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Chapter X.

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, tho' not judg'd 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 Consequences of Sir George's Death, intreated his Son to quit the Kingdom; but Mr. Glanville, protesting he would rather die than leave Arabella in that Illness, he was oblig'd to give Bail for his Appearance, in Case Sir George dy'd: This Affair, notwithstanding all Endeavours to prevent it, having made a great Noise.

Poor Sir Charles, opprest as he was with the Weight of all these Calamities, was yet oblig'd to labour incessantly to keep up the Spirits of his Son and Daughter. The settled Despair of the one, and the silent swelling 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 endeavour'd 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, declar'd, She should be miserable all her Life, if he died.

Arabella in her lucid Intervals, being sensible of her Danger, prepar'd for Death, with great Piety and Constancy of Mind, having solemnly assur'd 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 desir'd 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 constantly 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 reduc'd her so low that there seem'd very little Probability of her Recovery. Doctor --, in whom her unfeign'd 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 urg'd her to explain her Reasons for so extravagant an Action.

In the Divine Frame Arabella was then in, this Action appear'd to her rash and vainglorious, and she acknowledg'd it to be so to her pious Monitor: Yet she related the Motives which induc'd her to it, the Danger she was in of being carry'd away, the Parity of her Circumstances then with Clelia, and her emulous Desire of doing as much to preserve her Honour as that renown'd Roman Lady did for hers. The good Doctor was extremely surpriz'd 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, that the Doctor left her in strange Embarrassment, not knowing how to account for a Mind at once so enlighten'd, 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, explain'd the Nature of that seeming Inconsistency, and expatiated at large upon the Disorders Romances had occasion'd in her Imagination; several Instances of which he recounted, and fill'd 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 assur'd Mr. Glanville, he would spare no Endeavours to rescue it from so shocking a Delusion.

Mr. Glanville thank'd him for his good Design, with a Transport which his Fears of 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 enquire after his Health, but had not yet visited him.

No sooner had the Physicians declared that Arabella was no longer in Danger, than his Mind being freed from that tormenting Load of Suspence under which it had labour'd while her Recovery was yet doubful, he went to Sir George's Chamber, who by reason of his Weakness, tho' he was also upon the Recovery, still kept his Bed.

Sir George, tho' he ardently wish'd to see him, yet conscious of the Injuries he had both done and design'd 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 acknowledg'd 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 brib'd a young Actress to personate a Princess forsaken by him; and had taught her all that Heap of Absurdity with which she had impos'd upon Arabella, as has been related, desir'd only by Way of Reparation, That when his Cousin was in a Condition to be spoken to upon that Subject, he would condescend to own the Fraud to her; which Sir George faithfully promising, an Act of Oblivion pass'd 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 dispens'd with: For tho' not of a vindictive Temper, it was one of his Maxims, That a Man who had once betray'd him, it would be an Error in Policy ever to trust again.

Chapter IX. | The Female Quixote | Chapter XI.