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Chapter XIII.

In which our Heroin's Extravagance will be thought, perhaps, to be carried to an extravagant Length.

Madam, "I had the Honour to assure you this Morning on the Parade, that the Insinuations Mr. Selvin made use of to rob me of the superlative Happiness of your Esteem were entirely false and groundless. May the Beams of your bright Eyes never shine on me more, if there is any Truth in what he said to prejudice me with your Ladyship. If I am permitted to attend you to the Rooms this Evening, I hope to convince you, that it was absolutely impossible I could have been capable of such a Crime, who am, with the most profound Respect," Your Ladyship's most devoted, &c.

D. Tinsel.

Well, Madam, said Miss Glanville when she had read this Epistle, I fancy you need not pronounce a Sentence of Banishment upon poor Mr. Tinsel; he seems to be quite innocent of the Offence your Ladyship suspects him of.

Why, really, return'd Arabella, blushing with extreme Confusion at this second Disappointment, I am greatly perplex'd to know how I ought to act on this Occasion. I am much in the same Situation with the Princess Serena. For you must know, this Princess-- Here Lucy entering, inform'd the Ladies Dinner was serv'd--I shall defer till another Opportunity, said Arabella, upon this Interruption, the Relation of the Princess Serena's Adventures; which you will find, added she, in a low Voice, bears a very great Resemblance to mine.

Miss Glanville reply'd, she would hear it whenever she pleas'd, and then follow'd Arabella to the Dining Room.

The Cloth was scarce remov'd, when Mr. Selvin came in. Arabella blush'd at his Appearance, and discover'd so much Perplexity in her Behaviour, that Mr. Selvin was apprehensive he had not yet sufficiently justify'd himself; and therefore took the first Opportunity to approach her.

I shall think myself very unhappy, Madam, said he bowing, if the Letter I did myself the Honour to write to you this Morning-- Sir, interrupted Arabella, I perceive you are going to forget the Contents of that Letter, and preparing again to offend me by a presumptuous Declaration of Love.

Who I, Madam, reply'd he, in great Astonishment and Confusion, I-I-I protest--tho' I-I have a very great Respect for your Ladyship, yet--yet I never presum'd to--to--to-- You have presum'd too much, replied Arabella, and I should forget what I ow'd to my own Glory, if I furnish'd you with any more Occasions of offending me. --Know then, I absolutely forbid you to appear before me again, at least, till I am convinc'd you have chang'd your Sentiments.

Saying this, she rose from her Seat, and making a Sign to him not to follow her, which indeed he had no Intention to do, she quitted the Room, highly satisfy'd with her own Conduct upon this Occasion, which was exactly conformable to the Laws of Romance.

Mr. Tinsel, who had just alighted from his Chair, having a Glimpse of her, as she pass'd to her own Apartment, resolv'd, if possible, to procure a private Interview; for he did not doubt but his Billet had done Wonders in his Favour.

For that Purpose he ventur'd up to her Anti-Chamber, where he found Lucy in waiting, whom he desir'd to acquaint her Lady, that he intreated a Moment's Speech with her.

Lucy, after hesitating a Moment, and looking earnestly at him, replied, Sir, if you'll promise me faithfully, you are not in Love with my Lady, I'll go and deliver your Message.

Duce take me, said Tinsel, if that is not a very whimsical Condition truly--Pray, my Dear, how came it into thy little Brain, to suspect I was in Love with thy Lady? But, suppose I should be in Love with her, what then? Why, then its likely you would die, that's all, said Lucy, without my Lady would be so kind to command you to live.

I vow thou hast mighty pretty Notions, Child, said Tinsel smiling; hast thou been reading any Play-Book lately? But pray, dost think thy Lady would have Compassion on me, if I was in Love with her? Come, I know thou art in her Confidence? Hast thou ever heard her talk of me? Does she not tell thee all her Secrets? Here Arabella's Bell ringing, the Beau slipp'd half a Guinea into her Hand, which Lucy not willing to refuse, went immediately to her Lady; to whom, with a trembling Accent, she repeated Mr. Tinsel's Request.

Imprudent Girl, cried Arabella, for I am loth to suspect thee of Disloyalty to thy Mistress.

Dost thou know the Nature and Extent of the Request thou hast deliver'd? Art thou ignorant that the presumptuous Man whom thou sollicitest this Favour for, has mortally offended me? Indeed, Madam, said Lucy frighted out of her Wits, I don't sollicit for him. I scorn to do any such Thing. I would not offend your Ladyship for the World: For, before I would deliver his Message to your Ladyship, I made him assure me, that he was not in Love with your Ladyship. That was very wisely done, indeed, replied Arabella, smiling: And do you believe he spoke the Truth? Yes, indeed, I am sure of it, said Lucy eagerly, if your Ladyship will but be pleas'd to see him, he is only in the next Room; I dare promise-- How, interrupted Arabella! What have you done? Have yyou brought him into my Apartment then? I protest this Adventure is exactly like what befel the beautiful Statira, when, by a Stratagem of the same Kind, Oroondates was introduc'd into her Presence.

Lucy, thou art another Barsina, I think; but I hope thy Intentions are not less innocent than hers was.

Indeed, Madam, reply'd Lucy, excessively uneasy at her Lady's Words, I am very innocent, I am no Barsina, as your Ladyship calls me.

I dare answer for thee, said Arabella smiling at the Turn she gave to her Words, thou art no Barsina; and I should wrong thee very much to compare thee with that wise Princess; for thou art certainly one of the most simple Wenches in the World. But since thou hast gone so far, let me know what the unfortunate Person desires of me; for, since I am neither more rigid, nor pretend to more Virtue than Statira, I may do at least as much for him, as that great Queen did for Oroondates.

He desires, Madam, said Lucy, that your Ladyship would be pleas'd to let him speak with you.

Or, in his Words, I suppose, replied Arabella, he humbly implor'd a Moment's Audience.

I told your Ladyship his very Words, indeed, Madam, said Lucy .

I tell thee, Girl, thou art mistaken, said Arabella; 'tis impossible he should sue for such a Favour in Terms like those: Therefore, go back, and let him know that I consent to grant him a short Audience upon these Conditions.

First, Provided he does not abuse my Indulgence by offending me with any Protestations of his Passion.

Secondly, That he engages to fulfil the Injunctions I shall lay upon him, however cruel and terrible they may appear.

Lastly, That his Despair must not prompt him to any Act of Desperation against himself.

Lucy having received this Message, quitted the Room hastily, for fear she should forget it. Well, my pretty Ambassadress, said Tinsel when he saw her enter the Anti-Chamber, Will your Lady see me? No, Sir, replied Lucy.

No, interrupted Tinsel, that's kind 'faith, after waiting so long.

Pray Sir, said Lucy, don't put me out so; I shall forget what my Lady order'd me to tell you.

Oh! I ask your Pardon, Child, said Tinsel. Come, let me hear your Message.

Sir, said Lucy adapting the Solemnity of her Lady's Accent--My Lady bad me say, that she will grant--No, that she consents to grant you a short Dience.

Audience you would say Child, said Tinsel: But how came you to tell me before she would not see me?-- I vow and protest, Sir, said Lucy, you have put all my Lady's Words clean but of my Head--I don't know what comes next-- Oh, no matter, said Tinsel, you have told me enough: I'll wait upon her directly.

Lucy, who saw him making towards the Door, prest between it and him; and having all her Lady's Whims in her Head, suppos'd he was going to carry her away--Possess'd with this Thought, she scream'd out, Help! Help! for Heaven's Sake! My Lady will be carry'd away! Arabella hearing this Exclamation of her Woman's, eccho'd her Screams, tho' with a Voice infinitely more delicate; and seeing Tinsel, who, confounded to the last Degree at the Cries of both the Lady and her Woman, had got into her Chamber he knew not how, she gave herself over for lost, and fell back in her Chair in a Swoon, or something she took for a Swoon, for she was persuaded it could happen no otherwise; since all Ladies in the same Circumstances are terrify'd into a fainting Fit, and seldom recover till they are conveniently carried away; and when they awake, find themselves many Miles off in the Power of their Ravisher.

Arabella's other Women, alarm'd by her Cries, came running into the Room; and seeing Mr. Tinsel there, and their Lady ia a Swoon, concluded some very extraordinary Accident had happen'd.

What is your Business here, cry'd they all at a Time? Is it you that has frighted her Ladyship? Devil take me, said Tinsel amaz'd, if I can tell what all this means. By this Time Sir Charles, Mr. Glanville, and his Sister, came running astonish'd up Stairs.

Arabella still continu'd motionless in her Chair, her Eyes clos'd, and her Head reclin'd upon Lucy, who with her other Women, was endeavouring to recover her.

Mr. Glanville eagerly ran to her Assistance, while Sir Charles and his Daughter as eagerly interrogated Mr. Tinsel, who stood motionless with Surprize, concerning the Cause of her Disorder.

Arabella, then first discovering some Signs of Life, half open'd her Eyes.

Inhuman Wretch, cry'd she, with a faint Voice, supposing herself in the Hands of her Ravisher, think not thy cruel Violence shall procure thee what thy Submissions could not obtain; and if when thou hadst only my Indifference to surmount, thou didst find it so difficult to overcome my Resolution, now that by this unjust Attempt, thou hast added Aversion to that Indifference, never hope for any Thing but the most bitter Reproaches from me.-- Why, Niece, said Sir Charles approaching her, what's the Matter? Look up, I beseech you, no-body is attempting to do you any Hurt; here's none but Friends about you.

Arabella, raising her Head at the Sound of her Uncle's Voice, and casting a confus'd Look on the Persons about her.

May I believe my Senses? Am I rescu'd, and in my own Chamber? To whose Valour is my Deliverance owing? Without doubt, 'tis to my Cousin's; but where is he? Let me assure him of my Gratitude.

Mr. Glanville, who had retir'd to a Window in a great Confusion, as soon as he heard her call for him, came towards her, and in a Whisper begg'd her to be compos'd; that she was in no Danger.

And pray, Niece, said Sir Charles, now you are a little recover'd, be so good to inform us of the Cause of your Fright. What has happen'd to occasion all this Confusion? How, Sir, said Arabella, don't you know then what has happen'd? --Pray how was I brought again into my Chamber, and by what Means was I rescu'd? I protest, said Sir Charles, I don't know that you have been out of it.

Alas, replied Arabella, I perceive you are quite ignorant of what has befallen me; nor am I able to give you any Information: All I can tell you is, that alarm'd by my Womens Cries, and the Sight of my Ravisher, who came into my Chamber, I fainted away, and so faciliated his Enterprize; since doubtless it was very easy for him to carry me away while I remain'd in that senseless Condition. How I was rescu'd, or by whom, one of my Women can haply inform you; since its probable one of them was also forc'd away with me--Oh Heav'ns! cry'd she, seeing Tinsel, who all this while stood gazing like one distracted; what makes that impious Man in my Presence! What am I to think of this? Am I really deliver'd or no? What can this mean, cried Sir Charles, turning to Tinsel? Have you, Sir, had any Hand in frighting my Niece?-- I, Sir, said Tinsel! Let me perish if ever I was so confounded in my Life: The Lady's Brain is disorder'd I believe.

Mr. Glanville, who was convinc'd all this Confusion was caus'd by some of Arabella's usual Whims, dreaded lest an Explanation would the more expose her; and therefore told his Father, that it would be best to retire, and leave his Cousin to the Care of his Sister and her Women; adding, that she was not yet quite recover'd, and their Presence did but discompose her.

Then addressing himself to Tinsel, told him he would wait upon him down Stairs.

Arabella seeing them going away together, and supposing they intended to dispute the Possession of her with their Swords, call'd out to them to stay.

Mr. Glanville however, without minding her, press'd Mr. Tinsel to walk down.

Nay, pray, Sir, said the Beau, let us go in again; she may grow outrageous if we disoblige her.

Outrageous, Sir, said Glanville, do you suppose my Cousin is mad? Upon my Soul, Sir, replied Tinsel, if she is not mad, she is certainly a little out of her Senses, or so-- Arabella having reiterated her Commands for her Lovers to return, and finding they did not obey her, ran to her Chamber-door, where they were holding a surly Sort of Conference, especially on Glanville's Side, who was horridly out of Humour.

I perceive by your Looks. said Arabella to her Cousin, the Design you are meditating; but know that I absolutely forbid you, by all the Power I have over you, not to engage in Combat with my Ravisher here.

Madam, interrupted Glanville, I beseech you do not-- I know, said she, you will object to me the Examples of Artamenes, Aronces, and many others, who were so generous as to promise their Rivals not to refuse them that Satisfaction whenever they demanded it--but consider, you have not the same Obligations to Mr. Tinsel that Artamenes had to the King of Assyria, or that Aronces had to-- For God's Sake, Cousin, said Glanville, what's all this to the Purpose? Curse on Aronces and the King of Assyria, I say-- The Astonishment of Arabella at this intemperate Speech of her Cousin, kept her for a Moment immoveable, when Sir Charles, who during this Discourse, had been collecting all the Information he could from Lucy, concerning this perplex'd Affair, came towards Tinsel, and giving him an angry Look, told him, He should take it well if he forbore visiting any of his Family for the future.

Oh! Your most obedient Servant, Sir, said Tinsel: You expect, I suppose, I should be excessively chagrin'd at this Prohibition? But upon my Soul, I am greatly oblig'd to you.

Agad! I have not great Mind to a Halter: And since this Lady is so apt to think People have a Design to ravish her, the wisest Thing a Man can do, is to keep out of her Way.

Sir, replied Glanville, who had follow'd him to the Door, I believe there has been some little Mistake in what has happen'd To-day--However, I expect you'll take no unbecoming Liberties with the Character of Lady Bella-- Oh! Sir, said Tinsel, I give you my Honour I shall always speak of the Lady with the most profound Veneration. She is a most accomplish'd, incomprehensible Lady: And the Devil take me, if I think there is her Fellow in the World--And so, Sir, I am your most obedient-- A Word with you before you go, said Glanville stopping him--No more of these Sneers as you value that smooth Face of yours, or I'll despoil it of a Nose.

Oh! Your humble Servant, said the Beau, retiring in great Confusion, with something betwixt a Smile and a Grin upon his Countenance, which he took Care however Mr. Glanville should not see; who as soon as he quitted him went again to Arabella's Apartment, in order to prevail upon his Father and Sister to leave her a little to herself, for he dreaded lest some more Instances of her Extravagance would put it into his Father's Head, that she was really out of her Senses.

Well, Sir, said Arabella upon his Entrance, you have I suppose, given your Rival his Liberty. I assure you this Generosity is highly agreeable to me--And herein you imitate the noble Artamenes, who upon a like Occasion, acted as you have done. For when Fortune had put the Ravisher of Mandana in his Power, and he became the Vanquisher of his Rival, who endeavour'd by Violence to possess that divine Princess; this truly generous Hero relinquish'd the Right he had of disposing of his Prisoner, and instead of sacrificing his Life to his just and reasonable Vengeance, he gave a Proof of his admirable Virtue and Clemency by dismissing him in Safety, as you have done.

However, added she, I hope you have made him swear upon your Sword, that he will never make a second Attempt upon my Liberty. I perceive, pursued she, seeing Mr. Glanville continued silent, with his Eyes bent on the Ground, for indeed he was asham'd to look up; that you would willingly avoid the Praise due to the heroick Action you have just perform'd-- Nay, I suppose you are resolv'd to keep it secret if possible; yet I must tell you, that you will not escape the Glory due to it. Glory is as necessarily the Result of a virtuous Action, as Light is an Effect of the Sun which causeth it, and has no Dependence on any other Cause; since a virtuous Action continues still the same, tho' it be done without Testimony; and Glory, which is, as one may say born with it, constantly attends it, tho' the Action be not known.

I protest Niece, said Sir Charles, that's very prettily said.

In my Opinion, Sir, pursued Arabella, if any thing can weaken the Glory of a good Action, its the Care a Person takes to make it known: As if one did not do Good for the Sake of Good, but for the Praise that generally follows it. Those then that are govern'd by so interested a Motive, ought to be consider'd as sordid rather than generous Persons; who making a Kind of Traffick between Virtue and Glory, barter just so much of the one for the other, and expect like other Merchants, to make Advantage by the Exchange.

Mr. Glanville, who was charm'd into an Extacy at this sensible Speech of Arabella's, forgot in an Instant all her Absurdities. He did not fail to express his Admiration of her Understanding in Terms that brought a Blush into her fair Face, and oblig'd her to lay her Commands upon him to cease his excessive Commendations. Then making a Sign to them to leave her alone, Mr. Glanville who understood her, took his Father and Sister down Stairs, leaving Arabella with her faithful Lucy, whom she immediately commanded to give her a Relation of what had happen'd to her from the Time of her swooning till she recover'd.

Chapter XII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter XIV.