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where it is not. My sister, as I told her more than once in your hearing, has not lost any of my love. I love her, with all her faults, but must not be blind to them. Shall not praise and dispraise be justly given? I have faults, great faults, myself: What should I think of the man who called them virtues? How dangerous would it be to me, in that case, were my opinion of his judgment, joined to self-partiality, to lead me to believe him, and acquit myself!
This, sir, is a manner of thinking worthy of Sir Charles Grandison.
It is worthy of every man, my good Miss Byron.
But, sir, it would be very hard that an indiscretion (I must own it to be such) should fasten reproach upon a woman who recovered herself so soon, and whose virtue was never sullied, or in danger.
Indeed it would: and therefore it was in tenderness to her that I intimated, that I never could think of promoting an alliance with a man of Mr. Beauchamp's nice notions, were both to incline to it.
I hope, sir, that my dear Miss Grandison will run no risk of being slighted, by any other man, from a step which has cost her so dear in her peace of mind—I hesitated, and looked down.
I know, madam, what you mean. Although I love my friend Beauchamp above all men, yet would I do Lord
man, as much justice, as I would do him. I was so apprehensive of my sister's indifference to Lord G-, and of the difference in their tempers, though both good, that I did my utmost to dissuade him from thinking of her : and when I found that his love was fixed beyond the power of dissuasion, I told him of the affair between her and Captain Anderson; and how lately
I had put an end to it. He flattered hiinself that the indifference, with which she had hitherto received his addresses, was principally owing to the difficulty of her situation; which being now so happily removed, he had hopes of meeting with encouragement; and doubted not, if he did, of making a merit with her by his affection and gratitude. And now, madam, give me your opinion-Do you think Charlotte can be won (I hope she can) by indulgence, by love? Let me caution her by you, madam, that it is fit she should still be more careful to restrain her vivacity, if she marry a man to whom she thinks she has superior talents, than she need to be if the difference were in his favour.
Permit me to add, that if she should shew herself capable of returning slight for tenderness ; of taking such liberties with a man who loves her, after she had given him her vows, as should depreciate him, and, of consequence, herself, in the eye of the world; I should be apt to forget that I had more than one sister: for, in cases of right and wrong, we ought not to know either relation or friend.
Does not this man, Lucy, shew us, that goodness and greatness are synonymous words?
I think, sir, replied I, that if Lord G- prove the good-natured man he seems to be ; if he dislike not that brilliancy of temper in his lady, which he seems not to value himself upon, though he may have qualities, at least, equally valuable ; I have no doubt but Miss Grandison will make him very happy: For has she not great and good qualities? Is she not generous, and perfectly goodnatured ? You know, sir, that she is ; and can it be supposed, that her charming vivacity will ever carry her so far beyond the bounds of prudence and discretion, as to make her forget what the nature of the obligation she will have entered into requires of her ?
Well, madam, then I may rejoice the heart of Lord GM by telling him, that he is at liberty to visit my sister, at her coming to town; or, if she come not soon, (for he will be impatient to wait on her,) at Colnebrook ?
I dare say you may, sir.
As to articles and settlements, I will undertake for all those things; but be pleased to tell her, that she is absolutely at her own liberty, for me. If she shall think, when she sees further of Lord G's temper and behaviour, that she cannot esteem him as a wife ought to esteem her husband; I shall not be concerned if she dismiss him; provided that she keeps hinı not in suspense, after she knows her own mind; but behaves to him according to the example set her by the best of women.
I could not but know to whom he designed this compliment; and had liked to have bowed; but was glad I did not.
Well, madam, and now I think this subject is concluded. I have already written a letter to Sir Walter, as at the request of my sister, to put an end, in the civillest terms, to his hopes. My Lord G-- will be impatient for my return in town. I shall go with the more pleasure, because of the joy I shall be able to give him.
You must be very happy, sir; since, besides the pleasure you take in doing good for its own sake, you are entitled to partake, in a very high manner, of the pleasures of every one you know.
He was so nobly modest, Lucy, that I could talk to him with more confidence than I believed, at my entrance into my Lord's study, would fall to my share: and I had, besides, been led into a presence of mind, by being made a person of some consequence in the love case of another. But I was soon to have my whole attention engaged in a subject still nearer to my heart; as you shall hear.
Indeed, madam, said he, I am not very happy in myself. Is it not right, then, to endeavour, by promoting the happiness of others, to entitle myself to a share of theirs ?
If you are not happy, sir—and I stopt: I believe I sighed; I looked down: I took out my handkerchief, for fear I should want it.
There seems, said he, to be a mixture of generous concern, and kind curiosity, in one of the loveliest and most intelligent faces in the world. My sisters have, in your presence, expressed a great deal of the latter. Had I not been myself in a manner uncertain as to the event, that must, in some measure, govern my future destiny, I would have gratified it; especially as my Lord L-- has of late joined in it. The crisis, I told them, however, as perhaps you remember, was at hand.
I do remember you said so, sir. And indeed, Lucy, it was more than perhaps. I had not thought of any words half so often, since he spoke them.
The crisis, madam, is at hand: and I had not intended to open my lips upon the subject till it was over, except to Dr. Bartlett, who knows the whole affair, and indeed every affair of my life: but, as I hinted before, my heart is opened by the frankness of yours. If you will be so good as to indulge me, I will briefly lay before you a few of the difficulties of situation; and leave it to you to communicate or not, at your pleasure, what I shall relate to my two sisters and Lord L-You four seem to be ani. mated by one soul.
I am extremely concerned, sir-I am very much concerned-repeated the trembling simpleton, [one cheek
feeling to myself very cold, the other glowingly warm, by turns; and now pale, now crimson, perhaps to the eye,] that any thing should make you unhappy. But, sir, I shall think myself favoured by your confidence.
I am interrupted in my recital of his affecting narration. Don't be impatient, Lucy; I almost wish I had not heard it myself.
MISS BYRON.-IN CONTINUATION.
I do not intend, madam, to trouble you with a history of all that part of my life which I was obliged to pass abroad from about the seventeenth, to near the twentyfifth year of my age; though, perhaps, it has been as busy a period as could well be, in the life of a man so young, and who never sought to tread in oblique or crooked paths. After this entrance into it, Dr. Bartlett shall be at liberty to satisfy your curiosity in a more particular manner; for he and I have corresponded for years, with an intimacy that has few examples between a youth and a man in advanced life. And here let me own the advantages I have received from his condescension; for I found the following questions often occur to me, and to be of the highest service in the conduct of my life• What account shall I give of this to Dr. Bartlett ?'• How, were I to give way to this temptation, shall I S report it to Dr. Bartlett?'-Or, “Shall I be a hypocrite, • and only inform him of the best, and meanly conceal 6 from him the worst ?'