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Chapter IV.

Which contains some common Occurrences, but placed in a new Light.

Arabella, in a few Days, leaving her Chamber, had so many Opportunities of charming her Uncle by her Conversation, which, when it did not turn upon any Incident in her Romances, was perfectly fine, easy, and entertaining, that he declared, he should quit the Castle with great Regret; and endeavoured to persuade her to accompany him to Town: But Arabella, who was determined to pass the Year of her Mourning, in the Retirement she had always lived in, absolutely refused, strong as her Curiosity was, to see London.

Mr. Glanville secretly rejoiced at this Resolution, tho' he seemed desirous of making her change it; but she was unalterable; and, therefore, the Baronet did not think proper to press her any more.

Her Father's Will being read to her, she seemed extremely pleased with the Articles in favour of Mr. Glanville, wishing him Joy of the Estate that was bequeathed to him, with a most inchanting Sweetness.

Mr. Glanville sighed, and cast his Eyes on the Ground, as he returned her Compliment, with a very low Bow; and Sir Charles, observing his Confusion, told Arabella, that he thought it was a very bad Omen for his Son, to wish him Joy of an Estate, which he could not come to the Possession of, but by a very great Misfortune.

Arabella, understanding his Meaning, blushed; and, willing to change the Discourse, proceeded to consult her Uncle upon the Regulation of her House. Besides the Legacies her Father had bequeathed to his Servants, those, who were more immediately about his Person, she desired, might have their Salaries continued to them: She made no other Alteration, than discharging these Attendants, retaining all the others; and submitting to her Uncle the Management of her Estates, receiving the Allowance he thought proper to assign her, till she was of Age, of which she wanted three Years.

Every Thing being settled, Sir Charles prepared to return to Town. Mr. Glanville, who desired nothing so much as to stay some time longer with his Cousin in her Solitude, got his Father to intreat that Favour for him of Arabella: But she represented to her Uncle the Impropriety of a young Gentleman's staying with her, in her House, now her Father was dead, in a manner so genteel and convincing, that Sir Charles could press it no further; and all that Mr. Glanville could obtain, was, a Permission to visit her some time after, provided he could prevail upon his Sister, Miss Charlotte Glanville, to accompany him.

The Day of their Departure being come, Sir Charles took his Leave of his charming Niece, with many Expressions of Esteem and Affection; and Mr. Glanville appeared so concerned, that Arabella could not help observing it; and bade him adieu with great Sweetness.

When they were gone, she found her Time hung heavy upon her Hands; her Father was continually in her Thoughts, and made her extremely melancholy: She recollected the many agreeable Conversations she had had with Glanville; and wished it had been consistent with Decency to have detained him. Her Books being the only Amusement she had left, she applied herself to reading with more Eagerness than ever; but, notwithstanding the Delight she took in this Employment, she had so many Hours of Solitude and Melancholy to indulge the Remembrance of her Father in, that she was very far from being happy.

As she wished for nothing more passionately than an agreeable Companion of her own Sex and Rank, an Accident threw a Person in her Way, who, for some Days, afforded her a little Amusement. Stepping one Day out of her Coach, to go into Church, she saw a young Lady enter, accompanied with a middle-aged Woman, who seemed to be an Attendant. As Arabella had never seen any one, above the Rank of a Gentleman Farmer's Daughter, in this Church, her Attention was immediately engaged by the Appearance of this Stranger, who was very magnificently dressed: Tho' she did not seem to be more than eighteen Years of Age, her Stature was above the ordinary Size of Women; and, being rather too plump to be delicate, her Mien was so majestic, and such an Air of Grandeur was diffused over her whole Person, joined to the Charms of a very lovely Face, that Arabella could hardly help thinking she saw the beautiful Candace before her, who, by Scudery's Description, very much resembled this Fair one.

Arabella, having heedfully observed her Looks, thought she saw a great Appearance of Melancholy in her Eyes, which filled her with a generous Concern for the Misfortunes of so admirable a Person; but, the Service beginning, she was not at Liberty to indulge her Reflections upon this Occasion, as she never suffered any Thoughts, but those of Religion, to intrude upon her Mind, during these pious Rites.

As she was going out of Church she observed the young Lady, attended only with the Woman who came with her, preparing to walk home, and therefore stept forward, and, saluting her with a Grace peculiar to herself, intreated her to come into her Coach, and give her the Pleasure of setting her down at her own House: So obliging an Offer from a Person of Arabella's Rank could not fail of being received with great Respect by the young Lady, who was not ignorant of all the Forms of Good-breeding; and, accepting her Invitation, she stepped into the Coach; Arabella obliging her Woman to come in also, for whom, as she had that Day only Lucy along with her, there was Room enough.

As they were going home, Arabella, who longed to be better acquainted, intreated the fair Stranger, as she called her, to go to the Castle, and spend the Day with her; and she consenting, they passed by the House where she lodged, and alighted at the Castle, where Arabella welcomed her, with the most obliging Expressions of Civility and Respect. The young Lady, tho' perfectly versed in the Modes of Town-Breeding, and nothing-meaning Ceremony, was at a Loss how to make proper Returns to the Civilities of Arabella: The native Elegance and Simplicity of her Manners were accompanied with so much real Benevolence of Heart, such insinuating Tenderness, and Graces so irresistible, that she was quite oppressed with them; and, having spent most of her Time between her Toilet and Quadrille, was so little qualified for partaking a Conversation so refined as Arabella's, that her Discourse appeared quite tedious to her, since it was neither upon Fashions, Assemblies, Cards, or Scandal.

Her Silence, and that Absence of Mind, which she betrayed, made Arabella conclude, she was under some very great Affliction; and, to amuse her after Dinner, led her into the Gardens, supposing a Person, whose Uneasiness, as she did not doubt, proceeded from Love, would be pleased with the Sight of Groves and Streams, and be tempted to disclose her Misfortunes, while they wandered in that agreeable Privacy. In this, however, she was deceived; for, tho' the young Lady sighed several times, yet, when she did speak, it was only of indifferent Things, and not at all in the manner of an afflicted Heroine.

After observing upon a thousand Trifles, she told Arabella at last, to whom she was desirous of making known her Alliance to Quality, that these Gardens were extremely like those of her Father's-in-Law, the Duke of -- at -- At this Intimation, she expected Arabella would be extremely surprised; but that Lady, whose Thoughts were always familiarized to Objects of Grandeur, and would not have been astonished, if she had understood her Guest was the Daughter of a King, appeared so little moved, that the Lady was piqued by her Indifference; and, after a few Moment's Silence, began to mention going away.

Arabella, who was desirous of retaining her a few Days, intreated her so obligingly to favour her with her Company, for some time, in her Solitude, that the other could not refuse; and, dispatching her Woman to the House where she lodged, to inform them of her Stay at the Castle, would have dispensed with her coming again to attend her, had not Arabella insisted upon the contrary.

The Reserve, which the Daughter-in-Law of the Duke of -- still continued to maintain, notwithstanding the repeated Expressions of Friendship Arabella used to her, increased her Curiosity to know her Adventures, which she was extremely surprised, she had never offered to relate; but, attributing her Silence, upon this Head, to her Modesty, she was resolved, as was the Custom in those Cases, to oblige her Woman, who, she presumed, was her Confidante, to relate, her Lady's History to her; and sending for this Person one Day, when she was alone, to attend her in her Closet, she gave Orders to her Women, if the fair Stranger came to inquire for her, to say she was then busy, but would wait on her as soon as possible.

After this Caution, she ordered Mrs. Morris to be admitted; and, obliging her to sit down, told her, she sent for her in order to hear from her the History of her Lady's Life, which she was extremely desirous of knowing.

Mrs. Morris, who was a Person of Sense, and had seen the World, was extremely surprised at this Request of Arabella, which was quite contrary to the Laws of Goodbreeding; and, as she thought, betrayed a great deal of impertinent Curiosity: She could not tell how to account for the free Manner in which she desired her to give up her Lady's Secrets, which, indeed, were not of a Nature to be told; and appeared so much confused, that Arabella took Notice of it; and, supposing it was her Bashfulness which caused her Embarrassment, she endeavoured to re-assure her by the most affable Behaviour imaginable.

Mrs. Morris, who was not capable of much Fidelity for her Lady, being but lately taken into her Service, and not extremely fond of her, thought she had now a fine Opportunity of recommending herself to Arabella, by telling her all she knew of Miss Groves, for that was her Name; and, therefore, told her, since she was pleased to command it, she would give her what Account she was able of her Lady; but intreated her to be secret, because it was of great Consequence to her, that her Affairs should not be known.

I always imagined, said Arabella, that your beautiful Mistress had some particular Reason for not making herself known, and for coming in this private Manner into this Part of the Country: You may assure yourself therefore, that I will protect her as far as I am able, and offer her all the Assistance in my Power to give her: Therefore you may acquaint me with her Adventures, without being apprehensive of a Discovery that would be prejudicial to her.

Mrs. Morris, who had been much better pleased with the Assurances of a Reward for the Intelligence she was going to give her, looked a little foolish at these fine Promises, in which she had no Share; and Arabella, supposing she was endeavouring to recollect all the Passages of her Lady's Life, told her, She need not give herself the Trouble to acquaint her with any thing that passed during the Infancy of her Lady, but proceed to acquaint her with Matters of greater Importance: And since, said she, you have, no doubt, been most favoured with her Confidence, you will do me a Pleasure to describe to me, exactly, all the Thoughts of her Soul, as she has communicated them to you, that I may the better comprehend her History.

Chapter III. | The Female Quixote | Chapter V.