Two Conversations, out of which the Reader may pick up a great deal.
Arabella, continuing to ruminate upon her Adventure during their little Journey, appeared so lowspirited and reserved, that Mr. Glanville, tho' he ardently wished to know all the Particulars of her Flight, and Meeting with that Gentleman, whose Company he found her in, was obliged to suppress his Curiosity for the present, out of a Fear of displeasing her. As soon as they alighted at the Castle, her Servants ran to receive her at the Gates, expressing their Joy to see her again, by a thousand confused Exclamations.
Miss Glanville, being at her Toilet when she heard of her Arrival, ran down to welcome her, in her Hurry forgetting, that as her Woman had been curling her Hair, she had no Cap on.
Arabella received her Compliments with a little Coolness; for, observing that her Grief for her Absence had not made her neglect any of her usual Solicitude about her Person, she could not conceive it had been very great: Therefore, when she had made some slight Answer to the hundred Questions she asked in a Breath, she went up to her Apartment; and, calling Lucy, who was crying with Joy for her Return, she questioned her strictly concerning her leaving her in the Fields, acknowleging to her, that she suspected her Fidelity, tho' she wished, at the same time, she might be able to clear herself.
Lucy, in her Justification, related, after her punctual Way, all that had happened: By which, Arabella was convinced she had not betrayed her; and was also in some Doubt, whether Mr. Glanville was guilty of any Design against her.
Since, said she to Lucy, thou art restored to my good Opinion, I will, as I have always done, unmask my Thoughts to thee. I confess then, with Shame and Confusion, that I cannot think of Mr. Glanville's assisting the Unknown to carry me away, without resenting a most poignant Grief: Questionless, my Weakness will surprise thee; and could I conceal it from myself, I would from thee; but, alas! it is certain, that I do not hate him; and I believe I never shall, guilty as he may be in my Apprehensions.
Hate him! Madam, said Lucy: God forbid you should ever hate Mr. Glanville, who, I am sure, loves your Ladyship as well as he does his own Sister!
You are very confident, Lucy, said Arabella blushing, to mention the Word Love to me: If I thought my Cousin had bribed thee to it, I should be greatly incensed: However, tho' I forbid you to talk of his Passion, yet I permit you to tell me the Violence of his Transports when I was missing; the Threats he uttered against my Ravishers; the Complaints he made against Fortune; the Vows he offered for my Preservation; and, in fine, whatever Extravagances the Excess of his Sorrow forced him to commit.
I assure you, Madam, said Lucy, I did not hear him say any of all this.
What! interrupted Arabella: And didst thou not observe the Tears trickle from his Eyes, which, haply, he strove to conceal? Did he not strike his Bosom with the Vehemence of his Grief; and cast his accusing and despairing Eyes to Heaven, which had permitted such a Misfortune to befal me?
Indeed, Madam, I did not, resumed Lucy; but he seemed to be very sorry; and said, He would go and look for your Ladyship.
Ah! the Traitor! interrupted Arabella in a Rage: Fain would I have found out some Excuse for him, and justified him in my Apprehensions; but he is unworthy of these favourable Thoughts: Speak of him no more, I command you; he is guilty of assisting my Ravisher to carry me away; and therefore merits my eternal Displeasure: But tho' I could find Reasons to clear him even of that Crime, yet he is guilty of Indifference and Insensibility for my Loss, since he neither died with Grief at the News of it; nor needed the Interposition of his Sister, or the Desire of delivering me, to make him live.
Arabella, when she had said this, was silent; but could not prevent some Tears stealing down her fair Face: Therefore, to conceal her Uneasiness, or to be at more Liberty to indulge it, she ordered Lucy to make haste and undress her; and, going tobed, passed the small Remainder of the Night, not in Rest, which she very much needed, but, in Reflections on all the Passages of the preceding Day: And, finding, or imagining she found, new Reasons for condemning Mr. Glanville, her Mind was very far from being at Ease.
In the Morning, lying later than usual, she received a Message from Mr. Glanville, inquiring after her Health; to which she answered, That he was too little concerned in the Preservation of it, to make it necessary to acquaint him.
Miss Glanville soon after sent to desire Permission to drink her Chocolate by her Bedside; which as she could not in Civility refuse, she was very much perplexed how to hide her Melancholy from the Eyes of that discerning Lady, who, she questioned not, would interpret it in favour of her Brother.
Upon Miss Glanville's Appearance, she forced herself to assume a chearful Look, asking her Pardon, for receiving her in Bed; and complaining of bad Rest, which had occasioned her lying late.
Miss Glanville, after answering her Compliments with almost equal Politeness, proceeded to ask her an hundred Questions concerning the Cause of her Absence from the Castle: Your Woman, pursued she, laughing, told us a strange Medley of Stuff about a great Man, who was a Gardener; and wanted to carry you away: Sure there was nothing in it! Was there?
You must excuse me, Cousin, said Arabella, if I do not answer your Questions precisely now: 'Tis sufficient that I tell you, Certain Reasons obliged me to act in the Manner I did, for my own Preservation; and that, another time, you shall know my History; which will explain many things you seem to be surprised at, at present.
Your History, said Miss Glanville! Why, will you write your own History then?
I shall not write it, said Arabella; tho', questionless, it will be written after my Death.
And must I wait till then for it, resumed Miss Glanville, gaily?
No, no, interrupted Arabella: I mean to gratify your Curiosity sooner; but it will not be yet a good time; and, haply, not till you have acquainted me with yours.
Mine! said Miss Glanville: It would not be worth your hearing; for really I have nothing to tell, that would make an History.
You have, questionless, returned Arabella, gained many Victories over Hearts; have occasioned many Quarrels between your Servants, by favouring some one, more than the others: Probably, you have caused some Bloodshed; and have not escaped being carried away once or twice: You have also, I suppose, undergone some Persecution, from those who have the Disposal of you, in Favour of a Lover whom you have an Aversion to; and lastly, there is haply some one among your Admirers, who is happy enough not to be hated by you.
I assure you, interrupted Miss Glanville, I hate none of my Admirers; and I can't help thinking you very unkind to use my Brother as you do: I am sure, there is not one Man in an hundred, that would take so much from your Hands as he does.
Then there is not one Man in an hundred, resumed Arabella, whom I should think worthy to serve me: But, pray, Madam, What ill Usage is it your Brother complains of? I have treated him with much less Severity than he had Reason to expect; and, notwithstanding he had the Presumption to talk to me of Love, I have endured him in my Sight; an Indulgence, for which I may haply be blamed in Afterages.
Why, sure, Lady Bella, said Miss Glanville, it would be no such Crime for my Brother to love you!
But it was a mortal Crime to tell me so, interrupted Arabella.
And why was it such a mortal Crime to tell you so, said Miss Glanville? Are you the first Woman by Millions, that has been told so?
Doubtless, returned Arabella, I am the first Woman of my Quality, that ever was told so by any Man, till after an infinite Number of Services, and secret Sufferings: And truly, I am of the illustrious Mandana's Mind; for she said, That she should think it an unpardonable Presumption, for the greatest King on Earth to tell her he loved her, tho' after Ten Years of the most faithful Services, and concealed Torments.
Ten Years! cried out Miss Glanville, in Amazement; Did she consider what Alterations Ten Years would make in her Face, and how much older she would be at the End of Ten Years, than she was before?
Truly, said Arabella, it is not usual to consider such little Matters so nicely; one never has the Idea of an Heroine older than Eighteen, tho' her History begins at that Age; and the Events, which compose it, contain the Space of Twenty more.
But, dear Cousin, resumed Miss Glanville, do you resolve to be Ten Years a courting? Or rather, will you be loved in Silence Ten Years, and be courted the other Ten; and so marry when you are an old Woman?
Pardon me, Cousin, resumed Arabella; I must really find Fault with the Coarseness of your Language. Courting, and Old Woman! What strange Terms! Let us, I beseech you, end this Dispute: If you have any thing to say in Justification of your Brother, which, I suppose, was the chief Intention of your Visit, I shall not be rude enough to restrain you; tho' I could wish you would not lay me under the Necessity of hearing what I cannot persuade myself to believe.
Since, returned Miss Glanville, I know of no Crime my Brother has been guilty of, I have nothing to say in his Justification: I only know, that he is very much mortified at the Message you sent him this Morning; for I was with him when he received it: But pray, What has he done to offend you?
If Mr. Glanville, interrupted Arabella, hopes for my Pardon, he must purchase it by his Repentance, and a sincere Confession of his Fault; which you may much better understand from himself, than from me: And, for this Purpose, I will condescend to grant him a private Audience, at which I desire you would be present; and also, I should take it well, if you will let him know, that he owes this Favour wholly to your Interposition.
Miss Glanville, who knew her Brother was extremely desirous of seeing Arabella, was glad to accept of these strange Terms; and left her Chamber, in order to acquaint him with that Lady's Intentions.
A solemn Interview.
In the mean time, that Fairone, being risen, and negligently dressed, as was her Custom, went into her Closet, sending to give Miss Glanville Notice, That she was ready to see her. This Message immediately brought both the Brother and the Sister to her Apartment: And Miss Glanville, at her Brother's Request, staying in the Chamber, where she busied herself in looking at her Cousin's Jewels, which lay upon the Toilet, he came alone into the Closet, in so much Confusion at the Thoughts of the ridiculous Figure he made in complying with Arabella's fantastical Humours, that his Looks persuading her there was some great Agitation in his Mind, she expected to see him fall at her Feet, and endeavour to deprecate her Wrath by a Deluge of Tears.
Mr. Glanville however disappointed her in that respect; for, taking a Seat near her, he began to intreat, her with a smiling Countenance, to tell him in what he had offended her; protesting, that he was not conscious of doing or saying any thing to displease her.
Arabella was greatly confused at this Question, which she thought she had no Reason to expect; it not being possible for her to tell him she was offended, that he was not in absolute Despair for her Absence, without, at the same time, confessing she looked upon him in the Light of a Lover, whose Expressions of a violent Passion would not have displeased her: Therefore, to disengage herself from the Perplexity his Question threw her into, she was obliged to offer some Violence to her Ingenuousness; and, contrary to her real Belief, tax him again with a Design of betraying her into the Power of the Unknown.
Mr. Glanville, tho' excessively vexed at her persisting in so ridiculous an Error, could hardly help smiling at the stern Manner in which she spoke; but, knowing of what fatal Consequence it would be to him, if he indulged any Gaiety in so solemn a Conference, he composed his Looks to a Gravity suitable to the Occasion; and asked her, in a very submissive Tone, What Motive she was pleased to assign for so extraordinary a Piece of Villainy, as that she supposed him guilty of?
Truly, answered she blushing, I do not pretend to account for the Actions of wicked and ungenerous Persons.
But, Madam, resumed Glanville, if I must needs be suspected of a Design to seize upon your Person, methinks it would have been more reasonable to suppose, I would rather use that Violence in Favour of my own Pretensions, than those of any other whatever; for, tho' you have expresly forbid me to tell you I love you, yet I hope, you still continue to think I do.
I assure you, returned Arabella, assuming a severe Look, I never gave myself the Trouble to examine your Behaviour with Care enough to be sensible, if you still were guilty of the Weakness, which displeased me; but, upon a Supposition, that you repented of your Fault, I was willing to live with you upon Terms of Civility and Friendship, as became Persons in that Degree of Relationship in which we are: Therefore, if you are wise, you will not renew the Remembrance of those Follies I have long since pardoned; nor seek Occasions of offending me by new ones of the same kind, lest it produce a more severe Sentence than that I formerly laid upon you.
However, Madam, returned Mr. Glanville, you must suffer me to assure you, That my own Interest, which was greatly concerned in your Safety, and my Principles of Honour, would never allow me to engage in so villainous an Enterprize, as that of abetting any Person in stealing you away: Nor can I conceive, how you possibly could imagine a Fellow, who was your menial Servant, could form so presumptuous and dangerous a Design.
By your Manner of speaking, resumed Arabella, one would imagine you were really ignorant, both of the Quality of that presumptuous Man, as well as his designed Offence: But yet, 'tis certain, I saw you in his Company; and saw you ready to draw your Sword in his Defence, against my Deliverer. Had I not the Evidence of my own Senses, for your Guilt, I must confess, I could not be persuaded of it by any other Means: Therefore, since Appearances are certainly against you, it is not strange, if I cannot consent to acquit you in my Apprehensions, till I have more certain Confirmation of your Innocence, than your bare Testimony only; which, at present, has not all the Weight with me it had some time ago.
I protest, Madam, said Mr. Glanville, who was strangely perplexed, I have Reason to think my Case extremely hard, since I have brought myself to be suspected by you, only through my Eagerness to find you, and Solicitude for your Welfare.
Doubtless, interrupted Arabella, if you are innocent, your Case is extremely hard; yet it is not singular; and therefore you have less Reason to complain: The valiant Coriolanus, who was the most passionate and faithful Lover imaginable, having, by his admirable Valour, assisted the Ravishers of his adored Cleopatra, against those who came to rescue her; and, by his Arm alone, opposed to great Numbers of their Enemies, facilitated the Execution of their Design, had the Mortification afterwards to know, that he had, all that time, been fighting against that Divine Princess, who loaded him with the most cruel Reproaches for the Injury he had done her: Yet Fortune was so kind, as to give him the Means of repairing his Fault, and restoring him to some Part of her good Opinion; for, covered with Wounds as he was, and fatigued with fighting, before, yet he undertook, in that Condition, to prevent her Ravishers from carrying her off; and, for several Hours, continued fighting alone with near Two hundred Men, who were not able to overcome him, notwithstanding his extreme Weariness, and the Multitude of Blows which they aimed at him: Therefore, Glanville, considering you, as Cleopatra did that unfortunate Prince, who was before suspected by her, as neither guilty nor innocent, I can only, like her, wish you may find some Occasion of justifying yourself, from the Crime laid to your Charge: Till then, I must be under a Necessity of banishing you from my Presence, with the same consolatory Speech she used to that unfortunate Prince:—"Go, therefore, Glanville, go, and endeavour your own Justification; I desire you should effect it, no less than you do yourself; and, if my Prayers can obtain from Heaven this Favour for you, I shall not scruple to offer some in your behalf."
In which the Interview is ended, not much to the Lover's Satisfaction, but exactly conformable to the Rules of Romance.
Arabella, when she had pronounced these Words, blushed excessively, thinking she had said too much: But, not seeing any Signs of extreme Joy in the Face of Glanville, who was silently cursing Cleopatra, and the Authors of those Romances, that had ruined so noble a Mind; and exposed him to perpetual Vexations, by the unaccountable Whims they had raised — Why are you not gone, said she, while I am in an Humour not to repent of the Favour I have shewn you?
You must excuse me, Cousin, said Mr. Glanville, peevishly, if I do not think so highly as you do of the Favour. Pray how am I obliged to you for depriving me of the Pleasure of seeing you, and sending me on a Wildgoose Chace, after Occasions to justify myself of a Crime I am wholly innocent of, and would scorn to commit?
Though, resumed Arabella, with great Calmness, I have Reason to be dissatisfied with the cool and unthankful manner in which you receive my Indulgence, yet I shall not change the favourable Disposition I am in towards you, unless you provoke me to it by new Acts of Disobedience: Therefore, in the Language of Cleopatra, I shall tell you. ——
Upon my Soul, Madam, interrupted Glanville, I have no Patience with that rigorous Gipsy, whose Example you follow so exactly, to my Sorrow: Speak in your own Language, I beseech you; for I am sure neither hers, nor any one's upon Earth, can excel it.
Yet, said Arabella, striving to repress some Inclination to smile at this Sally, notwithstanding your unjust Prohibitions, I shall make use of the Language of that incomparable Lady, to tell you my Thoughts; which are, That 'tis possible you might be sufficiently justified in my Apprehensions, by the Anxiety it now appears you had for my Safety, by the Probability which I find in your Discourse, and the good Opinion I have of you, were it not requisite to make your Innocence apparent to the World, that so it might be lawful for Arabella to readmit you, with Honour, into her former Esteem and Friendship.
Mr. Glanville, seeing it would be in vain to attempt to make her alter her fantastical Determination at this time, went out of the Closet without deigning to make any Reply to his Sentence, though delivered in the Language of the admirable Cleopatra: But his ill Humour was so visible in his Face, that Arabella, who mistook it for an Excess of Despair, could not help feeling some kind of Pity for the Rigour which the Laws of Honour and Romance obliged her to use him with. And, while she sat meditating upon the Scene which had just passed, Mr. Glanville returned to his own Room, glad that his Sister, not being in Arabella's Chamber, where he had left her, had no Opportunity of observing his Discontent, which she would not fail to inquire the Cause of.
Here he sat, ruminating upon the Follies of Arabella, which he found grew more glaring every Day: Every thing furnished Matter for some new Extravagance; her Character was so ridiculous, that he could propose nothing to himself but eternal Shame and Disquiet, in the Possession of a Woman, for whom he must always blush, and be in Pain. But her Beauty had made a deep Impression on his Heart: He admired the Strength of her Understanding; her lively Wit; the Sweetness of her Temper; and a Thousand amiable Qualities which distinguished her from the rest of her Sex: Her Follies, when opposed to all those Charms of Mind and Person, seemed inconsiderable and weak; and, though they were capable of giving him great Uneasiness, yet they could not lessen a Passion which every Sight of her so much the more confirmed.
As he feared it was impossible to help loving her, his Happiness depended upon curing her of her romantic Notions; and, though he knew not how to effect such a Change in her as was necessary to complete it, yet he would not despair, but comforted himself with Hopes of what he had not Courage to attempt. Sometimes he fansied Company, and an Acquaintance with the World, would produce the Alteration he wished: Yet he dreaded to see her exposed to Ridicule by her fantastical Behaviour, and become the Jest of Persons who were not possessed of half her Understanding.
While he traversed his Chamber, wholly engrossed by these reflections, Miss Glanville was entertaining Sir George, of whose coming she was informed while she was in Arabella's Chamber.
In which our Heroine is greatly disappointed.
Miss Glanville, supposing her Brother would be glad not to be interrupted in his Conference with Lady Bella, did not allow any one to acquaint them with Sir George's Visit; and, telling the Baronet her Cousin was indisposed, had, by these means, all his Conversation to herself.
Sir George, who ardently wished to see Lady Bella, protracted his Visit, in hopes that he should have that Satisfaction before he went away. And that fair Lady, whose Thoughts were a little discomposed by the Despair she apprehended Mr. Glanville was in, and fearful of the Consequences, when she had sat some time after he left her, ruminating upon what had happened, quitted her Closet, to go and inquire of Miss Glanville, in what Condition his Mind seemed to be when he went away; for she never doubted but that he was gone, like Coriolanus, to seek out for some Occasion to manifest his Innocence.
Hearing, therefore, the Voice of that Lady, who was talking and laughing very loud in one of the Summerparlours, and being terrified with the Apprehension, that it was her Brother with whom she was thus diverting herself, she opened the Door of the Room precipitately; and, by her Entrance, filled Sir George with extreme Pleasure; while her unexpected Sight produced a quite contrary Effect on Miss Glanville.
Arabella, eased of her Fear, that it was Mr. Glanville, who, instead of dying with Despair, was giving Occasion for that noisy Laugh of his Sister, saluted the Baronet with great Civility; and, turning to Miss Glanville, I must needs chide you, said she, for the Insensibility with which it appears you have parted with your Brother.
Bless me, Madam, interrupted Miss Glanville, what do you mean? Whither is my Brother gone?
That, indeed, I am quite ignorant of, resumed Arabella; and I suppose he himself hardly knows what Course he shall take: But he has been with you, doubtless, to take his Leave.
Take his Leave! repeated Miss Glanville: Has he left the Castle so suddenly then, and gone away without me?
The Enterprize upon which he is gone, said Arabella, would not admit of a Lady's Company: And, since he has left so considerable an Hostage with me as yourself, I expect he will not be long before he return; and, I hope, to the Satisfaction of us both.
Miss Glanville, who could not penetrate into the Meaning of her Cousin's Words, began to be strangely alarmed: But, presently, supposing she had a mind to divert herself with her Fears, she recovered herself, and told her she would go up to her Brother's Chamber, and look for him.
Arabella did not offer to prevent her, being very desirous of knowing, whether he had not left a Letter for her upon his Table, as was the Custom in those Cases: And, while she was gone, Sir George seized the Opportunity of saying an hundred gallant Things to her, which she received with great Indifference; the most extravagant Compliments being what she expected from all Men: And, provided they did not directly presume to tell her they loved her, no Sort of Flattery or Adulation could displease her.
In the mean time, Miss Glanville, having found her Brother in his Chamber, repeated to him what Lady Bella had said, as she supposed, to fright her.
Mr. Glanville, hearing this, and that Sir George was with her, hastened to them as fast as possible, that he might interrupt the foolish Stories he did not doubt she was telling.
Upon Miss Glanville's Appearance with her Brother, Arabella was astonished.
I apprehended, Sir, said she, that you were some Miles from the Castle by this time: But your Delay and Indifference convince me, you neither expect nor wish to find the means of being justified in my Opinion.
Pray, Cousin, interrupted Glanville (speaking softly to her), let us leave this Dispute to some other time.
No, Sir, resumed she, aloud, my Honour is concerned in your Justification: Nor is it fit I should submit to have the Appearance of Amity for a Person who has not yet sufficiently cleared himself of a Crime, with too much Reason laid to his Charge. Did Coriolanus, think you, act in this manner? Ah! if he had, doubtless, Cleopatra would never have pardoned him: Nor will I any longer suffer you to give me repeated Causes of Discontent.
Sir George, seeing Confusion in Mr. Glanville's Countenance, and Rage in Arabella's, began to think, that what he had at first took for a Jest, was a serious Quarrel between them, at which it was not proper he should be present; and was preparing to go: When Arabella, stopping him with a graceful Action —
If, noble Stranger, said she, you are so partial to the Failings of a Friend, that you will undertake to defend any unjustifiable Action he may be guilty of, you are at Liberty to depart: But, if you will promise to be an unprejudiced Hearer of the Dispute between Mr. Glanville and myself, you shall know the Adventure which has given Rise to it; and will be Judge of the Reasonableness of the Commands I have laid on him.
Though, Madam, said Sir George (bowing very low to her), Mr. Glanville is my Friend, yet there is no Likelihood I shall espouse his Interest against yours: And a very strong Prepossession I feel in Favour of you, already persuades me, that I shall give Sentence on your Side, since you have honoured me so far, as to constitute me Judge of this Difference.
The solemn Manner in which Sir George (who began to suspect Lady Bella's peculiar Turn) spoke this, pleased her infinitely; while Mr. Glanville, vexed as he was, could hardly forbear laughing: When Arabella, after a Look of Approbation to Sir George, replied;
I find I have unwillingly engaged myself to more than I first intended: For, to enable you to judge clearly of the Matter in Dispute, 'tis necessary you should know my whole History.
Mr. Glanville, at this Word, not being able to constrain himself, uttered a Groan, of the same Nature with those which are often heard in the Pit at the Representation of a new Play. Sir George understood him perfectly well; yet seemed surprised: And Arabella, starting up,
Since, said she, I have given you no new Cause of Complaint, pray, from whence proceeds this Increase of Affliction?
I assure you, Cousin, answered he, my Affliction, if you please to term it so, increases every Day; and I believe it will make me mad at last: For this unaccountable Humour of yours is not to be borne.
You do not seem, replied Arabella, to be far from Madness already: And if your Friend here, upon hearing the Passages between us, should pronounce you guilty, I shall be at a Loss, whether I ought to treat you as a Madman, or a Criminal. Sir, added she, turning to Sir George, you will excuse me, if, for certain Reasons, I can neither give you my History myself, nor be present at the Relation of it: One of my Women, who is most in my Confidence, shall acquaint you with all the Particulars of my Life: After which I expect Mr. Glanville will abide by your Decision, as, I assure myself, I shall be contented to do.
Saying this, she went out of the Parlour, in order to prepare Lucy for the Recital she was to make.
Mr. Glanville, resolving not to be present at this new Absurdity, ran out after her; and went into the Garden, with a strong Inclination to hate the lovely Visionary who gave him such perpetual Uneasiness; leaving his Sister alone with the Baronet, who diverted herself extremely with the Thoughts of hearing her Cousin's History; assuring the Baronet, that he might expect something very curious in it, and find Matter sufficient to laugh at; for she was the most whimsical Woman in the World.
Sir George, who resolved to profit by the Knowlege of her Foible, made very little Reply to Miss Glanville's Sneers; but waited patiently for the promised History, which was much longer coming than he imagined.
Some curious Instructions for relating an History.
Arabella, as soon as she left them, went up to her Apartment; and, calling Lucy into her Closet, told her that she had made Choice of her, since she was best acquainted with her Thoughts, to relate her History to her Cousins, and a Person of Quality who was with them.
Sure your Ladyship jests with me, said Lucy: How can I make a History about your Ladyship?
There is no Occasion, replied Arabella, for you to make a History: There are Accidents enough in my Life to afford Matter for a long one: All you have to do is to relate them as exactly as possible. You have lived with me from my Childhood, and are instructed in all my Adventures; so that you must be certainly very capable of executing the Task I have honoured you with.
Indeed, said Lucy, I must beg your Ladyship will excuse me: I never could tell how to repeat a Story when I have read it; and I know it is not such simple Girls as I can tell Histories: It is only fit for Clerks, and such Sort of People, that are very learned.
You are learned enough for that Purpose, said Arabella; and, if you make so much Difficulty in performing this Part of your Duty, pray how came you to imagine you were fit for my Service, and the Distinction I have favoured you with? Did you ever hear of any Woman that refused to relate her Lady's Story, when desired? Therefore, if you hope to possess my Favour and Confidence any longer, acquit yourself handsomely of this Task, to which I have preferred you.
Lucy, terrified at the Displeasure she saw in her Lady's Countenance, begged her to tell her what she must say.
Well! exclaimed Arabella: I am certainly the most unfortunate Woman in the World! Every thing happens to me in a contrary manner from any other Person! Here, instead of my desiring you to soften those Parts of my History where you have greatest room to flatter; and to conceal, if possible, some of those Disorders my Beauty has occasioned; you ask me to tell you what you must say; as if it was not necessary you should know as well as myself, and be able, not only to recount all my Words and Actions, even the smallest and most inconsiderable, but also all my Thoughts, however instantaneous; relate exactly every Change of my Countenance; number all my Smiles, Halfsmiles, Blushes, Turnings pale, Glances, Pauses, Fullstops, Interruptions; the Rise and Falling of my Voice; every Motion of my Eyes; and every Gesture which I have used for these Ten Years past; nor omit the smallest Circumstance that relates to me.
Lord bless me! Madam, said Lucy, excessively astonished, I never, till this Moment, it seems, knew the hundredth thousandth Part of what was expected from me: I am sure, if I had, I would never have gone to Service; for I might well know I was not fit for such Slavery.
There is no such great Slavery in doing all I have mentioned to you, interrupted Arabella: It requires, indeed, a good Memory, in which I never thought you deficient; for you are punctual to the greatest Degree of Exactness in recounting every thing one desires to hear from you.
Lucy, whom this Praise soothed into good Humour, and flattered with a Belief, that she was able, with a little Instruction, to perform what her Lady required, told her, if she pleased only to put her in a Way how to tell her History, she would engage, after doing it once, to tell it again whenever she was desired.
Arabella, being obliged to comply with the odd Request, for which there was no Precedent in all the Romances her Library was stuffed with, began to inform her in this manner:
First, said she, you must relate my Birth, which you know is very illustrious; and, because I am willing to spare you the Trouble of repeating Things, that are not absolutely necessary, you must apologize to your Hearers for slipping over what passed in my Infancy, and the first Eight or Ten Years of my Life; not failing, however, to remark, that, from some sprightly Sallies of Imagination, at those early Years, those about me conceived marvellous Hopes of my future Understanding: From thence you must proceed to an accurate Description of my Person.
What! Madam, interrupted Lucy, must I tell what Sort of Person you have, to People who have seen you but a Moment ago?
Questionless you must, replied Arabella; and herein you follow the Examples of all the 'Squires and Maids who relate their Masters and Ladies Histories: For, though it be to a Brother, or near Relation, who has seen them a thousand times, yet they never omit an exact Account of their Persons.
Very well, Madam, said Lucy: I shall be sure not to forget that Part of my Story. I wish I was as perfect in all the rest.
Then, Lucy, you must repeat all the Conversations I have ever held with you upon the Subjects of Love and Gallantry, that your Audience may be so well acquainted with my Humour, as to know exactly, before they are told, how I shall behave, in whatever Adventures befal me. — After that, you may proceed to tell them, how a noble Unknown saw me at Church; how prodigiously he was struck with my Appearance; the tumultuous Thoughts that this first View of me occasioned in his Mind. —
Indeed, Madam, interrupted Lucy again, I can't pretend to tell his Thoughts: For how should I know what they were? None but himself can tell that.
However that may be, said Arabella, I expect you should decypher all his Thoughts, as plainly as he himself could do; otherwise my History will be very imperfect: Well, I suppose you are at no loss about that whole Adventure, in which you yourself bore so great a Share; so I need not give you any further Instructions concerning it: Only you must be sure, as I said before, not to omit the least Circumstance in my Behaviour, but relate every thing I did, said, and thought, upon that Occasion. The disguised Gardener must appear next in your Story: Here you will of necessity be a little deficient, since you are not able to acquaint your Hearers with his true Name and Quality; which, questionless, is very illustrious. However, above all, I must charge you not to mention that egregious Mistake about the Carp; for, you know how —
Here Miss Glanville's Entrance put a Stop to the Instructions Lucy was receiving: For she told Arabella, that Sir George was gone.
How! returned she, is he gone? Truly I am not much obliged to him for the Indifference he has shewed to hear my Story.
Why, really, Madam, said Miss Glanville, neither of us expected you would be as good as your Word, you were so long in sending your Woman down: And my Brother persuaded Sir George you were only in Jest; and Sir George has carried him home to Dinner.
And is it at Sir George's, replied Arabella, that your Brother hopes to meet with an Occasion of clearing himself? He is either very insensible of my Anger, or very conscious of his own Innocence.
Miss Glanville, having nothing to say in Answer to an Accusation she did not understand, changed the Discourse: And the two Ladies passed the rest of the Day together, with tolerable Goodhumour on Miss Glanville's Side; who was in great hopes of making a Conquest of the Baronet, before whom Arabella had made herself ridiculous enough: But that Lady was far from being at Ease; she had laid herself under a Necessity of banishing Mr. Glanville, if he did not give some convincing Proof of his Innocence; which, as Matters stood, she thought would be very hard for him to procure; and, as she could not absolutely believe him guilty, she was concerned she had gone so far.
A very Heroic Chapter.
Mr. Glanville, coming home in the Evening, a little elevated with the Wine, of which he had drank too freely at Sir George's, being told the Ladies were together, entered the Room where they were sitting; and, beholding Arabella, whose Pensiveness had given an inchanting Softness to her Face, with a Look of extreme Admiration —
Upon my Soul, Cousin, said he, if you continue to treat me so cruelly, you'll drive me mad. How I could adore you this Moment, added he, gazing passionately at her, if I might but hope you did not hate me!
Arabella, who did not perceive the Condition he was in, was better pleased with this Address than any he had ever used; and, therefore, instead of chiding him, as she was wont, for the Freedom of his Expressions, she cast her bright Eyes upon the Ground, with so charming a Confusion, that Glanville, quite transported, threw himself on his Knees before her; and, taking her Hand, attempted to press it to his Lips: But she, hastily withdrawing it —
From whence is this new Boldness? said she: And what is it you would implore by that prostrate Posture? I have told you already upon what Conditions I will grant you my Pardon. Clear yourself of being an Accomplice with my designed Ravisher, and I am ready to restore you to my Esteem.
Let me perish, Madam, returned Glanville, if I would not die to please you, this Moment!
It is not your Death that I require, said she: And though you should never be able to justify yourself in my Opinion, yet you might, haply, expiate your Crime, by a less Punishment than Death.
What shall I do, then, my Angelic Cousin? resumed he.
Truly, said she, the Sense of your Offence ought so mortally to afflict you, that you should invent some strange kind of Penance for yourself, severe enough to prove your Penitence sincere. — You know, I suppose, what the unfortunate Orontes did, when he found he had wronged his adored Thalestris by an injurious Suspicion.
I wish he had hanged himself, said Mr. Glanville, rising up in a Passion, at seeing her again in her Altitudes.
And why, pray, Sir, said Arabella, are you so severe upon that poor Prince; who was, haply, infinitely more innocent than yourself.
Severe, Madam! said Glanville, fearing he had offended her: Why, to be sure, he was a sad Scoundrel, to use his adored Thalestris as he did: And I think one cannot be too severe upon him.
But, returned Arabella, Appearances were against her; and he had some Shadow of Reason for his Jealousy and Rage: Then, you know, amidst all his Transports, he could not be prevailed upon to draw his Sword against her.
What did that signify? said Glanville: I suppose he scorned to draw his Sword upon a Woman: That would have been a Shame indeed.
That Woman, Sir, resumed Arabella, was not such a contemptible Antagonist as you think her: And Men, as valiant, possibly, as Orontes (though, questionless, he was one of the most valiant Men in the World), have been cut in Pieces by the Sword of that brave Amazon.
Lord bless me! said Miss Glanville, I should be afraid to look at such a terrible Woman: I am sure she must be a very masculine Sort of Creature.
You are much mistaken, Miss, said Arabella: For Thalestris, tho' the most stout and courageous of her Sex, was, nevertheless, a perfect Beauty; and had as much Harmony and Softness in her Looks and Person, as she had Courage in her Heart, and Strength in her Blows.
Indeed, Madam, returned Miss Glanville, you can never persuade me, that a Woman who can fight, and cut People to Pieces with her Blows, can have any Softness in her Person: She must needs have very masculine Hands, that could give such terrible Blows: And I can have no Notion of the Harmony of a Person's Looks, who, by what you say, must have the Heart of a Tyger. But, indeed, I don't think there ever could be such a Woman.
What! Miss, interrupted Arabella: Do you pretend to doubt, that there ever was such a Person as Thalestris, Queen of the Amazons? Does not all the World know the Adventures of that illustrious Princess; her Affection for the unjust Orontes, who accused her of having a scandalous Intrigue with Alexander, whom she went to meet, with a very different Design, upon the Borders of her Kingdom? The injurious Letter he wrote her, upon this Suspicion, made her resolve to seek for him all over the World, to give him that Death he had merited, by her own Hand: And it was in those Rencounters that he had with her, while she was thus incensed, that he forbore to defend himself against her, though her Sword was often pointed to his Breast.
But, Madam, interrupted Mr. Glanville, pray what became of this Queen of the Amazons? Was she not killed at the Siege of Troy?
She never was at the Siege of Troy, returned Arabella: But she assisted the Princes who besieged Babylon, to recover the Liberty of Statira and Parisatis: And it was in the opposite Party that she met with her faithless Lover.
If he was faithless, Madam, said Mr. Glanville, he deserved to die: And I wish, with all my Soul, she had cut him in Pieces with that famous Sword of hers that had done such Wonders.
Yet this faithless Man, resumed Arabella, whom you seem to have such an Aversion to, gave so glorious a Proof of his Repentance and Sorrow, that the fair Queen restored him to her Favour, and held him in much dearer Affection than ever: For, after he was convinced of her Innocence, he was resolved to punish himself with a Rigour equal to the Fault he had been guilty of; and, retiring to the Woods, abandoned for ever the Society of Men; dwelling in a Cave, and living upon bitter Herbs, passing the Days and Nights in continual Tears and Sorrow for his Crime: And here he proposed to end his Life, had not the fair Thalestris found him out in this Solitude; and, struck with the Sincerity of his Repentance, pardoned him; and, as I have said before, restored him to her Favour.
And, to shew you, said Glanville, that I am capable of doing as much for you; I will, if you insist upon it, seek out for some Cave, and do Penance in it, like that Orontes, provided you will come and fetch me out of it, as that same fair Queen did him.
I do not require so much of you, said Arabella; for I told you before, that, haply, you are justified already in my Opinion; but yet it is necessary, you should find out some Method of convincing the World of your Innocence; otherwise it is not fit I should live with you upon Terms of Friendship and Civility.
Well, well, Madam, said Glanville, I'll convince you of my Innocence, by bringing that Rascal's Head to you, whom you suspect I was inclined to assist in stealing you away.
If you do that, resumed Arabella, doubtless you will be justified in my Opinion, and the World's also; and I shall have no Scruple to treat you with as much Friendship as I did before.
My Brother is much obliged to you, Madam, interrupted Miss Glanville, for putting him upon an Action, that would cost him his Life!
I have so good an Opinion of your Brother's Valour, said Arabella, that I am persuaded he will find no Difficulty in performing his Promise; and I make no question but I shall see him covered with the Spoils of that Impostor, who would have betrayed me; and I flatter myself, he will be in a Condition to bring me his Head, as he bravely promises, without endangering his own Life.
Does your Ladyship consider, said Miss Glanville, that my Brother can take away no Person's Life whatever, without endangering his own?
I consider, Madam, said Arabella, your Brother as a Man possessed of Virtue and Courage enough to undertake to kill all my Enemies and Persecutors, though I had ever so many; and I presume, he would be able to perform as many glorious Actions for my Service, as either Juba, Caesario, Artamenes, or Artaban, who, though not a Prince, was greater than any of them.
If those Persons you have named, said Miss Glanville, were Murderers, and made a Practice of killing People, I hope my Brother will be too wise to follow their Examples: A strange kind of Virtue and Courage indeed, to take away the Lives of one's FellowCreatures! How did such Wretches escape the Gallows, I wonder?
I perceive, interrupted Arabella, what kind of Apprehensions you have: I suppose you think, if your Brother was to kill my Enemy, the Law would punish him for it: But pray undeceive yourself, Miss: The Law has no Power over Heroes; they may kill as many Men as they please, without being called to any Account for it; and the more Lives they take away, the greater is their Reputation for Virtue and Glory. The illustrious Artaban, from the Condition of a private Man, raised himself to the sublimest Pitch of Glory by his Valour; for he not only would win half a dozen Battles in a Day; but, to shew that Victory followed him whereever he went, he would change Parties, and immediately the Vanquished became Conquerors; then, returning to the Side he had quitted, changed the Laurels of his former Friends into Chains. He made nothing of tumbling Kings from their Thrones, and giving away half a dozen Crowns in a Morning; for his Generosity was equal to his Courage; and to this Height of Power did he raise himself by his Sword. Beginning at first with petty Conquests, and not disdaining to oppose his glorious Arm to sometimes less than a Score of his Enemies; so, by degrees, enuring himself to conquer inconsiderable Numbers, he came at last to be the Terror of whole Armies, who would fly at the Sight of his single Sword.
This is all very astonishing indeed, said Miss Glanville: However, I must intreat you, not to insist upon my Brother's quarrelling and fighting with People, since it will be neither for your Honour, nor his Safety; for I am afraid, if he was to commit Murder to please you, the Laws would make him suffer for it; and the World would be very free with its Censures on your Ladyship's Reputation, for putting him upon such shocking Crimes.
By your Discourse, Miss, replied Arabella, one would imagine, you knew as little in what the good Reputation of a Lady consists, as the Safety of a Man; for certainly the one depends intirely upon his Sword, and the other upon the Noise and Bustle she makes in the World. The Blood that is shed for a Lady, enhances the Value of her Charms; and the more Men a Hero kills, the greater his Glory, and, by Consequence, the more secure he is. If to be the Cause of a great many Deaths, can make a Lady infamous; certainly none were ever more so, than Mandana, Cleopatra, and Statira, the most illustrious Names in Antiquity; for each of whom, haply, an hundred thousand Men were killed: Yet none were ever so unjust, as to profane the Virtue of those Divine Beauties, by casting any Censures upon them for these glorious Effects of their Charms, and the heroic Valour of their Admirers.
I must confess, interrupted Miss Glanville, I should not be sorry to have a Duel or Two fought for me in Hydepark; but then I would not have any Blood shed for the World.
Glanville here interrupting his Sister with a Laugh, Arabella also could not forbear smiling at the harmless Kind of Combats her Cousin was fond of.
But to put an End to the Conversation, and the Dispute which gave Rise to it, she obliged Mr. Glanville to promise to fight with the Impostor Edward, whenever he found him; and either take away his Life, or force him to confess, he had no Part in the Design he had meditated against her.
This being agreed upon, Arabella, conducting Miss Glanville to her Chamber, retired to her own; and passed the Night with much greater Tranquillity, than she had done the preceding; being satisfied with the Care she had taken of her own Glory, and persuaded that Glanville was not unfaithful; a Circumstance, that was of more Consequence to her Happiness, than she was yet aware of.
In which our Heroine is suspected of Insensibility.
While these things passed at the Castle, Sir George was meditating on the Means he should use to acquire the Esteem of Lady Bella, of whose Person he was a little enamoured, but of her Fortune a great deal more.
By the Observations he had made on her Behaviour, he discovered her peculiar Turn: He was well read in Romances himself, and had actually employed himself some Weeks in giving a new Version of the Grand Cyrus; but the prodigious Length of the Task he had undertaken, terrified him so much, that he gave it over: Nevertheless, he was perfectly well acquainted with the chief Characters in most of the French Romances; could tell every thing that was borrowed from them, in all the new Novels that came out; and, being a very accurate Critic, and a mortal Hater of Dryden, ridiculed him for want of Invention, as it appeared by his having recourse to these Books for the most shining Characters and Incidents in his Plays. Almanzor, he would say, was the Copy of the famous Artaban in Cleopatra, whose Exploits Arabella had expatiated upon to Miss Glanville, and her Brother: His admired Character of Melantha in Marriage àlamode, was drawn from Berissa in the Grand Cyrus; and the Story of Osmyn and Bensayda, in his Conquest of Granada, taken from Sesostris and Timerilla in that Romance.
Fraught therefore with the Knowlege of all the Extravagances and Peculiarities in those Books, he resolved to make his Addresses to Arabella in the Form they prescribed; and, not having Delicacy enough to be disgusted with the Ridicule in her Character, served himself with her Foible, to effect his Designs.
It being necessary, in order to his better Acquaintance with Arabella, to be upon very friendly Terms with Miss Glanville and her Brother, he said a thousand gallant Things to one, and seemed so little offended with the Gloom he observed upon the Countenance of the other, who positively assured him, that Arabella meant only to laugh at him, when she promised him her History, that he intreated him, with the most obliging Earnestness, to favour him with his Company at his House, where he omitted no sort of Civility, to confirm their Friendship and Intimacy; and persuaded him, by several little and seemingly unguarded Expressions, that he was not so great an Admirer of Lady Bella, as her agreeable Cousin Miss Glanville.
Having thus secured a Footing in the Castle, he furnished his Memory with all the necessary Rules of making Love in Arabella's Taste, and deferred his next Visit no longer than till the following Day; but Mr. Glanville being indisposed, and not able to see Company, he knew it would be in vain to expect to see Arabella, since it was not to be imagined, Miss Glanville could admit of a Visit, her Brother being ill; and Lady Bella must be also necessarily engaged with her.
Contenting himself, therefore, with having inquired after the Health of the Two Ladies, he returned home, not a little vexed at his Disappointment.
Mr. Glanville's Indisposition, increasing every Day, grew at last dangerous enough to fill his Sister with extreme Apprehensions. Arabella, keeping up to her Forms, sent regularly every Day, to inquire after his Health; but did not offer to go into his Chamber, though Miss Glanville was almost always there.
As she conceived his Sickness to be occasioned by the Violence of his Passion for her, she expected some Overture should be made her by his Sister, to engage her to make him a Visit; such a Favour being never granted by any Lady to a sick Lover, till she was previously informed, her Presence was necessary to hinder the Increase of his Distemper.
Miss Glanville would not have failed to represent to her Cousin the Incivility and Carelessness of her Behaviour, in not deigning to come and see her Brother in his Indisposition, had not Mr. Glanville, imputing this Neglect to the Nicety of her Notions, which he had upon other Occasions experienced, absolutely forbid her to say any thing to her Cousin upon this Subject.
Miss Glanville being thus forced to Silence, by the Fear of giving her Brother Uneasiness, Arabella was extremely disappointed to find, that, in Five Days Illness, no Application had been made to her, either by the sick Lover, or his Sister, who she thought interested herself too little in his Recovery; so that her Glory obliging her to lay some Constraint upon herself, she behaved with a Coolness and Insensibility, that increased Miss Glanville's Aversion to her, while, in Reality, she was extremely concerned for her Cousin's Illness; but not supposing it dangerous, since they had not recourse to the usual Remedy, of beseeching a Visit from the Person whose Presence was alone able to work a Cure, she resolved to wait patiently the Event.
However, she never failed in her Respect to Miss Glanville, whom she visited every Morning, before she went to her Brother; and also constantly dined with her in her own Apartment, inquiring always, with great Sweetness, concerning her Brother's Health; when perceiving her in Tears one Day, as she came in, as usual, to dine with her, she was extremely alarmed; and asked with great Precipitation, If Mr. Glanville was worse?
He is so bad, Madam, returned Miss Glanville, that I believe it will be necessary to send for my Papa, for fear he should die, and he not see him.
Die, Miss! interrupted Arabella eagerly: No, he must not die; and shall not, if the Pity of Arabella is powerful enough to make him live. Let us go then, Cousin, said she, her Eyes streaming with Tears; let us go and visit this dear Brother, whom you lament: Haply my Sight may repair the Evils my Rigour has caused him; and since, as I imagine, he has forborn, through the profound Respect he has for me, to request the Favour of a Visit, I will voluntarily bestow it on him, as well for the Affection I bear you, as because I do not wish his Death.
You do not wish his Death, Madam! said Miss Glanville, excessively angry at a Speech, in her Opinion, extremely insolent: Is it such a mighty Favour, pray, not to wish the Death of my Brother, who never injured you? I am sure, your Behaviour has been so extremely inhuman, that I have repented a thousand times, we ever came to the Castle.
Let us not waste the time in idle Reproaches, said Arabella: If my Rigour has brought your Brother into this Condition, my Compassion can draw him out of it: It is no more than what all do suffer, who are possessed of a violent Passion; and few Lovers ever arrive to the Possession of their Mistresses, without being several times brought almost to their Graves, either by their Severity, or some other Cause: But nothing is more easy, than to work a Cure, in these Cases; for the very Sight of the Person beloved sometimes does it, as it happened to Artamenes, when the Divine Mandana condescended to visit him: A few kind Words, spoken by the fair Princess of Persia to Oroondates, recalled him from the Gates of Death; and one Line from Parisatis's Hand, which brought a Command to Lysimachus to live, made him not only resolve, but even able, to obey her. —
Miss Glanville, quite out of Patience at this tedious Harangue, without any Regard to Ceremony, flounced out of the Room; and ran to her Brother's Chamber, followed by Arabella, who imputed her rude Haste to a Suspicion, that her Brother was worse.
By which we hope the Reader will be differently affected.
At their Entrance into the Room, Miss Glanville inquired of the Physician, just going out, How he found her Brother? Who replied, that his Fever was increased since last Night; and that it would not (seeing Arabella preparing to go to his Bedside) be proper to disturb him.
Saying this, he bow'd, and went out; and Miss Glanville, repeating what the Physician had said, begged her to defer speaking to him till another time.
I know, said she, that he apprehends, the Sight of me will cause so many tumultuous Motions in the Soul of his Patient, as may prove prejudicial to him: Nevertheless, since his Disorder is, questionless, more in his Mind than Body, I may prove, haply, a better Physician than he; since I am more likely, than he, to cure an Illness I have caused —
Saying this, she walked up to Mr. Glanville's Bedside, who, seeing her, thanked her, with a weak Voice, for coming to see him; assuring her, he was very sensible of the Favour she did him —
You must not, said she, blushing, thank me too much, lest I think the Favour I have done you, is really of more Consequence than I imagined, since it merits so many Acknowlegements: Your Physician tells us, pursued she, that your Life is in Danger; but I persuade myself, you will value it so much from this Moment, that you will not protract your Cure any longer.
Are you mad, Madam, whispered Miss Glanville, who stood behind her, to tell my Brother, that the Physician says he is in Danger? I suppose you really wish he may die, or you would not talk so.
If, answered she, whispering again to Miss Glanville, you are not satisfied with what I have already done for your Brother, I will go as far as Modesty will permit me: And gently pulling open the Curtains;
Glanville, said she, with a Voice too much raised for a sick Person's Ear, I grant to your Sister's Solicitations, what the fair Statira did to an Interest yet more powerful, since, as you know, it was her own Brother, who pleaded in Favour of the dying Orontes: Therefore, considering you in a Condition haply no less dangerous, than that of that passionate Prince, I condescend, like her, to tell you, that I do not wish your Death; that I intreat you to live; and, lastly, by all the Power I have over you, I command you to recover.
Ending these Words, she closed the Curtain, that her transported Lover might not see her Blushes and Confusion, which were so great, that, to conceal them, even from Miss Glanville, she hurried out of the Room, and retired to her own Apartment, expecting, in a little time, to receive a Billet, under the sick Man's Hand, importing, that, in Obedience to her Commands, he was recovered, and ready to throw himself at her Feet, to thank her for that Life she had bestowed upon him, and to dedicate the Remains of it to her Service.
Miss Glanville, who stayed behind her, in a strange Surprize at her ridiculous Behaviour; though she longed to know what her Brother thought of it, finding he continued silent, would not disturb him. The Shame he conceived at hearing so absurd a Speech from a Woman he passionately loved; and the Desire he had, not to hear his Sister's Sentiments upon it; made him counterfeit Sleep, to avoid any Discourse with her upon so disagreeable a Subject.
That Day his Fever increased; and the next, the Physician pronouncing him in great Danger, a Messenger was dispatched to Town, to hasten the Coming of Sir Charles; and poor Miss Glanville was quite inconsoleable, under the Apprehensions of losing him.
Arabella, not to derogate from her Character, affected great Firmness of Mind upon this Occasion; she used the most persuasive Eloquence to moderate her Cousin's Affliction, and caused all imaginable Care to be taken of Mr. Glanville: While any one was present, her Looks discovered only a calm and decent Sorrow; yet when she was alone, or had only her dear Lucy with her, she gave free Vent to her Tears; and discovered a Grief for Mr. Glanville's Illness, little different from that she had felt for her Father's.
As she now visited him constantly every Day, she took an Opportunity, when she was alone by his Bedside, to chide him for his Disobedience, in not recovering, as she had commanded him.
Dear Cousin, answered he faintly, Can you imagine, Health is not my Choice? And do you think, I would suffer these Pains, if I could possibly ease myself of them?
Those Pains, replied Arabella, mistaking his Complaint, ought to have ceased, when the Cause of them did; and when I was no longer rigorous, you ought no longer to have suffered: But tell me, since you are, questionless, one of the strangest Men in the World, and the hardest to be comforted; nay, and I may add, the most disobedient of all, that ever wore the Fetters of Love; Tell me, I say, what must I do to content you?
If I live, Cousin, said Glanville—
Nay, interrupted Arabella, since my Empire over you is not so absolute as I thought; and since you think fit to reserve to yourself the Liberty of dying, contrary to my Desire; I think I had better resolve, not to make any Treaty with you: However, as I have gone thus far, I will do something more; and tell you, since I have commanded you to live, I will also permit you to love me, in order to make the Life I have bestowed on you, worthy your Acceptance. Make me no Reply, said she, putting her Hand on his Mouth; but begin from this Moment to obey me.
Saying this, she went out of the Room —
A few Hours after, his Fever being come to a Height, he grew delirious, and talked very wildly; but a favourable Crisis ensuing, he fell into a sound and quiet Sleep, and continued in it for several Hours: Upon his waking, the Physician declared, his Fever was greatly abated; and the next Morning, pronounced him out of Danger —
Miss Glanville, transported with Joy, ran to Lady Bella, and informed her of this good News; but as she did not make her the Acknowlegements she expected, for being the Cause of his Recovery, she behaved with more Reserve than Miss Glanville thought was necessary: Which renewed her former Disgusts; yet, dreading to displease her Brother, she concealed it from the Observation of her Cousin ——
Arabella, being desirous of completing her Lover's Cure by some more favourable Expressions, went to his Chamber, accompanied by Miss Glanville.
I see, said she, approaching to his Bedside, with an inchanting Smile, that you know how to be obedient, when you please; and I begin to know, by the Price you set upon your Obedience, that small Favours will not content you.
Indeed, my dearest Cousin, said Glanville, who had found her more interested in his Recovery than he expected, you have been very obliging, and I will always most gratefully own it.
I am glad, interrupted Arabella, that Gratitude is not banished from all your Family; and that that Person in it, for whom I have the most Sensibility, is not intirely divested of it —
I hope, said Mr. Glanville, my Sister has given you no Cause to complain of her.
Indeed but she has, replied Arabella; for, notwithstanding she is obliged to me for the Life of a Brother, whom questionless she loves very well; nevertheless, she did not deign to make me the least Acknowlegement for what I have done in your Favour: However, Glanville, provided you continue to observe that Respect and Fidelity towards me, which I have Reason to hope for from you; your Condition shall be never the worse for Miss Glanville's unacknowleging Temper; and I now confirm the Grant I Yesterday made you, and repeat it again; That I permit you to love me, and promise you not to be displeased at any Testimonies you will give me of your Passion, provided you serve me with an inviolable Fidelity.
But, Madam, returned Mr. Glanville, to make my Happiness complete, you must also promise to love me; or else what signifies the Permission you give me to love you?
You are almost as unacknowleging as your Sister, resumed Arabella, blushing; and if your Health was perfectly reestablished, questionless, I should chide you for your Presumption; but since something must be allowed to sick Persons, whose Reason, one may suppose, is weakened by their Indisposition, I will pardon your Indiscretion at this time, and counsel you to wait patiently for what Heaven will determine in your Favour: Therefore endeavour to merit my Affection by your Respect, Fidelity, and Services; and hope from my Justice, whatever it ought to bestow —
Ending this Speech, with a Solemnity of Accent, that gave Mr. Glanville to understand, any Reply would offend her, he silently kissed her fair Hand, which she held out to him; a Favour, the Terms upon which they now were, and his Sickness, gave him a Right to expect — And, finishing her Visit for that time, left him to his Repose; being extremely pleased at the Prospect of his Recovery, and very well satisfied at having so gracefully got over so great a Difficulty, as that of giving him Permission to love her: For by the Laws of Romance, when a Lady has once given her Lover that Permission, she may lawfully allow him to talk to her upon the Subject of his Passion, accept all his Gallantries, and claim an absolute Empire over all his Actions; reserving to herself the Right of fixing the Time when she may own her Affection: And when that important Step is taken, and his Constancy put to a few Years more Trial; when he has killed all his Rivals, and rescued her from a thousand Dangers; she at last condescends to reward him with her Hand; and all her Adventures are at an End for the future.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:57