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for so many days as happy as a man in expectation can be. I do assure you, madam, that I could not have had the insolence to make you a request, which I rather expected to be forgiven, than complied with. I thought myself not ungenerous to the confidence you reposed in me, that I gave you so much time. I thought of a week, and began apologizing, lest you should think it too short; but, when I saw you disturbed, I concluded with the mention of a fortnight. My dearest creature, think me not unreasonable in my expectations of your compliance
What, sir! in a fortnight?
As to preparations, madam, you know the pleasure my sisters will have in executing any commissions you will favour them with on so joyful an occasion. Charlotte had not so much time for preparation. But were not everything to be in readiness by the chosen day, there will be time enough for all you wish, before you would, perhaps, choose to see company-Consider, my dearest life, that if you regard punctilio merely; punctilio has no determinate end: punctilio begets punctilio. You may not half a year hence imagine that to be sufficiently gratified. And allow me to say, that I cannot give up my hope till your grandmamma and aunt decide that I ought.
How, sir!—And can you thus adhere?-But I will allow of your reference.
And be determined by their advice, madam ? But I will not trust you, sir, with pleading
your own cause.
Are you not arbitrary, madam?
In this point, if I am, ought I not to be so? Yes, if you will resume a power you had so generously resigned.
May I not, sir, when I think it overstrained in the hands of the person to whom, in better hopes, it was delegated?
That, dear lady, is the point to be tried. You consent to refer the merits of it to your grandmamma and aunt?
If I do, sir, you ought not to call me arbitrary.
It is gracious, bowing, in my sovereign lady, to submit her absolute will and pleasure to ar
Very well, sir!-But will you not submit to my own award?
Tell me, dear Miss Byron, tell me, if I do, how generous will you be?
substance of this conversation, and lay it in writing before the judges you have named. Lucy shall be a third.
You will permit me, madam, to see your state of the case, before you lay it before the judges? No, sir. None but they must see it, till it makes part of a letter to Lady G- who then shall shew it only to Lady L
It is the harder to be thus prescribed to, my dear Miss Byron, becauseWhat, sir, in my day?
That was what I was going to urge, because mine will never come. Every day, to the end of my life, will be yours-[Dear man!]-Only, sir, as I deserve your kindness: I wish not for it on other terms. And you shall be then sole judge of my deserts. I will not appeal to any other tribunal.
I was far from intending
Was, madam-I hope I may dwell upon that word, and repeat my question?
Am, sir. I am far from intending
No more, dear madam. I appeal to another tribunal. Well, sir, I will endeavour to recollect the
He gracefully bowed. I think, said he, smiling, I must withdraw my intended appeal: I am half-afraid of my judges; and, perhaps, ought to rely wholly on your goodness.
No, no, sir! Your intention is your act. In that sense you have appealed to Cæsar.*
I never before was in love with despotism. You mention writing to my sisters: you correspond with them, I presume, as you formerly did with our Lucy. Let me tell you, madam, that you had not been Miss Byron FOURTEEN days after I was favoured with the sight of those letters, had I been at liberty to offer you my heart, and could I have prevailed on you to accept it. Your distress, your noble frankness of heart
And let me own, sir, as an instance of the frankness you are pleased to encourage, that gratitude for the deliverance you so nobly gave me, had as much power over my heart, as the openness of mine, and my distress, could have
• Alluding to Festus's answer to St Paul. Acts, xxv. 12.
WE, the underwritten, do find, upon the case laid before us by the said Harriet, That in the whole conversation between the said Sir Charles and her, she has behaved herself with that true virgin delicacy, yet with that laudable unreservedness, that might be expected from her character, and his merits. We think the gentleman has the advantage of the lady in the arguments for the early day contended for ; and if she had defended herself by little artifices and disguises, we should have no scruple to decide against her: but as she has shewn, throughout the conversation, noble instances of generosity, trust reposed, and even acknowledged affection; we recommend to them both a compromise.
We allow, therefore, Sir Charles Grandison to pursue his intentions of going up to town, declaredly to prepare for the happy day; and recommend it to Harriet, in consideration of the merits of the requester, (who lays his whole heart open before her, in a manner too generous not to meet with a like return,) to fix as early a day as, in prudence, she can.
For the rest, May the Almighty shower down his blessings on both! May all their contentions, like this, be those of love and rue delicacy! May they live together many, very many happy years, an example of conjugal felicity! and may their exemplary virtues meet with an everlast ing reward!-So prays, so subscribes,
HENRIETTA SHIRLEY. MARIANNE SELBY. LUCY SELBY.
particularly, what he thinks of the little delays he meets with! But do, dear Lady G, acquit me of affectation and parade. Indeed it is not that. I hope he himself acquits me, and censures himself; for, upon my word, he is unreasonably hasty.
I could not but express a little curiosity about his hint of Lady Olivia's favourable opinion of me, though not at the time; and he was so good as to shew me, and my grandmamma and aunt, a most extraordinary character which she gave me in a long letter.* I saw it was a long letter: I was very Eve-ish, my dear. Lucy said afterwards, that I did so leer at it: an ugly word, importing slyness; and, after I was angry at myself for giving her the idea that put her upon applying it, I chid her for using it.
Lady Olivia writes such high things, my dear! I blush-I did not, could not, deserve them. I always pitied her, you know; but now you cannot imagine how much more than ever I pity her. Do all of us, indeed, as the men say, love flattery?-I did not think I did-I shall find out all the obliquities of my heart, in time. I was supposed once to be so good a creatureas if none other were half so good!-Ah, my partial friends! you studied your Harriet in the dark; but here comes the sun darting into all the crooked and obscure corners of my heart; and I shrink from his dazzling eye; and, compared to him, (and Clementina, let me add,) appear to myself such a nothing
Nay, I have had the mortification, once or twice, to think myself less than the very Olivia, upon whom, but lately, secure of my mind's superiority to her mind, I looked down with a kind of proud compassion: And whence this exaltation of Olivia, and self-humiliation ?— Why, from her magnifying beyond measure the poor Harriet, and yielding up her own hopes, entreating him, as she does, to address me; and that with such honourable distinction, as if my acceptance of him were doubtful, and a conde scension.
I wish I could procure you a copy of what your brother read to me-Ah, my dear! it is very soothing to my pride!-But what is the foundation of that pride? Is it not my ambition to be thought worthily of by the best of men? And does not praise stimulate me to resolve to deserve praise? I will endeavour to deserve it. But, my dear, this Olivia, a fine figure herself, and loving in spite of discouragement, can praise, to the object of her love, the person, and still more, the mind, of her rival !-Is not that great in Olivia? Could I be so great, if I thought my self in danger from her?
See Letter CXCIX-p. 548. c. 2. 11
Selby-House, Wednesday, Oct. 25. SIR CHARLES came not this morning till we were all assembled for breakfast. I had begun to think, whether, if I had been Sir Charles, and he had been Miss Byron, I would not have been here an hour before, expecting the decision of the judges to whom a certain cause was referred. O my dear Lady G! how narrowminded I am, with all my quondam heroism! The knowledge of his past engagements with the excellent Clementina, and of his earnest wishes then to be hers, makes me, on every occasion, that can be tortured into an appearance of neglect or coldness, so silly!-Indeed I am ashamed of myself. But all my petulance was dispelled, the instant he shone upon us.
Well, my dear ladies, said he, the moment he took his place, whisperingly to my grandmamma, (who sat between my aunt and Lucy,) Is sentence given?
It is, Sir Charles-He took my hand, cross my Nancy's lap, as she sat between him and me I have hopes, my dear Miss Byron, [from the foolishness in my looks, I suppose, that you
Have patience, sir, said I-It is well that the best of us are not always to be our own carvers. He looked, Lucy said afterwards, with eyes of love upon me, and of apprehension on his judges; and the discourse turned upon indifferent subjects.
I retired as soon as breakfast was over; and he demanded his sentence.
Henceforth, my dearest dear Miss Byron, said he, the moment he approached me, (as I stood up to receive him,) I salute you undoubtedly mine -And he saluted me with ardour-I knew not which way to look-So polite a lover, as I thought him!-Yet never man was so gracefully free! -It remains now, madam, proceeded he, still holding my hand, to put to trial your goodness to me You have done that already, thought I in the great question, by which I am to conduct myself for the next week, or ten days.
Week or ten days! thought I. Surely, sir, you are an encroacher.
You see, sir, said I, when a little recovered, what judges, who, on such points as these, cannot err, have determined.
Yes, they can, interrupted he: as ladies, they are parties-But I submit. Their judgment must be a law to me-I will go up to town, as they advise. I cannot, however, be long absent from you. When I return I will not put up at a public place. Either your uncle, or your grandmother, must allow me to be their guest. This will oblige you, I hope, even for dear punctilio sake, to honour me with your hand very soon after my return.
He paused: I was silent. His first address had put me out. Remember, madam, I said, resumed he, that I cannot be long absent: you are above being governed by mere punctilio. Add to the obligations your generous acceptance of me has laid me under-Why sighs my angel?
It was, my dear Lady G—, an involuntary sigh! For the world I would not give you either sensible or lasting pain. But if the same circumstances would make your nomination of a day as painful to you, some time hence, as now, then bless me with as early a day as you CAN give me, to express myself in the words of my judges.
This, sir, said I, (but I hesitated, and looked down,) is one of the solemn points which precede one of the most solemn circumstances of my life. You seem more in earnest for an early day than I could have expected. When I have declared that affectation has no part in the more distant compliance, I may be allowed, by the nicest of my own sex, to lay open to a man so generous, though so precipitating, my whole heart. Indeed, sir, it is wholly yours-I blushed, as I felt, and turned away my face. It was a free declaration: but I was resolved to banish affectation. He bowed profoundly on my hand, and kissed it. Gratitude looked out in his eyes, and appeared in his graceful manner, though attentively silent.
You was my deliverer, proceeded I. An esteem founded on gratitude, the object so meritorious, ought to set me above mere forms-Our judges say, that you have the advantage in the argument
I will lay no stress, madam, on this part of their judgment in my favour-To your goodness, and to that so nobly-acknowledged esteem, I wholly refer myself.
I think myself, proceeded I, that you have the advantage in the argument—All that is in my power, I would wish to do to oblige youCondescending goodness!-Again he bowed on my hand.
Do you think, sir
Why hesitates my love?
Six ages, my dearest, dearest creature!-Six
weeks! For Heaven's sake, madam-He looked, he spoke, impatience.
What can a woman, who has owned your title to expect to be obliged, say-Let me, at least, ask (and I unaffectedly hesitated) a month, sir-from this day-And that you will acknowledge yourself not perversely or weakly treated.
He dropt on one knee, and kissing my hand, once, twice, thrice, with rapture, Within the month, then, I hope I cannot live a month from you-Allow me to return in the first fort night of the month
O sir! and take up your residence with us on your return?
Undoubtedly, madam.-Consider, sir.-Do you also, dearest madam, consider; and banish me not from you for so very long a time.
My heart wanted, I thought, to oblige him; but to allow him to return sooner, as he was to take up his abode with us, what was that, but, in effect, complying with his first proposal? Permit me, sir, to retire. Indeed you are too urgent.
He asked my excuse; but declared, that he would not give up his humble plea, (humble he called it,) unless my grandmamma and aunt told him that he ought.
On his leaving me to return to company below, he presented me with four little boxes. Accept, my beloved Miss Byron, said he, of these trifles. I received them not till this morning. While I had the day to hope from you, my heart would not suffer me to offer them, lest you should suspect me mean enough to imagine an influence from them. I oblige myself by the tender, and I comply with custom, which I am fond of doing, whenever I can innocently do it. But I know that you, my dear Miss Byron, value the heart more than a thousand times the value of these-Mine, madam, is yours, and will be yours to the end of my life.
What could I say?-My heart, on recollection, reproaches me for my ungraceful acceptI curtseyed. I was silly. Sir Charles Grandison only can be present to every occasion. He looked as if my not refusing them was a favour more than equivalent to the value of the presents. My dearest life, said he, on putting them on my toilette, how much you oblige me! -Shall I conduct you to our friends below? Will you acquaint your grandmamma and aunt with our debate, and my bold expectation?
I stood still. He took my hand, pressed it with his lips, and, with a reverence more than usually profound, as if he had received instead of conferred a favour, withdrew. Never was a present so gracefully made! I cannot describe the grace with which he made it.
My uncle, it seems, as soon as he went down, asked him, How he had settled the great affair? My grandmamma and aunt in a breath, as he
Has she complied so far? said my grandmamma: I am glad of it. I was afraid she would have insisted upon more time
So was I, said my aunt. But who can withstand Sir Charles Grandison? Has the dear girl given you the very day, sir?
No, madam. If she had, I should have hoped it would have been considerably within the month. As yet, ladies, I hope it will.
Nay, Sir Charles, if you are not pleased with a month, said my aunt-Hush, dear ladies!— Here comes the angel.-Not a word, I beseech you, on that side of the question. She will think, if you applaud her, that she has consented to too short a term-You must not make her uneasy with herself.
Does not this look as if he imagined there was room for me to be so?-I almost wish-I don't know what I wish; except I could think but half so well of myself as I do of him; for then should I look forward with less pain in my joy than now too often mingles with it.
Your brother excused himself from dining with us: that Greville has engaged him. Why would he permit himself to be engaged by him? Greville cannot love him; he can only admire him, and that everybody does, who has been but once in his company. Miss Orme, even Miss Orme, is in love with him. I received a note from her while your brother was with us. These are the contents:
DEAR MISS BYRON,
I AM in love with your young baronet. It is well that your beauty and your merit secure you, and make every other woman hopeless. To see and know Miss Byron is half the cure, unless a woman were presumption itself. O my poor brother!-But will you let me expect you, and as many of the dear family as you can bring, at breakfast to-morrow morning ?-Sir Charles Grandison, of course. Shew your own obligingness to me, and your power over him, at the same time. Your cousins Holles will be with me, and three sister-toasts of York; besides that Miss Clarkson, of whose beauty and agreeableness you have heard me talk. They long to see you. You may come. Poor things! how they will be mortified! If any one of them can allow herself to be less lovely than the others, she will be least affected with your superiority. But let me tell you, that Miss Clarkson, had she the intelligence in her eyes that somebody else has, and the dignity with the ease, would be as charming a young woman. But we are all prepared, I to love, they to admire, your gentle
man. Pray, pray, my dear, bring him, or the They will over-do the morning appearance. I disappointment will kill your
could beat them. So well acquainted with propriety as they are; and knowing the beauty of elegant negligence. Were I not afraid of Lucy's repartee; and that she would say I was laying out for a compliment; I would tell them, they had a mind to try to eclipse Miss Clarkson, and the Yorkshire ladies. Your brother supped, as well as dined, at that Greville's. Fie upon him! I did not think he had so little command of himself!-Vain Harriet! Perhaps he chose to be rather there than here, for novelty-sake. I shall be saucy, by and by. He is below, strongly engaged in talk with my aunt-About me, I suppose: Ay, to be sure! methinks your ladyship says. He can talk of nobody else!-Well, and what if one would wish he could not? [What are these girls about? No less than one-andtwenty gentlemen at Greville's, besides the prince of them all. They all were ready to worship him. Fenwick looked in just now, and tells us so. He says, that your brother was the liveliest man in the company. He led the mirth, he says, and visibly exerted himself the more, finding the turn of the conversation likely to be what might be expected from such company of all men. Wretches! Can twenty of them, when met, be tolerable creatures, not a woman among them, to soften their manners, and give politeness to their conversation? Fenwick says, they engaged him at one time into talk of different regions, customs, usages. He was master of every subject. Half a score mouths were open at once whenever he spoke, as if distended with gags, was his word; and every one's eyes broader than ever they were observed to be before. Fenwick has humour; a little; not much; only by accident. So unlike himself at times, that he may pass for a different man. His aping Greville helps his oddness.-How I ramble! You'll think I am aping my dear Lady G. Mocking's catching!-O these girls!-I think time lost when I am not writing to you. You cannot imagine what a thief I am to my company. I steal away myself, and get down, before I am missed, half a score times in a couple of hours. Sir Charles sung to the wretches; they all sung. They encored him without mercy. He talks of setting out for town on Saturday, early. Lord bless me! what shall I do when he is gone?— Do you think I say this? If I do, I am kept in countenance: everybody says so, as well as IBut ah! Lady G, he has invited all the gentlemen, the whole twenty-one, and my cousin James, and my uncle, to dine with him at his inn, to-morrow!-Inn! nasty inn! Why did we let him go thither?-I am afraid he is a reveller. Can he be so very good a man? O yes, yes, yes! wicked Harriet! What is in thy heart to doubt it? A fine reflection upon the age; as if there could not be one good man in it! and as if a good man could not be a man of vivacity and spirit! From whom can spirits, can cheerful
Lucy acquainting Sir Charles with the invitation, asked him, if he would oblige Miss Orme. He was at our command, he said-So we shall breakfast to-morrow at the Park.
But I am vexed at his dining from us to-day. So little time to stay with us! I wish him to be complaisant to Mr Greville; but need he be so very obliging? There are plots laying for his company all over the country. We are told, there is to be a numerous assembly, all of gentlemen, at Mr Greville's. Mr Greville humorously declares, that he hates all women for the sake of
We have just opened the boxes. O my dear Lady G! your brother is either very proud, or his fortune is very high! Does he not say, that he always consults fortune, as well as degree, in matters of outward appearance? He has not, in these presents, I am sure, consulted either the fortune or degree of your Harriet-Of your happy Harriet, I had like to have written; but the word happy, in this place, would have looked as if I thought these jewels an addition to my happiness.
How does his bounty insult me, on my narrow fortune! Narrow, unless he submit to accept of the offered contributions of my friendsContributions!-Proud Harriet, how art thou, even in thy exaltation, humbled!-Trifles, he called them the very ornamenting one's self with such toys, may, in his eye, be thought trifling, though he is not above complying with the fashion, in things indifferent; but the cost and beauty of these jewels considered, they are not trifles. The jewel of jewels, however, is his heart!-How would the noble ClementinaHah, pen! Heart rather, why, just now, this check of Clementina?-I know why-Not from want of admiration of her; but when I am allowing my heart to open, then does-something here, in my inmost bosom [is it conscience? strikes me, as if it said, Ah, Harriet!-Triumph not; rejoice not! Check the overflowings of thy grateful heart!-Art thou not an invader of another's right?
Thursday Morning, Oct. 26.
I WILL hurry off a few lines. I am always ready before these fiddling girls: Lucy and Nancy I mean. Never tedious, but in dressing!