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favour at their expense, if I adopted his sentiments: I therefore declined giving my opinion. But being willing to keep Emily in countenance, who sat suspended in her judgment, as one who feared she had done a wrong thing, I said it was a very natural paragraph, I thought, from Miss Jervois's pen, as it was written: I dared to say, rather in apprehension of hard treatment, from what she remembered of the last, than in a spirit of recrimination or resentment.
The good girl declared, it was. Both ladies, and my lord, said, I had distinguished well: but Sir Charles, though he said no more upon the subject, looked upon each sister with meaning; which I wondered they did not observe. Dr. Bartlett was withdrawn, or I believe he would have had the honesty to speak out, which I had not: but the point was a point of delicacy and generosity; and I thought I should not seem to imagine, that I understood it better than they: nor did I think, that Sir Charles would have acquiesced with their opinion.
Miss Jervois retired, to transcribe her letter. We all separated to dress; and I, having soon made an alteration in mine, dropt in upon Dr. Bartlett in his closet.
I am stealing from this good man a little improvement in my geography; I am delighted with my tutor, and he professes to be pleased with his scholar; but sometimes more interesting articles slide in : but now he had just begun to talk of Miss Jervois, as if he would have led, I thought, to the proposal hinted at by Miss Grandison, from the letter she had so clandestinely seen, of my taking her under my care, when Sir Charles entered the doctor's apartment. He would have withdrawn, when he saw me; but the doctor, rising from his chair, besought him to oblige us with his company. .
I was silly: I did not expect to be caught there. But why was I silly on being found with Dr. Bartlett ?-But let me tell you, that I thought Sir Charles himself, at first addressing me, seemed a little unprepared. You invited me in, doctor: here I am. But if you were upon a subject that
you do not pursue, I shall look upon myself as an intruder, and will withdraw.
We had concluded one subject, sir, and were beginning another-I had just mentioned Miss Jervois.
Is not Emily a good child, Miss Byron ? said Sir Charles. Indeed, sir, she is.
We then had some general talk of the unhappy situation she is in from such a mother; and I thought some hints would have been given of his desire that she should accompany me down to Northamptonshire; and my heart throbbed, to think how it would be brought in, and how I should behave upon it: and the more, as I was not to be supposed to have so much as heard of such a designed proposal. What would it have done, had I been prevailed upon to read the letter? But not one word passed, leading to that subject.
I now begin to fear, that he has changed his mind, if that was his mind. Methinks I am more fond of having the good girl with us, than I imagined it was possible I ever could have been. What a different appearance have things to us, when they are out of our power, to what they had when we believed they were in it!
But I see not, that there is the least likelihood that any thing, on which you had all set your hearts, can happen-I can't help it.
Emily, flattering girl! told me, she saw great signs of attachment to me in his eyes and behaviour; but I see no grounds for such a surmise: his affections are certainly engaged. God bless him, whatever his engagements are !
- When he was absent, encouraged by his sisters and Lord L-, I thought pretty well of myself; but, now he is present, I see so many excellencies shining out in his mind, in his air and address, that my humility gets the better of
Ambition ! did I say? Yes, ambition, Lucy. Is it not the nature of the passion we are so foolishly apt to call noble, to exalt the object, and to lower, if not to debase one's self?_You see how Lord W- depreciates me on the score of fortune. [I was loath to take notice of that before, because I knew, that were slenderness of fortune the only difficulty, the partiality of all my friends for their Harriet would put them upon making efforts that I would sooner die than suffer to be made. This, Lucy, observe, is between hooks.]
I forget the manner in which Lord W-'s objection was permitted to go off-But, I remember, Sir Charles made no attempt to answer it: and yet he tells my lord, that fortune is not a principal article with him; and that he has an ample estate of his own. No question but a 'man's duties will rise with his opportunities. A man, therefore, may be as good with a less estate, as with a larger: and is not goodness the essential part of happiness ? Be our station what it will, have we any concern but humbly to acquiesce in it, and fulfil the duties belonging to that station ?
But who, for selfish considerations, can wish to circumscribe the power of this good man? The greater opportunities he has of doing good, the higher must be his enjoyment.--No, Lucy, do not let us flatter ourselves.
Sir Charles rejoices on Sir Hargrave's having just now, by letter, suspended the appointment till next week, of his dining with him at his house on the forest.
MISS BYRON-IN CONTINUATION.
I left Sir Charles with Dr. Bartlett. They would both have engaged me to stay longer; but I thought the ladies would miss me, and think it particular to find me with him in the doctor's closet.
My lord and the two sisters were together in the drawing. room adjoining to the library. On my entrance, Well, Harriet, said Miss Grandison, we will now endeavour to find out my brother: you must be present too yourself, and put in a word now and then. We shall see if Dr. Bartlett is right, when he says,
brother is the most unreserved of men.
Just then came in Dr. Bartlett-I think, doctor, said Lady L-, we will take your advice, and ask my brother all the questions in relation to his engagements abroad, that come into our heads.
She had not done speaking, when Sir Charles entered, and drew his chair next me; and just then I thought myself he looked upon me with equal benignity and respect.
Miss Grandison began with taking notice of the letter from which Dr. Bartlett, she said, had read some passages, of the happiness he had procured to Lord W—- in ridding him of his woman. She wished, she told him, that she knew who was the lady he had in his thoughts to commend to my lord for a wife.
I will have a little talk with her before I name her, even to you, my lord, and my sisters. I am sure my sisters will approve of their aunt, if she accept of my lord for a husband : I shall pay my compliments to her in my return from Grandison-hall.-Do you, Charlotte, choose to accompany me thither? I must, I think, be present at the opening of the church. I don't ask you, my lord, nor you, Lady L-- so short as my stay will be there. I purpose to go down on Friday next, and return the Tuesday following.
Miss GR. I think, brother, I should wish to be excused. If, indeed, you would stay there a week or fortnight, I could like to attend you; and so, I dare say, would Lord and Lady L
Sir Ch. I must be in town on Wednesday next week; but you may stay the time you mention: you cannot pass it disagreeably in the neighbourhood of the Hall; and there you will find your cousin Grandison: he will gallant you from one neighbour to another; and, if I judge by your freedoms with him, you have a greater regard for him, than perhaps you know you have.
Miss GR. Your servant, sir, bowing-But I will take my revenge-Pray, Sir Charles, may I ask-(we are all brothers and sisters)
SIR CH. Stop, Charlotte : [pleasantly:) if you are going to ask any questions by way of revenge, I answer them not.
Miss Gr. Revenge!-Not revenge, neither--But when my Lord W-, as by the passages Dr. Bartlett was so good as to read to us, proposed to you this lady for a wife, and that lady; your answers gave us apprehension that you are not inclined to marry-
LADY L. You are very unceremonious, Charlotte