sir, that is of very little account with me, without the good character.As to prudence; my Lord L- cannot see anything in me to forfeit his prudence for.
Well answered, Caroline! thought I, again said Miss Grandison. In such a laudable choice, all should not be left upon the poor lov-yer!
Sir Tho. So the difficulty lies not with you, I find. You have no objection to Lord Lhe has none to you. You are an humbled and mortified girl, then. The woman must be indeed in love, who, once thinking well of herself, can give a preference against herself to her lover.
What business had Sir Thomas to say this, my Lucy?
Sir Tho. Let me know, Caroline, what hopes you have given to Lord L. Or rather, perhaps, what hopes he has given you?—Why are you silent? Answer me, girl.
Car. I hope, sir, I shall not disgrace my father, in thinking well of Lord L
Sir Tho. Nor will he disgrace himself, proud as are the Scottish beggars of their ancestry, in thinking well of a daughter of mine.
Car. Lord L, though not a beggar, sir, would think it an honour, sir
Sir Tho. Well said! Go on: go on. Why stops the girl?—And so he ought. But if Lord L is not a beggar for my daughter, let not my daughter be a beggar for Lord L. But Lord L- would think it an honour, you say—To be what? Your husband, I suppose. Answer my question; How stand matters between you and Lord L- ?
Car. I cannot, such is my unhappiness! say anything that will please my father.
Sir Tho. How the girl evades my question!Don't let me repeat it.
Car. It is not disgraceful, I hope, to own, that I had rather be
There she stopt, and half-hid her face in her bosom. And I thought, said Miss Grandison, that she never looked prettier in her life.
Sir Tho. Rather be Lord L-'s wife than my daughter-Well, Charlotte, tell me, when are you to begin to estrange me from your affections? When are you to begin to think your father stands in the way of your happiness? When do you cast your purveying eyes upon a mere stranger, and prefer him to your father?—I have done my part, I suppose; I have nothing to do but to allot you the fortunes that your lovers, as they are called, will tell you are necessary to their affairs, and then to lie me down and die. Your fellows then, with you, will dance over my grave; and I shall be no more remembered, than if I had never been-except by your brother.
I could not help speaking here, said Miss
Sir Tho. So! Now all is out!-You have the forwardness-What shall I call it ?-But I did, and I do, esteem Lord L. But as what? Not as a son-in-law. He came to me as my son's friend. I invited him down in that character: he, at that time, knew nothing of you. But no sooner came a single man into a single woman's company, but you both wanted to make a match of it. You were dutiful; and he was prudent: prudent for himself. I think you talked of his prudence a while ago. He made his application to you, or you to him, I know not which [Then how poor Caroline wept! And I, said Miss Charlotte, could hardly forbear saying barbarous! And when he found himself sure of you, then was the fool of the father to be consulted and for what? Only to know what he would do for two people, who had left him no option in the case. And this is the trick of you all: and the poor father is to be passive, or else to be accounted a tyrant.
Car. Sir, I admitted not Lord L-'s address, but conditionally, as you should approve of it. Lord L- desired not my approbation upon other terms.
woman, especially on certain points, in which nature, and not reason, is concerned, must follow her through a thousand windings, and find himself farthest off when he imagines himself nearest; and at last must content himself, panting for breath, to sit down where he set out; while she gambols about, and is ready to lead him a new course. Car. I hope
Sir Tho. What nonsense is this?-Have you left me any way to help myself?-Come, Caroline, let me try you. I intend to carry you up to town a young man of quality has made overtures to me. I believe I shall approve of his proposals. I am sure you will, if you are not prepossessed. Tell me, are you, have you left yourself at liberty to give way to my recommendation?-Why don't you answer me? -You know, that you received Lord L- -'s addresses but conditionally, as I should approve of them. And your spark desired not your approbation upon other terms. Come, what say you to this?-What! are you confounded?Well you may, if you cannot answer me as I wish! If you can, why don't you?—You see I put you but to your own test.
Car. Sir, it is not for me to argue with my father. Surely, I have not intended to be undutiful. Surely, I have not disgraced my family, by admitting Lord L's conditional
Sir Tho. Conditional !—Fool!—How conditional? Is it not absolute, as to the exclusion of me, or of my option? But I have ever found, that the man who condescends to argue with a
Sir Tho. None of your hopes-I will have certainty. May I-Come, I'll bring you to a point, if I can, woman as you are-May I receive proposals for you from any other man? Answer me, yes or no. Don't deal with me, as girls do with common fathers-Don't be disobedient, and then depend upon my weakness to forgive you. I am no common father. I know the world. I know your sex. I have found more fools in it than I have made.-Indeed, no man makes, or needs to make, you fools. You have folly deep-rooted within you. That weed is a native of the soil. A very little watering will make it sprout, and choke the noble flowers that education has planted. I never knew a woman in my life, that was wise by the experience of other people. But answer me: Say-Can you receive a new proposal? or can you not?
Caroline answered only by her tears.
Sir Tho. Damnably constant, I suppose !— So you give up real virtue, give up duty to a father, for fidelity, for constancy, for a fictitious virtue, to a lover! Come hither to me, girlWhy don't you come to me when I bid you?—
MISS CAROLINE arose: four creeping steps, her handkerchief at her eyes, brought her within her father's reach. He snatched her hand, quickened her pace, and brought her close to his knees. Poor sister Caroline! thought I: O the ty-And I had like, at the time, to have added the syllable rant to myself.-He pulled the other hand from her eye. The handkerchief dropt: he might see that it was wet and heavy with her tears. Fain would she have turned her blubbered eyes from him. He held both her hands, and burst out into a laugh
And what cries the girl for? Why, Caroline, you shall have a husband, I tell you. I will hasten with you to the London market. Will you be offered at Ranelagh market first? the concert or breakfasting ?-Or shall I shew you at the opera, or at the play? Ha, ha, ha!Hold up your head, my amorous girl! You shall stick some of your mother's jewels in your hair, and in your bosom, to draw the eyes of fellows. You must strike at once, while your