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Chapter XIII.

The Adventure of the Books continued.

In this Temper he went to the Gardens to pass over the Chagrin this unfortunate Accident had given him; when, meeting the Marquis, who insisted upon knowing the Cause of that ill Humour, so visible in his Countenance, Glanville related all that had passed; but, in Spite of his Anger, it was impossible for him to repeat the Circumstances of his Disgrace without laughing, as well as the Marquis; who thought the Story so extremely diverting, that he would needs hear it over again.

However, Charles, said he, though I shall do what I can to gain your Pardon from Bella, yet I shall not scruple to own you acted extremely wrong, in not reading what she desired you; for, besides losing an Opportunity of obliging her, you drew yourself into a terrible Dilemma; for how was it possible for you to evade a Discovery of the Cheat you put upon her, when she began to talk with you upon those Passages she had desired you to read? I acknowlege my Error, my Lord, answered Glanville; but if you restore me to my Cousin's Favour again, I promise you to repair it by a different Behaviour for the future.

I'll see what I can do for you, said the Marquis; leaving him, to go to Arabella's Apartment, who had retired to her Closet, extremely afflicted at this new Insult she had received from her Cousin: Her Grief was the more poignant, as she was beginning to imagine, by the Alteration in his Behaviour, that he would prove such a Lover as she wished; for Mr. Glanville's Person and Qualifications had attracted her particular Notice: And, to speak in the Language of Romance, she did not hate him; but, on the contrary, was very much disposed to wish him well: Therefore, it was no Wonder she extremely resented the Affront she had received from him.

The Marquis, not finding her in her Chamber, proceeded to her Closet, where her Women informed him she was retired; and, knocking gently at the Door, was admitted by Arabella, whom he immediately discerned to have been weeping very much; for her fine Eyes were red and swelled, and the Traces of her Tears might still be observed on her fair Face; which, at the Sight of the Marquis, was overspread with a Blush, as if she was conscious of her Weakness in lamenting the Crime her Cousin had been guilty of.

The Marquis drew a favourable Omen for his Nephew from her Tears and Confusion; but, not willing to increase it, by acknowleging he had observed it, he told her he was come, at Mr. Glanville's Request, to make up the Quarrel between them.

Ah! my Lord, interrupted Arabella, speak no more to me of that unworthy Man, who has so grosly abused my Favour, and the Privilege I allowed him: His Baseness and Ingratitude are but too manifest; and there is nothing I so much regret as my Weakness in restoring him to Part of my good Opinion, after he had once forfeited it, by an Insolence not to be paralleled.

Indeed, Bella, said the Marquis, smiling, you resent too deeply these slight Matters: I can't think my Nephew so guilty as you would have me believe he is; and you ought neither to be angry or surprised, that he preferred your Conversation before reading in a foolish old-fashioned Book that you put in his Hands.

If your Lordship had ever read these Books, replied Arabella, reddening with Vexation, 'tis probable you would have another Opinion of them; but, however that may be, my Cousin is not to be excused for the Contempt he shewed to my Commands; and for daring, by the Cheat he put on me, to expose me to the Shame of seeing myself so ridiculously imposed upon.

However, you must forgive him, said the Marquis; and I insist upon it, before I quit your Apartment, that you receive him into Favour.

Pardon me, my Lord, replied Arabella; this is what I neither can, nor ought to do; and I hope you will not wrong me so much as to continue to desire it.

Nay, Bella, said he, this is carrying Things too far, and making trifling Disputes of too great Consequence: I am surprised at your Treatment of a Man whom, after all, if ever you intend to obey me, you must consent to marry.

There is no Question, my Lord, replied she, but it would be my Glory to obey you in whatever is possible; but this you command me now to do, not being so, I conceive you will rather impute my Refusal to Necessity, than Choice.

How! returned the Marquis, will you endeavour to persuade me, that it is not possible Mr. Glanville should be your Husband? 'Tis impossible he should be so with my Consent, resumed Arabella ; and I cannot give it without wounding my own Quiet in a most sensible manner.

Come, come, Bella, said the Marquis (fretting at her extreme Obstinacy), this is too much: I am to blame to indulge your Foibles in this Manner: Your Cousin is worthy of your Affection, and you cannot refuse it to him without incurring my Displeasure.

Since my Affection is not in my own Power to bestow, said Arabella, weeping, I know not how to remove your Displeasure; but, questionless, I know how to die, to avoid the Effects of what would be to me the most terrible Misfortune in the World.

Foolish Girl! interrupted the Marquis, how strangely do you talk? Are the Thoughts of Death become so familiar to you, that you speak of dying with so little Concern? Since, my Lord, resumed she, in an exalted Tone, I do not yield, either in Virtue or Courage, to many others of my Sex, who, when persecuted like me, have fled to Death for Relief, I know not why I should be thought less capable of it than they; and if Artimisa, Candace, and the beautiful Daughter of Cleopatra, could brave the Terrors of Death for the sake of the Men they loved, there is no Question but I also could imitate their Courage, to avoid the Man I have so much Reason to hate.

The Girl is certainly distracted, interrupted the Marquis, excessively enraged at the strange Speech she had uttered: These foolish Books my Nephew talks of have turned her Brain! Where are they? pursued he, going into her Chamber: I'll burn all I can lay my Hands upon.

Arabella, trembling for the Fate of her Books, followed her Father into the Room; who seeing the Books which had caused this woful Adventure lying upon the Table, he ordered one of her Women to carry them into his Apartment, vowing he would commit them all to the Flames.

Arabella not daring, in the Fury he was in, to interpose, he went out of the Room, leaving her to bewail the Fate of so many illustrious Heroes and Heroines, who, by an Effect of a more cruel Tyranny than any they had ever experienced before, were going to be cast into the merciless Flames; which would, doubtless, pay very little Regard to the divine Beauties of the admirable Clelia, or the heroic Valour of the brave Orontes; and the rest of those great Princes and Princesses, whose Actions Arabella proposed for the Model of hers.

Fortune, however, which never wholly forsook these illustrious Personages, rescued them from so unworthy a Fate, and brought Mr. Glanville into the Marquis's Chamber just as he was giving Orders to have them destroyed.

Chapter XII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter I.