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Chapter VI.

In which it will be seen, that the Lady is as generous as her Lover.

I passed some Days in this Confinement, melancholy enough: My Ignorance of the Destiny of Sydimiris gave me more Pain than the Sense of my own Misfortunes; and one Evening, when I was more then usually disquieted, one of my Guard entered my Prison, and, giving me a Letter, retired, without speaking a Word: I opened this Letter with Precipitation, and, by the Light of a Lamp which was allowed me, I read the following Words.

Sydimiris, To the most generous Bellmour.

It is not enough to tell you, that the Method you took to free me from my Brother's Severity, has filled me with the utmost Esteem and Admiration. So generous an Action merits a greater Acknowlegement, and I will make no Scruple to confess, that my Heart is most sensibly touched by it: Yes, Bellmour, I have received this glorious Testimony of your Affection with such a Gratitude, as you yourself could have wished to inspire me with; and it shall not be long, before you will have a convincing Proof of the Effect it has had upon the Spirit of Sydimiris.

This Letter, Madam, pursued Sir George, being wholly calculated to make me hope that I was not hated by the Divine Sydimiris; and that she meditated something in my Favour; I resigned myself up to the most delightful Expectations.

What! cried I, transported with the Excess of my Joy: Does the most admirable Sydimiris condescend to assure me, that I have touched her Heart? And does she promise me, that I shall receive some convincing Proof of her Acknowlegement? Ah! too happy, and too fortunate Bellmour, to what a glorious Destiny hast thou been reserved! And how oughtest thou to adore these Fetters, that have procured thee the Esteem of the Divine Sydimiris !-- Such, Madam, were the Apprehensions, which the Billet I had received inspired me with.

I continually flattered myself with the most pleasing Hopes; and during Three Weeks longer, in which I heard no more from Sydimiris, my Imagination, was wholly filled with those sweet Thoughts, which her Letter had made me entertain.

At length, on the Evening of a Day which I had wholly spent in reading over Sydimiris's Letter; and interpreting the Sense of it a thousand different Ways, but all agreeable to my ardent Wishes; I saw the sage Urinoe enter my Prison, accompanied by Toxares, whom I had not seen during my last Confinement. Wholly transported at the Sight of these Two Friends, and not doubting but they had brought me the most agreeable News, I ran towards them; and, throwing myself at Urinoe's Feet, I begged her, in an Ecstacy of Joy, to acquaint me with Sydimiris's Commands. Urinoe, in some Confusion at this Action, intreated me to rise. 'Tis fit, cried I, in a Transport I could not master, that in this Posture I should receive the Knowlege of that Felicity Sydimiris has had the Goodness to promise me. Urinoe sighed at these Words; and, beholding me with a Look of Compassion and Tenderness, Would to God, said she, that all I have to say, were as agreeable, as the first News I have to tell you; which is, that you are free, and at Liberty to leave the Town this Moment! Sydimiris, continued she, has bought your Freedom, at the Expence of her own; and, to deliver you from her Brother's Chains, she has put on others, haply more cruel than those you have worn: In fine, she has married a Man, whom she detested, to procure your Liberty; her Brother having granted it to her upon that Condition alone.

Scarce had Urinoe finished these Words, when I fell, without Sense or Motion, at her Feet. Toxares and she, who had foreseen what might happen, having provided themselves with Cordials necessary to restore me, brought me to myself with infinite Trouble.

Cruel! said I to them, with a Tone and Look, which witnessed the Excess of my Despair, Why have you hindered me from dying, at once to prevent the thousand Deaths I shall suffer from my Grief? Is this the Confirmation of those glorious Hopes Sydimiris had permitted me to entertain? Is this that Proof of the Acknowlegements I was to expect? And is it by throwing herself into the Arms of my Rival, that she repays those Obligations she thinks she owes me? Ah! inhuman Sydimiris! was it to make my Despair more poignant, that thou flatterest me with such a Prospect of Happiness? And was it necessary, to the Grandeur of thy Nuptials, that my Life should be the Sacrifice? But, how unjust am I, cried I, repenting in an Instant of those injurious Suspicions; How unjust am I, to accuse the Divine Sydimiris of Inhumanity? Was it not to give me Freedom, that she bestowed herself upon a Man she hates? And has she not made herself miserable for ever, to procure me a fansied Happiness? Ah! if it be so, what a Wretch am I? I, who have been the only Cause of that Misery, to which she has doomed herself? Ah! Liberty! pursued I, how I detest thee, since purchased by the Misfortune of Sydimiris ! And how far more sweet and glorious were those Chains, which I wore for her sake! My Sighs and Tears leaving me no longer the Power of Speech, I sunk down on my Bed, oppress'd with a mortal Grief.

Urinoe and Toxares drew near to comfort me, and said all that sensible and discreet Persons could think of to alleviate my Despair.

Though I have heard that Sydimiris is married, replied I, without dying immediately; yet do not imagine, that I will suffer this odious Life to continue long. If Sorrow do not quickly dispatch me, I will seek Death by other Means; for since Sydimiris is lost, I have no more Business in the World.

The charitable Urinoe and Toxares endeavoured in vain to divert me from this sad Resolution, when Urinoe, finding all their Reasonings ineffectual, drew a Letter out of her Pocket, and, presenting it to me, I had Orders, said she, not to let this Letter be delivered to you, till you had left the Town; but the Despair, to which I see you reduced, does, I conceive, dispense with my rigorous Observation of those Directions.

While Urinoe was speaking, I opened this Letter trembling, and found it as follows.


Chapter V. | The Female Quixote | Chapter VII.