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Chapter VII.

Which treats of the Olympic Games.

While Arabella was ruminating on the unaccountable Behaviour of her new Acquaintance, she received a Letter from her Uncle, informing her (for she had expresly forbid Mr. Glanville to write to her), that his Son and Daughter intended to set out for her Seat in a few Days.

This News was received with great Satisfaction by Arabella, who hoped to find an agreeable Companion in her Cousin; and was not so insensible of Mr. Glanville's Merit, as not to feel some kind of Pleasure at the Thought of seeing him again.

This Letter was soon followed, by the Arrival of Mr. Glanville, and his Sister; who, upon the Sight of Arabella, discovered some Appearance of Astonishment and Chagrin; for, notwithstanding all her Brother had told her of her Accomplishments, she could not conceive it possible for a young Lady, bred up in the Country, to be so perfectly elegant and genteel as she found her Cousin.

As Miss Charlotte had a large Share of Coquetry in her Composition, and was fond of Beauty in none of her own Sex but herself, she was sorry to see Lady Bella possessed of so great a Share; and, being in Hopes her Brother had drawn a flattering Figure of her Cousin, she was extremely disappointed at finding the Original so handsome.

Arabella, on the contrary, was highly pleased with Miss Glanville; and, finding her Person very agreeable, did not fail to commend her Beauty: A fort of Complaisance mightily in Use among the Heroines, who knew not what Envy or Emulation meant.

Miss Glanville received her Praises with great Politeness, but could not find in her Heart to return them: And, as soon as these Compliments were over, Mr. Glanville told Lady Bella, how tedious he had found the short Absence she had forced him to, and how great was his Satisfaction at seeing her again.

I shall not dispute the Truth of your last Assertion, replied Arabella, smiling, since I verily believe, you are mighty well satisfied at present; but I know not how you will make it appear, that an Absence, which you allow to be short, has seemed so tedious to you; for this is a manifest Contradiction: However, pursued she, preventing his Reply, you look so well, and so much at Ease, that I am apt to believe, Absence has agreed very well with you.

And yet I assure you, Madam, said Mr. Glanville, interrupting her, that I have suffered more Uneasiness during this Absence, than I fear you will permit me to tell you.

Since, replied Arabella, that Uneasiness has neither made you thinner, nor paler, I don't think you ought to be pitied: For, to say the Truth, in these Sort of Matters, a Person's bare Testimony has but little Weight.

Mr. Glanville was going to make her some Answer; when Miss Glanville, who, while they had been speaking, was adjusting her Dress at the Glass, came up to them, and made the Conversation more general.

After Dinner, they adjourned to the Gardens, where the gay Miss Glanville, running eagerly from one Walk to another, gave her Brother as many Opportunities of talking to Lady Bella as he could wish: However, he stood in such Awe of her, and dreaded so much another Banishment, that he did not dare, otherwise than by distant Hints, to mention his Passion; and Arabella, well enough pleased with a Respect that in some measure came up to her Expectation, discovered no Resentment at Insinuations she was at Liberty to dissemble the Knowlege of: And if he could not, by her Behaviour, flatter himself with any great Hopes, yet he found as little Reason, in Arabella's Language, to despair.

Miss Glanville, at the End of a few Weeks, was so tired of the magnificent Solitude she lived in, that she heartily repented her Journey; and insinuated to her Brother, her Inclination to return to Town.

Mr. Glanville, knowing his Stay was regulated by his Sister's, intreated her not to expose him to the Mortification of leaving Arabella so soon; and promised her he would contrive some Amusements for her, which should make her relish the Country better than she had yet done.

Accordingly, he proposed to Arabella to go to the Races, which were to be held at -- a few Miles from the Castle: She would have excused herself, upon account of her Mourning; but Miss Glanville discovered so great an Inclination to be present at this Diversion, that Arabella could no longer refuse to accompany her.

Since, said she to Miss Glanville, you are fond of public Diversions, it happens very luckily, that these Races are to be held at the Time you are here: I never heard of them before, and I presume 'tis a good many Years since they were last celebrated. Pray, Sir, pursued she, turning to Glanville, do not these Races, in some Degree, resemble the Olympic Games? Do the Candidates ride in Chariots? No, Madam, replied Glanville; the Jockeys are mounted upon the fleetest Coursers they can procure; and he who first reaches the Goal obtains the Prize.

And who is the fair Lady that is to bestow it? resumed Arabella : I dare engage one of her Lovers will enter the Lists; she will, doubtless, be in no less Anxiety than he; and the Shame of being overcome, will hardly affect him with more Concern, than herself; that is, provided he be so happy as to have gained her Affections. I cannot help thinking the fair Elismonda was extremely happy in this Particular: For she had the Satisfaction to see her secret Admirer Victor in all the Exercises at the Olympic Games, and carry away the Prize from many Princes, and Persons of rare Quality, who were Candidates with him; and he had also the Glory to receive three Crowns in one Day, from the Hands of his adored Princess; who, questionless, bestowed them upon him with an infinite deal of Joy.

What Sort of Races were those, Madam? said Miss Glanville; whose Reading had been very confined.

The Olympic Games, Miss, said Arabella, so called from Olympia, a City near which they were performed, in the Plains of Elis, consisted of Foot and Chariot-Races; Combats with the Cestus; Wrestling, and other Sports. They were instituted in Honour of the Gods and Heroes; and were therefore termed sacred, and were considered as a Part of Religion.

They were a kind of School, or military Apprenticeship; in which the Courage of the Youth found constant Employment: And the Reason why Victory in those Games was attended with such extraordinary Applause, was, that their Minds might be quickened with great and noble Prospects, when, in this Image of War, they arrived to a Pitch of Glory, approaching, in some respects, to that of the most famous Conquerors. They thought this Sort of Triumph one of the greatest Parts of Happiness of which Human Nature was capable: So that when Diagoras had seen his Sons crowned in the Olympic Games, one of his Friends made him this Compliment, Now, Diagoras, you may die satisfied; since you can't be a God. It would tire you, perhaps, was I to describe all the Exercises performed there: But you may form a general Notion of them, from what you have doubtless read of Justs and Tournaments.

Really, said Miss Glanville, I never read about any such Things.

No! replied Arabella, surprised: Well, then, I must tell you, that they hold a middle Place, between a Diversion and a Combat; but the Olympic Games were attended with a much greater Pomp and Variety: And not only all Greece, but other neighbouring Nations, were in a manner drained, to furnish out the Appearance.

Well, for my Part, said Miss Glanville, I never before heard of these Sort of Races; those I have been at were quite different. I know the Prizes and Bets are sometimes very considerable.

And, doubtless, interrupted Arabella, there are a great many Heroes who signalize themselves at these Races; not for the sake of the Prize, which would be unworthy of great Souls, but to satisfy that burning Desire of Glory, which spurs them on to every Occasion of gaining it.

As for the Heroes, or Jockeys, said Miss Glanville, call them what you please, I believe they have very little Share, either of the Profit or Glory: For their Masters have the one, and the Horses the other.

Their Masters! interrupted Arabella: What, I suppose, a great many foreign Princes send their Favourites to Combat, in their Name? I remember to have read, that Alcibiades triumphed three times successively at the Olympic Games, by means of one of his Domestics, who, in his Master's Name, entered the Lists.

Mr. Glanville, fearing his Sister would make some absurd Answer, and thereby disoblige his Cousin, took up the Discourse: And, turning it upon the Grecian History, engrossed her Conversation, for two Hours, wholly to himself; while Miss Glanville (to whom all they said was quite unintelligible) diverted herself with humming a Tune, and tinkling her Cousin's Harpsichord; which proved no Interruption to the more rational Entertainment of her Brother and Arabella.

Chapter VI. | The Female Quixote | Chapter VIII.