« EdellinenJatka »
resolution, my lord; and, if you marry a prudent woman, your lordship will find the difference in your own reflections, as well as in your reputation and interest. And shall the difference of a 100%. a-year-Don't let me say, that I am ashamed for my Lord W.
I knew that you would despise me, Sir Charles. I know that I should despise myself, were I not to deal freely with your lordship in this respect. Indeed, my lord, you have not had so good reason (forgive me!) to think hardly of my father's spirit, as you had to correct your own. I cannot bear this, nephew. He looked displeased.
You must not be angry, my lord. I will not bear anger from any man breathing, and keep him company, who, consulting me, shall be displeased with me for speaking my mind with freedom and sincerity.
What a man am I talking to !-Well, rid me of this torment, you have spirit, nephew ; and nobody can reproach you with acting contrary to your own principles, and I will for ever love you. But talk to her: I hardly dare. She whimpers and sobs, and threatens, by turns, and I cannot bear it.—Once she was going to tie herself up-Would to God I had not prevented her! -And then (O my folly !) we went on again.
My good Dr Bartlett, I was ashamed of my uncle. But you see what an artful, as well as insolent, woman this is. What folly is there in wickedness! Folly encounters with folly, or how could it succeed so often as it does?-Yet my mother's brother to wish he had suffered a creature, with whom he had been familiar, to destroy herself!-I could hardly bear him. Only that I thought it would be serving both wretches, and giving both a chance for repentance; or I should not have kept my seat.-But we see in my mother, and in her brother, how habitual wickedness debases, and how habitual goodness exalts, the human mind. In their youth they were supposed nearer an equality in their understandings and attainments, than in their maturity, when occasion called out into action their respective talents. But, perhaps, the brother was not the better man for the uninterrupted prosperity that attended him, and for having never met with check or control; whereas the most happily married woman in the world must have a will to which she must sometimes resign her own. What a glory to a good woman must it be, who can not only resign her will, but make so happy an use of her resignation, as my mother did!
My lord repeated his request, that I would talk with the woman; and that directly.
I withdrew, and sent for her, accordingly. She came to me, out of breath with passion; and, as I thought, partly with apprehension for what her own behaviour might be before me.
I see, Mrs Giffard, said I, that you are in great emotion. I am desired to talk with you; a task
I am not very fond of: but you will find nothing but civility, such as is due to you, for your sex's sake, from me. Calm, therefore, your mind ; I will see you again, in a few moments.
I took a turn, and soon came back. Her face looked not quite so bloated; and she burst into tears. She began to make a merit of her services; her care; her honesty; and then inveighed against my lord for the narrowness of his spirit. She paid some compliments to me; and talked of being ashamed to appear before me as a guilty creature ; introductory to what she was prepared to say of her sacrifices, the loss of her good name, and the like; on which, with respect to my lord, and his ingratitude to her, as she called it, she laid great stress.
I am never displeased, my dear friend, with the testimony which the most profligate women bear to the honour of virtue, when they come to set a value upon their departure from it.
You have it not to say, Mrs Giffard, that my lord betrayed, seduced, or deceived you. I say not this so much for reproach, as for justicesake; and not to suffer you to deceive yourself; and to load him with greater faults than he has been guilty of. You were your own mistress; you had no father, mother, husband, to question you, or to be offended with you. You knew your duty. You were treated with as a sole and independent person. One hundred and fifty pounds a-year, Mrs Giffard, though a small price for the virtue of a good woman, which is, indeed, above all price, is, nevertheless, greatly above the price of common service. I never seek to palliate faults of a flagrant nature; though it is not my meaning to affront, a woman especially, and one who supposes herself in distress. You must know, madam, the frail tenure by which you were likely to hold: you stipulated, therefore, for a provision, accordingly. woman who never hoped to be a wife, can have no hardship, to take the stipulation, and once more give herself the opportunity to recover her lost fame. This independence, my lord is desirous to give you
What independence, sir?
Two hundred and fifty, sir, if you please—if my lord thinks fit to dismiss me.
My lord has told me, that that was indeed the stipulation; but he pleads misbeha
I was willing to make a little difficulty of the 100%. a-year, though I thought my lord ought not And as to misbehaviour, Dr Bartlett, I hardly know how to punish a woman for that, to her keeper. Does she not first misbehave to herself, and to the laws of God and man? And ought a man, that brings her to violate her first duties, to expect from her a regard to a mere discretionary obligation? I would have all these moralists, as they affect to call themselves, suffer by such libertine principles, as cannot be
pursued, but in violation of the very first laws of morality.
Misbehaviour! sir. He makes this plea to cover his own baseness of heart. I never misbehaved, as he calls it, till I saw
Well, madam, this may lead to a debate that can answer no end. I presume you are as willing to leave my lord, as he is to part with you. It must be a wretchedness beyond what I can well imagine, to live a life of guilt, (I must not palliate in this case,) and yet of hatred and animosity, with the person who is a partaker in that guilt.
I am put upon a very unequal task, sir, to talk with you on this subject. My lord will not refuse to see me, I hope. I know what to say
He has requested me to talk with madam. As I told you, I am not fond of the task. We have all our faults. God knows what he will pardon, and what he will punish. His pardon, however, in a great measure, depends upon yourself. You have health and time, to all appearance, before you: your future life may be a life of penitence. I am no divine, madam; I would not be thought to preach to you: but you have now a prospect opened of future happiness, through your mutual misunderstandings, that you never otherwise might have had. And let me make an observation to you; that where hatred or dislike have once taken place of liking, the first separation, in such a case as this, is always the best. Affection or esteem between man and woman, once forfeited, hardly ever is recovered. Tell me truth-Don't you as heartily dislike my lord, as he does you?
I do, sir-He is
I will not hear what he is, from the mouth of declared prejudice. He has his faults. One great fault is, that in which you have been joint partakers-But if you might, would you choose to live together to be torments to each other?
I can torment him more than he can meDiabolical temper!-Woman! (and I stood up, and looked sternly,) can you forget to whom you say this-and of whom?-Is not Lord W- my uncle?
This (as I intended it should) startled her. She asked my pardon.
What a fine hand, proceeded I, has a peer of the realm made of it! to have this said of him, and perhaps, had you been in his presence, to him, by a woman whose courage is founded in his weakness?-Let me tell you, madam
She held up her clasped hands-For God's sake forgive me, sir! and stand my friend.
A hundred and fifty pounds a-year, madam, is rich payment for any consideration that a woman could give, who has more spirit than virtuc. Had you kept that, madam, you would, though the daughter of cottagers, have been superior to the greatest man on earth, who wanted
to corrupt you. But thus far, and as a punishment to my lord for his wilful weakness, I will be your friend-Retire from my lord; you shall have 250l. a-year; and as you were not brought up to the expectation of one-half of the fortune, bestow the hundred a-year that was in debate, upon young creatures of your sex, as an encouragement to them to preserve that chastity, which you, with your eyes open, gave up; and with the rest live a life suitable to that disposition; and then, as my fellow-creature. I will wish you happy.
She begged leave to withdraw ; she could not, she said, stand in my presence.
I had, indeed, spoken with warmth. She withdrew trembling, curtseying, mortified; and I returned to my lord.
He was very earnest to hear my report. I again put it to him, whether he adhered to his resolution of parting with his woman? He declared in the affirmative, with greater earnestness than before; and begged to know, if I could manage it that she should go, and that without seeing him. I cannot bear to see her, said he.
Bravoes of the law, cowards and cullies to their paramours, are these keepers, generally. I have ever suspected the courage (to magnanimity they must be strangers) of men who can defy the laws of society. I pitied him ; and believing that it would not be difficult to manage this heroine, who had made her weak lord afraid of her, I said, Have you a mind, my lord, that she shall quit the house this night, and before I leave it? If you have, I think I can undertake that she shall.
And can you do this for me? If you can, you shall be my great Apollo. That will, indeed, make me happy; for the moment you are gone, she will force herself into my presence, and will throw the gout, perhaps, into my stomach. She reproaches me, as if she had been an innocent woman, and I the most ungrateful of men. For God's sake, nephew, release me from her, and I shall be happy. I would have left her behind me in the country, proceeded he; but she would come with me. She was afraid that I would appeal to you; she stands in awe of nobody else. You will be my guardian angel, if you will rid me of this plague.
Well, then, my lord, you will leave it to me to do the best I can with her; but it cannot be the best on your side, for your honour's sake, if we do her not that justice that the law would, or ought to do her. In a word, my lord, you must forgive me for saying, that you shall not resume that dignity to distress this woman, which you laid aside when you entered into treaty with her.
Well, well, I refer myself to your management; only this 100l. a-year-Once again, I say, it would hurt me to reward a woman for plaguing me; and 150l. a-year is two-thirds more
than ever she, or any of her family, were entitled to.
The worst and meanest are entitled to justice, my lord ; and I hope your lordship will not refuse to perform engagements that you entered into with your eyes open: you must not, if I take any concern in this affair.
Just then, the woman sent in to beg the favour of an audience, as she called it, of me.
She addressed me in terms above her education. There is something, said she, in your countenance, sir, so terrible, and yet so sweet, that one must fear your anger, and yet hope for your forgiveness, when one has offended. I was too free in speaking of my lord to his nephew And then she made a compliment to my character, and told me she would be determined by my pleasure, be it what it would.
How seldom are violent spirits true spirits! When overawed, how tame are they, generally, in their submission! Yet this woman was not without art in hers. She saw, that displeased as she apprehended I was with her, I had given her hopes of the payment of the hundred pounds a-year penalty; and this made her so acquiescent. I was indeed displeased with you, Mrs Giffard; and could not, from what you said, but conclude in your dis-favour, in justification of my lord's complaints against you.
Will you give me leave, sir, to lay before you the true state of everything between my lord and me?—Indeed, sir, you don't know
When two persons, who have lived in familiarity, differ, the fault is seldom wholly on one side; but thus far I judge between you, and desire not to hear particulars; the man who dispenses with a known duty, in such a case as this before us, must render himself despicable in the eyes of the very person whom he raises into consequence, by sinking his own. Chastity is the crown and glory of a woman. The most profligate of the men love modesty in the sex, at the very time they are forming plots to destroy it in a particular object. When a woman has submitted to put a price upon her honour, she must appear at times, despicable in the eyes even of her seducer; and when these two break out into animosity, ought either to wish to live with the other?
Indeed, indeed, sir, I am struck with remorse; I see my error. And she put her handkerchief to her eyes, and seemed to weep.
I proceeded. You, Mrs Giffard, doubted the continuance of my lord's passion; you made your terms, therefore, and proposed a penalty besides. My lord submitted to the terms, and by that means secured his right of dismissing you, at his pleasure; the only convenience that a man dishonouring himself, by despising marriage, can think he has. Between him and you, what remains to be said, (though you are both answerableat a tribunal higher than your own,) but that you should have been separated long ago? Yet
you would not consent to it; you would not leave him at liberty to assert the right he had reserved to himself. Strange weakness in him, that he would suffer that to depend upon you! -But one weakness is the parent of another. She then visibly wept.
You found out, that you could torment your lord in a higher degree, than he could torment you; and how, acting upon such principles, you have lived together for some time past, you have let every one see.
She, on her knees, besought my pardon for the freedom of that expression.-Not from motives of contrition, as I apprehend; but from those of policy.
She was strong enough to raise herself, without my assistance. She did, unbidden, on seeing me step backward a pace or two, to give her an opportunity to do so; and looked very silly; and the more, for having missed my assisting hand; by which I supposed, that she had usually better success with my lord, whenever she had prevailed on herself to kneel to him.
It is easy, my good Dr Bartlett, from small crevices, to discover day in an artful woman's heart. Nothing can be weaker, in the eye of an observer, who himself disdains artifice, than a woman who makes artifice her study. In a departure from honest nature, there will be such curvings, as that the eyes, the countenance, will generally betray the heart; and if she either breaks out into uncalled-for apologies, or affects undue reserve, she gives room to confirm the suspicion, that all is not right in her mind.
I excuse you, Mrs Giffard, said I; my lord has deservedly brought much of what has distressed him, upon himself; but now it is best for you to part. My lord chooses not to see you. I would advise you to remove this very afternoon.
What, sir, and not have my 250l. a-year! Will you leave the house this night, if I give you my word?
For the whole sum, sir-Two hundred and fifty pounds a-year, sir?
Yes, for the whole sum.
I will, sir, with all my heart and soul. Most of my things are in the country. My lord came up in a passion, to talk with you, sir. Two or three band-boxes are all I have here. Mr Halden (he is my lord's favourite) shall go down, and see I take nothing but my own-I will trust to your word of honour, sir-and leave, for ever, the most ungrateful
Hush, Mrs Giffard, these tears are tears of passion. There is not a female feature, at this instant, in your face-What a command of countenance! it cleared up in a moment. expected it from her]-A penitent spirit is an humble, a broken spirit; you shew, at present,no sign of it.
She dropt me a curtsey, with such an air, (though not designed, I believe,) as shewed that
the benefit she was to reap from the advice, would
You are to do with the whole annuity as you
The woman could too well bear this severity. Had a finger been sufficient to have made her feel, I would not have laid upon her the weight of my whole hand.
She assured me, that she would leave the house in two hours' time. I returned to my lord, and told him so.
He arose from his seat, embraced me, and called me his good angel. I advised him to give his orders to Halden, or to whom he thought fit, to do her and himself justice, as to what be longed to her in the country.
But the terms! the terms! cried my lord. If you have brought me off for 150%. I will adore you.
These are the terms: (you promised to leave them to me :) you pay no more than 150%. ayear for her life, till you assure me, upon your honour, that you cheerfully, and on mature consideration, make it up 2501.
How is that! how is that, nephew? Then I never shall pay more, depend upon it.
Nor will I ever ask you.
He rubbed his hands, forgetting the gout; but was remembered by the pain, and cried, Oh!
But how did you manage it, kinsman?—I never should have brought her to anything How did you manage it?
Your lordship does not repent her going? He swore, that it was the happiest event that could have befallen him. I hope, said he, she will go without wishing to see me Whether she would whine, or curse, it would be impossible for me to see her, and be myself.
I believe she will go without desiring to see you; perhaps while I am here.
Thank God! a fair riddance! Thank God! -But is it possible, kinsman, that you could bring me off for 150l. a-year? Tell me, truly. It is and I tell your lordship, that it shall cost you no more, till you shall know how to value the comfort and happiness of your future life at more than 100%. a-year: till then, the respect I pay to my mother's brother, and the regard I have for his honour, will make me cheerfully pay the 1007. a-year in dispute, out of my own pocket.
He looked around him, his head turning as if on a pivot; and, at last, bursting out into tears and speech together-And is it thus, is it thus,
you subdue me? is it thus you convince me of
re-enter, say not a syllable more on this subject;
with his lips. I withdrew it hastily, and retirHe caught my hand, and would have met it ed; leaving him to recollect himself.
paper, and held it there, and swore that I should When I returned, he thrust into my hand a take it. said he, that will reimburse you; if she dies If the wretch live ten years, nephew, sake, for the sake of your mother's memory, sooner, the difference is yours: and, for God's don't despise me; that is all the favour I ask of you: no man on earth was ever so nobly overcome. By all that's good, you shall chalk me for giving me such a kinsman! The name of out my path! Blessed be my sister's memory, Grandison, that I ever disliked till now, is the end of time! first of names: and may it be perpetuated to the
He held the paper in my hand till he had done speaking. I then opened it, and found it to be it; but he swore so vehemently, that he would a bank-note of 1000l. I was earnest to return clared, that I would pay the whole annuity, as have it so, that I, at last, acquiesced; but defar as the sum went; and this, as well in justice to him, as to save him the pain of attending to insisted upon giving him an acknowledgment an affair that must be grievous to him. And I under my hand, for that sum; and to be accountable to him for it, as his banker would, in the like case.
And thus ended this affair. The woman went away before me. She begged the favour, at the door, of one word with me. My lord started up, at her voice: his complexion varied: he whipt in his foot. I will not see her, said he. as nimbly behind the door, as if he had no gout me, and wept; yet, in the height of her concern, I stepped out. would have uttered bitter things against my lord; She complimented, thanked but I stopped her mouth, by telling her, that I a-year; and she turned her execrations against was to be her paymaster, quarterly, of the 2507. her lord, into blessings on me: but, after all, departed with reluctance.
Pride, and not tenderness, was visibly the ocnuity, I have no doubt but she would have gracasion. Could she have secured her whole an
tified that pride, by leaving her lord in triumph while she thought her departure would have given him regret: but to be dismissed, was a disgrace that affected her, and gave bitterness to her insolent spirit.
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR BARTLETT.
My lord, though he had acquitted himself the occasion, in such a manner as darted into my mind a little ray of my beloved mother's spirit, could not forbear giving way to his habitual littleness, when he was assured Giffard was out of the house. He called Halden to him, who entered with joy in his countenance, arising (as it came out) from the same occasion; and ordered him to make all his domestics happy on his deliverance, as he meanly called it: asking, if there were anybody in the house who loved her? Not a single soul, said Halden; and I am sure, that I may venture to congratulate your lordship in the names of all your servants: for she was proud, imperious, and indeed a tyranness, to all beneath
I then, for the first time, pitied the woman; and should have pitied her still more, (true as this might, in some measure, be,) had she not gone away so amply rewarded; for, in this little family I looked forward to the family of the state, the sovereign, and his ministers. How often has a minister, who has made a tyrannical use of power, (and even some who have not,) experienced, on his dismission, the like treatment, from those who, had they had his power, would perhaps have made as bad an use of it; who, in its plenitude, were fawning, creeping slaves, as these servants might be to this mistress of their lord! We read but of one grateful Cromwell, in all the superb train of Wolsey, when he had fallen into disgrace; and yet he had in it hundreds, some not ignobly born, and all of them less meanly descended than their magnificent
Halden addressed himself to me, as having been the means of making his lord and his whole household happy. Let the joy be moderate, Halden, said I: the poor woman might, possibly, have numbered among her well-wishers, (she could not have disobliged everybody,) some of those, who now will be most forward to load her with obloquy. You must not make her too considerable: it is best for my lord, as well as for those that loved her not, to forget there ever was such a woman; except to avoid her faults, and to imitate her in what was commendable. She boasts of her honesty and management: my lord charges her not with infidelity of any kind.
Halden bowed, and withdrew.
My lord swore by his soul, that I had not my good name for nothing. Blessed, said he, be the name of the Grandisons! This last plaudit gratified my pride; [I need not tell my Dr Bartlett, that I have pride; the more gratified it, as Lord W's animosity to my father made him not pleased with his name.
I did not think, when my lord began his story to me, that I should so soon have brought about a separation of guilt from guilt: but their mutual disgusts had prepared the way; resentment and pride, mingled with avarice on one side, and self-interestedness, founded (reasonably) on a stipulation made, and not complied with, on the other; were all that hindered it from taking place as from themselves. A mediator had nothing then to do, but to advise an act of justice, and so to gild it by a precedent of disinterestedness in himself, as should excite an emulation in a proud spirit, which, if not then, must, when passion had subsided, have arisen, to make all end as it ought.
When I found my lord's joy a little moderated, I drew my chair near him. Well, my lord, and now as to your hints of marriage
Blessed God!-Why, nephew, you overturn me with your generosity. Are you not my next of kin? And can you give your consent, were I to ask it, that I should marry?
I give you not only my consent, as you condescendingly phrase it, but my advice, to marry. Good God! I could not, in the like thus. But, nephew, I am not a young man. The more need of a prudent, a discreet, a tender assistant. Your lordship hinted, that you liked not men-servants about your person, in your illness. You are often indisposed with the gout: servants will not always be servants when they find themselves of use. Infirmity requires indulgence: in the very nature of the word and thing, indulgence cannot exist with servility; between man and wife it may: the same interest unites them. Mutual confidence! who can enough value the joy, the tranquillity at least, that results from mutual confidence? A man gives his own consequence to the woman he marries; and he sees himself respected in the respect paid her: she extends his dignity, and confirms it. There is such a tenderness, such an helpfulness, such a sympathy in suffering, in a good woman, that I am always for excusing men in years, who marry prudently; while I censure, for the same reason, women in years. Male nurses are unnatural creatures! [There is not such a character that can be respectable.] Women's sphere is the house, and their shining-place the sick chamber, in which they can exert all their amiable, and, shall I say, lenient qualities? Marry, my lord, by all means. You are not much more than fifty; but were you seventy, and so often indisposed; so wealthy; no children to repine at a mother-in-law, and to ren