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А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я


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Chapter IX.

In which a Lover is severely punished for Faults which the Reader never would have discovered, if he had not been told.

The Marquis, tho' he had resolved to give Arabella to his Nephew, was desirous he should first receive some Impressions of Tenderness for her, before he absolutely declared his Resolution; and ardently wished he might be able to overcome that Reluctance which she seemed to have for Marriage: But, tho' Glanville in a very few Days became passionately in Love with his charming Cousin, yet she discovered so strong a Dislike to him, that the Marquis feared it would be difficult to make her receive him for an Husband: He observed she took all Opportunities of avoiding his Conversation; and seemed always out of Temper when he addressed any thing to her; but was well enough pleased, when he discoursed with him; and would listen to the long Conversations they had together with great Attention.

The Truth is, she had too much Discernment not to see Mr. Glanville had a great deal of Merit; his Person was perfectly handsome; he possessed a great Share of Understanding, an easy Temper, and a Vivacity which charmed every one, but the insensible Arabella .

She often wondered, that a Man, who, as she told her Confident, was Master of so many fine Qualities, should have a Disposition so little capable of feeling the Passion of Love, with the Delicacy and Fervour she expected to inspire; or, that he, whose Conversation was so pleasing on every other Subject, should make so poor a Figure when he entertained her with Matters of Gallantry. However, added she, I should be to blame to desire to be beloved by Mr. Glanville; for I am persuaded that Passion would cause no Reformation in the Coarseness of his Manners to Ladies, which makes him so disagreeable to me, and might possibly increase my Aversion.

The Marquis, having studied his Nephew's Looks for several Days, thought he saw Inclination enough in them for Arabella, to make him receive the Knowlege of his Intention with Joy: He, therefore, called him into his Closet, and told him in few Words, that, if his Heart was not pre-engaged, and his Daughter capable of making him happy, he resolved to bestow her upon him, together with all his Estates.

Mr. Glanville received this agreeable News with the strongest Expressions of Gratitude; assuring his Uncle, that Lady Bella, of all the Women he had ever seen, was most agreeable to his Taste; and that he felt for her all the Tenderness and Affection his Soul was capable of.

I am glad of it, my dear Nephew, said the Marquis, embracing him: I will allow you, added he smiling, but a few Weeks to court her: Gain her Heart as soon as you can, and when you bring me her Consent, your Marriage shall be solemnized immediately.

Mr. Glanville needed not a Repetition of so agreeable a Command: He left his Uncle's Closet, with his Heart filled with the Expectation of his approaching Happiness; and, understanding Arabella was in the Garden, he went to her with a Resolution to acquaint her with the Permission her Father had given him to make his Addresses to her.

He found his fair Cousin, as usual, accompanied with her Women; and, seeing that, notwithstanding his Approach, they still continued to walk with her, and impatient of the Restraint they laid him under, I beseech you, Cousin, said he, let me have the Pleasure of walking with you alone: What Necessity is there for always having so many Witnesses of our Conversation? You may retire, said he, speaking to Lucy, and the other Woman; I have something to say to your Lady in private.

Stay, I command you, said Arabella, blushing at an Insolence so uncommon, and take Orders from no one but myself. --I pray you, Sir, pursued she frowning, What Intercourse of Secrets is there between you and me, that you expect I should favour you with a private Conversation? An Advantage which none of your Sex ever boasted to have gained from me; and which, haply, you should be the last upon whom I should bestow it.

You have the strangest Notions, answered Glanville, smiling at the pretty Anger she discovered: Certainly you may hold a private Conversation with any Gentleman, without giving Offence to Decorum; and I may plead a Right to this Happiness, above any other, since I have the Honour to be your Relation.

It is not at all surprising, resumed Arabella gravely, that you and I should differ in Opinion upon this Occasion: I don't remember that ever we agreed in any thing; and, I am apt to believe, we never shall.

Ah! don't say so, Lady Bella, interrupted he: What a Prospect of Misery you lay before me! For, if we are always to be opposite to each other, it is necessary you must hate me as much as I admire and love you.

These Words, which he accompanied with a gentle Pressure of her Hand, threw the astonished Arabella into such an Excess of Anger and Shame, that, for a few Moments, she was unable to utter a Word.

What a horrid Violation this, of all the Laws of Gallantry and Respect, which decree a Lover to suffer whole Years in Silence before he declares his Flame to the divine Object that causes it; and then with awful Tremblings, and submissive Prostrations at the Feet of the offended Fair! Arabella could hardly believe her Senses when she heard a Declaration, not only made without the usual Forms, but also, that the presumtuous Criminal waited for her Answer, without seeming to have any Apprehension of the Punishment to which he was to be doomed; and that, instead of deprecating her Wrath, he looked with a smiling Wonder upon her Eyes, as if he did not fear their Lightenings would strike him dead.

Indeed, it was scarce possible for him to help smiling, and wondering too, at the extraordinary Notion of Arabella; for, as soon as he had pronounced those fatal Words, she started back two or three Steps; cast a Look at him full of the highest Indignation; and, lifting up her fine Eyes to Heaven, seemed, in the Language of Romance, to accuse the Gods for subjecting her to so cruel an Indignity.

The Tumult of her Thoughts being a little settled, she turned again towards Glanville; whose Countenance expressing nothing of that Confusion and Anxiety common to an Adorer in so critical a Circumstance, her Rage returned with greater Violence than ever.

If I do not express all the Resentment your Insolence has filled me with, said she to him, affecting more Scorn than Anger, 'tis because I hold you too mean for my Resentment; but never hope for my Pardon for your presumptuous Confession of a Passion I could almost despise myself for inspiring. If it be true that you love me, go and find your Punishment in that Absence to which I doom you; and never hope I will suffer a Person in my Presence, who has affronted me in the manner you have done.

Saying this, she walked away, making a Sign to him not to follow her.

Mr. Glanville, who was at the first disposed to laugh at the strange Manner in which she received his Expressions of Esteem for her, found something, so extremely haughty and contemptuous in the Speech she had made, that he was almost mad with Vexation.

As he had no Notion of his Cousin's heroic Sentiments, and had never read Romances, he was quite ignorant of the Nature of his Offence; and, supposing the Scorn she had expressed for him was founded upon the Difference of their Rank and Fortune, his Pride was so sensibly mortified at that Thought, and at her so insolently forbiding him her Presence, that he was once inclined to shew his Resentment of such ungenteel Usage, by quitting the Castle without taking Leave even of the Marquis, who, he thought, could not be ignorant of the Reception he was likely to meet with from his Daughter; and ought to have guarded him against it, if he really meant him so well as he seemed to do.

As he was extremely violent and hasty in his Resolutions, and nicely sensible of the least Affront, he was not in a Condition to reason justly upon the Marquis's Conduct in this Affair; and while he was fluctuating with a thousand different Resolutions, Lucy came to him with a Billet from her Lady, which she delivered without staying till he opened it; and was superscribed in this Manner: Arabella, To the most presumptuous Man in the World-- You seem to acknowlege so little Respect and Deference for the Commands of a Lady, that I am afraid it will be but too necessary to reiterate that, which, at parting, I laid upon you: Know then, that I absolutely insist upon your repairing, in the only manner you are able, the Affront you have put upon me; which is, by never appearing before me again. If you think proper to confine me to my Chamber, by continuing here any longer, you will add Disobedience to the Crime by which you have already mortally offended.

Arabella.

The Superscription of this Letter, and the uncommon Style of it, persuaded Mr. Glanville, that what he had been foolish enough to resent as an Affront, was designed as a Jest, and meant to divert him as well as herself: He examined her Behaviour again, and wondered at his Stupidity in not discovering it before. His Resentment vanishing immediately, he returned to the House; and went, without Ceremony, to Arabella's Apartment, which he entered before she perceived him, being in a profound Musing at one of the Windows: The Noise he made, in approaching her, obliged her at last to look up; when, starting, as if she had seen a Basilisk, she flew to her Closet, and, shutting the Door with great Violence, commanded him to leave her Chamber immediately.

Mr. Glanville, still supposing her in Jest, intreated her to open the Door; but, finding she continued obstinate, Well, said he, going away, I shall be revenged on you some time hence, and make you repent the Tricks you play me now.

Arabella not being able to imagine any thing, by these Words he spoke in Raillery, but that he really, in the Spite and Anguish of his Heart, threatened her with executing some terrible Enterprize; she did not doubt, but he either intended to carry her away; or, thinking her Aversion to him proceeded from his having a Rival happy enough to be esteemed by her, those mysterious Words he had uttered related to his Design of killing him; so that as she knew, he could discover no Rival to wreak his Revenge upon, she feared, that, at once to satisfy that Passion as well as his Love, he would make himself Master of her Liberty: For, in fine, said she to Lucy, to whom she communicated all her Thoughts, have I not every thing to apprehend from a Man, who knows so little how to treat my Sex with the Respect which is our Due; and who, after having, contrary to the timorous Nature of that Passion, insulted me with a free Declaration of Love, treated my Commands with the utmost Contempt by appearing before me again; and even threatens me with the Revenge he is meditating at this Moment? Had Mr. Glanville been present, and heard the terrible Misfortunes which she presaged from the few Words he had jestingly spoke, he would certainly have made her quite furious, by the Diversion her Mistake would have afforded him. But the more she reflected on his Words, the more she was persuaded of the terrible Purpose of them.

'Twas in vain to acquaint her Father with the Reasons she had for disliking his Choice: His Resolution was fixed, and if she did not voluntarily conform to it, she exposed herself to the Attempts of a violent and unjust Lover, who would either prevail upon the Marquis to lay a Force upon her Inclinations, or make himself Master of her Person, and never cease persecuting her, till he had obliged her to give him her Hand.

Having reasoned herself into a perfect Conviction that all these things must necessarily happen, she thought it both just and reasonable to provide for her own Security, by a speedy Flight: That Want of a Precedent, indeed, for an Action of this Nature, held her a few Moments in Suspense; for she did not remember to have read on any Heroine that voluntarily left her Father's House, however persecuted she might be; but she considered, that there was not any of the Ladies in Romances, in the same Circumstances with herself who was without a favoured Lover, for whose sake it might have been believed she had made an Elopement, which would have been highly prejudicial to her Glory; and, as there was no Foundation for any Suspicion of that Kind in her Case, she thought there was nothing to hinder her from withdrawing from a tyrannical Exertion of parental Authority, and the secret Machinations of a Lover, whose Aim was to take away her Liberty, either by obliging her to marry him, or by making her a Prisoner.


Chapter VIII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter X.