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Chapter IV.

Where the Lady extricates herself out of her former Confusion, to the great Astonishment, we will suppose, of the Reader.

Miss Glanville, not having so much Delicacy as her Brother, could not help exulting a little upon this Occasion.

After the terrible Fright you have been in, Madam, said she, upon Sir George's Account, I wonder you do not rather think it is his Ghost than himself, that is come to see us.

There is no Question, but it is himself that is come, said Arabella, (who had already reconciled this Visit, to her first Thoughts of him;) and it is, haply, to execute his fatal Design in my Presence, that has brought him here; and, like the unfortunate Agilmond, he means to convince me of his Fidelity and Love, by falling upon his Sword before my Eyes.

Bless me, Madam, said Miss Glanville, what horrid Things come into your Head! I vow, you terrify me out of my Wits, to hear you.

There is no Occasion for your Fears, interrupted Arabella: Since we already suspect his Designs, it will be very easy to prevent them: Had the princess of the Sarmatians known the fatal Intentions of her despairing Lover, doubtless, she would have used some Precautions to hinder him from executing them; for want of which, she saw the miserable Agilmond weltering in his Blood at her Feet; and with Reason accused herself of being the Cause of so deplorable a Spectacle.

The Astonishment Miss Glanville was in, to hear her Cousin talk in this Manner, kept her from giving her any Interruption, while she related several other terrible Instances of Despair.

In the mean time, Sir George, who was impatient to go up to Lady Bella's Apartment, having flattered himself with an Hope, that his Letter was favourably received; and that he should be permitted to hope at least; made a short Visit to Sir Charles in his own Room; and, accompanied by Mr. Glanville, who was resolved to see in what manner Arabella received him, went to her Apartment.

As he had taken care, at his Entrance, to accommodate his Looks to the Character he had assumed of an humble despairing Lover, Arabella no sooner saw him, but her Countenance changed; and, making a Sign to Mr. Glanville, who could not comprehend what she meant, to seize upon the Guard of his Sword, she hastily stept forward to meet him.

I am too well convinced, said she to Sir George, that the Intent of your coming hither To day, is to commit some Violence against yourself before my Eyes: But listen not, I beseech you, to the Dictates of your Despair: Live; I command you, live; and since you say, I have the absolute Disposal of your Life, do not deprive yourself of it, without the Consent of her, on whom you profess to have bestowed it.

Sir George, who did not imagine Arabella would communicate his Letter to her Cousins, and only expected some distant Hints from her concerning it, was so confounded at this Reception before them, that he was not able to reply: He blushed, and turned pale alternately; and, not daring to look, either upon Miss Glanville, or her Brother, or to meet the Eyes of the fair Visionary, who, with great Impatience, expected his Answer, he hung down his Head in a very silly Posture; and, by his Silence, confirmed Arabella in her Opinion.

As he did not want for Wit and Assurance, during that Interval of Silence, and Expectation from all Parties; his Imagination suggested to him the Means of extricating himself out of the ridiculous Perplexity he was in; and as it concerned him greatly to avoid any Quarrel, with the Brother and Sister, he determined to turn the whole Matter into a Jest; but, if possible, to manage it so, that Arabella should not enter into his Meaning.

Raising therefore his Eyes, and looking upon Arabella with a melancholy Air; You are not deceived, Madam, said he: This Criminal, with whom you are so justly offended, comes with an Intention to die at your Feet, and breathe out his miserable Life, to expiate those Crimes of which you accuse him: But since your severe Compassion will oblige me to live, I obey, oh! most divine, but cruel Arabella! I obey your harsh Commands; and, by endeavouring to live, give you a more convincing Proof of that Respect and Submission I shall always have for your Will.

I expected no less from your Courage and Generosity, said Arabella, with a Look of great Complacency; and since you so well know how to imitate the great Lysimachus in your Obedience, I shall not be less acknowleging then the fair Parisatis; but will have for you an Esteem equal to that Virtue I have observed in you.

Sir George, having received this gracious Promise, with a most profound Bow, turned to Mr. Glanville, with a kind of chastened Smile upon his Countenance.

And, you, fortunate and deserving Knight, said he, happy in the Affections of the fairest Person in the World! grudge me not this small Alleviation of my Misfortunes; and envy me not that Esteem, which alone is able to make me suffer Life, while you possess, in the Heart of the divine Arabella, a Felicity that might be envied by the greatest Monarchs in the World.

As diverting as this Scene was, Mr. Glanville was extremely uneasy: For though Sir George's Stratagem took, and he believed he was only indulging the Gaiety of his Humour, by carrying on this Farce; yet he could not endure, he should divert himself at Arabella's Expence. The solemn Speech he had made him, did indeed force him to smile; but he soon assumed a graver Look, and told Sir George, in a low Voice, that when he had finished his Visit, he should be glad to take a Turn with him in the Garden.

Sir George promised to follow him, and Mr. Glanville left the Room, and went into the Gardens; where the Baronet, having taken a respectful Leave of Arabella, and, by a sly Glance, convinced Miss Glanville, he had sacrificed her Cousin to her Mirth, went to join her Brother.

Mr. Glanville, as soon as he saw him, walked to meet him with a very reserved Air: Which Sir George observing, and being resolved to keep up his Humour; What, inhuman, but too happy Lover, said he, what, am I to understand by that Cloud upon your Brow? Is it possible, that thou canst envy me the small Comfort I have received; and, not satisfied with the glorious Advantages thou possessest, wilt thou still deny me that Esteem, which the divine Arabella has been pleased to bestow upon me? Pray, Sir George, said Mr. Glanville, lay aside this pompous Style: I am not disposed to be merry at present, and have not all the Relish for this kind of Wit, that you seem to expect. I desired to see you here, that I might tell you without Witnesses, I take it extremely ill, you should presume to make my Cousin the Object of your Mirth. Lady Bella, Sir, is not a Person, with whom such Liberties ought to be taken; nor will I, in the double Character of her Lover and Relation, suffer it from any one whatever.

Cruel Fortune! said Sir George, stepping back a little, and lifting up his Eyes, shall I always be exposed to thy Persecutions? And must I, without any apparent Cause, behold an Enemy in the Person of my Friend; who, though, without murmuring, I resign to him the adorable Arabella, is yet resolved to dispute with me, a Satisfaction, which does not deprive him of any Part of that glorious Fortune to which he is destined? Since it is so, unjust and cruel Friend, pursued he, strike this Breast, which carries the Image of the divine Arabella ; but think not, that I will offer to defend myself, or lift my Sword, against a Man beloved by her.

This is all very fine, returned Mr. Glanville, hardly able to forbear laughing; but 'tis impossible, with all your Gaiety, to hinder me from being serious upon this Business.

Then be as serious as thou wilt, dear Charles, interrupted Sir George, provided you will allow me to be gay; and not pretend to infect me with thy unbecoming Gravity.

I have but a few Words to say to you, then, Sir, replied Mr. Glanville: Either behave with more Respect to my Cousin; or prepare to give me Satisfaction, for the insults you offer her.

Oh! I understand you, Sir, said Sir George; and because you have taken it into your Head to be offended at a Trifle of no Consequence in the World, I must give you a fair Chance to run me through the Body! There is something very foolish, faith, in such an extravagant Expectation: But since Custom has made it necessary, that a Man must venture his Soul and Body upon these important Occasions; because I will not be out of the Fashion, you shall command me whenever you think fit; though I shall fight with my Schoolfellow with a very ill Will, I assure you.

There is no Necessity for fighting, said Mr. Glanville, blushing at the ludicrous Light, in which the gay Baronet had placed his Challenge: The Concession I have required, is very small, and not worth the contesting for, on your Side. Lady Bella's Peculiarity, to which you contribute so much, can afford you, at best, but an ill-natured Diversion, while it gives me a real Pain; and sure, you must acknowlege, you are doing me a very great Injury, when you endeavour to confirm a Lady, who is to be my Wife, in a Behaviour that excites your Mirth, and makes her a fit Object for your Ridicule, and Contempt.

You do Lady Bella, a much greater Injury than I do, replied Sir George, by supposing, she can ever be an Object of Ridicule and Contempt: I think very highly of her Understanding; and though the Bent of her Studies has given her Mind a romantic Turn, yet the Singularity of her Manners is far less disagreeable, than the lighter Follies of most of her Sex.

But to be absolutely perfect, interrupted Mr. Glanville, I must cure her of that Singularity; and therefore I beg you will not persist in assuming a Behaviour conformable to her romantic Ideas; but rather help me to banish them from her Imagination.

Well, replied Sir George, since you no longer threaten, I'll do what I can to content you; but I must quit my Heroics by Degrees, and sink with Decency into my own Character; otherwise she will never endure me in her Presence.

Arabella and Miss Glanville, appearing in the Walk, broke off the Conversation. The Baronet and Mr. Glanville walked forward to meet them; but Arabella, who did not desire Company, struck into another Walk, whither Mr. Glanville following, proposed to join her; when he saw his Father, who had been taking a Turn there alone, make up to Arabella; and, supposing he would take that Opportunity to talk to her concerning him, he went back to his Sister and Sir George, whose Conversation he interrupted, to the great Regret of Miss Glanville.

Chapter III. | The Female Quixote | Chapter V.