In which is related an admirable adventure.
Miss whose spirits were greatly exhilarated at their entrance into London, that seat of magnificence and pleasure, congratulated her cousin upon the entertainment she would receive from the new and surprising objects which every day for a considerable time would furnish her with; and ran over the catalogue of diversions with such a volubility of tongue, as drew a gentle reprimand from her father, and made her keep a sullen silence till they were set down in St. James’s square, the place of their residence in town.
Sir Charles having ordered his late lady’s apartment to be prepared for the accommodation of his niece, as soon as the first civilities were over, she retired to her chamber, where she employed herself in giving her women directions for placing her books, of which she had brought a moderate quantity to London, in her closet.
Miss Glanville, as soon as she had dispatched away some hundred cards to her acquaintance, to give them notice she was in town, attended Arabella in her own apartment; and as they sat at the tea, she began to regulate the diversions of the II.206 week, naming the Drawing-room, Park, Concert, Ranelagh, Lady ——’s Assembly, the Duchess of ——’s Rout, Vauxhall, and a long &c. of visits; at which Arabella, with an accent that expressed her surprise, asked her, if she supposed she intended to stay in town three or four years.
Lau, cousin, said Miss Glanville, all this is but the amusement of a few days.
Amusement, do you say? replied Arabella; methinks it seems to be the sole employment of those days; and what you call the amusement, must of necessity be the business of life.
You are always so grave, cousin, said Miss Glanville, one does not know what to say to you. However, I shan’t press you to go to public places against your inclination; yet you’ll condescend to receive a few visits,
Yes, replied Arabella, and if, among the ladies whom I shall see, I find any like the amiable Countess of ——, I shall not scruple to enter into the most tender amity with them.
The Countess of —— is very well to be sure, said Miss Glanville; yet, I don’t know how it is, she does not suit my taste—she is very particular in a great many things, and knows too much for a lady, as I heard my Lord Trifle say one day; then she is quite unfashionable; she hates cards, keeps no assembly, is seen but seldom at public places; and, in my opinion, as well as in a great many others, is the dullest company in the world. I’m sure I met her at a visit a little before I went down to your seat, and she had not been a quarter of an hour in the room, before she set a whole circle of ladies a-yawning.
Arabella, though she had a sincere contempt for her cousin’s manner of thinking, yet always politely concealed it; and, vexed as she was at her sneers upon the countess, she contented herself with gently defending her, telling her, at the same time, that till she met a lady who had more merit than II.207 the countess, she should always possess the first place in her esteem.
Arabella, who had from her youth adopted the resentments of her father, refused to make her appearance at court, which Sir Charles gently intimated to her; yet, being not wholly divested of the curiosity natural to her sex, she condescended to go incog. to the gallery on a ball night, accompanied by Mr. Glanville and his sister, in order to behold the splendour of the British court.
As her romances had long familiarised her thoughts to objects of grandeur and magnificence, she was not so much struck as might have been expected with those that now presented themselves to her view. Nor was she a little disappointed to find, that among the men she saw none whose appearance came up with her ideas of the air and port of an Artaban, Oroondates, or Juba; nor any of the ladies, who did not, in her opinion, fall short of the perfections of Elisa, Mandane, Statira, &c. It was remarkable, too, that she never inquired how often the princesses had been carried away by love-captivated monarchs, or how many victories the king’s sons had gained; but seemed the whole time she was there to have suspended all her romantic ideas of glory, beauty, gallantry, and love.
Mr. Glanville was highly pleased with her composed behaviour, and a day or two after entreated her to allow him the honour of shewing her what was remarkable and worthy of her observation in this great metropolis. To this she also consented, and for the greater privacy began their travels in a hired coach.
Part of several days was taken up in this employment; but Mr. Glanville had the mortification to find she was full of allusions to her romances upon every occasion, such as her asking the person who shews the armoury at the Tower, the II.208 names of the knights to whom each suit belonged, and wondering there were no devices on the shields or plumes of feathers in the helmets; she observed that the lion Lysimachus killed, was, according to the history of that prince, much larger than any of those she was shewn in the Tower, and also much fiercer: took notice that St. Paul’s was less magnificent in the inside than the temple in which Cyrus, when he went to Mandane, heard her return thanks for his supposed death; inquired if it was not customary for the king and his whole court to sail in barges upon the Thames, as Augustus used to do upon the Tyber; whether they had not music and collations in the Park; and where they celebrated the justs and tournaments.
The season for Vauxhall being not yet over, she was desirous of once seeing a place, which, by the description she had heard of it, greatly resembled the gardens of Lucullus at Rome, in which the emperor, with all the princes and princesses of his court, were so nobly entertained, and where so many gallant conversations had passed among those admirable persons.
The singularity of her dress (for she was covered with her veil) drew a number of gazers after her, who pressed round her with so little respect, that she was greatly embarrassed, and had thoughts of quitting the place, delightful as she owned it, immediately, when her attention was wholly engrossed by an adventure in which she soon interested herself very deeply.
An officer of rank in the sea-service had brought his mistress, disguised in a suit of man’s or rather boy’s clothes, and a hat and feather, into the gardens. The young creature being a little intoxicated with the wine she had taken too freely, was thrown so much off her guard, as to give occasion to some of the company to suspect her sex; and a gay fellow, in order to give them II.209 some diversion at her expence, pretending to be affronted at something she had said, drew his sword upon the disguised fair-one, which so alarmed her, that she shrieked out she was a woman, and ran for protection to her lover, who was so disordered with liquor, that he was not able to defend her.
Miss Glanville, ever curious and inquisitive, demanded the cause why the company ran in crowds to that particular spot; and received for answer, that a gentleman had drawn his sword upon a lady disguised in a man’s habit.
Oh, heavens! cried Arabella, this must certainly be a very notable adventure. The lady has doubtless some extraordinary circumstances in her story, and haply, upon inquiry, her misfortunes will be found to resemble those which obliged the beautiful Aspasia to put on the same disguise, who was by that means murdered by the cruel Zenodorus in a fit of jealousy at the amity his wife expressed for her. But can I not see this unfortunate fair one? added she, pressing, in spite of Mr. Glanville’s entreaties, through the crowd—I may haply be able to afford her some consolation.
Mr. Glanville, finding his persuasions were not regarded, followed her with very little difficulty; for her veil falling back in her hurry, she did not mind to replace it, and the charms of her face, joined to the majesty of her person, and singularity of her dress, attracted every person’s attention and respect, they made way for her to pass, not a little surprised at the extreme earnestness and solemnity that appeared in her countenance upon an event so diverting to every one else.
The disguised lady, whom she was endeavouring to approach, had thrown herself upon a bench in one of the boxes, trembling still with the apprehension of the sword, though her antagonist was kneeling at her feet, II.210 making love to her in mock-heroicks, for the diversion of the company.
Her hat and peruke had fallen off in her fright; and her hair, which had been turned up under it, hung now loosely about her neck, and gave such an appearance of woe to a face, which, notwithstanding the paleness that terror had overspread it with, was really extremely pretty, that Arabella was equally struck with compassion and admiration of her.
Lovely unknown, said she to her, with an air of extreme tenderness, though I am a stranger both to your name and history, yet your aspect persuadeth me your quality is not mean, and the condition and disguise in which I behold you, shewing that you are unfortunate, permit me to offer you all the assistance in my power, seeing that I am moved thereto by my compassion for your distress, and that esteem which the sight of you must necessarily inspire.
Mr. Glanville was struck dumb with confusion at this strange speech, and at the whispers and scoffs it occasioned among the spectators. He attempted to take hold of her hand, in order to lead her away, but she disengaged herself from him with a frown of displeasure; and taking no notice of Miss Glanville, who whispered with great emotion, Lord, cousin, how you expose yourself! pressed nearer to the beautiful disguised, and again repeated her offers of service.
The girl, being perfectly recovered from her intoxication, by the fright she had been in, gazed upon Arabella with a look of extreme surprise: yet being moved to respect by the dignity of her appearance, and, strange as her words seemed to be, by the obliging purport of them, and the affecting earnestness with which they were delivered, she rose from her seat, and thanked her, with an accent full of regard and submission.II.211
Fair maid, said Arabella, taking her hand, let us quit this place, where your discovery may probably subject you to more dangers: if you will be pleased to put yourself into my protection, and acquaint me with the history of your misfortunes, I have interest enough with a valiant person, who shall undertake to free you from your persecutions, and re-establish the repose of your life.
The kneeling hero, who, as well as every one else that were present, had gazed with astonishment at Arabella during all this passage, perceiving she was about to rob him of the disguised fair, seized hold of the hand she had at liberty, and swore he would not part with her.
Mr. Glanville, almost mad with vexation, endeavoured to get Arabella away.
Are you mad, madam, said he, in a whisper, to make all this rout about a prostitute? Do you see how every body stares at you? What will they think—For heaven’s sake let us be gone!
What, sir! replied Arabella, in a rage, are you base enough to leave this admirable creature in the power of that man, who is, questionless, her ravisher? And will you not draw your sword in her defence?
Hey-day! cried the sea-officer, waked out of his stupid dose by the clamour about him; what’s the matter here?—What are doing?—Where’s my Lucy?—Zouns, sir! said he, to the young fellow who held her, what business have you with my Lucy?—And, uttering a dreadful oath, drew out his sword, and staggered towards his gay rival, who, observing the weakness of his antagonist, flourished with his sword to shew his courage, and frighten the ladies, who all ran away screaming. Arabella, taking Miss Glanville under the arm, cried out to Mr. Glanville, as she left the place, to take care of the distressed lady, and, while the two combatants were disputing II.212 for her, to carry her away in safety.
But Mr. Glanville, without regarding this injunction, hastened after he; and, to pacify her, told her the lady was rescued by her favourite lover, and carried off in triumph.
But are you sure, said Arabella, it was not some other of her ravishers who carried her away, and not the person whom she has haply favoured with her affection? May not the same thing have happened to her, as did to the beautiful Candace, queen of Ethiopia, who, while two of her ravishers were fighting for her, a third, whom she took for her deliverer, came and carried her away?
But she went away willingly, I assure you, madam, said Mr. Glanville. Pray, don’t be in any concern about her.
If she went away willingly with him, replied Arabella, it is probable it may not be another ravisher; and yet if this person that rescued her happened to be in armour, and the vizor of his helmet down, she might be mistaken as well as Queen Candace.
Well, well, he was not in armour, madam, said Glanville, almost beside himself with vexation at her folly.
You seem to be disturbed, sir, said Arabella, a little surprised at his peevish tone. Is there any thing in this adventure which concerns you? Nay, now I remember, you did not offer to defend the beautiful unknown. I am not willing to impute your inaction upon such an occasion to want of courage or generosity; perhaps you are acquainted with her history, and from this knowledge refused to engage in her defence.
Mr. Glanville perceiving the company gather from all parts to the walk they were in, told her he would acquaint her with all he knew concerning the disguised lady when they were in the coach on their return home; and Arabella, impatient for the promised story, proposed to leave the gardens immediately, II.213 which was gladly complied with by Mr. Glanville, who heartily repented his having carried her thither.
Which ends with a very unfavourable prediction for our heroine.
As soon as they were seated in the coach, she did not fail to call upon him to perform his promise; but Mr. Glanville excessively out of humour at her exposing herself in the gardens, replied, without considering whether he should not offend her, that he knew no more of the disguised lady than any body else in the place.
How, sir! replied Arabella, did you not promise to relate her adventures to me? And would you have me believe you knew no more of them than the rest of the cavaliers and ladies in the place?
Upon my soul, I don’t, madam! said Glanville; yet what I know of her is sufficient to let me understand she was not worth the consideration you seemed to have for her.
She cannot, sure, be more indiscreet than the fair and unfortunate Hermione, replied Arabella; who, like her, put on man’s apparel, through despair at the ill success of her passion for Alexander—And certain it is, that though the beautiful Hermione was guilty of one great error which lost her the esteem of Alexander, yet she had a high and noble soul, as was manifest by her behaviour and words when she was murdered by the sword of Demetrius.—Oh, Death! cried she, as she was falling, how sweet do I find thee, II.214 and how much and how earnestly have I desired thee!
O Lord! O Lord! cried Mr. Glanville, hardly sensible of what he said. Was there ever any thing so intolerable?
You pity the unhappy Hermione, sir; said Arabella, interpreting his exclamation her own way. Indeed, she is well worthy of your compassion; and if the bare recital of the words she uttered at receiving her death’s wound, affects you so much, you may guess what would have been your agonies, had you been Demetrius that gave it her!
Here Mr. Glanville groaning aloud through impatience at her absurdities—
This subject affects you deeply, I perceive, said Arabella. There is no question but you would have acted in the same circumstance as Demetrius did: yet, let me tell you, the extravagancy of his rage and despair for what he had innocently committed, was imputed to him as a great imbecility, as was also the violent passion he conceived soon after for the fair Deidamia. You know the accident which brought that fair princess into his way.
Indeed I do not, madam, said Glanville, peevishly.
Well, then, I’ll tell you, said Arabella; but, pausing a little—
The recital I have engaged myself to make, added she, will necessarily take up some hours time, as upon reflection I have found; so if you will dispense with my beginning it at present, I will satisfy your curiosity to-morrow, when I may be able to pursue it without interruption.
To this Mr. Glanville made no other answer than a bow with his head; and the coach a few moments after arriving at their own house, he led her to her apartment, firmly resolved never to attend her to any more public places, while she continued in the same ridiculous folly.
Sir Charles, who had several times been in doubt II.215 whether Arabella was not really in her senses, upon Miss Glanville’s account of her behaviour at the gardens, concluded she was absolutely mad, and held a short debate with himself, whether he ought not to bring a commission of lunacy against her, rather than marry her to his son, who, he was persuaded, could never be happy with a wife so unaccountably absurd. Though he only hinted at this to Mr. Glanville, in a conversation he had with him while his was at its height, concerning Arabella, yet the bare supposition that his father ever thought of such a thing, threw the young gentleman into such agonies, that Sir Charles, to compose him, protested he would do nothing in relation to his niece that he would not approve of. Yet he expostulated with him on the absurdity of her behaviour, and the ridicule to which she exposed herself wherever she went; appealing to him, whether, in a wife, he could think those follies supportable, which in a mistress occasioned him so much confusion.
Mr. Glanville, as much in love as he was, felt all the force of this inference, and acknowledged to his father that he could not think of marrying Arabella, till the whims her romances had put into her head, were erased by a better knowledge of life and manners. But he added, with a sigh, that he knew not how this reformation would be effected; for she had such a strange facility in reconciling every incident to her own fantastic ideas, that every new object added strength to the fatal deception she laboured under.II.216
In which Arabella meets with another admirable adventure.
Our lovely heroine had not been above a fortnight in London, before the gross air of that smoky town affected her health so much, that Sir Charles proposed to her to go for a few weeks to Richmond, where he hired a house elegantly furnished for her reception.
Miss Glanville had been too long out of that darling city to pay her the compliment of attending her constantly at Richmond; yet she promised to be as often as possible with her: and Sir Charles, having affairs that could not dispense with his absence from town, placed his steward in her house, being a person whose prudence and fidelity he could rely upon; and he, with her women, and some other menial servants, made up her equipage.
As it was not consistent with decorum for Mr. Glanville to reside in her house, he contented himself with riding to Richmond generally every day; and as long as Arabella was pleased with that retirement, he resolved not to press her return to town till the Countess of —— arrived, in whose conversation he grounded all his hopes of her cure.
At that season of the year, Richmond not being quite deserted by company, Arabella was visited by several ladies of fashion; who, charmed with her affability, politeness and good sense, were strangely perplexed how to account for some peculiarities in her dress and manner of thinking.
Some of the younger sort, from whom Arabella’s beauty took away all pretensions to equality on that score, made themselves extremely merry with her oddnesses, as they II.217 called them, and gave broad intimations that her head was not right.
As for Arabella, whose taste was as delicate, sentiments as refined, and judgment as clear as any person’s could be who believed the authenticity of Scudery’s romances, she was strangely disappointed to find no lady with whom she could converse with any tolerable pleasure: and that instead of Clelias, Statiras, Mandanes, &c. she found only Miss Glanvilles among all she knew.
The comparison she drew between such as these and the charming Countess of ——, whom she had just began to be acquainted with at Bath, increased her regret for the interruption that was given to so agreeable a friendship: and it was with infinite pleasure Mr. Glanville heard her repeatedly wish for the arrival of that admirable lady (as she always called her) in town.
Not being able to relish the insipid conversation of the young ladies that visited her at Richmond, her chief amusement was to walk in the park there; which, because of its rural privacy, was extremely agreeable to her inclination.
Here she indulged contemplation, leaning on the arm of her faithful Lucy, while her other women walked at some distance behind her, and two men-servants kept her always in sight.
One evening when she was returning from her usual walk, she heard the sound of a woman’s voice, which seemed to proceed from a tuft of trees that hid her from her view; and stopping a moment, distinguished some plaintive accents, which increasing her curiosity, she advanced towards the place, telling Lucy she was resolved, if possible, to discover who the distressed lady was, and what was the subject of her affliction.
As she drew near with softly treading steps, she could distinguish through the branches of the trees, now despoiled of great part of their leaves, two women II.218 seated on the ground, their backs towards her, and one of them, with her head gently reclined on the other’s shoulder, seemed, by her mournful action, to be weeping; for she often put her handkerchief to her eyes, breathing every time a sigh, which, as Arabella phrased it, seemed to proceed from the deepest recesses of her heart.
Vide Vol. II. Book 9. Chap. 3.
Drawn by R. Corbould. Ornamented by R. W. Satchwell. Engrav’d by C. Warren for C. Cooke Augt 1 1799.
This adventure, more worthy indeed to be styled an adventure than all our fair heroine had ever yet met with, and so conformable to what she had read in romances, filled her heart with eager expectation. She made a sign to Lucy to make no noise, and creeping still closer towards the place where this afflicted person sat, she heard her distinctly utter these words, which, however, were often interrupted with her sighs—
Ah, Ariamenes! whom I, to my misfortune, have too much loved, and whom, to my misfortune, I fear I shall never sufficiently hate, since that heaven, and thy cruel ingratitude, have ordained that thou shalt never be mine, and that so many sweet and dear hopes are for ever taken from me, return me at least, ungrateful man! return me those testimonies of my innocent affection, which were sometimes so dear and precious to thee. Return me those favours, which, all innocent as they were, are become criminal by thy crime. Return me, cruel man, return me those relics of my heart which thou detainest in despite of me, and which, notwithstanding thy infidelity, I cannot recover.
Here her tears interrupting her speech, Arabella, being impatient to know the history of this afflicted person, came softly round to the other side, and shewing herself, occasioned some disturbance to the sad unknown; who, rising from her seat, with her face averted, as if ashamed of having so far disclosed her sorrows in a stranger’s hearing, endeavoured to II.219 pass by her unnoticed.
Arabella, perceiving her design, stopped her with a very graceful action, and with a voice all composed of sweetness, earnestly conjured her to relate her history.
Think not, lovely unknown, said she, (for she was really very pretty) that my endeavours to detain you proceed from an indiscreet curiosity. It is true, some complaints which have fallen from your fair mouth, have raised in me a desire to be acquainted with your adventures; but this desire has its foundation in that compassion your complaints have filled me with: and if I wish to know your misfortunes, it is only with a view of affording you some consolation.
Pardon me, madam, said the fair afflicted, gazing on Arabella with many signs of admiration, if my confusion at being over-heard in a place I had chosen to bewail my misfortunes, made me be guilty of some appearance of rudeness, not seeing the admirable person I wanted to avoid. But, pursued she, hesitating a little, those characters of beauty I behold in your face, and the gracefulness of your deportment, convincing me you can be of no ordinary rank, I will the less scruple to acquaint you with my adventures, and the cause of those complaints you have heard proceed from my mouth.
Arabella assuring her that, whatever her misfortunes were, she might depend upon all the assistance in her power, seated herself near her at the foot of the tree where she had been sitting; and giving Lucy orders to join the rest of her women, and stay at a distance till she made a sign to them to advance, she prepared to listen to the adventures of the fair unknown; who, after some little pause, began to relate them in this manner.II.220
In which is related the history of the Princess of Gaul.
My name, madam, is Cynecia; my birth illustrious enough, seeing that I am the daughter of a sovereign prince, who possesses a large and spacious territory in what is now called ancient Gaul.
What, madam!, interrupted Arabella, are you a princess,
Questionless I am, madam, replied the lady; and a princess happy and prosperous, till the felicity of my life was interrupted by the perfidious Ariamenes.
Pardon me, madam, interrupted Arabella again, that my ignorance of your quality made me be deficient in those respects which are due to your high birth, and which, notwithstanding those characters of greatness I might read in the lineaments of your visage, I yet neglected to pay.
Alas, madam! said the stranger, that little beauty which the heavens bestowed on me only to make me wretched, as by the event it has proved, has long since taken its flight, and, together with my happiness, I have lost that which made me unhappy. And certain it is, grief has made such ravages among what might once have been thought tolerable in my face, that I should not be surprised if my being no longer fair, should make you, with difficulty, believe I ever was so.
Arabella, after a proper compliment in answer to this speech, entreated the princess to go on with her history; who, hesitating a little, complied with her request.
Be pleased to know then, madam, said she, that being bred up with all imaginable tenderness in my father’s court, I had no sooner arrived to my sixteenth year, than I saw myself surrounded with lovers; who, nevertheless, such was II.221 the severity with which I behaved myself, concealed their passions under a respectful silence, well knowing banishment from my presence was the least punishment they had to expect, if they presumed to declare their sentiments to me.
I lived in this fashion, madam, for two years longer, rejoicing in the insensibility of my own heart, and triumphing in the sufferings of others, when my tranquillity was all at once interrupted by an accident which I am going to relate to you.
The princess stopped here to give vent to some sighs which a cruel remembrance forced from her; and continuing in a deep muse for five or six minutes, resumed her story in this manner—
It being my custom to walk in a forest adjoining to one of my father’s summer residences, attended only by my women, one day when I was taking this amusement, I perceived at some distance a man lying on the ground; and, impelled by a sudden curiosity, I advanced towards this person, whom, upon a nearer view, I perceived to have been wounded very much, and fainted away through loss of blood. His habit being very rich, I concluded by that he was of no mean quality: but when I had looked upon his countenance, pale and languishing as it was, methought there appeared so many marks of greatness, accompanied with a sweetness so happily blended, that my attention was engaged in an extraordinary manner, and interested me so powerfully in his safety, that I commanded some of my women to run immediately for proper assistance, and convey him to the castle, while I directed others to throw some water in his face, and to apply some linen to his wounds, to stop the bleeding.
These charitable cares restored the wounded stranger to his senses; he opened his eyes, and turning them slowly to the objects around him, II.222 fixed at last their languishing looks on me: when moved, as it should seem, to some respect by what he saw in my countenance, he rose with some difficulty from the ground, and bowing almost down to it again, by that action, seemed to pay me his acknowledgements for what he supposed I had done for his preservation.
His extreme weakness having obliged him to creep towards a tree, against the back of which he supported himself, I went nearer to him, and having told him the condition in which I found him, and the orders I had dispatched for assistance, requested him to acquaint me with his name and quality, and the adventure which had brought him into that condition.
My name, madam, answered he, is Ariamenes; my birth is noble enough; I have spent some years in my travels, and was returning to my native country; when, passing through this forest, I was seized with an inclination to sleep. I had tied my horse to a tree, and retiring some few paces off, stretched myself at the foot of a large oak, whose branches promised me an agreeable shade. I had not yet closed my eyes, when the slumber I invited was dissipated by the sound of some voices near me.
A curiosity, not natural to me, made me listen to the discourse of these persons, whom, by the tone of their voices, though I could not see them, I knew to be men.
In short, madam, I was a witness to a most horrible scheme, which they concerted together; my weakness will not permit me to enter into an exact detail of all I heard: the result of their conference was, to seize the princess of this country, and carry her off.
Here, pursued Cynecia, I interrupted the stranger with a loud cry, which giving him to understand who I was, he apologized in the most graceful manner imaginable for the little respect he had hitherto paid me.
I then entreated him to tell II.223 me, if he had any opportunity of hearing the name of my designed ravisher; to which he replied, that he understood it to be Taxander.
This man, madam, was one of my father’s favourites, and had been long secretly in love with me.
Ariamenes then informed me, that being enflamed with rage against these impious villains, he rose from the ground, re-mounted his horse, and defied the two traitors aloud, threatening them with death, unless they abandoned their impious design.
Taxander made no answer, but rushed furiously upon him, and had the baseness to suffer his wicked associate to assist him: but the valiant Ariamenes, though he spoke modestly of his victory, yet gave me to understand that he had made both the villains abandon their wicked enterprise, with their lives; and that dismounting, in order to see if they were quite dead, he found himself so faint with the wounds he had received from them both, that he had not strength to re-mount his horse; but crawling on, in hopes of meeting with some assistance, fainted away at last through weariness and loss of blood.
While he was giving me this account, the chariot I had sent for arrived, and having made him such acknowledgements as the obligation I had received from him demanded, I caused him to get into the chariot; and sending one with him to acquaint the prince, my father, with all that had happened, and the merit of the valiant stranger, I returned the same way I came with my women, my thoughts being wholly engrossed by this unknown.
The service he had done me filled me with a gratitude and esteem for him, which prepared my heart for those tender sentiments I afterwards entertained, to the ruin of my repose.
I will not tire your patience, madam, with a minute detail of all the succeeding passages of my story; it shall suffice to tell you, II.224 that Ariamenes was received with extraordinary marks of esteem by my father; that his cure was soon completed; and that, having vowed himself to my service, and declared an unalterable passion for me, I permitted him to love me, and gave him that share in my heart, which, I fear, not all his infidelities will ever deprive him of.
His attachment to me was soon suspected by Taxander’s relations, who having secretly vowed his ruin, endeavoured to discover if I had admitted his addresses; and having made themselves masters of our secrets, by means of the treachery of one of my women, procured information to be given to my father of our mutual passion.
Alas! what mischiefs did not this fatal discovery produce! my father, enraged to the last degree at this intelligence, confined me to my apartment, and ordered Ariamenes to leave his dominions within three days.
Spare me, madam, the repetition of what passed at our last sad interview, which, by large bribes to my guards, he obtained.
His tears, his agonies, his vows of everlasting fidelity, so soothed my melancholy at parting with him, and persuaded me of his constancy, that I waited for several months, with perfect tranquillity, for the performance of the promise he had made me, to do my father such considerable services in the war he was engaged in with one of his neighbours, as should oblige him to give me to him for his reward.
But, alas! two years rolled on without bringing back the unfaithful Ariamenes. My father died, and my brother, who succeeded him, being about to force me to marry a prince whom I detested, I secretly quitted the court, and, attended only by this faithful confidant whom you behold with me, and some few of my trusty domestics, I came hither in search of Ariamenes, he having told me this country was II.225 the place of his birth.
Polenor, the most prudent and faithful of my servants, undertook to find out the ungrateful Ariamenes, whom yet I was willing to find excuses for; but all his inquiries were to no effect; the name of Ariamenes was not known in this part of the world.
Tired out with unsuccessful inquiries, I resolved to seek out some obscure place, where I might in secret lament my misfortunes, and expect the end of them in death. My attendants found me out such a retreat as I wanted, in a neighbouring village, which they call Twickenham, I think; from whence I often make excursions to this park, attended only as you see, and here indulge myself in complaints upon the cruelty of my destiny.
The sorrowful Cynecia here ended her story, to which, in the course of her relation, she had given a great many interruptions through the violence of her grief: and Arabella, after having said every thing she could think on to alleviate her affliction, earnestly entreated her to accept of an asylum at her house; where she should be treated with all the respect due to her illustrious birth.
The afflicted lady, though she respectfully declined this offer, yet expressed a great desire of commencing a strict amity with our fair heroine, who, on her part, made her the most tender protestations of friendship.
The evening being almost closed, they parted with great reluctancy on both sides; mutually promising to meet in the same place the next day.
Cynecia, having enjoined her new friend to absolute secrecy, Arabella was under a necessity of keeping this adventure to herself. And though she longed to tell Mr. Glanville, who came to visit her the next day, that the countess was extremely mistaken, when she maintained there were no more wandering princesses in the world, yet the engagement she had submitted to kept her silent.II.226
A very mysterious chapter.
Arabella, who impatiently longed for the hour of meeting the fair princess, with whom she was extremely delighted, consulted her watch so often, and discovered so much restlessness and anxiety, that Mr. Glanville began to be surprised; and the more, as she peremptorily commanded him not to attend her in her evening walk. This prohibition, which, though he durst not dispute, he secretly resolved to disobey; and as soon as she set out for the park with her usual attendants, he slipped out by a back-door, and, keeping her in his sight, him self unseen, he ventured to watch her motions.
As he had expected to unravel some great mystery, he was agreeably disappointed to find she continued her walk in the park with great composure; and though she was soon joined by the imaginary princess, yet conceiving her to be some young lady with whom she had commenced an acquaintance at Richmond, his heart was at rest; and, for fear of displeasing her, he took a contrary path from that she was in, that he might not meet her, yet resolved to stay till he thought she would be inclined to return, and then shew himself, and conduct her home. A solicitude for which he did not imagine she need be offended.
The two ladies being met, after reciprocal compliments, the princess entreated Arabella to relate her adventures; who not being willing to violate the laws of romance, which require an unbounded confidence upon these occasions, began very succinctly to recount the history of her life; which, as she managed it, contained events almost as romantic II.227 and incredible as any in her romances; winding them up with a confession that she did not hate Mr. Glanville, whom she acknowledged to be one of the most faithful and zealous of lovers.
Cynecia, with a sigh, congratulated her upon the fidelity of a lover, who, by her description, was worthy the place he possessed in her esteem; and expressing a wish, that she could see, unobserved by him, this gallant and generous person, Arabella, who that moment espied him at a distance, yet advancing towards them, told her, with a blush that overspread all her face, that her curiosity might be satisfied in the manner she wished, For yonder, added she, is the person we have been talking of.
Cynecia, at these words, looking towards the place where her fair friend had directed, no sooner cast her eyes, upon Mr. Glanville, than, giving a loud cry, she sunk into the arms of Arabella, who, astonished and perplexed as she was, eagerly held them out to support her.
Finding her in a swoon, she dispatched Lucy, who was near her, to look for some water to throw in her face; but that lady, breathing a deep sigh, opened her languishing eyes, and fixed a melancholy look upon Arabella—
Ah! madam, said she, wonder not at my affliction and surprise, since in the person of your lover I behold the ungrateful Ariamenes.
Oh, heavens! my fair princess, replied Arabella, what is it you say? Is it possible Glanville can be Ariamenes?
He, cried the afflicted princess, with a disordered accent, he whom I now behold, and whom you call Glanville, was once Ariamenes, the perjured, the ungrateful Ariamenes. Adieu, madam, I cannot bear his sight; I will hide myself from the world for ever; nor need you fear a rival, or an enemy, in the unfortunate Cynecia, who, if possible, will cease to love the unfaithful Ariamenes, II.228 and will never hate the beautiful Arabella.
Vide Chap. 5.
Drawn by R. Corbould. Engrav’d by C. Warren, for C. Cooke, Septr 6. 1799.
Saying this, without giving her time to answer, she took hold of her confidant by the arm, and went away with so much swiftness, that she was out of sight before Arabella was enough recovered from her astonishment to be able to entreat her stay.
Our charming heroine, ignorant till now of the true state of her heart, was surprised to find it assaulted at once by all the passions which attend disappointed love. Grief, rage, jealousy, and despair, made so cruel a war in her gentle bosom, that, unable either to express or conceal the strong emotions with which she was agitated, she gave way to a violent burst of tears, leaning her head upon Lucy’s shoulder, who wept as heartily as her lady, though ignorant of the cause of her affliction.
Mr. Glanville, who was now near enough to take notice of her posture, came running with eager haste to see what was the matter; when Arabella, roused from her ecstacy of grief by the sound of his steps, lifted up her head, and seeing him approach—
Lucy, cried she, trembling with the violence of her resentment, tell that traitor to keep out of my sight. Tell him, I forbid him ever to appear before me again. And, tell him, added she, with a sigh that shook her whole tender frame, all the blood in his body is too little to wash away his guilt, or to pacify my indignation.
Then hastily turning away, she ran towards her other attendants, who were at some distance; and joining her women, proceeded directly home.
Mr. Glanville, amazed at this action, was making after her as fast as he could, when Lucy, crossing in his way, cried out to him to stop.
My lady, said she, bid me tell you, traitor—
Hey-dey! interrupted Glanville, what the devil does the girl mean?
Pray, sir, said she, let me deliver my message; II.229 I shall forget if you speak to me till I have said it all—Stay, let me see, what comes next?
No more traitor, I hope, said Glanville.
No, sir, said Lucy; but there was something about washing in blood, and you must keep out of her sight, and not appear before the nation—Oh, dear! I have forgot it half: my lady was in such a piteous taking, I forgot it, I believe, as soon as she said it. What shall I do?
No matter, said Glanville, I’ll overtake her, and ask—
No, no, sir, said Lucy, pray don’t do that, sir! my lady will be very angry; I’ll venture to ask her to tell me over again, and come back and let you know it.
But tell me, replied Glanville, was any thing the matter with your lady? She was in a piteous taking, you say!
Oh, dear! yes, sir, said Lucy; but I was not bid to say any thing about that. To be sure, my lady did cry sadly, and sighed as if her heart would break; but I don’t know what was the matter with her.
Well, said Glanville, excessively shocked at this intelligence, go to your lady; I am going home; you may bring me her message to my own apartment.
Lucy did as she was desired; and Mr. Glanville, impatient as he was to unravel the mystery, yet dreading lest his presence should make Arabella be guilty of some extravagance before the servants who were with her, he followed slowly after her, resolving, if possible, to procure a private interview with the lovely visionary, for whose sorrow, though he suspected it was owing to some ridiculous cause, he could not help being affected.II.230
Not much plainer than the former.
Arabella, who had walked as fast as her legs would carry her, got home before Lucy could overtake her, and retiring to her chamber, gave way to a fresh burst of grief, and bewailed the infidelity of Glanville in terms befitting a Clelia or Mandane.
As soon as she saw Lucy enter, she started from her chair with great emotion.
Thou comest, said she, I know, to intercede for that ungrateful man, whose infidelity I am weak enough to lament: but open not thy mouth, I charge thee, in his defence.
No, indeed, madam! said Lucy.
Nor bring me any account of his tears, his desperation, or his despair, said Arabella; since, questionless, he will feign them all to deceive me.
Here Glanville, who had watched Lucy’s coming, and had followed her into Arabella’s apartment, appeared at the door.
Oh, heavens! cried Arabella, lifting up her fine eyes, can it be that this disloyal man, unawed by the discovery of his guilt, again presumes to approach me!
Dearest cousin, said Glanville, what is the meaning of all this? How have I disobliged you? What is my offence? I beseech you, tell me.
Ask the inconstant Ariamenes, replied Arabella, the offence of the ungrateful Glanville. The betrayer of Cynecia can best answer that question to the deceiver of Arabella: and the guilt of the one can only be compared to the crimes of the other.
Good God! interrupted Mr. Glanville, fretting excessively, what am I to understand by all this? On my soul, madam, I don’t know the meaning of one word you say!
Oh, dissembler! said Arabella, is it thus that thou wouldest impose upon my incredulity? II.231 Does not the name of Ariamenes make thee tremble, then? And canst thou hear that of Cynecia without confusion?
Dear Lady Bella, said Glanville, smiling, what are these names to me?
False man, interrupted Arabella, dost thou presume to sport with thy crimes, then? Are not the treacheries of Ariamenes the crimes of Glanville? Could Ariamenes be false to the Princess of Gaul, and can Glanville be innocent towards Arabella?
Mr. Glanville, who had never heard her in his opinion talk so ridiculously before, was so amazed at the incomprehensible stuff she uttered with so much emotion, that he began to fear her intellects were really touched. This thought gave him a concern that spread itself in a moment over his countenance. He gazed on her with a fixed attention, dreading, yet wishing she would speak again; equally divided between his hopes that her next speech would remove his suspicion, and his fears, or that it might more confirm them.
Arabella taking notice of his pensive posture, turned away her head, lest, by beholding him, she should relent, and treat him with less severity than she had intended, making at the same time a sign to him to be gone.
Indeed, Lady Bella, said Glanville, who understood her perfectly well, I cannot leave you in this temper. I must know how I have been so unfortunate as to offend you.
Arabella, no longer able to contain herself, burst into tears at this question: with one hand she made repeated signs to him to be gone; with the other she held her handkerchief to her eyes, vexed and ashamed of her weakness.
But Mr. Glanville, excessively shocked at this sight, instead of leaving her, threw himself on his knees before her, and taking her hand, which he tenderly pressed to his lips—
Good God! my II.232 dearest cousin, said he, how you distract me by this behaviour! Sure something extraordinary must be the matter. What can it be that thus afflicts you?—Am I the cause of these tears?—Can I have offended you so much?—Speak, dear madam—Let me know my crime. Yet, may I perish if I am conscious of any towards you!
Disloyal man, said Arabella, disengaging her hand from his, does then the crime of Ariamenes seem so light in thy apprehension, that thou canst hope to be thought innocent by Arabella? No, no, ungrateful man! the unfortunate Cynecia shall have no cause to say that I will triumph in her spoils. I myself will be the minister of her revenge; and Glanville shall suffer for the crime of Ariamenes.
Who the devil is this Ariamenes? cried Glanville, rising in a passion; and why am I to suffer for his crime, pray? For heaven’s sake, dear cousin, don’t let your imagination wander thus. Upon my soul, I don’t believe there is any such person as Ariamenes in the world!
Vile equivocator! said Arabella; Ariamenes, though dead to Cynecia, is alive to the deluded Arabella. The crimes of Ariamenes are the guilt of Glanville: and if the one has made himself unworthy of the Princess of Gaul, by his perfidy and ingratitude, the other, by his baseness and deceit, merits nothing but contempt and detestation from Arabella.
Frenzy, by my soul, cried Glanville, mutteringly between his teeth: this is downright frenzy. What shall I do?
Hence from my presence, resumed Arabella, false and ungrateful man! Persecute me no more with the hateful offers of thy love. From this moment I banish thee from my thoughts for ever; and neither as Glanville, nor as Ariamenes, will I ever behold thee more.
Stay, dear cousin, said Glanville, holding her, (for she was endeavouring II.233 to rush by him, unwilling he should see the tears that had overspread her face as she pronounced those words) hear me, I beg you, but one word. Who is it you mean by Ariamenes?—Is it me?—Tell me, madam, I beseech you—This is some horrid mistake—You have been imposed upon by some villainous artifice—Speak, dear Lady Bella—Is it me you mean by Ariamenes? For so your last words seemed to hint.
Arabella, without regarding what he said, struggled violently to force her hand from his; and finding him still earnest to detain her, told him, with an enraged voice, that she would call for help, if he did not unhand her directly.
Poor Glanville, at this menace, submissively dropt her hand; and the moment she was free, she flew out of the room, and locking herself up in her closet, sent her commands to him by one of her women, whom she called to her, to leave her apartment immediately.
Containing indeed no great matters, but being a prelude to greater.
Mr. Glanville, who had stood fixed like a statue in the place where Arabella had left him, was roused by this message, which, though palliated a little by the girl that delivered it, who was not quite so punctual as Lucy, nevertheless filled him with extreme confusion. He obeyed however immediately, and retiring to his own apartment, endeavoured to recall to his memory all Lady Bella had said.
The ambiguity of her style, which had led him into a suspicion he had never entertained before, her II.234 last words had partly explained, if, as he understood she did, she meant him by Ariamenes. Taking this for granted, he easily conceived some plot, grounded on her romantic notions, had been laid, to prepossess her against him.
Sir George’s behaviour to her rushed that moment into his thoughts; he instantly recollected all his fooleries, his history, his letter, his conversation, all apparently copied from those books she was so fond of, and probably done with a view to some other design upon her.
These reflections, joined to his new awakened suspicions that he was in love with her, convinced him he was the author of their present misunderstanding; and that he had imposed some new fallacy upon Arabella, in order to promote a quarrel between them.
Fired almost to madness at this thought, he stamped about his room, vowing revenge upon Sir George, execrating romances, and cursing his own stupidity, for not discovering Sir George was his rival, and, knowing his plotting talent, not providing against his artifices.
His first resolutions were, to set out immediately for Sir George’s seat, and force him to confess the part he had acted against him: but a moment’s consideration convinced him, that was not the most probable place to find him in, since it was much more likely he was waiting the success of his schemes in London, or perhaps at Richmond.
Next to satiating his vengeance, the pleasure of detecting him in such a manner, that he could not possibly deny or palliate his guilt, was nearest his heart.
He resolved therefore to give it out, that he was gone to London, to make Lady Bella believe it was in obedience to her commands that he had left her, with a purpose not to return till he had cleared his innocence; but, in reality, to conceal himself in II.235 his own apartment, and see what effects his reputed absence would produce.
Having thus taken his resolution, he sent for Mr. Roberts, his father’s steward, to whose care he had entrusted Lady Bella in her retirement, and acquainting him with part of his apprehensions with regard to Sir George’s attempt upon his cousin, he imparted to him his design of staying concealed there, in order to discover more effectually those attempts, and to preserve Lady Bella from any consequence of them.
Mr. Roberts approved of his design, and assured him of his vigilance and care, both in concealing his stay, and also in giving him notice of every thing that passed.
Mr. Glanville then wrote a short billet to Arabella, expressing his grief for her displeasure, his departure in obedience to her orders, and his resolutions not to appear in her presence, till he could give her convincing proofs of his innocence.
This letter he sent by Roberts, which Arabella condescended to read, but would return no answer.
Mr. Glanville then mounting his horse, which Roberts had ordered to be got ready, rode away, and leaving him at a house he sometimes put up at, returned on foot, and was let in by Mr. Roberts at the garden-door, and conducted unseen to his chamber.
While he passed that night, and great part of the next day, meditating on the treachery of Sir George, and soothing his uneasiness with the hopes of revenge, Arabella, not less disquieted, musing on the infidelity of her lover, the despair of Cynecia, and the impossibility of her ever being happy. Then ransacking her memory for instances in her romances of ladies equally unfortunate with herself, she would sometimes compare herself to one lady, sometimes to another, adapting their sentiments, and making use of their language in her complaints.
Great part of the day being spent II.236 in this manner, the uneasy restlessness of her mind made her wish to see Cynecia again. She longed to ask her a hundred questions about the unfaithful Ariamenes, which the suddenness of her departure, and her own astonishment, prevented her from doing, when she made that fatal discovery, which had cost her so much uneasiness.
Sometimes a faint hope would arise in her mind that Cynecia might be mistaken, through the great resemblance that possibly was between Ariamenes and Glanville.
She remembered that Mandane had been deceived by the likeness of Cyrus to Spitridates: and concluded that illustrious prince inconstant, because Spitridates, whom she took for Cyrus, saw her carried away without offering to rescue her.
Dwelling with eagerness upon this thought, because it afforded her a temporary relief from others more tormenting, she resolved to go to the park, though she had but little hopes of finding Cynecia there; supposing it but too probable that the disturbance which the sight, or fancied sight of Ariamenes had given her, would confine her for some days to her chamber. Yet, however small the probability was of meeting with her, she could not resist the impatient desire she felt of going to seek her.
Dispensing, therefore, with the attendance of any other servant but Lucy, she left her apartment, with a design of resuming her usual walk, when she was met, at her stepping out of the door, by Lady L——’s three daughters, (who had visited her during her residence at Richmond) and another young lady.
These ladies, who, to vary the scene of their rural diversions, were going to cross over to Twickenham, and walk there, pressed Lady Bella to accompany them. Our melancholy heroine refused them at first, but, upon their repeated importunity, recollecting that the Princess of Gaul had II.237 informed her she resided there, she consented to go, in hopes some favourable chance might bring her in their way, or discover the place of her retreat, when she could easily find some excuse for leaving her companions and going to her.
Mr. Roberts, who, according to his instructions, narrowly watched Arabella’s motions, finding she did not command his attendance as usual, resolved however to be privately of this party. He had but just time to run up and acquaint Mr. Glanville, and then followed the ladies at a distance, who, taking boat, passed over to Twickenham, which he also did as soon as he saw them landed.
Which acquaints the reader with two very extraordinary accidents.
Mr. Glanville, who did not doubt but Roberts would bring him some intelligence, sat waiting with anxious impatience for his return. The evening drew on , he numbered the hours, and began to grow uneasy at Arabella’s long stay. His chamber-window looking into the garden, he thought he saw his cousin, covered with her veil as usual, hasten down one of the walks; his heart leaped at this transient view, he threw up the sash, and looking out, saw her very plainly strike into a cross-walk, and a moment after saw Sir George, who came out of a little summer-house, at her feet. Transported with rage at this sight, he snatched up his sword, flew down the stairs into the garden, and came running like a madman up the walk in which the lovers were. The lady observing him II.238 first, for Sir George’s back was towards him, shrieked aloud, and not knowing what she did, ran towards the house, crying for help, and came back as fast, yet not time enough to prevent mischief: for Mr. Glanville, actuated by an irresistible fury, cried out to Sir George to defend himself, who had but just time to draw his sword, and make an ineffectual pass at Mr. Glanville, when he received his into his body, and fell to the ground.
Mr. Glanville losing his resentment, insensibly, at the sight of his rival’s blood, threw down his sword, and endeavoured to support him; while the lady, who had lost her veil in running, and, to the great astonishment of Mr. Glanville, proved to be his sister, came up to them with tears and exclamations, blaming herself for all that had happened. Mr. Glanville, with a heart throbbing with remorse for what he had done, gazed on his sister with an accusing look, as she hung over the wounded baronet with streaming eyes, sometimes wringing her hands, then clasping them together in an agony of grief.
Sir George, having strength enough left to observe her disorder, and the generous concern of Glanville, who, holding him in his arms, entreated his sister to send for proper assistance, Dear Charles, said he, you are too kind; I have used you very ill, I have deserved my death from your hand—You know not what I have been base enough to practise against you—If I can but live to clear your innocence to Lady Bella, and free you from the consequence of this action, I shall die satisfied.
His strength failing him at these words, he fainted away in Mr. Glanville’s arms; who, though now convinced of his treachery, was extremely shocked at the condition he saw him in.
Miss Glanville renewing her tears and exclamations at this sight, he was obliged to lay Sir George gently upon the II.239 ground, and ran to find out somebody to send for a surgeon, and to help him to convey him into the house.
In his way he was met by Mr. Roberts, who was coming to seek him; and, with a look of terror and confusion, told him Lady Bella was brought home extremely ill—that her life had been in danger, and that she was but just recovered from a terrible fainting fit.
Mr. Glanville, though greatly alarmed at this news, forgot not to take all possible care of Sir George; directing Roberts to get some person to carry him into the house, and giving him orders to procure proper assistance, flew to Lady Bella’s apartment.
Her women had just put her to bed, raving as in a strong delirium. Mr. Glanville approached her, and finding she was in a violent fever, dispatched a man and horse immediately to town, to get physicians, and to acquaint his father with what had happened.
Mr. Roberts, upon the surgeon’s report that Sir George was not mortally wounded, came to inform him of this good news; but he found him incapable of listening to him, and in agonies not to be expressed. It was with difficulty they forced him out of Arabella’s chamber into his own; where, throwing himself upon his bed, he refused to see or speak to any body, till he was told Sir Charles and the physicians were arrived.
He then ran eagerly to hear their opinions of his beloved cousin, which he soon discovered, by their significant gestures and half-pronounced words, to be very bad. They comforted him, however, with hopes that she might recover, and insisting upon her being kept very quiet, obliged him to quit the room. While all the necessary methods were taken to abate the violence of the disease, Sir Charles, who had been informed by his steward of his son’s duel with Sir George, was amazed to the last degree at two such terrible accidents.II.240
Having seen his son to his chamber, and recommended him to be patient and composed, he went to visit the young baronet; and was not a little surprised to find his daughter sitting at his bed’s head, with all the appearance of a violent affliction.
Indeed, Miss Glanville’s cares were so wholly engrossed by Sir George, that she hardly ever thought of her cousin Arabella, and had just stept into her chamber while the surgeons were dressing Sir George’s wound, and renewed her attendance upon him as soon as that was over.
Miss Glanville, however, thought proper to make some trifling excuses to her father for her solicitude about Sir George. And the young baronet, on whom the fear of death produced its usual effects, and made him extremely concerned for the errors of his past life, and very desirous of atoning for them, if possible, assured Sir Charles, that if he lived he would offer himself to his acceptance for a son-in-law; declaring that he had basely trifled with the esteem of his daughter, but that she had wholly subdued him to herself by her forgiving tenderness.
Sir Charles was very desirous of knowing the occasion of his quarrel with his son; but Sir George was too weak to hold any farther conversation; upon which, Sir Charles, after a short visit, retired, taking Miss Glanville along with him.
That the reader, whose imagination is no doubt upon the stretch to conceive the meaning of these two extraordinary incidents, may be left no longer in suspense, we think proper to explain them both in the following chapter, that we may in the next pursue our history without interruption.II.241
Which will be found to contain information absolutely necessary for the right understanding of this history.
Our fair and afflicted heroine, accompanied by the ladies we have mentioned, having crossed the river, pursued their walk upon its winding banks, entertaining themselves with the usual topics of conversation among young ladies, such as their winnings and losings at brag, the prices of silks, the newest fashions, the best hair-cutter, the scandal at the last assembly, &c.
Arabella was so disgusted with this (as she thought) insipid discourse, which gave no relief to the anxiety of her mind, but added a kind of fretfulness and impatience to her grief, that she resolved to quit them, and with Lucy to go in quest of the princess of Gaul’s retreat.
The ladies, however, insisted upon her not leaving them; and her excuse that she was going in search of an unfortunate unknown, for whom she had vowed a friendship, made them all immediately resolve to accompany her, extremely diverted with the oddity of the design, and sacrificing her to their mirth by sly leers, whispers, stifled laughs, and a thousand little sprightly sallies, of which the disconsolate Arabella took no notice, so deeply were her thoughts engaged.
Though she knew not which way to direct her steps, yet concluding the melancholy Cynecia would certainly choose some very solitary place for her residence, she rambled about among the least frequented paths, followed by the young ladies, who ardently desired to see this unfortunate unknown; though, at Arabella’s earnest request, they promised not to shew themselves to the lady, II.242 who, she informed them, for very urgent reasons, was obliged to keep herself concealed.
Fatiguing as this ramble was to the delicate spirits of Arabella’s companions, they were enabled to support it by the diversion her behaviour afforded them.
Every peasant she met, she inquired if a beautiful lady, disguised, did not dwell somewhere thereabout.
To some she gave a description of her person, to others an account of the domestics that were with her; not forgetting her dress, her melancholy, and the great care she took to keep herself concealed.
These strange inquiries, with the strange language in which they were made, not a little surprised the good people to whom she addressed herself; yet, moved to respect by the majestic loveliness of her person, they answered her in the negative, without any mixture of scoff and impertinence.
How unfavourable is chance, said Arabella, fretting at the disappointment, to persons who have any reliance upon it! This lady that I have been in search of so long without success, may probably be found by others who do not seek her, whose presence she may wish to avoid, yet not be able.
The young ladies finding it grow late, expressed their apprehensions at being without any attendants, and desired Arabella to give over her search for that day. Arabella, at this hint of danger, inquired very earnestly if they apprehended any attempts to carry them away; and, without staying for an answer, urged them to walk home as fast as possible, apologizing for the danger into which she had so indiscreetly drawn both them and herself; yet added her hopes, that, if any attempts should be made upon their liberty, some generous cavalier would pass by who would rescue them: a thing so common, that they had no reason to despair of it.II.243
Arabella, construing the silence with which her companions heard these assurances into a doubt of their being so favoured by fortune, proceeded to inform them of several instances wherein ladies met with unexpected relief and deliverance from ravishers.
She mentioned particularly the rescue of Statira by her own brother, whom she imagined for many years dead; that of the Princess Berenice by an absolute stranger; and many others, whose names, characters, and adventures, she occasionally ran over; all which the young ladies heard with inconceivable astonishment: and the detail had such an effect upon Arabella’s imagination, bewildered as it was in the follies of romances, that, espying three or four horsemen riding along the road towards them, she immediately concluded they would be all seized and carried off.
Possessed with this belief, she uttered a loud cry, and flew to the water-side; which alarming the ladies, who could not imagine what was the matter, they ran after her as fast as possible.
Arabella stopped when she came to the water-side, and looking round about, and not perceiving any boat to waft them over to Richmond, a thought suddenly darted into her mind, worthy those ingenious books which gave it birth.
Turning therefore to the ladies, who all at once were inquiring the cause of her fright—
It is now, my fair companions, said she, with a solemn accent, that the Destinies have furnished you with an opportunity of displaying, in a manner truly heroic, the sublimity of your virtue, and the grandeur of your courage, to the world.
The action we have it in our power to perform, will immortalize our fame, and raise us to a pitch of glory equal to that of the renowned Clelia herself.
Like her, we may expect statues erected to our honour; like her, be proposed as patterns to heroines in ensuing II.244 ages; and like her, perhaps, meet with sceptres and crowns for our reward.
What that beauteous Roman lady performed to preserve herself from violation by the impious Sextus, let us imitate, to avoid the violence our intended ravishers yonder come to offer us.
Fortune, which has thrown us into this exigence, presents us the means of gloriously escaping; and the admiration and esteem of all ages to come, will be the recompence of our noble daring.
Once more, my fair companions, if your honour be dear to you, if an immortal glory be worth your seeking, follow the example I shall set you, and equal, with me, the Roman Clelia.
Saying this, she plunged into the Thames, intending to swim over it, as Clelia did the Tyber.
The young ladies, who had listened with silent astonishment at the long speech she had made them, the purport of which not one of them understood, screamed out aloud at this horrid spectacle, and wringing their hands, ran backwards and forwards, like distracted persons, crying for help. Lucy tore her hair, and was in the utmost agony of grief; when Mr. Roberts, who, as we have said before, kept them always in sight, having observed Arabella running towards the water-side, followed them as fast as he could, and came up time enough to see her frantic action. Jumping into the river immediately after her, he caught hold of her gown, and drew her after him to the shore. A boat that instant appearing, he put her into it, senseless, and to all appearance dead. He and Lucy supporting her, they were wafted over in a few moments to the other side: her house being near the river, Mr. Roberts carried her in his arms to it; and as soon as he saw her shew signs of returning life, left her to the care of the women, who made haste to put her into a warm bed, and ran to find out Mr. Glanville, as II.245 we have related.
There remains now only to account for Sir George and Miss Glanville’s sudden appearance, which happened, gentle reader, exactly as follows.
Miss Glanville having set out pretty late in the afternoon, with a design of staying all night at Richmond, as her chaise drove up Kew-Lane, saw one of her cousin’s women, Deborah by name, talking to a gentleman, whom, notwithstanding the disguise of a horse-man’s coat, and a hat slouched over his face, she knew to be Sir George Bellmour.
This sight alarmed her jealousy, and renewed all her former suspicions that her cousin’s charms rivalled hers in his heart; as soon as she alighted, finding Arabella was not at home, she retired in great anguish of mind to her chamber, revolving in her mind every particular of Sir George’s behaviour to her cousin in the country, and finding new cause for suspicion in every thing she recollected, and reflecting upon the disguise in which she saw him, and his conference with her woman, she concluded that herself had all along been the dupe of his artifice, and her cousin the real object of his love.
This thought throwing her into an extremity of rage, all her tenderest emotions were lost in the desire of revenge. She imagined to herself so much pleasure from exposing his treachery, and putting it out of his power to deny it, that she resolved, whatever it cost her, to have that satisfaction.
Supposing, therefore, Deborah was now returned, she rung her bell, and commanded her attendance on her in her chamber.
The stern brow with which she received her, frightened the girl, conscious of her guilt, into a disposition to confess all, even before she was taxed with any thing.
Miss Glanville saw her terror, and endeavoured to heighten it, by entering at once into complaints and exclamations against her, threatening to acquaint II.246 her father with her plots to betray her lady, and assuring her of a very severe punishment for her treachery.
The girl, terrified extremely at these menaces, begged Miss Glanville, with tears, to forgive her, and not to acquaint Sir Charles or her lady with her fault; adding, that she would confess all, and never while she lived do such a thing again.
Miss Glanville would make her no promises, but urged her to confess; upon which Deborah, sobbing, owned, that for the sake of the present Sir George had made her, she consented to meet him privately, from time to time, and give him an account of every thing that passed with regard to her lady, not thinking there was any harm in it. That, according to his desires, she had constantly acquainted him with all her lady’s motions, when and where she went, how she and Mr. Glanville agreed, and a hundred other things which he inquired about. That that day, in particular, he had entreated her to procure him the means of an interview with her lady, if possible; and understanding Mr. Glanville was not at Richmond, she had let him privately into the garden, where she hoped to prevail upon her lady to go.
What! said Miss Glanville, surprised, is Sir George waiting for my cousin in the garden, then?
Yes, indeed, madam, said Deborah; but I’ll go and tell him to wait no longer; and never speak to him again, if your ladyship will but be pleased to forgive me.
Miss Glanville, having taken her resolution, not only promised Deborah her pardon, but also a reward, provided she would contrive it so, that she might meet Sir George instead of her cousin.
The girl, having the true chambermaid spirit of intrigue in her, immediately proposed her putting on one of her lady’s veils; which, as it was now the close of the evening, II.247 would disguise her sufficiently; to which Miss Glanville, transported with the thoughts of thus having an opportunity of convincing Sir George of his perfidy, and reproaching him for it, consented, and bid her bring it without being observed into her chamber.
Deborah informing her that Sir George was concealed in the summer-house, as soon as she had equipped herself with Arabella’s veil, she went into the walk that led to it; and Sir George, believing her to be that lady, hastened to throw him self at her feet, and had scarce got thro’ half a speech he had studied for the purpose, when Mr. Glanville gave a fatal interruption to his heroics, in the manner we have already related.
A short chapter indeed, but full of matter.
Richmond was now a scene of the utmost confusion and distress. Arabella’s fever was risen to such a height, that she was given over by the physicians; and Sir George’s wounds, though not judged mortal at first, yet, by the great effusion of blood, had left him in so weak a condition, that he was thought to be in great danger.
Sir Charles, almost distracted with the fears of the death of Sir George, entreated his son to quit the kingdom; but Mr. Glanville, protesting he would rather die than leave Arabella in that illness, he was obliged to give bail for his appearance, in case Sir George died; this affair, notwithstanding all endeavours to prevent it, having made a great noise.
Poor Sir Charles, oppressed as he was with the weight of all these calamities, was yet obliged to labour incessantly to keep up the II.248 spirits of his son and daughter. The settled despair of the one, and the silent grief of the other, cut him to the heart. He omitted no arguments his paternal affection suggested to him, to moderate their affliction. Mr. Glanville often endeavoured to assume a composure he was very far from feeling, in order to satisfy his father. But Miss Glanville, looking upon herself to be the cause of Sir George’s misfortune, declared she should be miserable all her life, if he died.
Arabella, in her lucid intervals, being sensible of her danger, prepared for death with great piety and constancy of mind, having solemnly assured Mr. Glanville of her forgiveness, who would not at that time enter into an explanation of the affair which had given her offence, for fear of perplexing her. She permitted his presence often in her chamber, and desired, with great earnestness, the assistance of some worthy divine in her preparations for death. The pious and learned Doctor ——, at Sir Charles’s intimation of his niece’s desire, came twice a day to attend her. Her fever, by a favourable crisis, and the great skill of her physicians, left her in a fortnight; but this violent distemper, had made such a ravage in her delicate constitution, and reduced her so low, that there seemed very little probability of her recovery. Doctor ——, in whom her unfeigned piety, her uncommon firmness of mind, had created a great esteem and tenderness for her, took all opportunities of comforting, exhorting, and praying by her. The occasion of her illness being the subject of every body’s conversation at Richmond, he gently hinted it to her, and urged her to explain her reasons for so extravagant an action.
In the divine frame Arabella was then in, this action appeared to her rash and vain-glorious, and she acknowledged it to be so to her pious monitor; yet she related II.249 the motives which induced her to it, the danger she was in of being carried away, the parity of her circumstances then with Clelia, and her emulous desire of doing as much to preserve her honour as that renowned Roman lady did for hers.
The good doctor was extremely surprised at this discourse; he was beginning to think her again delirious; but Arabella added to this account such sensible reasoning on the nature of that fondness for fame which prompted her to so rash an undertaking, the doctor left her in strange embarrassment, not knowing how to account for a mind at once so enlightened and so ridiculous.
Mr. Glanville meeting him as he came out of her chamber, the doctor took this opportunity to acknowledge the difficulties Arabella’s inconsistent discourse had thrown him into. Mr. Glanville taking him into his own apartment, explained the nature of that seeming inconsistency, and expatiated at large upon the disorders romances had occasioned in her imagination; several instances of which he reccounted and filled the doctor with the greatest astonishment and concern. He lamented pathetically the ruin such a ridiculous study had brought on so noble a mind; and assured Mr. Glanville he would spare no endeavours to rescue it from so shocking a delusion.
Mr. Glanville thanked him for his good design, with a transport which his fears for his cousin’s danger almost mingled with tears; and the doctor and he agreed to expect, for some few days longer, an alteration for the better, in the health of her body, before he attempted the cure of her mind. Mr. Glanville’s extreme anxiety had made him in appearance neglect the repentant Sir George, contenting himself with constantly sending twice a day to inquire after his health, but had not yet visited him.
No sooner had the physicians declared that Arabella was no longer II.250 in danger, than his mind being freed from that tormenting load of suspense, under which it had laboured, while her recovery was yet doubtful, he went to Sir George’s chamber, who, by reason of his weakness, though he was also upon the recovery, still kept his bed.
Sir George, though he ardently wished to see him, yet, conscious of the injuries he had both done and designed him, could not receive his visit without extreme confusion: but entering into the cause of their quarrel, as soon as he was able to speak, he freely acknowledged his fault, and all the steps he had taken to supplant him in Arabella’s affection.
Mr. Glanville understanding, by this means, that he had bribed a young actress to personate a princess, forsaken by him, and had taught her all that heap of absurdity, with which she had imposed upon Arabella, as has been related, desired only, by way of reparation, that when his cousin was in a condition to be spoken to upon the subject, he would condescend to own the fraud to her; which Sir George faithfully promising, an act of oblivion passed on Mr. Glanville’s side for all former injuries, and a solemn assurance from Sir George of inviolable friendship for the future. An assurance, however, which Mr. Glanville would willingly have dispensed with; for though not of a vindictive temper, it was one of his maxims, that a man who had once betrayed him, it would be an error in policy ever to trust again.II.251
Being in the author’s opinion, the best chapter in this history.
The good divine, who had the cure of Arabella’s mind greatly at heart, no sooner perceived that the health of her body was almost restored, and that he might talk to her without the fear of any inconvenience, than he introduced the subject of her throwing herself into the river, which he had before lightly touched upon, and still declared himself dissatisfied with.
Arabella, now more disposed to defend this point, than when languishing under the pressure of pain, and dejection of mind, endeavoured, by arguments founded upon romantic heroism, to prove, that it was not only reasonable and just, but also great and glorious, and exactly conformable to the rules of heroic virtue.
The doctor listened to her with a mixed emotion, between pity, reverence, and amazement: and though in the performance of his offices he had been accustomed to accommodate his notions to every understanding, and had therefore accumulated a great variety of topics and illustrations; yet he found himself now engaged in a controversy for which he was not so well prepared as he imagined, and was at a loss for some leading principle, by which he might introduce his reasonings, and begin his confutation.
Though he saw much to praise in her discourse, he was afraid of confirming her obstinacy by commendation: and though he also found much to blame, he dreaded to give pain to a delicacy he revered.
Perceiving, however, that Arabella was silent, as if expecting his reply, he resolved not to bring upon himself the guilt of abandoning her to II.252 her mistake, and the necessity of speaking, forced him to find something to say.
Though it is not easy, madam, said he, for any one that has the honour of conversing with your ladyship, to preserve his attention free from any other idea than such as your discourse tends immediately to impress, yet I have not been able, while you was speaking, to refrain from some very mortifying reflections on the imperfection of all human happiness, and the uncertain consequences of all those advantages which we think ourselves not only at liberty to desire, but obliged to cultivate.
Though I have known some dangers and distresses, replied Arabella, gravely, yet I did not imagine myself such a mirror of calamity as could not be seen without concern. If my life has not been eminently fortunate, it has yet escaped the great evils of persecution, captivity, ship-wrecks, and dangers, to which many ladies, far more illustrious, both by birth and merit than myself, have been exposed. And, indeed, though I have sometimes raised envy, or possibly incurred hatred, yet I have no reason to believe, I was ever beheld with pity before.
The doctor saw he had not introduced his discourse in the most acceptable manner; but it was too late to repent.
Let me not, madam, said he, be censured before I have fully explained my sentiments.
That you have been envied I can readily believe; for who that gives way to natural passions, has not reason to envy the Lady Arabella? But that you have been hated, I am indeed less willing to think, tho’ I know how easily the greater part of mankind hate those by whom they are excelled.
If the misery of my condition, replied Arabella, has been able to excite that melancholy your first words seem to imply, flattery will contribute very little towards the improvement of it. Nor do I expect, from the severity II.253 of the sacerdotal character, any of those praises, which I hear, perhaps with too much pleasure, from the rest of the world.
Having been so lately on the brink of that state, in which all distinctions but that of goodness are destroyed, I have not recovered so much levity, but that I would yet rather hear instructions than compliments.
If, therefore, you have observed in me any dangerous tenets, corrupt passions, or criminal desires, I conjure you to discover me to myself. Let no false civility restrain your admonitions. Let me know this evil which can strike a good man with horror, and which I dread the more, as I do not feel it.
I cannot suppose that a man of your order would be alarmed at any other misery than guilt: nor will I think so meanly of him whose direction I have entreated, as to imagine he can think virtue unhappy, however overwhelmed by disasters or oppression.
The good man was now completely embarrassed; he saw his meaning mistaken, but was afraid to explain it, lest he should seem to pay court by a cowardly retraction: he therefore paused a little, and Arabella supposed he was studying for such expressions as might convey censure without offence.
Sir, said she, if you are not yet satisfied of my willingness to hear your let me evince my docility, by entreating you to consider yourself as dispensed from all ceremony upon this occasion.
Your imaginations, madam, replied the doctor, are too quick for language: you conjecture too soon, what you do not wait to hear; and reason upon suppositions which cannot be allowed you.
When I mentioned my reflections upon human misery, I was far from concluding your ladyship miserable, compared with the rest of mankind; and though contemplating the abstracted idea of possible felicity, I thought that even you might be produced as II.254 an instance that it is not attainable in this world, I did not impute the imperfection of your state to wickedness, but intended to observe, that though even virtue be added to external advantages, there will yet be something wanting to happiness.
Whoever sees you, madam, will immediately say, that nothing can hinder you from being the happiest of mortals, but want of power to understand your own advantages. And whoever is admitted to your conversation, will be convinced that you enjoy all that intellectual excellence can confer; yet I see you harassed with innumerable terrors and perplexities, which never disturb the peace of poverty or ignorance.
I cannot discover, said Arabella, how poverty or ignorance can be privileged from casualty or violence, from the ravisher, the robber, or the enemy. I should hope rather, that if wealth and knowledge can give nothing else, they at least confer judgment to foresee danger, and power to oppose it.
They are not, indeed, returned the doctor, secured against real misfortunes, but they are happily defended from wild imaginations: they do not suspect what cannot happen, nor figure ravishers at a distance, and leap into rivers to escape them.
Do you suppose, then, said Arabella, that I was frighted without cause?
It is certain, madam, replied he, that no injury was intended you.
Disingenuity, sir, said Arabella, does not become a clergyman—I think too well of your understanding to imagine your fallacy deceives yourself: why, then, should you hope that it will deceive me?
The laws of conference require, that the terms of the question and answer be the same.
I ask, if I had not cause to be frighted? Why, then, am I answered that no injury was intended?
Human beings cannot penetrate intentions, nor regulate their II.255 conduct but by exterior appearances. And surely there was sufficient appearance of intended injury, and that the greatest which my sex can suffer.
Why, madam, said the doctor, should you still persist in so wild an assertion?
A coarse epithet, said Arabella, is no confutation. It rests upon you to shew, that, in giving way to my fears, even supposing them groundless, I departed from the character of a reasonable person.
I am afraid, replied the doctor, of a dispute with your ladyship; not because I think myself in danger of defeat, but because, being accustomed to speak to scholars with scholastic ruggedness, I may perhaps depart, in the heat of argument, from that respect to which you have so great a right, and give offence to a person I am really afraid to displease.
But if you will promise to excuse my ardour, I will endeavour to prove that you have been frighted without reason.
I should be content, replied Arabella, to obtain truth upon harder terms, and therefore entreat you to begin.
The apprehension of any future evil, madam, said the divine, which is called terror, when the danger is from natural causes, and suspicion, when it proceeds from a moral agent, must always arise from comparison.
We can judge of the future only by the past, and have therefore only reason to fear or suspect, when we see the same causes in motion which have formerly produced mischief, or the same measures taken as have before been preparatory to a crime.
Thus, when the sailor, in certain latitudes, sees the clouds rise, experience bids him expect a storm. When any monarch levies armies, his neighbours prepare to repel an invasion.
This power of prognostication may, by reading and conversation, be extended beyond our own knowledge: and the great use of books is, that of participating, without labour or II.256 hazard, the experience of others.
But, upon this principle, how can you find any reason for your late fright?
Has it ever been known that a lady of your rank was attacked with such intentions in a place so public, without any preparations made by the violator for defence or escape?
Can it be imagined that any man would so rashly expose himself to infamy by failure, and to the gibbet by success?
Does there, in the records of the world, appear a single instance of such hopeless villany?
It is now time, sir, said Arabella, to answer your questions, before they are too many to be remembered.
The dignity of my birth can very little defend me against an insult to which the heiresses of great and powerful empires, the daughters of valiant princes, and the wives of renowned monarchs, have been a thousand times exposed.
The danger which you think so great, would hardly repel a determined mind; for, in effect, who would have attempted my rescue, seeing that no knight, or valiant cavalier, was within view?
What then should have hindered him from placing me in a chariot, driving it into the pathless desert, and immuring me in a castle among woods and mountains? or hiding me perhaps in the caverns of a rock? or confining me in some island of an immense lake?
From all this, madam, interrupted the clergyman, he is hindered by impossibility.
He cannot carry you to any of these dreadful places, because there is no such castle, desert, cavern, or lake.
You will pardon me, sir, said Arabella, if I recur to your own principles.
You allow that experience may be gained by books, and certainly there is no part of knowledge in which we are obliged to trust them more than in descriptive geography.
The most restless activity in the longest life can survey but a small part of the inhabitable globe: and the rest can only be known from the II.257 report of others.
Universal negatives are seldom safe, and are least to be allowed when the disputes are about objects of sense; where one position cannot be inferred from another.
That there is a castle, any man who has seen it may safely affirm. But you cannot, with equal reason, maintain that there is no castle, because you have not seen it.
Why should I imagine that the face of the earth is altered since the time of those heroines who experienced so many changes of uncouth captivity?
Castles, indeed, are the works of art; and are therefore subject to decay. But lakes, and caverns, and deserts, must always remain.
And why, since you call for instances, should I not dread the misfortunes which happened to the divine Clelia, who was carried to one of the isles of the Thrasymenian lake?
Or those which befel the beautiful Candace, queen of Ethiopia, whom the pirate Zenedorus wandered with on the seas?
Or the accidents which embittered the life of the incomparable Cleopatra?
Or the persecutions which made that of the fair Elisa miserable?
Or, in fine, the various distresses of many other fair and virtuous princesses; such as those which happened to Olympia, Bellamira, Parisatis, Berenice, Amalazontha, Agione, Albysinda, Placida, Arsinoe, Deidamia, and a thousand others I could mention.
To the names of many of these illustrious sufferers, I am an absolute stranger, replied the doctor.
The rest I faintly remember some mention of in those contemptible volumes, with which children are sometimes injudiciously suffered to amuse their imaginations; but which I little expected to hear quoted by your lady ship in a serious discourse.
And though I am very far from catching occasions of resentment, yet I think myself at liberty to observe, that if I merited your censure for one indelicate II.258 epithet, we have engaged on very unequal terms, if I may not likewise complain of such contemptuous ridicule as you are pleased to exercise upon my opinions, by opposing them with the authority of scribblers, not only of fictions, but of senseless fictions; which, at once, vitiate the mind, and pervert the understanding; and which, if they are at any time read with safety, owe their innocence only to their absurdity.
From these books, sir, said Arabella, which you condemn with so much ardour, though you acknowledge yourself little acquainted with them, I have learnt not to recede from the conditions I have granted, and shall not therefore censure the license of your language, which glances from the books upon the readers.
These books, sir, thus incorrect, thus absurd, thus dangerous, alike to the intellect and morals, I have read, and that, I hope, without injury to my judgment, or my virtue.
The doctor, whose vehemence had hindered him from discovering all the consequences of his position, now found himself entangled, and replied, in a submissive tone—
I confess, madam, my words imply an accusation very remote from my intention.
It has always been the rule of my life, not to justify any words or actions because they are mine.
I am ashamed of my negligence; I am sorry for my warmth; and entreat your ladyship to pardon a fault which I hope never to repeat.
The reparation, sir, said Arabella, smiling, over-balances the offence, and by thus daring to own you have been in the wrong, you have raised in me a much higher esteem for you.
Yet I will not pardon you, added she, without enjoining you a penance for the fault you own you have committed; and this penance shall be to prove—
First, That these histories you condemn, are fictions.
Next, that they are absurd.
And, lastly, That they are II.259 criminal.
The doctor was pleased to find a reconciliation offered upon so very easy terms, with a person whom he beheld at once with reverence and affection, and could not offend without extreme regret.
He therefore answered with a very cheerful composure—
To prove those narratives to be fictions, madam, is only difficult, because the position is almost too evident for proof.
Your ladyship knows, I suppose, to what authors these writings are ascribed?
To the French wits of the last century, said Arabella.
And at what distance, madam, are the facts related in them from the age of the writer?
I was never exact in my computation, replied Arabella; but I think most of the events happened about two thousand years ago.
How then, madam, resumed the doctor, could these events be so minutely known to writers so far remote from the time in which they happened?
By records, monuments, memoirs, and histories, answered the lady.
But by what accident, then, said the doctor, smiling, did it happen these records and monuments were kept universally secret to mankind till the last century?
What brought all the memoirs of the remotest nations and earliest ages only to France?
Where were they hidden that none could consult them but a few obscure authors?
And whither are they now vanished again, that they can be found no more?
Arabella having sat silent a while, told him, that she found his questions very difficult to be answered; and that, though perhaps the authors themselves could have told from whence they borrowed their materials, she should not at present require any other evidence of the first assertion—
But allowed him to suppose them fictions, and required now that he should shew them to be absurd.
Your ladyship, returned he, has, I find, too much understanding to struggle against demonstration, and too II.260 much veracity to deny your convictions; therefore, some of the arguments by which I intended to shew the falsehood of these narratives, may be now used to prove their absurdity.
You grant them, madam, to be fictions?
Sir, interrupted Arabella, eagerly, you are again infringing the laws of disputation.
You are not to confound a supposition of which I allow you only the present use, with an unlimited and irrevocable concession.
I am too well acquainted with my own weakness to conclude an opinion false, merely because I find myself unable to defend it.
But I am in haste to hear the proof of the other positions, not only because they may perhaps supply what is deficient in your evidence of the first, but because I think it of more importance to detect corruption than fiction.
Though, indeed, falsehood is a species of corruption, and what falsehood is more hateful than the falsehood of history.
Since you have drawn me back, madam, to the first question, returned the doctor, let me know what arguments your ladyship can produce for the veracity of these books.
That there are many objections against it, you yourself have allowed, and the highest moral evidence of falsehood appears when there are many arguments against an assertion, and none for it.
Sir, replied Arabella, I shall never think that any narrative, which is not confuted by its own absurdity, is without one argument at least on its side; there is a love of truth in the human mind, if not naturally implanted, so easily obtained from reason and experience, that I should expect it universally to prevail where there is no strong temptation to deceit; we hate to be deceived; we therefore hate those that deceive us; we desire not to be hated, and therefore know that we are not to deceive. Shew me an equal motive to falsehood, or confess that every relation has some right to credit.
This II.261 may be allowed, madam, said the doctor, when we claim to be credited; but that seems not to be the hope or intention of these writers.
Surely, sir, replied Arabella, you must mistake their design; he that writes without intention to be credited, must write to little purpose; for what pleasure or advantage can arise from facts that never happened? What examples can be afforded by the patience of those who never suffered, or the chastity of those who were never solicited? The great end of history is to shew how much human nature can endure or perform. When we hear a story in common life that raises our wonder or compassion, the first confutation stills our emotions, and however we were touched before, we then chase it from the memory with contempt as a trifle, or with indignation as an imposture. Prove, therefore, that the books which I have hitherto read, as copies of life, and models of conduct, are empty fictions, and from this hour I deliver them to moths and mould; from this time forward consider their authors as wretches who cheated me of those hours I ought to have dedicated to application and improvement.
Shakespeare, said the doctor, calls just resentment the child of integrity; and therefore I do not wonder, that what vehemence the gentleness of your ladyship’s temper allows, should be exerted upon this occasion. Yet though I cannot forgive these authors for having destroyed so much valuable time, yet I cannot think them intentionally culpable, because I cannot believe they expected to be credited. Truth is not always injured by fiction. An admirable writer* of our own time, has found the way to convey the most solid instructions, the noblest sentiments, and the most exalted piety in II.262 the pleasing dress of a novel†, and, to use the words of the greatest genius‡ in the present age, “has taught the passions to move at the command of virtue.” The fables of Æsop, though never I suppose believed, yet have been long continued as lectures of moral and domestic wisdom, so well adapted to the faculties of man, that they have been received by all civilized nations; and the Arabs themselves have honoured his translator with the appellation of Locman the Wise.
The fables of Æsop, said Arabella, are among those of which the absurdity discovers itself, and the truth is comprised in the application; but what can be said of those tales which are told with the solemn air of historical truth, and, if false, convey no instruction?
That they cannot be defended, madam, said the doctor, it is my purpose to prove; and if to evince their falsehood be sufficient to procure their banishment from your ladyship’s closet, their day of grace is near an end. How is any oral or written testimony confuted or confirmed?
By comparing it, says the lady, with the testimony of others, or with the natural effects, and standing evidence of the facts related, and sometimes by comparing it with itself.
If then your ladyship will abide by the last, returned he, and compare these books with ancient histories, you will not only find innumerable names, of which no mention was ever made before, but persons who lived in different ages, engaged as the friends or rivals of each other. You will perceive that your authors have parcelled out the world at discretion, erected palaces, and established monarchies wherever the conveniency of their narrative required them, and set kings and queens over imaginary nations. Nor have they considered II.263 themselves as invested with less authority over the works of nature, than the institutions of men; for they have distributed mountains and deserts, gulphs and rocks, wherever they wanted them; and whenever the course of their story required an expedient, raised a gloomy forest, or overflowed the regions with a rapid stream.
I suppose, said Arabella, you have no intention to deceive me; and since, what you have asserted being true, the cause is undefensible, I shall trouble you no longer to argue on this topic, but desire now to hear why, supposing them fictions, and intended to be received as fictions, you censure them as absurd?
The only excellence of falsehood, answered he, is its resemblance to truth; as therefore any narrative is more liable to be confuted by its with known facts, it is at a greater distance from the perfection of fiction; for there can be no difficulty in framing a tale, if we are left at liberty to invert all history and nature for our own conveniency. When a crime is to be concealed, it is easy to cover it with an imaginary wood. When virtue is to be rewarded, a nation with a new name may, without any expence of invention, raise her to the throne. When Ariosto was told of the magnificence of his palaces, he answered, that the cost of poetical architecture was very little; and still less is the cost of building without art, than without materials. But their historical failures may be easily passed over, when we consider their physical or philosophical absurdities; to bring men together from different countries, does not shock with every inherent or demonstrable absurdity, and therefore when we read only for amusement, such improprieties may be borne: but who can forbear to throw away the story, that gives one man the strength of thousands; that puts life or death in a smile or a frown; that recounts labours II.264 and sufferings to which the powers of humanity are utterly unequal; that disfigures the whole appearance of the world, and represents every thing in a form different from that which experience has shewn? It is the fault of the best fictions, that they teach young minds to expect strange adventures and sudden vicissitudes, and therefore encourage them often to trust to chance. A long life may be passed without a single occurrence that can cause much surprise, or produce any unexpected consequence of great importance; the order of the world is so established, that all human affairs proceed in a regular method, and very little opportunity is left for sallies or hazards, for assault or rescue; but the brave and the coward, the sprightly and the dull, suffer themselves to be carried alike down the stream of custom.
Arabella, who had for some time listened with a wish to interrupt him, now took advantage of a short pause. I cannot imagine, sir, said she, that you intended to deceive me, and therefore I am inclined to believe that you are yourself mistaken, and that your application to learning has hindered you from that acquaintance with the world, in which these authors excelled. I have not long conversed in public, yet I have found that life is subject to many accidents. Do you count my late escape for nothing? Is it to be numbered among daily and cursory transactions, that a woman flies from a ravisher into a rapid
You must not, madam, said the doctor, urge as an argument the fact which is at present the subject of dispute.
Arabella, blushing at the absurdity she had been guilty of, and not attempting any subterfuge or excuse, the doctor found himself at liberty to proceed.
You must not imagine, madam, continued he, that I intend to arrogate any superiority, when I observe that your ladyship must suffer me to decide, in II.265 some measure authoritatively, whether life is truly described in those books; the likeness of a picture can only he determined by a knowledge of the original. You have yet had little opportunity of knowing the ways of mankind, which cannot be learned but from experience, and of which the highest understanding, and the lowest, must enter the world in equal ignorance. I have lived long in a public character, and have thought it my duty to study those whom I have undertaken to admonish or instruct. I have never been so rich as to affright men into disguise and concealment, nor so poor as to be kept at a distance too great for accurate observation. I therefore presume to tell your ladyship, with great confidence, that your writers have instituted a world of their own, and that nothing is more different from a human being, than heroes or heroines.
I am afraid, sir, said Arabella, that the difference is not in favour of the present world.
That, madam, answered he, your own penetration will enable you to judge when it shall have made you equally acquainted with both: I have no desire to determine a question, the solution of which will give so little pleasure to purity and benevolence.
The silence of a man who loves to praise, is a censure sufficiently severe, said the lady. May it never happen that you should be unwilling to mention the name of Arabella! I hope, wherever corruption prevails in the world, to live in it with virtue; or, if I find myself too much endangered, to retire from it with innocence. But if you can say so little in commendation of mankind, how will you prove these histories to be vicious, which, if they do not describe real life, give us an idea of a better race of beings than now inhabit the world.
It is of little importance, madam, replied the doctor, to decide whether in real or fictitious life most wickedness is II.266 to be found. Books ought to supply an antidote to example; and if we retire to a contemplation of crimes, and continue in our closets to inflame our passions, at what time must we rectify our words, or purify our hearts? The immediate tendency of these books, which your ladyship must allow me to mention with some severity, is to give new fire to the passions of revenge and love; two passions which, even without such powerful auxiliaries, it is one of the severest labours of reason and piety to suppress, and which yet must be suppressed if we hope to be approved in the sight of the only Being, whose approbation can make us happy. I am afraid your ladyship will think me too serious. I have already learned too much from you, said Arabella, to presume to instruct you; yet suffer me to caution you never to dishonour your sacred office by the lowliness of apologies. Then let me again observe, resumed he, that these books soften the heart to love, and harden it to murder. That they teach women to exact vengeance, and men to execute it; teach women to expect not only worship, but the dreadful worship of human sacrifices. Every page of these volumes is filled with such extravagance of praise, and expressions of obedience, as one human being ought not to hear from another; or with accounts of battles, in which thousands are slaughtered, for no other purpose than to gain a smile from the haughty beauty, who sits a calm spectatress of the ruin and desolation, bloodshed and misery, incited by herself.
It is impossible to read these tales without lessening part of that humility, which, by preserving in us a sense of our alliance with all human nature, keeps us awake to tenderness and sympathy, or without impairing that compassion which is implanted in us as an incentive of acts of kindness. If there be any preserved by natural II.267 softness, or early education, from learning pride and cruelty, they are yet in danger of being betrayed to the vanity of beauty, and taught the arts of intrigue.
Love, madam, is, you know, the business, the sole business of ladies in romances. Arabella’s blushes now hindered him from proceeding as he had intended. I perceive, continued he, that my arguments begin to be less agreeable to your ladyship’s delicacy; I shall therefore insist no longer upon false tenderness of sentiment, but proceed to those outrages of the violent passions, which, though not more dangerous, are more generally hateful.
It is not necessary, sir, interrupted Arabella, that you strengthen by any new proof a position which, when calmly considered, cannot be denied; my heart yields to the force of truth; and I now wonder how the blaze of enthusiastic bravery could hinder me from remarking, with abhorrence, the crime of deliberate unnecessary bloodshed.
I begin to perceive that I have hitherto at least trifled away my time, and fear that I have already made some approaches to the crime of encouraging violence and revenge. I hope, madam, said the good man, with horror in his looks, that no life was ever lost by your incitement? Arabella, seeing him thus moved, burst into tears, and could not immediately answer. Is it possible, cried the doctor, that such gentleness and elegance should be stained with blood? Be not too hasty in your censure, said Arabella, recovering herself; I tremble, indeed, to think how nearly I have approached the brink of murder, when I thought myself only consulting my own glory; but, whatever I suffer, I will never more demand or instigate vengeance, nor consider my punctilios as important enough to be balanced against life.
The doctor confirmed her in her new resolutions, and thinking solitude was necessary to II.268 compose her spirits, after the fatigue of so long a conversation, he retired, to acquaint Mr. Glanville with his success; who, in the transport of his joy, was almost ready to throw himself at his feet, to thank him for the miracle, as he called it, that he had performed.
In which the history is concluded.
Mr. Glanville, who fancied to himself the most ravishing delight from conversing with his lovely cousin, now recovered to the free use of all her noble powers of reason, would have paid her a visit that afternoon, had not a moment’s reflection convinced him that now was the time, when her mind was labouring under the force of conviction, to introduce the repentant Sir George to her; who, by confessing the ridiculous farce he had invented to deceive her, might restore him to her good opinion, and add to the doctor’s solid arguments, the poignant sting of ridicule which she would then perceive she had incurred.
Sir George being now able to leave his chamber, and Arabella well enough recovered to admit a visit into hers, Mr. Glanville entreated his father to wait on her, and get permission for Sir George to attend her upon a business of some consequence. Sir Charles no sooner mentioned this request, than Arabella, after a little hesitation, complied with it. As she had been kept a stranger to all the particulars of Mr. Glanville’s quarrels with the young baronet, her thoughts were a little perplexed concerning the occasion of this visit, and her embarrassment was considerably increased by the II.269 confusion which she perceived in the countenance of Sir George. It was not without some tokens of a painfully-suppressed reluctance, that Sir George consented to perform his promise, when Mr. Glanville claimed it; but the disadvantages that would attend his breach of it, dejected and humbled as he now was, presenting themselves in a forcible manner to his imagination, confirmed his wavering resolutions. And since he found himself obliged to be his own accuser, he endeavoured to do it with the best grace he could. Acknowledging, therefore, to Lady Bella, all the artifices her deception by romances had given him encouragement to use upon her, and explaining, very explicitly, the last with relation to the pretended princess of Gaul, he submissively asked her pardon for the offence it would now give her, as well as for the trouble it had formerly.
Arabella, struck with inconceivable confusion, having only bowed her head to his apology, desired to be left alone, and continued, for near two hours afterwards, wholly absorbed in the most disagreeable reflections on the absurdity of her past behaviour, and the contempt and ridicule to which she now saw plainly she had exposed herself. The violence of these first emotions having at length subsided, she sent for Sir Charles and Mr. Glanville; and having, with a noble ingenuity, expatiated upon the follies her vitiated judgment had led her into, she apologized to the first, for the frequent causes she had given him of uneasiness; and, turning to Mr. Glanville, whom she beheld with a look of mingled tenderness and modesty, To give you myself, said she, with all my remaining imperfections, is making you but a poor present in return for the obligations your generous affection has laid me under to you; yet, since I am so happy as to be desired for a partner for life by a man of your sense II.270 and honour, I will endeavour to make myself as worthy as I am able of such a favourable distinction.
Mr. Glanville kissed the hand she gave him with an emphatic silence; while Sir Charles, in the most obliging manner imaginable, thanked her for the honour she conferred both on himself and son by this alliance.
Sir George, entangled in his own artifices, saw himself under a necessity of confirming the promises he had made to Miss Glanville, during his fit of penitence; and was accordingly married to that young lady, at the same time that Mr. Glanville and Arabella were united.
We choose, reader, to express this circumstance, though the same, in different words, as well to avoid repetition, as to intimate that the first-mentioned pair were indeed only married in the common acceptation of the word; that is, they were privileged to join fortunes, equipages, titles, and expence; while Mr. Glanville and Arabella were united, as well in these, as in every virtue and laudable affection of the mind.
Miss Glanville, whose spirits were greatly exhilarated
his late lady’s apartment
[As far as I can remember, this is the first time the author has ever mentioned Lady Glanville—who must obviously have existed at some time, or Mr. and Miss Glanville would not be here today. Arabella’s mother died immediately after she was born; Book Eight’s Countess of —— has a mother for plot reasons. The only other mothers in the novel come in the story of Miss Groves, way back in Chapter V of Book Two. If Arabella has children, she’s going to be hard pressed to find a role model.]
you’ll condescend to receive a few visits, I suppose?
text has ; for ?
Arabella, who had from her youth adopted the resentments of her father
[For those who have forgotten: Arabella’s father, the Marquis, was banished from Court thanks to the machinations of his enemies.]
for the greater privacy began their travels in a hired coach
[They came to London in Arabella’s coach, which presumably still has her father’s arms on it.]
Are you mad, madam, said he, in a whisper, to make all this rout about a prostitute?
[Well, that answers that question. Earlier in the episode, I was wondering about the precise significance of the word “mistress”. Fortunately we are in the 18th century, when a spade could still be called a spade, and sometimes even a bloody shovel.]
What are you doing?
text has your
Where’s my Lucy?
[Exhausted by the toil of writing a two-volume novel, Charlotte Lennox’s invention runs out and she is unable to think of another female name.]
in doubt whether Arabella was not really disordered in her senses
text has disorded
while his dissatisfaction was at its height
text has dissatisfation
he knew not how this reformation would be effected
[I suppose it would be tactless to point out that, up to this moment, Mr. Glanville has never tried to effect any reformation.]
it was not consistent with decorum for Mr. Glanville to reside in her house
[An interesting point. As a cousin, he can stay as close as he likes without any impropriety—but as a potential husband, he has to keep a distance. The author may have forgotten that in the first volume, Mr. Glanville lived in Arabella’s house for several months, not all of them accompanied by his sister.]
Arabella’s extraordinary beauty took away all pretensions to equality
text has extraodrinary
Historically, “Ariamenes” was Plutarch’s rendering of Ariabignes, a son of Darius of Persia. From there, it is but a short step to Cleopatra, one of Arabella’s favorite novels.
What, madam!, interrupted Arabella, are you a princess, then?
text has ! for ?
Questionless I am, madam, replied the lady
[That clinches it. The word “questionless” is a convention of the French-romance-novel genre—or, at least, of its translations.]
I came hither in search of Ariamenes, he having told me this country was the place of his birth
[It is a pity Arabella’s father’s library contained neither an atlas nor a terrestrial globe.]
[Caption] Vide Chap. 5.
[Really. In full: Vide Vol. II. Chap. 5. Page 194.]
Ask the inconstant Ariamenes, replied Arabella
[1752 here has a footnote that is absent from all later editions I’ve seen. With the original spelling and punctuation:
This Enigmatical Way of speaking upon such Occasions, is of great Use in the voluminous French Romances; since the Doubt and Confusion it is the Cause of, both to the Accus’d and Accuser, gives Rise to a great Number of succeeding Mistakes, and consequently Adventures. ]
retiring to his own apartment
[Has the author forgotten that Mr. Glanville is not living in this house, and therefore doesn’t have an apartment to retire to?]
These reflections, joined to his new awakened suspicions that he was in love with her, convinced him he was the author of their present misunderstanding
[For pity’s sake, Charlotte. Would it kill you to use the occasional name? Once we decipher the pronouns, though, we have to admire Mr. Glanville’s perspicacity . . . even if the only reason he figured it out so quickly is that, well, the author told him.]
The evening drew on apace
text has a pace
[Both editions of British Novelists have “a pace” in two words. But 1752 has the expected “apace” in one word, and that’s good enough for me.]
Saying this, she plunged into the Thames, intending to swim over it
[With this, Arabella’s “peculiar whim” crosses the line from making her an object of ridicule . . . to endangering her life. It would appear that, in French novels, ladies do not need to learn how to swim; it is an innate ability.]
The footnotes in this chapter, like the ones early in Book One, are the author’s, not the editor’s.
fully explained my sentiments. / That you have been envied
[Throughout this chapter, as in the rest of Book Nine, I have added the paragraph breaks from 1752. That includes a few whose effect is to create confusion rather than diminish it, since the same speaker continues across two or more paragraphs.]
however overwhelmed by disasters or oppression.
[In the 1752 (second) edition, Arabella’s utterance continues into a second paragraph:
Keep me therefore no longer in Suspence: I expect you will exert the Authority of your Function, and I promise you on my Part, Sincerity and Submission.
This provides a better explanation for the good doctor’s ensuing “embarrassment”.]
if you are not yet satisfied of my willingness to hear your reproofs,
she should not at present require any other evidence of the first assertion— / But allowed him to suppose them fictions
[This is one of the many paragraph breaks that aren’t present in later editions. In 1820, the editor decided it could only be made to work if you change it to a single sentence: “. . . evidence of the first assertion, but allowed him to suppose”.]
and since, what you have asserted being true, the cause is undefensible
[The 2nd edition inserts an “if” before “what you have asserted”, but it’s not much of an improvement.]
Is it to be numbered among daily and cursory transactions, that a woman flies from a ravisher into a rapid stream?
text has ! for ?
any narrative is more liable to be confuted by its inconsistency with known facts
text has inconsistency, with superfluous comma
J. M’CREERY, Printer,
Black Horse Court, London.
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.