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Chapter VIII.

By which we hope the Reader will be differently affected.

At their Entrance into the Room, Miss Glanville inquired of the Physician, just going out, How he found her Brother? Who replied, that his Fever was increased since last Night; and that it would not (seeing Arabella preparing to go to his Bedside) be proper to disturb him.

Saying this, he bow'd, and went out; and Miss Glanville, repeating what the Physician had said, begged her to defer speaking to him till another time.

I know, said she, that he apprehends, the Sight of me will cause so many tumultuous Motions in the Soul of his Patient, as may prove prejudicial to him: Nevertheless, since his Disorder is, questionless, more in his Mind than Body, I may prove, haply, a better Physician than he; since I am more likely, than he, to cure an Illness I have caused-- Saying this, she walked up to Mr. Glanville's Bedside, who, seeing her, thanked her, with a weak Voice, for coming to see him; assuring her, he was very sensible of the Favour she did him-- You must not, said she, blushing, thank me too much, lest I think the Favour I have done you, is really of more Consequence than I imagined, since it merits so many Acknowlegements: Your Physician tells us, pursued she, that your Life is in Danger; but I persuade myself, you will value it so much from this Moment, that you will not protract your Cure any longer.

Are you mad, Madam, whispered Miss Glanville, who stood behind her, to tell my Brother, that the Physician says he is in Danger? I suppose you really wish he may die, or you would not talk so.

If, answered she, whispering again to Miss Glanville, you are not satisfied with what I have already done for your Brother, I will go as far as Modesty will permit me: And gently pulling open the Curtains; Glanville, said she, with a Voice too much raised for a sick Person's Ear, I grant to your Sister's Solicitations, what the fair Statira did to an Interest yet more powerful, since, as you know, it was her own Brother, who pleaded in Favour of the dying Orontes : Therefore, considering you in a Condition haply no less dangerous, than that of that passionate Prince, I condescend, like her, to tell you, that I do not wish your Death; that I intreat you to live; and, lastly, by all the Power I have over you, I command you to recover.

Ending these Words, she closed the Curtain, that her transported Lover might not see her Blushes and Confusion, which were so great, that, to conceal them, even from Miss Glanville, she hurried out of the Room, and retired to her own Apartment, expecting, in a little time, to receive a Billet, under the sick Man's Hand, importing, that, in Obedience to her Commands, he was recovered, and ready to throw himself at her Feet, to thank her for that Life she had bestowed upon him, and to dedicate the Remains of it to her Service.

Miss Glanville, who stayed behind her, in a strange Surprize at her ridiculous Behaviour; though she longed to know what her Brother thought of it, finding he continued silent, would not disturb him. The Shame he conceived at hearing so absurd a Speech from a Woman he passionately loved; and the Desire he had, not to hear his Sister's Sentiments upon it; made him counterfeit Sleep, to avoid any Discourse with her upon so disagreeable a Subject.

That Day his Fever increased; and the next, the Physician pronouncing him in great Danger, a Messenger was dispatched to Town, to hasten the Coming of Sir Charles; and poor Miss Glanville was quite inconsoleable, under the Apprehensions of losing him.

Arabella, not to derogate from her Character, affected great Firmness of Mind upon this Occasion; she used the most persuasive Eloquence to moderate her Cousin's Affliction, and caused all imaginable Care to be taken of Mr. Glanville: While any one was present, her Looks discovered only a calm and decent Sorrow; yet when she was alone, or had only her dear Lucy with her, she gave free Vent to her Tears; and discovered a Grief for Mr. Glanville's Illness, little different from that she had felt for her Father's.

As she now visited him constantly every Day, she took an Opportunity, when she was alone by his Bedside, to chide him for his Disobedience, in not recovering, as she had commanded him.

Dear Cousin, answered he faintly, Can you imagine, Health is not my Choice? And do you think, I would suffer these Pains, if I could possibly ease myself of them? Those Pains, replied Arabella, mistaking his Complaint, ought to have ceased, when the Cause of them did; and when I was no longer rigorous, you ought no longer to have suffered: But tell me, since you are, questionless, one of the strangest Men in the World, and the hardest to be comforted; nay, and I may add, the most disobedient of all, that ever wore the Fetters of Love; Tell me, I say, what must I do to content you? If I live, Cousin, said Glanville-- Nay, interrupted Arabella, since my Empire over you is not so absolute as I thought; and since you think fit to reserve to yourself the Liberty of dying, contrary to my Desire; I think I had better resolve, not to make any Treaty with you: However, as I have gone thus far, I will do something more; and tell you, since I have commanded you to live, I will also permit you to love me, in order to make the Life I have bestowed on you, worthy your Acceptance. Make me no Reply, said she, putting her Hand on his Mouth; but begin from this Moment to obey me.

Saying this, she went out of the Room-- A few Hours after, his Fever being come to a Height, he grew delirious, and talked very wildly; but a favourable Crisis ensuing, he fell into a sound and quiet Sleep, and continued in it for several Hours: Upon his waking, the Physician declared, his Fever was greatly abated; and the next Morning, pronounced him out of Danger-- Miss Glanville, transported with Joy, ran to Lady Bella, and informed her of this good News; but as she did not make her the Acknowlegements she expected, for being the Cause of his Recovery, she behaved with more Reserve than Miss Glanville thought was necessary: Which renewed her former Disgusts; yet, dreading to displease her Brother, she concealed it from the Observation of her Cousin-- Arabella, being desirous of completing her Lover's Cure by some more favourable Expressions, went to his Chamber, accompanied by Miss Glanville.

I see, said she, approaching to his Bedside, with an inchanting Smile, that you know how to be obedient, when you please; and I begin to know, by the Price you set upon your Obedience, that small Favours will not content you.

Indeed, my dearest Cousin, said Glanville, who had found her more interested in his Recovery than he expected, you have been very obliging, and I will always most gratefully own it.

I am glad, interrupted Arabella, that Gratitude is not banished from all your Family; and that that Person in it, for whom I have the most Sensibility, is not intirely divested of it-- I hope, said Mr. Glanville, my Sister has given you no Cause to complain of her.

Indeed but she has, Arabella; for, notwithstanding she is obliged to me for the Life of a Brother, whom questionless she loves very well; nevertheless, she did not deign to make me the least Acknowlegement for what I have done in your Favour: However, Glanville, provided you continue to observe that Respect and Fidelity towards me, which I have Reason to hope for from you; your Condition shall be never the worse for Miss Glanville's unacknowleging Temper; and I now confirm the Grant I Yesterday made you, and repeat it again; That I permit you to love me, and promise you not to be displeased at any Testimonies you will give me of your Passion, provided you serve me with an inviolable Fidelity.

But, Madam, returned Mr. Glanville, to make my Happiness complete, you must also promise to love me; or else what signifies the Permission you give me to love you? You are almost as unacknowleging as your Sister, resumed Arabella, blushing; and if your Health was perfectly re-established, questionless, I should chide you for your Presumption; but since something must be allowed to sick Persons, whose Reason, one may suppose, is weakened by their Indisposition, I will pardon your Indiscretion at this time, and counsel you to wait patiently for what Heaven will determine in your Favour: Therefore endeavour to merit my Affection by your Respect, Fidelity, and Services; and hope from my Justice, whatever it ought to bestow-- Ending this Speech, with a Solemnity of Accent, that gave Mr. Glanville to understand, any Reply would offend her, he silently kissed her fair Hand, which she held out to him; a Favour, the Terms upon which they now were, and his Sickness, gave him a Right to expect-- And, finishing her Visit for that time, left him to his Repose; being extremely pleased at the Prospect of his Recovery, and very well satisfied at having so gracefully got over so great a Difficulty, as that of giving him Permission to love her: For by the Laws of Romance, when a Lady has once given her Lover that Permission, she may lawfully allow him to talk to her upon the Subject of his Passion, accept all his Gallantries, and claim an absolute Empire over all his Actions; reserving to herself the Right of fixing the Time when she may own her Affection: And when that important Step is taken, and his Constancy put to a few Years more Trial; when he has killed all his Rivals, and rescued her from a thousand Dangers; she at last condescends to reward him with her Hand; and all her Adventures are at an End for the future.

Chapter VII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter I.