Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. IV. Eighteenth Century
Pride and Prejudice
By Frances (Fanny) Burney (Madame dArblay) (17521840)
HIS conference with Dr. Lyster was long and painful, but decisive: that sagacious and friendly man knew well how to work upon his passions, and so effectually awakened them by representing the disgrace of his own family from the present situation of Cecilia that before he quitted his house he was authorised to invite her to remove to it.
The doctor with much alacrity gave Cecilia the invitation with which he had been charged; but Delvile, jealous for her dignity, was angry and dissatisfied his father brought it not himself, and exclaimed with much mortification, Is this all the grace accorded me?
Patience, patience, sir, answered the doctor; when you have thwarted anybody in their first hope and ambition, do you expect they will send you their compliments and many thanks for the disappointment? Pray let the good gentleman have his way in some little matters, since you have taken such effectual care to put out of his reach the power of having it in greater.
Oh! far from starting obstacles, cried Cecilia, let us solicit a reconciliation with whatever concessions he may require. The misery of disobedience we have but too fatally experienced; and thinking as we think of filial ties and parental claims, how can we ever hope happiness till forgiven and taken into favour?
True, my Cecilia, answered Delvile, and generous and condescending as true; and if you can thus sweetly comply, I will gratefully forbear making any opposition. Too much already have you suffered from the impetuosity of my temper, but I will try to curb it in future by the remembrance of your injuries.
The whole of this unfortunate business, said Dr. Lyster, has been the result of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Your uncle, the Dean, began it, by his arbitrary will, as if an ordinance of his own could arrest the course of nature! and as if he had power to keep alive, by the loan of a name, a family in the male branch already extinct. Your father, Mr. Mortimer, continued it with the same self-partiality, preferring the wretched gratification of tickling his ear with a favourite sound, to the solid happiness of his son with a rich and deserving wife. Yet this, however, remember, if to pride and prejudice you owe your miseries, so wonderfully is good and evil balanced, that to pride and prejudice you will also owe their termination: for all that I could say to Mr. Delvile, either of reasoning or entreaty,and I said all I could suggest, and I suggested all a man need wish to hear,was totally thrown away, till I pointed out to him his own disgrace in having a daughter-in-law immured in these mean lodgings!
Thus, my dear young lady, the terror which drove you to this house, and the sufferings which have confined you in it, will prove, in the event, the source of your future peace: for when all my best rhetoric failed to melt Mr. Delvile, I instantly brought him to terms by coupling his name with a pawnbrokers! And he could not with more disgust hear his son called Mr. Beverley, than think of his sons wife when he hears of the Three Blue Bells! Thus the same passions, taking but different directions, do mischief, and cure it alternately.
Such my good young friends is the moral of your calamities. You have all, in my opinion, been strangely at cross purposes, and trifled, no one knows why, with the first blessings of life. My only hope is that now, having among you thrown away its luxuries, you will have known enough of misery to be glad to keep its necessaries.