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Chapter V.

In which will be found one of the former Mistakes pursued, and another cleared up, to the great Satisfaction of Two Persons; among whom, the Reader, we expect, will make a Third.

Arabella no sooner saw Sir Charles advancing towards her, when, sensible of the Consequence of being alone with a Person whom she did not doubt, would make use of that Advantage, to talk to her of Love, she endeavoured to avoid him, but in vain; for Sir Charles, guessing her Intentions, walked hastily up to her; and, taking hold of her Hand, You must not go away, Lady Bella, said he: I have something to say to you.

Arabella, extremely discomposed at this Behaviour, struggled to free her Hand from her Uncle; and, giving him a Look, on which Disdain and Fear were visibly painted, Unhand me, Sir, said she, and force me not to forget the Respect I owe you, as my Uncle, by treating you with a Severity such uncommon Insolence demands.

Sir Charles, letting go her Hand in a great Surprize, at the Word Insolent, which she had used, asked her, If she knew to whom she was speaking? Questionless, I am speaking to my Uncle, replied she; and 'tis with great Regret I see myself obliged to make use of Expressions no way conformable to the Respect I bear that sacred Character.

And, pray, Madam, said Sir Charles, somewhat softened by this Speech, who is it that obliges you to lay aside that Respect you seem to acknowlege is due to your Uncle? You do, Sir, replied she; and 'tis with infinite Sorrow, that I beheld you assuming a Character unbecoming the Brother of my Father.

This is pretty plain, indeed, interrupted Sir Charles: But pray, Madam, inform me, what it is you complain of.

You, questionless, know much better than I can tell you, replied Arabella, blushing, the Offence I accuse you of; nor is it proper for me to mention, what it would not become me to suffer.

Zounds! cried Sir Charles, no longer able to suppress his growing Anger, this is enough to make a Man mad.

Ah! I beseech you, Sir, resumed Arabella, suffer not an unfortunate and ill-judged Passion to be the Bane of all your Happiness and Virtue: Recall your wandring Thoughts; reflect upon the Dishonour you will bring upon yourself, by persisting in such unjustifiable Sentiments. I do not know how it is possible to avoid it, said Sir Charles ; and, notwithstanding all this fine Reasoning, there are few People but would fly into greater Extremities; but my Affection for you makes me.-- Hold, hold, I conjure you, Sir, interrupted Arabella; force me not to listen to such injurious Language; carry that odious Affection somewhere else; and do not persecute an unfortunate Maid, who has contributed nothing to thy Fault, and is only guilty of too much Compassion for thy Weakness.

Good God, cried Sir Charles, starting back, and looking upon Arabella with Astonishment; how I pity my Son! What would I not give, if he did not love this Girl? Think not, replied Arabella, that the Passion your Son has for me, makes your Condition a bit the worse; for I would be such as I am, with respect to you, were there no Mr. Glanville in the World.

I never thought, Niece, said Sir Charles, after a little Pause, that any Part of my Behaviour, could give you the Offence you complain of, or authorize that Hatred and Contempt you take the Liberty to express for me: But since it is so, I promise you, I will quit your House, and leave you to your self; I have always been solicitous for your Welfare; and, ungrateful as you are-- Call me not ungrateful, interrupted Arabella again: Heaven is my Witness, that had you not forgot I was your Niece, I would have always remembred you was my Uncle; and not only have regarded you as such, but have looked upon you as another Father, under whose Direction Providence had placed me, since it had deprived me of my real Father; and whose Tenderness and Care, might have in some measure supplied the Loss I had of him: But Heaven has decreed it otherwise; and since it is his Will, that I should be deprived of the Comfort and Assistance my Orphan State requires, I must submit, without murmuring, to my Destiny. Go then, unfortunate and lamented Uncle, pursued she, wiping some Tears from her fine Eyes; go, and endeavour by Reason and Absence to recover thy Repose; and be assured, whenever you can convince me you have triumphed over these Sentiments which now cause both our Unhappiness, you shall have no Cause to complain of my Conduct towards you.

Finishing these Words, she left him with so much Speed, that it would have been impossible for him to have stopped her, though he had intended it: But indeed, he was so lost in Wonder and Confusion at a Behaviour for which he was not able to assign any other Cause than Madness, that he remained fixed in the same Posture of Surprize, in which she had left him; and from which he was first interrupted by the Voice of his Son, who, seeing Arabella flying towards the House in great seeming Emotion, came to know the Result of their Conversation.

Sir, said Mr. Glanville, who had spoken to his Father before, but had no Answer, will you not inform me, what Success you have had with my Cousin? How did she receive your Proposal. Speak of her no more, said Sir Charles, she is a proud ungrateful Girl, and unworthy the Affection you have for her.

Mr. Glanville, who trembled to hear so unfavourable an Answer to his Inquiries, was struck dumb with his Surprize and Grief; when Sir Charles taking Notice of the Alteration in his Countenance; I am sorry, said he, to find you have set your Heart upon this fantastic Girl: If ever she be your Wife, which I very much doubt, she will make you very unhappy: But, Charles, pursued he, I would advise you to think no more of her; content yourself with the Estate you gain by her Refusal of you: With that Addition to your own Fortune, you may pretend to any Lady whatever; and you will find many that are full as agreeable as your Cousin, who will be proud of your Addresses.

Indeed, Sir, said Mr. Glanville, with a Sigh, there is no Woman upon Earth whom I would choose to marry, but Lady Bella: I flattered myself, I had been happy enough to have made some Progress in her Affection; but it seems, I was mistaken; however, I should be glad to know, if she gave you any Reasons for refusing me.

Reasons! said Sir Charles: There is no making her hear Reason, or expecting Reason from her; I never knew so strange a Woman in my Life: She would not allow me to speak what I intended concerning you; but interrupted me, every Moment, with some highflown Stuff or other.

Then I have not lost all Hopes of her, cried Mr. Glanville eagerly; for since she did not hear what you had to say, she could not possibly deny you.

But she behaved in a very impertinent Manner to me, interrupted Sir Charles; complained of my harsh Treatment of her; and said several other Things, which, because of her uncommon Style, I could not perfectly understand; yet they seemed shocking; and, upon the Whole, treated me so rudely, that I am determined to leave her to herself, and trouble my Head no more about her.

For God's sake, dear Sir, said Mr. Glanville, alarmed at this Resolution, suspend your Anger, till I have seen my Cousin: There is some Mistake, I am persuaded, in all this. I know she has some very odd Humours, which you are not so well acquainted with, as I am. I'll go to her, and prevail upon her to explain herself.

You may do so, if you please, replied Sir Charles; but I fear it will be to very little Purpose; for I really suspect her Head is a little turned: I do not know what to do with her: It is not fit she should have the Management of herself; and yet 'tis impossible to live upon easy Terms with her. Mr. Glanville, who did not doubt but Arabella had been guilty of some very ridiculous Folly, offered nothing more in her Justification; but, having attended his Father to his own Chamber went to Arabella's Apartment.

He found the pensive Fair-one, in a melancholy Posture, her Head reclined upon one of her fair Hands; and though her Eyes were fixed upon a Book she held in the other, yet she did not seem to read, but rather to be wholly buried in Contemplation.

Mr. Glanville having so happily found her alone (for her Women were not then in her Chamber) seated himself near her; having first asked pardon for the Interruption he had given to her Studies; and Arabella, throwing aside her Book, prepared to listen to his Discourse; which by the Agitation, which appeared in Looks, she imagined, would be upon some extraordinary Subject.

I left my Father just now, said he, in a great deal of Uneasiness, on account of something you said to him, Lady Bella: He apprehends you are disobliged, and he would willingly know how.

Has your Father then acquainted you with the Subject of our Conversation? interrupted Arabella.

I know what would have been the Subject of your Conversation, replied Mr. Glanville, if you had been pleased to listen to what Sir Charles intended to say to you on my Behalf.

On your Behalf? interrupted Arabella: Ah poor deceived Glanville! how I pity thy blind Sincerity! But it is not for me to undeceive thee: Only thus much I must say to you, Beware of committing your Interests to a Person, who will be a much better Advocate for another than for you.

Mr. Glanville, rejoiced to find by these Words, that her Resentment against his Father was occasioned by a Suspicion so favourable for him, assured her, that Sir Charles wished for nothing more earnestly, than that he might be able to merit her Esteem; and that it was to dispose her to listen to his Addresses, that he wanted to discourse with her that Morning.

Mr. Glanville, being obliged, through his Knowlege of his Cousin's Temper, to speak to her in this distant Manner, went on with his Assurances of his Father's Candour in this Respect; and Arabella, who would not declare her Reasons for doubting it, only replied, That she wished Sir Charles meant all that he had said to him; but that she could not persuade herself to believe him sincere, till his future Actions had convinced her he was so.

Mr. Glanville, impatient to let his Father know, how greatly he had been mistaken in the Cause of Arabella's Behaviour, made his Visit shorter than he would otherwise have done, in order to undeceive him. Is it possible, said Sir Charles, when his Son had repeated the Conversation he had just had with Arabella, that she could be so foolish, as to imagine, I had a Design to propose any one else to her but you? What Reason have I ever given her, to think I would not be glad to have her for my Daughter-in-law? Indeed, she has some odd Ways that are very disagreeable; but she is one of the best Matches in England for all that: Poor Girl! pursued he, she had Reason to be angry, if that was the Case; and now I remember, she cried, when I told her I would leave the House; yet her Spirit was so great, that she told me, I might go. Well, I'll go and make it up with her; but who could have imagined, she would have been so foolish? Sir Charles, at the Repetition of these Words, hurried away to Arabella's Apartment.

Niece, said he at his Entrance, I am come to ask you Pardon, for having led you into a Belief, that I meant-- 'Tis enough, Sir, interrupted Arabella; I grant you my Pardon for what is past; and as it does not become me to receive Submissions from my Uncle, while he remembers he is so, I will dispense with your Acknowlegements at present: Only to convince me, that this sudden Alteration is sincere, avoid, I beseech you, for the future, all Occasions of displeasing me.

I protest, cried Sir Charles, that I never intended-- I will not hear you say a Word more of your past Intentions, interrupted Arabella again: I have forgot them all; and, while you continue to regard me as your Niece, I will never remember them to your Disadvantage.

Then I may hope, said Sir Charles-- Oh! Heavens! cried Arabella, not suffering him to proceed; do you come to insult me thus, with a mock Repentance? And has my Easiness, in being so ready to forget the Injury you would have done me, made you presumptuous enough to cherish an insolent Hope that I will ever change my Resolution? How vexatious is this! replied Sir Charles, fretting to see her continually mistaking him. I swear to you, by all that is sacred, that 'tis my Son, for whom I would solicit your Consent.

How! said Arabella, astonished, Will you then be just at last? And can you resolve to plead for that Son, whose Interest, but a Moment ago, you would have destroyed? I see, said Sir Charles, it is impossible to convince you.

No, no interrupted Arabella, hastily; it is not impossible but my own ardent Wishes that it may be so, will help to convince me of the Truth of what you say: For in fine, do you think, I shall not be as glad as yourself, to find you capable of acting honourably by your Son; and to see myself no longer the Cause of the most unjustifiable Conduct imaginable? Sir Charles was opening his Mouth, to press her in Favour of Mr. Glanville; whom, notwithstanding her strange Behaviour, he was glad to find, she loved; when Arabella preventing him, Seek not, I beseech you, said she, to destroy that Belief I am willing to give your Words, by any more Attempts at this time to persuade me; for truly, I shall interpret your Solicitude no way in your Favour; therefore, if you desire I should be convinced you are sincere, let the Silence I require of you, be one Proof of it.

Sir Charles, who looked excessively out of Countenance at such a peremptory Command from his Niece, was going out of her Chamber in a very ill Humour, when the Dinner-bell ringing, she gave him her Hand, with a very gracions Air; and permitted him to lead her into the Dining-room, where they found Mr. Glanville, his Sister, and Sir George, who had been detained to Dinner by Miss Glanville, expecting their coming.

Chapter IV. | The Female Quixote | Chapter VI.