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 perceiv'd that the Health of her Body was almost restor'd, and that he might talk to her without the Fear of any Inconvenience, than he introduc'd the Subject of her throwing herself into the River, which he had before lightly touch'd upon, and still declar'd himself dissatisfy'd with.
Arabella, now more dispos'd to defend this Point than when languishing under the Pressure of Pain and Dejection of Mind, endeavour'd by Arguments founded upon Romantick Heroism, to prove, That it was not only reasonable and just, but also great and glorious, and exactly conformable to the Rules of Heroick Virtue.
The Doctor listen'd to her with a mix'd Emotion, between Pity, Reverence, and Amazement: And tho' in the Performance of his Office he had been accustom'd to accommodate his Notions to every Understanding, and had therefore accumulated a great Variety of Topicks and Illustrations; yet he found himself now engag'd in a Controversy for which he was not so well prepar'd as he imagin'd, and was at a Loss for some leading Principle, by which he might introduce his Reasonings, and begin his Confutation.
Tho' he saw much to praise in her Discourse, he was afraid of confirming her Obstinacy by Commendation: And tho' he also found much to blame, he dreaded to give Pain to a Delicacy he rever'd.
Perceiving however, that Arabella was silent, as if expecting his Reply, he resolv'd not to bring upon himself the Guilt of abandoning her to her Mistake, and the Necessity of speaking forc'd him to find something to say.
Tho' it is not easy, Madam, said he, for any one that has the Honour of conversing with your Ladyship to preserve his Attention free to 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 oblig'd to cultivate.
Tho' I have known some Dangers and Distresses, reply'd 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 escap'd the great Evils of Persecution, Captivity, Shipwrecks and Dangers to which many Ladies far more Illustrious both by Birth and Merit than myself, have been expos'd. And indeed, tho' I have sometimes rais'd Envy, or possibly incurr'd Hatred, yet I have no Reason to believe I was ever beheld with Pity before.
The Doctor saw he had not introduc'd his Discourse in the most acceptable Manner; but it was too late to repent. Let me not, Madam, said he, be censur'd before I have fully explain'd my Sentiments.
That you have been envy'd, 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 excell'd.
If the Misery of my Condition, reply'd Arabella, has been able to excite that Melancholy your first Words seem'd to imply, Flattery will contribute very little towards the Improvement of it. Nor do I expect from the Severity 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 destroy'd, I have not recover'd so much Levity, but that I would yet rather hear Instructions than Compliments.
If therefore you have observ'd in me any dangerous Tenets, corrupt Passions, or criminal Desires, I conjure you 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 alarm'd at any other Misery than Guilt: Nor will I think so meanly of him whose Direction I have intreated, as to imagine he can think Virtue unhappy, however overwhelm'd by Disasters or Oppression.
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.
The good Man was now compleatly embarrass'd; he saw his Meaning mistaken, but was afraid to explain it, lest he should seem to pay Court by a cowardly Retraction: He therefore paus'd 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 satisfy'd of my Willingness to hear your Reproofs, let me evince my Docility, by intreating you to consider yourself as dispens'd from all Ceremony upon this Occasion.
Your Imaginations, Madam, reply'd 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 allow'd you.
When I mention'd my Reflections upon human Misery, I was far from concluding your Ladyship miserable, compar'd with the rest of Mankind; and though contemplating the abstracted Idea of possible Felicity, I thought that even You might be produc'd as 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 convinc'd that you enjoy all that Intellectual Excellence can confer; yet I see you harrass'd 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 privileg'd 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, return'd the Doctor, secur'd 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, reply'd he, that no Injury was intended you.
Disingennuity, 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 answer'd that no Injury was intended? Human Beings cannot penetrate Intentions, nor regulate their 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 accustom'd to speak to Scholars with Scholastick 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 intreat 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 produc'd 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 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 attack'd with such Intentions, in a Place so publick, without any Preparations made by the Violator for Defence or Escape? Can it be imagin'd 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 determin'd Mind; for in Effect, Who would have attempted my Rescue, seeing that no Knight or valiant Cavalier was within View? What then should have hinder'd him from placing me in a Chariot? Driving it into the pathless Desart? 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 hinder'd by Impossibility.
He cannot carry you to any of these dreadful Places, because there is no such Castle, Desart, Cavern, or Lake.
You will pardon me, Sir, said Arabella, if I recur to your own Principles: You allow that Experience may be gain'd by Books: And certainly there is no Part of Knowledge in which we are oblig'd to trust them more than in Descriptive Geography.
The most restless Activity in the longest Life, can survey but a small Part of the habitable Globe: And the rest can only be known from the Report of others.
Universal Negatives are seldom safe, and are least to be allow'd when the Disputes are about Objects of Sense; where one Position cannot be inferr'd 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 alter'd since the Time of those Heroines, who experienc'd so many Changes of uncouth Captivity? Castles indeed, are the Works of Art; and are therefore subject to Decay. But Lakes, and Caverns, and Desarts, must always remain.
And why, since you call for Instances, should I not dread the Misfortunes which happen'd to the divine Clelia, who was carry'd to one of the Isles of the Thrasymenian Lake? Or those which befel the beautiful Candace, Queen of Ethiopia, whom the Pyrate Zenodorus wander'd with on the Seas? Or the Accidents which imbitter'd 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 happen'd to Olympia, Bellamira, Parisatis, Berenice, Amalagantha, Agione, Albysinda, Placidia, 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 suffer'd to amuse their Imaginations; but which I little expected to hear quoted by your Ladyship 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 Epithet, we have engag'd on very unequal Terms, if I may not likewise complain of such contemptuous Ridicule as you are pleas'd 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 Unstanderstanding; 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 Licence of your Language, which glances from the Books upon the Readers.
These Books, Sir, thus corrupt, 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 hinder'd him from discovering all the Consequences of his Position, now found himself entangled, and reply'd 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 mine.
I am asham'd of my Negligence, I am sorry for my Warmth, and intreat 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 rais'd 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 Criminal. The Doctor was pleas'd to find a Reconciliation offer'd 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 chearful 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 ascrib'd? 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 Arablela; but I think most of the Events happen'd about two thousand Years ago.
How then, Madam, resum'd the Doctor, could these Events be so minutely known to Writers so far remote from the Time in which they happen'd? 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 answer'd; and that though perhaps the Authors themselves could have told whence they borrowed their Materials, she should not at present require any other Evidence of the first Assertion: But allow'd him to suppose them Fictions, and requir'd now that he should shew them to be absurd.
Your Ladyship, return'd he, has, I find, too much Understanding to struggle against Demonstration, and too much Veracity to deny your Convictions; therefore some of the Arguments by which I intended to shew the Falshood 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 Falshood is a Species of Corruption, and what Falshood is more hateful than the Falshood 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 Falshood 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 Falshood, or confess that every Relation has some Right to Credit.
This 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; and from this Time consider their Authors as Wretches who cheated me of those Hours I ought to have dedicated to Application and Improvement, and betrayed me to a Waste of those Years in which I might have laid up Knowledge for my future Life.
Shakespear, 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 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 ~A†sop, though never I suppose believed, yet have been long considered 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 ~A†sop, 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 Falshood 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 this last, returned he, and compare these Books with antient 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 themselves as invested with less Authority over the Works of Nature, than the Institutions of Men; for they have distributed Mountains and Desarts, 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, if what you have asserted be 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 Falshood, answered he, is its Resemblance to Truth; as therefore any Narrative is more liable to be confuted by its Inconsistency 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 Word. 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 born: But who can forbear to throw away the Story that gives to one Man the Strength of Thousands; that puts Life or Death in a Smile or a Frown; that recounts Labours 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 Surprize, 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 intend to deceive me, and therefore I am inclined to believe that you are yourself mistaken, and that your Application to Learning has hindred 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 Stream? 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 some Measure authoritatively, whether Life is truly described in those Books; the Likeness of a Picture can only be 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 endanger'd, 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 the real or fictitious Life, most Wickedness is 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 you 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 where 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 fits a calm Spectatress of the Ruin and Desolation, Bloodshed and Misery, incited by herself.
It is impossible to read these Tales with out 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 to Acts of Kindness. If there be any preserved by natural 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 hinder'd 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 apprroached 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 ballanced against Life.
The Doctor confirmed her in her new Resolutions, and thinking Solitude was necessary to 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.