A very Heroic Chapter.
Mr. Glanville, coming home in the Evening, a little elevated with the Wine, of which he had drank too freely at Sir George's, being told the Ladies were together, entered the Room where they were sitting; and, beholding Arabella, whose Pensiveness had given an inchanting Softness to her Face, with a Look of extreme Admiration-- Upon my Soul, Cousin, said he, if you continue to treat me so cruelly, you'll drive me mad. How I could adore you this Moment, added he, gazing passionately at her, if I might but hope you did not hate me! Arabella, who did not perceive the Condition he was in, was better pleased with this Address than any he had ever used; and, therefore, instead of chiding him, as she was wont, for the Freedom of his Expressions, she cast her bright Eyes upon the Ground, with so charming a Confusion, that Glanville, quite transported, threw himself on his Knees before her; and, taking her Hand, attempted to press it to his Lips: But she, hastily withdrawing it-- From whence is this new Boldness? said she: And what is it you would implore by that prostrate Posture? I have told you already upon what Conditions I will grant you my Pardon. Clear yourself of being an Accomplice with my designed Ravisher, and I am ready to restore you to my Esteem.
Let me perish, Madam, returned Glanville, if I would not die to please you, this Moment! It is not your Death that I require, said she: And, though you should never be able to justify yourself in my Opinion, yet you might, haply, expiate your Crime, by a less Punishment than Death.
What shall I do, then, my Angelic Cousin? resumed he.
Truly, said she, the Sense of your Offence ought so mortally to afflict you, that you should invent some strange kind of Penance for yourself, severe enough to prove your Penitence sincere. --You know, I suppose, what the unfortunate Orontes did, when he found he had wronged his adored Thalestris by an injurious Suspicion.
I wish he had hanged himself, said Mr. Glanville, rising up in a Passion, at seeing her again in her Altitudes.
And why, pray, Sir, said Arabella, are you so severe upon that poor Prince? who was, haply, infinitely more innocent than yourself.
Severe, Madam! said Glanville, fearing he had offended her: Why, to be sure, he was a sad Scoundrel, to use his adored Thalestris as he did: And I think one cannot be too severe upon him. But, returned Arabella, Appearances were against her; and he had some Shadow of Reason for his Jealousy and Rage: Then, you know, amidst all his Transports, he could not be prevailed upon to draw his Sword against her.
What did that signify? said Glanville: I suppose he scorned to draw his Sword upon a Woman: That would have been a Shame indeed.
That Woman, Sir, resumed Arabella, was not such a contemptible Antagonist as you think her: And Men, as valiant, possibly, as Orontes (though, questionless, he was one of the most valiant Men in the World), have been cut in Pieces by the Sword of that brave Amazon.
Lord bless me! said Miss Glanville, I should be afraid to look at such a terrible Woman: I am sure she must be a very masculine Sort of Creature.
You are much mistaken, Miss, said Arabella: For Thalestris, tho' the most stout and courageous of her Sex, was, nevertheless, a perfect Beauty; and had as much Harmony and Softness in her Looks and Person, as she had Courage in her Heart, and Strength in her Blows.
Indeed, Madam, returned Miss Glanville, you can never persuade me, that a Woman who can fight, and cut People to Pieces with her Blows, can have any Softness in her Person: She must needs have very masculine Hands, that could give such terrible Blows: And I can have no Notion of the Harmony of a Person's Looks, who, by what you say, must have the Heart of a Tyger. But, indeed, I don't think there ever could be such a Woman.
What! Miss, interrupted Arabella: Do you pretend to doubt, that there ever was such a Person as Thalestris, Queen of the Amazons? Does not all the World know the Adventures of that illustrious Princess; her Affection for the unjust Orontes, who accused her of having a scandalous Intrigue with Alexander, whom she went to meet, with a very different Design, upon the Borders of her Kingdom? The injurious Letter he wrote her, upon this Suspicion, made her resolve to seek for him all over the World, to give him that Death he had merited, by her own Hand: And it was in those Rencounters that he had with her, while she was thus incensed, that he forbore to defend himself against her, though her Sword was often pointed to his Breast.
But, Madam, interrupted Mr. Glanville, pray what became of this Queen of the Amazons? Was she not killed at the Siege of Troy? She never was at the Siege of Troy, returned Arabella: But she assisted the Princes who besieged Babylon, to recover the Liberty of Statira and Parisatis: And it was in the opposite Party that she met with her faithless Lover. If he was faithless, Madam, said Mr. Glanville, he deserved to die: And I wish, with all my Soul, she had cut him in Pieces with that famous Sword of hers that had done such Wonders.
Yet this faithless Man, resumed Arabella, whom you seem to have such an Aversion to, gave so glorious a Proof of his Repentance and Sorrow, that the fair Queen restored him to her Favour, and held him in much dearer Affection than ever: For, after he was convinced of her Innocence, he was resolved to punish himself with a Rigour equal to the Fault he had been guilty of; and, retiring to the Woods, abandoned for ever the Society of Men; dwelling in a Cave, and living upon bitter Herbs, passing the Days and Nights in continual Tears and Sorrow for his Crime: And here he proposed to end his Life, had not the fair Thalestris found him out in this Solitude; and, struck with the Sincerity of his Repentance, pardoned him; and, as I have said before, restored him to her Favour.
And, to shew you, said Glanville, that I am capable of doing as much for you; I will, if you insist upon it, seek out for some Cave, and do Penance in it, like that Orontes, provided you will come and fetch me out of it, as that same fair Queen did him.
I do not require so much of you, said Arabella; for I told you before, that, haply, you are justified already in my Opinion; but yet it is necessary, you should find out some Method of convincing the World of your Innocence; otherwise it is not fit I should live with you upon Terms of Friendship and Civility.
Well, well, Madam, said Glanville, I'll convince you of my Innocence, by bringing that Rascal's Head to you, whom you suspect I was inclined to assist in stealing you away.
If you do that, resumed Arabella, doubtless you will be justified in my Opinion, and the World's also; and I shall have no Scruple to treat you with as much Friendship as I did before.
My Brother is much obliged to you, Madam, interrupted Miss Glanville, for putting him upon an Action, that would cost him his Life! I have so good an Opinion of your Brother's Valour, said Arabella, that I am persuaded he will find no Difficulty in performing his Promise; and I make no question but I shall see him covered with the Spoils of that Impostor, who would have betrayed me; and I flatter myself, he will be in a Condition to bring me his Head, as he bravely promises, without endangering his own Life.
Does your Ladyship consider, said Miss Glanville, that my Brother can take away no Person's Life whatever, without endangering his own? I consider, Madam, said Arabella, your Brother as a Man possessed of Virtue and Courage enough to undertake to kill all my Enemies and Persecutors, though I had ever so many; and I presume, he would be able to perform as many glorious Actions for my Service, as either Juba, C~A¦sario, Artamenes, or Artaban, who, though not a Prince, was greater than any of them.
If those Persons you have named, said Miss Glanville, were Murderers, and made a Practice of killing People, I hope my Brother will be too wise to follow their Examples: A strange kind of Virtue and Courage indeed, to take away the Lives of one's Fellow- Creatures! How did such Wretches escape the Gallows, I wonder? I perceive, interrupted Arabella, what kind of Apprehensions you have: I suppose you think, if your Brother was to kill my Enemy, the Law would punish him for it: But pray undeceive yourself, Miss: The Law has no Power over Heroes; they may kill as many Men as they please, without being called to any Account for it; and the more Lives they take away, the greater is their Reputation for Virtue and Glory. The illustrious Artaban, from the Condition of a private Man, raised himself to the sublimest Pitch of Glory by his Valour; for he not only would win half a dozen Battles in a Day; but, to shew that Victory followed him where-ever he went, he would change Parties, and immediately the Vanquished became Conquerors; then, returning to the Side he had quitted, changed the Laurels of his former Friends into Chains. He made nothing of tumbling Kings from their Thrones, and giving away half a dozen Crowns in a Morning; for his Generosity was equal to his Courage; and to this Height of Power did he raise himself by his Sword.
Beginning at first with petty Conquests, and not disdaining to oppose his glorious Arm to sometimes less than a Score of his Enemies; so, by degrees, enuring himself to conquer inconsiderable Numbers, he came at last to be the Terror of whole Armies, who would fly at the Sight of his single Sword.
This is all very astonishing indeed, said Miss Glanville: However, I must intreat you, not to insist upon my Brother's quarrelling and fighting with People, since it will be neither for your Honour, nor his Safety; for I am afraid, if he was to commit Murder to please you, the Laws would make him suffer for it; and the World would be very free with its Censures on your Ladyship's Reputation, for putting him upon such shocking Crimes.
By your Discourse, Miss, replied Arabella, one would imagine, you knew as little in what the good Reputation of a Lady consists, as the Safety of a Man; for certainly the one depends intirely upon his Sword, and the other upon the Noise and Bustle she makes in the World. The Blood that is shed for a Lady, enhances the Value of her Charms; and the more Men a Hero kills, the greater his Glory, and, by Consequence, the more secure he is. If to be the Cause of a great many Deaths, can make a Lady infamous; certainly none were ever more so, than Mandana, Cleopatra, and Statira, the most illustrious Names in Antiquity; for each of whom, haply, an hundred thousand Men were killed: Yet none were ever so unjust, as to profane the Virtue of those Divine Beauties, by casting any Censures upon them for these glorious Effects of their Charms, and the heroic Valour of their Admirers.
I must confess, interrupted Miss Glanville, I should not be sorry to have a Duel or Two fought for me in Hyde-park; but then I would not have any Blood shed for the World. Glanville here interrupting his Sister with a Laugh, Arabella also could not forbear smiling at the harmless Kind of Combats her Cousin was fond of.
But to put an End to the Conversation, and the Dispute which gave Rise to it, she obliged Mr. Glanville to promise to fight with the Impostor Edward, whenever he found him; and either take away his Life, or force him to confess, he had no Part in the Design he had meditated against her.
This being agreed upon, Arabella, conducting Miss Glanville to her Chamber, retired to her own; and passed the Night with much greater Tranquillity, than she had done the preceding; being satisfied with the Care she had taken of her own Glory, and persuaded that Glanville was not unfaithful; a Circumstance, that was of more Consequence to her Happiness, than she was yet aware of.