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on this occassion, if I repeat, that I have not that my aunt are equally so; and, in the main, much opinion of your moralskinder, in acquitting me of some charges which Very well, madamhe is pleased to make upon his poor Harriet. But, either for caution or reproof, I hope to be the better for his letter.
James is set out for Northamptonshire: pray, receive him kindly. He is honest; and Sally has given me a hint, as if a sweetheart is in his head: if so, his impatience to leave London may be accounted for. My grandmamma has observed, that young people of small or no fortunes should not be discouraged from marrying. Who that could be masters or mistresses, would be servants? The honest poor, as she has often said, are a very valuable part of the creation.
Mr Reeves has seen several footmen, but none that he gave me the trouble of speaking to till just now; when a well-looking young man, about twenty-six years of age, offered himself, and whom I believe I shall like. Mrs Reeves seems mightily taken with him. He is well-behaved, has a very sensible look, and seems to merit a better service.
That I must have of those of the man on whose worthiness I must build my hopes of present happiness, and to whose guidance intrust my future. This, sir, is a very material consideration with me, though I am not fond of talking upon it, except on proper occasions, and to proper persons: but, sir, let me add, that I am determined to live longer single. I think it too early to engage in a life of care: and, if I do not meet with a man to whom I can give my whole heart, I never will marry at all-O how maliciously looked the man!-You are angry, Sir Hargrave, added I; but you have no right to be so. You address me as one who is her own mistress. And, though I would not be thought rude, I value myself on my openness of heart.
He arose from his seat. He walked about the room muttering, You have no opinion of my morals-By heaven, madam!-But I will bear it all-Yet, No opinion of my morals!—I cannot bear that
And into his chariot he stepped, pulling up the glasses with violence; and, as Mr Reeves told us, rearing up his head to the top of it, as he sat swelling. And away it drove.
His menacing airs, and abrupt departure, terrified me. I did not recover myself in an hour.
A fine husband for your Harriet would this half madman make!-O Mr Fowler, Sir Rowland, Mr Orme, what good men are you to Sir Hargrave! Should I have known half so much as I do of his ill qualities, had I not refused him? Drawn in by his professions of love, and by 8000l. a-year, I might have married him; and, when too late, found myself miserable, yoked with a tyrant and madman, for the remainder of a life begun with happy prospects, and glorying in every one's love.
Monday, February 13.
I HAVE received my uncle's long letter; and I thank him for the pains he hath taken with me. He is very good. But my grandmamma and
Mr Reeves has written for a character of him to the last master he lived with; Mr Bagenhall, a young gentleman in the neighbourhood of Reading: of whom he speaks well in the main ; but modestly objected to his hours, and free way of life. The young man came to town but yesterday, and is with a widow sister, who keeps an inn in Smithfield. I have a mind to like him, and this makes me more particular about him.
His name is William Wilson: he asks pretty high wages; but wages to a good servant are not to be stood upon. What signify forty or fifty shillings a-year? An honest servant should be enabled to lay up something for age and infirmity. Hire him at once, Mrs Reeves says. She will be answerable for his honesty, from his looks, and from his answers to the questions asked him.
Sir Hargrave has been here again. Mrs Reeves, Miss Clements, and I, were in the back-room together. We had drunk tea; and I excused myself to his message, as engaged.
He talked a good deal to Mr Reeves: sometimes high, sometimes humble. He had not intended, he said, to have renewed his visits. My disdain had stung him to the heart; yet he could not keep away. He called himself names. He was determined I should be his; and swore to it. A man of his fortune to be refused, by a lady who had not (and whom he wished not to have) an answerable fortune, and no preferable liking to any other man; [there Sir Hargrave was mistaken; for I like almost every man I know better than him; his person not contemptible; Cand then, my cousin says, he surveyed himself from head to foot at the glass;] was very, very unaccountable.
He asked if Mr Greville came up with any hopes?
Mr Reeves told him that I was offended at his
coming; and he was sure he would not be the better for his journey.
He was glad of that, he said. There were two or three free things, proceeded he, said to me in conversation by Mr Greville, which I knew not well what to make of; but they shall pass, if he has no more to boast of than I. I know Mr Greville's blustering character; but I wish the carrying of Miss Byron were to depend upon the sword's point between us. I would not come into so paltry a compromise with him as Fenwick has done. But still the imputing want of morals to me, sticks with me. Surely I am a better man, in point of morals, than either Greville or Fenwick? What man on earth doth not take liberties with the sex? Hey, you know, Mr Reeves! Women were made for us; and they like us not the worse for loving them. Want of morals!and objected to me by a lady!-Very extraordinary, by my soul!-Is it not better to sow one's wild oats before matrimony, than run riot afterwards? What say you, Mr Reeves?
Mr Reeves was too patient with him. He is a mild man ; yet wants not spirit, my cousin says, on occasion. He gave Sir Hargrave the hearing; who went away, swearing that I should be his, in spite of man or devil.
Monday Night. MRGREVILLE came in the evening. He begged to be allowed but ten words with me in the next room. I desired to be excused. You know, sir, said I, that I never complied with a request of this nature at Selby-House. He looked hard at my cousins; and first one, then the other, went out. He then was solicitous to know what were Sir Hargrave's expectations from me. He expressed himself uneasy upon his account. He hoped such a man as that would not be encouraged. Yet his ample fortune-Woman! woman!-But he was neither a wiser nor a better man than himself: and he hoped Miss Byron would not give a preference to fortune merely, against a man who had been her admirer for so long a time; and who wanted neither will nor power to make her happy.
It was very irksome to me, I answered, to be obliged so often to repeat the same things to him. I would not be thought affronting to anybody, especially to a neighbour with whom my friends were upon good terms; but I did not think myself answerable to him, or to any one out of my own family, for my visitors; or for whom my cousins Reeves thought fit to receive as theirs.
Would I give him an assurance, that Sir Hargrave should have no encouragement?
No, sir, I will not. Would not that be to give you indirectly a kind of control over me? Would not that be to encourage a hope, that I never will encourage?
I love not my own soul, madam, as I love you: I must, and will persevere. If I thought Sir Hargrave had the least hope, by the great God
of heaven! I would pronounce his days numbered.
I am but too well acquainted with your rashness, Mr Greville. What formerly passed between you and another gentleman, gave me pain enough. In such an enterprize your own days might be numbered, as well as another's. But I enter not into this subject-Henceforth be so good as not to impute incivility to me, if I deny myself to your visits.
I would have withdrawn
Dear Miss Byron, (stepping between me and the door,) leave me not in anger. If matters must stand as they were, I hope you can, I hope you will, assure me, that this Sir Fopling
What right have you, sir, to any assurance of this nature from me?
None, madam-but from your goodness.Dear Miss Byron, condescend to say, that this Sir Hargrave shall not make any impression on your heart. For his sake say it, if not for mine. I know you care not what becomes of me; yet let not this milk-faced, and tiger-hearted fop, (for that is his character,) obtain favour from you. Let your choice, if it must fall on another man, and not on me, fall on one to whose superior merit, and to whose good fortune, I can subscribe. For your own fame's sake, let a man of unquestionable honour be the happy man; and vouchsafe as to a neighbour, and as to a wellwishing friend only, (I ask it not in the light of a lover,) to tell me that Sir Hargrave Pollexfen shall not be the man.
What, Mr Greville, let me ask you, is your business in town?
ned a woman in my life. I own, it was a little inconvenient for me to come to town just now; and say, that you would wish me to leave London; and that neither this Sir Hargrave, nor that other man, your new father's nephew, (What do you call him? 'Fore gad, madam, I am afraid of these new relations,) shall make any impression on your heart; and that you will not withdraw when I come here; and I will set out next week; and write this very night to let Fenwick know how matters stand, and that I am coming down but little the better for my journey; and this may save you seeing your other tormentor, as your cousin Lucy says you once called that poor devil, and the still poorer devil before you.
You are so rash a man, Mr Greville, (and other men may be as rash as you,) that I cannot say but it would save me some pain
O take care, take care, Miss Byron, that you express yourself so cautiously, as to give no advantage to a poor dog, who would be glad to take a journey to the farthest part of the globe to oblige you. But what say you about this Sir Hargrave, and about your new brother?-Let me tell you, madam, I am so much afraid of those whining, insinuating, creeping dogs, attacking you on the side of your compassion, and be d-ned to them, (Orme for that,) that I must have a declaration. And now, madam, can't you give it with your usual caution? Can't you give it, as I put it, as to a neighbour, as to a well-wisher, and so forth, not as a lover?
Well then, Mr Greville, as a neighbour, as a well-wisher; and since you own it was inconvenient to your affairs to come up-I advise you to go down again.
The devil! how have you hit it! Your delicacy ought to thank me for the loop-hole. The condition, madam; the condition, if I take your neighbourly advice.
Why, Mr Greville, I do most sincerely declare to you, as to a neighbour and well-wisher, that I never yet have seen the man to whom I can think of giving my hand.
Yes, you have! By heaven you have (snatching my hand :) you shall give it to me!-And the strange wretch pressed it so hard to his mouth, that he made prints upon it with his teeth.
which the best judges hold so indispensable in the character of a good woman.
I revere her for this, as her example may be produced as one, in answer to such as object (I am afraid sometimes too justly, but I hope too generally) against learning in women. Methinks, however, I would not have learning the principal distinction of the woman I love. And yet, where talents are given, should we wish them to be either uncultivated or unacknowledged? Surely, Lucy, we may pronounce, that where no duty is neglected for the acquirement; where modesty, delicacy, and a teachable spirit, are preserved, as characteristics of the sex, it need not be thought a disgrace to be supposed to know something.
Miss Clements is happy, as well as your Harriet, in an aunt that loves her. She has a mother living, who is too great a self-lover, to regard anybody else as she ought. She lives as far off as York, and was so unnatural a parent to this good child, that her aunt was not easy till she got her from her. Mrs Wimburn looks upon her as her daughter, and intends to leave her all she is worth.
The old lady was not very well; but she obliged us with her agreeable company for half an hour.
Miss Clements and I agreed to fall in occasionally upon each other without ceremony.
I should have told you, that the last master of the young man, William Wilson, having given him in writing a very good character, I have entertained him; and his first service was attending on me to Miss Clements.
Lady Betty called here in my absence. She is, it seems, very full of the dresses, and mine in particular; but I must know nothing about it, as yet. We are to go to her house to dress, and to proceed from thence in chairs. She is to take care of everything. You shall know, my Lucy, what figure I am to make, when I know it myself.
The Baronet also called at my cousin's while I was out. He saw only Mr Reeves. He staid about a quarter of an hour. He was very moody and sullen, it seems. Quite another man, Mr Reeves said, than he had ever seen him before. Not one laugh; not one smile. All that fell from his lips was yes or no; or by way of invective against the sex. It was, "the devil of a sex. It was a cursed thing, he said, that a man could neither be happy with them, nor without them. Devil's baits, was another of his compliments to us. He hardly mentioned
Mr Reeves at last began to rally him upon his moodiness; and plainly saw, that to avoid shewing more of his petulance (when he had not a right to shew any) to a man of Mr Reeves's consideration, and in his own house, he went away the sooner. His footman and coachman,
He left London, he said, with some regret, because of the fluttering Sir Hargrave, and the creeping Mr Fowler; but depended upon my declaration, that I had not, in either of them, seen the man I could encourage. Either of them were the words he chose to use; for, in compliment to himself, he would not repeat my very words, that I had not yet seen any man to whom I could give my hand. Shall I give you a few particulars of what passed between me and this very whimsical man?-I will.
He had been inquiring, he said, into the character and pretensions of my brother Fowler ; and intended, if he could bring Orme and him together, to make a match between them, who should out-whine the other.
Mr Greville, you had better—I stopt. I was vexed. I knew not what I was going to say.
The man's mad. O my cousins! let me never again be called to this man. Mad!-And so I am. Mad for you. I care
How better, madam? Am I not desperate ?- Strollers do you call them? Ha, ha, ha, hah! But had I better? Say, repeat that again-had-Princely strollers, as we reward them! And I better-better what? as to composers, have we not Handel?
There you say something, Sir Hargrave. But you have but one Handel in England; they have several in Italy.