Lady Susan Letters 31 to Conclusion
Letter XXXI – Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson
Letter XXXII – Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan
Letter XXXIII – Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson
Letter XXXIV – Mr. De Courcy to Lady Susan
Letter XXXV – Lady Susan to Mr. De Courcy
Letter XXXVI – Mr. De Courcy to Lady Susan
Letter XXXVII – Lady Susan to Mr. De Courcy
Letter XXXVIII – Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan Vernon
Letter XXXIX – Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson
Letter XL – Lady De Courcy to Mrs. Vernon
Letter XLI – Mrs. Vernon to Lady De Courcy
Lady Susan Letter XXXI – 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,
Lady Susan Letter XXXII – 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, amp; 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 the House.
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 Letter XXXIII – 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.
Lady Susan Letter XXXIV – 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 Letter XXXV – 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.
Lady Susan Letter XXXVI – 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 Letter XXXVII – 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 disappointment.
Lady Susan Letter XXXVIII – 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 alternative remains.
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 Letter XXXIX – 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 Susan Letter XL – 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.
Lady Susan Letter XLI – 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 very likely.
Lady Susan Conclusion
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 society.
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.
End of Lady Susan