In which a very pleasing Conversation is left unfinished.
As Arabella was in this Part of her Discourse, a Servant came to inform her, that Sir Charles Glanville was just alighted. Upon which, Miss Glanville flew to receive her Father; and Arabella, walking a little slower after her, gave Sir George an Opportunity of holding a little longer Conversation with her.
I dare believe, Madam, said he, when you read the Story of the unfortunate Alexander, your fair Eyes did not refuse to shed some Tears at the barbarous and shameful Death he was going to suffer: Yet I assure you, melancholy as his Situation was, it was also very glorious for him, since he had the sublime Satisfaction of dying for the Person he adored; and had the ravishing Pleasure to know, that his Fate would draw Tears from that lovely Princess, for whom he sacrificed his Life: Such a Condition, Madam, ought to be envied rather than pitied; for, next to the Happiness of possessing the Person one adores, certainly the Glory of dying for her is most to be coveted.
Arabella, pleasingly surprised to hear Language so conformable to her own Ideas, looked for a Moment upon the Baronet, with a most inchanting Complaisancy in her Eyes-- It must be confessed, Sir, said she, that you speak very rationally upon these Matters; and by the Tenderness and Generosity of your Sentiments, you give me Cause to believe, that your Heart is prepossessed with some Object worthy of inspiring them.
Sir George seeming, as if he struggled to suppress a Sigh; You are in the right, Madam, said he, to suppose, that if my Heart be prepossessed with any Object, it is with one, who is capable of inspiring a very sublime Passion; and I assure you, if ever it submits to any Fetters, they shall be imposed on me by the fairest Person in the World-- Since Love is not voluntary, replied Arabella, smiling, it may happen, that your Heart may be surprised by a meaner Beauty, than such a one as you describe: However, as a Lover has always an extraordinary Partiality for the beloved Object, 'tis probable, what you say may come to pass; and you may be in Love with the fairest Person in the World, in your own Opinion.
They were now so near the House, that Sir George could reply no other ways, than by a very passionate Glance, which Arabella did not observe, being in haste to pay her Respects to her Uncle, whom she met just going to Mr. Glanville. Her Looks were directed to him. Sir Charles saluting her with great Affection, they all went into Mr. Glanville's Chamber, who received his Father with the utmost Respect and Tenderness; extremely regretting the Trouble he had been at in taking a Journey to the Castle upon his Account; and gently blaming his Sister for her Precipitancy in alarming him so soon.
Sir Charles, extremely overjoyed to find him so well recovered, would not allow him to blame Miss Glanville for what she had done; but, addressing himself to his Niece, he thanked her for the Care she had taken of Mr. Glanville, in very obliging Terms. Arabella could not help blushing at her Uncle's Compliment, supposing he thanked her for having restored her Cousin to his Health.
I assure you, Sir, said she, Mr. Glanville is less obliged to my Commands, than to the Goodness of his Constitution, for his Recovery; and herein he was not so obedient, as many Persons I could name to him.
Mr. Glanville, willing to prevent the Company's Observation upon this Speech, began to acquaint his Father with the Rise and Progress of his Distemper: But though the old Gentleman listened with great Attention to his Son, while he was speaking; yet not having lost a Word of what Arabella had said, as soon as he was done, he turned to his Niece, and asked her, how she could be so unjust, to accuse his Son of Disobedience, because he did not recover, when she commanded him? Why, Madam, added he, you want to carry your Power farther then ever any Beauty did before you; since you pretend to make People sick and well, whenever you please.
Really, Sir, replied Arabella, I pretend to no more Power, than what I presume all others of my Sex have upon the like Occasions; and since nothing is more common, than for a Gentleman, though ever so sick, to recover in Obedience to the Commands of that Person, who has an absolute Power over his Life, I conceive, I have a Right to think myself injured, if Mr. Glanville, contrary to mine, had thought proper to die-- Since, said the old Gentlemen, smiling, my Son has so well obeyed your Commands in recovering his Health, I shall tremble, lest, in Obedience to a contrary Command of yours, he should die, and deprive me of an Heir; a Misfortune, which, if it should happen, I should place to your Account.
I assure you, Sir, said Arabella, very gravely, I have too great an Esteem for Mr. Glanville, to condemn him to so severe a Punishment as Death for light Offences: And since it is not very probable, that he will ever commit such Crimes against me, as can be only expiated by his Death; such as Infidelity, Disobedience, and the like; you have no Reason to fear such a Misfortune by my means-- Alas! replied Sir George, you Beauties make very nice Distinctions in these Cases; and think, if you do not directly command your Lovers to die, you are no ways accountable for their Death: And when a Lover, as it often happens, dies through Despair of ever being able to make himself beloved; or, being doomed to Banishment or Silence, falls into a Fever, from which nothing but Kindness can recover him; and, that being denied, he patiently expires; I say, when these Things happen, as they certainly do every Day; How can you hold yourselves guiltless of their Deaths, which are apparently occasioned, either by your Scorn or Insensibility? Sir Charles and Miss Glanville were extremely diverted at this Speech of Sir George's; and Mr. Glanville, though he would have wished he had been raillying any other Person's Follies than his Cousin's, yet could not help smiling at the solemn Accent, in which he delivered himself-- Arabella, mightily pleased with his Manner of talking, was resolved to furnish him with more Occasions of diverting the Company at her Expence.
I see, answered she, you are one of those Persons, who call a just Decorum, which all Ladies, who love Glory as they ought to do, are obliged to preserve, by the Name of Severity: But pray, what would you have a Lady do, whom an importunate Lover presumes to declare his Passion to? You know it is not permitted us to listen to such Discourses; and you know also, whoever is guilty of such an Offence, merits a most rigorous Punishment: Moreover, you find, that when a Sentence of Banishment or Silence is pronounced upon them, these unhappy Criminals are so conscious of the of Justice their Doom, that they never murmur against their Judge who condemns them; and therefore, whatever are their Fates, in Consequence of that Anger they have incurred, the Ladies, thus offended, ought not to be charged with it, as any cruel Exertion of their Power.
Such Eloquence as yours, Madam, replied Sir George, might defend Things yet more unjustifiable: However, you must give me Leave, as being interested in the Safety of my Sex, still to be of Opinion, that no Man ought to be hated, because he adores a beautiful Object, and consecrates all his Moments to her Service.
Questionless, resumed Arabella, he will not be hated, while, out of the Respect and Reverence he bears her, he carefully conceals his Passion from her Knowlege; but as soon as ever he breaks through the Bounds, which that Respect prescribes him, and lets her understand his true Sentiments, he has Reason to expect a most rigorous Sentence, since he certainly, by that Presumption, has greatly deserved it.
If the Ladies, replied Sir George, were more equitable, and would make some Distinction between those who really love them in a passionate and respectful Silence, and others who do not feel the Power of their Charms, they might spare themselves the Trouble of hearing what so mortally offends them: But when a Lady sees a Man every Day, who by his Looks, Sighs, and Solicitude to please her, by his numberless Services and constant Attendance of her, makes it evident, that his Soul is possessed with a violent Passion for her; I say, when a Lady sees, and yet will not see, all this, and persists in using a passionate Adorer with all the Indifference due to a Man wholly insensible of the Power of her Charms; what must he do in such a mortifying Situation, but make known his Torments to her that occasions them, in order to prevail upon her to have some Sense of what he does and feels hourly for her sake? But since he gains nothing by the Discovery of his Passion, resumed Arabella; but, on the contrary, loses the Advantages he was before possessed of, which were very great, since he might see and discourse with his Mistress every Day; and, haply, have the Honour to do her a great many petty Services, and receive some of her Commands; all these Advantages he loses, when he declares he loves: And truly, I think, a Man who is so unwise as to hazard a certain Happiness for a very improbable Hope, deserves to be punished, as well for his Folly as Presumption; and, upon both these Accounts, Banishment is not too rigorous a Sentence.