Contains the Conversation refer'd to in the last Chapter of the preceding Book.
Miss Glanville, who with a malicious Pleasure had secretly triumph'd in the Extravagances her beautiful Cousin had been guilty of, was now sensibly disappointed to find they had had so little Effect on her Father and Brother; for instead of reflecting upon the Absurdities to which they had been a Witness, Mr. Glanville artfully pursu'd the Subject Arabella just before had been expatiating upon, taking notice frequently of some Observations of hers, and by a well contriv'd Repetition of her Words, oblig'd his Father a second Time to declare that his Niece had spoken extremely well.
Mr. Glanville taking the Word, launch'd out into such Praises of her Wit, that Miss Glanville, no longer able to listen patiently, reply'd,
'Twas true Lady Bella sometimes said very sensible Things; that 'twas a great Pity she was not always in a reasonable Way of thinking, or that her Intervals were not longer ——
Her Intervals, Miss, said Glanville, pray what do you mean by that Expression? —
Why, pray, said Miss Glanville, don't you think my Cousin is sometimes a little wrong in the Head?
Mr. Glanville at these Words starting from his Chair, took a Turn across the Room in great Discomposure, then stopping all of a sudden, and giving his Sister a furious Look ——Charlotte, said he, don't give me Cause to think you are envious of your Cousin's superior Excellencies ——
Envious! repeated Miss Glanville, I envious of my Cousin — I vow I should never have thought of that — Indeed, Brother, you are much mistaken; my Cousin's superior Excellencies never gave me a Moment's Disturbance — Tho' I must confess her unaccountable Whims have often excited my Pity —
No more of this, Charlotte, interrupted Mr. Glanville, as you value my Friendship — No more of it —
Why, really Son, said Sir Charles, my Niece has very strange Whimsies sometimes. How it came into her Head to think Mr. Tinsel would attempt to carry her away, I can't imagine? For after all, he only prest rather too rudely into her Chamber, for which, as you see, I have forbidden his Visits.
That was of a Piece, said Miss Glanville sneeringly to her Brother, with her asking you if you had made Mr. Tinsel swear upon your Sword, that he would never again attempt to carry her away; and applauding you for having given him his Liberty, as the generous Atermens did on the same Occasion.
I would advise you, Charlotte, said Mr. Glanville, not to aim at repeating your Cousin's Words, till you know how to pronounce them properly.
Oh! that's one of her superior Excellencies, said Miss Glanville.
Indeed, Miss, said Glanville very provokingly, she is superior to you in many Things; and as much so in the Goodness of her Heart, as in the Beauty of her Person ——
Come, come, Charles, said the Baronet, who observ'd his Daughter sat swelling and biting her Lip at this Reproach, personal Reflections are better avoided. Your Sister is very well, and not to be disparag'd; tho' to be sure, Lady Bella is the finest Woman I ever saw in my Life.
Miss Glanville was, if possible, more disgusted at her Father's Palliation than her Brother's Reproaches; and in order to give a Loose to her Passion, accus'd Mr. Glanville of a Decrease in his Affection for her, since he had been in Love with her Cousin; and having found this Excuse for her Tears, very freely gave vent to them —
Mr. Glanville being softned by this Sight, sacrificed a few Compliments to her Vanity, which soon restor'd her to her usual Tranquillity; then turning the Discourse on his beloved Arabella, pronounc'd a Panegyrick on her Virtues and Accomplishments of an Hour long; which, if it did not absolutely persuade his Sister to change her Opinion, it certainly convinc'd his Father, that his Niece was not only perfectly well in her Understanding, but even better than most others of her Sex.
Mr. Glanville had just finish'd her Eulogium, when Arabella appear'd; Joy danc'd in his Eyes at her Approach; he gaz'd upon her with a Kind of conscious Triumph in his Looks; her consummate Loveliness justifying his Passion, and being in his Opinion, more than an Excuse for all her Extravagancies.
In which our Heroine, as we presume, shews herself in two very different Lights.
Arabella, who at her Entrance had perceiv'd some Traces of Uneasiness upon Miss Glanville's Countenance, tenderly ask'd her the Cause; to which that young Lady answering in a cold and reserv'd Manner. Mr. Glanville, to divert her Reflexions on it, very freely accus'd himself of having given his Sister some Offence. To be sure, Brother, said Miss Glanville, you are very vehement in your Temper, and are as violently carry'd away about Things of little Importance as of the greatest; and then, whatever you have a Fancy for, you love so obstinately.
I am oblig'd to you, Miss, interrupted Mr. Glanville, for endeavouring to give Lady Bella so unfavourable an Opinion of me ——
I assure you, said Arabella, Miss Glanville has said nothing to your Disadvantage: For, in my Opinion, the Temperament of great Minds ought to be such as she represents yours to be. For there is nothing at so great a Distance from true and heroick Virtue, as that Indifference which obliges some People to be pleas'd with all Things or nothing: Whence it comes to pass, that they neither entertain great Desires of Glory, nor Fear of Infamy; that they neither love nor hate; that they are wholly influenc'd by Custom, and are sensible only of the Afflictions of the Body, their Minds being in a Manner insensible ——
To say the Truth, I am inclin'd to conceive a greater Hope of a Man, who in the Beginning of his Life is hurry'd away by some evil Habit, than one that fastens on nothing: The Mind that cannot be brought to detest Vice, will never be persuaded to love Virtue; but one who is capable of loving or hating irreconcileably, by having, when young, his Passions directed to proper Objects, will remain fix'd in his Choice of what is good. But with him who is incapable of any violent Attraction, and whose Heart is chilled by a general Indifference, Precept or Example will have no Force — And Philosophy itself, which boasts it hath Remedies for all Indispositions of the Soul, never had any that can cure an indifferent Mind — Nay, added she, I am persuaded that Indifference is generally the inseparable Companion of a weak and imperfect Judgment. For it is so natural to a Person to be carry'd towards that which he believes to be good, that if indifferent People were able to judge of Things, they would fasten on something. But certain it is that this Lukewarmness of Soul, which sends forth but feeble Desires, sends also but feeble Lights; so that those who are guilty of it, not knowing any thing clearly, cannot fasten on any thing with Perseverance.
Mr. Glanville, when Arabella had finish'd this Speech, cast a triumphing Glance at his Sister, who had affected great Inattention all the while she had been speaking. Sir Charles, in his Way, express'd much Admiration of her Wit, telling her, if she had been a Man, she would have made a great Figure in Parliament, and that her Speeches might have come perhaps to be printed in time.
This Compliment, odd as it was, gave great Joy to Glanville, when the Conversation was interrupted by the Arrival of Mr. Selvin, who had slipt away unobserv'd at the Time that Arabella's Indisposition had alarm'd them, and now came to enquire after her Health; and also if an Opportunity offer'd to set her right with Regard to the Suspicions she had entertain'd of his designing to pay his Addresses to her.
Arabella, as soon as he had sent in his Name, appear'd to be in great Disturbance; and upon his Entrance, offer'd immediately to withdraw, telling Mr. Glanville, who would have detain'd her, that she found no Place was likely to secure her from the Persecutions of that Gentleman.
Glanville star'd, and look'd strangely perplex'd at this Speech; Miss Glanville smil'd, and poor Selvin, with a very silly Look — hem'd two or three times, and then with a faultring Accent said, Madam, I am very much concern'd to find your Ladyship resolv'd to persist in ——
Sir, interrupted Arabella, my Resolutions are unalterable. I told you so before, and am surpriz'd, after the Knowledge of my Intentions, you presume to appear in my Presence again, from whence I had so positively banish'd you.
Pray, Niece, said Sir Charles, what has Mr. Selvin done to disoblige you?
Sir, reply'd Arabella, Mr. Selvin's Offence can admit of no other Reparation than that which I requir'd of him, which was a voluntary Banishment from my Presence: And in this, pursu'd she, I am guilty of no more Severity to you, than the Princess Udosia was to the unfortunate Thrasimedes. For the Passion of this Prince having come to her Knowledge, notwithstanding the Pains he took to conceal it, this fair and wise Princess thought it not enough to forbid his speaking to her, but also banish'd him from her Presence; laying a peremptory Command upon him, never to appear before her again till he was perfectly cur'd of that unhappy Love he had entertain'd for her — Imitate therefore the meritorious Obedience of this poor Prince, and if that Passion you profess for me —
How, Sir, interrupted Sir Charles, Do you make Love to my Niece then? —
Sir, replied Mr. Selvin, who was strangely confounded at Arabella's Speech, tho' I really admire the Perfections this Lady is possess'd of, yet I assure you, upon my Honour, I never had a Thought of making any Addresses to her; and I can't imagine why her Ladyship persists in accusing me of such Presumption.
So formal a Denial after what Arabella had said, extremely perplex'd Sir Charles, and fill'd Mr. Glanville with inconceivable Shame —
Miss Glanville enjoy'd their Disturbance, and full of an illnatur'd Triumph, endeavour'd to look Arabella into Confusion: But that Lady not being at all discompos'd by this Declaration of Mr. Selvin's, having accounted for it already, replied with great Calmness,
Sir, 'Tis easy to see thro' the Artifice of your disclaiming any Passion for me — Upon any other Occasion questionless, you would rather sacrifice your Life, than consent to disavow these Sentiments, which unhappily for your Peace you have entertain'd. At present the Desire of continuing near me, obliges you to lay this Constraint upon yourself; however you know Thrasimedes fell upon the same Stratagem to no Purpose. The rigid Udosia saw thro' the Disguise, and would not dispense with herself from banishing him from Rome, as I do you from England——
How, Madam! interrupted Selvin amaz'd —
Yes, Sir, replied Arabella hastily, nothing less can satisfy what I owe to the Consideration of my own Glory.
Upon my Word, Madam, said Selvin, half angry, and yet strongly inclin'd to laugh, I don't see the Necessity of my quitting my native Country, to satisfy what you owe to the Consideration of your own Glory. Pray, how does my staying in England affect your Ladyship's Glory?
To answer your Question with another, said Arabella, Pray how did the Stay of Thrasimedes in Rome, affect the Glory of the Empress Udosia?
Mr. Selvin was struck dumb with this Speech, for he was not willing to be thought so deficient in the Knowledge of History, as not to be acquainted with the Reasons why Thrasimedes should not stay in Rome.
His Silence therefore seeming to Arabella to be a tacit Confession of the Justice of her Commands, a Sentiment of Compassion for this unfortunate Lover, intruded itself into her Mind; and turning her bright Eyes, full of a soft Complacency upon Selvin, who star'd at her as if he had lost his Wits —
I will not, said she, wrong the Sublimity of your Passion for me so much, as to doubt your being ready to sacrifice the Repose of your own Life to the Satisfaction of mine: Nor will I do so much Injustice to your Generosity, as to suppose the Glory of obeying my Commands, will not in some Measure soften the Rigour of your Destiny — I know not whether it may be lawful for me to tell you, that your Misfortune does really cause me some Affliction; but I am willing to give you this Consolation, and also to assure you, that to whatever Part of the World your Despair will carry you, the good Wishes and Compassion of Arabella shall follow you ——
Having said this, with one of her fair Hands she cover'd her Face, to hide the Blushes which so compassionate a Speech had caus'd — Holding the other extended with a careless Air, supposing he would kneel to kiss it, and bathe it with his Tears, as was the Custom on such melancholy Occasions, her Head at the same Time turned another Way, as if reluctantly and with Confusion she granted this Favour. — But after standing a Moment in this Posture, and finding her Hand untouch'd, she concluded Grief had depriv'd him of his Senses, and that he would shortly fall into a Swoon as Thrasimedes did: And to prevent being a Witness of so doleful a Sight, she hurry'd out of the Room without once turning about, and having reach'd her own Apartment, sunk into a Chair, not a little affected with the deplorable Condition in which she had left her suppos'd miserable Lover.
The Contrast continued.
The Company she had left behind her being all, except Mr. Glanville, to the last Degree surpriz'd at her strange Words and Actions, continued mute for several Minutes after she was gone, staring upon one another, as if each wish'd to know the other's Opinion of such an unaccountable Behaviour. At last Miss Glanville, who observed her Brother's Back was towards her, told Mr. Selvin in a low Voice, that she hop'd he would call and take his Leave of them before he set out for the Place where his Despair would carry him. —
Mr. Selvin in spite of his natural Gravity, could not forbear laughing at this Speech of Miss Glanville's, which shock'd her Brother, and not being able to stay where Arabella was ridicul'd, nor intitled to resent it, which would have been a manifest Injustice on that Occasion, he retir'd to his own Apartment to give vent to that Spleen which in those Moments made him out of Humour with all the World.
Sir Charles, when he was gone, indulg'd himself in a little Mirth on his Niece's Extravagance, protesting he did not know what to do with her. Upon which Miss Glanville observ'd, that it was a Pity there were not such Things as Protestant Nunneries; giving it as her Opinion, that her Cousin ought to be confin'd in one of those Places, and never suffer'd to see any Company, by which Means she would avoid exposing herself in the Manner she did now.
Mr. Selvin, who possibly thought this a reasonable Scheme of Miss Glanville's, seem'd by his Silence to assent to her Opinion; but Sir Charles was greatly displeas'd with his Daughter for expressing herself so freely; alledging that Arabella, when she was out of those Whims, was a very sensible young Lady, and sometimes talk'd as learnedly as a Divine. To which Mr. Selvin also added, that she had a great Knowledge of History, and had a most surprizing Memory; and after some more Discourse to the same Purpose, he took his Leave, earnestly entreating Sir Charles to believe that he never entertain'd any Design of making his Addresses to Lady Bella.
In the mean Time, that Lady after having given near half an Hour to those Reflexions which occur to Heroines in the same Situation with herself, called for Lucy, and order'd her to go to the DiningRoom, and see in what Condition Mr. Selvin was, telling her she had certainly left him in a Swoon, as also the Occasion of it; and bid her give him all the Consolation in her Power.
Lucy, with Tears in her Eyes at this Recital, went down as she was order'd, and entering the Room without any Ceremony, her Thoughts being wholly fix'd on the melancholy Circumstance her Lady had been telling her; she look'd eagerly round the Room without speaking a Word, till Sir Charles and Miss Glanville, who thought she had been sent with some Message from Arabella, ask'd her both at the same Instant, What she wanted? ——
I came, Sir, said Lucy, repeating her Lady's Words, to see in what Condition Mr. Selvin is in, and to give him all the Solation in my Power.
Sir Charles, laughing heartily at this Speech, ask'd her what she could do for Mr. Selvin? To which she reply'd, she did not know; but her Lady had told her to give him all the Solation in her Power.
Consolation thou would'st say, I suppose, said Sir Charles.
Yes, Sir, said Lucy curtesying. Well, Child, added he, go up and tell your Lady, Mr. Selvin does not need any Consolation.
Lucy accordingly return'd with this Message, and was met at the ChamberDoor by Arabella, who hastily ask'd her if Mr. Selvin was recover'd from his Swoon: To which Lucy reply'd that she did not know; but that Sir Charles bid her tell her Ladyship, Mr. Selvin did not need any Consolation.
Oh Heavens! cry'd Arabella, throwing herself into a Chair as pale as Death — He is dead, he has fallen upon his Sword, and put an End to his Life and Miseries at once — Oh! how unhappy am I, cry'd she, bursting into Tears, to be the Cause of so cruel an Accident — Was ever any Fate so terrible as mine — Was ever Beauty so fatal — Was ever Rigour so unfortunate — How will the Quiet of my future Days be disturbed by the sad Remembrance of a Man whose Death was caused by my Disdain — But why, resum'd she after a little Pause — Why do I thus afflict myself for what has happen'd by an unavoidable Necessity? Nor am I singular in the Misfortune which has befallen me — Did not the sad Perinthus die for the beautiful Panthea— Did not the Rigour of Barsina bring the miserable Oxyatres to the Grave — And the Severity of Statira make Oroondates fall upon his Sword in her Presence, tho' happily he escap'd being kill'd by it — Let us then not afflict ourselves unreasonably at this sad Accident — Let us lament as we ought the fatal Effects of our Charms — But let us comfort ourselves with the Thought that we have only acted conformable to our Duty.
Arabella having pronounc'd these last Words with a solemn and lofty Accent, order'd Lucy, who listen'd to her with Eyes drown'd in Tears, to go down and ask if the Body was remov'd — for added she, all my Constancy will not be sufficient to support me against that pitiful Sight.
Lucy accordingly deliver'd her Message to Sir Charles and Miss Glanville, who were still together, discoursing on the fantastical Turn of Arabella, when the Knight, who could not possibly comprehend what she meant by asking if the Body was removed, bid her tell her Lady he desired to speak with her.
Arabella, upon receiving this Summons, set herself to consider what could be the Intent of it. If Mr. Selvin be dead, said she, what Good can my Presence do among them? Surely it cannot be to upbraid me with my Severity, that my Uncle desires to see me — No, it would be unjust to suppose it. Questionless my unhappy Lover is still struggling with the Pangs of Death, and for a Consolation in his last Moments, implores the Favour of resigning up his Life in my Sight. Pausing a little at these Words, she rose from her Seat with a Resolution to give the unhappy Selvin her Pardon before he dy'd. Meeting Mr. Glanville as he was returning from his Chamber to the DiningRoom, she told him, she hop'd the Charity she was going to discover towards his Rival, would not give him any Uneasiness; and preventing his Reply by going hastily into the Room, he follow'd her dreading some new Extravagance, yet not able to prevent it, endeavour'd to conceal his Confusion from her Observation —Arabella, after breathing a gentle Sigh, told told Sir Charles, that she was come to grant Mr. Selvin her Pardon for the Offence he had been guilty of, that he might depart in Peace.
Well, well, said Sir Charles, he is departed in Peace without it.
How, Sir, interrupted Arabella, is he dead then already? Alas! Why had he not the Satisfaction of seeing me before he expir'd, that his Soul might have departed in Peace? He would have been assur'd not only of my Pardon, but Pity also; and that Assurance would have made him happy in his last Moments.
Why, Niece, interrupted Sir Charles staring, you surprize me prodigiously: Are you in earnest?
Questionless I am, Sir, said she, nor ought you to be surpriz'd at the Concern I express for the Fate of this unhappy Man, nor at the Pardon I propos'd to have granted him; since herein I am justified by the Example of many great and virtuous Princesses, who have done as much, nay, haply more than I intended to have done, for Persons whose Offences were greater than Mr. Selvin's.
I am very sorry, Madam, said Sir Charles, to hear you talk in this Manner: 'Tis really enough to make one suspect you are ——
You do me great Injustice, Sir, interrupted Arabella, if you suspect me to be guilty of any unbecoming Weakness for this Man: If barely expressing my Compassion for his Misfortunes be esteem'd so great a Favour, what would you have thought if I had supported his Head on my Knees while he was dying, shed Tears over him, and discover'd all the Tokens of a sincere Affliction for him?
Good God! said Sir Charles, lifting up his Eyes, Did any body ever hear of any thing like this?
What, Sir, said Arabella, with as great an Appearance of Surprize in her Countenance as his had discover'd, Do you say you never heard of any thing like this? Then you never heard of the Princess of Media, I suppose ——
No, not I, Madam, said Sir Charles peevishly.
Then, Sir, resum'd Arabella, permit me to tell you, that this fair and virtuous Princess condescended to do all I have mention'd for the fierce Labynet, Prince of Assyria; who tho' he had mortally offended her by stealing her away out of the Court of the King her Father, nevertheless, when he was wounded to Death in her Presence, and humbly implor'd her Pardon before he died, she condescended as I have said, to support him on her Knees, and shed Tears for his Disaster — I could produce many more Instances of the like Compassion in Ladies almost as highly born as herself, tho' perhaps their Quality was not quite so illustrious, she being the Heiress of two powerful Kingdoms. Yet to mention only these ——
Good Heavens! cry'd Mr. Glanville here, being quite out of Patience, I shall go distracted ——
Arabella surpriz'd at this Exclamation, look'd earnestly at him for a Moment — and then ask'd him, Whether any thing she had said had given him Uneasiness?
Yes, upon my Soul, Madam, said Glanville so vex'd and confus'd that he hardly knew what he said ——
I am sorry for it, reply'd Arabella gravely, and also am greatly concern'd to find that in Generosity you are so much exceeded by the illustrious Cyrus; who was so far from taking Umbrage at Mandana's Behaviour to the dying Prince, that he commended her for the Compassion she had shewn him. So also did the brave and generous Oroondates, when the fair Statira——
By Heav'ns! cry'd Glanville rising in a Passion, there's no hearing this. Pardon me, Madam, but upon my Soul, you'll make me hang myself.
Hang yourself, repeated Arabella, sure you know not what you say? You meant, I suppose, that you'll fall upon your Sword. What Hero ever threatned to give himself so vulgar a Death? But pray let me know the Cause of your Despair, so sudden and so violent.
Mr. Glanville continuing in a sort of sullen Silence, Arabella raising her Voice went on:
Tho' I do not conceive myself oblig'd to give you an Account of my Conduct, seeing that I have only permitted you yet to hope for my Favour; yet I owe to myself and my own Honour the Justification I am going to make. Know then, that however suspicious my Compassion for Mr. Selvin may appear to your mistaken Judgment, yet it has its Foundation only in the Generosity of my Disposition, which inclines me to pardon the Fault when the unhappy Criminal repents; and to afford him my Pity when his Circumstances require it. Let not therefore the Charity I have discover'd towards your Rival, be the Cause of your Despair, since my Sentiments for him, were he living, would be what they were before; that is, full of Indifference, nay, haply Disdain. And suffer not yourself to be so carried away by a violent and unjust Jealousy, as to threaten your own Death, which if you really had any Ground for your Suspicions, and truly lov'd me, would come unsought for, tho' not undesir'd — For indeed, was your Despair reasonable, Death would necessarily follow it; for what Lover can live under so desperate a Misfortune. In that Case you may meet Death undauntedly when it comes, nay, embrace it with Joy; but truly the killing one's self is but a false Picture of true Courage, proceeding rather from Fear of a further Evil, than Contempt of that you fly to: For if it were a Contempt of Pain, the same Principle would make you resolve to bear patiently and fearlesly all kind of Pains; and Hope being of all other the most contrary Thing to Fear, this being an utter Banishment of Hope, seems to have its Ground in Fear.
In which Mr. Glanville makes an unsuccessful Attempt upon Arabella.
Arabella, when she had finish'd these Words, which banish'd in part Mr. Glanville's Confusion, went to her own Apartment, follow'd by Miss Glanville, to whom she had made a Sign for that Purpose; and throwing herself into a Chair, burst into Tears, which greatly surprizing Miss Glanville, she prest her to tell her the Cause.
Alas! reply'd Arabella, have I not Cause to think myself extremely unhappy? The deplorable Death of Mr. Selvin, the Despair to which I see your Brother reduc'd, with the fatal Consequences which may attend it, fills me with a mortal Uneasiness.
Well, said Miss Glanville, your Ladyship may make yourself quite easy as to both these Matters; for Mr. Selvin is not dead, nor is my Brother in Despair that I know of.
What do you say, Miss, interrupted Arabella, is not Mr. Selvin dead? Was the Wound he gave himself not mortal then?
I know of no Wound that he gave himself, not I, said Miss Glanville; what makes your Ladyship suppose he gave himself a Wound? Lord bless me, what strange Thoughts come into your Head.
Truly I am rejoic'd to hear it; reply'd Arabella; and in order to prevent the Effects of his Despair, I'll instantly dispatch my Commands to him to live.
I dare answer for his Obedience, Madam, said Miss Glanville smiling.
Arabella then gave Orders for Paper and Pens to be brought her, and seeing Mr. Glanville enter the Room, very formally acquainted him with her Intention, telling him, that he ought to be satisfy'd with the Banishment to which she had doom'd his unhappy Rival, and not require his Death, since he had nothing to fear from his Pretensions.
I assure you, Madam, said Mr. Glanville, I am perfectly easy upon that Account: And in order to spare you the Trouble of sending to Mr. Selvin, I may venture to assure you that he is in no Danger of dying.
'Tis impossible, Sir, reply'd Arabella, according to the Nature of Things, 'tis impossible but he must already be very near Death — You know the Rigour of my Sentence, you know ——
I know, Madam, said Mr. Glanville, that Mr. Selvin does not think himself under a Necessity of obeying your Sentence; and has the Impudence to question your Authority for banishing him from his native Country.
My Authority, Sir, said Arabella strangely surpriz'd, is sounded upon the absolute Power he has given me over him.
He denies that, Madam, said Glanville, and says that he neither can give, nor you exercise an absolute Power over him; since you are both accountable to the King, whose Subjects you are, and both restrain'd by the Laws under whose Sanction you live.
Arabella's apparent Confusion at these Words giving Mr. Glanville Hopes that he had fallen upon a proper Method to cure her of some of her strange Notions, he was going to pursue his Arguments, when Arabella looking a little sternly upon him,
The Empire of Love, said she, like the Empire of Honour, is govern'd by Laws of its own, which have no Dependence upon, or Relation to any other.
Pardon me, Madam, said Glanville, if I presume to differ from you. Our Laws have fix'd the Boundaries of Honour as well as those of Love.
How is that possible, reply'd Arabella, when they differ so widely, that a Man may be justify'd by the one, and yet condemn'd by the other? For Instance, pursued she, you are not permitted by the Laws of the Land to take away the Life of any Person whatever; yet the Laws of Honour oblige you to hunt your Enemy thro' the World, in order to sacrifice him to your Vengeance. Since it is impossible then for the same Actions to be at once just and unjust, it must necessarily follow, that the Law which condemns it, and that which justifies it is not the same, but directly opposite — And now, added she, after a little Pause, I hope I have entirely clear'd up that Point to you.
You have indeed, Madam, reply'd Mr. Glanville, proved to a Demonstration, that what is called Honour is something distinct from Justice, since they command Things absolutely opposite to each other.
Arabella without reflecting on this Inference, went on to prove the independent Sovereignty of Love, which, said she, may be collected from all the Words and Actions of those Heroes who were inspir'd by this Passion. We see it in them, pursued she, triumphing not only over all natural and avow'd Allegiance, but superior even to Friendship, Duty, and Honour itself. This the Actions of Oroondates, Artaxerxes, Spitridates, and many other illustrious Princes sufficiently testify.
Love requires a more unlimited Obedience from its Slaves, than any other Monarch can expect from his Subjects; an Obedience which is circumscrib'd by no Laws whatever, and dependent upon nothing but itself.
I shall live, Madam, says the renowned Prince of Scythia to the divine Statira, I shall live, since it is your Command I should do so; and Death can have no Power over a Life which you are pleas'd to take Care of —
Say only that you wish I should conquer, said the great Juba to the incomparable Cleopatra, and my Enemies will be already vanquish'd — Victory will come over to the Side you favour — and an Army of a hundred thousand Men will not be able to overcome the Man who has your Commands to conquer —
How mean and insignificant, pursued she, are the Titles bestow'd on other Monarchs compar'd with those which dignity the Sovereigns of Hearts, such as divine Arbitress of my Fate, Visible Divinity, Earthly Goddess, and many others equally sublime —
Mr. Glanville losing all patience at her obstinate Folly, interrupted her here with a Question quite foreign to the Subject she was discussing, and soon after quitting her Chamber, retir'd to his own, more than ever despairing of her Recovery.
In which is introduc'd a very singular Character.
Miss Glanville, whose Envy and Dislike of her lovely Cousin was heighten'd by her Suspicions that she disputed with her the Possession of Sir George's Heart, she having been long in reality a great Admirer of that gay Gentleman, was extremely delighted with the Ridicule her absurd Behaviour had drawn upon her at Bath, which she found by Enquiry was thro' Mr. Tinsel's Representation grown almost general.
In order therefore to be at Liberty to go to the Publick Places uneclips'd by the superior Beauty of Arabella, she acquainted her Father and Brother with Part of what she had heard, which determin'd them to prevent that young Lady's Appearance in Publick while they staid at Bath; this being no difficult Matter to bring about, since Arabella only went to the Rooms or Parade in Compliance with the Invitation of her Cousins.
Miss Glanville being by these Means rid of a Rival too powerful even to contend with, went with more than usual Gaiety to the Assembly, where the Extravagancies of Arabella afforded a perpetual Fund for Diversion. Her more than passive Behaviour upon this Occasion, banishing all Restraint among those she convers'd with, the Jest circulated very freely at Arabella's Expence. Nor did Miss Glanville fail to give new Poignancy to their Sarcasms, by artfully disclosing the bent of her Cousin's Studies, and enumerating the many Absurdities they had made her guilty of.
Arabella's uncommon Beauty had gain'd her so many Enemies among the Ladies that compos'd this Assembly, that they seem'd to contend with each other who should ridicule her most. The celebrated Countess of —— being then at Bath, approach'd a Circle of these fair Defamers, and listning a few Moments to the contemptuous Jests they threw out against the absent Beauty, declar'd herself in her Favour; which in a Moment, such was the Force of her universally acknowledg'd Merit, and the Deference always pay'd to her Opinion, silenc'd every pretty Impertinent around her.
This Lady, who among her own Sex had no Superior in Wit, Elegance, and Ease, was inferior to very few of the other in Sense, Learning, and Judgment. Her Skill in Poetry, Painting, and Musick, tho' incontestably great, was number'd among the least of her Accomplishments. Her Candour, her Sweetness, her Modesty and Benevolence, while they secur'd her from the Darts of Envy, render'd her superior to Praise, and made the one as unnecessary as the other ineffectual.
She had been a Witness of the Surprize Arabella's extraordinary Appearance had occasion'd, and struck with that as well as the uncommon Charms of her Person, had prest near her with several others of the Company, when she was discoursing in the Manner we have related.
A Person of the Countess's nice Discernment could not fail of observing the Wit and Spirit, which tho' obscur'd, was not absolutely hid under the Absurdity of her Notions. And this Discovery adding Esteem to the Compassion she felt for the fair Visionary, she resolv'd to rescue her from the illnatur'd Raillery of her Sex; praising therefore her Understanding, and the Beauty of her Person with a Sweetness and Generosity peculiar to herself, she accounted in the most delicate Manner imaginable for the Singularity of her Notions, from her Studies, her Retirment, her Ignorance of the World, and her lively Imagination. And to abate the Keenness of their Sarcasms, acknowledg'd, that she herself had, when very young, been deep read in Romances; and but for an early Acquaintance with the World, and being directed to other Studies, was likely to have been as much a Heroine as Lady Bella.
Miss Glanville, tho' she was secretly vex'd at this Defence of her Cousin, was however under a Necessity of seeming oblig'd to the Countess for it: And that Lady expressing a Desire to be acquainted with Lady Bella, Miss Glanville respectfully offer'd to attend her Cousin to her Lodgings, which the Countess as respectfully declin'd, saying, as Lady Bella was a Stranger, she would make her the first Visit.
Miss Glanville at her Return gave her Brother an Account of what had happen'd at the Assembly, and fill'd him with an inconceivable Joy at the Countess's Intention. He had always been a zealous Admirer of that Lady's Character, and flatter'd himself that the Conversation of so admirable a Woman would be of the utmost Use to Arabella.
That very Night he mention'd her to his beloved Cousin; and after enumerating all her fine Qualities, declar'd that she had already conceiv'd a Friendship for her, and was solicitous of her Acquaintance.
I think myself extremely fortunate, replied Arabella, in that I have (tho' questionless undeservedly) acquir'd the Amity of this lovely Person; and I beg you, pursued she to Miss Glanville, to tell her, that I long with Impatience to embrace her, and to give her that Share in my Heart which her transcendent Merit deserves.
Miss Glanville only bow'd her Head in Answer to this Request, giving her Brother at the same Time a significant Leer; who tho' used to Arabella's Particularities, could not help being a little confounded at the heroic Speech she had made.
Containing something which at first Sight may possibly puzzle the Reader.
The Countess was as good as her Word, and two Days after sent a Card to Arabella, importing her Design to wait on her that Afternoon.
Our Heroine expected her with great Impatience, and the Moment she enter'd the Room flew towards her with a graceful Eagerness, and straining her in her Arms, embrac'd her with all the Fervour of a long absent Friend.
Sir Charles and Mr. Glanville were equally embarrass'd at the Familiarity of this Address; but observing that the Countess seem'd not to be surpriz'd at it, but rather to receive it with Pleasure, they were soon compos'd.
You cannot imagine, lovely Stranger, said Arabella to the Countess, as soon as they were seated, with what Impatience I have long'd to behold you, since the Knowledge I have receiv'd of your rare Qualities, and the Friendship you have been pleas'd to honour me with — And I may truly protest to you, that such is my Admiration of your Virtues, that I would have gone to the farthest Part of the World to render you that which you with so much Generosity have condescended to bestow upon me.
Sir Charles star'd at this extraordinary Speech, and not being able to comprehend a Word of it, was concern'd to think how the Lady to whom it was address'd would understand it.
Mr. Glanville look'd down, and bit his Nails in extreme Confusion; but the Countess who had not forgot the Language of Romance, return'd the Compliment in a Strain as heroic as hers.
The Favour I have receiv'd from Fortune, said she, in bringing me to the Happiness of your Acquaintance, charming Arabella, is so great, that I may rationally expect some terrible Misfortune will befall me: Seeing that in this Life our Pleasures are so constantly succeeded by Pains, that we hardly ever enjoy the one without suffering the other soon after.
Arabella was quite transported to hear the Countess express herself in Language so conformable to her own; but Mr. Glanville was greatly confounded, and began to suspect she was diverting herself with his Cousin's Singularities: And Sir Charles was within a little of thinking her as much out of the Way as his Niece.
Misfortunes, Madam, said Arabella, are too often the Lot of excellent Persons like yourself. The sublimest among Mortals both for Beauty and Virtue have experienc'd the Frowns of Fate. The Sufferings of the divine Statira or Cassandra, for she bore both Names, the Persecutions of the incomparable Cleopatra, the Distresses of the beautiful Candace, and the Afflictions of the fair and generous Mandana, are Proofs that the most illustrious Persons in the World have felt the Rage of Calamity.
It must be confess'd, said the Countess, that all those fair Princesses you have nam'd, were for a while extremely unfortunate: Yet in the Catalogue of these lovely and afflicted Persons you have forgot one who might with Justice dispute the Priority of Sufferings with them all — I mean the beautiful Elisa, Princess of Parthia.
Pardon me, Madam, reply'd Arabella, I cannot be of your Opinion. The Princess of Parthia may indeed justly be rank'd among the Number of unfortunate Persons, but she can by no means dispute the melancholy Precedence with the divine Cleopatra— For in fine, Madam, what Evils did the Princess of Parthia suffer which the fair Cleopatra did not likewise endure, and some of them haply in a greater Degree? If Elisa by the tyrannical Authority of the King her Father, saw herself upon the Point of becoming the Wife of a Prince she detested, was not the beautiful Daughter of Antony, by the more unjustifiable Tyranny of Augustus, likely to be forced into the Arms of Tyberius, a proud and cruel Prince, who was odious to the whole World as well as to her? If Elisa was for some time in the Power of Pyrates, was not Cleopatra Captive to an inhuman King, who presented his Sword to the fair Breast of that divine Princess worthy the Adoration of the whole Earth? And in fine, if Elisa had the Grief to see her dear Artaban imprison'd by the Order of Augustus, Cleopatra beheld with mortal Agonies, her beloved Coriolanus inclos'd amidst the Guards of that enrag'd Prince, and doom'd to a cruel Death.
'Tis certain, Madam, reply'd the Countess, that the Misfortunes of both these Princesses were very great, tho' as you have shew'd me with some Inequality: And when one reflects upon the dangerous Adventures to which Persons of their Quality were expos'd in those Times, one cannot help rejoicing that we live in an Age in which the Customs, Manners, Habits, and Inclinations differ so widely from theirs, that 'tis impossible such Adventures should even happen.
Such is the strange Alteration of Things, that some People I dare say at present, cannot be persuaded to believe there ever were Princesses wandering thro' the World by Land and Sea in mean Disguises, carry'd away violently out of their Father's Dominions by insolent Lovers — Some discover'd sleeping in Forests, other Shipwreck'd on desolate Islands, confin'd in Castles, bound in Chariots, and even struggling amidst the tempestuous Waves of the Sea, into which they had cast themselves to avoid the brutal Force of their Ravishers. Not one of these Things having happen'd within the Compass of several thousand Years, People unlearn'd in Antiquity would be apt to deem them idle Tales, so improbable do they appear at present.
Arabella, tho' greatly surpriz'd at this Discourse, did not think proper to express her Thoughts of it. She was unwilling to appear absolutely ignorant of the present Customs of the World, before a Lady whose good Opinion she was ardently desirous of improving. Her Prepossessions in favour of the Countess made her receive the new Lights she held out to her with Respect, tho' not without Doubt and Irresolution. Her Blushes, her Silence, and downcast Eyes gave the Countess to understand Part of her Thoughts; who for fear of alarming her too much for that Time, dropt the Subject, and turning the Conversation on others more general, gave Arabella an Opportunity of mingling in it with that Wit and Vivacity which was natural to her when Romances were out of the Question.
In which if the Reader has not anticipated it, he will find an Explanation of some seeming Inconsistencies in the foregoing Chapter.
The Countess, charm'd with the Wit and good Sense of Arabella, could not conceal her Admiration, but exprest it in Terms the most obligingly imaginable: And Arabella, who was excessively delighted with her, return'd the Compliments she made her with the most respectful Tenderness.
In the midst of these mutual Civilities, Arabella in the Style of Romance, intreated the Countess to favour her with the Recital of her Adventures.
At the Mention of this Request, that Lady convey'd so much Confusion into her Countenance, that Arabella extremely embarrass'd by it, tho' she knew not why, thought it necessary to apologize for the Disturbance she seem'd to have occasion'd in her.
Pardon me, Madam, reply'd the Countess recovering herself, if the Uncommoness of your Request made a Moment's Reflexion necessary to convince me that a young Lady of your Sense and Delicacy could mean no Offence to Decorum by making it. The Word Adventures carries in it so free and licentious a Sound in the Apprehensions of People at this Period of Time, that it can hardly with Propriety be apply'd to those few and natural Incidents which compose the History of a Woman of Honour. And when I tell you, pursued she with a Smile, that I was born and christen'd, had a useful and proper Education, receiv'd the Addresses of my Lord —— through the Recommendation of my Parents, and marry'd him with their Consents and my own Inclination; and that since we have liv'd in great Harmony together, I have told you all the material Passages of my Life, which upon Enquiry you will find differ very little from those of other Women of the same Rank, who have a moderate Share of Sense, Prudence and Virtue.
Since you have already, Madam, replied Arabella blushing, excus'd me for the Liberty I took with you, it will be unnecessary to tell you it was grounded upon the Customs of antient Times, when Ladies of the highest Rank and sublimest Virtue, were often expos'd to a Variety of cruel Adventures which they imparted in Confidence to each other, when Chance brought them together.
Custom, said the Countess smiling, changes the very Nature of Things, and what was honourable a thousand Years ago, may probably be look'd upon as infamous now — A Lady in the heroic Age you speak of, would not be thought to possess any great Share of Merit, if she had not been many times carried away by one or other of her insolent Lovers: Whereas a Beauty in this could not pass thro' the Hands of several different Ravishers, without bringing an Imputation on her Chastity.
The same Actions which made a Man a Hero in those Times, would constitute him a Murderer in These — And the same Steps which led him to a Throne Then, would infallibly conduct him to a Scaffold Now.
But Custom, Madam, said Arabella, cannot possibly change the Nature of Virtue or Vice: And since Virtue is the chief Characteristic of a Hero, a Hero in the last Age will be a Hero in this — Tho' the Natures of Virtue or Vice cannot be changed, replied the Countess, yet they may be mistaken; and different Principles, Customs, and Education, may probably change their Names, if not their Natures.
Sure, Madam, said Arabella a little moved, you do not intend by this Inference to prove Oroondates, Artaxerxes, Juba, Artaban, and the other Heroes of Antiquity, bad Men?
Judging them by the Rules of Christianity, and our present Notions of Honour, Justice, and Humanity, they certainly are, replied the Countess.
Did they not possess all the necessary Qualifications of Heroes, Madam, said Arabella, and each in a superlative Degree? — Was not their Valour invincible, their Generosity unbounded, and their Fidelity inviolable?
It cannot be denied, said the Countess, but that their Valour was invincible; and many thousand Men less courageous than themselves, felt the fatal Effects of that invincible Valour, which was perpetually seeking after Occasions to exert itself. Oroondates gave many extraordinary Proofs of that unbounded Generosity so natural to the Heroes of his Time. This Prince being sent by the King his Father, at the Head of an Army, to oppose the Persian Monarch, who had unjustly invaded his Dominions, and was destroying the Lives and Properties of his Subjects; having taken the Wives and Daughters of his Enemy Prisoners, had by these Means an Opportunity to put a Period to a War so destructive to his Country: Yet out of a Generosity truly heroic, he releas'd them immediately without any Conditions; and falling in Love with one of those Princesses, secretly quitted his Father's Court, resided several Years in that of the Enemy of his Father and Country, engag'd himself to his Daughter, and when the War broke out again between the two Kings, fought furiously against an Army in which the King his Father was in Person, and shed the Blood of his future Subjects without Remorse; tho' each of those Subjects, we are told, would have sacrific'd his Life to save that of their Prince, so much was he belov'd. Such are the Actions which immortalize the Heroes of Romance, and are by the Authors of those Books styl'd glorious, godlike, and divine. Yet judging of them as Christians, we shall find them impious and base, and directly opposite to our present Notions of moral and relative Duties.
'Tis certain therefore, Madam, added the Countess with a Smile, that what was Virtue in those Days, is Vice in ours: And to form a Hero according to our Notions of 'em at present, 'tis nessary to give him Qualities very different from Oroondates.
The secret Charm in the Countenance, Voice, and Manner of the Countess, join'd to the Force of her reasoning, could not fail of making some Impression on the Mind of Arabella; but it was such an Impression as came far short of Conviction. She was surpriz'd, embarrass'd, perplex'd, but not convinc'd. Heroism, romantic Heroism, was deeply rooted in her Heart; it was her Habit of thinking, a Principle imbib'd from Education. She could not separate her Ideas of Glory, Virtue, Courage, Generosity, and Honour, from the false Representations of them in the Actions of Oroondates, Juba, Artaxerxes, and the rest of the imaginary Heroes. The Countess's Discourse had rais'd a Kind of Tumult in her Thoughts, which gave an Air of Perplexity to her lovely Face, and made that Lady apprehensive she had gone too far, and lost that Ground in her Esteem, which she had endeavour'd to acquire by a Conformity to some of her Notions and Language. In this however, she was mistaken; Arabella felt a Tenderness for her that had already the Force of a long contracted Friendship, and an Esteem little less than Veneration.
When the Countess took Leave, the Professions of Arabella, tho' deliver'd in the Language of Romance, were very sincere and affecting, and were return'd with an equal Degree of Tenderness by the Countess, who had conceiv'd a more than ordinary Affection for her.
Mr. Glanville who could have almost worship'd the Countess for the generous Design he saw she had entertain'd, took an Opportunity as he handed her to her Chair, to intreat in a Manner as earnestly as polite, that she would continue the Happiness of her Acquaintance to his Cousin; which with a Smile of mingled Dignity and Sweetness she assur'd him of.
Which concludes Book the Eighth.
Mr. Glanville at his Return to the DiningRoom, finding Arabella retir'd, told his Father in a Rapture of Joy, that the charming Countess would certainly make a Convert of Lady Bella.
Methinks, said the Baronet, she has as strange Whims in her Head as my Niece. Ad'sheart, what a deal of Stuff did she talk about! A Parcel of Heroes as she calls them, with confounded hard Names — In my Mind she is more likely to make Lady Bella worse than better.
Mr. Glanville, a little vex'd at his Father's Misapprehension, endeavour'd with as much Delicacy as he could, to set him right with Regard to the Countess; so that he brought him at last to confess she manag'd the Thing very well.
The Countess, who had resolv'd to take Arabella openly into her Protection, was thinking on Means to engage her to appear at the Assembly, whither she propos'd to accompany her in a modern Dress. But her good Intentions towards our lovely Heroine were suspended by the Account she receiv'd of her Mother's Indisposition, which commanded her immediate Attendance on her at her Seat in ——
Her sudden Departure gave Arabella an extreme Uneasiness, and proved a cruel Disappointment to Mr. Glanville, who had founded all his Hopes of her Recovery on the Conversation of that Lady.
Sir Charles having Affairs that requir'd his Presence in London, propos'd to his Niece the leaving Bath in a few Days, to which she consented; and accordingly they set out for London in Arabella's Coach and Six, attended by several Servants on Horseback, her Women having been sent away before in the Stage.
Nothing very remarkable happen'd during this Journey, so we shall not trouble our Readers with several small Mistakes of Arabella's, such as her supposing a neat Country Girl who was riding behind a Man, to be some Lady or Princess in Disguise, forc'd away by a Lover she hated, and intreating Mr. Glanville to attempt her Rescue; which occasion'd some little Debate between her and Sir Charles, who could not be persuaded to believe it was as she said, and forbid his Son to meddle in other People's Affairs. Several of these Sort of Mistakes, as we said before, we omit, and will therefore if our Reader pleases, bring our Heroine without further Delay to London.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:11