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must go down by degrees, sister. A month, at least, is necessary, to bring my features to such a placidness with him, as to allow him to smile in my face.
Your brother has hinted, Charlotte, said I, that he loves you for your vivacity; and should still more, if you consulted time and occasion.
He has withdrawn, sister, said Lord L-, with a resolution, if you deny him, to urge you no farther.
I hate his peremptoriness.
Has he not told you, Charlotte, said I, and that in a manner so serious, as to affect everybody, that there is a kind of necessity for it?
I don't love this Clementina, Harriet; all this is owing to her.
Just then a rapping at the door signified visitors; and Emily ran in-Lord G, the Earl, and Lady Gertrude, believe me!
Miss Grandison changed colour. A contrivance of my brother's !-Ah, Lord! Now shall I be beset! I will be sullen, that I may not be saucy.
Sullen you can't be, Charlotte, said Lady L-; but saucy you can. Remember, however, my brother's earnestness, and spare Lord G before his father and aunt, or you will give me, and everybody, pain.
How can I? Our last quarrel is not made up; but advise him not to be either impertinent or
Immediately entered Sir Charles, introducing the Earl and Lady Gertrude. After the first compliments, Pray, Sir Charles, said Miss Grandison, drawing him aside, towards me, and whispering, tell me truly: Did not you know of this visit?
I invited them, Charlotte, whispered he. I meant not, however, to surprise you. If you comply, you will give me great pleasure: If you do not, I will not be dis-pleased with my sister.
What can I do? Either be less good to me, sir, or less hurrying.
You have sacrificed enough to female punctilio, Charlotte. Lord G- has been a zealous courtier. You have no doubt of the ardour of his passion, nor of your own power. Leave the day to me. Let it be Tuesday next.
Good Heaven! I can't bear you, after such a-and she gasped, as if for breath; and he turning from her to me, she went to Lady Gertrude, who, rising, took her hand, and withdrew with her into the next room.
They staid out till they were told dinner was served; and when they returned, I thought I never saw Miss Grandison look so lovely. A charming flush had overspread her cheeks; a sweet consciousness in her eyes gave a female grace to her whole aspect, and softened, as I may say, the natural majesty of her fine fea
Lord G looked delighted, as if his heart were filled with happy presages. The Earl seemed no less pleased.
Miss Grandison was unusually thoughtful all dinner-time. She gave me great joy to see her so, in the hope, that when the lover becomes the husband, the over-lively mistress will be sunk in the obliging wife-And yet, now and then, as the joy in my lord's heart overflowed at his lips, I could observe that archness rising to her eye, that makes one both love and fear her.
After dinner, the Earl of G and Lady Gertrude desired a conference with Sir Charles and Lady L. They were not long absent, when Sir Charles came in, and carried out Miss Grandison to them. Lord G's complexion varied often.
Sir Charles left them together, and joined us. We were standing; and he singled me out—I hope, madam, said he, that Charlotte may be prevailed upon for Tuesday next: But I will not urge it farther.
I thought he was framing himself to say something particular to me, when Lady L came in, and desired him and me to step to her sister, who had retired from the Earl and Lady Gertrude by consent.
Ah, my Harriet! said she, pity me, my dear! -Debasement is the child of pride!-Then turning to Sir Charles, I acknowledge myself overcome, said she, by your earnestness, as you are so soon to leave us, and by the importunities of the Earl of G, Lady Gertrude, and my sister-unprepared in mind, in clothes, I am resolved to oblige the best of brothers. Do you, sir, dispose of me as you think fit.
My sister consents, sir, said Lady L next Tuesday.
Cheerfully, I hope. If Charlotte balances whether, if she took more time, she should have Lord G at all, let her take it. Lord L, in my absence, will be to her all that I wish to be, when she shall determine.
I balance not, sir; but I thought to have had a month's time, at least, to look about me; and having treated Lord G- too flippantly, to give him by degrees some fairer prospects of happiness with me, than hitherto he has had.
Sir Charles embraced her. She was all his sister, he said. Let the alteration now begin. Lord G would rejoice in it, and consider all that had passed, as trials only of his love for her. The obliging wife would banish from his remembrance the petulant mistress. And now allow me, my dear sister, to present you to the Earl and Lady Gertrude.
He led her in to them. Lady L-took my hand, and led me in also.-Charlotte, my lord, yields to your and Lady Gertrude's importunities. Next Tuesday will give the two families a near and tender relation to each other.
The Earl saluted her in a very affectionate manner; so did Lady Gertrude; who afterwards ran out for her nephew; and, leading him in, presented him to Miss Grandison.
She had just time to whisper me, as he approached her; Ah, Harriet! now comes the worst part of the show.-He kneeled on one knee, kissed her hand; but was too much overjoyed to speak; for Lady Gertrude had told him, as she led him in, that Tuesday was to be his happy day.
It is impossible, Lucy, but Sir Charles Grandison must carry every point he sets his heart upon. When he shall appear before the family of Porretta in Italy, who will be able to withstand him?-Is not his consequence doubled, more than doubled, since he was with them? The man whose absence they wished for, they now invite to come among them. They have tried every experiment to restore their Clementina. He has a noble estate now in possession. The fame of his goodness is gone out to distant countries. O my dear! all opposition must fly before him. And if it be the will of Heaven to restore Clementina, all her friends must concur in giving her to him upon the terms he has proposed; and from which, having himself proposed them, Sir Charles Grandison cannot recede. His heart, it is evident, is at Bologna. Well, and so it ought to be. And yet I could not forbear being sensibly touched by the following words, which I overheard him say to Lord L-, in answer to something my lord said to
"I am impatient to be abroad. Had I not waited for Mr Lowther, the last letters I received from Italy should have been answered in person."
But as honour, compassion, love, friendship, (still nobler than love!) have demands upon him, let him obey the call. He has set me high in his esteem. Let me be worthy of his friendship. Pangs I shall occasionally feel; but who, that values one person above the rest of the world, does not?
Sir Charles, as we sat at tea, mentioned his cousin Grandison to Lord L- : It is strange, my lord, said he, that we hear nothing of our cousin Everard, since he was seen at White's. But whenever he emerges, Charlotte, if I am absent, receive him without reproaches; yet I should be glad that he could have rejoiced with us. Must I leave England, and not see him?
It has been, it seems, the way of this unhappy man, to shut himself up with some woman in private lodgings, for fear his cousin should find him out; and in two or three months, when he has been tired of his wicked companion, emerge, as Sir Charles called it, to notice,
and then seek for his cousin's favour and company, and live for as many more months in a state of contrition. And Sir Charles, in his great charity, believes, that, till some new temptation arises, he is in earnest in his penitence; and hopes, that in time he will see his errors.
O, Lucy! What a poor, creeping, mean wretch, is a libertine, when one looks down upon him, and up to such a glorious creature as Sir Charles Grandison !
Sir Charles was led to talk of his engagement for to-morrow, on the triple marriage in the Danby family. We all gave him joy of the happy success that had rewarded his beneficent spirit, with regard to that family. He gave us the characters of the three couples greatly to their advantage, and praised the families on both sides, which were to be so closely united on the morrow; not forgetting to mention kindly honest Mr Silvester the attorney.
He told us that he should set out on Friday early for Windsor, in order to attend Lord W- in his first visit to Mansfield-House. You, Lady L, will have the trouble given you, said he, of causing to be new-set the jewels of the late Lady W, for a present to the future bride. My lord shewed them to me (among a great number of other valuable trinkets of his late wife's) in my last return from the Hall. They are rich, and will do credit to his quality. You, my Lord L—, you, my sisters, will be charmed with your new aunt, and her whole family. I have joy on the happiness in prospect that will gild the latter days of my mother's brother; and at the same time be a means of freeing from oppression an ancient and worthy family.
Tears were in every eye. There now, thought I, sits this princely man, rejoicing every one that sees him, and hears him speak: But where will he be nine days hence? And whose this day twelvemonth?
He talked with particular pleasure of the expected arrival of his Beauchamp. He pleased himself, that he should leave behind him a man who would delight everybody, and supply to his friends his absence.-What a character did he give, and Dr Bartlett confirm, of that amiable friend of his !
How did the Earl and Lady Gertrude dwell upon all he said! They prided themselves on the relation they were likely so soon to stand in to so valuable a man.
In your last letter, you tell me, Lucy, that Mr Greville has the confidence to throw out menaces against this excellent man-Sorry wretch! -How my heart rises against him !-He-But no more of such an earth-born creature.
Thursday Morning, April 6. MISS GRANDISON, accompanied by Miss Jervois, has just left us. Lady L-has undertaken, she says, to set all hands at work, to have things in tolerable order, early as the day is, for Tuesday next. Miss Grandison (would you believe it?) owns, that she wants spirits to order anything. What must be the solemnity of that circumstance, when near, that shall make Charlotte Grandison want spirits?
She withdrew with me to my apartment. She threw herself into a chair: 'Tis a folly to deny it, Harriet, but I am very low, and very silly: I don't like next Tuesday by any means.
Is your objection only to the day, my dear? I do not like the man.
Is there any man whom you like better? I can't say that neither. But this brother of mine makes me think contemptibly of all other men. I would compound for a man but half so good-Tender, kind, humane, polite, and even cheerful in affliction !-O Harriet! where is there such another man?
Nowhere. But you don't by marriage lose, on the contrary, you farther engage and secure, the affection of this brother. You will have a good-natured, worthy man for your husband, a man who loves you; and you will have your brother besides.
Do you think I can be happy with Lord G—?
I am sure you may, if it be not your own fault.
That's the thing: I may, perhaps, bear with the man; but I cannot honour him.
Then don't vow to honour him. Don't meet him at the altar.
Yet I must. But I believe I think too much : and consideration is no friend to wedlock.Would to Heaven that the same hour that my hand and Lord G's were joined, yours and my brother's were also united!
Ah, Miss Grandison! if you love me, try to wean me; and not to encourage hopes of what never, never can be.
Dear creature! You will be greater than Clementina, and that is greater than the greatest, if you can conquer a passion, which overturned her reason.
Do not, my Charlotte, make comparisons, in which the conscience of your Harriet tells her she must be a sufferer. There is no occasion for me to despise myself, in order to hold myself inferior to Clementina.
Well, you are a noble creature!-But, the
approaching Tuesday-I cannot bear to think of it.
And dear Harriet too!-But the officiousness, the assiduities of this trifling man, are disgustful to me.
You don't hate him?
Hate him-True--I don't hate him-But I have been so much accustomed to treat him like a fool, that I can't help thinking him one. He should not have been so tame to such a spirit as mine. He should have been angry when I played upon him. I have got a knack of it, and shall never leave it off, that's certain.
Then I hope he will be angry with you. I hope that he will resent your ill treatment of him.
Too late, too late to begin, Harriet. I won't take it of him now. He has never let me see that his face can become two sorts of features. The poor man can look sorrowful; that I know full well: but I shall always laugh when he attempts to look angry.
You know better, Charlotte. You may give him so much cause for anger, that you may make it habitual to him, and then would be glad to see him pleased. Men have a hundred ways, that women have not, to divert themselves abroad, when they cannot be happy at home. This I have heard observed by
By your grandmother, Harriet? Good old lady! In her reign it might be so; but you will find that women now have as many ways to divert themselves abroad as the men. Have you not observed this yourself in one of your letters to Lucy? Ah, my dear! we can every hour in the twenty-four be up with our monarchs, if they are undutiful.
But Charlotte Grandison will not, cannot
Why, that's true, my dear-But I shall not then be a Grandison. Yet the man will have some security from my brother's goodness. He is not only good himself, but he makes every one related to him, either for fear or shame, good likewise. But I think that when one week or fortnight is happily over, and my spirits are got up again from the depression into which this abominable hurry puts them, I could fall upon some inventions that would make every one laugh, except the person who might take it into his head that he may be a sufferer by them: and who can laugh and be angry in the same moment?
You should not marry, Charlotte, till this wicked vein of humour and raillery is stopt.
I hope it will hold me till fifty.
Don't say so, Charlotte-Say rather that you hope it will hold you so long only as it may be thought innocent and inoffensive, by the man whom it will be your duty to oblige; and so long as it will bring no discredit to yourself.
Your servant, Goody Gravity!-But what must be, must. The man is bound to see it. It
will be all his own seeking. He will sin with his eyes open. I think he has seen enough of me to take warning. All that I am concerned about, is for the next week or fortnight. He will be king all that time.-Yet, perhaps, not quite all neither. And I shall be his sovereign ever after, or I am mistaken. What a deuce, shall a woman marry a man of talents not superior to her own, and forget to reward herself for her condescension?-But, heigh-ho!-There's a sigh, Harriet. Were I at home, I would either sing you a song, or play you a tune, in order to raise my own heart.
She besought me then, with great earnestness, to give her my company till the day arrived, and on the day. You see, said she, that my brother has engagements till Monday. Dear creature! support, comfort me-Don't you see my heart beat through my stays?-If you love me, come to me to-morrow to breakfast; and leave me not for the whole time-Are you not my sister, and the friend of my heart? I will give you a month for it, upon demand. Come, let us go down; I will ask the consent of both your cousins. She did and they, with their usual goodness to me, cheerfully complied.
Sir Charles set out this morning to attend the triple marriages; dressed charmingly, his sister says. I have made Miss Grandison promise to give me an account of such particulars, as, by the help of Saunders and Sir Charles's own relation, she can pick up. All we single girls, believe, are pretty attentive to such subjects as these; as what one day may be our own con
MISS GRANDISON TO MISS BYRON.
Thursday Night. UNREASONABLE, wicked, cruel Byron! To expect a poor creature, so near her execution, to write an account of other people's behaviour in the same tremendous circumstances! The matrimonial noose has hung over my head for some time past; and now it is actually fitted to my devoted neck.-Almost choaked, my dear!This moment done hearing read, the firsts, seconds, thirds, fourths, to near a dozen of them -Lord be merciful to us!-And the villainous lawyer rearing up to me his spectacled nose, as if to see how I bore it! Lord G insulting me, as I thought, by his odious leers: Lady Gertrude simpering; little Emily ready to bless herself-How will the dear Harriet bear these abominable recitatives?-But I am now up stairs from them all, in order to recover my breath, and obey my Byron.
Well, but what am I now to say about the Danbys? Saunders has made his report; Sir
Charles has told us some things: yet I will only give you heads: make out the rest.
In the first place, my brother went to Mrs Harrington's, Miss Danby's aunt:) she did everything but worship him. She had with her two young ladies, relations of her late husband, dainty damsels of the city, who had procured themselves to be invited, that they might see the man whom they called, A wonder of generosity and goodness. Richard heard one of them say to the other, Ah, sister, this is a king of a man! What pity there are not many such! But, Harriet, if there were a hundred of them, we would not let one of them go into the city for a wife; would we, my dear?
Sir Charles praised Miss Danby. She was full of gratitude; and of humility, I suppose. Meek, modest, and humble, are qualities of which men are mighty fond in women. But matrimony, and a sense of obligation, are equally great humblers, even of spirits prouder than that of Miss Danby; as your poor Charlotte can testify.
The young gentlemen, with the rest, were to meet Sir Charles, the bride, and these ladies, at St Helen's, I think the church is called.
As if wedlock were an honour, the Danby girl, in respect to Sir Charles, was to be first yoked. He gave her away to the son Galliard. The father Galliard gave his daughter to Edward Danby: but first Mr Hervey gave his niece to the elder.
One of the brides, I forget which, fainted away; another half fainted-Saved by timely salts: the third, poor soul, wept heartily—as I suppose I shall do on Tuesday.
Never, surely, was there such a matrimony promoter as my brother. God give me soon my revenge upon him in the same way!
The procession afterwards was triumphantSix coaches, four silly souls in each: and to Mr Pousin's, at Enfield, they all drove. There they found another large company.
My brother was all cheerfulness; and both men and women seemed to contend for his notice but they were much disappointed at finding he meant to leave them early in the evening.
One married lady, the wife of Sir body, (I am very bad at remembering the names of city knights,) was resolved, she said, since they could not have Sir Charles to open the ball, to have one dance before dinner with the handsomest man in England. The music was accordingly called in; and he made no scruple to oblige the company on a day so happy.
Do you know, Harriet, that Sir Charles is supposed to be one of the finest dancers in England? Remember, my dear, that on Tuesday[Lord help me! I shall then be stupid, and remember nothing-you take him out yourself: and then you will judge for yourself of his ex
cellence in this science-May we not call dancing a science? If we judge by the few, who perform gracefully in it, I am sure we may ; and a difficult one too.
Oh! And remember, Harriet, that you get somebody to call upon him to sing-You shall play-I believe I shall forget, in that only agreeable moment of the day, (for you have a sweet finger, my love,) that I am the principal fool in the play of the evening.
O Harriet !-how can I, in the circumstances I am in, write any more about the soft souls, and silly? Come to me by day-dawn, and leave me not till-I don't know when. Come, and take my part, my dear: I shall hate this man: he does nothing but hop, skip, and dance about me, grin, and make mouths; and everybody upholds him in it.
Must this (I hope not!) be the last time that I write myself to you,
MISS BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
St James's Square, Friday Morning, April 7. SIR CHARLES GRANDISON set out early this morning for Lord W's, in his way to Lady Mansfield's. I am here with this whimsical Charlotte.
Lady L, Miss Jervois, myself, and every female of the family, or who do business for both sisters out of it, are busy, in some way or other, preparatory to the approaching Tuesday. Miss Grandison is the only idle person. I tell her, she is affectedly so.
The Earl has presented her, in his son's name, with some very rich trinkets. Very valuable jewels are also bespoke by Lord G—, who takes Lady L- s advice in everything; as one well read in the fashions. New equipages are bespoke; and gay ones they will be.
Miss Grandison confounded me this morning by an instance of her generosity. She was extremely urgent with me to accept, as her third sister, of her share of her mother's jewels. You may believe that I absolutely refused such a present. I was angry with her; and told her, she had but one way of making it up with me; and that was, that since she would be so completely set out from her lord, she would unite the two halves, by presenting hers to Lady L——, who had refused jewels from her lord on her marriage; and who then would make an appearance, occasionally, as brilliant as her own.
She was pleased with the hint; and has actually given them (unknown to anybody but me) to her jeweller; who is to dispose them in such figures, as shall answer those she herself is to have, which Lady L has not. And by
this contrivance, which will make them in a manner useless to herself, she thinks she shall oblige her sister, however reluctant, to accept of them.
Lady Gertrude is also preparing some fine presents for her niece elect: but neither the delighted approbation of the family she is entering into, nor the satisfaction expressed by her own friends, give the perverse Charlotte any visible joy, nor procure for Lord G― the distinction which she ought to think of beginning to pay him. But, for his part, never was man so happy. He would, however, perhaps fare better from her, if he could be more moderate in the outward expression of his joy; which she has taken it into her head to call an insult upon her.
She does not, however, give the scope she did before the day was fixed, to her playful captiousness. She is not quite so arch as she was. Thoughtfulness, and a seeming carelessness of what we are all employed in, appear in her countenance. She saunters about, and affects to be diverted by her harpsichord only. What a whimsical thing is Charlotte Grandison! But still she keeps Lord G at distance. I told her, an hour ago, that she knows not how to condescend to him with that grace which is so natural to her in her whole behaviour to everybody else.
I have been talking to Dr Bartlett, about Sir Charles's journey to Italy. Nobody knows, he says, what a bleeding heart is covered by a countenance so benign and cheerful. Sir Charles Grandison, said he, has a prudence beyond that of most young men ; but he has great sensibi
I take it for granted, sir, said I, that he will for the future be more an Italian than an Englishman.
Impossible, madam! A prudent youth, by travelling, reaps this advantage-From what he sees of other countries, he learns to prefer his own. An imprudent one the contrary. Sir Charles's country is endeared to him by his long absence from it. Italy, in particular, is called the garden of Europe; but it is rather to be valued for what it was, and might be, than what it is. I need not tell a lady, who has read and conversed as you have done, to what that incomparable difference is owing. Sir Charles Grandison is greatly sensible of it. He loves his country with the judgment of a wise man; and wants not the partiality of a patriot.
But, Doctor, he has offered, you know, to reside There I stopt.
True, madam-And he will not recede from his offers, if they are claimed. But this uncertainty it is that disturbs him.
I pity my patron, proceeded he. I have often told you he is not happy. What has indiscretion to expect, when discretion has so much to suffer? His only consolation is, that he has nothing to reproach himself with. Inevitable evils he bears as a man should. He makes no osten