In which our heroine discovers her knowledge in astronomy.
Sir George, who had never missed a day, during Mr. Glanville’s illness, in sending to the castle, now he was able to see company, visited him very frequently; and sometimes had the happiness to meet with Arabella in his chamber; but knowing the conditions of her father’s will, and Mr. Glanville’s pretensions, he was obliged to lay so much constraint upon himself, in the presence of Miss Glanville, and her brother, that he hardly durst trust his eyes, to express his admiration of her, for fear of alarming them with any suspicion of his designs; however, he did not fail to recommend himself to her esteem, by a behaviour to her full of the most perfect respect; and very often, ere he was aware, uttered some of the extravagant compliments that the gallants in the French romances use to their mistresses.
If he walked with her in the gardens, he would observe that the flowers, which were before languishing and pale, bloomed with fresh beauty at her approach; that the sun shone out with double brightness, to exceed, if possible, the lustre of her eyes; and that the wind, fond of kissing her celestial I.183 countenance, played with her fair hair; and, by gentle murmurs, declared its happiness.
If Miss Glanville happened to be present, when he talked to her in this strain, she would suppose he was ridiculing her cousin’s fantastical turn, and when she had an opportunity of speaking to him alone, would chide him with a great deal of good-humour, for giving her so much diversion at her cousin’s expense.
Sir George improving this hint, persuaded Miss Glanville, by his answers, that he really laughed at Arabella; and being now less fearful of giving any suspicion to the gay coquette, since she assisted him to deceive her, he applied himself with more assiduity than ever, to insinuate himself into Arabella’s favour.
However, the necessity he was under of being always of Arabella’s opinion, sometimes drew him into little difficulties with Miss Glanville. Knowing that young lady was extremely fond of scandal, he told her, as a most agreeable piece of news, one afternoon, when he was there, that he had seen Miss Groves, who, he supposed, had come into the country upon the same account as she had done a twelvemonth before: her marriage being yet a secret, the complaisant baronet threw out an hint or two concerning the familiarity and correspondence there was between her and the gentleman to whom she was really secretly married.
Miss Glanville, making the most of this intelligence, said a thousand severe things against the unfortunate Miss Groves; which Arabella, always benevolent and kind, could not bear.
I persuade myself, said she to her cousin, that you have been misinformed concerning this beauty, whose misfortunes you aggravate by your cruel censures; and whoever has given you the history I.184 of her life, has, haply, done it with great injustice.
Why, madam, interrupted Miss Glanville, do you think you are better acquainted with her history, as you call it, who have never been in town, where her follies made her so remarkable, than persons who were eye-witnesses to all her ridiculous actions.
I apprehend, said Arabella, that I who have had a relation made to me of all the passages of her life, and have been told all her most secret thoughts, may know as much, if not more, than persons who have lived in the same place with her, and have not had that advantage; and I think I know enough to vindicate her from many cruel aspersions.
Pray, madam, returned Miss Glanville, will your ladyship pretend to defend her scandalous commerce with Mr. L————?
I know not, miss, said Arabella, why you call her intercourse with that perjured man by so unjust an epithet. If Miss Groves be unchaste, so was the renowned Cleopatra, whose marriage with Julius Cæsar is controverted to this day!
And what reasons, madam, said Miss Glanville, have you for supposing Miss Groves was married to Mr. L————, since all the world knows to the contrary?
Very sufficient ones, said Arabella; since it is hardly possible to suppose, a young lady of Miss Groves’s quality would stain the lustre of her descent by so shameful an intrigue: and also since there are examples enough to be found of persons, who suffered under the same unhappy circumstances as herself, yet were perfectly innocent, as was that great queen I have mentioned—who, questionless, you, sir, are sufficiently convinced, was married to that I.185 illustrious conqueror; who, by betraying so great and so fair a queen, in a great measure tarnished the glory of his laurels.
Married, madam! replied Sir George, Who presumes to say, that fair queen was not married to that illustrious conqueror!
Nay, you know, sir, interrupted Arabella, many people did say, even while she was living, that she was not married; and have branded her memory with infamous calumnies, upon account of the son she had by Cæsar, the brave Cæsario, who, under the name of Cleomedon, performed such miracles of valour in Ethiopia.
I assure you, madam, said Sir George, I was always a great admirer of the famous Cleomedon, who was certainly the greatest hero in the world.
Pardon me, sir, said Arabella, Cleomedon was, questionless, a very valiant man; but he, and all the heroes that ever were, must give place to the unequalled prince of Mauritania; that illustrious, and for a long time unfortunate, lover of the divine Cleopatra, who was daughter, as you questionless know, of the great queen we have been speaking of.
Dear heart! said Miss Glanville, what is all this to the purpose? I would fain know whether Sir George believes Miss Groves was ever married to Mr. L————.
Doubtless, I do, said he; for, as Lady Bella says, she is in the same unhappy circumstance with the great Cleopatra; and if Julius Cæsar could be guilty of denying his marriage with that queen, I see no reason to suppose, why Mr. L———— might not be guilty of the same kind of injustice.
So then, interrupted Miss Glanville, reddening with spite, you will really offer to maintain, that Miss Groves was married? Ridiculous! how such a report would be laughed at in London!I.186
I assure you, replied Arabella, if ever I go to London, I shall not scruple to maintain that opinion to every one, who will mention that fair-one to me; and use all my endeavours to them in it.
Your ladyship would do well, said Miss Glanville, to persuade people that Miss Groves, at fifteen, did not want to run away with her writing-master.
As I am persuaded myself, said Arabella, that writing-master was some noble stranger in disguise, who was passionately in love with her, I shall not suffer any body in my hearing to propagate such an unlikely story; but since he was a person worthy of her affection, if she had run away with him, her fault was not without example, or even excuse.—You know what the fair did for Alexander, sir, pursued she, turning to Sir George, I would fain know your sentiments upon the action of that princess, which some have not scrupled to condemn.
Whoever they are, madam, said Sir George, who condemn the fair Artemisa for what she did for Alexander, they are miscreants and slanderers; and though that beautiful princess has been dead more than two thousand years, I would draw my sword in defence of her character, against all who should presume, in my presence, to cast any censures upon it.
Since you are so courageous, said Miss Glanville, laughing excessively at this sally, which she thought was to ridicule her cousin, it is to be hoped you will defend a living lady’s character, who may thank you for it, and make the world believe that her correspondence with Mr. L———— was entirely innocent, and that she never had any design to run away with her writing-master.
Are you resolved, cousin, said Lady Bella, to persist in that ridiculous mistake, and take a nobleman for a writing-master, only because his I.187 love put him upon such a stratagem to obtain his mistress?
Indeed, Lady Bella, said Miss Glanville, smiling, you may as well persuade me, the moon is made of a cream cheese, as that any nobleman turned himself into a writing-master to obtain Miss Groves.
Is it possible, miss, said Arabella, that you can offer such an affront to my understanding, as to suppose I would argue upon such a ridiculous system, and compare the second glorious luminary of the heavens to so unworthy a resemblance? I have taken some pains to contemplate the heavenly bodies; and, by reading and observation, am able to comprehend some part of their excellence; therefore it is not probable I should descend to such trivial comparisons, and liken a planet, which haply is not much less than our earth, to a thing so inconsiderable as that you name.
Pardon me, dear cousin, interrupted Miss Glanville, laughing louder than before, if I divert myself a little with the extravagance of your notions. Really, I think you have no reason to be angry if I supposed you might make a comparison between the moon and a cream cheese, since you say that same moon, which don’t appear broader than your gardener’s face, is not much less than the whole world. Why, certainly, I have more reason to trust my own eyes than such whimsical notions as these.
Arabella, unwilling to expose her cousin’s ignorance by a longer dispute upon this subject, begged her to let it drop for the present; and, turning to Sir George, I am very glad, said she, that having always had some inclination to excuse, and even to defend, the flight of Artemisa with Alexander, my opinion is warranted by that of a person so generous as yourself; indeed, when we consider that this princess forsook her brother’s dominions, and fled away with I.188 a lover whom she did not hate; questionless, her enemies accuse her, with some appearance of reason, of too great imbecility.
But, madam, replied Sir George, her enemies will not take the pains to examine her reasons for this conduct.
True, sir, resumed Arabella; for she was in danger of seeing a prince, who loved her, put to a cruel and infamous death upon a public scaffold; and she did not resolve to fly with him, till all her tears and prayers were found ineffectual to move the king her brother to mercy.
Though, replied Sir George, I am extremely angry with the indiscreet Cepio, who discovered Alexander to the Armenian king; yet what does your ladyship think of that gallant action of his, when he saw him upon the scaffold, and the executioner ready to cut off his head? How brave it was of him to pass undauntedly through the prodigious number of guards that environed the scaffold; and, with his drawn sword, run the executioner through the body, in the sight of them all! Then giving the prince another sword, engaged more than two thousand men in his defence.
Questionless, replied Arabella, it was a glorious action; and when I think how the king of Armenia was enraged to see such a multitude of soldiers fly from the swords of two men, I cannot chuse but divert myself with the consternation he was in: yet that was nothing to the horrible despair which tormented him afterwards, when he found that Alexander, after being again taken and imprisoned, had broken his chains, and carried away with him the princess Artemisa his sister.I.189
In which a very pleasing conversation is left unfinished.
As Arabella was in this part of her discourse, a servant came to inform her that Sir Charles Glanville was just alighted. Upon which Miss Glanville flew to receive her father; and Arabella, walking a little slower after her, gave Sir George an opportunity of holding a little longer conversation with her.
I dare believe, madam, said he, when you read the story of the unfortunate Alexander, your fair eyes did not refuse to shed some tears at the barbarous and shameful death he was going to suffer: yet I assure you, melancholy as his situation was, it was also very glorious for him, since he had the sublime satisfaction of dying for the person he adored; and had the ravishing pleasure to know, that his fate would draw tears from that lovely princess for whom he sacrificed his life: such a condition, madam, ought to be envied rather than pitied; for, next to the happiness of possessing the person one adores, certainly the glory of dying for her is most to be coveted.
Arabella, pleasingly surprised to hear language so conformable to her own ideas, looked for a moment upon the baronet with a most enchanting complacency in her eyes.
It must be confessed, sir, says she, that you speak very rationally upon these matters; and by the tenderness and generosity of your sentiments, you give me cause to believe that your heart is prepossessed with some object worthy of inspiring them.
Sir George, seeming as if he struggled to suppress a sigh, You are in the right, madam, said he, to suppose, I.190 that if my heart be prepossessed with any object, it is with one who is capable of inspiring a very sublime passion; and I assure you, if ever it submits to any fetters, they shall be imposed on me by the fairest person in the world.
Since love is not voluntary, replied Arabella, smiling, it may happen that your heart may be surprised by a meaner beauty than such a one as you describe: however, as a lover has always an extraordinary partiality for the beloved object, it is probable what you say may come to pass; and you may be in love with the fairest person in the world, in your own opinion.
They were now so near the house, that Sir George could reply no otherways than by a very passionate glance, which Arabella did not observe, being in haste to pay her respects to her uncle, whom she met just going to Mr. Glanville. Her looks were directed to him. Sir Charles saluting her with great affection, they all went into Mr. Glanville’s chamber, who received his father with the utmost respect and tenderness; extremely regretting the trouble he had been at in taking a journey to the castle upon his account; and gently blaming his sister for her precipitancy in alarming him so soon.
Sir Charles, extremely overjoyed to find him so well recovered, would not allow him to blame Miss Glanville for what she had done; but addressing himself to his niece, he thanked her for the care she had taken of Mr. Glanville, in very obliging terms.
Arabella could not help blushing at her uncle’s compliment, supposing he thanked her for having restored her cousin to his health.
I assure you, sir, said she, Mr. Glanville is less obliged to my commands, than to the goodness of his constitution, for his recovery; and herein he was I.191 not so obedient as many persons I could name to him.
Mr. Glanville, unwilling to permit the company’s observation upon this speech, began to acquaint his father with the rise and progress of his distemper: but though the old gentleman listened with great attention to his son while he was speaking, yet not having lost a word of what Arabella had said, as soon as he was done, he turned to his niece, and asked her how she could be so unjust as to accuse his son of disobedience, because he did not recover when she commanded him. Why, madam, added he, you want to carry your power farther than ever any beauty did before you; since you pretend to make people sick and well whenever you please.
Really, sir, replied Arabella, I pretend to no more power than what I presume all others of my sex have upon the like occasions; and since nothing is more common than for a gentleman, though ever so sick, to recover in obedience to the commands of that person who has an absolute power over his life, I conceive I have a right to think myself injured, if Mr. Glanville, contrary to mine, had thought proper to die.
Since, said the old gentleman, smiling, my son has so well obeyed your commands in recovering his health, I shall tremble, lest in obedience to a contrary command of yours, he should die, and deprive me of an heir, a misfortune, which, if it should happen, I should place to your account.
I assure you, said Arabella, very gravely, I have too great an esteem for Mr. Glanville, to condemn him to so severe a punishment as death for light offences; and since it is not very probable that he will ever commit such crimes against me, as can be only expiated by his death, such as infidelity, disobedience, I.192 and the like, you have no reason to fear such a misfortune by my means.
Alas, replied Sir George, you beauties make very nice distinctions in these cases; and think, if you do not directly command your lovers to die, you are no ways accountable for their death: and when a lover, as it often happens, dies through despair of ever being able to make himself beloved; or, being doomed to banishment, or silence, falls into a fever, from which nothing but kindness can recover him; and that being denied, he patiently expires; I say, when these things happen, as they certainly do every day, how can you hold yourselves guiltless of their deaths, which are apparently occasioned either by your scorn or insensibility.
Sir Charles and Miss Glanville were extremely diverted at this speech of Sir George’s; and Mr. Glanville, though he would have wished he had been rallying any other person’s follies than his cousin’s, yet could not help smiling at the solemn accent in which he delivered himself.
Arabella, mightily pleased with his manner of talking, was resolved to furnish him with more occasions of diverting the company at her expence.
I see, answered she, you are one of those persons who call a just decorum, which all ladies, who love glory as they ought to do, are obliged to preserve, by the name of severity; but, pray, what would you have a lady do, whom an importunate lover presumes to declare his passion to?—You know it is not permitted us to listen to such discourses; and you know also, whoever is guilty of such an offence, merits a most rigorous punishment: moreover, you find, that when a sentence of banishment or silence is pronounced upon them, these unhappy criminals are so conscious of the justice of their doom, that I.193 they never murmur against their judge who condemns them; and therefore, whatever are their fates in consequence of that anger they have incurred, the ladies, thus offended, ought not to be charged with it as any cruel exertion of their power.
Such eloquence as yours, madam, replied Sir George, might defend things yet more unjustifiable: however, you must give me leave, as being interested in the safety of my sex, still to be of opinion, that no man ought to be hated because he adores a beautiful object, and consecrates all his moments to her service.
Questionless, resumed Arabella, he will not be hated, while, out of the respect and reverence he bears her, he carefully conceals his passion from her knowledge; but as soon as ever he breaks through the bounds which that respect prescribes him, and lets her understand his true sentiments, he has reason to expect a most rigorous sentence, since he certainly, by that presumption, has greatly deserved it.
If the ladies, replied Sir George, were more equitable, and would make some distinction between those who really love them in a passionate and respectful silence, and others who do not feel the power of their charms, they might spare themselves the trouble of hearing what so mortally offends them: but when a lady sees a man every day, who, by his looks, sighs, and solicitude to please her, by his numberless services, and constant attendance on her, makes it evident that his soul is possessed with a violent passion for her; I say, when a lady sees, and yet will not see, all this, and persists in using a passionate adorer with all the indifference due to a man wholly insensible of the power of her charms; what must he do in such a mortifying situation, but make known his torments to her that occasions them, in I.194 order to prevail upon her, to have some sense of what he does and feels hourly for her sake.
But since he gains nothing by the discovery of his passion, resumed Arabella, but, on the contrary, loses the advantages he was before possessed of, which were very great, since he might see and discourse with his mistress every day, and haply have the honour to do her a great many petty services, and receive some of her commands; all these advantages he loses when he declares he loves: and, truly, I think a man who is so unwise as to hazard a certain happiness for a very improbable hope, deserves to be punished, as well for his folly as presumption; and, upon both these accounts, banishment is not too rigorous a sentence.
Definition of love and beauty—The necessary qualities of a hero and heroine.
Though, replied Mr. Glanville, you are very severe in the treatment you think it necessary our sex should receive from yours; yet I wish some of our town-beauties were, if not altogether of your opinion, yet sufficiently so as to make it not a slavery for a man to be in their company; for unless one talks of love to these fair coquettes the whole time one is with them, they are quite displeased, and look upon a man who can think any thing, but themselves, worthy his thoughts or observation, with the utmost contempt.—How often have you and I, Sir George, pursued he, pitied the condition of the few men of sense, who are sometimes among the crowd of beaux who attend the two celebrated beauties I.195 to all places of polite diversion in town? For those ladies think it a mortal injury done to their charms, if the men about them have eyes or ears for any object but their faces, or any sound but that of their voices: so that the connoisseurs in music, who attend them to Ranelagh, must stop their ears, like Ulysses, when the syren Frasi sings; and the wits who gallant them to the side-box, must lay a much greater constraint upon themselves, in order to resist the soul-moving Garrick, and appear insensible while he is upon the stage.
Upon my soul, added Sir George, (forgetting the character he assumed) when I have seen some persons of my acquaintance talking to the eldest of these ladies, while one of Congreve’s comedies has been acting; his face quite turned from the stage, and hers overspread with an eternal smile; her fine eyes sometimes lifted up in a beautiful surprise, and a little enchanting giggle half hid with her fan; in spite of their inattention, I have been ready to imagine, he was entertaining her with remarks upon the play, which she was judicious enough to understand; and yet I have afterwards been informed by himself, that nothing was less in their thoughts; and all that variety in her face, and that extreme seeming earnestness in his discourse, was occasioned by the most trifling subjects imaginable; he perhaps had been telling her, how the sight of her squirrel, which peeped out of her pocket, surprised some ladies she was visiting; and what they said upon her fondness for it, when she was gone; blaming them at the same time for their want of delicacy, in not knowing how to set a right value upon such pleasing animals; hence proceeded her smiles, the lifting up of her eyes, the half-stifled laugh, and all the pretty gestures that appeared so wonderfully charming to all those who did not hear their discourse; I.196 and it is upon such trifles as these, or else on the inexhaustible subjects of their charms, that all who are ambitious of being near these miracles, are under a necessity of talking.
And pray, interrupted Arabella, what subjects afford a more pleasing variety of conversation, than those of beauty and love? Can we speak of any object so capable of delighting as beauty, or of any passion of the mind more sublime and pleasing than love?
With submission, madam, said Glanville, I conceive, all that can be said either of beauty, or of love, may be comprised in a very few words; all who have eyes, and behold true beauty, will be ready to confess it is a very pleasing object; and all that can be said of it may be said in a very few words; for when we have run over the catalogue of charms, and mentioned fine eyes, fine hair, delicate complexion, regular features, and an elegant shape, we can only add a few epithets more, such as lovely, dangerous, enchanting, irresistible, and the like; and everything that can be said of beauty is exhausted; so likewise it is with love; we know that admiration precedes it, that beauty kindles it, hope keeps it alive, and despair puts an end to it; and that subject may be as soon discussed as the other, by the judicious use of proper words; such as wounds, darts, fires, languishings, dyings, torture, rack, jealousy, and a few more of no signification, but upon this subject.
Certainly, sir, said Arabella, you have not well considered what you say, since you maintain that love and beauty are subjects easily and quickly discussed: take the pains, I beseech you, to reflect a little upon those numerous and long conversations, which the subjects have given rise to in Clelia, and the Grand Cyrus, where the most illustrious and I.197 greatest personages in the world manage the disputes; and the agreeable diversity of their sentiments on those heads affords a most pleasing and rational entertainment; you will there find, that the greatest conquerors, and heroes of invincible valour, reason with the most exact and scrupulous nicety upon love and beauty; the superiority of fair and brown hair controverted by warriors, with as much eagerness as they dispute for the victory in the field; and the different effects of that passion upon different hearts defined with the utmost accuracy and eloquence.
I must own, interrupted Sir Charles, I should have but a mean opinion of those warriors, as you call them, who could busy themselves in talking of such trifles; and be apt to imagine such insignificant fellows, who could wrangle about the colour of their mistress’s hair, would be the first to turn their backs upon the enemy in battle.
Is it possible, sir, resumed Arabella, glowing with indignation, that you can entertain such unworthy thoughts of heroes, who merit the admiration and praise of all ages for their inestimable valour, whom the spears of a whole army opposed to each of their single swords would not oblige to fly?—What think you, sir, pursued she, looking at Sir George, of the injurious words which my uncle has uttered against those heroic princes, whose courage, I believe, you are as well acquainted with as myself? The great Oroondates, the invincible Artaban, the valiant and fortunate Artamenes, the irresistible Juba, the incomparable Cleomedon, and an hundred other heroes I could name, are all injured by this unjust assertion of my uncle: since certainly they were not more famous for their noble and wonderful actions in war, than for the sublimity and constancy of their affections in love.I.198
Some of these heroes you have named, replied Sir George, had the misfortune, even in their lives, to be very cruelly vilified. The great Oroondates was a long time accused of treachery to his divine princess; the valiant and unfortunate Artamenes was suspected of inconstancy; and the irresistible Juba reproached with infidelity and baseness, by both his mistress and friend.
I never knew you was so well acquainted with these persons, interrupted Mr. Glanville, and I fancy it is but very lately that you have given yourself the trouble to read romances.
I am not of your opinion, said Arabella. Sir George, questionless, has appropriated great part of his time to the perusal of those books, so capable of improving him in all useful knowledge; the sublimity of love and the of valour; which two qualities, if possessed in a superlative degree, form a true and perfect hero, as the perfection of beauty, wit, and virtue, make a heroine worthy to be served by such an illustrious personage; and I dare say, Sir George has profited so much by the great examples of fidelity and courage he has placed before his eyes, that no consideration whatever could make him for one moment fail in his constancy to the divine beauty he adores; and, inspired by her charms, he would scorn to turn his back, as my uncle phrases it, upon an army of an hundred thousand men.
I am extremely obliged to you, madam, said Sir George, bowing his head to the ground, to hide a smile he could not possibly restrain, for the good opinion you have of my courage and fidelity.
As for Sir George’s courage, cousin, said Mr. Glanville, laughing, I never disputed it; and though it be, indeed, a very extraordinary exertion of it, to fight singly against an army of an hundred thousand I.199 men; yet since you are pleased to think it probable, I am as willing to believe Sir George may do it as any other man; but, as for his fidelity, in matters of love, I greatly suspect it, since he has been charged with some very flagrant crimes of that nature.
How, sir! resumed Arabella. Have you ever been faithless, then? and, after having sworn, haply, to devote your whole life to the service of some beauty, have you ever violated your oaths, and been base enough to forsake her?
I have too much complaisance, madam, said Sir George, to contradict Mr. Glanville, who has been pleased positively to assert, that I have been faithless, as you most unkindly phrase it.
Nay, sir, replied Arabella, this accusation is not of a nature to be neglected; and though a king should say it, I conceive, if you are innocent, you have a right to contradict him, and clear yourself: do you consider how deeply this assertion wounds your honour and happiness for the future? What lady, think you, will receive your services, loaded as you are with the terrible imputation of inconstancy?
Oh! as for that, madam, said Miss Glanville, I believe no lady will think the worse of Sir George for being faithless: for my part, I declare nothing pleases me so much, as gaining a lover from another lady; which is a greater compliment to one’s beauty, than the addresses of a man that never was in love before.
You may remember, cousin, replied Arabella, that I said once before, your spirit and humour resembled a certain great princess very much; and I repeat it again, never was there a greater conformity in tempers and inclinations.
My daughter, said Sir Charles, is mightily obliged I.200 to you Lady Bella, for comparing her to a great princess: undoubtedly you mean it as a compliment.
If you think, said Arabella, that barely comparing her to a princess be a compliment, I must take the liberty to differ from you: my cousin is not so many degrees below a princess, as that such a comparison should be thought extraordinary; for if her ancestors did not wear a crown, they haply, have deserved it; and her beauty may one day procure her a servant, whose sword, like that of the great Artaban, may win her a sceptre; who, with a noble confidence, told his princess, when the want of a crown was objected to him, “I wear a sword, madam, that can perform things more difficult than what you require; and if a crown be all that I want to make me worthy of you, tell me what kingdom in the world you chuse to reign in, and I will lay it at your
That was a promise, replied Sir George, fit only for the great Artaban to make: but, madam, if you will permit me to make any comparison between that renowned warrior and myself, I would venture to tell you, that even the great Artaban was not exempted from the character of inconstancy any more than myself, since, as you certainly know, he was in love with three great princesses successively.
I grant you, replied Arabella, that Artaban did wear the chains of three princesses successively; but it must also be remembered, in his justification, that the two first of these beauties refused his adorations, and treated him with contempt, because he was not a prince: therefore, recovering his liberty, by those disdains they cast on him, he preserved that illustrious heart from despair, to tender it with more passionate fidelity to the divine princess of the Parthians; who, though greatly their superior in quality I.201 and beauty, did permit him to love her. However, I must confess, I found something like levity in the facility he found in breaking his fetters so often; and when I consider, that among all those great heroes, whose histories I have read, none but himself ever bore, without dying, the cruelties he experienced from those princesses, I am sometimes tempted to accuse him myself of inconstancy: but indeed every thing we read of that prodigy of valour is wholly miraculous; and since the performance of impossibilities was reserved for him, I conclude this miracle also, among many others, was possible to him, whom nothing was ever able to resist upon earth. However, pursued she, rising, I shall not absolutely condemn you, till I have heard your adventures from your own mouth, at a convenient time, when I shall be able to judge how far you merit the odious appellation of inconstancy.
Saying this, she saluted her uncle, who had for some time been conversing in a low voice with his son, with a grace wholly charming, and retired to her apartment. Miss Glanville following her a few moments after, (the compliment, extravagant as it was, which she had paid her, having procured her some good will from the vain and interested Miss Glanville) they conversed together with a great deal of good humour till dinner-time, which, because Mr. Glanville was not absolutely recovered, was served in his chamber.I.202
In which our heroine is engaged in a new adventure.
As Mr. Glanville took a great deal of pains to turn the discourse upon subjects on which the charming Arabella could expatiate, without any mixture of that absurdity which mingled itself in a great many others, the rest of that day, and several others, were passed very agreeably; at the end of which, Mr. Glanville being perfectly recovered, and able to go abroad, the baronet proposed to take the diversion of hunting; which Arabella, who was used to it, consented to partake of; but being informed that Miss Glanville could not ride, and chose to stay at home, she would have kept her company, had not Sir Charles insisted upon the contrary.
As Sir George, and some other gentlemen, had invited themselves to be of the party, Arabella, on her coming down to mount her horse, found a great many young gallants ready to offer her their assistance upon this occasion: accepting, therefore, with great politeness, this help from a stranger, who was nearest her, she mounted her horse, giving occasion to every one that was present, to admire the grace with which she sat and managed him. Her shape being as perfect as any shape could possibly be, her riding-habit discovered all its beauties; her hat, and the white feather waving over part of her fine black hair, gave a peculiar charm to her lovely face; and she appeared with so many advantages in this dress and posture, that Mr. Glanville, forgetting all her absurdities, was wholly lost in the contemplation of so many charms, as her whole person was adorned with.I.203
Sir George, though he really admired Arabella, was not so passionately in love as Mr. Glanville; and, being a keen sportsman, eagerly pursued the game, with the rest of the hunters: but Mr. Glanville minded nothing but his cousin, and kept close by her.
After having rode a long time, Arabella, conceiving it a piece of cruelty, not to give her lover an opportunity of talking to her, as, by his extreme solicitude, he seemed ardently to desire, coming to a delightful valley, she stopped, and told Mr. Glanville, that being weary of the chase, she should alight, and repose herself a little under the shade of those trees.
Mr. Glanville, extremely pleased at this proposition, dismounted; and, having helped her to alight, seated himself by her on the grass.
Arabella, expecting he would begin to talk to her of his passion, could not help blushing at the thoughts of having given him such an opportunity; and Mr. Glanville endeavouring to accommodate himself to her ideas of a lover, expressed himself in terms extravagant enough to have made a reasonable woman think he was making a jest of her: all which, however, Arabella was extremely pleased with; and she observed such a just decorum in her answers, that, as the writers of romance phrase it, if she did not give him any absolute hopes of being beloved, yet she said enough to make him conclude she did not hate him.
They had conversed in this manner near a quarter of an hour, when Arabella, perceiving a man at a little distance, walking very composedly, shrieked out aloud; and, rising with the utmost precipitation, flew from Mr. Glanville, and went to untie her horse; while his astonishment being so great at I.204 her behaviour, that he could not, for a moment or two, ask her the cause of her fear.
Vide Book 4. Chap. 4.
Drawn by R. Corbould. Engraved by C. Armstrong for C. Cooke May 11 1799.
Do you not see, said she, out of breath with the violence of her apprehensions, the person who is coming towards us? It is the same, who, some months ago, attempted to carry me away, when I was riding out with only two attendants; I escaped for that time the danger that threatened me; but, questionless, he comes now to renew his attempts; therefore can you wonder at my fear?
If it should be as you say, madam, interrupted Glanville, what reason have you to fear? Do you not think I am able to defend you?
Ah! without doubt, you are able to defend me, answered she: and though, if you offer to resist the violence he comes to use against me, he will, haply, call two or three dozen armed men to his assistance, who are, I suppose, concealed hereabouts, yet I am not apprehensive, that you will be worsted by them; but as it happened to the brave Juba, and Cleomedon, while they were fighting with some hundred men, who wanted to carry away their princesses before their faces, and were giving death at every blow, in order to preserve them, the commander of these ravishers seeing the two princesses sitting, as I was, under a tree, ordered them to be seized by two of his men, and carried away, while the two princes were losing best part of their blood in their defence; therefore, to prevent such an accident happening, while you are fighting for my rescue, I think it will be the safest way for me to get on horse-back, that I may be in a condition to escape; and that you may not employ your valour to no purpose.
Saying this, having, with Mr. Glanville’s assistance, loosed her horse from the tree, he helped her to mount, and then remounted his own.I.205
Your antagonist, said Arabella, is on foot; and therefore, though I prize your life extremely, yet I cannot dispense with myself from telling you, that it is against the law of knighthood to take any advantage of that kind over your enemy; nor will I permit your concern for my safety to make you forget what you owe to your own reputation.
Mr. Glanville, fretting excessively at her folly, begged her not to make herself uneasy about things that were never likely to happen.
The gentleman yonder, added he, seems to have no designs to make any attempt against you: if he should, I shall know how to deal with him; but, since he neither offers to assault me, nor affront you, I think we ought not to give him any reason to imagine we suspect him, by gazing on him thus; and letting him understand, by your manner, that he is the subject of our conversation; if you please, madam, we will endeavour to join our company.
Arabella, while he was speaking, kept her eyes fixed upon his face, with looks which expressed her thoughts were labouring upon some very important point; and, after a pause of some moments, Is it possible, said she, with a tone of extreme surprise, that I should be so mistaken in you? Do you really want courage enough to defend me against that ravisher?
Oh, heavens! madam, interrupted Glanville, try not my temper thus: courage enough to defend you! ’Sdeath! you will make me Who, in the name of wonder, is going to molest you?
He whom you see there, replied Arabella, pointing to him with her finger: for know, cold and insensible as thou art to the danger which threatens me, yonder knight is thy rival, and a rival, haply, I.206 who deserves my esteem better than thou dost; since, if he has courage enough to get me by violence into his power, that same courage would make him defend me against any injuries I might be offered from another: and since nothing is so contemptible in the eyes of a woman, as a lover who wants spirit to die in her defence, know, I can sooner pardon him, whom thou wouldst cowardly fly from, for the violence which he meditates against me, than thyself for the pusillanimity thou hast betrayed in my sight.
With these words she galloped away from her astonished lover; who, not daring to follow her, for fear of increasing her suspicions of his cowardice, flung himself off his horse in a violent rage; and, forgetting that the stranger was observing, and now within hearing, he fell a cursing and exclaiming against the books that had turned his cousin’s brain, and railing at his own ill fate that condemned him to the punishment of loving her. Mr. Harvey (for it really was he whom an affair of consequence had brought again into the country) hearing some of Mr. Glanville’s last words, and observing the gestures he used, concluded that he had been treated like himself by Arabella, whom he knew again at a distance, therefore coming up to Mr. Glanville, laughing—
Though I have not the honour of knowing you, sir, said he, I must beg the favour you will inform me, if you are not disturbed at the ridiculous folly of the lady I saw with you just now? She is the most fantastical creature that ever lived, and, in my opinion, fit for a mad-house: pray are you acquainted with
Mr. Glanville, being in a very ill humour, could not brook the freedom of this language against his cousin, whose follies he could not bear any one I.207 should rail at but himself; and being provoked at his sneers, and the interruption he had given to their conversation, he looked upon him with a disdainful frown, and told him in a haughty tone, that he was very impertinent to speak of a lady of her quality and merit so rudely.
Oh! sir, I beg your pardon, replied Mr. Harvey, laughing more than before; what, I suppose you are the champion of this fair lady! But, I assure myself, if you intend to quarrel with every one that will laugh at her, you will have more business upon your hands than you can well manage.
Mr. Glanville, transported with rage at this insolence, hit him such a blow with the butt-end of his whip, that it stunned him for a moment; but, recovering himself, he drew his sword, and, mad with the affront he had received, made a push at Glanville; who, avoiding it with great dexterity, had recourse to his hanger for his defence.
Arabella, in the mean time, who had not rid far, concealing herself behind some trees, saw all the actions of her lover, and intended ravisher; and, being possessed with an opinion of her cousin’s cowardice, was extremely rejoiced to see him fall upon his enemy first, and that with so much fury, that she had no longer any reason to doubt his courage; her suspicions therefore being removed, her tenderness for him returned; and when she saw them engaged with their swords (for, at that distance, she did not plainly perceive the difference of their weapons) her apprehensions for her cousin were so strong, that, though she did not doubt his valour, she could not bear to see him expose his life for her; and without making any reflections upon the singularity of her design, she was going to ride up to them, and endeavour to part them; when she saw several men come towards them, I.208 whom she took to be the assistants of her ravisher, though they were, in reality hay-makers; who, at a distance, having seen the beginning of their quarrel, had hastened to part them.
Terrified, therefore, at this reinforcement, which she thought would expose her cousin to great danger, she galloped with all speed after the hunters, being directed by the sound of the horn. Her anxiety for her cousin made her regardless of her own danger, so that she rode with a surprising swiftness; and, overtaking the company, she would have spoken to tell them of her cousin’s situation; when her spirits failing her, she could only make a sign with her hand, and sunk down in a swoon, in the arms of Sir George, who eagerly galloped up to her; and supporting her as well as he was able till some others came to her relief, they took her off her horse, and placed her upon the ground; when by the help of some water they brought from a spring near them, in a little time she came to herself.
Sir Charles, who, seeing her come up to them without his son, and by her fainting concluded some misfortune had happened to him, the moment she opened her eyes, asked her eagerly where he was.
Your son, said Arabella, sighing, with a valour equal to that of the brave Cleomedon, is this moment fighting in my defence against a crowd of enemies; and is, haply, shedding the last drop of his blood in my quarrel.
Shedding the last drop of his blood, haply! repeated Sir Charles, excessively grieved, and not a little enraged at Arabella, supposing she had introduced him into some quarrel: it may be happy for you, madam; but I am sure it will make me very miserable, if my son comes to any harm.I.209
If it be the will of heaven he should fall in this combat, resumed Arabella, he can never have a more glorious destiny; and as that consideration will, doubtless, sweeten his last moments, so it ought to be your consolation: however, I beg you’ll lose no time, but haste to his assistance; for since he has a considerable number of enemies to deal with, it is not improbable but he may be overpowered at last.
Where did you leave my son, madam? cried Sir Charles, eagerly.
He is not far off, replied Arabella: and you will, doubtless, be directed to the place, by the sight of the blood of his enemies which he has spilt. Go that way, pursued she, pointing with her finger towards the place where she had left her cousin; there you will meet with him, amidst a crowd of foes, whom he is sacrificing to my safety, and his just resentment.
Sir Charles not knowing what to think, galloped away, followed by most part of the company; Sir George telling Lady Bella that he would stay to defend her against any attempts that might be made on her liberty, by any of her ravisher’s servants, who were, probably, straggling about. Arabella, however, being perfectly recovered, insisted upon following her uncle.
There is no question, said she, but Mr. Glanville is victorious; I am only apprehensive from the dangerous wounds he may have received in the combat, which will require all our care and assistance.
Sir George, who wanted to engross her company a little to himself, in vain represented to her, that, amidst the horrors of a fight so bloody as that must certainly be, in which Mr. Glanville and his friends would be now engaged, it would be dangerous for her to venture her person; yet she would not be I.210 persuaded; but, having mounted her horse, with his assistance, she rode as fast as she was able after the rest of the company.
Being a chapter of mistakes.
Sir Charles, who, by this time, had got to the place she had directed him to, but saw no appearance of fighting, and only a few haymakers in discourse together, inquired if there had been any quarrel between two gentlemen in that place.
One of them, at this question, advancing, told Sir Charles, that two gentlemen had quarrelled there, and were fighting with swords; but that they had parted them: and that one of them, having an horse tied to a tree, mounted him and rode away: that the other, they believed, was not far off; and that there had been no blood shed, they having come time enough to prevent it.
Sir Charles was extremely satisfied with this account; and giving the haymakers some money for the good office they did in parting the two combatants, rode up to Lady Bella, and informed her that his son was safe.
I cannot imagine he is safe, replied she, when I see some of his enemies (pointing to the hay makers) still alive; it is not customary, in those cases, to suffer any to escape; and, questionless, my cousin is either dead, or a prisoner, since all his adversaries are not vanquished.
Why, you dream, madam, replied Sir Charles; those fellows yonder are haymakers: what should make them enemies to my son? They were lucky I.211 enough to come in time to prevent him and another gentleman from doing each other a mischief. I cannot imagine for what reason my son quarrelled with that person they speak of; perhaps you can inform me?
Certainly, sir, said Arabella, I can inform you, since I was the cause of their quarrel. The story is too long to tell you now; and, besides, it is so connected with the other accidents of my life, that it is necessary you should be acquainted with my whole history, in order to comprehend it; but if those persons are what you say, and did really part my cousin and his antagonist, truly I believe they have done him a very ill office; for, I am persuaded, my cousin will never be at rest, till, by his rival’s death, he has freed himself from one capable of the most daring enterprises to get me into his power: and since I cannot be in security, while he lives, and persists in the resolution he has taken to persecute me, it had been better if he had suffered all the effects of my cousin’s resentment at that time, than to give him the trouble to hunt him through the world, in order to sacrifice him to the interest of his love and vengeance.
Sir Charles, no less astonished than alarmed at this discovery of his niece’s sanguinary told her, he was sorry to see a lady so far forget the gentleness of her sex, as to encourage and incite men to such extremities upon her account. And for the future, added he, I must entreat you, niece, to spare me the affliction of seeing my son exposed to these dangerous quarrels; for, though his life is so little regarded by you, yet it is of the utmost consequence to me.
Arabella, who found matter sufficient in the beginning of this speech, to be offended with her uncle, yet, mistaking the latter part of it for a pathetic I.212 complaint of her cruelty, replied, very gravely, that her cousin’s safety was not so indifferent to her as he imagined; and that she did not hate him so much but that his death would affect her very sensibly.
Arabella, in speaking these words, blushed with shame, as thinking they were rather too tender; and Sir Charles, who coloured likewise, from a very different motive, was opening his mouth to tell her, that he did not think his son was much obliged to her for not hating him; when Arabella, supposing he designed to press her to a farther explanation of the favourable sentiments she felt for Mr. Glanville, stopped him with precipitation. Press me no more, said she, upon this subject; and, as I have already spoken too much, haply, before so many witnesses, seek not to enhance my confusion, by prolonging a discourse that at present must needs be disagreeable to me.
I shall readily agree with you, madam, replied Sir Charles, that you have spoken too much; and if I had thought you capable of speaking in the manner you have done, I would have been more cautious in giving you an occasion for it.
I should imagine, sir, said Arabella, blushing with anger, as she before did with shame, that you would be the last person in the world who could think I had spoken too much upon this occasion; and since you are pleased to tell me so, I think it fit to let you know, that I have not, in my opinion, transgressed the laws of decency and decorum, in what I have said in my cousin’s favour; and I can produce many examples of greater freedom of speech, in princesses, and ladies of the highest quality; however, I shall learn such a lesson of moderation in this respect, from your reproof, that I promise you, neither yourself, nor Mr. Glanville, I.213 shall have any cause, for the future, to complain of my want of discretion.
Sir Charles, who was very polite and good-natured, was half angry with himself, for having obliged his niece to such a submission, as he thought it; and, for the rudeness of his reprehension, assured her that he was perfectly convinced of her discretion in all things; and did not doubt but her conduct would be always agreeable to him.
Arabella, who, from what her uncle had said, began to entertain suspicions that would never have entered any imagination but hers, looked earnestly upon him for half a moment, as if she wished to penetrate into the most secret recesses of his heart: but, fancying she saw something in his looks that confirmed her apprehensions, she removed her eyes from his face, and fastening them on the ground, for some moments in confusion.—Sir Charles, whom her apparent disturbance made very uneasy, proposed returning to the castle; telling Lady Bella he expected to find his son already there.
It is more than probable, said she, turning to Sir George, that my cousin is gone in pursuit of my ravisher; and the interruption that has been given to his designed vengeance, making him more furious than before, it is not likely he will return till he has punished his insolence by that death he so justly merits.
Mr. Glanville is already so happy in your opinion, said Sir George, with a very profound sigh, that there is no need of his rendering you this small service to increase your esteem: but, if my prayers are heard, the punishment of your ravisher will be reserved for a person less fortunate, indeed, than I.214 Mr. Glanville, though not less devoted to your interest, and concerned in your preservation.
Sir George, counterfeiting a look of extreme confusion and fear, as he ended these words—
Arabella, who perfectly comprehended the meaning they were designed to convey, thought herself obliged to take no notice of them: and, therefore, without making any reply to the young baronet, who ventured slowly to lift his eyes to her face, in order to discover if there were any signs of anger in it, she told Sir Charles she inclined to go home; and Sir George, with the rest of the company, attended them to the castle; where, as soon as they arrived, they took their leave.
Sir George, notwithstanding Arabella’s care to deprive him of an opportunity of speaking to her, told her, in a whisper, having eagerly alighted to help her off her horse—
I am going, madam, to find out that insolent; man, who has dared to offer violence to the fairest person in the world: and, if I am so happy as to meet with him, he shall either take my life, or I will put him into a condition never to commit any more offences of that nature.
Saying this, he made a low bow; and, being desirous to prevent her answer, remounted his horse, and went away with the rest of the company.
Arabella, who, upon this occasion, was all confusion, mixed with some little resentment, discovered so much emotion in her looks, while Sir George was whispering to her, that her uncle, as he was handing her into the house, asked her, if she was offended at any thing Sir George had said to her.
Arabella, construing this question as she had done I.215 some other things her uncle had said to her, replied, in a reserved manner, Since my looks, contrary to my intention, have betrayed my thoughts to you, I will not scruple to confess, that I have some cause to be offended with Sir George; and that, in two instances to-day, he has seemed to forget the respect he owes me.
Sir Charles was fired at this account: Is it possible, said he, that Sir George has had the assurance to say any thing to offend you, and that before my face too? This affront is not to be borne.
I am sorry, replied Arabella, eyeing him heedfully, to see you so much concerned at it.
Don’t be uneasy, interrupted Sir Charles: there will be no bad consequences happen from it: but he shall hear of it, added he, raising his voice with passion; I’ll force him this night to explain himself.
You must pardon me, sir, said Arabella, more and more confirmed in her notions, if I tell you, that I am extremely offended at your uncommon zeal upon this occasion; and also I must assure you, that a little more calmness would be less liable to suspicion.
Miss Glanville coming to meet them, Sir Charles, who did not take much notice of what Arabella said, eagerly inquired for his son; and, hearing he was not come home, was apprehensive of his meeting again with the person he had quarrelled with: but his fears did not last long; for Mr. Glanville came in, having purposely avoided the company, to hide the uneasiness Lady Bella’s tormenting folly had given him.I.216
In which the mistakes are continued.
As soon as Mr. Glanville appeared, the two ladies retired; Miss Glanville asking Arabella a hundred questions concerning their diversion, the drift of which was, to know how Sir George behaved to her: but that fair lady, whose thoughts were wholly employed on the strange accidents that had happened to her on that day, longed to be at liberty to indulge her reflections; and, complaining of extreme weariness, under pretence of reposing herself till dinner, got quit of Miss Glanville’s company, which, at that time, she thought very tedious.
As soon as she was left to herself, her imagination running over all that had happened, she could not help confessing, that few women ever met with such a variety of adventures in one day: in danger of being carried off by violence by one lover; delivered by another; insinuations of love from a third, who, she thought, was enamoured of her cousin; and what was still more surprising a discovery, that her uncle was not insensible of her charms, but was become the rival of his own son.
As extravagant as this notion was, Arabella found precedents in her romances of passions full as strange and unjustifiable; and confirmed herself in that opinion, by recollecting several examples of unlawful love. Why should I not believe, said she, that my charms can work as powerful effects as those of Olympia, Princess of Thrace, whose brother was passionately enamoured of her.
Did not the divine Clelia inspire Maherbal with a violent passion for her, who, though discovered to be her brother, did not, nevertheless, cease to adore I.217 her? And, to bring an instance still nearer to my own case, was not the uncle of the fair Alcyone in love with her? And did he not endeavour to win her heart by all the methods in his power?
Ah! then, pursued she, let us doubt no more of our misfortune; and, since our fatal beauty has raised this impious flame, let us stifle it with our rigour, and not allow an ill-timed pity, or respect, to encourage a passion which may, one day, cast a blemish upon our glory.
Arabella, having settled this point, proceeded to reflect on the conquest she had made of Sir George: she examined his words over and over, and found them so exactly conformable to the language of an Oroondates or Orontes, that she could not chuse but be pleased; but, recollecting that it behoved her, like all other heroines, to be extremely troubled and perplexed at an insinuation of love, she began to lament the cruel necessity of parting with an agreeable friend; who, if he persisted in making her acquainted with his thoughts, would expose himself to the treatment persons so indiscreet always meet with; nor was she less concerned, lest, if Mr. Glanville had not already dispatched her ravisher, Sir George, by wandering in search of him, and, haply, sacrificing him to his eager desire of serving her, should, by that lay her under an obligation to him, which, considering him as a lover, would be a great mortification.
Sir George, however, was gone home to his own house, with no thoughts of pursuing Arabella’s ravisher: and Mr. Glanville, being questioned by his father concerning his quarrel, invented some trifling excuse for it; which not agreeing with the account the baronet had received from Arabella, he told his son, that he had concealed the truth from him, and that there was more in that affair than he had owned. I.218 You quarrelled, added he, upon Arabella’s account; and she did not scruple to affirm it before all the company.
Mr. Glanville, who had vainly flattered himself with an hope that his cousin had not acquainted the company with her whimsical apprehensions, was extremely vexed when he found she had exposed herself to their ridicule, and that it was probable even he had not escaped: but willing to know from her own mouth how far she had carried her folly, he went up to her chamber; and, being immediately admitted, she began to congratulate him upon the conquest he had gained, as she supposed, over his enemy, and thanked him very solemnly for the security he had procured for her.
Mr. Glanville, after assuring her that she was in no danger of ever being carried away by that person whom she feared, proceeded to inquire into all that had passed between her and the company whom she had joined when she left him; and Arabella, relating every particular, gave him the mortification to know that her folly had been sufficiently exposed: but she touched upon her fears for him with so much delicacy, and mentioned her fainting in such a manner, as insinuated a much greater tenderness than he before had reason to hope for; and this knowledge destroying all his intentions to quarrel with her for what she had said, he appeared so easy and satisfied, that Arabella, reflecting upon the misfortune his father’s new-born passion would probably be the occasion of to him, could not help sighing at the apprehension; looking on him, at the same time, with a kind of pitying complacency, which did not escape Mr. Glanville’s notice.
I must know the reason of that sigh, cousin, said he, smiling, and taking her hand.
If you are wise, replied Arabella, gravely, you I.219 will be contented to remain in the pleasing ignorance you are at present; and not seek to know a thing which will, haply, afford you but little satisfaction.
You have increased my curiosity so much by this advice, resumed he, accommodating his looks to Arabella’s, that I shall not be at rest till I know what it is you conceal from me: and since I am so much concerned in it, even by your own confession, I have a right to press you to explain yourself.
Since you are so importunate, replied Arabella, I must tell you that I will not do you so great a diskindness as to explain myself; nor will I be the first who shall acquaint you with your misfortune, since you will, haply, too soon arrive at the knowledge of it by other means.
Glanville, who imagined this was some new whim that had got into her head, was but little perplexed at an insinuation, which, had he been ignorant of her foible, would have given him great uneasiness: but, being sensible that she expected he would press her to disclose herself, and appear extremely concerned at her refusing him that satisfaction, he counterfeited so well, that she was at a loss how to evade the arguments he used to make her unfold the terrible mystery; when the dinner-bell ringing, and relieving her for the present, Mr. Glanville led her down to the parlour, where Sir Charles and his daughter attended their coming.I.220
In which the mistakes are not yet cleared up.
The baronet, who had been put into a bad humour by Arabella’s insinuations that Sir George had affronted her, appeared reserved and uneasy; and, being resolved to question her about it, was willing first to know exactly what it was his niece had been offended at: but as he feared, if it came to his son’s knowledge, it would produce a quarrel between the young gentlemen, that might have dangerous consequences, he was desirous of speaking to her alone; and, as soon as dinner was over, asked her to take a walk with him upon the terrace, telling her he had something to say to her in private. Arabella, whose fears had been considerably increased by the pensiveness which appeared in her uncle’s looks during dinner, and supposed he wanted a private conversation only to explain himself more clearly to her than he had yet done, was excessively alarmed at this request; and casting her eyes down to the ground, blushed in such a manner as betrayed her confusion, and made Miss Glanville and her brother believe that she suspected her uncle had a design to press her soon to give her hand to Mr. Glanville, which occasioned her apparent disorder.
Sir Charles, however, who had not so heedfully observed her behaviour, repeated his request; adding, with a smile, upon her giving him no answer, Sure, Lady Bella, you are not afraid to be alone with your uncle.
No, sir, replied Arabella, giving him a piercing look; I am not afraid of being alone with my uncle; and, as long as he pretends to be no more than my I.221 uncle, I shall not scruple to hear what he has to say to me.
Sir Charles, a little vexed at an answer which insinuated, as he thought, a complaint of his having pretended to more authority over her than he ought, told her, he hoped she had no cause to believe he would displease her by any improper exertion of that power over her, with which her father had entrusted him; For I assure you, added he, I would rather you should follow my advice as an uncle, than obey me as a guardian; and, since my affection for you is, perhaps, greater than what many people have for a niece, my solicitude ought to be imputed to that motive.
I have all the sense I ought to have of that affection you honour me with, replied Arabella; and since I hope it will be always what it should be, without wishing for its increase, I am contented with those testimonies I have already received of it, and do not desire any other.
Sir Charles, a little puzzled to understand the meaning of these words, which the grave looks of Arabella made yet more mysterious, rose from his seat with an air of discontent. I should have been glad to have spoken a word in private with you, niece, said he; but since you think proper to make so much ceremony in such a trifle, I’ll defer it till you are in a better humour.
Miss Glanville seeing her father going out of the room, stepped before him; Nay, papa, said she, if you want to speak with my cousin, my brother and I will go out, and leave you to yourselves.
You will do me a very great displeasure, said Arabella; for I am sure my uncle has not any thing of consequence to say to me: however, added she, seeing Miss Glanville go away, I am resolved I will not be left alone; and therefore, Mr. Glanville, since I.222 I can pretend to some power over you, I command you to stay.
You may remember, madam, said Mr. Glanville, with a smile, you refused to gratify my curiosity with regard to something you hinted to me some time ago; and to punish you, added he, going out of the room, I am resolved you shall listen to what my father has to say to you; for, by your unwillingness to hear it, I imagine you suspect already what it is.
Arabella, finding she had no way to avoid hearing what she dreaded so much, and observing her uncle had resumed his chair, prepared to give him audience; but, in order to deprive him of all hope that she would receive his discourse favourably, she assumed the severest look she was capable of; and, casting her eyes on the ground, with a mixture of anger and shame, waited with a kind of fear and impatience for what he had to say.
I see, madam, said the baronet, observing her confusion, that you apprehend what I am going to say to you; but I beseech you, do not fear I have any intentions but such as you will approve.
You are certainly in the right, sir, said Arabella, in the interpretation you have put on my looks: I am really in pain about the purport of your discourse; and you would particularly oblige me, if you would dispense with me from hearing it.
I see, replied Sir Charles, that, out of a mistaken fear, you are unwilling to hear me, in order to avoid coming to the explanation I desire: but I tell you, once again, you have nothing to apprehend.
I have every thing to apprehend, sir, resumed Arabella, tartly, while you persist in your design of disobliging me; and you cannot give me a greater proof of the badness of your intentions, than by I.223 thus forcing me to listen to discourses I ought to avoid.
Since my word has no weight with you, replied Sir Charles, I’ll condescend to assure you, by the most sacred oath, that I do not mean to come to any extremities with Sir George concerning what you already told me: all I desire to know is, if you think you had any reason to be offended with him for any thing he said? And in that case I cannot dispense with myself from expostulating with him about it.
You would do me a favour, sir, resumed Arabella, if you would interest yourself a little less in what Sir George said to me; the offence was committed against me only; and none but myself has any right to resent it.
It is enough, niece, said Sir Charles, rising. You acknowledge sufficient to make me resolve to oblige him to ask pardon for the affront you have received: however, I beg you may make yourself easy; no ill consequences will happen from this affair, provided my son does not know it; and I know you have too much discretion to acquaint him with it.
Saying this, he went out of the room, leaving Arabella in great confusion at what he had said; which, in her opinion, had amounted almost to a plain declaration of his passion; and his design of putting an end to Sir George’s pretensions, whom, it was probable, he looked upon as a more dangerous rival than his son, confirmed her in the opinion of his resolution to persecute her.
Full of the reflections this accident had occasioned, she went to walk in the garden, where Mr. Glanville, his sister having just left him, joined her.
As he imagined his father’s design, in speaking to her alone, was to prevail upon her to consent to I.224 marry him before he left the country, which was what he most earnestly wished, he drew a bad omen from the discontent which appeared in her eyes.
Is it with me, cousin, said he, or with what my father has been saying to you, that you are angry?
With both, replied Arabella, hastily; for if you had staid in the room, as I commanded you, I should not have been exposed to the pain of hearing things so disagreeable.
Since I knew what would be the purport of my father’s discourse, said Mr. Glanville, you ought not to be surprised I could not resolve to give any interruption to it, by my presence; and being so much interested in the success of his solicitations, I could not choose but give him an opportunity of speaking to you alone, as he desired.
It seems, then, resumed Arabella, you know what was the subject of his conversation.
I believe I can guess, interrupted Mr. Glanville, smiling.
Is it possible, cried Arabella, starting back in great surprise, that, knowing, as you say you do, your father’s intentions, you would resolve to furnish him with an opportunity of disclosing them?
Can you blame me, said Mr. Glanville, for suffering him to undertake what I durst not myself? I know your delicacy, or rather your severity, so well, that I am sensible, if I had taken the liberty to say, what my father has said, you would have been extremely offended, and punished, me as you have often done, with a banishment from your presence: nay, pursued he, seeing astonishment and anger in her countenance, I perceive you are, at this moment, going to pronounce some terrible sentence against me.I.225
You are deceived, said Arabella, with a forced calmness; I am so far from being offended with you, that I am ready to acknowledge, you merit very extraordinary praises for the perfect resignation you shew to the will, and for your credit, I will suppose, the commands of your father: but I would advise you to be contented with the reputation of being a dutiful son; and, for the future, never aspire to that of being a faithful lover.
Speaking these words, which were wholly unintelligible to her amazed admirer, she left him, and went to her own apartment, strangely surprised at the indifference of Mr. Glanville; who, as she understood what he had said, was not only willing to resign her to his father, but also took upon him to mediate in his behalf.
As she was unwilling to acknowledge, even to herself, that the grief she felt at this discovery proceeded from any affection for her cousin, she imputed it to the shame of seeing herself so basely forsaken and neglected; and, not being able to find a precedent for such an indignity offered to the charms of any lady in her romances, the singularity of her fate, in this respect, seemed to demand all her uneasiness.
Which contains some necessary consequences of the foregoing mistakes—a soliloquy on a love-letter.
While Arabella passed her time in her closet, in the most disagreeable reflections, Glanville was racking his brain to find out the meaning of those mysterious words she had uttered, at leaving him; I.226 he examined them twenty times over, but could not possibly penetrate into their sense; but supposing, at last, that they really meant nothing at all, or were occasioned by some new flight of her imagination, he went to find out his father, in order to know what had passed between him and Arabella.
Sir Charles, however, was not to be found; he had ordered his horse to be made ready, under pretence of taking a little ride after dinner; and, passing by Sir George’s house, alighted to pay him a visit.
The young baronet, being at home, received him with great politeness; and Sir Charles, whose peculiar disposition was to be nicely tenacious of every thing which he imagined had any relation to the honour of his family, took the first opportunity to question him concerning the confusion his whisper had occasioned in Lady Bella; adding, that she had confessed he had given her reason to take ill what he had said to her.
Sir George, who was by no means willing to quarrel with the uncle of Arabella, received the old gentleman’s remonstrances with a great deal of calmness and, finding Arabella had not discovered the purport of that whisper which had offended her, he told Sir Charles that the confusion he saw in her countenance was occasioned by his rallying her upon the fright she had been in upon Mr. Glanville’s account: he added some other particulars, that, entirely taking away all inclination in Sir Charles to pursue the matter any further, they parted upon very good terms; Sir George promising, very soon, to return his visit at the castle.
Mr. Glanville, upon his father’s return, being impatient to know what he had said to Arabella, inquired with so much precipitation, concerning the conversation they had had together, that Sir Charles, I.227 unwilling to tell him the truth, and not having time to consider of an answer, evaded his question in such a manner, that Mr. Glanville could not help making some observation upon it; and, comparing this circumstance with what Arabella had said, though he could not comprehend the meaning that seemed to be concealed under their behaviour, he immediately concluded, there was some mystery which it concerned him to find out.
Possessed with this opinion, he longed for an opportunity to talk with Arabella alone; but he was not so happy to obtain one; for, though that fair-one presided at the tea-table, as usual, and also appeared at supper, yet she so industriously avoided all occasions of being alone with him, though but for a moment, and appeared so reserved and uneasy, that it was impossible for him to speak to her upon that subject.
As soon as it was time to retire, he resolved to request the favour of a few moments conversation with her, in her own apartment, and when he had, as was his custom, handed her up stairs, instead of wishing her a good night, at her chamber-door, he was going to desire permission to enter it with her; when Lucy, coming to meet her lady, whispered her in the ear; upon which Arabella, turning towards, him, gave him a hasty salute, and hurried into her apartment.
Glanville, no less vexed at this disappointment, than perplexed at that whisper, which had caused such a visible emotion in Arabella, retired to his own room, tormented with a thousand uneasy suspicions, for which he could not exactly assign a cause; and wishing impatiently for the next day, in which he hoped to procure some explanation of what at present greatly perplexed him.
In the meantime, Arabella, who had been informed I.228 by Lucy, in that whisper, who was eager to let her know it, that a messenger had brought a letter from Sir George, and, late as it was at night, waited for an answer, was debating with herself, whether she would open this billet or not: she had a strong inclination to see what it contained; but, fearful of transgressing the laws of romance, by indulging a curiosity not justifiable by example, she resolved to return this letter unopened.
Here, said she to Lucy, give this letter to the messenger that brought it, and tell him, I was excessively offended with you, for receiving it from his hands.
Lucy, taking the letter, was going to obey her orders; when, recollecting herself, she bid her stay.
Since Sir George, said she to herself, is no declared lover of mine, I may, without any offence to decorum, see what this letter contains: to refuse receiving it, will be to acknowledge, that his sentiments are not unknown to me; and, by consequence, to lay myself under a necessity of banishing him; nor is it fit that I should allow him to believe I am so ready to apprehend the meaning of every gallant speech which is used to me; and to construe such insinuations as he took the liberty to make me, into declarations of love.
Allowing, therefore, the justness of these reasons, she took the letter out of Lucy’s hand; and, being upon the point of opening it, a sudden thought controlled her designs; she threw it suddenly upon her toilet: and, looked very earnestly upon it—
Presumptuous paper! said she, speaking with great emotion to the letter. Bold repository of thy master’s daring thoughts! Shall I not be blamed by all who hereafter will hear or read my history, if, contrary to the apprehensions I have, that thou containest a confession that will displease me, I open thy I.229 seal, and become accessary to thy writer’s guilt, by deigning to make myself acquainted with it? And thou, too indiscreet and unwary friend, whose folds contain the acknowledgment of his crime! what will it advantage thee or him, if, torn by my resenting hand, I make thee suffer for the part thou bearest in thy master’s fault; and teach him, by thy fate, how little kindness he has to expect from me! Yet, to spare myself the trouble of reading what will, questionless, greatly displease me, I will return thee, uninjured, into thy master’s hands; and, by that moderation, make him repent the presumption he has been guilty of.
Containing a love-letter in the heroic style; with some occasional reasonings by Lucy, full of wit and simplicity.
Our fair heroine having ended the foregoing soliloquy, took up the letter and gave it to Lucy, who had, all the time she was speaking, observed a profound silence, mixed with a most eager attention.
Here, pursued she, carry it to the person who brought it, and bid him tell his master, that, lest I should find any thing in it which may offend me, I have chosen not to read it; and, if he is wise, he will profit by my concern for him, and take care how he hazards displeasing me a second time by an importunity of this kind, which I shall not so easily pardon him.
Lucy, who had taken particular notice of this speech, in order to remember every word of it when she repeated it again, went conning her lesson to I.230 the place where she had desired the servant to wait her coming: but he was gone; such being indeed his master’s orders; for he was apprehensive that, following the custom of the ladies in romances, Arabella would return his letter; and therefore, to deprive her of an opportunity of sending it back that night, he ordered his man to say he waited for an answer; but, as soon as he conveniently could, to come away without one.
Lucy, in a great surprise at the servant’s going away, returned to her lady with the letter in her hand, telling her she must needs read it now, since the person who brought it was gone.
It must be confessed, said Arabella, taking the letter from her, with a smile, he has fallen upon an ingenious device to make me keep it for this night; and since, haply, I may be mistaken in the contents, I have a mind to open it.
Lucy did not fail to confirm her lady in this design: and Arabella, making as if she yielded to the importunities of her confidante, opened the letter; which she found as follows—
“THE UNFORTUNATE AND DESPAIRING BELLMOUR, TO THE DIVINE ARABELLA.
“Since it is, doubtless, not only with your permission, but even by your commands, that your uncle, Sir Charles Glanville, comes to pronounce the sentence of my death, in the denunciation of your anger, I submit, madam, without repining at the rigour of that doom you have inflicted on me. Yes, madam, this criminal, who has dared to adore you with the most sublime and perfect passion that ever was, acknowledges the justice of his punishment; and, since it is impossible to cease loving you, or to live without telling you he does so, he is going voluntarily to run upon that death your severity makes I.231 him wish for, and the greatness of his crime demands. Let my death then, O divine Arabella, expiate the offence I have been guilty of! And let me hope those fair eyes, that have beheld me with scorn when alive, will not refuse to shed some tears upon my tomb! and that when you remember my crime of loving you, you will also be pleased to remember that I died for that crime; and wish for no other comfort in death, but the hope of your not hating when he is no more, the unhappy “Bellmour.”
Arabella, who had read this letter aloud, sighed gently at the conclusion of it; but poor Lucy, who was greatly affected at so dolorous an epistle, could not restrain her tears; but sobbed so often, and with so much violence, as at length recalled her lady from the reverie into which she was plunged.
What ails you? said she to her confidante, greatly surprised. What is the cause of this unseemly sorrow!
Oh! madam! cried Lucy, her sobs making a frequent and unpleasing interruption in her words; I shall break my heart to be sure: never was such a sad mournful letter in the world; I could cry my eyes out for the poor gentleman. Pray excuse me, madam; but, indeed, I can’t help saying you are the most hard-heartedest lady I ever knew in my born days. Why, to be sure, you don’t care if an hundred fine gentlemen should die for you, though their spirits were to haunt you every night! Well, I would not have what your ladyship has to answer for, for all the world!
You are a foolish wench! replied Arabella, smiling at her simplicity. Do you think I have any cause to accuse myself, though five thousand men were to die for me! It is very certain my beauty has produced very deplorable effects; the unhappy I.232 Harvey has expiated, by his death, the violence his too-desperate passion forced him to meditate against me: the no less guilty, the noble unknown Edward, is wandering about the world, in a tormenting despair, and stands exposed to the vengeance of my cousin, who has vowed his death. My charms have made another person, whose character ought to be sacred to me, forget all the ties of consanguinity, and become the rival of his son, whose interest he once endeavoured to support: and lastly, the unfortunate Bellmour consumes away in an hopeless passion; and, conscious of his crime, dooms himself, haply, with more severity than I desire, to a voluntary death, in hopes thereby of procuring my pardon and compassion when he is no more. All these, Lucy, as I said before, are very deplorable effects of my beauty; but you must observe, that my will has no part in the miseries that unfortunate beauty occasions; and that, though I could even wish myself less fair, in order to avoid giving so much unhappiness to others, yet these wishes would not avail; and since, by a fatal necessity, all these things will happen, whether I would or no, I must comfort myself under the uneasiness which the sensibility of my temper makes me feel, by the reflection, that, with my own consent, I contribute nothing to the misfortune of those who love me.
Will your ladyship, then, let poor Sir George die? said Lucy, who had listened very attentively to this fine harangue without understanding what it meant.
Questionless, he must die, replied Arabella, if he persists in his design of loving me.
But pray, madam, resumed Lucy, cannot your ladyship command him to live as you did Mr. Harvey and Mr. Glanville, who both did as you bad them?
I may command him to live, said Arabella; and I.233 there is no question but he would obey me, if I likewise permit him to love me; but this last not being fit for me to do, I see no way to prevent the sad resolution he has taken.
To be sure, madam, returned Lucy, your ladyship knows what you ought to do better than I can advise your ladyship, being that you are more learned than me: but, for all that, I think it’s better to save life than to kill, as the Bible book says; and since I am sure your ladyship is a good christian, if the gentleman dies for the want of a few kind words, or so, I am sure you will be troubled in mind about it.
It must be confessed, said Arabella, smiling, that though your solicitations are not very eloquent, they are very earnest and affecting; and I promise you I will think about it: and, if I can persuade myself I am doing no wrong thing by concerning myself about his preservation, I will dispatch you to-morrow morning with my orders to him to live, or at least to proceed no farther in his design of dying, till he has farther cause.
Lucy being extremely glad she had gained her point, called in her lady’s other women, who, having assisted her to undress, left her in her closet, to which she always retired for an hour before she went to bed.
[Sir George] would observe . . . that the wind, fond of kissing her celestial countenance, played with her fair hair
[Early in the book, we were told that Arabella has black hair; it will be mentioned again a few chapters further along. But if she doesn’t mind, I guess the reader can’t complain. In Book Five there will come a similar passage, this time referring to Arabella’s eyes.]
Miss Groves . . . her marriage being yet a secret
[Her married name is Barnet, but I’m pretty sure even the author has forgotten this detail. In any case, it definitely isn’t L——.]
use all my endeavours to confirm them in it
text has cofinrm
You know what the fair Artemisa did for Alexander
text has Artemisa, with superfluous comma
the sublimity of love and the quintessence of valour
[Anna Laetitia Barbauld (both editions) spells it “quintescence”; corrected from 1752 and 1799.]
they might, haply, have deserved it
comma after “might” missing
and I will lay it at your feet.”
[Close quote supplied from 1799 and 1820. 1752, as already established, rarely used quotation marks at all.]
’Sdeath! you will make me mad!
“m” in “mad” upside-down
[I frankly do not understand how this typographical error was achieved. The ascenders in the book’s font are about twice the height of the descenders, yet “ɯad” is perfectly aligned vertically.]
Mr. Harvey (for it really was he
[When we last saw him, in Book One, his name was spelled Hervey. He will remain Mr. Harvey-with-an-a to the end of Book Four, after which he disappears for good.]
pray are you acquainted with her?
text has . for ?
no less astonished than alarmed at this discovery of his niece’s sanguinary sentiments,
final , invisible at line-end
apologizing for the rudeness of his reprehension
text has apoligizing
[Trivia: The noun “reprehension” was entering its peak of popularity, shoving aside the original verb “reprehend”. (You can tell the ngram viewer to go even earlier, but before 1700 the sample sizes become too small to be useful.) Both plummeted in the course of the 19th century, while the adjective “reprehensible” has hung on.]
remained for some moments in confusion
text has remainded
After this chapter, the typesetter’s incompetent assistant seems to have been sent off on a long errand.
should, by that means, lay her under an obligation to him
[Comma after “means” supplied from 1752. The 1820 version omits both commas (before and after “by that means”), but writers were admittedly fond of commas in 1752, so it seemed better to add rather than delete.]
Glanville, who imagined this was some new whim that had got into her head
[Well, he’s not wrong.]
the most hard-heartedest lady I ever knew
[If Shakespeare can say “the most unkindest cut of all”, we can hardly fault Charlotte Lennox for doing the same thing. Anyway, it’s a good speech. You go, Lucy.]
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.