صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

late, was so narrow hearted—but that I have said before, twenty times.

I have written-how many sheets of paper-a monstrous letter-Packet, rather. I will begin a new one, with what shall offer this day. Adieu, till by and by, my Lucy.

LETTER XIX.

MISS BYRON.-IN CONTINUATION.

Friday, March 24. The conference, the impatiently expected conference, my Lucy, is over : and what is the result ?-Take the account of it, as it was brought on, proceeded with, and concluded. Miss Grandison and her lovers were not our only subjects. I will soon be with you, my dear.—But I'll try to be as minute as I used to be, notwithstanding.

Notwithstanding what ?—
You shall hear, Lucy.

Sir Charles gave us his company at breakfast. He entered with a kind of benign solemnity in his countenance; but the benignity increased, and the solemnity went off, after a little while.

My lord said, he was very sorry that he had met with any thing to disturb him, in the letters that were brought him yesterday. Emily joined by her eyes, though not in speech, her concern with his lordship's: Miss Grandison was sedately serious: Lady -- had expectation in her fine face: and Dr. Bartlett sat like a man that was deter

[blocks in formation]

mined to be silent. I had apprehension, and hope, I suppose, struggling in mine, as I knew not whether to wish for the expected conference, or not.

Let us think of nothing, my lord, in this company, said he, but what is agreeable.

He inquired kindly of my health, and last night's rest, because of a slight cold that had affected my voice: of Emily, why she was so sad? Of Lady L-- and my lord, when they went to town? Of Miss Grandison, why she looked so meditatingly? that was his word.—Don't you see, Miss Byron, said he, that Charlotte looks as if she had not quite settled the humour she intends to be in for the next half hour ?

Charlotte looks, I believe, sir, replied she, as if she were determined to take her humour for the next half hour from yours, whether grave or airy.

Then, returned he, I will not be grave, because I will not have you so.-May I hope, madam, by and by, addressing himself to me, for the honour of your hand, to my lord's library?

Sir, I will-I will-attend you hesitated the simpleton; but she can't tell how she looked.

Thus, Lucy, was the matter brought on:

He conducted me to my lord's library.—How did I struggle with myself for presence of mind! What a mixture was there of tenderness and respect in his countenance and air !

He seated me; then took his place over against me. I believe I looked down, and conscious, and silly; but there was such a respectful modesty in his looks, that one could not be uneasy at being now and then, with an air of languor, as I thought, contemplated by him : especially as, when ever I reared my eye lids to cast a momentary look at him as he spoke, I was always sure to see his eye withdrawn: this gave more freedom to mine, than it possibly otherwise could have had. What a bold creature, Lucy, ought she to be who prefers a bold man! If she be not bold, how silly must she look under his staring confident eye! How must her want of courage add to bis selfconsequence !

Thus he began the subject we were to talk of.

I will make no apology for requesting the favour of this conference with one of the most frank and open-hearted young ladies in the world: I shall have the honour, perhaps, of detaining your ear on more than one subject : [How my heart throbbed !] But that which I shall begin with relates to my Lord G- and our sister Charlotte. I observe, from hints thrown out by herself, as well as from what Lady -- said, that she intends to encourage his addresses; but it is easy to see that she thinks but slightly of him. I am indeed apprehensive that she is rather induced to favour my lord, from an opinion that he has my interest and good wishes, than from her own inclination. I have told her, more than once, that hers are, and shall be, mine: but such is her vivacity, that it is very difficult for me to know her real mind. I take it for granted that she prefers my lord to Sir Walter.

I believe, şir-But why should I say believe, when Miss Grandison has commissioned me to own, that Lord G- is a man whom she greatly prefers to Sir Walter Watkyns ?

Does she, can she, do you think, madam, prefer Lord G-- not only to Sir Walter, but to all the men whom she at present knows? In other words, is there any man that you think she would prefer to Lord G--? I am

extremely solicitous for my sister's happiness; and the more, because of her vivacity, which, I am afraid, will be thoughtless to become the wife than the single

woman:

I dare say, sir, that if Miss Grandison thought of any other man in preference to Lord G- she would not encourage his addresses upon any account.

I don't expect, madam, that a woman of Charlotte's spirit and vivacity, who has been disappointed by a failure of supposed merit in her first love, (if we may so call it;) should be deeply in love with a man that has not very striking qualities. She can play with a flame now, and not burn her fingers. Lord G--- is a worthy, though not a very brilliant man. Ladies have eyes; and the eye expects to be gratified. Hence men of appearance succeed often, where men of intrinsic merit fail. Were Charlotte to consult her happiness, possibly she would have no objection to Lord GM She cannot, in the same man, have every thing. But if Lord G-- consulted his, I don't know whether he would wish for Charlotte. Excuse me, madam, you have heard, as well as she, my opinion of both

Sir Walter, you say, has no part in the question; Lord G - wants not understanding: he is a man of probity; he is a virtuous man, a quality not to be despised in a young nobleman: he is also a mild man: he will bear a great deal. But contempt, or such a behaviour as should look like contempt, in a wife, what husband can bear? I should much more dread, for her sake, the exasperated spirit of a meek man, than the sudden gusts of anger of a passionate one.

Miss Grandison, sir, has authorized me to say, that if you approve of Lord G-~'s addresses, and will be so good as to take upon yourself the direction of every

men.

thing relating to settlements, she will be entirely governed by you. Miss Grandison, sir, has known Lord Gsome time: his good character is well known : and I dare answer, that she will acquit herself with honour and prudence, in every engagement, but more especially in that which is the highest of all worldly ones.

Pray, madam, may I ask, if you know what she could mean by the questions she put in relation to Mr. Beauchamp? I think she has never seen him. Does she suppose, from his character, that she could prefer him to Lord G?

I believe, sir, what she said in relation to that geutleman, was purely the effect of her vivacity, and which she never thought of before, and, probably, never will again. Had she meant any thing by it, I dare say she would not have put the questions about him in the manner she did.

I believe so. I love my sister, and I love my friend. Mr. Beauchamp has delicacy. I could not bear, for her sake, that were she to behold him in the light hinted at, he should imagine he had reason to think slightly of my sister, for the correspondence she carried on, in so private a manner, with a man absolutely unworthy of her. But I hope she meant nothing, but to give way to that vein of raillery, which, when opened, she knows not always how to stop.

My spirits were not high: I was forced to take out my handkerchief-0, my dear Miss Grandison! said I; I was afraid she had forfeited, partly, at least, what she holds most dear, the good opinion of her brother !

Forgive me, madam, it is a generous pain that I have made

you suffer: I adore you for it. But I think I can reveal all the secrets of my heart to yoų. Your noble frankness calls for equal frankness: you would inspire it,

« السابقةمتابعة »