Contains a turn at court, neither new or surprising.—Some useless additions to a fine lady’s education.—The bad effects of a whimsical study, which some will say is borrowed from Cervantes.
The Marquis of ————, for a long series of years, was the first and most distinguished favourite at court; he held the most honourable employments under the crown, disposed of all places of profit as he pleased, presided at the council, and in a manner governed the whole kingdom.
This extensive authority could not fail of making him many enemies: he fell at last a sacrifice to the plots they were continually forming against him; and was not only removed from all his employments, but banished the court for ever.
The pain his undeserved disgrace gave him, he was enabled to conceal by the natural haughtiness of his temper; and, behaving rather like a man who had resigned than been dismissed from his post, he imagined he triumphed sufficiently over I.4 the malice of his enemies, while he seemed to be wholly insensible of the effects it produced. His secret discontent, however, was so much augmented by the opportunity he now had of observing the baseness and ingratitude of mankind, which in some degree he experienced every day, that he resolved to quit all society whatever, and devote the rest of his life to solitude and privacy. For the place of his retreat, he pitched upon a castle he had in a very remote province of the kingdom, in the neighbourhood of a small village, and several miles distant from any town. The vast extent of ground which surrounded this noble building, he had caused to be laid out in a manner peculiar to his taste: the most laborious endeavours of art had been used to make it appear like the beautiful product of wild uncultivated nature. But if this epitome of Arcadia could boast of only artless and simple beauties, the inside of the castle was adorned with a magnificence suitable to the dignity and immense riches of the owner.
While things were preparing at the castle for his reception, the marquis, though now advanced in years, cast his eyes on a young lady, greatly inferior to himself in quality, but whose beauty and good sense promised him an agreeable companion. After a very short courtship, he married her, and in a few weeks carried his new bride into the country, from whence he absolutely resolved never to return.
The marquis, following the plan of life he had laid down, divided his time between the company of his lady, his library, which was large and well furnished, and his gardens. Sometimes he took the diversion of hunting, but never admitted any company whatever; his pride and extreme reserve rendered him so wholly inaccessible to the country I.5 gentry about him, that none ever presumed to solicit his acquaintance.
In the second year of his retirement, the marchioness brought him a daughter, and died in three days after her delivery. The marquis, who had tenderly loved her, was extremely afflicted at her death; but time having produced its usual effects, his great fondness for the little Arabella entirely engrossed his attention, and made up all the happiness of his life. At four years of age he took her from under the direction of the nurses and women appointed to attend her, and permitted her to receive no part of her education from another, which he was capable of giving her himself. He taught her to read and write in a very few months; and, as she grew older, finding in her an uncommon quickness of apprehension, and an understanding capable of great improvements, he resolved to cultivate so promising a genius with the utmost care; and, as he frequently, in the rapture of paternal fondness, expressed himself, render her mind as beautiful as her person was lovely.
Nature had indeed given her a most charming face, a shape easy and delicate, a sweet and insinuating voice, and an air so full of dignity and grace, as drew the admiration of all that saw her. These native charms were improved with all the heightenings of art; her dress was perfectly magnificent; the best masters of music and dancing were sent for from London to attend her. She soon became a perfect mistress of the French and Italian languages, under the care of her father; and it is not to be doubted, but she would have made a great proficiency in all useful knowledge, had not her whole time been taken up by another study.
From her earliest youth she had discovered a fondness for reading, which extremely delighted the marquis; I.6 he permitted her therefore the use of his library, in which, unfortunately for her, were great store of romances, and what was still more unfortunate, not in the original French, but very bad translations.
The deceased marchioness had purchased these books to soften a solitude which she found very disagreeable; and, after her death, the marquis removed them from her closet into his library, where Arabella found them.
The surprizing adventures with which they were filled, proved a most pleasing entertainment to a young lady who was wholly secluded from the world; who had no other diversion, but ranging like a nymph through gardens; or, to say better, the woods and lawns in which she was enclosed; and who had no other conversation but that of a grave and melancholy father, or her own attendants.
Her ideas, from the manner of her life, and the objects around her, had taken a romantic turn; and supposing romances were real pictures of life, from them she drew all her notions and expectations. By them she was taught to believe, that love was the ruling principle of the world; that every other passion was subordinate to this; and that it caused all the happiness and miseries of life. Her glass, which she often consulted, always shewed her a form so extremely lovely, that, not finding herself engaged in such adventures as were common to the heroines in the romances she read, she often complained of the insensibility of mankind, upon whom her charms seemed to have so little influence.
The perfect retirement she lived in, afforded, indeed, no opportunities of making the conquests she desired; but she could not comprehend how any solitude could be obscure enough to conceal a beauty I.7 like hers from notice; and thought the reputation of her charms sufficient to bring a crowd of adorers to demand her of her father. Her mind being wholly filled with the most extravagant expectations, she was alarmed by every trifling incident; and kept in a continual anxiety by a vicissitude of hopes, fears, wishes, and disappointments.
Contains a description of a lady’s dress, in fashion not much above two thousand years ago. The beginning of an adventure which seems to promise a great deal.
Arabella had now entered into her seventeenth year, with the regret of seeing herself the object of admiration to a few rustics only, who happened to see her; when, one Sunday, making use of the permission the marquis sometimes allowed her, to attend divine service at the church belonging to the village near which they lived, her vanity was flattered with an adorer not altogether unworthy of her notice.
This gentleman was young, gay, handsome, and very elegantly dressed; he was just come from London with an intention to pass some weeks with a friend in that part of the country; and at the time Arabella entered the church, his eyes, which had wandered from one rural fair to another, were in an instant fixed upon her face. She blushed with a very becoming modesty; and, pleased with the unusual appearance of so fine a gentleman, and the particular notice he took of her, passed on to her seat through a double row of country people; who, I.8 with a profusion of awkward bows and curtsies, expressed their respect.
Mr. Hervey, for that was the stranger’s name, was no less surprised at her beauty, than the singularity of her dress; and the odd whim of being followed into the church by three women attendants, who, as soon as she was seated, took their places behind her.
Her dress, though singular, was far from being unbecoming. All the beauties of her neck and shape were set off to the greatest advantage by the fashion of her gown, which, in the manner of a robe, was made to sit tight to her body, and fastened on the breast with a knot of diamonds. Her fine black hair hung upon her neck in curls, which had so much the appearance of being artless, that all but her maid, whose employment it was to give them that form, imagined they were so. Her head-dress was only a few knots advantageously disposed, over which she wore a white sarsenet hood, some what in the form of a veil, with which she some times wholly covered her fair face, when she saw herself beheld with too much attention.
This veil had never appeared to her so necessary before. Mr. Hervey’s eager glances threw her into so much confusion, that pulling it over her face as much as she was able, she remained invisible to him all the time they afterwards stayed in the church. This action, by which she would have had him understand that she was displeased at his gazing on her with so little respect, only increased his curiosity to know who she was.
When the congregation was dismissed, he hastened to the door, with an intention to offer her his hand to help her to her coach; but seeing the magnificent equipage that waited for her, and the number of servants that attended it, he conceived a I.9 much higher idea of her quality than he had at first; and, changing his design, contented himself with only bowing to her as she passed; and as soon as her coach drove away, inquired of some persons nearest him, who she was.
These rustics, highly delighted with the opportunity of talking to the gay Londoner, whom they looked upon as a very extraordinary person, gave him all the intelligence they were able, concerning the lady he inquired after; and filled him with an inconceivable surprise at the strange humour of the marquis, who buried so beautiful a creature in obscurity.
At his return home he expressed his admiration of her in terms that persuaded his friend she had made some impression on his heart: and, after rallying him a little upon this suspicion, he assumed a more serious air, and told him, if he really liked Lady Bella, he thought it not impossible but he might obtain her. The poor girl, added he, has been kept in confinement so long, that I believe it would not be difficult to persuade her to free herself by marriage. She never had a lover in her life; and therefore the first person who addresses her has the fairest chance for succeeding.
Mr. Hervey, though he could not persuade himself his cousin was in earnest when he advised him to court the only daughter of a man of the marquis’s quality, and heiress to his vast estates; yet relished the scheme, and resolved to make some attempt upon her before he left the country. However, he concealed his design from his cousin, not being willing to expose himself to be ridiculed, if he did not succeed; and turning the advice he had given him into a jest, left him in the opinion, that he thought no more of it.I.10
In which the adventure goes on after the accustomed manner.
Arabella, in the mean time, was wholly taken up with the adventure, as she called it, at church; the person and dress of the gentleman who had so particularly gazed on her there, was so different from what she had been accustomed to see, that she immediately concluded he was of some distinguished rank. It was past a doubt, she thought, that he was excessively in love with her; and, as she soon expected to have some very extraordinary proofs of his passion, her thoughts were wholly employed on the manner in which she should receive them.
As soon as she came home, and had paid her duty to the marquis, she hurried to her chamber, to be at liberty to indulge her agreeable reflections; and, after the example of our heroines, when any thing extraordinary happened to them, called her favourite woman; or, to use her own language, her in whom she confided her most secret thoughts.
Well, Lucy, said she, did you observe that stranger who ey’d us* so heedfully to-day at church?
* The heroines always speak of themselves in the plural number.
This girl, notwithstanding her country simplicity, knew a compliment was expected from her on this occasion; and therefore replied, that she did not wonder at the gentleman’s staring at her; for she was sure he had never seen any body so handsome as her ladyship before.
I have not all the beauty you attribute to me, said Arabella, smiling a little, and with a very moderate I.11 share of it, I might well fix the attention of a person who seemed not to be over much pleased with the objects about him. However, pursued she, assuming a more serious air, if this stranger be weak enough to entertain any sentiments more than indifferent for me, I charge you upon pain of my displeasure, do not be accessary to the conveying his presumptuous thoughts to me, either by letters or messages; nor suffer him to corrupt your fidelity with the presents he will very probably offer you.
Lucy, to whom this speech first gave a hint of what she ought to expect from her lady’s lovers, finding herself of more importance than she imagined, was so pleased at the prospect which opened to her, that it was with some hesitation she promised to obey her orders.
Arabella, however, was satisfied with her assurances of observing her directions; and dismissed her from her presence, not without an apprehension of being too well obeyed.
A whole week being elapsed without meeting with the importunities she expected, she could hardly conceal her surprise at so mortifying a disappointment; and frequently interrogated Lucy, concerning any attempts the stranger had made on her fidelity; but the answers she received only increased her discontent, as they convinced her, her charms had not had the effect she imagined. Mr. Hervey, however, had been all this time employed in thinking of some means to get acquainted with the marquis; for, being possessed with an extraordinary opinion of his wit, and personal accomplishments, he did not fear making some impression on the heart of the young lady; provided he could have an opportunity of conversing with her.I.12
His cousin’s advice was continually in his flattered his vanity with the most agreeable hopes: but the marquis’s fondness for solitude, and that haughtiness which was natural to him, rendered him so difficult of access, that Hervey, from the intelligence he received of his humour, despaired of being able to prosecute his scheme; when, meeting with a young farmer in one of his evening walks, and entering into conversation with him upon several country subjects, the discourse at last turned upon the Marquis of ————, whose fine house and gardens were within their view; upon which the young fellow informed him he was brother to a young woman that attended the Lady Arabella; and, being fond of lengthening out the conversation with so fine a gentleman, gave him, without being desired, the domestic history of the whole family, as he had received it from Lucy, who was the sister he mentioned.
Hervey, excessively delighted at this accidental meeting with a person so capable of serving his design, affected a great desire of being better acquainted with him; and, under pretence of acquiring some knowledge in rural affairs, accustomed himself to call so often at William’s farm, that, at last, he met with the person whom the hopes of seeing had so often carried him thither.
Lucy, the moment she saw him enter, knowing him again, blushed at the remembrance of the discourse which had passed between her lady and herself concerning him; and was not at all surprised at the endeavours he used to speak to her apart: but as soon as he began a conversation concerning Arabella, she interrupted him by saying, I know, sir, that you are distractedly in love with my lady; but she has forbid me to receive any letters or messages from you; and therefore I I.13 beg you will not offer to bribe me; for I dare not disobey her.
Mr. Hervey was at first so astonished at her speech, that he knew not what to think of it; but after a little reflection, attributing to an excess of awkward cunning what, in reality, was an effect of her simplicity, he resolved to make use of the hint she had given him; and, presenting her with a couple of guineas, intreated her to venture displeasing her lady, by bearing a letter from him; promising to reward her better, if she succeeded.
Lucy made some difficulty to comply; but, not being able absolutely to refuse the first bribe that ever was offered to her, she, after some intreaties, consented to take the letter; and receiving the money he presented her, left him at liberty to write, after she had got her brother to furnish him with materials for that purpose.
A mistake, which produces no great consequences—an extraordinary comment upon a behaviour natural enough—an instance of a lady’s compassion for her lover, which the reader may possibly think not very compassionate.
Hervey, who was master of no great elegance in letter-writing, was at first at some loss how to address a lady of her quality, to whom he was an absolute stranger, upon the subject of love; but conceiving there was no great occasion for much ceremony in declaring himself to one who had been educated in the country, and who, he believed, could not be displeased with a lover of his figure, I.14 he therefore, in plain terms, told her how deeply he was enamoured of her; and conjured her to afford him some opportunity of paying his respects to her.
Lucy received this letter from him with a worse grace than she did the gold; and, though she promised him to deliver it to her lady immediately, yet she kept it a day or two before she had the courage to attempt it; at last, drawing it out of her pocket, with a bashful air, she presented it to her lady, telling her it came from the fine gentleman whom she saw at church.
Arabella blushed at the sight of the letter; and though in reality she was not displeased; yet, being a strict observer of romantic forms, she chid her woman severely for taking it. Carry it back, added she, to the presumptuous writer of it; and let him know how greatly his insolence has offended me.
Lucy, however, suffered the letter to remain on the toilet, expecting some change in her lady’s mind; for she traversed the chamber in great seeming irresolution, often stealing a glance to the letter, which she had a strong inclination to open; but searching the records of her memory for a precedent, and not finding that any lady ever opened a letter from an unknown lover, she reiterated her commands to Lucy to carry it back, with a look and accent so very severe, that the girl, extremely apprehensive of having offended her, put the letter again in her pocket, resolving to return it the first opportunity.
Mr. Hervey, who had his thoughts wholly taken up with the flattering prospect of success, no sooner saw Lucy, who gave him his letter without speaking a word, than, supposing it had been the answer he expected, he eagerly snatched it out of her I.15 hand, and, kissing it first in a rapture of joy, broke it open; but his surprise and confusion, when he saw it was his own letter returned, was inexpressible. For some moments he kept his eyes fastened upon the tender billet, as if he was really reading it. His disappointment, and the ridiculous figure he knew he must make in the eyes of his messenger, filled him with so much confusion, that he did not dare to look up; but recovering himself at last, he affected to turn it into a jest; and, laughing first himself, gave Lucy the liberty of laughing also, who had, with much difficulty, been able to prevent doing it before.
The curiosity he felt to hear how she had acquitted herself of the trust he had reposed in her, made him oblige her to give a truce to her mirth, in order to satisfy him; and Lucy, who was extremely exact in her relations, told him all that had passed, without omitting the smallest circumstance.
Though it was impossible to draw any favourable omen from what he heard, yet he determined to make another effort, before he set out for London; and taking leave of his confidant, after he had appointed her to meet him again the next day, at her brother’s, he went home to consider upon means to effect his designs, which the ill success of his first attempt had not forced him to abandon.
Arabella, who expected to hear that the return of his letter would make her lover commit some very extravagant actions; and having impatiently waited for an account of them from Lucy; finding she seemed to have no intention to begin a discourse concerning him; asked her, at last, if she had executed her commission, and returned the letter to the insolent unknown?
The girl answered, Yes.
Which not being all that her lady expected—And I.16 how did he receive it? resumed she, peevishly.
Why, madam, replied Lucy, I believe he thought your ladyship had sent him an answer; for he kissed the letter several times.
Foolish wench! replied Arabella, how can you imagine he had the temerity to think I should answer his letter? A favour which, though he had spent years in my service, would have been infinitely greater than he could have expected. No, Lucy, he kissed the letter, either because he thought it had been touched, at least, by my hands, or to shew the perfect submission with which he received my commands; and it is not to be doubted but his despair will force him to commit some desperate outrage against himself, which I do not hate him enough to wish, though he has mortally offended me.
Arabella was possessed of great sensibility and softness; and being really persuaded that her lover would entertain some fatal design, seemed so much affected with the thoughts of what might happen, that Lucy, who tenderly loved her, begged her not to be so much concerned for the gentleman: There is no fear, added she, that he will do himself a mischief; for when he discovered his mistake, he laughed heartily, as well as myself.
How! replied Arabella, extremely surprised, Did he laugh.
Which Lucy confirming, Doubtless, resumed she, having taken a little time to consider of so strange a phænomenon, he laughed, because his reason was disturbed at the sudden shock he received: unhappy man! his presumption will be severely enough punished, though I do not add anger to the scorn which I have expressed for him; therefore, Lucy, you may tell him, if you please, that, notwithstanding the offence he has been guilty of, I am not I.17 cruel enough to wish his death, and that I command him to live, if he can live without hope.
In which one would imagine the adventure concluded, but for a promise that something else is to come.
Lucy now began to think there was something more than she imagined in this affair. Mr. Hervey, indeed, in her opinion, had seemed to be very far from having any design to attempt his own life: but her lady, she thought, could not possibly be mistaken; and therefore she resolved to carry her message to him immediately, though it was then late in the evening.
Accordingly, she went to her brother’s, where she had some hope of meeting with him; but not finding him there; she obliged him to go to the house where he lived, and tell him she desired to speak with him.
William being let into the secret of his sister’s frequent meetings with Mr. Hervey, imagined she had some agreeable news to acquaint him with; and therefore ran immediately to his relation’s house, which was but at a small distance; but he was told Mr. Hervey was in bed, very much indisposed, and could not be seen.
This news put Lucy in a terrible fright; she told her apprehensions to her brother; which being such as her lady had put into her head, and were now confirmed by Mr. Hervey’s illness, the young farmer stood amazed, not being able to comprehend her meaning; and she, without staying to explain herself any farther, went home to the castle, and I.18 told her lady, that what she feared was come to pass, the gentleman would certainly die, for he was very ill in bed.
This being no more than what Arabella expected, she discovered no surprise; but only asked Lucy, if she had delivered her message to him.
Would you have me, madam, replied she, go to his house? I am afraid the marquis will hear of it.
My father, replied Arabella, can never be offended with me for doing a charitable action.
Ah! madam, interrupted Lucy, let me go then immediately, for fear the poor gentleman should grow worse.
If he be sick almost to death, resumed Arabella, he will recover, if I command him to do so. When did you hear of a lover dying through despair, when his mistress let him know it was her pleasure he should live? But as it will not be altogether so proper for you to go to his house, as it may be suspected you come from me, I’ll write a few lines, which you shall copy, and your brother may carry them to him to-morrow, and I’ll engage he shall be well in a few hours.
Saying this, she went into her closet; and, having written a short note, made Lucy write it over again. It was as follows—
‘LUCY, TO THE UNFORTUNATE LOVER OF HER LADY.
‘My lady, who is the most generous person in the world, has commanded me to tell you, that, presumptuous as you are, she does not desire your death; nay, more, she commands you to live, and permits you, in case you obey her, to hope for her pardon, provided you keep within the bounds she prescribes to you. Adieu.’
This letter Lucy copied; and Arabella, examining it again, thought it rather too kind; and, seeming desirous of making some alterations in it, Lucy, who I.19 was extremely anxious for Mr. Hervey’s life, fearing lest she should alter it in such a manner that the gentleman should be at liberty to die if he chose it, conjured her lady in such pressing terms to let it remain as it was, that Arabella suffered herself to be prevailed upon by her intreaties; and, remembering that it was not uncommon for the ladies in romances to relax a little in their severity through the remonstrances of their women, told her, with an enchanting smile, that she would grant her desire; and went to bed with that pleasing satisfaction, which every generous mind experiences at the consciousness of having done some very benevolent action.
In the morning, this life-restoring billet was dispatched by Lucy to her brother, inclosed in one to him, charging him to carry it to the sick gentleman immediately.
William, having a strong curiosity to see what his sister had written, ventured to open it; and, not being able to imagine Lady Bella had really given her orders to write what appeared to him the most unintelligible stuff in the world, resolved to suppress this letter till he had questioned her a little concerning it.
A few hours after, Mr. Hervey, who expected to meet Lucy at her brother’s, came in. His illness having been only a violent head-ache, to which he was subject, being now quite off, he remembered the appointment he had made; but having waited some time, and she not coming, he returned again to his cousin’s, leaving word for her, that he would see her the next day.
Scarce was he gone out, when Lucy, who longed to know what effect her letter had produced on his health, came in; and eagerly enquiring of her brother how Mr. Hervey was, received for answer, that he had been there a moment before she came.I.20
Well, cried she, clasping her hands together, with surprise, my lady said her would cure him, if he was ever so sick; but I did not imagine he would have been well enough to come abroad so soon.
Your lady, interrupted William; why, was it not yourself that wrote the letter you gave to me?
No, truly, brother, resumed she: how was it possible I should write so fine a letter? My lady made every word of it, and I only wrote it after her.
William, hearing this, would not own the indiscretion he now thought he had been guilty of, in keeping the letter; but suffered his sister to return to her lady, in the belief that he had delivered it; resolving when he saw her next, to say he had lost it: for he knew not what excuse to make to Mr. Hervey for not giving it him when he saw him.
Arabella received the account of her lover’s recovery as a thing she was absolutely sure of before; and thinking she had now done all that could be expected from her compassion, resumed her usual severity, and commanded Lucy to mention him no more. If he loves me with that purity he ought to do, pursued she, he will cease to importune me any farther: and though his passion be ever so violent, his respect and submission to my commands will oblige him to silence. The obedience he has already shewn, in recovering at the first intimation I gave, that it was my will he should do so, convinces me, I need not apprehend he will renew his follies to displease me.
Lucy, who found by this discourse of her lady’s, that her commission was at an end with regard to Mr. Hervey, followed her directions so exactly, that she not only spoke no more of him to her; but also, in order to avoid him, neglected to go to her brother’s.I.21
His impatience at not seeing her made him prevail upon her brother to go to the castle, and intreat her to give him another interview: but Lucy positively refused; and, to make a merit with her lady of her obedience, informed her of what he had requested.
Arabella, resenting a boldness which argued so little respect to her commands, began now to repent of the compassion she had shewn him; and, commending Lucy for what she had done, bid her tell the insolent unknown, if he ever sent to her again, that she was resolved never to pardon the contempt he had shewn for her orders.
Mr. Hervey, finding himself deserted by Lucy, resolved to give over his attempts, congratulating himself for his discretion in not acquainting his cousin with what he had already done: his heart not being very much engaged, he found no great difficulty in consoling himself for his bad success. In a few days he thought of Lady Bella no more than if he had never seen her; but an accident bringing her again in his way, he could not resist the inclination he felt to speak to her: and by that means drew upon himself a very sensible mortification.
In which the adventure is really concluded; though possibly, not as the reader expected.
The marquis sometimes permitting his daughter to ride out, and this being the only diversion she was allowed, or ever experienced, she did not fail to take it as often as she could.
She was returning from one of these airings one I.22 day, attended by two servants, when Mr. Hervey, who happened to be at some distance, observing a lady on horse-back, who made a very graceful figure, he rode up to her, in order to have a nearer view; and knowing Lady Bella again, resolved to speak to her: but while he was considering how he should accost her, Arabella suddenly seeing him, and observing he was making up to her, her imagination immediately suggested to her, that this insolent lover had a design to seize her person; and this thought terrifying her extremely, she gave a loud shriek; which Mr. Hervey hearing, rode eagerly up to her to inquire the reason of it, at the same time that her two attendants, as much amazed as himself, came galloping up also.
Arabella, upon his coming close up to her, redoubled her cries. If you have any valour, said she to her servants, defend your unfortunate mistress, and rescue her from this unworthy man.
The servants, believing him to be a highwayman, by this exclamation, and dreading lest he should present his pistol at their heads, if they offered to make any resistance, recoiled a few paces back, expecting he would demand their he had robbed their lady: but the extreme surprise he was in, keeping him motionless; the fellows not seeing any pistols in his hand, and animated by Arabella’s cries, who, calling them cowards and traitors, urged them to deliver her; they both, in a moment, laid hold of Mr. Hervey, and forced him to alight: which they did also themselves, still keeping fast hold of him, whom surprise, shame, and rage, had hitherto kept silent.
Rascals! cried he, when he was able to speak, what do you mean by using me in this manner? Do you suppose I had any intention to hurt the lady?—What do you take me for?I.23
For a ravisher, interrupted Arabella, an impious ravisher! who, contrary to all laws, both human and divine, endeavour to possess yourself by force of a person whom you are not worthy to serve; and whose charity and compassion you have returned with the utmost ingratitude.
Upon my word, madam, said Mr. Hervey, I don’t understand one word you say: you either mistake me for some other person, or are pleased to divert yourself with the surprise I am in. But, I beseech you, carry the jest no farther, and order your servants to let me go; or, by Heaven—cried he struggling to get loose—if I can but free one of my hands, I’ll stab the scoundrels before your face.
It is not with threats like these, resumed Arabella, with great calmness, that I can be moved. A little more submission and respect would become you better; you are now wholly in my power: I may, if I please, carry you to my father, and have you severely punished for your attempt; but, to shew you that I am as generous as you are base and designing, I’ll give you freedom, provided you promise me never to appear before me again, But, in order to secure my own safety, you must deliver up your arms to my servants, that I may be assured you will not have it in your power to make a second attempt upon my liberty.
Mr. Hervey, whose astonishment was increased by every word she spoke, began now to be apprehensive, that this might prove a very serious affair, since she seemed resolved to believe he had a design to carry her off; and knowing that an attempt of that nature upon an heiress might have dangerous consequences, he resolved to accept the conditions she offered him: but while he delivered his hanger to the servant, he assured her in the strongest I.24 terms, that he had no other design in riding up to her, but to have a nearer view of her person.
Add not falsehood, said Arabella, sternly, to a crime already black enough; for though by an effort of my generosity, I have resolved not to deliver you up to the resentment of my father, yet nothing shall ever be able to make me pardon this outrage. Go then, pursued she, go base man, unworthy of the care I took for thy safety; go to some distant country, where I may never hear of thee more; and suffer me, if possible, to lose the remembrance of thy crimes.
Saying this, she ordered her servants, who had got the hanger in their possession, to set him at liberty, and mount their horses; which they did immediately; and followed their lady, who rode with all imaginable speed to the castle.
Mr. Hervey not yet recovered from his surprise, stood some moments considering the strange scene he had been witness to; and in which he had, much against his will, appeared the principal character. As he was not acquainted with Lady Bella’s foible, he concluded her fears of him were occasioned by her simplicity, and some misrepresentations that had been made her by Lucy, who he thought had betrayed him; and, fearing this ridiculous adventure would be soon made public, and himself exposed to the sneers of his country acquaintance, he resolved to go back to London as soon as possible.
The next day, pretending he had received a letter which obliged him to set out immediately, he took leave of his cousin, heartily glad at the escape he should make from his raillery; for he did not doubt but the story would very soon be known, and told greatly to his disadvantage.
But Arabella, in order to be completely generous, a quality for which all the heroines are famous, laid I.25 a command upon her two attendants not to mention what had passed, giving them at the same time, money to secure their secrecy; and threatening them with her displeasure, if they disobeyed.
Arabella, as soon as she had an opportunity, did not fail to acquaint her faithful Lucy with the danger from which she had so happily escaped, thanking heaven at the same time, with great devotion, for having preserved her from the hands of the ravisher.
Two or three months rolled away, after this accident, without offering any new adventure to our fair visionary; when her imagination, always prepossessed with the same fantastic ideas, made her stumble upon another mistake, equally absurd and ridiculous.
In which some contradictions are very happily reconciled.
The marquis’s head-gardener had received a young fellow into his master’s service who had lived in several families of distinction. He had a good face; was tolerably genteel; and having an understanding something above his condition, joined to a great deal of second-hand politeness, which he had contracted while he lived at London, he appeared a very extraordinary person among the rustics who were his fellow servants.
Arabella, when she walked in the garden, had frequent opportunities of seeing this young man, whom she observed with a very particular attention. His person and air had something, she thought, I.26 very distinguishing. When she condescended to speak to him about any business he was employed in, she took notice that his answers were framed in a language vastly superior to his condition; and the respect he paid her had quite another air from that of the awkward civility of the other servants.
Having discerned so many marks of a birth far from being mean, she easily passed from an opinion that he was a gentleman, to a belief that he was something more; and every new sight of him adding strength to her suspicions, she remained in a little time, perfectly convinced that he was some person of quality, who, disguised in the habit of a gardener, had introduced himself into her father’s service, in order to have an opportunity of declaring a passion to her, which must certainly be very great, since it had forced him to assume an appearance so unworthy of his noble extraction.
Wholly possessed with this thought, she set herself to observe him more narrowly: and soon found out that he went very awkwardly about his work; that he sought opportunities of being alone; that he threw himself in her way as often as he could, and gazed on her very attentively. She sometimes fancied she saw him endeavour to smother a sigh when he answered her any question about his work; once saw him leaning against a tree with his hands crossed upon his breast; and, having lost a string of small pearls, which she remembered he had seen her threading as she sat in one of the arbours, was persuaded he had taken it up, and kept it for the object of his secret adoration.
She often wondered, indeed, that she did not find her name carved on the trees, with some mysterious expressions of love; that he was never discovered lying along the side of one of the little rivulets, increasing I.27 the stream with his tears; nor, for three months that he had lived there, had ever been sick of a fever caused by his grief and the constraint he put upon himself in not declaring his passion. But she considered again, that his fear of being discovered kept him from amusing himself with making the trees bear the records of his secret thoughts, or of indulging his melancholy in any manner expressive of the condition of his soul; and, as for his not being sick, his youth, and the strength of his constitution, might, even for a longer time, bear him up against the assaults of a fever: but he appeared much thinner and paler than he used to be; and she concluded, therefore, that he must in time sink under the violence of his passion, or else be forced to declare it to her, which she considered as a very great misfortune; for, not finding in herself any disposition to approve his love, she must necessarily banish him from her presence, for fear he should have the presumption to hope that time might do any thing in his favour; and it was possible also, that the sentence she would be obliged to pronounce might either cause his death, or force him to commit some extravagant action, which would discover him to her father, who would, perhaps, think her guilty of holding a secret correspondence with him.
These thoughts perplexed her so much, that, hoping to find some relief by unburdening her mind to Lucy, she told her all her uneasiness. Ah! said she to her, looking upon Edward, who had just passed them, how unfortunate do I think myself in being the cause of that passion which makes this illustrious unknown wear away his days in so shameful an obscurity! Yes, Lucy, pursued she, that Edward, whom you regard as one of my father’s menial servants, is a person of sublime I.28 quality, who submits to this disguise only to have an opportunity of seeing me every day. But why do you seem so surprised? Is it possible that you have not suspected him to be what he is? Has he never unwittingly made any discovery of himself? Have you not surprised him in discourse with his faithful squire, who certainly lurks hereabouts to receive his commands, and is haply the confidant of his passion? Has he never entertained you with any conversation about me? Or have you never seen any valuable jewels in his possession, by which you suspected him to be not what he appears?
Truly, madam, replied Lucy, I never took him for any body else but a simple gardener; but, now you open my eyes, methinks I can find I have been strangely mistaken, for he does not look like a man of low degree, and he talks quite in another manner from our servants. I never heard him indeed speak of your ladyship, but once; and that was, when he first saw you walking in the garden, he asked our John if you was not the marquis’s daughter; and he said you was as beautiful as an angel. As for fine jewels, I never saw any, and I believe he has none; but he has a watch, and that looks as if he was something, madam: nor do I remember to have seen him talk with any stranger that looked like a squire.
Lucy, having thus with her usual punctuality, answered every question her lady put to her; proceeded to ask her, what she should say, if he should beg her to give her a letter as the other gentleman had done.
You must by no means take it, replied Arabella: my compassion had before like to have been fatal to me. If he discovers his quality to me, I shall know in what manner to treat him.I.29
They were in this part of their discourse, when a noise they heard at some distance, made Arabella bend her steps to the place from whence it proceeded; and, to her infinite amazement, saw the head-gardener, with a stick he had in his hand, give several blows to the concealed hero, who suffered the indignity with admirable patience.
Vide Book 1. Chap. 7.
Drawn by R. Corbould. Engraved by C. Warren for C. Cooke Apr. 13 1799
Shocked at seeing a person of sublime quality treated so unworthily, she called out to the gardener to hold his hand; who immediately obeyed: and Edward, seeing the young lady advance, sneaked off with an air very different from an Oroondates.
For what crime, pray, said Arabella, with a stern aspect, did you the person I saw with you so cruelly? He whom you take such unbecoming liberties with, may possibly—But again I ask you, what has he done? You should make some allowance for his want of skill, in the abject employment he is in at present.
It is not for his want of skill, madam, said the gardener, that I corrected him; he knows his business very well, if he would mind it; but, madam, I have discovered him—
Discovered him, do you say? interrupted Arabella: and has the knowledge of his condition not been able to prevent such usage? or rather has it been the occasion of his receiving it?
His conditions are very bad, madam, returned the gardener; and I am afraid are such as will one day prove the ruin of body and soul too. I have for some time suspected he had evil designs in his head; and just now watched him to the fish-pond, and prevented him from—
O dear! interrupted Lucy, looking pitifully on her lady, whose fair bosom heaved with compassion, I.30 I warrant he was going to make away with himself.
No, resumed the gardener, smiling at the mistake, he was only going to make away with some of the carp, which the rogue had caught, and intended I suppose to sell; but I threw them into the water again, and if your ladyship had not forbid me, I would have drubbed him soundly for his pains.
Fie! fie! interrupted Arabella, out of breath, with shame and vexation, tell me no more of these idle tales.
Then, hastily walking on, to hide the blushes which this strange accusation of her illustrious lover had raised in her face, she continued for some time in the greatest perplexity imaginable.
Lucy, who followed her, and could not possibly reconcile what her lady had been telling her concerning Edward, with the circumstance of his stealing the carp, ardently wished to hear her opinion of this matter; but, seeing her deeply engaged with her own thoughts, she would not venture to disturb her.
Arabella, indeed, had been in such a terrible consternation, that it was some time before she even reconciled appearances to herself; but, as she had a most happy facility in accommodating every incident to her own wishes and conceptions, she examined this matter so many different ways, drew so many conclusions, and fancied so many mysteries in the most indifferent actions of the supposed noble unknown, that she remained at last more than ever confirmed in the opinion that he was some great personage, whom her beauty had forced to assume an appearance unworthy of himself: when Lucy, no longer able to keep silence, I.31 drew off her attention from those pleasing images, by speaking of the carp-stealing affair again.
Arabella, whose confusion returned at that disagreeable sound, charged her, in an angry tone, never to mention so injurious a suspicion any more: For, in fine, said she to her, do you imagine a person of his rank could be guilty of stealing carp? Alas! pursued she, sighing, he had, indeed, some fatal design; and, doubtless, would have executed it, had not this fellow so luckily prevented him.
But Mr. Woodbind, madam, said Lucy, saw the carp in his hand: I wonder what he was going to do with them.
Still, resumed Arabella, extremely chagrined, still will you wound my ears with that horrid sound? I tell you, obstinate and foolish wench, that this unhappy man went thither to die; and if he really caught the fish, it was to conceal his design from Woodbind; his great mind could not suggest to him, that it was possible he might be suspected of a baseness like that this ignorant fellow accused him of; therefore he took no care about it, being wholly possessed by his despairing thoughts.
However, madam, said Lucy, your ladyship may prevent his going to the fish-pond again, by laying your commands upon him to live.
I shall do all that I ought, answered Arabella; but my care for the safety of other persons must not make me forget what I owe to my own.
As she had always imputed Mr. Hervey’s fancied attempt to carry her away to the letter she had written to him, upon which he had probably founded his hopes of being pardoned for it, she resolved to be more cautious for the future in giving such instances of her compassion; and was at a great loss in what manner to comfort her despairing lover, I.32 without raising expectations she had no inclination to confirm: but she was delivered from her perplexity a few days after, by the news of his having left the marquis’s service; which she attributed to some new design he had formed to obtain her; and Lucy, who always thought as her lady did, was of the same opinion; though it was talked among the servants, that Edward feared a discovery of more tricks, and resolved not to stay till he was disgracefully dismissed.
In which a mistake, in point of ceremony, is rectified.
Arabella had scarce done thinking of this last adventure, when the marquis communicated a piece of intelligence to her, which opened a prospect of an infinite number of new ones.
His nephew, having just returned from his travels, was preparing to come and pay him a visit in his retreat; and, as he always designed to marry Arabella to this youth, of whom he was extremely fond, he told his daughter of the intended visit of her cousin, whom she had not seen since she was eight years old; and, for the first time, insinuated his design of giving him to her for an husband.
Arabella, whose delicacy was extremely shocked at this abrupt declaration of her father, could hardly hide her chagrin; for, though she always intended to marry some time or other, as all the heroines had done, yet she thought such an event ought to be brought about with an infinite deal of trouble; and that it was necessary she should pass to this state through a great number of cares, disappointments, I.33 and distresses of various kinds, like them; that her lover should purchase her with his sword from a crowd of rivals; and arrive to the possession of her heart by many years of services and fidelity.
The impropriety of receiving a lover of her father’s recommending, appeared in its strongest light. What lady in romance married the man that was chosen for her? In those cases the remonstrances of a parent are called persecutions; obstinate resistance, constancy and courage; and an aptitude to dislike the person proposed to them, a noble freedom of mind which disdains to love or hate by the caprice of others.
Arabella, strengthening her own resolutions by those examples of heroic disobedience, told her father, with great solemnity of accent, that she would always obey him in all just and reasonable things; and, being persuaded that he would never attempt to lay any force upon her inclinations, she would endeavour to make them conformable to his, and receive her cousin with that civility and friendship due to so near a relation, and a person whom he honoured with his esteem.
The marquis, having had frequent occasions of admiring his daughter’s eloquence, did not draw any unpleasing conclusion from the nice distinctions she made; and, being perfectly assured of her consent whenever he demanded it, expected the arrival of his nephew with great impatience.
Arabella, whose thoughts had been fully employed since this conversation with her father, was indulging her meditations in one of the most retired walks in the garden; when she was informed, by Lucy, that her cousin was come, and that the marquis had brought him into the garden to look for her.
That instant they both entered the walk; when I.34 Arabella, prepossessed as she was against any favourable thoughts of the young Glanville, could not help betraying some surprise at the gracefulness of his figure.
It must be confessed, said she to her attendant, with a smile, that this lover my father has brought us, is no contemptible person; nevertheless I feel an invincible repugnance in myself against receiving him in that character.
As she finished these words, the marquis came up, and presented Mr. Glanville to her; who, saluting her with the freedom of a relation, gave her a disgust that shewed itself immediately in her fair face, which was overspread with such a gloom, that the marquis was quite astonished at it. Indeed, Arabella, who expected he would hardly have presumed to kiss her hand, was so surprised at his freedom, in attempting her lips, that she not only expressed her indignation by frowns, but gave him to understand he had mortally offended her.
Mr. Glanville, however, was neither surprised nor angry at her resentment; but, imputing it to her country education, endeavoured to rally her out of her ill-humour; and the marquis, being glad to find a behaviour, which he thought proceeded from her dislike of her cousin, was only an effect of an overscrupulous modesty, told her that Mr. Glanville had committed no offence by saluting her, since that was a civility which was granted to all strangers at the first interview, and therefore could not be refused to a relation.
Since the world is so degenerated in its customs from what it was formerly, said Arabella, withsmile full of contempt upon her cousin, I am extremely happy in having lived in a solitude which has not yet exposed me to the mortification I.35 of being a witness to manners I cannot approve; for if every person I shall meet with for the future be so deficient in their respect to ladies as my cousin is, I shall not care how much I am secluded from society.
But, dear Lady Bella, interrupted Mr. Glanville gaily, tell me, I beseech you, how I must behave to please you; for I should be extremely glad to be honoured with your good opinion.
The person, resumed she, whom I must teach how to acquire my good opinion, will, I am afraid, hardly recompence me by his docility in learning, for the pains I should be at in instructing him.
But, resumed Glanville, that I may avoid any more occasions of offending you, only let me know how you would be approached for the future.
Since, answered she, there is no necessity to renew the ceremony of introducing you again to me, I have not a second affront of that kind to apprehend; but I pray tell me, if all cavaliers are as presuming as yourself; and if a relation of your sex does not think a modest embrace from a lady a welcome sufficiently tender?*
* The heroines, though they think a kiss of the hand a great condescension to a lover, and never grant it without blushes and confusion, yet make no scruple to embrace him upon every short absence.
Nay, cousin, cried Glanville, eagerly, I am now persuaded are in the right; an embrace is certainly to be preferred to a cold salute. What would I give, that the marquis would introduce me a second time, that I might be received with so delightful a welcome?
The vivacity with which he spoke this was so extremely disagreeable to Arabella, that she turned from him abruptly, and, striking into another walk, I.36 ordered Lucy to tell him she commanded him not to follow her.
Mr. Glanville, however, who had no notion of the exact obedience which was expected from him, would have gone after her, notwithstanding this prohibition, which Lucy delivered in a most peremptory manner, after her lady’s examples; but the marquis, who had left the young people at liberty to discourse, and had walked on that he might not interrupt them, turning about, and seeing Glanville alone, called him to have some private discourse with him; and, for that time, spared Arabella the mortification of seeing her commands disobeyed.
In which a lover is severely punished for faults which the reader never would have discovered, if he had not been told.
The marquis, though he had resolved to give Arabella to his nephew, was desirous he should first receive some impressions of tenderness for her, before he absolutely declared his resolution; and ardently wished he might be able to overcome that reluctance which she seemed to have for marriage; but, though Glanville in a very few days became passionately in love with his charming cousin, yet she discovered so strong a dislike to him, that the marquis feared it would be difficult to make her receive him for an husband: he observed she took all opportunities of avoiding his conversation; and seemed always out of temper when he addressed any thing to her; but was well enough pleased I.37 when he discoursed with him; and would listen to the long conversations they had together with great attention.
The truth is, she had too much discernment not to see Mr. Glanville had a great deal of merit; his person was perfectly handsome; he possessed a great share of understanding, an easy temper, and a which charmed every one, but the insensible Arabella.
She often wondered, that a man, who, as she told her confidant, was master of so many fine qualities, should have a disposition so little capable of feeling the passion of love, with a delicacy and fervour she expected to inspire; or that he, whose conversation was so pleasing on every other subject, should make so poor a figure when he entertained her with matters of gallantry. However, added she, I should be to blame to desire to be beloved by Mr. Glanville; for I am persuaded that passion would cause no reformation in the coarseness of his manners to ladies, which makes him so disagreeable to me, and might possibly increase my aversion.
The marquis, having studied his nephew’s looks for several days, thought he saw inclination enough in them for Arabella, to make him receive the knowledge of his intention with joy: he, therefore, called him into his closet, and told him in few words, that, if his heart was not pre-engaged, and his daughter capable of making him happy, he resolved to bestow her upon him, together with all his estates.
Mr. Glanville received this agreeable news with the strongest expressions of gratitude; assuring his uncle, that Lady Bella, of all the women he had ever seen, was most agreeable to his taste: and that he felt for her all the tenderness and affection his soul was capable of.I.38
I am glad of it, my dear nephew, said the marquis, embracing him: I will allow you, added he, smiling, but a few weeks to court her; gain her heart as soon as you can, and when you bring me her consent, your marriage shall be solemnized immediately.
Mr. Glanville needed not a repetition of so agreeable a command: he left his uncle’s closet, with his heart filled with the expectation of his approaching happiness; and, understanding Arabella was in the garden, he went to her with the resolution to acquaint her with the permission her father had given him to make his addresses to her.
He found his fair cousin, as usual, accompanied with her women; and, seeing that, notwithstanding his approach, they still continued to walk with her, and impatient of the restraint they laid him under, I beseech, you, cousin, said he, let me have the pleasure of walking with you alone: what necessity is there for always having so many witnesses of our conversation?—You may retire, said he, speaking to Lucy, and the other woman; I have something to say to your lady in private.
Stay, I command you, said Arabella, blushing at an insolence so uncommon, and take orders from no one but myself.—I pray you, sir, pursued she, frowning, what intercourse of secrets is there between you and me, that you expect I should favour you with a private conversation? an advantage which none of your sex ever boasted to have gained from me, and which, haply, you should be the last upon whom I should bestow it.
You have the strangest notions, answered Glanville, smiling at the pretty anger she discovered: certainly you may hold a private conversation with any gentleman, without giving offence to decorum; and I may plead a right to this happiness above I.39 any other, since I have the honour to be your relation.
It is not at all surprising, resumed Arabella, gravely, that you and I should differ in opinion upon this occasion: I don’t remember that ever we agreed in any thing; and I am apt to believe we never shall.
Ah! don’t say so, Lady Bella, interrupted he; what a prospect of misery you lay before me! for, if we are always to be opposite to each other, it is necessary you must hate me as much as I admire and love you.
These words, which he accompanied with a gentle pressure of her hand, threw the astonished Arabella into such an excess of anger and shame, that, for a few moments, she was unable to utter a word.
What a horrid violation this, of all the laws of gallantry and respect, which decree a lover to suffer whole years in silence before he declares his flame to the divine object that causes it; and then with awful tremblings and submissive prostrations at the feet of the offended fair!
Arabella could hardly believe her senses when she heard a declaration, not only made without the usual forms, but also, that the presumptuous criminal waited for an answer without seeming to have any apprehension of the punishment to which he was to be doomed; and that, instead of deprecating her wrath, he looked with a smiling wonder upon her eyes, as if he did not fear their lightning would strike him dead.
Indeed, it was scarce possible for him to help smiling and wondering too, at the extraordinary action of Arabella; for, as soon as he had pronounced those fatal words, she started back two or three steps; cast a look at him full of the highest indignation: and, lifting up her fine eyes to heaven, I.40 seemed, in the language of romance, to accuse the gods for subjecting her to so cruel an indignity.
The tumult of her thoughts being a little settled, she turned again towards Glanville, whose countenance expressing nothing of that confusion and anxiety common to an adorer in so critical a circumstance, her rage returned with greater violence than ever.
If I do not express all the resentment your insolence has filled me with, said she to him, affecting more scorn than anger, ’tis because I hold you too mean for my resentment; but never hope for my pardon for your presumptuous confession of a passion I could almost despise myself for inspiring. If it be true that you love me, go and find your punishment in that absence to which I doom you; and never hope I will suffer a person in my presence, who has affronted me in the manner you have done.
Saying this, she walked away, making a sign to him not to follow her.
Mr. Glanville, who was at first disposed to laugh at the strange manner in which she received his expressions of esteem for her, found something so extremely haughty and contemptuous, in the speech she had made, that he was almost mad with vexation.
As he had no notion of his cousin’s heroic sentiments, and had never read romances, he was quite ignorant of the nature of his offence; and supposing the scorn she had expressed for him was founded upon the difference of their rank and fortune, his pride was so sensibly mortified at that thought, and at her so insolently forbidding him her presence, he was once inclined to shew his resentment of such ungenteel , by quitting the castle without taking leave even of the marquis, who, he I.41 thought, could not be ignorant of the reception he was likely to meet with from his daughter, and ought to have guarded him against it, if he really meant him so well as he seemed to do.
As he was extremely violent and hasty in his resolutions, and nicely sensible of the least affront, he was not in a condition to reason justly upon the marquis’s conduct in this affair; and while he was fluctuating with a thousand different resolutions, Lucy came to him with a billet from her lady, which she delivered without staying till he opened it, and was superscribed in this manner—
“ARABELLA TO THE MOST PRESUMPTUOUS MAN IN THE WORLD.
“You seem to acknowledge so little respect and deference for the commands of a lady, that I am afraid it will be but too necessary to reiterate that which, at parting, I laid upon you: know, then, that I absolutely insist upon your repairing, in the only manner you are able, the affront you have put upon me: which is, by never appearing before me again. If you think proper to confine me to my chamber, by continuing here any longer, you will add disobedience to the crime by which you have already mortally offended Arabella.”
The superscription of this letter, and the uncommon style of it, persuaded Mr. Glanville, that, what he had been foolish enough to resent as an affront, was designed as a jest, and meant to divert him as well as herself: he examined her behaviour again; and wondered at his stupidity in not discovering it before. His resentment vanishing immediately, he returned to the house; and went, without ceremony, to Arabella’s apartment, which he entered before she perceived him, being in a profound musing at one of the windows: the noise he made in approaching I.42 her, obliged her at last to look up; when starting, as if she had seen a basilisk, she flew to her closet, and shutting the door with great violence, commanded him to leave her chamber immediately.
Mr. Glanville, still supposing her in jest, entreated her to open the door; but, finding she continued obstinate, Well, said he, going away, I shall be revenged on you some time hence, and make you repent the tricks you play me now.
Arabella not being able to imagine any thing by these words he spoke in raillery, but that he really, in the spite and anguish of his heart, threatened her with executing some terrible enterprise; she did not doubt but he either intended to carry her away, or, thinking her aversion to him proceeded from his having a rival happy enough to be esteemed by her, those mysterious words he had uttered related to his design of killing him; so that as she knew he could discover no rival to wreak his revenge upon, she feared that, at once to satisfy that passion, as well as his love, he would make himself master of her liberty: For, in fine, said she, to Lucy, to whom she communicated all her thoughts, have I not every thing to apprehend from a man who knows so little how to treat my sex with the respect which is our due; and who, after having, contrary to the timorous nature of that passion, insulted me with a free declaration of love, treats my commands with the utmost contempt by appearing before me again; and even threatens me with the revenge he is meditating at this moment.
Had Mr. Glanville been present, and heard the terrible misfortunes which she presaged from the few words he had jestingly spoke, he would certainly have made her quite furious, by the diversion her mistake would have afforded him. But the more I.43 she reflected on his words, the more she was persuaded of the terrible purpose of them.
It was in vain to acquaint her father with the reasons she had for disliking his choice: his resolution was fixed, and if she did not voluntarily conform to it, she exposed herself to the attempts of a violent and unjust lover, who would either prevail upon the marquis to lay a force upon her inclinations, or to make himself master of her person, and never cease persecuting her till he had obliged her to give him her hand.
Having reasoned herself into a perfect conviction that all these things must necessarily happen, she thought it both just and reasonable to provide for her own security by a speedy flight. The want of a precedent, indeed, for an action of this nature, held her a few moments in suspense; for she did not remember to have read of any heroine that voluntarily left her father’s house, however persecuted she might be; but she considered, that there was not any of the ladies in romances, in the same circumstances with herself, who was without a favoured lover, for whose sake it might have been believed she had made an elopement, which would have been highly prejudicial to her glory; and as there was no foundation for any suspicion of that kind in her case, she thought there was nothing to hinder her from withdrawing from a tyrannical exertion of parental authority, and the secret machinations of a lover, whose aim was to take away her liberty, either by obliging her to marry him, or by making her a prisoner.I.44
Contains several incidents, in which the reader is expected to be extremely interested.
Arabella had spent some hours in her closet, revolving a thousand different stratagems to escape from the misfortune that threatened her, when she was interrupted by Lucy; who, after desiring admittance, informed her, that the marquis, having rode out to take the air that evening, had fallen from his horse and received some hurt; that he was gone to bed, and desired to see her.
Arabella, hearing her father was indisposed, ran to him, excessively alarmed; and reflecting on the resolution she had just before taken, of leaving him, which aggravated her concern, she came to his bed-side with her eyes swimming in tears. Mr. Glanville was sitting near him: but rising at her appearance to give her his chair, which she accepted without taking any notice of him, he stood at some distance contemplating her face, to which sorrow had given so many charms, that he gazed on her with an eagerness and delight that could not escape her observation.
She blushed excessively at the passionate looks he gave her; and finding the marquis’s indisposition not considerable enough to oblige her to a constant attendance at his bed-side, she took the first opportunity of returning to her chamber; but as she was going out, Glanville presented his hand to lead her up stairs, which she scornfully refusing—
Sure, cousin, said he, a little piqued, you are not disposed to carry on your ill-natured jest any farther.
If you imagined I jested with you, said Arabella, I.45 I am rather to accuse the slowness of your understanding, for your persisting in treating me thus freely, than the insolence I first imputed it to: but, whatever is the cause of it, I now tell you again, that you have extremely offended me; and if my father’s illness did not set bounds to my resentment at present, I would make you know, that I would not suffer the injury you do me so patiently.
Since you would have me to believe you are serious, replied Glanville, be pleased to let me know what offence it is you complain of; for I protest I am quite at a loss to understand you.
Was it not enough, resumed Arabella, to affront me with an insolent declaration of your passion, but you must also, in contempt of my commands to the contrary, appear before me again, pursue me to my chamber, and use the most brutal menaces to me?
Hold, pray, madam, interrupted Glanville, and suffer me to ask you, if it is my presumption in declaring myself your admirer that you are so offended at?
Doubtless it is, sir, answered Arabella; and such a presumption as, without the aggravating circumstances you have since added to it, is sufficient to make me always your enemy.
I beg pardon, returned Mr. Glanville, gravely, for that offence; and also for staying any longer in a house which you have so genteely turned me out of.
My pardon, Mr. Glanville, resumed she, is not so easily gained: time, and your repentance, may, indeed, do much towards obtaining it.
Saying this, she made a sign to him to retire, for he had walked up with her to her chamber; but finding he did not obey her, for really, he was quite unacquainted with these sorts of dumb commands, I.46 she hastily retired to her closet, lest he should attempt to move her pity by any expressions of despair for the cruel banishment she had doomed him to.
Mr. Glanville, seeing she had shut herself up in her closet, left her chamber, and retired to his own, more confounded than ever at the behaviour of his cousin.
Her bidding him so peremptorily to leave the house, would have equally persuaded him of her ignorance and ill-breeding, had not the elegance of her manners, in every other respect, proved the contrary; nor was it possible to doubt she had a great share of understanding, since her conversation, singular as some of her sentiments seemed to him, was far superior to most other ladies. Therefore, he concluded the affront he had received proceeded from her disdain to admit the addresses of any person whose quality was inferior to hers; which, probably, was increased by some particular dislike she had to his person.
His honour would not permit him to make use of that advantage her father’s authority could give him; and, wholly engrossed by his resentment of the usage he had received from her, he resolved to set out for London the next day without seeing the marquis, from whom he was apprehensive of some endeavours to detain him.
Having taken this resolution, he ordered his servant to have the horses ready early in the morning; and without taking any notice of his intention, he left the castle, riding fast as possible to the next stage, from whence he wrote to his uncle; and, dispatching a messenger with his letter, held on his way to London.
The marquis being pretty well recovered from his indisposition by a good night’s rest, sent for Mr. Glanville in the morning, to walk with him, as I.47 was his custom, in the garden; but hearing he had rode out, though he imagined it was only to take the air, yet he could not help accusing him, in his own thoughts, of a little neglect; for which he resolved to chide him when he returned: but his long stay filling him with some surprise, he was beginning to express his fears that something had befallen him, to Arabella, who was then with him, when a servant presented him the letter which Mr. Glanville’s messenger had that moment brought.
The marquis casting his eyes on the direction, and knowing his nephew’s hand, Bless me! cried he, extremely surprised, What can this mean?—Bella, added he, here’s a letter from your cousin.
Arabella, at these words, started up; and preventing her father, with a respectful action, from opening it, I beseech you, my lord, said she, before you read this letter, suffer me to assure you, that if it contains any thing fatal, I am not at all accessary to it: it is true, I have banished my cousin as a punishment for the offence he was guilty of towards me; but, heaven is my witness, I did not desire his death; and if he has taken any violent resolution against himself, he has greatly exceeded my commands.
The marquis, whose surprise was considerably increased by these words, hastily broke open the letter, which she perceiving, hurried out of the room; and, locking herself up in her closet, began to bewail the effect of her charms, as if she was perfectly assured of her cousin’s death.
The marquis, however, who, from Lady Bella’s exclamation, had prepared himself for the knowledge of some very extraordinary accident, was less surprised than he would otherwise have been at the contents; which were as follow——I.48
“As my leaving your house so abruptly will certainly make me appear guilty of a most unpardonable rudeness, I cannot dispense with myself from acquainting your lordship with the cause; though, to spare the reproaches Lady Bella will probably cast on me for doing so, I could wish you knew it by any other means.
“But, my lord, I value your esteem too much to hazard the loss of it by suffering you to imagine that I am capable of doing any thing to displease you. Lady Bella was pleased to order me to stay no longer in the house, and menaced me with some very terrible usage, if I disobeyed her: she used so many other contemptuous expressions to me, that, I am persuaded, I shall never be so happy as to possess the honour you designed for, my lord, your most obedient, &c. “Charles Glanville.”
When the marquis had read this letter, he went to his daughter’s apartment with an intention to chide her severely for the usage of his nephew; but seeing her come to meet him with her eyes bathed in tears, he insensibly lost some part of his resentment.
Alas! my lord, said she, I know you come prepared to load me with reproaches upon my cousin’s account; but I beseech your lordship, do not aggravate my sorrows: though I banished Mr. Glanville, I did not desire his death; and, questionless, if he knew how I resent it, his ghost would be satisfied with the sacrifice I make him.
The marquis not being able to help smiling at this conceit, which he saw had so strongly possessed her imagination, that she had no sort of doubt but that her cousin was dead, asked her, if I.49 she really believed Mr. Glanville loved her well enough to die with grief at her ill usage of him.
If, said she, he loves me not well enough to die for me, he certainly loves me but little; and I am the less obliged to him.
But I desire to know, interrupted the marquis, for what crime it was you took the liberty to banish him from my house?
I banished him, my lord, resumed she, for his presumption in telling me he loved me.
That presumption, as you call it, though I know not for what reason, said the marquis, was authorized by me; therefore know, Bella, that I not only permit him to love you, but I also expect you should endeavour to return his affection, and look upon him as the man whom I design for your husband: there’s his letter, pursued he, putting it into her hand. I blush for the rudeness you have been guilty of: but endeavour to repair it by a more obliging behaviour for the future: I am going to send after him immediately to prevail upon him to return; therefore write him an apology, I charge you, and have it done by the time my messenger is ready to set out.
Saying this, he went out of the room: Arabella eagerly opened the letter, and finding it in a style so different from what she expected, her dislike of him returned with more violence than ever.
Ah! the traitor! said she aloud, is it thus that he endeavours to move my compassion? How greatly did I over-rate his affection, when I imagined his despair was capable of killing him?—Disloyal man! pursued she, walking about, is it by complaints to my father that thou expectest to succeed? And dost thou imagine the heart of Arabella is to be won by violence and injustice?
In this manner she wasted the time allotted for I.50 her to write; and when the marquis sent for her letter, having no intention to comply; she went to his chamber, conjuring him not to oblige her to a condescension so unworthy of her.
The marquis, being now excessively angry with her, rose up in a fury, and, leading her to his writing-desk, ordered her instantly to write to her cousin.
If I must write, my lord, said she, sobbing, pray be so good as to dictate what I must say.
Apologize for your rude behaviour, said the marquis; and desire him, in the most obliging manner you can, to return.
Arabella, seeing there was a necessity for obeying, took up the pen, and wrote the following billet—
“THE UNFORTUNATE ARABELLA TO THE MOST UNGENEROUS GLANVILLE.
“It is not by the power I have over you, that I command you to return, for I disclaim any empire over so unworthy a subject; but, since it is my father’s pleasure I should invite you back, I must let you know that I repeal your banishment, and expect you will immediately return with the messenger who brings this: however, to spare your acknowledgments, know, that it is in obedience to my father’s absolute commands that you receive this mandate from Arabella.”
Having finished this billet, she gave it to the marquis to read; who, finding a great deal of his own haughtiness of temper in it, could not resolve to check her for a disposition so like his own: yet he told her her style was very uncommon. And pray, added he, smiling, who taught you to superscribe your letters thus, “The unfortunate Arabella to the most ungenerous Glanville?” Why, Bella, I.51 this superscription is wholly calculated for the bearer’s information: but come, alter it immediately; for I do not chuse my messenger should know that you are unfortunate, or that my nephew is ungenerous.
Pray, my lord, replied Arabella, content your self with what I have already done in obedience to your commands, and suffer my letter to remain as it is: methinks it is but reasonable I should express some little resentment at the complaint my cousin has been pleased to make to you against me; nor can I possibly make any letter more obliging, without being guilty of an unpardonable meanness.
You are a strange girl, replied the marquis, taking the letter, and inclosing it in one from himself; in which he earnestly intreated his nephew to return, threatening him with his displeasure if he disobeyed, and assuring him that his daughter, would receive him as well as he could possibly desire.
The messenger being dispatched, with orders to ride post, and overtake the young gentleman, he obeyed his orders so well that he came up with him at ————; where he intended to lodge that night.
Mr. Glanville, who expected his uncle would make use of some methods to recal him, opened his letter without any great emotion; but seeing another inclosed, his heart leaped to his mouth, not doubting but it was a letter from Arabella; but the contents surprised him so much, that he hardly knew whether he ought to look upon them as an invitation, to return, or a new affront, her words were so distant and haughty. The superscription being much the same with a billet he had received from her in the garden, which had made him conclude I.52 her in jest, he knew not what to think of it. One would swear this dear girl’s head is turned, said he, to himself, if she had not more wit than her whole sex besides.
After reading Arabella’s letter several times, he at last opened his uncle’s; and seeing the pressing instances he made him to return, he resolved to obey; and the next morning he set out for the castle.
Arabella, during the time her cousin was expected, appeared so melancholy and reserved, that the marquis was extremely uneasy. You have never, said he to her, disobeyed me in any one action of your life; and I may with reason expect you will conform to my will in the choice I have made of a husband for you, since it is impossible to make any objection either to his person or mind; and being the son of my sister, he is certainly not unworthy of you, though he has not a title.
My first wish, my lord, replied Arabella, is to live single, not being desirous of entering into any engagement which may hinder my solicitude and cares, and lessen my attendance upon the best of fathers, who, till now, has always most tenderly complied with my inclinations in every thing: but if it is your absolute command that I should marry, give me not to one, who, though he has the honour to be allied to you, has neither merited your esteem, nor my favour, by any action worthy of his birth, or the passion he pretends to have for me; for in fine, my lord, by what services has he deserved the distinction with which you honour him? Has he ever delivered you from any considerable danger? Has he saved your life, and hazarded his own for you, upon any occasion whatever? Has he merited my esteem by his sufferings, fidelity, and respect? or, by any I.53 great and generous action, given me a testimony of his love, which should oblige me to reward him with my affection? Ah! my lord, I beseech you, think not so unworthily of your daughter, as to bestow her upon one who has done so little to deserve her: if my happiness be dear to you, do not precipitate me into a state from whence you cannot recal me, with a person whom I can never affect.
She would have gone on, but the marquis interrupted her sternly. I’ll hear no more, said he, of your foolish and ridiculous objections. What stuff is this you talk of? What service am I to expect from my nephew? And by what sufferings is he to merit your esteem? Assure yourself, Arabella, continued he, that I will never pardon you, if you presume to treat my nephew in the manner you have done: I perceive you have no real objection to make to him; therefore I expect you will endeavour to obey me without reluctance; for, since you seem to be so little acquainted with what will most conduce to your own happiness, you must not think it strange, if I insist upon directing your choice in the most important business of your life.
Arabella was going to reply, but the marquis ordered her to be silent; and she went to her own apartment in so much affliction, that she thought her misfortunes were not exceeded by any she had ever read.I.54
In which a logical argument is unseasonably interrupted.
The marquis was also extremely uneasy at her obstinacy: he desired nothing more ardently than to marry her to his nephew; but he could not resolve to force her consent; and, however determined he appeared to her, yet, in reality, he intended only to use persuasions to effect what he desired; and, from the natural sweetness of her temper, he was sometimes not without hopes that she might at last be prevailed upon to comply.
His nephew’s return restored him to part of his usual tranquillity: after he had gently chid him for suffering himself to be so far transported with his resentment at the little humours of a lady, as to leave his house without acquainting him, he bad him go to Arabella, and endeavour to make his peace with her.
Mr. Glanville accordingly went to her apartment, resolving to oblige her to come to some explanation with him concerning the offence she complained of; but that fair incensed lady, who had taken shelter in her closet, ordered Lucy to tell him she was indisposed, and could not see him.
Glanville, however, comforted himself for this disappointment by the hopes of seeing her at supper; and accordingly she came when the supper-bell rung, and, making a very cool compliment to her cousin, placed herself at table. The soft languor that appeared in her eyes, gave such an additional charm to one of the loveliest faces in the world, that Glanville, who sat opposite to her, could not help gazing on her with a very particular I.55 attention; he often spoke to her, and asked her trifling questions, for the sake of hearing the sound of her voice, which sorrow had made enchantingly sweet.
When supper was over, she would have retired; but the marquis desired her to stay and entertain her cousin, while he went to look over some dispatches he had received from London.
Arabella blushed with anger at this command; but not daring to disobey, she kept her eyes fixed on the ground, as if she dreaded to hear something that would displease her.
Well, cousin, said Glanville, though you desire to have no empire over so unworthy a subject as myself, yet I hope you are not displeased at my returning, in obedience to your commands.
Since I am not allowed any will of my own, said she, sighing, it matters not whether I am pleased or displeased; nor is of any consequence to you to know.
Indeed but it is, Lady Bella, interrupted he; for if I knew how to please you, I would never, if I could help it, offend: therefore, I beg you, tell me how I have disobliged you; for certainly you have treated me as harshly as if I had been guilty of some very terrible offence.
You had the boldness, said she, to talk to me of love; and you well know that persons of my sex and quality are not permitted to listen to such discourses; and if for that offence I banished you my presence, I did no more than decency required of me, and which I would yet do, were I mistress of my own actions.
But is it possible, cousin, said Glanville, that you can be angry with any one for loving you? Is that a crime of so high a nature as to merit an eternal banishment from your presence?I.56
Without telling you, said Arabella, blushing, whether I am angry at being loved, it is sufficient you know, that I will not pardon the man who shall have the presumption to tell me he loves me.
But, madam, interrupted Glanville, if the person who tells you he loves you, be of a rank not beneath you, I conceive you are not at all injured by the favourable sentiments he feels for you; and though you are not disposed to make any returns to his passion, yet you are certainly obliged to him for his good opinion.
Since love is not voluntary, replied Arabella, I am not obliged to any person for loving me; for, questionless, if he could help it, he would.
If it is not a voluntary favour, interrupted Glanville, it is not a voluntary offence; and if you do not think yourself obliged by one, neither are you at liberty to be offended with the other.
The question, said Arabella, is not whether I ought to be offended at being loved, but whether it is not an offence to be told I am so.
If there is nothing criminal in the passion itself, madam, resumed Glanville, certainly there can be no crime in declaring it.
However specious your arguments may appear, interrupted Arabella, I am persuaded it is an unpardonable crime to tell a lady you love her; and though I had nothing else to plead, yet the authority of custom is sufficient to prove it.
Custom, Lady Bella, said Glanville, smiling, is wholly on my side; for the ladies are so far from being displeased at the addresses of their lovers, that their chiefest care is to gain them, and their greatest triumph to hear them talk of their passion: so, madam, I hope you will allow that argument has no force.I.57
I do not know, answered Arabella, what sort of ladies they are who allow such unbecoming liberties; but I am certain, that Statira, Parisatis, Clelia, Mandane, and all the illustrious heroines of antiquity, whom it is a glory to resemble, would never admit of such discourses.
Ah! for heaven’s sake, cousin, interrupted Glanville, endeavouring to stifle a laugh, do not suffer yourself to be governed by such antiquated maxims! The world is quite different to what it was in those days; and the ladies in this age would as soon follow the fashions of the Greek and Roman ladies, as mimic their manners; and, I believe, they would become one as ill as the other.
I am sure, replied Arabella, the world is not more virtuous now than it was in their days, and there is good reason to believe it is not much wiser; and I do not see why the manners of this age are to be preferred to those of former ones, unless they are wiser and better: however, I cannot be persuaded that things are as you say, but that when I am a little better acquainted with the world, I shall find as many persons who resemble Oroondates, Artaxerxes, and the illustrious lover of Clelia, as those who are like Teribases, Artaxes, and the presuming and insolent Glanville.
By the epithets you give me, madam, said Glanville, I find you have placed me in very bad company: but pray, madam, if the illustrious lover of Clelia had never discovered his passion, how would the world have come to the knowledge of it?
He did not discover his passion, sir, resumed Arabella, till by the services he did the noble Clelius, and his incomparable daughter, he could plead some title to their esteem: he several times preserved the life of that renowned Roman; delivered the beautiful Clelia when she was a captive; and, in fine, I.58 conferred so many obligations upon them, and all their friends, that he might well expect to be pardoned by the divine Clelia for daring to love her. Nevertheless, she used him very harshly when he first declared his passion, and banished him also from her presence; and it was a long time before she could prevail upon herself to compassionate his sufferings.
The marquis coming in, interrupted Arabella; upon which she took occasion to retire, leaving Glanville more captivated with her than ever.
He found her usage of him was grounded upon examples she thought it her duty to follow; and, strange as her notions of life appeared, yet they were supported with so much wit and delicacy, that he could not help admiring her, while he foresaw the oddity of her humour would throw innumerable difficulties in his way before he should be able to obtain her.
However, as he was really passionately in love with her, he resolved to accommodate himself, as much as possible, to her taste, and endeavour to gain her heart by a behaviour most agreeable to her: he therefore assumed an air of great distance and respect; never mentioned his affections, nor the intentions of her father in his favour; and the marquis, observing his daughter conversed with him with less reluctance than usual, leaving to time, and the merit of his nephew, to dispose her to comply with his desires, resolved not to interpose his authority in an affair upon which her own happiness so much depended.I.59
In which the reader will find a specimen of the true pathetic, in a speech of Oroondates—the adventure of the books.
Arabella saw the change in her cousin’s behaviour with a great deal of satisfaction; for she did not doubt but his passion was as strong as ever, but that he forbore, through respect, from entertaining her with any expressions of it: therefore she now conversed with him with the greatest sweetness and complaisance; she would walk with him for several hours in the garden, leaning upon his arm, and charmed him to the last degree of admiration by the agreeable sallies of her wit, and her fine reasoning upon every subject he proposed.
It was with the greatest difficulty he restrained himself from telling her a thousand times a day that he loved her to excess, and conjuring her to give her consent to her father’s designs in his favour: but, though he could get over his fears of offending her, yet it was impossible to express any sentiments of this nature to her, without having her women witnesses of his discourse, for when he walked with her in the garden, Lucy and another attendant always followed her; if he sat with her in her own chamber, her women were always at one end of it; and when they were both in the marquis’s apartment, where her women did not follow her, poor Glanville found himself embarrassed by his presence; for conceiving his nephew had opportunities enough of talking to his daughter in private, he always partook of their conversation.
He passed some weeks in this manner, extremely I.60 chagrined at the little progress he made; and was beginning to be heartily weary of the constraint laid upon himself, when Arabella one day furnished him, without designing it, with an opportunity of talking to her on the subject he wished for.
When I reflect, said she, laughing, upon the difference there was between us some days ago, and the familiarity in which we live at present, I cannot imagine by what means you have arrived to a good fortune you had so little reason to expect; for, in fine, you have given me no signs of repentance for the fault you committed, which moved me to banish you; and I am not certain whether, in conversing with you in the manner I do, I give you not as much reason to find fault with my too great easiness, as you did me to be displeased with your presumption.
Since, returned Glanville, I have not persisted in the commission of those faults which displeased you, what greater signs of repentance can you desire, than this reformation in my behaviour.
But repentance ought to precede reformation, replied Arabella, otherwise there is great room to suspect it is only feigned; and a sincere repentance shews itself in such visible marks, that one can hardly be deceived in that which is genuine. I have read of many indiscreet lovers, who not succeeding in their addresses, have pretended to repent, and acted as you do; that is, without giving any signs of contrition for the fault they had committed, have eat and slept well, never lost their colour, or grew one bit thinner by their sorrow; but contented themselves with saying they repented, and, without changing their disposition to renew their fault, only concealed their intention for fear of I.61 losing any favourable opportunity of committing it again: but true repentance, as I was saying, not only produces reformation, but the person who is possessed of it voluntarily punishes himself for the faults he has been guilty of. Thus Mazares, deeply repenting of the crime his passion for the divine Mandane had forced him to commit; as a punishment, obliged himself to follow the fortune of his glorious rival, obey all his commands, and fighting under his banners, assist him to gain the possession of his adored mistress. Such a glorious instance of self-denial was, indeed, a sufficient proof of his repentance; and infinitely more convincing, than the silence he imposed upon himself with respect to his passion.
Oroondates, to punish himself for his presumption, in daring to tell the admirable Statira that he loved her, resolved to die, to expiate his crime; and, doubtless, would have done so, if his fair mistress, at the entreaty of her brother, had not commanded him to live.
But pray, Lady Bella, interrupted Glanville, were not these gentlemen happy at last in the possession of their mistresses?
Doubtless they were, sir, resumed she, but it was not till after numberless misfortunes, infinite services, and many dangerous adventures, in which their fidelity was put to the strongest trials imaginable.
I am glad, however, said Glanville, that the ladies were not insensible; for, since you do not disapprove of their compassion for their lovers, it is to be hoped you will not be always as inexorable as you are now.
When I shall be so fortunate, interrupted she, to meet with a lover who shall have as pure and perfect a passion for me as Oroondates had for Statira, and I.62 give me as many glorious proofs of his constancy and affection, doubtless I shall not be ungrateful; but, since I have not the merits of Statira, I ought not to pretend to her good fortune; and shall be very well contented if I escape the persecutions which persons of my sex, who are not frightfully ugly, are always exposed to, without hoping to inspire such a passion as that of Oroondates.
I should be glad to be better acquainted with the actions of this happy lover, madam, said Glanville; that, forming myself upon his example, I may hope to please a lady as worthy of my regard as Statira was of his.
For heaven’s sake, cousin, replied Arabella, laughing, how have you spent your time; and to what studies have you devoted your hours, that you could find none to spare for the perusal of books from which all useful knowledge may be drawn; which gives us the most shining examples of generosity, courage, virtue, and love; which regulate our actions, form our manners, and inspire us with a noble desire of emulating those great, heroic, and virtuous actions, which made those persons so glorious in their age, and so worthy imitation in ours? However, as it is never too late to improve, suffer me to recommend to you the reading of these books, which will soon make you discover the improprieties you have been guilty of; and will, probably, induce you to avoid them for the future.
I shall certainly read them, if you desire it, said Glanville; and I have so great an inclination to be agreeable to you, that I shall embrace every opportunity of becoming so; and will therefore take my instructions from these books, if you think proper, or from yourself; which, indeed, will be the quickest method of teaching me.I.63
Arabella having ordered one of her women to bring Cleopatra, Cassandra, Clelia, and the grand Cyrus from her library, Glanville no sooner saw the girl return, sinking under the weight of those voluminous romances, than he began to tremble at the apprehension of his cousin laying her commands upon him to read them; and repented of his complaisance, which exposed him to the cruel necessity of performing what to him appeared an Herculean labour, or else incurring her anger by his refusal.
Arabella, making her women place the books upon a table before her, opened them, one after another, with eyes sparkling with delight; while Glanville sat wrapt in admiration at the sight of so many huge folios written, as he conceived, upon the most trifling subjects imaginable.
I have chosen out these few, said Arabella, (not observing his consternation) from a great many others, which compose the most valuable part of my library; and by that time you have gone through these, I imagine you will be considerably improved.
Certainly, madam, replied Glanville, turning over the leaves in great confusion, one may, as you say, be greatly improved; for these books contain a great deal: and looking over a page of Cassandra, without any design, read these words, which were part of soliloquy when he received a cruel sentence from Statira—
“Ah, cruel! (says this miserable lover) and what have I done to merit it? Examine the nature of my offence, and you will see I am not so guilty, but that my death may free me from part of that severity: shall your hatred last longer than my life? and can you detest a soul that forsakes its body only to obey you? No, no, you are not so hard-hearted; that I.64 satisfaction will, doubtless, content you: and, when I shall cease to be, doubtless I shall cease to be odious to you.”
Upon my soul, said Glanville, stifling a laugh with great difficulty, I cannot help blaming the lady this sorrowful lover complains of, for her great cruelty; for here he gives one reason to suspect, that she will not even be contented with his dying in obedience to her commands, but will hate him after death; an impiety quite inexcusable in a christian!
You condemn this illustrious princess with very little reason, interrupted Arabella, smiling at his mistake; for, besides that she was not a christian, and ignorant of those divine maxims of charity and forgiveness, which christians, by their profession, are obliged to practice, she was very far from desiring the death of Oroondates; for, if you will take the pains to read the succeeding passages, you will find that she expresses herself in the most obliging manner in the world; for when Oroondates tells her he would live, if she would consent he should, the princess most sweetly replies, I not only consent, but also entreat it; and, if I have any power, command it. However, lest you should fall into the other extreme, and blame this great princess for her easiness, (as you before condemned her for her cruelty) it is necessary you should know how she was induced to this favourable behaviour to her lover: therefore pray read the whole transaction. Stay! here it begins, continued she; turning over a good many pages, and marking where he should begin to read.
Glanville, having no great stomach to the task, endeavoured to evade it, by entreating his cousin to relate the passages she desired he should be acquainted with: but she declining it, he was obliged to obey; and began to read where she directed him; I.65 and, to leave him at liberty to read with greater attention, she left him, and went to a window at the other end of the chamber.
Mr. Glanville, who was not willing to displease her, examined the task she had set him, resolving, if it was not a very hard one, to comply; but, counting the pages, he was quite terrified at the number, and could not prevail upon himself to read them: therefore glancing them over, he pretended to be deeply engaged in reading, when, in reality, he was contemplating the surprising effect these books had produced in the mind of his cousin; who, had she been untainted with the ridiculous whims they created in her imagination, was, in his opinion, one of the most accomplished ladies in the world.
When he had sat long enough to make her believe he had read what she had desired, he rose up, and joining her at the window, began to talk of the pleasantness of the evening, instead of the rigour of Statira.
Arabella coloured with vexation at his extreme indifference in a matter which was of such prodigious consequence, in her opinion; but disdaining to put him in mind of his rudeness, in quitting a subject they had not thoroughly discussed, and which she had taken so much pains to make him comprehend, she continued silent, and would not condescend to afford him an answer to any thing he said.
Glanville, by her silence and frowns, was made sensible of his fault; and, to repair it, began to talk of the inexorable Statira, though, indeed, he did not well know what to say.
Arabella, clearing up a little, did not disdain to answer him upon her favourite topic: I knew, said she, you would be ready to blame this princess equally for her rigour and her kindness; but it must be remembered, that what she did in favour of I.66 Oroondates was wholly owing to the generosity of Artaxerxes.
Here she stopped, expecting Glanville to give his opinion; who, strangely puzzled, replied at random, To be sure, madam, he was a very generous rival.
Rival! cried Arabella; Artaxerxes the rival of Oroondates! why certainly you have lost your wits: he was Statira’s brother; and it was to his mediation that Oroondates, or Orontes, owed his happiness.
Certainly, madam, replied Glanville, it was very generous in Artaxerxes, as he was brother to Statira to interpose in behalf of an unfortunate lover; and both Oroondates and Orontes were extremely obliged to him.
Orontes, replied Arabella, was more obliged to him than Oroondates; since the quality of Orontes was infinitely below that of Oroondates.
But, madam, interrupted Glanville, (extremely pleased at his having so well got over the difficulty he had been in) which of these two lovers did Statira make happy?
This unlucky question immediately informed Arabella, that she had been all this time the dupe of her cousin; who, if he had read a single page, would have known that Orontes and Oroondates was the same person; the of Orontes being assumed by Oroondates to conceal his real name and quality.
The shame and rage she conceived at so glaring a proof of his disrespect, and the ridicule to which she had exposed herself, were so great, that she could not find words severe enough to express her resentment; but, protesting that no consideration whatever should oblige her to converse with him again, she ordered him instantly to quit her chamber; and I.67 assured him, if he ever attempted to approach her again, she would submit to the most terrible effects of her father’s resentment, rather than be obliged to see a person who had, by his unworthy behaviour, made himself her scorn and aversion.
Glanville, who saw himself going to be discarded a second time, attempted, with great submission, to move her to recal her cruel sentence; but Arabella, bursting into tears, complained so pathetically of the cruelty of her destiny, in exposing her to the hated importunities of a man she despised, and whose presence was so insupportable, that Glanville, thinking it best to let her rage evaporate a little before he attempted to pacify her, quitted her chamber; cursing Statira and Orontes a thousand times, and loading the authors of those books with all the imprecations his rage could suggest.
The adventure of the books continued.
In this temper he went to the gardens to pass over the chagrin this unfortunate accident had given him; when, meeting the marquis, who insisted upon knowing the cause of that ill-humour so visible in his countenance, Glanville related all that had passed; but, in spite of his anger, it was impossible for him to repeat the circumstances of his disgrace without laughing, as well as the marquis; who thought the story so extremely diverting, that he would needs hear it over again.
However, Charles, said he, though I shall do what I can to gain your pardon from Bella, yet I shall not scruple to own you acted extremely wrong, in not I.68 reading what she desired you; for, besides losing an opportunity of obliging her, you drew yourself into a terrible dilemma; for how was it possible for you to evade a discovery of the cheat you put upon her, when she began to talk with you upon those passages she had desired you to read?
I acknowledge my error, my lord, answered Glanville; but if you restore me to my cousin’s favour again, I promise you to repair it by a different behaviour for the future.
I will see what I can do for you, said the marquis, leaving him, to go to Arabella’s apartment, who had retired to her closet, extremely afflicted at this new insult she had received from her cousin: her grief was the more poignant, as she was beginning to imagine, by the alteration in his behaviour, that he would prove such a lover as she wished for; Mr. Glanville’s person and qualifications had attracted her particular notice: and, to speak in the language of romance, she did not hate him; but, on the contrary, was very much disposed to wish him well; therefore it was no wonder she extremely resented the affront she had received from him.
The marquis not finding her in her chamber, proceeded to her closet, where her women informed him she was retired; and knocking gently at the door, was admitted by Arabella, whom he immediately discerned to have been weeping very much, for her fine eyes were red and swelled, and the traces of her tears might still be observed on her fair face, which at the sight of the marquis was overspread with a blush, as if he was conscious of her weakness in lamenting the crime her cousin had been guilty of.
The marquis drew a favourable omen for his nephew from her tears and confusion; but not willing to increase it by acknowledging he had observed it, I.69 he told her he was come, at Mr. Glanville’s request, to make up the quarrel between them.
Ah! my lord, interrupted Arabella, speak no more to me of that unworthy man, who has so grossly abused my favour, and the privilege I allowed him: his baseness and ingratitude are but too manifest; and there is nothing I so much regret as my weakness in restoring him to part of my good opinion, after he had once forfeited it, by an insolence not to be paralleled.
Indeed, Bella, said the marquis, smiling, you resent too deeply these slight matters: I cannot think my nephew so guilty as you would have me believe he is; and you ought neither to be angry nor surprised, that he preferred your conversation before reading in a foolish old-fashioned book that you put in his hands.
If your lordship had ever read these books, replied Arabella, reddening with vexation, it is probable you would have another opinion of them: but, however that may be, my cousin is not to be excused for the contempt he shewed to my commands; and for daring, by the cheat he put on me, to expose me to the shame of seeing myself so ridiculously imposed upon.
However, you must forgive him, said the marquis; and I insist upon it, before I quit your apartment, that you receive him into favour.
Pardon me, my lord, replied Arabella; this is what I neither can, nor ought to do; and I hope you will not wrong me so much as to continue to desire it.
Nay, Bella, said he, this is carrying things too far, and making trifling disputes of too great consequence: I am surprised at your treatment of a man whom, after all, if ever you did intend to obey me, you must consent to marry.I.70
There is no question, my lord, replied she, but it would be my glory to obey you in whatever is possible; but this you command me now to do, not being so, I conceive you will rather impute my refusal to necessity than choice.
How! returned the Marquis, will you endeavour to persuade me, that it is not possible Mr. Glanville should be your husband?
It is impossible he should be so with my consent, resumed Arabella; and I cannot give it without wounding my own quiet in a most sensible manner.
Come, come, Bella, said the marquis, (fretting at her extreme obstinacy) this is too much: I am to blame to indulge your foibles in this manner: your cousin is worthy of your affection, and you cannot refuse it to him without incurring my displeasure.
Since my affection is not in my own power to bestow, said Arabella, weeping, I know not how to remove your displeasure, but, questionless, I know how to die, to avoid the effects of what would be to me the most terrible misfortune in the world.
Foolish girl! interrupted the marquis, how strangely do you talk? Are the thoughts of death become so familiar to you, that you speak of dying with so little concern?
Since, my lord, resumed she, in an exalted tone, I do not yield, either in virtue or courage, to many others of my sex, who, when persecuted like me, have fled to death for relief, I know not why I should be thought less capable of it than they; and if Artemisa, Candace, and the beautiful daughter of Cleopatra, could brave the terrors of death for the sake of the men they loved, there is no question but I also could imitate their courage, to avoid the man I have so much reason to hate.I.71
The girl is certainly distracted, interrupted the marquis, excessively enraged at the strange speech she had uttered: these foolish books, my nephew talks of, have turned her brain! Where are they? pursued he, going into her chamber: I’ll burn all I can lay my hands upon.
Arabella, trembling for the fate of her books, followed her father into the room; who, seeing the books which had caused this woful adventure lying upon the table, he ordered one of her women to carry them into his apartment, vowing he would commit them all to the flames.
Arabella not daring, in the fury he was in, to interpose, he went out of the room, leaving her to bewail the fate of so many illustrious heroes and heroines, who, by an effect of a more cruel tyranny than any they had ever experienced before, were going to be cast into the merciless flames; which would, doubtless, pay very little regard to the divine beauties of the admirable Clelia, or the heroic valour of the brave Orontes; and the rest of those great princes and princesses, whose actions Arabella proposed for the model of hers.
Fortune, however, which never wholly forsook these illustrious personages, rescued them from so unworthy a fate, and brought Mr. Glanville into the marquis’s chamber just as he was giving orders to have them destroyed.
Mr. Hervey, for that was the stranger’s name
[His name will be Hervey-with-an-e throughout Book One. When we meet him again in Book Four, it will just as consistently be Harvey-with-an-a. They were probably pronounced the same, though.]
His cousin’s advice was continually in his mind, and flattered his vanity
text has mind,and without space
my lady said her letter would cure him
text has lettter
expecting he would demand their purses when he had robbed their lady
text has purseswhen without space
For what crime . . . did you treat the person I saw with you so cruelly?
text has treat, with superfluous comma
Two more chapters will go by before we are told explicitly that Glanville, the Marquis’s nephew, is not the son of his brother—which would have made him heir to the title—but only of his sister—making him nothing but an object of avuncular affection.
What lady in romance ever married the man that was chosen for her?
text has every married
said Arabella, with smile full of contempt
text has with a / a smile at line break
I am now persuaded you are in the right
text has your are
a vivacity which charmed every one
text has viva-/ity at line break
that he was once inclined to shew his resentment of such ungenteel usage,
first “t” in “that” invisible
text has usuage
that you are so extremely offended at
text has extremely, with superfluous comma
riding as fast as possible
text has at fast
nor is it of any consequence to you to know
word “it” missing
heartily weary of the constraint he laid upon himself
text has be laid
ordered one of her women to bring Cleopatra, Cassandra, Clelia, and the grand Cyrus
[Also a wheelbarrow. If the translations follow the originals, the total volume count is 42. The first two titles were by Gauthier de Coste, the other two by Madeleine de Scudéry. (Statira has not been overlooked; she is the title character of Cassandre. It’s complicated.) Typographic trivia: In 1752, the book titles were italicized—but only because they happened to be proper names, just like Arabella and Glanville.]
part of Oroondates’s soliloquy
text has Oroondate’s
[Corrected from 1752. If Anna Laetitia Barbauld thinks otherwise, well, tough.]
counting the pages, he was quite terrified at the number
[One title on Arabella’s list, Artamène or The Grand Cyrus, originally ran 13,095 pages or 2.1 million words (call it 8000 typed double-spaced pages). That makes it considerably longer than À la recherche du temps perdu, and more than twice the length of Clarissa.]
the name of Orontes being assumed
text has names
The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.