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Chapter IV.

In which our Heroine is greatly disappointed.

Miss Glanville, supporting her Brother would be glad not to be interrupted in his Conference with Lady Bella, did not allow any one to acquaint them with Sir George's Visit; and, telling the Baronet her Cousin was indisposed, had, by these means, all his Conversation to herself.

Sir George, who ardently wished to see Lady Bella, protracted his Visit, in hopes that he should have that Satisfaction before he went away. And that fair Lady, whose Thoughts prehended Mr. Glanville was in, and fearful of the Consequences, when she had sat some time after he left her, ruminating upon what had happened, quitted her Closet, to go and inquire of Miss Glanville, in what Condition his Mind seemed to be when he went away; for she never doubted but that he was gone, like Coriolanus, to seek out for some Occasion to manifest his Innocence.

Hearing, therefore, the Voice of that Lady, who was talking and laughing very loud in one of the Summer-parlours, and being terrified with the Apprehension, that it was her Brother with whom she was thus diverting herself, she opened the Door of the Room precipitately; and, by her Entrance, filled Sir George with extreme Pleasure; while her unexpected Sight produced a quite contrary Effect on Miss Glanville.

Arabella, eased of her Fear, that it was Mr. Glanville, who, instead of dying with Despair, was giving Occasion for that noisy Laugh of his Sister, saluted the Baronet with great Civility; and, turning to Miss Glanville, I must needs chide you, said she, for the Insensibility with which it appears you have parted with your Brother.

Bless me, Madam, interrupted Miss Glanville, what do you mean? Whither is my Brother gone? That, indeed, I am quite ignorant of, resumed Arabella; and I suppose he himself hardly knows what Course he shall take: But he has been with you, doubtless, to take his Leave.

Take his Leave! repeated Miss Glanville: Has he left the Castle so suddenly then, and gone away without me? The Enterprize upon which he is gone, said Arabella, would not admit of a Lady's Company: And, since he has left so considerable an Hostage with me as yourself, I expect he will not be long before he return; and, I hope, to the Satisfaction of us both.

Miss Glanville, who could not penetrate into the Meaning of her Cousin's Words, began to be strangely alarmed: But, presently, supposing she had a mind to divert herself with her Fears, she recovered herself, and told her she would go up to her Brother's Chamber, and look for him. Arabella did not offer to prevent her, being very desirous of knowing, whether he had not left a Letter for her upon his Table, as was the Custom in those Cases: And, while she was gone, Sir George seized the Opportunity of saying an hundred gallant Things to her, which she received with great Indifference; the most extravagant Compliments being what she expected from all Men: And, provided they did not directly presume to tell her they loved her, no Sort of Flattery or Adulation could displease her.

In the mean time, Miss Glanville, having found her Brother in his Chamber, repeated to him what Lady Bella had said, as she supposed, to fright her.

Mr. Glanville, hearing this, and that Sir George was with her, hastened to them as fast as possible, that he might interrupt the foolish Stories he did not doubt she was telling.

Upon Miss Glanville's Appearance with her Brother, Arabella was astonished.

I apprehended, Sir, said she, that you were some Miles from the Castle by this time: But your Delay and Indifference convince me, you neither expect nor wish to find the means of being justified in my Opinion.

Pray, Cousin, interrupted Glanville (speaking softly to her), let us leave this Dispute to some other time.

No, Sir, resumed she, aloud, my Honour is concerned in your Justification: Nor is it fit I should submit to have the Appearance of Amity for a Person who has not yet sufficiently cleared himself of a Crime, with too much Reason laid to his Charge. Did Coriolanus, think you, act in this manner? Ah! if he had, doubtless, Cleopatra would never have pardoned him: Nor will I any longer suffer you to give me repeated Causes of Discontent.

Sir George, seeing Confusion in Mr. Glanville's Countenance, and Rage in Arabella's, began to think, that what he had at first took for a Jest, was a serious Quarrel between them, at which it was not proper he should be present; and was preparing to go: When Arabella, stopping him with a graceful Action-- If, noble Stranger, said she, you are so partial to the Failings of a Friend, that you will undertake to defend any unjustifiable Action he may be guilty of, you are at Liberty to depart: But, if you will promise to be an unprejudiced Hearer of the Dispute between Mr. Glanville and myself, you shall know the Adventure which has given Rise to it; and will be Judge of the Reasonableness of the Commands I have laid on him.

Though, Madam, said Sir George (bowing very low to her), Mr. Glanville is my Friend, yet there is no Likelihood I shall espouse his Interest against yours: And a very strong Prepossession I feel in Favour of you, already persuades me, that I shall give Sentence on your Side, since you have honoured me so far, as to constitute me Judge of this Difference. The solemn Manner in which Sir George (who began to suspect Lady Bella's peculiar Turn) spoke this, pleased her infinitely; while Mr. Glanville, vexed as he was, could hardly forbear laughing: When Arabella, after a Look of Approbation to Sir George, replied; I find I have unwillingly engaged myself to more than I first intended: For, to enable you to judge clearly of the Matter in Dispute, 'tis necessary you should know my whole History.

Mr. Glanville, at this Word, not being able to constrain himself, uttered a Groan, of the same Nature with those which are often heard in the Pit at the Representation of a new Play. Sir George understood him perfectly well; yet seemed surprised: And Arabella, starting up, Since, said she, I have given you no new Cause of Complaint, pray, from whence proceeds this Increase of Affliction? I assure you, Cousin, answered he, my Affliction, if you please to term it so, increases every Day; and I believe it will make me mad at last: For this unaccountable Humour of yours is not to be borne.

You do not seem, replied Arabella, to be far from Madness already: And if your Friend here, upon hearing the Passages between us, should pronounce you guilty, I shall be at a Loss, whether I ought to treat you as a Madman, or a Criminal. Sir, added she, turning to Sir George, you will excuse me, if, for certain Reasons, I can neither give you my History myself, nor be present at the Relation of it: One of my Women, who is most in my Confidence, shall acquaint you with all the Particulars of my Life: After which I expect Mr. Glanville will abide by your Decision, as, I assure myself, I shall be contented to do.

Saying this, she went out of the Parlour, in order to prepare Lucy for the Recital she was to make.

Mr. Glanville, resolving not to be present at this new Absurdity, ran out after her; and went into the Garden, with a strong Inclination to hate the lovely Visionary who gave him such perpetual Uneasiness; leaving his Sister alone with the Baronet, who diverted herself extremely with the Thoughts of hearing her Cousin's History; assuring the Baronet, that he might expect something very curious in it, and find Matter sufficient to laugh at; for she was the most whimsical Woman in the World.

Sir George, who resolved to profit by the Knowlege of her Foible, made very little Reply to Miss Glanville's Sneers; but waited patiently for the promised History, which was much longer coming than he imagined.

Chapter III. | The Female Quixote | Chapter V.