Sivut kuvina

my presence. The poor girl will be terrified into fits, as she was the last time she saw her, if she comes, and I am not there. But possibly I may hear no more of this wicked woman for a month or two. Having a power to make her annuity either one or two hundred pounds, according to her behaviour, at my own discretion, the man she has married, who could have no inducement but the annuity, if he has married her, will not suffer her to incur such a reduction of it; for you know, I have always hitherto paid her two hundred pounds a-year. Her threatening to see me to-morrow may be to amuse me while she goes. The woman is a foolish woman; but, being accustomed to intrigue, she aims at cunning and contrivance.

I am now hastening to Lord W. I hope his woman will not be admitted to his table, as she generally is, let who will be present; yet, it seems, knows not how to be silent, whatever be the subject. I have never chosen either to dine or sup with my lord, that I might not be under a necessity of objecting to her company; and were I not to object to it, as I am a near kinsman to my lord, and know the situation she is in with him, my complaisance might be imputed to motives altogether unworthy of a man of spirit.

Yours of this morning was brought me, just as I was concluding. I am greatly interested in one paragraph in it.

You hint to me, that my sisters, though my absences are short, would be glad to receive now and then a letter from me. You, my dear friend, have engaged me into a kind of habit, which makes me write to you with ease and pleasure. To you, and to our Beauchamp, methinks, I can write anything. Use, it is true, would make it equally agreeable to me to write to my sisters. I would not have them think that there is a brother in the world, that better loves his sisters than I do mine; and now, you know, I have three. But why have they not signified as much to me? Could I give pleasure to any whom I love, without giving great pain to myself, it would be unpardonable not to do


I could easily carry on a correspondence with my sisters, were they to be very earnest about it; but then it must be a correspondence; the writing must not be all of one side. Do they think I should not be equally pleased to hear what they are about, from time to time; and what, occasionally, their sentiments are, upon persons and things? If it fall in your way, and you think it not a mere temporary wish, (for young ladies often wish, and think no more of the matter,) then propose the condition.-But caution them, that the moment I discover, that they are less frank, and more reserved, than I am, there will be an end of the correspondence. My three sisters are most amiably frank, for women-but, thus challenged, dare they enter

the lists, upon honour, with a man, a brother, upon equal terms?-O no! they dare not. It is not in woman to be unreserved in some points; and (to be impartial) perhaps they should not; yet, surely, there is now and then a man, a brother, to be met with, who would be the more grateful for the confidence reposed in him.

Were this proposal to be accepted, I could write to them many of the things that I communicate to you. I have but few secrets. I only wish to keep from relations so dear to me, things that could not possibly yield them pleasure. I am sure I could trust to your judgment, the passages that might be read to them from my letters to you.

Sometimes, indeed, I love to divert myself with Charlotte's humorous curiosity; for she seems, as I told her lately, to love to suppose secrets, where there are none, for a compliment to her own sagacity, when she thinks she has found them out; and I love at such times to see her puzzled, and at a fault, as a punishment for her declining to speak out.

You have told me heretofore, in excuse for the distance which my two elder sisters observe to their brother, when I have complained of it to you, that it proceeded from awe, from reverence for him. But why should there be that awe, that reverence? Surely, my dear friend, if this is spontaneous, and invincible, in them, there must be some fault in my behaviour, some seeming want of freedom in my manner, with which you will not acquaint me; it is otherwise impossible, that between brothers and sisters, where the love is not doubted on either side, such a distance should subsist. You must consult them upon it, and get them to explain themselves on this subject to you; and when they have done so, tell me of my fault, and I will endeavour to render myself more agreeable (more familiar, shall I say?) to them. But I will not by any means excuse them, if they give me cause to think, that the distance is owing to the will and the power I have been blessed with to do my duty by them. What would this be, but indirectly to declare, that once they expected not justice from their brother? But no more of this subject at present. I am impatient to be with you all at Colnebrook; you cannot think how impatient. Self-denial is a very hard doctrine to be learned, my good Dr Bartlett. So, in some cases, is it found to be, by your




Colnebrook, Sunday Evening. POOR Emily! her heart is almost broken. This ignoble passion, what a mean-spirited crea

ture had it like to have made me!-Be quiet, be quiet, Lucy!-I will call it ignoble. Did you ever know me before so little ?-And had it not like to have put me upon being hard-hearted, envious, and I can't tell what, to a poor fatherless girl, just starting into woman, and therefore into more danger than she ever was in before; wanting to be protected-from whom? From a mother.-Dreadful circumstance!-Yet I am ready to grudge the poor girl her guardian, and her innocent prattle!-But let me be despised by the man I love, if I do not conquer this new-discovered envy, jealousy, littleness, at least with regard to this unhappy girl, whose calamity endears her to me.

Dear child! sweet Emily! You shall go down with me, if it be proposed. My grandmamma, and uncle, and aunt, will permit me to carry you with me. They are generous; they have no little passion to mislead their beneficence; they are what I hope to be, now I have found myself out-and what if her gratitude shall make her heart overflow into love, has she not excuse for it, if Harriet has any?

Well, but to the occasion of the poor Emily's distress.-About twelve this day, soon after Lord L- -and the two sisters and I came from church, (for Emily happened not to go,) a coach and four stopped at the gate, and a servant in a sorry livery, alighting from behind it, inquired for Lord L- Two gentlemen, who, by their dress and appearance, were military men, and one lady were in it.

My lord ordered them to be invited to alight, and received them with his usual politeness. Don't let me call this unhappy woman Emily's mother; O'Hara is the name she owns. She addressed herself to my lord: I am the mother of Emily Jervois, my lord; this gentleman, Major O'Hara, is my husband.

The Major bowed, strutted, and acknowledged her for his wife; and this gentleman, my lord, said he, is Captain Salmonet; a very brave man; he is in foreign service. His lady is my own sister.

My lord took notice of each.

I understand, my lord, that my daughter is here; I desire to see her.

One of my lord's servants, at that time, passing by the door, which was open, Pray, sir, said she to him, let Miss Jervois know, that her mamma is come to see her. Desire her to come

to me.

Maj. I long to see my new daughter; I hear she is a charming young lady. She may depend upon the kindness of a father from me.

Capt. De man of honour and good nature be my brother's general cha-ract-er, I do assure your lordship.

He spoke English as a Frenchman, my lord says; but pronounced the word character as an Irishman.


Maj. [Bowing.] No need of this, my dear friend. My lord has the cha-ract-er of a fine gentleman himself, and knows how to receive a gentleman who waits upon him with due respect.

Lord L. I hope I do. But, madam, you know whose protection the lady is in.

Mrs O'Hara. I do, my lord; Sir Charles Grandison is a very fine gentleman.

Capt. De vinest cha-ract-er in the vorld. By my salvation, everybody say so.

Mrs O'Hara. But Sir Charles, my lord, is a very young gentleman to be a guardian to so young a creature; especially now that she is growing into woman. I have had some few faults, I own. Who lives, that has not? But I have been basely scandalized. My first husband had his; and much greater than I had. He was set against me by some of his own relations; vile creatures! He left me, and went abroad; but he has answered for all by this time; and for the scanty allowance he made me, his great fortune considered; but, as long as my child will be the better for it, that I can forgive.-Emily, my dear!—

She stepped to the door, on hearing the rustling of silks, supposing her at hand; but it was Miss Grandison, followed by a servant with chocolate, to afford her a pretence to see the visitors; and at the same time having a mind to hint to them, that they were not to expect to be asked to stay to dinner.

It is to Miss Grandison that I owe the description of each, the account of what passed, and the broken dialect.

Mrs O'Hara has been a handsome woman; but well might Sir Charles be disgusted with her aspect. She has a leering, sly, yet confident, eye; and a very bold countenance. She is not ungenteel; yet her very dress denotes her turn of mind. Her complexion, sallowish, streaked with red, makes her face (which is not so plump as it once has been) look like a withering John-apple that never ripened kindly.

Miss Grandison has a way of saying ill-natured things in such a good-natured manner, that one cannot forbear smiling, though one should not altogether approve of them; and yet sometimes one would be ready to wonder how she came by her images.

The Major is pert, bold, vain, and seemed particularly fond of his new scarlet coat and faced waistcoat. He is certainly, Miss Grandison says, a low man, though a soldier. Anderson, added she, is worth fifty of him. His face fiery, and highly pimpled, is set off to advantage by an enormous solitaire. His bad and straggling teeth are shewn continually by an affected laugh, and his empty discourse is interlarded with oaths; which, with my uncle's leave, I shall omit.

Captain Salmonet, she says, appeared to her

in a middle way between a French beau and a Dutch boor; aiming at gentility, with a person and shape uncommonly clumsy.

They both assumed military airs, which, not sitting naturally, gave them what Miss Grandison called the swagger of soldierly importance. Emily was in her own apartment, almost fainting with terror: for the servant to whom Mrs O'Hara had spoken, to bid her daughter come to her, had officiously carried up the message.

To what Mrs O'Hara had said in defence of her own character, my lord answered, Mr Jervois had a right, madam, to do what he pleased with a fortune acquired by his own industry. A disagreement in marriage is very unhappy; but in this case, as in a duel, the survivor is hardly ever in fault. I have nothing to do in this matter. Miss Jervois is very happy in Sir Charles Grandison's protection. She thinks so; and so does everybody that knows her. It is your misfortune if you do not.

Mrs O'Hara. My lord, I make no dispute of Sir Charles's being the guardian of her fortune; but no father can give away the authority a mother has, as well as himself, over a child.

Maj. That child a daughter too, my lord. Lord L. To all this I have nothing to say. You will not be able, I believe, to persuade my brother Grandison to give up his ward's person to you, madam.

Mrs O'Hara. Chancery may, my lordLord L. I have nothing to say to this, madam. No man in England knows better what is to be done, in this case, than Sir Charles Grandison; and no man will be readier to do what is just and fitting, without law: but I enter not into the case; you must not talk to me on this subject.

Miss Gr. Do you think, madam, that your marriage entitles you the rather to have the care of Miss Jervois ?

Maj. With great quickness. I hope, madam, that my honour and cha-ract-er

Miss Gr. Be they ever so unquestionable, will not entitle you, sir, to the guardianship of Miss Jervois's person.

Maj. I do not pretend to it, madam. But I hope that no father's will, no guardian's power, is to set aside the natural authority which a mother has over her child.

Lord L. This is not my affair. I am not inclined to enter into a dispute with you, madam, on this subject.

Mrs O'Hara. Let Emily be called down to her mother. I hope I may see my child. She is in this house, my lord. I hope I may see my


Maj. Your lordship, and you, madam, will allow, that it would be the greatest hardship in the world, to deny to a mother the sight of her child.

Capt. De very greatest hardship of all hard

ships. Your lordship will not refuse to let de daughter come to her moder?

Lord L. Her guardian perhaps will not deny it. You must apply to him. He is in town. Mies Jervois is here but as a guest. She will be soon in town. I must not have her alarmed. She has very weak spirits.

Mrs O'Hara. Weak spirits, my lord!—A child to have spirits too weak to see her mother!-And she felt for her handkerchief.

Miss Gr. It sounds a little harshly, I own, to deny to a mother the sight of her daughter: but unless my brother were present, I think, my lord, it cannot be allowed.

Maj. Not allowed, madam!

Capt. A moder to be denied to see her daughter! Jesu! And he crossed himself.

Mrs O'Hara. [Putting her handkerchief to hide her eyes, for it seems she wept not.] I am a very unhappy mother indeed

Maj. Embracing her. My dearest life! My best love! I must not bear these tears-Would to God Sir Charles was here, and thought fitbut I came not here to threaten-you, my lord, are a man of the greatest honour; so is Sir Charles. -But whatever were the misunderstandings between husband and wife, they should not be kept up and propagated between mother and child. My wife, at present, desires only to see her child: that's all, my lord. Were your brother present, madam, he would not deny her this. Then again embracing his wife, My dear soul, be comforted. You will be allowed to see your daughter, no doubt of it. I am able to protect and right you. My dear soul, be com◄ forted.

She sobbed, Miss Grandison says; and the good-natured Lord L- was moved.-Let Miss Jervois be asked, said he, if she chooses to come down.

I will go to her myself, said Miss Grandison. She came down presently againMiss Byron and Miss Jervois, said she, are gone out together in the chariot.

Maj. Nay, madam

Capt. Upon my salvation this must not pass -And he swaggered about the room.

Mrs O'Hara looked with an air of incredulity. It was true, however: for the poor girl being ready to faint, I was called in to her. Lady L- had been making a visit in the chariot ; and it had just brought her back. O save me, save me, dear madam! said Miss Emily to me, wringing her hands. I cannot, I cannot see my mother out of my guardian's presence: and she will make me own her new husband. I beseech you, save me; hide me!

I saw the chariot from the window, and, without asking any questions, I hurried Miss Emily down stairs, and conducted the trembling dear into it; and, whipping in after her, ordered the coachman to drive anywhere, except towards London: and then the poor girl threw her arms

about my neck, smothering me with her kisses, and calling me by all the tender names that terror and mingled gratitude could suggest to her. Miss Grandison told the circumstances pretty near as above; adding, I think, my lord, that Miss Emily wants not apology for her terror on this occasion. That lady, in her own heart, knows that the poor girl has reason for it.

Madam, said the Major, my wife is cruelly used. Your brother-But I shall talk to him upon the subject. He is said to be a man of conscience and honour: I hope I shall find him so. I know how to protect and right my wife. And I will stand by my broder and his lady, said the Captain, to de very last drop of my blood. He looked fierce, and put his hand on his sword.

Lord L. You don't by these airs mean to insult me, gentlemen-If you do—

Maj. No, no, my lord. But we must seek our remedy elsewhere. Surprising ! that a mother is denied the sight of her daughter! Very surprising !

Capt. Very surprising, indeed! Ver dis to be done in my country-In France-English liberty! Begar, ver pretty liberty !—A daughter to be supported against her moder-Whew! Ver pretty liberty, by my salvation !

Mrs O'Hara. And is indeed my vile child run away to avoid seeing her mother?-Strange! Does she always intend to do thus?-She must see me-And dearly shall she repent it!

And she looked fierce, and particularly spiteful; and then declared, that she would stay there till Emily came back, were it midnight. Lord L. You will have my leave for that, madam.

Maj. Had we not best go into our coach, and let that drive in quest of her?-She cannot be far off. It will be easy to trace a chariot.

Lord L. Since this matter is carried so far, let me tell you, that, in the absence of her guardian, I will protect her. Since Miss Jervois is thus averse, she shall be indulged in it. If you see her, madam, it must be by the consent, and in the presence, of her guardian.

Maj. Well, my dear, since the matter stands thus; since your child is taught to shun you thus; let us see what Sir Charles Grandison will say to it. He is the principal in this affair, and is not privileged. If he thinks fit-And there he stopped, and blustered; and offered his hand to his bride. I am able both to protect and right you, madam; and I will. But you have a letter for the girl, written on a supposition that she was not here. Little did you or I think, that -she was in the house when we came; and that she should be spirited away to avoid paying her duty to her mother.

Very true. Very true. And, very true, said each; and Mrs O'Hara pulled out the letter, laying it on one of the chairs; and desired it might be given to her daughter. And then they

all went away, very much dissatisfied; the two men muttering, and threatening, and resolving, as they said, to make a visit to Sir Charles. I hope we shall see him here very soon. I hope these wretches will not insult him, or endanger a life so precious. Poor Emily! I pity her from my heart. She is as much grieved on this occasion, as I was in dread of the resentment of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen.

Let me give you some account of what passed between Emily and me: you will be charmed with her beautiful simplicity.

When we were in the chariot, she told me, that the last time she saw her mother, it was at Mrs Lane's: the bad woman made a pretence of private business with her daughter, and withdrew with her into another room, and then insisted that she should go off with her, unknown to anybody. And because I desired to be excused, said she, my mother laid her hands upon me, and said she would trample me under her foot. It is true (unhappy woman!) she was[Then the dear girl whispered me, though nobody was near us-sweet modest creature, loath to reveal this part of her mother's shame even to me aloud, and blushed as she spoke-she was in her cups.-My mamma is as naughty as some men in that respect: and I believe she would have been as good as her word; but, on my screaming, (for I was very much frightened,) Mrs Lane, who had an eye upon us, ran in with two servants, and one of her daughters, and rescued me. She had torn my cap-Yet it was a sad thing, you know, madam, to see one's mother put out of the house against her will. And then she raised the neighbourhood. Lord bless me! I thought I should have died. I did fall into fits. Then was Mrs Lane forced to tell every one what a sad woman my mother was! -It was such a disgrace to me !-It was a month before I could go to church, or look anybody in the face. But Mrs Lane's character was of her side; and my guardian's goodness was a helpShall I say a help against my mother?-Poor woman! we heard afterwards she was dead; but my guardian would not believe it. If it would please God to take me, I should rejoice. Many a tear does my poor mother, and the trouble I give to the best of men, cost me, when nobody sees me; and many a time do I cry myself to sleep, when I think it impossible I should get such a kind relief.

I was moved at the dear girl's melancholy tale. I clasped my arms about her, and wept on her gentle bosom. Her calamity, which was the greatest that could happen to a good child, I told her, had endeared her to me: I would love her as my sister.

And so I will: dear child, I will for ever love her. And I am ready to hate myself for some passages in my last letter. O how deceitful is the heart! I could not have thought it possible that mine could have been so narrow.

The dear girl rejoiced in my assurances, and promised grateful love to the latest hour of her life.

Indeed, madam, I have a grateful heart, said she, for all I am so unhappy in a certain relation. I have none of those sort of faults that give me a resemblance in any way to my poor mother. But how shall I make out what I say? You will mistrust me, I fear: you will be apt to doubt my principles. But will you promise to take my heart in your hand, and guide it as you please?-Indeed it is an honest one. I wish you saw it through and through.-If ever I do a wrong thing, mistrust my head, if you please, but not my heart. But in everything I will be directed by you; and then my head will be as right as my heart.

I told her that good often resulted from evil. It was a happy thing, perhaps, for both, that her mother's visit had been made. Look upon me, my dear Emily, as your entire friend: we will have but one heart between us.

Let me add, Lucy, that if you find me capable of drawing this sweet girl into confessions of her infant love, and of making ungenerous advantage of them, though the event were to be fatal to my peace if I did not; I now call upon all you, my dear friends, to despise and renounce the treacherous friend in Harriet Byron.

She besought me to let her write to me; to let her come to me for advice, as often as she wanted it, whether here, in my dressing-room or chamber, or at Mr Reeves's, when I went from Colnebrook.

I consented very cheerfully, and, at her request, (for indeed, said she, I would not be an intruder for the world,) promised, by a nod at her entrance, to let her know, if she came when I was busy, that she must retire, and come another time.

You are too young a lady, added she, to be called my mamma-Alas! I have never a mamma, you know: but I will love you and obey you, on the holding up of your finger, as I would my mother, were she as good as you.

Does not the beautiful simplicity of this charming girl affect you, Lucy? But her eyes swimming in tears, her earnest looks, her throbbing bosom, her hands now clasped about me, now in one another, added such graces to what she said, that it is impossible to do justice to it: and yet I am affected as I write; but not so much, you may believe, as at the time she told her tender tale.

Indeed her calamity has given her an absolute possession of my heart. I, who had such good parents, and have had my loss of them so happily alleviated, and even supplied, by a grandmamma and an aunt so truly maternal, as well as by the love of every one to whom I have the happiness to be related; how unworthy of such blessings should I be, if I did not know how to

pity a poor girl, who must reckon a living mo ther as her heaviest misfortune!

Sir Charles, from the time of the disturbance which this unhappy woman made in Mrs Lane's neighbourhood, and of her violence to his Emily, not only threatened to take from her that moiety of the annuity which he is at liberty to withdraw; but gave orders that she should never again be allowed to see his ward but in his presence: and she has been quiet till of late, only threatening and demanding. But now she seems, on this her marriage with Major O'Hara, to have meditated new schemes, or is aiming, perhaps, at new methods to bring to bear an old one; of which Sir Charles had private intimation given him by one of the persons to whom, in her cups, she once boasted of it: which was, that as soon as Miss Emily was marriageable, she would endeavour, either by fair means or foul, to get her into her hands: and if she did, but for one week, she should the next come out the wife of a man she had in view, who would think half the fortune more than sufficient for himself, and make over the other half to her; and then she should come into her right, which she deems to be half of the fortune which her husband died possessed of.

This that follows is a copy of the letter left for Emily by this mother; which, though not well spelled, might have been written by a better woman, who had hardships to complain of which might have entitled her to pity:


IF you have any love, any duty, left for an unhappy mother, whose faults have been barbarously aggravated, to justify the ill usage of a husband who was not faultless; I conjure you to insist upon making me a visit, either at my new lodgings in Dean-street, Soho; or that you will send me word where I can see you, supposing I am not permitted to see you as this day, or that you should not be at Colnebrook, where, it seems, you have been some days. I cannot believe that your guardian, for his own reputation's sake, as well as for justice-sake, as he is supposed to be a good man, will deny you, if you insist upon it; as you ought to do, if you have half the love for me, that I have for


Can I doubt that you will insist upon it? I cannot. I long to see you: I long to lay you in my bosom. And I have given hopes to Major O'Hara, a man of one of the best families in Ireland, and a very worthy man, and a brave man too, who knows how to right an injured wife, if he is put to it, but who wishes to proceed amicably, that you will not scruple, as my husband, to call him father.

I hear a very good account of your improvements, Emily; and I am told, that you are

« EdellinenJatka »