Why does not my sweet girl subscribe Sister, as usual? I have done nothing amiss to you! I love you dearly, and ever will. I can’t help my brother’s faults. But I hope he treats you with politeness and decency. He shall be none of my brother if he don’t. I rest a great deal upon your prudence: and it will be very meritorious, if you can overcome yourself, so as to act unexceptionably, though it may not be deserved on this occasion. For in doing so, you’ll have a triumph over nature itself; for, my dear girl, as you have formerly owned, you have a little touch of jealousy in your composition.
What I have heard, is no secret to any body. The injured party is generally the last who hears in these cases, and you shall not first be told anything by me that must afflict you, but cannot you, more than it does me. God give you patience and comfort! The wicked lady has a deal to answer for, to disturb such an uncommon happiness. But no more, than that I am your ever-affectionate sister, B. DAVERS.
I am all impatience to hear how you conduct yourself upon this trying occasion. Let me know what you have heard, and how you came to hear it.
Why don’t I subscribe Sister? asks my dearest Lady Davers.—I have not had the courage to do it of late. For my title to that honour arises from the dear, thrice dear Mr. B. And how long I may be permitted to call him mine, I cannot say. But since you command it, I will call your ladyship by that beloved name, let the rest happen as God shall see fit.
Mr. B. cannot be unpolite, in the main; but he is cold, and a little cross, and short in his speeches to me. I try to hide my grief from everybody, and most from him: for neither my parents, nor Miss Darnford know anything from me. Mrs. Jervis, from whom I seldom hide any thing, as she is on the spot with me, hears not my complainings, nor my uneasiness; for I would not lessen the dear man. He may yet see the error of the way he is in. God grant it, for his own sake as well as mine.—I am even sorry your ladyship is afflicted with the knowledge of the matter.
The unhappy lady (God forgive her!) is to be pitied: she loves him, and having strong passions, and being unused to be controlled, is lost to a sense of honour and justice.—From these wicked masquerades springs all the unhappiness; my Spaniard was too amiable, and met with a lady who was no Nun, but in habit. Every one was taken with him in that habit, so suited to the natural dignity of his person!—O these wicked masquerades!
I am all patience in appearance, all uneasiness in reality. I did not think I could, especially in this most affecting point, be such an hypocrite. Your ladyship knows not what it has cost me, to be able to assume that character! Yet my eyes are swelled with crying, and look red, although I am always breathing on my hand, and patting them with it, and my warm breath, to hide the distress that will, from my overcharged heart, appear in them.