In which our Heroine is in some little Confusion.
While Arabella was uttering this pathetic Complaint, Mr. Glanville, with great Difficulty, kept himself from smiling; and, by some supplicating Looks to his Sister, prevented her laughing out; yet she gigled in secret behind her Fan: But Arabella was so lost in her melancholy Reflections, that she kept her Eyes immoveably fixed on the Ground for some Moments: At last, casting an upbraiding Glance at Glanville; Is it possible, cruel Person that you are! said she to him, that you can, without Pity, see me suffer so much Uneasiness; and, knowing the Sensibility of my Temper, can expose me to the Grief of being accessary to the Death of an unfortunate Man, guilty indeed of a too violent Passion, which merits a gentler Punishment, than that you doom him to? Don't be uneasy, dear Cousin, interrupted Miss Glanville; I dare assure you Sir George won't die.
It is impossible to think that, said Arabella, since he has not so much as received a Command from me to live; but tell me truly, pursued she, do you believe it probable, that he will obey me, and live? Indeed, Madam, said Miss Glanville, I could swear for him that he will.
Well, replied Arabella, I will content myself with sending him my Commands in Writing; but it is to be feared they will not have so much Efficacy upon his Spirit.
Mr. Glanville, extremely pleased that she had laid aside her Design of visiting Sir George, did not oppose her writing to him, though he was plotting how to prevent the Letter reaching his Hands; and while she went into her Closet to write, he conferred with his Sister upon the Means he should use, expressing, at the same time, great Resentment against Sir George, for endeavouring to supplant him in his Cousin's Affection.
What then, said Miss Glanville, do you really imagine Sir George is in Love with Lady Bella? He is either in Love with her Person or Estate, replied Mr. Glanville, or perhaps with both; for she is handsome enough to gain a Lover of his Merit, though she had no Fortune; and she has Fortune enough to do it, though she had no Beauty.
My Cousin is well enough, to be sure, said Miss Glanville; but I never could think her a Beauty.
If, replied Mr. Glanville, a most lovely Complection, regular Features, a fine Stature, an elegant Shape, and an inexpressible Grace in all her Motions, can form a Beauty, Lady Bella may pretend to that Character, without any Dispute. Though she was all that you say, returned Miss Glanville, I am certain Sir George is not in Love with her.
I wish I was certain of that, replied Mr. Glanville; for 'tis very probable you are mistaken.
You may see by his Letter, interrupted Miss Glanville, what a Jest he makes of her; and if you had heard how he talked to her the other Day in the Garden, you would have died with Laughing; yet my poor Cousin thought he was very serious, and was so foolishly pleased! I assure you Charlotte, said Mr. Glanville, gravely, I shall take it very ill, if you make so free with your Cousin's little Foibles; and if Sir George presumes to make a Jest of her, as you say, I shall teach him better Manners.
You are the strangest Creature in the World! said Miss Glanville : A Minute or two ago, you was wishing to be sure he was not in Love with her; and now you are angry, when I assure you he is only in Jest.
Arabella, that Moment coming out of her Closet, broke off their Discourse. I have written to Sir George, said she, addressing herself to Mr. Glanville; and you are at Liberty, if you please, to read my Letter, which I propose to send away immediately.
Mr. Glanville, taking the Letter out of her Hand, with a low Bow, began to read it to himself; but Arabella, willing his Sister should also be acquainted with the Contents, obliged him, much against his Will, to read it aloud. It was as follows: Arabella, To Bellmour.
Whatever Offence your presumptuous Declaration may have given me, yet my Resentment will be appeased with a less Punishment than Death: And that Grief and Submission you have testified in your Letter, may haply have already procured you Pardon for your Fault, provided you do not forfeit it by Disobedience.
I therefore command you to live, and command you by all that Power you have given me over you.
Remember I require no more of you, than Parisatis did of Lysimachus, in a more cruel and insupportable Misfortune: Imitate then the Obedience and Submission of that illustrious Prince; and tho' you should be as unfortunate as he, let your Courage also be equal to his; and, like him, be contented with the Esteem that is offered you, since it is all that can be bestowed, by Arabella.
Mr. Glanville, finding by this Epistle, that Arabella did not design to encourage the Addresses of Sir George, would not have been against his receiving it, had he not feared the Consequence of his having such a convincing Proof of the Peculiarity of her Temper in his Possession; and while he kept the Letter in his Hand, as if he wanted to consider it a little better, he meditated on the Means to prevent its being ever delivered; and had possibly fixed upon some successful Contrivance, when a Servant coming in, to inform the Ladies, that Sir George was come to wait on them, put an End to his Schemes; and he immediately ran down to receive him, not being willing to increase, by his Stay, the Astonishment and Confusion, which appeared in the Countenance of Arabella, at hearing a Man, whom she had believed and represented to be dying, was come to pay her a Visit.