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No more, I beseech you, sir; I am sensible of my folly. Let me retire.
I, Charlotte, will retire; don't you; but take the comfort your friends are disposed to give you. Emily, one word with you, my dear. She flew to him, and they went out together.
There, said Miss Grandison, has he taken the girl with him, to warn her against falling into my folly.
Dr Bartlett retired in silence. Lady Lexpressed her concern for her sister; but said, Indeed, Charlotte, I was afraid you would carry the matter too far.
Lord L-blamed her. Indeed, sister, he bore with you a great while; and the affair was a serious one. He had engaged very seriously, and even from principle, in it. O Miss Byron! he will be delighted with you, when he comes to read your papers, and sees your treatment of the humble servants you resolved not to encourage.
Yes, yes, Harriet will shine at my expense; but may she!-Since I have lost my brother's favour, I pray to Heaven, that she may gain it. But he shall never again have reason to say I take him for my cousin Everard. But was I very wicked, Harriet?-Deal fairly with me: Was I very wicked?
I thought you wrong all the way: I was afraid for you. But for what you last said, about encouraging men to dangle after you, and seeming to aim at making new conquests, I could have chidden you, had you not had your brother to hear it. Will you forgive me? [whispering her. They were the words of a very coquette; and the air was so arch !—Indeed, my Charlotte, you were very much out of the way. So!-Everybody against me!-I must have been wrong indeed
The time, the occasion, was wrong, sister Charlotte, said Lord L-. Had the subject been of less weight, your brother would have passed it off as pleasantly as he has always before done your vivacities.
Very happy, replied she, to have such a character, that everybody must be in fault who differs from him or offends him.
In the midst of his displeasure, Charlotte, said Lady L, he forgot not the brother. The subject, he told you, concerned the happiness of your future life; and, if yours, his.
One remark, resumed Lord L make to Sir Charles's honour: (take it not amiss, sister Charlotte :) not the least hint did he give of your error relating to a certain affair; and yet he must think of it, so lately as he has extricated you from it. His aim, evidently, is, to amend, not to wound.
I think, my lord, retorted Miss Grandison, with a glow in her cheeks, you might have spared your remark. If the one brother did not recriminate, the other needed not to remind. My lord, you have not my thanks for your remark.
Well, well, let me take hold of your hand, my dear, to help me out of this new difficulty. I am dreadfully out of luck to-day: I am sorry I spoke not my pleasantry with a pleasant airYet were not you likewise guilty of the same fault, Lady L-? Did not you correct me with too grave an air?
I am very willing, returned Lady L, it should pass so: but, my dear, you must not, by your petulance, rob yourself of the sincerity of one of the best hearts in the world'; looking with complacency at her lord.
He bowed to her with an affectionate air.Happy couple!
As I hope to live, said Miss Grandison, I thought you all pitied me, when Sir Charles laid so heavy a hand upon me: and so he seemed to think, by what he said, at going out. How did you deceive me, all of you, by your eyes!
I do assure you, said my lord, I did pity you : but had I not thought my sister in fault, I should
Your servant, my lord. You are a nice distinguisher.
And a just one, Charlotte, rejoined Lady
No doubt of it, Lady L: and that was your motive too. I beseech you, let me not be deprived of your pity. I have yours also, Harriet, upon the same kind consideration.
Why now this archness becomes you, Charlotte, said I: [I was willing it should pass so, Lucy: this is pretty pleasantry.
It is a pretty specimen of Charlotte's penitence, said Lady L
I was glad Lady L
spoke this with an air of good humour; but Miss Grandison withdrew upon it, not well pleased.
We heard her at her harpsichord, and we all joined her. Emily also was drawn to us by the music. Tell me, my dear, said Miss Grandison to her, [stopping, have you not had all my faults laid before you, for your caution?
Indeed, madam, my guardian said but one word about you; and this was it: I love my sister: she has amiable qualities: we are none of us right at all times. You see, Emily, that I, in chiding her, spoke with a little too much petulance.
God for ever bless my brother! said Miss
Grandison, in a kind of rapture: but now his goodness makes my flippancy odious to myself. Sit down, my child, and play your Italian air. This brought in Sir Charles. He entered with a look of serenity, as if nothing had passed to disturb him.
When Emily had done playing and singing, Miss Grandison began to make apologies: but he said, Let us forget each other's failings, Charlotte.
Notice being given of dinner, Sir Charles complaisantly led his sister Charlotte to her seat at the table.
A most intolerable superiority!-I wish he would do something wrong; something cruel : if he would but bear malice, would but stiffen his air by resentment, it would be something. As a MAN, cannot he be lordly, and assuming, and where he is so much regarded, I may say feared, nod his imperial significance to his vassals about him?-Cannot he be imperious to servants, to shew his displeasure with principals? No! it is natural to him to be good and just. His whole aim, as my lord observed, is, "to convince and amend, and not to wound or hurt."
What a great deal of writing does the reciting of half an hour or an hour's conversation make, when there are three or four speakers in company; and one attempts to write what each says in the first person! I am amazed at the quantity, on looking back. But it will be so in narrative letter-writing. Did not you, Lucy, write as long letters, when you went with your brother to Paris?-I forget; only this I remember, that I always was sorry when I came to the end of
them. I am afraid it is quite otherwise with mine.
By the way, I am concerned that Lady Dis angry with me: yet, methinks, she shews, by her anger, that she had a value for me. what you told me of Lord D-'s setting his heart on the proposed alliance, I am not so much concerned at that, because he never saw me: and had the affair been in his own power, 'tis likely he would not have been very solicitous about his success. Many a one, Lucy, I believe, has found an ardour when repulsed, which they would never have known, had they succeeded.
Lady Betty and Miss Clements were so good as to make me a visit, this afternoon, in their way to Windsor, where they are to pass two or three days. They lamented my long absence from town; and Lady Betty kindly regretted for me, the many fine entertainments I had lost, both public and private, by my country excursion at this unpropitious season of the year, as she called it; shrugging her shoulders, as if in compassion to my rustic taste.
Good lady! she knew not that I am in company that want not entertainments out of themselves. They have no time to kill, or to delude: on the contrary, our constant complaint is, that time flies too fast: and I am sure, for my part, I am forced to be a manager of it; since, between conversation and writing, I have not a moment to spare: and I never in my life devoted so few hours to rest.
Sir Charles spoke very handsomely of Miss Clements, on occasion of Miss Grandison's saying, she was a plain, but good young woman. She is not a beauty, said he; but she has qualities that are more to be, admired than mere beauty.
Would she not, asked Lady L—, make a good wife for Lord W-? There is, said Sir Charles, too great a disparity in years. She has, and must have, too many hopes. My Lord W-'s wife will, probably, be confined six months out of twelve, to a gouty man's chamber. She must, therefore, be one who has outlived half her hopes; she must have been acquainted with affliction, and known disappointment. She must consider her marriage with him, though as an act of condescension, yet partly as a preferment. Her tenderness will, by this means, be engaged; yet her dignity supported: and if she is not too much in years to bring my lord an heir, he will then be the most grateful of men to her.
My dear brother, said Miss Grandison, forgive
me all my faults: : your actions, your sentiments, shall be the rule of mine !-But who can come up to you? The Danbys-Lord W
Anybody may, Charlotte, interrupted Sir, Charles, who will be guided by the well-known' rule, of doing to others as you would they should do unto you. Were you in the situation of the
Danbys, or of Lord W, would you not wish to be done by, as I have done, and intend to do, by them? What must be those who, with hungry eyes, wait and wish for the death of a relation? May they not be compared to savages on the seashore, who look out impatiently for a wreck, in order to plunder and prey upon the spoils of the miserable? Lord W- has been long an unhappy man from want of principles: I shall rejoice, if I can be a means of convincing him, by his own experience, that he was in a wrong course, and of making his latter days happy. Would I not, in my decline, wish for a nephew that had the same notions? And can I expect such a one, if I set not the example?
Pretty soon after supper, Sir Charles left us ; and Miss Grandison, seeing me in a reverie, said, I will lay my life, Harriet, you fancy my brother is gone up to read your letters-Nay, you are in the right; for he whispered as much to me, before he withdrew. But do not be apprehensive, Harriet; (for she saw me concerned ;) you have nothing to fear, I am sure.
Lady L said, that her brother's notions and mine were exactly alike, on every subject: but yet, Lucy, when one'knows one's cause to be under actual examination, one cannot but have some heart-aches.-Yet why?-If his favourite woman is a foreigner, what signifies his opinion of my letters?-And yet it does: one would be willing to be well thought of by the worthy.
Thursday, March 23.
WE sat down early this morning to breakfast: Miss Grandison dismissed the attendants, as soon as Sir Charles entered the room.
He addressed himself to me the moment he saw me: Admirable Miss Byron, said he, what an entertainment have your letters given me, down to a certain period!-How, at and after that, have they distressed me for your sufferings from a savage!-It is well for him, and perhaps for me, that I saw not sooner this latter part of your affecting story: I have read through the whole parcel.
He took it from his bosom, and, with a respectful air, presented it to me-Ten thousand thanks for the favour-I dare not hope for farther indulgence-Yet not to say, how desirous I amBut forgive me-Think me not too great an encroacher
I took them.
Surely, brother, said Miss Grandison, you cannot already have read the whole.
I have I could not leave them-I sat up late
And so, thought I, did your sister Harriet, sir. Well,rother, said Miss Grandison, and what are the faults?
Faults! Charlotte.-Such a noble heart! such an amiable frankness! No prudery! No coquetry! Yet so much, and so justly, admired by as many as have had the happiness to approach her!Then, turning to me, I adore, madam, the goodness, the greatness of your heart.
How I blushed! how I trembled! How, though so greatly flattered, was I delighted!
Is Miss Byron, in those letters, all perfect, all faultless, all excellence, Sir Charles? asked Miss Grandison: is there no-But I am sensible (though you have raised my envy, I assure you) that Miss Byron's is another sort of heart than your poor Charlotte's.
But I hope, sir, said I, that you will cor
should have entered into the subject with Charlotte when we were alone.
Lady L. She can have no objection, I believe, to let all of us, who are present, know her mind, on this occasion.
Miss Gr. To be sure I have not.
Lady L. What signifies mincing the matter? I undertook, at her desire, to recal the subject, because you had seemed to interest yourself in
Sir Ch. I think I know as much of Charlotte's mind already, from what you have hinted, Lady L, as I ought to be inquisitive about.
Lady L. How so, brother? What have I said? Sir Ch. What meant the words you stopt at -Not that she values ?-Now, though I will not endeavour to lead her choice in behalf of a prince; yet would I be earnest to oppose her marriage with a man for whom she declaredly has no value.
Lady L. You are a little sudden upon me, Sir Charles.
Sir Ch. You must not think the words you stopt at, Lady L-, slight words: Principle, and Charlotte's future happiness, and that of a worthy man, are concerned here. But, perhaps, you mean no more than to give a little specimen of lady-like pride in those words. It is a very hard matter for women, on such occasions as these, to be absolutely right.-Dear Miss Byron, bowing to me, excuse me.-There is one lady in the world that ought not, from what I have had the honour to see, on her own account, to take amiss my freedom with her sex, though she perhaps will on that of those she loves. But have I not some reason for what I say, when even Lady L, speaking for her sister on this concerning subject, cannot help throwing in a salvo for the pride of her sex?
Har. I doubt not, sir, but Lady Land Miss Grandison will explain themselves to your satisfaction.
Lady L then called upon her sister. Miss Gr. Why, as to value-and all that To be sure-Lord G is not a man, that (and then she looked round her on each person) -that a woman-Hem!-that a woman-But, brother, I think you are a little too ready-to -to-A word and a blow, as the saying is, are two things-Not that-And there she stopt. Sir Ch. Smiling.] O, my dear Lord Lwhat shall we say to these Not thats? Were I my cousin Everard, I am not sure but I should suppose, when ladies were suspending unnecessarily, or with affectation, the happiness of the man they resolve to marry, that they were reflecting on themselves by an indirect acknowledgment of self-denial.
Miss Gr. Good God! brother.
I was angry at him, in my mind. How came this good man, thought I, by such thoughts as these, of our sex? What, Lucy, could a woman do with such a man, were he to apply to
her in courtship, whether she denied or accepted of him?
Sir Ch. You will consider, Lady L—————, that you and Charlotte have brought this upon yourselves. That I call female pride, which distinguishes not either time, company, or occasion. You will remember that Lord G— is not here; we are all brothers and sisters: and why, Charlotte, do you approve of entering upon the subject in this company; yet come with your exceptions, as if Lord Ghad his father present, or pleading for him? These Not that she values, and so forth, are so like the dealings between petty chapmen and common buyers and sellers, that I love properly (observe that I say properly) to discourage them among persons of sense and honour. But come, Charlotte, enter into your own cause: you are an excellent pleader, on occasion. You know or at least you ought to know, your own mind. I never am for encouraging agency, (Lady Lcuse me-Will you give up yours?) where principals can be present.
Lady L. With all my heart. I stumbled at the very threshold. E'en, Charlotte, be your own advocate. The cause is on.
Miss Gr. Why, I don't know what to say.My brother will be so peremptory, perhaps
Sir Ch. A good sign for somebody-Don't you think so, madam? to me.-But the snail will draw in its horns, if the finger hastily touch it-Come, no good sign, perhaps, Charlotte.-I will not be peremptory. You shall be indulged, if you have not already been indulged enough, in all the petty circumambages customary on these occasions.
Miss Gr. This is charming:-But pray, sir, what is your advice on this subject?
Sir Ch. In our former conversation upon it, I told you what I thought of my lord's goodhumour; what of your vivacity-Can you, Charlotte, were you the wife of Lord Gcontent yourself now and then to make him start, by the lancet-like delicacy of your wit, without going deeper than the skin? Without exposing him (and yourself for doing so) to the ridicule of others? Can you bear with his foibles, if he can bear with yours? And if the forbearance is greater on his side than on yours, can you value him for it, and for his goodhumour?
Miss Gr. Finely run off, upon my word! Sir Ch. I am afraid only that you will be able, Charlotte, to do what you will with him. I am sorry to have cause to say, that I have seen very good women, who have not known how to bear indulgence!-Waller was not absolutely wrong, as to such, when he said, "that women were born to be controlled." If control is likely to be necessary, it will be with women of such charming spirits as you know whose, Charlotte, who will not confine to time and place their otherwise agreeable vivacities.
Miss Gr. Well, but, sir, if it should chance to be so, and I were Lord G's upper servant; for control implies dominion; what a fine advantage would he have in a brother, who could direct him so well (though he might still, perhaps, be a bachelor) how to manage a wife so flippant !
Sir Ch. Bachelors, Charlotte, are close observers. It is not every married couple, if they were solicitous to have a bachelor marry, that should admit him into a very close intimacy with themselves.
Miss Gr. [Archly. Pray, Lord L—————, did we not once hear our cousin Everard make an observation of this nature?
Sir Ch. Fairly retorted, Charlotte!-But how came your cousin Everard to make this observation? I once heard you say, that he was but a common observer. Every married pair is not Lord and Lady L
Miss Gr. Well, well, I believe married people must do as well as they can. But may I ask you, brother, is it owing to such observations as those you have been making, that you are now a single man?
Sir Ch. A fair question from you, Charlotte. I answer, It is not.
Miss Gr. I should be glad, with all my heart, to know what is.
Sir Ch. When the subject comes fairly on the carpet, your curiosity may perhaps be gratified. But tell me, do you intend that the subject you had engaged Lady L- to introduce, in relation to Lord G and Sir Walter Watkyns, should be dismissed, at present? I mean not to be peremptory, Charlotte: be not afraid to
Miss Gr. Why, that's kind. No, I can't that I do and yet, I frankly confess, that I had much rather ask, than answer questions. You know, sir, that I have a wicked curiosity.
Sir Ch. Well, Charlotte, you will find me, wicked as you call it, very ready, at a proper time, to gratify it. To some things that you may want to know, in relation to my situation, you needed not now to have been a stranger, had I had the pleasure of being more with you, and had you yourself been as explicit as I could have wished you to be. But the crisis is at hand. When I am certain myself, you shall not be in doubt. I would not suppose, that my happiness is a matter of indifference to my sisters; and, if it be not, I should be ungrateful not to let them know everything I know, that is likely to affect it.
See! Lucy. What can be gathered from all this? But yet this speech has a noble sound with it: don't you think it has? It is, I think, worthy of Sir Charles Grandison. But by what clouds does this sun seem to be obscured? He says, however, that the crisis is at hand-solemn words, as they strike me. Ah, Lucy!—
But this is my prayer-May the crisis produce happiness to him, let who will be unhappy!
Miss Gr. You are always good, noble, uniform-Curiosity, get thee behind me, and lie still!—And yet, brother, like a favoured squirrel repulsed, I am afraid it would be soon upon my shoulder, if the crisis be suspended.
"Crisis is at hand," Lucy-I cannot get over these words; and yet they make my heart ache.
Sir Ch. But now, Charlotte, as to your two admirers
Miss Gr. Why, sir, methinks I would not be a petty chapwoman, if I could help it: and yet, what can I say?—I don't think highly of either of the men: but, pray now, what,—Lady L[affecting an audible whisper, will you ask a question for me?
Lady L. What is it, Charlotte?
Miss Gr. [Whispering, but still loud enough for every one to hear.] What sort of a man is Beauchamp?
Lady L. Mad girl!-You heard the question, brother.
Miss Gr. No!-You did not hear it, sir, if it will displease you. The whispers in conversation are no more to be heard, than the asides in a play.
Sir Ch. Both the one and the other are wrong, Charlotte. Whisperings in conversation are censurable, to a proverb: the asides, as you call them, and the soliloquies, in a play, however frequent, are very poor (because unnatural) shifts of bungling authors, to make their performances intelligible to the audience. But am I to have heard your whisper, Charlotte, or not?
Miss Gr. I think the man my brother so much esteems, must be worth a hundred of such as those we have just now heard named.
Sir Ch. Well, then, I am supposed to be answered, I presume, as to the two gentlemen. I will shew you the letter, when written, that I shall send to Sir Walter Watkyns. I shall see Lord G, I suppose, the moment he knows I am in town.
Miss Gr. The Lord bless me, brother!-Did you not say, you would not be peremptory?
Lord L. Very right. Pray, Sir Charles, don't let my sister part with the two, without being sure of a third.
Miss Gr. Pray, Lord L, do you be quiet: your sister is in no hurry, I do assure you.
Sir Ch. The female drawback again, Lady Not that she values.
Har. Well but, Sir Charles, may I, without offence, repeat Miss Grandison's question in relation to Mr Beauchamp?
Miss Gr. That's my dear creature!
Sir Ch. It is impossible that Miss Byron can give offence.-Mr Beauchamp is an excellent young man about five-and-twenty, not more: he is brave, learned, sincere, cheerful; gentle in his manners, agreeable in his person. Has