Samuel Richardson.

The correspondence of Samuel Richardson ... selected from the original manuscripts, bequeathed by him to his family, to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writings online

. (page 13 of 14)
Online LibrarySamuel RichardsonThe correspondence of Samuel Richardson ... selected from the original manuscripts, bequeathed by him to his family, to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writings → online text (page 13 of 14)
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the consequences, to let him. know her
mind ; not without hopes, that the freedom
and justice of her expostulation might pro-
cure her more favour than by hk hint of
James Nicholis, his clerk, might at present
be intended for her.

She expostulated with him in this letter,

on ** the treatment she had met with, for the

past two years; and appealed^ to God, to

his conscience, and her own heart, that she

p 5 bad

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had Qot deserved it, either of he^i a4nt &r
him, nor yet of her cousins.

** She expressed herself astonished at what
he had said to her, in the compting-bousei of
one of his clerks j^ and on giving her, as ^
grace and favour, one thousand pounds for
her fortune. On this occasion she wrote, she
would sooner choose death than to be silent*

" She reminded him of what her father
had said to h^r, before him, as to the con«
$iderableness of her fprtune ; and acquainted!
^iro, that at other times, he who was not
used to speak largely of his circumstances,
had hinted to her, that he was worth be*
tween twenty and thirty thousand pounds^
every obligation discharged*. Indeed h^
told her afterwards, that he had some losses^
but she understood, from certain circum-
stances, that they would not amount to four
thousand ppunds ; the least, therefore, that
she expected, was twenty thousand pounds,
if she had justice done her. And her uncle
wouM be gainer enough in having had at|


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opportunity to build his fortune on her
father*s plan and traffic.

" She begged his excuse for the freedom
with which she wrote ; but then, she said,
upon such a declaration as he had made,
was her time to speak out, or never. And
she referred to his honour, his conscience,
as he would answer to Gfod, at the great
day of account, for his own sake, if not fbr
the sake of the orphan daughter of the
kindest and best of brothers, left to his guar*
dianship ; and who, if she had not a friend
in him, was destitute of any friend, aid, or
comfort, to give hier leave to impute to vio-
lent passion this harsh treatment of her so
lately, and his astonishing dedaratioa.

" She besought him not to let her be
brought into his presence while he was in
sagreat a rage as she had seen him in three
days before. She was^ loth to think it wae
her uncle's face, that then had so much?
affrighted and terrified her, even in her


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. She expected in terror what would be the
result of this free and spirited letter ; the
first instance of such spirit that she had
ever exerted with her pen ;\but then, as she
wrote, or never, was the call for it to be

Two days did her uncle keep her in ex*
pectation, taking time to calm his passion,
that he might be able to reason with her, as
he called it, on the contents of so free an

He then sent for her down to him into
one of the parlours. She went trembling,
yet endeavouring not to appear to desert

He had with him his lawyer, prepared to
take minutes of all that should pass.

He would make her sit down by him : he
had a parcel of papers in his hand : his looks
were moody and wrathful : his words were
smooth and oily.

" Well, niece (began he) I have a most
extraordinary letter from you ! A most ex-

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traordinary one indeed ! But let the inde-
cency of some of the expressions you have
made use of pass ; they only serve to shew
me, that the charge made against you by
your cousins, in answer to your accusations
of them, is not quite groundless, as inno-
cent as you look, and gentle as you would
be thought to be ; but let that pass too.

" Here, you tell me, that your father
gave you room to think he was worth neap
or about 20fi00i. He might think he was.
I believe he did I But he reckoned upon
debts owing him, that he never, had he lived,
was likely to get in. How can a man, whose
effects lie in foreign hands, and different
countries, say what he is worth ? He never
talked of such a sum to me ! If he had, I
should have put him upon a juster calcula-
tion. You know he was unable for many
months to look into his accounts. I own
he was a kind brother and good friend. You
need not upbraid me with unkindness, niece;
he would not have done so."


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926^ HISTORY Ol^

She was^ going to speak — "Hear me oat,^
said he.

^ You, Mr. Norman, have known many
a man, who in one year has thought himself
worth thousands, and the next, had a sta-
tute taken out against him, and his creditors
have been glad to take a crown in the

** Very true,** said Mr. Norman ; and was
about to give instances.

"Well, but that was not my brother's
ease ; so no more of that. But had he
made a calculation, he would have found
himself short by more than half the sum,
and all bad debts supposed good. The
heavy loss you mention, niece, came out to.
be more than 5,000l.**

^* Sir, my father reckoned himself worth
between 20 and 30,OOGL'*

"No such thing, I tcH you as a third
part of that sum, had that loss not hap-
pened. His illness and journeyings, and fo-
reign residences, cost him vast sums ! vast

sums I

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MM. bbau»oht; 92f

sums f There were other bad article^ which^
be reckoned as good; The fire that hap-
pened in my <x)nftpting'-house destroyed the
greatest part of the testimonials of hi3 fo-
reign property, of which some of the peo-
ple abroad took advantage, base wretchea
ds they were 1 else there would have been*
perhaps two of three thousand pounds com-
ing to you. A very pretty fortune, I thinks
I wish it were in your pocket.'*

*^ Ah, Sir l-^not so pjrctty as my two elder
cousins have had, besides what my two xrn^
niarried cousins expect/'

^ Don't be pert. Miss," said Mr. Nor-

*^ I am a weak inexperienced youog crea-
ture ; I don't Jknow the eod of this gentle-
man'fi^ presence, and writing down every
thing; Then (turniisig to her uncle) I see^
Sir, you are prepared with an account ; be
pleased to let me know what I may depend

^^ Five hundred pounds, wanting a very


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Kttle, is all you can claim, I told you ; and,
having once said it, I will be as good as my
tvord ; I will, for your father's sake,^" —

" O, Sir !— my uncle! — my dear father's
brother } — my guardian ! — and say you

*^ Your uncle is very good to you. Miss."

'* Why, so I am ; for the bonds being
burnt by the accident, the people abroad,
as I hinted — "

" Good Sir, let me spare you the attempt
to make this clear. You have prepared it
all I see. Never ! never let me have it to
say, that these eyes witnessed to an account
that cannot be to the reputation of my fa-
ther's brother."

*^ Do you hear, Mr. Norman ? do you
hear ? — Ah ! who, at this rate, would ac-
cept of a guardianship !"

** You have great patience, Sir !— Miss,
you take great liberties with your uncle ; his
character is well known ; it is above being
hurt by the groundless surmises and roman-

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tic expectations of an inconsiderate young
woman. Nevertheless, I am so far your
friend^ as to advise your uncle to take
releases from you, and give you the thou-
sand— '•

"Spare, spare. Sir! your advice. My
uncle has several thousands — forgive me,
Sir — I cannot bear this flagrant treatment —
to give to each of his daughters ; and, no
doubt, handsome reserves for my aunt and

" Do you hear, Mn Norman ! — Do you
hear. Sir f

" But four years ago (proceeded she) he
declared himself unable to give his eldest
daughter more than 6OOI. ; he has given
10,000l. to two daughters. The fire de-
stroyed not the testimonials of the property
which enabled him to do this. The fire
destroyed only those of the poor orphan

" No such thing (biting his lips, with
ill-concealed anger) as 10,000l. ; no suclv


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330 HiSTOftT or

thing Mr. Norman! — ^Vile girl ! — ITiis is
her meduiess ! — this is — **

In then came the aont and her two cou<-

sins. ^' Turn the saucy ereature out of doorv
this instant,'* said the annt in a rage. Her
cousins reviled her with their tongues, and^
even clapt their hands in her very face.

She fell down on her knees, and, with
hands and eyes lifted up, ^l adjure you^^
Sir, by the memory of my £itber, who was
indeed a kind brother to you, to do justice
to the poor orphan ward, to whom you.
vowed justice and protection ;. (then, rising,
wUh dignity) if you can, in conscience^,
carry into execution your present schemes-
against a desolate child, who has no other
friend but you, do so! I will not have a
shilling of the thousand pounds you have
mentioned, if I am to acknowledge one-*
half of it as the full of my right, and the
other half as the result of your bounty and
gratitude to that brother to whom you owe
your all* Turn me out of4oors> as my aunfc

advises t

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WRS. FE Ay MONT. 331

advises I My fortune is become a wieck ; I
can bend to my condkion ; and> even do
more than that, 1 can forgive my uncle."

Th^y stood amazed, looking upon one
another, as each expecting the others to
speak. The heroic lady then, raised beyond
herself^ again: dropped down on her knees ;,
« Gracious God of all mercy (said she, tears
streaming down her cheeks) forgive my ua-
ele t-i^And da thou be my guardian ! — Save
me from a worse ruin than that of my for-*
tune — the ruin of my morals ! Poverty,
without shiyne, be thou my portbn ! Witb
umocence it will be a greater. Sir, Madam^
than you have given> or can give, to your
daughters !

*^And now. Sir (rising) turn me out of
doors !— turn me out to God's providence !
that shall be my reliance, and my only reli«>

Her uncle turned pale, and trembled i»v
every joint ; Mr. Norman lodced terrified ;
her aunt was unable to speak 5 but her two^


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hardened cousins led the noble suiFerer to
the door, and shut it upon her.

She was not willing to stay at the door
till her high^ wrought up spirits subsided^
being aware that she should not be able to
support herself when it did. She hurried
away, tlierefbre, to her worthy Mrs. Win-
wood, by whom she was received with open
arms. She had need of such a refuge«

Next day^^ her doaths were sent her ; and^
as she was supposed to have but little money^
Mr. Norman attended her with one hun-
dred pounds, which she would not take, as
. he had brought a receipt for her to sign, as
part of five hundred pounds ; the whole of
what was due to her from her father's ef-

However, afterwards, she accepted 6f
ibur hundred pounds (she would not take
five hundred, for an obvious reason) for
Avhich she gave a receipt on account ; and
this was all she ever received from her uncle.

Her hard case was made known to a gea-


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tleman of a great estate, who was thought
to be a man of honour. He was very zea-
lous to undertake her cause ; and she was
then willing to do herself justice. Some
proceedings were had ; but the dishonoura-
ble man having been detected by an acci-
dent, owing to a letter wrong directed,
which fell into her hands, in a design upoa
her honour, she stopt proceedings, and made
a resolution never to resume them ; for, by
that time, her uncle's other two daughters
were married, and handsome fortunes given
with them. And she would have it, that
the four husbands of the four girJs, how-
ever the money was obtained, were entitled
to the consideration they had with them*
Their father was only answerable; and if
the cause were carried against him, he might
be ruined, and yet the greatest part of thet
fortune would be irrecoverable. And when
it was urged by a zealous friend, that her
uncle had, no doubt, made reserves for him-
self, part of which she might probably re-

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^34 HlftTORT OY

<;over, her answer was, ^* Poor man 1 he Iim
dearly bought those reserves ! I pity himP

Yet this friend had, by her leave, intro-
duced to her a man of unquestionable ho-
nour, who, admiring her noble mifid, her
fine understanding, and extensive genius^
was extremely earnest lo undertake her
tjause, and with this declared hope, but not
offered to be made a condition, that she
would be inclined to favour with the inesti-
mable honotir of her hand her introducing
friend, for whom she condescended to ex-
press a very iiigh regard, and for whose hap-
piness she professed herself as solicitous as
for her own ; but who, nevertheless, was
so conscious of his own tmworthiness, as
well from want of fortune as merit, that he
dared not to hope for such a blessing. She
saw this consciousness, and valued him for
it. She condescended in the kindest terms,
unsolicited (for how could he speak what
he could not presume to hope ?) to tell the
conscious man, that his generous friend had


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given hec such an hint. She should value
his friend for it^ she said, as long as sh^
lived, and should value bunself to the same
period ; but as she was determined not to
molest her father's brother, and as nobody
but herself would be a sufferer while she
was a single woman, she neither would ac-
cept of his friend's generous assistance, nor
yet marry ; for she could not bear to think,
that the man she preferred to all others,
should wed a law-suit in her ; nor yet, were
she to marry, that her husband should be
hindered from pursuing the right he would
acquire with her. But, after this confession
in his favour, she said, she should not be
easy, unless he, her friend, to whom she
had so freely opened her heart, was sooa
the husband of some other woman*

She was strengthened in the exalted reso*
lution she had taken soon after, by what
happened to hser uncle. He was taken ill
of a violent fever. No hopes were given
of his life. He was sensible of his danger,
1 and

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936 HISTORY or

^nd then did his conscience reproach him
with the enormous wrongs he had done his
niece. He called out upon her name with
, equal anguish of heart, and blessings on her
virtues. He besought every one who came
near him, to declare his penitence to the or-
phan — to the injured orphan ! and to beg
one visit from her, and her forgiveness*

His attending daughters opposed his ear-
nest request. One of them said, it were
better he should die ; and if he could not
recover, the sooner the happier, than that
such a request should be made to the inso-
lent Hortensia, as they called her. The mo-
ther also opposed it ; but his earnestness in-
creasing, the physician and divine, who at-
tended him, insisted, that he should be gra-
tified, and Mr. Norman was dispatched to
the young lady with the request.

At the very first word, she flew to her
uncle's house. She was admitted to his
bedside. There did she receive his volun-
tary confessions of the wrong done her.


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Tears of penitence ran down his cheeks. He
grasped her hands between his* He kissed
them with his parched lips^ and implored
her forgiveness.

She forgave him. She comforted him,
soothed him. She, whom he had barba-
rously injured, in violation of the sacred laws
of guardianship, could forgive, sooth, and
comfort him, while his own children, for
whose sake, for whose aggrandisement, he
had done the wrong,"stood aloof, and wished
the mouth for ever closed that aknowledged
it, and asked forgiveness of the sufferer.

But in what did this confession end ? The
man, forgiven and soothed, grew easier. He
recovered ; and then was talked to, and ex-
postulated with, by his family, upon his con-
fession, so disgraceful to them and to him-
self. He grew ashamed of his contrition.
All was imputed to delirium, brought on by
the violence of his fever ; and the pious
niece was left to sigh for her uncle, and pity
him, which she cordially did*

VOL. V. a About

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388 ^irroBT 01^

About tilts time came to England the
Count and Cduntess of P. on a visit to their
brother^ Signor L. who was the minister of
an Italian potentate, at the British courts
and had under his care a young lady, his
niece^ about sixteen years of age, who, from
childhood, was destined by all parties for
the wife of the yout^ Ck>unt of P. tb^i
about twenty. A match of policy, in order
to unite two great estates in one; both the
parties being distantly related*

The Countess of P. was accompanied by
her maiden sister, l^gnora Catherina, a lady
of great merit, who, having been disappoint-
ed in marriage by the death of her first lo-
ver, and living very happily with her sister,
between whom and herself there had always
been an inviolable friendship, had made a
resolution never to marry.

Besides this son, the Ccmntess and her
Lord had a dau^ter, Philippa, of about
twelve years of age, a fine young lady, of
whom they were exceedingly fond ; and i^e^


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as well as her brother, was a party in this
visit to Signor L. ; the intent of which
was^ that the young lord and young lady
filK>uld see each other, in order to confirm,
by their own personal approbation, the con-
tract entered in^a by the friends on both

Mrs. Winwood had told a lady of rank, tcr
whom she was distantly related, Miss Beau^
months melancholy tale; and this lady r^
peated it to the Countess of P. and her sis^
ter and her daughter, ia such aA ajSTecting
manner,^ that they were desirous to see her ;,
and Mrs. Winwood prevailed on Miss Beau^
mont ta wait on them in: her company,

Mrs. Beaumont is now a very fine woman.
She was at that time looked upon by every
one as a beauty ; but her modesty, good
settse^ easy behaviour, genius, which was
capable of all things, and her piety, and
sweetness of disposition, w^e so shining
that few who addressed her, or spoke of her,
said a word of the graces of her person.

a a Tlie

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340 HISTORY or

The ladies were charmed with her on this
first visit. They condescended tp return it
at Mrs, Winwood*s lodgings; and were
still more delighted with her. The younger
lady particularly besought her mother and
aunt^ that they would, if possible, procure
for her the blessing, as she called it, of Miss
Beaumont's constant residence with them ;
•end she would endeavour, she, said, to be all
diat Miss Beaumont was* The Countess
and Lady Catharina rejoiced in the young
lady's motion, and intreated Miss Beaumont
to add herself to their family, as a companion
to Lady Philippa; the Countess assuring
her, that she should always consider her as
her other daughter. As to the article of
religion, which Miss Beaumont mentioned
as an obstacle, they brought the Count to
her, to assure her, in their names, as well as
in his own, that that should not be any, if,
on mature deliberation, she could not con-
form to theirs ; and they would confide in
her discretion, that that should never be


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made a topic of discourse between Lady
FhiUppa and her.

Circumstanced as she was, in a manner
friendless, and determined on a single life,
she spoke of this invitation, from a family of
unquestionable honour and generosity, as a
caU of Providence in her fwovr^ and cheer-
folly embraced' k.

She was not sure of even a civil recq)tion
from her uncle, and therefore took leave of
him in a pathetic letter, full of pious wishes
for his returning penitence, and confirming
that forgiv^iess which she had so unre*.
servedly given him in. his supposed dying

The first affliction, and almost the only
one, she met with, after her arrival with this
good family in Italy, was a heavy one to her.

It had beai agreed between the Count de
P. and Signer L. that the young couple,
whom they were both solicitous to see unit-
ed, should not marry under a twelvemonth
to come-. At the expiration of that term,
a 3 Signer

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342 H 18 TOST OV

SigQor L. hoped to have finished his nego-
tiations at the British oourt^ when he
should, of course carry over to Italy with
him his niece, and the^marriage was then Uy
be celebrated*

The young couple had signified to their
friends their mutual approbation of each
other. The young lady, particularly, was
pleased with her elected husband ; but the
youDg lord, having no prepossessions in any
other woman's favour, gave into the will of
his friends, rather as having no objection,
than a voluntary preference ; and now, hav-
ing an opportunity of seeing a woman more
lovely in person, and who was superior to
most of her years and sex in the qualities of
her mind, fell desperately in love with Misa

She could not but observe, from his par-
ticular assiduities, his passion for her, but
studiously avoided giving him an opportu-
nlty to declare himself. At last, however,
he found one, and then he opened his heart,


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apd, in the most ardent manner, besought
her to encourage his honourable love;

She utterly rejected bis suit. He was not
convinced by her generous reasonings. He
iovcd her the more for them. Perplexed
wbat to do^ because shcf was loth to give
-pain tti';the family she deservedly loved, by
revealing the matter to them, she at last re-
solved to leave Italy, land return to her na-
tive country.

She signified her intention to Signora Ca-
therina,. desiring her to acquaint the Coun-
tess and Lady Philippa with it. They were
greatly surprised. The young lady ran to
her unbidden, and on her knees, with tears,
besought her to take pity on her disciple.
The Countess and Signora Catherina expose
tulated with her. JThey brought the Count
himself to request her not to leave them,
and that she would give them the reason for
a resolution so unexpected.

The young lord, and he only of the fa*
mily, knew the reason ; but though ex-
1 , tremely *

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S44 HnromT of

tremety affected at her resdution, coald bo(
promise her to remove the occasion ; on the
contrary, he told her he would follow her to
the world*8 end.

Thus pressed, and even charged with
cmelty by the ladies — thu& threatened by
the young- nobleman — she thought it best to
reveal to the Countess and Lady Catherina
the whole afiair.

She did. They were grieved; but the
Oountess generously declared, that were it
not for their family views of losg st^mding,
she knew not the young woman whom she
couM with so much pleasure embrace as her

The good kdy insisted upon her leave to
break the afiair to the County one of the
most prudent of men, to which, upga con-
dition that no violent measures should be
taken with the young lord, Miss Beaumont

The Count took the matter right, and,
like a good and wise man, though grieved


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that this passion of his son for Miss Beair-
inont was IS^ely to make him indifferent to
a young lady who wanted no merit, and wha
openly acknowledged her approbation of
him, applauded highly Miss Beaumont's ge-
nerous and prudent conduct on the occasion.
He begged that she would not think of
Jeaving them« A passion, he said, founded
in so much merit was not an illaudable
one. He hardly knew how ta blame his son i
'^ — he was culpable in nothing, but that he
.had given way to it,, knowing the &mily
views, and having spontaneously given into
them before he saw Miss Beaumont. Such
a passion was not to be opposed, he added^
by severe or harsh measures. And they aU
three declared, that if she would not aban-
don them, they would leave it to herpru-
:dence and generosity, since she knew their
views and engagements,, to act vnth the
youn^ lord as occasions arose, in order ta
cure him of his passion, and direct it to their


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This wa8 a great and worthy confidence^
She acquainted the ladies, and they the
Qiunti (and Signora Philippa was let into
the seci^t,) with every step she took in thia
arduous afiair. They, on their parts, chang-
ed not either their looks or behaviour to
him, but rather pitied him, and allowed in>

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Online LibrarySamuel RichardsonThe correspondence of Samuel Richardson ... selected from the original manuscripts, bequeathed by him to his family, to which are prefixed, a biographical account of that author, and observations on his writings → online text (page 13 of 14)