The New Magdalen HTML version
CONTAINING SELECTIONS FROM THE CORRESPONDENCE OF MISS GRACE
ROSEBERRY AND MR. HORACE HOLMCROFT; TO WHICH ARE ADDED
EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF THE REVEREND JULIAN GRAY.
From MR. HORACE HOLMCROFT to MISS GRACE ROSEBERRY.
"I HASTEN to thank you, dear Miss Roseberry, for your last kind letter, received by
yesterday's mail from Canada. Believe me, I appreciate your generous readiness to
pardon and forget what I so rudely said to you at a time when the arts of an adventuress
had blinded me to the truth. In the grace which has forgiven me I recognize the inbred
sense of justice of a true lady. Birth and breeding can never fail to assert themselves: I
believe in them, thank God, more firmly than ever.
"You ask me to keep you informed of the progress of Julian Gray's infatuation, and of the
course of conduct pursued toward him by Mercy Merrick.
"If you had not favored me by explaining your object, I might have felt some surprise at
receiving from a lady in your position such a request as this. But the motives by which
you describe yourself as being actuated are beyond dispute. The existence of Society, as
you truly say, is threatened by the present lamentable prevalence of Liberal ideas
throughout the length and breadth of the land. We can only hope to protect ourselves
against impostors interested in gaining a position among persons of our rank by
becoming in some sort (unpleasant as it may be) familiar with the arts by which
imposture too frequently succeeds. If we wish to know to what daring lengths cunning
can go, to what pitiable self-delusion credulity can consent, we must watch the
proceedings--even while we shrink from them--of a Mercy Merrick and a Julian Gray.
"In taking up my narrative again where my last letter left off, I must venture to set you
right on one point.
"Certain expressions which have escaped your pen suggest to me that you blame Julian
Gray as the cause of Lady Janet's regrettable visit to the Refuge the day after Mercy
Merrick had left her house. This is not quite correct. Julian, as you will presently see, has
enough to answer for without being held responsible for errors of judgment in which he
has had no share. Lady Janet (as she herself told me) went to the Refuge of her own free-
will to ask Mercy Merrick's pardon for the language which she had used on the previous
day. 'I passed a night of such misery as no words can describe'--this, I assure you, is what
her ladyship really said to me--'thinking over what my vile pride and selfishness and
obstinacy had made me say and do. I would have gone down on my knees to beg her
pardon if she would have let me. My first happy moment was when I won her consent to
come and visit me sometimes at Mablethorpe House.'