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Chapter III.

Which treats of a consolatory Visit, and other grave Matters.

Arabella, being then awaked from her Slumber, was indulging her Grief by Complaints, which her Women were so used to hear, that they never offered to disturb her. Merciless Fate! said she, in the most moving Tone imaginable, Cruel Destiny! that, not contented with having deprived my Infancy of the soft Cares, and tender Indulgences, of a Mother's Fondness, has robbed me of the only Parent I had left, and exposed me, at these early Years, to the Grief of losing him, who was not only my Father, but my Friend, and Protector of my Youth! Then, pausing a Moment, she renewed her Complaints with a deep Sigh: Dear Relics of the best of Fathers! pursued she, Why was it not permitted me to bathe you with my Tears? Why were those sacred Remains of him, from whom I drew my Life, snatched from my Eyes, ere they had poured their Tribute of Sorrow over them? Ah! pitiless Women! said she to her Attendants, you prevented me from performing the last pious Rites to my dear Father! You, by your cruel Care, hindered me from easing my sad Heart, by paying him the last Duties he could receive from me! Pardon, O dear and sacred Shade of my loved Father! pardon this unwilling Neglect of thy afflicted Child, who, to the last Moment of her wretched Life, will bewail thy Loss! Here she ceased speaking; and Mr. Glanville, whom this Soliloquy had much less confounded than his Father, was preparing to go in, and comfort her; when the old Gentleman stopping him with a Look of great Concern: My Niece is certainly much worse than we apprehend, said he: She is in a Delirium: Our Presence may, perhaps, discompose her too much.

No, Sir, replied Glanville, extremely confused at this Suspicion; my Cousin is not so bad as you suppose: It is common enough for People in any great Affliction to ease themselves by Complaints.

But these, replied the Knight, are the strangest Complaints I ever heard, and savour so much of Phrensy, that I am persuaded her Head is not quite right.

Glanville was going to reply, when Lucy, entering, told them her Lady had ordered their Admission: Upon which they followed her into Arabella's Chamber, who was lying negligently upon her Bed.

Her deep Mourning, and the black Gawse, which covered Part of her fair Face, was so advantageous to her Shape and Complexion, that Sir Charles, who had not seen her since she grew up, was struck with an extreme Surprize at her Beauty, while his Son was gazing on her so passionately, that he never thought of introducing his Father to her, who contemplated her with as much Admiration as his Son, though with less Passion.

Arabella, rising from her Bed, saluted her Uncle with a Grace that wholly charmed him; and, turning to receive Mr. Glanville, she burst into Tears at the Remembrance of his having assisted her in her last Attendance upon her Father. Alas! Sir, said she, when we saw each other last, we were both engaged, in a very melancholy Office: Had it pleased Heaven to have spared my Father, he would, doubtless, have been extremely sensible of your generous Cares; nor shall you have any Reason to accuse me of Ingratitude, since I shall always acknowlege your Kindness as I ought.

If you think you owe me any Obligation, returned Glanville, pay me, dearest Cousin, by moderating your Sorrow: Indeed you suffer yourself to sink too much under an Affliction which is impossible to be remedied.

Alas! answered Arabella, my Grief is very slight, compared to that of many others upon the Death of their Relations: The Great Sysigambis, who, questionless, wanted neither Fortitude nor Courage, upon the News of her Grand-daughter's Death, wrapt herself up in her Veil; and, resolving never more to behold the Light, waited for Death in that Posture.

Menecrates, upon the Loss of his Wife, built a magnificent Tomb for her; and, shutting himself up in it, resolved to pass away the Remainder of his Life with her Ashes. These, indeed, were glorious Effects of Piety and Affection, and unfeigned Signs of an excessive Sorrow: What are the few Tears I shed to such illustrious Instances of Grief and Affection, as these? Glanville, finding his Cousin upon this Strain, blushed extremely, and would have changed the Subject; but the old Gentleman, who had never heard of these two Persons she mentioned, who expressed their Sorrow for their Losses in so strange a Manner, was surprised at it; and was resolved to know more about them.

Pray, Niece, said he, were you acquainted with these People, who could not submit to the Dispensation of Providence, but, as one may say, flew in the Face of Heaven by their Impatience? I am very well acquainted with their History, resumed Arabella ; and I can assure you, they were both very admirable Persons.

Oh! Oh! their History! interrupted the Knight! What, I warrant you, they are to be found in the Fairy Tales, and those sort of Books! Well, I never could like such Romances, not I; for they only spoil Youth, and put strange Notions into their Heads.

I am sorry, resumed Arabella, blushing with Anger, that we are like to differ in Opinion upon so important a Point.

Truly, Niece, said Sir Charles, if we never differ in any thing else, I shall be very easy about this slight Matter; tho' I think a young Lady of your fine Sense (for my Son praises you to the Skies for your Wit) should not be so fond of such ridiculous Nonsense as these Story-Books are filled with.

Upon my Word, resumed Arabella, all the Respect I owe you cannot hinder me from telling you, that I take it extremely ill you should, in my Presence, rail at the finest Productions in the World: I think, we are infinitely obliged to these Authors, who have, in so sublime a Style, delivered down to Posterity the heroic Actions of the bravest Men, and most virtuous of Women: But for the inimitable Pen of the famous Scudery, we had been ignorant of the Lives of many great and illustrious Persons: The warlike Actions of Oroondates, Aronces, Juba, and the renowned Artaban, had, haply, never been talked of in our Age; and those fair and chaste Ladies, who were the Objects of their pure and constant Passions, had still been buried in Obscurity; and neither their divine Beauties, or singular Virtue, been the Subject of our Admiration and Praise. But for the famous Scudery, we had not known the true Cause of that Action of Clelia's, for which the Senate decreed her a Statue; namely, Her casting herself, with an unparalleled Courage, into the Tyber, a deep and rapid River, as you must certainly know, and swimming to the other Side. It was not, as the Roman Historians falsly report, a Stratagem to recover herself, and the other Hostages, from the Power of Porsena; it was to preserve her Honour from Violation by the impious Sextus, who was in the Camp. But for Scudery, we had still thought the inimitable Poetess Sappho to be a loose Wanton, whose Verses breathed nothing but unchaste and irregular Fires: On the contrary, she was so remarkably chaste, that she would never even consent to marry; but, loving Phaon, only with a Platonic Passion, obliged him to restrain his Desires within the Compass of a Brother's Affection.

Numberless are the Mistakes he has cleared up of this Kind; and I question, if any other Historian, but himself, knew that Cleopatra was really married to Julius C~Asar; or that C~Asario, her Son by this Marriage, was not murdered, as was supposed, by the Order of Augustus, but married the fair Queen of Ethiopia, in whose Dominions he took Refuge.

The prodigious Acts of Valour, which he has recounted of those accomplished Princes, have never been equalled by the Heroes of either the Greek or Roman Historians: How poor and insignificant are the Actions of their Warriors to Scudery's, where one of those admirable Heroes would put whole Armies into Terror, and with his single Arm oppose a Legion! Indeed, Niece, said Sir Charles, no longer able to forbear interrupting her, these are all very improbable Tales. I remember, when I was a Boy, I was very fond of reading the History of Jack the Giant killer, and Tom Thumb; and these Stories so filled my Head, that I really thought one of those little Heroes killed Men an hundred Feet high; and that the other, after a great many surprising Exploits, was swallowed up by a Cow.

You was very young, Sir, you say, interrupted Arabella tartly, when those Stories gained your Belief: However, your Judgment was certainly younger, if you ever believed them at all; for as credulous as you are pleased to think me, I should never, at any Age, have been persuaded such Things could have happened.

My Father, Madam, said Glanville, who was strangely confused all this Time, bore Arms in his Youth; and Soldiers, you know, never trouble themselves much with reading.

Has my Uncle been a Soldier, said Arabella, and does he hold in Contempt the Actions of the bravest Soldiers in the World? The Soldiers you speak of, Niece, said Sir Charles, were indeed the bravest Soldiers in the World; for I don't believe, they ever had their Equals.

And yet, Sir, said Arabella, there are a great Number of such Soldiers to be found in Scudery.

Indeed, my dear Niece, interrupted Sir Charles, they are to be found no-where else, except in your Imagination, which, I am sorry to see, is filled with such Whimsies.

If you mean this to affront me, Sir, resumed Arabella, hardly able to forbear Tears, I know how far, as my Uncle, I ought to bear with you: But, methinks, it is highly unkind to aggravate my Sorrows by such cruel Jests; and, since I am not in an Humour to suffer them, don't take it ill, if I intreat you to leave me to myself.

Mr. Glanville, who knew nothing pleased his Cousin so much as paying an exact Obedience to her Commands, rose up immediately; and, bowing respectfully to her, asked his Father, If he should attend him into the Gardens? The Baronet, who thought Arabella's Behaviour bordered a good deal upon Rudeness, took his Leave with some Signs of Displeasure upon his Countenance; and, notwithstanding all his Son could say in Excuse for her, he was extremely offended.

What, said he, to Mr. Glanville, does she so little understand the Respect that is due to me as her Uncle, that she, so peremptorily, desired me to leave her Room? My Brother was to blame to take so little Care of her Education; she is quite a Rustic! Ah! don't wrong your Judgment so much, Sir, said Glanville; my Cousin has as little of the Rustic as if she had passed all her Life in a Court: Her fine Sense, and the native Elegance of her Manners give an inimitable Grace to her Behaviour; and as much exceed the studied Politeness of other Ladies I have conversed with, as the Beauties of her Person do all I have ever seen.

She is very handsome, I confess, returned Sir Charles; but I cannot think so well of her Wit as you do; for methinks she talks very oddly, and has the strangest Conceits! Who, but herself, would think it probable, that one Man could put a whole Army to Flight; or commend a foolish Fellow for living in a Tomb, because his Wife was buried in it? Fie, fie! these are silly and extravagant Notions, and will make her appear very ridiculous.

Mr. Glanville was so sensible of the Justness of this Remark, that he could not help sighing; which his Father observing, told him, That, since she was to be his Wife, it was his Business to produce a Reformation in her; for, added he, notwithstanding the immense Fortune she will bring you, I should be sorry to have a Daughter-in-law, for whom I should blush as often as she opens her Mouth.

I assure you, Sir, said Mr. Glanville, I have but very little Hopes, that I shall be so happy as to have my Cousin for a Wife; for, tho' it was my Uncle's Command I should make my Addresses to her, she received me so ill, as a Lover, that I have never dared to talk to her upon that Subject since.

And pray, resumed Sir Charles, upon what Terms are you at present? While I seem to pretend nothing to her, as a Lover, replied Mr. Glanville, she is very obliging, and we live in great Harmony together; but I am persuaded, if I exceed the Bounds of Friendship in my Professions, she will treat me extremely ill.

But, interrupted Sir Charles, when she shall know, that her Father has bequeathed you one Third of his Estate, provided she don't marry you, 'tis probable her Mind may change; and you may depend upon it, since your Heart is so much set upon her, that, as I am her Guardian, I shall press her to perform the Marquis's Will.

Ah! Sir, resumed Mr. Glanville, never attempt to lay any Constraint upon my Cousin in an Affair of this Nature: Permit me to tell you, it would be an Abuse of the Marquis's generous Confidence, and what I would never submit to.

Nay, nay, said the old Gentleman, you have no Reason to fear any Compulsion from me: Tho' her Father has left me her Guardian, till she is of Age, yet it is with such Restriction, that my Niece is quite her own Mistress in that Respect; for tho' she is directed to consult me in her Choice of an Husband, yet my Consent is not absolutely necessary. The Marquis has certainly had a great Opinion of his Daughter's Prudence; and I hope, she will prove herself worthy of it by her Conduct.

Mr. Glanville was so taken up with his Reflections upon the State of his Affairs, that he made but little Reply; and, as soon as he had disengaged himself, retired to his Chamber, to be at more Liberty to indulge his Meditations. As he could not flatter himself, with having made any Impression upon the Heart of Arabella, he foresaw a thousand Incoveniences from the Death of the Marquis; for, besides that he lost a powerful Mediator with his Cousin, he feared that, when she appeared in the World, her Beauty and Fortune would attract a Croud of Admirers, among whom, it was probable, she would find some one more agreeable to her Taste than himself. As he loved her with great Tenderness, this Thought made him extremely uneasy; and he would sometimes wish the Marquis had laid a stronger Injunction upon her in his Will to marry him; and regretted the little Power his Father had over her: But he was too generous, to dwell long upon these Thoughts, and contented himself with doing all that was honourable to obtain her, without seeking for any Assistance from unjustifiable Methods.

Chapter II. | The Female Quixote | Chapter IV.