In which the Lady is wonderfully delivered.
But to return to Arabella, whom we left in a very melancholy Situation: Lucy had not been gone long from her before she opened her Eyes; and, beginning to come perfectly to herself, was surprised to find her Woman not near her: The Moon shining very bright, she looked round her, and called Lucy as loud as she was able; but not seeing her, or hearing any Answer, her Fears became so powerful, that she had like to have relapsed into her Swoon.
Alas! unfortunate Maid that I am! cried she, weeping excessively, questionless I am betrayed by her on whose Fidelity I relied, and who was acquainted with my most secret Thoughts: She is now with my Ravisher, directing his Pursuit, and I have no Means of escaping from his Hands! Cruel and ungrateful Wench, thy unparalleled Treachery grieves me no less than all my other Misfortunes: But why do I say, Her Treachery is unparalleled? Did not the wicked Arianta betray her Mistress into the Power of her insolent Lover? Ah! Arabella, thou art not single in thy Misery, since the divine Mandana was, like thyself, the Dupe of a mercenary Servant.
Having given a Moment or two to these sad Reflections, she rose from the Ground with an Intention to walk on; but her Ancle was so painful, that she could hardly move: Her Tears began now to flow with greater Violence: She expected every Moment to see Edward approach her; and was resigning herself up to Despair, when a Chaise, driven by a young Gentleman, passed by her. Arabella, thanking Heaven for sending this Relief, called out as loud as she could, conjuring him to stay.
The Gentleman, hearing a Woman's Voice, stopped immediately, and asked what she wanted.
Generous Stranger, said Arabella, advancing as well as was she able, do not refuse your Assistance to save me from a most terrible Danger: I am pursued by a Person whom, for very urgent Reasons, I desire to avoid. I conjure you, therefore, in the Name of her you love best, to protect me; and may you be crowned with the Enjoyment of all your Wishes, for so charitable an Action! If the Gentleman was surprised at this Address, he was much more astonished at the Beauty of her who made it: Her Stature; her Shape, her inimitable Complexion; the Lustre of her fine Eyes, and the thousand Charms that adorned her whole Person, kept him a Minute silently gazing upon her, without having the Power to make her an Answer.
Arabella, finding he did not speak, was extremely disappointed. Ah! Sir, said she, What do you deliberate upon? Is it possible you can deny so reasonable a Request, to a Lady in my Circumstances? For God's sake, Madam, said the Gentleman, alighting, and approaching her, let me know who you are, and how I can be of any Service to you.
As for my Quality, said Arabella, be assured it is not mean; and let this Knowlege suffice at present: The Service I desire of you is, to convey me to some Place where I may be in Safety for this Night: To-morrow I will intreat you to let some Persons, whom I shall name to you, know where I am; to the end they may take proper Measures to secure me from the Attempts of an insolent Man, who has driven me from my own House, by the Designs he was going to execute.
The Gentleman saw there was some Mystery in her Case, which she did not choose to explain; and, being extremely glad at having so beautiful a Creature in his Power, told her she might command him in all she pleased; and, helping her into the Chaise, drove off as fast as he could; Arabella suffering no Apprehensions from being alone with a Stranger, since nothing was more common to Heroines than such Adventures; all her Fears being of Edward, whom she fansied every Moment she saw pursuing them: And, being extremely anxious to be in some Place of Safety, she urged her Protector to drive as fast as possible; who, willing to have her at his own House, complied with her Request; but was so unlucky in his Haste, as to overturn the Chaise. Though neither Arabella nor himself were hurt by the Fall, yet the Necessity there was to stay some time to put the Chaise in a Condition to carry them any farther, filled her with a thousand Apprehensions, lest they should be overtaken.
In the mean time, the Servants of Arabella, among whom Edward, not knowing how much he was concerned in her Flight, was resolved to distinguish himself by his Zeal in searching for her, had dispersed themselves about in different Places: Chance conducted Edward to the very Spot where she was: When Arabella, perceiving him while he was two or three Paces off, Oh! Sir, cried she, behold my Persecutor! Can you resolve to defend me against the Violence he comes to offer me? The Gentleman, looking up, and seeing a Man in Livery approaching them, asked her, If that was the Person she complained of; and if he was her Servant? If he is my Servant, Sir, replied she, blushing, he never had my Permission to be so: And, indeed, no one else can boast of my having granted them such a Liberty.
Do you know whose Servant he is, then, Madam? replied the Gentleman, a little surprised at her Answer; which he could not well understand.
You throw me into a great Embarrassment, Sir, resumed Arabella, blushing more than before: Questionless, he appears to be mine; but, since, as I told you before, he never discovered himself to me, and I never permitted him to assume that Title, his Services, if ever I received any from him, were not at all considered by me, as Things for which I was obliged to him.
The Gentleman, still more amazed at Answers so little to the Purpose, was going to desire her to explain herself upon this strange Affair; when Edward, coming up close to Arabella, cried out in a Transport, Oh! Madam! thank God you are found.
Hold, impious Man! said Arabella, and do not give Thanks for that which, haply, may prove thy Punishment. If I am found, thou wilt be no better for it: And, if thou continuest to persecute me, thou wilt probably meet with thy Death, where thou thinkest thou hast found thy Happiness.
The poor Fellow, who understood not a Word of this Discourse, stared upon her like one that had lost his Wits; when the Protector of Arabella, approaching him, asked him, with a stern Look, What he had to say to that Lady, and why he presumed to follow her? As the Man was going to answer him, Mr. Glanville came galloping up; and Edward, seeing him, ran up to him, and informed him, that he had met with Lady Bella, and a Gentleman, who seemed to have been overturned in a Chaise, which he was endeavouring to refit; and that her Ladyship was offended with him for coming up to her; and also, that the Gentleman had used some threatening Language to him upon that Account.
Mr. Glanville, excessively surprised at what he heard, stopped; and, ordering a Servant who came along with him, to run back to the Castle, and bring a Chaise thither to carry Lady Bella home, he asked Edward several more Questions relating to what she and the Gentleman had said to him: And, notwithstanding his Knowlege of her ridiculous Humour, he could not help being alarmed by her Behaviour, nor concluding that there was something very mysterious in the Affair.
While he was thus conversing with Edward, Arabella, who had spied him almost as soon, was filled with Apprehension to see him hold so quiet a Parly with her Ravisher: The more she reflected upon this Accident, the more her Suspicions increased; and, persuading herself at last, that Mr. Glanville was privy to his Designs, this Belief, however improbable, wrought so powerfully upon her Imagination, that she could not restrain her Tears.
Doubtless, said she, I am betrayed, and the perjured Glanville is no longer either my Friend or Lover: He is this Moment concerting Measures with my Ravisher, how to deliver me into his Power; and, like Philidaspes, is glad of an Opportunity, by this Treachery, to be rid of a Woman whom his Parents and hers had destined for his Wife.
Mr. Glanville, having learned all he could from Edward, alighted; and, giving him his Horse to hold, came up to Arabella : And, after expressing his Joy at meeting with her, begged her to let him know what Accident had brought her, unattended, from the Castle, at that time of Night.
If by this Question, said the incensed Arabella, you would persuade me you are ignorant of the Cause of my Flight, know, your Dissimulation will not succeed; and that, having Reason to believe you are equally guilty with him from whose intended Violence I fled, I shall have recourse to the Valour of this Knight you see with me, to defend me, as well against you, as that Ravisher, with whom I see you leagued. --Ah! unworthy Cousin, pursued she, What dost thou propose to thyself by so black a Treachery? What is to be the Price of my Liberty, which thou so freely disposest of? Has thy Friend there, said she (pointing to Edward), a Sister, or any Relation, for whom thou barterest, by delivering me up to him? But, assure thyself, this Stratagem shall be of no Use to thee: For, if thou art base enough to oppress my valiant Deliverer with Numbers, and thinkest, by Violence, to get me into thy Power, my Cries shall arm Heaven and Earth in my Defence. Providence may, haply, send some generous Cavaliers to my Rescue; and, if Providence fails me, my own Hand shall give me Freedom; for that Moment thou offerest to seize me, that Moment shall be the last of my Life.
While Arabella was speaking, the young Gentleman and Edward, who listened to her, eagerly, thought her Brain was disturbed: But Mr. Glanville was in a terrible Confusion, and silently cursed his ill Fate, to make him in Love with a Woman so ridiculous.
For Heaven's sake, Cousin, said he, striving to repress some Part of his Disorder, Do not give way to these extravagant Notions: There is nobody intends to do you any Wrong.
What! interrupted she, would you persuade me, that that Impostor there, pointing to Edward, has not a Design to carry me away; which you, by supporting him, are not equally guilty of? Who? I! Madam! cried out Edward: Sure your Ladyship does not suspect me of such a strange Design! God knows I never thought of such a Thing! Ah! Dissembler! interrupted Arabella, do not make use of that sacred Name to mask thy impious Falshoods: Confess with what Intent you came into my Father's Service disguised.
I never came disguised, Madam, returned Edward.
No! said Arabella: What means that Dress in which I see you, then? 'Tis the Marquis's Livery, Madam, said Edward, which he did not order to be taken from me when I left his Service.
And with what Purpose didst thou wear it? said she, Do not your Thoughts accuse you of your Crime? I always hoped, Madam--said he.
You hoped! interrupted Arabella: frowning, Did I ever give you Reason to hope? I will not deny but I had Compassion on you; but even That you was ignorant of.
I know, Madam, you had Compassion on me, said Edward; for your Ladyship, I always thought, did not believe me guilty.
I was weak enough, said she, to have Compassion on you, though I did believe you guilty.
Indeed, Madam, returned Edward, I always hoped, as I said before (but your Ladyship would not hear me out), that you did not believe any malicious Reports; and therefore you had Compassion on me.
I had no Reports of you, said she, but what my own Observation gave me; and that was sufficient to convince me of your Fault.
Why, Madam, said Edward, did your Ladyship see me steal the Carp then, which was the Fault unjustly laid to my Charge? Mr. Glanville, as much Cause as he had for Uneasiness, could with great Difficulty restrain Laughter at this ludicrous Circumstance; for he guessed what Crime Arabella was accusing him of: As for the young Gentleman, he could not conceive what she meant, and longed to hear what would be the End of such a strange Conference. But poor Arabella was prodigiously confounded at his mentioning so low an Affair; not being able to endure that Glanville and her Protector should know a Lover of her's could be suspected of so base a Theft.
The Shame she conceived at it, kept her silent for a Moment: But, recovering herself at last, No, said she, I knew you better than to give any Credit to such an idle Report: Persons of your Condition do not commit such paltry Crimes.
Upon my Soul, Madam, said the young Gentleman, Persons of his Condition often do worse.
I don't deny it, Sir, said Arabella; and the Design he meditated of carrying me away was infinitely worse.
Really, Madam, returned the Gentleman, if you are such a Person as I apprehend, I don't see how he durst make such an Attempt.
It is very possible, Sir, said she, that I might be carried away, though I was of greater Quality than I am: Were not Mandana, Candace, Clelia, and many other Ladies who underwent the same Fate, of a Quality more illustrious than mine? Really, Madam, said he, I know none of these Ladies.
No, Sir! said Arabella; extremely mortified.
Let me intreat you, Cousin, interrupted Glanville (who feared this Dispute would be very tedious), to expose yourself no longer to the Air at this time of Night: Suffer me to conduct you home.
It concerns my Honour, said she, that this generous Stranger should not think I am the only one that was ever exposed to these insolent Attempts. You say, Sir, pursued she, that you don't know any of these Ladies I mentioned before: Let me ask you, then, If you are acquainted with Parthenissa, or Cleopatra? who were both, for some Months, in the Hands of their Ravishers.
As for Parthenissa, Madam, neither have I heard of her; nor do I remember to have heard of any more than one Cleopatra: But she was never ravished, I am certain; for she was too willing.
How! Sir, said Arabella: Was Cleopatra ever willing to run away with her Ravisher? Cleopatra was a Whore, was she not, Madam? said he.
Hold thy Peace, unworthy Man, said Arabella; and profane not the Memory of that fair and glorious Queen, by such injurious Language: That Queen, I say, whose Courage was equal to her Beauty; and her Virtue surpassed by neither. Good Heavens! What a black Defamer have I chosen for my Protector! Mr. Glanville, rejoicing to see Arabella in a Disposition to be offended with her new Acquaintance, resolved to sooth her a little, in hopes of prevailing upon her to return home. Sir, said he to the Gentleman, who could not conceive why the Lady should so warmly defend Cleopatra, you were in the Wrong to cast such Reflections upon that great Queen (repeating what he had heard his Cousin say before): For all the World, pursued he, knows she was married to Julius C~A¦sar.
Though I commend you, said Arabella, for taking the Part of a Lady so basely vilified; yet let not your Zeal for her Honour induce you to say more than is true for its Justification; for thereby you weaken, instead of strengthening, what may be said in her Defence. One Falshood always supposes another, and renders all you can say suspected: Whereas pure, unmixed Truth, carries Conviction along with it, and never fails to produce its desired Effect.
Suffer me, Cousin, interrupted Glanville, to represent to you, the Inconveniency you will certainly feel, by staying so late in the Air: Leave the Justification of Cleopatra to some other Opportunity; and take care of your own Preservation.
What is it you require of me? said Arabella.
Only, resumed Glanville, that you would be pleased to return to the Castle, where my Sister, and all your Servants, are inconsolable for your Absence.
But who can assure me, answered she, that I shall not, by returning home, enter voluntarily into my Prison? For, to say the Truth, I still more than suspect you abet the Designs of this Man; since I behold you in his Party, and ready, no doubt, to draw your Sword in his Defence: How will you be able to clear yourself of this Crime? Yet I will venture to return to my House, provided you will swear to me, you will offer me no Violence, with regard to your Friend there: And also I insist, that he, from this Moment, disclaim all Intentions of persecuting me, and banish himself from my Presence for ever.
Upon this Condition I pardon him, and will likewise pray to Heaven to pardon him also.
Speak, presumptuous Unknown, said she to Edward, Wilt thou accept of my Pardon upon the Terms I offer it thee? And wilt thou take thyself to some Place where I may never behold thee again? Since your Ladyship, said Edward, is resolved not to receive me into your Service, I shan't trouble you any more: But I think it hard to be punished for a Crime I was not guilty of.
'Tis better, said Arabella, turning from him, that thou shouldst complain of my Rigour, than the World tax me with Lightness and Indiscretion. And now, Sir, said she to Glanville, I must trust myself to your Honour, which I confess I do a little suspect: But, however, 'tis possible you have repented, like the poor Prince Thrasybulus, when he submitted to the Suggestions of a wicked Friend, to carry away the fair Alcionida, whom he afterwards restored. Speak, Glanville, pursued she, are you desirous of imitating that virtuous Prince, or do you still retain your former Sentiments? Upon my Word, Madam, said Glanville, you will make me quite mad, if you go on in this manner: Pray let me see you safe home; and then, if you please, you may forbid my Entrance into the Castle, if you suspect me of any bad Intentions towards you.
'Tis enough, said she; I will trust you. As for you, Sir, speaking to the young Gentleman, you are so unworthy, in my Apprehensions, by the Calumnies you have uttered against a Person of that Sex which merits all your Admiration and Reverence, that I hold you very unfit to be a Protector of any of it: Therefore I dispense with your Services upon this Occasion; and think it better to trust myself to the Conduct of a Person, who, like Thrasybulus, by his Repentance, has restored himself to my Confidence, than to one, who, though, indeed, he has never betrayed me, yet seems very capable of doing so, if he had the Power.
Saying this, she gave her Hand to Glanville, who helped her into the Chaise that was come from the Castle; and the Servant, who brought it, mounting his Horse, Mr. Glanville drove her Home, leaving the Gentleman, who, by this time, had refitted his Chaise, in the greatest Astonishment imaginable at her unaccountable Behaviour.