صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

o that the high-souled Clementina would not think so contemptibly of the man before her, as she must think, when she puts a question that would entitle him to infamy, could he presume to imagine an answer to it necessary!

Well, sir: I shall see how far the advances made on the wrong side will be justified, or rather countenanced, by the advances, or, shall I say, (I will, if you please,) condescensions to be made on yours.

[What a petulance, thought I !-But can the generous, the noble Clementina, knowing that terms will be proposed, with which, in honour and conscience, I cannot comply, put my regard for her on such a test as this ?-I will not suppose that she is capable of mingling art with her magnanimity.]

Is this, madam, said I, a generous anticipation ? Forgive me: but when your friends are so good as to think me incapable of returning ingratitude for obligation, I hope I shall not be classed, by their beloved daughter, among the lowest of mankind.

Excuse me, sir ; the woman who has been once wrong, has reason to be always afraid of herself. If you do not think meanly of me, I will endeavour to think well of myself; and then, sir, I shall think better of you, if better I can think : for, after all, did I not more mistrust myself than I do you, I should not perhaps be so capricious as, I am afraid, I sometimes am.

The 'marquis has hinted to me, madam, that your brother, the bishop, is to discourse with me on the subject now the nearest to my heart of all others : may I presume to address myself to their beloved daughter upon it, withoạt being thought capable of endeavouring to prepossess her in my favour before my lord and I meet?

I will answer you frankly, sir: there are preliminaries to be settled ; and, till they are, I that know there are, do not think myself at liberty to hear you upon any subject that may tend to prepossession.

I acquiesce, madam: I would not for the world be thought to wish for the honour of your attention, while it is improper for you to favour me with it.

[I did not know, Dr. Bartlett, but upon a supposition of a mutual interest between us, as I had hoped she would allow, Clementina might wish that I would lead to some particular discourse. Though modesty becomes ours as well as the other sex, yet it would be an indelicacy not to prevent a lady, in some certain cases. But thus discouraged.] Perhaps, madam, said I, the attendance I do myself the honour to pay you here, may not be agreeable to the marquis.

Then, sir, you will choose, perhaps, to withdraw. But don't-Yes, do.

I respectfully withdrew; but she taking a winding alley, which led into that in which I slowly walked, we met again. I am afraid, said she, I have been a little petulant: Indeed, sir, I am not satisfied with myself. I wish-And there she stopt.

What, madam, . do you wish ? Favour me with your wishes. If it be in my power

It is not, interrupted she-I wish I had not been at Florence. The lady I was with, is a good woman; but she was too hard for me. Perhaps, and she sighed,) had I not been with her, I had been at rest, and happy, before now ; but if I had not, there is a pleasure, as well as pain, in melancholy. But now I am so fretfal!-If I hated the bitterest enemy I have, as much as at times I hate myself, I should be a very bad creature.

This was spoken with an air so melancholy, as greatly disturbed me. God grant, thought I, that the articles of religion and residence may be agreed upon between the bishop and me!

Here, my good Miss Byron, I close this letter. Sir Charles bas told you, briefly, the event of the conference between the bishop and him ; and I hasten to obey you in your next article.



Thursday morning, March 29. I send you now enclosed the doctor's fourth letter. I believe I must desire my grandmamma and my aunt Selby to send for me down.

We shall all be in London this evening.

Would to Heaven I had never come to it!—What of pleasure have I had in it?—This abominable Sir Hargrave Pollexfen !--But for him, I had been easy and happy ; since, but for him, I had never wanted the relief of Sir Charles Grandison; never had known him. Fame might, perhaps, have brought to my ears, in general conversation, as other persons of distinction are talked of, some of his benevolent actions; and he would have attracted my admiration without costing me one sigh. And yet, had it been so, I should then have known none of those lively sensibilities that have mingled pleasure with my pain, OR


[ocr errors]

the pride I have had in being distinguished as a sister to the sisters of so extraordináry a man.

O that I had kept my

foolish heart free! I should then have had enough to boast of for my whole life; enough to talk of to every one: and when I had been asked by my companions and intimates, what diversions, what entertainments, I had been at? I should have said, I have been in


and con• versed with SIR CHARLES GRANDISON; and been · favoured and distinguished by all his family:' and I should have passed many a happy winter evening, when my companions came to work and read with me at Selbyhouse, in answering their questions about all these; and Sir Charles would have been known among us principally by the name of the fine gentleman; and my young friends would have come about me, and asked me to tell them something more of the excellent man.

But now my ambition has overthrown me: aiming, wishing, to be every thing, I am nothing. If I am asked about him, or his sisters, I shall seek to evade the subject : and yet, what other subject can I talk of? For what have I seen, what have I known, since I left Northamptonshire, but him and them? and what else, indeed, since I have known this family, have I wished to see, and to know?

On reviewing the above, how have I, as I see, suffered my childish fancies to delude me into a short forgetfulness of his, of every body's distresses !--But, O my Lucy! my lieart is torn in pieces; and, I verily think, more for the unhappy Clementina's sake, than for my own! How severely do I pay for my curiosity! Yet it was necessary that I should know the worst. So Sir Charles seems to have thought, by the permission he has given to Doctor Bartlett, to oblige me.

Your pity will be more raised on reading the letter I enclose, not only for Clementina and Sir Charles, but for the whole family; none of whom, though they are all unhappy, are to be blamed. You will dearly love the noble Jeronymo, and be pleased with the young lady's faithful Camilla: but, my dear, there is so much tenderness in Charles's woe—It must be love-But he ought to love Clementina : she is a glorious, though unhappy young creature. I must not have one spark of generosity left in my heart, I must be lost wholly in self, if I did not equally admire and love her.


As I remember, madam, Sir Charles mentions to you, in a very pathetic manner, the distress he was in when the terms and conditions, on which he was to be allowed to call the noble Clementina his, were proposed to him ; as they were by the bishop. He has briefly told you the terms, and his grief to be obliged to disappoint the expectation of persons so deservedly dear to him. But you will not, I believe, be displeased, if I dwell a little more on these particulars, though they are not commanded from me.

The bishop, when he had acquainted Mr. Grandison with the terms, said, You are silent, my dear Grandison : you hesitate. What, sir! Is a proposal of a daughter of one of the noblest families in Italy; that daughter a Clementina; to be slighted by a man of a private family; a foreigner; of dependent fortunes ; her dowry not unworthy a prince's acceptance? Do you hesitate upon such a proposal as this, sir?

« السابقةمتابعة »