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Chapter VIII.

In which a Mistake, in point of Ceremony, is rectified.

Arabella had scarce done thinking of this last Adventure, when the Marquis communicated a Piece of Intelligence to her, which opened a Prospect of an infinite Number of new ones.

His Nephew, having just returned from his Travels, was preparing to come and pay him a Visit in his Retreat; and, as he always designed to marry Arabella to this Youth, of whom he was extremely fond, he told his Daughter of the intended Visit of her Cousin, whom she had not seen since she was eight Years old; and, for the first time, insinuated his Design of giving him to her for an Husband.

Arabella, whose Delicacy was extremely shocked at this abrupt Declaration of her Father, could hardly hide her Chagrin; for, tho' she always intended to marry some time or other, as all the Heroines had done, yet she thought such an Event ought to be brought about with an infinite deal of Trouble; and that it was necessary she should pass to this State thro' a great Number of Cares, Disappointments, and Distresses of various Kinds, like them; that her Lover should purchase her with his Sword from a Croud of Rivals; and arrive to the Possession of her Heart by many Years of Services and Fidelity.

The Impropriety of receiving a Lover of a Father's recommending appeared in its strongest Light. What Lady in Romance ever married the Man that was chose for her? In those Cases the Remonstrances of a Parent are called Persecutions; obstinate Resistance, Constancy and Courage; and an Aptitude to dislike the Person proposed to them, a noble Freedom of Mind which disdains to love or hate by the Caprice of others.

Arabella, strengthening her own Resolutions by those Examples of heroic Disobedience, told her Father, with great Solemnity of Accent, that she would always obey him in all just and reasonable Things; and, being persuaded that he would never attempt to lay any Force upon her Inclinations, she would endeavour to make them conformable to his, and receive her Cousin with that Civility and Friendship due to so near a Relation, and a Person whom he honoured with his Esteem.

The Marquis, having had frequent Occasions of admiring his Daughter's Eloquence, did not draw any unpleasing Conclusion from the nice Distinctions she made; and, being perfectly assured of her Consent whenever he demanded it, expected the Arrival of his Nephew with great Impatience.

Arabella, whose Thoughts had been fully employed since this Conversation with her Father, was indulging her Meditations in one of the most retired Walks in the Garden; when she was informed by Lucy, that her Cousin was come, and that the Marquis had brought him into the Garden to look for her.

That Instant they both entered the Walk, when Arabella, prepossessed, as she was, against any favourable Thoughts of the young Glanville, could not help betraying some Surprize at the Gracefulness of his Figure.

It must be confessed, said she to her Attendant, with a Smile, that this Lover my Father has brought us, is no contemptible Person: Nevertheless I feel an invincible Repugnance in myself against receiving him in that Character.

As she finished these Words, the Marquis came up, and presented Mr. Glanville to her; who, saluting her with the Freedom of a Relation, gave her a Disgust that shewed itself immediately in her fair Face, which was overspread with such a Gloom, that the Marquis was quite astonished at it. Indeed Arabella, who expected he would hardly have presumed to kiss her Hand, was so surprised at his Freedom, in attempting her Lips, that she not only expressed her Indignation by Frowns, but gave him to understand he had mortally offended her.

Mr. Glanville, however, was neither surprised nor angry at her Resentment; but, imputing it to her Country Education, endeavoured to railly her out of her ill Humour; and the Marquis, being glad to find a Behaviour, which he thought proceeded from her Dislike of her Cousin, was only an Effect of an over-scrupulous Modesty, told her that Mr. Glanville had committed no Offence by saluting her, since that was a Civility which was granted to all Strangers at the first Interview, and therefore could not be refused to a Relation.

Since the World is so degenerate in it's Customs from what it was formerly, said Arabella, with a Smile full of Contempt upon her Cousin, I am extremely happy in having lived in a Solitude which has not yet exposed me to the Mortification of being a Witness to Manners I cannot approve; for if every Person I shall meet with for the future be so deficient in their Respects to Ladies, as my Cousin is, I shall not care how much I am secluded from Society.

But, dear Lady Bella, interrupted Mr. Glanville gaily, tell me, I beseech you, how I must behave to please you; for I should be extremely glad to be honoured with your good Opinion.

The Person, resumed she, whom I must teach how to acquire my good Opinion, will, I am afraid, hardly recompense me by his Docility in learning, for the Pains I should be at in instructing him.

But, resumed Glanville, that I may avoid any more Occasions of offending you, only let me know how you would be approached for the future.

Since, answered she, there is no Necessity to renew the Ceremony of introducing you again to me, I have not a second Affront of that Kind to apprehend; but I pray tell me, If all Cavaliers are as presuming as yourself; and if a Relation of your Sex does not think a modest Embrace from a Lady a Welcome sufficiently tender? Nay, Cousin, cried Glanville eagerly, I am now persuaded you are in the Right; an Embrace is certainly to be preferred to a cold Salute. What would I give, that the Marquis would introduce me a second time, that I might be received with so delightful a Welcome? The Vivacity with which he spoke this was so extremely disagreeable to Arabella, that she turned from him abruptly, and, striking into another Walk, ordered Lucy to tell him she commanded him not to follow her.

Mr. Glanville, however, who had no Notion of the exact Obedience which was expected from him, would have gone after her, notwithstanding this Prohibition, which Lucy delivered in a most peremptory Manner, after her Lady's Example: But the Marquis, who had left the two young People at Liberty to discourse, and had walked on, that he might not interrupt them, turning about, and seeing Glanville alone, called him to have some private Discourse with him; and, for that time, spared Arabella the Mortification of seeing her Commands disobeyed.

Chapter VII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter IX.