صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

own discretion, the man she has married, who could have no inducement but the annuity, if he has married her, will not suffer her to incur such a reduction of it ; for you know, I have always hitherto paid her two hundred pounds a year. Her threatening to see me to-morrow may be to amuse me while she goes. The woman is a foolish woman; but, being accustomed to intrigue, she aims at cunning and contrivance.

I am now hastening to Lord W- -. I hope his woman will not be admitted to his table, as she generally is, let who will be present; yet, it seems, knows not how to be silent, whatever be the subject. I have never chosen either to dine or sup with my lord, that I might not be under a necessity of objecting to her company: and were I not to object to it, as I am a near kinsman to my lord, and know the situation she is in with him, my complaisance might be imputed to motives altogether unworthy of a man of spirit.

Yours of this morning was brought me, just as I was concluding. I am greatly interested in one paragraph in it.

You hint to me, that my sisters, though my absences are short, would be glad to receive now and then a letter from

You, my dear frieud, have engaged me into a kind of habit, which makes me write to you with ease and pleasure. To you, and to our Beauchamp, methinks, I can write any thing. Use, it is true, would make it equally agreeable to me to write to my sisters. I would not have them think that there is a brother in the world, that better loves his sisters than I do mine : and now, you know, I have three. But why have they not signified as much to me ? Could I give pleasure to any whom I love, without

me.

giving great pain to myself, it would be unpardonable not to do it.

I could easily carry on a correspondence with my sisters, were they to be very earnest about it: but then it must be a correspondence: the writing must not be all of one side. Do they think I should not be equally pleased to hear what they are about, from time to time; and what, occasionally, their sentiments are, upon persons and things? If it fall in your way, and you think it not a mere temporary wish, (for young ladies often wish, and think no more of the matter,) then propose the condition.—But caution them, that the nioment I discover, that they are less frank, and more reserved, than I am, there will be an end of the correspondence. My three sisters are most amiably frank, for women--but, thus challenged, dare they enter the lists, upon honour, with a man, a brother, upon equal terms ?-0 no! they dare not. It is not in woman to be uvreserved in some points; and (to be impartial) perhaps they should not: yet, surely, there is now and then a man, a brother, to be met with, who would be the more grateful for the confidence reposed in him.

Were this proposal to be accepted, I could write to them many of the things that I communicate to you. I have but few secrets. I only wish to keep from relations so dear to me, things that could not possibly yield them pleasure. I am sure I could trust to your judgment, the passages that might be read to them from my letters to you.

Sometimes, indeed, I love to divert myself with Charlotte's humorous curiosity; for she seems, as I told her lately, to love to suppose secrets, where there are none, for a compliment to her own sagacity, when she thinks she has found them out; and I love at such times to see her

1

puzzled, and at a fault, as a punishment for her declining to speak out.

You have told me heretofore, in excuse for the distance which

my two elder sisters observe to their brother, when I have complained of it to you, that it proceeded from awe, from reverence for him. But why should there be that awe, that reverence? Surely, my dear friend, if this is spontaneous, and invincible, in them, there must be some fault in my behaviour, some seeming want of freedom in my manner, with which you will not acquaint me: it is otherwise impossible, that between brothers and sisters, where the love is not doubted on either side, such a distance should subsist. You must consult them upon it, and get them to explain themselves on this subject to you; and when they have done so, tell me of my fault, and I will endeavour to render myself more agreeable (more familiar, shall · I say?) to them. But I will not by any means excuse them, if they give me cause to think, that the distance is owing to the will and the power I have been blessed with to do my duty by them. What would this be, but indirectly to declare, that once they expected not justice from their brother? But no more of this subject at present. I am impatient to be with you all at Colnebrook; you cannot think how impatient. Self-denial is a very hard doctrine to be learned, my good Dr. Bartlett. So, in some cases, is it found to be, by your

CHARLES GRANDISON.

LETTER V.

MISS BYRON, TO MISS SELBY.

Colnebrook, Sunday evening. Poor Emily! her heart is almost broken. This ignoble passion, what a mean spirited creature had it like to have made me !-Be quiet, be quiet, Lucy!-I will call it ignoble. Did you ever know me before so little ?—And had it not like to have put me upon being hard-hearted, envious, and I can't tell what, to a poor fatherless girl, just starting into woman, and therefore into more danger than she ever was in before; wanting to be protected-from whom? Fromą mother.-Dreadful circumstance !-Yet I am ready to grudge the poor girl her guardian, and her innocent prattle !-But let me be despised by the man I love, if I do not conquer this new-discovered envy, jealousy, littleness, at least with regard to this unhappy girl, whose calamity endears her to me. Dear child! sweet Emily! You shall go

down with me, if it be proposed. My grandmamma, and uncle, and aunt, will permit me to carry you with me. They are generous ; they have no little passion to mislead their beneficence: they are what I hope to be, now I have found myself outand what if her gratitude shall make her heart overflow into love, has she not excuse for it, if Harriet has any?

Well, but to the occasion of the poor Emily's distress.About twelve this day, soon after Lord L-and the two sisters and I came from church, (for Emily happened not to go,) a coach and four stopped at the gate, and a servant in

a

sorry livery, alighting from behind it, inquired for Lord -- Two gentlemen, who, by their dress and appearance, were military men, and one lady, were in it.

My lord ordered them to be invited to alight, and received them with his usual politeness.

Don't let me call this unbappy woman Emily's mother; O'Hara is the name she owns.

She addressed herself tó my lord: I am the mother of Emily Jervois, my lord: this gentleman, Major O'Hara, is my husband.

The major bowed, strutted, and acknowledged her for his wife : and this gentleman, my lord, said he, is Captain Salmonet; a very brave man: he is in foreign service. His lady is my own sister.

My lord took notice of each.

I understand, my lord, that my daughter is here: I desire to see her.

One of my lord's servants, at that time, passing by the door, which was open, Pray, sir, said she to him, let Miss Jervois know, that her mamma is come to see her. Desire her to come to me.

MAJ. I long to see my new daughter: I hear she is a charming young lady. She may depend upon the kindness of a father from me. CAPT. De man of honour and good nature be my

bro. der's general cha-ract-er, I do assure your lordship.

He spoke English as a Frenchman, my lord says; but pronounced the word character as an Irishman.

MAJ. [Bowing.] No need of this, my dear friend. My lord has the cha-ract-er of a fine gentleman bimself, and knows how to receive a gentleman who waits upon him with due respect.

« السابقةمتابعة »