Definition of Love and Beauty.-- The necessary Qualities of a Hero and Heroine.
Though, replied Mr. Glanville, you are very severe in the Treatment you think it necessary our Sex should receive from yours; yet I wish some of our Town Beauties were, if not altogether of your Opinion, yet sufficiently so, as to make it not a Slavery for a Man to be in their Company; for unless one talks of Love to these fair Coquets the whole time one is with them, they are quite displeased, and look upon a Man who can think any thing, but themselves, worthy his Thoughts or Observation, with the utmost Contempt. How often have you and I, Sir George, pursued he, pitied the Condition of the few Men of Sense, who are sometimes among the Croud of Beaux, who attend the Two Sister Beauties to all Places of polite Diversion in Town? For those Ladies think it a mortal Injury done to their Charms, if the Men about them have Eyes or Ears for any Object but their Faces, or any Sound but that of their Voices: So that the Connoisseurs in Music, who attend them to Ranelagh, must stop their Ears, like Ulysses, when the Siren Frasi sings; and the Wits, who gallant them to the Side box, must lay a much greater Constraint upon themselves, in order to resist the Soul-moving Garrick; and appear insensible, while he is upon the Stage.
Upon my Soul, added Sir George (forgetting the Character he assumed) when I have seen some Persons of my Acquaintance talking to the eldest of these Ladies, while one of Congreve's Comedies has been acting; his Face quite turned from the Stage, and hers overspread with an eternal Smile; her fine Eyes sometimes lifted up in a beautiful Surprize, and a little inchanting Giggle half-hid with her Fan; in spite of their Inattention, I have been ready to imagine, he was entertaining her with Remarks upon the Play, which she was judicious enough to understand; and yet I have afterwards been informed by himself, that nothing was less in their Thoughts; and all that Variety in her Face, and that extreme seeming Earnestness in his Discourse, was occasioned by the most trifling Subjects imaginable: He perhaps had been telling her, how the Sight of her Squirrel, which peeped out of her Pocket, surprised some Ladies she was visiting; and what they said upon her Fondness for it, when she was gone; blaming them at the same time for their want of Delicacy, in not knowing how to set a right Value upon such pleasing Animals: Hence proceeded her Smiles, the lifting up of her Eyes, the half-stifled Laugh, and all the pretty Gestures that appeared so wonderfully charming to all those who did not hear their Discourse: And it is upon such Trifles as these, or else on the inexhaustible Subject of their Charms, that all who are ambitious of being near these Miracles, are under a Necessity of talking.
And pray, interrupted Arabella, What Subjects afford Matter for a more pleasing Variety of Conversation, than those of Beauty and Love? Can we speak of any Object so capable of delighting as Beauty, or of any Passion of the Mind more sublime and pleasing than Love? With Submission, Madam, said Glanville, I conceive, all that can be said, either of Beauty, or of Love, may be comprised in a very few Words: All who have Eyes, and behold true Beauty, will be ready to confess it is a very pleasing Object; and all that can be said of it, may be said in very few Words; for when we have run over the Catalogue of Charms, and mentioned fine Eyes, fine Hair, delicate Complexion, regular Features, and an elegant Shape, we can only add a few Epithets more, such as Lovely, Dangerous, Inchanting, Irresistible, and the like; and every thing that can be said of Beauty is exhausted. And so likewise it is with Love; we know that Admiration precedes it, that Beauty kindles it, Hope keeps it alive, and Despair puts an End to it; and that Subject may be as soon discussed as the other, by the judicious Use of proper Words; such as Wounds, Darts, Fires, Languishings, Dyings, Torture, Rack, Jealousy, and a few more of no Signification, but upon this Subject.
Certainly, Sir, said Arabella, you have not well considered what you say, since you maintain, that Love and Beauty are Subjects easily and quickly discussed: Take the Pains, I beseech you, to reflect a little upon those numerous and long Conversations, which these Subjects have given Rise to in Clelia, and the Grand Cyrus, where the most illustrious and greatest Personages in the World manage the Disputes; and the agreeable Diversity of their Sentiments on those Heads affords a most pleasing and rational Entertainment: You will there find, that the greatest Conquerors, and Heroes of invincible Valour, reason with the most exact and scrupulous Nicety upon Love and Beauty; the Superiority of fair and brown Hair controverted by Warriors, with as much Eagerness as they dispute for Victory in the Field; and the different Effects of that Passion upon different Hearts defined with the utmost Accuracy and Eloquence.
I must own, interrupted Sir Charles, I should have but a mean Opinion of those Warriors, as you call them, who could busy themselves in talking of such Trifles; and be apt to imagine such insignificant Fellows, who could wrangle about the Colour of their Mistresses Hair, would be the first to turn their Backs upon the Enemy in Battle.
Is it possible, Sir, resumed Arabella, glowing with Indignation, that you can entertain such unworthy Thoughts of Heroes, who merit the Admiration and Praise of all Ages for their inestimable Valour, whom the Spears of a whole Army opposed to each of their single Swords would not oblige to fly? What think you, Sir, pursued she, looking at Sir George, of the injurious Words my Uncle has uttered against those heroic Princes, whose Courage, I believe, you are as well acquainted with as myself? The great Oroondates, the invincible Artaban, the valiant and fortunate Artamenes, the irresistible Juba, the incomparable Cleomedon, and an hundred other Heroes I could name, are all injured by this unjust Assertion of my Uncle; since certainly they were not more famous for their noble and wonderful Actions in War, than for the Sublimity and Constancy of their Affections in Love.
Some of these Heroes you have named, replied Sir George, had the Misfortune, even in their Lives, to be very cruelly vilified: The great Oroondates was a long time accused of Treachery to his Divine Princess; the valiant and unfortunate Artamenes was suspected of Inconstancy; and the irresistible Juba reproached with Infidelity and Baseness, by both his Mistress and Friend. I never knew you was so well acquainted with these Persons, interrupted Mr. Glanville; and I fansy it is but very lately that you have given yourself the Trouble to read Romances.
I am not of your Opinion, said Arabella. Sir George, questionless, has appropriated great Part of his Time to the Perusal of those Books, so capable of improving him in all useful Knowlege; the Sublimity of Love, and the Quintessence of Valour; which Two Qualities, if possessed in a superlative Degree, form a true and perfect Hero, as the Perfection of Beauty, Wit, and Virtue, make a Heroine worthy to be served by such an illustrious Personage; and I dare say, Sir George has profited so much by the great Examples of Fidelity and Courage he has placed before his Eyes, that no Consideration whatever could make him for one Moment fail in his Constancy to the Divine Beauty he adores; and, inspired by her Charms, he would scorn to turn his Back, as my Uncle phrases it, upon an Army of an hundred thousand Men.
I am extremely obliged to you, Madam, said Sir George, bowing his Head to the Ground, to hide a Smile he could not possibly restrain, for the good Opinion you have of my Courage and Fidelity.
As for Sir George's Courage, Cousin, said Mr. Glanville laughing, I never disputed it: And though it be indeed a very extraordinary Exertion of it, to fight singly against an Army of an hundred thousand Men; yet since you are pleased to think it probable, I am as willing to believe Sir George may do it as any other Man; but, as for his Fidelity in Matters of Love, I greatly suspect it, since he has been charged with some very flagrant Crimes of that Nature.
How, Sir! resumed Arabella, Have you ever been faithless then? and, after having sworn, haply, to devote your whole Life to the Service of some Beauty, have you ever violated your Oaths, and been base enough to forsake her? I have too much Complaisance, Madam, said Sir George, to contradict Mr. Glanville, who has been pleased positively to assert, that I have been faithless, as you most unkindly phrase it.
Nay, Sir, replied Arabella, this Accusation is not of a Nature to be neglected; and though a King should say it, I conceive, if you are innocent, you have a Right to contradict him, and clear yourself: Do you consider how deeply this Assertion wounds your Honour and Happiness for the future? What Lady, think you, will receive your Services, loaded as you are with the terrible Imputation of Inconstancy? Oh! as for that, Madam, said Miss Glanville, I believe no Lady will think the worse of Sir George for being faithless: For my Part, I declare, nothing pleases me so much, as gaining a Lover from another Lady; which is a greater Compliment to one's Beauty, then the Addresses of a Man that never was in Love before-- You may remember, Cousin, replied Arabella, that I said once before your Spirit and Humour resembled a certain great Princess very much; and I repeat it again, never was there a greater Conformity in Tempers and Inclinations.
My Daughter, said Sir Charles, is mightily obliged to you, Lady Bella, for comparing her to a great Princess: Undoubtedly you mean it as a Compliment.
If you think, said Arabella, that barely comparing her to a Princess be a Compliment, I must take the Liberty to differ from you: My Cousin is not so many Degrees below a Princess, as that such a Comparison should be thought extraordinary; for if her Ancestors did not wear a Crown, they might, haply, have deserved it; and her Beauty may one Day procure her a Servant, whose Sword, like that of the great Artaban, may win her a Sceptre; who, with a noble Confidence, told his Princess, when the Want of a Crown was objected to him, I wear a Sword, Madam, than can perform things more difficult, that what you require; and if a Crown be all that I want to make me worthy of you, tell me what Kingdom in the World you choose to reign in, and I will lay it at your Feet.
That was a Promise, replied Sir George, fit only for the great Artaban to make: But, Madam, if you will permit me to make any Comparison between that renowned Warrior and myself, I would venture to tell you, that even the great Artaban was not exempted from the Character of Inconstancy any more than myself, since, as you certainly know, he was in Love with Three great Princesses successively.
I grant you, replied Arabella, that Artaban did wear the Chains of Three Princesses succesively: But it must also be remembred in his Justification, that the Two First of these Beauties refused his Adorations, and treated him with Contempt, because he was not a Prince: Therefore, recovering his Liberty, by those Disdains they cast on him, he preserved that illustrious Heart from Despair, to tender it with more passionate Fidelity to the Divine Princess of the Parthians; who, though greatly their Superior in Quality and Beauty, did permit him to love her. However, I must confess, I find something like Levity in the Facility he found in breaking his Fetters so often; and when I consider, that among all those great Heroes, whose Histories I have read, none but himself ever bore, without dying, the Cruelties he experienced from those Princesses, I am sometimes tempted to accuse him myself of Inconstancy: But indeed every thing we read of that Prodigy of Valour is wholly miraculous; and since the Performance of Impossibilities was reserved for him, I conclude this Miracle also, among many others, was possible to him, whom nothing was ever able to resist upon Earth. However, pursued she, rising, I shall not absolutely condemn you, till I have heard your Adventures from your own Mouth, at a convenient Time, when I shall be able to judge how far you merit the odious Appellation of Inconstancy.
Saying this, she saluted her Uncle, who had for some time been conversing in a low Voice with his Son, with a Grace wholly charming, and retired to her Apartment. Miss Glanville following her a few Moments after (the Compliment, extravagant as it was, which she had paid her, having procured her some Good-will from the vain and interested Miss Glanville), they conversed together with a great deal of good Humour till Dinner. The time, which, because Mr. Glanville was not absolutely recovered, was served in his Chamber.