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action; and much more, on finding that the unhappy man went down to his seat in Essex, his head and heart full of this scheme, when he was struck with his last illness.
A meeting was proposed by Filmer, between Sir Charles, the mother, the aunt, and himself, at the aunt's house in Pall Mall. Sir Charles was very desirous to conceal his father's frailty from the world. He met them: but, before he entered into discourse, made it his request to be allowed half an hour's conversation with Miss Obrien by herself; at the same time, praising, as it deserved, her beauty.
They were in hopes, that she would be able to make an impression on the heart of so young and so lively a man, and complied. Under pretence of preparing her for so unexpected a visit, her aunt gave her her cue: but, instead of her captivating him, he brought her to such confessions, as sufficiently let him into the baseness of their views.
He returned to company, the young woman in his hand. He represented to the mother the wickedness of the part she had come over to act, in such strong terms, that she fell into a fit. The aunt was terrified. The young creature wept; and vowed that she would be honest.
Sir Charles told them, that if they would give him up his father's two letters, and make a solemn promise never to open their lips on the affair, and would procure for her an honest husband, he would give her 1000l. on the day of marriage; and, if she made a good wife, would be farther kind to her.
Filmer was very desirous to clear himself of having any hand in the blacker part of this plot. Sir Charles did not seem solicitous to detect and expose him; but left the whole upon his conscience. And, having made before several objections to his accounts, which could not be so well obviated in England, he went over to Ireland with Filmer; and there very speedily settled everything to his own satisfaction; and, dismissing him more genteelly than he deserved, took upon himself the management of that estate, directing several obvious improvements to be made; which are likely to turn to great
On his return, he heard that Miss Obrien was ill of the small-pox. He was not, for her own sake, sorry for it. She suffered in her face, but still was pretty and genteel: and she is now the honest and happy wife of a tradesman near Golden-square, who is very fond of her. Sir Charles gave with her the promised sum, and 100%. more for wedding-clothes.
One part of her happiness and her husband's, is, that her aunt, supposing she had disgraced herself by this match, never comes near her: and her mother is returned to Ireland to her husband, greatly dissatisfied with her daughter on the same account.
While these matters were agitating, Sir Charles forgot not to inquire what steps had been taken with regard to the alliance proposed between himself and Lady Frances N
He paid his first visit to the father and brother of that lady.
All that the sisters know of the matter, is, that the treaty was, on this first visit, entirely broken off. Their brother, however, speaks of the lady, and of the whole family, with great respect. The lady is known to esteem him highly. Her father, her brother, speak of him everywhere with great regard: Lord N-calls him the finest young gentleman in England. And so, Lucy, I believe he is. Sir Charles Grandison, Lord N- once said, knows better by non-compliance, how to create friendships, than most men do by compliance.
Lady L― and Miss Grandison, who, as I have before intimated, favour another lady, once said to him, that the Earl and his son Lord N- were so constantly speaking in his praise, that they could not but think that it would at last be a match between him and Lady Frances. His answer was, The lady is infinitely deserving: but it cannot be.
I am ready to wish, he would say, what can be, that we need not-Ah, Lucy!-I know not what I would say; but so it will always be with silly girls, that distinguish not between the would and the should: one of which, is your HARRIET BYRON.
I WILL proceed with the family history.
Sir Charles forgot not, on his arrival in England, to pay an early visit to Lord W—, his mother's brother, who was then at his house near Windsor.
I have told you, that my lord had conceived a dislike to him; and that for no other reason but because his father loved him. Lord W. was laid up with the gout when he came; but he was instantly admitted to his stately presence. The first salutations, on one side, were respectful; on the other, coldly civil. My lord often surveyed his kinsman from head to foot, as he sat; as if he were loath to like him, I suppose; yet knew not how to help it. He found fault with Sir Thomas. Sir Charles told him, that it was a very ungrateful thing to him to hear his father spoken slightly of. He desired his lordship to forbear reflections of that sort. My father, said he, is no more. I desire not to be made a party in any disputes that may have happened between him and your lordship. I come
to attend you, as a duty which I owe to my mother's memory; and I hope this may be done without wounding that of my father.
You say well, said my lord; but I am afraid, kinsman, by your air and manner, and speech too, that you want not your father's proud spirit. I revere my father for his spirit, my lord. It might not always be exerted as your lordship, and his other relations, might wish; but he had a manly one. As to myself, I will help your lordship to my character at once. I am, indeed, a very proud man. I cannot stoop to flatter, and least of all men, the great and the rich: finding it difficult to restrain this fault, it is my whole study to direct it to laudable ends; and I hope, that I am too proud to do anything unworthy of my father's name, or of my mother's virtue. Why, sir, (and looked at him again from head to foot,) your father never in his whole life said so good a thing.
Your lordship knew not my father as he deserved to be known. Where there are misunderstandings between two persons, though relations, the character of either is not to be taken from the other. But, my lord, this is, as I said before, a visit of duty. I have nothing to ask of your lordship, but your good opinion; and no longer than I deserve it.
My lord was displeased. "You have nothing to ask of me!" repeated he. Let me tell you, independent sir, that I like not your speech. You may leave me, if you please; and when I want to see you again, I will send for you. Your servant, my lord. And let me say, that I will not again attend you, till you do. But when you do, the summons of my mother's brother shall be cheerfully obeyed, notwithstanding this unkind treatment of Lord W
The very next day, my lord, hearing he was still at Windsor, viewing the curiosities of the place, sent to him: he directly went. My lord expressed himself highly pleased with his readiness to come, and apologized to him for his be haviour of the day before. He called him nephew, and swore, that he was just such a young man as he had wished to see. Your mother used to say, proceeded he, that you could do what you would with her, should you even be unreasonable; and I beg of you to ask me no favour but what is fit for me to grant, for I fear I should grudge it after I had granted it; and call in question, what no man is willing to do, my own discretion.
He then asked him about the methods he intended to take with regard to his way of life. Sir Charles answered, that he was resolved to dispose of his racers, hunters, and dogs, as soon as he could. That he would take a survey of the timber upon his estate, and fell that which would be the worse for standing; and doubted not but that a part of it in Hampshire would turn to good account; but that he would plant an oakling for every oak he cut down, for the sake of
posterity. He was determined, he said, to let the house in Essex; and even to sell the estate there, if it were necessary, to clear incumbrances; and to pay off the mortgage upon the Irish estate, which he had a notion was very improvable. What did he propose to do for his sisters? who were, he found, absolutely in his power.
Marry them, my lord, as soon as I can. I have a good opinion of Lord L- - My elder sister loves him. I will inquire what will make him easy; and easy I will make him, on his marriage with her, if it be in my power. I will endeavour to make the younger happy too. And when these two points are settled, but not before, because I will not deceive the family with which I may engage, I will think of myself.
Bravo! bravo! said my lord; and his eyes, that were brimful some minutes before, then ran over. As I hope to be saved, I had a good mind to-to-to-And there he stopt.
I only ask for your approbation, my lord, or correction, if wrong. My father has been very regardful of my interests. He knew my heart, or he would perhaps have been more solicitous for his daughters. I don't find that my circumstances will be very narrow; and if they are, I will live within compass, and even lay up. I endeavour to make a virtue of my pride, in this respect: I cannot live under obligation. I will endeavour to be just; and then, if I can, I will be generous. That is another species of my pride. I told your lordship, that if I could not conquer it, I would endeavour to make it innocent at least.
Bravo! bravo! again cried my lord-and threw his arms about his neck, and kissed his cheek, though he screamed out at the same time, having hurt his gouty knee with the effort.
And then, and then-said my lord, you will marry yourself. And if you marry with discretion, good Lord, what a great man will you be! -And how I shall love you!-Have you any thoughts of marriage, kinsman ?-Let me be consulted in your match,-and-and-andyou will vastly oblige me. Now, I believe, I shall begin to think the name of Grandison has What a fine a very agreeable sound with it. thing it is, for a young man to be able to clear up his mother's prudence so many years after she is gone, and lessen his father's follies! Your father did not use me well; and I must be allowed sometimes to speak my mind of him.
That, my lord, is the only point on which your lordship and I can differ.
Well, well, we won't differ-Only one thing, my dear kinsman: if you sell, give me the preference. Your father told me, that he would mortgage to any man upon God's earth sooner than to me. I took that very heinously.
There was a misunderstanding between you, my lord. My father had a noble spirit. He might think, that there would be a selfishness in the appearance, had he asked of your lordship
a favour. Little-spirited men sometimes choose to be obliged to relations, in hopes that payment will be less rigorously exacted, than by a stranger
Ah, kinsman! kinsman !—that's the white side of the business.
Indeed, my lord, that would be a motive with me to avoid troubling your lordship in an exigence, were it to happen. For mistrust will arise from possibilities of being ungrateful, when, perhaps, there is no room, were the heart to be known, for the suspicion.
Well said, however. You are a young man that one need not be afraid to be acquainted with. But what would you do as a lender? Would you think hardly of a man that wanted to be obliged to you?
O no! But in this case I would be determined by prudence. If my friend regarded himself as the first person in the friendship; me but as the second, in cases that might hurt my fortune, and disable me from acting up to my spirit, to other friends, I would then let him know, that he thought as meanly of my understanding as of my justice.
Lord Wwas delighted with his nephew's notions. He over and over prophesied, that he would be a great man.
Sir Charles, with wonderful dispatch, executed those designs, which he had told Lord Whe would carry into effect. And the sale of the timber he cut down in Hampshire, and which lay convenient for water carriage, for the use of the government, furnished him with a very considerable sum.
I have mentioned, that Sir Charles, on his setting out from Florence to Paris, to attend his father's leave for his coming to England, had left his ward Miss Jervois, at the former place, in the protection of good Dr Bartlett. He soon sent for them both over, and placed the young lady with a discreet widow-gentlewoman, who had three prudent daughters; sometimes indulging her with leave to visit his sisters, who are very fond of her, as you have heard. And now let me add, that she is an humble petitioner to me, to procure her the felicity, as she calls it, to be constantly resident with Miss Grandison. She will be, she says, the best girl in the world, if she may be allowed this favour; and not one word of advice, either of her guardian, or of Miss Grandison, or of Lady L, shall be lost upon her-And besides, as good women, said she, as Mrs Lane and her daughters are, what protection can women give me, were my unhappy mother to be troublesome, and resolve to have me, as she is continually threatening?
What a new world opens to me, my Lucy, from the acquaintance I am permitted to hold with this family! God grant that your poor Harriet pay not too dearly for her knowledge! -She would, I believe you think, were she to be entangled in a hopeless love.
LORD L came to town from Scotland within two or three months of Sir Charles's arrival in England. His first visit was to the young Baronet; who, on my lord's avowing his passion for his sister, and her acknowledging her esteem for him, introduced him to her, and put their hands together, holding them between both his. With pleasure, said he, I join hands where hearts so worthy are united. Do me, my lord, the honour, from this moment, to look upon me as your brother. My father, I find, was a little embarrassed in his affairs. He loved his daughters, and perhaps was loath that they should early claim another protection; but, had he lived to make himself easy, I have no doubt but he would have made them happy. He has left that duty upon me--and I will perform it.
His sister was unable to speak for joy. My lord's tears were ready to start.
My father, proceeded Sir Charles, in one of his letters to me, acquainted me with the state of your lordship's affairs. Reckon upon my best services: promise, engage, undertake. The brother, my lord, hopes to make you easy: the sister will make you happy.
Miss Charlotte was affected with this scene; and she prayed, with her hands and eyes lifted up, that God would make his power as large as his heart. The whole world would then, she said, be benefited either by his bounty, or his example.
Do you wonder now, my dear Mr Reeves, that Miss Grandison, Lady L——, and Lord L-, know not how to contain their gratitude, when this beneficent-minded brother is spoken of?
And has not my Charlotte, said he, turning towards her, and looking at Miss Caroline, some happy man, that she can distinguish by her love? You are equally dear to me, my sisters. Make me your confidant, Charlotte. Your inclinations shall be my choice.
Dear Miss Grandison, why did you mislead me by your boasts of unreservedness? What room was there for reserves to such a brother? -And yet it is plain, you have not let him know all your heart; and he seems to think so too. And now you are uneasy at a hint he has thrown
out of that nature.
Two months before the marriage, Sir Charles put into his sister's hands a paper sealed up. Receive these, my Caroline, said he, as from your father's bounty, in compliance with what your mother would have wished, had we been blessed with her life. When you oblige Lord
Lwith one hand, make him, with the other, this present; and entitle yourself to all the gratitude, with which I know his worthy heart will overflow, on both occasions. I have done but my duty. I have performed only an article of the will, which I have made in my mind for my father, as time was not lent to make one for himself.
He saluted her, and withdrew, before she broke the seal; and, when she did, she found in it bank-notes for 10,000l.
She threw herself into a chair, and was unable for some time to stir; but, recovering herself, hurried out to find her brother. She was told, he was in her sister's apartment. She found him not there, but Charlotte in tears. Sir Charles had just left her. What ails my Charlotte?
O this brother, my Caroline!-There is no bearing his generous goodness. See that deed! See that paper that lies upon it! She took it up; and these were the contents of the paper :
My dearest sisters, you are too sensible of these but due instances of my brotherly love. It has pleased God to take from us our father and mother. We are more than brother and sisters; and must supply to each other the wanting relations. Look upon me only as executor of a will, that ought to have been made, and perhaps would, had time been given. My circumstances are greater than I expected; greater, I dare say, than my father thought they would be. Less than I have done, could not be done, by a brother who had power to do this. You don't know how much you will oblige me, if you never say one word more on this subject. You will act with less dignity than becomes my sisters, if you look upon what I have done in any other light than as your due.
O my aunt! be so good as to let the servants prepare my apartment at Selby-house. There is no living within the blazing glory of this man! But, for one's comfort, he seems to have one fault; and he owns it—And yet, does not acknowledgment annihilate that fault!-O no! for he thinks not of correcting it. This fault is pride. Do you mind what a stress he lays now and then on the family-name; and, as above, dignity, says he, that becomes my sisters!
too proud, I doubt, as well as too considerable in his fortunes-What would I say?—Yet, I know who would study to make him the happiest of men-Spare me, spare me here, my uncle; or rather, skip over this passage, Lucy.
"I HAVE just now paid my sister Caroline the sum that I think she would have been entitled to expect from my father's bounty, and the family circumstances, had life been lent him to settle his affairs, and make a will. I have an entire confidence in the discretion of my Char--Proud mortal!-O my Lucy! he is proud; lotte; and have, by the enclosed deed, established for her beyond the power of revocation, that independency as to fortune, to which, from my father's death, I think her entitled. And for this, having acted but as an executor, I claim no merit, but that of having fulfilled the supposed will of either of our parents, as either survived the other. Cherish, therefore, in your grateful heart, their memory. Remember, that when you marry, you change the name of Grandison. Yet, with all my pride, what is name?-Let the man be worthy of you; and be he who he will that you entitle to your vows, I will embrace him as the brother of
THE deed was for the same sum as he had given her sister, and to carry interest.
The two sisters congratulated, and wept over, each other, as if distressed.-To be sure, they were distressed.
Caroline found out her brother; but, when she approached him, could not utter one word of what she had meditated to say; but, dropping down on one knee, blessed him, as she owned, in heart, both for Lord Land herself; but could only express her gratitude by her lifted-up hands and eyes.
Just as he had raised and seated her, entered to them the equally grateful Charlotte. He placed her next her sister, and, drawing a chair for himself, taking a hand of each, he thus addressed himself to them :
Sir Charles, at the end of eight months from his father's death, gave Caroline, with his own hand, to Lord L
Charlotte has two humble servants, Lord G and Sir Walter Watkyns, as you have seen in my former letters; but likes not either of them.
Lord L carried his lady down to Scotland, where she was greatly admired and caressed by all his relations. How happy for your Harriet was their critically-proposed return, which carried down Sir Charles and Miss Charlotte to prepare everything at Colnebrook for their reception!
Sir Charles accompanied my Lord and Lady Las far on the way to Scotland as York; where he made a visit to Mrs Eleanor Grandison, his father's maiden sister, who resides there. She, having heard of his goodness to his sisters, and to everybody else, with whom he had concerns, longed to see him; and on this occasion rejoiced in the opportunity he gave her to congratulate, to bless, and applaud, her nephew.
What multitudes of things have I farther to tell you, relating to this strange man!—Let me call him names.
I inquired after the history of the good Dr Bartlett; but the ladies said, as they knew not the whole of it, they would refer me to the Doc
tor himself. They knew, however, enough, they said, to reverence him as one of the most worthy and most pious of men. They believed, that he knew all the secrets of their brother's heart. Strange, methinks, that these secrets lie so deep! Yet there does not seem anything so very forbidding, either in Sir Charles or the Doctor, but that one might ask them a few innocent questions. And yet I did not use to be so very curious neither. Why should I be more so than his sisters?-Yet persons coming strangers into a family of extraordinary merit, are apt, I believe, to be more inquisitive about the affairs and particularities of that family, than those who make a part of it; and when they have no other motive for their curiosity, than a desire to applaud and imitate, I see not any great harm in it.
I was also very anxious to know, what, at so early an age (for Sir Charles was not then eighteen,) were the faults he found with the governor appointed for him. It seems, the man was not only profligate himself, but, in order to keep himself in countenance, laid snares for the young gentleman's virtue; which, however, he had the happiness to escape; though at an age in which youth is generally unguarded. This man was also contentious, quarrelsome, and a drinker; and yet, (as Sir Charles at the time acknowledged to his sisters,) it had so very indifferent an appearance, for a young man to find fault with his governor, that, as well for the appearance-sake, as for the man's, he was very loath to complain, till he became insupportable. It was mentioned, as it ought, greatly to the honour of the young gentleman's frankness and magnanimity, that when, at last, he found himself obliged to complain of this wicked man to his father, he gave him a copy of the letter he wrote, as soon as he sent it away. You may make, sir, said he, what use you please of the step I have taken. You see my charge. I have not aggravated it. Only let me caution you, that, as I have not given you by my own misconduct any advantage over me, you do not make a still worse figure in my reply, if you give me occasion to justify my charge. My father loves his son. I must be his son. An altercation cannot end in your favour.
But on inquiry into the behaviour of this bad man, (who might have tainted the morals of one of the finest youths on earth,) which the son besought the father to make, before he paid any regard to his complaints, Sir Thomas dismissed him, and made a compliment to his son, that he should have no other governor for the future, than his own discretion.*
Miss Jervois's history is briefly this:
She had one of the best of fathers; her mother is one of the worst of women. A terma
gant, a swearer, a drinker, unchaste-Poor Mr Jervois!-I have told you, that he (a meek man) was obliged to abandon his country, to avoid her. Yet she wants to have her daughter under her own tuition-Terrible !-Sir Charles has had trouble with her. He expects to have more-Poor Miss Jervois !
Miss Emily's fortune is very great. The ladies say, not less than 50,000l. Her father was an Italian and Turkey merchant; and Sir Charles, by his management, has augmented it to that sum, by the recovery of some thousands of pounds, which Mr Jervois had thought desperate.
AND thus have I brought down, as briefly as I was able, though writing almost night and day, (and greatly indulged in the latter by the ladies, who saw my heart was in the task,) the history of this family, to the time when I had the happiness (by means, however, most shockingly undesirable) to be first acquainted with it.
And now a word or two to present situations. Sir Charles is not yet come down, Lucy. And this is Monday!-Very well!-He made excuses by his cousin Grandison, who came down with my cousin Reeves on Sunday morning; and both went up together yesterday-Vastly busy, no doubt!-He will be here to-morrow, I think, he says. His excuses were to his sisters and Lord L- I am glad he did not give himself the importance with your Harriet, to make any to her on his absence.
Miss Grandison complains that I open not my heart to her. She wants, she says, to open hers to me; but, as she has intricacies that I cannot have, she says I must begin; she knows not how, she pretends. What her secrets may be, I presume not to guess; but surely I cannot tell a sister, who, with her sister, favours another woman, that I have a regard for her brother; and that before I can be sure he has any for me.
She will play me a trick, she just now told me, if I will not let her know who the happy man in Northamptonshire is, whom I prefer to all others. That there is such a one somewhere, she says, she has no doubt; and if she find it out before I tell her, she will give me no quarter, speaking in the military phrase; which sometimes she is apt to do. Lady L- smiles, and eyes me with great attention, when her sister is rallying me, as if she, also, wanted to find out some reason for my refusing Lord D. I told them an hour ago, that I am beset with their eyes, and Lord L-'s; for Lady L― keeps no one secret of her heart, nor, I believe, anybody's else, that she is mistress of, from her
See farther, Letter LXXXII.