[Letter 26 to Conclusion]
Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan
I am gratified by your reference, & this is my advice: that you come to
Town yourself, without loss of time, but that you leave Frederica behind. It
would surely be much more to the purpose to get yourself well established by
marrying Mr. De Courcy, than to irritate him & the rest of his family
by making her marry Sir James. You should think more of yourself & less of
your Daughter. She is not of a disposition to do you credit in the World,
& seems precisely in her proper place at Churchill, with the Vernons. But
you are fitted for Society, & it is shameful to have you exiled
from it. Leave Frederica, therefore, to punish herself for the plague she has
given you, by indulging that romantic tender-heartedness which will always
ensure her misery enough, & come yourself to Town as soon as you can.
I have another reason for urging this:
Manwaring came to town last week, & has contrived, in spite of
Mr. Johnson, to make opportunities of seeing me. He is absolutely
miserable about you, & jealous to such a degree of De Courcy, that it would
be highly unadvisable for them to meet at present. And yet, if you do not
allow him to see you here, I cannot answer for his not committing same great
imprudence -- such as going to Churchill, for instance, which would be
dreadful! Besides, if you take my advice, & resolve to marry De Courcy, it
will be indispensably necessary to you to get Manwaring out of the way; &
you only can have influence enough to send him back to his wife. I have still
another motive for your coming: Mr. Johnson leaves London next Tuesday; he
is going for his health to Bath, where, if the waters are favourable to his
constitution & my wishes, he will be laid up with the gout many weeks.
During his absence we shall be able to choose our own society, & to have
true enjoyment. I would ask you to Edward Street, but that he once forced from
me a kind of promise never to invite you to my house; nothing but my being in
the utmost distress for Money should have extorted it from me. I can get you,
however, a nice Drawing-room-apartment in Upper Seymour St, & we may be
always together there or here; for I consider my promise to Mr. Johnson as
comprehending only (at least in his absence) your not sleeping in the
Poor Manwaring gives me such histories of his wife's jealousy. Silly Woman,
to expect constancy from so charming a Man! but she always was silly --
intolerably so in marrying him at all. She the Heiress of a large Fortune, he
without a shilling! One title, I know, she might have had, besides
Baronets. Her folly in forming the connection was so great that tho'
Mr. Johnson was her Guardian, & I do not in general share his feelings,
I never can forgive her.
Adieu, Yours, ALICIA.
Mrs. Vernon to Lady De Courcy
This letter, my dear Mother, will be brought you by Reginald. His long
visit is about to be concluded at last, but I fear the separation takes place
too late to do us any good. She is going to London to see her
particular friend, Mrs. Johnson. It was at first her intention that
Frederica should accompany her, for the benefit of Masters, but we over-ruled
her there. Frederica was wretched in the idea of going, & I could not bear
to have her at the mercy of her Mother; not all the Masters in London could
compensate for the ruin of her comfort. I should have feared, too, for her
health, & for everything but her Principles -- there I beleive she
is not to be injured by her Mother, or all her Mother's friends; but with those
friends (a very bad set, I doubt not) she must have mixed, or have been left in
total solitude, & I can hardly tell which would have been worse for her.
If she is with her Mother, moreover, she must, alas! in all probability be with
Reginald -- & that would be the greatest evil of all.
Here we shall in time be in peace. Our regular employments, our Books &
conversation, with Exercise, the Children, & every domestic pleasure in my
power to procure her, will, I trust, gradually overcome this youthful
attachment. I should not have a doubt of it, were she slighted for any other
woman in the world than her own Mother.
How long Lady Susan will be in Town, or whether she returns here again, I
know not. I could not be cordial in my invitation; but if she chuses to
come, no want of cordiality on my part will keep her away.
I could not help asking Reginald if he intended being in Town this winter,
as soon as I found her Ladyship's steps would be bent thither; & tho' he
professed himself quite undetermined, there was something in his look &
voice as he spoke which contradicted his words. I have done with Lamentation.
I look upon the event as so far decided that I resign myself to it in despair.
If he leaves you soon for London, everything will be concluded.
Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan.
My dearest Friend
I write in the greatest distress; the most unfortunate event has just taken
place. Mr. Johnson has hit on the most effectual manner of plaguing us
all. He had heard, I imagine, by some means or other, that you were soon to be
in London, & immediately contrived to have such an attack of the Gout as
must at least delay his journey to Bath, if not wholly prevent it. I am
persuaded the Gout is brought on or kept off at pleasure; it was the same when
I wanted to join the Hamiltons to the Lakes; & three years ago, when
I had a fancy for Bath, nothing could induce him to have a Gouty
I have received yours, & have engaged the Lodgings in consequence. I am
pleased to find that my Letter had so much effect on you, & that De Courcy
is certainly your own. Let me hear from you as soon as you arrive, & in
particular tell me what you mean to do with Manwaring. It is impossible to say
when I shall be able to see you; my confinement must be great. It is such an
abominable trick to be ill here instead of at Bath that I can scarcely command
myself at all. At Bath, his old Aunts would have nursed him, but here it all
falls upon me -- & he bears pain with such patience that I have not the
common excuse for losing my temper.
Lady Susan Vernon to Mrs. Johnson.
Upper Seymour St.
My dear Alicia
There needed not this last fit of the Gout to make me detest
Mr. Johnson, but now the extent of my aversion is not to be estimated. To
have you confined as Nurse in his apartment! My dear Alicia, of what a mistake
were you guilty in marrying a Man of his age! -- just old enough to be formal,
ungovernable, & to have the Gout; too old to be agreable, too young to
I arrived last night about five, & had scarcely swallowed my dinner when
Manwaring made his appearance. I will not dissemble what real pleasure his
sight afforded me, nor how strongly I felt the contrast between his person
& manners & those of Reginald, to the infinite disadvantage of the
latter. For an hour or two I was even staggered in my resolution of marrying
him, & tho' this was too idle & nonsensical an idea to remain long on
my mind, I do not feel very eager for the conclusion of my Marriage, nor look
forward with much impatience to the time when Reginald, according to our
agreement, is to be in Town. I shall probably put off his arrival under some
pretence or other. He must not come till Manwaring is gone.
I am still doubtful at times as to Marriage. If the old Man would die, I
might not hesitate; but a state of dependence on the caprice of Sir Reginald
will not suit the freedom of my spirit; & if I resolve to wait for that
event, I shall have excuse enough at present, in having been scarcely ten
months a Widow.
I have not given Manwaring any hint of my intention, or allowed him to
consider my acquaintance with Reginald as more than the commonest flirtation,
& he is tolerably appeased. Adieu, till we meet; I am enchanted with my
Lady Susan Vernon to Mr. De Courcy
Upper Seymour St.
I have received your Letter, & tho' I do not attempt to conceal that I
am gratified by your impatience for the hour of meeting, I yet feel myself
under the necessity of delaying that hour beyond the time originally fixed.
Do not think me unkind for such an exercise of my power, nor accuse me of
Instability without first hearing my reasons. In the course of my journey
from Churchill, I had ample leisure for reflection on the present state of our
affairs, & every review has served to convince me that they require a
delicacy & cautiousness of conduct to which we have hitherto been too
little attentive. We have been hurried on by our feelings to a degree of
Precipitation which ill accords with the claims of our Friends or the opinion
of the World. We have been unguarded in forming this hasty Engagement, but we
must not complete the imprudence by ratifying it while there is so much reason
to fear the Connection would be opposed by those Friends on whom you
It is not for us to blame any expectations on your Father's side of your
marrying to advantage; where possessions are so extensive as those of your
Family, the wish of increasing them, if not strictly reasonable, is too common
to excite surprise or resentment. He has a right to require a woman of
fortune in his daughter in law, & I am sometimes quarrelling with myself
for suffering you to form a connection so imprudent; but the influence of
reason is often acknowledged too late by those who feel like me.
I have now been but a few months a widow; and, however little indebted to my
Husband's memory for any happiness derived from him during a Union of some
years, I cannot forget that the indelicacy of so early a second marriage must
subject me to the censure of the World, & incur, what would be still more
insupportable, the displeasure of Mr. Vernon. I might perhaps harden
myself in time against the injustice of general reproach, but the loss of
his valued Esteem I am, as you well know, ill-fitted to endure; &
when to this may be added the consciousness of having injured you with your
Family, how am I to support myself? With feelings so poignant as mine, the
conviction of having divided the son from his Parents would make me, even with
you, the most miserable of Beings.
It will surely, therefore, be advisable to delay our Union, to delay it till
appearances are more promising, till affairs have taken a more favourable turn.
To assist us in such a resolution, I feel that absence will be necessary. We
must not meet. Cruel as this sentence may appear, the necessity of pronouncing
it, which can alone reconcile it to myself, will be evident to you when you
have considered our situation in the light in which I have found myself
imperiously obliged to place it. You may be -- you must be -- well assured
that nothing but the strongest conviction of Duty could induce me to wound my
own feelings by urging a lengthened separation, & of insensibility to yours
you will hardly suspect me. Again, therefore, I say that we ought not, we must
not yet meet. By a removal for some Months from each other, we shall
tranquillize the sisterly fears of Mrs. Vernon, who, accustomed herself to
the enjoyment of riches, considers Fortune as necessary everywhere, & whose
Sensibilities are not of a nature to
Let me hear from you soon -- very soon. Tell me that you submit to my
Arguments, & do not reproach me for using such. I cannot bear reproaches:
my spirits are not so high as to need being repressed. I must endeavour to
seek amusement abroad, & fortunately many of my Friends are in town;
among them the Manwarings; you know how sincerely I regard both Husband &
I am ever, Faithfully Yours
Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson.
Upper Seymour St.
My dear Friend,
That tormenting creature Reginald is here. My Letter, which was intended
to keep him longer in the Country, has hastened him to Town. Much as I wish
him away, however, I cannot help being pleased with such a proof of
attachment. He is devoted to me, heart & soul. He will carry this note
himself, which is to serve as an Introduction to you, with whom he longs to be
acquainted. Allow him to spend the Evening with you, that I may be in no
danger of his returning here. I have told him that I am not quite well, &
must be alone; & should he call again there might be confusion, for it is
impossible to be sure of servants. Keep him, therefore, I entreat you, in
Edward St. You will not find him a heavy companion, & I allow you to
flirt with him as much as you like. At the same time do not forget my real
interest; say all that you can to convince him that I shall be quite wretched
if he remains here; you know my reasons -- Propriety, & so forth. I would
urge them more myself, but that I am impatient to be rid of him, as Manwaring
comes within half an hour. Adieu,
Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan
My dear Creature,
I am in agonies, & know not what to do, nor what you can do.
Mr. De Courcy arrived just when he should not. Mrs. Manwaring had that
instant entered the House, & forced herself into her Guardian's presence,
tho' I did not know a syllable of it till afterwards, for I was out when both
she & Reginald came, or I should have sent him away at all events; but
she was shut up with Mr. Johnson, while he waited in the
Drawing room for me. She arrived yesterday in pursuit of her Husband; but
perhaps you know this already from himself. She came to this house to entreat
my Husband's interference, & before I could be aware of it, everything that
you could wish to be concealed was known to him, & unluckily she had wormed
out of Manwaring's servant that he had visited you every day since your being
in Town, & had just watched him to your door herself! What could I do?
Facts are such horrid things! All is by this time known to De Courcy, who is
now alone with Mr. Johnson. Do not accuse me; indeed, it was impossible to
prevent it. Mr. Johnson has for some time suspected De Courcy of intending
to marry you, & would speak with him alone as soon as he knew him to be in
That detestable Mrs. Manwaring, who, for your comfort, has fretted
herself thinner & uglier than ever, is still here, & they have been all
closeted together. What can be done? At any rate, I hope he will plague his
wife more than ever. With anxious wishes,
Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson
Upper Seymour St.
This Eclaircissement is rather provoking. How unlucky that you should have
been from home! I thought myself sure of you at 7. I am undismayed, however.
Do not torment yourself with fears on my account; depend on it, I can make my
story good with Reginald. Manwaring is just gone; he brought me the news of
his wife's arrival. Silly woman, what does she expect by such Manoeuvres? Yet
I wish she had staid quietly at Langford.
Reginald will be a little enraged at first, but by To-morrow's Dinner
everything will be well again.
Mr. De Courcy to Lady Susan.
I write only to bid you Farewell. The spell is removed; I see you as you
are. Since we parted yesterday, I have received from indisputable authority
such an history of you as must bring the most mortifying conviction of the
Imposition I have been under, & the absolute necessity of an immediate
& eternal separation from you. You cannot doubt to what I allude.
Langford -- Langford -- that word will be sufficient. I received my
information in Mr. Johnson's house, from Mrs. Manwaring herself.
You know how I have loved you; you can intimately judge of my present
feelings; but I am not so weak as to find indulgence in describing them to a
woman who will glory in having excited their anguish, but whose affection they
have never been able to gain.
R. DE COURCY.
Lady Susan to Mr. De Courcy
Upper Seymour St.
I will not attempt to describe my astonishment in reading the note this
moment received from you. I am bewildered in my endeavours to form some
rational conjecture of what Mrs. Manwaring can have told you, to occasion
so extraordinary a change in your sentiments. Have I not explained everything
to you with respect to myself which could bear a doubtful meaning, & which
the ill-nature of the World had interpreted to my Discredit? What can you
now have heard to stagger your Esteem for me? Have I ever had a
concealment from you? Reginald, you agitate me beyond expression. I cannot
suppose that the old story of Mrs. Manwaring's jealousy can be revived
again, or at least be listened to again. Come to me immediately,
& explain what is at present absolutely incomprehensible. Beleive me, the
single word of Langford is not of such potent intelligence as to
supersede the necessity of more. If we are to part, it will at least
be handsome to take your personal Leave. But I have little heart to jest; in
truth, I am serious enough -- for to be sunk, tho' but for an hour, in your
esteem is an humiliation to which I know not how to submit. I shall count
every minute till your arrival.
Mr. De Courcy to Lady Susan
Why would you write to me? Why do you require particulars? But since it
must be so, I am obliged to declare that all the accounts of your misconduct
during the life & since the death of Mr. Vernon, which had reached me,
in common with the World in general, & gained my entire belief before I saw
you, but which you, by the exertion of your perverted Abilities, had made me
resolve to disallow, have been unanswerably proved to me. Nay, more, I am
assured that a connection of which I had never before entertained a thought,
has for some time existed, & still continues to exist, between you &
the Man whose family you robbed of its Peace, in return for the hospitality
with which you were received into it! That you have corresponded with him ever
since your leaving Langford -- not with his wife -- but with him -- & that
he now visits you every day. Can you, dare you deny it? & all this at the
time when I was an encouraged, an accepted Lover! From what have I not
escaped! I have only to be grateful. Far from me be all complaint, &
every sigh of regret. My own Folly had endangered me, my Preservation I owe to
the kindness, the Integrity of another. But the unfortunate
Mrs. Manwaring, whose agonies while she related the past seemed to threaten
her reason -- how is she to be consoled?
After such a discovery as this, you will scarcely affect further wonder at
my meaning in bidding you Adieu. My Understanding is at length restored, &
teaches me no less to abhor the Artifices which had subdued me than to despise
myself for the weakness on which their strength was founded.
R. DE COURCY
Lady Susan to Mr. De Courcy
Upper Seymour St.
I am satisfied -- & will trouble you no more when these few lines are
dismissed. The Engagement which you were eager to form a fortnight ago is no
longer compatible with your views, & I rejoice to find that the prudent
advice of your Parents has not been given in vain. Your restoration to Peace
will, I doubt not, speedily follow this act of filial Obedience, & I
flatter myself with the hope of surviving my share in this
Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan Vernon
I am grieved, tho' I cannot be astonished, at your rupture with Mr. De
Courcy; he has just informed Mr. Johnson of it by letter. He leaves
London, he says, to-day. Be assured that I partake in all your feelings, &
do not be angry if I say that our intercourse, even by Letter, must soon be
given up. It makes me miserable; but Mr. Johnson vows that if I persist in
the connection, he will settle in the country for the rest of his life -- &
you know it is impossible to submit to such an extremity while any other
You have heard of course that the Manwarings are to part, & I am afraid
Mrs. M. will come home to us again; but she is still so fond of her
Husband, & frets so much about him, that perhaps she may not live long.
Miss Manwaring is just come to Town to be with her Aunt, & they say that
she declares she will have Sir James Martin before she leaves London again. If
I were you, I would certainly get him myself. I had almost forgot to give you
my opinion of Mr. De Courcy, I am really delighted with him; he is full as
handsome, I think, as Manwaring, & with such an open, good-humoured
countenance that one cannot help loving him at first sight. Mr. Johnson
& he are the greatest friends in the World. Adieu, my dearest Susan. I
wish matters did not go so perversely. That unlucky visit to Langford! But I
dare say you did all for the best, & there is no defying Destiny.
Yr. sincerely attached
Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson.
Upper Seymour St.
My dear Alicia
I yeild to the necessity which parts us. Under circumstances you could not
act otherwise. Our friendship cannot be impaired by it, & in happier
times, when your situation is as independent as mine, it will unite us again in
the same Intimacy as ever. For this I shall impatiently wait; & meanwhile
can safely assure you that I never was more at ease, or better satisfied with
myself & everything about me than at the present hour. Your Husband I
abhor -- Reginald I despise -- & I am secure of never seeing either again.
Have I not reason to rejoice? Manwaring is more devoted to me than ever; &
were he at liberty, I doubt if I could resist even Matrimony offered by
him. This event, if his wife live with you, it may be in your power
to hasten. The violence of her feelings, which must wear her out, may be
easily kept in irritation. I rely on your friendship for this. I am now
satisfied that I never could have brought myself to marry Reginald; & am
equally determined that Frederica never shall. To-morrow I shall
fetch her from Churchill, & let Maria Manwaring tremble for the
consequence. Frederica shall be Sir James's wife before she quits my house.
She may whimper, & the Vernons may storm; I regard them not. I am
tired of submitting my will to the Caprices of others; of resigning my own
Judgement in deference to those to whom I owe no Duty, & for whom I feel no
respect. I have given up too much, have been too easily worked on; but
Frederica shall now find the difference.
Adieu, dearest of Friends. May the next Gouty Attack be more favourable!
And may you always regard me as unalterably yours
Lady De Courcy to Mrs. Vernon.
My dear Catherine
I have charming news for you, & if I had not sent off my Letter this
morning, you might have been spared the vexation of knowing of Reginald's being
gone to Town, for he is returned, Reginald is
returned, not to ask our consent to his marrying Lady Susan, but to tell us
they are parted forever! He has been only an hour in the House, & I have
not been able to learn particulars, for he is so very low that I have not the
heart to ask questions; but I hope we shall soon know all. This is the most
joyful hour he has ever given us since the day of his birth. Nothing is
wanting but to have you here, & it is our particular wish & entreaty
that you would come to us as soon as you can. You have owed us a visit many
long weeks. I hope nothing will make it inconvenient to Mr. Vernon, &
pray bring all my Grand-Children; & your dear Neice is included, of course;
I long to see her. It has been a sad, heavy winter hitherto, without Reginald,
& seeing nobody from Churchill. I never found the season so dreary before;
but this happy meeting will make us young again. Frederica runs much in my
thoughts, & when Reginald has recovered his usual good spirits (as I trust
he soon will), we will try to rob him of his heart once more, & I am full
of hopes of seeing their hands joined at no great distance.
Yr. affec: Mother,
C. DE COURCY.
Mrs. Vernon to Lady De Courcy
My dear Madam
Your Letter has surprised me beyond measure! Can it be true that they are
really separated -- & forever? I should be overjoyed if I dared depend on
it, but after all that I have seen, how can one be secure? And Reginald really
with you! My surprise is the greater because on Wednesday, the very day of
his coming to Parklands, we had a most unexpected & unwelcome visit from
Lady Susan, looking all chearfulness & good-humour, & seeming more as
if she were to marry him when she got to London, than as if parted from him
forever. She staid nearly two hours, was as affectionate & agreable as
ever, & not a syllable, not a hint, was dropped of any disagreement or
coolness between them. I asked her whether she had seen my Brother since his
arrival in Town -- not, as you may suppose, with any doubt of the fact, but
merely to see how she looked. She immediately answered, without any
embarrassment, that he had been kind enough to call on her on Monday, but she
beleived he had already returned home -- which I was very far from crediting.
Your kind invitation is accepted by us with pleasure, & on Thursday next
we & our little ones will be with you. Pray Heaven, Reginald may not be
in Town again by that time!
I wish we could bring dear Frederica too, but I am sorry to say that her
Mother's errand hither was to fetch her away; and, miserable as it made the
poor Girl, it was impossible to detain her. I was thoroughly unwilling to let
her go, & so was her Uncle; & all that could be urged we did urge; but
Lady Susan declared that as she was now about to fix herself in Town for
several Months, she could not be easy if her Daughter were not with her, for
Masters, &c. Her Manner, to be sure, was very kind & proper, &
Mr. Vernon beleives that Frederica will now be treated with affection. I
wish I could think so too!
The poor girl's heart was almost broke at taking leave of us. I charged her
to write to me very often, & to remember that if she were in any distress
we should be always her friends. I took care to see her alone, that I might
say all this, & I hope made her a little more comfortable. But I shall not
be easy till I can go to Town & judge of
her situation myself.
I wish there were a better prospect than now appears of the Match which the
conclusion of your Letter declares your expectation of. At present it is not
This Correspondence, by a meeting between some of the parties, & a
separation between the others, could not, to the great detriment of the Post
office Revenue, be continued longer. Very little assistance to the State
could be derived from the Epistolary Intercourse of Mrs. Vernon & her
neice; for the former soon perceived, by the style of Frederica's letters,
that they were written under her Mother's inspection, & therefore
deferring all particular inquiry till she could make it personally in Town,
ceased writing minutely or often.
Having learnt enough in the meanwhile from her open-hearted Brother, of
what had passed between him & Lady Susan to sink the latter lower than
ever in her opinion, she was proportionably more anxious to get Frederica
removed from such a Mother, & placed under her own care; and, tho' with
little hope of success, was resolved to leave nothing unattempted that might
offer a chance of obtaining her Sister-in-law's consent to it. Her anxiety on
the subject made her press for an early visit to London; & Mr. Vernon,
who, as it must already have appeared, lived only to do whatever he was
desired, soon found some accommodating Business to call him thither. With a
heart full of the Matter, Mrs. Vernon waited on Lady Susan shortly after her
arrival in Town, & was met with such an easy & chearful affection, as
made her almost turn from her with horror. No remembrance of Reginald, no
consciousness of Guilt, gave one look of embarrassment. She was in excellent
spirits, & seemed eager to shew at once, by every possible attention to her
Brother & Sister, her sense of their kindness, & her pleasure in their
Frederica was no more altered than Lady Susan; the same restrained Manners,
the same timid Look in the presence of her Mother as heretofore, assured her
Aunt of her situation's being uncomfortable, & confirmed her in the plan of
altering it. No unkindness, however, on the part of Lady Susan appeared.
Persecution on the subject of Sir James was entirely at an end -- his name
merely mentioned to say that he was not in London; & indeed, in all her
conversation she was solicitous only for the welfare & improvement of her
Daughter, acknowledging, in terms of grateful delight, that Frederica was now
growing every day more & more what a Parent could desire.
Mrs. Vernon, surprised & incredulous, knew not what to suspect, and,
without any change in her own views, only feared greater difficulty in
accomplishing them. The first hope of anything better was derived from Lady
Susan's asking her whether she thought Frederica looked quite as well as she
had done at Churchill, as she must confess herself to have sometimes an
anxious doubt of London's perfectly agreeing with her.
Mrs. Vernon, encouraging the doubt, directly proposed her Neice's returning
with them into the country. Lady Susan was unable to express her sense of
such kindness, yet knew not, from a variety of reasons, how to part with her
Daughter; & as, tho' her own plans were not yet wholly fixed, she trusted
it would ere long be in her power to take Frederica into the country herself,
concluded by declining entirely to profit by such unexampled attention.
Mrs. Vernon, however, persevered in the offer of it; & tho' Lady Susan
continued to resist, her resistance in the course of a few days seemed
somewhat less formidable.
The lucky alarm of an Influenza decided what might not have been decided
quite so soon. Lady Susan's maternal fears were then too much awakened for
her to think of anything but Frederica's removal from the risk of infection.
Above all Disorders in the World, she most dreaded the influenza for her
Daughter's constitution! Frederica returned to Churchill with her uncle &
aunt; & three weeks afterwards, Lady Susan announced her being married to
Sir James Martin.
Mrs. Vernon was then convinced of what she had only suspected before, that
she might have spared herself all the trouble of urging a removal which Lady
Susan had doubtless resolved on from the first. Frederica's visit was
nominally for six weeks; but her Mother, tho' inviting her to return in one or
two affectionate Letters, was very ready to oblige the whole Party by
consenting to a prolongation of her stay, & in the course of two months
ceased to write of her absence, & in the course of two more to write to
her at all.
Frederica was therefore fixed in the family of her Uncle & Aunt till
such time as Reginald De Courcy could be talked, flattered, & finessed
into an affection for her -- which, allowing leisure for the conquest of his
attachment to her Mother, for his abjuring all future attachments, &
detesting the Sex, might be reasonably looked for in the course of a
Twelvemonth. Three Months might have done it in general, but Reginald's
feelings were no less lasting than lively.
Whether Lady Susan was or was not happy in her second Choice -- I do not
see how it can ever be ascertained -- for who would take her assurance of it
on either side of the question? The World must judge from Probability; she
had nothing against her but her Husband & her Conscience.
Sir James may seem to have drawn a harder lot than mere Folly merited. I
leave him, therefore, to all the Pity that anybody can give him. For myself,
I confess that I can pity only Miss Manwaring, who, coming to Town &
putting herself to an expense in Cloathes which impoverished her for two
years, on purpose to secure him, was defrauded of her due by a Woman ten years
older than herself.