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purpose? Who shewed, when she refused to promise that she would be his, in preference to all other men, that she did not love him above all other men? Who, when she was prevailed on to fetter herself, made him not of consequence enough to herself to bind him? And, in a word, who has long ago declared to him, and steadily persists in the declaration, that she never will be his?-You seem, gentlemen, to be men of spirit. Would you wish to marry the first woman on earth on these terms, if you could obtain her? -which, however, is not the case; since Miss Grandison's promise extends not so far as to oblige her to marry Captain Anderson.
The Captain did not, he told me, like some part of what I had said; and still less, some of the words I had used; and seemed to be disposing his features to take a fiercer turn than became the occasion. I interrupted him, therefore. I met you not, Captain, said I, either to hear, or to obviate, cavils upon words. When I have told you, that I came with an amicable intention, I expect to be believed. I intend not offence. But let us be men. I am perhaps a younger man, by ten years, than any one present; but I have seen the world, as much as any man of my age; and know what is due to the character of a gentleman, whether it be Captain Anderson's, or my own; and expect not wilful misconstructions.
All I mean is, sir, said the Captain, that I will not be treated contemptuously; no, not even by the brother of Miss Grandison.
The brother of Miss Grandison, sir, is not accustomed to treat any man contemptuously. Don't treat yourself so, and you are safe from unworthy treatment from me. Let me add, sir, that I permit every man to fix his character with me, as he pleases. I will venture to say, I have a large charity; but I extend it not to credulity; but yet will always allow a third person to decide upon the justice of my intentions
The Captain said, that he ascribed a great deal of my sister's positiveness in her denial of him, (those were his words,) to the time of my arrival in England; and he doubted not, that I had encouraged the proposals, either of Sir Walter Watkyns, or of Lord G-, because of their quality and fortunes; and hence his difficulties were increased.
And then up he rose, slapt one hand upon the table, put the other on his sword, and was going to say some very fierce things, prefacing them with damning his blood; when I stood up: Hold, Captain; be calm, if possible-Hear from me the naked truth: I will make you a fair representation; and, when I have done, do you resume, if you think it necessary, that angry air you got up with, and see what you'll
make of it.
His friends interposed. He sat down, half out
of breath with anger. His swelled features went down by degrees.
The truth of the matter is strictly and briefly
All my sister's difficulties (which, perhaps, were greater in apprehension than in fact) ended with my father's life. I made it my business, on my arrival, as soon as possible, to ascertain my sisters' fortunes. Lord L- married the elder. The two gentlemen you have mentioned made their addresses to the younger. I knew nothing of you, Captain Anderson. My sister had wholly kept the affair between you and her in her own breast. She had not revealed it even to her sister. The reason she gives, and to which you, sir, could be no stranger, was, that she was determined never to be yours. The subject requires explicitness, Captain Anderson; and I am not accustomed to palliate, whenever it does. She hoped to prevail upon you to leave her as generously free, as she had left you. I do assure you, upon my honour, that she favours not either of the gentlemen. I know not the man she does favour. It is I, her brother, not herself, that am solicitous for her marrying. And, upon the indifference she expressed to change her condition, on terms to which no objection could be made, I supposed she must have a secret preference to some other man. I was afterwards informed, that letters had passed between her and you, by a lady, who had it from a gentleman of your acquaintance. You have shewn me, sir, by the presence of these gentlemen, that you were not so careful of the secret, as my sister had been. They looked one upon another.
I charged my sister, upon this discovery, with reserve to me; but offered her my service in her own way; assuring her, that if her heart were engaged, the want of quality, title, and fortune, should not be of weight with me; and that whomsoever she accepted for her husband, him would I receive for my brother.
The Colonel and the Major extravagantly applauded a behaviour on this occasion, which deserved no more than a common approbation.
She solemnly assured me, proceeded I, that although she held herself bound by the promise which youth, inexperience, and solicitation, had drawn her in to make, she resolved to perform it by a perpetual single life, if it were insisted upon. And thus, sir, you see, that it depends upon you to keep Charlotte Grandison a single woman, till you marry some other lady; (a power, let me tell you, that no man ought to seek to obtain over a young woman ;) or, generously to acquit her of it, and leave her as free as she has left you. And now, gentlemen, (to the Major and Colonel,) if you came hither not so much parties as judges, I leave this matter upon your consideration; and will withdraw for a few
I left every mouth ready to burst into words;
and walked into the public room. There I met with Colonel Martin, whom I had seen abroad; and who had just asked after Major Dillon. He, to my great surprise, took notice to me of the business that brought me thither.
You see, my sister, the consequence you were of to Captain Anderson. He had not been able to forbear boasting of the honour which a daughter of Sir Thomas Grandison had done him, and of his enlarged prospects, by her interest. Dear Charlotte-How unhappy was the man, that your pride should make you think yourself concerned to keep secret an affair, that he thought a glory to him to make known to many! For we see (shall I not say, to the advantage of this gentleman's character?) that he has many dear and inseparable friends, from whom he concealed not any secret of his heart.
Colonel Mackenzie came out soon after, and we withdrew to the corner of the room. He talked a great deal of the strength of the Captain's passion; of the hopes he had conceived of making his fortune, through the interest of a family to which he imputed consideration he made me many compliments: he talked of the great detriment this long-suspended affair had been to his friend; and told me, with a grave countenance, that the Captain was grown as many years older, as it had been in hand; and was ready to rate very highly so much time lost in the prime of life. In short, he ascribed to the Captain the views and the disappointments of a military fortune-hunter too plainly for his honour, in my eye, had I been disposed to take proper notice of the meaning of what he said.
After having heard him out, I desired the Colonel to let me know, what all this meant, and what were the Captain's expectations.
He paraded on again, a long time; and asked me, at last, if there were no hopes that the lady
None at all, interrupted I. She has steadily
declared as much. Charlotte Grandison is a woman of fine sense. She has great qualities. She has insuperable objections to the Captain, which are founded on a more perfect knowledge of the man, and of her own heart, than she could have at first. It is not my intention to depreciate him with his friend; I shall not, therefore, enter into particulars. Let me know, Colonel, what the gentleman pretends to. He is passionate, I see. I am not a tame man; but God forbid, that Captain Anderson, who hoped to be benefited by an alliance with the daughter of Sir Thomas Grandison, should receive hurt, or hard treatment, from her brother!
Here Colonel Martin, who had heard something of what was said, desired to speak with Colonel Mackenzie. They were not so distant, but my ear unavoidably caught part of their subject. Colonel Martin expatiated, in a very high manner, on my character, when I was
abroad. He imputed bravery to me, (a great article among military men, and with you ladies,) and I know not how many good qualities-and Colonel Mackenzie took him in with him to the other two gentlemen; where, I suppose, everything that had passed was repeated.
After a while, I was desired by Colonel Martin, in the name of the gentlemen, to walk in; he himself sitting down in the public room.
They received me with respect. I was obliged to hear and say a great many things, that I had said and heard before; but at last two proposals were made me; either of which, they said, if complied with, would be taken as laying the Captain under a very high obligation.
Poor man! I had compassion on him, and closed with one of them; declining the other for a reason which I did not give to them. To say truth, Charlotte, I did not choose to promise my interest in behalf of a man, of whose merit I was not assured, had I been able to challenge any, as perhaps I might, by Lord W- -'s means; who stands well with proper persons. A man ought to think himself, in some measure, accountable for warm recommendations; especially where the public is concerned; and could I give my promise, and be cool as to the performance? And I should think myself also answerable to a worthy man, and to every one connected with him, if I were a means of lifting one less worthy over his head. I chose, therefore, to do that service to him, for which I am responsible only to myself. After I have said this, my sister must ask me no questions.
I gave a rough draught, at the Captain's request, of the manner in which I would have releases drawn. Colonel Martin was desired to walk in. And all the gentlemen promised to bury in silence all that had ever come to their knowledge, of what had passed between Charlotte Grandison and Captain Anderson.
Let not the mentioning to you these measures, hurt you, my sister. Many young ladies of sense and family have been drawn in to still greater inconveniencies than you have suffered. Persons of eminent abilities (I have a very high opinion of my Charlotte's) seldom err in small points. Most young women, who begin a correspondence with our designing sex, think they can stop when they will. But it is not so. We, and the dark spirit that sets us at work, which we sometimes miscall love, will not permit you to do so. Men and women are devils to one another. They need no other tempter.
All will be completed to-morrow; and your written promise, of consequence, given up. I congratulate my sister on the happy conclusion of this affair. You are now your own mistress, and free to choose for yourself. I should never forgive myself, were I, who have been the means of freeing you from one control, to endeavour to lay you under another. Think not either of Sir
if your heart declare You have sometimes
Walter, or of Lord Gnot in favour of either. thought me earnest in behalf of Lord G. But I have never spoken in his favour, but when you have put me upon answering objections to him, which I have thought insufficient; and indeed, Charlotte, some of your objections have been so slight, that I was ready to believe, you put them for the pleasure of having them answered.
My Charlotte need not doubt of admirers, wherever she sets her foot. And I repeat, that whoever be the man she inclines to favour, she may depend upon the approbation and good offices of
Her ever affectionate brother,
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Friday, March 17.
I SEND you enclosed, (to be returned by the first opportunity,) Sir Charles's letter to his sister, acquainting her with the happy conclusion of the affair between Captain Anderson and her. Her brother, as you will see, acquits her not of precipitation. If he did, it would have been an impeachment of his justice. O the dear Charlotte! how her pride is piqued at the meanness of the man!-But no more of this subject, as the letter is before you.
And now, my dear and honoured friends, let me return you a thousand thanks for the great packet of my letters, just sent me, with a most indulgent one from my aunt, and another from my uncle.
I have already put into the two ladies' hands, and my lord's, without reserve, all the letters that reach to the masquerade affair, from the time of my setting out for London; and when they have read those, I have promised them more. This confidence has greatly obliged them; and they are employed, with no small earnestness, in perusing them.
This gives me an opportunity of pursuing my own devices-And what, besides scribbling, do you think one of them is?—A kind of persecution of Dr Bartlett; by which, however, I suspect, that I myself am the greatest sufferer. He is an excellent man; and I make no difficulty of going to him in his closet, encouraged by his assurances of welcome.
Let me stop to say, my Lucy, that when I approach this good man in his retirement, surrounded by his books, his table generally covered with those on pious subjects, I, in my heart, congratulate the saint, and inheritor of future
glory; and, in that great view, am the more desirous to cultivate his friendship.
And what do you think is our subject? Sir Charles, I suppose, you guess-And so it is, either in the middle or latter end of the few conversations we have yet had time to hold; but, I do assure you, we begin with the sublimest; though I must say, to my shame, that it has not so much of my heart, at present, as once it had, and I hope again will one day have. The great and glorious truths of Christianity are this subject; which yet, from this good Dr Bartlett, warms my heart, as often as he enters into it. But this very subject, sublime as it is, brings on the other, as of consequence; for Sir Charles Grandison, without making any ostentatious pretension to religion, is the very Christian in practice, that these doctrines teach a man to be. Must not then the doctrines introduce the mention of a man, who endeavours humbly to imitate the divine example? It was upon good grounds, he once said, that, as he must one day die, it was matter of no moment to him, whether it were to-morrow, or forty years hence.
The ladies had referred me to the Doctor himself for a more satisfactory account than they had given me, how Sir Charles and he first came acquainted. I told him so, and asked his indulgence to me in this inquiry.
He took it kindly. He had, he said, the history of it written down. His nephew, whom he often employs as his amanuensis, should make me out, from that little history, an account of it, which I might shew, he was pleased to say, to such of my select friends as I entrusted with the knowledge of my own heart.
I shall impatiently expect the abstract of this little history; and the more, as the Doctor tells me, there will be included some particulars of Sir Charles's behaviour abroad in his younger life, and of Mr Beauchamp, whom the Doctor speaks of with love, as his patron's dearest friend, and whom he calls a second Sir Charles Grandison.
SEE, my Lucy, the reward of frankness of heart. My communicativeness has been already encouraged with the perusal of two letters from the same excellent man to Dr Bartlett; to whom, from early days, (as I shall be soon more particularly informed,) he has given an account of all his conduct and movements.
The Doctor drew himself in, however, by reading to Lord L—— and the ladies, and me, a paragraph or two out of one of them; and he has even allowed me to give my grandmamma and aunt a sight of them. Return them, Lucy, with the other letter, by the very next post. He says, he can deny me nothing. I wish I may not be too bold with him. As for Miss Grandison, she vows, that she will not let the good
man rest till she gets him to communicate what he shall not absolutely declare to be a secret, to us three sisters, and my Lord L. If the first man, she says, could not resist one woman, how will the Doctor deal with three, not one of them behind hand with the first in curiosity, and all loving him, and whom he professes to esteem? You see, Lucy, that Miss Grandison has pretty well got up her spirits again.
Just now, Miss Grandison has related to me a conversation that passed between my Lord and Lady L, herself, and Dr Bartlett; in which the subject was their brother and I. The ladies and my lord are entirely in my interests, and regardful of my punctilio. They roundly told the Doctor, that, being extremely earnest to have their brother marry, they knew not the person living, whom they wished to call his wife preferably to Miss Byron, could they be sure that I were absolutely disengaged. Now, Doctor, said Miss Grandison, tell us frankly, what is your opinion of our choice for a more than nominal sister?
I will make no apologies, Lucy, for repeating all that was repeated to me of this conversation. Lord L. Ay, my good Dr Bartlett, let us have your free opinion.
Dr B. Miss Byron (I pronounce upon knowledge, for she has more than once, since I have been down, done me the honour of entering into very free and serious conversations with me) is one of the most excellent of women.
And then he went on, praising me for ingenuousness, seriousness, cheerfulness, and for other good qualities, which his partiality found out in me; and added, Would to Heaven that she were neither more nor less than Lady Grandison !
God bless him! thought I. Don't you join, my Lucy, to say at this place, you, who love me so dearly, God bless you, Dr Bartlett?
Lady L. Well, but Doctor, you say that Miss Byron talks freely with you; cannot you gather from her, whether she is inclined to marriage? Whether she is absolutely disengaged? Lady D― made a proposal to her for Lord Dand insisted on an answer to this very question: that matter is gone off. As our guest, we would not have Miss Byron think us impertinent. She is very delicate. And as she is so amiably frankhearted, those things she chooses not to mention of her own accord, one would not, you know, officiously put to her.
This was a little too much affected. Don't you think so, Lucy? The Doctor, it is evident by his answer, did.
Dr B. It is not likely that such a subject can arise between Miss Byron and me: and it is strange, methinks, that ladies calling each other sisters, should not be absolutely mistresses of this question.
Lord L. Very right, Dr Bartlett. But ladies will, in these points, take a compass before they explain themselves. A man of Dr Bartlett's penetration and uprightness, ladies, should not be treated with distance. We are of opinion, Doctor, that Miss Byron, supposing that she is absolutely disengaged, could make no difficulty to prefer my brother to all the men in the world. What think you?
Dr B. I have no doubt of it: She thinks herself under obligation to him. She is goodness itself. She must love goodness. Sir Charles's person, his vivacity, his address, his understanding-What woman would not prefer him to all the men she ever saw? He has met with admirers among the sex in every nation in which he has set his foot: [Ah, Lucy! You, ladies, must have seen, forgive me, (bowing to each,) that Miss Byron has a more than grateful respect for your brother.
Miss Gr. We think so, Doctor; and wanted to know if you did: and so, as my lord says, fetched a little compass about, which we should not have done to you. But you say, that my brother has had numbers of admirers. Pray, Doctor, is there any one lady, (we imagine there is,) that he has preferred to another, in the different nations he has travelled through?
Lord L. Ay, Doctor, we want to know this; and if you thought there were not, we should make no scruple to explain ourselves, as well to Miss Byron, as to my brother.
Don't you long to know what answer the Doctor returned to this, Lucy? I was out of breath with impatience, when Miss Grandison repeated it to me.
The Doctor hesitated-and at last said, I wish, with all my heart, Miss Byron could be Lady Grandison.
Miss Gr. COULD be?-Could be, said each. And, COULD be? said the fool to Miss Grandison, when she repeated it, her heart quite sunk.
Dr B. [Smiling. You hinted, ladies, that you are not sure that Miss Byron is absolutely disengaged. But, to be open, and above-board, I have reason to believe, that your brother would be concerned, if he knew it, that you should think of putting such a question as this to anybody but himself. Why don't you? He once complained to me that he was afraid his sisters looked upon him as a reserved man, and condescended to call upon me to put him right, if I thought his appearance such as would give you grounds for the surmise. There are two or three affairs of intricacy that he is engaged in, and particularly one, that hangs in suspense; and he would not be fond, I believe, of mentioning it, till he can do it with certainty; but else, ladies, there is not a more frank-hearted man in the world, than your brother.
See, Lucy, how cautious we ought to be in passing judgment on the actions of others, espe
cially on those of good men, when we want to fasten blame upon them; perhaps with a low view, (envying their superior worth,) to bring them down to our own level!-For are we not all apt to measure the merits of others by our own standard, and to give praise or dispraise to actions or sentiments, as they square with our own?
Lord L. Perhaps, Dr Bartlett, you don't think yourself at liberty to answer whether these particular affairs are of such a nature as will interfere with the hopes we have of bringing to effect a marriage between my brother and Miss Byron ?
Dr B. I had rather refer to Sir Charles himself on this subject. If any man in the world deserves, from prudence and integrity of heart, to be happy in this life, that man is Sir Charles Grandison. But he is not quite happy.
Ah, Lucy!-The Doctor proceeded. Your brother, ladies, has often said to me, that there was hardly a man living who had a more sincere value for the sex than he had; who had been more distinguished by the favour of worthy women, yet, who had paid dearer for that distinc tion than he had done.
Lady L. Paid dearer! Good Heaven!
Lord L. I always abroad heard the ladies reckon upon Sir Charles as their own man. His vivacity, his personal accomplishments, his politeness, his generosity, his bravery! Every woman who spoke of him, put him down for a man of gallantry. And is he not a truly gallant man? -I never mentioned it before; but a Lady Olivia, of Florence, was much talked of, when I was in that city, as being in love with the handsome Englishman, as our brother was commonly called there
Lady Olivia! Lady Olivia! repeated each sister; and why did not your lordship ?
Why? Because, though she was in love with him, he had no thoughts of her; and, as the Doctor says, she is but one of those who, whereever he set his foot, admired him.
Bless me, thought I, what a black swan is a good man!-Why, as I have often thought, (to the credit of our sex,) will not all the men be good?
Lady L. My lord, you must tell us more of this Lady Olivia.
Lord L. I know very little more of her. She was reputed to be a woman of high quality and fortune, and great spirit. I once saw her. She is a fine figure of a woman. Dr Bartlett can, no doubt, give you an account of her.
Miss Gr. Ah, Doctor! What a history could you give us of our brother, if you pleased! But as there is no likelihood that this lady will be anything to my brother, let us return to our first subject.
Lady L. By all means. Pray, Dr Bartlett,
do you know what my brother's opinion is of Miss Byron ?
Dr B. The highest that man can have of wo
Lady L. As we are so very desirous to see my brother happily married, and think he never could have a woman so likely to make him happy, would you advise us to propose the alliance to him? We would not to her, unless we thought there were room to hope for his approbation, and that in a very high degree.
Dr B. I am under some concern, my dear ladies, to be thought to know more of your brother's heart than sisters do, whom he loves so dearly, and who equally love him. I beseech you, give me not so much more consequence with him than you imagine you have yourselves. I shall be afraid, if you do, that the favour I wish to stand in with you, is owing more to your brother's distinction of me, than to your own hearts.
Lord L. I see not why we may not talk to my brother directly on this head. Whence is it, that we are all three insensibly drawn in, by each other's example, to this distance between him and us?-It is not his fault. Did we ever ask him a question that he did not directly answer, and that without shewing the least affectation or reserve?
Miss Gr. He came over to us all at once so perfect, after an eight or nine years' absence, with so much power, and such a will to do us good, that we were awed into a kind of reverence for him.
Lady L. Too great obligations from one side, will, indeed, create distance on the other. Grateful hearts will always retain a sense of favours heaped upon them.
Dr B. You would give pain to his noble heart, did he think that you put such a value upon what he has done. I do assure you, that he thinks he has hardly performed his duty by his sisters, and, as occasions may still offer, you will find he thinks so. But let me beg of you to treat him without reserve or diffidence; and that you would put to him all those questions which you would wish to be answered. You will find him, I dare say, very candid, and very explicit.
Miss Gr. That shall be my task, when I next see him. But, dear Dr Bartlett, if you love us, communicate to us all that is proper for us to see, of the correspondence that passes between him and you.
The Doctor, it seems, bowed; but answered not.
So you see, Lucy, upon the whole, that I have no great reason to build so much, as my uncle, in his last letter, imagines I do, on the interest of these ladies, and my Lord Lwith their brother. Two or three intricate affairs on his hands; one of them still in sus