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written at all." This almost reads as if this was Richardson's first communication with Prévost. But the Preface to the French version of Pamela says distinctly that that version had made "avec la participation de l'auteur, qui a eu la bonté de nous fournir un petit nombre d'additions et de corrections" as well as some "portraits" of the characters. Lady Bradshaigh, besides being the most assiduous, is also the last of Richardson's correspondents. Indeed her final letter is dated after his death, and is addressed to one of his married daughters, Mrs. Bridgen. She herself survived until 1789, when she died at the age of eighty. But there must have been many visitors to the hospitable house at North End who do not figure among the writers of letters, or only figure rarely. The already-mentioned Mrs. Charlotte Lenox, for instance, was often there, and could scarcely recall an occasion upon which “her host had not rehearsed at least one, but probably two or three voluminous letters, if he found her in the humour of listening with attention." Miss Carter (whose Ode on Wisdom Richardson had boldly annexed while in manuscript for the second volume of Clarissa) and her friend, Miss Talbot, again, were, no doubt, frequently breakfast guests, like Miss Sutton and Mrs. Donnellan. The men visitors were fewer. But Cibber, as we have seen, came occasionally, and doubtless Speaker Onslow, as well as Thomas Edwards and Dr. Young. Johnson, we know, visited at both houses, and Hogarth. Indeed, it was under Richardson's roof that the Painter first saw the Lexicographer. In 1753, immediately after the execution of Dr. Archibald Cameron, for complicity in the '45, Hogarth

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and Richardson were discussing that event. was another person standing at a window in the room, shaking his head, and rolling himself about in a ridiculous manner. Hogarth took him for some one of defective intelligence, placed under his friend's care. But presently the figure lumbered forward, and burst into an animated invective against George the Second, whose clemency had been in question, displaying such an unexpected power of oratory that the painter thought him inspired. He often heard the great man afterwards, but at this meeting, it is expressly stated, they were not made known to one another.

CHAPTER VI

THE HISTORY OF SIR CHARLES GRANDISON

IN the first chapter of this book, mention was made of a certain grotto or summer-house in the garden at North End, where Richardson was in the habit of reading his productions to a select circle of admirers. Miss Susannah Highmore, who inherited something of her father's talent, has left a little picture of one of these sessions. Whether the fair artist, after the fashion of the draughtsmen of her day, has yielded overmuch to the seductions of perspective, we know not; but what she depicts is a rather spacious chamber entered from without by two descending steps, so that its floor would appear to be slightly below the level of the ground. It is scantly furnished, but extensive enough to accommodate a party of seven, that is, in addition to the author, three ladies and three gentlemen. Richardson, "in his usual morning dress," a velvet cap, and the night- or dressing-gown of the period, sits to the left with crossed legs (as in Chamberlin's portrait), intent upon the latest instalment of the manuscript of Grandison. To his left is Mr. Mulso, senior; and further still to the left, on a seat by the door, his son, Mr. Edward Mulso. At the opposite side of the apartment, grouped round a table, are the remainder of the company. Miss

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Mulso, a dignified young woman, whose figure here, at all events, does not deserve the depreciatory epithet which Charlotte Burney bestowed upon it, comes first. Next to Miss Mulso is Miss Prescott, who, as we know, subsequently became Mrs. Edward Mulso; and next to Miss Prescott, the Rev. John Duncombe, who is taking a pinch of snuff with a gesture which would do credit to Chesterfield himself. By him sits the damsel of his choice, the artist, Miss Highmore. The ladies wear sacques, hoops (for the nonce disposed over their seats), and Pamela hats; the gentlemen, in the ordinary costume of the day, are elegantly posed in attitudes of attention.

The little picture bears no date. But it must have been executed not long before July 1751, as it is mentioned in a letter addressed at that time by Miss Mulso to Miss Highmore, referring to "the dear circle at North End, which your pencil so prettily described. You do not know," says the future Mrs. Chapone, to whom we must assume that the drawing once belonged, "how much pleasure I take in surveying that sketch, nor how often I contemplate every figure in it, and recall the delights of that day." From these last words it would appear that this particular reading was a somewhat exceptional one. But, according to Mrs. Barbauld, it was Richardson's practice to write in the grotto before the family were up, communicating afterwards to the party at breakfast the daily advance of his

1 Miss Mulso, as already stated, was herself an amateur artist. "I had great pleasure in seeing in Mr. Richardson's hands an exceeding like picture of you, drawn Miss Mulso this last summer-Do not be scandalised; he cannot possibly wear it in his snuff-box" (Miss Talbot to Mrs. Carter, 12th August 1756).

labours. 66 Then," says Mrs. Barbauld, in an oftquoted passage, "began the criticisms, the pleadings, for Harriet Byron or Clementina; every turn and every incident was eagerly canvassed, and the author enjoyed the benefit of knowing beforehand how his situations would strike." It was here also that he studied his guests, of whom he always had a working assortment on hand, whose own little partialities and entanglements were frequently developed under his eye, "becoming the subject of grave advice or lively raillery." "I have often sat by in company," he tells a correspondent, "and been silently pleased with the opportunity given me, by different arguers, of looking into the hearts of some of them, through windows that at other times have been closed." It is clear that he was always using his "flower-garden of ladies" either as critics of his work, or as object-lessons in sensibility. "You cannot imagine, Madam," he says, in another letter to a different person, "how much the Characters of Clarissa, of Miss Howe, of Lovelace, of Mr. Hickman, have let me into the Hearts and Souls of my Acquaintance of both Sexes, some of which, those of Sophia and Tom Jones, have greatly confirmed."

Clarissa had been published in 1747-48, and Tom Jones in 1749. Whether Sir Charles Grandison would have been written at all if Tom Jones had never existed, is a speculation upon which it would now be fruitless. to enter, although it is probable that there is more connection between the two than is generally imagined. Tom Jones, at all events, was a hero with many of the other sex; and it is equally certain that he was not at all a hero after Richardson's pattern. It is quite in the nature of things that Richardson should think

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