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early. You are glad of that, madam, I am
Indeed, Sir Rowland, I shall always respect and value you; and I hope I shall have your good wishes, sir—
Yes, yes, madam, you need not doubt it. And I will humble all the proud women in Wales, by telling them of Miss Byron.
You tell me, my Lucy, that you were all moved at one of the conversations I gave you between the Knight, Mr Fowler, and myself.
Were I to be as particular in my account of what passed on Sir Rowland's taking leave of me, as I was on that other occasion, and were you to judge by the effect his honest tenderness had on me, as I craved his blessing, and as he blessed me, (the big tears unheeded by himself, straying down his reverend cheeks,) I think you would have been in like manner affected.
Mr Fowler is to go down after him-If-if -if, said the Knight, looking fervently in my face
I should be glad, I said, to see, and to wish my brother a good journey.
Tuesday morning early I had a kind inquiry after my rest from Miss Grandison, in her brother's name, as well as in her own. And about eleven o'clock came the dear lady herself. She would run up stairs to me, following Sally-in her dressing-room, say you?-She shall not come down.
She entered with the maid-Writing, my dear! said she. I one day hope, my Harriet, you will shew me all you write-There, there, (sitting down by me,) no bustle. And how does my fair friend?-Well-I see very well-To a lover-or of a lover-that's the same thing.
Thus, sweetly familiar, ran she on.
Mrs Reeves entered; excuse me, madam, said Miss Grandison; this is but one of my flying visits, as I call them; my next shall be to you. But perhaps I may not make it in form neither; we are relations, you know. How does Mr Reeves? He is a good man. At home?
He is, madam, and will be rejoiced
I know he will-Why, madam, this our Byron, our Harriet, I should say, looks charmingly! -You had best lock her up. There are many more Sir Hargraves in the world, than there are Miss Byrons.
She told me, that Sir Charles had set out that morning early for Canterbury. He will be absent two or three days, said she. He charged me with his compliments. He did nothing but talk of his new-found sister, from the time he parted with you. I shall promote your interest with him, in order to strengthen my own. I want to find him out.
Some love-engagements, I suppose, madam? said Mrs Reeves-It is impossible but the ladies
The ladies! Ay, that's the thing! The deuce
is in them! They will not stay to be asked. These men, the best of them, love nothing but what is attended with difficulty. But all his love-matters he keeps to himself; yet knows all mine-Except one little entanglement—Mr Reeves hears not what we say, (looking about her ;) but you, my dear, shall reveal to me your sneaking passion, if you have one, and I will discover mine-But not to you, Mrs Reeves. No married women shall I trust with what lies in the innermost fold of my heart. Your husbands are always the wiser for what you know; though they can keep their own counsel; and then, Harriet, Satan-like, the ungenerous wretches, becoming both tempters and accusers, laugh at us, and make it wonderful for a woman to keep a secret.
The ladies will not stay to be asked, Lucy!— An odd hint!-These men, the best of them, love nothing but what comes to them with difficulty.— He keeps all his love-matters to himself.-ALL! my Lucy!-But, indeed, she had said before, that if Sir Charles married, half-a-dozen hearts would be broken!
This is nothing to me, indeed. But, once more, I wonder why a man of a turn so laudable, should have any secrets? The more a good man permits any one to know of his heart, the more good he might do, by way of example.— And has he, can he have, so many love-secrets, and yet will he not let them transpire to such a sister?-whom (and so she once hinted) it imported to know something of them. But he knows best. I am very impertinent to be more concerned for his sister, than she is for herself. But I do love her. And one can no more bear to have those slighted whom we love, than one's self.
It is very difficult, Lucy, to know one's self. I am afraid I have a little spice of censoriousness in my temper, which I knew nothing of till now; but, no, it is not censoriousness neither; I cannot be so mean as to be censorious; and yet I can now, methinks, (for the first time,) a little account for those dark spirits who may be too much obliged: and who, despairing to be able ever to return the obligation, are ready to quarrel with the obliger.
Spiteful inen say, that we women know not ourselves; know not our own hearts. I believe there is something of truth in the aspersion; but as men and women are brothers and sisters, as I may say, are not the men equally censurable? and should not we women say so, were we to be as spiteful as they? Must it needs be, that a daughter of the same father and mother must be more silly, more unsteady, more absurd, more impertinent, than her brother? I hope not.
Mrs Reeves, not knowing, as she said afterwards, but Miss Grandison might have something to say to me, withdrew.
I believe I told you last Sunday, said Miss Grandison, of a cousin that we have; a goodnatured young fellow; he supped with us last night. Sir Charles was so full of your praises, yet not letting him into your history, that he is half wild to see you.
God forbid, thought I, when she had gone only thus far, that this cousin should be proposed!—What an easy thing is it, my Lucy, to alarm a woman on the side of her vanity!
He breakfasted with me this morning, continued she, after Sir Charles had set out; and knowing that I intended to make you a flying visit, he besought me to take him with me; but I would not, my dear, bring an inundation of new admirers upon you; he has a great acquaintance; and is very bold, though not indecent; he is thought to be a modern wit, you must know; and, to speak after an admirable writer, a minute philosopher; and thinks he has something to say for himself when his cousin is not present. Before Sir Charles arrived, and when we were in expectation of his coming, being apprized that Sir Charles had a serious turn, he threatened to play upon him, and as he phrased it, to bamboozle him; for these wits and witlings have a language peculiar to themselves. But on Sir Charles's arrival, in two conversations, he drew in his horns, as we say; and now reverences those good qualities which he has not, however, the grace to imitate. Now, I will not answer, but you may have a visit from him, to see the loveliest woman in England. If he comes, see him, or not, as you please; and think not yourself under any civil obligation to my brother, or me, to go out of your own way; but I hope he will not be so impertinent. I don't wish you to see him out of my brother's company; because you will see him then to his own advantage. And yet he has such a notion that we women love to be admired and to have handsome things said to us, that he imagines the visit of a man, made for that purpose, will give him as free a welcome to the finest woman in the world, as painters give to those who come to see their pictures, and for the like reason. But no more of Mr Grandison. Yet I thought proper to prepare you, if he should take so confident a liberty.
I thanked her.
Well but, my dear, you seem to have a long parcel of writing before you; one, two, three, four-eight leaves-Upon my word!-But Mr Reeves told me you are a writer; and that you gave an account of all that befel you, to our grandmother Shirley, to our uncle and aunt Selby, to our cousins' Lucy and Nancy-You see I remember every name; and will you one day let me see what you write?
Most willingly, madam
With all my heart, my ever-amiable, my ever-kind Charlotte.
So, so- -Well may the men say, we love flattery, when, rather than want it, we will flatter one another.
I was going to disclaim flattery; hush, hush, hush, my dear! I doubt not your sincerity. You are a grateful and good girl; but dare you, will you, shew me all and everything about that Greville, that Orme, that Fowler, that Fenwick?-You see, I forget none of the names that your cousin Reeves told me of on Saturday last, and which I made you talk of last Sunday.
All and everything, Miss Grandison; but will you tell me of your gentleman?
Will I! No doubt of it. How can young women be together one quarter of an hour, and not lead one another into talk of their lovers? Lord, my dear, those secrets, Sir Charles once said, are the cement of young women's friendships.
And could Sir Charles
Could Sir Charles!-Yes, yes, yes. think a man can be a judge of human nature, and leave women out of the question? Why, my dear, he finds us out in a minute. Take care of yourself, Harriet-If
I shall be afraid of him
What, if you have a good conscience, my dear?
She then looked very archly. She made me blush.
She looked more, archly. I blushed, I believe, a deeper dye.
Did I not tell you, Lucy, that she could do what she pleased with her eyes?-But what did she mean by this?
In my conscience, my Harriet, little or much, I believe we women are all rogues in our hearts.
And does Miss Grandison say that from her own conscience?
I believe I do; but I must fly; I have ten more visits to pay before I go home to dress. You will tell me all about your fellows, you say?
And you will tell me about your entanglement, as you called it.
Why, that's a difficulty upon me; but you must encourage me by your freedom, and we will take up our wretches, and lay them down again, one by one, as we run them over, and bid them lie still and be quiet till we recal them to
But I have not one lover, my Charlotte, to tell you of; I always gave them their dismission
And I have but two, that at present I care to own; and they won't be dismissed; but then I
Madam! interrupted she. So formal! Char- have half-a-dozen, I believe, that have said exlotte say.
travagant things to me; and we must look upon
She arose to go in a hurry. Abate, my dear Charlotte, of half your other visits, and favour me with your company a little longer.
Give me some chocolate, then; and let me see your cousins Reeves; I like them. Of the ten visits, six of the ladies will be gone to sales or to plague tradesmen, and buy nothing; anywhere rather than at home; the devil's at home, is a phrase; and our modern ladies live as if they thought so. Two of the other four called upon me, and hardly alighted; I shall do so by them. The other two I shall have paid my compliments to in one quarter of an hour.
I rang for chocolate; and to beg my cousins' company.
They wanted but the word; in they came. My apartment (which she was pleased to admire,) then became the subject of a few moments' conversation; and then a much better took place: Sir Charles, I mean.
I asked, if her brother had any relations at Canterbury?
I protest I don't know, said she; but this I know, that I have none there. Did I not hint to you, that Sir Charles has his secrets ?-But he sometimes loves to play with my curiosity; he knows I have a reasonable quantity of that. Were I his sister
Then you must do as he would have you, Harriet. I know him to be steady in his purposes; but he is, besides, so good, that I give up anything to oblige him
Your entanglement, Charlotte? asked I, smiling. Mr Reeves knows nothing from that word.
Why, yes, my entanglement; and yet I hate to think of it; so no more of that. It is the only secret I have kept from him; and that is, because he has no suspicion of the matter; if he had, though my life were to be the forfeit, I believe he would have it.
She told us, that she expected us soon to dine with her in St James's Square; but that she must fix Sir Charles. I hope, said she, you will often drop in upon me; as I will upon you. From this time, we will have nothing but conversation-visits between us; and we will leave the modern world to themselves; and be Queen
Elizabeth's women. I am sorry to tell you-Let me whisper it
And she did; but loud enough for every one to hear; Although I follow the fashion, and make one fool the more for it, I despise above one-half of the women I know.
Miss Grandison, affectedly whispered I again, should not do so; because her example is of weight enough to mend them.
I'll be hanged if Miss Byron thinks so, rewhispered she. The age is too far gone. Nothing but a national calamity can do it. But let me tell you, that, at the same time, I despise more than one-half of the men.-But, speaking out, you and I will try to think ourselves wiser than anybody else; and we shall have this comfort, we shall not easily find any of our sex, who by their superior wisdom, will give us reason to think ourselves mistaken.
But, adieu, adieu, and adieu, my agreeable friends; let me see you, and you, and you, turning to each of the three, as often as is convenient, without ceremony; and remember we have been acquainted these hundred years.
Away she hurried, forbidding me to go out of my apartment. Mrs Reeves could not overtake her. Mr Reeves had much ado to be in time to make his compliments. She was in her chariot before he could offer his hand.
How pretty it was, my Lucy, in Miss Grandison to remember the names of all my dear friends! She told me, indeed, on Sunday, that she should.
If travelling into foreign countries gives ease and politeness, would not one think that Miss Grandison has visited every European court, as well as her brother? If she has not, was it necessary for Sir Charles to go abroad to acquire that freedom and ease which his sister has so happily attained without stirring out of the kingdom?
These men had not best despise us, Lucy. There is not, I hope, so much difference in the genius of the two sexes, as the proud ones among theirs are apt to imagine; especially when you draw comparisons from equal degrees in both.
O Mr Walden, take care of yourself, if ever again you and I meet at Lady Betty's!-But this abominable Sir Hargrave! Not one word more of meeting at Lady Betty's! There saw I first the wretch that still, on recollection, strikes terror into my heart!
Wednesday, a visit from Miss Clements and Lady Betty, took me off my writing about two hours; yet I over-writ myself, and was obliged to lie down for about two more. At night we had Sir John Allestree, and his nephew, and Miss Allestree, and Miss Clements, and Lady Betty, at supper, and cards. But, my stomach paining me, about eleven I was permitted to retire to bed.
On Thursday, I finished my letters, relating my distresses, and deliverance. It was a dreadful subject. I rejoiced when I had concluded The same day Mr Reeves received Sir Charles's letter, enclosing that of the wretched Wilson. I have often heard my grandfather observe, that men of truly great and brave spirits are most tender and merciful; and that, on the contrary, men of base and low minds are cruel, tyrannical, insolent, wherever they have power. What this short letter, so full of lenity, of mercy, of generous and humane care for the future good of a criminal, and extended to unborn families, as well as to all his acquaintance and friends in being, enables one to judge of the truly heroic Sir Charles Grandison; and what I have experienced of the low, grovelling, unmanly insults of Sir Hargrave Pollexfen, (I, a poor, defenceless, silly girl, tricked into his power,) are flagrant proofs of the justice of the observation. I wish, with all my heart, that the best woman in the world were queen of a great nation; and that it were in my power, for the sake of enlarging Sir Charles's ability to do good, to make him her consort; then am I morally sure, that I should be the humble means of making a whole people happy!
But as we had all been informed from other hands of Sir Hargrave's threatenings of Sir Charles's life, Wilson's postscript has fastened a weight on my heart, that will not be removed till the danger is overblown.
This day I had Miss Grandison's compliments, with tender inquiries, brought me; and a desire, that as she supposed my first visit would be one of thankful duty, meaning to church, (for so I had told her it should,) my next might be to her.
Yesterday I received the welcome packet from so many kind friends; and I prosecuted with the more vigour, for it, my writing-task. How easily do we glide into subjects that please us!-How swiftly flies the pen!-The characters of Sir Charles and of Miss Grandison were the subjects; and I was amazed to find how much I had written in so short a time.
Miss Grandison sent me in the evening of this day her compliments, joined with those of her brother, who was but just returned from Canterbury.
I wonder what Sir Charles could do at Canterbury so many days, and to have nobody there whom his sister knows.
She would have made me a visit, she sent me word; but that as she expected her brother in the morning, she had intended to have brought him with her. She added, that this morning (Saturday) they should both set out for Colnebrook, in hopes of the Earl and Countess of Larriving there as this night from Scot
Do you think, Lucy, it would not have been generous in Sir Charles to have made one visit, before he set out for so many days to that Canterbury, to the creature on whom he had laid such an obligation? I can only mean as to the civility of the thing, you must think; since he was so good as to join in, nay, to propose, the farther intimacy, as a brother, and friend, and so forth-I wish that Sir Charles be as sincere in his professions as his sister. He may in his travels (possibly he may) have mistaken some gay weeds for fine flowers, and picked them up, and brought them with him to England; and yet if he has done so, he will even then be superior to thousands, who travel, and bring home nothing but the weeds of foreign climates.
He once said, as Miss Grandison told me, that the Countess of L is still a more excellent woman than my Charlotte. Ah! Sir Charles! you can tell fibs, I believe. I will not forgive in you those slighter deviations, which we are apt to pass by in other, even tolerable, men.
I wish you may be in earnest, my good sir, in proposing to cultivate an intimate friendship with me, as that of a brother to a sister, [shake your head, my Lucy, if you will, I mean no more, that I may be entitled to tell you your faults, as I see them. In your sister Harriet you shall find, though a respectful, yet an openeyed monitor. Our Charlotte thinks you cannot be wrong in anything.
All I fear is, that Sir Charles's tenderness was designed to be excited only while my spirits were weak. Yet he bespoke a brotherly relation to me, before Mr Reeves, when he brought me home, and supposed me stolen from his family in my infancy. That was going farther than was necessary, if he thought to drop the fraternal character soon.
But might not my own behaviour alarm him? The kind, the considerate man, is perhaps compassionate in his intention. Not distinguishing aright my bashful gratitude, and down-cast eye, he might be afraid, lest I should add one to the half-score that his sister says will die if he marry.
If this be so, what, my dear, will your Harriet deserve, if his caution does not teach her some?
After all, I believe, these men in general think our hearts are made of strange combustible materials. A spark struck, a match thrown in-But the best of men, this admirable man, will, I hope, find himself mistaken, if he thinks so of your Harriet.
What ails me, that I am grown such a boaster! Surely, this horrid attempt of Sir Hargrave has not affected my brain. Methinks I am not, somehow or other, as I used to be in my head, or heart, I know not which.
Do you, Lucy, bring me back again, by your reminding love, if you think there is any altera
tion in your Harriet, for the worse; and the rather, as it may prevent my uncle
But what makes me so much more afraid of my uncle, than I used to be?-Yet men, in their raillery, [don't, however, read this paragraph to him, are so-I don't know how-so un-tender-But let me fall into the hands of my indulgent grandmamma, and aunt Selby, and into your gentle hands, and all will be as it should be.
But what was my subject, before this last seized, and ran away with, my pen? I did not use to wander thus, when I had a beaten path before me. O this vile, vile Sir Hargrave! If I have a fault in my head, that did not use to be there, it is entirely owing to him. I am sure my heart is not wrong.
But I can write nothing now but of Miss Grandison and her brother. What entirely new scenes are opened to me by my distress!-May I have cause, as Sir Charles wished, to reap good from evil!
I will endeavour to bring Miss Clements into an acquaintance with these worthies; that is to say, if I have myself the interest to preserve my footing in their favour.
Lady Betty resolves to recommend herself. She will be acquainted with them, she says, whether they will or not. And yet I could not bear for Lady Betty that she should be slighted by those whom she dotes upon. That, surely, is one of the heaviest of evils. And yet selflove, where it is evidently inherent, will enable one to get over it, I believe, pretty soon; though nothing but that and pride can, in such. Of some use, therefore, you'll be apt to say, are pride and self-love. Why, yes, and so they are, where they are a part of a person's habit. But, O my Lucy! will not a native humility render this pride, whose genuine offspring are resentment and ill-will, absolutely unnecessary, and procure for us, unmingled with mortification, the esteem we wish for in the hearts of the worthy? As to the rest of my new acquaintance in town, who, till I knew this admirable sister and brother, took up so much of my paper, though some of them are doubtless very worthy; adieu -That is to say, as chosen subjects-Adieu!
MISS BYRON TO MISS SELBY.
Saturday Night. LORD have mercy upon me, my dear!-What shall I do?-The vile Sir Hargrave has sent a challenge to Sir Charles!-What may be the event!-0 that I had not come to London!
You might easily believe, that the affair betwixt Sir Hargrave Pollexfen and Sir Charles Grandison could not, after so violent an insult as the former received from the latter, end without consequences.
By all that's sacred, Sir Hargrave knows not that I write.
There is but one way that I can think of to prevent bloodshed; and that, madam, seems to be in your own power.
Sir Hargrave insists upon it, that he meant you nothing but honour. You know the use or abuse of the power he had obtained over you. If he behaved with indecency, he tells me not the truth.
To make a young lady, whatever were her merit, the wife of a man of near 10,000l. ayear, and who has declared herself absolutely disengaged in her affections, was not doing dishonour to her, so much as to himself, in the violent measures his love obliged him to take to make her so.
Now, madam, as Sir Charles Grandison was utterly a stranger to you; as Sir Hargrave intended so honourably by you; and as you are not engaged in your affections; if you will consent to be Lady Pollexfen; and if Sir Charles Grandison will ask pardon for his unprovoked knight-errantry; I will not be Sir Hargrave's second in the affair, if he refuse to accept of such satisfaction in full for the violence he sustained.
I solemnly repeat, that Sir Hargrave knows nothing of my writing to you. You may (but I insist upon it, as in confidence to everybody else) consult your cousin Reeves on the subject. Your honour given, that you will in a month's time be Sir Hargrave's, will make me exert all my power with him (and I have reason to think that is not small) to induce him to compromise
on those terms.