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tended threatening cut short, by meeting the Captain's head with his, as the other, in a rage, withdrew it, after his speech to the servant; and each cursing the other, one rubbing his forehead, the other putting his hand to his head, away drove the coach.
They forgot to ask for their swords; and one of them left his hat behind him.
You cannot imagine, my dear Dr Bartlett, how much this idle affair has disturbed me; I cannot forgive myself to suffer myself to be provoked, by two such men, to violate the sanction of my own house. Yet they came, no doubt, to bully and provoke me; or to lay a foundation for a demand, that they knew, if personally made, must do it.
My only excuse to myself is, that there were two of them; and that, though I drew, yet I had the command of myself so far as only to defend myself, when I might have done anything with them. I have generally found, that those that are the readiest to give offence, are the unfittest, when brought to the test, to support their own insolence.
But my Emily! my poor Emily! How must she be terrified!-I will be with you very soon. Let her not know anything of this idle affair; nor anybody but Lord L
I HAVE just parted with one Blagrave, an attorney, who already had been ordered to proceed against me; but, out of regard to my character, and having, as he owned, no great opinion of his clients, he thought fit to come to me in person, to acquaint me of it, and to inform himself from me of the whole affair.
The gentleman's civility entitled him to expect an account of it; I gave it him.
He told me, that if I pleased to restore the swords, and the hat, by him, and would promise not to stop the future quarterly payments of the 2007. a-year, about which they were very apprehensive; he dared to say, that, after such an exertion of spirit, as he called a choleric excess, I should not hear any more of them for one while; since he believed they had only been trying an experiment; which had been carried farther, he dared to say, than they had designed it should.
He hinted his opinion, that the men were common men of the town; and that they had never been honoured with commissions in any service.
The woman (I know not by what name to call her, since it is very probable, that she has not a real title to that of O'Hara) was taken out of the coach in violent hysterics, as O'Hara told him; who, in consulting Mr Blagrave, may be supposed to aggravate matters, in order to lay a foundation for an action of damages.
She accused the men of cowardice before Mr Blagrave; and that in very opprobrious terms. They excused themselves, as being loath to
hurt me; which, they said, they could easily have done; especially before I drew.
They both pretended to Mr Blagrave, personal damages; but I hope their hurts are magnified.
I am (however that be) most hurt; for I am not at all pleased with myself. They, possibly, though they have no cause to be satisfied with their parts in the fray, have been more accustomed to such scuffles than I; and are above, or rather beneath, all punctilio.
Mr Blagrave took the swords and the hat with him in the coach that waited for him.
If I thought it would not have looked like a compromise, and encouraged their insolence, I could freely have sent them more than what belonged to them. I am really greatly hurt by the part I acted to such men.
As to the annuity; I bid Mr Blagrave tell the woman, that the payment of that depended upon her future good behaviour; and yet, that I was not sure that she was entitled to it, but as the widow of my friend.
However, I told this gentleman, that no provocation should hinder me from doing strict justice, though I were sure that they would go to law with the money I should cause to be paid to them quarterly. You will therefore know, sir, added I, that the fund which they have to depend upon, to support a law-suit, should they commence one, and think fit to employ in it so honest a man as you seem to be, is 100%. a-year. It would be madness, if not injustice, to pay the other 1001. for such a purpose, when it was left to my discretion to pay it or not, with a view to discourage that litigious spirit, which is one, of a hundred, of this poor woman's bad qualities. And thus, for the present, stands this affair. I look upon my trouble from this woman as over, till some new scheme arises, either among these people, or from others whom she may consult or employ. You and I, when I have the happiness to attend you and my other friends, will not renew the subject.
I am, &c.
MISS BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Colnebrook, Wednesday, March 22. SIR CHARLES arrived this morning, just as we had assembled to breakfast; for Lady Lis not an early riser. The moment he entered, sunshine broke out in the countenance of every
ther she saw anything particular in his devoirs
It was owing to his politeness, I presume, that he did not include me in his apologies; because that would have been to suppose, that I had expected him. Indeed I was not displeased in the main, that he did not compliment me, as a third sister. See, Lucy, what little circumstances a doubtful mind will sometimes dwell upon.
I was not pleased that he had been so long absent, and had my thoughts to myself upon it inclining once to have gone back to London; and perhaps should, could I have fancied myself of importance enough to make him uneasy by it; [the sex! the sex! Lucy, will my uncle say; but I pretend not to be above its little foibles; but the moment I saw him, all my disgusts were over. After the Anderson, the Danby, the Lord W- affairs, he appeared to me in a much more shining light than a hero would have done, returning in a triumphal car, covered with laurels, and dragging captive princes at his heels. How much more glorious a character is that of the friend of mankind, than that of the conqueror of nations!
He told me, that he paid his compliments yesterday to Mr and Mrs Reeves. He mentioned Mr Deane's visit to him; and said very kind, but just, things in his praise. I read not anything in his eyes, or manner, that gave me uneasiness on the visit that other good man made him.
He apologized to all, but me, for his long absence, especially when they had such a guest, were his words, bowing to me; and I thought he sighed, and looked with tender regard upon me; but I dared not ask Miss Grandison whe
My dear Emily sat generously uneasy, I saw, for the trouble she had been the cause of giving to her best friend, though she knew not of a visit that her mother, and O'Hara, and Salmonet, made her guardian on Monday, as the Doctor had hinted to us, without giving us particulars.
Sir Charles thanked me for my goodness, as he called it, in getting the good girl so happily out of her mother's way, as his Emily would have been too much terrified to see her; and he thanked Lord L for his tenderness to his ward on that occasion.
My lord gave him the letter which Mrs Jervois had left for her daughter. Sir Charles presented it to the young lady, without looking into it. She instantly returned it to him in a very graceful manner. We will read it together by and by, my Emily, said he. Dr Bartlett tells me there is tenderness in it.
The Doctor made apologies to him for having communicated to us some of his letters.-Whatever Dr Bartlett does, said Sir Charles, must be right. But what say my sisters to my proposal of correspondence with them?
We should be glad, replied Lady L, to see all you write to Dr Bartlett; but could not undertake to write you letter for letter.
Miss Byron, said Miss Grandison, has put us
quite out of heart as to the talent of narrative letter-writing.
I should be greatly honoured with a sight of such letters of Miss Byron, as you, my lord, have seen. Will Miss Byron, applying to me, favour one brother, and exclude another?
Brother! Lucy; I thought he was not, at that time, quite so handsome a man as when he first entered the room.
I was silent, and blushed. I knew not what answer to make; yet thought I should say something.
May we, Sir Charles, said Miss Grandison, hope for a perusal of your letters to Dr Bartlett for the same number of weeks past, letter for letter, if we could prevail on Miss Byron to consent to the proposal?
Would Miss Byron consent upon that condition?
What say you, Miss Byron? said my lord. I answered, that I could not presume to think that the little chit-chat which I wrote to please my partial friends in the country, could appear tolerable in the eye of Sir Charles Grandison.
They all answered with high encomiums on my pen; and Sir Charles, in the most respectful manner, insisting upon not being denied to see what Lord L had perused; and Miss Grandison having said, that I had, to oblige them, been favoured with the return of my letters from the country, I thought it would look like a too meaning particularity if I refused to oblige him, in the light (though not a very agreeable one, I own to you, Lucy) of another brother; I told him that I would shew him very willingly, and without condition, all the letters I had written, of the narrative kind, from my first coming to London, to the dreadful masquerade affair, and even Sir Hargrave's barbarous treatment of me, down to the deliverance he had so generously given me.
How did he extol me, for what he called my noble frankness of heart! In that grace, he said, I excelled all the women he had conversed with. He assured me, that he would not wish to see a line that I was not willing he should see; and that, if he came to a word or passage that he could suppose would be of that nature, it should have no place in his memory.
Miss Grandison called out-But the condition, Sir Charles
Is only this, replied I; (I am sure of your candour, sir;) that you will correct me, where I am wrong, in any of my notions or sentiments. I have been very pert and forward in some of my letters; particularly in a dispute that was carried on in relation to learning and languages. If I could not, for improvement's sake, more heartily bespeak your correction than your approbation, I should be afraid of your eye there.
Excellent Miss Byron! Beauty shall not bribe me on your side, if I think you wrong in any point that you submit to my judgment; and if
I am beauty-proof, I am sure nothing on earth can bias me.
Miss Grandison said, she would number the letters according to their dates, and then would give them to me, that I might make such conditions with her brother on the loan, as every one might be the better for.
BREAKFAST being over, Miss Grandison renewed the talk of the visit made here by Mrs O'Hara on Sunday last. Miss Jervois very prettily expressed her grief for the trouble given her guardian by her unhappy mother. He drew her to him, as he sat, with looks of tenderness; and called her his dear Emily, and told her she was the child of his compassion. You are called upon, my dear, said he, young as you are, to a glorious trial, and hitherto you have shone in it. I wish the poor woman would be but half as much the mother, as you would be the child! But let us read her letter.
His goodness overwhelmed her. He took her mother's letter out of his pocket; she stood before him, drying her eyes, and endeavouring to suppress her emotion; and when he had unfolded the letter, he put his arm round her waist. Surely, Lucy, he is the tenderest, as well as bravest of men! What would I give for a picture drawn but with half the life and love which shone out in his looks, as he cast his eyes, now on the letter, and now up to his Emily!Poor woman! said he, two or three times, as he read; and, when he had done, You must read it, my dear, said he; there is the mother in it ; we will acknowledge the mother, wherever we can find her.
Why did not the dear girl throw her arms about his neck just then? She was ready to do So. O my best of guardians! said she; and, it was plain, was but just restrained, by virgin modesty, from doing so; her hands caught back, as it were, and resting for a moment on his shoulder; and she looked as much abashed, as if she had not checked herself.
I took more notice of this her grateful motion, than anybody else. I was affected with the beautiful check,, and admired her for it.
And must I, sir, would you have me read it ? I will retire to my chamber with it.
He rose, took her hand, and coming with her to me, put it into mine; Be so good, madam, to fortify this worthy child's heart by your prudence and judgment, while she reads the mother, in the only instance that I have ever known it visible in this unhappy woman.
Emily and I withdrew into the next room; and there the good girl read the letter; but it was long in reading; her tears often interrupting her; and more than once, as wanting a refuge, she threw her arms about my neck, in silent grief.
I called her twenty tender names; but I could not say much; What could I? The letter in
some places affected me. It was the letter of a mother, who seemed extremely sensible of hardships. Her guardian had promised observations upon it. I knew not then all the unhappy woman's wickedness: I knew not but the husband might be in some fault. What could I say? I could not think of giving comfort to a daugh ter at the expense of even a bad mother.
Miss Grandison came to us; she kissed the sobbing girl, and with tenderness, calling us her two loves, led us into the next room.
least shadow of reformation in her. That odious vice led her into every other, and hardened her to a sense of shame. Other vices, perhaps at first, wanted that to introduce them; but the most flagitious have been long habitual to her.
Nothing but the justice due to the character of my departed friend could have induced me to say what I have said of this unhappy woman. Forgive me, my Emily; but shall I not defend your father? I have not said the worst I could say of his wife.
I became acquainted with him at Florence. I found him to be a sensible and honest man ; and every one whom he could serve, or assist, experienced his benevolence. Not a single soul who knew him but loved him, this wife excepted.
She at that time insisted upon his giving up to her management, his beloved Emily, and solemnly promised reformation, on his compliance. She knew that the child would be a great for
I was with Mr Jervois, on her first visit to him at Leghorn; and though I had heard her character to be very bad, was inclined to befriend her. She was specious. I hoped that a mother, whatever wife she made, could not but be a mother; and poor Mr Jervois had not been forward to say the worst of her. But she did not long save appearances. The whole English factory at Leghorn were witnesses of her flagrant enormities. She was addicted to an excess that left her no guard, and made her a stranger to that grace which is the glory of a woman.
I am told, that she is less frequently intoxicated than heretofore. I should be glad of the
Yet she writes, that her faults have been barbarously aggravated, in order to justify the ill usage of a husband, who, she says, was not faultless. Ill usage of a husband! Wretched woman! She knew I must see this letter: how could she write thus? She knows that I have authentic proofs in my custody, of his unexceptionable goodness to her; and confessions, under her own hand, of her guilt, and ingratitude to him.
But, my Emily-and he arose and took her hand, her face overwhelmed with tears, you may rejoice in your father's character; he was a good man, in every sense of the word. With regard to her, he had but one fault, and that was his indulgence. Shall I say, that after repeated elopements, after other men had cast her off, he took her back! When she had forfeited his love, his pity operated in her favour; and she was hardened enough to despise the man who could much more easily forgive than punish her. I am grieved to be obliged to say this; but repeat, that the memory of my friend must not be unjustly loaded. Would to Heaven that I could suggest the shadow of a plea that would extenuate any part of her vileness, either respecting him or herself; let whosesoever character suffer by it, I would suggest it. How often has this worthy husband wept to me, for those faults of his wife, for which she could not be sorry!
I discourage not these tears, my Emily, on what you have heard me say; but let me now dry them up.
He took her own handkerchief, and tenderly wiped her cheeks. It is unnecessary, proceeded he, to say anything farther, at this time, in defence of your father's character; we come now to other parts of the letter, that will not, I hope, be so affecting to the heart of a good child.
and the mother; the one is entitled to your pity, the other calls for your abhorrence. Do you choose, my dear, to see your mother?—I hope you do. Let not even the faulty have cause to complain of unkindness from us. There are faults that must be left to Heaven to punish, and against the consequences of which it behoves us only to guard, for our own sakes. I hope you are in a safe protection, and have nothing to fear from her; you are guarded therefore. Can my Emily forget the terrors of the last interview, and calmly, in my presence, kneel to her mother?
Whatever you command me to do, I will do. I would have you answer this letter. Invite her to the house of your guardian-I think you should not go to her lodgings: Yet, if you incline to see her there, and she insists upon it, I will attend you.
But, sir, must I own her husband for my father?
Leave that to me, my dear; little things, punctilios, are not to be stood upon; pride shall have no concern with us. But I must first be satisfied that the man and she are actually married. Who knows, if they are, but his dependence on her annuity, and the protection she may hope for from him, may make it convenient to both to live in a more creditable manner than hitherto she has aimed to do? If she save but appearances, for the future, it will be a point gained.
I will in everything, sir, do as you would have me.
One thing, my dear, I think I will advise : If they are really married, if there be any prospect of their living tolerably together, you shall, if you please, (your fortune is very large,) make them a handsome present; and give hope that it will be an annual one, if the man behave with civility to your mother. She complains that she is made poor and dependent. Poor if she be, it is her own fault; she brought not 2001. to your father. Ungrateful woman! he married her, as I hinted, for love. With 2001. a-year, well paid, she ought not to be poor; but dependent she must be. Your father would have given her a larger annuity, had he not known, by experience, that it was but strengthening her hands to do mischief, and to enable her to be more riotous. I found a declaration of this kind among his papers, after his death. This his intention, if there could have been any hope of a good use to be made of it, justifies my advice to you, to enlarge her stipend: I will put it in such a way, that you, my dear, shall have the credit of it; and I will take upon myself the advice of restraining it to good behaviour, for their own sakes, and for yours.
O sir! how good you are! You may give me courage to wish to see my poor mother, in hopes that it will be in my power to do her good. Continue to your Emily the blessing of your direc
tion, and I shall be a happy girl indeed. O that my mother may be married! that so she may be entitled to the best you shall advise me to do for her.
I doubt her man is a man of the town, added he; but he may have lived long enough to see his follies. She may be tired of the life she has led. I have made several efforts to do her service, but have no hope to reclaim her; I wish she may now be a wife in earnest. But this I think shall be my last effort. Write, my dear, but nothing of your intention. If she is not married, things must remain as they are.
She hastened up stairs, and very soon returned, with the following lines:—
Sir Charles generously scrupled the last paragraph. We will not, I think, Emily, said he, remind a mother, who has written such a letter as that before us, of a behaviour that she should be glad to forget.
Miss Grandison desired it might stand. Who knows, said she, but it may make her ashamed of her outrageous behaviour at that time?
She deserves not generous usage, said Lady L- -; she cannot feel it.
Perhaps not, replied Sir Charles; but we should do proper things, for our own sakes, whether the persons are capable of feeling them as they ought, or not. What say you, Miss Byron, to this last paragraph?
I was entirely in his way of thinking, and for the reason he gave; but the two ladies having given their opinion in a pretty earnest manner, and my lord saying he thought it might pass, I was afraid it would look like bespeaking his favour at their expense, if I adopted his sentiments; I therefore declined giving my opinion. But being willing to keep Emily in countenance, who sat suspended in her judgment, as one who feared she had done a wrong thing, I said, it was a very natural paragraph, I thought, from Miss Jervois's pen; as it was written, I dared to say, rather in apprehension of hard