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Chapter IV.

In which our Heroine is engaged in a new Adventure.

As Mr. Glanville took a great deal of Pains to turn the Discourse upon Subjects, on which the charming Arabella could expatiate, without any Mixture of that Absurdity, which mingled itself in a great many others; the rest of that Day and several others, were passed very agreeably: At the End of which, Mr. Glanville being perfectly recovered, and able to go abroad; the Baronet proposed to take the Diversion of Hunting; which Arabella, who was used to it, consented to partake of; but being informed, that Miss Glanville could not ride, and chose to stay at home, she would have kept her Company, had not Sir Charles insisted upon the contrary.

As Sir George, and some other Gentlemen, had invited themselves to be of the Party; Arabella, on her coming down to mount her Horse, found a great many young Gallants, ready to offer her their Assistance upon this Occasion: Accepting therefore, with great Politeness, this Help from a Stranger, who was nearest her, she mounted her Horse, giving Occasion to every one that was present, to admire the Grace with which she stand managed him. Her Shape being as perfect as any Shape could possibly be, her Ridinghabit discovered all its Beauties: Her Hat, and the white Feather waving over Part of her fine black Hair, gave a peculiar Charm to her lovely Face: And she appeared with so many Advantages in this Dress and Posture, that Mr. Glanville, forgetting all her Absurdities, was wholly lost in the Contemplation of so many Charms, as her whole Person was adorned with.

Sir George, though he really admired Arabella, was not so passionately in Love as Mr. Glanville; and, being a keen Sportsman, eagerly pursued the Game, with the rest of the Hunters; but Mr. Glanville minded nothing but his Cousin, and kept close by her.

After having rode a long time, Arabella, conceiving it a Piece of Cruelty, not to give her Lover an Opportunity of talking to her, as, by his extreme Solicitude, he seemed ardently to desire, coming to a delightful Valley, she stopped; and told Mr. Glanville, that, being weary of the Chace, she should alight, and repose herself a little under the Shade of those Trees.

Mr. Glanville, extremely pleased at this Proposition, dismounted; and, having helped her to alight, seated himself by her on the Grass.

Arabella, expecting he would begin to talk to her of his Passion, could not help blushing at the Thoughts of having given him such an Opportunity; and Mr. Glanville, endeavouring to acaccommodate himself to her Ideas of a Lover, expressed himself in Terms extravagant enough to have made a reasonable Woman think he was making a Jest of her: All which, however, Arabella was extremely pleased with; and she observed such a just Decorum in her Answers, that, as the Writers of Romance phrase it, if she did not give him any absolute Hopes of being beloved, yet she said enough to make him conclude she did not hate him. They had conversed in this manner near a Quarter of an Hour, when Arabella, perceiving a Man at a little Distance, walking very composedly, shrieked out aloud; and, rising with the utmost Precipitation, flew from Mr. Glanville, and went to untie her Horse; while his Astonishment being so great at her Behaviour, that he could not, for a Moment or two, ask her the Cause of her Fear-- Do you not see, said she, out of Breath with the Violence of her Apprehensions, the Person who is coming towards us? It is the same, who, some Months ago, attempted to carry me away, when I was riding out with only Two Attendants: I escaped, for that time, the Danger that threatened me; but, questionless, he comes now to renew his Attempts: Therefore can you wonder at my Fear? If it should be as you say, Madam, interrupted Glanville, What Reason have you to fear? Do you not think I am able to defend you? Ah! without Doubt, you are able to defend me, answered she; and though, if you offer to resist the Violence he comes to use against me, he will, haply, call Two or Three Dozen armed Men to his Assistance, who are, I suppose, concealed hereabouts, yet I am not apprehensive, that you will be worsted by them: But as it happened to the brave Juba, and Cleomedon, while they were fighting with some hundred Men, who wanted to carry away their Princesses before their Faces; and were giving Death at every Blow, in order to preserve them; the Commander of these Ravishers, seeing the Two Princesses sitting, as I was, under a Tree, ordered them to be seized by Two of his Men, and carried away, while the Two Princes were losing best Part of of their Blood in their Defence; therefore, to prevent such an Accident happening, while you are fighting for my Rescue, I think it will be the safest Way for me to get on Horseback, that I may be in a Condition to escape; and that you may not employ your Valour to no Purpose.

Saying this, having, with Mr. Glanville's Assistance, loosed her Horse from the Tree, he helped her to mount, and then remounted his own.

Your Antagonist, said Arabella, is on Foot; and therefore, though I prize your Life extremely, yet I cannot dispense with myself from telling you, that 'tis against the Laws of Knighthood to take any Advantage of that kind over your Enemy; nor will I permit your Concern for my Safety to make you forget what you owe to your own Reputation.

Mr. Glanville, fretting excessively at her Folly, begged her not to make herself uneasy about things that were never likely to happen.

The Gentleman yonder, added he, seems to have no Designs to make any Attempt against you: If he should, I shall know how to deal with him: But, since he neither offers to assault me, nor affront you, I think we ought not to give him any Reason to imagine we suspect him, by gazing on him thus; and letting him understand by your Manner, that he is the Subject of our Conversation: If you please, Madam, we will endeavour to join our Company. Arabella, while he was speaking, kept her Eyes fixed upon his Face, with Looks which expressed her Thoughts were labouring upon some very important Point: And, after a Pause of some Moments, Is it possible, said she, with a Tone of extreme Surprize, that I should be so mistaken in you? Do you really want Courage enough to defend me against that Ravisher? Oh Heavens! Madam, interrupted Glanville, try not my Temper thus: Courage enough to defend you! 'Sdeath! you will make me mad! Who, in the Name of Wonder, is going to molest you? He whom you see there, replied Arabella, pointing to him with her Finger: For know, cold and insensible as thou art to the Danger which threatens me, yonder Knight is thy Rival, and a Rival, haply, who deserves my Esteem better than thou dost; since, if he has Courage enough to get me by Violence into his Power, that same Courage would make him defend me against any Injuries I might be offered from another: And since nothing is so contemptible in the Eyes of a Woman, as a Lover who wants Spirit to die in her Defence; know, I can sooner pardon him, whom thou would cowardly fly from, for the Violence which he meditates against me, than thyself for the Pusillanimity thou hast betrayed in my Sight.

With these Words, she galloped away from her astonished Lover; who, not daring to follow her, for fear of increasing her Suspicions of his Cowardice, flung himself off his Horse in a violent Rage; and, forgetting that the Stranger was observing, and now within Hearing, he fell accusing and exclaiming against the Books, that had turned his Cousin's Brain; and railing at his own ill Fate, that condemned him to the Punishment of loving her. Mr. Harvey (for it really was he, whom an Affair of Consequence had brought again into the Country), hearing some of Mr. Glanville's last Words, and observing the Gestures he used, concluded he had been treated like himself by Arabella, whom he knew again at a Distance: Therefore coming up to Mr. Glanville, laughing-- Though I have not the Honour of knowing you, Sir, said he, I must beg the Favour you will inform me, if you are not disturbed at the ridiculous Folly of the Lady I saw with you just now? She is the must fantastical Creature that ever lived, and, in my Opinion, fit for a Mad-house: Pray, are you acquainted with her? Mr. Glanville, being in a very ill Humour, could not brook the Freedom of this Language against his Cousin, whose Follies he could not bear any one should rail at but himself; and, being provoked at his Sneers, and the Interruption he had given to their Conversation, he looked upon him with a disdainful Frown, and told him in an haughty Tone, That he was very impertinent to speak of a Lady of her Quality and Merit so rudely.

Oh! Sir, I beg your Pardon, replied Mr. Harvey, laughing more than before; What, I suppose, you are the Champion of this fair Lady! But, I assure myself, if you intend to quarrel with every one that will laugh at her, you will have more Business upon your Hands than you can well manage. Mr. Glanville, transported with Rage at this Insolence, hit him such a Blow with the But- End of his Whip, that it stunned him for a Moment; but recovering himself, he drew his Sword, and, mad with the Affront he had received, made a Push at Glanville; who, avoiding it with great Dexterity, had recourse to his Hanger for his Defence.

Arabella, in the mean time, who had not rid far, concealing herself behind some Trees, saw all the Actions of her Lover, and intended Ravisher; and, being possessed with an Opinion of her Cousin's Cowardice, was extremely rejoiced to see him fall upon his Enemy first, and that with so much Fury, that she had no longer any Reason to doubt his Courage: Her Suspicions, therefore, being removed, her Tenderness for him returned; and when she saw them engaged with their Swords (for, at that Distance, she did not plainly perceive the Difference of their Weapons), her Apprehensions for her Cousin were so strong, that, though she did not doubt his Valour, she could not bear to see him expose his Life for her: And, without making any Reflections upon the Singularity of her Design, she was going to ride up to them, and endeavour to part them; when she saw several Men come towards them, whom she took to be the Assistants of her Ravisher, though they were, in reality, Haymakers; who, at a Distance, having seen the Beginning of their Quarrel, had hastened to part them.

Terrified, therefore, at this Reinforcement, which she thought would expose her Cousin to great Danger, she galloped, with all Speed, after the Hunters, being directed by the Sound of the Horn. Her Anxiety for her Cousin made her regardless of her own Danger, so that she rode with a surprising Swiftness; and, overtaking the Company, she would have spoken, to tell them of her Cousin's Situation; when her Spirits failing her, she could only make a Sign with her Hand, and sunk down in a Swoon, in the Arms of Sir George, who eagerly galloped up to her; and, supporting her as well as he was able till some others came to her Relief, they took her off her Horse, and placed her upon the Ground; when, by the Help of some Water they brought from a Spring near them, in a little time she came to herself.

Sir Charles, who, seeing her come up to them without his Son, and by her fainting, concluded some Misfortune had happened to him, the Moment she opened her Eyes, asked her eagerly, Where he was? Your Son, said Arabella, sighing, is, with a Valour equal to that of the brave Cleomedon, this Moment fighting in my Defence against a Croud of Enemies; and is, haply, shedding the last Drop of his Blood in my Quarrel.

Shedding the last Drop of his Blood, haply! interrupted Sir Charles, excessively grieved; and, not a little enraged at Arabella, supposing she had introduced him into some Quarrel, It may be happy for you Madam; but I am sure it will make me very miserable, if my Son comes to any Harm.

If it be the Will of Heaven he should fall in this Combat, resumed Arabella, he can never have a more glorious Destiny: And as that Consideration will, doubtless, sweeten his last Moments, so it ought to be your Consolation: However, I beg you'll lose no time, but haste to his Assistance; for since he has a considerable Number of Enemies to deal with, 'tis not improbable but he may be overpowered at last.

Where did you leave my Son, Madam? cried Sir Charles, eagerly.

He is not far off, replied Arabella: And you will, doubtless, be directed to the Place, by the Sight of the Blood of his Enemies, which he has spilt. Go that way, pursued she, pointing with her Finger towards the Place where she had left her Cousin: There you will meet with him, amidst a Croud of Foes, which he is sacrificing to my Safety, and his just Resentment.

Sir Charles, not knowing what to think, galloped away, followed by most Part of the Company; Sir George telling Lady Bella, that he would stay to defend her against any Attempts that might be made on her Liberty, by any of her Ravisher's Servants, who were, probably, straggling about. Arabella, however, being perfectly recovered, insisted upon following her Uncle.

There is no Question, said she, but Mr. Glanville is victorious: I am only apprehensive for the dangerous Wounds he may have received in the Combat, which will require all our Care and Assistance.

Sir George, who wanted to engross her Company a little to himself, in vain represented to her, that, amidst the Horrors of a Fight so bloody as that must certainly be, in which Mr. Glanville and his Friends would be now engaged, it would be dangerous for her to venture her Person: Yet she would not be persuaded; but, having mounted her Horse, with his Assistance, she rode as fast as she was able after the rest of the Company.

Chapter III. | The Female Quixote | Chapter V.