In which the adventure of the books is happily concluded.
The marquis, as soon as he saw Mr. Glanville, told him he was resolved to cure Arabella of her whims, by burning the books that had put them into her head: I have seized upon some of them, pursued he, smiling; and you may, if you please, wreak your spite upon these authors of your disgrace, by burning them yourself.
Though I have all the reason in the world to be enraged with that incendiary Statira, said Glanville, laughing, for the mischief she has done me; yet I cannot consent to put such an affront upon my cousin, as to burn her favourite books: and now I think of it, my lord, pursued he, I will endeavour to make a merit with Lady Bella by saving them; therefore spare them, at my request, and let me carry them to her. I shall be quite unhappy till we are friends again.
You may do as you will, said the marquis; but I think it is encouraging her in her follies to give them to her again.
Glanville, without replying, eagerly took up the books, for fear the marquis should change his mind; and, highly delighted with the opportunity he had got of making his peace with Lady Bella, ran to her I.73 apartments, loaded with these kind intercessors; and, making his way by Lucy, who would have opposed him, penetrated even into the closet of the melancholy fair-one, who was making bitter reflections on the cruelty of her destiny, and bewailing her loss with a deluge of tears.
As ridiculous as the occasion of these tears was, yet Glanville could not behold them without being affected: assuming, therefore, a countenance as sad as he was able, he laid the books before her, and told her, he hoped she would excuse his coming into her presence without her permission, since it was only to restore her those books, whose loss she seemed so greatly to lament; and added, that it was with much difficulty he prevailed upon the marquis not to burn them immediately; and his fears, that he might really do as he threatened, made him snatch them up, and bring them, with so little ceremony, into her closet.
Arabella, whose countenance brightened into a smile of pleasing surprise at the sight of her recovered treasure, turned her bright eyes upon Glanville with a look of complacency that went to his heart.
I well perceive, said she, that in exaggerating the merit of this little service you have done me, you expect I should suffer it to cancel your past offences: I am not ungrateful enough to be insensible of any kindness that is shewn me; and, though I might be excused for suspecting it was rather policy than friendship, that induced you to seek my satisfaction, by saving these innocent victims of my father’s displeasure, nevertheless I pardon you upon the supposition, that you will, for the future, avoid all occasion of offending me.
At these words she made a sign to him to be gone, fearing the extravagance of his joy would make him throw himself at her feet to thank her for the infinite I.74 favour she had conferred upon him; but finding he seemed disposed to stay longer, she called one of her women into the closet; and, by some very significant frowns, gave Glanville to understand his stay was displeasing; so that he left her, with a very low bow, highly pleased at her having repealed his banishment, and assured the marquis that nothing could have happened more fortunate for him, than this intended disposal of his daughter’s books, since it had proved the means of restoring him to her favour.
Which contains a very natural incident.
From this time Mr. Glanville, though he was far from coming up to Lady Bella’s idea of a lover, yet, by the pains he apparently seemed to be at in obliging her, made every day some progress in her esteem. The marquis was extremely pleased at the harmony which subsisted between them; though he could have wished to have seen their marriage advance a little faster; but Glanville, who was better acquainted with Arabella’s foible than the marquis, assured him, he would ruin all his hopes if he pressed her to marry; and entreated him to leave it entirely to him, to dispose her to consent to both their wishes.
The marquis was satisfied with his reasons, and resolving not to importune his daughter upon that subject any more, they lived for some months in a perfect tranquillity; to which an illness the marquis was seized with, and which was from the first thought to be dangerous, gave a sad interruption.I.75
Arabella’s extreme tenderness upon this occasion, her anxious solicitude, her pious cares, and never-ceasing attendance at the bedside of her sick father, were so many new charms that engaged the affection of Glanville more strongly. As the marquis’s indisposition increased, so did her care and assiduity: she would not allow any one to give him any thing but herself; bore all the pettish humours of a sick man with a surprising sweetness and patience; watched whole nights successively by his bedside; and when, at his importunity, she consented to take any rest, it was only on a couch in his chamber, from whence no entreaties could make her remove. Mr. Glanville partook with her in these fatigues; and, by his care of her father, and tenderness for her, confirmed her in the esteem she had entertained of him.
The marquis, who had struggled with the violence of his distemper for a fortnight, died on the fifteenth day in the arms of Arabella, who received his last looks; his eyes never removing themselves from her face, till they were closed by death. Her spirits, which the desire she had of being useful to him, had alone supported, now failed her at once; and she fell upon the bed, without sense or motion, as soon as she saw him expire.
Mr. Glanville, who was kneeling on the other side, and had been holding one of his uncle’s hands, started up in the most terrible consternation, and, seeing the condition she was in, flew to her relief; her women, while he supported her, used all the endeavours they could think of to recover her; but she continued so long in her swoon, that they apprehended she was dead; and Glanville was resigning himself up to the most bitter sorrow, when she opened her eyes; but it was only to close them again. Her faintings continued the whole day; and I.76 the physicians declaring she was in great danger, from her extreme weakness, she was carried to bed in a condition that seemed to promise very little hopes of her life.
The care of the marquis’s funeral devolving upon Mr. Glanville, he sent a messenger express for his father, who was appointed guardian to Lady Bella, the marquis having first asked her if she was willing it should be so. This gentleman arrived time enough to be witness of that sad ceremony, which was performed with a magnificence suitable to the birth and fortune of the marquis.
Lady Bella kept her bed several days, and her life was thought to be in danger; but her youth, and the strength of her constitution, overcame her disease; and, when she was so well recovered as to be able to admit of a visit from her uncle, Mr. Glanville sent for permission to introduce him: the afflicted Arabella granted his request; but, being then more indisposed than usual, she entreated they would defer their visit for an hour or two, which they complied with, and returning at the appointed time, were conducted into her dressing room by Lucy, who informed them her lady was just fallen into a slumber.
Mr. Glanville, who had not seen her for some days, expected her waking with great impatience; and pleased himself with describing her, with a lover’s fondness, to his father, when the sound of her voice in the next room interrupted him.I.77
Which treats of a consolatory visit, and other grave matters.
Arabella, being then awakened from her slumber, was indulging her grief by complaints, which her women were so used to hear, that they never offered to disturb her. Merciless fate! said she, in the most moving tone imaginable, cruel destiny! that, not contented with having deprived my infancy of the soft cares, and tender indulgences, of a mother’s fondness, has robbed me of the only parent I had left, and exposed me, at these early years, to the grief of losing him who was not only my father, but my friend, and protector of my youth!
Then, pausing a moment, she renewed her complaints with a deep sigh: Dear relics of the best of fathers! pursued she, why was it not permitted me to bathe you with my tears? Why were those sacred remains of him, from whom I drew my life, snatched from my eyes, ere they had poured their tribute of sorrow over them?—Ah, pitiless women! said she to her attendants, you prevented me from performing the last pious rites to my dear father! You, by your cruel care, hindered me from easing my sad heart, by paying him the last duties he could receive from me! Pardon, O dear and sacred shade of my loved father! pardon this unwilling neglect of thy afflicted child, who, to the last moment of her wretched life, will bewail thy loss!
Here she ceased speaking; and Mr. Glanville, whom this soliloquy had much less confounded than his father, was preparing to go in, and comfort her; when the old gentleman stopping him with a look of great concern, My niece is certainly muck worse I.78 than we apprehend, said he. She is in a our presence may, perhaps, discompose her too much.
No, sir, replied Glanville, extremely confused at this suspicion; my cousin is not so bad as you suppose; it is common enough for people in any great affliction to ease themselves by complaints.
But these, replied the knight, are the strangest complaints I ever heard, and savour so much of phrenzy, that I am persuaded her head is not quite right.
Glanville was going to reply, when Lucy, entering, told him her lady had ordered their admission: upon which they followed her into Arabella’s chamber, who was lying negligently upon her bed.
Her deep mourning, and the black gauze, which covered part of her fair face, was so advantageous to her shape and complexion, that Sir Charles, who had not seen her since she grew up, was struck with an extreme surprise at her beauty, while his son was gazing on her so passionately, that he never thought of introducing his father to her, who contemplated her with as much admiration as his son, though with less passion.
Arabella, rising from her bed, saluted her uncle with a grace that wholly charmed him; and turning to receive Mr. Glanville, she burst into tears at the remembrance of his having assisted her in her last attendance upon her father. Alas, sir! said she, when we saw each other last, we were both engaged in a very melancholy office: had it pleased heaven to have spared my father, he would, doubtless, have been extremely sensible of your generous cares; nor shall you have any reason to accuse me of ingratitude, since I shall always acknowledge your kindness as I ought.
If you think you owe me any obligation, returned I.79 Glanville, pay me, dearest cousin, by moderating your sorrow: indeed, you suffer yourself to sink too much under an affliction which is impossible to be remedied.
Alas! answered Arabella, my grief is very slight, compared to that of many others upon the death of their relations. The great Sisygambis, who, wanted neither fortitude nor courage, upon the news of her grand-daughter’s death, wrapt herself up in her veil; and, resolving never more to behold the light, waited for death in that posture.
Menecrates, upon the loss of his wife, built a magnificent tomb for her; and, shutting himself up in it, resolved to pass away the remainder of his life with her ashes. These, indeed, were glorious effects of piety and affection, and unfeigned signs of an excessive sorrow: what are the few tears I shed, to such illustrious instances of grief and affection as these?
Glanville, finding his cousin upon this strain, blushed extremely, and would have changed the subject; but the old gentleman, who had never heard of these two persons she mentioned, who expressed their sorrow for their losses in so strange a manner, was surprised at it; and was resolved to know more about them.
Pray, niece, said he, were you acquainted with these people, who could not submit to the dispensation of Providence, but, as one may say, flew in the face of heaven by their impatience?
I am very well acquainted with their history, resumed Arabella; and I can assure you, they were both very admirable persons.
Oh! Oh! their history! interrupted the knight. What, I warrant you, they are to be found in the Fairy Tales, and those sort of books! Well, I never I.80 could like such romances, not I; for they only spoil youth, and put strange notions into their heads.
I am sorry, resumed Arabella, blushing with anger, that we are like to differ in opinion upon so important a point.
Truly, niece, said Sir Charles, if we never differ in any thing else, I shall be very easy about this slight matter; though I think a young lady of your fine sense (for my son praises you to the skies for your wit) should not be so fond of such ridiculous nonsense as these story-books are filled with.
Upon my word, sir, resumed Arabella, all the respect I owe you cannot hinder me from telling you that I take it extremely ill you should, in my presence, rail at the finest productions in the world. I think we are infinitely obliged to these authors, who have, in so sublime a style, delivered down to posterity heroic actions of the bravest men, and most virtuous of women. But for the inimitable pen of the famous Scudery, we had been ignorant of the lives of many great and illustrious persons: the warlike actions of Oroondates, Aronces, Juba, and the renowned Artaban, had, haply, never been talked of in our age; and those fair and chaste ladies, who were the objects of their pure and constant passions, had still been buried in obscurity; and neither their divine beauties, or singular virtue, been the subject of our admiration and praise. But for the famous Scudery, we had not known the true cause of that action of Clelia’s, for which the senate decreed her a statue; namely, her casting herself, with an unparalleled courage, into the Tyber, a deep and rapid river, as you must certainly know, and swimming to the other side. It was not, as the Roman historians falsely report, a stratagem to recover herself, and the other hostages, from the power of Porsenna; it I.81 was to preserve her honour from violation by the impious Sextus, who was in the camp. But for Scudery, we had still thought the inimitable poetess Sappho to be a loose wanton, whose verses breathed nothing but unchaste and irregular fires: on the contrary, she was so remarkably chaste, that she would never even consent to marry; but, loving Phaon, only with a platonic passion, obliged him to restrain his desires within the compass of a brother’s affections. Numberless are the mistakes he has cleared up of this kind; and I question, if any other historian but himself, knew that Cleopatra was really married to Julius Cæsar; or that Cæsario, her son by this marriage, was not murdered, as was supposed, by the order of Augustus, but married the fair queen of Ethiopia, in whose dominions he took refuge. The prodigious acts of valour, which he has recounted of those accomplished princes, have never been equalled by the heroes of either the Greek or Roman historians; how poor and insignificant are the actions of their warriors to Scudery’s, where one of those admirable heroes would put whole armies into terror, and with his single arm oppose a legion!
Indeed, niece, said Sir Charles, no longer able to forbear interrupting her, these are all very improbable tales. I remember, when I was a boy, I was very fond of reading the history of Jack the Giant Killer, and Tom Thumb; and these stories so filled my head, that I really thought one of those little fellows killed men an hundred feet high; and that the other, after a great many surprising exploits, was swallowed up by a cow.
You was very young, sir, you say, interrupted Arabella, tartly, when those stories gained your belief: however, your judgment was certainly younger, if you ever believed them at all; for as credulous as you are pleased to think me, I should never, at any I.82 age, have been persuaded such things could have happened.
My father, madam, said Glanville, who was strangely confused all this time, bore arms in his youth; and soldiers, you know, never trouble themselves much with reading.
Has my uncle been a soldier, said Arabella, and does he hold in contempt the actions of the bravest soldiers in the world?
The soldiers you speak of, niece, said Sir Charles, were, indeed, the bravest soldiers in the world; for I don’t believe they ever had their equals.
And yet, sir, said Arabella, there are a great number of such soldiers to be found in Scudery.
Indeed, my dear niece, interrupted Sir Charles, they are to be found no where else, except in your imagination, which, I am sorry to see, is filled with such whimsies.
If you mean this to affront me, sir, resumed Arabella, hardly able to forbear tears, I know how far, as my uncle, I ought to bear with you: but methinks it is highly unkind to aggravate my sorrows by such cruel jests; and since I am not in an humour to suffer them, don’t take it ill, if I entreat you to leave me to myself.
Mr. Glanville, who knew nothing pleased his cousin so much as paying an exact obedience to her commands, rose up immediately; and, bowing respectfully to her, asked his father if he should attend him into the gardens.
The baronet, who thought Arabella’s behaviour bordered a good deal upon rudeness, took his leave with some signs of displeasure upon his countenance; and, notwithstanding all his son could say in excuse for her, he was extremely offended.
What, said he to Mr. Glanville, does she so little I.83 understand the respect that is due to me as her uncle, that she so peremptorily desired me to leave her room? My brother was to blame to take so little care of her education; she is quite a rustic!
Ah! don’t wrong your judgment so much, sir, said Glanville; my cousin has as little of the rustic as if she had passed all her life in court: her fine sense, and the native elegance of her manners, give an inimitable grace to her behaviour; and as much exceed the studied politeness of other ladies I have conversed with, as the beauties of her person do all I have ever seen.
She is very handsome, I confess, returned Sir Charles; but I cannot think so well of her wit as you do; for methinks she talks very oddly, and has the strangest conceits! Who, but herself, would think it probable that one man could put a whole army to flight; or commend a foolish fellow for living in a tomb, because his wife was buried in it? Fie! fie—these are silly and extravagant notions, and will make her appear very ridiculous.
Mr. Glanville was so sensible of the justness of this remark, that he could not help sighing; which his father observing, told him, that since she was to be his wife, it was his business to produce a reformation in her; for, added he, notwithstanding the immense fortune she will bring you, I should be sorry to have a daughter-in-law for whom I should blush as often as she opened her mouth.
I assure you, sir, said Mr. Glanville, I have but very little hopes that I shall be so happy as to have my cousin for a wife; for though it was my uncle’s command I should make my addresses to her, she received me so ill, as a lover, that I have never dared to talk to her upon that subject since.
And pray, resumed Sir Charles, upon what terms are you at present.I.84
While I seem to pretend nothing to her as a lover, replied Mr. Glanville, she is very obliging, and we live in great harmony together; but, I am persuaded, if I exceed the bounds of friendship in my professions, she will treat me extremely ill.
But, interrupted Sir Charles, when she shall know that her father has bequeathed you one third of his estate, provided she don’t marry you, ’tis probable her mind may change; and you may depend upon it, since your heart is so much set upon her, that, as I am her guardian, I shall press her to perform the marquis’s will.
Ah! sir, resumed Mr. Glanville, never attempt to lay any constraint upon my cousin in an affair of this nature: permit me to tell you, it would be an abuse of the marquis’s generous confidence, and what I would never submit to.
Nay, nay, said the old gentleman, you have no reason to fear any compulsion from me: though her father has left me her guardian, till she is of age, yet it is with such restriction, that my niece is quite her own mistress in that respect; for though she is directed to consult me in her choice of an husband, yet my consent is not absolutely necessary. The marquis has certainly had a great opinion of his daughter’s prudence; and I hope she will prove herself worthy of it by her conduct.
Mr. Glanville was so taken up with his reflections upon the state of his affairs, that he made but little reply; and, as soon as he had disengaged himself, retired to his chamber, to be at more liberty to indulge his meditations. As he could not flatter himself with having made any impression upon the heart of Arabella, he foresaw a thousand inconveniencies from the death of the marquis; for, besides that he lost a powerful mediator with his cousin, he feared that, when she appeared in the world, her beauty I.85 and fortune would attract a crowd of admirers, among whom, it was probable, she would find some one more agreeable to her taste than himself. As he loved her with great tenderness, this thought made him extremely uneasy; and he would sometimes wish the marquis had laid a stronger injunction upon her in his will to marry him; and regretted the little power his father had over her: but he was too generous to dwell long upon these thoughts, and contented himself with resolving to do all that was honourable to obtain her, without seeking for any assistance from unjustifiable methods.
Which contains some common occurrences, but placed in a new light.
Arabella, in a few days, leaving her chamber, had so many opportunities of charming her uncle by her conversation, which, when it did not turn upon any incident in her romances, was perfectly fine, easy, and entertaining, that he declared he should quit the castle with great regret; and endeavoured to persuade her to accompany him to town: but Arabella, who was determined to pass the year of her mourning in the retirement she had always lived in, absolutely refused, strong as her curiosity was to see London.
Mr. Glanville secretly rejoiced at this resolution, though he seemed desirous of making her change it; but she was unalterable; and, therefore, the baronet did not think proper to press her any more.
Her father’s will being read to her, she seemed extremely pleased with the article in favour of Mr. I.86 Glanville, wishing him joy of the estate that was bequeathed to him, with a most enchanting sweetness.
Mr. Glanville sighed, and cast his eyes on the ground, as he returned her compliment, with a very low bow; and Sir Charles, observing his confusion, told Arabella, that he thought it was a very bad omen for his son, to wish him joy of an estate which he could not come to the possession of but by a very great misfortune.
Arabella, understanding his meaning, blushed; and, willing to change the discourse, proceeded to consult her uncle upon the regulation of her house. Besides the legacies her father had bequeathed to his servants, those who were more immediately about his person she desired might have their salaries continued to them: she made no other alteration, than discharging these attendants; retaining all the others, and submitting to her uncle the management of her estates; receiving the allowance he thought proper to assign her, till she was of age, of which she wanted three years.
Every thing being settled, Sir Charles prepared to return to town. Mr. Glanville, who desired nothing so much as to stay some time longer with his cousin in her solitude, got his father to entreat that favour for him of Arabella: but she represented to her uncle the impropriety of a young gentleman’s staying with her, in her house, now her father was dead, in a manner so genteel and convincing, that Sir Charles could press it no farther; and all that Mr. Glanville could obtain, was a permission to visit her some time after, provided he could prevail upon his sister, Miss Charlotte Glanville, to accompany him.
The day of their departure being come, Sir Charles took his leave of his charming niece, with many expressions I.87 of esteem and affection; and Mr. Glanville appeared so concerned, that Arabella could not help observing it, and bade him adieu with great sweetness.
When they were gone, she found her time hung heavy upon her hands; her father was continually in her thoughts, and made her extremely melancholy: she recollected the many agreeable conversations she had had with Glanville, and wished it had been consistent with decency to have detained him. Her books being the only amusement she had left, she applied herself to reading with more eagerness than ever; but, notwithstanding the delight she took in this employment, she had so many hours of solitude and melancholy to indulge the remembrance of her father in, that she was very far from being happy.
As she wished for nothing more passionately than an agreeable companion of her own sex and rank, an accident threw a person in her way, who for some days afforded her a little amusement. Stepping one day out of her coach, to go into church, she saw a young lady enter, accompanied by a middle-aged woman, who seemed to be an attendant. As Arabella had never seen any one, above the rank of a gentleman farmer’s daughter, in this church, her attention was immediately engaged by the appearance of this stranger, who was very magnificently dressed. Though she did not seem to be more than eighteen years of age, her stature was above the ordinary size of women; and, being rather too plump to be delicate, her mien was so majestic, and such an air of grandeur was diffused over her whole person, joined to the charms of a very lovely face, that Arabella could hardly help thinking she saw the beautiful Candace before her, who, by Scudery’s description, very much resembled this fair one.I.88
Arabella, having heedfully observed her looks, thought she saw a great appearance of melancholy in her eyes, which filled her with a generous concern for the misfortunes of so admirable a person; but the service beginning, she was not at liberty to indulge her reflections upon this occasion, as she never suffered any thoughts, but those of religion, to intrude upon her mind during these pious rites.
As she was going out of church, she observed the young lady, attended only by the woman who came with her, preparing to walk home, and therefore stept forward, and saluted her with a grace peculiar to herself, entreated her to come into her coach, and give her the pleasure of setting her down at her own house. So obliging an offer, from a person of Arabella’s rank, could not fail of being received with great respect by the young lady, who was not ignorant of all the forms of , and, accepting her invitation, she stepped into the coach; Arabella obliging her woman to come in also, for whom, as she had that day only Lucy along with her, there was room enough.
As they were going home, Arabella, who longed to be better acquainted, entreated the fair stranger, as she called her, to go to the castle, and spend the day with her; and she consenting, they passed by the house where she lodged, and alighted at the castle, where Arabella welcomed her with the most obliging expressions of civility and respect. The young lady, though perfectly versed in the modes of town-breeding, and nothing-meaning ceremony, was at a loss how to make proper returns to the civilities of Arabella. The native elegance and simplicity of her manners were accompanied with so much real benevolence of heart, such insinuating tenderness and graces so irresistible, that she was quite oppressed with them; and having spent most of her I.89 time, between her toilet and quadrille, was so little qualified for partaking a conversation so refined as Arabella’s, that her discourse appeared quite tedious to her, since it was neither upon fashions, assemblies, cards, nor scandal.
Her silence, and that absence of mind which she betrayed, made Arabella conclude she was under some very great affliction; and to amuse her, after dinner, led her into the gardens, supposing a person whose uneasiness, as she did not doubt, proceeded from love, would be pleased with the sight of groves and streams, and be tempted to disclose her misfortunes while they wandered in that agreeable privacy. In this, however, she was deceived; for though the young lady sighed several times, yet, when she did speak, it was only of indifferent things, and not at all in the manner of an afflicted heroine.
After observing upon a thousand trifles, she told Arabella, at last, to whom she was desirous of making known her alliance to quality, that these gardens were extremely like those of her father’s-in-law, the Duke of ——, at ——.
At this intimation, she expected Arabella would be extremely surprised; but that lady, whose thoughts were always familiarized to objects of grandeur, and would not have been astonished if she had understood her guest was the daughter of a king, appeared so little moved, that the lady was piqued by her indifference; and, after a few moment’s silence, began to mention going away.
Arabella, who was desirous of retaining her a few days, entreated her so obligingly to favour her with her company for some time in her solitude, that the other could not refuse; and dispatching her woman to the house where she lodged, to inform them of her stay at the castle, would have dispensed with I.90 her coming again to attend her, had not Arabella insisted upon the contrary.
The reserve which the daughter-in-law of the Duke of —— still continued to maintain, notwithstanding the repeated expressions of friendship Arabella used to her, increased her curiosity to know her adventures, which she was extremely surprised she had never offered to relate; but attributing her silence upon this head to her modesty, she was resolved, as was the custom in those cases, to oblige her woman, who, she presumed, was her confidante, to relate her lady’s history to her, and sending for this person one day, when she was alone, to attend her in her closet, she gave orders to her women, if the fair stranger came to inquire for her, to say she was then busy, but would wait on her as soon as possible.
After this caution, she ordered Mrs. Morris to be admitted; and, obliging her to sit down, told her she sent for her in order to hear from her the history of her lady’s life, which she was extremely desirous of knowing.
Mrs. Morris, who was a person of sense, and had seen the world, was extremely surprised at this request of Arabella, which was quite contrary to the laws of good-breeding, and, as she thought, betrayed a great deal of impertinent curiosity: she could not tell how to account for the free manner in which she desired her to give up her lady’s secrets, which, indeed, were not of a nature to be told; and appeared so much confused, that Arabella took notice of it; and supposing it was her bashfulness which caused her embarrassment, she endeavoured to reassure her by the most affable behaviour imaginable.
Mrs. Morris, who was not capable of much fidelity for her lady, being but lately taken into her I.91 service, and not extremely fond of her, thought she had now a fine opportunity of recommending herself to Arabella, by telling her all she knew of Miss Groves, for that was her name; and therefore told her, since she was pleased to command it, she would give her what account she was able of her lady: but entreated her to be secret, because it was of great consequence to her, that her affairs should not be known.
I always imagined, said Arabella, that your beautiful mistress had some particular reason for not making herself known, and for coming in this private manner into this part of the country: you may assure yourself, therefore, that I will protect her as far as I am able, and offer her all the assistance in my power to give her; therefore you may acquaint me with her adventures, without being apprehensive of a discovery that would be prejudicial to her.
Mrs. Morris, who had been much better pleased with the assurances of a reward for the intelligence she was going to give her, looked a little foolish at these fine promises, in which she had no share; and Arabella, supposing she was endeavouring to recollect all the passages of her lady’s life, told her she need not give herself the trouble to acquaint her with any thing that passed during the infancy of her lady, but proceed to acquaint her with matters of greater importance: And since, said she, you have, no doubt, been most favoured with her confidence, you will do me a pleasure to describe to me, exactly all the thoughts of her soul, as she has communicated them to you, that I may the better comprehend her history.I.92
The history of Miss Groves, interspersed with some very curious observations.
Though, madam, said Mrs. Morris, I have not been long in Miss Groves’s service, yet I know a great many things by means of her former woman, who told them to me, though my lady thinks I am ignorant of them; and I know that this is her second trip into the country.
Pray, interrupted Arabella, do me the favour to relate things methodically: of what use is it to me to know that this is your lady’s second trip, as you call it, into the country, if I know not the occasion of it? Therefore begin with informing me, who were the parents of this admirable young person.
Her father, madam, said Mrs. Morris, was a merchant; and at his death left her a large fortune, and so considerable a jointure to his wife, that the Duke of ——, being then a widower, was tempted to make his addresses to her. Mrs. Groves was one of the proudest women in the world; and this offer flattering her ambition more than ever she had reason to expect, she married the duke after a very short courtship, and carried Miss Groves down with her to ——, where the duke had a fine seat, and where she was received by his grace’s daughters, who were much about her own age, with great civility. Miss Groves, madam, was then about twelve years old, and was educated with the duke’s daughters, who in a little time became quite disgusted with their new sister; for Miss Groves, who inherited her mother’s pride, though not her understanding, in all things affected an equality with those young ladies, who, conscious of the superiority of their birth, could but I.93 ill bear with her insolence and presumption. As they grew older, difference of their inclinations caused perpetual quarrels amongst them; for his grace’s daughters were serious, reserved, and pious. Miss Graves affected noisy mirth, was a great romp, and delighted in masculine exercises.
The duchess was often reflected on for suffering her daughter, without any other company than two or three servants, to spend great part of the day in riding about the country, leaping over hedges and ditches, exposing her fair face to the injuries of the sun and wind; and, by those coarse exercises, contracting a masculine and robust air not becoming her sex and tender years: yet she could not be prevailed upon to restrain her from this diversion, till it was reported, she had listened to the addresses of a young sportsman who used to mix in the train, when she went upon those rambles, and procured frequent opportunities of conversing with her.
There is a great difference, interrupted Arabella, in suffering addresses, and being betrayed into an involuntary hearing of them, and this last I conceive to have been the case of your lady; for it is not very probable she would so far forget what she owed to her own glory, as to be induced to listen quietly to discourses like those you mention.
However, madam, resumed Mrs. Morris, the duchess thought it necessary to keep her more at home; but even here she was not without meeting adventures, and found a lover in the person who taught her to write.
That, indeed, was a very notable adventure, said Arabella; but it is not strange that love should produce such metamorphoses; it is not very long ago that I heard of a man of quality who disguised himself in a poor habit, and worked in the gardens of a I.94 certain nobleman, whose daughter he was enamoured with: these things happen every day.
The person I speak of, madam, said Mrs. Morris, was never discovered to be any thing better than a writing-master; and yet, for all that, Miss was smitten with his fine person, and was taking measures to run away with him, when the intrigue was discovered, the lover dismissed, and the young lady, whose faulty conduct had drawn upon her her mother’s dislike, was sent up to London, and allowed to be her own mistress at sixteen; to which unpardonable neglect of her mother she owes the misfortunes that have since befallen her.
Whatever may be the common opinion of this matter, interrupted Arabella, again, I am persuaded the writing-master, as you call him, was some person of quality, who made use of that device to get access to his beautiful mistress. Love is ingenious in artifices; who would have thought, that, under the name of Alcippus, a simple attendant of the fair Artemisa, princess of Armenia, the gallant Alexander, son of the great and unfortunate Antony, by Queen Cleopatra, was concealed, who took upon himself that mean condition for the sake of seeing his adored princess? Yet the contrivance of Orontes, prince of the Massagetes, was far more ingenious, and even dangerous; for this valiant and young prince happening to see the picture of the beautiful Thalestris, daughter of the queen of the Amazons, he fell passionately in love with her; and, knowing that the entrance into that country was forbid to men, he dressed himself in women’s apparel; and, finding means to be introduced to the queen and her fair daughter, whose amity he gained by some very singular services in the wars, he lived several years undiscovered in their court; I see, therefore, no reason I.95 to the contrary, but that this writing-master might have been some illustrious person, whom love had disguised; and, I am persuaded, added she, smiling, that I shall hear more of him anon, in a very different character.
Indeed, madam, said Mrs. Morris, whom this speech of Arabella had extremely surprised, I never heard any thing more about him than what I have related; and, for what I know, he continues still to teach writing; for I do not suppose the duchess’s displeasure could affect him.
How is it possible, said Arabella, that you can suppose such an offence to probability? In my opinion it is much more likely, that this unfortunate lover is dead through despair; or, perhaps, wandering over the world in search of that fair-one who was snatched from his hopes.
If it was his design to seek for her, madam, resumed Mrs. Morris, he need not have gone far, since she was only sent to London, whither he might easily have followed her.
There is no accounting for these things, said Arabella; perhaps he has been imposed upon, and made to believe, that it was she herself that banished him from her presence: it is probable, too, that he was jealous, and thought she preferred some one of his rivals to him. Jealousy is inseparable from true love; and the slightest matters imaginable will occasion it; and what is still more wonderful, this passion creates the greatest disorders in the most sensible and delicate hearts. Never was there a more refined and faithful passion than that of the renowned Artamenes for Mandane; and yet this prince was almost driven to distraction by a smile, which he fancied he saw in the face of his divine mistress, at a time when she had some reason to believe he was dead; and he was so transported with grief and I.96 rage, that though he was a prisoner in his enemy’s camp, where the knowledge of his quality would have procured him certain death, yet he determined to hazard all things for the sake of presenting himself before Mandane and upbraiding her with her infidelity; when, in reality, nothing was farther from the thoughts of that fair and virtuous princess, than the lightness he accused her of; so that, as I said before, it is not at all to be wondered at, if this disguised lover of your lady was driven to despair by suspicions as groundless, perhaps, as those of Artamenes, yet not the less cruel and tormenting.
Mrs. Morris, finding Arabella held her peace at these words, went on with her history in this Miss Groves, madam, being directed by her woman in all things, took up her lodgings in her father’s house, who was a broken tradesman, and obliged to keep himself concealed for fear of his creditors; here she formed her equipage, which consisted of a chair, one footman, a cook, and her woman: as she was indulged with the command of what money she pleased, her extravagance was boundless; she lavished away large sums at gaming, which was her favourite diversion; kept such a number of different animals for favourites, that their maintenance amounted to a considerable sum every year; her woman’s whole family were supported at her expence; and, as she frequented all public places, and surpassed ladies of the first quality in finery, her dress alone consumed great part of her income. I need not tell you, madam, that my lady was a celebrated beauty; you have yourself been pleased to say, that she is very handsome. When she first appeared at court, her beauty and the uncommon dignity of her person, at such early years, made her the object of general I.97 admiration. The king was particularly struck with her; and declared to those about him, that Miss Groves was the finest woman at court. The ladies, however, found means to explain away all that was flattering in this distinction; they said Miss Groves was clumsy: and it was her resemblance to the unwieldy German ladies that made her so much admired by his majesty. Her pride, and the quality-airs she affected, were the subject of great ridicule to those that envied her charms; some censures were maliciously cast on her birth; for, as she was always styled the Duchess of ——’s daughter, a custom she introduced herself, she seemed to disclaim all title to a legal father. Miss Groves, as universally admired as she was, yet made but very few particular conquests. Her fortune was known to be very considerable, and her mother’s jointure was to descend to her after her death: yet there was no gentleman who would venture upon a wife of Miss Groves’s taste for expense, as very few estates to which she could pretend, would support her extravagance. The Honourable Mr. L——, brother to the Earl of ——, was the only one amidst a crowd of admirers, who made any particular address to her. This gentleman was tolerably handsome, and had the art of making himself agreeable to the ladies by a certain air of softness and tenderness which never failed to make some impression upon those he desired to deceive.
Miss Groves was ravished with her conquest; and boasted of it so openly, that people who were acquainted with this gentleman’s character, foreseeing her fate, could not help pitying her.
A very few months courtship completed the ruin of poor Miss Groves; she fell a sacrifice to oaths which had been often prostituted for the same inhuman purposes; and became so fond of her betrayer, I.98 that it was with great difficulty he could persuade her not to give him, even in public, the most ridiculous proofs of her tenderness. Her woman pretends she was ignorant of this intrigue, till Miss Groves growing big with child, it could no longer be concealed; it was at length agreed she should lie in at her own lodgings, to prevent any suspicions from her retreating into the country; but that scheme was over-ruled by her woman’s mother, who advised her to conceal herself in some village, not far from town, till the affair was over.
Miss Groves approved of this second proposal, but took advantage of her shape, which, being far from delicate, would not easily discover any growing bigness, to stay in town as long as she possibly could. When her removal was necessary, she went to the lodgings provided for her, a few miles distant from London: and, notwithstanding the excuses which were framed for this sudden absence, the true cause was more than suspected by some busy people, who industriously inquired into her affairs.
Mr. L—— saw her but seldom during her illness: the fear of being discovered was his pretence; but her friends easily saw through this disguise, and were persuaded Miss Groves was waning in his affections.
As she had a very strong constitution, she returned to town at the end of three weeks: the child was dead, and she looked handsomer than ever. Mr. L—— continued his visits; and the town to make remarks of them. All this time the duchess never troubled herself about the conduct of this unfortunate young creature; and the people she was with had not the goodness to give her the least hint of her misconduct, and the waste of her fortune; on the contrary, they almost turned her head with their I.99 flatteries, preyed upon her fortune, and winked at her irregularities.
She was now a second time with child; her character was pretty severely handled by her enemies; Mr. L—— began openly to slight her; and she was several thousand pounds in debt. The mother and sisters of her woman, in whose house she still was, were base enough to whisper the fault she had been guilty of to all their acquaintances. Her story became generally known; she was shunned and neglected by every body; and even Mr. L——, who had been the cause of her ruin, entirely abandoned her, and boasted openly of the favours he had received from her.
Miss Groves protested to her friends, that he had promised her marriage; but Mr. L—— constantly denied it; and never scrupled to say, when he was questioned about it, that he found Miss Groves too easy a conquest to make any perjury necessary. Her tenderness, however, for this base man was so great, that she could never bear to hear him railed at in her presence; but would quarrel with the only friends she had left, if they said any thing to his disadvantage. As she was now pretty far advanced with child, she would have retired into the country; but the bad condition of her affairs made her removal impossible: in this extremity she had recourse to her uncle, a rich merchant in the city, who, having taken all the necessary precautions for his own security, paid Miss Groves’s debts, carrying on, in her name, a law-suit with the duchess, for some lands which were to be put into her hands when she was of age, and which that great lady detained. Miss Groves being reduced to live upon something less than an hundred a year, quitted London, and came into this part of the country, where she was received by Mrs. Barnet, I.100 one of her woman’s sisters, who is married to a country gentleman of some fortune; in her house she lay in of a girl, which Mr. L—— sent to demand, and will not be persuaded to inform her how, or in what manner, he has disposed of the child.
Her former woman leaving her, I was received in her place, from whom I learnt all these particulars: and Miss Groves having gained the affections of Mr. Barnet’s brother, her beauty, and the large fortune which she has in reversion, has induced him, notwithstanding the knowledge of her past unhappy conduct, to marry her. But their marriage is yet a secret, Miss Groves being apprehensive of her uncle’s displeasure for not consulting him in her choice.
Her husband is gone to London, with an intention to acquaint him with it: and when he returns, their marriage will be publicly owned.
Containing what a judicious reader will hardly approve.
Mrs. Morris ending her narration, Arabella, who had not been able to restrain her tears at some parts of it, thanked her for the trouble she had been at; and assured her of her secrecy; Your lady’s case, said she, is much to be lamented; and greatly resembles the unfortunate Cleopatra’s, whom Julius Cæsar privately marrying, with a promise to own her for his wife when he should be peaceable master of the Roman empire, left that great queen big with child; and, never intending to perform his I.101 promise, suffered her to be exposed to the censures the world has so freely cast upon her, and which she so little deserved.
Mrs. Morris seeing the favourable light in which Arabella viewed the actions of her lady, did not think proper to say any thing to undeceive her; but went out of the closet, not a little mortified at her disappointment; for she saw she was likely to receive nothing for betraying her lady’s secrets, from Arabella; who seemed so little sensible of the pleasure of scandal, as to be wholly ignorant of its nature; and not to know it when it was told her.
Miss Groves, who was just come to Lady Bella’s chamber-door, to inquire for her, was surprised to see her woman come out of it; and who, upon meeting her, expressed great confusion. As she was going to ask her some questions concerning her business there, Arabella came out of the closet; and, seeing Miss Groves in her chamber, asked her pardon for staying so long from her.
I have been listening to your history, said she, with great frankness, which your woman has been relating; and I assure you I am extremely sensible of your misfortunes.
Miss Groves, at these words, blushed with extreme confusion; and Mrs. Morris turned pale with astonishment and fear. Arabella, not sensible that she had been guilty of any indiscretion, proceeded to make reflections upon some part of her story; which, though they were not at all disadvantageous to that young lady, she received as so many insults; and asked Lady Bella if she was not ashamed to tamper with a servant to betray the secrets of her mistress.
Arabella, a little surprised at so rude a question, answered with great sweetness; and protested to her, that she would make no ill use of what she had I.102 learned of her affairs: For, in fine, madam, said she, do you think I am less fit to be trusted with your secrets, than the princess of Leontines was with those of Clelia; between whom there was no greater amity and acquaintance than with us? And you must certainly know, that the secrets which that admirable person intrusted with Lysimena, were of a nature to be more dangerous, if revealed, than yours. The happiness of Clelia depended upon Lysimena’s fidelity; and the liberty, nay, haply, the life of Aronces, would have in danger, if she had betrayed them. Though I do not intend to arrogate to myself the possession of those admirable qualities which adorned the princess of the Leontines, yet I will not yield to her, or any one else, in generosity and fidelity; and if you will be pleased to repose as much confidence in me, as those illustrious lovers did in her, you shall be convinced I will labour as earnestly for your interest, as that fair princess did for those of Aronces and Clelia.
Miss Groves was so busied in reflecting upon the baseness of her woman in exposing her, that she heard not a word of this fine harangue, (at which Mrs. Morris, notwithstanding the cause she had for uneasiness, could hardly help laughing;) but, assuming some of that haughtiness in her looks, for which she used to be remarkable, she told Lady Bella, that she imputed her impertinent curiosity to her country ignorance and ill-breeding; and she did not doubt but she would be served in her own kind, and meet with as bad fortune as she had done; and, perhaps, deserve it worse than she did; for there are more false men in the world besides Mr. L——; and she was no handsomer than other people.
Saying this, she flung out of the room, her woman I.103 following, leaving Arabella in such confusion at a behaviour of which she had never before had an idea, that for some moments she remained immoveable.
Recollecting herself, at last, and conceiving that civility required she should endeavour to appease this incensed lady, she went down stairs after her; and, stopping her just as she was going out of the house, entreated her to be calm, and suffer her to vindicate herself from the imputation of being impertinently curious to know her affairs.
Miss Groves, quite transported with shame and anger, refused absolutely to stay.
At least, madam, said Arabella; stay till my coach can be got ready, and don’t think of walking home so slightly attended.
This offer was as sullenly answered as the other; and Arabella, finding she was determined to venture home, with no other guard than her woman, who silently followed her, ordered two of her footmen to attend her at a small distance; and to defend her, if there should be occasion.
For who knows, says she to Lucy, what accident may happen? Some one or other of her insolent lovers may take this opportunity to carry her away; and I should never forgive myself for being the cause of such a misfortune to her.
Mrs. Morris having found it easy to reconcile herself to her lady, by assuring her, that Lady Bella was acquainted with great part of her story before; and that what she told her, tended only to justify her conduct, as she might have been convinced by what Lady Bella said; they both went home with a resolution to say nothing of what had passed with relation to the cause of the disgust Miss Groves had received; but only said, in general, that Lady Bella was the most ridiculous creature I.104 in the world, and was totally ignorant of good-breeding, that it was impossible to converse with her.
Which treats of the Olympic Games.
While Arabella was ruminating on the unaccountable behaviour of her new acquaintance, she received a letter from her uncle, informing her (for she had expressly forbid Mr. Glanville to write to her) that his son and daughter intended to set out for her seat in a few days.
This news was received with great satisfaction by Arabella, who hoped to find an agreeable companion in her cousin; and was not so insensible of Mr. Glanville’s merit, as not to feel some kind of pleasure at the thought of seeing him again.
This letter was soon followed by the arrival of Mr. Glanville and his sister; who, upon the sight of Arabella, discovered some appearance of astonishment and chagrin; for, notwithstanding all her brother had told her of her accomplishments, she could not conceive it possible for a young lady, bred up in the country, to be so perfectly elegant and genteel as she found her cousin.
As Miss Charlotte had a large share of coquetry in her composition, and was fond of beauty in none of her own sex but herself, she was sorry to see Lady Bella possessed of so great a share; and, being in hopes her brother had drawn a flattering figure of her cousin, she was extremely disappointed at finding the original so handsome.
Arabella, on the contrary, was highly pleased I.105 with Miss Glanville; and, finding her person very agreeable, did not fail to commend her beauty: a sort of complaisance mightily in use among the heroines, who knew not what envy or emulation meant.
Miss Glanville received her praises with great politeness, but could not find in her heart to return them: and, as soon as these compliments were over, Mr. Glanville told Lady Bella how tedious he had found the short absence she had forced him to, and how great was his satisfaction at seeing her again.
I shall not dispute the truth of your last assertion, replied Arabella, smiling, since I verily believe, you are mighty well satisfied at present; but I know not how you will make it appear that an absence, which you allow to be short, has seemed so tedious to you; for this is a manifest contradiction: however, pursued she, preventing his reply, you look so well, and so much at ease, that I am apt to believe, absence has agreed very well with you.
And yet I assure you, madam, said Mr. Glanville, interrupting her, that I have suffered more uneasiness during this absence, than I fear you will permit me to tell you.
Since, replied Arabella, that uneasiness has neither made you thinner, nor paler, I don’t think you ought to be pitied: for, to say the truth, in these sort of matters, a person’s bare testimony has but little weight.
Mr. Glanville was going to make her some answer; when Miss Glanville, who, while they had been speaking, was adjusting her dress at the glass, came up to them, and made the conversation more general.
After dinner, they adjourned to the gardens, I.106 where the gay Miss Glanville, running eagerly from one walk to another, gave her brother as many opportunities of talking to Lady Bella as he could wish: however, he stood in such awe of her, and dreaded so much another banishment, that he did not dare, otherwise than by distant hints, to mention his passion; and Arabella, well enough pleased with a respect that in some measure came up to her expectation, discovered no resentment at insinuations she was at liberty to dissemble the knowledge of; and if he could not, by her behaviour, flatter himself with any great hopes, yet he found as little reason, in Arabella’s language, to despair.
Miss Glanville, at the end of a few weeks, was so tired of the magnificent solitude she lived in, that she heartily repented her journey; and insinuated to her brother her inclination to return to town.
Mr. Glanville, knowing his stay was regulated by his sister’s, entreated her not to expose him to the mortification of leaving Arabella so soon; and promised her he would contrive some amusements for her, which should make her relish the country better than she had yet done.
Accordingly, he proposed to Arabella to go to the races, which were to be held at ——, a few miles from the castle: she would have excused herself, upon account of her mourning; but Miss Glanville discovered so great an inclination to be present at this diversion, that Arabella could no longer refuse to accompany her.
Since, said she to Miss Glanville, you are fond of public diversions, it happens very luckily, that these races are to be held at the time you are here: I never heard of them before, and I presume it is a good many years since they were last celebrated.—Pray, sir, pursued she, turning to Glanville, do I.107 not these races, in some degree, resemble the Olympic games? Do the candidates ride in chariots?
No, madam, replied Glanville; the jockeys are mounted upon the fleetest coursers they can procure; and he who first reaches the goal obtains the prize.
And who is the fair lady that is to bestow it? resumed Arabella: I dare engage one of her lovers will enter the lists; she will, doubtless, be in no less anxiety than he; and the shame of being overcome will hardly affect him with more concern than herself; that is, provided he be so happy as to have gained her affections. I cannot help thinking the fair Elismonda was extremely happy in this particular: for she had the satisfaction to see her secret admirer victor in all the exercises at the Olympic games, and carry away the prize from many princes and persons of rare quality, who were candidates with him; and he had also the glory to receive three crowns, in one day, from the hands of his adored princess; who, questionless, bestowed them upon him with an infinite deal of joy.
What sort of races were these, madam? said Miss Glanville; whose reading had been very confined.
The Olympic games, miss, said Arabella, so called from Olympia, a city near which they were performed, in the plains of Elis, consisted of foot and chariot-races; combats with the cestus; wrestling, and other sports. They were instituted in honour of the gods and heroes: and were therefore termed sacred, and were considered as a part of religion.
They were a kind of school, or military apprenticeship; in which the courage of the youth found constant employment: and the reason why victory I.108 in those games was attended with such extraordinary applause, was, that their minds might be quickened with great and noble prospects, when, in this image of war, they arrived to a pitch of glory, approaching, in some respects, to that of the most famous conquerors. They thought this sort of triumph one of the greatest parts of happiness of which human nature was capable: so that when Diagoras had seen his sons crowned in the Olympic games, one of his friends made him this compliment: “Now, Diagoras, you may die satisfied; since you can’t be a god.” It would tire you, perhaps, was I to describe all the exercises performed there: but you may form a general notion of them, from what you have doubtless read of justs and tournaments.
Really, said Miss Glanville, I never read about any such things.
No! replied Arabella, surprised, Well, then, I must tell you, that they hold a middle place, between a diversion and a combat; but the Olympic games were attended with a much greater pomp and variety: and not only all other neighbouring nations, were in a manner drained, to furnish out the appearance.
Well, for my part, said Miss Glanville, I never before heard of these sort of races; those I have been at were quite different. I know the prizes and bets are sometimes very considerable.
And, doubtless, interrupted Arabella, there are a great many heroes who signalize themselves at these races; not for the sake of the prize, which would be unworthy of great souls, but to satisfy that burning desire of glory, which spurs them on to every occasion of gaining it.
As for the heroes, or jockeys, said Miss Glanville, call them what you please, I believe they have I.109 very little share, either of the profit or glory; for their masters have the one, and the horses the other.
The masters, interrupted Arabella: I suppose a great many foreign princes send their favourites to combat, in their name? I remember to have read, that Alcibiades triumphed three times successively at the Olympic games, by means of one of his domestics, who, in his master’s name, entered the lists.
Mr. Glanville, fearing his sister would make some absurd answer, and thereby disoblige his cousin, took up the discourse: and turning it upon the Grecian history, engrossed her conversation for two hours, wholly to himself; while Miss Glanville (to whom all they said was quite unintelligible) diverted herself with humming a tune, and tinkling her cousin’s harpsichord; which proved no interruption to the more rational entertainment of her brother and Arabella.
Which concludes with an excellent moral sentence.
The day being come on which they designed to be present at the races, (or, as Arabella called them, the games) Miss Glanville, having spent four long hours in dressing herself to the greatest advantage, in order, if possible, to eclipse her lovely cousin, whose mourning, being much deeper, was less capable of ornaments, came into her chamber; and, finding her still in her morning-dress, For heaven’s sake, Lady Bella, said she, when do you propose to I.110 be ready? Why, it is almost time to be gone, my brother says, and here you are not dressed. Don’t be uneasy, said Arabella, smiling, and going to her toilet, I shall not make you wait long.
Miss Glanville seating herself near the table, resolved to be present while her cousin was dressing, that she might have an opportunity to make some remarks to her disadvantage: but she was extremely mortified, to observe the haste and negligence she made her women use in this important employment: and that, notwithstanding her indifference, nothing could appear more lovely and genteel.
Miss Glanville, however, pleased herself with the certainty of seeing her cousin’s dress extremely ridiculed, for the peculiar fashion of her gown; and the veil, which, as becoming as it was, would, by its novelty, occasion great diversion among the ladies, helped to comfort her for the superiority of her charms; which, partial as she was to her own, she could not help secretly confessing.
Arabella being dressed in much less time than her cousin, Mr. Glanville was admitted, who led her down stairs to her coach. His sister, (secretly repining at the advantage Arabella had over her, in having so respectful an adorer) followed; and, being placed in the coach, they set out with great appearance of good-humour on all sides.
They got to —— but just time enough to see the beginning of the first course. Arabella, who fancied the jockeys were persons of great distinction, soon became interested in the fate of one of them, whose appearance pleased her more than the others. Accordingly, she made vows for his success, and appeared so extremely rejoiced at the advantage he had gained, that Miss Glanville maliciously told her, I.111 people would make remarks at the joy she expressed, and fancy she had a more than ordinary interest in that jockey who had first reached the goal.
Mr. Glanville, whom this impertinent insinuation of his sister had filled with confusion and spite, sat biting his lips, trembling for the effect it would produce on Arabella: but she, giving quite another turn to her cousin’s words, I assure you, said she with a smile, I am not any farther interested in the fate of this person, who has hitherto been successful, than what the handsomeness of his garb, and the superiority of his skill, may demand from an unprejudiced spectator; and though I perceive you imagine he is some concealed lover of mine, yet I don’t remember to have ever seen him; and I am confident it is not for my sake that he entered the lists; nor is it my presence which animates him.
Lord bless me, madam! replied Miss Glanville, who would ever think of such strange things as these you talk of? Nobody will pretend to deny that you are very handsome, to be sure; but yet, thank heaven, the sight of you is not so dangerous, but that such sort of people as these are may escape your chains.
Arabella was so wholly taken up with the event of the races, that she gave very little heed to this sarcastic answer of Miss Glanville; whose brother, taking advantage of an opportunity which Arabella gave him by putting her head quite out of the coach, chid her very severely for the liberty she took with her cousin. Arabella, by looking earnestly out of the window, had given so full a view of her fine person to a young baronet, who was not many paces from the coach, that, being struck with admiration at the sight of so lovely a creature, he was going up I.112 to some of her attendants to ask who she was, when he perceived Mr. Glanville, with whom he was intimately acquainted, in the coach with her: immediately he made himself known to his friend, being excessively rejoiced at having got an opportunity of beginning an acquaintance with a lady whose sight had so charmed him.
Mr. Glanville, who had observed the profound bow he made to Arabella, accompanied with a glance that shewed an extreme admiration of her, was very little pleased at this meeting; yet he dissembled his thoughts well enough in his reception of him. But Miss Glanville was quite overjoyed, hoping she would now have her turn of gallantry and compliment; therefore, accosting him in her free manner, Dear Sir George, said she, you come in a lucky time to brighten up the conversation: relations are such dull company for one another, ’tis half a minute since we have exchanged a word.
My cousin, said Arabella, smiling, has so strange a disposition for mirth, that she thinks all her moments are lost, in which she finds nothing to laugh at: for my part, I do so earnestly long to know to which of these pretenders fortune will give the victory, that I can suffer my cares for them to receive no interruption from my cousin’s agreeable gaiety. Mr. Glanville, observing the baronet gazed upon Arabella earnestly while she was speaking those few resolved to hinder him from making any reply, by asking him several questions concerning the racers, their owners, and the bets which were laid; to which Arabella added, And pray, sir, said she, do me the favour to tell me, if you know who that gallant man is, who has already won the first course.I.113
I don’t know really, madam, said Sir George, what his name is! extremely surprised at her manner of asking.
The jockey had now gained the goal a second time; and Arabella could not conceal her satisfaction. Questionless, said she, he is a very extraordinary person; but I am afraid we shall not have the pleasure of knowing who he is; for if he has any reason for keeping himself concealed, he will evade any inquiries after him, by slipping out of the lists while this hurry and tumult lasts, as Hortensius did at the Olympic games; yet, notwithstanding all his care, he was discovered by being obliged to fight a single combat with one of the persons whom he had worsted at those games.
Mr. Glanville, who saw his sister, by her little coquetries with Sir George, had prevented him from hearing great part of this odd speech, proposed returning to the castle, to which Arabella agreed, but conceiving civility obliged her to offer the convenience of a lodging to a stranger of Sir George’s appearance, and who was an acquaintance of her cousin’s, You must permit me, said she to Mr. Glanville, to entreat your noble friend will accompany us to the castle, where he will meet with better accommodations than at any inn he can find, for I conceive, that coming only to be a spectator of these games, he is wholly unprovided with a lodging.
The baronet, surprised at so uncommon a civility, was at a loss what answer to make her at first; but, recollecting himself, he told her that he would, if she pleased, do himself the honour to attend her home; but as his house was at no great distance from ——, he should be put to no inconveniency for a lodging.
Miss Glanville, who was not willing to part so soon I.114 with the baronet, insisted, with her cousin’s leave, upon his coming into the coach; which he accordingly did, giving his horse to the care of his servant; and they proceeded together to the castle; Arabella still continuing to talk of the games, as she called them, while poor Glanville, who was excessively confused, endeavoured to change the discourse, not without an apprehension, that every subject he could think of, would afford Arabella an occasion of shewing her foible; which, notwithstanding the pain it gave him, could not lessen his love.
Sir George, whose admiration of Lady Bella in creased the longer he saw her, was extremely pleased with the opportunity she had given him of cultivating an acquaintance with her: he therefore lengthened out his visit, in hopes of being able to say some fine things to her before he went away; but Miss Glanville, who strove by all the little arts she was mistress of, to engage his conversation wholly to herself, put it absolutely out of his power; so that he was obliged to take his leave without having the satisfaction of even pressing the fair hand of Arabella; so closely was he observed by her cousin. Happy was it for him, that he was prevented by her vigilance from attempting a piece of gallantry, which would undoubtedly have procured him a banishment from her presence; but, ignorant how kind fortune was to him in baulking his designs, he was ungrateful enough to go away in a mighty ill-humour with this fickle goddess: so little capable are poor mortals of knowing what is best for them!I.115
Containing some curious anecdotes.
Lady Bella, from the familiarity with which Miss Glanville treated this gay gentleman, concluding him her lover, and one who was apparently well received by her, had a strong curiosity to know her adventures; and as they were walking the next morning in the garden, she told her, that she thought it was very strange they had hitherto observed such a reserve to each other, as to banish mutual trust and confidence from their conversation: Whence comes it, cousin, added she, being so young and lovely as you are, that you, questionless, have been engaged in many adventures, you have never reposed trust enough in me to favour me with a recital of them?
Engaged in many adventures, madam! returned Miss Glanville, not liking the phrase: I believe I have been engaged in as few as your ladyship.
You are too obliging, returned Arabella, who mistook what she said for a compliment; for, since you have more beauty than I, and have also had more opportunities of making yourself beloved, questionless you have a greater number of admirers.
As for admirers, said Miss Charlotte, bridling, I fancy I have had my share! Thank God, I never found myself neglected; but, I assure you, madam, I have had no adventures, as you call them, with any of them.
No, really? interrupted Arabella, innocently.
No, really, madam! retorted Miss Glanville; and I am surprised you should think so.
Indeed, my dear, said Arabella, you are very I.116 happy in this respect, and also very singular; for I believe there are few young ladies in the world, who have any pretensions to beauty, that have not given rise to a great many adventures; and some of them haply very fatal.
If you knew more of the world, Lady Bella, said Miss Glanville, pertly, you would not be so apt to think, that young ladies engaged themselves in troublesome adventures: truly, the ladies that are brought up in town are not so ready to run away with every man they see.
No, certainly, interrupted Arabella: they do not give their consent to such proceedings; but, for all that, they are doubtless run away with many times; for truly there are some men, whose passions are so unbridled, that they will have recourse to the most violent methods to possess themselves of the objects they love. Pray do you remember how often Mandane was run away with?
Not I, indeed, madam, replied Miss Glanville; I know nothing about her: but I suppose she is a Jew, by her outlandish name.
She was no Jew, said Arabella, though she favoured that people very much; for she obtained the liberty of great numbers of them from Cyrus, who had taken them captives, and could deny her nothing she asked.
Well, said Miss Glanville, and I suppose she denied him nothing he asked; and so they were even.
Indeed but she did though, resumed Arabella; for she refused to give him a glorious scarf which she wore, though he begged it on his knees.
And she was very much in the right, said Miss Glanville; for I see no reason why a lover should expect a gift of any value from his mistress.I.117
Doubtless, said Arabella, such a gift was worth a million of services; and had he obtained it, it would have been a glorious distinction for him: however, refused it; and, severely virtuous as you are, I am persuaded you can’t help thinking she was a little too rigorous in denying a favour to a lover like him.
Severely virtuous, Lady Bella! said Miss Glanville, reddening with anger. Pray what do you mean by that? Have you any reason to imagine I would grant any favour to a lover?
Why, if I did, cousin, said Arabella, would it derogate so much from your glory, think you, to bestow a favour upon a lover worthy your esteem, and from whom you had received a thousand marks of a most pure and faithful passion, and also a great number of very singular services?
I hope, madam, said Miss Glanville, it will never be my fate to be so much obliged to any lover, as to be under the necessity of granting him favours in requital.
I vow, cousin, interrupted Arabella, you put me in mind of the fair and virtuous Antonia, who was so rigid and austere, that she thought all expressions of love were criminal; and was so far from granting any person permission to love her, that she thought it a mortal offence to be adored even in private.
Miss Glanville, who could not imagine Arabella spoke this seriously, but that it was designed to sneer at her great eagerness to make conquests, and the liberties she allowed herself in, which had probably come to her knowledge, was so extremely vexed at the malicious jest, as she thought it, that, not being able to revenge herself, she burst into tears.
Arabella’s good-nature made her greatly affected at this sight; and, asking her pardon for having undesignedly occasioned her so much uneasiness, I.118 begged her to be composed, and tell her in what she had offended her, that she might be able to justify herself in her apprehensions!
You have made no scruple to own, madam, said she, that you think me capable of granting favours to lovers? when, heaven knows, I never granted a kiss without a great deal of confusion!
And you had certainly much reason for confusion, said Arabella, excessively surprised at such a confession: I can assure you I never injured you so much in my thoughts, as to suppose you ever granted a favour of so criminal a nature.
Look you there, now! said Miss Glanville, weeping more violently than before. I knew what all your round-about speeches would come to. All you have said in vindication of granting favours, was only to draw me into a confession of what I have done: how ungenerous was that!
The favours I spoke of, madam, said Arabella, were quite of another nature, than those it seems you have so liberally granted: such as giving a scarf, a bracelet, or some such thing, to a lover, who haply sighed whole years in silence, and did not presume to declare his passion, till he had lost best part of his blood in defence of the fair-one he loved. It was when you maintained, that Mandane was in the right to refuse her magnificent scarf to the illustrious Cyrus, that I took upon me to oppose your rigidness; and so much mistaken was I in your temper, that I foolishly compared you to the fair and wise Antonia, whose severity was so remarkable; but really, by what I understand from your own confession, your disposition resembles that of the inconsiderate Julia, who would receive a declaration of love without anger from any one; and was not over-shy, any more than yourself, of granting favours almost as considerable as that you have mentioned.I.119
While Arabella was speaking, Miss Glanville, having dried up her tears, sat silently swelling with rage, not knowing whether she should openly avow her resentment for the injurious language her cousin had used to her, by going away immediately, or, by making up the matter, appear still to be her friend, that she might have the opportunities of revenging herself. The impetuosity of her temper made her most inclined to the former; but the knowledge that Sir George was to stay yet some months in the country, made her unwilling to leave a place, where she might often see a man whose fine person had made some impression upon her heart; and, not enduring to leave such a charming conquest to Arabella, she resolved to suppress her resentment for the present; and listened, without any appearance of discomposure, to a fine harangue of her cousin upon the necessity of reserve, and distant behaviour, to men who presumed to declare themselves lovers, enforcing her precepts with examples drawn from all the romances she had ever read; at the end of which she embraced her, and assured her, if she had said any thing harsh, it proceeded from her great regard to her glory, of which she ardently wished to see her as fond as herself.
Miss Glanville constrained herself to make a reply that might not appear disagreeable: and they were upon these terms when Mr. Glanville came up to them, and told Lady Bella Sir George had sent to entreat their company at his house that day. But, added he, as I presume you will not think proper to go, on account of your mourning, neither my sister nor I will accept the invitation.
I dare say, interrupted Miss Glanville, hastily, Lady Bella will not expect such a needless piece of ceremony from us; and if she don’t think proper to go, she won’t confine us.I.120
By no means, cousin, said Arabella, smiling; and being persuaded Sir George makes the entertainment purely for your sake, it would not be kind in me to deprive him of your company.
Mr. Glanville being pleased to find his cousin discovered no inclination to go, would have persuaded his sister not to leave Lady Bella; but Miss Glanville looked so much displeased at his request, that he was obliged to insist upon it no more; and both retiring to dress, Lady Bella went up to her apartment, and betook herself to her books, which supplied the place of all company to her.
Miss Glanville, having taken more than ordinary pains in dressing herself, in order to appear charming in the eyes of Sir George, came in to pay her compliments to Lady Bella before she went, not doubting but she would be chagrined to see her look so well: but Lady Bella, on the contrary, praised the clearness of her complexion, and the sparkling of her eyes.
I question not, said she, but you will give fetters to more persons than one to-day; but remember, I charge you, added she, smiling, while you are taking away the liberty of others, to have a special care of your own.
Miss Glanville, who could not think it possible one woman could praise another with any sincerity, cast a glance at the glass, fearing it was rather because she looked but indifferently that her cousin was so lavish in her praises; and while she was settling her features in a mirror which every day represented a face infinitely more lovely than her own, Mr. Glanville came in, who, after having very respectfully taken leave of Lady Bella, led his sister to the coach.
Sir George, who was extremely mortified to find Lady Bella not in it, handed Miss Glanville out with I.121 an air so reserved, that she rallied him upon it; and gave her brother a very unpleasing emotion, by telling Sir George she hoped Lady Bella’s not coming along with them would not make him bad company.
As he was too gallant to suffer an handsome young lady, who spread all her attractions for him, to believe he regretted the absence of another when she was present; he coquetted with her so much, that Mr. Glanville was in hopes his sister would wholly engage him from Lady Bella.
In which our heroine is engaged in a very perilous adventure.
In the mean time, that solitary fair one was alarmed by a fear of a very unaccountable nature; for being in the evening in her closet, the windows of which had a prospect of the gardens, she saw her illustrious concealed lover, who went by the name of Edward, while he was in her father’s service, talking with great emotion to her house-steward, who seemed earnestly to listen to some propositions he was making to him. Her surprise at this sight was so great, that she had not power to observe them any longer; but, seating herself in her chair, she had just spirits enough to call Lucy to her assistance; who, extremely frighted at the pale looks of her lady, gave her a smelling bottle, and was preparing to cut her lace, when Arabella, preventing her, told her, in a low voice, that she feared she should be betrayed into the hands of an insolent lover, who was come to steal her away. Yes, added she, with I.122 great emotion, I have seen this presumptuous man holding a conversation with one of my servants; and though I could not possibly, at this distance, hear their discourse, yet the gestures they used in speaking explained it too well to me; and I have reason to expect, I shall suffer the same violence that many illustrious ladies have done before me; and be carried away by force from my own house, as they were.
Alas! madam! said Lucy, terrified at this discourse, who is it that intends to carry your ladyship away? Sure no robbers will attempt any mischief at such a time at this!
Yes, Lucy, replied Arabella, with great gravity, the worst kind of robbers; robbers who do not prey upon gold and jewels; but, what is infinitely more precious, liberty and honour. Do you know, that person who called himself Edward, and worked in these gardens like a common gardener, is now in the house, corrupting my servants; and, questionless, preparing to force open my chamber, and carry me away? And heaven knows when I shall be delivered from his chains!
God forbid, said Lucy, sobbing, that ever such a lady should have such hard hap? What crime, I wonder, can you be guilty of, to deserve to be in chains?
My crime, resumed Arabella, is to have attractions which expose me to these inevitable misfortunes, which even the greatest princesses have not escaped. But, dear Lucy, can you not think of some methods by which I may avoid the evil which waits me? Who knows but that he may, within these few moments, force a passage into my apartment? These slight locks can make but a poor resistance to the violence he will be capable of using.
Oh, dear madam! cried Lucy, trembling, and pressing near her, what shall we do?I.123
I asked you advice, said she; but I perceive you are less able than myself to think of any thing to save me.—Ah! Glanville! pursued she, sighing, would to heaven thou wert here now!
Yes, madam, said Lucy, Mr. Glanville, I am sure, would not suffer any one to hurt your ladyship.
As thou valuest my friendship, said Arabella, with great earnestness, never acquaint him with what has just now escaped my lips: true, I did call upon him in this perplexity; I did pronounce his name; and that, haply, with a sigh, which involuntarily forced its way; and, questionless, if he knew his good fortune, even amidst the danger of losing me for ever, he would resent some emotions of joy; but I should die with shame at having so indiscreetly contributed to his satisfaction; and, therefore, again I charge you, conceal, with the utmost care, what I have said.
Indeed, madam, said Lucy, I shall tell him nothing but what your ladyship bids me; and I am so frighted, that I can think of nothing but that terrible man that wants to carry you away. Mercy on us! added she, starting, I think I hear somebody on the stairs!
Do not be alarmed, said Arabella, in a majestic tone; it is I who have most reason to fear; nevertheless, I hope the grandeur of my courage will not sink under this accident. Hark, somebody knocks at the door of my antichamber—My own virtue shall support me—Go, Lucy, and ask who it is.
Indeed I can’t, madam, said she, clinging to her; Pray, pardon me; indeed I am so afraid, I cannot stir.
Weak-souled wench! said Arabella, how unfit art thou for accidents like these! Ah, had Cylenia I.124 and Martesia been like thee, the fair Berenice, and the divine princess of Media, had not so eagerly entreated their ravishers to afford them their company in their captivity! but go, I order you, and ask who it is that is at the door of my apartment; they knock again; offer at no excuses, but do your duty.
Lucy seeing her lady was really angry, went trembling out of the closet; but would go no farther than her bed-chamber, from whence she called out to know who was at the door.
I have some business with your lady, said the house-steward (for it was he that knocked:) can I speak with her at present?
Lucy, a little re-assured by his voice, made no answer; but, creeping softly to the door of the antichamber, double locked it; and then cried out in a transport, No, I will take care you shall not come to my lady.
And why, pray, Mrs. Lucy? said the steward: What have I done, that you are so much my enemy.
You are a rogue, said Lucy, growing very courageous, because the door was locked between them.
A rogue! said he, What reason have you for calling me a rogue? I assure you I will acquaint my lady with your insolence. I came to speak to her ladyship about Edward; who prayed me to intercede for him, that he may be taken again into her service; for he says my lady never believed any thing against him; and that was my business; but when I see her, I’ll know whether you are allowed to abuse me in this manner.
Arabella, by this time, was advanced as far as the bed-chamber, longing to know what sort of conference Lucy was holding with her intended ravisher; when that faithful confidant, seeing her, came running I.125 to her, and whispered her, that the house-steward was at the door, and said he wanted to intercede for Edward.
Ah! the traitor! said Arabella, retiring again: has he, then, really with that disloyal man, to deliver up his mistress?—I am undone, Lucy, said she, unless I can find a way to escape out of the house. They will, questionless, soon force the door of my apartments.
Suppose, said Lucy, your ladyship went down the stairs that leads from your dressing-room into the garden; and you may hide yourself in the gardener’s house till Mr. Glanville come.
I approve, said Arabella, of one part of your proposal; but I shall not trust myself in the gardener’s house; who, questionless, is in the plot with the rest of my perfidious servants, since none of them have endeavoured to advertise me of my danger. If we can gain the gardens undiscovered, we may get out by that door at the foot of the terrace, which leads into the fields; for you know I always keep the key of that private door; so Lucy, let us commend ourselves to the direction of Providence, and be gone immediately.
But what shall we do, madam, said Lucy, when we are got out?
Why, said Arabella, you shall conduct me to your brother’s; and, probably, we may meet with some generous cavalier by the way, who will protect us till we get thither: however, as I have as great a danger to fear within doors as without, I will venture to make my escape, though I should not be so fortunate as to meet with any knight who will undertake to protect me from the danger which I may apprehend in the fields.
Vide Book 2. Chap. 10.
Painted by T. Kirk. Printed for C. Cooke Mar. 9 1799. Engrav’d by W. Hawkins.
Saying this, she gave the key of the door to Lucy, whose heart beat violently with fear; and, covering I.126 herself with some black cypress, which she wore in the nature of a veil, went softly down the little staircase to the terrace, followed by Lucy, (who looked eagerly about her every step that she went;) and, having gained the garden-door, hastily unlocked it, and fled as fast as possible across the fields, in order to procure a sanctuary at William’s house; Arabella begging heaven to throw some generous cavalier in her way, whose protection she might implore, and taking every tree at a distance for a horse and knight, hastened her steps to meet her approaching succour; which as soon as she came near, miserably balked her expectations.
Though William’s farm was not more than two miles from the castle; yet Arabella, unused to such a rude way of travelling, began to be greatly fatigued: the fear she was in of being pursued by her apprehended ravisher, had so violent an effect upon her spirits, that she was hardly able to prosecute her flight; and to complete her misfortunes, happening to stumble over a stump of a tree that lay in her way, she strained her ancle, and the violent anguish she felt threw her into a swoon.
Lucy, upon whose arm she leaned, perceiving her fainting, screamed out aloud, not knowing what to do with her in that condition: she placed her upon the ground, and supporting her head against the fatal stump, began to rub her temples, weeping excessively all the time. Her swoon still continuing, the poor girl was in inconceivable terror: her brother’s house was now but a little way off; but it being impossible for her to carry her lady thither without some help, she knew not what to resolve upon.
At length, thinking it better to leave her for a few moments to run for assistance, than to sit by her and see her perish for want of it, she left her, though not I.127 without extreme agony, and flew with the utmost eagerness to her brother’s. She was lucky enough to meet him just coming out of his door; and telling him the condition in which she left her lady, he, without asking any questions about the occasion of so strange an accident, notwithstanding his amazement, ran with all speed to the place where Lucy had left her; but to their astonishment and sorrow, she was not to be found; they walked a long time in search of her; and Lucy being almost distracted with fear, lest she had been carried away, made complaints, that so puzzled her brother, he knew not what to say to her: but finding their search fruitless, they agreed to go home to the castle, supposing, with some appearance of reason, that they might hear of her there.
Here they found nothing but grief and confusion. Mr. Glanville and his sister were just returned, and had been at Lady Bella’s apartment; but, not finding her there, they asked her women where she was, who, not knowing anything of her flight, concluded she was in the garden with Lucy. Mr. Glanville, surprised at her being at that hour in the garden, ran eagerly to engage her to come in, being apprehensive she would take cold, by staying so late in the air; but not finding her in any of her usual walks, he ordered several of the servants to assist in searching the whole garden, sending them to different places; but they all returned without success, which filled him with the utmost consternation.
He was returning excessively uneasy to the house, when he saw Lucy, who had been just told, in answer to her inquiries about her lady, that they were gone to look for her in the garden; and running up to Mr. Glanville, who hoped to hear news of Lady Bella from her, Oh, sir! said she, is my lady found?I.128
What, Lucy! said Mr. Glanville (more alarmed than before) do not you know where she is? I thought you had been with her.
Oh, dear! cried Lucy, wringing her hands; for certain my poor lady was stolen away while she was in that fainting fit.—Sir, said she to Glanville, I know who the person is that my lady said (and almost broke my heart) would keep her in chains: he was in the house not many hours ago.
Mr. Glanville, suspecting this was some new whim of Arabella’s, would not suffer Lucy to say any more before the servants, who stood gaping with astonishment at the strange things she uttered; but bad her follow him to his apartment, and he would hear what she could inform him concerning this accident. He would, if possible, have prevented his sister from being present at the story; but, not being able to form any excuse for not suffering her to hear every thing that related to her cousin, they all three went into his chamber; where he desired Lucy to tell him what she knew about her lady.
You must know, sir, said Lucy, sobbing, that there came a man here to take away my lady; a great man he is, though he worked in the gardens: for he was in love with her; and so he would not own who he was.
And pray, interrupted Miss Glanville, who told you he was a great man, as you say?
My lady told me, said Lucy: but, howsomever, he was turned away; for the gardener says he catched him stealing carp.
A very great man, indeed, said Miss Glanville, that would steal carp.
You must know, madam, said she, that was only a pretence; for he went there, my lady says, to drown himself.
Bless me! cried Miss Glanville, laughing; the I.129 girl’s distracted, sure.—Lord! brother, don’t listen to her nonsensical tales; we shall never find my cousin by her.
Leave her to me, said Mr. Glanville, whispering; perhaps I may discover something by her discourse, that will give us some light into this affair.
Nay, I’ll stay, I am resolved, answered she: for I long to know where my cousin is: though, do you think what the girl says is true, about a great man disguised in the gardens? Sure my cousin could never tell her such stuff: but, now I think of it, added she, Lady Bella, when we were speaking about the jockey, talked something about a lover: I vow I believe it is as the girl says. Pray let’s hear her out.
Mr. Glanville was ready to die with vexation, at the charmer of his soul being thus exposed: but there was no help for it.
Pray, said he to Lucy, tell us no more about this man: but if you can guess where your lady is, let me know.
Indeed I can’t, sir, said she; for my lady and I both stole out of the house, for fear Edward should break open the doors of her apartment; and we were running as fast as possible to my brother’s house, (where she said she would hide herself till you came:) but my poor dear lady fell down, and hurt herself so much, that she fainted away: I tried what I could to fetch her again; but she did not open her eyes: so I ran like lightning to my brother, to come and help me to carry her to the farm; but, when we came back, she was gone.
What do you say, cried Mr. Glanville, with a distracted look: did you leave her in that condition in the fields? And was she not to be found when you came back?
No, indeed, sir, said Lucy, weeping, we could I.130 not find her, though we wandered about a long time.
Oh, heavens! said he, walking about the room in a violent emotion, where can she be? what is be come of her?—Dear sister, pursued he, order somebody to saddle my horse: I’ll traverse the country all night in quest of her.
You had best inquire, sir, said Lucy, if Edward is in the house; he knows, may be, where my lady is.
Who is he? cried Glanville.
Why the great man, sir, said Lucy, whom we thought to be a gardener, who came to carry my lady away, which made her get out of the house as fast as she could.
This is the strangest story, said Miss Glanville, that ever I heard: sure nobody would be so mad to attempt such an action; my cousin has the oddest whims——.
Mr. Glanville, not able to listen any longer, charged Lucy to say nothing of this matter to any one; and then ran eagerly out of the room, ordering two or three of the servants to go in search of their lady: he then mounted his horse in great anguish of mind, not knowing whither to direct his course.
In which the lady is wonderfully delivered.
But to return to Arabella, whom we left in a very melancholy situation. Lucy had not been gone long from her before she opened her eyes; and, beginning to come perfectly to herself, was surprised to I.131 find her woman not near her: the moon shining very bright, she looked round her, and called Lucy as loud as she was able; but not seeing her, or hearing any answer, her fears became so powerful, that she had like to have relapsed into her swoon.
Alas! unfortunate maid that I am! cried she, weeping excessively, questionless I am betrayed by her on whose fidelity I relied, and who was acquainted with my most secret thoughts: she is now with my ravisher, directing his pursuit, and I have no means of escaping from his hands! Cruel and ungrateful wench, thy unparalleled treachery grieves me no less than all my other misfortunes: but why do I say her treachery is unparalleled? Did not the wicked Arianta betray her mistress into the power of her insolent lover? Ah! Arabella, thou art not single in thy misery, since the divine Mandane was, like thyself, the dupe of a mercenary servant.
Having given a moment or two to these sad reflections, she rose from the ground with an intention to walk on; but her ancle was so painful, that she could hardly move; her tears began now to flow with greater violence; she expected every moment to see Edward approach her; and was resigning herself up to despair, when a chaise, driven by a young gentleman, passed by her. Arabella, thanking heaven for sending this relief, called out as loud as she could, conjuring him to stay.
The gentleman hearing a woman’s voice, stopped immediately, and asked what she wanted.
Generous stranger, said Arabella, advancing as well as she was able, do not refuse your assistance to save me from a most terrible danger: I am pursued by a person whom, for very urgent reasons, I desire to avoid. I conjure you, therefore, in the name of her you love best, to protect me; and may you be I.132 crowned with the enjoyment of all your wishes, for so charitable an action.
If the gentleman was surprised at this address, he was much more astonished at the beauty of her who made it: her stature, her shape, her inimitable complexion, the lustre of her fine eyes, and the thousand charms that adorned her whole person, kept him a minute silently gazing upon her, without having the power to make her an answer.
Arabella, finding he did not speak, was extremely disappointed. Ah, sir! said she, what do you deliberate upon? Is it possible you can deny so reasonable a request, to a lady in my circumstances?
For God’s sake, madam, said the gentleman, alighting, and approaching her, let me know who you are, and how I can be of any service to you.
As for my quality, said Arabella, be assured it is not mean; and let this knowledge suffice at present. The service I desire of you, is, to convey me to some place where I may be in safety for this night: to-morrow I will entreat you to let some persons, whom I shall name to you, know where I am; to the end they may take proper measures to secure me from the attempts of an insolent man, who has driven me from my own house, by the designs he was going to execute.
The gentleman saw there was some mystery in her case, which she did not choose to explain; and being extremely glad at having so beautiful a creature in his power, told her she might command him in all she pleased; and helping her into the chaise, drove off as fast as he could; Arabella suffering no apprehensions from being alone with a stranger, since nothing was more common to heroines than such adventures; all her fears being of Edward, whom she fancied every moment she saw pursuing I.133 them; and, being extremely anxious to be in some place of safety, she urged her protector to drive as fast as possible: who, willing to have her at his own house, complied with her request; but was so unlucky in his haste, as to overturn the chaise. Though neither Arabella nor himself were hurt by the fall, yet the necessity there was to stay some time to put the chaise in a condition to carry them any farther, filled her with a thousand apprehensions, lest they should be overtaken.
In the mean time, the servants of Arabella, among whom Edward, not knowing how much he was concerned in her flight, was resolved to distinguish himself by his zeal in searching for her, had dispersed themselves about in different places: chance conducted Edward to the very spot where she was; when Arabella, perceiving him while he was two or three paces off, Oh, sir! cried she, behold my persecutor! can you resolve to defend me against the violence he comes to offer me?
The gentleman, looking up, and seeing a man in livery approaching them, asked her, if that was the person she complained of? and if it was her servant?
If he is my servant, sir, replied she, blushing, he never had my permission to be so: and, indeed, no one else can boast of my having granted them such a liberty.
Do you know whose servant he is, then, madam? replied the gentleman, a little surprised at her answer; which he could not well understand.
You throw me into a great embarrassment, sir, resumed Arabella, blushing more than before: questionless, he appears to be mine; but since, as I told you before, he never discovered himself to me, and I never permitted him to assume that title, his services, I.134 if ever I received any from him, were not at all considered by me as things for which I was obliged to him.
The gentleman, still more amazed at answers so little to the purpose, was going to desire her to explain herself upon this strange affair; when Edward coming up close to Arabella, cried out, in a transport, O madam! thank God you are found.
Hold, impious man! said Arabella, and do not give thanks for that which, haply, may prove thy punishment. If I am found, thou wilt be no better for it; and if thou continuest to persecute me, thou wilt probably meet with thy death where thou thinkest thou hast found thy happiness.
The poor fellow, who understood not a word of this discourse, stared upon her like one that had lost his wits; when the protector of Arabella approaching him, asked him, with a stern look, what he had to say to that lady, and why he presumed to follow her.
As the man was going to answer him, Mr. Glanville came galloping up; and Edward seeing him, ran up to him, and informed him that he had met with Lady Bella, and a gentleman, who seemed to have been overturned in a chaise, which he was endeavouring to refit, and that her ladyship was offended with him for coming up to her; and also, that the gentleman had used some threatening language to him upon that account.
Mr. Glanville, excessively surprised at what he heard, stopped; and ordering a servant who came along with him to run back to the castle, and bring a chaise thither to carry Lady Bella home, he asked Edward several more questions relating to what she and the gentleman had said to him: and, notwithstanding his knowledge of her ridiculous humour, he I.135 could not help being alarmed by her behaviour, nor concluding that there was something very mysterious in the affair.
While he was thus conversing with Edward, Arabella, who had spied him almost as soon, was filled with apprehension to see him hold so quiet a with her ravisher: the more she reflected upon this accident, the more her suspicions increased; and persuading herself at last that Mr. Glanville was privy to his designs, this belief, however improbable, wrought so powerfully upon her imagination, that she could not restrain her tears.
Doubtless, said she, I am betrayed, and the perjured Glanville is no longer either my friend or lover: he is this moment concerting measures with my ravisher how to deliver me into his power; and, like Philadaspes, is glad of an opportunity, by his treachery, to be rid of a woman whom his parents and hers had destined for his wife.
Mr. Glanville having learned all he could from Edward, alighted; and giving him his horse to hold, came up to Arabella: and, after expressing his joy at meeting with her, begged her to let him know what accident had brought her, unattended, from the castle, at that time of night.
If by this question, said the incensed Arabella, you would persuade me you are ignorant of the cause of my flight, know, your dissimulation will not succeed; and that, having reason to believe you are equally guilty with him from whose intended violence I fled, I shall have recourse to the valour of this knight you see with me to defend me, as well against you as that ravisher, with whom I see you leagued.—Ah, unworthy cousin! pursued she, what dost thou propose to thyself by so black a treachery? What is to be the price of my liberty, which thou I.136 so freely disposest of? Has thy friend there, says she, (pointing to Edward) a sister, or any relation, for whom thou barterest by delivering me up to him? But assure thyself, this stratagem shall be of no use to thee; for if thou art base enough to oppress my valiant deliverer with numbers, and thinkest by violence to get me into thy power, my cries shall arm heaven and earth in my defence. Providence may, haply, send some generous cavaliers to my rescue; and, if Providence fails me, my own hand shall give me freedom: for that moment thou offerest to seize me, that moment shall be the last of my life.
While Arabella was speaking, the young gentleman and Edward, who listened to her eagerly, thought her brain was disturbed: but Mr. Glanville was in a terrible confusion, and silently cursed his ill fate, to make him in love with a woman so ridiculous.
For heaven’s sake, cousin, said he, striving to repress some part of his disorder, do not give way to these extravagant notions! there is nobody intends to do you any wrong.
What! interrupted she, would you persuade me that that impostor there, pointing to Edward, has not a design to carry me away; which you, by supporting him, are not equally guilty of?
Who? I, madam! cried out Edward: sure your ladyship does not suspect me of such a strange design! God knows I never thought of such a thing!
Ah, dissembler! interrupted Arabella, do not make use of that sacred name to mask thy impious : confess with what intent you came into my father’s service disguised?
I never came disguised, madam, returned Edward.
No! said Arabella. What means that dress in which I see you, then?I.137
It is the marquis’s livery, madam, said Edward, which he did not order to be taken from me when I left his service.
And with what purpose didst thou wear it? said she. Do not your thoughts accuse you of your crime?
I always hoped, madam—said he.
You hoped! interrupted Arabella, frowning. Did I ever give you reason to hope? I will not deny but I had compassion on you; but even that you was ignorant of.
I know, madam, you had compassion on me, said for your ladyship, I always thought, did not believe me guilty.
I was weak enough, said she, to have compassion on you, though I did believe you guilty.
Indeed, madam, returned Edward, I always hoped, as I said before, (but your ladyship would not hear me out) that you did not believe any malicious reports; and therefore you had compassion on me.
I had no reports of you, said she, but what my own observation gave me; and that was sufficient to convince me of your fault.
Why, madam, said Edward, did your ladyship see me steal the carp then, which was the fault unjustly laid to my charge?
Mr. Glanville, as much cause as he had for uneasiness, could with great difficulty restrain laughter at this ludicrous circumstance; for he guessed what crime Arabella was accusing him of: as for the young gentleman, he could not conceive what she meant, and longed to hear what would be the end of such a strange conference. But poor Arabella was prodigiously confounded at his mentioning so low an affair; not being able to endure that Glanville and her protector should know a lover of hers could be suspected of so base a theft.I.138
The shame she conceived at it, kept her silent for a moment: but recovering herself at last, No, said she, I knew you better than to give any credit to such an idle report: persons of your condition do not commit such paltry crimes.
Upon my soul, madam, said the young gentleman, persons of his condition often do worse.
I don’t deny it, sir, said Arabella; and the design he meditated of carrying me away was infinitely worse.
Really, madam, returned the gentleman, if you are such a person as I apprehend, I don’t see how he durst make such an attempt.
It is very possible, sir, said she, that I might be carried away, though I was of greater quality than I am: were not Mandane, Candace, and Clelia, and many other ladies who underwent the same fate, of a quality more illustrious than mine?
Really, madam, said he, I know none of these ladies.
No, sir! said Arabella, extremely mortified.
Let me entreat you, cousin, interrupted Glanville, who feared this conversation would be very tedious, to expose yourself no longer to the air at this time of night: suffer me to conduct you home.
It concerns my honour, said she, that this generous stranger should not think I am the only one that was ever exposed to these insolent attempts.—You say, sir, pursued she, that you don’t know any of these ladies I mentioned before: let me ask you, then, if you are acquainted with Parthenissa, or Cleopatra; who were both for some months in the hands of their ravishers?
As for Parthenissa, madam, said he, neither have I heard of her; nor do I remember to have heard of any more than one Cleopatra: but she was never ravished, I am certain, for she was too willing.I.139
How, sir? said Arabella, was Cleopatra ever willing to run away with her ravisher?
Cleopatra was a whore, was she not, madam? said he.
Hold thy peace, unworthy man, said Arabella, and profane not the memory of that fair and glorious queen by such injurious language: that queen, I say, whose courage was equal to her beauty; and her virtue surpassed by neither. Good heavens! what a black defamer have I chosen for my protector!
Mr. Glanville, rejoicing to see Arabella in a disposition to be offended with her new acquaintance, resolved to soothe her a little, in hopes of prevailing upon her to return home. Sir, said he to the gentleman, who could not conceive why the lady should so warmly defend Cleopatra, you were in the wrong to cast such reflections upon that great queen, (repeating what he had heard his cousin say before:) for all the world, pursued he, knows she was married to Julius Cæsar.
Though I commend you, said Arabella, for taking the part of a lady so basely vilified; yet let not your zeal for her honour induce you to say more than is true for its justification; for thereby you weaken, instead of strengthening, what may be said in her defence. One falsehood always supposes another, and renders all you can say suspected; whereas pure, unmixed truth, carries conviction along with it, and never fails to produce desired effect.
Suffer me, cousin, interrupted Glanville, again to represent to you, the inconveniency you will certainly feel, by staying so late in the air; leave the justification of Cleopatra to some other opportunity, and take care of your own preservation.
What is it you require of me? said Arabella.
Only, resumed Glanville, that you would be pleased I.140 to return to the castle, where my sister, and all your servants, are inconsolable for your absence.
But who can assure me, answered she, that I shall not, by returning home, enter voluntarily into my prison. The same treachery which made the palace of Candace the place of her confinement, may turn the castle of Arabella into her gaol. For, to say the truth, I still more than suspect you abet the designs of this man; since I behold you in his party, and ready, no doubt, to draw your sword in his defence; how will you be able to clear yourself of this crime? Yet I will venture to return to my house, provided you will swear to me you will offer me no violence, with regard to your friend there; and also I insist, that he, from this moment, disclaim all intentions of persecuting me, and banish himself from my presence for ever. Upon this condition I pardon him, and will likewise pray to heaven to pardon him also.—Speak, presumptuous unknown, said she to Edward, wilt thou accept of my pardon upon the terms I offer it thee? And wilt thou take thyself to some place where I may never behold thee again?
Since your ladyship, said Edward, is resolved not to receive me into your service, I shan’t trouble you any more; but I think it hard to be punished for a crime I was not guilty of.
It is better, said Arabella, turning from him, that thou shouldest complain of my rigour, than the world tax me with lightness and indiscretion.—And now, sir, said she to Glanville, I must trust myself to your honour, which I confess I do a little suspect; but, however, it is possible you have repented, like the poor Prince Thrasybulus, when he submitted to the suggestions of a wicked friend, to carry away the fair Alcionida, whom he afterwards restored. Speak, Glanville, pursued she, are you desirous of imitating I.141 that virtuous prince, or do you still retain your former sentiments?
Upon my word, madam, said Glanville, you will make me quite mad, if you go on in this manner: pray let me see you safe home; and then, if you please, you may forbid my entrance into the castle, if you suspect me of any bad intentions towards you.
It is enough, said she, I will trust you.—As for you, sir, speaking to the young gentleman, you are so unworthy, in my apprehensions, by the calumnies you have uttered against a person of that sex which merits all your admiration and reverence, that I hold you very unfit to be a protector of any of it: therefore I dispense with your services upon this occasion; and think it better to trust myself to the conduct of a person, who, like Thrasybulus, by his repentance, has restored himself to my confidence, than to one, who, though indeed he has never betrayed me, yet seems very capable of doing so, if he had the power.
Saying this, she gave her hand to Glanville, who helped her into the chaise that was come from the castle; and the servant who brought it, mounting his horse, Mr. Glanville drove her home, leaving the gentleman, who by this time had refitted his chaise, in the greatest astonishment imaginable at her unaccountable behaviour.
The marquis . . . died on the fifteenth day
[I honestly was not expecting that.]
the physicians declaring she was in great danger, from her extreme weakness
[A thorough course of bleeding-and-purging should set that to rights.]
She is in a delirium: our presence may, perhaps, discompose her too much.
text has , for :
Sisygambis, who, questionless, wanted neither fortitude nor courage
comma after “questionless” missing
the famous Scudery
[Madeleine de Scudéry’s novels were published under the name of her brother, dramatist Georges de Scudéry, though everyone knew the author’s real identity. Evidently the “bad translations” Arabella reads were also credited only to Georges. I don’t think anyone, at any point in the novel, corrects her when she refers to Scudéry as a man.]
I question, if any other historian but himself, knew
[I am sorry Arabella’s uncle did not ask her how, exactly, a 17th-century writer came into possession of facts that had been concealed for two millennia.]
as I am her guardian, I shall press her to perform the marquis’s will
[Darn it, Sir Charles. You were doing so well.]
though she is directed to consult me in her choice of an husband, yet my consent is not absolutely necessary
[Er, I think legally a guardian’s consent is necessary in the marriage of a minor. That’s not the kind of thing you can override by testamentary decree.]
she represented to her uncle the impropriety of a young gentleman’s staying with her, in her house, now her father was dead
[I am frankly astounded that any guardian would allow an eighteen-year-old girl—three years short of legal majority—to live alone. Arabella has female servants, but there has never been a hint of a chaperone; she definitely doesn’t have a governess.]
[Miss Groves’s] stature was above the ordinary size of women; and, being rather too plump to be delicate, her mien was so majestic
[I think the word she’s groping for is “queen-size”.]
his sister, Miss Charlotte Glanville
[We have already learned that Charlotte’s brother is named Charles, like their father. In The Old Manor House, a novel from later in the 18th century—written, incidentally, by yet another Charlotte—the two oldest children in one family are named Philip and Philippa.]
not ignorant of all the forms of good-breeding
text has goodbreeding without hyphen
[The 1820 edition has “good breeding” as two words, but 1752 has “good-breeding”, hyphenated, like all other occurrences of the term.]
The native elegance and simplicity of her manners . . . she was quite oppressed . . . most of her time . . . her discourse appeared quite tedious to her
[Later in the novel, there will come a passage where two different men are similarly contrasted, in a pile-up of “he” and “him” and “his”. Pronouns are all well and fine—as far as I know, all natural languages have them—but there are times when only names will do.]
her father’s-in-law, the Duke
[Or, as we say in English, her stepfather’s.]
went on with her history in this manner:—
When she first appeared at court
[Inquiring minds want to know: Who presented her? You can’t just stroll in with a Hiya, your Majesty, how you doin’?]
Miss Groves growing big with child
[Why doesn’t Arabella interrupt the narrative in shock and horror? Has she fainted dead away at what can only be a vile slander?]
the liberty, nay, haply, the life of Aronces, would have been in danger
text has have heen
Saying this, she flung out of the room
[It has already been made plain that Miss Groves, who is really Mrs. Barnet, has not got much in the way of brains. Had she been brighter, she would have seen the advantage of making up to Arabella—
she had the satisfaction to see her secret admirer victor in all the exercises at the Olympic games
[For a French novelist skilled enough to set aside two thousand years of historical record, sneaking a woman into an Olympic audience would have been child’s play.]
not only all Greece, but other neighbouring nations
text has Greece,but without space
[I guess we can’t say anything about calling Greece a “nation”.]
what, I suppose a great many foreign princes send their favourites
comma after “what” missing
Mr. Glanville, observing the baronet gazed upon Arabella earnestly while she was speaking those few words,
text has ; (semicolon) for final comma
No, really? interrupted Arabella, innocently.
[Drat. I always thought “innocence” in the sense of “sanctified ignorance” was a 19th-century concept—and yet here it is in 1752.]
however, Mandane refused it
text has Madane
has he, then, really bargained with that disloyal man
text has bargined
covering herself with some black cypress, which she wore in the nature of a veil
[New one on me. Also spelled cyprus, it’s a thin semi-transparent lawn or crepe that was especially used for mourning garments. No relation to cypress fiber, which, in spite of the name, is just as likely to be red cedar. (But what does “in the nature of a veil” mean? Either it’s a veil, or it isn’t.)]
so quiet a parly
to mask thy impious falshoods:
[Everywhere else in the novel, it is spelled “falsehood”.]
I know, madam, you had compassion on me, said Edward;
text has ? for ;
and never fails to produce its desired effect
text has it’s
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.