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Chapter XII.

In which the Reader will find a Specimen of the true Pathetic, in a Speech of Oroondates.

--The Adventure of the Books.

Arabella saw the Change in her Cousin's Behaviour with a great deal of Satisfaction; for she did not doubt but his Passion was as strong as ever; but that he forbore, thro' Respect, from entertaining her with any Expressions of it: Therefore she now conversed with him with the greatest Sweetness and Complaisance: She would walk with him for several Hours in the Garden, leaning upon his Arm; and charmed him to the last Degree of Admiration by the agreeable Sallies of her Wit, and her fine Reasoning upon every Subject he proposed.

It was with the greatest Difficulty he restrained himself from telling her a Thousand times a Day that he loved her to Excess, and conjuring her to give her Consent to her Father's Designs in his Favour: But, tho' he could get over his Fears of offending her, yet it was impossible to express any Sentiments of this Nature to her, without having her Women Witnesses of his Discourse; for, when he walked with her in the Garden, Lucy, and another Attendant, always followed her: If he sat with her in her own Chamber, her Women were always at one End of it: And, when they were both in the Marquis's Apartment, where her Women did not follow her, poor Glanville found himself embarrassed by his Presence; for, conceiving his Nephew had Opportunities enough of talking to his Daughter in private, he always partook of their Conversation.

He passed some Weeks in this Manner, extremely chagrined at the little Progress he made; and was beginning to be heartily weary of the Constraint he laid upon himself, when Arabella, one Day, furnished him, without designing it, with an Opportunity of talking to her on the Subject he wished for.

When I reflect, said she, laughing, upon the Difference there was between us some Days ago, and the Familiarity in which we live at present, I cannot imagine by what means you have arrived to a good Fortune you had so little Reason to expect; for, in fine, you have given me no Signs of Repentance for the Fault you committed, which moved me to banish you; and I am not certain whether, in conversing with you in the manner I do, I give you not as much Reason to find Fault with my too great Easiness, as you did me to be displeased with your Presumption.

Since, returned Glanville, I have not persisted in the Commission of those Faults which displeased you, what greater Signs of Repentance can you desire, than this Reformation in my Behaviour? But Repentance ought to precede Reformation, replied Arabella ; otherwise, there is great room to suspect it is only feigned: And a sincere Repentance shews itself in such visible Marks, that one can hardly be deceived in that which is genuine. I have read of many indiscreet Lovers, who not succeeding in their Addresses, have pretended to repent, and acted as you do; that is, without giving any Signs of Contrition for the Fault they had committed, have eat and slept well, never lost their Colour, or grew one bit thinner, by their Sorrow; but contented themselves with saying they repented; and, without changing their Disposition to renew their Fault, only concealed their Intention, for fear of losing any favourable Opportunity of committing it again: But true Repentance, as I was saying, not only produces Reformation, but the Person who is possessed of it voluntarily punishes himself for the Faults he has been guilty of. Thus Mazares, deeply repenting of the Crime his Passion for the divine Mandana had forced him to commit; as a Punishment, obliged himself to follow the Fortune of his glorious Rival; obey all his Commands; and, fighting under his Banners, assist him to gain the Possession of his adored Mistress. Such a glorious Instance of Self-denial was, indeed, a sufficient Proof of his Repentance; and infinitely more convincing than the Silence he imposed upon himself with respect to his Passion.

Oroondates, to punish himself for his Presumption, in daring to tell the admirable Statira, that he loved her, resolved to die, to expiate his Crime; and, doubtless, would have done so, if his fair Mistress, at the Intreaty of her Brother, had not commanded him to live.

But pray, Lady Bella, interrupted Glanville, were not these Gentlemen happy at last in the Possession of their Mistresses? Doubtless they were, Sir, resumed she; but it was not till after numberless Misfortunes, infinite Services, and many dangerous Adventures, in which their Fidelity was put to the strongest Trials imaginable.

I am glad, however, said Glanville, that the Ladies were not insensible; for, since you do not disapprove of their Compassion for their Lovers, it is to be hoped you will not be always as inexorable as you are now.

When I shall be so fortunate, interrupted she, to meet with a Lover who shall have as pure and perfect a Passion for me, as Oroondates had for Statira; and give me as many glorious Proofs of his Constancy and Affection, doubtless I shall not be ungrateful: But, since I have not the Merits of Statira, I ought not to pretend to her good Fortune; and shall be very well contented if I escape the Persecutions which Persons of my Sex, who are not frightfully ugly, are always exposed to, without hoping to inspire such a Passion as that of Oroondates.

I should be glad to be better acquainted with the Actions of this happy Lover, Madam, said Glanville; that, forming myself upon his Example, I may hope to please a Lady as worthy of my Regard as Statira was of his.

For Heaven's sake, Cousin, resumed Arabella, laughing, how have you spent your Time; and to what Studies have you devoted all your Hours, that you could find none to spare for the Perusal of Books from which all useful Knowlege may be drawn; which give us the most shining Examples of Generosity, Courage, Virtue, and Love; which regulate our Actions, form our Manners, and inspire us with a noble Desire of emulating those great, heroic, and virtuous Actions, which made those Persons so glorious in their Age, and so worthy Imitation in ours? However, as it is never too late to improve, suffer me to recommend to you the reading of these Books, which will soon make you discover the Improprieties you have been guilty of; and will, probably, induce you to avoid them for the future.

I shall certainly read them, if you desire it, said Glanville ; and I have so great an Inclination to be agreeable to you, that I shall embrace every Opportunity of becoming so; and will therefore take my Instructions from these Books, if you think proper, or from yourself; which, indeed, will be the quickest Method of teaching me.

Arabella having ordered one of her Women to bring Cleopatra, Cassandra, Clelia, and the Grand Cyrus, from her Library, Glanville no sooner saw the Girl return, sinking under the Weight of those voluminous Romances, but he began to tremble at the Apprehension of his Cousin laying her Commands upon him to read them; and repented of his Complaisance, which exposed him to the cruel Necessity of performing what to him appeared an Herculean Labour, or else incurring her Anger by his Refusal.

Arabella, making her Women place the Books upon a Table before her, opened them, one after another, with Eyes sparkling with Delight; while Glanville sat rapt in Admiration at the Sight of so many huge Folio's, written, as he conceived, upon the most trifling Subjects imaginable.

I have chosen out these few, said Arabella (not observing his Consternation) from a great many others, which compose the most valuable, Part of my Library; and, by that time you have gone thro' these, I imagine you will be considerably improved.

Certainly, Madam, replied Glanville, turning over the Leaves in great Confusion, one may, as you say, be greatly improved; for these Books contain a great deal: And, looking over a Page of Cassandra, without any Design, read these Words, which were Part of Oroondates's soliloquy when he received a cruel Sentence from Statira: "Ah cruel! says this miserable Lover, and what have I done to merit it? Examine the Nature of my Offence, and you will see I am not so guilty, but that my Death may free me from Part of that Severity: Shall your Hatred last longer than my Life? And can you detest a Soul that forsakes its Body only to obey you? No, no, you are not so hardhearted; that Satisfaction will, doubtless, content you: And, when I shall cease to be, doubtless I shall cease to be odious to you." Upon my Soul, said Glanville, stifling a Laugh with great Difficulty, I cannot help blaming the Lady this sorrowful Lover complains of, for her great Cruelty; for here he gives one Reason to suspect, that she will not even be contented with his dying in Obedience to her Commands, but will hate him after Death; an Impiety quite inexcusable in a Christian! You condemn this illustrious Princess with very little Reason, interrupted Arabella, smiling at his Mistake; for, besides that she was not a Christian, and ignorant of those Divine Maxims of Charity and Forgiveness, which Christians, by their Profession, are obliged to practise, she was very far from desiring the Death of Oroondates ; for, if you will take the Pains to read the succeeding Passages, you will find that she expresses herself in the most obliging Manner in the World; for when Oroondates tells her he would live, if she would consent he should, the Princess most sweetly replies, "I not only consent, but also intreat it; and, if I have any Power, command it." However, lest you should fall into the other Extreme, and blame this great Princess for her Easiness (as you before condemned her for her Cruelty), 'tis necessary you should know how she was induced to this favourable Behaviour to her Lover: Therefore pray read the whole Transaction. Stay! here it begins, continued she; turning over a good many Pages, and marking where he should begin to read.

Glanville, having no great Stomach to the Task, endeavoured to evade it, by intreating his Cousin to relate the Passages she desired he should be acquainted with: But she declining it, he was obliged to obey; and began to read where she directed him: And, to leave him at Liberty to read with the greater Attention, she left him, and went to a Window at another End of the Chamber.

Mr. Glanville, who was not willing to displease her, examined the Task she had set him, resolving, if it was not a very hard one, to comply; but, counting the Pages, he was quite terrified at the Number, and could not prevail upon himself to read them: Therefore, glancing them over, he pretended to be deeply engaged in reading, when, in Reality, he was contemplating the surprising Effect these Books had produced in the Mind of his Cousin; who, had she been untainted with the ridiculous Whims they created in her Imagination, was, in his Opinion, one of the most accomplished Ladies in the World.

When he had sat long enough to make her believe he had read what she had desired, he rose up, and, joining her at the Window, began to talk of the Pleasantness of the Evening, instead of the Rigour of Statira .

Arabella coloured with Vexation at his extreme Indifference in a Matter which was of such prodigious Consequence, in her Opinion; but disdaining to put him in mind of his Rudeness, in quitting a Subject they had not thoroughly discussed, and which she had taken so much Pains to make him comprehend, she continued silent; and would not condescend to afford him an Answer to any thing he said.

Glanville, by her Silence and Frowns, was made sensible of his Fault; and, to repair it, began to talk of the inexorable Statira, though, indeed, he did not well know what to say.

Arabella, clearing up a little, did not disdain to answer him upon her favourite Topic: I knew, said she, you would be ready to blame this Princess equally for her Rigour and her Kindness; but it must be remembred that, what she did in Favour of Oroondates, was wholly owing to the Generosity of Artaxerxes.

Here she stopped, expecting Glanville to give his Opinion; who, strangely puzzled, replied at random, To be sure, Madam, he was a very generous Rival.

Rival! cried Arabella; Artaxerxes the Rival of Oroondates ! Why certainly you have lost your Wits: He was Statira's Brother; and it was to his Mediation that Oroondates, or Orontes, owed his Happiness.

Certainly, Madam, replied Glanville, it was very generous in Artaxerxes, as he was Brother to Statira, to interpose in the Behalf of an unfortunate Lover; and both Oroondates, and Orontes, were extremely obliged to him.

Orontes, replied Arabella, was more obliged to him than Oroondates; since the Quality of Orontes was infinitely below that of Oroondates.

But, Madam, interrupted Glanville (extremely pleased at his having so well got over the Difficulty he had been in), which of these two Lovers did Statira make happy? This unlucky Question immediately informed Arabella, that she had been all this time the Dupe of her Cousin; who, if he had read a single Page, would have known that Orontes and Oroondates was the same Person; the Name of Orontes being assumed by Oroondates, to conceal his real Name and Quality.

The Shame and Rage she conceived at so glaring a Proof of his Disrespect, and the Ridicule to which she had exposed herself, were so great, that she could not find Words severe enough to express her Resentment; but, protesting that no Consideration whatever should oblige her to converse with him again, she ordered him instantly to quit her Chamber; and assured him, if he ever attempted to approach her again, she would submit to the most terrible Effects of her Father's Resentment, rather than be obliged to see a Person who had, by his unworthy Behaviour, made himself her Scorn and Aversion.

Glanville, who saw himself going to be discarded a second time, attempted, with great Submission, to move her to recal her cruel Sentence; but Arabella, bursting into Tears, complained so pathetically of the Cruelty of her Destiny, in exposing her to the hated Importunities of a Man she despised, and whose Presence was so insupportable, that Glanville, thinking it best to let her Rage evaporate before he attempted to pacify her, quitted her Chamber; cursing Statira and Orontes a thousand times, and loading the Authors of those Books with all the Imprecations his Rage could suggest.

Chapter XI. | The Female Quixote | Chapter XIII.