(Continuing the narrative that began here.)
Letter the Fourteenth: Miss Amelia Purvis to Sir George Purvis.
I know the Regard you have for our Cousin Honoria; but you must have a Care not to keep that Regard to yourself, but to take every Opportunity to make it visible to her. I have received a Letter from her, expressing her Fears that some dreadful Calamity may have befallen you, on Account of the long Interval between Letters from you. I am writing her this Day to inform her that you are well, and that certain Business has taken you out of London; I do not mention Doctor Albertus and his Automaton, because she expressed some seeming Disapproval when last I wrote on that Subject.
I thank you, as always, for your many Letters to me, which I treasure, not only as conveying the latest Intelligence from the Metropolis, but also as bringing my beloved Brother back to me, if only for the Duration of the Letter. I would ask only that you favor Honoria with some Communication as well; and if I have all unwitting been the Cause of your Neglect of her, by my importunate Demands for Correspondence, then I had rather you ceased writing to me altogether, than that you neglected her, who will one Day be your Wife, and who therefore has yet more Claim on your Attention than I have.
Letter the Fifteenth: Miss Amelia Purvis to Miss Honoria Wells.
Put your Mind at Ease regarding George. Certain Business, as trivial as it is necessary, has taken him from London; and I know he prefers not to burden you with such Matters. His few Letters to me have been abbreviated as well, and taken up with such family Matters as I thought would be of little Interest or Amusement to you. He promises, however, that he will write to both of us at greater Length when he returns to London. In the Interval, I have nothing to report from here, save that my sisterly Affection for you, whom I already count my own Sister, is undiminished, and that I sincerely wish you could be here, or I there, so that our mutual Society could enliven the dull Weeks of a Season passed in the Country. Believe me, I am ever
Letter the Sixteenth: Sir George Purvis to Miss Amelia Purvis.
My dear Sister,——
You must forgive the Interval between my Letters. When next you hear from me, I shall be in London again: For Doctor Albertus and I are returning to the Metropolis, he with a Trunk filled with clockwork Toys, which are intended for the many Persons of Quality who gave him Orders; I with no more than I set out with. I shall not be sorry to bid farewell to Grimthorne, a house at once incommodious and mysterious; yet I should be less than honest if I left you with the Impression of any Deficiency in the Hospitality which Doctor Albertus has extended to me: For he has been most gracious, within the Limits of his Power.
You were quite correct in your Admonition to me to write our Cousin more often, and I have begun a Letter to her, which I shall complete before I retire this Evening. As ever, your solicitous Concern for my Interest is more than I merit, but certainly not more than I need; and until that fortunate day, when our Honoria shall undertake the Management of my Affairs, I am happy to rely on your Advice. Enough of this: You may consider me chastened properly, and, if not thoroughly amended, then at least conscious of the Need for Amendment.
When I said that I should not be sorry to leave Grimthorne, I did not wish you to believe that I felt any Regret at having passed this Time here. Indeed, I count it a rare Privilege, both to be the Guest of so eminent a Philosopher as Doctor Albertus, and to observe the Automaton at such Proximity. Tho’ Doctor Albertus is unwilling to subject her to more than an Hour’s Operation each Day, on Account of the Delicacy of her Mechanism; yet in those short Hours I feel as though I have come to know her, almost as a Friend. Doctor Albertus has taught me to command her myself, and ’tis a wonderful Thing, to have such an attentive Domestick. Indeed, Doctor Albertus tells me, That he has had many Inquiries about furnishing such Domesticks to the great Houses of Europe; but as yet he cannot in good Conscience agree, the constant Maintenance of the Machinery being more than any other than himself could attend to.
These Considerations lead me to regard my Time at Grimthorne as happy, notwithstanding the Inconveniences of the House. Tho’ I have passed many Nights here, I cannot dispel the Mystery that hangs over the Place, and the perpetual Gloom of the Days only renders the Nights darker. Indeed, on more than one Occasion, when I was alone in the Day, the Doctor having retreated to the Sanctuary of his Workshop (which I have not seen, the Delicacy of the Work, as Doctor Albertus tells me, requiring absolute Concentration); on more than one Occasion, I say, I have fancy’d I heard that Noise of Clockworks, which disturbed my Rest on my first Night here; yet it was distant, and indistinct, and Reason tells me it must be no more than Wind, or rushing Water. For these Reasons, I say, tho’ my Time here was happy, yet I shall be glad to see London again.
When I have reached London, I shall resume my Correspondence with you. I shall not fail to write to Honoria to-night. Until then,
I remain, &c.