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mands to any of her friends. Adieu, dear madam-Your cousin, sir, seemed likely to faint again-Support yourself. Repeating, You are in safe and honourable hands; bowing to her, as she bowed in return, but spoke not—Adieu, Charlotte; and away went the best of brothers.
And God Almighty bless him, said I, whereever he goes!
Miss Grandison then told me, that the house I was in belonged to the Earl of L, who had lately married her elder sister. About three months ago, they set out, she said, to pay a visit to my lord's estate and relations in Scotland, for the first time, and to settle some affairs there; they were expected back in a week or fortnight; she came down but last Tuesday, and that in order to give directions for everything to be prepared for their reception. It was happy for your cousin, said she, that I obtained the favour of my brother's company; and that he was obliged to be in town this morning. He intended to come back to carry me to town this evening. We are a family of love, Mr Reeves. We are true brothers and sisters-But why trouble I you with these things now? We shall be better acquainted. I am charmed with Miss Byron.
She was so good as to hurry the breakfast; and when it was over, conducted me up stairs. She bid me stay at the door, and stept gently to the bed-side, and opening the curtain, I heard the voice of our cousin.
Dear madam, what trouble do I give! were her words.
Still talk of trouble, Miss Byron? answered Miss Grandison, with an amiable familiarity; you will not forbear-Will you promise me not to be surprised at the arrival of your cousin Reeves?
I do promise-I shall rejoice to see him. Miss Grandison called to me. I approached; and catching my cousin's held-out hand, Thank God, thank God, best beloved of a hundred hearts! said I, that once more I behold you! that once more I see you in safe and honourable hands!—I will not tell you what we have all suffered.
No, don't, said she-You need not-But, O my cousin! I have fallen into the company of angels.
Forbear, gently patting her hand, forbear these high flights, said the kind lady, or I shall beat my charming patient. I shall not think you in a way to be quite well, till you descend. She whispered me, that the doctor had expressed fears for her head, if she were not kept quiet. Then raising her voice, Your cousin's gratitude, Mr Reeves, is excessive. You must allow me, smiling, to beat her. When she is well, she shall talk of angels, and of what she pleases.
But, my dear Mr Selby, we who know how
her heart overflows with sentiments of gratitude, on every common obligation, and even on but intentional ones, can easily account for the high sense she must have of those she lies under for such a deliverance from the brother, and of such kind treatment from the sister, both absolute strangers, till her distresses threw her into their protection.
I will only ask my dear Miss Byron one question, said I, (forgetting the caution given me below by Miss Grandison,) Whether this villain, by his violence-[meant marriage, I was going to say-But, interrupting me, You shall not, Mr Reeves, said Miss Grandison, smiling, ask half a question, that may revive disagreeable remembrances. Is she not alive, and here, and in a way to be well? Have patience till she is able to tell you all.
My cousin was going to speak. My dear, said the lady, you shall not answer Mr Reeves's question, if it be a question that will induce you to look backward. At present you must look only forward. And are you not in my care, and in Sir Charles Grandison's protection?
I have done, madam, said I, bowing-The desire of taking vengeance
Hush, Mr Reeves!-Surely !-Smiling, and holding her finger to her lip.
It is a patient's duty, said my cousin, to submit to the prescriptions of her kind physician; but were I ever to forgive the author of my distresses, it must be for his being the occasion of bringing me into the knowledge of such a lady; and yet to lie under the weight of obligations that I never can return-Here she stopt.
I took this as a happy indication that the last violence was not offered; if it had, she would not have mentioned forgiving the author of her distress.
As to what you say of obligation, Miss Byron, returned Miss Grandison, let your heart answer for mine, had you and I changed situation. And if, on such a supposition, you can think, that your humanity would have been so extraordinary a matter, then shall you be at liberty, when you are recovered, to say a thousand fine things; till when, pray be silent on this subject.
Then turning to me, See how much afraid your cousin Byron is of lying under obligations. I am afraid she has a proud heart; has she not a very proud heart, Mr Reeves?
She has a very grateful one, madam, replied I.
She turned to my cousin, Will you, Miss Byron, be easy under the obligations you talk of, or will you not?
I submit to your superiority, madam, in everything, replied my cousin, bowing her head.
She then asked me, If I had let her friends in the country know of this shocking affair?
I had suspected Mr Greville, I said, and had written in confidence to her uncle Selby.
O, my poor grandmamma-O, my good aunt Selby, and my Lucy-I hope
Miss Grandison interposed, humorously interrupting-I will have nothing said that begins with O. Indeed, Miss Byron, Mr Reeves, I will not trust you together-Cannot you have patience
We both asked her pardon. My cousin desired leave to rise-But these odious clothes, said she
If you are well enough, child, replied Miss Grandison, you shall rise, and have no need to see those odious clothes, as you call them. I told them Mrs Reeves had sent her some of her clothes. The portmanteau was ordered to be brought up.
Then Miss Grandison, sitting down on the bed by my cousin, took her hand; and, feeling her pulse, Are you sure, my patient, that you shall not suffer if you are permitted to rise? Will you be calm, serene, easy y? Will you banish curiosity? Will you endeavour to avoid recollection?
I will do my endeavour, answered my cousin. Miss Grandison then rung, and a maid-servant coming up, Jenny, said she, pray give your best assistance to my lovely patient. But be sure don't let her hurry her spirits. I will lead Mr Reeves into my dressing-room. And when you are dressed, my dear, we will either return to you here, or expect you to join us there at your pleasure.
And then she obligingly conducted me into her dressing-room, and excused herself for refusing to let us talk of interesting subjects. I am rejoiced, said she, to find her more sedate and composed than hitherto she has been. Her head has been greatly in danger. Her talk, for some hours, when she did talk, was so wild and incoherent, and she was so full of terror, on every one's coming in her sight, that I would not suffer anybody to attend her but myself.
I left her not, continued Miss Grandison, till eleven; and the housekeeper, and my maid, sat up in her room all the rest of the night.
I arose before my usual time to attend her. I slept not well myself. I did nothing but dream of robbers, rescues, and murders; such an impression had the distresses of this young lady made on my mind.
They made me a poor report, proceeded she, of the night she had passed. And, as I told you, she fainted away this morning, a little before you came, on her endeavouring to give me some account of her affecting story.
Let me tell you, Mr Reeves, I am as curious as you can be, to know the whole of what has befallen her; but her heart is tender and delicate; her spirits are low; and we must not pull down with one hand, what we build up with the other; my brother also will expect a good account of my charge.
I blessed her for her goodness. And finding
her desirous of knowing all that I could tell her, of our cousin's character, family, and lovers, I gave her a brief history, which extremely pleased her. Good God! said she, what a happiness is it, that such a lady, in such distress, should meet with a man as excellent, and as much admired, as herself! My brother, Mr Reeves, can never marry but he must break half a score hearts. Forgive me, that I bring him in, whenever any good person, or thing, or action, is spoken of. Everybody, I believe, who is strongly possessed of a subject, makes everything seen, heard, or read of, that bears the least resemblance, turn into and serve to illustrate that subject.
But here I will conclude this letter, in order to send it by the post. Besides, I have been so much fatigued in body and mind, and my wife has also been so much disturbed in her mind, that I must give way to a call of rest.
I will pursue the subject, the now agreeable subject, in the morning; and perhaps shall dispatch what I shall farther write, as you must be impatient for it, by an especial messenger.
Sir Rowland was here twice yesterday, and once to-day. My wife caused him to be told, that Miss Byron, by a sudden call, has been obliged to go a little way out of town for two or three days.
He proposes to set out for Caermarthen the beginning of next week. He hoped he should not be denied taking his corporal leave of her.
If our cousin has a good day to-morrow, and no return of her fits, she proposes to be in town on Monday. I am to wait on her, and Sir Charles and his sister, at breakfast on Monday morning, and to attend her home; where there will be joy indeed, on her arrival.
Pray receive for yourself, and make for me to your lady, and all friends, my compliments of congratulation.
I have not had either leisure or inclination, to inquire after the villain, who has given us all this disturbance. Ever, ever yours!
FROM MR REEVES TO GEORGE SELBY, ESQ.
MISS GRANDISON went to my cousin, to see how she bore rising, supposing her near dressed.
She soon returned to me. The most charming woman, I think, said she, I ever saw! but she trembles so, that I have persuaded her to lie down. I answered for you, that you would stay dinner.
I must beg excuse, madam. I have an excellent wife. She loves Miss Byron as her life; she will be impatient to know
Well, well, well, say no more, Mr Reeves; my brother has redeemed one prisoner, and his sister has taken another; and glad you may be that it is no worse.
I bowed, and looked silly, I believe. You may look, and beg, and pray, Mr Reeves. When you know me better, you'll find me a very whimsical creature; but you must stay to see Sir Charles. Would you go home to your wife with half your errand? She won't thank you for that, I can tell you, let her be as good a woman as the best. But, to comfort you, we give not in to every modern fashion. We dine earlier than most people of our condition. My brother, though, in the main, above singularity, will, nevertheless, in things he thinks right, be governed by his own rules, which are the laws of reason and convenience. You are on horseback; and, were I you, such good news as I should have to carry, considering what might have happened, would give me wings, and make me fly through the air with it.
I was about to speak. Come, come, I will have no denial, interrupted she; I shall have a double pleasure, if you are present when Sir Charles comes, on hearing his account of what happened. You are a good man, have a reasonable quantity of wonder and gratitude, to heighten a common case into the marvellous. So sit down, and be quiet.
I was equally delighted and surprised at her humorous raillery, but could not answer a single word. If it be midnight before you will suffer me to depart, thought I, I will not make another objection.
While this amiable lady was thus entertaining me, we heard the trampling of horsesMy brother! said she, I hope!-He comes! pardon the fondness of a sister who speaks from sensible effects-A father and a brother in one!
Sir Charles entered the room. He addressed himself to me in a most polite manner. Mr Reeves! said he, as I understand from below -Then turning to his sister, Excuse me, Charlotte, I heard this worthy gentleman was with you; and I was impatient to know how my fair guest
Miss Byron is in a good way, I hope, interrupted she, but very weak and low-spirited. She arose and dressed; but I have prevailed on her to lie down again.
Then turning to me, with a noble air, he both welcomed and congratulated me.
Sir Charles Grandison is indeed a fine figure. He is in the bloom of youth. I don't know that I have ever seen a handsomer or genteeler man. Well might his sister say, that, if he married, he would break half a score hearts. O this
vile Pollexfen! thought I, at the moment; could he draw upon, has he hurt, such a man as this?
After pouring out my acknowledgments, in the name of several families, as well as in my own, I could not but inquire into the nature of the hurt he had received.
A very trifle! My coat only was hurt, Mr Reeves. The skin of my left shoulder raked a little, putting his hand upon it.
Thank God! said I.-Thank God! said Miss Grandison.-But sonear!-O the villain! what might it have been!
Sir Hargrave, pent up in a chariot, had great disadvantage. My reflections on the event of yesterday yield me the more pleasure, as I have, on inquiry, understood that he will do well again, if he will be ruled. I would not, on any account, have had his instant death to answer for. But no more of this just now. Give me the particulars of the young lady's state of health. I left her in a very bad way.-You had advice?
Miss Grandison gave her brother an account of all that had been done, and of everything that had passed since he went away; as also of the character and excellencies of the lady whom he had rescued.
I confirmed what she said in my cousin's favour; and he very gratefully thanked his sister for her care, as a man would do for one the nearest and dearest to him.
We then besought him to give an account of the glorious action, which had restored to all that knew her, the darling of our hearts.
I will relate all he said, in the first person, as nearly in his own words as possible, and will try to hit the coolness with which he told the agreeable story.
"You know, sister," said he, "the call I had to town. It was happy that I yielded to your importunity to attend you hither.
"About two miles on this side Hounslow, I saw a chariot-and-six driving at a great rate. I also had ordered Jerry to drive pretty fast.
"The coachman seemed inclined to dispute the way with mine. This occasioned a few moments' stop to both. I ordered my coachman to break the way. I don't love to stand upon trifles. My horses were fresh: I had not come far.
"The curtain of the chariot we met was pulled down. I saw not who was in it; but, on turning out of the way, I knew, by the arms, it was Sir Hargrave Pollexfen's.
"There was in it a gentleman, who immediately pulled up the canvass.
"I saw, however, before he drew it up, another person, wrapt up in a man's scarlet cloak.
"For God's sake! help, help! cried out the person; for God's sake help!
"I ordered my coachman to stop. "Drive on, said the gentleman, cursing his coachman; drive on, when I bid you.
Help! again cried she, but with a voice as if her mouth was half stopt.
"I called to my servants on horseback to stop the postilion of the other chariot; and I bid Sir Hargrave's coachman proceed at his peril.
"Sir Hargrave called out on the contrary side of the chariot, (his canvass being still up on that next me,) with vehement execrations, to drive on.
"I alighted, and went round to the other side of the chariot.
"Again the lady endeavoured to cry out. I saw Sir Hargrave struggle to pull over her mouth a handkerchief, which was tied round her head. He swore outrageously.
"The moment she beheld me, she spread out both her hands-For God's sake
"Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, said I, by the arms. You are engaged, I doubt, in a very bad affair.
"I am Sir Hargrave Pollexfen; and am carrying a fugitive wife-Your own wife, Sir Hargrave?
Yes, by G-! said he; and she was going to elope from me at a damned masquerade! -See! drawing aside the cloak, detected in the very dress!
"O, no! no! no! said the lady
"Proceed, coachman, said he, and cursed and
"Let me ask the lady a question, Sir Hargrave.
"You are impertinent, sir. Who the devil are you?
"Are you, madam, Lady Pollexfen? said I. "O, no! no! no!-was all she could say
"Two of my servants came about me; a third held the head of the horse on which the postilion sat. Three of Sir Hargrave's approached on their horses; but seemed as if afraid to come too near, and parleyed together.
"Have an eye to those fellows, said I. Some base work is on foot. You'll presently be aided by passengers. Sirrah, said I to the coachman, (for he lashed the horses on,) proceed at your peril.
"Sir Hargrave then, with violent curses and threatenings, ordered him to drive over every one that opposed him.
"Coachman, proceed at your peril, said I. Madam, will you
"O, sir, sir, sir, relieve, help me for God's sake! I am in a villain's hands! Tricked, vilely tricked, into a villain's hands. Help, help, for God s sake!
"Do you, said I to Frederick, cut the traces, if you cannot otherwise stop this chariot. Bid Jerry cut the reins, and then seize as many of
those fellows as you can. to me.
Leave Sir Hargrave
"The lady continued screaming and crying out for help.
"Sir Hargrave drew his sword, which he had held between his knees in the scabbard; and then called upon his servants to fire at all that opposed his progress.
"My servants, Sir Hargrave, have fire-arms as well as yours. They will not dispute my orders. Don't provoke me to give the word.
"Then addressing the lady, Will you, madam, put yourself into my protection?
"O yes, yes, yes, with my whole heart-Dear, good sir, protect me!
"I opened the chariot-door. Sir Hargrave made a pass at me. Take that, and be damned to you, for your insolence, scoundrel! said he. "I was aware of this thrust, and put it by; but his sword a little raked my shoulder.
My sword was in my hand, but undrawn. "The chariot-door remaining open, (I was not so ceremonious, as to let down the foot-step to take the gentleman out,) I seized him by the collar before he could recover himself from the pass he had made at me; and with a jerk, and a kind of twist, laid him under the hind wheel of his chariot.
"I wrenched his sword from him, and snapped it, and flung the two pieces over my head.
"His coachman cried out for his master. Mine threatened his if he stirred. The postilion was a boy. My servant had made him dismount, before he joined the other two, whom I had ordered aloud to endeavour to seize (but my view was only to terrify) wretches, who, knowing the badness of their cause, were before terrified.
"Sir Hargrave's mouth and face were very bloody. I believe I might hurt him with the pommel of my sword.
"One of his legs, in his sprawling, had got between the spokes of his chariot wheel. I thought that was a fortunate circumstance for preventing farther mischief; and charged his coachman not to stir with the chariot, for his master's sake.
"He cried out, cursed, and swore. I believe he was bruised with the fall. The jerk was violent. So little able to support an offence, Sir Hargrave, upon his own principles, should not have been so ready to give it.
"I had not drawn my sword; I hope I never shall be provoked to do it in a private quarrel. I should not, however, have scrupled to draw it, on such an occasion as this, had there been an absolute necessity for it.
"The lady, though greatly terrified, had disengaged herself from the man's cloak. I had not leisure to consider her dress; but I was struck with her figure, and more with her ter
"I offered my hand. I thought not now of the footstep, any more than I did before; she not of anything, as it seemed, but her deliverance. "Have you not read, Mr Reeves, (Pliny, I think, gives the relation,) of a frighted bird, that, pursued by a hawk, flew for protection into the bosom of a man passing by?
"In like manner, your lovely cousin, the moment I returned to the chariot door, instead of accepting of my offered hand, threw herself into my arms.-O save me! save me!-She was ready to faint. She could not, I believe, have stood.
"I carried the lovely creature round Sir Hargrave's horses, and seated her in my chariot.Be assured, madam, said I, that you are in honourable hands. I will convey you to my sister, who is a young lady of honour and virtue.
"She looked out at one window, then at the other, in visible terror, as if fearing still Sir Hargrave. Fear nothing, said I; I will attend you in a moment. I shut the chariot door.
"I then went backward a few paces, (keeping, however, the lady in my eye,) to see what had become of my servants.
"It seems, that at their first coming up pretty near with Sir Hargrave's horsemen, they presented their pistols.
"What shall we do, Wilkins, (or Wilson, or some such name,) said one of Sir Hargrave's men to another, all three of them on their defence? Fly for it, answered the fellow. We may swing for this. I see our master down. There may be murder.
"Their consciences put them to flight. "My servants pursued them a little way; but were returning to support their master just as I had put the lady into my chariot.
I saw Sir Hargrave at a distance, on his legs, supported by his coachman. He limped; leaned his whole weight upon his servant; and seemed to be in agonies.
"I bid one of my servants tell him who I
"He cursed me, and threatened vengeance. He cursed my servant; and still more outrageously his own scoundrels, as he called them.
"I then stept back to my chariot.
"Miss Byron had, through terror, sunk down at the bottom of it; where she lay panting, and could only say, on my approach, Šave me! Save me!
"I reassured her. I lifted her on the seat, and brought her to my sister; and what followed, I suppose, Charlotte, bowing to her, you have told Mr Reeves."
We were both about to break out in grateful applauses; but Sir Charles, as if designed to hinder us, proceeded :
"You see, Mr Reeves, what an easy conquest this was. You see what a small degree of merit falls to my share. The violator's conscience was
against him. The consciences of his fellows were on my side. My own servants are honest worthy men. They love their master. In a good cause I would set any three of them against six who were engaged in a bad one. Vice is the greatest coward in the world, when it knows it will be resolutely opposed. And what have good men, engaged in a right cause, to fear?"
What an admirable man is Sir Charles Grandison !-Thus thinking! thus acting!
I explained to Sir Charles who this Wilson was, whom the others consulted, and were directed by; and what an implement in this black transaction.
To what other man's protection in the world, Mr Selby, could our kinswoman have been obliged, and so little mischief followed?
Sir Hargrave, it seems, returned back to
What a recreant figure, my dear Mr Selby, must he make, even to himself!-A villain!
Sir Charles says, that the turnpike men at Smallbury Green told his servants, on their attending him to town after the happy rescue, a formidable story of a robbery committed a little beyond Hounslow by half-a-dozen villains on horseback, upon a gentleman in a chariot and six; which had passed through that turnpike but half an hour before he was attacked; and that the gentleman, about an hour and half before Sir Charles went through, returned to town, wounded, for advice; and they heard him groan as he passed through the turnpike.
I should add one circumstance, said Sir Charles: Do you know, Charlotte, that you have a rake for your brother ?-A man on horseback, it seems, came to the turnpike gate, whilst the turnpike men were telling my servants this story. Nothing in the world, said he, but two young rakes in their chariots and six, one robbing the other of a lady. I and two other passengers, added the man, stood aloof to see the issue of the affair. We expected mischief; and some there was. One of the by-standers was the better for the fray; for he took up a silver-hilted sword, broken in two pieces, and rode off with it.
Sir Hargrave, said Sir Charles, smiling, might well give out that he was robbed; to lose such a prize as Miss Byron, and his sword besides.
I asked Sir Charles, if it were not advisable to take measures with the villain?
He thought best, he said, to take as little notice of the affair as possible, unless the aggressor stirred in it. Masquerades, added he, are not creditable places for young ladies to be known to be insulted at them. They are diversions that fall not in with the genius of the English commonalty. Scandal will have something to say from that circumstance, however causeless. But Miss Byron's story told by herself, will enable you to resolve upon your future mea