Sir Charles Grandison, by Samuel Richardson

Letter I.

Miss Lucy Selby to — Miss Harriet Byron.

Ashby–Canons, January 10.

Your resolution to accompany Mrs. Reeves to London, has greatly alarmed your three lovers: and two of them, at least, will let you know that it has. Such a lovely girl as my Harriet, must expect to be more accountable for her steps than one less excellent and less attractive.

Mr. Greville, in his usual resolute way, threatens to follow you to London; and there, he says, he will watch the motions of every man who approaches you; and, if he find reason for it, will early let such man know his pretensions, and the danger he may run into, if he pretend to be his competitor. But let me not do him injustice; though he talks of a rival thus harshly, he speaks of you more highly than man ever spoke of woman. Angel and goddess are phrases you have been used to from him; and though spoken in his humorous way, yet I am sure he most sincerely admires you.

Mr. Fenwick, in a less determined manner, declares, that he will follow you to town, if you stay there above one fortnight.

The gentle Orme sighs his apprehensions, and w hes you would change your purpose. Though hopeless, he says, it is some pleasure to him that he can think himself in the same county with you; and much more, that he can tread in your footsteps to and from church every Sunday, and behold you there. He wonders how your grandmamma, your aunt, your uncle, can spare you. Your cousin Reeves’s surely, he says, are very happy in their influences over us all.

Each of the gentlemen is afraid, that by increasing the number of your admirers, you will increase his difficulties: but what is that to them, I asked, when they already know, that you are not inclined to favour any of the three?

If you hold your resolution, and my cousin Reeves’s their time of setting out, pray let me know, and 1 will attend you at my uncle Selby’s, to wish you a good journey, much pleasure in town, and a return with a safe and sound heart. My sister, who, poor dear girl, continues extremely weak and low, will spare me for a purpose so indispensable. I will not have you come to us. I know it will grieve you to see her in the way she is in. You too much take to heart the infirmities of your friends which you cannot cure; and as your grandmamma lives upon your smiles, and you rejoice all your friends by your cheerfulness, it would be cruel to make you sad.

Mr. Greville has just left us. He dropt in upon us as we were going to dinner. My grandmother Selby you know is always pleased with his rattling. She prevailed on him to alight, and sit down with us. All his talk was of you. He repeated his for-mer threatenings (as I called them to him) on your going to town. After dinner, he read us a letter from Lady Frampton relating to you. He read us also some passages from the copy of his answer, with design, I believe, that I should ask him to leave it behind him. He is a vain creature, you know, and seemed fond of what he had written. I did ask him. He pretended to make a scruple oi’t your seeing it; but it was a faint one. However, he called for pen and ink; and when it was brought him, scratched over two passages, and that with so many little flou-rishes (as you will see) that he thought they could not be read. But the ink I furnished him with, happening to be paler than his, you will find he was not cunning enough. I promised to return it.

Send me a line by the bearer, to tell me if your resolution holds as to the day.

Adieu, my dearest Harriet. May angels protect and guide you whithersoever you go!

LUCY SELBY.

Last updated on Wed Jan 12 09:44:24 2011 for eBooks@Adelaide.