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Chapter VII.

In which our Heroine is suspected of Insensibility.

While these things passed at the Castle, Sir George was meditating on the Means he should use to acquire the Esteem of Lady Bella, of whose Person he was a little enamoured, but of her Fortune a great deal more.

By the Observations he had made on her Behaviour, he discovered her peculiar Turn: He was well read in Romances himself, and had actually employed himself some Weeks in giving a new Version of the Grand Cyrus; but the prodigious Length of the Task he had undertaken, terrified him so much, that he gave it over: Nevertheless, he was perfectly well acquainted with the chief Characters in most of the French Romances; could tell every thing that was borrowed from them, in all the new Novels that came out; and, being a very accurate Critic, and a mortal Hater of Dryden, ridiculed him for want of Invention, as it appeared by his having recourse to these Books for the most shining Characters and Incidents in his Plays. Almanzor, he would say, was the Copy of the famous Artaban in Cleopatra, whose Exploits Arabella had expatiated upon to Miss Glanville, and her Brother: His admired Character of Melantha in Marriage ~A -la-mode, was drawn from Berissa in the Grand Cyrus; and the Story of Osmyn and Bensayda, in his Conquest of Granada, taken from Sesostris and Timerilla in that Romance.

Fraught therefore with the Knowlege of all the Extravagances and Peculiarities in those Books, he resolved to make his Addresses to Arabella in the Form they prescribed; and, not having Delicacy enough to be disgusted with the Ridicule in her Character, served himself with her Foible, to effect his Designs.

It being necessary, in order to his better Acquaintance with Arabella, to be upon very friendly Terms with Miss Glanville and her Brother, he said a thousand gallant Things to one, and seemed so little offended with the Gloom he observed upon the Countenance of the other, who positively assured him, that Arabella meant only to laugh at him, when she promised him her History, that he intreated him, with the most obliging Earnestness, to favour him with his Company at his House, where he omitted no sort of Civility, to confirm their Friendship and Intimacy; and persuaded him, by several little and seemingly unguarded Expressions, that he was not so great an Admirer of Lady Bella, as her agreeable Cousin Miss Glanville.

Having thus secured a Footing in the Castle, he furnished his Memory with all the necessary Rules of making Love in Arabella's Taste, and deferred his next Visit no longer than till the following Day; but Mr. Glanville being indisposed, and not able to see Company, he knew it would be in vain to expect to see Arabella, since it was not to be imagined, Miss Glanville could admit of a Visit, her Brother being ill; and Lady Bella must be also necessarily engaged with her.

Contenting himself, therefore, with having inquired after the Health of the Two Ladies, he returned home, not a little vexed at his Disappointment. Mr. Glanville's Indisposition, increasing every Day, grew at last dangerous enough to fill his Sister with extreme Apprehensions. Arabella, keeping up to her Forms, sent regularly every Day, to inquire after his Health; but did not offer to go into his Chamber, though Miss Glanville was almost always there.

As she conceived his Sickness to be occasioned by the Violence of his Passion for her, she expected some Overture should be made her by his Sister, to engage her to make him a Visit; such a Favour being never granted by any Lady to a sick Lover, till she was previously informed, her Presence was necessary to hinder the Increase of his Distemper.

Miss Glanville would not have failed to represent to her Cousin the Incivility and Carelessness of her Behaviour, in not deigning to come and see her Brother in his Indisposition, had not Mr. Glanville, imputing this Neglect to the Nicety of her Notions, which he had upon other Occasions experienced, absolutely forbid her to say any thing to her Cousin upon this Subject.

Miss Glanville being thus forced to Silence, by the Fear of giving her Brother Uneasiness, Arabella was extremely disappointed to find, that, in Five Days Illness, no Application had been made to her, either by the sick Lover, or his Sister, who she thought interested herself too little in his Recovery; so that her Glory obliging her to lay some Constraint upon herself, she behaved with a Coolness and Insensibility, that increased Miss Glanville's Aversion to her, while, in Reality, she was extremely concerned for her Cousin's Illness; but not supposing it dangerous, since they had not recourse to the usual Remedy, of beseeching a Visit from the Person whose Presence was alone able to work a Cure, she resolved to wait patiently the Event.

However, she never failed in her Respect to Miss Glanville, whom she visited every Morning, before she went to her Brother; and also constantly dined with her in her own Apartment, inquiring always, with great Sweetness, concerning her Brother's Health; when perceiving her in Tears one Day, as she came in, as usual, to dine with her, she was extremely alarmed; and asked with great Precipitation, If Mr. Glanville was worse? He is so bad, Madam, returned Miss Glanville, that I believe it will be necessary to send for my Papa, for fear he should die, and he not see him.

Die, Miss! interrupted Arabella eagerly: No, he must not die; and shall not, if the Pity of Arabella is powerful enough to make him live. Let us go then, Cousin, said she, her Eyes streaming with Tears; let us go and visit this dear Brother, whom you lament: Haply my Sight may repair the Evils my Rigour has caused him; and since, as I imagine, he has forborn, through the profound Respect he has for me, to request the Favour of a Visit, I will voluntarily bestow it on him, as well for the Affection I bear you, as because I do not wish his Death.

You do not wish his Death, Madam! said Miss Glanville, excessively angry at a Speech, in her Opinion, extremely insolent: Is it such a mighty Favour, pray, not to wish the Death of my Brother, who never injured you? I am sure, your Behaviour has been so extremely inhuman, that I have repented a thousand times, we ever came to the Castle.

Let us not waste the time in idle Reproaches, said Arabella: If my Rigour has brought your Brother into this Condition, my Compassion can draw him out of it: It is no more than what all do suffer, who are possessed of a violent Passion; and few Lovers ever arrive to the Possession of their Mistresses, without being several times brought almost to their Graves, either by their Severity, or some other Cause: But nothing is more easy, than to work a Cure, in these Cases; for the very Sight of the Person beloved sometimes does it, as it happened to Artamenes, when the Divine Mandana condescended to visit him: A few kind Words, spoken by the fair Princess of Persia to Oroondates, recalled him from the Gates of Death; and one Line from Parisatis's Hand, which brought a Command to Lysimachus to live, made him not only resolve, but even able, to obey her.-- Miss Glanville, quite out of Patience at this tedious Harangue, without any Regard to Ceremony, flounced out of the Room; and ran to her Brother's Chamber, followed by Arabella, who imputed her rude Haste to a Suspicion, that her Brother was worse.

Chapter VI. | The Female Quixote | Chapter VIII.