But hark-ye-me, my sweet girl, what have I done, that you won’t write yourself sister to me? I could find in my heart to be angry with you. Before my last visit, I was scrupulous to subscribe myself so to you. But since I have seen myself so much surpassed in every excellence, that I would take pleasure in the name, you assume a pride in your turn, and may think it under-valuing yourself, to call me so—Ay, that’s the thing, I doubt—Although I have endeavoured by several regulations since my return (and the countess, too, keeps your example in distant view, as well as I), to be more worthy of the appellation. If, therefore, you would avoid the reproaches of secret pride, under the shadow of so remarkable an humility, for the future never omit subscribing as I do, with great pleasure, your truly affectionate sister and friend, B. DAVERS.
I always take it for granted, that my worthy brother sends his respects to us; as you must, that Lord Davers, the Countess of C. and Jackey (who, as well as his uncle, talks of nothing else but you), send theirs; and so unnecessary compliments will be always excluded our correspondence.
In answer to the preceding.
How you overwhelm me with your goodness, my dearest lady, in every word of your last welcome letter, is beyond my power to express I How nobly has your ladyship contrived, in your ever-valued present, to encourage a doubting and apprehensive mind! And how does it contribute to my joy and my glory, that I am deemed by the noble sister of my best beloved, not wholly unworthy of being the humble means to continue, and, perhaps, to perpetuate, a family so ancient and so honourable!
When I contemplate this, and look upon what I was—How shall I express a sense of the honour done me!—And when, reading over the other engaging particulars in your ladyship’s letter, I come to the last charming paragraph, I am doubly affected to see myself seemingly upbraided, but so politely emboldened to assume an appellation, that otherwise I hardly dared.
I—humble I—who never had a sister before—to find one now in Lady Davers! O Madam, you, and only you, can teach me words fit to express the joy and the gratitude that filled my delighted heart!—But thus much I am taught, that there is some thing more than the low-born can imagine in birth and education. This is so evident in your ladyship’s actions, words, and manner, that it strikes one with a becoming reverence; and we look up with awe to a condition we emulate in vain, when raised by partial favour, like what I have found; and are confounded when we see grandeur of soul joined with grandeur of birth and condition; and a noble lady acting thus nobly, as Lady Davers acts.
My best wishes, and a thousand blessings, attend your ladyship in all you undertake! And I am persuaded the latter will, and a peace and satisfaction of mind incomparably to be preferred to whatever else this world can afford, in the new regulations, which you, and my dear lady countess, have set on foot in your families: and when I can have the happiness to know what they are, I shall, I am confident, greatly improve my own methods by them.