I acknowledge to myself that she was a true and hearty friend. She listened with interest to my discourse on the necessity of my being in Parliament before I could venture to propose formally for the hand of the princess, and undertook to bear the burden of all consequent negotiations with my grandfather. If she would but have allowed me to speak of Temple, instead of saying, ‘Don’t, Harry, I like him so much!’ at the very mention of his name, I should have sincerely felt my indebtedness to her, and some admiration of her fine spirit and figure besides. I could not even agree with my aunt Dorothy that Janet was handsome. When I had to grant her a pardon I appreciated her better.
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The squire again did honour to Janet’s eulogy and good management of him.
‘And where,’ said she, ’would you find a Radical to behave so generously, Harry, when it touches him so?’
He accorded me his permission to select my side in politics, merely insisting that I was never to change it, and this he requested me to swear to, for (he called the ghost of old Sewis to witness) he abhorred a turncoat.
’If you’re to be a Whig, or a sneaking half-and-half, I can’t help you much,’ he remarked. ’I can pop a young Tory in for my borough, maybe; but I can’t insult a number of independent Englishmen by asking them to vote for the opposite crew; that’s reasonable, eh? And I can’t promise you plumpers for the county neither. You can date your Address from Riversley. You’ll have your house in town. Tell me this princess of yours is ready with her hand, and,’ he threw in roughly, ’is a respectable young woman, I’ll commence building. You’ll have a house fit for a prince in town and country, both.’
Temple had produced an effect on him by informing him that ’this princess of mine’ was entitled to be considered a fit and proper person, in rank and blood, for an alliance with the proudest royal Houses of Europe, and my grandfather was not quite destitute of consolation in the prospect I presented to him. He was a curious study to me, of the Tory mind, in its attachment to solidity, fixity, certainty, its unmatched generosity within a limit, its devotion to the family, and its family eye for the country. An immediate introduction to Ottilia would have won him to enjoy the idea of his grandson’s marriage; but not having seen her, he could not realize her dignity, nor even the womanliness of a ‘foreign woman.’