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Forgive me, Charlotte; you so generously blame yourself, that you will not scruple to have your experience pleaded for an example to a young creature, who may not be able, if entangled, to behave with your magnanimity.
Seasonably did he say this last part, so immediately after his reference to me, for I made Miss Grandison's confusion a half cover for my own; and I fear but a half cover.
I find I must not allow myself to be long from you, my dear friends; at least in this company. Miss Cantillon, Miss Barnevelt, and half a dozen more misses and masters, with whose characters and descriptions I first paraded; where are you? Where can I find you? My heart, when I saw you at Lady Betty Williams's, was easy and unapprehensive. I could then throw my little squibs about me at pleasure; and not fear, by their return upon me, the singeing of my own clothes!
BUT now what remains to be done for our sister? asked Lady L. Charlotte looked round her, as seconding the question. Every one referred to Sir Charles.
In the first place, let me assure you, my dear Charlotte, resumed he, that if you have but the shadow of a preference for Captain Anderson; and if you believe, from what has passed between you, and from the suspense you have kept him in, (which may have been a hindrance to his fortune or preferment,) that you ought to be his, whether in justice, or by inclination, I will amicably meet him, in order to make and to receive proposals. If you do not find him grateful or generous, we will make him so, by our example; and I will begin to set it.
Every one was affected: Dr Bartlett as much as anybody. Miss Grandison could hardly sit still her chair was uneasy to her while her brother looked like one who was too much accustomed to acts of beneficence, to suppose he had said anything extraordinary.
Miss Grandison, after some hesitation, replied, Indeed, sir, Captain Anderson is not worthy of being called your brother. I will not enter into the particulars of his unworthiness; because I am determined not to have him. He knows I am: nor does my promise engage me to be his. Had he virtue, had he generosity-But, indeed, he has not either, in the degree that would make me respect him, as a woman should respect her husband.
Sir Ch. Well, then, Charlotte, I would have you excuse yourself, if you have given him hopes of meeting him; let him know that you have
acquainted me with all that has passed between you; and that you refer yourself wholly to me; but with a resolution (if such be your resolution)
never to be his.
Miss Gr. I shall dread his violent temperSir Ch. Dread nothing! Men who are violent to a woman, when they have a point to carry by being so, are not always violent to men. But I shall treat him civilly. If the man ever hoped to call you his, he will be unhappy enough in losing such a prize. You may tell him, that I will give him a meeting wherever he pleases. Meantime, it may not be amiss, if you have no objection, to shew me some of the letters that have passed between you; of those particularly, in which you have declared your resolution not to be his; the farther backward the better, if, from the date of such, you have always been of the same mind.
Miss Gr. You shall see the copies of all my letters; and all his, if you please. And you will gather from both, sir, that it was owing to the unhappy situation I thought myself in, from the unkind treatment my sister met with, and to the being forbidden to expect a fortune that would entitle me to look up to a man of figure in the world, that I was ever approachable by Captain Anderson.
Sir Ch. Unhappy! But let us look forward. I will meet Captain Anderson. If there are any letters, in which he has treated my sister unhandsomely, you must not let me see them. My motive for looking into any of them, is service to you, Charlotte, and not curiosity. But let me, nevertheless, see all that is necessary to the question, that I may not, when I meet him, hear anything from him, that I have not heard from you; and which may make for him, and against you. I do assure you, that I will allow in his favour, all that shall appear favourable to him, though against my sister. I may meet him prejudiced, but not determined; and I hope you see by my behaviour to you, Charlotte, that, were you and he to have been fond lovers in your letters, you need not be afraid of my eye. I never am severe on lovers' foibles. Our passions may be made subservient to excellent purposes. Don't think you have a supercilious brother. A susceptibility of the passion called love, I condemn not as a fault; but the contrary. Your brother, ladies, (looking upon all three,) is no stoic.
And have you been in love, Sir Charles Grandison? thought I to myself.-Shall I, Lucy, be sorry, or shall I be glad, if he has ?-But, after all, is it not strange, that in all this time one knows so little of his history while he was abroad?
And yet, he said, that he was not angry at his sister for questioning him on the subject. Had I been his sister, questions of that sort would not have been to be now asked.
But here is a new task for her brother. I shall long to know how this affair will end.
The trial of Miss Grandison, as she called it,
being thus happily over, and Miss Emily and Mr Grandison desired to walk in, Sir Charles took notice, with some severity on our sex, on the general liking, which he said women have for military men. He did not know, he said, whether the army were not beholden to this approbation, and to the gay appearance officers were expected to make, ather than to a true martial spirit, for many a gallant man.
What say you, Emily? said he: Do not a cockade, and a scarlet coat, become a fine gentleman, and help to make him so, in your eyes?
Be pleased, sir, to tell me how such a one should look in my eyes, and I will endeavour to make them conform to your lessons.
He bowed to the happy girl: For my part, said he, I cannot but say, that I dislike the life of a soldier in general; whose trade is in blood; who must be as much a slave to the will of his superiors in command, as he is almost obliged to be a tyrant to those under him.
But as to the sex, if it were not that ladies, where love and their own happiness interfere, are the most incompetent judges of all others for themselves-Pardon me
Your servant, sir, said Lady Lall bowed to him.
How can a woman, proceeded he, who really loves her husband, subject herself, of choice, to the necessary absences, to the continual apprehensions, which she must be under for his safety, when he is in the height of what is emphatically called his DUTY? He stopt. No answer being made; Perhaps, resumed he, it may be thus accounted for: women are the most delicate part of the creation. Conscious of the weakness of their sex, and that they stand in need of protection, (for apprehensiveness, the child of prudence, is as characteristic in them, as courage in a man,) they naturally love brave men-And are not all military men supposed to be brave?
But how are they mistaken in their main end, supposing this to be it!
I honour a good, a generous, a brave, a humane soldier: but were such a one to be the bravest of men, how can his wife expect constant protection from the husband who is less his own, and consequently less hers, than almost any other man can be (a sailor excepted ;) and who must therefore, oftener than any other man, leave her exposed to those insults, from which he seems to think he can best defend her?
Lady L. Smiling. But may it not be said, sir, that those women who make soldiers their choice, deserve, in some degree, a rank with heroes; when they can part with their husbands for the sake of their country's glory?
Sir Ch. Change your word glory for safety, Lady L, and your question will be strengthened. The word and thing called Glory, what mischief has it not occasioned !-As to the question itself, were you serious, let every one, I an
swer, who can plead the motive, be entitled to the praise that is due to it.
Miss Gr. There is so much weight in what my brother has said, that I thank Heaven, I am not in danger of being the wife of a soldier.
We, who knew what she alluded to, smiled at it; and Mr Grandison looked about him, as if he wanted to find more in the words, than they could import to him: and then was very earnest to know how his cousin had come off.
Sir Ch. Triumphantly, cousin. Charlotte's supposed fault has brought to light additional excellencies.
Mr Gr. I am sorry for that, with all my soul -There was no bearing her before—and now what will become of me?
Miss Gr. You have nothing now to fear, Mr Grandison, I assure you. I have been detected in real faults. I have been generously treated; and repent of my fault. Let me have an instance of like ingenuousness in you; and I will say, there are hopes of us both.
Mr Gr. Your servant, cousin. Either way I must have it. But were you to follow the example by which you own yourself amended, I might have the better chance, perhaps, of coming up to you in ingenuousness.
Lord L. Upon my word, sister Charlotte, Mr Grandison has said a good thing.
Miss Gr. I think so too, my lord. I will put it down. And if you are wise, sir, (to him,) ask me to sew up your lips till to-morrow dinnertime.
Mr Grandison looked offended. Sir Ch. Fie, Charlotte!
I am glad, thought I, my good Miss Grandison, that you have not lost much spirit by your trial!
MISS Grandison has shewed me some of the letters that passed between Captain Anderson and her. How must she have despised him, had she been drawn in to give him her hand! And the more for the poor figure he would have made as a brother to her brother! How must she have blushed at every civility paid him in such a family! Yet, from some passages in his letters, I dare say he would have had the higher opinion of himself; first, for having succeeded with her ; and, next, for those very civilities.
And thus had Sir Thomas Grandison, with all his pride, like to have thrown his daughter, a woman of high character, fine understanding, and an exalted mind, into the arms of a man, who had neither fortune, nor education, nor yet good sense, nor generosity of heart, to countenance his pretensions to such a lady, or her for marrying beneath herself.
This is a copy of what Miss Grandison has written to send to Captain Anderson.
HAD I had a generous man to deal with, I needed not to have exposed myself to the apprehended censures of a brother, whose virtues made a sister, less perfect than himself, afraid that he would think her unworthy of that tender relation to him, from the occasion. But he is the noblest of brothers. He pities me; and undertakes to talk with you, in the most friendly manner, at your own appointment, upon a subject that has long greatly distressed me; as well you know. I will not recriminate, as I might: but this assurance I must, for the hundredth time, repeat, that I never can, never will be to you, any other than
She is dissatisfied with what she has written; but I tell her, I think it will do very well.
O MY Lucy! I have been hard set by these sisters. They have found me out; or rather, let me know, that they long ago found me out. I will tell you all as it passed.
I had been so busy with my pen, that, though accustomed to be first dressed, wherever I was, I was now the last. They entered my dressingroom arm in arm; and I have since recollected, that they looked as if they had mischief in their hearts; Miss Grandison especially. She had said, she would play me a trick.
I was in some little hurry, to be so much behind hand, when I saw them dressed. Miss Grandison would do me the honour of
She snatched it out of my trembling hand, and put it round my neck-Why this sudden palpitation?-Ah! Harriet! Why won't you make confidants of your two sisters? Do you think we have not found you out before this?
Har. Found me out! How found me out! -Dear Miss Grandison, you are the most alarming lady that ever lived!
I stood up, trembling.
Miss Gr. Am I so? But, to cut the matter short-Sit down, Harriet. You can hardly stand.-Is it such a disgraceful thing for a fine girl to be in love?
Har. Who I, I, in love!
Miss Gr. Laughing. So, Lady L see that Harriet has found herself out to be a fine girl!-Disqualify now; can't you, my dear? Tell fibs. Be affected. Say you are not a fine girl, and so forth.
Har. Dear Miss Grandison-It was your turn yesterday. How can you forget
Lady L. Take the reins, Charlotte, (making a motion, with a sweet pretty air, with her handkerchief, as if she tossed her something,) I myself, Harriet, am against you now. I wanted a trial of that frankness of heart, for which I have heard you so much commended; and, surely, you might have shewed it, if to any persons living, to your two sisters.
Miss Gr. No more, no more, Lady L. Have you not left her to me? I will punish her. You will have too much lenity.-And now, tell me, Harriet-Don't you love Mr Orme better than any man you ever yet saw ?
Har. Indeed I do not.
Har. Well, then, suppose I am. I never pretended to be clear of the foibles which you impute to the sex. I am a weak, a very weak creature; you see I am
And I put my hand in my pocket for my handkerchief.
Miss Gr. Ay, weep, love. My sister has heard me say, that I never in my life saw a girl so lovely in tears.
Har. What have I done to deserve
Miss Gr. Such a compliment!-Hay?-But you shan't weep neither.-Why, why, is this subject so affecting, Harriet?
Har. You surprise me !-Parted with you but an hour or two ago-and nothing of these reproaches. And now, all at once, both ladiesMiss Gr. Reproaches, Harriet !
Har. I believe so. I don't know what else to call them.
Miss Gr. What! is it a reproach to be taxed with love?
Har. But the manner, madam
Miss Gr. The manner you are taxed with it, is the thing then?-Well, putting on a grave look, and assuming a softer accent-You are in love, however; but with whom? is the question -Are we, your sisters, entitled to know with whom?
Surely, ladies, thought I, you have something to say, that will make me amends for all this intolerable teazing; and yet my proud heart, whatever it were to be, swelled a little, that they should think that would be such high amends, which, however, I by myself, communing only with my own heart, would have thought so.
Lady L. Coming to me, and taking my hand. Let me tell you, our dearest Harriet, that you are the most insensible girl in the world, if you are not in love-And now what say you?
Har. Perhaps I do know, ladies, enough of the passion, to wish to be less alarmingly treated. They then sitting down, on either side of me ; each took a hand of the trembling fool.
I think I will resume the reins, Charlotte, said the Countess. We are both cruel. But tell us, my lovely sister, in one word tell your Caroline, tell your Charlotte, if you have any confidence in our love, (and indeed we love you, or we would not have teazed you as we have done,) if there be not one man in the world whom you love above all men in it?
I was silent. I looked down. I had, in the same moment, an ague, in its cold, and its hot fit. They vouchsafed, each, to press with her lips the passive hand each held.
Be not afraid to speak out, my dear, said Miss Grandison. Assure yourself of my love; my true sisterly love. I once intended to lead the way to the opening of your heart by the discovery of my own, before my brother, as I hoped, could have found me out-but nothing can be hid
Madam! ladies! said I, and stood up in a
hurry, and, in as great a discomposure, sat down again-your brother has not, could not-I would die before
Miss Gr. Amiable delicacy !—He has notbut say you, Harriet, he could not?—If you would not be teazed, don't aim at reserves--but think you, that we could not see, on an hundred occasions, your heart at your eyes?-That we could not affix a proper meaning to those sudden throbs just here, patting my neck; those half-suppressed, but always involuntary sighs [I sighed-Ay, just such as that I was confounded-But, to be serious, we do assure you, Harriet, that had we not thought ourselves under some little obligation to Lady Anne Swe should have talked to you before on this subject. The friends of that lady have been very solicitous with us-and Lady Anne is not
Har. Dear ladies! withdrawing the hand that Miss Grandison held, and taking out my handkerchief; you say, you love me!-Won't you despise whom you love?-I do own
There I stopt; and dried my eyes. Lady L. What does my Harriet own? Har. O madam! had I a greater opinion of my own merit, than I have reason to have, (and I never had so little a one, as since I have known you two,) I could open to you, without reserve, my whole heart-but one request I have to make you-you must grant it.
They both in a breath asked what that was. Har. It is, that you will permit your chariot to carry me to town this very afternoon-and long shall not that town hold your Harriet-Indeed, indeed, ladies, I cannot now ever look your brother in the face-and you will also both despise me! I know you will!
Miss Gr. We asked him if he had any thoughts of marriage? The question came in properly enough from the subject that preceded it. He was silent; but sighed, and looked grave.[Why did Sir Charles Grandison sigh, Lucy? -We repeated the question. You told us, brother, said I, that you do not intend to resume the treaty begun by my father for Lady Frances N. What think you of Lady Anne S―? We need not mention to you how considerable her fortune is; what an enlargement it would give to your power of doing good; nor what her disposition and qualities are; her person is far from being disagreeable; and she has a great esteem for you.
Now, my Harriet, we are afraid, by the words, not in his power; and by the hint, that he cannot at present answer our question as he may be enabled to do some time hence; we are afraid, that some foreign lady
They had raised my hopes; and now, exciting my fears by so well-grounded an apprehension, they were obliged for their pains to hold Lady L's salts to my nose. I could not help exposing myself; my heart having been weakened too by their teazings before. My head dropt on the shoulder of Miss Grandison. Tears relieved
I desired their pity. They assured me of their love; and called upon me, as I valued their friendship, to open my whole heart to them.
I paused. I hesitated. Words did not immediately offer themselves. But, at last, I said, Could I have thought myself entitled to your excuse, ladies, your Harriet, honoured as she was, from the first, with the appellation of sister, would have had no reserve to her sisters; but a just consciousness of my own unworthiness overcame a temper, that, I will say, is naturally frank and unreserved. Now, however▬▬
There I stopt, and held down my head.
Har. Thus called upon; thus encouragedand I lifted up my head as boldly as I could, (but it was not, I believe, very boldly,) I will own, that the man, who by so signal an instance of his bravery and goodness engaged my gratitude, has possession of my whole heart.
And then, almost unknowing what I did, I threw one of my arms, as I sat between them, round Lady L -'s neck, the other round Miss Grandison's; my glowing face seeking to hide itself in Lady L's bosom.