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Byron's acquaintance I have considered her as one of the most excellent of women. My heart desires alliance with hers, and Another interhopes to be allowed its claim, though such are the delicacies of view. the situation that I scarcely dare to trust myself to speak upon the subject. From the first, I called Miss Byron my sister ; but she is more to me than the dearest sister; and there is a more tender friendship that I aspire to hold with her, whatever may be the accidents on either side, to bar a further wish ; and this I must hope that she will not deny me, so long as it shall be consistent with her other attachments."
He paused. I made an effort to speak, but speech was denied me. My face, as I felt, glowed like the fire before me.
“My heart,” resumed he,” is ever on my lips. It is tortured when I cannot speak all that is in it. Professions I am not accustomed to make. As I am not conscious of being unworthy of your friendship, I will suppose it, and further talk to you of my affairs and engagements as that tender friendship may warrant.”
“Sir, you do me honor," was all I could say.
He then explained his intentions as to the course of his journey and talked of arrangements at home, amongst others the wedding of Charlotte Grandison and Lord G., which the brother was anxious to see consummated before his departure.
And there was a great wedding, described at length; Charlotte behaving in a very foolish manner, under the Grandison's
wedding guise of coyness or wit ; even when she was led to the altar "her levity did not forsake her," Harriet says. It was only a family party, however.
Between dinner and tea, at Lady L.'s motion, they made me play on the harpsichord ; and after one lesson they besought Sir Charles to sing to my playing. He would not, he said, deny any request that was made him on that day.
He sung. He has a mellow manly voice, and great command of it.
This introduced a little concert. Mr. Beauchamp took the violin, Lord L. the bass viol, Lord G. the German flute, and
most of the company joined in the chorus. The song was from Alexander's Feast"; the words,
Happy, happy, happy pair,
None but the good deserve the fair,
Saturday morning, April 15th.
The letter is filled with an account of the last evening, broken by such exclamations as :
Angel of a man! How is he beloved! Lie down, hope. Hopelessness, take place. Clementina shall be his. He shall be hers.
She was now to return to Selby House, and did so, putting up at Dunstable on Friday night. Mr. Beauchamp (a cousin of the Grandisons) and Mr. Reeves rode as her escort. Lord L. and Lord G. also obliged her with their company on horseback.
After this, the scene is at Selby House, and Harriet is writing to Lady G. with the same fidelity that she had done to her Lucy. In return, every scrap of news from the travelers is forwarded to her by Dr. Bartlett or the Grandison ladies. The first is a long letter from Mr. Lowther, the surgeon, describing their passage over the Alps in the most dismal manner :
The unseasonable coldness of the weather (it was May) and the sight of one of the worst countries under heaven, still clothed with snow and deformed by continual hurricanes.
They reached the foot of Mount Cenis at break of day, at Lanebourg (Lansleburg?), a poor little village, so environed by high mountains that for three months in the twelve it is hardly visited by the cheering
of the sun. Here it is usual to unscrew and take in pieces the chaises in order to carry them on mules over the mountain, and to put them together on the other side ; for the Savoy side of the mountain is much more difficult to pass than the other. But Sir Charles chose not to lose time; and, therefore, left the chaise to the care of the inn-keeper.
They were each carried on “a kind of horse with two poles, on which is secured a sort of elbow-chair." man before, another behind, carried this machine, running and skipping like wild goats from rock to rock, four miles of that ascent.
Sir Horace Walpole's veritable account is almost the same as this.
Sir Charles now addressed his letters to Dr. Bartlett, Letters to Dr. with the full understanding that they were to be given to his sisters for perusal, including Miss Byron.
He writes from Bologna, June 14-25:
Having the honor of an invitation to a conversation visit, I went to the palace of Porretta in the morning. After sitting about half an hour with my friend Jeronymo, I was admitted to the presence of Lady Clementina. Her parents and the bishop were with her. “Clementina, chevalier,” said her mother,
was inquiring for you. She is desirous to recover her English. Are you willing, sir, to undertake your pupil again ?"
“Ah, chevalier,” said the young lady, “those were happy times and I want to recover them. I want to be as happy as I was then."
“You have not been very well, madam ; and is it not better to defer our lectures for some days, till you are quite established in your health ?”
“Why, that is the thing. I know that I am not yet quite well, and I want to be so; and that is the reason that I would recover my English.” “You will soon recover it, madam, when you begin. But at
Interview with present the thought, the memory, it would require you to Clementina. exert would perplex you. I am afraid the study would rather retard than forward your recovery."
Her impaired memory.
“Why, now, I did not expect this from you, sir. My mama has consented.”
“I did, my dear, because I would deny you nothing that your heart was set upon; but the chevalier has given you such good reasons to suspend his lectures that I wish you would not be earnest in your request.”
But I can't help it, madam. I want to be happy." “Well, madam, let us begin now. What English book have you at hand?"
“I don't know, but I will fetch one."
She slipt out, Camilla [the maid] after her; and the poor lady, forgetting her purpose, brought down some of her own work, the first thing that came to hand out of a drawer that she pulled out in her dressing-room, instead of looking in her book
It is an unfinished piece of Noah's Ark and the rising deluge, the execution admirable. And coming to me, “I wonder where it has lain all this time. Are you a judge of women's work, chevalier?”
She went to the table. “Come hither, and sit down by me."
come and sit down by the chevalier and me." They did. She
“Do you know, that's mine, sir? But tell me-everybody can praise—do you see no fault?”
“I think that is one," said I, and pointed to a disproportion that was pretty obvious.
“Why, so it is. I never knew you to be a flatterer.”
“Men who can find fault more gracefully,” said the bishop, “than others praise, need not flatter."
“Why, that is true," said she. She sighed; “I was happy when I was about this work. And the drawing was my own too, after-after-I forget the painter. But you think it tolerable-do you?”
“I think it, upon the whole, very fine ; if you could rectify that one fault, it would be a masterpiece.”
“Well, I think I'll try, since you like it.” She rolled it up. 'Camilla, let it be put on my toilette."
A delicate compliment.
This Clementina episode, which is spun out to great length, was to many of the coterie the inost touching and admirable part of the work. The character of The Clemen
tina episode. Clementina, and her sufferings (most of which I have omitted) caused by the unkindness or want of judgment of her keepers and guardians, caused buckets of tears to be shed by the readers of Richardson, while the anguish of suspense endured by the good people at home, I mean the people in the book who were interested in the fate of Harriet, was shared by all London. As for
much about the Italian part of the book. Lady Mary is quite right when she Richardson's
ignorance of says Richardson is no more acquainted with Italy than Italy. he is with the Kingdom of Mancomingo. It is quite extraordinary that a man of Sir Charles's cultivation should be capable of traveling for eight years on the Continent, tarrying especially in the cities of Italy, to bring home so little material with which to adorn his conversation. I do not remember his even mentioning the works of art, paintings, sculpture, which must have already existed in those towns; the St. Cecilia of Raphael must have been hanging in the cathedral of Bologna; to be sure, his religious convictions would have prevented his entering it. Apart from this, my interests are on the side of Harriet Byron, and I am always glad to get him safe home again, away from the entanglements of the Porretta family
Miss Byron writes to Lady G. from Selby House, after ample comments on the Italian letters forwarded to her