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me Miss Byron is in a declining way-Dr Bartlett-Pray
Indeed, sir, Miss Byron is not well-Lady Ghas mingled her fears with her love, in the description. Miss Byron cannot but be lovely: her complexion is still fine. She is cheerful, serene, resigned
Resigned, Dr Bartlett!-Miss Byron is a saint. She cannot but be resigned, in the solemn sense of the word-Resignation implies hopelessness. If she is so ill, would not you, my dear Dr Bartlett, have informed me of it-Or was it from tenderness-You must be kind in all you do. I did not apprehend, said Lady L, that Miss Byron was so very much indisposed. Did you, my lord? (to Lord L- -) Upon my word, Doctor, sister, it was unkind, if so, that you made me not acquainted
And then her good-natured eye dropt a tear of love for her Harriet.
I was sorry this went so far. My brother was very uneasy. So was Mr Beauchamp, for him, and for you, my dear.
That she is, and endeavours to be, so cheerful, said Beauchamp, shews, that nothing lies upon her mind-My father's illness can only more affect me, than Miss Byron's.
Emily wept for her Miss Byron. She has always been afraid that her illness would be at tended with ill consequences.
My dear love, my Harriet, you must be well! See how everybody loves you. I told my brother, that I expected a letter from Northamptonshire by the next post; and I would inform him truly of the state of your health, from the contents of it.
I would not for the world have you think, my Harriet, that I meant to excite my brother's attention to you, by what I said. Your honour is the honour of the sex. For are you not one of the most delicate-minded, as well as frankest, of it? It is no news to say, that my brother dearly loves you. I did not want to know his solicitude for your health. Where he once loves, he always loves. Did you not observe, that I supposed it a natural decline? God grant that it may not be so. And thus am I imprudently discouraging you, in mentioning my apprehensions of your ill health, in order to shew my regard for your punctilio: But you shall, you will, be well; and the wife of-the best of men-God grant it may be so !-But, however that is to be, we have all laid our heads together, and are determined, for your delicacy-sake, to let this matter take its course: since, after an opening so undesignedly warm, you might otherwise imagine our solicitude in the affair capable of being thought too urgent. I tell you, my dear, that, worthy as Sir Charles Grandison is of a princess, he shall not call you by his name, but with all his soul.
As my brother laid it out to us this evening, I find we shall lose him for some days. The
gamesters whom Mr Grandison permitted to ruin him, are at Winchester; dividing, I suppose, and rejoicing over, their spoils of the last season. Whether my brother intends to see them or not, I cannot tell. He expects not to do anything with them. They, no doubt, will shew the foolish fellow, that they can keep what he could not: And Sir Charles aims only at practicable and legal, not at romantic redresses.
Sir Charles intends to pay his respects to Lord and Lady W————, at Windsor ; and to the Earl of G, and Lady Gertrude, who are at their Berkshire seat. My honest lord has obtained my leave, at the first asking, to attend him thither.-My brother will wait on Sir Harry and Lady Beauchamp, in his way to Lady Mansfield's.-Beauchamp will accompany him thi ther. Poor Grandison, as humble as a mouse, though my brother does all he can to raise him, desires to be in his train, as he calls it, all the way; and never to be from under his wing. My brother intends to make a short visit to Grandison-Hall, when he is so near as at Lady Mansfield's: Dr Bartlett will accompany him thither, as all the way; and hopes he will approve of everything he has done there, and in that neighbourhood, in his absence. The good man has promised to write to me. Emily is sometimes to be with me, sometimes with Aunt Eleanor, at the Ancient's request; though Lord and Lady L- mutter at it. My brother's trusty Saunders is to be left behind, in order to dispatch to his master, by man and horse, any letters that may come from abroad; and I have promised to send him an account of the healths, and so forth, of our Northamptonshire friends. I think it would be a right thing in him to take a turn to Selby-House. I hope you think so too. Don't fib, Harriet.
Adieu, my dear. For God's sake be well! prays your sister, your friend, and the friend of all your friends, ever affectionate and obliged, CHARLOTTE G
MISS HARRIET BYRON TO LADY G
Thursday, Sept. 7. I WILL write to your letter as it lies before
I do most heartily congratulate you, my dear Lady G, on the arrival of your brother. I do not wonder that his fatigues, and his disappointment, have made an alteration in his person and countenance. Sir Charles Grandison would not be the man he is, if he had not sensibility.
You could not know your brother, my dear, if you expected from him recriminations on your past odd behaviour to Lord G――. I hope he
does not yet know a tenth part of it: But if he did, as he hoped you saw your error, and would be good for the future, he was right surely to forget what you ought not, but with contrition, to remember. You are very naughty in the let ter before me; and I love you too well to spare
What can you mean, my dear, by exulting so much over your aunt, for living, to an advanced age, a single woman? However ineffectual, let me add to my former expostulatory chidings on this subject: Would you have one think you are overjoyed, that you have so soon put it out of any one's power to reproach you on the like account? If so, you ought to be more thankful than you seem to be, to Lord G, who has extended his generosity to you, and kept you from the odium. Upon my word, my dear Lady G, I think it looks like a want of decency in women, to cast reflections on others of their sex, possibly for their prudence and virtue. Do you consider, how you exalt, by your ludicrous freedoms, the men whom sometimes you affect to despise. No wonder if they ridicule old maids. It is their interest to do so. Lords of the Creation, sometimes you deridingly call the insulters; lords of the creation indeed you make them! -And pray, do you think, that the same weakness which made your Aunt Grandison tell her dreams, in the joy of her heart, as an old maid, might not have made her guilty of the same foible, had she been an old wife? Joy is the parent of many a silly thing. Don't you own, that the arrival of your brother, which made your aunt break out into dream-telling, made you break into laughter, (even in a letter,) of which you were ashamed to tell the cause?Wives, my dear, should not fall into the mistakes, for which they would make maids the subject of their ridicule. You know better; and therefore should be above joining the foolish multitude, in a general cry to hunt down an unfortunate class of people (as you reckon them) of your own sex. Your Aunt Grandison's dreams, let me add, were more innocent, than your waking mirth-You must excuse me-I could say a great deal more upon the subject; but if I have not said enough to make you sorry for your fault, a great deal more would be ineffectualSo much, therefore, for this subject.
Poor dear Emily!-I wonder not at the effect the arrival, and first sight of her guardian, had upon her tender heart."
But how wickedly do you treat your lord !— Fie upon you, Charlotte!-And fie upon you again, for writing what I cannot, for your credit sake, read out to my friends. I wish, my dear, I could bring you to think, that there cannot be wit without justice; nor humour with out decorum. My lord has some few foibles: But shall a wife be the first to discover them, and expose him for them? Cannot you cure him of them, without treating him with a ridi
cule which borders upon contempt?-O my dear! you shew us much greater foibles in yourself than my lord ever yet had, when you make so bad an use of talents that were given you for better purposes. One word only more on this subject-You cannot make me smile, my dear, when you are thus unseasonable in your mirth. Henceforth, then, remember, that your excursiveness (allow me the word, I had a rasher in my head) upon old maids, and your lord, can only please yourself; and I will not accept of your compliment. Why? Because I will not be a partaker in your fault; as I should be, if I could countenance your levity. Levity, Harriet!
Yes, levity, Charlotte-I will not spare you. Whom do you spare?
But do you really think me so ill as you represented me to be, to your brother? I do not think I am. If I did, I am sure I should endeavour to put my thoughts into an absolutely new train: Nor would I quit the hold which at proper times I do let go, to re-enter the world, as an individual, who imagines herself of some little use in it; and who is therefore obliged to perform, with cheerfulness, her allotted offices, however generally insignificant I may comparatively be.
You say, you had no thoughts of exciting your brother's attention, by your strong colouring, when you described the effects of my indisposition to him. Attention!-Compassion, you might as well have said-I hope not. And I am obliged to Mr Beauchamp for his inference, from my cheerfulness, that nothing lay upon my mind. Now, though that inference seemed to imply, that he thought, if he had not made the observation, something might have been supposed to lie upon my mind, I am much better satisfied that he made it, than if Sir Charles had.
Upon the whole, I cannot but be pleased at two things in your letter: The one, that Sir Charles expressed so great a concern for my health: The other, that you have all promised, and that voluntarily, and from a sense of the fitness of the measure, that everything shall be left to its natural course-For my sake, and for goodness sake, pray let it be so. I think the opening, as you call it, was much, very much, too warm. Bless me, my dear, how I trembled as I read that part!-I am not, methinks, quite satisfied with it, though I am with your inten
Consider, my dear, half a heart!—A preferred lady!-For quality, fortune, and every merit, so greatly preferable !-O my Charlotte! I cannot, were the best to happen that can, take such exceeding great joy, as I once could have done, in the prospect of that best-I have pride -But let us hear what the next letters from Italy say; and it will be then time enough (if the truly admirable lady shall adhere to her resolution) to come with iny scruples and draw
backs. Your Aunt Grandison is of opinion, that she will not adhere. Who can tell what to say? Imagination, unnaturally heightened, may change into one altitude from another. I myself sincerely think (and have so often said it, that an uncharitable mind would perhaps charge me with affectation) that Lady Clementina, and no other woman, can deserve Sir Charles Grandison.
Adieu, my dear. Pray tell your brother, that I never thought myself so ill as your friendly love made you apprehend me to be: and that I congratulate you with all my heart, and him also, (it would be an affectation to forbear it, which would imply too much,) on his safe arrival in England. But be sure remember, that I look upon you and your lord, upon my Lord and Lady L- and upon my sweet Emily, if she sees what I write, as guardians of the honour (of the punctilio, if you please, since no dis-honour can be apprehended from Sir Charles Grandison) of your and their
Sir Charles would not go out of town, till he had made a visit to Mr and Mrs Reeves, and inquired after Miss Byron's health, of which he received an account less alarming, than we, from our love and our fears, had given him.
We arrived at Windsor on Wednesday evening. My Lord and Lady W— expected him not till the next day.
I cannot find words to express the joy with which they received him. My lord acknowledged, before us all, that he owed it to God, and to him, that he was the happiest man in the world. My lady called herself, with tears of joy, a happy woman: And Sir Charles told me, that when he was led by her to her closet, to talk about the affairs of her family, she exceedingly abashed him, by expressing her gratitude to him for his goodness to them all, on her knees; while he was almost ready, on his, he said, to acknowledge the aunt, that had done so much honour to his recommendation, and made his uncle so happy.
Sir Charles, in order to have leave to depart next morning, as soon as he had breakfasted, promised to pass several days with them, when he could think himself a settled Englishman.
You, madam, and Lady L, equally love and admire Lady W- I will not, therefore,
enlarge to you on her excellencies. Everybody loves her. Her servants, as they attend, look at their lady, with the same delight, mingled with reverence, as those of my patron look upon him. Poor Mr Grandison could not help taking notice to me, with tears, on the joint acknowledg ments of my lord and lady made to my patron, that goodness and beneficence brought with them their own rewards. Saw you not, my good Dr Bartlett, said he, how my cousin's eyes shone with modest joy, as my lord and lady ran over with their gratitude? I thought of him, as an angel among men-What a wretch have I been! How can I sit at table with him! Yet how he overwhelms me with his goodness!
Sir Charles having heard, that Sir Hargrave Pollexfen was at his house on the forest, he rode to make him a visit, though some few miles out of his way. I attended him.
Sir Hargrave is one of the most miserable of men. He is not yet fully recovered of the bruises and rough treatment he met with near Paris: and he is so extremely sunk in his spirits, that my patron could not but be concerned for him. He received him with grateful acknowledg ments, and was thankful for his visit: but he told him, that he was so miserable in himself, that he could hardly thank him for saving a life so wretched.
Mr Merceda, it seems, died about a fortnight
The poor man was thought to be pretty well recovered; and rode out several times: but was taken, on his return from one of his rides, with a vomiting of blood; the consequence, as imagined, of some inward bruises; and died miserably. His death, and the manner of it, have greatly affected Sir Hargrave.-And poor Ba genhall, Sir Charles, said he, is as miserable a dog as I am!
Sir Hargrave, understanding, as he said, that I was a parson, begged me to give him one prayer
He was so importunate, and for Sir Charles to join in it, that we both kneeled with him. Sir Hargrave wept. He called himself a hardened dog.
Strange man!-But I think I was still more affected (Sir Hargrave shocked me!) by your noble brother's humanity, than by Sir Hargrave's wretchedness; tears of compassion for the poor man stealing down his manly cheek— God comfort you, Sir Hargrave! said he, wringing his hands-Dr Bartlett is a good man. You shall have the prayers of us both.
He left him. He could stay no longer; followed by the unhappy man's blessings, interrupted by violent sobbings.
We were both so affected, that we broke not silence, as we rode, till we joined our company at my lord's.
I recounted what passed at this interview to
Mr Grandison. Your ladyship will not want me to be very particular in relating what were his applications to, and reflections on, himself, when I tell you, that he could not have been more concerned, had he been present on the occasion.
Mr Beauchamp was with us when I gave this relation to Mr Grandison. He was affected at it, and with Mr Grandison's sensibility: But how happy for himself was it, that his concern had in it no mixture of self-reproach! It was a generous and humane concern, like that of his dear friend.
Sir Charles's next visit was to the good Earl of G. And here we left my Lord G-; the best-natured, and one of the most virtuous and prudent young noblemen in the kingdom. Your ladyship will not accuse me of flattery, when you read this; but you will, perhaps, of another view-Yet, as long as I know that you love to have justice done to my lord; and in your heart are sensible of the truth of what I say, and I am sure rejoice in it; I give cheerful way to the justice; and the rather, as you look upon my lord as so much yourself, that if you receive his praises with some little reluctance, it is with such a modest reluctance as you would receive your own; glad, at the same time, that you were so justly complimented.
My lord will acquaint your ladyship with all that passed at the good Earl's; and how much . overjoyed he and Lady Gertrude were at the favour they thought your brother did them in dining with them. His lordship will tell you also, how much they wish for you; for they propose to winter there, and not in Hertfordshire, as once they thought to do.
Here Sir Charles inquired after their neighbour, Mr Bagenhall.
He is become a very melancholy man. His wife is as obliging as he will let her be; but he hates her; and the less wonder, for he hates himself.
Poor woman! she could not expect a better fate. To yield up her chastity; to be forced upon him afterwards, by way of doing her poor justice; what affiance can he have in her virtue, were she to meet with a trial?
But that is not all; for though nobody questions her fidelity, yet what weight with him can her arguments have, were she to endeavour to enforce upon his mind those doctrines, which, were they to have proceeded from a pure heart, might, now and then, have let in a ray of light on his benighted soul? A gloomy mind must occasionally receive great consolation from the interposal and soothing of a companionable love, when we know it comes from an untainted heart!
Poor Mr Grandison found in this case also great room for self-application and regret, without my being so officious as to remind him of
the similitude; though the woman who is endeavoured to be imposed on him for a wife, is a more guilty creature than ever Mrs Bagenhall
And here, madam, allow me to observe, that there is such a sameness in the lives, the actions, the pursuits of libertines, and such a likeness in the accidents, punishments, and occasions for remorse, which attend them, that I wonder they will not be warned by the beacons that are lighted up by every brother libertine whom they know; and that they will so generally be driven on the same rock, overspread and surrounded as it is, in their very sight, by a thousand wrecks!-Did such know your brother, and learn, from his example and history, what a variety there is in goodness, as he passes on from object to object, exercising, not officiously, but as opportunity offers, his noble talents to the benefit of his fellow-creatures, surely they would, like honest Mr Sylvester, the attorney, endeavour to give themselves solid joy, by following what that gentleman justly called so self-rewarding an example.
Forgive me, madam, if sometimes I am ready to preach: it is my province. Who but your brother can make every province his, and accommodate himself to every subject?
We reached Sir Harry Beauchamp's that night; and there took up our lodgings.
Sir Harry seems to be in a swift decay; and he is very sensible of it. He rejoiced to see your brother. I was afraid, Sir Charles Grandison, said he, that our next meeting would have been in another world. May it be in the same world, and I shall be happy!
This was a wish, a thought, not to be discouraged in a dying man. Sir Charles was affected with it. You know, madam, that your brother has a heart the most tender, and, at the same time, the most intrepid, of human hearts. I have learned much from him. He preaches by action. Till I knew him, young man as he then was, and still is, my preaching was by words: I was contented, that my actions disgraced not my words.
Lady Beauchamp, as my patron afterwards told me, confessed, in tears, that she should owe to him all the tranquillity of mind which she can hope for, if she survive Sir Harry. O sir, said she, till I knew you, I was a narrow, selfish creature. I was jealous of a father's love to a worthy son; whose worthiness I knew not, as a son, and as a friend: that was the happiest day of our Beauchamp's life, which introduced him to an intimacy with you.
Here, on Friday morning, we left Mr Beauchamp, sorrowing for his father's illness, and endeavouring, by every tender act of duty, to comfort his mother-in-law on a deprivation,
with which, I am afraid, she will soon be tried.
My Beauchamp loves you, Sir Charles, said Sir Harry, at parting in the morning after breakfast; and so he ought. Wherever you are, he wants to be; but spare him to his mother and me for a few days: he is her comforter, and mine. Fain, very fain, would I have longer rejoiced, if God had seen fit, in the love of both. But I resign to the Divine will. Pray for me: You also, Dr Bartlett, pray for me. My son tells me what a good man you are-And may we meet in heaven! I am afraid, Sir Charles, that I never shall see you again in this worldBut why should I oppress your noble heart? God be your Guide and Protector! Take care of your precious health. You have a great deal to do, before you finish your glorious course, and come to this last period of human vanity.
My patron was both grieved and rejoicedRejoiced to see Sir Harry in a frame of mind so different from that to which he had been a witness in Sir Hargrave Pollexfen; and grieved to find him past all hopes of recovery.
Sir Charles pursued his journey, cross the country, to Lady Mansfield's. We found no convenient place for dining, and arrived at Mansfield-House about five on Friday afternoon.
My Lady Mansfield, her daughter and sons, were overjoyed to see my patron. Mr Grandison told me, that he never, from infancy till this time, shed so many tears as he has shed on this short tour, sometimes from joy, sometimes from grief. I don't know, madam, whether one should wish him re-established in his fortune, if it could be done; since calamity, rightly supported, is a blessing.
Here I left my patron, and proceeded on Saturday morning with Mr Grandison to the Hall. If Sir Charles finds matters ripened for a treaty between the Mansfields and their adversaries, as he has been put in hopes, he will go near to stay at Mansfield-House, and only visit us at the Hall incognito, to avoid neighbourly congratulations, till he can bring things to bear.
Mr Grandison just now told me, that Sir Charles, before he left town, gave him a 4001. bank note, to enable him to pay off his debts to tradesmen; of which, at his desire, he had given him in a list; amounting to 3607.
He owes, he says, 1007. more to the widow of a wine-merchant; but being resolved to pay it the moment money comes into his hands, he would not acquaint Sir Charles with it. I have the honour to be
SIR CHARLES GRANDISON TO DR BARTLETT.
Mansfield-House, Thursday, Sept. 14. You will be so good, my dear friend, as to let my neighbours, particularly the gentlemen you mention, know, that the only reason I forbear paying my compliments to them, now I am so near, is, because I cannot as yet enjoy their company with that freedom and ease which I hope in a little while to do. Tell them, that I purpose, after some particular affairs are determined, (which will for a little while longer engross me,) to devote the greatest part of my time to my native place; and that then I will endeavour to make myself as good a neighbour, and as social a friend, as they can wish me to be.
On Sunday I had a visit from the two Hartleys.
They gave me very satisfactory proofs of what they were able, as well as willing to do in support of the right of the Mansfields to the estate of which they have been despoiled; and shewed me a paper, which nobody thought was in being, of the utmost consequence in the cause.
On Monday, by appointment, I attended Sir John Lambton. Two lawyers of the Keelings were with him. They gave in their demands. I had mine ready; but theirs were so extravagant, that I would not produce them: but, taking Sir John aside, I love not, said I, to affront men of a profession; but I am convinced that we never shall come to an understanding, if we consider ourselves as lawyers and clients. I am no lawyer, but I know the strength of my friends' cause, and will risk half my estate upon the justice of it. The Mansfields will commission me, if the Keelings will you, and we perhaps may do something. If not, let the law take its course. I am now come to reside in England. I will do nothing for myself, till I have done what can be done to make all my friends easy.
Sir John owned, that he thought the Mansfields had hardships done them. Mr Keeling, senior, he said, had heard of the paper in the Hartleys' hands; and, praising his honesty, told me, in confidence, that he had declared, that if such a paper could have been produced in time, he would not have prosecuted the suit which he had carried. But Sir John said, that the younger Keeling was a furious young man, and would oppose a compromise on the terms he supposed the Mansfields would expect to be complied with. But what are your proposals, sir?
These, Sir John: the law is expensive; delays may be meditated; appeals may be brought, if we gain our point.-What I think it may cost us to establish the right of the injured, which ecnnot be a small sum, that will I prevail upon the Mansfields to give up to the Keelings. I will