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Chapter XI.

Containing only a few Inferences, drawn from the foregoing Chapters.

Mr. Glanville, excessively delighted with this Event, could not help laughing at the unfortunate Baronet; who seemed, by his Silence, and down-cast Looks, to expect it.

Who would have imagined, said he, that so renowned a Hero would have tarnished the Glory of his Laurels, as my Cousin says, by so base an Ingratitude? Indeed, Prince, pursued he, laughing, you must resolve to recover your Reputation, either by retiring again to your Cave, and living upon bitter Herbs, for the generous Sydimiris; or else wander through the World, in search of the Divine Philonice.

Don't triumph, dear Charles, replied Sir George, laughing in his Turn; have a little Compassion upon me, and confess, that nothing could be more unfortunate, than that damn'd Slip I made at the latter End of my History: But for that, my Reputation for Courage and Constancy had been as high as the great Oroondates, or Juba.

Since you have so fertile an Invention, said Sir Charles, you may easily repair this Mistake. Ods-heart! It is pity you are not poor enough to be an Author; you would occupy a Garret in Grub-street, with great Fame to yourself, and Diversion to the Public.

Oh! Sir, cried Sir George, I have Stock enough by me, to set up for an Author Tomorrow, if I please: I have no less than Five Tragedies, some quite, others almost finished; Three or Four Essays on Virtue, Happiness, &c. Three thousand Lines of an Epic Poem; half a Dozen Epitaphs; a few Acrostics; and a long String of Puns, that would serve to embellish a Daily Paper, if I was disposed to write one.

Nay, then, interrupted Mr. Glanville, you are qualified for a Critic at the Bedford Coffeehouse; where, with the rest of your Brothers, Demy-wits, you may sit in Judgment upon the Productions of a Young, a R--, or a Johnson. Rail with premeditated Malice at the Rambler; and, for the want of Faults, turn even its inimitable Beauties into Ridicule: The Language, because it reaches to Perfection, may be called stiff, laboured, and pedantic; the Criticisms, when they let in more Light than your weak Judgment can bear, superficial and ostentatious Glitter; and because those Papers contain the finest System of Ethics yet extant, damn the queer Fellow, for over-propping Virtue; an excellent new Phrase! which those who can find no Meaning in, may accommodate with one of their own; then give shrewd Hints, that some Persons, though they do not publish their Performances, may have more Merit, than those that do.

Upon my Soul, Charles, said Sir George, thou art such an ill-natured Fellow, that I am afraid, thou wilt be sneering at me when I am gone; and wilt endeavour, to persuade Lady Bella, that not a Syllable of my Story is true. Speak, pursued he, Wilt thou have the Cruelty to deprive me of my lawful Claim to the great Kingdom of Kent; and rob me of the Glory of fighting singly against Five hundred Men? I do not know, said Sir Charles, whether my Niece be really imposed upon, by the Gravity with which you told your surprising History; but I protest, I thought you were in earnest at first; and that you meant to make us believe it all to be Fact.

You are so fitly punished, said Mr. Glanville, for that ill-judged Adventure you related last, by the bad Opinion Lady Bella entertains of you, that I need not add to your Misfortune: And therefore, you shall be Prince Veridomer, if you please; since, under that Character, you are obliged not to pretend to any Lady, but the incomparable Philonice.

Sir George, who understood his Meaning, went home, to think of some Means, by which he might draw himself out of the Embarrassment he was in; and Mr. Glanville, as he had promised, did not endeavour to undeceive Lady Bella, with regard to the History he had feigned; being very well satisfied with his having put it out of his Power to make his Addresses to her, since she now looked upon him as the Lover of Philonice.

As for Sir Charles, he did not penetrate into the Meaning of Sir George's Story; and only imagined, that by relating such a Heap of Adventures, he had a Design to entertain the Company, and give a Proof of the Felicity of his Invention; and Miss Glanville, who supposed, he had been ridiculing her Cousin's strange Notions, was better pleased with him than ever.

Arabella, however, was less satisfied than any of them: She could not endure to see so brave a Knight, who drew his Birth from a Race of Kings, tarnish the Glory of his gallant Actions by so base a Perfidy.

Alas! said she to herself, How much Reason has the beautiful Philonice to accuse me for all the Anguish she suffers? since I am the Cause, that the ungrateful Prince, on whom she bestows her Affections, suffers her to remain quietly, in the Hands of her Ravisher, without endeavouring to rescue her: But, Oh! too lovely, and unfortunate Fair-one, said she, as if she had been present, and listening to her, distinguish, I beseech you, between those Faults, which the Will, and those which Necessity, makes us commit. I am the Cause, 'tis true, of thy Lover's Infidelity; but I am the innocent Cause; and would repair the Evils, my fatal Beauty gives Rise to, by any Sacrifice in my Power to make.

While Arabella, by her romantic Generosity, bewails the imaginary Afflictions of the full as imaginary Philonice; Mr. Glanville, who thought the Solitude she lived in, confirmed her in her absurd and ridiculous Notions, desired his Father to press her to go to London.

Sir Charles complied with his Request, and earnestly intreated her to leave the Castle, and spend a few Months in Town. Her Year of Mourning being now expired, she consented to go; but Sir Charles, who did not think his Son's Health absolutely confirmed, proposed to spend a few Weeks at Bath; which was readily complied with by Arabella.

Chapter X. | The Female Quixote | Chapter I.