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Chapter VIII.

Which concludes with an excellent moral Sentence.

The Day being come on which they designed to be present at the Races (or, as Arabella called them, the Games), Miss Glanville, having spent four long Hours in dressing herself to the greatest Advantage, in order, if possible, to eclipse her lovely Cousin, whose Mourning, being much deeper, was less capable of Ornaments, came into her Chamber; and, finding her still in her Morning Dress, For Heaven's sake, Lady Bella, said she, when do you purpose to be ready? Why it is almost time to be gone, my Brother says, and here you are not a bit dressed! Don't be uneasy, said Arabella, smiling; and, going to her Toilet, I shan't make you wait long.

Miss Glanville, seating herself near the Table, resolved to be present while her Cousin was dressing, that she might have an Opportunity to make some Remarks to her Disadvantage: But she was extremely mortified, to observe the Haste and Negligence she made her Women use in this important Employment; and that, notwithstanding her Indifference, nothing could appear more lovely and genteel.

Miss Glanville, however, pleased herself with the Certainty of seeing her Cousin's Dress extremely ridiculed, for the peculiar Fashion of her Gown: And the Veil, which, as becoming as it was, would, by its Novelty, occasion great Diversion among the Ladies, helped to comfort her for the Superiority of her Charms; which, partial as she was to her own, she could not help secretly confessing.

Arabella being dressed in much less time than her Cousin, Mr. Glanville was admitted, who led her down Stairs to her Coach, which was waiting: His Sister (secretly repining at the Advantage Arabella had over her, in having so respectful an Adorer) followed: And, being placed in the Coach, they set out with great Appearance of Good-humour on all Sides.

They got to -- but just time enough to see the Beginning of the first Course: Arabella, who fansied the Jockeys were Persons of great Distinction, soon became interested in the Fate of one of them, whose Appearance pleased her more than the others. Accordingly, she made Vows for his Success, and appeared so extremely rejoiced at the Advantage he had gained, that Miss Glanville maliciously told her, People would make Remarks at the Joy she expressed, and fansy she had a more than ordinary Interest in that Jockey, who had first reached the Goal.

Mr. Glanville, whom this impertinent Insinuation of his Sister had filled with Confusion and Spite, sat biting his Lips, trembling for the Effect it would produce in Arabella: But she, giving quite another Turn to her Cousin's Words, I assure you, said she, with a Smile, I am not any further interested in the Fate of this Person, who has hitherto been successful, than what the Handsomeness of his Garb, and the Superiority of his Skill, may demand, from an unprejudiced Spectator: And, though I perceive you imagine he is some concealed Lover of mine, yet I don't remember to have ever seen him: And I am confident it is not for my sake that he entered the Lists; nor is it my Presence which animates him.

Lord bless me, Madam! replied Miss Glanville, Who would ever think of such strange things as these you talk of? No-body will pretend to deny that you are very handsome, to be sure; but yet, thank Heaven, the Sight of you is not so dangerous, but that such sort of People, as these are, may escape your Chains.

Arabella was so wholly taken up with the Event of the Races, that she gave but very little Heed to this sarcastic Answer of Miss Glanville; whose Brother, taking Advantage of an Opportunity which Arabella gave him by putting her Head quite out of the Coach, chid her very severely for the Liberty she took with her Cousin. Arabella, by looking earnestly out of the Window, had given so full a View of her fine Person to a young Baronet, who was not many Paces from the Coach, that, being struck with Admiration at the Sight of so lovely a Creature, he was going up to some of her Attendants to ask who she was, when he perceived Mr. Glanville, with whom he was intimately acquainted, in the Coach with her: Immediately he made himself known to his Friend, being excessively rejoiced at having got an Opportunity of beginning an Acquaintance with a Lady whose Sight had so charmed him.

Mr. Glanville, who had observed the profound Bow he made to Arabella, accompanied with a Glance that shewed an extreme Admiration of her, was very little pleased at this Meeting; yet he dissembled his Thoughts well enough in his Reception of him. But Miss Glanville was quite overjoyed, hoping she would now have her Turn of Gallantry and Compliment: Therefore, accosting him in her free Manner, Dear Sir George, said she, you come in a lucky Time to brighten up the Conversation: Relations are such dull Company for one another, 'tis half a Minute since we have exchanged a Word.

My Cousin, said Arabella smiling, has so strange a Disposition for Mirth, that she thinks all her Moments are lost, in which she finds nothing to laugh at: For my Part, I do so earnestly long to know, to which of these Pretenders Fortune will give the Victory, that I can suffer my Cares for them to receive no Interruption from my Cousin's agreeable Gaiety.

Mr. Glanville, observing the Baronet gazed upon Arabella earnestly while she was speaking those few Words, resolved to hinder him from making any Reply, by asking him several Questions concerning the Racers, their Owners, and the Bets which were laid; to which Arabella added, And pray, Sir, said she, do me the Favour to tell me, if you know who that gallant Man is, who has already won the first Course.

I don't know really, Madam, said Sir George, what his Name is, extremely surprised at her Manner of asking.

The Jockey had now gained the Goal a Second time; and Arabella could not conceal her Satisfaction. Questionless, said she, he is a very extraordinary Person; but I am afraid we shall not have the Pleasure of knowing who he is; for if he has any Reason for keeping himself concealed, he will evade any Inquiries after him, by slipping out of the Lists while this Hurry and Tumult lasts, as Hortensius did at the Olympic Games; yet, notwithstanding all his Care, he was discovered by being obliged to fight a single Combat with one of the Persons whom he had worsted at those Games.

Mr. Glanville, who saw his Sister, by her little Coquetries with Sir George, had prevented him from hearing great Part of this odd Speech, proposed returning to the Castle; to which Arabella agreed: But, conceiving Civility obliged her to offer the Convenience of a Lodging to a Stranger of Sir George's Appearance, and who was an Acquaintance of her Cousins, You must permit me, said she to Mr. Glanville, to intreat your noble Friend will accompany us to the Castle, where he will meet with better Accommodations than at any Inn he can find; for I conceive, that, coming only to be a Spectator of these Games, he is wholly unprovided with a Lodging.

The Baronet, surprised at so uncommon a Civility, was at a Loss what Answer to make her at first; but, recollecting himself, he told her that he would, if she pleased, do himself the Honour to attend her home; but, as his House was at no great Distance from --, he would be put to no Inconveniency for a Lodging.

Miss Glanville, who was not willing to part so soon with the Baronet, insisted, with her Cousin's Leave, upon his coming into the Coach; which he accordingly did, giving his Horse to the Care of his Servant; and they proceeded together to the Castle; Arabella still continuing to talk of the Games, as she called them, while poor Glanville, who was excessively confused, endeavoured to change the Discourse, not without an Apprehension, that every Subject he could think of, would afford Arabella an Occasion of shewing her Foible; which, notwithstanding the Pain it gave him, could not lessen the Love he felt for her.

Sir George, whose Admiration of Lady Bella increased the longer he saw her, was extremely pleased with the Opportunity she had given him of cultivating an Acquaintance with her: He therefore lengthened out his Visit, in hopes of being able to say some fine Things to her before he went away; but Miss Glanville, who strove by all the little Arts she was Mistress of, to engage his Conversation wholly to herself, put it absolutely out of his Power; so that he was obliged to take his Leave without having the Satisfaction of even pressing the fair Hand of Arabella; so closely was he observed by her Cousin.

Happy was it for him, that he was prevented by her Vigilance from attempting a Piece of Gallantry, which would, undoubtedly, have procured him a Banishment from her Presence; but, ignorant, how kind Fortune was to him in balking his Designs, he was ungrateful enough to go away in a mighty ill Humour with this fickle Goddess: So little capable are poor Mortals of knowing what is best for them!

Chapter VII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter IX.