Not so long as was first intended; but contains, however, a surprising Adventure on the Road.
The Day of their Departure being come, they set out in a Coach and Six, attended by several Servants on Horseback. The First Day's Journey passed off, without any Accident worthy relating; but, towards the Close of the Second, they were alarmed by the Appearance of three Highwaymen, well mounted, at a small Distance.
One of the Servants, who had first spied them, immediately rode up to the Coach; and, for fear of alarming the Ladies, whispered Mr. Glanville in the Ear.
Sir Charles, who was sitting next his Son, and had heard it, cried out with too little Caution, How's this? Are we in any Danger of being attacked, say you? Mr. Glanville, without replying, jumped out of the Coach; at which Miss Glanville screamed out; and, lest her Father should follow, whipped into her Brother's Seat, and held him fast by the Coat.
Arabella, being in a strange Consternation at all this, put her Head out of the Coach, to see what was the Matter; and, observing Three or Four Men of a genteel Appearance, on Horseback, who seemed to halt, and gaze on them, without offering to advance; Sir, said she to her Uncle, are they yonder Knights whom you suppose will attack us? Ay, ay, said Sir Charles, they are Knights of the Road indeed: I suppose we shall have a Bout with them; for it will be scandalous to deliver, since we have the Odds of our Side, and are more than a Match for them.
Arabella, interpreting these Words in her own Way, looked out again; and, seeing the Robbers, who had by this time taken their Resolution, galloping towards them, her Cousin and the Servants ranging themselves of each Side of the Coach, as if to defend them, Hold, hold, valiant Men, said she, as loud as she could speak, addressing herself to the Highwaymen; do not, by a mistaken Generosity, hazard your Lives in a Combat, to which the Laws of Honour do not oblige you: We are not violently carried away, as you falsly suppose; we go willingly along with these Persons, who are our Friends and Relations.
Hey-day! cried Sir Charles, staring at her with great Surprize; what's the Meaning of all this? Do you think these Fellows will mind your fine Speeches, Niece? I hope they will, Sir, said she: Then, pulling her Cousin, shew yourself, for Heaven's Sake, Miss, pursued she, and second my Assurances, that we are not forced away: These generous Men come to fight for our Deliverance. The Highwaymen, who were near enough to hear Arabella's Voice, though they could not distinguish her Words, gazed on her with great Surprize; and, finding they would be very well received, thought fit to abandon their Enterprize, and galloped away as fast as they were able. Some of the Servants made a Motion to pursue them; but Mr. Glanville forbad it; and, entering again into the Coach, congratulated the Ladies upon the Escape they had.
Since these Men, said Arabella, did not come to deliver us, out of a mistaken Notion, that we were carried away by Force, it must necessarily follow, they had some bad Design; and I protest I know not who to suspect is the Author of it, unless the Person you vanquished, said she to Mr. Glanville, the other Day in a single Combat; for the disguised Edward, you assured me, was dead: But perhaps, continued she, it was some Lover of Miss Glanville's, who designed to make an Attempt to carry her away: Methinks he was too slenderly attended for such an hazardous Undertaking.
I'll assure you Madam, said Miss Glanville, I have no Lovers among Highwaymen.
Highwaymen! repeated Arabella.
Why, ay, to be sure, Madam, rejoined Sir Charles: What do you take them for? For Persons of Quality, Sir, resumed Arabella; and though they came questionless, either upon a good or bad Design, yet it cannot be doubted, but that their Birth is illustrious; otherwise they would never pretend either to fight in our Defence, or to carry us away.
I vow, Niece, said Sir Charles, I can't possibly understand you.
My Cousin, Sir, interrupted Mr. Glanville, has been mistaken in these Persons; and has not yet, possibly, believed them to be Highwaymen, who came to rob us.
There is no Question, Sir, said Arabella, smiling, that if they did not come to defend us, they came to rob you: But it is hard to guess, which of us it was of whom they designed to deprive you; for it may very possibly be for my Cousin's sake, as well as mine, that this Enterprize was undertaken.
Pardon me, Madam, said Mr. Glanville, who was willing to prevent his Father from answering her Absurdities; these Men had no other Design, than to rob us of our Money.
How! said Arabella: Were these Cavaliers, who appeared to be in so handsome a Garb, that I took them for Persons of prime Quality, were they Robbers? I have been strangely mistaken, if seems: However, I apprehend there is no Certainty, that your Suspicions are true; and it may still be as I say, that they either came to rescue or carry us away.
Mr. Glanville, to avoid a longer Dispute, changed the Discourse; having observed with Confusion, that Sir Charles, and his Sister, seemed to look upon his beloved Cousin as one that was out of her Senses.