Sir Charles Grandison, by Samuel Richardson

Letter I.

Sir Charles Grandison to Dr. Bartlett.

Bologna, Monday night, May 15-^6. I am just returned. You will expect me to be particular.

I went the earlier in the afternoon, that I might pass half an hour with my Jeronymo. He torn-plains of the aperture so lately made: but Mr. Lowther gives us hopes from it.

When we were alone, They will not let me see my sister, said he; I am sure she must be very had But I understand, that you are to be allowed that favour, hy-and-by. () my Grandison! how 1 pitv that tender, that generous heart of yours! But what have you done to the general? He assures me, that he admires and loves you; and the bishop has been congratulating me upon it. He knew it would give me pleasure. My dear Grandison, you subdue every-body; yet in your own way; for they both admire your spirit.

Just then came!n the general. He saluted me in so kind a manner, that Jeronymo’s eyes overflowed; and he said, Blessed be God, that I have lived to see you two, dearest of men to me, so friendly to-gether.

This sweet girl! said the general: How, Grandi-son, will you bear to see her?

The bishop entered: O chevalier! my sister is insensible to every-thing and every body. Camilla is nobody with her today.

They had forgot Jeronymo, though in his cham-ber; and their attention being taken by his audible sensibilities, they comforted him; and withdrew with me into Mr. Lowther’s apartment; while Mr. Low-ther went to his patient.

The marchioness joined us in tears. This dear child knows me not; heeds me not: she never was unmindful of her mother before. I have talked to her of the Chevalier Grandison: she regards not your name. O this affecting silence! Camilla has told her, that she is to see you. My daughter-inlaw has told her so. O Chevalier! she has quite, quite lost her understanding. Nay, we were bar-barous enough to try the name of Laurana. She was not terrified, as she used to be, with that.

Camilla came in with a face of joy: Lady Cle-mentina has just spoken! I told her, she must pre pare to see the Chevalier Grandison in all his glory, and that every-body, the general in particular, ad-mired him. Go, naughty Camilla, said she, tapping my hand; you are a wicked deceiver. 1 have been

SIK CHARLES GRANDISON. 3 told this story too often, to credit it. This was all I could get her to say.

Hence it was concluded, that she would take some notice of me when she saw me; and I was led by the general, followed by the rest, into the marchioness’s drawing-room.

Father Marescotti had given me an advantageous character of the general’s lady, whom I had not yet seen. The bishop had told me, that she was such another excellent woman as his mother, and like her, had the Italian reserve softened by a polite French education.

When we came into the drawing-room, the ge-neral presented me to her. I do not, madam, bid you admire the Chevalier Grandison, said he; but I forgive you if you do; because you will not be able to do otherwise.

My lord, said she, you told me an hour ago, that I must; and now, that I see the chevalier, you will have no cause to reproach me with disobedience.

Father Marescotti, madam, said I, bid me expect from the lady of the young Marchese della Porretta every-thing that was condescending and good. Your compassionate love for an unhappy new sister, who deserves every-one’s love, exalts your character.

Father Marescotti came in. We took our places. It was designed, I found, to try to revive the young lady’s attention, by introducing her in full assembly, I one of it. But I could not forbear asking the marchioness, If Lady Clementina would not be too much startled at so much company?

I wish, said the marquis, sighing, that she may be startled.

We meet, as only on a conversation-visit, said the marchioness. We have tried every other way to awaken her attention.

We are all near relations, said the bishop.

And want to make our observations, said the ge-neral.

She has been bid to expect you among us, re-sumed the marchioness. We shall only be attend — ed by Laura and Camilla.

Just then entered the sweet lady, leaning upon Ca-milla, Laura attending. Her movement was slow and solemn. Her eyes were cast on the ground. Her robes were black and flowing. A veil of black gauze half covered her face. What woe was there in it !

What, at the moment, was my emotion! I arose from my seat, sat down, and arose again, irresolute, not knowing what I did, or what to do!

She stopt in the middle of the floor, and made some motion, in silence, to Camilla, who adjusted her veil: but she looked not before her; lifted not up her eyes; observed no-body.

On her stopping, I was advancing towards her; but the general took my hand: Sit still, sit still, dear Grandison, said he: yet I am charmed with your sensibility. She comes! She moves towards us!

She approached the table round which we sat, her eyes more than half closed, and cast down. She turned to go towards the window. Here, here, ma-dam, said Camilla, leading her to an elbow-chair that had been placed for her, between the two mar-chionesses. She implicitly took her woman’s di — rections, and sat down. Her mother wept. The young marchioness wept. Her father sobbed; and looked from her. Her mother took her hand: My love, said she, look around you.

Pray sister, said the count her uncle, leave her to her own observation.

She was regardless of what either said; her eyes were cast down, and halt’ closed. Camilla stood at the back of her chair.

The general, grieved and impatient, arose, and stepping to her, My dearest sister, said he, hanging over her shoulder, look upon us all. Do not scorn us, do not despise us: see your father, your mother, your sister, and every-body, in tears. If you love us, smile upon us. He took the. hand which her mother had quitted, to attend to her own emotions.

She reared up her eyes to him, and, sweetly condescending, tried to smile; but such a solemnity had taken possession of her features, that she only could shew her obligingness, by the effort. Her smile was a smile of woe. And, still further to shew her compliance, withdrawing her hand from her bro-ther, she looked on either side of her; and seeing which was her mother, she, with both hands, took hers, and bowed her head upon it.

The marquis arose from his seat, his handkerchief at his eyes. Sweet creature! said he, never, never let me again see such a smile as that. It is here, putting his hand to his breast.

Camilla offered her a glass of lemonade; she ac-cepted it not, nor held up her head for a few mo — ments.

Obliging sister! you do not scorn us, said the general. See, Father Marescotti is in tears [the reverend man sat next me] : pity his grey hairs! See, your own father too Comfort your father. His grief for your silence

She cast her eyes that way. She saw me. Saw me greatly affected. She started. She looked again; again started; and, quitting her mother’s hand, now changing pale, now reddening, she arose, and threw her anus about her Camilla O Camilla! was all she said; a violent burst of tears wounding, yet giving some ease to everv heart I was springing to her, and should have clasped her in my arms before them all; but the general taking my hand, as I reached her chair, Dear Grandison, said he, pronouncing in her ear my name, keep your seat. If Clementina remembers her English tutor, she will bid you welcome once more to Bologna. O Camilla, said she, faithful, good Camilla! Now, at last, have you told me truth! It is, it is he! And her tears would flow, as she hid her face in Camil-la’s bosom.

The general’s native pride again shewed itself. He took me aside. I see, Grandison, the conse-quence you are of to this unhappy girl: every one sees it. But I depend upon your honour: you re-member what you said this morning

Good God! said I, with some emotion: I stopt And resuming, with pride equal to his own, Know, Sir, that the man whom you thus remind, calls himself a man of honour; and you, as well as the rest of the world, shall find him so.

He seemed a little abashed. I was flinging from him, not too angrily for him, but for the rest of the company, had they not been attentive to the motions of their Clementina.

We, however, took the bishop’s eye. He came to us.

I left the general; and the bishop led him out, in order to enquire into the occasion of my warmth. When I turned to the company, I found the dear Clementina, supported by the two marchionesses, and attended by Camilla, just by me, passing to-wards the door, in order, it seems, at her motion, to withdraw. She stopt. Ah, chevalier! said she; and reclining her head on her mother’s bosom, seemed ready to faint. I took one hand, as it hung down lifelessly extended (her mother held the other); and kneeling, pressed it with my lips Forgive me la-dies; forgive me, Lady Clementina! My soul overflowed with tenderness, though the moment before it was in a tumult of another kind; for she cast down her eyes upon me with a benignity, that for a long time they all afterwards owned they had not beheld. 1 could not say more. I arose. She moved on to the door; and when there, turned her head, straining her neck to look after me, till she was out of the room I was a statue for a few mo-ments; till the count, snatching my hand, and Fa — ther Marescotti’s, who stood nearest him, We see to what the malady is owing Father, you must join their hands! Chevalier! you will be a Catholic! Will you not? O that you would! said the father Why, why, joined in the count, did we refuse the so-earnestly requested interview, a year and half ago?

The young marchioness returned, weeping They will not permit me to stay. My sister, my dear sister, is in fits! O Sir, turning graciously to me, you are I will not say what you are But I shall not be in danger of disobeying my lord, on your account.

Just then entered the general, and the bishop. Now, brother, said the latter, if you will not be generous, be, however, just Chevalier, were you not a little hasty?

I tvas, my lord. But surely the general was unseasonable.

Perhaps I was.

There is as great a triumph, my lord, said I, in a due acknowledgment, as in a victory. Know me, my lords, as a man incapable of meanness; who will assert himself; but who, from the knowledge he has of his own heart, wishes at his soul to be received as the unquestionably disinterested friend of this whole family. Excuse me, my lords, 1 am obliged to talk greatly, because I would not wish to act petulantly. But my soul is wounded by those distresses, which had not, I am sorry to say it, a little while ago, a first place in your heart.

Do you reproach me, Grandison?

I need not, my lord, if yow feel it as such. But indeed you either know not me, or forget yourself. And now, having spoken all my mind, I am ready to ask your pardon for any-thing that may have offended you in the manner. I snatched his hand so suddenly, I hope not rudely, but rather fervent-ly, that he started Receive me, my lord, as a friend. I will deserve your friendship.

Tell me, brother, said he to the bishop, what I shall say to this strange man? Shall I be angry or pleased?

Be pleased, my lord, replied the prelate.

The general embraced me Well, Grandison, you have overcome. I tvas unseasonable. You were passionate. Let us forgive each other.

His lady stood suspended, not being able to guess at the occasion of this behaviour, and renew-ed friendship.

We sat down, and reasoned variously on what had passed, with regard to the unhappy lady, according to the hopes and fears which actuated the bosoms of each.

But I cannot help thinking, that had this inter-view been allowed to pass with less surprise to her, she might have been spared those fits, with the af-fecting description of which the young marchioness alarmed us; till Camilla came in with the happy news, that she was recovering from them; and that her mother was promising her another visit from me, in hopes it would oblige her; though it was not what she required.

I took this opportunity to put into the hands of the young marchioness, sealed up, the opinions of the physicians I had consulted in England, on the case of” Clementina; requesting that she would give it to her mother, in order to have it considered.

The bishop withdrew, to acquaint Jeronymo, in the way he thought best, with what had passed in this first interview with his sister; resolving not to take any notice of the little sally of warmth between the general and me.

I hope to make the pride and passion of this young nobleman of use to myself, by way of caution: for am 1 not naturally too much inclined to the same fault? O Dr. Bartlett! how have I regretted the passion I suffered myself to be betrayed into, by the foolish violence of O’Hara and Salmonet, in my own house, when it would have better become me, to have had them shewed out of it by my servants!

And yet, were I to receive affronts with tameness from those haughty spirits, who think themselves of a rank superior to me, and from men of the sword, I, who make it a principle not to draw mine but in my own defence, should be subjected to insults, that would be continually involving me in the difficulties I am solicitous to avoid.

I attended the general and his lady to Jeronymo. The generous youth forgot his own weak state, in the hopes he flattered himself with, of a happy conclusion to his sister’s malady, from the change of symptoms which had already taken place; though violent hysterics disordered and shook her before-wounded frame.

The general said, that if she could overcome this first shock, perhaps it was the best method that could have been taken to rouse her out of that stupidity and inattention which had been for some weeks so disturbing to them all.

There were no hopes of seeing the unhappy lady again that evening. The general would have ac-companied me to the Casino * ; saying, that we might both be diverted by an hour passed there: but I excused myself. My heart was full of an-xiety, for the welfare of a brother and sister, both so much endeared to me by their calamities: and I retired to my lodgings.

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