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LORD L. I hope I do. But, madam, you know whose protection the lady is in.
MRS. O'HARA. I do, my lord ; Sir Charles Grandison is a very fine gentleman.
CAPT. De vinest cha-ract-er in de vorld. By my salvation, every body say so.
Mrs. O'HARA. But Sir Charles, my lord, is a very young gentleman to be a guardian to so young a creature; especially now that she is growing into woman. I have had some few faults, I own. Who lives, that has not? But I have been basely scandalized. My first husband had his ; and much greater than I had. He was set against me by some of his own relations : vile creatures :—He left me, and went abroad; but he has answered for all by this time ; and for the scanty allowance he made me, his great fortune considered : but, as long as my child will be the better for it, that I can forgive.—Emily, my dear!
She stepped to the door, on hearing the rustling of silks, supposing her at hand; but it was Miss Grandison, followed by a servant with chocolate, to afford her a pretence to see the visitors; and at the same time having a mind to hint to them, that they were not to expect to be asked to stay to dinner.
It is to Miss Grandison that I owe the description of each, the account of what passed, and the broken dialect.
Mrs. O'Hara has been a handsome woman; but well might Sir Charles be disgusted with her aspect. She has a leering, sly, yet confident eye; and a very bold counte
She is not ungenteel; yet her very dress denotes her turn of mind.
of mind. Her complexion, sallowish, streaked with red, makes her face (which is not so plump as it once
has been) look like a withering John-apple that never ripened kindly.
Miss Grandison has a way of saying ill-natured things in such a good-natured manner, that one cannot forbear smiling, though one should not altogether approve of them ; and yet sometimes one would be ready to wonder how she came by her images.
The major is pert, bold, vain, and seemed particularly fond of his new scarlet coat and laced waistcoat. He is certainly, Miss Grandison says, a low man, though a soldier. Anderson, added she, is worth fifty of him. His face fiery, and highly pimpled, is set off to advantage by an enormous solitaire. His bad and straggling teeth are shewn continually by an affected laugh, and his empty discourse is interlarded with oaths; which, with my uncle's leave, I shall omit.
Captain Salmonet, she says, appeared to her in a middle way between a French beau and a Dutch boor; aiming at gentility, with a person and shape uncommonly clumsy.
They both assumed military airs, which not sitting naturally, gave them what Miss Grandison called, the swagger of soldierly importance.
Emily was in her own apartment, almost fainting with terror: for the servant to whom Mrs. O'Hara had spoken, to bid her daughter come to her, had officiously carried up the message.
To what Mrs. O'Hara had said in defence of her own character, my lord answered, Mr. Jervois had a right, madam, to do what he pleased with a fortune acquired by his own industry. A disagreement in marriage is very unhappy; but in this case, as in a duel, the survivor is hardly ever in fault. I have nothing to do in this matter. Miss
Jervois is very happy in Sir Charles Grandisou’s protection. She thinks so; and so does every body that knows her. It is your misfortune if you do not.
Mrs. O'HARA. My lord, I make no dispute of Sir Charles's being the guardian of her fortune ; but no father can give away the authority a mother has, as well as himself, over her child.
MAJ. That child a daughter too, my lord.
LORD L. To all this I have nothing to say. You will not be able, I believe, to persuade my brother Grandison to give up his ward's person to you, madam.
Mrs. O'HARA. Chancery may, my lord
LORD L. I have nothing to say to this, madam. No man in England knows better what is to be done, in this case, than Sir Charles Grandison; and no man will be readier to do what is just and fitting, without law: but I enter not into the case ; you must not talk to me on this subject.
Miss GR. Do you think, madam, that your marriage entitles
the rather to have the care of Miss Jervois ? MAJ. (With great quickness.] I hope, madam, that my
honour and charact-er-Miss GR. Be they ever so unquestionable, will not entitle you, sir, to the guardianship of Miss Jeryois's person.
MAJ. I do not pretend to it, madam. But I hope that no father's will, no guardian's power, is to set aside the natural authority which a mother has over her child.
LORD L. This is not my affair. I am not inclined to enter into a dispute with you, madam, on this subject. Mrs. O'HARA. Let Emily be called down to her mo
I hope I may see my child. She is in this house, my lord. I hope I may see my child.
MAJ. Your lordship, and you, madam, will allow, that it would be the greatest hardship in the world, to deny to a mother the sight of her child.
CAPT. De very greatest hardship of all hardships. Your lordship will not refuse to let de daughter come to her moder.
LORD L. Her guardian perhaps will not deny it. You must apply to him. He is in town. Miss Jervois is here but as a guest. She will be soon in town. I must not have her alarmed. She has very weak spirits.
Mrs. O'HARA. Weak spirits, my lord !-A child to have spirits too weak to see her mother !-And she felt for her handkerchief.
Miss Gr. It sounds a little harshly, I own, to deny to a mother the sight of her daughter: but unless my brother were present, I think, iny lord, it cannot be allowed.
MAJ. Not allowed, madam!
CAPT. A moder to be denied to see her daughter! Jesu! And he crossed himself.
Mrs. O'HARA. [Putting her handkerchief to bide her eyes, for it seems she wept not.] I am a very unhappy mother indeed
MAJ. (Embracing her.] My dearest life! My best love! I must not bear these tears-Would to God Sir Charles was here, and thought fit-but I came not here to threaten-you, my lord, are a man of the greatest honour; so is Sir Charles.-But whatever were the misunderstandings between husband and wife, they should not be kept up and propagated between mother and child. My wife, at present, desires only to see her child: that's all, my lord. Were your brother present, madam, he would not deny her this. Then again embracing his wife, My dear soul, be comforted. You will be allowed to see your daughter, no doubt of it. I am able to protect and right you. My dear soul, be comforted.
She sobbed, Miss Grandison says; and the good-natured Lord L was moved.—Let Miss Jervois be asked, said he, if she chooses to come down.
I will go to her myself, said Miss Grandison.
Miss Byron and Miss Jervois, said she, are gone out together in the chariot.
MAJ. Nay, madam
CAPT. Upon my salvation this must not pass-And he swaggered about the room.
Mrs. O'Hara looked with an air of incredulity.
It was true, however: for the poor girl being ready to faint, I was called in to her. Lady -- had been making a visit in the chariot; and it had just brought her back. O save me, save me, dear madam! said Miss Emily to me, wringing her hands. I cannot, I cannot see my mother out of my guardian's presence: and she will make me own her new husband. I beseech you, save me; hide me !
I saw the chariot from the window, and, without asking any questions, I hurried Miss Emily down stairs, and conducted the trembling dear into it; and, whipping in after her, ordered the coachman to drive any where, except towards London: and then the poor girl threw her arms about my neck, smothering me with her kisses, and calling me by all the tender names that terror and mingled gratitude could suggest to her.
Miss Grandison told the circumstances pretty near as above; adding, I think, my lord, that Miss Emily wants